Post-Launch Interview with Casey Gauss

On Tuesday, November 13, Viral Launch proudly introduced 2 new tools as well as an update to existing software. We hope you enjoyed the webinar introducing our new space-age tools – Listing Analyzer and Keyword Manager – that are unlike any others in the galaxy.

**If you missed the big event, make sure you catch up and listen to Casey and Cameron take an in-depth look at Listing Analyzer, Keyword Manager and Listing Builder before locking in an exclusive price that will expire on Tuesday, November 20!**

Casey himself has envisioned different aspects of these tools and was thrilled to see them come to fruition and further improve Viral Launch’s software suite. We spent hours upon hours in the lab fine-tuning the new tools and making them as impactful for sellers as possible.

Casey coached and supported everyone on the team the whole way through, so to wrap up the launch we treated him to a press conference worthy of a champion, complete with a surprise “Gatorade” shower from Cam. He was such a good sport!  

Enjoy the video of Casey below with interviewer Katherine de Guia and read through the interview transcript for more news and notes from the Viral Launch CEO.

Interview Transcript

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Hi Casey. Thank you so much for taking some time out of our post-launch celebration. It was great. How are you feeling and what are you most excited about following the release of a new tool?

CASEY GAUSS:

I’m feeling very good. I think it went really smooth. Cam did a great job. The team did a great job on the production tech, but then also the tech works seamlessly. Overall, I’m feeling really good. What am I really excited about? I’m really excited to see the feedback of our customers. I’m really excited to see people start making better decisions with these tools in leveraging the functionality that we’ve provided for them, and I’m also excited to see how well the tech holds up. How many subscribers are we getting in? There’s a lot to be excited about after our new tool.

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

That’s awesome. This is really going to start a new era for Viral Launch. Can you tell us a little bit more about how these tools came to be?

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah. Over the last nine months, we’ve just been focused on building some really awesome technology that is going to help our sellers both now and in the future. Originally, we were focused on building one tool. We weren’t going to hit the date and so the team really rallied together and we put out these tools which honestly actually are going to be largely a subset of what our major tool was that we were launching. The real focus here, again, is on giving people the data that they need in order to make the right decisions and the automation that they need in order to keep up with everything that is going on in their Amazon business.

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Wow. I’m going to ask you to do something a little bit difficult here, so bear with me. In 30 seconds or less, okay?

CASEY GAUSS:

Mmm. Yeah.

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

In 30 seconds or less, can you please remind sellers how this new software can help them drive more sales right now and in the future?

CASEY GAUSS:

We’ve automated the process of going and analyzing your product to help you understand opportunities to go and make improvements right now. It also helps you to monitor the performance of different important metrics in your Amazon business to help you in real-time constantly make improvements and updates to make sure you’re selling as well as possible.  

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Okay. Anything else people should know about these tools? Anything you haven’t mentioned that is super important?

CASEY GAUSS:

The tools over anything – can you repeat the question, please?

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Is there anything that you haven’t touched on yet that you might want to really highlight about these new tools?

CASEY GAUSS:

Overall, there’s a lot of value here from the standpoint of these tools in and of themselves are really powerful for sellers who also have a suite of three other tools that are also really powerful. We’re combining these without making you pay any more under one $99 per month subscription. There’s also some awesome interactions between each tool, again, making sure that you get a ton of value and a ton of opportunity just to – you know, your business isn’t run in the silos and these tools really help to interact with one another to give you the most.

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Awesome. So, with these two huge cornerstones, any news on what’s next for Viral Launch?

CASEY GAUSS:

As we mentioned, this is just the tip of the iceberg for this new phase. We have another new tool hopefully coming out in the next two, three months maybe. I don’t want to say specific dates, but this new tool is – there’s not a tool out there that exists like this. It’s not just individual data points that you’ve never seen before. This tool has never been seen in the Amazon space with a lot that people are not paying attention to. That is a small tool relative to the rest of our product roadmap. In about six months, you’re going to have some pretty incredible and pretty insane technology to help you sell well on Amazon. Just a little teaser for you.

KATHERINE DE GUIA:

Well thank you so much for joining me for this post-interview. I know we’re all super excited to continue this journey with Viral Launch.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

For More Viral Launch News

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Amazon Inventory Management: What You Need to Know (and Do!)

As a new Amazon seller, it’s crucial to understand the best practices for Amazon inventory management. The trouble is, this skill primarily comes with experience and requires mastering a lot of moving parts. And when compared to crafting a listing and showing off your product with stunning Amazon photography, inventory management isn’t the most exciting task on your to-do list. But if you don’t get it right, it’s going to impact your business from top to bottom.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it — sales forecasting and inventory management is tough, even for experienced sellers. The big thing to take away here is understanding why inventory management is so important and how you can avoid a detrimental stock out… never letting customers see this:

 

Let’s get to it!

Why Being Out of Stock is So Bad for Your Amazon Business

The implications of being out of stock run much deeper than you may think. Amazon inventory management is a crucial component of your business because, unlike brick and mortar stores, there are no backorders or clients who will wait patiently and just pop back in whenever a product isn’t available. Amazon shoppers will go straight to a competitor who has the item in stock, causing you to lose sales and all-important cash flow.

As if that weren’t enough, here are more ramifications for going out of stock:

  • Dropped Rankings: If you’re out of stock for a long period of time or on a regular basis, you’ll likely experience a significant drop in keyword ranking, which can be difficult to overcome even when your product comes back in stock. Giveaways and sponsored ads can help you regain ground, but you’re now operating with poor sales history and you’ll be operating with less money due to lost revenue.
  • No Organic Search Visibility: Amazon typically removes product listings without stock from its search result pages. While your listing may still live somewhere on Amazon, it’ll have a lot less visibility.

A huge part of Amazon’s appeal and what makes it arguably the world’s best business is its fast, easy access to millions of products. If you don’t manage your inventory properly, you’re going to be missing out on so many sales opportunities.

Having Too Much Inventory Isn’t Good Either

While you want to avoid having too few (or worse, zero) of inventory, you also want to avoid having too much. Inventory that’s sitting stale and stagnant isn’t making you any money — it’s actually costing you some.

On the 15th of each month, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) performs an inventory cleanup and any inventory that’s been in its warehouses for 181 to 365 days will incur a long-term storage fee (LTSF) of $3.45 per cubic foot. Items that have been in fulfillment centers for more than 365 days on the inventory cleanup date will incur a long-term storage fee of $6.90 per cubic foot.

Starting August 15, 2018, items that have been in Amazon fulfillment centers for more than 365 days will be subject to a minimum fee of $0.50 per unit per month. Either the long-term storage fee or the minimum fee will apply, whichever is greater.

If you’re not moving inventory, these storage fees can really add up!

Amazon Inventory Management: Knowing When and How Much to Order

So you don’t want too little and you don’t want too much. What does that mean? Take stock of your inventory and find a happy medium, or a healthy number that allows you to re-order stock while still continuing to fulfill orders.

