ECommerce is an industry that continues to expand, accounting for 13.2% of all retail sales in the US last year in 2021. That's according to the US Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division.
As the preferred online shopping destination that provides easy access to online sellers, Amazon is the #1 Ecommerce platform.
Compared to other ECommerce marketplaces like Walmart which require a registered business to sell, practically anyone can sell on Amazon.
Amazon makes selling convenient by fulfilling orders and handling customer service through the Amazon FBA program. However, you can also choose to handle these yourself.
With some spare time and an Amazon product research strategy, you can find the right product opportunity to get started on your Amazon journey.
However, finding a product idea with high potential in the market is just a small part of the battle. You then need to figure out where you can source the product and still make a decent profit with Amazon.
There are multiple places an Amazon seller can source products from. But, the question of where to get products for Amazon depends on which Amazon business model you decide on.
We break down five different Amazon business models and outline where to get products depending on which method you’re using.
What is Wholesaling?
If you have the startup capital, wholesaling can be one of the easiest Amazon business models to start.
You simply take the product of another established brand, buy their products in bulk at a discounted price and sell them through Amazon for the market price to turn a profit.
Wholesaling can be quite profitable if you find the right opportunity. Although, you’ll still have to do market research to make sure there is ample demand in the market.
Also, you can spend more time on scaling your business. You'll have more time to focus on selling instead of brand building and other tasks usually required.
As a wholesaler, you don’t have to worry about trademarks or copyright infringements on the products you sell. These are issues of the brand owner.
You also don’t need to spend time creating product listings or ASINs, as usually these are already setup on Amazon.
However, that is also a drawback. You have to compete for the Buy Box with other suppliers sharing the same Amazon listing.
Depending on where you’re selling, you may also need to get a wholesale license. That can be a lengthy process and may also affect taxation.
Where to get products for wholesaling?
You can buy wholesale products from distributors who sell a brand’s products. Sometimes, you can even purchase directly through the brand itself.
Contact a brand through their website and ask if they have a wholesaling program you can participate in. If not, request a list of distributors you can contact.
What is Retail Arbitrage?
For those with limited startup capital available for a bulk order of products, retail arbitrage could be a great way to get started with Amazon.
Retail arbitrage is finding and buying retail products that are selling at a discount in a market other than Amazon. Then, reselling them through Amazon for profit.
You can turn a quick profit selling this way. In fact, JungleScout found that 41% of retail arbitrage sellers launched their business in less than six weeks.
However, you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits allowed through the Amazon Brand Registry.
Selling retail arbitrage on Amazon is so popular is because of how quickly you can begin selling. You don’t need to wait an extended period for manufacturing and global transit.
Purchasing products in bulk from a manufacturer or supplier also puts you at risk of losing a larger sum of money if your product fails.
When operating as a retail arbitrager, you are limited to the amount of product the retailer has available. You can purchase as much or as little of that stock as you want.
Where to get products for retail arbitrage?
With retail arbitrage, you can essentially find products at any other type of retailer. If they are selling at a discount to the market price on Amazon, you have an opportunity.
You can look for sales in major retailers like Macys while visiting the store in person, check retailers online catalogs for clearance items, or even search on the Facebook marketplace.
With this business model, there are many sources you can go to for products. Then, base your product sales on which items have the best discounts.
What is Private Label?
If your aspirations as a professional seller on Amazon are to build your own brand with a unique product, the private label business model is likely your best option.
With private labeling, you source products from manufacturers, but the products you sell are branded as your own.
Manufacturers and suppliers can create products specifically for the purpose of being branded by another company like yours.
After manufacturing, products are packaged in your brand’s packaging as your own branded products.
This business model is so effective that even major retailers like Walmart, which uses private labeling for its Great Value line, includes it as part of its operations.
Where to get products for private label?
You source private label products from manufacturers. Therefore, you need to identify and reach out to manufacturers in your industry.
You can attend industry trade shows, which allows you to meet with multiple manufacturers in person and get your questions answered in a short amount of time.
Visiting online communities in your industry is a great way to gather information too. Here you can learn other brands’ experiences with specific manufacturers who you are considering.
Perhaps the most popular way to source private label products is by using a suppliers directory. ThomasNet (North America) or Alibaba (Asia) are great options.
With a suppliers directory, you can search for manufacturers by location and product type and they provide you with a comprehensive list of results to choose from.
