A Comprehensive Guide on Due Diligence for Amazon FBA Businesses

Selling on Amazon has been one of the most popular routes to owning your own business in recent years. From your own living room, you can run a multi-million dollar business for a relatively small startup cost. This is your guide on Due Diligence for Amazon FBA Businesses

Starting an FBA storefront is relatively easy. Once you’ve created your Amazon Seller Central account and sorted out logistics, you can automate most processes. You then have to manage only customer service or PPC campaigns. This is your guide on Due Diligence for Amazon FBA Businesses.

However, if you’re looking to accelerate your business’s growth and progress quickly along the entrepreneurial path, it might be in your best interests to buy an FBA business instead of starting one from scratch.

The Case for Buying over Building an FBA Business

Starting a successful FBA business requires an initial capital injection. As well as the right attitude and skill set, to ensure growth and sustainability.

More than 50% of FBA owners inject at least $1,000 into their business when starting it. While more than one in five owners inject over $10,000 in initial capital, according to one study. However, as you’d expect, it’s not necessarily a pay-to-win game. More FBA businesses in which the owners invested $500 or less were still active. In comparison, those in which the owners invested $10,000 or more are not.

A higher initial investment means you have more room to scale your business. It also means you have more moving parts to manage. However, once the business is optimizing, a highly lucrative investment is ran. Case in point: Wall Street investors and private equity firms have been acquiring mom-and-pop FBA stores in deal sizes totaling billions.

Brand aggregators pick up a variety of FBA brands because they recognize their potential to scale. What if you took a leaf out of brand aggregators’ books and bought a business instead of starting one yourself? You could also acquire an FBA business in a profitable niche. Then, you’re left without having to figure out product-market fit and risk investing capital in different ways. They may end up as sunk costs. 

Take a look at how valuations for FBA businesses come about in this guide on Due Diligence for Amazon FBA Businesses. Then you have an idea about how much you should be paying for one.

How FBA Businesses are of value

Photo by olia danilevich on Pexels.com

We won’t go into too much detail about how businesses are of value as we cover this in greater depth in another article.

Basically, an FBA business is valued by the following formula:

Valuation = 12-Month Average Monthly Net Profit x Multiple

The average monthly profit is set against a monthly multiple that takes into account several business performance factors. There is the age of the business, traffic diversity, number of SKUs, the presence of an email list, and more.

Before we dive further into what makes up the monthly multiple, it’s important to understand two things. One is why pricing periods are important and two is why this matters if buying an FBA business.

Pricing Windows 

The number of months over which the average monthly profit calculates might seem like a small detail. Yet, it can reveal a lot about an FBA business.

A 12-month window is the gold standard because it gives the most holistic view of a business’s performance. You can see whether traffic and revenue are affected by seasonality or are quite steady throughout the year. A 12-month window also gives you more data to look at before deciding to purchase.

Some sellers may consider using a shorter pricing window. This reflects a recent increase in performance or because the business began making profit only recently.

Naturally, you want as much information about a business as possible before making any buying decision. A business might look like a great deal according to your criteria. If you’re a first-time buyer, we’d recommend looking at businesses that provide a 12-month average profit.

Now that we’ve explained the importance of the pricing window, we’ll review some things that make up a monthly multiple. As well as what to look out for when doing your due diligence.

Age of the FBA Business

Simply put, the older an FBA business is, the higher the multiple is likely to be. 

An older FBA business indicates how resilient it is in the face of challenges. Such as finding product–market fit and establishing a foothold in the market. An older business also shows that it’s in a profitable niche selling in-demand products. Instead of riding the latest trends that may die off in a few months.

We recommend that you look for businesses at least two years old. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Many FBA businesses won’t be profitable for several months after their Amazon storefront is first created. It also takes some time for operations to stabilize and to build up a solid brand.

The Number of Established Traffic Channels

An FBA business with greater traffic diversity will likely command a higher business multiple for two main reasons.

First, diversified traffic channels protect your business if your primary traffic channel is disrupted as a result of a change in search engine algorithms. This scenarios can happen from low experience in marketing and are trying to scale a business yourself. When you think you’ve cracked the advertising code and have great keywords, your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns could be suspended for a breach of the terms and conditions. Sales can then dry up if you can’t reach new customers.

By establishing different traffic channels for customers to find your products, you also broaden your brand awareness to include new audiences. Having a mix of paid and organic traffic sources is ideal because potential customers might not visit all channels on which your brand has a presence. 

Another way to diversify your traffic is through omnichannel selling. Selling on e-commerce platforms outside of Amazon gives you access to audiences who may prefer Walmart or eBay for specific products. Suppose your product is in demand and your copywriting is solid. In that case, you should be able to establish a foothold in various online marketplaces and gain new customers through various traffic sources.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

The simplest way to measure a brand’s reputation is to look at the storefront’s customer reviews and product ratings. What’s great about Amazon is that with enough social proof of ratings and reviews, the marketplace could award your products with badges or labels that give them extra credibility.

An Amazon’s Choice badge means that a product’s shown to people looking at a category for the first time.

With enough sales and positive reviews, the product could also earn a Best-Seller badge, but this is harder to obtain because it requires many reviews and depends on other factors that affect Amazon’s A9 algorithm and Best-Seller Rank. The key takeaway is that an FBA business with an Amazon’s Choice badge, even without a Best-Seller badge, is a reputable brand in its niche.

Other ways to investigate brand strength include monitoring social mentions. You can get a general feel for how a brand is perceived based on who’s talking about it and recommending its products to their friends and family. These types of spontaneous posts or shoutouts can indicate how well-received a product or service is if you don’t want to rely only on reviews and ratings.

The Presence of an Email List

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

Email marketing creates another revenue stream, working as a traffic driver that exists outside of search engines.

A large email list is an addressable audience of subscribers interested in receiving content from the brand, including product reviews, recommendations, or launches, and could potentially become loyal customers. 

Simply put, an email list can significantly boost an FBA business’s revenue.

An extensive email list is also a sign of brand strength, as customers are now more concerned with customer experience and brand innovation rather than depending on how long a brand has been around or how well established it is.

