Amazon Private Label Checklist – Will Your Product Sell?

Amazon Private Label Checklist

This post is by Mark Scott Adams, a serial entrepreneur who has started, built and sold six businesses. He is also a full-time Amazon seller, author, speaker and creator of the popular Amazon training course FBA HeadStart.

I spend my days working as a full-time Amazon seller and helping my students private-label their Amazon products in my FBA HeadStart training program.

We cover a variety of questions and topics on a daily basis.

But still the most asked question I get from my students is…

How do I find products to sell on Amazon?

Quite frankly, this is actually a really good question. But the better question is “how do I find the right products and the right market?” The two go hand in hand.

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I’ve seen Amazon sellers who get the market right and not much else, and still make money. I’ve also seen Amazon sellers who miss the market and get everything else right, and not do so well.

Since both are so important, what if you had a way to significantly better choose your markets and products? A way to score or analyze the numbers so you could see if you should proceed, before you invested time and money into a product?

That’s why I created my Amazon Private Label Market and Product Checklist.

Getting Started

Mark Scott Adams
Mark Scott Adams

I have put together an easy to follow and use checklist to help you determine if your market and product are viable as an Amazon private label product. It has a scoring system that will tell you if you should move forward with private labelling or keep looking.

You can also get the checklist as a 1-page PDF, with three free training videos.

Now let’s break down each line and determine if we’re on the right track. Give yourself the number of points for each line if you answer yes, or zero if no, and add your total at the end.

Is the Market Viable?

Make sure a national name brand item doesn’t dominate the market

Score: 5

It will be really hard to compete with a national brand. For instance you don’t want to sell cameras. Canon and Nikon would crush say for instance Mark’s Cameras. But think about categories like kitchen items and any type of accessories where there is no national brand dominance.

The average sales price is between $15 and $60

Score: 5

You want to make sure you have enough margin to pay for marketing. You have to do the same work to sell items that are 50 bucks as you do for items that are 7 bucks. Unless you’re Walmart, low profit/high volume is a tough game to win.

The sales rank is under 10,000 for each of the top three items

Score: 4

If you’re going sell something you want to make sure there’s enough volume to meet your income goals. It does no good to create an item for which there is very little demand.

It depends on the category and time of year but items in the 8,000-10,000 range are selling 4-6 items a day. Ranks from 5,000-8,000 are selling 6-10, ranks from 2,000-5,000 approximately 10-20 a day and under 2000, a gazillion a day.

Do each of the first three products have less than 400 reviews?

Score: 4

Reviews are critical in helping your item rank and extremely important in convincing your potential buyers to choose your product over a competitor.

400 reviews and above are not insurmountable, but it will take time, effort and money.

If multiple items have less than 400 reviews you have an opportunity to overtake them with good marketing.

Do the other products on the first page have less than 100 reviews?

Score: 5

There still is a lot of money to be made from other than the first three positions on the first page. Spot 7 may still be a $1,000-2,000 a month product. Very few people would complain about making this off just one of your products, month after month.

When several items have less than 100 reviews, it just means you have a pretty good shot at getting on the first page

The market has multiple keywords

Score: 5

Would your buyer search for your item under multiple keywords? The more you have, the better and the higher your sales.

For instance, if you sold cutting boards would some buyers search under chopping boards? By good marketing, you could rank for multiple keywords and significantly increase your sales.

All of the pay per click ads being used

Score: 1

If you see competitors using the side or bottom of the page PPC ads for extended periods of time, it means they are making money with the ads and there is money to be made in that market

There is no product video on the first page of Google for the main keyword

Score: 3

If you were to create a YouTube channel and put up a few demo videos of your products you could probably get your videos ranked in Google searches. The links in the video would lead to your Amazon product page.

The top 3 keywords combined have over 100k in searches

Score: 5

I recommend Merchant Words to check this. It’s just a way to make sure there are enough searches so there will be enough buyers for your product.

Knowledgeable sellers in top listings

Score: 4

This may sound counter-intuitive, but if there are other people making money in the market then you can create a better product, get better pictures and copy, and surpass them in the listings. It validates that there are sales for this particular product.

Can you add value to the product?

