I’ve just completely re-written this guide from scratch, giving you the most advanced product research method available today 😉 This is the Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide on How to Find a Profitable Product! 🎉

You’ve probably seen my megaguides about how to start an Amazon / E-Commerce business from scratch…

Haven’t read those yet? Check ’em out sometime!

After reading those, you’ll probably end up with the #1 most common question I get…

“How EXACTLY Do You Find a Profitable Product to Sell?”

Today’s mega-guide will answer that for you in-depth…

I’ll also give you some of my custom tools / spreadsheets I’ve been tweaking for over 10-years (since I started selling online) to help myself find those profitable products QUICKLY.

The truth is – product research & selection is super complicated and time consuming. Most people will literally drive themselves crazy and quit the business before mastering it…

giphy1 1
Follow this guide to make sure THIS won’t be YOU 😳

But today I’m going to give you all of these quick rules and awesome tools to quickly identify high opportunity products, compare those opportunities against each other, and ultimately select the product that’s best for you to build a new business out of.

I’m confident there is no better guide (paid or free) that will help you find success on Amazon quicker than this 😎

So let’s get started!

Viral Launch Market Intelligence Amazon Product Idea Score

Who’s This Mega-Guide Made For?

If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll know that there are several different forms of e-commerce…

To quickly simplify – the differences between the models is roughly determined by:

  • What product you’re selling (are you flipping items from garage sales or having one product manufactured that you’ll sell many times?)
  • Where you’re selling it (are you selling on a third-party platform like Amazon, building your own Shopify store or selling on social media?)

If you’re looking to make more than the average full-time income, then you can immediately eliminate low-margin e-commerce models like merch by Amazon, dropshipping and arbitrage.

That’s not to say there’s not value in those models. I know a LOT of successful sellers who started with arbitrage (if you want to learn more about arbitrage, check out my mega-guide on getting started with retail arbitrage).

But if you’re looking to replace your full-time income and obtain some real financial freedom, you need to be looking at wholesale and private label…

You want to be selling a few products to lots of people with potential for high profit margins.

Today’s guide will show you exactly how to do that…

We’re going to be working with Amazon’s sales data (almost exclusively). But because such a large share of all physical product sales are happening on Amazon – this method can be used to find profitable products for you to sell on either Amazon or your own Shopify store.

Alright…so let’s get started for real 🙃

Step 1: What Makes a Good Product?

Alright – are you ready? We are going to cram a LOT of value into this little section…

charlie day is so

I’ve now personally sold over $100-million in physical products online (for new readers – you can view my current sales stats here) and helped over 7,000 new entrepreneurs launch new Amazon businesses (through my coaching community & course)…

So when it comes to finding profitable products to launch new online businesses, I don’t think there’s anyone who has seen more than me!

I’m going to try to package ALL of that into this ONE section. Let’s see how it goes…

Why Most People Fail

Global e-commerce sales have consistently grown at about 25% per year. That growth has made Amazon worth over $1-TRillion (with over 50% of their physical product sales coming from 3rd-party sellers like you and me 🤑)

Those numbers prove there’s never been an easier time to get a profitable e-commerce business off the ground – either on Amazon or your own store…

Yet – most people who set out to succeed will never even find a profitable product to sell…

Here’s why that happens –

  • Perfect Product Paralysis: Most people get stuck looking for the ‘perfect product’ and never get started at all…

    There’s no such thing as the perfect product.

    Every product has challenges to overcome – and profit for those who do.In this guide, you’ll gain a deep understanding of what drives product profitability (and what actually makes a good product).

    As you’ll see – product profitability changes over time, and all products have pro’s and con’s…Your job is to find ANY PROFITABLE PRODUCT and LAUNCH IT – then grow from there…
  • Information Overload: Too much learning and too much information leads to confusion and a lack of confidence – making it seem like everybody has it figured out but you…

    Learning is NOT a productive task – NOTHING is being produced. Implementing what you are learning is the only way to succeed in business.

    Those who implement the most (messy as it may be) will be the most successful. And those who learn the most will be most upset about it.

  • Thinking Too High Level: I get emails every day saying things like ‘Will – should I sell pet products or iPhone accessories?’…That’s thinking WAY too broad for where we’re at in the process!

    What we’re looking for right now is ONE profitable product to sell. We don’t want a profitable niche, we don’t want a profitable category – we want ONE…profitable…product…From one profitable product – comes two. And from there…well you know 😀

    When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to completely overwhelm yourself by planning the entire future of your empire. You get stuck on the tiny details like where to buy UPC codes. You instead need to wake up every day and take the next smallest step you can to achieve that dream.

    After you’ve got some products selling and you’re making some money, you’ll turn around and optimize your product catalog – sacrificing your low profit products for new opportunities and consolidating your best products into product lines & brands.

    Profit FIRST – empire later…

  • Following the Herd: You don’t want to follow the exact same methodology everybody else is using. And there is no ‘Yes / No System’ that tells you what products will be profitable…

    However, there are many that try. Even my personal favorite product research tool (Market Intelligence) has something similar –

    These types of things are designed to be sexy and sell the software, which it does. But I’ve yet to meet anybody who built a successful e-commerce business because they saw a high idea score…

    Following things like this robs you of a true understanding of what makes a profitable product (and thus, how to build a business).

    You need to be more concerned with the DATA these tools provide, and be able to forecast how that data will play out in the real world.

    Which brings me to my next point…

  • No Ability to Future Forecast: Most people who try to get into this business honestly never get beyond comparing prices on Amazon vs Alibaba vs Aliexpress.

    After reading this guide (maybe a couple times over 😉) – you’ll be able to future forecast out and get an accurate estimate of things like profit margin, order costs, shipping costs, net profit per order, and many other awesome metrics…

In this guide, I’ll be referencing my personal Product Research Workbook quite often…

Amazon FBA Product Research Workbook to Find Profitable Products
Get Your Own Copy of My Workbook (Free)

The workbook allows you to apply the principles I’ll cover in this guide quickly and efficiently – processing hundreds of products through my personal product selection system within hours.

Armed with the ability to forecast all of this information, I hope you’ll finally feel confident enough in your product selection to finally move forward and take the leap.

So that’s what NOT to do. Let’s get into what you actually WANT to do…

Basic Unbreakable Product Parameters

Like panning for gold, this is the first set of filters you’ll put your product ideas through…

Unbreakable Profitable Product Parameters

Let me explain each one a bit more…

  • Small, light, and simple to ship – The bigger and heavier your product is, the more expensive shipping is. And shipping is typically the 2nd biggest expense in this business.

    You also want to avoid fragile products and products with lots of moving parts. The more complex a product is – the higher your return rate, which again drives up shipping costs. So we want to avoid that…

    By the way – the actual numbers in the table above come from Amazon FBA’s classifications of Small Standard-Size (15-inches) and Large Standard-Size (18-inches). Staying within these size limitations will ensure your product fulfillment fees stay low (and your profit margins stay high).

  • Selling to consumers for $15 – $100 (preferably $20 – 75) – Any product selling under $15 is going to have almost no profit margin left after paying sales fees, advertising costs, shipping & handling, storage, etc.

    So if you’re just getting started and want to make any decent sum of money in this business, you can automatically cross off any product selling under $15

    On the other end – the higher the selling price of a product, the more it’s going to cost you to get started selling it (you know – inventory…).

    While there is no high-end limit, you can simply add two zeros to the end of your product’s selling price to get a (very) rough idea of how much investment will be required before reaching profitability…

    So a $15 will likely require $1,500 of investment before becoming a profitable revenue stream, while a $50 product will likely require $5,000 before becoming profitable.

  • Profitable product and efficient use of capital – You obviously want products that are profitable to sell (fair profit margin) and are an efficient use of capital (good ROI).

    When you’re first getting started, you can simplify these complex terms down to what I call the ‘3x Rule’ – whatever price you buy a product for, you’re aiming to sell it for at least 3x your cost.

    We’ll still use profit margin and ROI to compare products against each other (and find the very best opportunity to move forward with). But the 3x Rule is handy to have in your conceptual toolbox.

    Also – keep in mind that profit margin increases over time. Sometimes you may want to just break even on a competitive product, so you can launch that new revenue stream for your company. After launching the product, you can then work on increasing profit margins.

    That’s why in my personal workbook, I calculate profit margin and ROI all the way out beyond the 3rd re-order. I need to see how my margins are going to change over time as I scale the product up (paying less per unit in both inventory and shipping costs).
Forecast Profits For Future Orders
You can see I forecast out to a Full Inventory Sea Shipment

I’ll show you exactly how to do that later in this guide…

Alright…still with me?

Like I said – this is going to be a pretty deep guide 👍

Other Concepts You Should Know

  • Understand the Product Life Cycle – One of the most important concepts in e-commerce that nobody talks about. You can NOT succeed with products that are outside of the growth phase of the product life cycle.

    Instead of typing out an explanation of the product life cycle, here’s a video I did on my fancy Star Wars-esque lightboard
  • Don’t Fear Competition – Nobody wins in business by avoiding competition. But for many people, that’s their primary concern while researching products 🙁

    You can’t attack this process from a fear mindset. You have to attack it from an abundance mindset.

    Get excited about the products you might birth into this world, and don’t underestimate how much better you’ll make your product for your customers over time. This is just the beginning of your empire!

    The only thing to fear is a LACK of competition – which signals a dead market not worth anybody’s time.

    Using the methods in this guide, you’ll find rapidly growing products that are early in their life cycle – and then you’ll launch into that growing demand and claim your market share 😀

  • You Must Add Value – When you’re first starting out, you don’t want to immediately start customizing your product…

    You might place a logo on your product, but in terms of customizing the physical product itself (or adding expensive packaging, bonus products/bundles, etc) – let’s leave all of that for after we’ve got this product up and selling.

    The trick to getting started is again – finding a product with growing demand, and growing with that demand. That allows you to start with a relatively simple, unmodified product.

    And then with each order, you want to keep trying to add more value based on customer feedback and ranking data….but I am probably getting a little ahead of myself here.

    The point I want to make here is – try to find products you’re passionate about…

    I would say that about 80% of all sellers I know are not at all passionate about the product they sell. It’s simply a business to them – they don’t even have the life experience to innovate or improve the products much.

    this is doing business

    However – sellers who find products that hit all these parameters AND fall within their passions and life experience?

    Those sellers are so in-touch with their customers that they end up defining the market and dominating their competitors. And they have a lot of fun doing it!

    So understand that you will likely start with a relatively generic product, but you can quickly start tweaking things with your supplier to REALLY differentiate and leave all your competitors scrambling to keep up…

    The trick is again – get profitable first, then build the empire.

If you’ve read this far, you’re already ahead of 95% of all new sellers. These are damn important concepts, and those who understand them will WIN against those who don’t…

Advanced Product Selection Concepts

At the risk of getting waayyyy too advanced, I’ll give you a few more important concepts I’ve picked up over the years (I might even remove this section)…

  • Too many sales is worse than too little sales – There is a sweet spot for sales numbers…

    Too Many Sales Worse Than Too Few Sales
    Too little sales means that you just won’t make much money…

    You might have a good margin, but there just won’t be much volume. You’ll have to launch more products to increase revenue. Not too great, but not too bad either

    Too many sales means you literally won’t be able to keep up with any inventory demands…

    It will require way too much capital to keep up with sales. You’ll end up going out of stock constantly, potentially racking up debt, and not being able to keep up with the evolution of the product.

    As I’ve said many times now – the trick in this is finding a product that’s early in its life cycle…

    Something that has relatively low sales right now, but has a ton of growth ahead of it. Those are the markets you can grow with and dominate over time.
  • You want products with a low number of average reviews – In this guide (and specifically in my workbook), I will show you how to collect the Average # of Reviews for your product. This will tell us how many reviews your top product competitors already have.

    Average Reviews Per Product

    The higher this number is, the tougher it’s going to be for you to compete (for the most part).

    There’s a sweet spot for this number that will show you which products are early in their life cycle (and thus – which products you want to go for!)

    I’ll show you how to find that sweet spot later in this guide…
  • This is a comparison process – Like I said earlier – if you’re just clicking around looking for the perfect product to sell, you’re going to drive yourself crazy (and fail)…

    Amazon allows us to get incredibly accurate estimates of how profitable each product will be. So we should obviously use them!

    The trick to efficient product research is separating yourself from the products themselves, and just strictly looking at the data that matters. Use that data to future forecast out and compare how each product will perform against each other product you’re researching…

    This way – you don’t need to find the perfect product. You’ll be extremely confident in the BEST product you’ve found – the one that’s beat all the others…

    The truth is – big sellers like me barely even research products any more. We simply launch a ton of products, and accept that 30% – 50% will fail. The ones that win end up being profitable revenue streams for years

    But for YOU – you need your first few products to WORK! So you will spend more time with this data, and you will filter and compare all your estimates until you’ve found your BEST product opportunity.

    And then you will move forward with confidence 😉

    the most interesting man in the world says you got this

Alright – so you’ve just gotten a masterclass on product research & selection concepts.

Let’s move into actually performing this research and selecting products…

Step 2: Brainstorm Products to Research

Now you know exactly what makes a great product for a new seller…

In the next section, we’ll walk through the actual comparison and selection process. But before we do that – we need to actually think of products to research and take through that comparison process!


At this step, you’ll need to start keeping track of all the different products you want to research. I’ve made my own personal Product Research Workbook available to you for free as part of this guide…

Amazon FBA Product Research Workbook to Find Profitable Products
Get Your Own Copy of My Workbook (Free)

If for some reason you don’t want this awesome tool I’ve spent over 10-years tweaking and perfecting, then you can also build your own from scratch…

In that case – you can open up either Google Sheets or Excel and start keeping track of product ideas as they come.

Either way – now you need to take action!

My Favorite Brainstorming Methods

So at this stage – we are not really thinking about prices or profitability. We are simply trying to find high-potential products to then check and compare their profitability later.

There’s no right or wrong way to brainstorm products. Most people start by randomly walking around and looking for products that catch their eye. And that sometimes works!

