Amazon Terms of Service: A Quick Recap

When you signed up to be an Amazon Seller, you agreed to a long list of seller policies and terms of use. Over time, the Amazon Terms of Service can become a distant memory and as Q4 ramps up, you may be looking for tactics to push your sales. In the flurry of the holiday season, it is easy to make a rash decision that might fall on the wrong side of the rules, risking future sales or your entire Amazon business.

 

 

Luckily, we are here to give you a quick refresher on the important policies and regulations to help keep your account safe. We have compiled an overview of Amazon Terms of Service, including code of conduct, selling policies and prohibited actions to jog your memory and help you avoid any questionable tactics.

Let’s get started!

Seller Code of Conduct

Amazon strives to provide a safe and trustworthy online marketplace for millions of customers across the globe. They require sellers to adhere by a strict code of conduct to ensure shoppers trust their purchases and continue to return to the site. This code of conduct also protects you as a seller in that it keeps your competitors from using unfair tactics to outsell you and other rule-following sellers.

If Amazon discovers that you have violated their Code of Conduct, they typically take quick action. This can include suspending your seller privileges and/or removing you from the entire Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Selling Policies

In order to protect consumers, Amazon has rules and requirements on what types of products can be sold on their site. Be sure you are not planning to sell any questionable items on the marketplace. Amazon does not allow you to list products that:

Prohibited Seller Actions

Amazon prohibits certain actions by sellers in order to protect both sellers themselves and shoppers. The site does its best to keep the playing field level for all sellers, so any action that gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors is not permitted. Chances are if you are worried whether a tactic you are considering using may be against the rules, it probably is. Here is a quick recap of some prohibited actions:

1. Diverting traffic from Amazon

Sellers are not permitted to use any sort of language or web links that push traffic away from the Amazon website. This includes any advertisements, special offers or calls to action that encourage shoppers to leave the site.

2. Unauthorized business names

All business names must accurately identify the seller, must not mislead shoppers and must be a name that the seller is permitted to use (i.e. it cannot be a brand or trademarked name that you do not have appropriate permission to use). Business names cannot contain an email suffix (i.e. .com, .biz, .net, etc.).

3. Inappropriate email communications

Sellers are not allowed to send any unsolicited emails to customers other than those needed for order fulfillment or customer service. Marketing emails to customers are not permitted.

4. Improper use of customer phone numbers

Customer phone numbers are provided to sellers who fulfill their own orders so they are able to comply with carrier label requirements. These phone numbers must be handled in accordance with Amazon’s customer personal information policy, which can be found in the Seller Agreement.

5. Multiple seller accounts

Sellers are not permitted to operate and maintain multiple seller accounts. If you have a legitimate business need for multiple accounts, you can apply for an exception by visiting the Contact Us section of your seller account. Click on Selling on Amazon, then select Your Account, then Other Account Issues. You must provide an explanation of your need for multiple accounts in your submission.

6. Misuse of the Amazon seller service

Sellers that upload excessive amounts of data repeatedly or use the service in an excessive or unreasonable way may face restricted or blocked access to product feeds or any other function they are misusing. Amazon decides what constitutes this misuse at their own discretion.

7. Misuse of ratings, feedbacks or reviews

Sellers are strictly prohibited from engaging in any action that may manipulate ratings, feedback, or reviews. This includes offering incentives to customers for their reviews or ratings, posting feedback to your own account, etc. You are allowed to ask for reviews in a neutral manner, but you are not allowed to ask for positive reviews. Sellers must also comply with Amazon’s Community Guidelines when dealing with customer reviews.

8. Misuse of sales rank

Sellers are prohibited from engaging in actions that manipulate sales rank. This includes soliciting or knowingly accepting fake orders, placing orders for your own products or providing compensation to shoppers for buying your products. Sellers are also not allowed to make claims about their sales rank in their product information.

9. Misuse of search and browse

Any attempt to manipulate the Search and Browse experience of shoppers is prohibited. This includes artificially stimulating customer traffic through internet bots, etc., providing misleading catalog information about your product, or adding product identifiers to hidden keyword attributes. Follow Amazon’s guide to properly optimize listings in order to write your listing in compliance with Amazon’s rules.

10. Misuse of product customization

Those products that are listed as being customizable must be able to deliver on this claim. Any attempt to manipulate custom functionality in a manner which bypasses existing Amazon policies or misrepresents customized products is prohibited.

Know the Rules, Follow the Rules

Amazon does not take violations of their terms of service lightly. At best, you may get flagged and temporarily suspended. At worst, you could be banned completely by the online retailer, stopping your cash flow and dashing all hopes of future sales.

Though it may be tempting at times to try questionable tactics to boost sales, it is not worth the risk. You may see some of your competitors breaking the rules to get ahead, and while they may not get caught immediately, Amazon almost always catches up to sellers who are abusing their terms of service.

We at Viral Launch are here to provide TOS compliant solutions to help your listing pick up speed and generate sales. From professional photography to optimized listings, we have a team of experts ready to get to work for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you!

Amazon Loans: A Good Choice for Your Ecommerce Business?

Most small business owners require loans in order to grow their business and succeed. But as the owner of a small ecommerce business, or any business for that matter, you may find it difficult to get the lending you need. About 80% of small business owners who apply for a bank loan get rejected. That’s an incredibly high number. And if you can’t get a loan from a bank, where do you get one? Some businesses find success using business credit cards, but even those require approval and usually come with hefty fees.

Amazon has answered this question for many sellers with the introduction of its Amazon Lending program in 2011. But is this option the best choice for your ecommerce business? We’ll give you all the details you need about the Amazon loans program so you can make the best decision for your business.

What is Amazon Lending?

You may be asking yourself what Amazon Lending even is. There currently isn’t much information readily available on Amazon.com because it’s an invitation only program. Not just anyone can apply for a loan through Amazon. Instead, the company identifies sellers they believe might be good candidates for the program and sends them an offer in their seller account.

These loans are meant to help sellers grow their business by giving them necessary funds for inventory replenishment. If you get an offer in your seller account, you still must go through an approval process, but it’s usually very quick.

How Do Amazon Loans Work?

As mentioned above, this is an invitation only program. The offer you receive will usually contain all of the following:

  • Loan amount (offers range from as low as $1,000 to as much as $750,000)
  • Interest rate
  • Repayment period
  • Total amount you’d be paying back.

There’s no massive amount of paperwork to fill out since Amazon already has your personal info and sales history. If you decide to accept the offer, your application is sent to Amazon for approval and you can be approved in as little as 24 hours. Once you’re approved, funds are then deposited as soon as the next day.

Amazon will then begin deducting fixed monthly payments from your account until the loan is paid back in full.

How Do I Qualify?

Though no one knows all the minute details of the qualification process for an Amazon loan, we do know that less emphasis is put on personal credit and is instead focused more on the performance of your business.

NerdWallet reports that Amazon’s loan agreement states they can pull a credit report. However, they also take into consideration your sales history and customer satisfaction rating. The application process is relatively simple with one seller reporting to NerdWallet that it only took a few clicks.

What are the Terms of an Amazon Loan?

Amazon doesn’t disclose the rates of their loans publicly, but some have reported that they are similar to or less than those of credit cards. The loans are meant to be short term and used to help you replenish inventory so the repayment period is capped at 12 months.

Payments are fixed and the same amount will be deducted out of your account every month regardless of how well or poorly your account is doing. So, if you have a bad month of sales, the payment will still be taken from your account. If you don’t have enough funds in your seller account to cover the payment, Amazon can deduct the remaining amount needed from your personal bank account.

These loans can be a great way to get the funding you need to continually replenish your inventory and continue to grow your business. If you repay the loan in the time period allotted, Amazon will typically offer you another loan to keep the growth moving.

Are Amazon Loans Right for Your Business?

Though these Amazon loans may seem like a great option, they may not be the perfect solution for your unique business needs. Before you jump in blindly, there are some things you need to consider before you sign any loan agreement:

  • Will you be using the loan funds for inventory? If the answer is yes, you’re all good. If not, then this isn’t the lending option for you. Amazon loans are meant to be used only for replenishing your stock. According to Fit Small Business, if you accept Amazon’s loan offer, but they do not see new inventory added to your account, they can report you for breaking the agreement and take legal action.
  • Are you prepared to pay the loan off quickly? These are short term loans that are meant to be paid off in 12 months or less. If you’re planning to take out a loan for a large sum, but aren’t prepared to make high monthly payments to repay it in that short time period, this isn’t a good option for you.
  • Know the risks if you default. Just like with any other loans, there are risks if you for some reason can’t make your payments and default. Amazon will automatically deduct the monthly payment from your seller account, but if there aren’t sufficient funds to make the payment, they can use your Amazon inventory as collateral. Fundera reports that Amazon may seize your inventory and hold it hostage until you pay them back. Or they may choose to sell the inventory themselves and keep the profits to pay off the loan. Even if you’re an FBM seller who fulfills their own orders, Amazon can choose to keep your profits until the loan is paid in full.

Grow Your Amazon Business!

In order to experience growth and turn a larger profit, most small business require some sort of loan or credit line. Amazon’s lending program can help you do just that, but there’s more you could be doing, too.

