Why Search Volume Data Is Crucial For Finding Winning Products

No matter where you’re at in your FBA journey, conducting intensive product and market research is absolutely 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 and opportunities. 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?

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

Google was created to organize information and make it universally accessible. Amazon is much more focused on commerce and making transactions as frictionless as possible for sellers and buyers.

By utilizing search volume data for Amazon instead of Google while conducting product research, you’re able to eliminate the guesswork of buyer intent and focus on the level of interest in your product market directly from your audience.

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.

But from this graph that displays years of search volume data, we can safely assume that traffic for kettlebells skyrocketed as gyms closed due to COVID-19 and gym rats being resigned to get their lifts in at home as a result.

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.

Think of using current search volume as a snapshot of the moment, and historical search volume data being a full picture or video. Using historical search volume data allows us to increase the sample size we’re drawing from for more accurate data to inform your decision better.

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, achieving prominent rank for highly searched, high sales 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 it’s not impossible to find success entering a saturated market, there is elevated risk that comes with more barriers to entry and can be a cash drain.

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. If you have a subscription that includes 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 and customize product ideas to your resources and goals.

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, which 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, allowing 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 or invalidate product ideas with quality data, estimates, and insights.

Search volume data is one of the most useful, yet overlooked metrics for FBA rookies when hunting for the right product to source and sell. Without tracking current and historical search volume for a product’s seed keyword, you’re making yourself 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 that can be gleaned from Amazon search volume estimates! Add Keyword Research to your research plan today to access accurate and reliable search volume estimates to get a leg up on the competition.

Amazon’s Special Summer Sale Event: What You Need To Know

According to multiple reports, Amazon is planning a special “Summer Sale” slated to begin toward the end of the month. Along with this news, it appears that their signature Prime Day sale will be postponed

The spontaneous sales event signals that a return to normal is imminent, and presents an excellent opportunity for sellers to make up for lost sales at the onset of the pandemic.

There has been no formal announcement, so more details are sure to emerge in the coming days. Until then, here‘s what we know about the upcoming sales event:

What is it?

Unlike Prime Day, which features site-wide deals, this special sales event appears to be exclusive to fashion brands. Amazon has requested that sellers submit deals for items with a discount of at least 30% to jumpstart interest and sales.

“The Big Style Sale is slated to take place later this month and will include seasonally-relevant deals from both established and smaller fashion brands,” confirmed an Amazon spokesperson to CNBC. “We are delighted to help brands connect with our vast global customer base for this event.”

It’s unclear if this sale will be exclusive to Amazon Prime users, but with over 150 million Prime subscribers, massive traffic is inevitable.

When is the Summer Sale?

According to the same CNBC report, the seasonal sale will begin Monday, June 22, and is expected to run 7–10 days.

The extended length of the sale compared to traditional Amazon promotions is certainly something to monitor in the coming days as more information is revealed.

Why is this event happening?

While Amazon was better positioned to handle the pandemic compared to brick-and-mortar retail, they were not without COVID-related complications.

The Summer Sale makes plenty of sense to drive up excitement and sales for a situation where sellers, consumers, and the company all win. This promotion gives sellers increased opportunity to boost sales and unload seasonal inventory squandered by the pandemic and Prime Day’s postponement.

Which retailers are participating?

This event appears to be invitation-only, with Amazon having sent invites to select sellers. If you’re a seller who didn’t receive an invite, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely left out!

If Prime Day is any indicator, it’s highly likely that the sale will bring an influx of shoppers looking for a deal, so there’s plenty of opportunity for sellers to crash the party by running their promotions.

Be sure to stay posted on the details of the event, as more information is sure to come!

Did you receive an invitation to the Summer Sales event? How do you plan on preparing for the sale? Let us know in the comments!

How to Use Viral Launch’s Kinetic Tool to Do Amazon PPC

Amazon’s PPC process can seem mysterious at first. The process can be time-consuming and complicated, so many sellers — both old and new — look to outsource their PPC management to marketing agencies rather than handling it themselves. But the right Amazon PPC automation tool can make PPC easy, allowing sellers of any level to grow their brand and improve sales.