When to Place a New Order

All new sellers struggle with how many units to buy because there are so many factors to consider. However, understanding your lead times and anticipated sales velocity can help you forecast sales and plan inventory orders.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, lead time is the number of days that occur from when you place an order with your supplier to when the item is ready for purchase. Many Chinese suppliers typically operate on 30-day turnaround times, but if it takes another 20 days for the units to ship, clear customs and be delivered to a fulfillment center (or wherever else), that’s 50 total days you’ll need to take into account.

Like everything else in your Amazon selling journey, getting a good handle on your lead time comes with experience. As you continue to work with your manufacturer and forwarder, you’ll be able to compile data and better determine this. To help you do so, we recommend you keep detailed records of:

  • The date you order from the manufacturer
  • The date manufacturing is completed
  • The date it ships from the manufacturing facility
  • The date your shipment arrives at your home or an Amazon FBA center
  • The date your product is checked into Amazon and ready for purchase

This information will also help you evaluate the performance of your manufacturer.

Using Historical Sales Data for Inventory Forecasting

When it comes to predicting your inventory needs, examining past sales is a great place to start. If you don’t have enough data to go by, check out your competitors’ sales trends to make these predictions.

Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence is currently the only tool available that offers Amazon specific market sales trends. We use a system of complex calculations based on hour-by-hour changes in BSR to create the most accurate sales estimates. We also show past sales estimates that we’ve calculated for each product to give you an understanding of how the product has performed in the past compared to how it’s performing now. This will help you better predict how the market will behave in the future.

With the proper sales forecasting techniques and Amazon inventory management, products will stay in stock, ideally resulting in more sales and more cash flow. A win-win!

Prepare for Peak Times

As you examine historical sales data, you’ll see how demand ebbs and flows. While this may be the nature of the market, there are other factors at play that will affect your sales history and therefore, your stock needs.

To meet fluctuations in demand, plan ahead and prepare for these peak times:

  • Seasonal Demand: Consider seasonal weather and activities and how that might impact your sales. For example, anyone selling pool toys like squirt guns or floaties will naturally see an increase in sales during the warmer months. Other products may see a sales increase during the winter months or the wedding season.
  • Holidays: We all know Christmastime is huge for retailers. On Amazon, it’s all about Cyber Monday. And aside from your own country’s holidays, it’s also important to know what holidays are coming up for your suppliers. The Chinese New Year is the most notable holiday in China, resulting in widespread work stoppages across the country.
  • Trends/News Stories: Solar eclipse glasses and fidget spinners are great examples of products that capitalized on big news events and popular fads. Pay attention to what people are talking about on social media and news sites and see if you can take advantage, too.
  • Q4: Since Q4 is right around the holiday season, most brands can typically expect to see increased demand from shoppers as well as more competition from other sellers.

Preparing for peak times means anticipating longer lead times on all inventory orders, shipment delays and longer check-in times at Amazon. For reorder quantities during the Q4 boom, it’s best to find your peak sales projections for the holidays and order to accommodate it.

The goal is to always keep your inventory moving and be able to meet any spike in demand without missing a beat. By anticipating (and meeting) demand properly, you’ll be maximizing profit potential and building a better overall brand.

Managing Your Inventory in Seller Central

There are several free tools available within Seller Central, some specifically for FBA sellers, that can help with your Amazon inventory management.

On the Manage Inventory page, you’re able to perform many routine inventory management tasks, including:

  • Viewing and sorting inventory
  • Creating, copying and editing listings
  • Managing pricing
  • Adding and removing images
  • Closing and deleting listings

On the Inventory Reports page, you can find a wide range of information about your FBS inventory:

The Restock Inventory tool provides recommendations to FBA sellers on products to restock, suggested order quantities and reorder dates. Input your specific lead time and product volume to further customize these suggestions for your unique business.

Amazon also recommends that sellers keep a close eye on the shipping queue to monitor information about their shipments, including those that are in progress, in transit and at a fulfillment center.

For sellers with Professional selling plans, Amazon Selling Coach can provide you with personalized recommendations to help facilitate your success on Amazon. Discover new product opportunities, use the Match Low Price feature for pricing strategies or check out different Listing Enhancement tools to improve the quality of your content.

Selling Coach also offers in-depth inventory opportunities, including low stock alerts and Amazon’s suggested restock time using your recent sales data.

Source: Amazon

Third-Party Inventory Management Tools

While Amazon has many helpful tools, you may find it’s just not feasible to manage inventory for hundreds or even thousands of SKUs all on your own. Multi-channel sellers in particular face this problem.

There are scores of automated inventory management software tools available from third-party companies to help you manage your inventory on Amazon and across other eCommerce platforms. However, many can cost you upwards of $40 a month, so take the time to weigh the pros and cons of these services before investing.

Final Thoughts

A streamlined and organized Amazon inventory management strategy will help you stay in stock and plan ahead for peak times. While there are plenty of moving parts to inventory management, many problems that pop up are preventable. Continually monitor your current inventory levels, sales volume and lead times to make informed decisions about any new inventory shipments. Maximize your sales and profits by meeting inventory demands head on!

The Importance of China Quality Inspection for FBA Sellers

Your first FBA journey is going to be scary. You’re in uncharted territory dealing with unfamiliar manufacturers who are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Take a deep breath and keep your eyes on the prize — becoming a successful FBA seller!

As an Amazon seller, your main priority is sourcing and selling a quality product. Because without a quality product, you’re facing an uphill battle right from the start. You’ll likely see low sales, bad reviews and a lot of returns, which could put you in bad standing with Amazon and even lead to the suspension of your account. And oh yeah, you won’t be making any money!

But how do you monitor quality control from another country? Sure you can hop on a plane to China and go do it yourself, but is that really feasible? This is where a third-party China quality inspection comes in.

Let’s dig in deeper.

China Quality Inspection: A Crucial Step for Sellers

While you can contract an inspector domestically, it makes the most sense financially and logistically to hire a company in the same country where the product is being manufactured. This way, any minor damage or major defects can be corrected before the products are shipped to Amazon.

Regardless of whether a product is being manufactured manually or by a machine, innocent mistakes can happen — and they will. It’s common to have a small defect rate on every order. You just don’t want those products going out to customers! Hiring an inspector helps ensure only quality units are being sent to Amazon and only quality units are ending up in customers’ hands.  

Save Yourself Time and Money

To save on cost, manufacturers will often use cheaper, lower-quality materials instead of the more expensive ones. Avoid this issue by being very specific with your manufacturer regarding all materials, measurements, and packaging that your product requires. Give the same information to your inspector so he or she knows what to test and check for.

Refunds and warranties are rare in China and don’t mean same things as in the US. If you don’t discover a mistake or manufacturing error until you receive your product in the states, chances are it’s not going to be fixed anytime soon. So how do you protect your products and save yourself time and money? As a general rule, it’s recommended to do the following:

  • Tell your supplier straight away you’re going to hire an inspector
  • Never work with a supplier who won’t accept quality inspections
  • Have a firm purchase order and contract agreement in place
  • Withhold partial payment until an inspection takes place

Suppliers will be quicker to respond and make corrections if they haven’t received the full payment yet. This gives you more leverage before you pay in full and are fresh out of luck.