Make sure you’re picking the right product by doing thorough product research beforehand and identifying a market that will be easy to break into.You can also position your current products for even bigger success by investing in professional product photography or an optimized listing. The team at Viral Launch is here to help you grow your business, and our customer success coaches can provide expert advice about all things Amazon. Get in touch today to take your business to the next level!

Amazon Renewed: How to Make Money with Refurbished Items

There are many ways to make money on Amazon. Whether your goal is to simply make some extra cash or build an entire business from the ground up, Amazon provides incredible potential. You can choose to sporadically sell random household goods around your house or start a full-time private label company. And get this – you can even make money selling open box items on Amazon. Refurbished items are a great money maker as many shoppers are looking for deals and are willing to buy open box items to save money.

The Amazon Renewed program was launched in 2017 as one of Amazon’s newest selling categories designed to bring refurbished items to its millions of customers. This exclusive seller group requires an application process and only those sellers that meet the outlined criteria are allowed to participate. Sellers who are approved are then qualified to sell their used items as “Certified Refurbished.”

The criteria to sell on Amazon Renewed includes a combination of both quality and sales requirements. Becoming part of this group means less competition since members must be approved.

Source: amazon.com

What Types of Products Can You Sell with Amazon Renewed?

Amazon Renewed allows you the opportunity to sell refurbished products in many different categories across the ecommerce site. This means you can probably find a product that falls under your area of expertise. Refurbished items often refer to electronics, but they don’t have to be. You can sell Amazon refurbished products in all of the following categories:

  • Laptops and computers
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • Video game consoles
  • Headphones and audio
  • Televisions
  • Office equipment
  • Home and industrial tools
  • Watches
  • Home appliances
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Automotive parts
  • Outdoor and sports
  • Musical instruments

Requirements to Sign Up and Get Approved

Becoming certified to sell on Amazon Renewed is no walk in the park. You’re required to provide details of your experience selling “like-new” products, including sales data and more. Amazon will only approve you if you meet the following criteria outlined on their website:

  • You can supply invoices showing a minimum a total value of $50,000 in qualifying refurbished purchases in the previous 90 days from the date of the application. You may black-out the unit purchase amount on the invoices. Note that sellers intending to offer products related to Home, Home Improvement, Tools, Lawn & Garden, Outdoors, Kitchen, Sports, Toys, or Automotive, you may supply invoices showing a minimum total of $20,000 in qualifying refurbished purchases in the previous 90 days.
  • If you are an existing seller on Amazon, we require an ODR of 0.8% or less, with a minimum 700 orders in the trailing 90 days.
  • If you want permission to list factory refurbished items (with no manufacturer warranty) you need to submit a minimum of 8 images of a sample unit for product and packaging review (box in which the product will ship, inside packaging and padding, product from top and bottom, product from all four sides).
  • Your company provides a minimum 90-day warranty on all of your Certified Refurbished products
  • For approval to list on Apple and Samsung brands in Consumer Electronics categories (Excluding Wireless), we require invoices dated from trailing 90 days that total $100K in Apple/Samsung products (non-Wireless). For approval to list on Apple and Samsung brands in Wireless category, we require invoices dated from trailing 90 days that total $2.5 million in Apple/Samsung wireless products. Invoices have to be directly from a national Wireless carrier or retailer with over $5 billion in annual sales (Example: Verizon, AT&T or Target) or the manufacturer (Apple or Samsung). We also accept Wireless invoices from Assurant, Brightstar, PCS Wireless, and Vertex.

These requirements can be hard to meet, especially if you’re just starting out. Sellers who don’t meet this criteria are still able to sell their products on standard product ASINs in “used” condition. Selling products this way will give you the time to build up your business and eventually meet the demands of Amazon’s Renewed program.

Finding Refurbished Items to Sell

If you’re completely new to selling used items on Amazon and are wondering where to start, the first step is to do some research. Find products that are in demand by using a market research tool. Our favorite is Market Intelligence from Viral Launch.

This tool pulls data from all the top sellers on Amazon for a specific market. You can then use this data to help you identify markets with high demand, but low competition, as these are the best markets to be in. Look for products that are getting a lot of search volume. A low average review count also indicates that you could easily compete in this market as products with a high number of reviews often get the most sales.

Once you identify a good product market, you have to source refurbished items to sell. Maybe you already have a connection to a manufacturer, but if not, one place to look is Alibaba. Just like finding new products on this online marketplace, you can also search for refurbished items to source. Alibaba can help you connect with manufacturers who offer open box items that you can then source and sell on Amazon.

Source: Alibaba.com

You can also purchase refurbished items in bulk from various online liquidation companies. These companies work directly with retail stores to liquidate surplus inventory, which you can then purchase in bulk, often below wholesale prices, and sell for a profit. Many of these liquidation sites use an auction system with the products going to the highest bidder.

Source: DirectLiquidation.com

Advantages of Selling on Amazon Renewed

Selling any product on Amazon comes with a long list of advantages. First of all, this huge marketplace gives you access to millions of already loyal customers. Amazon has built a global platform that has the potential to bring high visibility of your product across the world.

You can also utilize their other capabilities, such as their fulfillment process, so you don’t have to package and ship items yourself. By selling in the Amazon Renewed program, you get access to customers and also face less competition since only select members are allowed to sell in this category.

How to Drive Sales for Your Amazon Refurbished Products

Even though you face less competition as an Amazon Renewed seller, you still need to take steps to ensure your product will sell well. First of all, you’ll need to set the right price for your item. Shoppers don’t want to pay a high price for open box items, so it’s best to shoot for a price that gives the customer a significant discount, but still allows you to make a profit.

Next, if you have control of your listing’s content, you’ll want to be sure your listing is optimized to get your product seen and to convert sales. You can use a keyword research tool to help you identify the highest volume keywords for your product market and ensure they’re placed in your listing. Or you can even hire a professional copywriter to identify keywords and write the listing for you.

Start Your Amazon Renewed Journey

Amazon has tons of opportunities to make some extra cash or even start a full-fledged business. The Renewed program is just one of many. Take advantage of these tips and start your Amazon selling journey today! We’ll be here to help you succeed whenever you need us.

UPC Codes for Amazon: Everything You Need to Know

There are billions of products for sale in the U.S. retail market, both in stores and online. The Amazon U.S. marketplace alone sells 564 million different products. These items sit on the shelves of stores or in the warehouses of online retailers until they’re ready to be purchased. With this many products available, it makes sense that there would be a need for a system to track and organize them as they arrive and when they’re purchased.

In order for stores to do this, a barcode system was put in place years ago that assigns each product a unique product code (UPC). Ecommerce sites are no different than any other brick and mortar store — every product sold on Amazon is required to have a legitimate UPC barcode before it can be input into Amazon’s system.

If you’re just getting started in your Amazon selling journey, you probably have a lot of questions about this step of the process. For those unfamiliar with it, the process of obtaining a UPC can be a little confusing, but we’re here to help! Let’s start at the very beginning and outline everything you need to know about UPC codes for Amazon.

What is a UPC?

A UPC is a unique code that consists of 12 digits. Usually, the first 6 digits are your company prefix, the next 5 are the product number, and the final digit is generated automatically and referred to as the “check digit.” Each UPC is translated into a series of black bars and white spaces called a barcode. This allows for easy reading by scanning devices instead of requiring manual entry.

The barcode system we know today has been used since the mid 1970s. What began as a solution for brick and mortar stores has been carried over into the rise of ecommerce. If you want to sell products on a large scale whether in stores or online, you’ll have to obtain a UPC for it.

What’s the Difference Between a UPC and an FNSKU?

As a new seller, you may be encountering some confusing information about UPCs. If you’ve seen the term FNSKU thrown around, but aren’t sure what it means, we’ve got you covered. Some articles mistakenly use UPC and FNSKU interchangeably, but they’re two very different types of barcodes. Let’s break down the difference:

    • UPC: A global barcode assigned to any product that is to be sold in retail stores or online. Amazon requires you to have a UPC before you can create a listing or add a product to your Amazon inventory.
    • FNSKU: An FNSKU is a barcode Amazon generates for your product to keep track of it internally within their warehouses and databases. Once you’ve added the product to your inventory, Amazon will generate an FNSKU for it, which you must incorporate into the product packaging or have placed on your product by Amazon (for an additional fee). Once you have both barcodes, your UPC and FNSKU can also be tied together.

Source: Seller Tradecraft/Youtube

Pro Tip:

If you’re only planning to sell on Amazon, your UPC doesn’t have to be printed directly on your product or product packaging. Amazon only requires the product to have a UPC in order for an FNSKU to be generated. Once the FNSKU is generated, this is the barcode that must be placed directly on your product before it can be accepted at Amazon warehouses. Amazon will then use the FNSKU to identify your product at check-in as well as when it’s picked for an order.

Where do I Get a UPC?

In order to keep thorough records and prevent fraudulent UPCs, there’s a single legitimate producer of UPCs globally called Global Standard 1 (GS1). This non-profit organization has set the standard for UPCs and barcodes across the globe.