Even if the list isn’t monetized, it can be repurposed in several ways, such as by delivering helpful content or gathering customer feedback. Because an email list is so flexible, it can be a valuable asset for your business; if you have ideas for email marketing campaigns, buying a brand with an existing email list can save you the time of building one from scratch.

The Number of Products on the Storefront

Smaller businesses tend either to have many active products on their storefront or to be based around a select few products while they’re figuring out what works.

If you’re willing to work on a business and spend time optimizing it while you learn the ropes, having an overly large or minimal SKU range might not be as much of an issue.

However, if you’re looking for a hands-off operation, then you’ll want to buy a business with a smaller SKU range. That way, you won’t need to spend as much time on upkeep, including optimizing each listing and checking that it’s still active. 

For reference, we’ve seen institutional buyers like brand aggregators and private equity firms acquire seven-figure FBA businesses with 40 or fewer SKUs. These larger institutions have in-house teams that specialize in scaling FBA assets, so a smaller range of products is easier to work with.

If you see a business that meets all your other criteria but has a larger SKU range than you expected, you could hire virtual assistants (VAs) to whom you can delegate the time-consuming and repetitive tasks of product upkeep.

What to Look for in a Great Deal

Choosing which FBA business to buy can be tough, but it boils down to your personal goals and preferences.

Niche doesn’t matter, although home and pet care are two of the most popular choices due to the wide variety of subcategories you can choose within them.

To make your search easier and quicker, make a due diligence list to help discount unqualified businesses. A few initial things to include in the list are the size of your budget, how much time you want to spend working on your business, and how many products the business sells.

We covered some due diligence criteria above when discussing the factors that affect the monthly multiple. Other due diligence criteria may include how many people the business employs and whether it faces any pre-existing legal issues.

What your due diligence checklist eventually looks like comes down to what your goal is in buying an FBA business. If you want an entry point to e-commerce and running your own business, you may be looking to buy a five-figure or low six-figure business with a few SKUs in a niche you’re familiar with.

Depending on your budget, you might be looking to buy an FBA business with room to expand. One that hasn’t been fully optimized by the current owner due to time or capital constraints. Your criteria will be different from those of the buyer in the previous example. You might be looking for distressed assets with a negative trend in profits and traffic, but that are still profitable.

Figure out what your overall goal is. Once you’ve identified what the ideal FBA business looks like in your due diligence checklist, all that’s left to do is to find the best deal for you.

Where to Buy Suitable FBA Businesses

If you’re a first-time buyer, we recommend using a broker’s service. A private sale provides little to no protection for buyers and sellers. It could take you a long time to sift through before you find qualified businesses that pass your checklist.

Many buyers think they can negotiate a great deal and pay less than a business’s worthwhile also avoiding paying a broker’s fee.

Experienced buyers can achieve such results. However, it’s less likely and demands a lot of experience in the negotiating and M&A arena.

If you don’t have that much experience, you can visit a curated marketplace offered by brokers. There, you’ll find businesses that meet a minimum standard of quality and perform more or less as advertised. You’ll also receive support and advice from an experienced team of business analysts who can help you find the right business based on your needs. This is the end of this guide on Due Diligence for Amazon FBA Businesses

If you’re ready to kick-start your entrepreneurial journey in the FBA world, register on our marketplace for free.

7 Amazon Seller Tools To Boost Your Business

“A carpenter is only as good as their tools.” – unknown origin. The same goes for amazon seller tools.

While we won’t claim to know much about carpentry, we can confidently say this quote is just as applicable regarding selling on Amazon.

It’s simply unrealistic to expect to do run an Amazon business without some help.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of Amazon seller tools to help you save time, stress less, and skyrocket sales.

But not all tools are created equally. To help you efficiently run your business, here are a few of the best Amazon seller tools to optimize your process!

Glorify

Consider Glorify to be your one-stop-shop for product images. With its backgroundremoving tool, a massive collection of stock images and models, and templates created for Amazon, Shopify, Instagram, and many other e-commerce platforms in mind, Glorify is the perfect tool for anyone who needs product photography.

Just as Canva makes graphic design a breeze for novices, Glorify simplifies product photography for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Designed to fit the needs and wants of online brands, Glorify is a time-saving, sales-converting necessity.

It’s no wonder 51,000+ entrepreneurs utilize Glorify for their design needs. With their tools, you can handle all of your product photography needs other than taking the actual pictures. Speaking of which…

Dripped Image Product Photography

When creating your Amazon listing, the value of product photography cannot be understated. In the old days of Amazon? Sure, you could skimp on high-quality product images and still pick up sales. But in 2021? High-resolution, professional images are a necessity for any seller looking for long-lasting success.

But not just any photographer will do. You’ll want a photographer with experience in e-commerce. One who knows the value of eye-catching product photography that shows how a product might be used.

That brings us to Dripped Image.

Photographer/owner Jason Weller has plenty of product photography experience under his belt, in addition to years capturing sports, concerts, and events from around the world with his camera. The result? Professional-quality photos that highlight the best of your product and lifestyles that wouldn’t feel out of place in a prestige magazine.

Alibaba

Although simple, it’s vital to remember one of the foundational elements of a successful product is the product itself. You can do everything right to identify a winning product idea, create a product listing with captivating images and search engine optimized copy, and perform advanced advertising strategies. But if you have a crummy product, you’ll likely be inundated with negative reviews and experience dwindling sales.

Thus, it’s critical that you find a manufacturer or supplier that you can trust to deliver a quality product and work with to make improvements.

Ironically, Alibaba appears much like Amazon, but for Amazon sellers.

Alibaba became one of the world’s largest companies, largely on the strength of its B2B e-commerce platform. Buyers choose from hundreds of importers and exporters worldwide to find their ideal product.

The sheer size of Alibaba’s marketplace makes it convenient for Amazon sellers looking for a perfect supplier.

[RELATED: 11 Tips to Source Best Selling Products on Amazon]

The Amazon Seller App

Selling on Amazon is an incredible opportunity for those with the entrepreneurial spirit and attitude, and has paved the way for countless people to make their dreams come true and find financial freedom.

So it only makes sense that the go-getter ethos of entrepreneurs can lead to intense competition in the pursuit of perfection. As a result, that commitment and determination can lead to constant tinkering and monitoring of your store’s performance. And unlike traditional retail stores, your store is open 24/7/365.

