August 03, 2019

What To Sell On Amazon FBA: 14 Wholesale & Private Label Ideas

By Allee Evensen

You’ve seen them plastering Youtube and Facebook with multi-million dollar mansions and six figure cars. Casually walking along their beachfront property, they provide assurance that you too can learn the secrets of how to sell on Amazon by simply enrolling in their $4999 course.

Even though we never recommend spending money on information you can get for free, these Amazon “gurus” have the right idea. Amazon won’t make anyone an instant millionaire, but last year Jeff Bezos announced small and medium-sized businesses earn an average of $90,000 a year using the Amazon platform. Amazon holds a massive 50% share of the U.S. e-commerce market, with no signs of slow down on the horizon.

If you’re looking for a green slice of the Amazon pie, read on.

Finding products to sell on Amazon isn’t dumb luck -- it’s a process powered by good research.

Choosing what you want to sell on Amazon is easier than you think, even if it takes a little legwork. ProfitGuru provides a massive amount of data that can help you predict which products are most likely to bring in profits. Even if you have no idea where to start, ProfitGuru gives you the tools to search for products with good profit margins. Best of all, you can (and should!) do all of this research before ever spending a dime on stock.

We’ve written a comprehensive guide to products you should (and shouldn’t) sell on Amazon.com. Nobody can tell you exactly what to sell (after all, there are almost 4 million products listed on Amazon) but this Amazon selling guide will help kick off your research. Before we start, let’s get a little lingo down.

Wholesale vs. Private Label

Long before you even open an Amazon account or make a  purchase, you should have a good idea of how you’re going to source your products. Most sellers opt to sources from two methods: wholesale or private label. 

Wholesale

Wholesale is buying pre-branded goods in large quantities from a distributor. For example, purchasing 1000 Barbie dolls from Mattel (or another company who buys from Mattel) would qualify as a wholesale purchase. 

Private Label

Private Labeling is buying a product directly from the manufacturer and branding it with your own company name. This can be a product that already exists in the market or something new you’ve worked with a manufacturer to create from scratch. Most private label products on Amazon are imported from China.

FBA, FBM & Seller-Fulfilled Prime

Amazon provides a few options when it comes to fulfillment. 

FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant)

FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant): With this method, the merchant ships to the customer from their own warehouse/location. When a customer puts in an order, Amazon tells the merchant how to pack it, ship it, and upload a tracking number to the seller central account. FBM fulfillment fees are typically 10-20% lower than FBA, but we still don’t recommend this method to brand new sellers, unless they have a pre-established warehouse setup. 

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon): With FBA, Amazon takes care of all the packing and shipping of items, and guarantees customers will receive them in two days. All the merchant does is send their product to a few selected Amazon warehouses and Amazon takes care of the rest. With FBA, Amazon also takes care of all customer service issues. Typical FBA fees are around 35% of the sales price of an item, though this can vary depending on weight and dimensions of an item. 

SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime)

SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime): Seller-Fulfilled Prime is an exclusive program that allows merchants to send products from their own website, while still guaranteeing two-day shipping. New sellers should avoid this program unless they have previous shipping logistics experience. Not only is it expensive, but the metrics Amazon requires can be challenging to maintain. 


Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some basic Amazon research that will help you narrow down your profitable product choice.

Don’t Sell: Heavy FBA Items with a low profit margin.

The minimum fulfillment fee Amazon charges for any item is around $5, with extra fees for excessive weight. Once you add in inbound shipping costs with an Amazon partnered carrier, it’s easy to lose money rather than make it.

Selling brick on amazon

Selling brick on amazon

Do Sell: Small, light items

Any product in new condition that measures 16 x 9 x 4 inches or less, weigh less than 10 oz or less, and is priced at $7 or less is eligible for Amazon’s Small and Light program. This program cuts fees as much as 50%, and is the only profitable way to sell low-priced items on Amazon.

The following product types below are not eligible:

Selling bracelets on amazon

Selling bracelets on amazon

Don’t sell: Items with lots of similar competitors

When you’re researching a niche on Amazon, type a keyword into the search bar and see how many results come back. If there are a lot of similar products that have the same basic functionality, the niche will be hard to break into.