But you know I’ve got a better method for you 😉

Here’s some of the different brainstorming methods I recommend in my e-commerce coaching program

  • Passions, Interest, Hobbies & Problems: Roughly akin to walking around and looking for products that catch your eye, but way more focused on products that you can actually build a business out of.

    I’ll give you just one more freebie from my coaching program – a worksheet to track your Passions, Interests, Hobbies & Problems. You’ll want to print this out and carry it around with you while you’re brainstorming products.

    Private Label Profitable Product Brainstorm Worksheet

    The idea here is to identify some of the less-obvious product opportunities that you could sell better than most other sellers. Products that fall into these categories are typically higher margin than most others too.

    So think about the passions, interests, and hobbies that drive you. Start thinking about some of the cool products you’ve seen recently in there. And start writing those products down!

    I also like to think about pain points. Most products on Amazon are bought because someone wants to solve some problem or eliminate some pain point. So any time I (or someone I know) complains about some problem or pain point, I am thinking of how that complaint is going to look as an Amazon search term.

    If you’re still having trouble with this concept, you can also download this example worksheet that I pre-filled with sample ideas…

  • Trend Hunting: The idea here is to explore up-and-coming product trends. And there’s a few sources that are great for this (and a ton of sources that are a waste of time).

    There’s not much to explain here. You simply go through some of these websites and look for things that catch your eye (and are within the unbreakable product parameters, of course) –

    There’s many other sources, but I’ve found those to be the best…

  • All the Amazon Methods: You’ll often hear people recommend browsing the Amazon Best Sellers List to find potential products to research. However, this is a waste of time for new sellers…

    If you’re going to spend time mindlessly scrolling through Amazon’s catalog, make sure you’re in the Movers & Shakers or Hot New Products.

    While it’s not my favorite brainstorming method, you can find some great product ideas that way…

  • Spying on Other Sellers: Although this is the ‘sexiest’ and most powerful method, I have to warn you…

    I do NOT recommend blindly following other sellers and just selling whatever product they are. That’s a recipe to always be behind the curve playing catch-up to the real winners…

    But I do LOVE the idea of spying on my competition, and seeing what products they’re currently investing new money into…

    So use this method to gather intelligence and brainstorm – not simply become another ‘me-too’ seller.

    With that being said – here’s how you do it…

    • Spy on Sponsored Product Ads: These little ads on Amazon can tell you a lot about who’s making money…
Spying on Amazon Sponsored Product Ads
Look for ‘Sponsored Products’ all over the Amazon platform…

For a seller to be pushing a product with these ads, they MUST have high enough profit margins & volume to cover all their typical costs (inventory, fees, etc) – and ALSO pay for advertising expenses on top of that. All while still making a profit!

And these are exactly the kind of products I want to be selling. To quote the man who has forever changed the way we buy things –

Your Margin Is My Opportunity.
– Jeff Bezos (Founder @ Amazon)

Since sponsored product ads (and advertising in general) show you who has high-ish margins, they can be a great source of product ideas.

  • Spy On Other Seller’s Product Launches: This one is a little dirty, and will certainly rub some people the wrong way. But I want to give you the best chance of success, even if it pisses some people off (including some friends)…

    One method I stumbled on long ago was spying on other seller’s new product launches. These are the product launches that they’re investing big bucks into – products they’re hoping will soon become a reliable revenue stream for years to come…

    This will get a little advanced (like it hasn’t already 🙄), but many Amazon sellers in the most competitive categories will use free product giveaways and ‘launch campaigns’ to drive up ‘units sold’ on the Amazon platform.

    This in turn tells Amazon their product is awesome, and so Amazon starts to show it more often to it’s real customers.Long story short, it’s a greyhat-ish way to increase your sales on Amazon

    So what you can do, is sign up as a customer/buyer for the launch services that these sellers use. Then you will see the exact products they are spending thousands of dollars to rank well on Amazon.

    Some of these launch services will not even require you to sign up. You can just go on their websites and see which products are currently being launched –

There are many other ways to spy on sellers, and many other launch sites that can be used. But since I am friends with most of the people who run these services, I am going to save the more advanced version of this method for members of my e-commerce coaching community 😉

Spend some time trying out all the different methods above, and try to get 10-20 solid ideas out of each one…

After that, you should have a spreadsheet with 40-80 products that we will take forward and research in the next step.

Once you have that, you can move on to the next step…

Step 3: Use Historical Sales Data to Forecast Future Product Profitability

That sounds really complicated, but it’s actually simple…

You’re going to use simple tools to find a few pieces of sales numbers for each product. And you’re going to put those numbers on a spreadsheet…

Then you’ll use some fun little formulas that crunch your data and forecast how each product will perform for you in the future. You’ll be able to see extremely accurate estimates of sales volume, profitability, and even how much your first order will cost you (and how much money you’ll make after you sell it all).

After you have all of this information – you’ll be able to quickly compare huge amounts of products against each other. You’ll translate the ‘big data’ of Amazon’s real sales history into a comprehensive story – and you’ll be able to visualize how each product will play out in real life.

I know this sounds absolutely crazy. But this is where I have personally taken it since I started selling physical products online over 10 years ago. And I will help you take your product research to that level with this guide!

My own personal product research workbook makes my entire comparison model readily available to you. I really suggest using my workbook from here on out – as most of the formulas I use to compare products against each other are simply too complex to explain in this guide…

However, I’ve made those formulas are readily available to you for free as part of this guide!

Amazon FBA Product Research Workbook to Find Profitable Products
Plug Your Products Into My Research Model (Free)

The Only Tools You Need

Right now there are only two tools you need…

How to Actually Do the Product Research

You’ll see that my Product Research Workbook has the following pieces of data you need to input from one of these product research tools –

Core Product Research Metrics
These are the core numbers we care about (right now)…
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You’ll want to pull these numbers from Amazon using your Product Research Tool –

Market Intelligence Product Research
And here’s where you find those core numbers…

Two important things I want to note as you go into this…

My entire product research methodology revolves around this idea of becoming one of the top 10 Amazon sellers for that product (which is super easy)…

So when I use these product research tools, I am not really looking at the data for any individual product…

Aggregate Product Research Data

I am looking at the aggregate sales data for the top 10 product listings for that keyword.

Market Intelligence Detailed Statistics Product Research

This shows me how the average product in the top 10 currently performs, and gives me a more reliable idea of how my product might perform (compared to any one individual product listing, whose data can be skewed by external promotions, sponsored product ads, and discount campaigns, and lots more).

Why I Split My Research Into 3 Stages

My research is split up into 3 separate ‘stages’ – which allows me to quickly filter out bad products before wasting any unnecessary time on them…

Three Stages of Finding a Profitable Product
I split my research into 3 stages to speed up the process…

So when I perform product research, I am QUICKLY filling in the Stage One data points for each product – and then I only take the BEST products into Stage Two (and so forth).

By continually feeding small bits of data into the machine, and filtering out any products that don’t make the cut along the way – you’re saving countless hours you would have spent cluttering your mind with bad products that you should have known would suck anyways…

The name of the game right now is SPEED and EFFICIENCY. You do NOT want to spend the next 2-weeks doing product research. This is an over-the-weekend kind of task…

Now go through and fill in the data for each product idea you’ve come up with…

  1. Search for your product on Amazon

    Search For Your Product on Amazon
  2. Analyze using your product research tool

    Market Intelligence Product Research
  3. Input the numbers you need into your workbook

    Core Product Research Metrics

Stage 1 – Is the Product Even Viable?

Your workbook should now look something like this –

Product Research Workbook In Progress Stage One

You now have all the data you need to quickly check the viability of each product, and knock out all the products that obviously suck.

All your time will now be focused on your best product ideas.

There’s a few things you’re looking for before taking any product into the next stage of research…

  • Average Price: This number now shows you how much each of the top 10 sellers is charging for this product.

    Most of the time you’ll sell at a slightly higher price than this – but consider this your worst-case-scenario price.

    Any product with an Avg Price under $15 is NOT going to make it into the next stage. These products just won’t be profitable – you can’t start a business out of them

    Any product with an Avg Price over $50 is not necessarily a bad product, but it will cost a fortune to buy inventory to start selling it. These products are best left for the future, after you’ve got some profitable cash flow coming in?
  • Average Unit Sales & Average Revenue: Like we talked about (way) above, too many sales is bad for new sellers…

    We’re aiming for a sweet spot – a product we can get started with on a relatively low budget, achieve profitability quickly, and then grow with the market naturally from there.

    Any product with an Avg Revenue under $3,000 is NOT going to make it into the next stage. 

    These products might be profitable, but there is just not enough volume to make them viable products to build a business out of.

    Any product with an Avg Revenue over $25,000 is not necessarily a bad product, but it will cost an absolute fortune to get started and compete for a market this large. These products are also best left for the future.

    Ideally, you can find some products with $3,000 – $20,000 in Avg Revenue that are early in their life cycles. The idea is (once again) that you can launch into that growing demand and become a market leader by the time the market reaches those higher revenue numbers.
  • Average Reviews: This number now shows you how many reviews the average seller has (out of the top 10 sellers). It roughly shows you how many reviews you’ll need to be perceived as an obvious market leader to all new customers (which is when things start getting real easy…)

    Any product with Avg Reviews under 25 is not necessarily a bad product – but it’s a red flag that the market may be too small to launch a business out of. More investigation is required before taking these products through to the next stage.

    Any product with Avg Reviews over 200 is not necessarily a bad product either – but it’s a red flag that this market is already matured. Products have been perfected, marketing has been automated – and it might be very difficult to compete in these markets (compared to products with less reviews).

    The sweet spot here is products with Avg Reviews between 25 – 200. Anything outside of this range is generally not going to make it through (especially on the high-end of 200, unless you’ve got experience and a big budget!).
  • Broad Search Volume & Search Conv %: You’ll see this metric on my personal workbook, but I do not recommend you use it…

    I do go into this metric and how I personally use it in my e-commerce training program, but it’s simply too complex to explain via text here (and requires additional tools to perform).

    So for you right now – just skip Broad Search Volume and Search Conv %…
  • Sales / Revenue Per Review: These are really cool metrics that I love to use. Both roughly show the same thing – how many sales (or how much money) are sellers making for each review on their product listing…

    Using this metric along with Avg Reviews gives me a rough idea of where a product is at in its life cycle. A product with low Avg Reviews and high Sales/Revenue Per Review would mean the product is relatively new, has few reviews (and thus no market leader), and is STILL making crazy amounts of sales/money.

    Those are obviously the types of products you want to be selling!

    Any product with an Avg Sales Per Review under 2 OR Avg Revenue Per Review under $40 will NOT make it into the next stage. You can eliminate all these.

    For these metrics, higher is better. Any product with high numbers in these columns – you’ll want to take forward into the next stage.

Using the rules above, you’ll typically eliminate the majority of the products on your workbook. This is a good thing!

You should be left with about 10-20 products to bring through into Stage Two…

Stage 2 – Is the Product Profitable?

Now you’ll collect just 3 numbers for each product that made it through to this stage. With just these 3 numbers (and the data you’ve already collected) – you’ll be able to eliminate any product that would not be profitable enough to support a new business.

Here’s the 3 numbers you need to calculate profitability –

1. Desired Selling Price: New sellers should be selling premium products at premium prices. In almost every circumstance, your product will sell at a slightly higher price than the Avg Price of the Top 10 Sellers (which we calculated in Stage One).

So on my own personal workbook, I make all estimates from Stage Two forward using both the Desired Selling Price (ideal scenario) AND the Avg Price (worst case scenario). Doing this gives me (and thus you) the ability to see what profitability will look like if I decide to abandon the product and liquidate it instead (I prefer to still profit in those situations!).

Minimum And Ideal Profit Margin for Each Product

So your Desired Selling Price is just…your desired selling price. What do you want to sell this product for?

This question is second-nature to experienced sellers. If you’re a new seller and confused by this, just add 20% to the Avg Price for the product and move on…

2. Estimated FBA Fees: The second biggest expense in this business (sometimes the biggest expense) is SHIPPING – both getting your product from the supplier (sourcing/importing), and getting that product to the customer (fulfillment).

Typically shipping is pretty difficult to estimate. But this guide will show you how to get extremely accurate estimates of what your product will cost to fulfill

All you need to do is…

  • Search For Your Product On Amazon
Search For Your Product on Amazon
  • Pull the ASIN for 1-3 Products
Pull Product ASIN From Amazon Product Listing

(I usually copy the ASIN from the URL of the product listing…)

Pull Product ASIN From Amazon Product Listing
  • Plug that ASIN into Amazon’s FBA Calculator with ANY ‘Item Price’ to see the REAL fulfillment cost of that product 😎
Pull Product Fulfillment Fees From Amazon FBA Calculator
  • Input the ‘FBA Fulfillment Fee’ or ‘Total Fulfillment Cost’ into your workbook

You’ve now got profitability estimates that account for the real-live fulfillment costs of each product.

Quick note – since my personal product research workbook is built for new Amazon sellers, it automatically accounts for the ‘Selling on Amazon Fee’ you’ll see on the FBA Calculator (which is of gross revenue).

3. FOB Costs:

Now we need to find out what this product is actually going to cost us. How much will each unit of inventory cost from the supplier?

This is the final number we need before we can calculate and compare the profitability of each product!

You’ll want to use Alibaba to search for your product and grab a quick FOB pricing estimate

Search For Product Pricing Via Alibaba FOB Price

At this stage you’ll need to start applying some creativity to the process. You’ve already searched for the product on Amazon and seen what the competition has to offer. And now you’re looking at all the available products readily available from suppliers around the world.

FOB Product Pricing on Alibaba

So which of these products do you think you can sell? Which of these products do you personally think is awesome?

Browse around for less than 2-minutes per product and put your best estimate of the FOB Price into your workbook…

FOB Cost Product Research Workbook Profitability

If you’re feeling unsure about your estimating skills, keep in mind that this is a comparison process! So if you underestimate or overestimate pricing across all your research – it won’t matter much. You’ll still be able to compare all those products and find the outliers that stand out among the rest.

