MDCS europe feature session 1

The Million Dollar Case Study: Europe – Session #1: Finding Product Ideas

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Welcome to Session #1 of the second part of our Million Dollar Case Study. Just in case you are new here, we are on a journey to build and scale an Amazon business and generate $1 Million dollars in revenue. The profits of which are being donated to Pencils of Promise and every single step of the way is being documented each week for you to follow along in real time.

In this second part of the case study, we are starting the process again. We are going to scale our business by launching in Europe! 

Who am I?

I’m Kym, and I am part of the marketing team here at Jungle Scout. I will be joining Greg each week and he is going to mentor me in this process. I’m actually from Europe myself (UK), and whilst I have been involved in helping out with Jungle Snugs and Jungle Stix, our existing private label products, I have never launched my own product on Amazon before.

kym ellis

But, with Greg’s mentorship, I am going to do just that.

I was very excited when Greg asked me to join him on the Million Dollar Case Study to expand our growing Amazon business. This case study is something we are all very proud of as a company, especially with the philanthropical mission of raising money to build schools in developing countries. Also, we have never covered the topic of selling in Europe before, so I’m stoked to be a part of bringing new insightful content to you!

It’s going to be a great experience and we hope to address some of the common problems or questions that you might have, as I will experience many of them too.

Watch the first session here:

Before I get into the recap for this first session, here is the full replay:

And the slides:

 

Amazon Private Label: The Opportunity

First off, Greg wanted to share some insights about the opportunity of becoming a private label Amazon seller, for those of you who know less about it.

To put it into a short sentence: private labeling on Amazon consists of finding an existing product with demand, sourcing it from China, importing it and then selling it using Amazon’s fulfillment services. The benefits are that it’s relatively easy to get started with a low barrier to entry. Plus, it can be very profitable and easy to grow your business, and you can do this from anywhere in the world!

How would your life change with an extra $4-5k month-

 

This type of business endeavor is great for people who want a side income, as well as the more aspirational entrepreneur who wants to replace their current income. Imagine being able to get an extra income of 4-5k per month? This is actually very achievable. In fact, in our survey of over 2500 Amazon sellers, we found that by 18 months after starting an Amazon business, at least 50% of sellers were bringing in $10k per month!

Greg himself replaced his full-time income as a civil engineer before he created Jungle Scout, and is still selling on Amazon to this day. From personal experience, I have always had a “side hustle” in photography, but that is more of a passion. It requires a lot of time, equipment, and relies on me being somewhere physically to make money from photography. If I were to launch on Amazon, I could replace this from anywhere in the world.

When Greg asked his wide circle of peers, the things that they said they would do by becoming a successful seller included:

  • Travel more
  • Pay off debt
  • Quit their job
  • Invest in retirement
  • Financial freedom…

 

What We Have Achieved So Far!

To recap our journey to $1 million so far, we have:

  1. In 2016 we launched Jungle Stix and sold $287k in the past 18 months
  2. In June 2017, we launched Jungle Snugs which is growing quickly, has sold $19k and became profitable
  3. Total sales to date: $306k – 30% of our goal to a million

MDCS Progress year to date

 

But this isn’t enough. If we want to hit our target we need to keep growing our business, otherwise, it will take three years and as they say on the internet, ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

Onwards… to Europe!

So why Europe, you may ask. Well, we have reasons and data to answer that question.

Firstly, the European marketplaces are growing quickly, but they are still much less saturated and there is much less competition when compared to Amazon.com. In particular, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de are the largest marketplaces within Europe, that hold a lot of opportunity:

Amazon marketplace share

Again taking insights from our seller survey, the sellers that sold in two markets instead of one increased their profits by an average of 40%:

sell in two amazon marketplaces

Not only that, as Greg mentions in the webinar, the goal of our case study is to provide the best learning platform for other people to make the most of this opportunity. We want to make this case study applicable for everyone. That includes Amazon sellers in the US, across Europe and the rest of the world.

If you are following along right now but want to start your business in the US, then you can still apply these same learnings. If you are looking to grow your business internationally, then we’re going to cover a lot of the admin and logistical aspects of selling abroad, too!