Thus, you’ll want to keep an eye on the many aspects of running a business when away from the computer screen.

The Amazon seller app lets you take many aspects of managing your Amazon business from Seller Central with you everywhere you go.

Use the Amazon Seller app to track sales, fulfill orders, find products to sell, respond to customer questions, capture and edit professional-quality product photos, and create listings—all from your phone.

Amazon

Thankfully, the Amazon seller app lets you manage your business so you can live your best life!

Viral Launch

With the wide variety of responsibilities on an Amazon seller’s plate, a true one-stop-shop just isn’t realistic. However, Viral Launch has you covered when it comes to reliably accurate product and market research.

Viral Launch’s data-packed Market Intelligence tool

Whether you’re starting on Amazon and looking for your first product or managing a sizable catalog of ASINs, Viral Launch’s comprehensive software suite can help you make intelligent decisions backed by a treasure trove of Amazon data.

For those looking for a profitable product to sell, the Product Discovery tool reverse engineers results based on filters you apply based on your goals and resources. Our most popular tool, Market Intelligence, provides continuously updated sales data that sellers can peruse to be a master of their market.

Once you’ve found your product idea, utilize Keyword Research to find a complete keyword list to maximize SEO and experiment with your listing in Listing Builder. Track your rivals with Competitor Intelligence to know their every move so you can counter strategically. Automate and optimize PPC campaigns in Kinetic and monitor your rank performance by keyword with Listing Analyzer.

With thoughtfully integrated tools, Viral Launch truly is a one-stop-shop for Amazon product research. With pricing packages catered to your needs based on where you are in your Amazon journey, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to gain that numerical advantage.

Simply put, Viral Launch’s Amazon seller tools offer almost everything a seller could ask for. In business, there’s no greater advantage than the statistical advantage.

Listing Dojo

Split Testing tests potential changes and provides data for you to optimize multiple aspects of your listing.

One of the most anxiety-inducing facets of running a business is understanding the possibility that you’re not maximizing your potential.

Is my hero image costing me sales? Would a price decrease significantly boost sales and increase profitability? Would tweaking the product title lead to more traffic?

These are just a few of the countless questions you may have about your Amazon product listings. Implementing significant changes to your listing can be nerve-wracking due to the unknown outcome. Luckily, you can find the answers with actual results by split testing in smaller doses with Listing Dojo.

With Listing Dojo, you can let the data make the decisions. Listing Dojo allows you to run tests on your listing’s title, price, images, or description. As you run the split testing, you’ll be able to see how these changes are impacting your bottom line. Once the tests have run for an appropriate amount of time (recommended: 7 day minimum), you’ll have informative reports comparing and contrasting each’s performance. You may be surprised at how one minor tweak can impact your bottom line.

Moreover, Listing Dojo is entirely free, making it a no-brainer for maximizing profitability.

The Empire Flippers Valuation Tool

The topic of selling your Amazon business is one we’ve tackled recently, and the business valuation tool from Empire Flippers is the best starting point you’ll find. You can fill out their brief form at no cost, and they’ll run the numbers for your company evaluation.

Within minutes, you can discover your business’s estimated valuation to consider if selling is right for you.

Once you’ve received your valuation, you receive a breakdown that operates as a SWOT analysis for your valuation. , the tool provides automatic feedback to help you understand your valuation at a categoric level. Consequently, you can keep that feedback in mind as you advance your business.

An innovator in the e-commerce business transaction industry, Empire Flippers is as trustworthy as they come. Whether considering selling your business or not, every seller should take a few minutes to understand their business a little better from a buyer’s perspective. And if selling sounds right for you, you can certainly entrust the Empire Flippers team to guide you through the process.

In conclusion, these Amazon seller tools are among the many that can make life easier. What Amazon seller tools have been a tremendous asset for you? Let us know in the comments!

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Should You Start an Amazon FBA Business or Purchase an Existing One?

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a business is getting your product in front of the right audience. As Amazon owns about 49 percent of the U.S. e-commerce share, it makes sense to start an Amazon FBA business to sell your e-commerce products as your target market already prefers shopping there. 

Additionally, Amazon makes it easy for sellers to list, sell, and ship their products through their Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program. Here’s everything you need to know about an Amazon FBA business and whether you should start an Amazon FBA business or purchase an existing one.

What is FBA?

Some 73 percent of Amazon sellers in the U.S. use the FBA program, making it one of the most popular e-commerce sales options. Amazon FBA sellers receive immediate access to Amazon Prime customers, which can significantly impact the bottom line of the business. On average, Amazon Prime customers spend $1,400 per year on Amazon, whereas standard Amazon customers only spend $600 per year. 

The other reason why FBA businesses are popular is that it’s convenient. 

With an Amazon FBA business, you don’t have to ship, package, or store any goods yourself. Instead, you pay a small fee, and Amazon employees handle all of this for you.

Shipping fees are up to $5.26 for large items (items up to 21 pounds), and they also have oversized pricing options for much larger items. 

Storage fees are also reasonable at $0.69 per cubic foot for standard items January through September (October through December fees may be higher to accommodate increased demand during holidays).

You’ll also have to decide whether you want to be a professional seller or an individual seller. You aren’t required to have a professional seller account to have an Amazon FBA business, though it may be cheaper depending on how many items you plan to sell. A professional seller account pays a flat rate of $39.99 per month, whereas an individual account pays $0.99 per item.

Therefore, if you plan to sell more than 40 items per month, it’s likely more economical to purchase a professional seller account. 

So if you’re looking to own an Amazon FBA business, is it better to purchase an existing business or start one from scratch?

While there is no right or wrong answer, here are a few questions you should ask yourself to determine which is the best solution for your situation and goals:

Do You Have The Capital?

The first question you should ask yourself is if you have the means to purchase an existing business.

An Amazon FBA business usually sells for about two to three times its yearly net profit. In other words:

Annual Net Profit x Multiple (usually 2 or 3) = Valuation

Therefore, if you want to purchase a business that makes about $10,000 in annual net profit, you can expect to pay $20,000 – 30,000.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have any capital upfront, your only choice is to build one from scratch, which can still be quite profitable!