You may have seen ads for third-party businesses selling replicated or recycled UPC codes, or maybe you’ve seen someone selling a product UPC on eBay. Many times, recycled UPC codes are codes that were used for products that have since been retired, such as VHS tapes.

While in many cases you can successfully link these codes to your product, within certain retail systems, the old coding can remain which can cause issues with your inventory. It can often be tempting to purchase these types of UPCs because they are cheaper, but it’s usually not advised.

Amazon requires that your product UPC be tied to your company and your company alone. If you place a replicated UPC on your product and it’s still tied to another company, Amazon could take action. That’s not to mention there may also be legal consequences to using a replicated UPC.

It’s always best to know you’re purchasing a legitimate barcode by purchasing straight from GS1. This way there will be no questions of its legitimacy and you can be assured your UPC meets all requirements for Amazon.


Source: GS1 US/Youtube

How do I Get a UPC?

GS1 makes the process of applying for and obtaining UPC codes for Amazon and other retail stores relatively simple. You can usually complete the process in four steps:

1. Apply for a company prefix

The first step of this process is the most important. You must start by applying for a company prefix. Your prefix is usually the first six digits of the UPC but can be up to 10 digits long. It’s unique to your company and will appear the same on each of your products. So, if you plan on expanding your line, the prefix will remain the same. This prefix also identifies you as the manufacturer throughout the entire supply chain.

Some sellers get a little concerned about the cost of applying for this company prefix, especially if they have a large product catalog that will all need UPCs at the same time. Be sure to include this cost in your initial start-up budget.

According to GS1, the first-year cost of obtaining a company prefix ranges from $250 for up to 10 products to $10,500 for 100,000 products. Each year after that, there’s an annual license renewal fee which allows for continued use of the unique prefix number. Annual license renewal fees range from $50 to $2,100 depending on the number of products.

2. Assign each of your products a product number

Once your company prefix has been generated, GS1 will give you a digit length for your product number, also called a GTIN. The product number is usually the five digits after the six-digit company prefix. The length of the product number is based on the number of future products you indicated on your company prefix application.

Keep in mind that every unique product you have will need its own unique product number. For example, if you sell the exact same shirt in 10 different colors, each color variation will need its own product number. GS1 allows sellers to use their own numbering system for each product as long as it meets length requirements.

3. Determine how the barcode will be displayed on your product

Once you have your product UPC, you can submit it to Amazon to generate the FNSKU. Then it’s time to figure out how to incorporate the FNSKU into your packaging. If you’re still in the early stages of production and your packaging hasn’t been printed yet, you have the opportunity to incorporate the FNSKU directly into the packaging, which will save you time and money.

Amazon allows you to obtain a digital file of your FNSKU barcode, which you can then send to your manufacturer to add to the package design. Many manufacturers have experience placing FNSKUs, so you can work with them to find a place on the package that you feel is best.

An FNSKU barcode needs to be placed where it will easily be seen and is easily scannable. Any unscannable items won’t be accepted at Amazon’s warehouses. Be sure to follow these guidelines for placement:

  • Place the FNSKU barcode on a flat surface of the product packaging; do not place it on a curve or corner
  • Allow for 0.25 inches between the edge of the label and the edge of the packaging
  • If you’re printing labels and adhering them to your product, be sure they’re not smudged or wrinkled as this can cause scanning issues

Pro Tip:

If you’re planning to sell on Amazon as well as in retail stores, you’ll also need to place the UPC somewhere on your product. The UPC is the barcode retail stores will scan when customers purchase the item in order to pull up the correct product and pricing information. The above rules should also be followed in the placement of UPCs. 

GS1 can also provide  a digital file of your UPC barcode, which you can use to incorporate the UPC into your packaging. You can also choose to place adhesive barcodes later. GS1 can connect you to a printing service through its Solution Partner program. Once you’re in touch with a printer, you can order barcodes that can be placed directly on your products. 

4. Place FNSKU labels

Though it’s more cost effective to have the FNSKU included in your product package design, sometimes that isn’t possible. If your product has already been manufactured and packaged, you’ll have to order barcode labels that can be placed on the outside of the packaging.

You can either choose to have these labels sent to your manufacturer and have them placed at the supplier warehouse (usually for an additional fee), or you can receive your product shipment before it’s sent to Amazon and place the barcodes yourself. There’s also the option to have Amazon place the FNSKU labels on your product, but this does come with an additional cost.

Prepare Your Product to Succeed

Obtaining a UPC code for your product is just one small step in the Amazon selling journey, but it’s a crucial one. Once you have your UPC codes for Amazon, you’ll need to ensure you have the right tools, data and guidance to succeed.

At Viral Launch, we’re here to help you navigate the way in this journey. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Our software is some of the best on the market and was created to help Amazon sellers just like you. You can also talk to one of our experienced coaches or sign up for our creative services, including product photography and listing optimization. Whatever you need, we’re here to help!

How to Make Money from Home Selling on Amazon

Nowadays it’s exceedingly common to have a side hustle. You might drive for Uber or walk the neighborhood dogs with Wag. But what if you want to learn how to make money from home without ever leaving home? And what if you want to turn that side hustle into a full-time gig?

There are plenty of opportunities to make money online: becoming a blogger, taking surveys and freelancing are all viable options. But as online shopping continues to boom in popularity, why not take advantage of a huge customer base (310 million active customers and counting!) and start selling on Amazon?

How to Make Money Online: Become a Successful Amazon Seller

As one of the largest e-commerce sites in the world, Amazon is ripe with money-making opportunities for the average person, let alone an experienced entrepreneur.

A quick internet search will show you tons of success stories from past and present Amazon sellers as well as ample selling advice. Many make it seem all-too easy, but don’t be fooled and jump in blindly – you could be making a seriously expensive mistake. Running a business takes work, even if you’re the sole employee and currently setting up shop from your couch.

So before you get into the selling game, take the time to examine your opportunities. Decide what you want to sell and how you want to do so. Consider this post as Step 1 in your market research. Let’s get started and look at some of the excellent options available to you!

Sell Items from Around Your Own Home

When you’re deciding how to make money from home, have you considered what’s around your home? Turn your old clutter into cash! Stop hassling with garage sales and start selling online with Amazon instead. Many Amazon sellers find that selling their used goods, mainly books, CDs and movies, is a great way to make extra money from things they no longer want or need. 

This method is probably best completed through Amazon’s FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) program. You won’t have to worry about any of the logistics of sending products to customers. Instead, you’ll send the items you want to sell to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers and they’ll handle everything from there. Sounds pretty good, right?

When you’re deciding which items to part with, here are some good guidelines to follow:

  • Steer clear of products that typically don’t have a high selling price. Any items that would sell for less than $4 won’t have a high enough margin to cover your costs.
  • Try to find items that will have a higher selling price, like any collector’s items or special edition books, old toys, antiques, etc.

This will require some research. Amazon is helpful in that once you get your account up and going and add items to your inventory, it’ll give you an estimate on potential revenue. From here, you’ll have a much better idea of the feasibility of selling these products.

Amazon Refurbished: Another Excellent Option

If you have the ability to sell used or refurbished items on a large scale, the Amazon Renewed program can also be a good way in how to make money from home. This venture is better suited for people who already have some Amazon experience as there is an application process. You also have to meet certain requirements in order to be admitted into the program.

Before your application is approved, you must be able to provide proof of sales volume and meet quality standards. Once you do so, you’re able to sell items as “Certified Refurbished.” One of the many benefits of this program is that you’ll face less competition since it’s so selective.

If you’ve already established a relationship with a manufacturer, you may be able to expand your product line to include open-box, refurbished items. And just like with sourcing any other product, you need to do your market research to find the right product, i.e. something with high demand and low competition.

Sell Branded Merchandise with Amazon Merch

If you have design experience, this one’s a no-brainer. But the great thing about Merch by Amazon is that you don’t have to be an established artist – aspiring designers can find success here, too.

With Merch by Amazon, sellers upload a design, select a product, style and color, and add a product description. Amazon will generate a listing for you, and your branded merchandise will soon become available to Amazon’s ginormous customer base.

Compared to other selling methods, Amazon Merch requires far less planning and attention. Once your design is submitted and approved, Amazon handles the production, shipping and customer service of the merchandise. Products are only printed after a sale, so you won’t have to manage inventory or worry about unsold items.

Source: Amazon

Other benefits of Merch by Amazon are:

  • All products are Prime eligible.
  • There’s no upfront costs: Amazon charges the customer when an item is sold and takes out production costs and fees from the sales price, leaving you with the remainder as a royalty payment.
  • Merch by Amazon is non-exclusive, meaning you retain the rights to your design so you can sell merchandise on other sites with the same design.
  • New items are being added as time goes on – it’s not just t-shirts anymore; as you progress in your merch business, you’ll be able to offer a larger number of designs and add designs to different types of products, like sweatshirts and PopSockets.

Regardless of the product, all designs submitted to the MBA program must adhere to Amazon’s Content Policy guidelines.

The downfall is, due to the immense interest in the program at this time, interested sellers must submit an application detailing their background and experience in order to be considered.