Garlic press

Garlic Press

The exception to this is if you can create a private label product that is better, cheaper, or has a different function than currently exists within the niche.

Do sell: Complementary items

Search for items that don’t exist, but have a function that compliments another popular item. This will help kickstart your listings from the get-go, because Amazon will pair the listings in search results over time.

Watter Bottles

Watter bottles

Don’t sell: Items with high liability

Think about the risks associated with your product choice. Can a customer fall off of it? Does it have moving parts? Could it cause bodily damaged if consumed? Is there a risk of recall? Unless you have a multi-million dollar liability insurance policy, low risk products are the way to go.

Hoverboard an example of high liability item

Hoverboard is an example
of high liability item

Do sell: Kids toys without moving parts or batteries

Not only are these products less risky than electronics, but they are generally cheaper and less likely to be damaged in shipping. They also have a built-in audience: many parents specifically seek out traditional toys over modern ones.

Wood blocks

Wood blocks

Don’t sell: Gift “bundles” with restricted items

There are thousands of items that are gated or restricted on Amazon. While there is usually an approval process that can remove these barriers, it’s often expensive or time-consuming. Some sellers “bundle” restricted products with allowed products as a way around the rules. This is a quick way to get your Amazon account suspended.

Product bundle with restricted products

Product bundle with restricted products

Do sell: Household items in multipacks

In some categories (household and grocery) it can be profitable to bundle exact items in multiples. Not only does it save on fees, but customers are more likely to buy multiples of items they need to replace on a consistent basis. This is especially applicable to private label items -- Amazon generally frowns on bundling wholesale items if they don’t come in a multipack from the manufacturer.

Spray bottles

Spray bottles

Don’t sell: Items with a high return rate

Clothes, shoes and baby products the highest rate of return on Amazon. When a customer returns an item (even if it’s damaged) Amazon may elect not to reimburse you. Even if they do, you’ll still be out the original selling fees you paid for the item.

High return items like shoes

High return item - shoes

Do sell: Ship-proof items

If you sell FBA products, your items will go through many hands: An inbound shipping company, Amazon warehouse employees, robots, and a final shipper (to name a few). Choosing products that aren’t easily damaged will save you time and money. When in doubt, do a drop test. If your product can fall from 10 feet without showing any signs of wear or damage, it’s probably a safe bet.

Shipping proof item - balls

Shipping proof item - balls

Don’t sell: One of a kind items

While Amazon does have a collectibles category, it’s not a great long-term business model to sell valuable memorabilia. Take that Peyton Manning-signed jersey to a professional, or at least attempt Ebay before listing it on Amazon.

Peyton Manning-signed jersey

Peyton Manning-signed jersey

Do sell: Popular items you can get on a consistent basis

You’re out to build a business, not a thrift store. Spend your hours finding products that can be consistently reordered rather than one-time finds. Think about brands or items your customers use day in and day out.

Sponges

Sponges

Don’t sell: Wholesale products with hundreds of other sellers on the listing

Customers buy Amazon products using the buy box, which rotates between sellers who have the lowest price on a given product. When you’re splitting the buy box between 100 (or even 10!) different sellers, you’ll only get a portion of the sales you would if you were the only seller. Even the most popular products can be difficult to sell if the competition is fierce.

Uno game

Uno game

Do sell: Items from regional wholesalers

One of your best resources is a quick Google search to find wholesalers in your immediate area. Not only does this save money on shipping costs, but you’re more likely to find products that may not be easily accessible across the rest of the U.S. It’s also easier to arrange face-to-face meetings to guarantee you’re getting the best price possible.

NY coffee cup

NY coffee cup


With more than 350 million products on Amazon, it’s obvious there’s a profit to be made. However, to be a true player in the e-commerce game you must find products with great margins, minimal competition and limited risk. ProfitGuru makes this process seamless -- give it a test run today.

Do you have a product in mind? Follow our blog here to learn how to contact wholesalers, put in your first order, and start selling on Amazon today. The money is waiting, all you need to do is take action.