Pre-Shipment Inspections

Identifying problems before they’re fully packed and shipped out is much cheaper and easier to correct. There are typically two types of quality control inspections offered by third-party inspection companies:

  • Full Inspection: A review of each and every product
  • Spot/Random Inspection: A review of 〜10% of inventory

Obviously, a full inspection is going to cost more money, but in return you’ll get greater peace of mind. For example, say you do a partial inspection of 100 pieces and they find 20 with defects. What now?

You could either move forward and accept the risk that 200 units out of your 1,000-piece inventory are potentially defective, or you could pay for a full inspection (on top of what you’ve already paid) to be completely sure. Your best bet is to order a full inspection and get the peace of mind they provide.

What are QC Inspectors Looking for?

During an inspection, your inspector will be looking at:

  • Quantity verification
  • Conformity check (style, color, label, packing, and shipping conformity)
  • Workmanship check (appearance and basic function)
  • Function check (more in-depth functionality)
  • Contract product quality

You want products to match all of your specifications as well as any quality standards set by the industry. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of repairing or removing units with minor issues, but more severe issues should immediately result in your supplier repairing or remaking the product.

FBA Requirements

Another quality control check for FBA sellers to consider focuses on shipping and packaging. Amazon’s FBA program has its own inventory requirements, including those for product barcodes, packaging and prep, shipment packaging, and shipment labels. Failure to follow these requirements could lead to extra fees or Amazon returning your product.

If you’re not handling the packaging and labeling of your FBA products yourself, you must work with your manufacturer to make sure all of these requirements are being met.

Hiring a Pre-Shipment Inspector: Alibaba and Other Options

Aside from connecting you with an extensive directory of manufacturers, Alibaba can also connect you with professional third-party inspectors close to your supplier whose background and profile have been verified by Alibaba.com.

These inspectors visit the manufacturing facility in China and prepare a written report with pictures to verify that the products being produced and shipped meet industry standards as well as those specified by sellers. These detailed reports are typically ready to view within 2 business days and you can even track the inspection progression in real-time so you can follow along.

Inspections generally cost around $300 for each shipment and must be booked up to 3 business days in advance. Alibaba does offer deals for their inspection service, like this 50% off all inspections promotion for their annual #SuperSeptember event, which is shown below.

Source: Alibaba.com

There are many other China quality control inspection companies out there, and freight forwarders also offer inspection services.

Pro Tip: Look for Manufacturers, not Trading Companies

When you’re in search of a manufacturer on Alibaba, verify that whoever you choose is actually a manufacturer and not a trading company. Trading companies resell items from manufacturers, whereas manufacturers are actually producing the items themselves. Look for this information on the company’s Alibaba listing or check their business registration license.

Who Can Order Alibaba’s Inspection Service?

Alibaba’s inspection service is available to all Alibaba.com members outside of mainland China who have placed a Trade Assurance order. For those of you who haven’t placed an order yet and are unfamiliar with Trade Assurance, this is Alibaba’s free order protection service that covers buyers in the event of payment, shipping and product quality disputes.

To order on Alibaba.com, simply start a Trade Assurance order and select Product Inspection Service under Value-Add Service. After you make a payment, you’ll be able to track your order and see the inspection status on the Trade Assurance page.

Ordering a China Quality Inspection: Is it Worth the Money?

While ordering a China quality inspection is optional, it’s something that should be seriously considered when you’re breaking down costs and examining profit margins. Think of it this way: if defective products end up in an Amazon FBA warehouse, you’ll most likely have to pull all of your inventory to pick out the defects.

Then, not only will you be have to ship the products back to Amazon (again), you’ll have to somehow dispose of the units if you can’t donate or store them somewhere. This will undoubtedly lead to delays in current orders or even force you to make your listing inactive for a while, which is never good for meeting your margins and always bad for customer service.

Another issue you’ll be facing is Amazon’s order defect rate policy. Your ODR is determined by:

After these are all taken into account, Amazon divides it by the total number of orders during a given period to get an ODR. The Amazon recommended ODR is 1%, and they will suspend accounts with rates slightly above 1%. A rate much higher than 1% can be a cause for termination. You can find your ODR on your Account Health dashboard in Seller Central under the Performance tab. 

For sellers who only have a handful of orders each month, this could be a major issue as a single defective unit could skyrocket your ODR.

Inspections Keep Suppliers in Check

You don’t slack off when you know your performance is being monitored, right? The same principle applies here: if suppliers know a third-party inspection is imminent, they’re probably going to do a better job. Hold them accountable and don’t let them cut corners! After all, they’re not the ones going to suffer the consequences — you are.

You may be tempted to forego inspections as you build a long-term relationship with your manufacturer, but this typically isn’t recommended. No matter how reputable and experienced they may be, problems can still pop up — the manufacturing process isn’t an exact science. People (and machines) make mistakes!

A Quick Recap

A China quality inspection can protect your brand’s reputation, Amazon status and pocketbook. Are you willing to risk all of the above on something that could have been avoided?

Today’s shoppers are also more vocal than ever and will absolutely let you know if your products aren’t up to par. And as more and more sellers enter the space, having quality products can immediately set you apart from a sea of competitors.

As always, Viral Launch is here to help you in your Amazon journey. For tips on Amazon advertising, selling strategies and more, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel, and listen to our Follow the Data podcast.

Amazon Product Launch Strategy from the Experts at Viral Launch

What Makes for a Successful Amazon Product Launch?

After your listing goes live, it’s time to start driving sales with a successful Amazon product launch.

Because regardless of how great your product is, if no one’s buying it, it doesn’t matter. Being successful in this space all comes down to product visibility.

When someone searches for your keyword, you want to be the first product seen. The tricky part? Most people aren’t looking past Page 1.

But in the crowded Amazon marketplace, how do you get there? It starts with having the right product launch strategy. And after working with over 8,000 brands to run more than 35,000 launches, Viral Launch knows exactly how to create a successful launch campaign. Our launch experts are ready to help you today!

What a Product Launch Does

Amazon rewards sellers who bring in outside traffic and sales with more predominant search placements. Product launches, also referred to as promotional giveaways, are a common practice on the platform and a way to help boost sales, which in turn will benefit ranking. The concept is pretty simple, although it can seem confusing at first, especially for new sellers.

So, let’s break it down a bit more.

A product launch is designed to project your listing to Page 1 for a major keyword or phrase relevant to your product. Remember, the higher you rank, the closer you are to Page 1 (if you’re not there already!). The goal is to get your listing to appear in organic search results and increase your organic sales.

Shoppers like launches for the discounted prices. Sellers benefit from launches because they can:

  • Boost keyword ranking
  • Improve organic traffic for a better conversion rate
  • Increase sales velocity and sales history
  • Give your product more authority on Amazon.com

Boosting your sales means more than extra money in your pocket. Increasing your sales velocity improves your ranking, and products with a higher rank have better visibility. It truly is a cycle, with one thing impacting another for better or for worse.

Who Would Benefit from a Launch?

Once you’ve selected a product, found a supplier and got your listing up and going, you want to see those sales rolling in. The truth is, without any outside effort, you’re really leaving it to Lady Luck for your product to take off.