Is This a Long Term or Short Term Investment?

Another question you should ask yourself before getting started with an Amazon FBA business is how long you’re willing to invest in the project. 

If you’re willing to invest in this business for a few years, starting from scratch may offer you a more significant ROI. Getting started can be challenging as you’ll have to find your own suppliers and build reviews and a brand. Therefore, during those first several months, you may not make a dime, so you can’t expect to flip the store in a few months. 

On the other hand, if you are looking to purchase a store, sell for a few months, and then flip it quickly, an established store is a better option.

Building momentum in a brand new company takes time. Not all sellers are profitable in the first year of a new Amazon FBA business, making it difficult to flip for a reasonable price as your net profit may be zero or negative. 

However, once you pass a certain threshold of reviews and brand equity, exponential growth becomes possible.

What Skill Sets Do You Have? 

Some people entering the Amazon FBA world have a background in business or marketing. If this is the case, one of the best ways to decide whether you’ll purchase or start an FBA business is to play to your strengths.

For example, if you previously worked for an e-commerce store and understand how to grow it, you may perform better if you purchase an existing store and grow it.

However, suppose you worked at a startup company and understand how to be resourceful, play the long game, and hang in there during the first challenging year of zero profit. In that case, you might be more successful starting a business from scratch.

Building a business from scratch and taking a business from five figures to six or seven figures requires two very different skill sets, so play to your strengths.

What Kind of Risk Would You Rather Take?

Starting any business involves some risk. However, the type of risk you take differs based on whether you purchase an existing business or build one from scratch.

Building one from scratch requires zero capital risk upfront though your chances of becoming profitable are much lower.

If you purchase a business that is currently profitable, your chances of remaining profitable are much greater. However, if you suddenly run into problems with suppliers, knock-off items or pricing wars and your business falls apart, you’ll lose a larger investment.

Therefore, while the risks differ, both have risks. So would you rather gamble time or money? Here are your choices:

Buy a Business = Higher Probability of Profitability + Increase Capital Risk

Start a Business = Lower Probability of Profitability + Lower Capital Risk

What Is Your End Goal?

Ultimately, the right decision depends largely on your goals. Do you plan to grow businesses from scratch and then sell them? If that’s your end goal, starting a business from scratch is the best way to learn.

Above all, running an Amazon FBA business is similar to running any business. Regardless of whether you purchase one or start one from scratch, it requires a lot of time, dedication, and commitment, and you can’t give up on it after a few months. You’ll have to put out fires and appease angry customers, though the rewards of growing a thriving business are more than financial. Get started now, and commit yourself to keep going!

Ready to get in the game? Start your free trial with Viral Launch and gain access to the seller tools powering some of Amazon’s biggest sellers.

Amazon Posts: A Powerful Secret Weapon for Growing Your Brand

Your introductory guide to Amazon Posts: Amazon’s own social media-like platform that savvy sellers are weaponizing to amplify brand exposure and sales.

At Viral Launch, we get plenty of questions from Amazon sellers looking to optimize their FBA experience. By far, the topics of boosting sales, increasing visibility, and building a brand on Amazon are the most frequently broached subjects.

Methods to achieving these goals exist. However, they can be intimidating for sellers due to a combination of complexity, cost, and time-consumption.

Enter Amazon Posts.

With an aesthetic and interface similar to Instagram, Posts allows sellers to promote their brand and products to a potentially massive audience. Additionally, it’s simple to setup and use, easy-to-understand, and best of all, it’s 100% free!

How Amazon Posts appear for shoppers

Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have invested heavily in integrating eCommerce into their social media platforms; Amazon already has a massive user base and eCommerce engine.

Although Posts is in beta, forward-thinking sellers are already building substantial follower counts and generating impressions by the thousands.

Unquestionably, sellers should familiarize themselves with Amazon Posts as soon as possible to start raking in followers and sales while building brand loyalty. With limitless potential, it only figures to become an even more significant aspect of the Amazon marketing mix.

To help you get up to speed, we’ve answered a few of the frequently asked questions about the powerful new feature below!

What is Amazon Posts?

Let’s go straight to the source on this one.

Currently in beta, Posts delivers your brand story to relevant shoppers as they browse your categories on Amazon. Shoppers can click through Posts to explore your brand’s feed, and discover product pages directly from your feed. Click through from your brand’s feed to your product pages. Posts appear on the Amazon mobile shopping app (iOS and Android) and on mobile web.

Amazon

Mobile customers will be shown Posts for related products on the Product Detail page, presenting the opportunity to poach customers from rivals in the market.

Previously, sellers had to purchase this advertising space through PPC! Now, eligible sellers can do so for free.

An example of how Posts are displayed on the Amazon app

Additionally, Amazon states that systems are in place to automatically place your Posts in feeds and product detail pages based on relevance and customer engagement. Just post your content and they’ll take care of the rest!

Who can use Posts?

At the present time, it’s exclusive to sellers in the U.S. marketplace in the Amazon Brand Registry program. Sorry, international sellers!

How do I access Amazon Posts?

Eligible sellers must first set up a profile in the Advertising Console to establish your brand’s feed. Follow these simple steps to start posting sales-inducing content that stands out amongst the competition!

To create a profile:

  • Go to Posts Publisher and sign-in using your credentials.
  • Click Create profile for the Store that you’d like to link Posts profile to.
  • Enter the appropriate information for your profile.
    a. Profile name: The profile name is shopper-facing and filled in based on the brand name. You have an option to edit it.
    b. Profile logo: Choose a 640×640 pixel or larger image under 100MB in RBG color format.
  • Select the checkbox for the Terms and Conditions and submit your profile for review. You can proceed with creating a Post while the profile is under construction.

To create a Post:

  • In Posts Publisher, click Create Post.
  • Upload an image: Choose a 640×640 pixel or larger image under 100MB.
  • Write a caption for your Post.
  • Add the ASIN related to your Post. If the ASIN is out of stock or there is no image on the product detail page, your Post will not be shown.
  • Submit Post for review. Before submitting, review all of the information to ensure each aspect is as desired.

Once you’ve submitted a Post, it goes into Amazon’s review process before going live. Within the Posts Dashboard, you can track the status of your submission. Typically, the review process takes no more than 4 hours.

