Alex Knight walks us through the best FREE research software Amazon sellers can use to help their sourcing and marketing efforts
Earlier this year, I did some research on the best free eBay selling tools to help me sell a rather gnarly collection of gnomes. This process made me realize just how useful free tools can be for online sellers and I was keen to provide our readers with an Amazon equivalent. So, I donned my deerstalker hat and began tracking down some useful free tools for Amazon sellers.
I focused my search on tools specifically made for sellers. This excludes software like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. While they are undoubtedly useful pricing tracking tools, they are essentially shopper-focused. Instead, I’ve included tools that provide Amazon marketplace research data, whether that’s in the form of keywords people are searching for, sales estimates or pricing advice.
All the tools included in this article are free to use. By this, I don’t mean that they offer a free trial for a few days, and then make you spend your hard-earned bucks. These tools all have “free forever” versions where you can access the same features, day after day, without ever being asked to pay.
For each tool I’ve identified what it does, how it works and why you might want to use it. There is also a walkthrough video so you can see each tool in action.
We start our quest with free market research tool, Algopix, which allows sellers to see how much their products sell for on different marketplaces worldwide. This is very handy, as it provides actionable data on whether the product you want to sell is actually viable and, if it is, which Amazon marketplace will provide the best return. Algopix is the only tool here that also featured in my post on free eBay software.
Algopix’s free plan only allows users to search for one product at a time. It also offers two paid plans that allow users to search using CSV files with limits of either 3,000 or 10,000 SKUs per month. This may put some sellers off, as the thought of having to research a large number of products individually may seem arduous. But, you get very little for free in the Amazon selling sphere, so obtaining some handy market data for free should not be sniffed at!
So, heading over to the Algopix site, you’ll be presented with a search box. In there you need to enter a detailed product name or the ASIN, UPC or EAN for that product. This is important because you want data on the exact product you’re thinking of selling. For instance, if that product is a box of 12 Callaway 2017 Supersoft golf balls in yellow, include that information – don’t just enter “Callaway golf balls”.
When you’ve entered your product title, you can choose to include shipping or pricing information. It’s up to you how much you include, but the more you enter the more accurate the income estimates will be. When you’re happy with this, hit search and after a few seconds your results will appear.
At the top of the page is a quick breakdown of each different aspect of the results, showing things like product demand, the marketplace where you’ll receive the highest income after costs, and an estimate of expenses.
If you scroll down past the description of your product, you’ll see a breakdown for global eBay and Amazon sites. Whilst this article isn’t focusing on eBay, this is a useful feature for multi-channel sellers.
For each marketplace, the breakdown shows the market price of your product, how much fees, shipping and tax would be and then, based on these factors, a projection for your net income for each sale. From this, I can see that selling my golf balls on Amazon.com could make me a $10 profit while selling on Amazon.ca could also make me a small profit.
My estimated costs can be seen clearer in the expenses report below, which is calculated individually, based on each of the marketplaces included in the breakdown. So, if I select Amazon.com, the expenses report now shows me that Amazon would take a $3.30 cut and it would cost me $3.46 to ship the item. If you enter a product cost for your search, this will also be factored in.
The final feature is a graph showing interest over time. I know from the overview that demand for my product is high but the graph allows me to hone in on this. I can see that even though demand peaked in June, it is still high, which shows me that now is a good time to move into the market. Algopix calculates demand using actual sales across a range of marketplaces and data from search engines.
Our next tool is Unicorn Smasher, a Chrome browser extension that allows users to conduct product research on Amazon search pages.
A Chrome extension is a small piece of software that you can add on to your Google Chrome browser to increase its functionality. This does mean that Unicorn Smasher can only be used with Google Chrome – it won’t work with any other web browsers.
To download Unicorn Smasher, go to their website and click download. You will then be redirected to the Chrome Web Store. When the page loads click “add to Chrome” and then select “add extension” when the next dialogue box appears. An icon should have now appeared in the top right hand corner of your browser meaning you can start your research!
The extension only works when you are on Amazon search results, so I’ve opened Amazon.com and have searched for “golf balls”. Now, when I click the Unicorn Smasher icon, a table appears with information about the listings.
There is a lot of useful data inside the table. You can see which category the most popular products are listed under, the price of each product, how many sellers are offering each product and even how many variations the parent ASIN has (a score of one here means there are no variations). With regards to the price column, for products with multiple sellers, the price you see on Unicorn Smasher will be the one charged by the seller currently winning the buy box.
It is also worth looking at the final column, as this shows who is fulfilling the order and how. “AMZ” dictates that the product is sold by Amazon, “-” dictates the product is merchant fulfilled and “FBA” holds its usual meaning: Fulfillment by Amazon. If there’s a product that sells well but is merchant fulfilled, there may be leverage to enter the market using FBA and benefiting from the boost it gives listings.
The columns for estimated sales and revenue add more value to your research. The figure for estimated sales is based on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank and Unicorn Smasher’s own collection of historical sales data. Estimated revenue is calculated from a range of Amazon data relating to price and is then multiplied by the estimated sales figure. My advice, as ever with estimates, is to treat these figures as a guide only.
At the bottom of the table, highlighted in gray, are the averages for each field, the amount of products the search returned and the most common category that products were listed in.
If you want to view this information again later, you can save it to your dashboard. The dashboard correlates all of your saved searches and also lets you export them via as a CSV file or a shareable image.