Launches can help any seller gain a competitive edge. If you’re new to Amazon, you’re starting from scratch with no reviews and no sales. That makes it awfully tough to get your product in a good position to sell. Running a launch puts your product in front of more buyers right from the start. Who wouldn’t want that?

If you’re an established seller, launches can help a stagnant product sitting on Page 20 start moving again. And even if your product is selling, is it selling enough? Are your margins being met? Use a launch to drive exposure and move your listing up in ranking and in search results.

Developing an Amazon Product Launch Strategy

Letting your listing become lost in the crowd leaves you with untapped potential. More importantly, untapped profit. Running a launch can be very beneficial, but be aware it’s an upfront investment. Also, note that not every Amazon product launch strategy is the same. Everyone in the space has their own opinion of what works and what doesn’t. Regardless of what approach you take, make sure you:

  • Pay attention to your bottom line and don’t let the wrong launch strategy cost you money in the long run.
  • Take advantage of the holidays and/or special sales days. Target the influx of holiday shoppers, and remember to run launches before big sales events like Cyber Monday and Prime Day in particular.

Check out this podcast with VL Launch Director Andrew Field for more tips on launching your next product.

The VL Launch Strategy

Viral Launch has long been known as a successful launch platform. Let’s learn the basics behind our Amazon launch strategy.

First, we’ll determine a keyword (we recommend targeting no more than 4) with a good search volume that will convert well for your product. Next, we’ll analyze the market to determine the number of units required to give away at a discounted price on our own buyer deal site. This discount typically ends up being about 90% off and is based on the sales of Page 1 products.

We typically recommend running a giveaway for a period of 7-10 days. This is long enough for Amazon to recognize the sales, but still short enough to limit the number of products being given away.

Amazon’s algorithms are always being updated and tweaked, so it’s important to stay up to date on best practices. Some sellers are finding success with shorter launches/higher giveaway days, even to the point of only giving away a large number of units for one day. We are currently doing testing and looking at our large data set to keep everyone informed.

Creating Your VL Amazon Product Launch

Before you begin to reap the benefits of your unique Amazon product launch, you need to set and schedule it on our platform.

You’ll be required to input the following:

  • Target keyword
  • Launch duration
  • Units to give
  • Promo price
  • Coupon codes

Once that’s all set, the system will take it from there. A major advantage of the VL launch platform is its ease of use. You don’t have to be an expert in any way! And while launches can easily be set up by yourself, you can always talk with a Viral Launch Seller Coach to receive expert advice and guidance.

Maintaining Your Rank After a Launch

A successful Amazon launch strategy will see a listing increase in rank and ideally land on Page 1. But you don’t just want a better ranking, you want better sales, too. How can you maintain your rank position and rack up more sales numbers? Here are 4 ways:

  1. Listing Optimization: Maximize your ranking and purchasing potential by optimizing your listing. Use relevant, high-volume keywords, and find the high-opportunity keywords that competitors aren’t targeting. The better you position your product with high-ranking keywords, the more you’ll boost your visibility.
  2. Price Strategy: Price your product in line with your competition. If your price is a lot higher than most of the Page 1 competitors, you probably won’t convert as well.
  3. PPC: Paying for sponsored ad content can also drive people to your listing. Similar to promotional giveaways, PPC (Pay Per Click) generates traffic through targeted keywords and can contribute to ranking improvement.
  4. Customer Service: While you can’t incentivize reviews, you can encourage review generation with great customer service and email follow-up campaigns. When customers have a pleasant shopping experience with you, the more likely they are to leave reviews and even promote your product themselves.

Recap

Keyword ranking and visibility on Amazon are crucial for your success. Launches are a fast, easy way to increase your rank, sales, and reviews.

Watch this VL launch series for more information on how to run a launch and learn more about our proven strategy. Schedule yours or talk with a Viral Launch launch expert today!

 

 

Shipping to Amazon FBA: A 6-Step Guide

The more streamlined, hands-off approach of Fulfillment by Amazon can be very appealing to sellers. Not only will Amazon pick, pack and ship orders for you, they’ll even handle customer service and returns. Your products will also be Amazon Prime eligible, another big advantage due to Prime’s ever-growing popularity. But first things first — how do you even start shipping to Amazon FBA?

Amazon has more than 75 fulfillment centers and counting across the North America, many of which are set up for FBA. Shipping to Amazon FBA is relatively easy, but it does take some work. There are many decisions to be made, and some product categories require extra measures to be taken.

Due to the incredible amounts of inventory they receive, Amazon’s FBA warehouses operate under strict guidelines. All products must be properly shipped, labeled and prepared for the safety of the item as well as for the employees handling them. This also streamlines their intake and shipment processes. Stay in compliance with Amazon’s rules or risk facing penalties and/or extra fees.

And speaking of fees, make sure you’ve carefully reviewed Amazon’s fulfillment and monthly storage fees. Understand all applicable — and even potential— fees so you’re not caught by surprise later on.

Creating a Shipping Plan

Creating a shipping plan is the first step for shipping your items into Amazon. A shipping plan will identify:

  • The products you’re sending to Amazon
  • Quantities of each product
  • Your shipping method and carrier
  • Who will handle product preparation and labeling (you or Amazon)

If you’re shipping in a Private Label product, you’ll need to create a listing for that product before creating a shipping order. Shipping orders are tied directly to a listing – creating that listing, if it doesn’t already exist, will allow you to then create your Shipping Plan. If you haven’t already created a listing, log into Seller Central and head to Inventory > Manage Inventory. From there, you will be able to add products to your account by clicking on Add A Product in the top-right section of the page. After you’ve added your product, and filled out all of the appropriate information for that product, your listing will be complete!

Once this is done, you’re ready to create your Shipping Plan. Go to the Manage Inventory page and select each item you want to ship to Amazon. Select Send/Replenish Inventory from the Actions on Selected drop-down menu. From here, you can create a new shipping plan or add to an existing one.

Next, verify your ship-from address. This is where you’re shipping the products from, so it may be your home, business or supplier. If your products are shipping from a Chinese Manufacturer, for example, you would need to input your manufacturer’s address here.

Confirm the packing type next. Individual products are single products of different qualities and conditions, while case-packed products are identical items in the same condition. Typically arbitrage sellers will create Individual Product shipping plans, while most Private Label sellers will create Case-Packed shipping plans. In each of these cases, an arbitrage seller might have a lot of different items in one box shipping into Amazon (Individual Products) while a Private Label seller might have a lot of the same item to ship into Amazon (Case-Packed).

Click Continue to shipping plan. You can now proceed through the 6 main steps sellers must follow to fulfill a shipping plan. These steps are detailed below along with other important things to note.

