Here’s how to sift through the sand and find gold

Here’s how to sift through the sand and find gold.

Follow these steps exactly and you will (without having to think very hard) come up with 5+ brilliant product niches that most people miss.

(1) Excel.

Open a spreadsheet.

(2) Now, stand up.

Take a walk around and find 5 objects around you that fit private label standards. What’s got PL potential?

- no bigger than a shoebox
- lightweight
- profitable to sell (cost leaves you margins)
- brandable, customizable
- category not dominated by a household name
- the design isn’t patented
- oh yeah, and it makes money on Amazon with a good RPR.

I’ll see you in a sec.

(3) Input products.

Enter the 5 items in cells B1, C1, D1, E1, and F1 respectively. Here are 5 PL-worthy things I found around the office:

cell B1: Microphone (which I use for our YouTube videos)
cell C1: Straw (who has time to tilt their head these days?)
cell D1: Whiteboard (if you don’t have one, get one. Great for brainstorming)
cell E1: Push Up Bars (if you work for too long, you get groggy. Push-ups cleanse the mind)
cell F1: Mouse (I’ve got a gaming mouse)

(4) Input modifiers.

No matter what your products are in the 1st row, input these exact modifiers in Column A.

cell A2: mini
cell A3: large
cell A4: personal
cell A5: industrial
cell A6: single
cell A7: bulk
cell A8: for men
cell A9: for women
cell A10: for kids

Here they are, so you can just copy/paste into your document.

mini
large
personal
industrial
single
bulk
for men
for women
for kids

(5) Fill in the matrix and search the terms on Amazon.

Fill in the cells of the matrix exactly as they appear. Some of the combinations won’t make any sense, but don’t worry. A laugh is your reward.

Actually, can you do me a favor?

Leave a comment with your funniest keyword combination.

Some gems from my batch include “whiteboard for men” and “single mouse”.

Next, copy and paste each cell into Amazon, hit search, and see what you get. The mindset is key: reserve all judgement. At this stage, there are no good or bad ideas.

While you’re conducting the search, run JungleScout or some other market analysis software on the results. Look at the amount of sales versus reviews. You want high sales numbers and low review counts (i.e. there’s demand but it’s not too competitive).

Let the search results, images, and Amazon auto-complete suggestions stimulate your mind. It’s hard to be creative without external inputs. Write down any cool opportunities you find. Here are the results from this round, written stream-of-consciousness style…


Microphone

Mini + Microphone = after searching this, I realized a “mini mic” is more commonly referred to as a “lapel mic” — a great niche! So, I wrote that down.

Large + Microphone = introduced me to the microphone parts called “shock mount” and “pop filter”. I don’t know what these are, but suddenly it dawns on me: there’s a whole niche of audiophiles shopping online. Microphones and sound quality for creatives, musicians, and podcasters is a great little niche to start with. Small, high perceived value, easily identifiable audience.

Boom.

You’re welcome.

Get it? Boom? Boom mic? Fine, be that way.

Personal + Microphone = lapel mics with voice amplifiers. Pretty interesting.

Industrial + Microphone = this search led me to electric earmuffs. Which, while it has a 7k review player in it, may not be too bad.

Single + Microphone = I was introduced to “patch cords” through this search, a product pulling $5k monthly and 42 reviews (Revenue per Review = $119.04). And again, RPR is a niche evaluation statistic that I invented. It’s revenue divided by the number of reviews. A high RPR is good.

Bulk + Microphone = the search “bulk microphone” gives us HUGE spools of microphone cables. This would be a pain to import, but the RPR’s are splendid. So if you’ve already got a sea shipping operation and you’re in tech, it’s worth considering.

The rest of the modifiers in the microphone category weren’t as eventful. It occurs to me is that you could sell accessories for karaoke. That’s a big, but targetable customer base.

Industrial + Microphone
Mens + Microphone
Womens + Microphone
Kids + Microphone

Let’s move on to straws.