Shop Around with Retail Arbitrage

This method of selling is similar to what we just discussed but can be done on a much larger scale if you devote the proper time and energy. Instead of selling items that you already have at home, retail arbitrage involves buying marked down products at retail stores (or even on other online retailers) and then reselling them for full price on Amazon.

This is a relatively easy way to make some extra cash, and some people even turn this venture into pretty lucrative businesses. The catch is that you always have to be on the lookout for new items to sell.

How do You Find Products to Sell?

One way to obtain inventory is to check with retailers, both brick and mortar stores and online. Many retailers will mark down products when they have a surplus of stock and not enough shelf space to store them.

A number of different scanning apps are available to help you identify good deals and profitable products. After you scan the item’s barcode, the app will estimate your anticipated profit. You’ll get tons of useful info without having to make a single purchase!

One of the more popular scanning apps is the Amazon Seller App. This is offered for free to those who purchase a Professional Seller Account on Amazon. Many other apps require a monthly subscription for pretty hefty prices.

On a personal note, AJ, Viral Launch’s Manager of Customer Experience, recently started his own retail arbitrage venture. He’s currently making around $300 for just a couple hours’ worth of work! Check out the video below to see how he does it and hear more from Viral Launch CEO Casey Gauss. 

Start a Private Label Business

If you’re interested in selling long-term, the private label market is where you want to be. Unlike retail arbitrage, private label doesn’t depend on your ability to go out and continuously find products to sell. Instead, you source a product from a manufacturer, package it with a unique business logo, and send it to customers either by yourself or through FBA.

This isn’t to say that the private label business is a walk in the park. It does require a large initial investment and much more research. You’ll also need good communication skills and a thorough understanding of how Amazon works. But once you get the hang of it, a private label Amazon business can turn into a major money maker and full-time career.

We recommend using a product research tool to help you identify high-opportunity markets. Look for those with high demand but with low competition. And remember, we’ve got plenty more tips for sourcing a successful Amazon product!

Start Making Money!

While it will take some hard work, especially initially, making money from home is definitely possible. Just remember, success never comes without some commitment on your part. Think about your goals and which Amazon selling method aligns best with them. Then take these ideas on how to make money from home and start your business!

If you know you’re ready to take the plunge and start selling on Amazon, Viral Launch is here to help. Speak with one of our experienced Amazon coaches or sign up for our creative services to start your journey on the right foot. We’re here to help you succeed!

Amazon Brands: How Many Are There? How Much Revenue Do They Produce?

We’re all aware that Amazon sells its own line of products on their ecommerce site, but you may be surprised to learn just how many Amazon brands exist. Some are quite obviously owned by Amazon, as their name includes a reference to the company. But many others are marketed under completely different brand names with no hint that they belong to one of the largest online retailers in the world.

Amazon began their journey into manufacturing and selling their own goods in 2009 with the launch of its AmazonBasics line. According to Recode, since that time they have grown to offer products in nearly 80 different brand names, with 60 alone being added since the beginning of 2017. Many of the recent lines have been focused in the clothing, shoe and jewelry markets.

Are Amazon Brands Profitable?

This recent push to add more brands has made Amazon’s intention of growing their product lines pretty clear. This means even more revenue for the already multi-billion dollar company. But just how much are these private label brands bringing in for Amazon?

Reported by CNBC, a SunTrust analyst estimates that Amazon’s private label sales should produce $7.5 billion on the online marketplace in 2018. This is up 108% from their previous estimation of $3.6 billion in 2017. Though this is small in comparison to some of Amazon’s other areas of business, it’s still a significant money maker that is expected to grow even more in future years.

How Do Amazon Brands Compare to Others?

Amazon’s private label brands compete well with other major brands in the online marketplace. The same SunTrust analyst reports that Coresight Research has discovered Amazon brands are the fourth most purchased clothing or footwear line on the online retailer. Its clothing brands are only surpassed by market giants Nike, Under Armour and Hanes.

Current Amazon Brands

Amazon is silently releasing more and more brands without any public announcement of these new launches. The company already has lines of clothing, shoes, jewelry, baby products, snack foods and many household items. Recode reports that Amazon offers products under 75 different brand names. Quartz adds that Amazon has also trademarked or applied to trademark as many as 800 other names, suggesting that the company plans to keep growing their product lines.

According to Recode’s reports, the 75 Amazon brands include:

Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry

206 Collective

7Goals

A for Awesome

Amazon Essentials

Arabella

Buttoned Down

Cable Stitch

Camp Moonlight

Clifton Heritage

Coastal Blue

Comfort Denim

Outfitters

Core 10

Crafted Collar

Daily Ritual

Denim Bloom

Emma Riley

Essentialist

Good Brief

Goodsport

Goodthreads

Hale Denim

Haven Outerwear

Hayden Rose

Indigo Society

Isle Bay Linens

Kid Nation

Kold Feet

Lark & Ro

Leather Architect

Lily Parker

Madeline Kelly

Madison Denim

Mae

Mariella Bella

Mint Lilac

Moon and Back

Ocean Blues

Painted Heart

Paris Sunday

Peak Velocity

Plumberry

Quality Durables Co.

Rebel Canyon

Rugged Mile Denim

Savoir Faire

Scout + Ro

Signature Society

Smitten

Social Graces

SomethingForEveryone

Spotted Zebra

Stocking Fox

Suite Alice

The Fix

The Lovely Tote Co.

The Luna Coalition

The Plus Project

The Slumber Project

TheCambridgeCollection

Trailside Supply Co.

True Angel

Ugly Fair Isle

Velvet Rope

Wild Meadow

Wood Paper Company

Cross-Category

AmazonBasics

Grocery

Happy Belly

Wickedly Prime

Health & Household

Amazon Elements

Mama Bear

Presto

Home & Kitchen

Pinzon

Rivet

Prime Members Only

Along with these 75 brands come some stipulations on who can purchase. There are many Amazon clothing brands that are exclusive to Prime members, so the average non-Prime shopper will never see them. This makes Prime memberships all the more appealing as you now have access to free shipping and more products.

 

Additionally, in 2017 Amazon rolled out Prime Wardrobe, a shopping service that sends clothing items to your home so you can try them on before purchasing. This makes their clothing items even more accessible. Since there are already several successful online businesses that provide similar services, it makes sense that Amazon would want to get in on this.

What Does This Mean For Sellers?

As we can see, it appears that Amazon has some major plans for further product line expansion. Just how far they plan to go and the effect on the market as well as other sellers remains to be seen. While their products are competitive in a variety of categories, smaller brands with proper marketing tactics and strong listings are still able to come out successful as well.

It’s still important to be cautious as you enter into markets where Amazon is present as a seller. Often, Amazon will be able to compete on price, kick-starting price wars and lowering margins for other sellers in the space. If you’re considering entering into a market where an Amazon brand is present, just be aware that you may need to lower your price in order to stay competitive. Keeping a competitive edge through listing optimization will increase your ability to compete in a market that Amazon has entered.

To ensure your listing has all the elements to stay competitive, talk to an Amazon Seller Coach at Viral Launch. Our experience working with over 8,000 brands has given us the tools and knowledge to help you succeed.

 

Amazon Product Photography: Here’s What You Need to Know

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it holds true even when it comes to product photography. Photos make a much bigger impact on shoppers than even the most eloquently written product description. The majority of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and everything else tends to fall by the wayside. Online shoppers might remember bits and pieces of the information they read, but photos make a lasting impression that keeps them on the page.

Because photos make such a big impact, the internet is overloaded with tons of visual content. This means that to stand out from the crowd, you need to produce unique images that capture the attention of shoppers and help them engage with your product like they would in any store on the shelf.

If you’re thinking about selling on Amazon or have already started and are looking for a way to set yourself apart, product photography is a great place to start. As you begin thinking about the best images to represent your product and brand, here are 5 important things you need to know about Amazon product photography.

1. Types of Product Photography

Many of our more experienced sellers are most likely aware of the types of photos that make up a photo set. But to be sure we’re all on the same page, let’s go over the basics:

  • Product only images – these are clean-cut images that appear on an all-white background and, as the name suggests, include only the product. Product only images show off the main features and details of the product. Amazon requires that the first image in your set, or the “hero” image, for any product be a product only image. It’s usually a good idea to include more than one of these images in your photo set that shows the product from different angles or even up close, so shoppers get the full effect.

  • Lifestyle images – this type of photo shows the product in context, placing it in an environment where it would most likely be used. Oftentimes, these photos include models using the product to give it further context. Lifestyle images help shoppers to visualize the product in their own lives, exciting them about the product and nudging them to add to cart.

 

2. Amazon Product Photography Requirements

For consistency across listings, Amazon does require that all the photos in your set meet a few technical guidelines:

  • Images must be in TIFF (.tif/.tiff), JPEG (.jpeg/.jpg), GIF (.gif) or PNG (.png) format
  • Image pixel dimensions of at least 1000 or larger in either height or width is preferred
  • Images should use either sRGB or CMYK color mode

Hero images have their own specific requirements since they are the first images shoppers see when browsing in the search results. These requirements include:

  • Photo must be on a plain white background (RGB 255, 255, 255)
  • Image must not contain extra products that may confuse the shopper
  • Image should not contain any text or graphics
  • The product should fill 85% of the image frame
  • Image should not be an illustration or rendering of the product
  • Photo should not show any excluded accessories
  • No logos, watermarks or inset images should be included in the hero image

Secondary images, including feature and lifestyle images, need only follow the technical requirements. Graphics and composite photos can be used on secondary images to further detail product features, but ensure they are not overwhelming or confusing to shoppers.