 

Finding Product Ideas On Amazon EU

So let’s dive in with some product research and mine for some neat product ideas, shall we? Here’s what we looked at in this session:

  • A revised blueprint for finding product opportunities in different markets
  • Searching for product ideas in European marketplaces
  • Building a list of product ideas
  • HOMEWORK: Tasks to complete before next week’s session 🎓

 

The Revised Product Blueprint For European Markets

So first up, the blueprint. We have covered this several times before but the bare essentials stay the same no matter which country you are selling in. Here’s what you are looking for:

revised product research blueprint for europe

 

What does change are the amount of monthly sales and reviews that you are looking for in existing products that are already being sold on Amazon. Since the size and depth of the European markets are different to the US, you need to bear this in mind. Here’s a comparison including the UK and Germany:

Average monthly sales estimates for UK Germany

 

Let’s Find Some Product Ideas

Once Greg had explained the criteria we were looking for, it was time for me to share my screen and start searching for some product ideas that fit the bill. I had Greg there to answer any questions I had along the way.

I am using a spreadsheet to document all of my ideas in one place. You can access the template here, and download your own copy. (PS, you will need this for your homework). 😉

Here’s what that looks like:

product ideas template

 

You can see that there is a bunch of information I am looking for that Greg has just explained as being important to identify an opportunity. Right now, I want to try and generate a big list of ideas (30 or more), that I can dive into next week. So to do this, I am going to use the Jungle Scout Web App and then the Chrome Extension.

You don’t have to use our tools to do this, however, I will be since it makes it so much quicker!

If you don’t have any of the JS tools, you can use our free estimator, to get rough estimates for any product ideas you discover.

 

Using The Web App To Find Unique Products

I am going to be looking for an opportunity in the UK, because it’s slightly easier as I speak English. Having said that, it’s not impossible to look for product opportunities in Germany even if you don’t speak German, as we’re looking at cold hard data here.

My first port of call was to use a specific set of filters to search the Product Database in the Web App, to get a list of products that meet my criteria. Here are the filters I used:

Jungle Scout Web App Filters

You can see that I have used Greg’s advice and selected:

  • A minimum price of £15 – so that the products we find have more chance of giving us some profit margins
  • Minimum estimated monthly sales of 200 – because we want to find products that have demand and where the top 10 sellers are shifting more than 1500 units per month
  • A maximum number of reviews at 25, because we also want to find products with low enough competition for us to go up against

 

When I hit return, I get a host of products, alongside all of the relevant data, an image and a link directly to the Amazon listing page:

Web App Results

 

Browsing Tools Or Amazon For Product Ideas: What To Look For!

At this point, I am mostly relying on looking at pictures to skim through lots of products and identify good ones to investigate. Here are the key things that I had in the back of my mind:

  • Is it easy and inexpensive to manufacture and import?
  • Avoid any legal issues or big brands – we’re not going to be selling any PS4 games or Nike shoes, for example!
  • Is it easy and inexpensive to ship? Think about things like, is it fragile, or heavy?
  • Does it pass Greg’s “weirdness test” – Greg always mentions that unique items can be real winners for private label, so if I find something strange I want to investigate further.

When I found something that seemed like it is a solid idea, I would then take a look at the estimated monthly sales and if that looks promising, I will open up those products on Amazon.co.uk in a new tab.

During this webinar I managed to pick out 5 products using the above criteria, which were:

 

Exploring A Niche On Amazon With The Chrome Extension

With my five product ideas open in new tabs, I then checked them out in more detail using the JS Chrome Extension. To do this I simply searched on Amazon.co.uk for a main keyword for each product under “all departments” and then opened up the extension on the results page for that keyword:

amazon jungle scout chrome extension

Now that I can see the top 10 ranked products for this keyword, it starts to put things into perspective. In this example, I can see that estimated sales across these sellers, as well as gauge the competition levels by seeing how many reviews the sellers have got.