And if you want more information on how to use Alibaba, check out my Alibaba Mega-Guide

You’ve now got all the data you need to automatically calculate those extremely accurate estimates I keep ranting and raving about 😎

Stage 3 – Future Order Forecasting

Now you can start comparing the profitability of all these products against each other to find the best ones 🙂

Your workbook should look something like this –

Step Two Comparing Product Profitability

This shows us both the Profit Per Unit and Gross Margin for each product. And it shows us both the minimum results we could expect (based on ‘Avg Price’ from Stage One), and it shows us the ideal results we could expect (based on ‘Ideal Price’ from Stage Two).

The reason this is Gross (and not Net) is because we are still missing one major expense – shipping from our supplier into our fulfillment center (usually Amazon FBA). We’ll grab this number in the next stage, but only for the products that make it through this profitability checkpoint.

I’ll make this section really simple for you…

Any product with a Profit Per Unit under $5 OR Gross Margin under 30% can automatically be eliminated. You simply can’t build a new business out of these products…

You’re really aiming for Profit Per Unit over $8 and Gross Margin over 40% at this stage. But the higher the better (did I mention it’s a comparison process?)…

How to Forecast Product Costs & Profits

By this point you’ll start to understand why I stress speed and efficiency, and why I split this up into 3 stages…

It’s freakin’ time consuming! And you don’t want to do this much in-depth number-crunching research for products that could be eliminated early in the process.

Luckily – this is the quickest step of all, and probably the coolest too 😎

There’s just two numbers you need to input into your workbook to complete your data destiny…

Stage Three Product Research Find Profitable Product
These two numbers will allow you to forecast future order profitability for each product…

Here’s how to get those two numbers –

  • Weight (lbs) Per Unit: You can get this number the same way you got the FBA Fees earlier…

    Since Amazon is actually fulfilling these products for current sellers, you know this is the actual verified shipping weight!

    Just open the Amazon FBA Calculator and search for your product on Amazon. Then pull the ASIN for 1-3 products, and input that ASIN into the FBA Calculator…

    How to Find Shipping Weight Of Your Product

    As you can see, Amazon will show you the shipping weight right here on the calculator. This is the actual shipping weight this seller is paying Amazon for via FBA – so you can count on it being pretty accurate!

    Quick Note – As you get the hang of this, you may also want to start simply inputting the Weight Per Unit when you are collecting the FBA Fees using the calculator earlier in Stage Two. It’s just a little quicker that way…

    Once you have that number, enter it into your workbook!

    My workbook (that you are hopefully using by now) will automagically take this one number, convert it into kg, and then use it throughout the Stage Three results to produce extremely accurate shipping estimates…

  • Duty Rate: This is the final number you need to input into your workbook 🙏

    To be honest, you probably won’t ever find another product research guide that takes duty rate into account. Even some of the most successful sellers I know don’t know how to estimate duty rates.

    But I have a method to quickly pull accurate duty rate estimates. And once you have those, you’ll have accounted for every predictable and repeated cost of doing business with each product.

    And you’ll have no excuse not to finally pull the trigger and get started!

    There’s two good sites you can use to estimate duty rates –

    There’s one additional way to get duty rates even quicker, but I do need to leave that private to members of my coaching program – as it will get locked up if made public…

    You’re basically just searching around these systems to find something that would accurately describe the product you’re importing. When you find an HS Code that applies to your product, take that duty rate and input that number into your workbook.

    Sometimes this will be easy, and the product will come up right away. But other times you will have to dig a little bit, and maybe even go with a very broad category (maybe you can’t find Stainless Steel Garlic Press, but you can find Steel Kitchen Products).

    How to Estimate Duty Rate for Importing Products

    If the duty rate for your product is outrageously high, look around for another classification that might have a lower duty rate. YOU determine the classification, and there is some flexibility with these things…

You’ll also see the term ‘Merchandise Processing Fee’ or ‘MPF’ come up often. This is a small fee (typically $25) that US Customs charges to process each and every shipment coming through the border…

My workbook (that you’re hopefully using by now) automatically accounts for this in all calculations. But if you’re making your own workbook, you’ll need to account for that fee as well.

When you input these last two numbers, you’ll see the workbook light up with all sorts of results…

Future Order Profitability Forecasting Calculations

You’ve now collected every piece of data needed to forecast several orders out into the future (and see the exact cost & profitability of each and every order).

If you’re using my workbook, you’ll see the following calculations made (which will be very helpful in comparing which product you want to move forward with)…

  • Order Quantity: Most new sellers will start with an initial test order of 100 units. Once those units have sold successfully, you’ll start ordering more inventory (larger order quantity) to keep up with increased sales.

    My workbook calculates a rough estimate of how many units you’d want to buy for your first 4-5 orders. It does this by using the Avg Unit Sales for the product to estimate how many you’d need to keep up with demand.

    You can even change the Order Quantity number to modify the calculations and see what any specific product would look like with a higher/lower inventory order.

    Changing Order Quantity to Forecast Prroduct Profitability at Different Volume Levels
  • Shipping Cost Estimate: On my workbook, you’ll see that I actually account for using different shipment methods earlier in your business…

    This is because all new sellers will start with Express shipments, and as their product starts selling more – they will move into Air Freight Shipments or even Sea Shipments…

    Let me simplify a LOT of complex knowledge down to this for you…
    • Express = $7 per kg
    • Air Freight = $4.5 per kg
    • Sea Freight = $0.50 per kg

    Because my workbook does all of this for you, you don’t really need to worry about those numbers yet. I just want to let you know what’s happening with my calculations.

    And remember – you already told your workbook what the Weight (lbs) Per Unit, and the workbook is using that number here to fuel these shipping estimates 😉

  • Total Order Cost: If you’ve been following along, you’ve just built a very intelligent workbook. It already knows…
    • How much inventory you’re going to need
    • How much that inventory is going to cost you
    • How much it will cost to ship that inventory into your warehouse (or fulfillment center like FBA)
    • How much you’ll pay in fulfillment and seller fees for each unit sold

    With all of this information, we can easily determine what the total cost of each order will be.

Now keep in mind, you’ll likely end up paying a bit less than this. Most sellers easily negotiate a 30% up-front deposit for their inventory, and then pay the remaining 70% after its shipped.

Remember – this step is about comparing data to find the most profitable product opportunities in your list of ideas…

Now we get into the really cool stuff that 99.9% of sellers will never research…

  • Net Revenue: This is the exact amount of money you’ll receive back into your bank account from Amazon after your inventory sells out.
  • Total Profit: This is the exact amount of profit you’ll make after paying for EVERYTHING (shipping, handling, importing, fulfillment, seller fees, etc).
  • Net Profit Per Unit: The same thing as Total Profit, but expressed on a per unit basis (rather than showing total profit of the order). This allows you to see how product profitability changes with different order quantities.
  • Net Profit Margin: Here is the real-live net profit margin you could expect on this product across different order quantities & shipping methods.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): This is very similar to net profit margin, but instead shows you how efficiently you’re using your capital. This won’t be as useful when you’re first starting out, but will become very useful when you have lots of different products (and you’re looking to sell only the one that make the most sense for your business).

Keep in mind my workbook shows all of these results based on both Minimum Price (based on ‘Avg Price’) AND Ideal Price (based on ‘Desired Selling Price’).

Final Step: How to Actually Pick Your Winning Product

You’ve now done more product research than most sellers ever will. You have every piece of relevant information needed to make your decision (and none of the useless clutter that slows most people down)…

Your job now is to scroll around and compare all these products against each other, and to SELECT A WINNING PRODUCT!!!

As you’ll see by looking at your data, there are some products that simply won’t make sense. They might have extremely low profit margins / profit per unit, or they might require such large inventory orders that it’s simply out of your current budget…

All of that is fine. Because somewhere in your data, lies at LEAST one incredible product you can use to launch your business and build a new life for yourself.

Ask Yourself These Final Questions…

It’s pretty obvious at this stage how you can compare these results you’ve got, so I won’t spend much time explaining that…

Instead, I’ll give you some additional questions you may want to ask yourself to make that final choice between your winning products…

  • Is this an impulse purchase that would not require much research before buying? You want to be selling impulse purchases for your first few products (and luckily, most products in our desired price range are impulse purchases).
  • Is this product fragile or hazardous to ship? That could severely increase shipping costs & returns.
  • Do some of these products have more/less moving parts than others? More moving parts is BAD when first starting out.
  • Could the top 10 listings for this search term use improvement? Are the current sellers missing images, or could their images be improved?
  • Can I match (or exceed) the current product & listing quality of existing sellers? You want to be selling high-quality products that your customers will love (that’s where the high margins are at).
  • Is there a passionate community about this product? You might want to leverage influencers, FB Groups, and similar things in the future. A product with a thriving and excited community is better than selling something without that spark.
  • Does this product somehow encourage recurring purchases or have an obvious product pathway? The final thing I think about, is what ELSE comes AFTER each product? Are there some products on your workbook that have an obvious pathway to launching MORE products to those same customers? I like to turn my products into product LINES and BRANDS, so this is important to me…

Now – Pick Your Winning Product!

I’ve worked with over 7,000 new sellers over the past few years, and I know that THIS is the MAIN point of failure…

MOST new sellers never get past this point. They freeze up and get scared, and they go back to the 9-to-5 grind…

You MUST understand – you’ve now done more product research than almost anybody I know. You HAVE all the information you need to KNOW which products will win or lose.

The next step is for you to TAKE THE LEAP…

You must accept that there is SOME RISK INVOLVED with starting new businesses. And now it’s time for you to TAKE YOUR RISK.

I’ve given you more here than any existing successful seller had when they first got started. So now YOU NEED TO GET STARTED!

Have More Questions For Me?

This is one of my main mega-guides that I keep constantly up to date. So you can bookmark this and come back to reference it in the future 👍

If you have additional questions or confusion after reading this guide, you should do one of the following…

For continued reading and learning, here’s some awesome mega-guides that go well with this one…

That’s it – you did it! Congratulations on consuming the most advanced piece of content I’ve ever written 🎉

Let me know what you thought, and make sure to go do the damn thing!

how to find a profitable product to sell online


Avatar for Will Mitchell
Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the Startupbros about page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

858 comments add your comment

  1. Thank you for the great article. I just found out about you and I wonder if you update the sheet for products as this article is 2 year old. I and many new students like me would be very happy if you put new list out there. thank you

  2. I really appreciate the well written and beautifully described tactics in business. i am an aspiring amazon entrepreneur and all the info here has been very useful but i just want to know where i can buy products from and how do i get them to amazon fba centers and how do i actually get started.(after finding my product).

  3. Hi in your guide you recommend pay the tool viral launch but what pricing plan do you recommend me, I want to start selling my first product because I saw the beginner plan is very simple so is it better buy the pro plan or the beginner?

    • Hey Abraham, you want to keep your costs as low as possible when you’re starting out. The beginner plan should be good to get started and to launch your first product. Remember stay lean and don’t spend all your money quickly.

  4. I have been looking for products in JS to start in FBA I have been doing different searches in Amazon Mexico for more than 1 month but it sends me to very saturated products or where there are no possible improvements in the product, apart from not meeting the criteria to start selling that product in FBA and in some cases I find very limited searches where there are only a few sellers selling but they do not have many sales or even are prestigious brands.
    Amazon Mexico is a small market compared to Amazon USA so there are products with good sales but a few sellers are making those sales.
    In this case they recommend me to do since if I continue doing searches I will see the same products.

    • Hey Abraham, thanks for reaching out and reading the article. It would make sense to start selling on Amazon US because its a larger market where you can reach sellers. It happens often with these smaller markets where there aren’t many products or opportunities and then the solution becomes to sell on Amazon US. Is that something you’re open to doing?

      • Yeah, I’m thinking about but if I sell on Amazon is more expensive well with the fees of FBA. I need to think what is the market for me thanks for the help

        • Yea it completely depends what you want to do. Amazon is a great place to start when you don’t have an audience. Once you have sales on Amazon and an audience built up you can move on to your own website.

  5. Thank you so much! I read every your post about Amazon niche sites. They’re so great and useful for me.

    Thank again!

    Good luck for you!

  6. Thank you for this very interesting blog post ! I read it 3 or 4 times. 🙂
    My question is as follows: you refer to the 3x rules. Does your coefficient include costs such as freight or comissions on sales by Amazon or is it just selling price of the manufacturer x3?
    (sorry if my english isnt that good)

    • Hey Obso the reason you want to sell a product 3x the cost is because there will be fees associated with selling and you want to account for those. So to answer your question the 3x coefficient does take into account the fees. Your profit will be less than 3x but it will still be a good profit.

  7. I NEVER comment on blogs but your blog is amazing and this spreadsheet is a lifesaver so I had to. I am going through a list of products and this makes it so much easier to decide! I’ve had “analysis paralysis” for a couple months now and feel this will help me get over it. Thank you so much!

    • That’s incredible to hear! Thank you so much for commenting and taking the time out of your day do it 🙂 If you have any questions at all I hope that you come back and ask!

  8. Fantastic content, i’ve learnt so much just from spending afternoons reading through your blogs!

    After getting started with my Amazon I was recently hit with a ‘design right infringement’ with Amazon removing my product. From some research I can see this was likely due to the design rights already being claimed by another company who I imagine strategically reported my product (manufactured in china wholesale) after it started selling so well. I was really disheartened, as thought I had considered everything!

    I guess my main question is, how do I avoid this happening in the future? I’ve found some other viable products but now concerned I’d get another violation and have my account compromised. I have no idea how I can find out if somebody already has the “rights” to a design before I list it, do you have any advice or tips on avoiding this and what considerations to make?

    You can read my full story on the Amazon Seller forums here:


    Look forward to any insights you may have, keep up the amazing content!

    • Hey Nathan, we would love to talk through this with you. It seems to me like you’re being targeted and that happens when you’re making sales and other sellers are threatened. Can you email us so we can dig into this further. bros@startupbros(dot)com

  9. I used to do a lot of ecom (retail arbitrage and dropshipping) and still do a bit today – but my agency takes up so much of my time. I think you’re spot on when you talk about impulse buying. The brain is literally wired to be biased towards impulse buying! I’m a huge fan of using psychology to understand and leverage people to take action *cough cough … buy*

    I use Triune Brain Theory anytime I’m selling or pitching …

    Basically, there are three parts of the brain.

