Amazon FBA: Guidelines for Starting Your Amazon FBA Business

Ready to ditch the corporate life and sell Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)? Not sure how to get started?

Or maybe you’re already selling Amazon FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) and looking to make the switch …

If you’re interested in FBA vs. FBM each program has its pros and cons. But ultimately, FBA provides an unmatched, hands-off selling experience with the ability to scale. For these reasons, many sellers prefer FBA to FBM.

FBA is a method of fulfilling products by having Amazon store, pick, pack and ship your inventory. Through FBA, Amazon even handles returns. Although there are additional fees, setup, and tax obligations, FBA makes it easy to quickly start and scale your business.  lot of the content in this blog can also be found from our How To Sell series! Check out the video if you’d like to get started on your Seller Journey:

Why Would I Want to Sell Through Amazon’s FBA Program?

  1. You don’t have to store boxes of inventory at your house. One major benefit to selling FBA is that Amazon handles a good portion of the selling process, namely the most time-consuming portions. Although you still have to set up an Amazon Seller account (we’ll talk more about how to do this later), choose a product to sell, list the product, and have the inventory sent to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, Amazon takes care of the rest of the process with FBA. So when a customer orders your product, Amazon handles the fulfillment logistics of picking, packing, and shipping. In their words, “You sell it, we ship it.”
  2. Once your products are ready to sell and in stock at Amazon’s warehouses, they are automatically eligible for Prime 2-day shipping. Although it is possible to be a Prime seller through FBM, you must meet extensive criteria to be eligible. And with an estimated 112 million Amazon Prime members, or about 62% of U.S. households subscribed to Prime in 2019, you can’t afford NOT to have Prime shipping. Numbers like that are hard to ignore when it comes to the sales potential that Prime provides.

What are the Different Methods of Selling on Amazon FBA?

Now that we’ve established which program you should sell through (FBA), let’s talk about methods of selling, or where to get inventory. There are many options, all of which appeal to different kinds of people. Some are more hands-on, while others allow for higher earning potential. Three of the most common methods include Retail Arbitrage, Wholesale, and Private Label.

  • Retail Arbitrage – This is a process of finding discounted products in retail stores (such as Walmart, Target or Kohls) and reselling them on Amazon. To make it profitable, the items need to be bought at a significant discount and sold at a higher price on Amazon. You can sell other branded products using this method and it is often a lower risk option, since you can check before purchasing the items if you will be able to make a profit or not. You can also search liquidation stores or online sites for pallets of returned items that can be resold.
  • Wholesale – To sell wholesale, a more unique method, you must find a manufacturer (local or abroad) and convince them to allow you to sell on their behalf. The smartest way to do this is to create an official business or LLC, acquire a wholesale license, then reach out to manufacturers/wholesalers to discuss a contract for selling their items. Getting the business to agree to providing you exclusive selling rights can lower your competition as well.
  • Private Label – Private Label selling involves working with a manufacturer to produce items and add your own brand name and logo to the products. As long as there is no patent on the product model, you can legally sell under this method and even work with manufacturers to create product modifications or additions to make your brand’s product stand out. Many private label sellers use Alibaba.com to connect with manufacturers, get samples, purchase inventory and more.

How Do I Get Started with FBA?

There are two account options when selling on Amazon: Individual and Professional. With Individual Selling Plans, you pay $0.99 per item every time a product is purchased. For those sellers making fewer than 40 sales per month, this may be more cost effective than paying the $39.99 Professional Plan subscription fee. These fees are on top of other FBA fees, which we’ll get into more later.

If you haven’t already created a Seller account, you will need to set one up. If you already have an account as an FBM seller, you can easily switch over to FBA inside your Seller Central account.

For retail arbitrage sellers selling FBA, you will need to add the product to your inventory in Seller Central and follow the steps to create labels for your items, which can be printed at home. Once you have printed labels, you can package different items in one large box to be shipped to an Amazon fulfillment center and print a shipping label for that box as well.

Keep in mind that you will need to pay for these shipping costs out of pocket, plus any materials needed for shipping (labels, boxes, tape, scale, etc.). Additionally, Amazon may require you to send inventory to multiple fulfillment centers depending on their inventory levels, which could increase your shipping costs.

Amazon does not require sellers to sticker products at the SKU level as long as you have a manufacturer barcode for the product. But other sellers with the same product (that are also “stickerless”) could get mixed in with your inventory in an Amazon warehouse and could be picked up and shipped to a customer instead of your stock. If their product is used, lower quality or even counterfeit, you could receive poor reviews, a higher return rate or even be suspended by Amazon for counterfeit sales (even if the product is not actually your inventory).

If you choose to sell Private Label or Wholesale, you’ll want to find a good product to source as well as a trustworthy manufacturer. Check out our podcast about finding a good manufacturer to make sure you make a smart partnership as well as our podcast about sourcing the right product to make a sourcing decision that meets your goals.

You can choose to label items yourself (following the method mentioned for Retail Arbitrage) as long as each unit has a scannable barcode or you can pay to have Amazon prep and label each item for an additional per-item fee. Fees can be as low as $.70 per item to as much as $2.20 per item.

When your shipment is ready to be sent to Amazon, make sure you have an organized shipping plan that includes easy tracking so you can ensure your inventory makes it to the desired fulfillment center. To learn more about carriers who partner with Amazon to deliver shipment to their warehouses, visit their page featuring Partner Carrier options.

Once Amazon has your inventory and your listing(s) is live, Amazon will handle the delivery of purchased items to customers as well as customer service throughout the process. Sellers just need to ensure their item is always in stock and ready for customers to buy. Check out our blog on inventory best practices to make sure you never get behind or run out of stock.  

What are the Fees for Selling through Amazon FBA?

Because your inventory is stored, packed and shipped by Amazon when you sell FBA, there are additional fees associated versus FBM. Earlier in 2018, Amazon restructured their FBA fees into two fee structures:

  • Fulfillment Fees
  • Inventory Fees

Fulfillment Fees are per unit, based on the size and weight of each item and include the complete picking, packing, shipping and handling, customer service and return process for each item.

