Product research is perhaps the most important skill to master when looking to grow a successful private label business on Amazon.
But if you’ve tried looking for home-run product opportunities you’ll know it’s not always a piece of cake.
That’s where tools like Helium 10 Black Box come in. They help you filter through the millions of products on Amazon (over 350 million to be exact) and narrow down the best opportunities in the context of your circumstances.
In this article, we’ll walk through a complete review of Helium 10’s Black Box, and give keys on how to best use this powerful tool to find product opportunities that will help you grow a successful Amazon business.
What is Helium 10’s Black Box?
Black Box is a powerful Amazon product research tool that is part of the Helium 10 suite.
It’s designed to help speed up the product research process by filtering through the vast amount of products on Amazon and narrowing down the options to only those products that fit the criteria you’re searching for.
With over 20 different Black Box filters you are able to get very specific on what you are looking for which is helpful for Amazon sellers at all stages and in all budget ranges.
By using Black Box you’re saving hours of manual time that would otherwise be spent crawling through the Amazon website.
This allows you to spend more time on product development – which is a vital aspect of success on Amazon in the current market – and learning how to launch products successfully.
Does Helium 10 Black Box find profitable products?
Black Box certainly helps find products that can make a lot of profit, but it can’t do all the work for you.
Any product research software tool is only as good as the user who is interpreting the data and making decisions off the back of that data.
It’s essential that you take some time to learn the principles behind carrying out effective product research so that you don’t rely on the tool to do all the work for you.
Instead, look to use the tool to speed up the work of product research.
How does Helium 10 Black Box work?
Black Box is essentially a giant filter. It gives the user 20+ Black Box filters to customize on any given search making it very flexible.
You can decide what aspects of potential products are most important to you and sort by those.
To access it, navigate to the Tools section of the main menu and select Black Box.
There you’ll find five different tabs each offering unique functionality – let’s first take a look at each of the tabs, then we’ll break down the available filters within them in the next section.
The Black Box Products Tab
The original and most popular section of the Black Box tool filters unique product opportunities based on the search filters the user customizes.
The Products tab is very useful but users should be aware of one downside – outliers. The nature of the filtering system means you can be shown products that may be outliers or anomalies.
For instance, the estimated sales revenue may be significantly higher than what is normal because the seller may be running a launch campaign.
To overcome this, users should do further detailed due diligence into each product that fits their criteria and study the trends of any given product and market.
The Helium 10 Xray Chrome extension can speed up this process with interactive charts giving historical data.
The Black Box Keywords Tab
The Keywords tab is a unique function of the Black Box tool unlike anything seen in other tools like Jungle Scout.
It is an incredibly powerful function of the tool because it doesn’t just assess single product listings as the Products tab does.
The Keywords tab overcomes this by assessing the results of the entirety of the first page of search results for any given keyword.
This means that when you enter specific criteria into the filters, the results it produces aren’t of single products that could be outliers, but keywords that represent an entire market.
This drastically cuts down the amount of time required to carry out due diligence on a potential winning product and helps you assess a product’s viability with much greater clarity.
The caveat to the Keywords tab is that because it is looking for entire markets that fit your criteria, if your filtering is too strict there may be very limited results.
To counter that, be a little more flexible with your criteria when using the Keywords tab.
The Black Box Competitors Tab
The Competitors tab will allow you to quickly and easily find close competitors of potential products you’re looking to source (or competitors of your own products!).
To use this tab you just need to enter the ASIN, or Amazon Standard Identification Number, of a product you’re looking at to pull a list of other products that are similar.
You can use this tab in your product research efforts to find additional related products that may work well together under the same brand.
The Black Box Niche Tab
The Niche research tool is similar to the Competitors tab in that it will produce a range of results linked to what you enter into the search bar.
This time though you will need to use specific keywords related to the product you want to research.
For instance, you could search ‘productivity’ to see a range of different options related to that niche. This is helpful if you already have a particular niche you’re looking to enter as it can then give relevant product ideas.
The Black Box Product Targeting Tab
Finally, the Product Targeting tab works similar to both the Niche and Keywords tabs, except you will instead need to use a certain product ASIN in the search bar to start the process.
Then you’ll be presented with a list of products that Amazon deems to be related to this seed product.
You can use a combination of all these tabs in your product research efforts to help find products with high demand and low competition.
But where users will see the best results is in understanding how to manipulate the data in a way that provides actionable data-driven insights.
This all takes place inside the wide range of filters available in Black Box, so let’s take a look at those.
What settings should I use on Black Box?
The filters available to you in Black Box will vary slightly depending on the tab you’re working in, but let’s take a look at some of the most frequently used filters and look at how they will be key in finding the type of product you want to sell.
This filter enables you to select the selling categories you’re interested in analyzing from the main top-level categories available on Amazon.
For new Amazon sellers, this is a very important filter as you want to make sure you’re looking in the right kind of categories that present good private label opportunities.
Whilst this will differ slightly depending on your experience and circumstances, here are the main categories we suggest you start your search in:
- Arts, Crafts & Sewing
- Home & Kitchen
- Kitchen & Dining
- Office Products
- Patio, Lawn & Garden
- Pet Supplies
- Sports & Outdoors
- Tools & Home Improvement
Categories like Baby, Toys & Games, and Beauty & Personal Care can be lucrative, but they also come with far greater compliance requirements and therefore aren’t ideal for beginners.
The above list gives plenty of options to start with and all lend themselves towards new private label brands entering the market.
