How to build a successful brand in the online marketplace through product selection

    By Chenyu Ren, co-founder and CEO of Markaia venture-backed cross-border e-commerce startup.

    Online marketplaces, especially Amazon, have become increasingly competitive for sellers. According to Marketplace Pulse, Amazon has a total of 6 million sellers, but only about 1 million are active sellers who get reviews for their products. Although Asia based cross-border sellers as they begin to capture more and more shares in the Amazon market, they often suffer from a lack of brand awareness and therefore lower margins.

    Therefore, it is especially important for cross-border sellers to create “independent brands” that consumers can recognise. The idea of ​​building a brand is closely related to the need for creative product selection, which requires sellers to be able to:

    1. Carefully select the products to be made based on competitive analysis, market research and data on various sites.

    2. Create a relevant product detail page with eye-catching text and appropriate images.

    3. Boost rankings, optimize keywords, start advertising and focus on creating bestsellers.

    Amazon has more than 350 million products for sale, with both branded bestsellers and profitable commodities. In this article, I will outline several steps to select which products to sell on marketplace platforms.

    Play to your strengths

    • Start with your own interests and hobbies. It is often easier to find consumer demand and sell products that are known and understood.

    • Make use of the resources available around you. Simply put, find out if there are any relatives and friends who have worked in related industries. All the resources you can find in terms of production, purchasing and logistics are to your advantage.

    • Take advantage of the Asia-based supply chain. One of the biggest advantages of Asian-based cross-border e-commerce is the “fast, good and cheap” supply chain established there and the fact that there are already mature platforms integrating these suppliers. For example, on a site like 1688, it could be as simple as searching for “Amazon” and selecting “supplier”. I recommend filtering for suppliers in nearby areas first, which makes it easier to research and communicate needs locally.

    Find inspiration in the successes of others

    Learn from the success of others. This is a shortcut for many newbie sellers to get an edge. Instead of simply searching for “Amazon’s hottest products in 2021,” there are several ways to quickly find successful product categories.

    First, don’t just copy competitors’ popular products. Instead, learn their product selection strategy. Study their details like SKUs, product holding time and product rank. Pay attention to the overall product portfolio, for example whether the price range is consistent, whether the features are complementary or whether they can cover the entire needs of the target audience.

    Next, look at other marketplace platforms. In addition to Amazon, there are eBay, AliExpress, Lazada, LightlnTheBox and many others that encourage cross-border sales. There are many popular products on these platforms that may not yet be for sale on Amazon or vice versa. These product categories have already become popular on their respective platforms, have their own traffic, and are likely to sell better if they are listed elsewhere.

    Discover trends

    Discover products with the potential to become bestsellers by searching popular topics and trends on search engines and social media websites.

    • Browse social media sites and follow popular trends. In addition to popular social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, merchants can also browse Polyvore, Wanelo, Fancy, or Pinterest to see what content and ads are trending.

    • Use keyword trends. Merchants can use Google Trends or paid keyword tools to identify uptrending products based on their interest category, market direction, annual growth rate, and evaluation.

    • Find inspiration and pain points from everyday life. For example, Amazon store Car Caché’s best-selling product, a storage basket between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, was a solution the founder came up with while taking kids to and from school every day with nowhere to put his carry-on luggage. in your pocket.

    Market size and profitability

    Finally, choose products with large market size (high category bestseller ranking), growth potential (no sunset industry), low concentration of brands (no large, monopolistic brands), positive reviews (no product design flaws), and low seasonality (stable cash flow throughout the year). Most product selection tools, such as Helium 10 and Jungle Scout, can help you navigate through these indicators.

    I’ve seen how salespeople often forget aspects that contribute to profitability. In addition to the most basic acquisition costs, things like transportation costs, promotional costs and paid software should also be included in your calculation. In general, cheaper items sell better on Amazon, and it’s best if the price is between $10 and $50 (products that are too cheap are hard to cover). In transportation costs, consider the volume, weight and durability of the product from the selection stage to reduce the cost and loss of logistics and storage. In terms of promotional costs, products that already have a massive base and come with traffic have an advantage.

    While selling on platforms like Amazon is becoming increasingly competitive, successful product selection can help sellers stand out.

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