This particular product has very high demand, but it’s also quite competitive. But equally, it would be extremely cheap to manufacture and import, so this product goes on my spreadsheet. I will fill out as much data as possible for each product idea so that I don’t forget any of it.

Cardboard boxes top 10 amazon uk

Out of the five products I opened in a new tab, four of them seemed like decent opportunities. Only one didn’t make it to my list, which was the reading glasses. This is because although there was high demand, most sellers were selling them at much less than £15, so profits would be low.

To get a full view of how I analyzed each product over my shoulder, make sure you watch the replay at the top of this post!


Things To Look Out For

Whilst I was going through these 5 product ideas, I had a few questions for Greg and we highlighted some interesting things to look out for.

  1. Depth of market – If there is one seller dominating a product idea, and quite a few other sellers shifting a low amount of units per month, then we need to be cautious. Requires further investigation! If one seller is doing really well but all of the others are struggling, there is often a reason for that. Requires further investigation!
  2. Going against Amazon – For a few of these ideas, I noticed Amazon was selling an item in the top 10 sellers. Greg’s take on this is that we don’t mind competing with Amazon as their listings usually suck(!) and Amazon actually wants third-party sellers to succeed because it means they can get more fees. So don’t let this put you off completely.
  3. Using a more specific keyword – When we researched “plastic cutlery” the results were varied and the average price was below £15. Not ideal. However, when we searched for something more specific like “metallic plastic cutlery”, the results were more promising. We actually saw the same thing when we launched Jungle Snugs and searched for “baby towels” versus “hooded baby towels”. Sometimes, it’s worth trying a more specific keyword!

 

Over To You: Homework

Alright, that’s the recap covered. Over the next week, I am myself going to continue this research and create a killer list of product ideas. I would like to invite you to do the same, so that next week when we take a look deeper into these products with some advanced research tactics, you’ll be ready to go!

Don’t forget you can use the same spreadsheet template I used: DOWNLOAD IT HERE!

Our mantra at Jungle Scout is to get started. The longer you wait to start this process, the more time you are wasting not being able to generate extra income. So I hope you will take this opportunity to start your research and join us on this journey.

 

Next Steps

In the next session, we took a deeper look at my full list of product ideas and add some more columns to the product research spreadsheet. Follow along to find out how to narrow down your list of ideas to verify the one that could be your next venture in business!

Remember, you can get the full progress of MDCS: Europe with full recaps here.

If you are enjoying our case studies, we’d love it if you could subscribe to our YouTube channel – it’s our hub for new informational content about how to sell on Amazon.

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48 Comments on “The Million Dollar Case Study: Europe – Session #1: Finding Product Ideas”

  1. I might be mistaken but sometimes when I use the Chrome extension the first 2 results are sponsored listings (I think).

    When we are looking at top 10 listings for data it makes sense to me to exclude the sponsored listings, is this correct?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Steve,

      Yes you are correct, it would be best to only focus on the organic listings when doing product research, as anyone can bid high enough for a top placement with sponsored ads.

      Gen

  2. Hello Greg, Gen and the team @ JS.

    I made a copy of the Home Work sheet as instructed in Google Drive. OK
    When I enter the detials the only bit I’m missing the FBA charges number.
    After messing around for a while, I now see we need Seller ID and other detials to make this feature of the JS App work.

    Where do I find these details in my Amazon account?

    I have opened a UK Amazon account but there are no product in it yet, just following the videos at the moment.

    The Amazon help section is well… not so helpful.

    Tried looking on Youtube – no joy yet.

    Any advice would be very welcome.

    Many thank to Greg and the team for doing these outstanding presentations!

    Yours, Malcolm

      1. Gen.

        Oh wow!
        Got it working now Gen.
        As I had no products in I had to do a bit of extra figureing out and signed up To AWS for my own use. Then I had the required information, put in the App tool and ticked the boxes.
        Refreshed & bingo!

        All this infomation. What is Tier ?
        I turned that off at the moment as I don’t know what it is.

        Many thanks,

        Malcolm.

          1. Gen

            Hi Gen, Thanks for the link.