At Viral Launch, we’ve received plenty of demand for how to do Amazon PPC with a simple and effective management tool. We took that feedback from sellers and scouted the marketplace to see what other tools were lacking. We created our Amazon PPC automation tool, Kinetic, to provide better education and convenience to simplify the complicated aspects of Amazon PPC.

With our tool, sellers can stop outsourcing their Amazon PPC automation efforts and demystify the platform to gain a better understanding of how to effectively capitalize on the massive opportunity that is paid search.

Easy Integration With Viral Launch’s Suite of Software

One of the most compelling aspects of Kinetic is its ability to seamlessly integrate with our other Amazon optimization tools, including Keyword ResearchListing Analyzer, and Keyword Manager. By providing this level of sophistication and cross-platform support, Kinetic allows sellers to pull valuable insights and data from multiple sources to increase the effectiveness of their PPC strategy.

Viral Launch Kinetic Best Practices for Amazon PPC Success

After you’ve gone through the process of linking your Kinetic account to your Amazon Seller Central page and have familiarized yourself with Kinetic’s dashboard, layout, and features, you’re ready to begin creating and executing your PPC campaigns.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when setting up your first few PPC campaigns:

1. Figure out a plan that works best for you.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide to PPC strategy. While this may seem like a negative, we like to look at it as an opportunity. Finding the strategy that makes the most sense for your resources and goals is crucial to your PPC success. 

While there aren’t many hard-and-fast rules when it comes to how to do PPC on Amazon, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight what not to do in any campaign: We recommend not putting all keywords into one campaign. This is because it’s simply not scalable to allocate all of your advertising funds to any one particular campaign. 

By strategically separating your keywords across different campaigns, you’ll be able to shift your budget from low- to high-performing campaigns and scale your results much easier than if they’re all lumped together.

2. Check out your existing campaigns.

If you already have a few PPC campaigns running, we recommend going over these existing campaigns to check their status and see how they’re performing using Kinetic. This can be a great way to get a firm grasp on how Kinetic works because you’ll be able to experiment with campaigns you’ve already set up. Kinetic allows for a deeper understanding of campaign performance, so there’s likely information to be gleaned from your existing campaigns.

3. Set up some of our recommended campaign types.

If you’re having difficulty determining how to start setting up Amazon PPC campaigns, we’ve got you covered with several predetermined models. In this video, we walk you through six helpful campaigns for beginners. Each campaign covered has a specific intention and goal in mind that can help you quickly get up to speed on how to utilize the platform. From there, you can either implement our recommended campaign types or adapt them to best suit your own particular needs.

Using these strategies within Kinetic, sellers can gain a better understanding of how to do Amazon PPC with the ultimate goal of improving visibility on their products and driving more sales.

Stand Out From the Crowd With Amazon Product Listing Optimization Scores

By the end 2020’s first quarter, more than half of sales on Amazon’s marketplace were through third-party sellers. It’s grown even more competitive since then, and Amazon product listing optimization is the best strategy for sellers to avoid getting lost in the crowd.

An Amazon listing score is a measure of how well your listing adheres to the keyword strategy that our Keyword Research tool has suggested for your product. The research tool uses search volume directly from Amazon’s data combined with a forecasting formula generated by in-house data scientists for statistics you can trust.

We generate the Amazon listing score by analyzing the keyword list the tool gathers related to the primary keyword you’ve chosen for your product. It’s based on how many of the suggested keywords are in the listing, how keywords with the highest search volume are prioritized by placement, and how many of them are the most relevant.

What’s the Value in an Amazon Listing Score?

The forecasting formula we utilize is proprietary, though it’s based on applied weights in volume, relevancy, priority, and keyword phrasing. This means you can use the Amazon listing score to optimize any listing, at any time, with the highest-quality keywords of the moment.