Things to Note

  • You can still fulfill select orders yourself, just make sure these items aren’t selected when creating your FBA shipping plan
  • If you previously fulfilled orders on a product, it can be switched to FBA in the future
  • Bulk shipping plans can be created
  • Per Amazon’s fulfillment infrastructure, your shipping plan may be broken up into multiple shipments that require you to send products to different fulfillment centers in order to make them more readily available to customers; to send your shipment to a single fulfillment center and have Amazon split them for you, in your Seller Central account go to Settings > Fulfillment By Amazon > Inbound Settings > Inventory Placement Option > Edit (service fees will apply and exceptions do exist; this will only apply to shipments created after settings are updated)
  • To apply setting updates to a current shipment, delete the shipping plan, make the desired changes and recreate it by selecting the plan under Deleted/canceled and then duplicating it on the Send/Replenish Inventory page

Step 1: Set the Quantity

Setting the quantity is the first step in fulfilling your shipping to Amazon FBA plan. Fill in the quantity of all inventory you have in stock and want to send.

 

 

At this point, you may receive any of the following notifications:

  • Information Required: More information is needed for a product
  • Removal Required: The item must be removed from the shipping plan
  • Action Recommended: Amazon has identified the product as slow moving and recommends it be removed
  • Excess Inventory: You have more than the recommended number of units in stock

The action recommended and excess inventory alerts can be bypassed by indicating you’ve acknowledged the alert. Make sure all removal required products are removed before continuing.

 

 

Things To Note

  • You can duplicate a previous plan and make adjustments to it to save time when you’re sending the same products again in the future
  • Only inventory you’ve previously set to fulfillment by Amazon is searchable under Search my inventory

Step 2: Prepare the Products

As we previously mentioned, Amazon requires products to be prepared to their standards. And even if you choose to have Amazon prepare and label products for you and pay the per-item fee, you’ll still need to safely ship them to a warehouse.

This may require extra packaging materials, so make sure to read about all packaging and prep requirements for sending FBA inventory.

If you didn’t select Amazon to prep your products, you must do it yourself. Follow all FBA prep requirements or face unplanned prep service fees. Many sellers will have their manufacturer or Freight Forwarder prepare their products to save time and money. If you ask either your manufacturer or Freight Forwarder to do so, make sure that they are aware of the FBA prep guidelines and requirements.

See the Prep required tab on the Prepare Products page for prep guidance on products with set preparation requirements. You may be required to use any of the following:

  • Poly bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Opaque bags
  • Tape

Products will appear under the Prep may be required tab if their prep guidance is unknown. Select the corresponding product category to determine if additional prep is needed. Click Continue when you’re ready to proceed.

Things to Note

  • Amazon FBA will only prep products with UPCs
  • Click Investigate on the Prep Products page to start a review of prep requirements you feel aren’t applicable or essential
  • Use the following checklist from Amazon to stay organized

 

Step 3: Label the Products

Amazon uses a barcode system to put away and track products. Therefore, all FBA items must be properly labeled according to Amazon standards, unless they qualify for stickerless, commingled inventory. Your labeling options for shipping to Amazon FBA include:

  • Using an existing UPC or EAN barcode for eligible products
  • Adding an Amazon barcode directly to the product or packaging
  • Paying a per-item FBA Label Service fee and have Amazon apply barcodes for you

The Labeling required tab shows all products that require labels. If you’ve chosen Amazon under the Who labels column, you must use the FBA Label Service. Applicable fees will appear in the Label cost column. If Merchant is selected under Who labels, you must label the items yourself.

Once this information is set, it’s time to create your barcodes. Click Print labels for this page and make your selections. A PDF will be generated.

Make sure to follow all FBA product barcode requirements. These detail everything from using the right printer and paper stock to the proper label placement. If you are selling products produced by a manufacturer, many Sellers will have their labels printed directly onto either their packaging or their product. This saves the Seller time and money, so we definitely recommend considering this as an option. Manufacturers still need to abide by labeling/printing FBA guidelines.

Things to Note

  • You’re able to change who preps a product by returning to the Prepare Products page

Step 4: Review Your Shipment

Carefully review your shipment. Pay close attention to your shipment ID and the destination fulfillment center code and location as your plan could require multiple shipments to different warehouses.

A shipment name will be given to your shipment, but it can be changed. You’ll also see the number of MSKUs (unique product identifiers) as well as the quantity of each MSKU in the shipment.

Remember, any changes you make here will impact your packing lists. It’s best to print pack lists after approving your shipping plan.

Once you approve shipments, the View Shipments page will appear. Your shipment plan is now set, and your shipment needs to be sent to the designated Amazon fulfillment center or centers. To proceed, click Work on shipment.

Things to Note

  • After a shipment is approved, you can’t delete it and corresponding listings will be changed to Fulfilled by Amazon
  • At this point, you have limited ability to change product quantities
  • Previous FBM listings will become inactive and you won’t be able to fulfill orders for them; once inventory is received, they’ll become active again as FBA

Step 5: Prepare Your Shipment

On the Prepare Shipment page, you can now:

  • Select your shipping method and carrier
  • Determine the number of boxes needed for shipping
  • Schedule and pay for a shipment
  • Print box labels

When shipping to Amazon FBA, it’s important to meet all shipment packing requirements. Minor modifications can still be made to your shipping plan, but there’s a limit. If more changes are needed, it’s better to cancel or recreate the plan or delete the shipment.

 

 

A small parcel delivery (SPD) is for items packed in individual boxes. Less Than Truckload (LTL) refers to cases or boxes that are stacked and/or secured on pallets. And unlike an LTL truck which may have to stop for other deliveries, a Full Truckload (FTL) goes right to the fulfillment center. Many Private Label sellers fall into shipping using LTL, as many do not yet produce enough inventory to fill an entire truckload shipment (FTL). Make sure you are aware of which category you fall into here. Confirming with either your manufacturer or Freight Forwarder will give you insight into this!

 

 

Each shipping method has specific requirements you must adhere to. Please read carefully, as you must input box content information, quantities of each ASIN, box or pallet weight/dimensions, and more.

This page will provide you with an estimated shipping charge which you’ll need to accept to move forward. You can now print shipping labels as well.

Things to Note

  • Amazon-partnered carriers offer discounted rates; a 1 lb. minimum charge will apply
  • SPD deliveries must be cancelled within 24 hours
  • LTL/FTL deliveries must be cancelled within an hour of submitting a shipment request
  • You can’t delete a shipment if you’ve requested Amazon partnered carrier labels or if your shipment has already been shipped
  • Amazon has a comprehensive checklist to help sellers stay organized

 

Step 6: Summary

The Summary page is the last step in Amazon’s shipment creation workflow. It provides an overview of your shipment, tracking tools available for use, and the plan’s receivement status. The page has 3 tabs, which Amazon details below in Seller Central:

Once the product is in a received status, it’ll be live on your listing and available for purchase. Your order fulfillment will now be taken care of by Amazon’s FBA team.

Things to Note

  • You can modify the number of boxes in this step, but you must reprint the entire set of labels

More Shipping to Amazon FBA Resources

How Much Does it Cost to Sell on Amazon? Fees and Other Costs to Consider

We know figuring out the cost to sell on Amazon can be overwhelming. It may even be what’s been holding you back. This breakdown of common Amazon selling costs will help new sellers get a basic understanding of the main costs you’ll incur and some of the other charges you may face. Because when it comes to managing your money, you never can be too informed.

There are countless reasons why people choose to start selling on Amazon. Some just want to supplement their income, while others are looking to become their own boss and build a full-time business. Part of Amazon’s incredible appeal is that it gives every seller the opportunity to make money in a highly profitable marketplace. Just look at the graph below to see how far Amazon’s yearly sales have come. You can imagine all the possibilities for profit!