Per Amazon Posts Creative Policy, sellers are encouraged to tell a story using their product, not just rehash aspects of the product listing

Is there any way to monitor the performance of my Posts?

As a part of the Amazon Advertising Console, you’re able to track multiple metrics to gauge performance. Viewable impressions, engagement, and engagement rate in the console inform you of your reach.

Perhaps more importantly, customers have the option to follow your brand on Amazon. Furthermore, this allows a chance to retain customers and build brand loyalty like never before!

Should I be using Amazon Posts?

As veteran sellers know, any possible edge you can get on your Amazon competition can make a tremendous difference in your bottom line. With this in mind, a successful seller leaves no stone unturned in their pursuit of growth and eCommerce dominance.

Amazon’s simple and uniform shopping experience is one of many reasons why it’s the eCommerce platform of choice. Consequently, the uniformity in presentation, sellers are given few options to stand out. Because of this, all opportunities to distinguish your product should be explored and exhausted to maximize your chance at longstanding success.

With Amazon Posts, sellers get a golden opportunity to differentiate themselves with creative, inspiring content. Presently, too few sellers are taking advantage of this, making it a market inefficiency you can leverage into exponential brand recognition and growth.

If you’re already utilizing Instagram or other avenues to promote your business visually, you’re likely already doing a bulk of the work. All you need to do is set up your account and let the followers, impressions, and purchases flow in.

For your brand to have an opportunity to be promoted under competing listings at no cost is genuinely an unheard-of opportunity and should not be ignored! If we’re allowed to speculate, we hypothesize it may not be free forever.

Don’t let this opportunity go to waste! Sign up for Amazon Posts as soon as possible to take your brand to the next level.

WeChat Banned: 6 Alternative Messaging Apps for Amazon Sellers

On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced plans to ban downloads to TikTok and WeChat effective Sunday, September 20th.

Consequently, users who have already downloaded the apps will retain access for the time being. However, they’ll be unable to download updated versions of the app in the future under current restrictions.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.

For Amazon sellers, the app restrictions may present a roadblock — and not because it complicates their ability to upload their version of the latest TikTok dance craze.

Many Amazon sellers who use manufacturers abroad in countries such as China rely upon WeChat for communication with their suppliers. Any disruptions in communication could be crucial for Amazon sellers, especially as a loaded Q4 awaits.

While those with WeChat already installed maintain the ability to use the platform, US servers carrying data will no longer work. As a result, messages will be sent through servers overseas, which will likely take much longer and complicate communication.

What Can WeChat Users Do?

Affected sellers would be wise to establish another means of communication to exchange messages with manufacturers as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few WeChat alternatives to choose from: 

WhatsApp
Perhaps the platform most similar to WeChat, WhatsApp allows quick and easy messaging without pesky SMS charges. Furthermore, WhatsApp is a stripped-down version of WeChat that focuses more on chat and less on social media and search.

Slack
As more companies go remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack has become an integral part of businesses in 2020. Commonly at the top of the list for productivity tools, Slack contains seemingly endless integrations for seamless collaboration.

Line
The Japanese-based messaging app is free and gives users the ability to communicate via chat, voice, or video.
 

Telegram
With an emphasis on end-to-end encryption to keep your messages secure, Telegram can be used via app or desktop. Additionally, Telegram expects to announce end-to-end encrypted group videos before 2021, and its popularity could skyrocket.

Weibo
Usually referred to as the Chinese Twitter, Weibo has over 500 million active users and gives you the option to post publicly or send private messages.

Facebook Messenger
Chances are, you already have a Facebook and utilize the Facebook Messenger app with family, friends, or coworkers. Facebook’s messaging app is free to use with a Facebook account and is American-owned, so there’s less risk from potential U.S. governmental interference.

With an unprecedented Q4 ahead, avoiding potential communication hazards will be increasingly critical to your company’s ultimate success. For instance, the inability to communicate with your manufacturer could be crippling for inventory management.

Because much of the recent news regarding the availability of TikTok and WeChat remains ongoing, the situation remains fluid. Certainly, affected Amazon sellers should check for updates until a final resolution is reached.

Want more Amazon sellers news delivered straight to your inbox? Drop your email below to stay in the loop on all things Amazon.

Introducing Amazon Accelerate: A Free Virtual Conference for Sellers

Attention all Amazon sellers and those interested in starting their own online business! 

Amazon is hosting Amazon Accelerate, a free-to-attend virtual summit taking place from September 1–3. Amazon boasts the conference as the “biggest-ever U.S. event dedicated to seller success.”

Accordingly, sellers can expect to discover insights, strategies, and techniques from experts to help their business thrive. 

What is Amazon Accelerate?

The biggest name in e-commerce has set two unique agendas; one for current sellers, another for those just starting or interested in selling on Amazon. More than 60 sessions hosted by Amazon pros covering all aspects of the platform are currently scheduled throughout the three-day event.

Among scheduled events, conversations with successful sellers and educational walkthroughs stick out as great resources. Especially for FBA beginners, the summit provides a tremendous learning experience.

“Amazon is deeply invested in empowering small businesses, and this is an important time for us to come together and learn from each other as we navigate new economic realities,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO worldwide consumer at Amazon.

Third-party sellers make up 50% of all sales on Amazon, and it appears the company realizes the health of its small businesses is a catalyst for their success.

 “It’s our good fortune at Amazon to partner with a large, vibrant community of sellers,” Wilke said. “Accelerate will help small businesses find new ways to grow and expand while also creating new connections.”

Are there any presenters?

Namely, Wilke is one of four featured Amazon Accelerate speakers and will kick off the event with a fireside chat. In addition to Wilke, fellow speakers include Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support, Devesh Mishra, VP of Worldwide Supply Chain, and Amazon fashion group leader Christine Beauchamp.

As a result, sellers can expect content centered around the latest in online selling tools, programs, and services. Also, prospective sellers anticipate timely information about how to adapt and prepare for a successful holiday season, along with a Build Your Business Toolkit.

Don’t miss out on the Amazon Accelerate summit! Sign up and confirm your virtual seat here to be a part of the seller spectacle. You can create your schedule ahead of time with their Agenda Builder once signed up.