Monthly Inventory Fees are assessed per cubic foot based on the total size of your items. Inventory fees increase for Q4, so it’s important to calculate your costs for each quarter. Below is a breakdown of Amazon’s FBA fees. Make sure to double check your math with an FBA Calculator for help determining your costs before you source.

Other potential fees sellers could incur include long-term storage fees (if items in your inventory have sat in a fulfillment center for 6 months or more) and additional storage fees if you choose to participate in Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment Program (more on this later).

Things to Keep in Mind as You Start Your Amazon FBA Business

  • Tax Obligations

Although there was once a time when online sellers could get away with not paying sales tax, those days have come and gone. In June of 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of South Dakota in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc. Now, one-by-one, states are starting to enact economic nexus legislation.

Because the decision is new at the time of writing this post, it will take some time for the effects to play out. We encourage sellers to keep an eye on internet sales tax by state, and stay informed on the latest news in Amazon sales tax. Sellers should connect with a tax consultant versed in online sales tax regulations to avoid slip ups or potential mishaps in their FBA businesses.

  • Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Did you know that you can fulfill orders from sales channels outside of Amazon.com through the Amazon FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment Program? Rather than having multiple different inventory locations and shipping methods for your different online sales sites, store all of your inventory in Amazon’s warehouses and let them pick, pack, ship and handle your items to customers, whether the sale is through Amazon.com or elsewhere. There are additional fees associated with the fulfillment process for multi-channel orders, but you can skip the headache of storing, packing and shipping your items and let Amazon do the heavy lifting.

  • Buy Box

If you are selling retail arbitrage or wholesale, the Buy Box is going to be very important to you. The Buy Box is the box on the right hand side of a listing page with the price, seller and shipping information as well as the “add to cart” button. If there are multiple sellers on a listing, they will be listed below the seller who has “won” the Buy Box. Since the majority of buyers purchase from the seller who has “won” the Buy Box, winning is critical to increasing sales. Although there are several factors considered to “win” the Buy Box, fulfillment method is a crucial component. And FBA sellers are significantly more likely to secure the Buy Box over other sellers.  

  • Reviews

If Amazon is handling the customer service for your product under FBA, you shouldn’t have to worry about reviews right? Wrong! Reviews are a huge driver of sales, so whether you’re selling wholesale, retail arbitrage or private label, bad reviews and a low star rating can tank your sales rate. And, with the ability to filter by star rating, too many bad reviews could effectively leave you out of a user’s search results.

For private label sellers, positive product reviews are key to buyer trust in your product quality. If your product is similar to several others in the market, a better star rating could guarantee your product is chosen over your competitor’s. For wholesale and retail arbitrage, positive seller reviews are extremely important to establishing trust in your brand’s quality. Buyers want to hear from their peers if they can trust purchases coming from your seller account or if they should be concerned with used or damaged goods.

There’s been a lot of talk around reviews and Amazon cracking down on review fraud, so making sure you don’t violate Amazon’s Terms of Service for reviews is vital to avoiding suspension. Check out our video about Amazon’s recent “review crackdown”:

Final Thoughts: Learn from Failure

Look, it’s no secret – Amazon FBA can be a confusing and difficult platform to navigate. You’re bound to make some mistakes. What’s important is that you learn from your mistakes and minimize missteps in the future. Following our Amazon FBA guidelines is a good start, but to be truly successful, sellers should keep seeking out new information and staying up to date on changes.

There’s an old quote that states: “Complacency is the enemy of progress.”

Getting complacent or lazy at any stage of your FBA business journey is a recipe for disaster as it requires constant maintenance and upkeep to stay on top. By working hard and arming yourself with up-to-date information, you’ll have the tools you need to achieve Amazon FBA success.

4 Huge Differences Between Amazon and Google SEO

Google vs. Amazon. The competition is fierce between the two search engines, but should companies be using the same SEO strategy for both? The short answer: No. And here’s why:

Don’t believe Amazon is a search engine? Consumers do. According to a study conducted by BloomReach, 55% of consumers began their product search on Amazon. And, 9 out of 10 users said they will check Amazon even if they find the product they want on another retailer’s site.

Amazon may only be a product search engine, but a search engine nonetheless. Consumers will still go to Google to look up the menu of that new taco joint or to figure out what the word “lit” means, but Amazon holds the market share when it comes to product searches.

SEO Strategy Differences

So if Amazon is a search engine like Google, you should be able to market your product the same way on both and achieve the same results, right? Wrong.

Amazon and Google SEO aren’t even in the same ballpark when it comes to ranking. Sure, they both operate under the same general premise of using keywords to achieve ranking, but how they go about that is drastically different. Let’s take a look at what the 4 main differences are:

1. Longtail vs. Short Tail

When you’re writing a blog or reworking a webpage, most Google SEO experts know you should target one or two longtail keyword phrases throughout your copy. But Amazon SEO focuses less on longtail phrases and more on individual short tail keywords. Although keyword phrases may come naturally when writing the copy, breaking up the phrase does not limit your ability to index and rank for that phrase.

If you’re writing about a letter board and the phrase “black felt letter board” comes up as a high volume phrase in your search, you could use “letter board” in the title and “made of black felt” in the bullets and still rank for the full phrase. While maintaining full phrases is vital for Google SEO, individual keywords are the name of the game when it comes to Amazon SEO.

2. Repetition

Although keyword stuffing is no longer valuable for Google like in the early SEO days, carefully crafted repetition of your targeted phrase throughout your copy is vital. When it comes to Amazon, a single usage of a keyword is enough to get you ranking for that word. Of course, keywords used in the title will be weighted more heavily in terms of ranking, but you still have the potential to rank for a keyword used only once in the bullet points of a listing. On Google, a one time use of your targeted phrase isn’t enough if you’re looking to be on page one.