Here you’ll want to set a minimum and maximum revenue range. Too low and it won’t be worth your effort, too high and you won’t be able to compete (or fund the stock level you’d need).
Inside our BBU training, we advise new Amazon sellers to search in a revenue range that matches their starting budget.
For example, if your budget is $5,000 look for products generating between $3,000 and $8,000 per month.
Given your unit cost will usually be 25-30% of your target selling price, this means you’ll be able to fund around 3 months of stock which is the optimal level for launching a product.
This filter narrows down on selling price, and we’d recommend something like a $15 minimum and $60 maximum. Again, this is a little budget dependent.
Generally speaking the higher the selling price, the higher the unit cost will be. So the higher you go the bigger investment that will be required to get started.
This level though keeps it firmly in the impulse purchase range and should lead to a higher purchase rate.
Reviews are a big influence on buyers’ decision making and therefore should of course factor into your product selection process.
Since Amazon introduced the review rating system that allowed customers to rate products without leaving written reviews it’s now far easier to get reviews and you can increase this review count metric.
Aim for products with a review count in the low hundreds to filter out any of the fiercely competitive markets.
By entering a max number in the review rating box you’re filtering for product options where there is room to improve.
If you try and compete with products that all have 5* reviews it can be difficult to stand out when first launching, so it’s good to look at a max of 4 or 4.5 here.
For extra insight, when you find a product opportunity with room for improvement you can use the review downloader in the Chrome extension to analyze customer reviews and find ways to improve the product.
Shipping Size Tier
As shipping rates soared in the aftermath of global supply chain challenges in 2020 and 2021 it became more important than ever for Amazon sellers to watch their size.
Use the filter to select smaller size tiers if you want to avoid large shipping costs and be vulnerable to any future price fluctuations.
If using the Keywords tab then use this filter to display only keywords that have a minimum search volume.
This is a key demand metric as it shows there are a lot of shoppers searching for a particular term related to a product.
Another Keywords tab filter which allows you to be shown only keywords that are a certain length which is useful when looking for longer keywords that generally have lower competition.
Sales Year Over Year (%)
This metric shows a percentage change in sales volume year over year.
Want to sell a product that is growing in popularity over time? Set a minimum for this field.
Price Change (%)
Percentage change over the last 90 days.
Use this to filter out products with a lot of price fluctuation.
Sales Change (%)
Percentage change in monthly sales over the last 90 days.
A shorter-term measure of sales growth or decline to see if a potential product opportunity is trending in the right or wrong direction.
Best Sales Period
Select a calendar month in which a certain product sees its best sale period.
Use this if you’re looking to find a product that sells well at certain times of the year – for instance at Christmas or Halloween.
Sales to Reviews
Ratio of monthly sales to the total number of reviews.
If you want to target a higher review market but want to know you can catch up if you have a good review strategy then you can use this filter to find low sales to review ratios.
Number of Images
The number of images on the listing for the product.
Ideal for finding under-optimized products that are selling well. The theory being that if you can create a more optimized listing you can collect some of those sales.
Use this filter to find lighter products that could easily be air shipped.
This will reduce your lead time and give you the ability to turn cash round much quicker and scale your brand faster.
Exclude Title Keywords
Keep seeing the same kind of results come up? This often happens after big seasonal events like Christmas.
Use this filter to exclude specific words that will remove this kind of product from the search results.
Going Beyond Black Box
Once you’ve found some potential product opportunities you will need to carry on the process of due diligence.
It’s important to take the time to look at the different metrics of each potential opportunity and assess them within the context of their competition.
To do this, just open up each listing from with Helium 10 Black Box and open up some competitor’s listings too.
Check the monthly sales, use the profitability calculator, make sure there is low competition or the ability to differentiate well.
Keeping track of your product ideas
As you’ve probably already guessed, when you’re using the Helium 10 Black Box research tool you’re going to find a LOT of potential products.
Carrying out the amount of research a successful Amazon seller should do can become overwhelming at times but with Black Box, you can pin your favorite ideas with a handy product tracker.
This helps you keep track of all potential products allowing you to move through the initial product research stage fast, then circle back around to carry out deep dive checks on specific products at a later date.
To use this function, just hit the pin symbol next to any certain product inside Black Box.
How does Helium 10 Black Box get sales data?
The data Helium 10 provides in most tools (for example Profits, Refund Genie and Follow-Up) is pulled from Amazon’s API and represents actual data.
For all other data, Helium 10 “monitors and parses through extensive data on a daily basis, transforming that raw data through multiple artificial intelligence and machine learning models.”
The final results are its “best interpretation of performance estimations, sales estimations, keyword search volume or relevance estimation, product rank estimation, and so forth.”
Helium 10 gathers data using proprietary algorithms and therefore doesn’t make more information than that available.
Whilst the estimations within Helium 10 Black Box for metrics like monthly revenue are estimations, it is widely accepted that these are some of the most accurate estimations in the industry.
Is Helium 10 Black Box Worth It?
If you’re going to be successful in building a brand online then you need to master the art of product research.
Therefore any product research tool that saves you time in filtering through search results to find potential winning products is well worth investigating.
Helium 10 Black Box is the market-leading Amazon product research tool with some of the best unique features for finding Amazon FBA product opportunities.
Considering it comes as just one tool in a suite of over 20 powerful tools, we think the value for money on offer is second to none and it is our most recommended tool.
But the great news is that you don’t even need to pay to get started.
You can sign up with the free version, test Black Box and upgrade to the Diamond or Platinum plan whenever you’re ready to graduate from the starter plan.