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Amazon Sellers Can Explore Unmet Customer Demand

Amazon Sellers Can Explore Unmet Customer Demand

Amazon introduced a tool last fall called Product Opportunity Explorer in beta, and it made it available to all sellers in June. The idea behind it is to point Amazon’s army of sellers to ways they can fill unmet customer demand – theoretically a win-win for the company and sellers.

Product Opportunity Explorer provides sellers with information about what customers are searching for, clicking on, and buying – as well as not buying, which helps sellers “identify opportunities to launch new, high-potential products to serve unmet customer demand.”

Sellers can also track sales history and pricing trends using the tool. And in September, Amazon announced an enhancement called Customer Reviews Insight that lets sellers assess the likelihood of a new product gaining traction with customers and lets them forecast sales potential.

A few sellers responded to a reminder about the program from Amazon in August. One said they believed it was a way for Amazon to “backdoor” products onto its site from brands who didn’t want their products sold on Amazon.

Another seller said they’d rather see Amazon focus on improving existing features, such as ensuring FBA products get checked in to fulfillment centers accurately and in a timely manner, and improving the new shipment creating program, which they called “horrible.” The seller wrote, “You allocate resources towards the wrong things.”

But those few comments don’t indicate whether sellers are using the tool or not, or what they think of its usefulness. Earlier this month, a seller asked if Amazon had any plans to include the Toys category, “because this category is not currently available in the Product Opportunity Explorer,” the seller wrote. Amazon hasn’t responded to the question as of yet.

Sellers who are interested in using the tool should fully understand what the data is telling them. That was made clear in a post written by third-party vendor Helium 10 last week, “Ultimate Guide To the NEW Amazon Product Opportunity Explorer.” It pointed out that when sellers use the tool, “you aren’t necessarily looking for products or specific keywords, but rather clusters of products that are powered by clusters of keywords” and went on to explain how the tool relies on “niches” to provide the data.

Amazon published a video in June that walks sellers through the new Product Opportunity Explorer, including its use of niches in reporting demand. Niche metrics are refreshed at the beginning of each week, and new niches are created at the start of each month.

The video explained: “Filtering results to only show niches with a low number of total products and a high search volume could help you identify unmet customer demand and an opportunity for a new product.”

If you’ve used the tool, let us know in the comments below what you think of it.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.