3. External Linking

When you’re trying to drive traffic and improve your Google SEO, external sites that link back to your page are incredibly important. Google has a wealth of websites at its disposal, so whether you’re sharing on social sites, have a blog that links to pages on your website or are collaborating with others in your space to share and promote content, Google places value and trust on how many external links are connected to your site or page.

Amazon, on the other hand, functions within itself. Their algorithm focuses on the keywords users are searching within their own site and whether or not your product page includes those keywords. Of course, increased brand recognition and traffic from outside of Amazon may result in increased searches, sales and ranking inside Amazon, but your external digital presence is not considered when ranking your product. Nor does Amazon allow sellers to link to external sites or product pages from their listing.

4. Clicks vs. Conversions

The final difference between Google SEO and Amazon SEO might be the biggest. Google’s algorithm was designed for selling ads, whereas Amazon’s algorithm was designed for selling products. Yes, you can purchase products through direct links on Google, and ads do exist on Amazon, but the main driving metric is different.

Google SEO places significant weight on the number of clicks your page receives, where those clicks are coming from and what your bounce rate is – i.e. how many users click into your page, then quickly click out. The longer they stay, the more relevant Google deems your page is to that search phrase.

Since Amazon SEO is focused on selling products, they want to know your conversion rate. If you’ve got the sales volume (volume, not velocity, check out our podcast about this for more info), that helps drive the desired ranking. Although other factors are considered, a phone case with 1,000 sales will inevitably rank higher than one with 10.

The Takeaway

While you may have a general understanding of Google SEO practices, applying the same SEO principles on Amazon won’t help you. In fact, it might hurt your ranking.

Treating each search engine as a distinct platform with different driving engagement metrics is the best way to achieve success on both.

If you’re still unsure how to properly integrate keywords to index and rank on Amazon, check out our listing optimization page and sign up to have one of our Listing Specialists optimize your listing for you!

OPTIMIZE MY LISTING USING AMAZON SEO

Why You Need an Amazon Keyword Tool, Not Google Keyword Planner

To find and target keywords on Google, you might use Google Keyword Planner. So to find and target keywords on Amazon, you need an Amazon keyword tool. Whether a company website or an Amazon product listing, everyone’s aiming for the top, the coveted first page of search results.

When it comes to integrating keywords and ranking on Amazon, unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet. But sellers must start by learning how Amazon search differs from Google and knowing the direct impact that has on keyword research.

Amazon SEO vs Google SEO

As an Amazon seller, it’s important to understand how to best integrate keywords into your listing. Many sellers fall back on out-of-date Google SEO practices if they consider SEO at all. Really, they should be much more concerned with Amazon SEO best practices. While both Google and Amazon are search engines and focus on some similar metrics, their algorithms are different. Not only are their algorithms different, the goals of their users are different.

Think about it. When you visit Google, are you always searching for a product? Likely not. You might be shopping for a new phone case, but you may also be looking up the menu to that sushi place you’ve been wanting to try, or the location of a nearby tire shop, or reviews for that movie you’ve been dying to see. Simply put, Google can be a product search engine, but it’s largely a research engine. And when users do search products, they are often expecting to find reviews of top products. They aren’t expecting to shop necessarily. 

Amazon, on the other hand, is largely a product search engine. Users who end up on Amazon are further down the funnel. They have moved from the research phase closer to the ready-to-buy phase, with credit card in hand. In fact, 55% of buyers are starting their product search on Amazon. Consumers may not have a specific brand in mind when they go to Amazon, but they likely have a product in mind that they are hoping to purchase.

Amazon Keywords vs Google Keywords

So what does that mean for keywords?

It means that consumers aren’t always using the same search terms across all platforms. Someone looking for a phone case might type “iPhone case reviews” or “iPhone case comparison” into the Google search bar but type “rubber iPhone case” or “durable iPhone case” into Amazon.

That’s not to say a user would never type the latter terms into Google. But, there may be keywords that are relevant to a Google search that would have little to no value on Amazon. And with 80 million Amazon Prime members in the US, competition is high for those searches. You don’t want to waste time with keywords that won’t help you rank.

The value of targeted keywords, both long and short tail, in your Amazon listing is far-reaching. If you aren’t using the words and phrases that consumers are searching for in your copy, then you likely aren’t selling well. The more sales you drive through a particular keyword, the higher your chances of ranking for that keyword.

Why You Need an Amazon Keyword Tool

So if you’re trying to craft a listing for Amazon, why would you use an Amazon keyword tool that focuses on Google data? Google Keyword Planner is designed for Google’s algorithm and pulls data from Google searches. Using it exclusively–or really at all–to generate your keyword list for Amazon could mean overlooking high-volume Amazon keywords and missing the full scope of keywords Amazon consumers may be searching.

According to SEO marketing company, MOZ, the algorithm used for Google Keyword Planner has several flaws. For starters, it groups keywords into “volume buckets”, so a word with 180,000 search volume in a month might be rounded down to the 165,000 search bucket. Google also misses out on approximately 35% of keywords recommended by other search Amazon keyword tools, is inconsistent when mapping and considering search volume for spelling variations, and occasionally recommends keywords that are not really connected to your original search phrase.

If you’re okay with sub-par results that may not even match the search results of your Amazon customers, then Google Keyword Planner is a sufficient tool. But to truly home in on search data from Amazon alone, you need an Amazon keyword tool that does just that.

 

Keyword Research, the newest software tool by Viral Launch, is the most accurate Amazon keyword tool in the galaxy. It provides search volumes based only on actual Amazon data, updated frequently. Keyword Research scours the depths of Amazon for an exhaustive list of customer search terms related to your seed keyword by running a Reverse-Market Lookup.

Think of it as a master reverse-ASIN lookup that reaches across all your Amazon markets, taking all of your top competitors into consideration instead of just one. The result is an enormous pool of relevant keywords for your searched product.

So if you’re looking for the most comprehensive, all-encompassing keyword report for your Amazon product, then say goodbye to Google Keyword Planner and check out Keyword Research today!