    The reptilian brain [responsible for instinct / fear / desire]
    The limbic brain [responsible for emotion and sensation]
    And the neo-cortex [responsible for logic]

    When we pitch impulse level products, we make it EASY for the reptilian brain to say “yes” and make it HARD for the neo-cortex to say “no.”

    That’s why I love love love that range.

    Great stuff Will!

  10. To determine successful product sales, first thing first, we need to understand what makes a product profitable. Criteria like popularity, competition, category, and shipping weight all play a big role here. Then we can identify items which meet most of the criteria. Let me know if you can think of any other ways of finding the best items to sell on Amazon.

  11. The number in unit sales column is the sales per day or per month?
    How to find out this number without Viral Launch?
    I have been analyzing BSR in FBA toolbar to find out # of sales in particular category per day. But, the numbers look much lower then you have in your spreadsheet “av. unit sales” column. Even with lowest BSR of 250, # of daily sales is around 87. Do I need to multiply that by 30 days and put in my spreadsheet? Is there another way to find out this number? I know it is easier with Viral Launch but, it is a bit pricey for the beginner.
    Thank you

  12. Hi guys, info is spot on and made this whole process a lot easier. I have a product that fits perfectly in the parameters on Amazon.com, and in an industry I’m genuinely passionate about, however on the UK site revenue volume isn’t as high (I’m based in UK). The product goes by lots of different names which the viral market intelligence free version won’t give info on so I wonder if I took them into account I’d be in that ‘sweet spot’.I’m thinking to go ahead with the product on the basis that if I can get to understand the product and process on the UK site I can transition over to the US market when I’ve got my head round it all. Thoughts?

    • Hey Zach thanks for reaching out 🙂 In general, if you found a product that you’re passionate about then no matter what problems you run into you are more likely to push through them. The easiest and biggest market to launch in is the US because the demand is there. However if you launch in a smaller market like the UK then there is more room to learn the process which makes launching in the US later much easier. The worst thing you can do is not take action. Launch in the UK and aim to break even. Then lower your costs by launching in the US and then scale with PPC ads inside the US. I think you’re heading in the right direction. If you need anything else at all please ask away!

    • You don’t want to ship directly to Amazon warehouses because Amazon has specific requirements to accept products into their warehouse. Once you learn how to do it yourself you can hire a company to prep the products for you like FBAinspection.com

  13. I’m happy to have somebody on my side when i strat in to a new business:) i whant to read more from you. Great information.

  14. Wow…Thanks a million sir. I have never read any report or article as comprehensive as yours. Coincidentally, I ran into your article as I was planning to start my e-commerce business. And it was a miracle that I found you. Thanks for all you do for young entrepreneurs like myself. God bless you sir!

  15. Hi Will:

    Thanks for your guide!! It has so much useful information. However, I am not able to download your workbook. Is it now only available to your coach membership only?

  16. Hi, unable to download sheet, would really wanna take a look at it. I read the whole article, dont you think i deserve it?😀

  17. Will, great article. Most actionable guide I have yet found.

    If a product otherwise looks good (using your worksheet and the other parameters you outlined), but has a high keyword competition ratio on Amazon (at or near 1.0), should that be a disqualifier for someone just starting out?

    • Hey Matt, not necessarily. If a product looks good and there’s opportunity then you can potentially outrank competition organically with a killer listing, images, reviews and all the other signals that Amazon likes to see. Keyword competition is mainly for PPC and that just means that it’s worth going after if you have some money to put behind ppc ads because other people are finding their ads profitable. See it more like an opportunity 🙂

  18. Hi, the link for the excel work book seems to be broken. when I try to enter my email id, it keeps hanging out and does not allow me to download. Is there any way to get the excel file downloaded.

  19. Great guide. However, what about product liability? I plan to source consumer electronics products and I want to know how to cover that, what is the cost, etc? Anyone who can help me?

    • You are more than able to source any product you want but we don’t recommend consumer electronics. They are usually low margin and require product liability. Until you’re comfortable sourcing and doing quality assurance it might not be financially worth it to source consumer electronics.

  20. Yes, I can’t download the workbook. This site won’t let me complete my email address in the box to download it.

  21. i can’t download the excel sheet!!
    i found this really helpfull but please provide me with the excelsheet.

  22. You my friend are a fuc#%*^ legend!
    I’ve been doing little bits of selling over the last few years, just with niche products or great deals I’ve found. You’ve opened the floodgates now on how I should be selling.

    Thank you for passing along some of your knowledge pearls, hope you get some kick-arse karma in return!

    P.S You are my new messiah!

    • Thanks Tyson…
      Wait til you see the new version of this mega-guide I just posted – it’s even more valuable!

  23. Great guide, Will.
    I’d like to add Google trends as a solid recommendation for discovering up and comping products (and even categories). We used that to find 69 trending products that worked great on our own online stores too that we later published on our blog.

    • You can use Google Trends to see Keyword Search Data over time, which can be useful. But no way I am checking that for every single product I research. That would be something in my very final stage of product research and selection…

      Trust the process!

  24. If ecommerce is not one of the MOST COMPETITIVE THINGs and it’s getting even harder. You can’t bet someone with half a million budget.

  25. I thank U for all that information i be happy to start my own business soon.congratulations what you doing helping others

  26. Your new Amazon FBA Product Planner has made my world much easier. Thank you!

  27. Hi,
    Great article and very helpful! However I was wondering how to know if a product has a “consistent buyer”that part was hard to know practically what the looks like.

  28. What a monster of an article. I’m looking to sell a ton of stuff because I am moving soon. Will need to save this for later so I can read it on my desktop. Thanks for creating it.

  29. Who do you use as a supplier here in the us or how do you search for one here.

  30. Hi will, thanks for your insight. I want to start importing products into my country, Nigeria, I still don’t know which product to go for. I need your advice please.

  31. Hi
    Thanks for the useful article, It helped me a lot.
    Now I have a question..

    How can I send a chosen product directly from China to the Amazon FBA ?
    actually what is the process?


  32. Awesome and very helpful article! Thanks for sharing. Niche selection can be difficult especially when most online sellers carry the same niche and products. Tools are helpful. I use DSM Tool to help me look for products based on customer demands.

  33. Hi there,
    I’m sure there’s no one right answer for this, but how much competition is too much? Do you have like a process you go through when deciding?

  34. I started niche site business, and it was a disaster. I have started study on Amazon niche selection again. Your guide really in-depth and make sense. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Hi, what should the product criteria be when I am looking for products in the Canadian or UK market? I assume it should be lower than say 700+ monthly sales, less than 100 reviews, because the British/Canadian markets are not as big as the US marketplace and people are not buying that much in comparison. Is your approach to the UK/Canada market research any different from the US?

    Thanks for your support.

  36. Hi Will,

    it is not clear to me how I do it on ebay, once I have inserted the type of object to be found, to understand in the list of results, which are the best selling items and which sales statistics have, can you give an example?

    Thank you

  37. Dude,
    I literally cannot believe how much solid information you are giving out in this blog post. Really just kind of amazed about it.
    Detailed, SPECIFIC, actionable information, tips and guidelines that other parties in this same ‘arena’ charge mega $$$ for.
    So, you are either crazy or some kind of saint. I am kind of leaning towards the saint thing, but, whichever it is – thank you so much, I appreciate you. 🙂

    • Hey Karen 🙂

      Thank you so much for reaching out! Will is awesome and we all work super hard to create content that is better than what people pay for 🙂

    • Rock on Karen 🤘

      Is there a crazy saint hell-bent on freeing people from the 9-to-5 grind? 😛

  38. How much one can earn by importing from china and selling it online in normal scenario ?

  39. This is one of the best written and most detailed articles for beginning entrepreneurs that I have ever read.

    The step by step with actual experience and usable information was incredibly helpful.

    • Thanks Derek, happy to help!

      Re-writing this article once every year – so it will always be the best guide out there 😉

  40. I have already started my business with some different products like ready made kurties, imitation jewellery,phulkari dupattas,leather jackets n bags. Selling leather jackets in winter was nice but not that great that i can make further purchases through it. Still i have some stock of kurties and dupattas and leather jackets with me. I dont know what to do now . Could you please suggest me what should be my next step in business ?

  41. Sir,
    So nice of you.It is a great piece of writing about all the steps involving Product.
    My question is that is selling on Amazon possible from Pakistan?

  42. Hello Will,

    This is so deep. You nailed it with every single word. I’m sure this is the best tutorial on the internet about running a profitable mini importation business.

    Thank you so much for sharing.


    • Thanks Emenike!
      I’m also sure it’s the best tutorial out there on how to find a profitable product. I made very sure of it 😀

  43. Hi Will
    Many thanks for all the detail. I have read many blogs on the subject and I think this is among the best. It’s very good of you to give this info away in the knowledge that it will create more competition for you !

    I see this was written in 2013, I believe the majority of the information is still relevant today (2018) but what if any updates would you make if writing today ?

  44. Hi,
    Just wondering what the least expensive method is to get the products delivered.
    If they come by sea to you need to order a container.

  45. Hi Will, I heard Amazon can handle all of your shipping returns if necessary for a monthly fee. Have you considered this?
    Thanks for the post.

  46. Hi Will, Thanks a lot for this article. Will I’m planing to start my little buseness on amazon and ebay. Do you know what is the best prodcut I can sell and make a profit for now . I feel like they are already selling all outhere. Does anyone have any idea and Will can I please have any opportunity to talk to you buy email ?

  47. Hi Will
    Thank you for this educational article
    I found a product on Amazon that I want to sell. It is currently being sold by one other seller who has private labeled the product. I found the exact same product on Alibaba. The sellers listing has their company name in the listing. Can I purchase that same product from Alibaba and become a seller using my own brand? The product does not look to be customized at all based on the pictures. The pictures are the same as on Alibaba.

  48. I rely appreciate your article.I live in Lagos Nigerian and am just thinking of going e-commerce.How do handle payment issues and shipping issues.

    Michael Onwuegbuzie

  49. Hi Will,

    I live in Romania and I am exploring the idea of selling on Amazon. I have some products in mind and I would like to ask you if it is possible to sell as a person not a start-up or registered business when I test my first products?

  50. 1. Who can sell me items with wholesale price in small quantities, where can I find wholesalers?
    2. if I want to buy 155 pieces but sell one by one, where I can keep the items and sell it to a buyer.
    3. I don’t have a garage, Where I should keep it and give the buyer the addresses to send it one by one?

    4. Look if I buy 155 pieces smth from the wholesaler but I do not have a garage, what a process is it, I am not a citizen but I want to sell the items to the USA.
    Where should I send the items?

    Thank you

    Best Regards

  51. Thank you for this informative article !
    My question is: I noticed that some suppliers provide a B2C (business to consumer) price much higher than their MOQ range of units price. For example fabric has a range unit of 6meters-9meters at a much lower price than price of B2C they provide.
    1- For me to buy 6 units ( which is reasonable quantity anyways) and avoid the high cost of B2C, must I provide a business card ? (I do not have a business card.)
    Thanks !

  52. Hi,
    I was planning to import larger amount of stuff from China but have a question does someone knows the good way to secure the payment in case the product is not what I ordered.

  53. Thank you very much for this post.

    I have been wondering about starting an online retail business and this answered a lot of questions. However, I am a college student lacking funds. I was wondering how much money should be saved before starting up. I currently have 1000 dollars in savings. Would that be enough?

    Thank you

    • $1,000 is almost enough to get profitable in this business, but not quite.

      I’d recommend getting started with something like Retail Arbitrage (or Online Arbitrage). These models allow you to start profiting almost immediately, and you also build up your Amazon account & skills as a seller.

      Check out this article (my mega-guide on getting started with arbitrage) – https://startupbros.com/retail-arbitrage-amazon/

      The downside to arbitrage is that you can’t get rich. You gotta hustle for those profits. So after you build up $1,500 – $3,000, start putting some of your profits towards your Private Label / Wholesale business (or whatever).

  54. hello, thanks for all your advice . I am from tunisia and I have no idea how to start contacting amazon that they know I want to sell.I am dong my best understanding all what you have said. I got it all step by step , still the first step : contacting amazon and making my name familiar remains always the first obstacle fror me.could you please help me? I will really appreciate it

  55. Hi, I have a question. What do you recommend for taking high-quality pictures of your product for an Amazon listing? Do you send a sample to a photo studio/company? Do you take them yourself and use a photo editing software? What are you thoughts

  56. How do I find out if the product I’m interested in selling has a patent on it? If it does, what do I have to do in order to legally sell the product and avoid lawsuits?

    • Mat, you’re allowed to sell products with patents on them. What you can’t do is sell products as your own with trademarked brands. You can’t sell “Apple iPhones straight from the manufacturer” because that doesn’t exist. You can’t use established brands to sell your products. If you buy a potato peeler from a supplier in china you don’t need to know if it has a patent or not. You just can’t sell it as a “Martha Stewart Potato Peeler” You have to sell it either unbranded or under your own brand like “Mat’s Peeler”. You don’t have to worry about patents, you have to worry about trademarked brands.

  57. you are amazing for sharing your experiences as a seller. thanks! good karma to you! may your tribe increase❤️👍✌🏻

  58. Hi Wil!

    This article was very interesting and thank you for the break down of everything. I haven’t found my “niche” yet still testing the waters. I am a little scared but excited to just leap in and yo!ur detailed article was great

  59. I don’t have much capital. They want to charge US $140 for the sample and shipping. Is this too much?

  60. I have completed all your steps, and the supplier says they want to see my website. I don’t have one yet. What can I do?

  61. That is one selfless article right there. Thank you so much for sharing! A good read indeed! 👍

  62. Can amazon or ebay…send the products to the customers?
    Can i just buy the products and sell it and amazon handle the rest?