            Great rescource page. Someone must have taken a long time putting that together.

            Much appriceated :~)

            Malcolm.

            1. Glad that it helped, yes we certainly do put a lot of effort into getting the best resources available!

  3. Hello Junglescout team !
    Thanks for this case study. Looks promising.
    Will you talk about VAT registration for US/CA corp looking to sell in EU ?

    1. Hey Wil,

      Thanks for following along. We will definitely cover those issues in upcoming webinars. Stay tuned!

  4. Hi there,

    Your webinars are greats!!! i have been looking for this kind of video for a bit but nothing about the european market.
    Just a quick question i tried to download the homework file but it says error
    is this link wrong: http://www.junglescout/session2-hm ?

    Cant wait to see the one about tax!!!! Cause i live in Ireland and selling in uk or other markets place the VAT will be not that easy to figure out!!! i asked my accountant and he doesnt have a clue!!!!
    have a great day!!!

    Aurelia

      1. Hi Kym,

        I have only just recently discovered Jungle Scout and running through the sessions.
        The link above doesn’t seem to be working?

        Please could you share another link?

        Thank you
        D

        1. Hi Dee, are you referring to the homework link?

          I have updated that link, but you can also access the sheet here which includes every homework assignment for each session.

          Hope this helps you out!
          Melissa

  5. Thank you Jungle Scout team!

    How did you get to the revised product criteria blueprint for the UK and Germany? I would like to apply these criterias for other countries in Europe (Spain, Italy…).

    Will you cover in any of your future sessions the tax implications (and other legal requirements) of trading in different countries – what an European seller needs to do in order to trade in the US?

    Looking forward to the next session, great job as usual!

    Alex

    1. Hey Alex,

      We got to the revised blueprint by assessing the sales estimates data we have across these marketplaces.

      It’s a rule of thumb that takes into account to the size of the marketplace and the general demand across several categories.

      For Spain and Italy, I would assume the demand you are looking for would be similar or slightly less than what you are looking for in the UK. We may cover it in the future, but for the purposes of this case study we’re focusing on the UK as an example.

      We are definitely going to cover those things, right now we are putting this together and speaking with experts on those subjects to ensure we can provide the best information.

      Thanks for joining us Alex 🙂
      Kym

  6. A lot of the listings you researched in the video appeared to be merchant fulfilled. Does that make it more advantageous to compete as an FBA seller, as it does in the US?

  7. Hello Jungle Scout team!

    I have a question on the results in Jungle Extension.

    In your examples the products listed in the JS Extension search result are NOT ranked by rank in Amazon, or price, or estimated sales, or estimated revenue eyc… It looks like a random ranking…

    What is the criteria behind the ranking?

    Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Hi Alex,

      Can you send over an example or a screenshot please? They should be shown in the order that Amazon shows them.

      Gen

  8. Hi

    Please disregard my previous message, I can see that the ranking is based on keyword search.

    Thank you
    Alex

  9. Hi Greg,

    If Everyone follows this process won’t we all end up picking the same product and then competing with each other?

    Thanks for a great video. Bob.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Not at all. That’s where the value of the Web App is, as there are millions of products in the catalog, with different characteristics, whether retail price, level of competition, etc that appeals to different sellers. Furthermore, opportunities are arising all the time. Like “eclipse glasses” were quite a thing up until today!

      Gen

  10. Hi,

    I have a question re: the Amazon fee calculator. I understand how to use it, but don’t know how I can be accurate with the data that I input.

    For ex. on Alibaba, a product may say $5 – $8. Of course the more I buy, the less it will be, so in the calculator, if I put in the higher #, my margins be much less than when I start selling a lot. So am I calculating the margins today, or the potential in the future?

    Also, I have no clue how much shipping would be, so what do I put in?

    Thanks.

    Risa

    1. Hi Risa,

      You can use the calculator to figure out how much your fees and profits will be at different price points. This helps you to understand what your margins are looking like, how much you need to source the product for (at cost) and how much you need to sell the product for to hit your target profit margins.