Score: 4

Read the negative reviews and see what the customers don’t like. Incorporate those improvements into your product. Can you bundle an accessory, can you maybe put two in one package, etc. Anything the customer can see as added value.

Are the products in the market durable?

Score: 5

When products are not durable or easily breakable, like drinking glasses, they tend to break in shipping. People will always blame you instead of Fedex and write 1-star reviews when this happens. Not your fault, but your sales will never be what they could be with those extra negative reviews.

Product is simple to use and won’t need an instruction manual

Score: 3

If people don’t understand something, they perceive it to be your fault. And they will write one-star reviews. When they misuse the product and it doesn’t work correctly, they will blame you and write one-star reviews.

Think of something like a cutting board. No instructions needed really, as opposed to something they have to put together and is electric.

The product leads to reorders

Score: 5

Nice to sell once and then get reorders. Your business will grow each month. Supplements come to mind here.

Can the item be purchased as a gift?

Score: 3

Gift purchasing is huge. If you make your packaging look like a gift item for giftable items your sales will increase dramatically. Some people will buy the item for themselves and then go back and buy for others.

The product is not a commodity and not easily purchased at a big box store

Score: 2

A commodity item like, say a generic cutting board is easily purchased at a variety of stores and many people will buy locally.  But if you create a speciality cutting board that has a unique feature like an antibacterial coating, it will be harder to find locally and most shoppers will first look online.

Is the Product Viable?

The product weighs less than a pound

Score: 4

The smaller the item, typically the less its weight. This makes shipping from the supplier much cheaper. It also makes the Amazon fees much less.

The product is small

Score: 4

Hold your hands together. That’s about 8 x 8 x 8 inches. Now imagine your item. If it’s no bigger than your hands it’s probably small enough to get the lowest handling fees from Amazon.

Can you make the product stand out with better packaging?

Score: 5

Packaging is huge. With better packaging not only do you get more sales, but a premium price. You’re trying to do something eloquent like a jewelry store or a perfume bottle. Not packaging that is designed to hang on a hook in a retail store.

Can you purchase with shipping for less than 20% of the sales price?

Score: 5

Amazon takes usually 15% of you sales price as a sales commission. They will also have a handling fee and packing fee for about $2.50-$3.50 per item and up.

So for say a $15 retail sales price that would be $2.25 for your commission, say $2.5 for you Amazon fees. That leaves $10.25.

Subtract your 20% of for your item and shipping cost ($3) and you have $7.25 which is $15-7.75 =$7.25 profit which is a net profit of 48%  (7.25 divided by 15). Not bad while sitting at your home office in pyjamas or gym shorts.

You can make an initial purchase of less than 500 units

Score: 4

There is no need to put tons of money into your first order. You want to have enough inventory to cover your sales and promotions until you can reorder and get restocked, but too much inventory can be a profit killer.

Do You Have a Good Amazon Private Label Product?

Now add your points and see if you should proceed or not.

Amazon Private Label Checklist Scores

There you have it. My checklist is designed to help you make sure you have an excellent product and market.

You can go to my website and get a 1-page PDF of the checklist to help score your market and product, and I’ll also show you some video training that will help you get started.

By the way, no product is ever 100 percent perfect. The checklist can of course be altered. But it’s a great guideline to get started.

I and my students have been using this checklist for quite a while now. It will definitely help you refine your search, and prevent you from putting in unprofitable time and effort while creating a product.

Being an Amazon seller is a great place to be. It will be 6 months from now, and 6 years from now.

I hope this article helps you get started and helps you pick the right market and product.

Good luck on your Amazon business!

44 comments on “Amazon Private Label Checklist – Will Your Product Sell?

  1. Great article! Thank you.
    I have got one question. Do I need to use slightly different values for the UK market please? For example: each top 3 under 5000 instead of 10000 mentioned by you?

    1. Hi Sonny:

      Yes. The UK market is a great place to be right now. Although its not as large as the US market, is also not as competitive. So just use common sense and lower the quantity numbers a bit when talking about number of reviews or searches for any of the markets outside of the US. Good luck!