TRY KEYWORD RESEARCH

Best Practices: Inventory Planning for the New Year

As the calendar year comes to a close and holiday sales start to slow down, sellers should be ramping up for 2018, whether that’s ordering more inventory or sourcing a new product for your brand.

So when’s the best time to order for early 2018 selling? Immediately. If you haven’t already, getting those orders in as soon as possible is critical to having enough inventory to last you through early spring.

Why the rush? Three words: Chinese. New. Year.

The Chinese New Year is serious business, workers get at least 7 days off and factories close for up to a month. Yep, you heard that right, most factories will be closed for an entire month, beginning as early as two weeks before the New Year (which lands on February 16th this year) and lasting through the remainder of February.

Want to order samples for a potential new 2018 product offering? Now’s the time to order those too. Waiting until after the New Year means samples won’t arrive until mid to late March.

If you choose to move forward with the product, you’re looking at sometime in June before you’re FBA ready with stock available. That’s months of unproductive capital and less time to get the product ranking and selling before next year’s Q4.

 

Before Chinese New Year

Every factory does not follow the same closing schedule, but a good rule of thumb is to order inventory (for new or existing products) at least 45 days before Chinese New Year, although closer to 60 would be a safer bet. If you have a product that takes longer to manufacture, the earlier you place your order, the better. Because many factories will close before the holiday, waiting until a week before the 16th to order will leave you empty-handed.

You don’t just want to factor in the time it will take to manufacture your goods either. You should also consider how long it will take to be shipped, and know that cargo companies also close down for a period around Chinese New Year.

Although many Chinese cargo and shipping companies do not close until 3-4 days before the holiday, you’ll want to make sure your merchandise is ready to ship at least a couple weeks before this in case any issues arise. You do not want your goods to be stuck at port over the long holiday, most likely leaving you without the inventory you need and with a nice holding fee from the cargo company.

If you do get your order in and shipped before Chinese New Year, make sure to also run a thorough quality check over the items. As the rush to get orders completed before the holiday presses down on manufacturers, quality control may be more difficult to manage on their end. While it’s always smart to quality check, this time of year is especially important and could save you loads of customer service headaches later.

 

After Chinese New Year

The schedule for factories returning to work after the holiday varies as well. Most manufacturers will be back to handling administrative tasks within 5-10 days after Chinese New Year. That means they will answer your email, but they may not be back in the full swing of production.

Once production starts up again, work is likely to be slow and loads of orders will be backlogged. Don’t expect a timely turnaround or consistent communication, as being gone for that long causes delays and backups. Some manufacturers raise prices after Chinese New Year as well, so don’t be surprised if your costs increase when they return to work.

Not only will manufacturers be backlogged around this time (late February-early March), Amazon likely will as well. Loads of orders will flood into fulfillment centers after the holiday, causing backlog and delays.

 

Source and Order Now

If you’re looking to order fresh inventory for existing products, contact your manufacturer immediately to place your order. And, keep in mind you may want to order more than usual to maintain stock during the Chinese New Year.

Looking for a brand new product to source with your Q4 earnings? Want to kick 2018 off right? Check out our game-changing product finder, Product Discovery, and find your next great product in mere minutes.

You no longer have days or weeks to look through Amazon or check local stores for product ideas. If you’re looking for new merchandise to add to your brand’s arsenal and want it by early next year, you need to source now and place your order before you miss the window.

In a matter of hours, sellers are finding highly profitable product ideas using Product Discovery, drastically trimming down the sourcing process and putting sellers on the fast track to profitability. Taking your time could mean the loss of a couple months worth of sales, so don’t wait, check out Product Discovery today.

 

 

 

Viral Launch Announces Product Discovery: The Best Amazon Product Finder In The Galaxy

Finding a great product to sell on Amazon can be tough, but with so much riding on your sourcing decision, you have to make sure you get it right.

Maybe you’ve been selling on Amazon for a while and are looking to add a new product to your arsenal. Or maybe you’re new to the selling game and just aren’t sure what type of product would perform well or need help generating ideas.

You could spend hours upon hours combing through Amazon to compile messy spreadsheets full of mediocre product ideas. Or, you could tap into Viral Launch’s unrivaled matrix of high-quality data points to quickly identify products that meet your exact specifications.

Introducing Product Discovery by Viral Launch: the best and most precise Amazon product finder in the galaxy, helping you uncover the most profitable Amazon product ideas.

Whether you’re an experienced seller or are just jumping into the game, Product Discovery is designed to help sellers at every level comb through the millions of potential products you could sell and determine which ones you should sell.

Product Discovery is a data-driven solution to finding Amazon products. Developed with Amazon sellers in mind, Product Discovery isn’t your ordinary product finder. With Product Discovery, there are four different ways to find exactly what you’re looking for. Search by Product, Keyword, Brand, and Category. Whether you want to find specific products that meet your criteria, potential keyword niches, successful brands you want to emulate, or subcategories full of up-and-coming products, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s take a walk through the unique features of the tool, and get you on track to sourcing your next profitable product.

 

Product Search

If you’ve used a product finder before, you’re likely familiar with searching by product. This method is actually not the most effective way to discover product ideas. In fact, we recommend staying away from Product Search for idea generation.

It may seem more direct, but you lose out on the holistic view of the market by only looking at one specific ASIN. Making a sourcing decision based on one product is dangerous because you have no idea what that seller is doing to achieve that success. Maybe they’re Facebook ad gurus, or maybe they’re always running a promotion … you just don’t know. It’s much more advantageous to look for keywords and research the market in its entirety so that you can see all the products you will compete with and better gauge your likelihood of success.

We do include Product Search as an option for sellers who are already comfortable with the search method, but if you’re wanting to make a confident sourcing decision, we highly recommend using our Keyword Search instead.