      These things are not rigid, so it’s best to understand the best and worst case scenario, and work towards getting your costs down and your profits up.

      You can find a more in depth explanation of how to calculate your profits in Session #3. This also gives you a very rough guide on costs such as shipping.

      To get a better estimate, you can start to speak with freight forwarders for quotes. We are covering importing and shipping in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned for that!

      Thanks

  11. Hi Kym,

    In the spreadsheet, there is a column for BSR, but I don’t remember reading what the threshhold is for an acceptable BSR. Should I stay away from anything over 5,000, 10,000, 15,000?

    Also, re: BSR, I know in your training Greg said to go with the first listed BSR. However, in my research, I found a few products that seemed to be really off with their primary category – like they should have picked a more relevant primary category, so their BSR in the primary category was huge, but in the sub-category, it was much more relevant and the BSR was lower.

    In this case, I thought I should use the second #. Does it really matter, though, since I need to take multiple variables into consideration and this was just anamolous?

    Thanks!
    Risa

    1. Hi Risa,

      There isn’t really a threshold as it can vary so much between categories and sub-categories as you have discovered.

      When looking at BSR, what I would advise to do is compare BSR across products in the top 10. This is a good indication of competition and overall performance for your prospective competitors.

      Because BSR is a rank, that means the lower the number, the higher the rank. So if you find a product with one seller in the top 10 ranked at #5, then you know that particular seller is performing very well according to Amazon’s algorithms.

      The reason BSR can differ so much in a primary category is because there are a lot more products in that category to compete with, where as a niche sub-category will have less and more specific products, therefore you are more likely to have a better ranking.

      Hope this helps!
      Kym

  12. Hello Kym and Gen,

    It’s nice that you try answering all questions. Pls how may I access newer web sessions. Thanks

    1. Hi Adepeju,

      Thanks for joining us 🙂

      You can access all sessions from MDCS: Europe here.

      You can also access all sessions for MDCS: US here.

      There’s a full recap for every session as well as a replay (youtube links in each post).

      You can also sign up for updates for upcoming sessions too 🙂

      Many thanks,
      Kym

  13. Hello!

    I am a huge fan of the case studies, you guys are doing an amazing job for a great cause, keep up the good work! 🙂

    After following all webinars, I am ready to start my product research but I have a quick question:

    Should I start my product research now (in November and December) or should I wait until January as demand and competition figures may be skewed to choose my product since it is holiday season and sales are usually more this time of the year?

    As a side not I will be using the JS web and extension.

    Thanks!
    Zeeshan

    1. Hey Zeeshan,

      I would stay start now, because the longer you wait the longer it will be before you can launch – and that’s the key starting point.

      So long as you are mindful of the fact that it’s the holiday season, you should still be able to identify a good product idea using the JS tools. Here’s some tips to help you out:

      • Make sure you check out seasonality, and find products that don’t just sell well at this time of year. You can head to Google Trends from the extension, and see the trends for specific keywords related to your product ideas
      • As you are using the Web App, be sure to use the product tracker for any product ideas that you shortlist and watch the sales over a longer period of time. This will also help you to identify spikes in sales due to the season
      • Remember that this is all relative too, when you are looking at a list of product ideas, you will start to see comparatively how they all perform in terms of sales
      • The whole launch process takes several weeks of research and work, so I definitely wouldn’t waste any time in getting started personally. Just be mindful of the peak season and smart with your calculations 🙂 You can follow along the rest of this case study step by step to get all of the info and resources you will need.

        Many thanks,
        Kym

  14. Hi,

    When I find a search that looks attractive when taking in count just the top 10 products in the listing, but that then has tons of pages with products that clearly attend to the keyword: How can I assure that is a market I can succeed in?

    My first thought is that I could become one of those products selling <5 in the page 7, right? How can I evaluate that risk and subsequently how can I overcome it?

    Many thanks and sorry for throwing 3 questions in 1,

    Jesus

    1. Hey Jesus,

      Great question. That’s why it’s important to look at the who your front page competitors really are. These easiest way to do this is two-fold:

      1) First, make sure that the average number of reviews that those sellers on the front page have are pretty low. We suggest less than 100 and definitely no more than 200 or so.