If you’re unable to join the action live, don’t fret! All keynotes and breakout sessions will be available on-demand for registered attendees the day after they air through September 30th. At that point, the materials can be found within Seller University.

For additional resources on how to get your Amazon business off the ground or take your existing one to the stratosphere, subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we have content for every step of your Amazon journey!

We’ll cover the event and provide updates on important takeaways. Come back next week as we’ll be summarizing and breaking down all the big happenings from the seller summit!

Ecommerce Is Thriving in 2020 — and Only Growing Stronger

There’s no better time than now to jump into e-commerce.

For those considering leaping into e-commerce by starting their own Amazon business, recent trends and forecasts for the industry indicate the e-commerce gold rush is far from over.

Online retail has continued to roar in 2020. Business Insider reports e-commerce sales for consumer packaged goods grew 83% during the April to early-July period compared to 2019. 

Industry projections suggest the shift in consumer spending is more of a flash point than a temporary flash-in-the-pan.

With so many encouraging signs and a promising trajectory, it’s no wonder starting your own online business continually ranks among the top ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their empire and design their own path to financial freedom.

Don’t get left sitting on the sidelines! Get on the field and create your Viral Launch account today to start conducting market research to find WINNING products.

The outlook for e-commerce is already bullish, but don’t be surprised if 2020 outpaces projections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on many industries, and traditional retail has been one of the sectors hit the hardest.

Retailers and department stores reliant on brick-and-mortar retail such as Neiman Marcus and JCPenney have filed for bankruptcy, while many others in the sector also find themselves on the ropes. For in-person retail, it’s just the latest blow for an industry running out of margin for error.

Does this mean people have stopped spending? Not at all. The pandemic hasn’t shifted if people will spend their money, but how they will spend it. Instead of heading out to stores and malls, consumers are staying inside and buying online.

How do we know this to be true? Look no further than Amazon, the leader in e-commerce who recently released their Q2 2020 earnings report

Amazon is responsible for 50 percent of all e-commerce trade, a strong indicator of industry health and momentum.

On July 30th, Amazon reported $88.9 billion in revenue, up from $63.4 billion in Q2 2019. The e-commerce behemoth is only growing more powerful as e-commerce continues to pick up momentum making FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) selling an extremely profitable business opportunity with the right resources and strategy.

But This Is Just The Beginning

As traditional retailers flock to Amazon, e-commerce will only grow stronger and continue to take a larger piece of the pie. But will the arrival of major first-party sellers take a chunk away from third-party sellers?

So far, the answer has been an overwhelming no, as sales from 3P sellers continue to grow year-after-year.


Graph via MarketplacePulse.com

“Third-party sales again grew faster this quarter than Amazon’s first-party sales,” confirmed Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Amazon’s first-party sales were up 49%.

“Our 3P sellers, largely comprised of small and medium-sized businesses, also stepped up to make more selection available for customers. And as a result, these small and medium-sized businesses have seen significant growth in their sales. Our third-party seller services revenue grew faster than online stores revenue in Q2, with strong growth in both fulfillment by Amazon and merchant fulfilled or MFN seller sales. Third-party units continue to represent more than half of overall unit volume, helped by improved quarter-over-quarter growth in active sellers.”

— Brian Olsavsky, CFO of Amazon

Amazon Is Still Growing

The demand from customers on Amazon has never been higher, with over 150 million Amazon Prime subscribers. For years, the biggest barrier for an e-commerce breakthrough was product availability and customer convenience. 

Amazon has grown to an international powerhouse thanks to its platform designed to make the process of buying and selling online easy for those on both sides. For sellers, Amazon has opened the doors for aspiring entrepreneurs with their massive warehouses for storage and their two-day Prime shipping program.

These assets are advantages that have simplified or entirely erased areas of concern for those with entrepreneurial ambitions.

While the light to jump into the e-commerce game is as green as ever, it won’t stay green forever.

Every minute of experience you have on Amazon is valuable for growing your brand and maximizing your profits. Because each minute is more experience over others who will be entering the marketplace as the industry continues to grow.

Fortune favors the bold and the informed

At Viral Launch, we understand starting your online business can be an exciting, but intimidating leap. At Viral Launch, we’ve made it our goal to provide everything you need to have the data and strategy to succeed. If you haven’t already, sign up for a Viral Launch account today and gain access to your free trial to see all the powerful insights you can glean from our vast amount of Amazon data. With Viral Launch’s Product Discovery and Market Intelligence tools, you can scout the market to find winning products that align with your resources and goals.

Follow our step-by-step guide to Amazon product research to help you find the perfect product for you! Be sure to join our Facebook community of sellers from all walks of experience. Don’t be shy to join in the conversation.

There’s likely to be no better time than now to get your online business off the ground and be your own boss! Amazon’s seller-friendly platform, Viral Launch’s powerful data, and an emerging market are the perfect storm for your entrepreneurial success!

How Amazon Search Volume Data Can Help You Find Winning Product Ideas

Product research is everything for Amazon FBA success. But many competitors, gurus, and “experts” neglect using Amazon search volume data despite its incredible impact. Why?

No matter where you’re at in your FBA journey, conducting intensive product and market research is critical to your success. 

With each stage of the Amazon selling process, the key performance indicators (KPIs) you rely upon will change, as each phase presents unique challenges. Knowing which data points to observe and consider during any decision-making process plays a significant role in your ultimate success or failure, especially for FBA beginners.

For most sellers, search volume data doesn’t enter the equation for product research until you’re building an SEO-friendly listing or exploring pay-per-click (PPC) advertising opportunities.

But waiting until after you’ve found a product to start paying attention to search volume data may be a major mistake!

How does search volume play such an important role in the decision-making process? Easy. It’s a significant indicator of one of the most fundamental aspects of any business.

Search volume represents demand.

Outside of Amazon, businesses invest an abundance of time and money into research for demand validation.

What are people looking for? Where are they going for these items? How much inventory should we have in stock? What are interested customers willing to pay? Can I expect steady sales all year-long?

With the right research tools, sellers can not only answer all of those questions but can actually reverse engineer product ideas based on years of exhaustive market data. Every metric tells a unique story, and search volume estimates tell the story of demand.