These three strategies will help you get the most value out of the Amazon listing score:

1. Optimize listings from the start.

The point of Amazon listing optimization is to make your listing eligible for indexing and ranking for a keyword. Optimized listings on Amazon are the most visible ones, and greater visibility is essential for being ranked higher.

Think of your listing’s copy as a foundational piece. Once you’ve successfully indexed for a keyword, you’re eligible to be ranked as you generate sales through keywords, increasing your likelihood of organic sales as your ranking climbs. Enhancing a listing’s keyword ranking also boosts your chances of organic sales by putting your listing directly in front of customers’ eyes (at zero cost).

2. Grab the low-hanging fruit of keywords.

The keyword opportunity score within the Listing Builder and Keyword Research tools will help you find the low-hanging fruit: keywords that receive search volume but are largely neglected.

For example, if you sell first-aid kits, indexing for a niche phrase like “first-aid kit for cars” could be what puts your listing in front of customers. Also, include common phrases in other languages, like Spanish, and common misspellings in the listing’s back-end search terms.

3. Keep listing optimization reader-friendly.

Your product’s Amazon listing score will help you ensure the listing is optimized, but it’s up to you to make it as reader-friendly as possible. Keyword stuffing is a terrible strategy, and Amazon will do its best to weed it out. Amazon listing optimization is both an art and a science. Use marketing-minded language while incorporating the right keywords to masterfully create a listing that’s not only optimized, but also set up specifically to drive sales.

A lot of Amazon sellers rely on trial and error, blindly tweaking their listings’ keywords, copy, or photos without any hard data to back up their decisions. Gain a greater competitive advantage by using keyword research and our Amazon listing score to optimize your Amazon listings with proven, high-quality keywords and phrases.

What Is Amazon PPC?

When people begin looking for a new product to buy, about 66% of them start their searches on Amazon, according to a report from Feedvisor. And when they begin their searches with one specific product already in mind, 74% go straight to Amazon.

Most sales on Amazon come via the search function, but the results are mainly based on past sales. That can make it difficult for sellers outside of page one to make their products more visible using only organic SEO methods. To increase visibility for their products, sellers can use different types of Amazon PPC ads to bid on exposure for their listings.

Amazon PPC is an advertising and marketing platform that allows you to buy and optimize different types of Amazon ads. Through the platform, you can bid on keywords and competitor listings, create advertising strategies, and run a variety of PPC campaign styles. Bids and ad performance are specific to your Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), so you can figure out which campaigns benefit you the most.

Since it was introduced in 2012, sellers have optimized and automated Amazon PPC to achieve several highly specific goals. You may want to make your sales cycle more efficient, for example, or maximize the rank of a specific brand or product. PPC optimization is all about figuring out your goals and accomplishing them with the available resources.

Setting Up Different Types of Amazon PPC Ads

At its core, an optimized PPC strategy helps you avoid inefficient ad spend while accomplishing your goals. You can boost short-term profits by running efficient PPC campaigns or spend more to build long-term strategies in order to increase rank so your listing can see more organic sales down the road. Because Amazon PPC is still relatively new, many sellers aren’t familiar with it, and you have an excellent opportunity to enhance your competitive edge. 

To begin, go to your Seller Central account and hover over the Advertising tab; then, select Campaign Manager. From there, you’ll be asked to set up the budget and duration of your advertising campaign. The entire process is built into your Seller Central account, so you won’t need to download anything to create and track your campaigns.

The next step is to choose what types of Amazon ads you want to utilize. It’s possible to sponsor products or brands specifically and to choose manual or automated targeting. Automated Amazon PPC ads determine what keywords and products you’re associated with and then run ads based on that information. Manual targeting allows you to choose what, specifically, to dial in on.

Optimizing Manual and Automated Amazon PPC

Both manual and automated Amazon PPC can be highly useful. PPC automation can show you what Amazon recognizes your product for and, over time, conversion rates for each keyword or product you’re advertising. You can then use this information to manually optimize campaigns further and spend more efficiently on long-term campaigns.