      1. Great, thank you. I am about start my journey. Im searching for products now. Do you think I should leave the UK market for now and focus my efforts on the USA market instead? Is there any advantage of selling locally? I think I could manually check each order before sending to Amazon. Am I right ? How would you start if you ware based in the UK?

        1. Sonny, there are many right ways to go about this. You could always start in the UK, expand easily to the other sites in Europe and then come to the US if you like. When you add all of the amazon sites in Europe you have about the same volume as you do in the US without all of the competition.

          Yes, you can have your products come directly to you if you choose. This is not a bad idea in the beginning, but eventually you want your supplier to ship directly to amazon so your business is truly hands off.

  2. Hi Mark

    Can you please guide me relating to Indian Market. i am planning to start online stores on most of the Indian marketplaces including Amazon. I am also planning to start stores in US Ebay and other western markets to export indian products. Whats your take on this?
    Also I am planning to contact some of the local manufacturers and list their products online. Once I get orders, i will buy from them and sell. What do you think about this business model ?

  3. Hi Ramesh:

    Wholesaling has been going on since the beginning of time. I have never been a fan of simple drop shipping because the margins are so low. You’re really just an affiliate marketer, which is fine, but I prefer the control of my own products and the higher margins. Good luck on whatever you choose.

    1. I totally agree with Mark about drop shipping. It is really hard to make any money on this. It is just a dream bubble sold by marketers who sell dreams …

  4. Hi I am trying to buy a product I like from China but in order to have them put my brand name on product I would have to purchase a minimum of 2000 pieces and without a logo or brand imprinted on I would purchase a minimum of 500. So my question is could I purchase the items without my brand name on top and still sell brand under my name or maybe put my own brand name label on products when I receive them?

    1. Hi Bronson: you could certainly put your logo on the items yourself. It imperative to start out with your items branded (private labeled) since if you don’t you are just selling a generic item that anyone else can sell and then use your sales page. Good luck

  5. Hello there Mark, so when are you allowed to sell a product as a private label? what if there is a branded product that you want to sell that you are getting at a cheap price how is that sold? what is the best way to sell a product on amazon?

    1. Hi Ahmed:

      The whole premise of private label to to find a product that is working and change it by color or variation and then create unique packaging. As long as the item is not patented you should be fine. Private labeling is common and done with almost all industries.

      In your case if all of the other criteria work then you should purse your product. Good luck!

  6. Hi Sir,

    I wish to sell in the US market, So for private labeling a brand, Should I register the brand as a company. I am from India. I plan to buy from China and ship it to Amazon store. Kindly guide.
    Lot of Thanks.

    1. Junais:

      All you need to do is set you company name up in Amazon. They have something called brand registry where you register a brand with them. But you can sell as a sole proprietor. There is nothing you need to register legally.

  7. Mark-

    Thanks for the great info. I’m looking to launch a product with a friend that he has had in market offline for a few years and done well.

    My question is this: According to your checklist we would be a score of 55. However the ones we got a zero on are ‘large national competitor’, ‘ranks under 10K’ – which is concerning. I am in digital marketing as a day job, so I get competition vs demand.

    Would you recommend trying a pilot with some Amazon ads and maybe a Youtube video (that one was a win!) and see how it goes?

    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Jake:

      Thank you for the kind words….

      Realize the checklist is a guideline only. I think it just forces you to think through whether you have a good potential product or not.

      However, I still choose to go on “gut instinct” when picking products. If you have the budget, determination and to be able to beat the competition, they you probably have a pretty good shot….

      What’s the worse that can happen??? Chance always favors the bold. I do know one, thing, if you don’t give it a shot, you will never succeed…Good luck.

      1. All true Mark –

        Thanks for the encouragement. Always nice to have that extra ‘go get ’em’ before you jump 🙂

        Off we gooooooooo

  8. Thanks Mark! Great information.

    I see you recommend merchant words, how accurate do you find the information?

    Do you use any other pieces of software to help you select a product? I’ve seen a few of them on the market but I’m not sure if they really help or not.

    1. Hi Colleen:

      I don’t concentrate on the number of searches…I just use it to help me determine keywords.

      I use ASinspector on occasion. I don’t htink you need to overly rely on software, this is too simply to have to do so.