So let’s go through Product Search. Say you’re already selling a variety of baby products and want to stick to that category. You’re looking for a product with high growth and high profitability – so up-and-coming products with healthy margins. Select Baby from the category list, plug your desired ranges into the filter slots, and Product Discovery will pull up a list of products that meet your exact criteria:

The top products that meet your criteria will be listed, along with their brand name, fulfillment method, BSR, monthly sales, revenue and profit (after fees), price, rating and number of reviews, and the number of sellers on this listing. You can sort the results by any one of the above features, so whether you’re looking for a product with high BSR or a low number of reviews, you can see those first with the simple click of a button.

Other features include a button to view the product on Amazon and a Market Intelligence button so you can quickly get started on market research for that particular product by researching its main search terms. You also have the option to download the search results as a CSV by clicking the download button in the top right corner. If you find a product you want to keep your eye on, you can “pin” that product to your Pinned Ideas board to track and monitor.

Right next to the CSV button is the option to view advanced data. Toggle on to reveal more unique criteria for each product, including how the product is performing now compared to how it has performed historically and how quickly the product is gathering reviews.

If you want to narrow your list of product results even further, Product Discovery offers advanced filters, including estimated initial investment cost and profit, average profit margins, best sales period, current sales pattern, sales to review ratio and more. Our advanced filters allow you to customize your search criteria and generate a list of products that meet your exact investment and sales goals.

To get a broader view of how the market is performing, including your potential competition, we highly recommend our next search option: Keyword.

 

Keyword Search

While Product Search allows you to hone in on individual products that meet your criteria, Keyword Search takes a step back and views the market from a broader scope. Rather than zeroing in on a particular ASIN, Keyword Search considers the top products for a specific search term or phrase and averages the growth (or decline).

If you’re newer to the Amazon game or are looking for a straightforward approach to finding your next profitable product, we recommend starting in the Keyword Search tab.

The basic filter options are fairly similar to those under Product Search, except that the monthly revenue, sales, price, and review count are averages since your results will consider multiple products.

We’ll go ahead and stick with the baby category for this tutorial, but once you’ve input all your desired filters, Product Discovery will provide the top keyword phrases that meet your criteria. The results shown will look slightly different than your product search results.

You’ll see average price and profit margin, average monthly sales, average number of reviews (and rate), average monthly revenue, and the sales to review ratio for the top products under that particular keyword. If you want to sort your results by any listed data point, just click on the arrow next to the column title, and you can see results from the highest to lowest number of reviews, lowest to highest sales and more.

A unique and extremely helpful feature under the keyword search results is the Idea Score. The Product Idea Score is only available if you subscribe to one of our annual plans. This is an extremely beneficial metric because you are able to sort by Star Rating. For those of you who have used our product research tool, Market Intelligence, you know the Idea Score is our rating system for profitable ideas based on our ever-expanding network of data.

5-Star Ideas are markets that we’ve determined likely have great potential, through our custom, complex, in-house rating algorithm. A 1-Star Idea is one that we recommend staying away from due to any number of factors, including but not limited to: high barrier to entry, high competition, declining trends, etc. With an annual subscription to Product Discovery, the ability to sort by Idea Score provides a quick and effortless way to see the best products first. Once you’ve filtered for markets that fit your goals, sort by Idea Score to see the markets that Viral Launch quickly and easily verifies for you! Then, dig into the market with Market Intelligence to make sure the market data aligns with what you’re looking for.

Clicking on the advanced data button for your keyword results will reveal some similar data, such as the price change in the last 90 days, the sales change in the last 90 days, the review change and review rate. Unique data points to this search type include the sales percentage year over year, the current sales pattern (declining, typical, seasonal or up and coming), and the best sales period (month) if applicable.

Advanced filters are offered under keyword search as well, so you can get as specific as you want and find some killer, profitable keywords. And once you’ve found them, you can pin your favorites, view them on Amazon and in Market Intelligence, or download the results as a CSV.

 

Brand Search

You might be thinking … product and keyword search are great, but I’m already selling and I’d love to be able to track the top brands in my category, monitor their success, or spy on top-selling brands in other categories to potentially replicate their successes …

We’re one step ahead of you. We created our Brand Search option as a unique way to check out specific brand names, their products, sales, revenue, reviews and more. You can also easily find killer products to source by checking out the brand’s top selling products in their Full Scan page. We’ll talk more about that page later.

Whether you’re a new seller trying to navigate the ins and outs of a profitable brand in a specific category or you’re a more experienced seller looking to monitor the top competitors in your space, our Brand Search has just the criteria to help you identify the brands you want to watch or emulate.

When you’re tracking a brand, you probably want to know their success level and growth rate right? That’s what we thought.

In Brand Search, you can filter for brands that are in the top 25%, top 5% or top 1% in a category and have growth rates anywhere from slow to insane mode. You can also set quantities for the brand’s monthly sales or revenue, total or average review count, average price and more. Your results will include data from across all their products, whether they have 1 or 10,000.

For advanced Brand Search filters, you’ll see some similar options such as average profit margin, sales year over year, best sales period, sales pattern, sales to review ratio, and price, review and sales change in the last 90 days.

There are 3 new advanced filters you’ll see in Brand Search: Quick Win, Moderate Win and High Upside Products. These metrics allow you to set ranges for the number of each “type” of product from that brand. Quick Win products may be easy to replicate but have lower revenue streams. High Upside products are more difficult to replicate but generate more revenue. Moderate Win products are somewhere in the middle.

Once you’ve set all your desired parameters, hit view filter results and start discovering the brands you want to keep your eye on and the products that are driving their success.

Your results will display some familiar options like the “view on Amazon”, “pin” and “download as a CSV” buttons. If you’re searching for advanced data in Brand Search, click on the Source logo and you will be taken to a new page featuring a Full Scan of data detailing the brand’s sales, trends and more. This Full Scan page is loaded with information for you to really dig into the brand, including their top products.

On the main results page, you will also see the number of products the brand has, their monthly sales and revenue, average price, number of reviews and their success (compared to top competitors) and growth (based on recent sales data). If you want to sort your results by one of these metrics, simply click the arrow next to the column title.