By combining Amazon PPC automation with manual targeting, you can build a more hands-on type of campaign in which you retain total control of your ad spend in the context of your goals. Pinpoint the keywords and products that Amazon finds most relevant and successful, then target them specifically to maximize your ROI.

For a few examples of how we recommend properly structuring these automatic and manual targeting campaigns in Kinetic and why we recommend setting them up that way, check out this handy video!

Strategizing a manual and automated Amazon PPC campaign can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a background in marketing. Viral Launch’s Kinetic platform helps simplify it for you by presenting extremely detailed data taken directly from Amazon in a user-friendly and easily understandable format.

Save time tracking your PPC spend by seeing all of your data within a few tabs instead of having to dig through a multitude of Microsoft Excel tabs. Within Kinetic, you can create rules to automate Amazon ad campaigns based on past performance and access tips on how to optimize them. With Kinetic’s preset advertisement types, you can better understand different types of Amazon ads and PPC strategies and how to implement them.

Maximize Your Amazon Sales With Rank Tracking Notifications

If your Amazon listing’s rank falls suddenly, how fast would you know about it? Could you pinpoint the reason why? Amazon sellers realize that most of their sales come from organic search results, and 70% of shoppers don’t venture beyond the first page of search results. That means staying visible is a major key to successful sales. Amazon keyword monitoring can help you do it.

On top of your own rankings, you can learn a lot more and gain a much greater competitive edge by paying the same attention to the ranking of your competitors’ listings. With our keyword tracker for Amazon, you can be notified instantly if your rank — or a competitor’s rank — changes. You can react instantly to the data to see why your competitor jumped or fell in rank and protect your own listing’s position in the process.

From Tracking Ranks to Boosting Sales

It’s a fact of life on Amazon’s market that keyword ranking jumps around like crazy. Sometimes, every other session will show a different order of products for the same keyword search. Notifications eliminate the need to constantly refer to a ranking dashboard to see how that fluctuation has affected your listing. You can set the parameters and let the system tell you when it’s time to adjust your selling strategy.

Knowing the exact time your ranking drops or falls and reacting to it in real time can give you a leg up over competitors. At the same time, you must know when those competitors drop in rank so that you can use it to your advantage. As you get used to making the most of Amazon keyword rank tracking, you can boost that advantage by using the real-time data and custom notifications to maximize your sales strategy, such as:

1. Increasing PPC spend at just the right time: When your rank starts to slip for a particular keyword, the rank tracking tool will notify you immediately. You can boost PPC spend to more aggressively target that particular keyword and gain back some of your position as soon as possible. Our PPC tool, Kinetic, allows you to automate the entire process.

2. Attributing efforts to results: The transparency you get with our rank tracking tool allows you to see just how effective your advertising efforts are, which is essential to devising any Amazon selling strategy. After boosting PPC spend, set ranking notifications to be more strict so you’ll instantly know whether the additional spend is working.

3. Prioritizing the highest-ranking product variations: For products that have multiple variations (such as small, medium, and large), rank tracking gives you an entirely new dimension of performance to track. For example, if the small versions of the product start ranking highest, you can boost your ad efforts and stock up on smalls before the sales boost.

Amazon keyword rank tracking is an essential tool for anyone who wants to sell on Amazon. The market is driven by a search engine, and our keyword tracking tool helps you stay in tune with the constant fluctuations in the keywords for which you’re competing. Get notified instantly, at whatever threshold you set, so you can optimize your listings appropriately. 
To learn more or to get started with our Amazon keyword monitoring tools, contact one of our experts today!

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!

Back in Business: Amazon Sellers Can Ship Nonessential Products into FBA

If you’re an Amazon seller with nonessential products ready to ship into FBA, we’ve got some good news for you. This week, Amazon will start accepting shipments of nonessential items into their warehouses once again

In fact, some sellers reported that they have been able to create new shipping orders as early as last week (the freeze started on March 17 and was supposed to end on April 5). Like most changes, Amazon seems to be gradually rolling out this ability. 