One other thing to consider is that Amazon displays all images in a square format, regardless of the shape of the original photo. Amazon automatically adds white padding around any long, rectangular photo to make it square. This could make the product appear smaller, making it difficult for customers to get a good view. For this reason, when completing your photography, it’s best to display the item or items in a way that can be easily cropped into a square image.

3. Product Photography Affects Clicks and Conversions

Before you hurry the photography process and upload unprofessional images that don’t adequately represent your product, you may be interested to know that product photography directly affects clicks and conversions. Some shoppers may even consider product photos to be more important in the buying process than spelled-out product information. Good product photography will help boost clicks and conversions by:

  • Making a good first impression – People form a first impression in a fraction of a second. On Amazon, the hero image is the first thing a shopper sees when browsing. Most shoppers are not choosing which items to click on by reading the title, but are instead making quick decisions based on the images they are seeing.
  • Engaging customers – A high-quality image will grab the attention of shoppers and make them more likely to stick around on your listing. Photos draw the customer in and encourage them to learn more about your product, which when paired with engaging product information, will nudge them to purchase.
  • Increasing the perceived quality of your product Badly lit or unprofessional photos can quickly make your product seem cheap and undesirable. Even if you are selling a high-end product, a grainy product image will bring down the perceived value of your brand and customers will not bother sticking around to learn more.
  • Reinforcing your branding  Photos should always tie in with your overall branding goal. Generic or photoshopped images tell shoppers nothing about your brand or product. Presenting a cohesive brand across all marketing fronts will reinforce a professional image and make shoppers more confident in purchasing from you.

4. A Good Photo Evokes Emotion

With countless brands and products already available for purchase, online competition is fierce. In order to convert sales, you have to do more than just show your product in good lighting. An effective photography set will also evoke emotions and set a mood that connects with shoppers.

Many of the Amazon product photos do not do their jobs of advancing nonverbal communication. Your product photography should speak to customers and draw them in instead of being just another image they glance at and then ignore. Good photos will inspire shoppers to take action and buy your product.

Raising emotions in shoppers can be achieved by using appropriate lighting, product placement and props in your photography, much like the photos below. These images work to actively engage customers by illustrating how the product should be used. Each of these images sets the mood for the customers. Shoppers can imagine using the product to make a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. And all of this is achieved by utilizing natural light and summertime fruits.

 

 

 

5. Professional Photographers Know Best

While it is possible to create engaging and high-quality product images on your own, a professional photographer will have more experience and the right equipment to get the job done correctly. Especially if you’re working on expanding your business, it’s often best to outsource listing elements like this to the experts. At Viral Launch, our team of photographers has worked with hundreds and hundreds of clients to produce high-quality product photography for Amazon listings.

Viral Launch photographers work directly with clients to ensure images accurately represent the product and the unique branding of each business. If you’re just getting started in the Amazon game or have little to no photography experience, hiring a professional might be the best choice for you. This will ensure you get high-quality photos that work to convert sales.

Build Your Business

Product photography is just one component of a successful Amazon listing. While shoppers base many of their purchase decisions on images, you still need the rest of the components in order to make money. On Amazon, you must do everything well in order to do anything well. Consult with the professionals at Viral Launch to learn more about how photography and listing optimizations work hand in hand to promote sales of your Amazon product. We’re here to help guide you on the path to Amazon success!

How to Increase Sales on Amazon: What We’ve Learned from Working with 8,000+ Brands

Is your Amazon product stuck in a rut? Selling consistently can be a challenge, and with sales lower than you want them to be, you’re probably left wondering what you’re doing wrong. Your low sales volume could be due to any number of things. Maybe your listing isn’t optimized well for main keywords. Maybe people are choosing to buy a similar product with more reviews. If your stock isn’t moving as fast as you would like, we’ve got some tips to help you learn how to increase sales on Amazon.

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that there’s no one quick fix to increase your product’s sales. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Amazon uses a variety of factors to determine which products appear on page one for any specific search. And just because your product is on page one, doesn’t necessarily mean it will convert well. These tips give you a range of ideas that will all work together to help boost your sales.

1. Optimize Your Listing

In order to make sales on Amazon, you have to get your product in front of shoppers. No one is going to buy a product they’ve never seen. In order to rank in Amazon’s search results across all major search terms and get your product seen, your listing needs to be optimized for relevant keywords related to your product.

This can be achieved by using a keyword research tool to help you identify high volume keywords. Be sure you are utilizing a tool that utilizes only Amazon data. When you search the main keyword that describes your product, the tool should give you the monthly search volume for that exact word as well as other suggested keywords to use and their monthly search volume.

Once you have a list of relevant keywords to your product, you can start writing your listing. Unlike Google, Amazon’s search engine focuses on unique keywords, meaning if a keyword is in the listing once, no extra weight is give if it is used again.

While using a keyword multiple times doesn’t give your listing an extra boost, the placement of keywords does matter in ranking. A keyword placed in the title will carry more weight than a keyword placed in the bullet points or backend. With that in mind, it’s usually best to place the highest volume keywords in the title to capture as many searches as possible.

To keep track of all the keywords while writing, we recommend using a listing builder tool. Many of these tools will remove a word from your “master keyword list” once you have used it in the listing.

If you don’t feel particularly confident in your writing abilities, another option is to hire a professional copywriter to create your listing for you. An experienced writer will be able to work with you to write engaging and informative copy that captures all main keywords and adheres to your brand voice. If you’ve got the money in your budget, this option could take one thing off your plate.

It’s important to remember that an optimized listing can only get you so far. Yes, it will ensure that you are indexed for all relevant terms and provide useful information, but it takes a combination of things to convert sales. Make sure your entire listing is strong from top to bottom. This includes investing in professional photography, ensuring your product is priced competitively, and getting to the top of search results.

 

2. Focus on Increasing Your Review Count

Over 85% of online shoppers say they trust product reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. This means that having a high number of reviews plus a high review rating can translate to big sales for your product. However, about 90% of Amazon shoppers never leave feedback, meaning the vast majority of shoppers are never giving their opinion.

Obviously there’s no way to ensure every person that buys your product will leave a review. But there are a few tactics you can use to help encourage past buyers to login and write their thoughts on your product.

Marketing Inserts

Many Amazon sellers find that a small insert in your product packaging can nudge buyers to visit your review page and leave their thoughts. This simple reminder can also contain information on who to contact if for some reason there are any issues with the product at the time of delivery. This allows you the chance to make things right before the buyer torches you in a bad review.

That being said, there is a risk in adding these inserts to your product packaging, since Amazon’s terms are written so loosely. While some sellers see success with marketing inserts, add them at your own risk and know that Amazon could take action.

Email Follow Up

Email follow ups are a great way to communicate with buyers. It’s usually best to send a series of emails that builds up to asking for a review. You can create an email template for each of the follow up steps and use an automated email system to send these out:

  • Delivery Confirmation –  Sent 1 to 5 days after delivery, this email will confirm the delivery of your product. This is also a great time to provide a contact number and let the customer know they can reach out with any issues they might have. You always want customers to contact you first with any problems in order to deter them from leaving bad reviews.
  • Review Request – The third email, sent 5 to 15 days after delivery, should contain a request for a review. Explain to the customer how reviews help your business and that you would really appreciate it if they took the time to leave their opinion. You can even include a link that will take the customer directly to your review page.

It’s best to end your email sequence at 2 emails. Any more than that, and it may appear spammy to customers. While nothing will ensure every single customer leaves a review, an email follow up sequence will help to nudge customers in the right direction

Important Note: When asking customers to leave reviews of your product, be sure to not offer any incentive for a review. This is against Amazon’s terms of service. It’s crucial to not break any of these rules when it comes to asking for reviews, as Amazon has recently been cracking down and suspending accounts for review manipulation. Make sure you read the terms of service thoroughly and that you aren’t in violation of any of them when asking customers to leave feedback. For more info. concerning email follow-ups, check out our video below!

 

3. Run a Promotional Launch or Giveaway

At first thought, this may seem counterproductive in your search for how to increase sales on Amazon. How could giving away your product at a discount help make it a success? But there is a science behind this process that could help boost your ranking and improve your sales in the long run.

What is a Launch?

A product launch is a targeted giveaway meant to project your listing to page one of search results for a major keyword. The overall goal of this process is to increase organic sales, but you’ll have to giveaway your product at a deep discount in order to boost keyword ranking. To rank among your top competitors, you must match or slightly exceed their daily sales for a short period of time. Usually this discount is 90% or more so that you’re able to sell the required number of units per day.

Who Can Help Me with a Launch?

The Amazon Seller Coaches at Viral Launch are here to help you in every step of this process. First we’ll help you identify a keyword to target for your launch. Then using Amazon data for your specific market, we’ll determine the number of units you’ll need to give away in order to achieve page one status.