 

Category Search

Our final search option is by Category. This is the most wide-lensed way to find a product but can be highly effective once you get the hang of the search criteria. Whether you’re looking for a niche product within your current market or just a niche subcategory that hasn’t been tapped into yet, Category Search is the way to go.

Category Search comes with a higher learning curve, as it’s something that many sellers will be unfamiliar with. However, this search method can prove to be an advanced seller’s best friend with the countless avenues provided to arriving at profitable products.

When you take a look at the filter options in Category, you’ll notice two newbies: Opportunity Score and Maturity Score. We created these two scores to simplify the process of finding the categories you’re looking for. Opportunity score is a way to determine the number of “good opportunity” products within a specific subcategory, so a lower score will yield subcategories with a smaller number of “good opportunity” products and vice versa for a higher score. Maturity score allows you to filter based on how mature, or established, the subcategory is, so a high maturity score yields subcategories that may be more difficult to enter and have a lower ROI initially, and vice versa for subcategories with a low maturity score.

Other basic filters for Category include average price, average monthly sales in units, average review count, sales to review ratio and more.

The advanced filters for Category Search are similar to the other three categories, including the Quick Win, Moderate Win and High Upside product ranges from Brand Search. Three advanced filter options unique to category Search are Number of Products, Unique Brands, and Name Brand Market Share. Although they are fairly self-explanatory, number of products allows you to set a range for the amount of active products in that category, unique brands lets you set a range for the number of brands selling in that category and name brand market share allows you to determine what percentage of that category is dominated by name brands.

Once you’ve set all the filters to meet your criteria, your results will provide the monthly sales and revenue, number of reviews, average price and number of brands across that subcategory. You will also see the opportunity and maturity scores, which are color-coded to help you determine the right combination to meet your criteria (red = “bad” or low, yellow = moderate, green = “good” or high).

Other options you’ll recognize are the download, pin, view on Amazon and Source buttons. Similar to Brand Search, clicking on the Source logo will take you to a Full Scan page for that subcategory detailing a variety of data-driven metrics, from sales and review data to the top products within that subcategory. Again, the Full Scan page will break down some of the overview metrics you see in the result list, as well as identify some additional in-depth metrics. And, don’t forget that you can sort the results by any one of the desired filters by clicking the up or down arrow next to the category title.

 

Other Features

Now that we’ve taken you through each of the four main search options, we wanted to point out a couple more unique features of our product finder.

In the top right corner, you’ll see a category drop down bar, which allows you to drill down from top-level categories into subcategories, similar to how you would on Amazon. When you click the blue scan button next to any category or subcategory, you will be taken to a Full Scan page with detailed information and data about that category. This feature is a quick and efficient way to check out our Full Scan pages if you know the category or subcategory you are looking for or just want to browse.

The final, helpful feature of our product database is the Pinned Ideas tab. Remember how you can pin your favorite products, keywords, brands or subcategories in each of the search options? To check out all those pins, hop on over to the left sidebar and click on the Pinned Ideas tab under Product Discovery. Here you will find everything you’ve saved so you can once again see all the information, check the idea out on Amazon, or continue researching the idea with Market Intelligence. And, if you no longer want to monitor a pin or want to make room for more, just click the remove icon to get rid of it.

 

So Why Product Discovery?

We know we aren’t the only product idea software on the market, so why choose us? Sure, we might be biased, but here’s a few reasons why we think you should choose Product Discovery to find your next great profitable product:

1. Personalized

Product Discovery allows you to be as broad or as specific as you’d like when filtering for product ideas. You can keep it simple and just use the basic filters or hone in on specific types of products, keywords, brand, and categories with more advanced filters. With the ability to perform such targeted searching, you can quickly expand your product offering and reach your business goals.

2. Fast

E-commerce is always on the move and always growing, especially Amazon, so we know you don’t have weeks or months to find a good product to source. Time lost is sales lost, which is why we created Product Discovery to help you discover a profitable product in minutes. Beating your competitors to the next profitable product is a huge advantage, and Product Discovery is the fastest way to do just that.

3. Quality Data

If you’ve used Market Intelligence before, then we probably don’t need to convince you about the quality of the data we provide. We aren’t interested in providing our clients with invaluable metrics or archaic data points. We aim for data that is up to date, hyper-accurate and extremely catered to your needs.

4. Comprehensive

We’ve got everything you’re looking for all in one tool, so you don’t have to waste time switching between different software. Product Discovery has all the data, allows you to download your search results, integrates seamlessly with Market Intelligence and lets you save and pin the products you’re interested in, the brands you want to track and more.

 

If you’d like to learn even more about Product Discovery, check out our detailed walk-through video so you can get a visual explanation of how the tool works. Or, if you’re ready to find your next great profitable product, sign up and pick the subscription package that works for you!

Try Product Discovery!

4 Things You Need to Know Before Selling on Amazon Germany

So you want to grow your business internationally, and you think selling on Amazon Germany could be the way to go? You might be right.

Amazon.de is the second largest Amazon marketplace behind the U.S. with about 15 percent of the Amazon international market and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The overall German online market is growing by about 12 percent annually, and cross-border e-commerce sales are growing as well, meaning Germans are warming up to the idea of purchasing from the U.S.

You’re probably thinking Germans are ripe for the picking for a savvy seller like yourself, but before you take the plunge into Deutchland, consider these helpful tips about Amazon Germany buyers and how they differ from their American counterparts.

 

1. Germans are highly focused on security and avoiding risk

German buyers want to avoid wasting time and money on low quality products, so they will likely do much more research before buying compared to Americans. Not only will they research the product they are interested in, but they will generally research brands, their quality and their reliability. And, if you don’t have a local address associated with your account, German consumers may assume you will be difficult to contact or returns will be burdensome, which could deter them from purchasing.