Here’s what a company spokeswoman shared, “Later this week, we will allow more products into our fulfillment centers. Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritizing products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities.”

Amazon is taking these steps so that we can move forward with our businesses, even amidst the uncertainty and frustration. It’s time to buckle down, take action, and ensure your business endures (and hopefully even gets stronger) during this season. Luckily, there are some small steps you can take to set your business up for success now and in the future. Let’s get into exactly what you can do.  

How to Check if Your Products are Eligible

You’ll first want to see if your products can be shipped into Amazon. To do this, you will create a standard FBA Inbound Shipment in Seller Central. As you’re selecting your Shipping Plan options, you may see the following message: 

The alert reads: We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.

Through our testing, we were still able to create an inbound shipment even while this message was present. If you can complete each of the steps below without getting an error message, your product is once again eligible for inbound shipments to FBA.

7 Steps to Creating an Inbound FBA Shipment

  1. Go to the Manage Inventory Tab
  2. Select Send/Replenish Inventory for the chosen product
  3. Create a new shipping plan
  4. Set the quantity of units
  5. Select who will prep the goods: you or Amazon
  6. Print labels, if needed
  7. Review the assigned Amazon warehouse

If you do get an error message, try lowering the number of inbound units. Due to the increased demand from Stay-and-Home orders during COVID-19, Amazon is placing limits on how much inventory can be shipped in. 

We recommend testing this every day until you’re able to successfully create a shipment, especially if you have inventory waiting to be sent into FBA. You never know when the company will flip the switch for your specific products, though you should have the ability within the coming days (if you don’t already).

Other Notable COVID-19 Updates for Amazon Sellers

COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way we live and operate as a country… and as a world. Sometimes it feels hard to keep up with the news, the changes, and the best practices moving forward. 

Here at Viral Launch, we’re dedicated to helping third-party sellers navigate the Amazon seller journey, no matter how messy it may get. Here is a condensed list of the most important Amazon updates you should be aware of. 

  • Keeping Up with Demand: You may have noticed that Prime delivery dates have been pushed back by up to one month. Amazon is slowly gaining control and reinstating 2-day delivery as they’ve filled 100,000 new jobs since March are adding 75,000 more to keep up with demand.
  • Waived Fees: In March, Amazon announced they would waive the April 15 long-term storage fees plus two weeks of inventory fees for products stored in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, Amazon Lending direct loan repayments are on pause until at least April 30.
  • Account Suspension Pause: Earlier this month, Amazon temporarily paused suspensions related to supply chain and fulfillment issues. This is in effect until at least May 15. 
  • Delayed Prime Day: Amazon normally hosts its annual sales extravaganza in mid-July, but this year Prime Day will be delayed (likely until August 2020 at the earliest). 

Major updates are typically added to the “COVID-19 Related Announcements” News thread in Seller Central, and we will be sure to update the community frequently with pressing information.

How to Move Forward

If you’re a little bit uneasy about the state of the market right now, don’t worry. You’re not alone. COVID-19 has put all of us in uncharted territory, and so moving forward, all you can do is your best. As always, the team here at Viral Launch is here for you with the latest news and advice on which steps you should take to ultimately see success. In the wake of this pandemic, here are three ways you can make the best use of your time: 

1. Study the process. 

While some things have changed, the principles of success have remained. Think about it… there are more people than ever shopping online right now. And Amazon is doing everything it can to support the infrastructure that allows you to meet that demand. As an Amazon seller, you should familiarize yourself with the strategy behind a successful Amazon operation. This may look like brushing up on your skills with a free A-to-Z Amazon Course, or it may look like networking with like-minded people in an Amazon seller Facebook group. There is always something to learn, and like Oprah says… when you know better, you do better. 

2. Research the impacts. 

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 moving forward. Start your free trial to begin researching. 