Typically, launches run for 7 to 10 days. This range is the sweet spot. It allows enough time for Amazon to recognize the sales, while also being short enough that it limits the number of units you’ll have to give away. This will allow you to boost ranking while also saving money.

While a large portion of our data points to 7 to 10 day launches being the most effect for sales history and velocity, Amazon’s algorithms are constantly changing. This means it’s important to keep an eye out for the latest best practices. Some Amazon sellers have recently found success giving away a larger amount of inventory within one day for a larger, sharper sales peak to boost ranking.

What Happens After a Product Launch?

Once your product is ranking, the goal is to get enough organic sales that you can maintain your page one ranking. This places a lot of importance on your listing, photos and price. Be sure your copy is optimized for your main keywords. Upload professional product photos and make sure your product is competitively priced. All these factors will help you convert and maintain your ranking.

4. Utilize PPC Ads

PPC (Pay Per Click) ads allow your listing to get more exposure for a targeted keyword. When you set up a PPC campaign, you set a daily budget and bid on a click price. Amazon will then post your listing as an ad for targeted keywords. You do not pay unless the ad is clicked. However, keep in mind that just because someone clicks, does not mean they will buy, so be sure your listing and photos are optimized to convert sales. There are two types of Sponsored ads in Amazon Seller Central:

  • Manual – This allows you to pick the specific keywords you want to target. If you know which keywords your listing converts best for and you want to target them specifically, this is a great option.
  • Automatic – This option allows you to set a budget and then Amazon’s algorithms will select which keywords to present your product for. These ads can be a bit unfocused or random, but can give great insight into which terms your product converts well for and can still help to get your product seen.

Use the Data

One thing people often overlook about PPC campaigns is that it gives you tons of useful data about your listing, impressions and conversions. This can help you improve your listing and increase sales. For example:

  • High Clicks, Low Sales – If you’re getting a lot of clicks for a keyword, but low sales, you may be able to tweak your copy and optimize the listing in order to take advantage of the customer interest in the specific keyword.
  • High Conversions – If you’re getting a high number of conversions for a specific keyword, you may want to put even more focus on and budget into that keyword, as it’s clearly paying off for you.
  • High Impressions, Low Sales – If it seems that you’re getting a lot of impressions, but no one is buying your product, this may mean that your chosen keyword isn’t relevant to your product. This then causes people to click the ad, but leave the page as soon as they realize it isn’t what they want.

Bonus Tip: External Traffic

While it’s against Amazon’s guidelines to include any links or marketing language in your listing that takes shoppers away from their site, you are allowed to push visitors from other sites to your product on Amazon. You can utilize your company website, blog, etc. to bring people to your Amazon listing.

If you have a website or blog with decent traffic, start including links to your product listing. You’d be surprised of the difference this can make. The goal is to get as many eyes on your product as possible, so the more paths to your listing, the better.

Keep in mind though that for some sellers, driving external traffic isn’t always the best use of effort or money. First focus on using the tips previously mentioned in this post and take advantage of the immense traffic that Amazon already provides.

Get to Work!

Remember there’s no magic bullet for increasing your sales on Amazon. A variety of factors go into ranking, converting and staying competitive in any market. Don’t simply pick one of the tips out of this list and assume it will mysteriously solve all of your problems. Take your time, gather data, do research and create a strong overall listing with optimized text, professional photos and a competitive price. With all these factors working together, you’re sure to find the methods that make your revenue grow!

 

11 Tips to Source Best Selling Products on Amazon

If you’ve thought about selling products on Amazon, the possibilities of what to sell can seem overwhelming. When you combine the 12 million products Amazon sells itself with all the third party seller products, there’s over 300 million products already being sold. Anyone can create a Seller Central account and start selling items on the ecommerce site, but how do you ensure you find items that will become best selling products on Amazon? It isn’t just luck.

It may seem like some of the top sellers are just taking a shot in the dark and hitting the jackpot when their product blows up in popularity, but this isn’t true. Tons of research and planning goes into launching best selling products on Amazon. You have to know the market, where to source and the best methods to get your product to Amazon’s warehouses.

This isn’t as easy as choosing a random product and crossing your fingers that it will sell well. There is work involved, but we’re here to help. Follow these 11 tips to find and source the next top selling products on Amazon.

1. Use a Product Finder Tool

It’s possible to get ideas for products just by thinking about useful items in your own daily life. But a product finder tool, like Product Discovery from Viral Launch, will also give you helpful Amazon data about real products currently selling on the site.

 

This tool allows you to search by product, keyword, category and brand and is loaded with advanced filters to narrow and personalize results to products that meet your exact selling requirements. If at first all the filters seem somewhat overwhelming, don’t worry. There’s plenty of tutorials to help you get started.

2. Complete Market Research

Finding a successful Amazon product relies heavily on the market research you do beforehand. You can’t simply pick a product and charge in blindly without the proper knowledge. Take the time to do extensive market research before deciding on a final product. This includes learning about competitor products in the market as well as learning about past market performance and future market trends.

Using a tool like Market Intelligence from Viral Launch will allow you to view data on the top selling products in your market. Either search directly in the Market Intelligence tool or use the Chrome extension to gather data while using Amazon. All data about the top products will be pulled and organized in a matter of seconds, so you can quickly see all the information you need.

 

3. Look for Products to Source

Once you have settled on a product idea, it’s time to start thinking about where to source your product. Many private label sellers use Alibaba to source their best selling products on Amazon, as the site allows them to get in touch with numerous manufacturers worldwide.

Alibaba allows you to search for a product and returns a list of manufacturers currently producing similar items. When you find a product you like, you can click the result to see detailed product and manufacturer information and get in touch with the supplier. Alibaba provides 3 quality assurance metrics that you should pay attention to when browsing for a product. Since you will most likely be working with international manufacturers, it’s important to be cautious in every step as it is very hard to get international legal resolutions.

These quality assurance metrics include:

  • Trade AssuranceThis will protect you in the event of shipping or quality related disputes with a supplier. You’re covered if products are not shipped on time or if products do not meet quality standards as agreed upon in the contract with your supplier.
  • Gold Supplier If a supplier on Alibaba is shown as a Gold Supplier, it means they have undergone a verification process that proves they are a registered legal business. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the company is specifically reliable, it tends to provide more legitimacy.
  • Assessed Supplier Assessed suppliers on Alibaba have passed a verification process with independent inspection companies.

Alibaba allows you to automatically filter for products that fulfill these quality assurance metrics. It’s a good idea to filter for each of these metrics as you browse through a wide array of product possibilities.

Also, as you begin looking at items to source, keep track of any that you think have the potential to become top selling products on Amazon and the cost of each unit. You can combine this cost with the referral fee and FBA fee charged by Amazon to get a better idea of whether you can sell this product profitably. Many manufacturers also have a minimum order requirement so be sure to pay attention as that will directly affect your initial investment.

4. Connect with Multiple Manufacturers

After you’ve identified some products you’re interested in, it’s time to start building relationships with manufacturers. It’s important to reach out to more than one manufacturer in order to find the best product in a timely manner. We recommend reaching out to about 10 suppliers who have products that meet your requirements.

Be kind and courteous when contacting any potential business partner and be sure to understand cultural differences when working with international suppliers. Establishing rapport with suppliers can lay the bricks to build a lasting relationship for future product expansions. Also, be sure to present yourself as an established business owner, even if you’re a first-time seller. If you come across as inexperienced, it’s likely that you will not get the best price from manufacturers.

Below is a good example of the first correspondence you can send to manufacturers. This is just to give you an idea of some of the information you should try to gather. If you have any additional questions for the supplier, be sure to include them.

Dear [Manufacturer Name], 

My name is [Your Name] and I am the owner of [Company Name]. We specialize in selling Health and household items through major online retailers and are currently interested in growing our product line. We’re interested in learning more about your compact first aid kit [Include Product Link]. 

Before we make a final decision about which product best fits our needs, could you please provide me with the following additional information about your product: 

 

– Can the products be packaged in custom packaging? 

– What is the average manufacturing time for each order?

– How many of the products are shipped in each case?

– What are the dimensions of each case?

– What are the lead times for a sample and trial order?

 

I appreciate your time and am looking forward to your reply so we can take the next steps in the ordering process. 

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Pro Tip: Checking Your Margin

At this point, you’ll be getting direct quotes back from manufacturers on exactly how much it’s going to cost for you to place an order for a certain number of units. As we said, manufacturers will also require minimum order quantities. You should evaluate, based on the minimum order quantity and the true margin for each product, whether you should still move forward with this product or try your hand at another one.

We’ve seen sellers get into markets, only looking at top line revenue instead of taking into consideration what the margin is actually going to be. You want to know for sure how much it’s going to cost to get into your market.