      1. Hi Mark, I have been searching for information regarding Amazon private labeling, and you are AWESOME! You do business like me, not complicated! I hate having to rely on complicated platforms and technology. There are other guidelines to go by, such as your steps you outlines, but everything else is trial and error, and gut instinct. Thank you so much for this article. I am going to start researching some potential products to sell based on your article 🙂 xoxo

  9. Do you have to “market” what you sell ? Ugh –

    I used to be a seller on Ebay. My inventory sold itself on Ebay. I’m just starting to find out about selling on Amazon.

    Thank you.

    1. Anne: I think any business takes marketing…If you ever find a business where you just show up and people throw money at you, please me know….I’ve been looking for that for years….

      But it sounds like you really mean direct human to human selling. If that is the case then no, but you will have to do marketing in regards to optimizing your sales page, writing good copy and getting reviews for your product, Amazon PPC and any outside marketing you wish to do.

  10. Hi Mark,

    Is it allowed on amazon to drop ship our product directly from manufacturer, mainly If I am launching my first product.
    Some where on Amazon forum I read it is not allowed and they will ban us if we do it. Can you please clarify this.

    Lot of thanks,
    Junais

  11. Mark how realistic is it for someone like me who have no experience selling online or offline to start a private label company while keeping my full time job at least in the early stages? Pls help, I’m so determined I actually attended the canton fair 2 months ago but I missed the 1st and 2nd phases. Is this something I can do by putting in 1-2hrs daily? I don’t want to quit my job just yet without any chance of success.
    I would love to subscribe to your course and travel with you next April if possible. Please what do you charge for your course? And how realistic is it to make sales of about $5,000 every month as a total newbie? Do all your students succeed in this venture? Is there a way to contact you by phone so I can talk with you in more detail?

  12. Hi Stan:

    The real answer is it depend on you….nothing is easy and this is no exception. But the better question is…is it doable. The answer is yes. I have had many very successful students who have achieved what they wanted as Amazon sellers. To answer your question about more information on my courses and coaching, go to http://MarkScottAdams.com Stan, good luck to you!

  13. Hello Mark. Really great article for a newbies like my wife and I. We really want and have the desire to succeed at this but we are really having a hard time finding a product. Any advice on on this would be very helpful.

  14. Hi Scotty:

    It can be hard, but I think finding products is about mindset. The product checklist I have is only a guideline. There are no absolutes or perfect products. If you’re in “product acquisition mode” you start seeing items as “would this be a good amazon product” and items start to flow. Walk into a store in acquisition mode and items will present themselves. Good luck.

  15. I want to sell my products in all over the world. It is possible through amazon.
    My products are related to label and tag and i want to sell them.

  16. Mark, Amazon has a number of restricted categories. Should an individual attempt to get into a restricted catagory _before_ actually searching for a private label product to sell?

    Reason being what happens if you go through months of finding/designing/privatelabeling/money on a product and having it shipped from China only to get denied to enter a restricted category? Thanks, Mike

  17. Hi Mark,

    Interesting article.I am confused about what is exactly considered as private label product. Lets say I found an item that is already being sold in amazon under a specific brand. If I can get the same item with a different color border from the manufacturer, can I register that as a new brand in amazon? I am totally lost about how unique my new product should be compared to the ones already up there. Please clarify.

  18. Hi Mark!

    Great checklist! I scored a 60 on my product. I am ready to place my first order (500 pieces). I have a brand name that I will use in writng the copy for my ad, but have not gotten the manufacturer to label the actual product. How necessary do you think this is? Also, do you think its important to trademark the name?
    Thanks a bunch!!

  19. Hello hear I did a mistake now I need help, it happened that I private label my products before trying to get approuved. Bad luck to me I was ungated 3 times already, I,order my products from Morocco. Help pls

  20. Can I use google/public websites pictures to design my logo for private label?
    I have seen many private listings on amazon that doesn’t show the packaging to prove their ownership of the their branded products. I was told that to apply for brand registry, that you must have the photo of the unit with its logo in the packaging showing that item is in fact yours as a private sellers.
    That’s why i think so many private sellers cut corners by just putting a sticker on the products and called it their own brand. They can get away with this by not showing the packaging photo and just showing the unit alone when they create the listings.

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