We can safely say this due to the nature of Amazon being a search engine solely for commercial purposes. Others may recommend utilizing Google search volume data for research, but there’s a huge part of the equation you’d be missing out on by not using search volume from Amazon.

Searches on Amazon are made with the intent to buy.

Check out your recent search history on Google. How many of those searches were made with the intent of buying something? Chances are, not many. On the other end, it wouldn’t make much sense to search for something on Amazon without some level of interest in buying something.

So why make a business decision based on searches made with no intent to buy?

Outside of Amazon, Google Keyword Planner and AdWords are incredible tools for seeing what’s generating buzz. From that, you can increase your visibility through PPC advertising outside of Amazon. But Amazon and Google serve two entirely different purposes as search engines. 

Google organizes information and makes it universally accessible. Amazon is much more focused on commerce and making transactions as frictionless as possible for sellers and buyers.

Utilizing search volume data for Amazon instead of Google eliminates the guesswork of buyer intent. As a result, you can focus on the level of interest in your market directly from your audience.

Where can I find Amazon search volume?

Viral Launch’s search volume estimates (available with any plan with access to Keyword Research) display search volume history ranging back years to keep an eye on product seasonality.

Every product is bound to have peaks and valleys in sales. But not paying attention to seasonality is an all-too-common rookie mistake.

For example, let’s take a look at the above chart for the search volume history of “kettlebell.” If you were only to look at the most recent search volume estimates (194,592 searches over the last 30 days) and eschew historical trends, you might source the product thinking you’ve hit a grand slam.

From this graph displaying years of search volume data, we can reasonably conclude traffic for kettlebells skyrocketed as gyms closed. As a result of COVID-19, gym rats worked out more at home.

As more people receive their home workout gear and gyms re-open, searches have seen a downtick in the previous two months and will likely continue regressing to the norm. While “kettlebell” receives a significant chunk of (15k — 25k monthly searches), it’s a far cry from the 194k searches last month, or it’s all-time high of 292.5k searches in April.

Current search volume provides a snapshot of the moment, and historical search volume data being a full picture. Using historical search volume data allows us to increase the sample size we’re drawing from for more accurate data.

Use search volume estimates to find and validate your niche.

As more and more household brands flock to Amazon and top-selling third-party sellers continue to mature, competing with dominant products is increasingly difficult due to saturation.

By no means does this mean that highly profitable products aren’t out there, it just means the strategy for finding them has been updated to fit the current landscape of Amazon as it continues to mature as an e-commerce giant. And for aspiring sellers, it only intensifies the need for astute strategies and well-informed research.

Because of that, we recommend avoiding the oversaturated, uber-competitive markets that are difficult to compete within. While not impossible to succeed in a saturated market, more barriers to entry represents additional risk.

You can find our comprehensive deep dive into our recommended strategies for finding niches and performing product research in today’s FBA climate here.

In a nutshell, finding niches is beneficial to sellers because they have an increased likelihood of success and an opportunity to own a segment of the market as both Amazon and your brand grow.

With this strategy, you’ll want to avoid overly crowded markets while also making sure you have an audience. With Keyword Research, you can quickly ensure this by utilizing the Estimated Search Volume filter and setting your search parameters.

Utilizing the Estimated Search Volume filter in Product Discovery’s Keyword Search is an excellent way to hunt for niches.

Once you’ve narrowed down your filters to match your goals, just click Show Keywords, and you’ll be provided with a sortable list that includes estimated search volume as well as data including the average price, sales, reviews, and revenue in that keyword market. Those on annual plans will also see a Product Idea Score. This score incorporates multiple metrics into one score on a 1–5 scale for quick and easy validation.

Using your search parameters, you’ll see a full list of keywords on Amazon that meet your criteria. This allows you to evaluate some of the most important elements of product research at once. 

As you sift through the results, be sure to use market research tools such as Market Intelligence to further validate product ideas with data, estimates, and insights.

In Summary

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking search volume data in your product hunt! Without tracking current and historical search volume for a product’s seed keyword, you’re vulnerable to critical oversights in your research.

At Viral Launch, we believe the most-informed decision is the best decision. Having reliable and accurate search volume estimates in your arsenal is an essential element of making the most informed decision possible.

Don’t miss out on the valuable insights from Amazon search volume estimates! Add Keyword Research to your research plan for reliable search volume estimates and an edge over the competition!

3 Reasons to Start an Online Business with Amazon FBA During COVID-19

If you’ve been considering starting an eCommerce business, now is actually a great time to jump in. Of every single product sold online, over half of them are sold on Amazon. And thanks to their Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program, you can run a physical products business without worrying about fulfillment or customer service. 

Like almost every other element of our society, COVID-19 has affected Amazon. However, the eCommerce giant is taking big steps to ensure its third-party sellers (or, people like you) are still able to start and build profitable businesses from the comfort of their homes

For you, that means there’s a great opportunity to launch products that meet growing demand while still obeying Stay-at-Home orders. Let’s walk through 3 reasons why it makes sense for you to start selling on Amazon during this time, plus what steps you can take to get started. 

3 Reasons to Get Started with Amazon FBA

If we know one thing for sure, it’s that people will continue to purchase products online… now more than ever before. Here’s why it makes sense to meet that demand through Amazon FBA. 

1. It takes time to learn the process.

The journey of selling on Amazon involves quite a few steps. In order to get real results, it’s important that you’re informed of rookie mistakes and best practices along the way. For many of us, COVID-19 has provided some extra time at home. (If you’re an essential worker, we thank you for your service!). 

A great way to spend that free time is to dive into learning what it takes to be successful as an Amazon FBA seller. In fact, we created a Free A-Z Amazon Course with two entrepreneurs who grew 7-figure FBA businesses from scratch in a few short years. They started in your shoes, learned the process, took action, and now provide for their families on their own terms. Check out the free course and see if Amazon FBA is a good fit for you. 

2. There is increased demand. 

With many states under strict Stay-at-Home orders, Americans (and people all over the world) are turning to Amazon to meet their physical product needs. At first, Amazon struggled to meet this increased demand. However, they have recently added 100,000 workers and plans to add 75,000 more, and now they are once again accepting all products – whether they’re essential or nonessential – into their FBA warehouses across the country. 