3. Add to your product line.

Lots of countries are completely shut down, but many Chinese manufacturers are back up-and-running. And as Amazon gets a better grip on the magnitude of orders coming through, now actually isn’t a bad time to add to your storefront. It’s also more important than ever that you understand exactly what to expect in a market, so you’re not selling out in the first week or left with hundreds of products left sitting in a warehouse. With a reliable product finder and a robust market research tool, you can pinpoint markets that are ripe with opportunity now and make the most out of an otherwise crummy situation. Start researching for free now. 

How has COVID-19 affected your business? And what are your plans moving forward? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. Remember… we’re all in this together.


Amazon Sellers: What to Do About Coronavirus

Being an Amazon seller has always come with its hurdles, but as the world grapples with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, sellers face a new kind of challenge. This guide will walk through what changes have arisen, how all of this affects you as a seller, and what you can do about it. 

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The Coronavirus has caused lawmakers at state and local levels to encourage and enforce that citizens stay inside their homes for anything other than essential activities. As the world works from home out of necessity, the eRetailer is the go-to source for delivered goods (the eCommerce giant already owned 52% of all online sales in 2019). Household staples and medical supplies are running low, and Amazon is racing to keep their digital shelves stocked to meet surging demand. “Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues,” said an Amazon representative in an Operations blog post.

Amazon has recently made a few drastic changes that impact millions of third-party private label brands. While it’s something to definitely understand, don’t lose hope. There are still options, and you can get through this. You are an entrepreneur, after all. And we are relentless. 

Changes that Amazon has made amid COVID-19

With its origins in China, Coronavirus has been on Amazon’s radar since mid-January 2020. The company announced changes to its fulfillment network and workforce in mid-March to address growing concern and meet surging demand.

1. Sellers cannot initiate a new FBA shipment for non-essential products

Amazon sent the following notification to all active sellers: 

Temporarily prioritizing products coming into our fulfillment centers
We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees.
We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.
For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.
This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. Shipments created before today will be received at fulfillment centers.
You can learn more about this on this Help page. Please note that Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance.
We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We are working around the clock to increase capacity and yesterday announced that we are opening 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in our fulfillment centers across the US.
We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers.
Thank you for your patience, and for participating in FBA.

For third party sellers, this means that you cannot create shipments to be received at an Amazon fulfillment center in Seller Central until at least April 6th. Only essential items will be accepted as inbound shipments. Essential items are listed within the following categories (but not all items are considered essential):

  • Baby
  • Beauty & Personal Care
  • Grocery
  • Health & Household
  • Industrial & Scientific
  • Pet Supplies

If your inbound shipment was created before March 17, Amazon will check it in. For existing non-essential inventory in Amazon’s warehouses, you can still expect Amazon to pick, pack, and ship your products, but the process will likely be delayed as essential items are prioritized and shipping carriers race to keep up with increased demand.

If you do sell essential items, beware that Amazon has a zero tolerance policy for price gouging. The marketplace has removed thousands of listings and even threatened legal action against sellers seeking to profit from a global pandemic. 

2. Amazon is strengthening its workforce to meet demand

With the surge in online shopping, Amazon is experiencing unprecedented labor needs. Because of this, the company is opening 100,000 new full-time and part-time positions in their fulfillment centers and delivery network across the U.S. Amazon extended an employment invitation to those who have been economically impacted in industries like hospitality, restaurants, and travel. 

Amazon will also pay their employees an additional $2 per hour worked from their current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, at least through the end of April. The company seeks to keep health and safety a top priority. “We continue to consult with medical and health experts, and take all recommended precautions in our buildings and stores to keep people healthy. We’ve taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace and taken on enhanced and frequent cleaning, to name just a few,” said an Amazon representative.

How Coronavirus is Affecting Amazon Sellers

Amazon sellers have mixed feelings about the recent changes. Some are angry with the eCommerce giant, convinced that the moves will put them out of business. Others respect the decision and see all of this as an opportunity to pivot and grow. And most are somewhere in between, hoping for the best and making operational changes with each announcement.