 

2. German buyers want to know your credentials

An Amazon Germany customer is searching for more than your statement of reliability and quality. They want factual evidence from 3rd parties, such as reviews from fellow Germans, or certification compliance with German or EU-based institutions. So while your FDA approved product might win over buyers in the U.S., it will mean virtually nothing to most German buyers. That’s not to say you won’t sell anything without a local certification, but depending on your product, your chances of increasing sales with a local certification is high.

 

3. Germans aren’t interested in your showy marketing lingo

In the U.S., many buyers like to be wowed and dazzled with pretty marketing language when looking at a product. They want to be told yours is the “best”, “greatest”, “most effective” or “the only one of its kind”. Germans are more detailed and fact-driven. They want to know why your product is better than someone else’s with honest, modest facts. So if you think you can simply translate your U.S. listing copy with Google Translate, think again. Not only will the translation likely be poor due to language and phrasing differences, but it may not resonate with German buyers.

 

4. If a German buyer doesn’t like your product, they will return it

U.S. buyers may return an item if they are unhappy, but if the item was low cost or they think the process could be lengthy, many will just keep the item or throw it away. In Germany, if a buyer is unsatisfied with your product, they’re much more likely to return it and get their money back. And, unsatisfied German customers are much more likely to contact sellers about their unhappiness and/or leave a negative review. In many cases, there’s a greater chance that Germans will leave a poor reviews if they are unhappy than positive reviews if they are satisfied.

 

Speaking of reviews…..

If you’re thinking about using the same email marketing tactics as in the U.S. to help generate reviews and client rapport, think again. Germany’s email marketing laws are some of the strictest across the globe, and ignoring their regulations won’t just land you with a slap on the wrist, but a fine from the German government.

The bottom line with Amazon Germany and interacting with German consumers is this: do your research and don’t just assume that buyers have the same expectations cross-culturally. Every Amazon marketplace is unique, but if you’re looking for a thriving online market to grow your business beyond the U.S., Amazon.de is a great starting point as long as you take the time to do it well and consider cultural differences.
If you’re concerned about your product selling well on Amazon Germany and are searching for a better grasp of market trends overseas, check out Market Intelligence International to evaluate the market, validate sourcing ideas and provide sales estimates. When you’re ready to take the leap, check out our international launches to get your product visible and sales up and running!

 

Research in Amazon Germany

Launch in Germany

 

Related:

5 Reasons to Start Selling on Amazon Europe

A Step-by-Step Guide to Selling on Amazon Europe

VAT 101: Selling on Amazon Across the European Union

A Step by Step Guide to Selling on Amazon Europe

Hopefully, you already understand why you should be selling on Amazon Europe. Now it’s just a matter of how to do it. Selling internationally on Amazon can be simple if you take advantage of Amazon’s services in Europe and allow their offerings to streamline your business expansion.

 

1. Choose your “home” marketplace

Amazon Europe has 5 marketplaces: UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. You can use one Seller Account across all 5 marketplaces, but you must determine where the majority of your products will be distributed from.

Keeping your products in the US to ship overseas is an option, but it comes at a high price for you and your buyers. Fulfillment by Merchant is possible from the EU, but you have to must handle 3rd party storage and distribution.

When selling on Amazon Europe, if you choose Fulfillment by Amazon, your home marketplace has to be overseas, but you have options between single or multi-country distribution.

 

2. Determine your fulfillment method: FBM vs FBA

FBM can take place from the US or EU and both come with a unique set of challenges. Keeping and distributing your product from the US might seem simpler but will actually be more costly since you have to pay international shipping fees per order, which can range anywhere from $22 to a couple hundred dollars.

FBM from the EU can lower exorbitant shipping costs, but you have to research reputable 3rd party distribution centers to set up storage and manage shipping from their facility. And, you may still not be Prime eligible.

If you’re considering FBA, there are three options: European Fulfillment Network (EFN), Multi-country Inventory (MCI) or Pan-European FBA, each with their own pros, cons and fee structures.

EFN allows you to store and ship your product from the Amazon EU distribution center of your choice, shipping to other countries when ordered. It also allows for Prime eligibility.

MCI allows sellers to store their product in multiple countries’ distribution centers and to be Prime eligible in each country where stock is held.

Pan-Euro FBA allows Prime eligibility in all 5 countries with storage in one distribution warehouse, but Amazon redistributes product stock to other countries’ warehouses based on where they perceive demand will be highest.

 

3. Research your international legal obligations, or hire someone else to

While you can do the research and contact the right overseas parties yourself, it may be best to save yourself a headache and just hire a lawyer if you don’t have one already. A lawyer specialized in international law can outline the legal, tax and compliance obligations you must follow in each country, as well as determine the specific EU labeling and warranty laws you are obligated to observe.

In many cases, Europe is stricter than the US in terms of labeling and product compliance, with conformity markings that are EU-wide as well as specific product restrictions and compliance obligations that are distinct within each country. Investing in quality assistance could save you from future legal nightmares or having your listing removed for lack of compliance.

 

4. Register for a VAT and EORI number

Unless you plan to sell FBM from the US, you will need to apply for both a Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. An EORI number is required by all merchants selling overseas (FBA or FBM) in order to import goods, and unless you’re selling a low-cost product that you believe will have low profit margins (which is rarely the aim), then you’ll need to register for VAT too.

VAT is essentially a consumption tax applied to the value of goods and services bought and sold in the EU. Unlike in the US, where tax is added near the end of a transaction, in the EU, VAT taxes are incorporated into retail prices, and these taxes must be reported and sent to the government. *

 

5. Address language barriers

Although there is no requirement to provide customer service in the language of each country you are selling in, doing so will significantly boost the customer experience and has the potential to increase sales. Your listing’s copy, however, MUST be in the language of the country you are selling to.

If you sell FBA, you have access to Amazon’s 24/7 customer service team in the language of the marketplace where it was purchased. Amazon does not translate the listing into the local language, so whether you sell FBM or FBA, your listing must be readable for the local population. The best, and most profitable option would be to either hire a reputable translation service or find a company with local-speaking copywriters to write the international Amazon listing for you.