  63. 41 year old Occupational Health and Safety Adviser Zerbe from
    Owen Sound, spends time with interests for example pets, Blaine and
    bowling. Has travelled since childhood and has traveled to numerous destinations,
    for example My Son Sanctuary.

  64. A little confused and worried about patents. Let’s say I found a really cool product on Alibaba. Let’s go with headphones. Also I so far can’t find these specific headphones being sold on Amazon. #1 – how do I make certain that these specific headphones are not already being sold on Amazon? Do I have to look through the 3000+ headphones to make sure?
    #2 – after I customize the headphones with my design and my logo how can I be assured that there isn’t some type of patent on these headphones that’ll prevent me from selling?

    I keep seeing videos of people just adding their logo on an item but aren’t checking these 2 things. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something .


  65. I want to know more about having my goods inspected as they come into the U.S. so that I don’t have to hold the inventory at home. I would like to have them shipped directly to an Amazon Fulfillment Center. How can I find companies that will inspect my goods?

  66. Best article I ever read on this topic. I intend selling on amazon alone simply because I want them to handle shipping for me. Do you think this is a good idea?

  67. Just opened my own amazon seller store and starting the process of finding a product. This was very helpful. It was suggested to me to have amazon ship the product for me. Do you have any opinion on this?

  68. very informative and straight to the point article. thank you for impacting lives.

  69. Thank you for any other great article. Where else may anybody
    get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing?

    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search for such information.

  70. FYI regarding selling on Etsy — it started out being for hand made products only. It has since expanded to allow for vintage (20+ years old) items and craft supplies. But it’s not supposed to be for reselling ready-made items such as those purchased on AliExpress / Alibaba, even though there are lots of sellers doing just that. However, if someone reports you, Etsy could shut down your shop.

  71. I’m not certain the place you are getting your information, however good topic.
    I needs to send some time finding out more or understanding more.
    Thanks for great info I used to be onn the lookout for this
    info for my mission.

  72. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your
    site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot
    of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space
    it out better?

  73. One from the best way is to use google trend analitic tool and chack what people from some country are looking the most

  74. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  75. Does this business idea also apply for Pakistan…Because paypal is not introduced here…And is it profitable to export goods to other countries like in Middle East, Europe etc.

  76. Hi Will!
    Thanks for the really great info. I have been doing my research for a few days – going nuts and almost talking myself out of this business opportunity. I am an entrepreneur and have a few other businesses I am working on growing. I don’t have the time to dedicate to doing this full time and you have saved me, I’m sure, a gazillion hours of research!! So thanks for that! I have a couple of questions:
    1. I have been looking into doing a Pro Seller FBA account with Amazon… Mostly because I am not in a position to store a bunch of stock, nor the time to label and ship each item. I am doing my best to automate this process. Have you had experience with the Supplier shipping directly to Amazon?

    2. What are your thoughts on selling Via Amazon FBA versus eBay or even Shopify (Which I think is drop ship only) ?

    Any thoughts and insight very much appreciated!

  77. Hi Will,

    This post has been extremely helpful – thank you! Question: if I want to sell an item with my branding on it, should I expect my samples from the suppliers to have my branding on it or am I looking at the item before branding is placed on it? What’s the process for evaluating quality of branding (placement, font, font sizing, etc.) – does this happen only AFTER I’ve made a bulk order?

  78. I want to make an indestructible dog toy. My dogs ruin toys in minutes of receiving them. I need a design, tough materials and then someone to manufacture. How do I begin?

  79. Do I need to set up an LLC or Corp to do this? Or is that really for down the road when I start to brand my own products?

  80. Although I have been interested in setting up a internet business for some time, I had been frustrated and mislead so many times that I was on the brink of giving up. Your articles and information has given me a kick-start and a new approach after attending many webinar’s and, experiencing quite a few guru scams. I now feel a new serge of energy to carry on. Your approach to internet selling is clear, concise and practical. I look forward to more from you. Paul

  81. Hi friend I want to know​ more about shipping even more my friend want to know more about shipping f.x if I buy 100 psc watch from a seller than which is best and cheap way of shipping air or sea.if I buy 100 from this supplier and 100 from any other suppliers than which is the best way of shipping.and one more question is this you say sell sample first if they sold than order bulk than how can you set the cost that I have to sell sample in this price. Because you not know the clear shipping price between samples we got from air and bulk we get from sea. So please clear my confusion.

    • Hey Amit, air is always going to be more expensive but not much. Please don’t overthink it. Pick products with a high margin and ship them via air freight. The reason for this is because you want to receive your products quickly. The shipping price varies but keep it simple 🙂
      If you’re not sure where to start I have something that will be a HUGE help: https://startupbros.com/import-replay

  82. Wow, awesome weblog layout! How long have you been running
    a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The overall
    glance of your web site is excellent, as neatly as the content material!

  83. Excellent post. Keep posting such kind of information on your blog.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You’ve performed a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

    • Thank you so much! Will loves to write and we have so much stuff planned!

  84. I m a beginner to this .. I am intending to start up a buying-selling business. So what should be my very first step. Please help me out.

    • Find e-commerce web-site where you want to start, either it would be retail sales on eBay or bulk sales in Amazom etc.. register an account, find items to sell, posting them, receive money and ship items. =)

  85. Hi,

    I’m a random person who thought of re-selling stuffs from Alibaba as a side income and just found this website from Google and I would like to ask some questions.

    1. Is there a way to get lesser shipping fees from Alibaba? Because a shipping fee of 20 USD and over is really too much in my opinion.

    2. Are there ways to create listings on Amazon and eBay for free?

    • Hey Chris,

      1. Ask your suppliers what MOQ(minimum ordered quantity) would you need for free shipping.

      2. It’s really different, because on eBay you will always pay final value fees when free insertion fees can be increase by your subscription. On amazon you can buy also a store and avoid paying $1 per sold item and 10-20% commission, it would be less I guess.

  86. Please reply I’m really stuck on finding an item and whether to pay that much for shipping on only one sample …. ?

  87. Dear will,

    I have just recently read your two pieces on buying and selling from the internet. (Thank you very much by the way so helpful.)
    I am trying to get in touch with suppliers like you said for samples but the shipping is very expensive from ali baba to Ireland. Around 30€ even for one piece of a sample. Is that right? &: that what I do? Do I pay for one sample and the shipping ?? Or is there another way?

    Kind regards,

    • Hi, I don’t know if you have gotten your reply already. You have repeated this question without a reply so I will do my best to answer your question, I hope this helps. first I think you should determine how high the equality of products from that company is by looking for reviews. If you think the products are pretty high quality, you may want to order more than one if it will reduce the shipping cost. You also need to find out what the shipping cost will be if you are buying in bulk that way you know that if you decide to go with this supplier their shipping cost is okay with you. If that’s fine, you may just have to place that order at that expensive price.

  88. Excellent information! This is a dynamic I was looking to develop recently having difficulty keeping and finding work in my industry. I’ve had enough. I’ve been considering engaging in an entrepreneurial activity such this since I have a bit of capital, and I’m grateful that you’ve opened up to share your experience with others (and I didn’t even have to ‘buy the book’.). I understand I have much to learn , but you’ve nicely answered most of the immediate questions I had.

    Thanks again!

  89. What a great article. I’m from Australia and this has been most helpful.

  90. Hello everybody!
    I am a trade business owner from Riga, Latvia (Europe), currently I am looking for some new trade partners from all over the world to provide our consumers with new and interesting products.
    If you are selling (or willing to sell) anything what qualifies for European union standards, I would be happy to review your products. So as if you are willing to sell in your region European origin products . I can advice and get you very competitive wholesale prices for almost everything (Now concentrating on food & beverage items) to start your import business whenever you are located.
    I’ll be happy to discuss what is demanded by consumers in our regions and what we can Import or Export to make some profit. I have many ideas and I look forward to establish new connections from different countries. I look forward to build long lasting cooperation with people who run their businesses or just thinking about becoming entrepreneurs.
    Don’t hesitate to write me – mltserviceseu@gmail.com

  91. I expected to read more about how to find intresting products not by a random search, but by analyzing g first the demand for a certain nische. Can you elaborate?

  92. Will, thank you very much for this guide. It is very informative and still very relevant.

  93. How can you track how frequently products are selling on ebay?

    ~~~eBay search filters – When searching for products on eBay, always make sure you have the “Completed Listings” button checked. This will allow you to see what prices things are selling at and how frequently they are selling.~~~

  94. Hi I will like to know how do you know how many items are being sold and the traffic.
    Than l s

  95. sounds interesting… hope i will find someone oat koocam to provide personalize info.

  96. Hey StartUpBros, do i need to be a legally registered company and will the samples be given free and how do i package my items? Sorry i’m a 14 year old interested in getting to know the business.

  97. Hello!!!
    What is your email please?
    I couldnt find it and i have some questions to ask…
    Thank you for all of the good information. Its really great!!

  98. Go form t if you can undercut them all, it’s a good thing because it means there is a high demand, but only if your an get a cheaper supplier and hence sell cheaper

  99. I’ve done something similar, but going to the post office every day to so was a killer… Do you just have to do it or employ someone? And what’s th eal with prepaid packages for shipping?

  100. Well there we go, thanks. Breezed through, and will take another look. We are a specialty paint contract service company. Currently doing research (especially water based paints) to invent a market interest that maintains our goals. Looking for funding options this article helps us resource our research as well in several ways. Thanks, timetwopaint

  101. Of all the people who read this blog, has any one of you actually started making money using this method?

  102. Hi Will,

    It is very great writing, very good. Not only helpful for sellers on E-commerce, but also helpful for Chinese suppliers to do better to meet the request and care the concerns of customers.

    As a Chinese supplier on alibaba, hope our experience to deal with different kinds of issue can help friends here.

  103. Hello Nick,

    As a Chinese supplier, here are some tips hope can help you.
    Do not take too serious on price or MOQ that is list on alibaba, it is not true. It is better send mail ask supplier about price and MOQ.

    Regarding MOQ, usually there is some chance to negotiate a lower MOQ with further communication. Leah

  104. only prob I see is you light bulb example…you buy per see a 100 units..1 dollar a piece..you sell for the 9.50..but shipping is 5 to 10 bucks…who is going to buy 1 bulb and pay 10 extra dollars..when I can goto store and get for 10 myself…

  105. I attended the webinar and am following the tips you provided. I have found a item I want to sell, and have requested the 10 samples like you suggested. However, the shipping is insane. is there a way to negotiate the shipping costs.

  106. Hi, I would like to ask a burning question. Few years back, I got a great idea to solve a daily problem and assembled a team to make it and it kinda failed. So, I decided to go through Alibaba and purchase them bulk and sell the product which has similar traits to my idea. But, I think I can set up booth at my university and sell the product at my university. Do you think it is better than setting up an online shop? in my country, online shops are still a new thing and a booming sort of industry. Apart from that, I was thinking of putting it in a nice packaging to sell it in my university compound. Usually a nice packaging might trick consumers and I can increase the price of th e product just because it looks much more premium looking. What do you think?

    • Why stop at the university, it is easy to try and sell online(do both in parallel).

  107. Greetings everyone

    So I have been in contact with a few suppliers on Alibaba regarding purchasing a few products that are related to a niche market that I want to sell into. After searching through a few suppliers I found one that looks very professional and have been trading on Alibaba for about 8 years.

    They make the same product that alot of the other suppliers do. The difference is the other suppliers are making the same old looking product over and over again. This supplier is making something that looks pretty pleasing and everyone hat has seen the images say it looks really good and that they would buy one.

    I sent them an email regarding buying this product, and they told me it is still just in design, and that they dont actively make it. They told me if I wanted to actually have it made that they would require $3400 to cover the material costs and labour costs of producing it. This does not include the cost of the MOQ which they are saying is 500. I am trying to negotiate with them to get a lower MOQ, but they are not budging and are saying it is not worth their while to go lower.

    I am trying to get samples from them but they are saying they will only 1-2 samples, and those samples would be without the part that needs to be designed and produced, hence the $3400 i was quoted earlier on. Which really dosnt seem worth it to me. Without samples, and samples with the main part how can I even know how good the product is

    My questions is really why would they actively be selling something on Alibaba and then saying it requires $3400 to go in to production, which dosnt include MOQ. To order MOQ + cost would be $5500. They dont look like a scam company and have been trading on Alibaba for 8 years, and they are a gold supplier, and have been site assessed, and I really want to source this product. Does anyone have any advice?

  108. How do you calculate the volume on your spreadsheet? I don’t seem to understand how you get the low medium and high for that.

  109. You did not discuss import Duty/tax all things imported from China to the US has to clear customers and Duty must be paid. How did you deal with this? Also did you have your suppliers send the priducts directly to Amazon or disntounhave them shipped to yourself and then forwarded to Amazon.

    • Hi,

      In China, we can ship directly to Amazon FBA, and also have shipping method that is free of import tax during delivery. Means tax is included with the shipping cost .

  110. HI Will,
    I read your full article as I have been following Anik Singal and Mark Ling on Youtube and have been thinking about purchasing their courses to start up the affiliate business. Again, after I read your blog, you have pretty much laid out all the detail 7 steps (they always refer in their course) for FREE.
    Awesome Will, thanks a bunch!

  111. Great Article. Thank you very much. I have one important question about all of this. Is it important to incorporate a company for this kind of thing so that you are not personally liable? If so, would you give the same answer if this was something I wanted to try once or twice to even see if i’m interested?


  112. When you get a request for return and refund, how do you process it? How do you get the item from the buyers’s address? Do you pay him back in the specific method he opted for to buy your product? How do you make a proof for COD orders?

    And thanks a pile, for this detailed post. It gave a great insight into the entire process!

  113. Will,
    This was a great article, it is inspiring and insightful.
    I know you say you look for specific items – Silver Owl Pendant Necklace, etc.
    But at the same time you caution against using brand name items.
    If you have a minute could you help me resolve this apparent contradiction?
    I’m sure this is a matter of my not reading closely enough.

    Thank you for the article,
    Look forward to a response,

  114. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  115. great points altogether, you simply gained a new reader.
    What could you recommend in regards to your publish that you just made some
    days ago? Any positive?

