This journey I’m on – to sell products online – has opened my eyes to a whole world of retail I never knew existed. I used to cruise through the grocery store or Wal-mart, throwing needed items into my cart without much thought. I’d register the cost of the item and whether it was on my list, but that was about it. Now I’m looking for private label manufacturers to help me create products I can sell for profit.
My journey through a store is totally different now. I’m gripping my phone (Amazon scanning app) in my hand. I’m barely paying attention to my personal list. I’m looking for clearance signs, signs that say “discontinued by manufacturer,” endcaps stocked with discount-looking price stickers. I’m looking for items marked as new, items that I think are particularly unique, and items that look nice or useful enough that they could sell for more than they’re marked. I’m looking for regional grocery products, and funky beauty items, and weirdly useful personal care stuff. Anything I can buy low and sell high.
The more I sell online, the more I realize that my income is directly tied to my Amazon FBA routine and my ability to source products. I’m focusing on products that can be private labeled in this article, but it applies to any aspect of online selling, including retail and online arbitrage, thrift store reselling, or wholesale. The more you source and list (as long as you’re making wise decisions), the more your income grows.
If, like me, you’re charging full force toward the selling frenzy that is Quarter 4, then here are some ways to find new products to private label/import:
1. Visit a Popular Reddit Forum For Product Ideas & Potential Manufacturers
Reddit is a news and entertainment website/message board driven solely by user-submitted content. Topics are grouped into specific boards, which you can subscribe to. If you’ve never visited Reddit, you’ll find that many boards are incredibly active, with dozens of posts and comments every hour. For product-related research, look for products that users love, need, or want, and maybe it’ll spark an idea for something you could produce. Simply browse the topics in the front page at www.reddit.com, or visit a few of the boards below. Here are a few boards I like for ideas:
2. Check Out A Store That Specializes In Your Product Category
I find so many ideas at physical stores like Dick’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Michael’s, or Staples. If you sell in a specific category – says Sports and Outdoors, visit a store like Dick’s that carries your products. You’re not doing retail arb here, though, you’re looking for products that you could produce and carry. Ask: In what country was this made? Who’s the manufacturer/brand? How is the big box store positioning this item – as a bargain or a luxury product? Are there gaps on the shelves that indicate that this is “hot”? What’s the product packaging like? Is this something I’d want to have produced? Use your phone to make note of the manufacturers and product packaging for items you’re interested in.
3. Scour Ebay For Bulk Sellers And Manufacturers Of Potential Private Label Products
Chinese manufacturers definitely sell on Amazon. And they sell on Ebay, too, often with free shipping. If you thought Ebay was a dead marketplace, think again: it’s still a place where many consumers do business. (In fact, I have a new item I purchase from grocery stores that I sell MORE of on Ebay than I do on Amazon.) Plan your launch strategy using Ebay-bought products carefully because it can take several weeks to arrive from overseas. But if you want to test the viability and quality of a small batch of products, you can easily order 50-100 to evaluate potential Amazon sales.
4. Got A Successful Product? Ask Your Supplier For New, Companion, Or Upcoming Products
If you’ve found a successful, profitable product and a private label manufacturer who’s willing to work with you, make sure you’re using all of your resources. Find their website and look at all product offerings to see if there are companion products you could sell. If you sell metal spatulas, perhaps they have a metal spoon you could bundle together or create a new listing for, for example. So much of the risk involved in private labeling is determining who’s a reputable company – if you can do that, then ensure you’re using them as much as possible to flesh out your product line.
5. Visit Alibaba And Type “Amazon” Into The Search Box
That’s it. Just Amazon. Manufacturers overseas know that many private labelers looking for products will be selling them online so listings of some products have “perfect for Amazon” or “hot Amazon seller” in the title. This strategy will return a large number of various results, so only try when you have a few hours to sift through all of the data.
6. Go Beyond Alibaba – Look For Suppliers And Products On Lesser Known DHGate And Global Sources
These two websites work similarly to Alibaba, but aren’t as well known. But on both you can negotiate with suppliers to purchase large quantities of private labeled or customized products.
7. Crush The Competition By Sourcing Locally Manufactured Products To Sell Online
Sometimes, if you spend any time on Facebook groups, it seems like everyone in the world is looking for products to manufacture and sell. Differentiate yourself by finding a supplier that is local to your geographic area. They might supply a niche industry, they might sell only to retail stores in a certain region, or they might not have an advanced marketing budget. All of that can work to your advantage as an online seller, since someone across the country will be unlikely to have access to them. This route will likely require face-to-face time and relationship building, but it carries a very low risk of other online selling competition – a strong selling point.