While it’s free to list products on the Amazon marketplace, all sellers incur fees. Keeping up with Amazon’s varying seller fees is crucial for the success of your business. The difference in profit and loss can be very slim, especially when you’re just starting out. If you’re not making more than you’re spending on startup, selling fees and other costs, your business will quickly be in trouble.

We encourage you to understand the following Amazon selling plans and seller fees to be a successful, well-informed seller.

The Two Amazon Selling Plans

The first cost to sell on Amazon may come sooner for some. Amazon offers two types of account plans for third-party sellers: Individual and Professional.

Available for a $39.99 monthly subscription fee, the Professional selling plan is designed for those who plan on selling more than 40 items per month.

The Individual plan has no monthly fee and is intended for people planning on selling fewer than 40 items per month. Keep in mind that this isn’t the number of listings, but the number of actual products sold. This free plan requires very little setup, and all fees will be taken out of your final payout once your product sells.

On the other hand, inventory management, bulk uploads and gift wrap options aren’t offered to Individual sellers. Both selling plans allow you to list products in more than 20 different product categories, with another 10 categories available only to Professional sellers who apply for and meet the requirements for them.

Choose the selling plan that’s best for you and your selling aspirations. Established eCommerce sellers with other online storefronts and driven individuals looking to start a venture that pulls in significant income are ideally suited for Professional selling plans. But if you’re just looking to get your feet wet, you can always set up a free Individual account and switch to a Professional account later. 

The Main Amazon Selling Fees

Amazon selling fees will vary based upon the seller program you sign up for, the size and weight of your product, and the time of year. Because the cost to sell on Amazon is dependent upon your unique situation, this is often a source of confusion for new sellers.

That being said, there are 5 main types of fees for third-party sellers who self-fulfill orders that you need to know about:

  • Monthly subscription fee
  • Per-item fees
  • Shipping fees
  • Referral fees
  • Variable closing fees

Individual sellers are held responsible for per-item fees as well as referral fees and any applicable variable closing fees. Pro merchant sellers will incur referral fees and variable closing fees when applicable.

 

 

Monthly Subscription Fees

As we previously mentioned, monthly subscription fees only apply to Professional selling accounts. Warranting any special circumstance, you will first be charged during the registration process.

Per-Item Fees

Similarly, only Individual sellers will be charged a $0.99 per-item item fee for each product sold.

Shipping Fees

All items sold by Individuals will face shipping and handling fees. When you ship an order, you’ll receive a standardized shipping credit from Amazon. Shipping credits for Individual sellers will vary depending on the product category and the shipping method selected by the buyer.

Keep in mind you must ship the order even if the shipping credit received is less than your total shipping cost. You may need to adjust your shipping and/or product price to offset the difference.

Only media products sold by professionals will incur shipping costs and use the same fixed rates. Media products, commonly called BMVD, include the following:

  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Music
  • Software
  • Computer/Video Games
  • Video
  • Video Game Consoles

Understanding shipping and handling fees will help make sure you don’t spend most (or even all of) your profit simply getting the product to the buyer.

Referral Fees

Another main cost to sell on Amazon is a referral fee, which all sellers must pay for each item sold. Some categories are set up with a per-item minimum referral fee, so you’ll either pay the referral fee or the per-item minimum fee, whichever one is greater. Take a look at Amazon’s fee schedule here.

Most categories have a 15% referral fee, but it can go as low as 6% (personal computers) to a high of 45% (Amazon device accessories). Minimum referral fees are either $1 or $2, with jewelry and watch categories having the higher cost.

The referral fee for media products is based upon the item price and doesn’t include shipping and handling. All other referral fees are calculated using the total price charged to the customer with shipping and handling included.

Make sure to research your referral fees as this could impact which category you choose to sell in!

How much money do you really need to sell on Amazon?

Check out this video for a closer inspection with more detailed cost examples. Don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe:

Variable Closing Fees

Both Individual and Pro sellers have to pay a variable closing fee for each media/BMVD item sold. A flat rate of $1.80 will be added on top of your referral fee.

For more information on fees and to see specific examples, check out our other post on Amazon seller fees.  

Main FBA Fees

For third-party sellers who don’t self fulfill orders, the cost to sell on Amazon will also include FBA fees. Being a part of the Fulfillment by Amazon program means all of your orders will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon instead of by you or your business. They’ll also provide basic customer service for your products.

FBA fees are paid in addition to all account, referral and closing fees that you meet the criteria for.

There are 2 primary types of FBA fees:

  1. Fulfillment Fees: Charged per unit and include picking and packing your orders along with shipping and handling, basic customer service and return processing unless your product is in a category with free returns
  2. Monthly Storage: Priced per cubic foot and is the cost of storing units in Amazon’s fulfillment centers

Order fulfillment fees are based upon the overall size and weight of your product, which is separated into 2 tiers: standard and oversize. This includes all inner and outer packaging materials like shoe boxes, blister packs and other types of retail packaging.

Monthly storage fees will depend on the product size and calendar month. You’ll pay based upon your daily average volume. Note that prices go up significantly around the holidays, October thru December. See the chart below for a full breakdown. You can find specific FBA fee examples here.

 

 

It’s important to take these standard FBA costs into consideration as they may impact your business plan.

There are many benefits of FBA, including Prime eligibility and being eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Both will lead to better product placement on Amazon. So while there are extra costs involved with FBA, for many sellers, the increased product visibility and less hands-on inventory management make it worthwhile. Ultimately, this is up to you.

You can, however, use Viral Launch’s free FBA Calculator to estimate your standard FBA fees and help ensure you won’t be operating at a loss. Also make sure to check out the U.S. FBA inventory storage fees and policy changes instituted in 2018.

Other FBA Fees

You may face additional FBA fees on top of the 2 primary fees. Some are optional and others only apply to certain sellers and situations. They include:

  • Inventory Removal: Charged per item removed if you pull inventory or remove unsold stock
  • Return Processing: Charged to products with free customer returns and will be the same amount as fulfillment fees
  • Repackaging: Charged to repackage eligible items following a return in order for resale
  • Labeling Service: Charged per item when you have Amazon apply barcodes to your products for you
  • Long Term Storage: Charged if inventory sits unsold for 6 months to 1 year
  • FBA Prep Service: Charged per unit to items you have Amazon package and prep for fulfillment 
  • Unplanned Prep Service: Charged if a product isn’t packaged or prepared for storage to Amazon’s standards
  • Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Charged when you have Amazon fill orders for any products you sell on other eCommerce websites
  • Inventory Placement: Charged when you send all of your inventory to one fulfillment center and Amazon distributes it to other fulfillment centers for you

These aren’t all of the additional FBA fees you could incur. Be aware there may be extra costs involved. Pay attention to your monthly invoice to see what you’re being charged for! You can typically rectify the situation to avoid being charged in the future.

Other Costs to Consider

While fees will be a considerable part of your total costs, don’t forget there are initial startup and other optional charges to consider, especially for private label sellers, that can help you get ahead of the game.