Find out how much it’s going to cost to produce each unit, then find out how much it will cost to ship your units to your desired destination. This will be your landed unit cost, and will involve the following:

  1. How much it will cost to manufacture each unit
  2. Shipping cost per unit (Total shipping cost / total number of units ordered)

So, for example, let’s say each First Aid Kit costs $2 to manufacture. Let’s also say the shipping (from the manufacturer to an Amazon Warehouse) comes to $600 total, with an order of 1000 Units. Our landed unit cost would be $2.6: ( ($600/1000) + $2)

After taking into consideration the Amazon Fees for selling this product, do the margins make sense for you as a seller? If so, great! Keep on moving forward. If not, no worries – keep on looking for a goldmine product!

We have a Podcast episode that will walk you through great steps to take with manufacturer negotiation and general best practices for sourcing products. Check it out here!

5. Order Samples

As you make first contact with the suppliers, take note of who gets back to you quickly or who is most responsive to any follow up questions you have, as these are good indicators of reliability. This will help you narrow your list of 10 suppliers to a list of 3 to order samples from. Seeing the product in person will help you make the decision of which option is best for your needs.

When ordering samples, you will likely be paying a much higher price for manufacturing and air shipment. Often, you can negotiate this expense into the cost of the first large order, but it will be required upfront before samples can be manufactured. Sample products typically cost between $100 and $200 including shipping, but will vary depending on size, weight and type of product. Most suppliers let you use PayPal for samples, which is a quick, easy and secure form of payment.

6. Compare Samples and Manufacturers

As your samples are delivered, inspect them closely for quality of materials and construction. Make sure that the product meets all of the specifications you required. Since you ordered samples from more than one manufacturer, now is the time to compare them to find out which has the potential to become one of the best selling products on Amazon.

Which product seems the best out of the group? Which supplier was easiest to work and communicate with? How easily can each product be packaged with your unique branding? All of these questions should play a role in your final decision.

7. Continue Watching the Market

During the entire sourcing process, you’ll want to keep an eye on the market to ensure it doesn’t take a sudden dive in sales or become oversaturated with competitors. If you’ve identified this market as one with good potential, there’s always a possibility that others have figured it out too. So you want to be sure other sellers haven’t rushed to this market and oversaturated it with options.

If you’ve continuously watched the market and all still looks good, it’s time to take the leap and order your first shipment of products. You’ll need to work with the supplier to get packaging options finalized, and to make any further adjustments you’d like to see in the course of your product’s final production.

You’ll also need to purchase a UPC for the product from GS1. This UPC can then be linked to an FNSKU with Amazon. While Amazon will sticker your inventory with an FNSKU, there is an added fee. It’s usually more cost effective to have your manufacturer print the code on the product.

8. Ensure Shipment is Inspected

In order to ensure the quality of the product, it’s always a good idea to have each shipment independently inspected. Items do not become top selling products on Amazon if they have defects or are of low quality, so this is an important step. You can either contract an inspector in the country of manufacturing or choose to do this domestically. Alibaba offers a feature to connect you with inspectors who will then document and photograph any defects. This will help correct manufacturing before your product is shipped.

Generally, we recommend getting an inspection done in the country that the product is manufactured in. Getting an inspection done in this way, from a trusted inspection service, allows you to catch any manufacturing mistakes before the products are on their way to Amazon.

9. Plan Ahead

Before ordering stock, you’ll want to plan ahead for how much you need and the cost of each reorder. It’s a good idea to try to plan for at least a 2 month run of inventory. The cost calculator built into Market Intelligence will help you get a basic idea of how much inventory you will need.

You will also want to get an idea of lead times to help you plan for future inventory. For example, if it takes 60 days from the moment you order your products to the time they are in Amazon’s warehouse and ready for purchase, you will need to order inventory well in advance. Otherwise, you will be constantly running out of stock.

Make sure to also plan ahead financially. Keep in mind that you will not immediately be able to pull out your initial investment. If you invest $10,000 for a 2 month supply, but your resupply takes 2 months to arrive at the Amazon warehouse, you will really need $20,000 available initially.

This is because you might need to place your second order right as your first shipment is hitting inventory to ensure you can sell without interruption. Until you start steadily selling, your initial investment will be tied up in inventory reorder.

Amazon is a cash game, and often sellers underestimate just how much it’s going to cost to keep up with demand. It’s going to take time to develop an understanding around your own lead time, however we encourage you to keep track of lead time between each of your products. Finding the perfect balance between cash flow and making sure your products are in stock is difficult, but worth the time and energy to figure out.

10. Familiarize Yourself with Incoterms

International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) are commercial terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in order to facilitate agreements between buyers and suppliers. These terms are negotiated during your agreement with the supplier and will determine the logistics and liability of the manufacturing and shipping process.

The terms for transporting the goods can be negotiated using any of the following rules:

  • EXW (ExWorks) – In this agreement the seller makes the goods available at their premises, but the buyer is responsible for transporting them. This places maximum obligations on the buyer and minimum obligations on the seller, as the buyer incurs the risk of bringing the goods to the final destination.
  • FCA (Free Carrier) – This allows the buyer to choose a carrier to move the product. Once the seller has delivered the goods to the carrier, all responsibility is off them. The buyer takes over the responsibility of unloading the goods and reloading the goods at the carrier facility.
  • FAS (Free Alongside Ship) – The seller’s responsibility is fulfilled when the goods are placed alongside the buyer’s vessel at the named port. The buyer incurs all costs and risks of the product from that moment.
  • FOB (Free on Board) – The seller incurs all costs and risks of the goods until they are safely loaded onto the vessel and must also arrange for export clearance. The buyer is responsible for marine freight transportation, bill of lading fees, insurance, as well as unloading and transportation cost from the arrival port to destination.
  • DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) – The seller incurs all the responsibilities of delivering the goods to the named destination in the buyers country. Seller also pays all costs required to bring the goods to the destination including import duties and taxes. But seller is not responsible for unloading.

Shipping logistics can be extremely costly, especially for a new seller who is just getting started. For this reason, DDP is the most valuable option and is usually suggested as the best option to choose, if available. In this case, you would contact your manufacturer to see if they are able to deliver directly to either your own storage facility or an Amazon Warehouse. Most manufacturers now have the ability to do this, so asking to ship your products directly to Amazon is not abnormal.

Some sellers also choose to ship their items through a Freight Forwarder. If this is the case, typically sellers will either choose to ship using FOB or EXW. In each of these cases, your Freight Forwarder would pick up your products at your manufacturer’s last point of contact. 

11. Weigh Pros and Cons of Shipping Options

When shipping from other countries, you have two options: ship by air or by sea. Prices of both options will vary depending on the size of the order and the type of product.

Shipping by sea is always the least expensive option when compared to air, but is also more time-consuming. And there is a greater chance of product damage when shipping by sea. However, many sellers still choose this method in order to keep costs down. Shipping by air is usually not a profitable option.

We mentioned implementing the use of a freight forwarder before. You should consider whether you would like to have another third party involved or whether you would want to go through shipping logistics without another third party. Freight forwarders typically bring more visibility, simplicity, and trust when it comes to importing. The trade-off, almost always, is an extra expense.

Find Your Next Money Maker

Identifying a profitable idea and turning it into one of the best selling products on Amazon is a multi-step process that requires time and patience. Getting a product idea nailed down is just the beginning as sourcing the product requires the most effort. Take these tips, do your research, and find and source your next big product. For even more tips, take a look at our video series on How to Sell on Amazon. Get started with the first video below!

 

What to Sell on Amazon – 5 Tips to Find a Profitable Amazon Product

There’s a lot of money to be made in the Amazon game, but the problem many face is figuring out what to sell on Amazon. The possibilities can seem overwhelming as almost anything you can imagine is already being sold on this monstrous online marketplace. Nearly any search yields thousands upon thousands of results. So how do you break into the game and figure out the best products to sell to get your share of all that cash?

Many people make extra spending money through retail arbitrage or reselling discounted products at a markup. But the real money on Amazon is in the private label market.  

This isn’t to say that you can’t turn retail arbitrage into a lucrative venture, but there are significant limitations to that type of business. You are responsible for going out and finding all the products you are going to sell. If at any point you stop or take a break from this process, your cash flow also stops. You also must compete with other sellers that have the exact same product as you instead of marketing and selling your own unique brand.

Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA private label selling only requires coordinating with a manufacturer to get products to Amazon’s warehouse. That means you never have to personally handle the product. It also means that you can make money even when you’re not working.

You can sit back and relax as your products are ordered, packaged and shipped by Amazon. FBA private label allows you to build an entire line of products and create a complete, scalable business, all while never having to handle the inventory yourself.

If you’ve decided you’re ready to take the plunge and try this out for real, we’ve got some tips to help you find what to sell on Amazon.This isn’t a venture to be taken lightly as hard work lies ahead. But with the right tools and work ethic, you can identify great products and begin building your empire. For even more tips, take a look at our video series on How to Sell on Amazon. Get started with the first video below, and follow these 5 tips to get going with your Amazon Journey!


