Branded products on Amazon are something I don’t talk a lot about on my blog, and that’s simply because my business model for the last 10+ years has been all about creating my own brands and importing goods from manufacturers in China. In the early days of my career, I did sell branded goods on eBay, but back then, retail arbitrage was super profitable and competition levels were extremely low.
Fast forward to today, and I don’t believe you can build a real, sustainable business based on branded goods anymore. Yes, you can make some money by selling underpriced goods found in sales/garage sales/charity shops, etc., but it’s a very time-consuming operation and not something you really want to do for a long period of time.
Despite that, some people still manage to do it, especially in the US where the sales are often at a much higher discount than we see here in the UK. With that being said, there are situations where you could sell branded goods as part of a bundle/set/kit you have created.
The question is: does Amazon allow it?
For example, let’s say you create a DIY set and one of the items needed is double-sided tape. You have searched online for suppliers but have found that 3M branded tape is the product that works best in your set.
Another example: you have created the ultimate Nerf accessories set (your own branded vest, bullets, clips, target, etc.), but to stand out from the competition, you want to include the actual branded Nerf Blaster in the set. Can you do this? Is Amazon ok with you selling branded goods as part of a set/kit/bundle?
Yes, this is perfectly fine, and you can do it! There are no laws or Amazon rules that prohibit you from bundling and selling a branded product together with unbranded or own-brand goods. If that’s the business idea you have, go for it!
Sometimes, it’s even necessary and makes financial sense to use branded goods in sets like these. Going back to the DIY kit with the 3M double-sided tape included, let’s imagine that you can source all of the other items required for the kit in low quantities from Alibaba or even AliExpress (let’s say 100 units of each to make up 100 kits). But, if you had to buy that double-sided tape from a manufacturer on Alibaba, you would have to buy at least 1000 rolls.
In that case, it doesn’t really make sense to invest that much money into the tape when you only want to start out with 100 sets. It would be much easier and cheaper for you to order just 100 3M branded tapes from a UK-based wholesaler and go with that—even if the unit cost is slightly higher than what you would pay in China with a bulk purchase.
So, it all makes perfect sense, especially when you’re starting out and have a limited budget. I’m actually a huge fan of creating such sets/bundles/kits to sell on Amazon. It’s one of the easiest ways to differentiate your products from your competitor’s products AND achieve good margins at the same time! When you create an ultimate set of something that consists of four, five or even ten items, it’s very hard for customers to shop based on the price—especially if no one else sells that exact same kit.
This is a very popular strategy in many industries. Take gift baskets, for example: you buy them with the intent of giving it as a gift to someone and, usually, you will have a rough idea of how much you want to spend on it, whether that’s £10, £20 or £50. You can simply buy one that looks the best to you and fits your budget.
You’re not going to go into great detail and calculate how much each individual unit costs if you bought them separately. You just take the whole thing as one deal! This makes gift baskets so profitable, as all you have to do is make sure that it visually looks like it’s worth X amount of money (or exceeds it) and people will buy it.
On Amazon, you can find many good niches where sets work great. I already mentioned Nerf sets, DIY kits, toys and the DIY category, all of which are perfect for this. The crafts industry also comes to mind, as well as any kind of beauty products/lines/sets, cleaning products, food, gifts, etc. All of these categories are perfect for this strategy.
Another way to look at this is to actually concentrate the effort on the main product, which is branded, and build a set around it!
For example, you have found that some particular brand of artistic paint sells very well. You could buy that paint wholesale and bundle it up with a set of unbranded or your own brand of brushes. Often times, this is the easiest way to sell branded products on Amazon and get a decent profit margin, as if you sell just the branded product alone, all you are competing on is the pricing.
The only thing you do have to worry about when following this strategy is making sure that the BRAND product you’re using in your set is NOT a gated/restricted brand on Amazon. There are companies that basically prohibit third-party sales of their products on Amazon, and if you do sell the product, you will receive a cease and desist letter from their lawyers.
I couldn’t find an official list on Amazon’s website, but some of these lists are available online. If you do a search for “restricted Amazon brands”, you will find the information you need.
It’s also a good idea to search for the branded product on Amazon to see how many third-party sellers are currently selling it. If there are tons of sellers, then chances are it’s ok to sell that brand on Amazon. You could also try emailing Amazon Seller Support to ask them about any restrictions on a specific branded product you have in mind. And, obviously, you should do all of this research BEFORE you do anything else, like creating your brand or ordering any products from China.
And that’s all there is to it! If you want to build a product set/bundle/kit that includes a branded product and sell it on Amazon, go for it! Just make sure the BRAND in question is not gated.