Amazon Product Research: Manual vs. Automated

by Colleen Quattlebaum

Knowing what to sell on can be one of the most difficult decisions a seller makes.

With millions of products already listed on the Amazon marketplace and countless private-label and bundling opportunities to consider, today's merchant must be judicious when building his or her product catalog. Being overly analytical, however, can cause you to miss out on timely opportunities.

What's the right mix?

In this post, we'll explore two common options for doing Amazon product research: manual and automated.

Manual Amazon Product Research

One of the things that makes you such a great seller is your uncanny understanding of customer needs. As new catalogs arrive from suppliers, your instincts kick in, allowing you to hone in on the dozen or two products worth sourcing.

Even with your knack for anticipating consumer demand, there's still a considerable amount of analysis involved with the sourcing process. If you're like most sellers, you probably follow these steps:

Create (or clone) a spreadsheet: Perhaps you have a go-to spreadsheet template you use for a starting point. Or, perhaps you prefer to start fresh each time, building your calculations on the fly. Either way, this step does utilize several minutes of your time.

Click through Amazon product detail pages: Before issuing any POs to suppliers, you typically spend an hour or two gathering Amazon market intelligence for each ASIN. Buy Box prices, number of sellers, category and rank are just a few of the important data points. All of this gets keyed into your spreadsheet.

Crunch the numbers: Once your spreadsheet contains up-to-date information, you then get busy comparing each item's estimated profitability and fulfillment fees. Those that offer strong margins rise to the top, and those that don't float to the bottom.

Altogether, this process might consume an afternoon of your time. At face value, this may not seem like a big deal. Clearly, making informed sourcing decisions should be a top priority and worthy of your attention. On the other hand, you're an extremely busy person with countless orders to fulfill, feedback to solicit, returns to process and FBA shipments to prep. Streamlining the research process could certainly deliver value to your business. Obviously, the big question is "How?".

I'm glad you asked.

Automated Amazon Product Research

Luckily, there are tools designed to simplify the eCommerce research process. For example, our MarketScout tool (sign up with no credit card required) was built specifically for Amazon merchants like you. As new supplier catalogs arrive, just paste the ASINs and associated cost data into our easy-to-use template. Upload the template to MarketScout and watch the magic. Within moments, MarketScout returns a comprehensive analysis that might have taken hours to manually create.

Sort and search in your web browser or export to CSV for a more in-depth review. Either way, you have instant access to the data you need to make a wise stocking decision.

Better yet, MarketScout saves a copy of each batch that you've uploaded. Let's be honest: As a customer-centric seller, you're always "on call" to address buyer concerns and questions. When such distractions occur (and they will), MarketScout makes multitasking easier. No more wondering whether you've already updated a formula or data point - everything is saved securely (and accurately) in MarketScout.

Manual vs. Automated: The Choice is Yours

Smart merchants invest in the Amazon product research process. Some invest their time, while others prefer to outsource the process with software. As you grow your Amazon business, consider adding a tool like MarketScout to your seller toolbox.

Ready to try MarketScout? Try it absolutely free today.

Originally published on April 4, 2018, updated May 31, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.