 

1. Get Creative!

First, you need some basic product ideas. Think about your daily life. What items do you use most often? Is there a product you currently use that could be improved? If you can find a product you’re passionate about to sell on Amazon, you’ll find the work involved less tiresome. Thinking about things you like or enjoy will also help to get your creative juices flowing. Try to think of products that meet these guidelines:

  • A sale price between $15 and $50 – The lower the sale price of your product, the lower the investment costs, so if you are on a budget, you will probably want to go with a product that sells for under $35.
  • Lightweight and easy to ship – Items that are heavy, large or oddly shaped can skyrocket your shipping and storage costs. Try to find items that can fit in a small box and weigh under 3 pounds including the shipping materials.
  • Items that won’t break during shipping – Especially if you’re a newer seller, you don’t want to take the risk of selling a product that could break on its way to customers. This can lead to bad reviews that bring down your business quickly. Additionally, breakable items require more complicated packaging and thus higher shipping costs.
  • Non-seasonal items – While it may be tempting to get in on a seasonal item or hot trend, this isn’t a good idea if you’re looking for a sustainable product in the long-run. You may make some quick cash, but as the weather or trend changes, sales will drop off, leading to cash flow problems or unsold stock that you can’t move. Focus your ideas on evergreen items that will sell year round.

This outlined criteria is a great starting point if you’re just getting started on Amazon. Products that do not fit this criteria can certainly be home-runs, especially for someone with a little bit more Amazon experience or with a bigger budget.

2. Use Amazon

One of the best places to get ideas for what to sell on Amazon is on Amazon itself. The Amazon Best Sellers List can give you tons of ideas about what is currently selling well on the site. Keep in mind that some of the products featured here may be selling well due to seasonal trends, but it’s still a great place to go for inspiration. The page is updated hourly and broken down by category, so you can see best selling items for every single selling category on Amazon.

 

The tabs across the top allow you to see more narrowed results, with tracking for certain types of best sellers. The New Releases tab tracks new listings with an upswing in sales, while the Movers and Shakers tab tracks items that are quickly moving up in Best Seller Rank (BSR). The Most Wished For tab is a great place to get an idea of what customers currently want. While it doesn’t signify sales, it does point to those items that Amazon users are adding to their wish lists most often.

3. Utilize Product Idea Tools

If you like making data-driven decisions and want to quickly determine which products are most likely to succeed, subscribing to a product finder tool may be the best route for you. Tools like Product Discovery from Viral Launch will organize mountains of Amazon data into one convenient place so you can quickly search for new ideas by product, keyword, brand or category.

This tool allows you to select as many Amazon selling categories as you’d like, input price range, average monthly sales, average review count and much more. It’s loaded with advanced filters that allow you to narrow results to personalize your product ideas and quickly identify the highest opportunity products.

 

Once you input all your requirements and click the “Show Products” button, Product Discovery scours the depths of Amazon to find current products that fit within your search requirements and organizes them into a list of results.

 

 

Now you can easily browse the best product ideas on Amazon and see all relevant Amazon data for each product. You can start forming a list of products that pique your interest with the Pinned Products feature. With an annual subscription, each result is also given a product idea score between one and five stars, with five being the best score. This gives you a quick identifier to easily find the best opportunity markets.

Though all the filters and results can seem daunting at first, there are plenty of tutorials to explain the best way to utilize all the features in Product Discovery. Start experimenting, and you’ll quickly be on the path to sourcing your next big money maker.

PRO TIP: 

Make sure you’re looking at the right product market when you research. While a market like “wireless charging speaker” may seem like a great opportunity with high sales numbers and low competition, there are actually only about 75 people searching for that phrase each month.. So the top selling products are likely getting their sales through a keyword like bluetooth speaker with much higher search volume. Make sure you’re looking at the main keyword (and so the main market) for your product when you do your market research. You can verify a market by looking at search volume using a keyword research tool. And you’ll want to use one that utilizes only Amazon data. Sales volume alone may indicate that a product is popular. However, you want to know exactly what kind of product people are searching for so that you can meet the need.

4. Analyze the Market

Once you have some good product ideas, it’s time to get down to the research. It’s important not to overlook this step. Just because you’ve identified some product markets that seem to have high sales and search volume doesn’t mean they will be gold mines. The market may be oversaturated with competitors. It may be a trendy product on its way downhill. Or, there may be too many high volume sellers for a newbie to compete.

There’s a variety of different reasons why high sales volume doesn’t necessarily translate to a good product idea. But if you do the appropriate market research, you can be sure to find the right product to meet your revenue goals and grow your online business.

Here are some things you want to look for in a product market:

  • No big brand name competitors – It’s hard enough to compete with all the products being sold, but it’s even harder if your product is competing against one with major brand recognition. Stay out of markets that are dominated by common household names.
  • Look for markets where competitors have a low number of reviews – Reviews play a major role in ranking and sales on Amazon. If all the competitor products on page one of search results have numerous reviews, it’s going to be tough to break into that market as a newbie with no reviews. And it can take months… even years to build up review count. Look at the page one results for your product idea. If the average sales to review ratio for all of the competitors on the first page is less than 2, it’s probably not as great an idea as you originally thought. This means that the number of sales is only double the amount of reviews (or less). For example, your top competitors may be selling 1,000 units per month, but they each have 500 reviews. The sales to review ratio here is 2, and it’s tough to compete because of such a high barrier to entry. Try to find a product where the sales to review ratio is 3 or above, meaning sales are three times the number of average reviews, or more. This gives you opportunity to come in with a solid review strategy and overcome the competition.
  • Understand the market trends – In order to get a clear picture of how your product will perform on Amazon, you have to understand the market trend. How has this market performed in the past and how will it continue to perform in the future? Have the sales in this market been steadily dropping over several months? If so, this probably indicates that the market will continue to drop and is therefore not a good place to launch a new product. If however the market is trending upwards, this could be a great time to get into this market. Continue to watch the market during the entire researching and sourcing process to ensure the market is continuing to grow without adding numerous competitors.

Although it isn’t very efficient, it’s possible to complete market research on your own. Simply utilize all the information Amazon gives you. To do this, search your product idea on Amazon. Let’s go with the market “first aid kit” again. When you search this item, you get a page full of results that meet your search query.

When you click on the first result after the sponsored ads, you see the product’s listing. Scroll down to the Product Details section, and here you will find useful information about this specific product:

  • Reviews – This particular first aid kit has 385 reviews. That is relatively high and would be tough to compete with, but remember this is just one product on a page of many results. It’s important to take the entire market into account.
  • BSR – This product is number 2,608 in its broad category of Sports and Outdoors. BSR is an indicator of past sales, and the lower the number, the more it’s selling. Amazon does not release actual sales data, so BSR is an indicator of which products are performing best, relative to others in its category.

When you complete this research for multiple products, you get a clearer picture on whether this is a market that you can compete in. From looking at page one results for “first aid kit” we see that it has a decent potential for sales. Shoppers are obviously buying products like these. There are also multiple results (eight to be exact) on page one with low reviews (under 50, in this case). This means you should still be able to compete as a newcomer.

Let’s Make Things Easier…

Now that you understand how to find all the useful product information on Amazon itself, it’s time to let you in on a little secret. All this market research can be completed quickly and easily with the help of a market research tool like Market Intelligence from Viral Launch. This tool pulls all Amazon data for the top competitors of any market, all within a few seconds.

Continuing with the first aid kit idea, we can search the term in Market Intelligence or use the Chrome extension directly within Amazon, and all the data for the product listings that are ranking for this term will be organized into one place. Here you can see sales estimates, BSR, review data, Amazon fees, monthly revenue and more for all the top competitors of your product idea. You won’t have to painstakingly look at each page one product and gather the data yourself. This tool does all of that for you.

 

The rows highlighted in red are considered outliers. This is because they have monthly revenue or reviews that are much different than the rest of the products. Market Intelligence flags these results because they don’t represent the average product result. Therefore, they not be used as an expectation of how your similar product might perform. It’s crucial to use averages for your predictions instead of trying to replicate the success of the very top player. If you scroll to the right, you can see even more statistics and data about each product.

The tool also gives you an overall product idea score, allows you to view market trends, see a detailed product analysis and calculate your costs. All of these aspects will help data-loving entrepreneurs to quickly and confidently identify what to sell on Amazon.

5. Read Competitor Reviews

So you’ve done your research and identified a great product idea. Now you need to source a product that is as good as or better than the competition. Price is extremely important on Amazon as many shoppers are focused on finding the best deal. Selling a similar product at a competitive price and marketing it correctly can make you lots of money. However, if you can identify small modifications to make your product stand out, you might make even more.

Read competitor reviews and identify small pain points or complaints that customers have about the item. Look for phrases like, “this product is great, except…” or “I really wish this product had…”.

Find trends amongst these complaints. Do several reviews for different products mention the same problem or wish? Focus on small modifications that will be easy and inexpensive to make. This is where you can set yourself apart without increasing your initial investment cost or the purchase price for customers. If several reviews complain that the product is too flimsy, you easily source a product made of stronger materials

Take These Tips and Build Your Brand

Selling on Amazon can be a very lucrative business that, if done correctly, can turn into a full time career. Finding what to sell on Amazon is a huge part of whether this venture is just a one time experiment or becomes a complete business. Discovering a profitable product will take time but can lead to a growing business and expansion into multiple products. Be patient, do the research and success will follow!

Find a profitable product to sell TODAY with a free trial of Product Discovery!

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