Even in countries like the UK where English is spoken, there are different words and colloquialisms that US sellers would be wise to take into account when building relevant keyword lists and listing products. For example, if you’re selling a water pitcher in the UK, calling it a pitcher may not be as profitable since many across the pond use the term jug and would be less likely to search for pitcher.

 

6. Localize your listing(s)

Beyond localizing in terms of language online, most EU countries require labels and packaging materials to be in the local language. This is another area where an international business lawyer could assist in terms of proper compliance. And, when listing, don’t forget that the EU uses the metric system for all their measurements, so a 7 inch long phone case would actually be 18 centimeters.

Sellers should also keep in mind the constantly fluctuating conversion rate between the dollar and the pound or euro when determining price point. In addition to language, metric and pricing differences, categories are also unique within each country, and consumer expectations of appropriate products for specific categories may differ as well.

With these considerations in mind, you can begin to imagine what it will take and what selling on Amazon Europe might cost. Research and seeking out the proper resources is key when listing and selling overseas. Head over to amazon.de or amazon.uk and research your product markets using Market Intelligence International. You can scope out the competition and start calculating potential profit. When you’re ready to cross the pond, schedule an international launch in your Viral Launch dashboard, and start dominating selling on Amazon Europe.

 

Start Researching Internationally

 

*The employees of Viral Launch are not lawyers, nor does this blog provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

5 Reasons To Start Selling on Amazon Europe

5 Reasons to Start Selling on Amazon Europe

“Going global.” We’ve all heard it right? Maybe one of the biggest buzz phrases in today’s technological world, especially for those in e-commerce.

Although Amazon US is without a doubt the largest, most profitable Amazon market, there is still a wealth of opportunity to be had on Amazon’s international sites, especially in Europe. Below are the top 5 reasons why you should be considering internationalization to Amazon Europe:

 

1. Expand Your Sales Potential

For starters, expanding into other Amazon marketplaces, namely the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, puts you in front of more consumers. Simple as that. In fact, it puts you in front of potentially 230 million more consumers.

While there are additional costs associated with selling internationally, the doubling in customer exposure and potential increase in sales is undoubtedly worth the price.

Since Brexit, Amazon UK sales have actually increased, and retail sales overall in European markets are on the rise, whereas US retail sales growth has been declining in recent years (more on that later). And, the average UK online shopper actually spends more annually than the average US online shopper, while German online shoppers are only marginally behind the US.

 

2. Smaller Markets = Less Competition

Another positive of Amazon Europe is smaller markets. You might be asking, doesn’t that mean fewer consumers? While all 5 European markets combined have about the same consumer base as the US alone, the undeniable benefit of each country’s smaller market is fewer sellers.

Of the approximate 2 million active Amazon sellers worldwide, only around 200,000 are in Europe, meaning you will have significantly less competition for the products you sell in each market.

Sellers should consider if their product is one that will sell well in each market. Due to cultural differences and expectations, an item that might be a high seller in the US may not translate as well in Germany or Spain. Or, your product may be called something completely different in another market. For example, in the US, we say “oven mitts,” but in the UK, they say “oven gloves.” So do your market research before you list, but if it’s right for the market, the potential to thrive and make it to page 1 is much easier than in the US.

 

3. Grow as the Markets Grow

As mentioned earlier, the European online sales market has seen significant growth in recent years. Western Europe has seen a steady average of 12% growth in online retail sales from 2012 to 2017, and Southern Europe has an average of 18% growth each year. The US, on the other hand, has seen a decline in growth in the last 5 years, from 14.8% in 2013 to 12.8% in early 2017.

Sellers have the potential to enter in now as the market across Europe is quickly expanding, allowing their products and their brand to grow as the markets grow. For example, review quantities are extremely low compared to the US.

Back when reviews were this low on Amazon.com, many sellers were able to get into the market early, generate tons of reviews over time, claim market share, and heighten the barrier to entry for new products. As the Europe market continues to grow, market competition will increase, so it’s a perfect opportunity to start building your reviews now. Basically, get in early, before everyone else does.

 

4. Many Sellers are Afraid of Internationalization

While potentially very profitable, internationalization is a daunting prospect for many US sellers. There are language and cultural barriers, market variations, differences in consumer expectations, extra shipping costs and local taxes, exchange rates, customer service barriers and local regulations.

These factors can seem extremely intimidating, but Amazon is working to mitigate challenges, making it easier for sellers to cross the ocean into Europe, even going as far as allowing certain sellers to apply for an Amazon account manager who can help with European expansions.

Since many are still avoiding the jump across the pond, sellers willing to take the chance have the opportunity to establish their brand and product now, solidifying a buyer base before other sellers land on the market.

 

5. Amazon is Seeking to Grow International Markets

In efforts to encourage sellers to go global, Amazon has significantly boosted their EU marketplace services in the last several years. While you do not have to be an FBA seller to sell internationally, Amazon makes the process incredibly streamlined if you are.

Anyone can sell across all 5 EU marketplaces under one single seller account, but non-FBA sellers must handle their own shipping and customer service. If you sell internationally as an FBA seller, you can send your products to an Amazon EU fulfilment center for storage and shipping, your products are Prime eligible, and you have access to each of Amazon’s language-specific 24/7 customer service platforms. Sounds like a pretty good gig if you ask me…

 

Need Help With International Launches?

Whether you’re looking to grow into just the UK market, or you’re interested in all 5 Amazon Europe marketplaces, the rewards have great potential if you have a product that will resonate culturally.

Lucky for you, Viral Launch is already offering product launches in Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. And, they’re discounted (for now, anyways)! So when you’re ready to cross the pond, Viral Launch is ready to get you ranking and launch you to Amazon Europe success!

Bonus: Market Intelligence, Viral Launch’s Amazon product research tool is now available for international markets! You can validate your Amazon Europe product ideas, see accurate sales estimates, and understand market trends in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, India, Mexico, and China. Start researching today, both for the US market and internationally, with the most sophisticated Amazon product research tool available!

 

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Selling in Amazon Europe? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!