Essential items are obviously seeing a dramatic increase in sales. But there are other products that are seeing positive movement, too. This includes home workout equipment, homeschooling activities, gardening products, and more. Now is the time to analyze which markets are being positively affected and which are hurting. A research tool like Market Intelligence shows you graphs of sales movement for individual products and across entire markets, so that you can make predictions about the future to determine which markets you may want to enter and which markets you want to steer clear of. Start your free trial to begin researching. 

3. The supply chain is stabilizing. 

The Coronavirus originated in China, which is where a majority of third-party Amazon sellers source their products. With China on lockdown earlier this year, most warehouses were unable to produce products. However, China has been stabilizing, and many manufacturers are back up and running… Many of them are even working overtime. 

Once you decide on which product you want to sell (and remember, it’s crucial to get into a market with high opportunity and low competition), you’ll want to find a reliable manufacturer to produce it. By reaching out to suppliers on Alibaba, you can see which factories are fully operational and begin bringing your product to life.  

How to Get Started with Your First Product

There are quite a few steps that go into this process, but we’re going to lay it all out for you. Afterall, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into! At a high level, here’s the what it looks like to successfully launch a product on Amazon: 

  • Research different markets
  • Pick a product with high opportunity and low competition
  • Find a few manufacturers who could produce the product
  • Order samples
  • Order inventory from the best manufacturer
  • Ship your inventory into Amazon warehouses
  • Create a listing optimized for SEO and conversions
  • Drive external traffic to the listing to boost your keyword rank
  • Run Amazon advertisements 
  • Solicit reviews for social proof

Of course, there are steps within these steps. In order to feel confident in how you should move forward as you’re building your business, we highly recommend following a course. The best way to set yourself up for success is to follow in the footsteps of someone who has done what you’re trying to do. Like mentioned earlier, we put together a free Amazon course alongside two veteran sellers, and it will aid you along your entire journey. 

You’ll find that your first step is to choose a product with high opportunity (or, one that will make you money) and low competition (or, one that you can become dominant with quickly). There are many methods of finding product ideas. You could browse Amazon to see what’s hot, or you could use software that identifies stand-out markets for you. For example, Product Discovery pinpoints markets that are ripe with opportunity now so that you can make the most out of an otherwise crummy situation.

Join the Amazon Seller Family

COVID-19 has certainly shifted the way we live and work, but it’s also opened opportunities for those that are bold enough to seize them. As someone who has been considering Amazon FBA, now is a great time to take action and get started. More and more Americans are shopping online. Amazon is reducing fees and making sure the infrastructure is strong. And with the internet at your disposal, you can learn what to do at every single step in your journey. 

Feel free to join our Facebook community of thousands of Amazon sellers. You’ll find people just like you who are agile, resourceful, and ready to take on a challenge that will ultimately provide for them and their families. Here, you can make friends, keep up to date on the latest news, and be supported in your journey with Amazon FBA. 

The team here at Viral Launch is dedicated to supporting you, whether it’s business as usual or not. Let us know how you plan to take advantage of the online revolution that COVID-19 has only accelerated. We’re pumped to equip you with everything you need to succeed!

How To Increase Amazon Conversion Rates

When you’re selling on Amazon, you have nearly every tool you need to drive leads to your product listings. However, PPC ads and Amazon listing optimization alone aren’t enough to turn that attention into revenue by converting your traffic into customers.

That takes putting a little more thought into every aspect of each listing. This guide will introduce you to some of the key concepts of Amazon conversion rate optimization.

What Matters Most About Your Listings

Through our experience working with more than 8,000 brands on Amazon’s marketplace, we’ve learned that there are four high-priority items to address when it comes to Amazon conversion rate optimization. If you’re looking to turn more traffic into customers, focus in on these areas of your product listings first:

1. High-quality photos

People process visual information faster and easier than they do written words, so attractive photos of your product are an absolute must-have. Online shoppers, in general, put a high priority on quality photos. In one report, 60% of shoppers said they need to see at least three to four photos of a product before purchasing it online.

On Amazon, quality photos hold even more weight. Anyone familiar with the market is likely aware of counterfeit and low-quality products. A well-crafted set of images can instantly reaffirm your product’s quality and establish your credibility, making shoppers more confident in their decision to convert and make a purchase.

2. Well-thought-out descriptions

It’s not as attention-grabbing as photos, but the description should be a helpful expansion on your product’s features and highlights. A neat and clean description can make a difference, especially for higher-end products where comparison shoppers decide based on those details. Use page breaks to separate messages and make them easy to read quickly.

It’s important to have all listing content written by a native speaker. This will help you avoid errors that can chip away at confidence in your product’s quality. With space for 2,000 characters, you can expand on any unique features and capabilities that give your product a competitive edge, such as eco-friendliness or unique connectivity.

3. Informative bullet points

Some shoppers will skip over descriptions and head straight to the listing’s bullet points to get the gist of what they’re looking at. These bullet points are just as important for describing your product’s features and letting shoppers know it’s the item they’re looking for.

Keep in mind, however, that bullet points give you less space to write and are meant to be scannable. Put thought into what key elements of your product would appeal most to your consumers and highlight them here. How is the product used? What makes it better than comparable products?

4. Quantity and quality of reviews

While the first three points focus on what you can tell shoppers about your listing, they’ll pay just as much attention (and sometimes more) to what people who’ve used the product have to say. In fact, in one consumer survey, 92% of respondents said they won’t buy anything online without reading at least one review first.

When it comes to reviews, both quantity and quality matter. You should strive to have an average rating similar to your competitors with a similar number of reviews. Amazon incentivizes reviews through programs like Vine and the Early Reviewer Program, but outside of those, there’s not much you can do to drive reviews for your products. If you ensure your products are of high quality and the buyer experience is positive, however, your customers shouldn’t have a reason to leave negative reviews.

With these elements, your listing will help assure customers of your brand’s realness, as well as the product’s quality and authenticity. As you increase your sales volume through strategic Amazon conversion rate optimization, you’ll be able to earn more reviews and sell even more. If you need help getting started, check out our resource for high-quality Amazon listing photos, read more about our Amazon listing optimization tools, or call and speak with one of our experts today!