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Tools and tips on how to source products online

How to find the right products to sell online

Small retail businesses and eCommerce sites need to consistently choose the best products to sell in order to maximize their profits.

But trying to find this information is not always easy, and there are plenty of "silver bullet" sites (and con men) that will try to make a profit by advising you to stock products that give them commission.

It's far better to be able to do your own research into which products offer the best value for money for your own customers and clients. After all, you know your business best.

Fortunately, I've got a great trick that anyone can use to automate the process of sorting out which products sell better and will likely drive higher profits.

Researching products to stock and sell

Ideally, you need to understand how a given product performs within its niche over a reasonable period of time - say, over a one to three month period.

This means you need to be able to track its sales and compare this to competing products.

At the same time, it's also important to gauge the market's response to this product because a bad product that's first to market may sell well initially, but crash as soon as a better quality competitor arrives on the scene.

One of the best ways to gain an understanding of how the market responds to a given product is to look at how well it is selling on one of the major eCommerce sites - like Amazon.

Because Amazon has such a huge footprint, and represents a significant enough percentage of overall sales, you can gain some meaningful insights by analysing a product's sales on that platform.

Not only that, but it generates plenty of buyer feedback in the form of reviews and wishlists, etc. So keeping tabs on the sales and sentiment of customers via Amazon will help you make better buying decisions.

Tracking & analysing product sales via Amazon

In order to make your buying decisions easier, it's important to be able to do the following:

  1. Accurately monitor the sales performance of a product over time
  2. Directly compare and contrast the sales of a product with its competitors
  3. Monitor customer reviews and sentiment

Fortunately, that's exactly what RT500 Enterprise already does for thousands of small retailers across the U.S, U.K, Australia and Canada.

RT500 tracks the sales rank of any product (not just books) sold on any Amazon locale on an hourly basis, and even generates accurate sales estimates based on an analysis of the sales ranks it builds up over time.

You can track a product you are interested in selling, along with a few alternatives, and graph their performance together to make a direct assessment of which one has better potential to sell well for your business.

For example, here's a small selection of books that appeared on the New York Times best-seller list in 2013:

Sales research using Amazon analytics

If you look at the stats at the bottom of the graph, you can see both the average ranks and the sales estimates for the period graphed. In this instance, The GoldFinch sold 135 units, which Sycamore Row sold 12.\

So, The GoldFinch is still selling very well, and it's sales rank averages around 21, which is so low (remember a sales rank of 1 is the best) that it is hardly visible on the graph.

Monitoring customer sentiment via online reviews

What's also great about RT500 is that its also really easy to keep tabs on customer reviews for any tracked products at the click of a button. Here's what the review summary for The GoldFinch looks like:

Sales research using Amazon analytics

From this it's super easy to see that with an overall average review of 4 out of five stars, with the vast majority being 5 star reviews, The GoldFinch is no flash in the pan - it is genuinely loved by the people who buy it.

So, by tracking and comparing sales and monitoring the market's sentiment towards a product, you can start making buying decisions that will work better, and ultimately lead to higher profits.

What do you think of this strategy for deciding which products to stock and sell via your own enterprise? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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I've experienced both the frustration and despair of losing Google traffic to an unknown and unexplained penalty (only large, important businesses get the information they need to recover in a matter of days or weeks), but have also seen how other companies have thrived without Google entirely.

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