      2) Use the Web App’s product tracker to track those people who are in the top 10. You can easily add each of them from the Chrome Extension by clicking the ‘+’ button. as you follow their sales (starting and later while you’re selling) do their numbers stay the same, or is there variation?

      If the review counts are low enough and it doesn’t appear that your competitors are fooling with the market, then it’s probably a product worth launching. After you launch, there’s a few things that you can do to make sure you product hits the first page.

      1) Make sure that it’s totally relevant with the search. You can do this through listing optimizations.

      2) Use promotions and early sales boosts with Jump Send to increase your product’s sales velocity. Remember, Amazon likes products that convert well and make them money. So those products will get pushed to the “front of the line” so to speak.

      3) Continue to track your product’s keyword rankings relative to your competitors using Splitly’s keyword tracker. And as I mentioned above, continue to monitor your competitors. Those that do consistently well are the ones you should track the most.

      Over the next couple of weeks, Greg, Kym, Lenny, Becky, and myself are putting together the “Genius Series” which can be found in the free resources section at the top of the page. Please feel free to sign up as we’ll cover a lot of these methods I explained here.

      And of course, feel free to ask more questions in the comments. 🙂

      Hope that’s helpful!

  15. Hi there, I have been following this case study, really helpful. i have found a product that matches the criteria, however it is an electronic product – should I dismiss this product?

    Thank you

  16. Hello. I have been doing FBA (mainly retail arbitrage) for the past four months and am ready to start my PL journey. I noticed JS has two different studies (one in the US and one in Europe). I know there is about a year difference on the two series. Should I study the Europe series due to it being newer? I am currently in the US and plan on starting with the US Market. Thanks.

    1. Hey Justin,

      We’re currently working on the Genius Series which is written by both US and EU sellers (I sell US). There’s been a few changes, but most of the content on the site is fairly up to date. And of course, if you have any questions, you can ask here.

  17. Hello!

    I am a fan of your case studies, and I just bought Chrome extension tool.

    After following all webinars, I am starting to reaserch my product idea and using the tool Chrome extension I have a one question:
    We are record label , and i noticed from scratch your niche opportunities 2018 , that “Soundproofing Foam Acoustic Tiles Studio Foam Sound Wedges”, it’s a good idea of ​​product for me, it could be a nice product because has a good demand distributed in the top 10 sellers, but the first and second seller they have 3000 and 2000 sales , and the rest of the sales are fairly distributed ( can sells 10 units for month) , and each seller of these have reviews max 50/75, rating from 3,5 to 4,5 stars. Ok I have a huge skills about soundproofing and I can be a consultant in this niche.
    What can I do to investigate more?

    1. Hey Fabio,

      Great question. I’m always wary when there’s one seller dominating the category. However, since it’s something you’re an expert in, I recommend that you take a look at what’s available and use your own intuition to make improvements upon what’s already out there (plus, read the reviews to see what others are saying). Also, be sure to look at the opportunity score and how many actual sellers there are.

      Don’t forget to look at opportunity scores, too. And track track track! Just because something is good today, doesn’t mean that it’ll be good next week.

      Plus, you might consider starting something like that on Kickstarter and testing it in your familiar markets, too. That way you can push your way into the market with help from KS/crowdfunding.

      Finally, I recommend reading the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. It’s got lots of cool insights on getting into niche markets.

      Hope that’s helpful!

  18. Hi Greg and Kym,

    Thanks for sharing. I love the videos. I wanted to get the template for the list of potential products but it is not working. I tried: https://www.junglescout.com/session1-HW and it brings up a 404 error message. Can you please give me a link that works for this download?

    I really appreciate it!

    Thanks,
    Oliver

  19. Hi Greg & Kym,

    Since you started this European case study, has there been any changes to this process you can update us on? About to start this journey to find and launch my first product, so just wanted to check i wasn’t starting with out of date information? Appreciate your help

    Thanks,
    Tobias

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