Straw

Mini + Straw
Large + Straw = I love this one. What an opportunity: selling large straws made for bubble tea. It’s a bulk play. It’s beautiful. Top listing makes $29k/mo with 241 reviews at the time of writing, which makes the RPR $120. This search also introduced me to reusable stainless steel straws which, while I’ve seen them done as PL before, aren’t totally played out.

was

Personal + Straw
Industrial + Straw
Single + Straw
Bulk + Straw
Mens + Straw = produced mens straw hats, which (I now know) isn’t a profitable niche.
Womens + Straw = see above.
Kids + Straw = a little noise being made by silicone drinking straws doing $9.3k with 142 reviews. Not bad. Normally, fighting for space in silicone products is like Rose and Jack at the end of Titanic: someone falls off and dies. But silicone straws for kids are alright.

Whiteboard
Mini + Whiteboard = boring.
Large + Whiteboard = unveiled a new product category: whiteboard sheets. The top seller pulls in $17k monthly with 8 reviews (?!). We’re done here.

Single + Whiteboard
Bulk + Whiteboard
Industrial + Whiteboard
Mens + Whiteboard = there’s a huge double-sided whiteboard there. It’s huge. $20k/month with 50 reviews. RPR is great, but is it a good PL play? No. Shipping is prohibitive.
Womens + Whiteboard
Kids + Whiteboard = there’s a kids easel play here. But only if it’s a physically small easel. Be careful.

Push Up Bars
Mini + Push Up Bars
Large + Push Up Bars
Personal + Push Up Bars
Industrial + Push Up Bars
Single + Push Up Bars
Bulk + Push Up Bars
Mens + Push Up Bars
Womens + Push Up Bars
Kids + Push Up Bars

This one sucked because push up bars lack diversity. Sometimes you’ll strike out. Just keep going.

Mouse
Mini + Mouse = aside from pics of Mickey’s significant other, it seems mini computer mice are popular (and cut shipping costs). Win-win!

Large + Mouse = this exposed me to keywords like “gaming mouse” and something called a “penguin mouse”, which an ergonomic mouse. Pretty cool! Tip: don’t stop with the top results. Scroll down the page. It’s rewarding.

Personal + Mouse
Industrial + Mouse
Single + Mouse
Bulk + Mouse
Mens + Mouse
Womens + Mouse
Kids + Mouse

…the rest were dull.

So there you have it. After using the HonestFew matrix, we have 8 actually good ideas. No brain racking, no frustration.

Here are the cells that produced results.

Mini Microphone
Large Microphone
Large Straw
Straw for Kids
Large Whiteboard
Mini Mouse
Large Mouse

And here are the extrapolated product ideas.

1. Lapel mic
2. Audiophile accessories e.g. shock mount, pop filter
3. Bubble tea straws
4. Silicone kids straws
5. Whiteboard sheet
6. Kids easels
7. Mini computer mouse
8. Penguin mouse

Done.

Once again, the steps are:

(1) Excel. Crack open a new spreadsheet.
(2) Now, stand up. Take a walk and find 5 PL-worthy products.
(3) Input products. List them in Row 1.
(4) Input modifiers. List the modifiers we give you in Column A.
(5) Fill in the matrix and search the terms on Amazon. Use product research software to expedite. Be open to all ideas.

Once you choose an idea, it’s time to source. Check out our full super-awesome sourcing guide complete with negotiation templates and examples.


PS —

Want even more ideas?

Expand Row 1: tour a Wal-Mart for more PL-worthy items.
Expand Column A: here’s a modifier expansion pack for you:

premium, luxury
old, vintage, retro
reusable
for dogs, cats, fish, reptiles
accessory (works especially well with big-ticket items like tech and appliances)
kit, set, bundle, box
country or culture (e.g. Japanese, Swedish, American)
DIY
plastic, metal, wood, bamboo, silicone
pre-built, pre-made
handmade, made in America
green, sustainable, ethical
subscription, one-time-use

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