  116. Hi.
    I so appreciate wah u guys r doing.

    Am in Nigeria. Wah do u know about the nigerian market regarding how to source for hot in demand products here. Which platform can I best make use of.

    In fact jst give me your generic thought about Import from China to Nigeria and stuff

    Thanks in anticipation.

    • Great article you have made. Actually I have known this business mode for many years 🙂

      We are a paper roll factory and supplier in Chiina (www.pandapaperroll.com). our product is light,small but profitable. Many of our US customers are importing them from us, then resell in the US. But one thing is different, they are not sellingon Ebay or Amazon, they are building their own website to dominate the traffic, and it does work.

      Believe or not, try to search “thermal paper roll”, the 1st suppliers you find on Google are using this way for many years, and they got MUCH profit.

  117. Great article! Im still confused on how to pick a product to sell. Reading this article, it seems I would have to select items I see are selling on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy etc. but I wouldn’t know if they are actually worth selling until I get a price list from a supplier. Is that right? I feel like I missed a step.



  118. Hi, your website is awesomely helpful. Just one comment, it would be great if you allowed the date of comments to be posted. Without the date there’s no context as to whether the information being discussed is still relevant. Thanks so much, best wishes.

  119. I found your GREAT site 2 days after contacting a seller in China. It’s our first contact and our first use of Alibaba so obviously we don’t know what we are doing. After reading your site we are beginning to learn that we really don’t know what we are doing.
    The item sells from $2.00 to $2.10 from several vendors in China and is already on eBay selling for $6.97.
    From your teaching we know the spread wont leave any profit after shipping so we will walk away from that item.
    The one vendor we contacted has a MOQ of 100 but backtracked from that when I asked for 3 variations of his product. It is a jewelry item, just with different designs. They said we could mix the 3 to meet the MOQ.
    I asked for a sample, thinking it would be free, because other vendors with the same item advertised free sample. I assumed I would have to pay the shipping but at that time had no clue as to what it would be.
    Here is my question:
    They sent me an invoice for one sample product each of the three designs with a cost of $8.20 each, plus $30.00 shipping.
    Is this a rip off because they have correctly figured out I don’t know what I’m doing?

  120. I comment whenever I like a article on a website or I havbe something to valuable to contribute to thee
    conversation. Usually it is triggered by tthe passion displayed in the article Iread.
    And on this post Step-by-Step Guide on How
    To Find A Profitable Product To Sell – StartupBros.

    I was actually excited enough to post a thought 😛 I do have 2 questions for you if it’s
    okay. Is it only me or doo a few off these comments appezr like coming from brain dead visitors?
    😛 And, if you are postingg on other online sites, I’d like to follow anything new you
    have to post. Would you make a list all of your
    community pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  121. I am wanting to start to sell and I love the advice that you gave. I did what you said and went onto Alibaba to start to find a product. The first supplier that responded to me was willing to send a sample but is charging $20 for shipping. This price seems very high to me. What do you suggest?

  122. I must say that this have been very help full, thanks for sharing and all the lesson I will be starting and I hope that I can call on you for in getting started. Once again thanks.

  123. amazing stuff
    I’m having trouble on what to sell
    the reason is because of shipping. I’m clueless on what to buy so it won’t cost a lot on shipping and what people want but not a lot sell. please help me.
    i saw that you said 500 was good to start but how much should an item cost to actually make profit? is an item selling for 10 dollars or less profitable?

  124. Hi sir will thank you very much for your honesty in exposing this kind of business topic,Im Eric Zapanta from the Philippines,im interested to try the business by importing,but since im in the Philippines,isc amazon,ebay esty n alibaba can cater orders?are you familiar with copy paste from amazon to ebay the ds domination?or since china is nearer in my place is alibaba can I do same? our local here like alibaba ,amazon,is lazada.hope you can help me to start with small capital.

  125. sigh…it seems so many barriers to selling even if you found a great product but there are already Powersellers selling tons of the same things…

  126. I’ve been reading up on a lot of different articles about importing from China and it seems that the more I research, the less I know. I have some questions that mainly deal with costs that I can’t find the answers to anywhere: Is DHL different than FOB followed by someone in the US delivering to final location? How are Chinese sellers able to profit off of $2-3 items with free shipping listed on Ebay, and yet samples can cost “$25-45”? I guess my main concern is the landed cost that could actually cause me to lose money. I did a rate estimator on DHL today for 300 small LED accessories that I estimated could fit into a 30x45x60 cm box at 7.35kg. Because the volumetric weight was actually around double that, they charged me for ~15kg, which ended up being $500+. At $500 to ship with shipping costs to get the product to buyers, I would be losing money. Does this just meant that I need to find a better product with better margins, or did DHL grossly overestimate the international shipping ($500 sounds ridiculous for such a small, lightweight box, but it could just be newbie ignorance).

  127. Hey Will! I want to start my online business but am concerned about shipping to the customer – how do they pay for the shipping cost- how do you give them an estimate and what is the process on your end as far as packaging, etc. Is it expensive? Also, how much do you usually spend before turning a profit?

  128. I am looking for a Chinese Importer of Switchblades. They are already being sold in America but I want to bypass the middle man?

  129. Amazing guide, really. It made me want to jump right in (but I’ll be dipping a toe first, promised ^^).
    One question, which I hope isn’t a stupid one : in the “sample” phase, should one already have a registered business ?

  130. Will, if i see a product in amazon at lets say $400 and i can import it and sell it at $200 and make a lot of profit, im i gonna have problem with amazon or ebay for listing the same article but for $200 less?

  131. Hi Will, great article! I just have a question about pricing. If I have found a product and there is one other person on Amazon selling the same product, should I list it for the same? For lower? Will they change their price once they see my listing?

  132. Hypothetically, if i ordered a bulk of a product and sold out.. Are people allowed to keep ordering it even though I have no inventory? Should I restock before I were to sell out?

  133. Hello, I just finished readind your post abd it was really interesting, I have been looking for a while now to start selling online. I’m from canada, I live in Quebec city. I’m a frenh canadian .
    I’ve read a lot of other posts, I’m interesetd of selling with Amazon using their FBA options, so they take care of the shipping and support and they take their %.
    Where I’m most uncertain : choosing a good product. I understand the criterias, but it seems that everythings already being sold by a lot of people. I watched a couple videos where they insist on “creating a brand” … taking all reviews on a product , keeping all the best and the worse and trying to get manufactured a product that have all the advantages and none of the downsides.

    Ok, so now….what to do ? 🙂
    I was also wondering, you seem like you have made really good in this business…why helping others achieving this , people who might be your competition ??

    Thank you very much


    • Hi Will,

      I love your article and can’t wait to get started but I am having trouble finding products that I want to sell from Alibaba on Amazon, EBay and Etsy. Is there a certain way to look up products on these sites? I have just been typing in the product names from alibaba in the search engine of these websites. Am i going about this wrong? Is it that these products are just not on these sites?

      Thank you,


    • A lot of times you want to even TRIPLE the original price!

      It’s important to consider what you can actually sell the product for though. This is a big part of the process–testing out the market.

  134. Hi Will,
    Great information. Do you have any advice for a Canadian seller?
    Would I use the Canadian or American versions of eBay, Amazon, etc.? Any issues with shipping from Canada to the U.S.?


  135. This is one of the most helpful readings I have done for a long time on getting the good product to sell. Thanks alot.

  136. Hi! I love your post! I am really wanting to get into this, as a way to make a little something on the side for now and eventually hopefully use it as a way to stop working. I have a question, when signing up for Alibaba, it asks for a business name and a phone number etc etc. Did you give these things? I don’t have a business name, and it is therefore not registered with any government. I am confused as to why they need this, and if I will get spam calls or messages if I supply my number. You cannot sign up without these things 🙁

  137. Hey Will,

    One thing I’ve noticed is that all the products being sold on Alibaba have a price range. As an example, if they are selling a air soft gun it would say $5-25 US. Clearly, the more product you buy, the more it will be discounted, but one of the most important components of figuring out the numbers as you stated is the Buying Price (high point). Whats your process when you see price ranges like this, especially if the volume requested to buy is quite substantial?

  138. Hi Will,

    I was toying with an idea to sell t-shirts (and maybe other products) with a certain digitally created image I have yet to actually create and was wondering how would I then get a sample of a couple t-shirts with the image I have in mind? I’m so anxious to see if the samples would sell. The only problem is even if they sell, I don’t know how I’d come up with the money for a bulk order.

    It’s so true that you need money to make money.


  139. Hi Will!

    I need help, the thing is I found like 8 suppliers of my product and their other product categories have no relation with the product (for ex Im looking for speakers and they make phone cases)

    Should I keep them as an option or should I discard those?

    Thank you!

  140. Hi Will, when receiving things from alibiba were labels always in other language? My question is how do you sell without English labels?

  141. it really helps me a lot , and i have more question to ask, where do i get the link to get assistant

  142. Hey guys!

    Great posting on here! So as I’ve gone through and read the article I’ve come to the part on my end assessing my product to see if it’s worth being imported and resold.

    So my question if anyone can answer is : Im hoping to target the Canadian Market as that is where I am based, with the niche product I am wishing to import and sell in canada I am seeing that the competition up here is about maybe 1 – 2 other resellers.

    My issue is that there is a bunch of resellers of my niche product based out the US. So when determining if your product is worth being imported and resold, I want to retain my Canadian buyers so will I have to compete with the US re sellers as well?

  143. Hi Will !

    Do you think this could work out for the (small) Dutch market as well?
    To sell items bought on Alibaba (in bulk) to the Dutch market.

    Thanks Alot!
    Sincerely Peter

  144. I know this is unrelated but the part where you write. “They really believe in karma over there.” LMAOOOOOO

  145. Thanks for this very interesting blog…I’ve learned so much from it!…’wish you all the best!

  146. HI,

    I’ve read both articles you’ve written and its a great end to end explanation of how and what to do.

    I have some questions regards seperate things i’ve found whilst looking in to alibaba and with your experience i thought youd know (much easier to ask a chinese woman anyway)

    1. Some items are buy by 1 Carton, how may single products are usually in 1 carton?

    2. Shipping to me for any product or sample, if i buy a product from a supplier, do i have to pay for the posting of the product also seperate, or is that part of the product price?

    3. when the product is shipped, does it get shipped to my address and how?

    Sorry for the bombardment, i’m just looking to invest some money, and investing in my own business seemed like a good option

    Thank you


  147. What is your feeling on products where no 2 are alike. Let’s say hand carved widgets. Is that too niche? It would be difficult to get estimates from multiple sellers for something like that. The only thing you can do is compare it to similar hand carved widgets on Ebay to get a basic idea of what you may sell it for. What is your feeling on products like this?

  148. Hi, Will fantastic blog which has helped loads!
    Question: How to pay using Paypal with suppliers on Alibaba? It says on Alibaba “Currently, you are not allowed to use PayPal for Secure Payment on Alibaba.com.”
    Again great blog.

  149. Thanks a lot for this amazing blog I believe I may have learnt more here than I would have if I had taken class in college. I have been thinking about this for a while now but just got bogged down with lack of information but now having read your blog twice so not to miss any piece of information I believe Iam ready to wet my feet per say in this new venture. Once again thanks.

  150. HI Will

    Thank you for the amazing post. I am just starting out and in the 1st phase of looking for a product. Your post is super helpfull.

  151. Good Afternoon Will,

    i am determined to take complete control of my financial future and I believe this import business is the ticket!! I’m in the information gathering mode and your blogs are giving me the courage to go for it. Question: What are the cons to Filement by Amazon? I’m thinking about buying, branding my product finding a package designer and having amazon sell it takes the headache out of me doing that work the margins are less but I can focus on “scaling” as you say. I’m 52 and on a mission but I’m not trying to make any avoidable mistakes

  152. Hey Wil!
    Thanks a lot for the usefull information.
    I wanted to ask about the samples that you try to sell first.. How many samples do you order ?

  153. This could have been an ebook on its own thanks for sharing all your experience here.

    Can you or anyone else give advice on the tax situation….is it still collect sales tax for sales within your state or is there anything on the horizon for a universal Internet tax. I’ve seen stuff in the news but haven’t kept up on it..

  154. hi i have not website yet, just asking where you ordered your LED lights.

  155. Hi Will

    Love the post, it’s really easy to understand and will help anyone to stand a chance of achieving what you have.

    Couple of questions;

    What would be your minimum profit that you would be looking to make per unit after unit costs, shipping costs, advertising costs… What would be the % you would look for?

    How can you find out how many units have sold on a listing on eBay in a week/month?

    Look forward to hearing from you


  156. Hi Will,

    first i wanna thank you for your great work.

    I wonder if its possible to set up an import business in Germany. There are a ton of customs, regulations and taxes you have to cope with when importing from outside of europe. Do you have any experience or information if it is profitable?

    I imagine that it is profitable if you find a really specific niche in a market where customs aren’t that high. So it is probably a bit harder to find good products for europeans.
    Would love to hear your opinion.
    Keep it up!


  157. Great post on picking a hot product.

    My question is about trademarked items. Are you speaking specifically about importing products from other counties with US trademarks?

    To be more specific, what if you wanted to buy products from another country, such as China for example, and the company has a trademark in China. The product would be authentic from the country of purchase and not a “knock-off”. Is this practice permissible?

    Thanks, and keep the good work coming.

  158. Hi Will,
    I am going to develop online business in Vietnam.
    This is so helpful. Thank you so much.


  159. Hello everyone,
    I must say that having gone through all the comments so far on this site, I can confidently and safely delve into the importing world. I had gotten samples of a couple of niches that are hotcakes here. But sadly I am bereft of funds to fully invest into them.

    Please I would appreciate if there is anyone out there who can help me with some little funds to start with. Or anyone out there who is ready to invest in me. We could get a partnership agreement drawn up to that effect.

    Please I need help.


