How (and why) to validate your product ideas

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you might have seen that I’m pretty big on validating your product ideas.  (I even dedicate an entire module of my course to the topic.) It’s that important.

Here’s why you need validation

I know from experience that creating and launching a product isn’t easy.  It takes time, effort, money – plus a fair bit of courage.

Having said all that (I certainly don’t want to put you off!), it all becomes a bit easier if you know for sure that your product is something people want and will pay for.

It’s all a bit less scary if you know you’ve got a product idea that will sell well and make you a profit.  If you’re not even sure whether you’ll see your initial investment again it becomes much more of a gamble.

How do you validate your product idea?

Hopefully I’ve now convinced you that this step is essential!

I have a free resource you can use, with 7 FREE ways to validate your idea.

7 free ways to verify your product idea

In this blog post, I also talk about one free way you can validate your idea. Essentially by identifying your ideal customer, finding them and talking to them – whether face-to-face or online.

If that sounds like too much work, or perhaps you’re not ready to go out and share your idea with the world yet (no judgement here – I get it, I certainly wasn’t), there’s another method you can try which is online and also completely free.

The Jungle Scout Amazon Sales Estimator

This is a great free tool, which will give you a rough estimate of how many sales a product makes on Amazon, per month based on their BSR (best seller rank). While it may not be 100% accurate, for products similar to yours, it’ll give you an idea.

If reading through instructions isn’t for you, don’t worry.  I made a video walk-through that you can watch right here:

Here’s how to use the sales estimator

  1. Find a product (or products) on Amazon, that compare well to the product you want to sell.
  2. Scroll down to the part of the listing called additional information. (It looks like this.)

3. You can see that this example is 4 in Home & Kitchen in the UK marketplace.

4. Go over to the sales estimator, enter in the BSR (4), the marketplace (UK) and the category (home and kitchen) and you’ll get the results.

Now, the categories are pretty broad, so this will only be an idea – but it’s a starting point at least.

As a bonus, you can even get an idea of how much each seller is making each month, using another free tool. Just head to the bottom of this article.

What if I don’t intend to sell on Amazon?

Obviously this is only looking at sales made on Amazon and that might not be what you have in mind.  However, Amazon is a huge marketplace, with lots of customers. Many products can and do sell well there, so it will at least give you an indication of whether it’s something that people are buying – even if you intend to sell on your own website, or somewhere else entirely.

If you’re unsure whether your product is a good fit for Amazon, my advice would be to find the best-selling product that does what yours does – regardless of the exact specification.  i.e. if you intend to sell merino blankets then look at the bestseller in that category.

If the top-selling product isn’t profitable, it may be that Amazon isn’t the best marketplace for your product, at this time.

If you need advice on which marketplace might be best for you, you can always book in a free call with me.

And, it is important to say, that you should always use at least two methods to validate your product.  I wouldn’t just assume that because it’s currently selling well on Amazon (or anywhere else) it will automatically work for you.

If you want to know what’s selling on Amazon, here’s how to find the best-selling products 

  1. We’ll use an example of merino blankets.  Type that into the Amazon search bar.
  2. Select the first organic result.  (I.e. it won’t say sponsored products.)
  3. Scroll down to the part of the listing called additional information. 

4. Here you can see the product is in two categories – bed blankets and bed throws.  For this example, I’m going with bed blankets and am going to click into that category.

5. I can now see the best-sellers for bed blankets. If you were specifically looking for merino then you’d scroll down until you found one, click into that listing and enter the information into the sales estimator.  (On the day I checked, there wasn’t a merino blanket in the top 100 for this category – not a good sign.)

6. If you were looking for blankets in a broader sense (i.e. you wanted to sell blankets, but weren’t sure which kind to go for) you could browse this, look at the best-sellers, see what features they have and run them through the estimator to get an idea.

Using the Amazon best-sellers page to get product ideas

If you don’t want to pay for software to find top-selling products, and have some time to spare doing it manually, you can use a combination of the Amazon best-sellers pages and the free JungleScout software to see which products are selling well.

Click here for UK best-sellers

Click here for US best-sellers

Bonus tip!  Use another free tool to get an idea of profits

I love to give you a little extra – so here’s a bonus.

You can use Amazon’s FBA calculator to get an idea of profits, by seeing the fees paid to Amazon for each sale.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Find out the estimated sales per month for your selected product using the sales estimator tool, as above.
  2. Go to the Amazon FBA revenue calculator and enter the ASIN of the product.  (This can also be found under additional information, right above the BSR.)
  3. Go back to the product listing and enter the selling price under Amazon Fulfilment.

You can now see that the profit per item sold is estimated at £6.95.  Multiply that by the estimated monthly sales for this product (4142) and you get a total of £28,786.90 monthly revenue.

I may have been conservative here too, as when I ran this product through my (paid for) software) it estimates a monthly revenue of £36,753.  

Obviously bear in mind that this isn’t profit. You don’t know how much this product costs to manufacture and ship (although you can find out).  What this does tell you, is that if you were looking to sell something similar (hopefully better) there’s definitely potential.

A final word on validation – and this is an important one

This can’t be the only validation step you do – however, if I were looking at this product, I’d be feeling much more confident around now!

And that’s ultimately what I want for you – the confidence to move forward with your product idea.

So please do one thing for me – validate your idea (either using this method PLUS one or more of the other 6 FREE methods in my download) and let me know how you feel after.

 

7 free ways to verify your product idea