Product Research

When it comes down to it, your main cost to sell on Amazon depends upon the product you choose as fulfillment and shipping fees will vary from there. You need to make smart product choices, but with so many items out there, how are you supposed to choose? And how do you even know if it’ll be profitable?

Sure, you can search manually, but automated product finders will streamline and simplify the process. The Viral Launch Product Discovery tool can help you quickly find high-potential products that meet your unique wants and needs. After inputting criteria like your desired monthly sales, selling price, review count, and monthly revenue, it provides you with a comprehensive list of products, keywords, brands and categories that match your search parameters.

 

 

Sourcing and Manufacturing

When ordering samples, keep in mind that you’ll likely be paying a much higher price for manufacturing and air shipment. This can usually be negotiated into the cost of the initial order, but it’s an additional expense to be prepared for. Samples typically cost $100-200 with shipping, but this will depend on the size, weight, and type of product.

Once you have your first product figured out, you need to place a larger order. During this phase, you’ll also want to determine packaging options from the supplier and obtain a UPC for the product to get an FNSKU from Amazon. You can purchase a new barcode from GS1 as a GS1 Barcode can typically be linked to an FNSKU.

Listing Optimization

Since shoppers can’t see your product in person like they would at a store, your listing copy and photos need to convey all pertinent information about your product. A great listing gives you a competitive edge and helps persuade a shopper into purchasing.

At its core Amazon is a search engine, and you need to optimize written content to work within this search engine. Relevant, high-volume keywords bring shoppers to your listing. Using a Keyword Research tool helps you find valuable keywords with high search volumes or opportunity, which will increase the ranking of your listing and allow it to be seen by more shoppers.

Putting your listing copy and photos in the hands of experts like those at Viral Launch not only minimizes the work for you, it ensures your listing will be optimized in a way that maximizes your ranking and purchasing potential.  

Marketing and Giveaways

Amazon is a crowded marketplace that’s all-too easy to get lost in. When shoppers visit your category, you want to be the first product they see. Organic sales and keyword ranking are crucial, and marketing and giveaways can help accomplish this.

Giveaways, called Launches at Viral Launch, are targeted giveaways to project your listing to Page 1 for a major keyword, with the goal of increasing your organic sales. We typically recommend running a giveaway for a period of 7-10 days. This period of time is long enough for Amazon to recognize the sales but short enough to limit the number of products being given away.

PPC, short for for Pay Per Click, is another way to drive visibility to your Amazon listing through paying for sponsored ad content. Set a daily budget and bid on a click price. Amazon will post your listing as an ad for targeted keywords. You won’t pay anything unless the ad is clicked on by a shopper.

These optional, though very beneficial, costs can help you in the long run and should be taken into consideration as you develop and grow your Amazon business.

Recap

Multiple factors will determine your cost to sell on Amazon. And while there’s no set magic number for everyone, there is certainly plenty of helpful advice from experienced sellers out there.  

New sellers need to be aware of the following costs:

  • Purchasing and/or manufacturing products
  • Packaging, shipping and handling
  • Selling fees
  • FBA fees
  • Other business fees

Although these may not be applicable to all sellers, it’s important to know they exist and could come into play in the future.

Amazon seller fees hinge upon your account plan, product, product category and type of fulfillment. Barring any special circumstance, sellers are paid every 2 weeks. Make sure your profit margin can cover your expenses—doing so right from the start will boost your ability to become a successful Amazon seller.  

Subscribe to the blog for more advice on how to start your Amazon FBA business!

How to Make Money Selling on Amazon: 5 Tips for New Sellers

Wondering how to make money selling on Amazon? It’s the the million-dollar question! After all, you’re probably not starting to sell just for the fun of it. You want to see a profit in order to make the venture worth your time, energy, and investment.

The best part about selling on Amazon is that virtually anyone can do it. You don’t have to be an expert in business or branding to get started. By now you’ve heard countless Amazon seller success stories, things like, “I’m making upwards of $50,000 a month”, or “I turned a $600 investment into $60,000.”

Many of these successful accounts are coming from people with no previous selling experience. Whether you’re trying to turn your side hustle into a full-time business or just looking to supplement your income, there truly is serious money to be made selling on Amazon.

Despite the growing competition, it’s not too late to start selling! That being said, there is also no guarantee that you’ll make a killing. So what is there? A great opportunity. And it’s one you shouldn’t pass up if you’re prepared to put in the work.

Like any other business venture, there is risk involved. But the rewards can be huge, even life changing. After working with over 8,000 brands to run more than 35,000 launches, Viral Launch knows exactly what it takes to succeed on Amazon.

Based on our data and experience, we’ve put together 5 tips every new seller needs to know and understand in order to cash in on the opportunity at hand. 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!

Tip #1: Understand How Amazon Works

We know joining the world’s largest eCommerce storefront can be intimidating, especially for beginners. But if you want to know how to make money selling on Amazon, you have to understand how to sell on Amazon in the first place.

Many third-party sellers list products on the platform and sell them for a profit. Some buy these products directly from a manufacturer, while others buy up products at retail stores for a discount. Every Amazon sellers looks for market demand and then offers a product to compete for shopper purchases.

In order for people to find the products that they list on the platform, sellers use SEO tactics to improve their products’ search ranking. Most sellers use keyword placement, sponsored ads, and targeted sales to boost their search ranking on the site. For shipping, many sellers use Amazon’s FBA program to ship their product. It guarantees 2-day delivery to shoppers, and provides a competitive advantage over other products.

Familiarize yourself with its policies and learn the steps to get started and all fees associated with selling before even making your first move. Did you know there’s also taxes to be dealt with? Do your research, don’t just jump in as it’s very easy to make an expensive mistake.

Learn the ins and outs of the Amazon platform or you’re going to be operating at a disadvantage right from the start. Understand how the process works and the different types of selling and fulfillment options available to you — will you be doing self fulfillment or Fulfillment by Amazon? Use all resources available to you to learn as much as you can.

Tip #2: Find the Right Product

There may be hundreds of millions of products for sale on Amazon, but how many are actually making any money? Choose products that will move, not just sit stagnant and end up costing you money. Consider the following before you choose a product to sell on Amazon:

  • Knowledge of the Niche: While you may be tempted to pick some new-age electronic device or an Amazon bestseller, stop to take into account your familiarity with the product and its intended buying pool. If you don’t know anything at all about it, do you really want to be tying your potential profit to it?
  • The Market: It’s simple supply and demand, really. Will there be enough interested buyers to make selling the product worthwhile? Although this can be hard to judge at times, more obscure items usually don’t move enough to result in a healthy profit. For sustained profitability, explore markets that are always strong, like sports & outdoors, baby items, tools, or office supplies. Make sure there’s enough volume to meet your desired income goals.
  • Fads: Keep in touch with trends to see what the latest-and-greatest item is and capitalize on it, just like Brock Johnson did with solar eclipse glasses back in the summer of 2017. Fidget spinners are another great example of a fad that went viral and made some sellers a lot of money. But remember, fads die off just as quickly as they came up, so timing and inventory management are crucial. For those that ordered way too many fidget spinners and engaged in price wars with Chinese competitors, the result wasn’t so lucrative.
  • Competition: Check out similar products on Amazon and see who your competitors are. Competing against national brands typically isn’t advisable as brand recognition and loyalty still rings true even on Amazon. Chances are you aren’t going to outsell a big, nationally recognized brand. This isn’t always the case, but the risk is very high.