The shareable image option is a nice touch, as it allows you to highlight individual products. This way, when you need the data, you don’t to trawl through all of your search results, you can simply check the image. You could even take the highlighted products and do an Amazon search, using Unicorn Smasher to generate fresh, and more specific, data.
There are two things to be careful of with Unicorn Smasher search results. The results only include sellers offering new products, but data on both new and used products is available in the dashboard. So to access this data, you first have to save a search to the dashboard.
The second is sponsored products. Unicorn Smasher say they will be clearly labeled but I have so far not experienced this. So if a product is repeated in the Unicorn Smasher results, it doesn’t mean there are two versions, it means that both the sponsored and organic variations appear in the search results.
Two more tools are included below the video!
We now move into free Amazon keyword research tools, starting with Sonar. Developed by Sellics, the tool allows users to search a database of over 74 million keywords. By using Sonar, sellers can either improve how they rank organically for certain keywords or optimize Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaigns.
There are three different keyword searches that you can do using Sonar, across five global marketplaces (USA, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany). The first is a standard keyword search, where you enter a keyword and receive suggestions that combine your keyword with popular search terms. For instance, if my keyword was “golf balls”, the suggestions would include “used golf balls”, “callaway golf balls” and “practice golf balls”.
The second option, an extended search, builds on the keyword search but also adds synonyms and related terms. So with my keyword still as “golf balls”, I get suggestions I may not necessarily have thought of, like “golf accessories” and “refurbished golf balls”.
The final option is a reverse ASIN search. For this keyword search, you simply enter an ASIN and it will tell you the keywords that it ranks for. This means that you can see what your competitors are doing, and even copy the keywords that have high search volume scores.
When you do any of these searches, there there is an option to “exclude permutations”, which is set to “yes” by default. This means that your search won’t return results that include the same words, just in a different order. So for instance if the search found “yellow golf ball” and “golf ball yellow” it would only include the one with the higher search volume.
In theory you would want to use all three of these searches, in order to undertake thorough keyword research. You could start with a reverse ASIN search and list the keyword suggestions which receive the highest estimated search volume (those with red and orange bars). You can then take these and put them through an extended search, as finding synonyms increases your pool of potential keywords. The final step is to put the ones you think are the most important through a keyword search, to generate as many relevant combinations with high search traffic as possible. These keyword suggestions can then be used within your product listing, in a PPC campaign, or in both.
Regardless of which of these searches you conduct, the results page is presented in the same way. You will see a list of keywords on the left-hand side, accompanied by a series of colored bars, that indicate how much search volume each term receives. On the right is a list of the words that appear most frequently in the keyword suggestions. Below this you find the relevant product section, which displays products, currently listed on Amazon, that match your keyword. By clicking on a product, you can see the exact keywords that the product currently ranks for.
Sonar does not display the complete search results online. To access the full list of keywords you have to download the CSV file by clicking “request download”. The CSV file contains all your keywords, accompanied by a search volume score from one to five (with five being the highest).
Sonar also offers a chrome extension, which costs $9.99 per month. The extension allows users to go to any product detail page on Amazon and see the keywords that the product is ranking for.
But you don’t have to wait for hours to get keyword results, the suggestions are available immediately. Scientific Seller will simply keep adding suggestions until you press the pause button.
So, how do you search for keywords using Scientific Seller? You start by entering one or two keywords into the search box and selecting which Amazon marketplace you want to generate keyword data for. The free plan will only allow users to generate keyword suggestions for Amazon.com.
Then the fun starts! You’re taken through to the results page, which is split into two main columns: “Stuff Words” and “Amazon Buyer Keywords”.
Stuff Words essentially act as keywords and are accompanied, on the left-hand side, by a number which indicates how many search suggestions they feature in. If you then click that Stuff Word (for instance “golf” in the image below) you get a list of these search suggestions, which they call Amazon Buyer Keywords.
The suggestions do not have search volume scores and, whilst the figure indicating how often a Stuff Word has appeared in an Amazon Buyer Keyword does give an indication, use it as a guide only. Perhaps take a few of the Stuff Word suggestions and run Amazon PPC campaigns, to generate your own volume data.
To see the full results you need to sign up for a free account with Scientific Seller. This allows users to download results in a CSV file and also save searches, to allow them to run for a longer period.
Something to consider with Scientific Seller is that you can only conduct five searches per day. This might not seem much, but it is still 35 searches every week. This is not bad, considering you’re unlikely to be optimizing all that many PPC campaigns or altering all that many listings at the same time. You also get a vast amount of keywords and suggestions per search, so I think the benefits of the tool outweigh that limitation.
If you need more searches, the “Seller” plan offers unlimited searches for $19.99 per month. There is also a “Power Seller” plan for $29.99 which offers unlimited searches across global Amazon marketplaces.
It is worth noting a similar free keyword research tool simply called Keyword Tool. On its unlimited free plan, the tool generates a good number of keywords but doesn’t include search volume data. The paid-for product, Keyword Tool Pro, starts at $48 a month for Pro Lite, but to get search volume data you need a Pro Basic plan which costs $68 a month.
From my research, I have found that there is certainly not a wealth of useful, free Amazon seller tools on the market. Having said that, there are a few useful free tools in other categories that deserve a mention.
If you are looking for free Amazon reporting tools, then MySales is a good choice, as it allows you to access some really in-depth stats, such as click-through rates for each of your product listings.
You can find all four tools featured in this article in Web Retailer’s comprehensive software directory for online marketplace sellers. You can also see each of them in action, in our video walkthrough above.