  160. How much profit do I need on each product to cover all expenses and still make money?

  161. Hi Will,
    This is so helpful. Thank you so much.
    I got confused when I compared the top sellers or shakers and movers on Amazon and could not even find them selling on eBay. How can a top seller on Amazon not be selling at all on eBay?
    Also some of the potential items you mentioned above like “pet bedding” does not really fit the criteria of best products, for instance it is sold at Walmart and is a very common item that people buy.


  162. Thank you very much for this post, it inspired me so much that today I received 2 of 3 samples I ordered. Just for fun I went on Amazon and started up a seller account. One of my items is clothing, They want UPC, or register for one, then brand name. Opps, I had no idea about this. Do you know any shortcuts for this issue? I think I have a really good product and I think I should pursue it. You are awesome and I so much appreciate you sharing this info. If we just had more of your kind, we didn’t have to look for money so much anyway!

  163. Hi,

    Very good post. I loved reading it. I have a question. I also want to sell product online, i am new in this field. I want to sell in India firstly then i will move on another one. Then, how much minimum money will be required? and which site will be good for me, if i will get order then how i can send to the customer. is this site will be ok for me http://www.shopify.com?

  164. Thats an awesome post and I loved reading it…thanks! I have a question.. the product that I have short-listed is “maternity cum nursing dresses”.. Now this probably doesnt qualify as a great product (quality / higher return rate, etc etc) but would still like to get your view

    – Is that specific enough? I cannot be more specific as different dresses would have different styles/patterns etc
    – Yes I understand return rate could be high.. but I plan to serve a niche segment in terms of style/price.. any thoughts?

  165. Hi i wanted to ask a Q i contacted a few suppliers on Alibaba asking for samples 1st they said no problem but one problem keeps arising the delivery cost which is absolutely ridiculous they keep asking for 30 to 40 dollars saying that is the cost to ship and the delivery company is DHL and the product is pretty small too, so i dont know how they come to that figure Startup Bros can you plz clarify shipping costs which are the norm.

  166. Reading through your article I found nothing about picking up items on say alibaba or aliexpress that are commercially popular items (like well known figures from movies etc) and selling those. Do I have to worry about licensing issues? Is this something taken care of by the manufacturer?

    • You absolutely have to worry about licensing issues! Trademarks and patents matter in the US, even if they don’t much in China

  167. Hi Will, Mind-blowing article…Got a lot of insight on how the world of e-commerce works.Keep up the good work 🙂 Cheers Siva charan

  168. Hey Will,

    Are there sellers that have a lot of random products in their stores? I tend to see sellers picking many variations of the same item, for example, pool inflatables–, they don’t have random other products, clocks or pet toys.

    Will my etsy/amazon store look weird if I have 10 different random items selling at the same store?

  169. Hi Will,
    First of all thanks for sharing this, I’ve read your 2 articles on the rise and fall of your importing business and this one and it was quite interesting.

    Here’s my question for you:
    when you start buying in bulk, how do you deal with taxes and customs duties? Are these included in the transportation price that are charged to you (what does it say in your invoice)? I assume that you let the vendor take in charge all aspects of transportation.

    Taxes and customs duties represent extra costs that can be very dissuasive for some products, and it requires work to calculate. But you’re not mentioning it or I’ve read too fast. How do you deal with that part, do they send to you as a particular person or company? Do ‘sample’ still appear on the invoice when your supplier actually send larger quantities?

    Don’t hesitate to send me a private message

  170. hi there,
    can u please tell me how can i figure out that the ad on alibaba i am interested in is not fake.the supplier is gold supplier.

  171. Hi people
    My question is related to determining whether or not a product is viable given its competitors already on the market. I understand that I need to gauge whether or not it will sell by looking to see if it is already currently being sold successfully by someone else. This is where i’m confused however. From what I can see, finding a product already selling on ebay/amazon etc is both good news and bad news. The good news is you know it can sell, but the bad news it might already be taken care of, so to speak. So how can I tell if a product has healthy competition and sellers that I can sell alongside or perhaps even undercut slightly, or if the competitors already have the monopoly and trying to compete would be pointless? More to the point, what sort of sales figures relating to the product and its current seller/s on ebay or amazon would indicate that the market looks safe and worth competing in? Say I notice there are already 3-4 different people selling a marked up toy on ebay that I have found on alibaba and want to resell myself… say these sellers, while perhaps not necessarily power sellers, each have around 150 sales in the last couple of months and ongoing. Should I consider contacting suppliers and attempting to enter the market for them as well, or is it already saturated? I mean when you say competing with power sellers is difficult, how can I determine if they are power sellers or just healthy competition? what should I be looking at? Also if I decide to compete, will I go completely unnoticed alongside others whose profiles make it clear to buyers that they are more experienced with the product and have more sales? Any feedback here would be really appreciated

    Regards Chris

    P.S Thanks for the information you’ve already provided through the guides and apologies if I’ve missed something while reading through the comments that answers this already.

  172. Any articles on getting started on Amazon? Having some luck importing for eBay, I’d love to get going on Amazon but it seems a little harder to break in to than “The Bay”

  173. A few things have changed, site’s have been updated.
    Is everything still valid? (site settings @ Ebay etc.)
    (i can’t see any sales records or evidence that something has certain amount of sales or how frequent they are being sold. >> Completed listings > Ebay )
    sorry, I’m confused

    And how do i know if a product is having a consistent base of buyers?

    My problem is, i cannot decide if a product is crap or golden.
    And i have difficulties finding products from ebay/amazon on alibaba or the other way around.

    I hope you’ll help me thanks!

  174. Hey thanks for your blog, starting a fashion accessory business trying to sell unique items and found your blog very helpful. Going to outsource the shipping to a family member and wondering if you’ve got any advice on figuring out a payment structure. Would you recommend a days wage? Or a price per unit packaged?

  175. Awesome post, planning on building a website and your post gave me very good insight. Thank you sir

  176. First off thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us. Quick question: I have just tried contacting my first potential supplier (using the email template you suggested) The supplier asked me to send how many pcs I need? What are pcs? (and how might you respond )

    Thanks (for everything),


  177. Hi Will,

    Thank you for all this information. I’ve just gotten on the band wagon. It’s really made things clearer for me. I’m sorry to ask, as I know the question has been posed in many ways to you. But i need to be clear on the process of shipping products.

    So the steps you are suggesting is the following :
    1. posting myself – initially buy a small amount of product, to be sent by me through the post to customers (so that i am certain the product will sell and i build a reputation with my wholesaler)
    2. outsourcing drop shipping?? this is where i am confused by some of the comments and responses. I am unsure if you meant, I should negotiate drop shipping with the wholesaler to do this for me and directly send the product to customers? or do i find an independent dropship company within America to delivery products for me from my wholesaler ?

    I have a friend who is has this business and the wholesaler in China does her shipping for her.

    Bit confused but hope I was clear about my confusion ?

    Any help would be fantastic 🙂

  178. What attributes do you look for in a seller on AliExpress.com. I know you discussed what you prefer on Alibaba.com. I am just staring out selling on eBay,random items,single dad here so i am trying to be real smart and not taking huge financial risk in the beginning. Any advice you can give would be very helpful.

    Thank you.

    • If you know how to navigate Alibaba, there is really no reason to use AliExpress (if you read the importing posts here you’re competent enough to not get screwed)

  179. Good morning!

    I wanted to see if there are times when you get no responses via alibaba. I have messages 8 gold suppliers of one specific product and have yet to hear anything back and it’s coming up on 24 hours. Is this normal?

    Thank you!!!


  180. I find this article very interesting. I just want to know what year it was written in. Could you please tell me?

  181. Hello Will,
    I want to start a lighting shop..for thatI need to import LED light, Spot light, Wall bracket, Decorative light. Plz suggest me how can buy me those product. also inform me the procedure of payment. Your help will help me to get better opportunity.


  182. I want to start on this type of business. But i have no experience in this kind of business.Will it be a bad idea if instead of buying in bulk, buying in smaller quantity until I understand it better?. Also i want to say thank you for posting all this information.

  183. Hi Will

    Now that was an interesting article/blog, read it from start to finish, which is a first for me, and will go over it in more detail at the weekend when I have more time off.
    I have just come out of a really expensive divorce(put violins away I am ok 🙂 .. For a while now I have toyed with the idea of selling something, online or at shows for example. The reason I mentioned the divorce is that I need to get something going, some way of making some decent dosh after my split, and if it takes some hard work, fine. Now I am old enough and wise enough now to know that nothing moves in a straight line or comes easy, I am probably a little too cautious, hence why I have not taken a risk just yet.

    I only have a few thousand £’s to play with, but after reading your advice I was lifted more than I have ever before. I run a small electrical business, so I know a little about marketing etc, and more than anything I know it’s all about the product and marketing and trying to get something that’s half the planet is trying to sell as well.

    Anyway.. thanks again


  184. hi there can some one help me here please. i already have suppliers From china i just need to know how much profit should i add on my items also how do i recover the transport and VAT or duties that i have to pay upon arriving. for instance an item is costing 12.10 usd how much profit can i add on top how do i recover the transport and duties. bear in mind that i have to pay the business expenses and rent plus two employees. pls give me the final amount and do break it down. i need to sell an item at 100% profit meaning i should recover the 12.10usd back plus transport and VAT of 16.5 or duties of 45%

    please help

  185. This post is worth everyone’s attention. Where can I find out

  186. Fantastic article!

    One question I have had, is even if you find a product that has good margins on ebay. Is it a good idea to check if the item is selling or not? Maybe check auctions to see if people might be interested or not in the product. I see alot of possibly profitable items that no one is bidding on. That leads me to believe that the product will not sell. Maybe it’s because people set there price too high? But then again maybe few people are willing to by said product in the first place.


  187. Hello Will, very interesting and informative article. My wife and I are interested in pursuing the sales of products in the very way you have so generously described. The one question we have (forgive me if this sounds stupid) but how do we determine which products are available for resale and which are not? Basically in an effort to comply with laws, trademarks etc. Thank you for the helpful information your articles have already provided, and for answering our question if you so kindly choose to do so.. Thank you Will

  188. Just wondering how it would work with buying a product from alibaba, putting a brand logo on it and selling it for a totally different purpose. Is that legal?

  189. Sir I want to is it profitable in india too??if yes what are the best products you would suggest.

  190. Hello Will,

    The words cannot describe how mazing job you have done to give us all a hope to do bissiness.

    I couldn’t find any dates on this article or on the comments, to see if this can still apply to the year 2015?
    If I’m little behind in finding this great article, it’s still ok because it’s an awesome and a life lesson!
    Thank you!

  191. Hi Will,

    Thanks for your helpful information. We have a warehouse with lots of extra space and a shipping area. We are interested in having a service where we ship products for other companies who would prefer to outsource the shipping. How could we get started on that?

  192. Thanks for the great read. In regards to the Q&A above “Is there a way to know the exact current volume of sales before choosing a product to sell?” you mention you check how many items were sold within a week on ebay.

    My question to that is how do you get that data on ebay? I can see how many total items are sold but I can not find any way to filter how many items were sold within a given tiime frame.

    Thanks for your input.

  193. Hey Will,
    First of all, the blog is gold! Thank you for the great advice!
    Second, I have a question regarding to the shipping procedure. You said that to hire someone such as a friend or a family member to take care of your shipping is a good idea. My question is, what if I open an amazon warehouse and let my supplier ship the products directly to my amazon warehouse so amazon can take care of the shipping? I’m only considering amazon at this point. And of course, that would be after I’ve been satisfied with the sample.
    So, what are your suggestions?

    Again, thank you for this great blog,


  194. Hi,i am new and looking toward a business online.
    while looking through your tips, right now i am look at supplier at alibaba.
    Just want to know from your experience if OEM product etc watch wallet is it illegal?

  195. Do you have any ideas about making a decent business off fair trade products. I love the idea of small imports, but I’m concerned about the working conditions in these factories that Alibaba brings in.

  196. I almost never leave a response, but I looked at some off the remarks here Step-by-Step Guide on Howw To Find A Profitable Product To Sell – StartupBros.
    I actually doo have 2 questions for you if you tend not
    to mind. Is it only me or does it look like like some of these remarks
    look as iif they are left by brain ead individuals?

    😛 And, if you are posting at other places, I would like to follow you.
    Could you make a list of evrry one of all your public pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or lnkedin profile?

  197. I have been trawling through information for weeks in prep for starting an on line business. I was just about to place my first “bulk” order and found your blog. Whew. Thank goodness I did. I think you saved me a great deal of angst.
    I am now back to the drawing board, armed with the knowledge I needed to start. Thank you for posting.

  198. Hi Will,

    thanks for this great article.
    what would you recommend in case a product is sold by amazon itself. would you still consider the product a good product (considering the margin are good and the products is a best seller)?


  199. Hi, I asked you for help previously on helping me find a product but I accidentally used the wrong email, please use this one to reply. Thank you so much

  200. Hi, awesome blog, I’m really keen and trying to start an online business but I’m having a lot of trouble finding a product, there’s just so much to pick from, help?

    Thank you

  201. Hi Will, I’m very,very new to Import Marketing. But, I have to tell you just from your website you have inspired me to succeed. You have a way of just laying it out there and getting it understood. If, I can help forward your message or help you in any way contact me. I want to find a niche and get myself selling products on-line. I thinks it’s great that your so young and very accomplished.


  202. Hi Will,

    Awesome article!

    Regarding the search product, do you mean that it is worth looking for products with a price of $ 10 or more?


  203. Hi Bro,

    Thanks this post really helps! My questions is this; I have what I think a really great niche that could sell in US and European markets and beyond. I was wondering what the best way to start was to initial minimse outgoings ie use shopify, amazon and ebay – set up amazon / ebay associate and start selling their products on my site right away while I go through the sample /finding suppliers route you suggested. Thoughts? Also im in the UK so do you still think the Alibab approach is best? Should I start selling in the UK, European MArkets (I live in UK) or go straight for US? Last question – I dont really have much capital to get me tarted so worried about having to buy products in buld initially – any thoughts/advice? Or do I need thousands before I can get started on getting products?

    Cheers so much!