 

Your initial manual research will eliminate many products, but there’s still going to be a huge product pool to choose from. How do you keep narrowing it down?

Amazon Product Finders

Automated product finders are beneficial to use because not only do they streamline the process, they also give you great product insights. These research tools allow you to see competitor prices, monthly sales and more. Get everything you need to make informed selling decisions and find profitable products much faster.

The Viral Launch Product Discovery tool can help you find a multitude of high-potential products that meet your unique wants and needs. After inputting criteria like your desired monthly sales, selling price, review count, and monthly revenue, it provides you with a comprehensive list of products, keywords, brands and categories that match your search parameters. See your sales potential before you even get started!

 

 

Learn more about what Product Discovery can do and find profitable Amazon products.

For beginners, it’s best to start small with one or two products and maximize your profit potential by adding more as you go and gain steam. Selling on Amazon is a cash game, as money is often tied up in inventory. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

It’s also important to:

  • Take advantage of the holidays, Cyber Monday and Prime Day specifically
  • Check Amazon FBA’s list of categories and products requiring approval to be sure your product isn’t restricted or requiring additional fees, performance checks or qualifications
  • Find the right (i.e. reliable) supplier
  • Differentiate your product whenever possible — while keeping a competitive price — in a crowded market

Amazon is an eCommerce giant that continues to grow in size and popularity, as evidenced by the numbers in its 2017 Annual Report. Online shoppers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon — there is a huge marketplace of buyers available, and that means ample opportunities for sales.

Set yourself up to succeed by analyzing the market and determining all barriers to entry. Selecting the right product for you helps minimize risk and eliminate pain points before they end up hurting your bottom line.

Tip #3: Have a Solid Business Plan

As you continue to discover how to make money selling on Amazon, it’s beneficial to establish your own business goals right from the start. Is this a side hustle or a full-time venture into online retail? Your business plan will make your profit margin that much more important.

Similarly, are you going to be a one-hit wonder, or are you in this for the long haul? Since you’re likely going to sell multiple items once you get the selling bug, be sure your business is scalable so you can grow with the market and not be left behind.

Knowing why you’re selling and what you want to accomplish will likely change your approach. Take a good hard look at your plan and be sure all business partners are on the same page right from the start.

Understanding your selling model is equally important. There are several different approaches, all with their own fans and critics.

Popular Amazon Selling Methods

Some of the most popular ways to sell on Amazon are:

  • Retail Arbitrage: Purchase a product for a low price at a discounted rate from a retail store, boutique or wholesaler and resell it for a higher price
  • Wholesale: Buy items directly from the manufacturer and resell under the manufacturer’s brand
  • Private Label: Purchase products directly from the manufacturer and sell them under your own brand
  • Merch By Amazon: Apply for the program to be able to upload a design and sell your product like you would on Etsy 

You’ll also want to dig deeper into the pros and cons of FBA vs. FBM. With FBA, you’ll qualify for Amazon Prime shipping, be able to win the Buy Box more often, and not have to worry about fulfilling your own orders.

On the other hand, you’re held responsible for paying FBA fees, and it can be more difficult to track your inventory. With FBM, you’re directly in control over your inventory but held responsible for its delivery. Determine your method to simplify the selling process and focus on developing a successful and scalable business model.  

Tip #4: Optimize Your Listing

When new sellers are figuring out how to make money selling on Amazon, many often believe it’s only the product that matters. But in fact, there’s so much more in play here.

Since online shopping takes away the physical experiences, like touch, smell and ability to pull something right up to your face for closer inspection, your listing copy and photos need to display and describe the product in great detail to bridge the gap.

Both are extremely important for selling success and are key ways to hit your desired sales targets. After all, you only get paid when someone buys something! And that makes listing optimization and using the right Amazon keywords crucial.

Professional Listing Optimization

Professional copywriting and photography services help new and experienced sellers alike. Putting your listing copy and photos in the hands of experts like those at Viral Launch not only minimizes the work for you, it ensures your listing will be optimized in a way that maximizes your ranking and purchasing potential.  

Viral Launch also offers seller software like Keyword Research, a data driven Amazon keyword tool that determines relevant, high-ranking keywords for your product and category.

 

 

See the most relevant high-volume keywords for your product and find the low-hanging fruit with high-opportunity keywords that your competitors aren’t targeting in their listings. The better you position your product with high-ranking keywords, the more you’ll boost your visibility. In the crowded Amazon marketplace, visibility is everything.

Tip #5: Increase Your Product Ranking

Even if you find a great product and optimize your listing, you still aren’t going to get sales unless you can rank. High-ranking products are the ones appearing on Page 1, and that’s what Amazon shoppers are looking at. In fact, this 2017 buyer behavior study indicated that 70% of Amazon customers don’t move past the first page of search results! 

We covered how crucial using relevant, high-volume keywords is for your rank ability, but reviews also matter, although their future is a bit murky at the moment. Positive reviews make it more likely people will purchase, and sales have been shown to benefit ranking.

If Lady Luck is on your side, everything might naturally go your way. But chances are you’re going to have to work at improving your ranking, and there are things you can do to gain a competitive edge.

Giveaways

Targeted giveaways – called launches here at Viral Launch – are done to project your listing to Page 1 for a major keyword, with the end goal of increasing your organic sales.

We usually recommend running a giveaway for 7-10 days. This allows Amazon to recognize the sales but still limits the number of items being given away.

PPC

Pay Per Click, or PPC, is a type of sponsored ad. Set a daily budget and bid on a click price to have Amazon post your listing as an ad for targeted keywords. You won’t pay anything unless the ad is clicked on by a shopper, but note that someone can click on your ad and still end up not purchasing.

Once your ranking improves, an optimized listing and good reviews can help you maintain it.

Recap

Perhaps the main lesson in learning how to make money selling on Amazon is you have to do your research and give this venture your full attention, at least at first. 

New Amazon sellers have a lot of decisions to make and work to do. Take the time to consider the following and make the best choice for your business:

  • Selling Plan: Individual or Professional
  • Product: Conduct market and keyword research to make the best choice for you
  • Fulfillment: Determine how in depth you want to be involved in order fulfillment
  • Price Point: What will optimize your sales velocity
  • Listing: Make your listing be seen by the most shoppers possible

Don’t expect to be an expert right away. Use the many resources and software available to you to make smart business decisions. Decide before your first launch if selling will be a side hobby or the primary source of your income.

Once you get going, even if your listing is ranking well, there’s no guarantee it’ll stay that way. Continually check up on the competition and research the market to determine what buyers want. Staying profitable may include adjusting your price point or even making changes to your physical product.

Here at Viral Launch, we encourage you to never settle and keep striving for greatness. This can be in your everyday life or your entrepreneurial pursuits. For more on how to sell and make money on Amazon, subscribe to our blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.