What is Amazon Handmade?
Gifted artisans and crafters can avoid finding products externally and instead use their skills to create products to sell through Amazon Handmade.
As a third party seller in the Amazon Handmade program, you can sell items like handmade jewelry, woven baskets and homemade soaps.
Selling expenses and fees are also generally lower, which allows for a higher profit margin than you might achieve with other amazon business models.
Unlike the monthly Amazon seller fee on Seller Central, there’s no monthly fee to sell through Amazon handmade and no listing fees either.
You also avoid high product sourcing costs that can come from shipping products from overseas.
If you’re willing to ship your inventory to Amazon ahead of sale, Amazon Handmade products are even Amazon Prime eligible.
Where to get products for Amazon Handmade?
You can’t just take any product and try selling it through Amazon Handmade. Amazon has a strict audit program that ensures products sold through the program are actually handmade by the person or company.
You can make the products yourself or use a team of up to 20 people to help with creation and production.
Use high-quality materials to pass Amazon’s audit process and provide the Amazon shopper with an excellent product.
Dropshipping (& Print-On-Demand)
What is dropshipping?
Another business model that is popular for third party sellers with limited startup capital and who want to build a more hands off business is dropshipping.
If you start a dropshipping business, you outsource fulfillment to the supplier who ships the product to your Amazon customer once the product is purchased.
Instead of paying a large upfront cost to stock product inventory and hoping you can sell that inventory, the supplier only charges you once the product is sold and they ship it.
Therefore, you act as the middleman between Amazon and the supplier.
Where to find products for Dropshipping
To operate a dropshipping business, you need to find suppliers that can support purchase of items at low quantity and who are willing to assist with direct shipping to your customers.
AliExpress is likely the most popular option because of the lost cost and vast quantity of its product selection.
However, because these products are sourced from China, they can come with a higher shipping cost and wait time due to transit overseas.
For USA sellers, there are many US dropshipping suppliers that are worth looking at that can get products to your customer much faster.
Within the dropshipping business model, print-on-demand (POD) allows you to sell custom designs that are printed on items like tee shirts, coffee mugs or handbags.
You just need an account with an Amazon-approved POD vendor to sell your product through and unique graphics to place on those products.
For example, Amazon has an integration with Printful that allows you to sell on the Amazon Marketplace and have your orders completely processed and fulfilled through Printful.
If you have the skills, you can create the graphics yourself. If not, you can outsource your ideas to freelancers on sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
How to Find a Product Idea
You know where to get the products now. However, before you start selling on Amazon, you should know how to identify which products are of high demand if you want to be a successful Amazon seller.
To identify successful products, trends, or even particular product traits that are selling well, head over to the Amazon Best Sellers page.
Amazon updates this page regularly, and it’s based on both historical and current sales activity.
If you want your product to be an Amazon best seller, learning from the competition can be a great starting point to see what is selling well for others.
Keyword research is another powerful method when looking for product ideas. Keyword research involves analyzing what people are actually typing into the search engine to find opportunities.
If many people are typing the same or similar search term into the Amazon search engine, it means the product is of high demand.
There are many keyword research tools available that can provide accurate data for monthly search volume of keywords.
Product research is a comprehensive process that involves searching the Amazon Marketplace, reviewing product listings, and crunching the numbers to find an opportunity.
Many keyword research tools like Viral Launch also include a product research component that can help you identify which product category you should concentrate.
Once you narrow down a potential market with high demand, you can identify if there is an opportunity to sell in the market by looking at each individual product listing to determine if there is room for improvement.
People often turn to social media platforms to give their opinions, which is why you can use it to collect valuable data.
For example, you can search for different products on Pinterest and see which have a high amount of reactions, showing product interest.
If a product with many positive reactions isn’t currently selling on Amazon, that could be a product opportunity.
You can also assess interest in a product by the number of likes an image with that product receives. Check on other platforms like Instagram and Facebook for likes.
Whether you want to sell through Amazon FBA or fulfill your own orders, get started at Amazon Seller Central
You can find a profitable product with any of these business models and sourcing strategies to start making money online.
Amazon even supports sellers with on-platform advertising to reach more people and quickly scale with Sponsored Product ads.
Amazon advertising is just one of the advantages that makes selling on Amazon FBA worth it in 2022.If you want to learn about the full potential that selling on Amazon has to offer, there are many Amazon courses that can put you on the path to success.