  204. Hi Will,

    Love your blog. Been searching for products for a few days and still searching. Just have a few questions though. I am from Canada, should I look into selling only to Canadians? If so, do you know how I could filter ebay listings so I can see products sold only to Canadians? It seems like I can only filter from Canadian sellers, which is not really helping.



  205. Hi Will,

    I watched your webinar and I am working on a few products, where can i get a spreadsheet like the one you used for finding products, to list 50 products.
    Thanks in advance

  206. Regarding Alibaba Suppliers: I understand that is important to use Gold Supplier and onsite check. What about Assessed Suppliers? There are several products from suppliers that I would look at that are not mark as an assessed supplier. (They are listed under the trade assurance though).

  207. I noticed you mentioned you don’t care for adwords, but your giving away adwords coupons?

  208. Thanks for sharing this article. It gave me some really great actionable tips. I thought it was a great point about narrowing on your niche. Necklaces isn’t enough it has to be owl, clock etc. I still find it amazing that such a specific niche can be profitable but that is demonstrated again and again in a number of different business types.

  209. Hello Will, Thank you for the tips but how did you find it best to manage your inventory levels across all the selling platforms?

  210. Hi Will, thanks for sharing this. Although I live in Australia, I definitely can use your tips and tricks here. I’m not sure if these questions have been posted and answered. You mentioned: “just make sure they are sending via EMS, TNT, DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc to your house and you shouldn’t have any issues. The samples will likely be sent the same way your future orders will be sent, so getting the sample is good to try that out as well”. Are you saying that even when you buy more bulk items, you use these couriers even though they cost a lot? I’m assuming you take these courier costs into your margin, and yet you’re still making 50% margin? Do you normally enter into a formal agreement with the supplier when you decide to buy bulk? Cheers,

  211. Great information and I’m excited to put it to use since I’ve been looking to move away from services and into physical products. I have one question about Teraspeak.
    I signed up for the free 7-day trial but it looks like the sell-through data, etc is only available for “professional users,” at a cost of ~$15.00 monthly, billed annually. Do I need to upgrade or did I miss a specific area that has the information we’re looking for? Teraspeak is not the most intuitive of websites to use.

  212. Hi!

    Great post! I wanted to ask about taxes: is there not any import taxes if you import from China? I live in Estonia and if i want to import goods from outside of European Union then i have to pay about 30% extra.


  213. Hello,
    I just want to say thanks for your articles. I have read through your articles and have now just ordered a few samples. At the same time I am looking ahead to see what else I can get my hands on that will make a profit. I think most of my time since I am barely starting has been doing research and re-reading your articles. thanks

  214. Hi!i’m just starting to plan my ‘shop’ and your blog is really helpful!i’m glad i found it!
    Thanks for all the good advice!

  215. Hi, my problem is a product that I sell and it’s already selling but a do mine by hand and stronger and better I would like to know how how can I make more we quantity is hire people to do the product faster I reader he’d my product and gotten good reviews. Need help on how to produce more. Thanks

  216. Sweet article!
    Scrolled through comments, didn’t see this question asked:
    Your friend who was branding the subwoofers — did he physically brand them himself (and how did he do that?) or did he reach out to his supplier and have them brand each before shipping?

  217. Having trouble finding a product to sell any suggestion to get me off on the right track?

  218. Don’t wanna disappoint you guys, they just need to pay $3300 to become Gold Suppliers.

  219. Hi!
    I was wondering that when you were younger and without a credit card, how did you overcome paypal payments? Is it by parents? Are there any other way to pay suppliers without creditcards? 😛

  220. I know you said don’t worry about tax on the front end, but do I need to setup a company in order to be legal? I ask because when I joined Ali it asked for a Company Name and said “Must be exactly the same as that registered with your local government”

    Thanks –

  221. Hi Will,

    I’ve been buying product samples and listing them either on amazon or eBay. My question is…

    What’s a good measurement to determine whether or not it’s a good product to sell based off of the information gathered from selling the samples?

    I have one product that took 6 days to sell under a preexisting listing on Amazon.

    I have another product that took 24 hours to sell on amazon under a different listing.

    I have a product on eBay I listed about 12 hours ago…

    If sample sales are an indicator of how quickly it will sell on amazon… None of these are likely to sell 5-10/day.

    Is that sales per day number too high of an expectation at first? Or do I need to keep looking?

    This site is awesome and part of me is kicking myself for not going through the holiday group you guys had.


  222. Really great post with common sense info, thank you for taking the time!
    I’m just getting started with this and trying to find a product to start with, any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    I’ve been forced into a lifestyle change because of arthritis in my neck and I’m hoping this will be the ticket..

    Thanks again!
    Wish me luck

  223. Hi,

    Looks like you have a lot of great info here, but PLEASE PLEASE put a date to the article. Even the comments have no dates.
    I’m not sure if you do this on purpose so the information doesn’t look outdated, but I can tell you that if that is the intention, then it has the opposite effect, as if there is no date to go with this information, I can assume it is 10 years old and therefore not relevant anymore.
    It is a big turn off for this article and any further information/products you have. Without dates it is very difficult to gauge the relevance of the information and whether it is worth investing any time into it.
    PLEASE, please assign dates to your posts and comments. I usually turn immediately away from any site that does not have dates, but I’m willing to give this another go as it seems you have some really substantial and valuable content.
    From skimming the comments, all I can see is someone saying they are reading this on their new iphone 4, that is the only way I can estimate a date. An earlier reply from you to a comment asking about the date was “this year”, again very vague and of no use to me. “this year” could be 2014, or it could be 2004, as there is no date associated to the comment I cannot tell.

  224. And to think some people charge good money to do classes for the information you provided with this in-depth article.

    Good value to readers, I like your approach! Way to go and keep up the epic work you put in.

  225. Hi Will,

    Thank you!!! Great article…

    Would you suggest trying product that does not exist on eBay / Amazon ??
    So the only real data would be from similar products that seem to be working.
    (e.g. “gause sponges” for medical use but the ones i’m looking into aren’t online)

    Regardless weather it’s a good idea or not, would you know of any added steps to determine if it were a good buy?

    Thank you for your help, and a great read!

  226. Awesome Article. My first question is this: Why would so many of these suppliers not sell their own products directly to the general public through these well know avenues (Ebay, Amazon, Etc.)? Seems like it would be fairly easy for them to monopolize their product/niche.

  227. Hi,

    I appreciate your blog which you share with all based on your experience. i am looking to start import business in india.

    Hope you will revert back soon to discuss further.

    Thanks & Regards

  228. Hey,

    What is the best way to start selling on eBay?
    Is it through Seller Account or eBay Store?
    What is the difference?


  229. Hi will,

    Thank you a lot for the great content!

    I also sent you a message about this but I found two potential products to sell on amazon.it and I want to ask you your advice about it here in the comments as you suggested.

    Since I don’t know how to really evaluate market demand for a potential product to sell on Amazon I’m not sure if the items I’m thinking about can be profitable for Amazon.it

    I know there’s a formula and I can assess the sale rank, checking google trends and keywords. Although, in Italy FBA and the Amazon market in general it’s not as huge as in US so I just want to make sure that it’s worth trying the Italian market.

    Do the number of reviews about a product can help me to predict whether or not there’s demand for that product?

    I’m thinking to private label this 2 following products:


    What’s your suggestion about it?

    I’d really appreciate your help to get me started.

    Talk soon,


  230. Hi Kyle

    This is a great website, thank you so much for putting valuable information out there!

    How do I get barcodes onto the product that I’m buying from Alibaba? so I can get it sent to FBA directly?

    Thanks again for sharing your valuable information!


    • Hi Francis,

      I’m glad you’re finding value here! You can buy barcodes/UPC codes straight from Amazon, eBay, or others.

      You CAN send straight to FBA. They have a low tolerance for returns though so you may want to use an inspection service first (you can even use Amazon’s).

  231. Hi Will,
    I have read your article and would love to get started but as I live in the UK and not the US, do you not think this would work as week due to VAT reasons?

  232. Thank you so much Will for what you have done. Its amazing. Do you keep the products in your home and then send them to whoever buys them online? or does the eBay stores it for you and send it to your customer. What is the best thing to do in regard to the place where to keep the products.

  233. Hi There

    I’ve spoken to a few people who reckon you can get suppliers to ship directly to amazon who will then deliver the products to customers. Do you know if this is possible, and if so what would be the disadvantages of doing this?

  234. Hello,
    Thinking on starting a business like but the thing is that I live in Romania (east-europe) and that raises several issues:
    1. E-bay and Pay Pal is not a big fan of Romania, meaning that a lot of scams where from here so there is a thrust problem and maybe the people avoid products sold from this country…can I verify that somehow?

    2.I don`t know where are the buyers from, on Ebay and Craiglist. How much it will cost me to ship to other countries, or USA?

    3. Any other tips for a seller from Romania?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’m also from Romania, I was thinking exactly the same, what is your progress on Amazon asa a romanian seller ? Any succes ?

  235. Thanks for the info. I would like speaking to you, when you have a chance please call me @ 718.249.5602
    Joe Ruby

  236. Hi Will,

    Not sure if this is a better place to reach you than email. I had a question for you though.

    I plan on selling this item on amazon. What are your thoughts on these margins based off of your experience?

    Cost per item – $12.05
    Import shipping cost per item – $9.00
    Cost before Amazon fees – $21.05

    The sale price for Amazon Prime for this exact item and brand is $38.99

    It’s ranked in the #1,000’s in all kitchen products and top 10 for a more specific niche.

    So it looks like just under $18 per item profit minus amazon fees. What are your thoughts on this opportunity?


      • Well, as an update… I have listed the product under the same listing that made it to the #10 item. It has been listed for 5 days and I have yet to sell one. Luckily I took the advice written to try to sell the sample before purchasing a large order. I guess I have two questions.

        1. Since it is not an Amazon Prime item, do you think that has a big reason to do with why it isn’t selling? A good product would probably sell at least once a day, right?

        2. Some products aren’t already selling on Amazon, and would require a UPC code. Have you done this before? Where do you suggest getting a UPC at a good price? Or do you think it is better to stick to items that are already selling on Amazon?

        Okay… so that was more than 2 questions… but I am starting to actually DO this and not just think/talk about it. These are the initial questions I have as I am doing it. I am going to try listing it on Amazon Prime but I am wondering if this is a hurdle already jumped over by you.


        • Hi Dan,

          Congratulations! You’ve already gone farther than almost anyone else.

          I know that you will find our live presentation today profitable. Check it out here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8037508426663537154

          1. If others are offering the same product as you as Prime then you will definitely have some trouble. There are ways to get around this though. There are a lot of tweaks that you can make to boost your sales. I would need more details on your situation to figure out exactly what you need to do.

          2. You’ll need to get UPC codes, you may want to start here: http://www.gs1us.org/get-started/im-new-to-gs1-us

          We’ve pretty much dealt with every hurdle you can come across in this business!

          • Thanks for the quick response. I would give you the product info through email for more detail… But I don’t want to tell the world what I’m selling and add competition 🙂

            Nobody is selling this product FBA anymore. In fact there is only one other person selling it and not FBA. The ranking has dropped quite a bit now. I’m wondering if I just missed a random surge and the product isn’t as hot as I thought… Or if it isn’t selling because there is no amazon prime available. I am going to send it out to FBA to see if that changes the demand.

            Also, is the webinar being recorded. I’ll be at work and can’t listen.


  237. Sorry, another question…I just want to make sure I understand everything…I found a product, I am negotiating with a supplier for samples, and then I will put those on Amazon and ebay…could you write a follow-up on seller fees for these seller’s platforms…explain what you did to reduce those fees.

  238. How are your thoughts on amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon)? Have you ever imported from a supplier directly to Amazon warehouses, or do you always ship to your personal warehouse and/or home? If so, how did you go about choosing a warehouse? If you used Amazon FBA, how exactly did you set that up and avoid any problems with them? (i.e. closed account due to accidentally selling a counterfeit item, or broken item, etc…)

  239. Hi Will,
    I am always interested in on-line business. I love your article and very impress with your listing page. How can I have my product listing page look professional?

  240. Hi Will
    really like the readings and suggestions. Very informative and easy to follow. I m currently in New Zealand and i have difficulty getting exposure to a large population from here in NZ. The local online website for selling is trademe.co.nz which is good however it is always flooded by major market players. I do want to start with a small amount of capital to build basic aknowledge…Any suggestions at all.
    I know its a hit general but any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards,

  241. Hey! U did a wonderful job here and I find interesting, pls what I will appreciate u do for me is by give me some goods that are sellable, that one quickly recover capital and profit back on time. Thank u so much for this highly intresting ebook. HOD baba.

  242. Thank you Will for this amazing blog that you have created with such detail and amazing tips. Hats off to you. I have been meaning to work with Alibaba but had so many questions that I was not sure where to begin. But your blog answered all my questions plus more.

    I am from a sales field by profession and would like to venture on my own for fun, excitement and hopefully growth. I know now where to start from…

    Thank you!
    Happy Selling !

  243. Hi,

    This site really is amazing, it has given me the info and confidence i needed to jump in. I’m in the U.K and things are a little different but i agree with all of your core principles. Think i have managed to find 2 good products, with decent margins to sell here in the U.K. Will see how it goes.

    Thanks for being unselfish with your information, really, really appreciate it.


  244. I was looking at trying to sell a popular party card game from a seller in China. The price per unit is quoted as $8.35 but they’re talking about shipping a min of 100 units Fedex at a price of $6.40 per kilogram and say the package will be 100 kg, so that’s an additional $640 USD. So I am looking at a total investment of $1475. They games sell on eBay for $25 – $27 with free shipping. Does the shipping amount seem too high? How do you get your margins up? Also, I have no way of knowing whether the game is pirated or not. Maybe it is – would this fall under your “stay away from trademarked things” rule?

  245. Would I get a better deal if I had a Chinese friend message people for me on Alibaba in Chinese? I am looking into buying android tablets. Are there any advantages to this? Will it reduce my shipping or price point in any way?

  246. You said I should be getting responses from most of my suppliers within a couple of hours. I sent messages to about 18 following your steps but only got replies from 2. This about 7 hours afterwards.