Here are a few of the varied Amazon seller comments posted in response to Amazon’s inbound shipment freeze:

  • Amazon just put tons of businesses out of business. Destroyed thousands of jobs amidst a crisis. Horrible joke. Absolute joke. No warning. Expect major lawsuits coming from sellers who now will go bankrupt.
  • This virus is not a joke, and I am sure Amazon didn’t take the decision to suspend FBA shipments, just because they felt like it. Have you considered the fact that the Amazon employees are affected also? Some of them might even be sick, quarantined, have kids at home because of closed schools? It is not about you, it is not time to be selfish. This is a matter of life and death for many people around the globe.
  • It is not doable. Most of us do not have the infrastructure in place. We do not have the boxes or packing material to do this. Amazon should have had the basic integrity to give us a few days notice so that items that were low or out of stock could be sent.

Overall, it seems that Amazon sellers are unsure of how the future will play out. With online sales rising but no opportunity for non-essential products to reach their normal fulfillment avenues, there will definitely need to be pivots made in the short-term for sales to continue. 

Many sellers are calling on Amazon to pause inventory loan payments and selling plan fees for those who are ineligible to fulfill through FBA. But because Amazon’s focus is always on the customer, it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that this will be prioritized. 

What Amazon Sellers Can Do Now

Because there seems to be new developments every few days, it’s important that Amazon sellers keep an eye on the news and Amazon announcements in the coming weeks. Just as we are all making decisions based on the information we have, Amazon’s executive team is pivoting as needed. 

For now, here are a few action steps you can take to sustain your business and prepare for the future. 

1. See if your products are still eligible for FBA shipments

Many products in the following categories are still eligible to be sent into Amazon’s fulfillment centers: Baby, Beauty & Personal Care, Grocery, Health & Household, Industrial & Scientific, Pet Supplies. If you sell within these categories, head to your Shipping Queue within Seller Central and attempt to create an inbound shipment. This way you’ll know what products you need to enact (or create) a Plan B for. Please note that many sellers are experiencing hang times when creating shipping plans because of the increased number of people trying to do this in a short period of time. 

2. Outline your path(s) forward

Whether it’s pivoting your sales strategy for your existing business, planning for your future product, or even exploring options like dropshipping, you need to understand your options so that you can make an informed decision on how to move forward. It’s okay to wait and see how things unfold in the next week or so, but outline your possible paths forward so that when it comes time to make a decision, you’re ready to act. Big changes like this affect everybody, and someone is going to come out on top. But it’s going to take a dedication to the process and pushing through obstacles for you to be that one. 

3. Pivot your fulfillment method

For those of you with non-essential FBA products, you’ve got three options when it comes to fulfillment: find a Prime-eligible third-party fulfillment partner, switch to Fulfilled by Merchant, or pause operations until Amazon opens their fulfillment centers to your products. Again, do your research now so that you can make the best decision for your business. You may find that a third party fulfillment partner is just as cost effective as FBA was, or you may discover that it’s best for you and your family to wait out the storm. 

4. Prepare your next product

Although Amazon is only allowing certain products right now and there have been disruptions in the supply chain, this won’t last forever. Now, especially if you have some extra time on your hands, is the perfect time to use historical data to research which product you might bring to market. If you’re an existing seller, keep an eye on how your competition is handling the situation using Competitor Intelligence. And if you’re a new seller, begin the process of sourcing your very first product. The first step of the Amazon seller journey is finding a product that sets you up for success. Product Discovery makes that process incredibly easy, and it can be completed during this time. That way, your product is ready to stock when the shelves are ready. 

We’re in This One Together

The fact that this blog post exists means you are not in this alone. There are a lot of uncertainties right now, but there are also new opportunities to take advantage of. Maybe the excuse used to be, “I don’t have time to work on my business.” Many of us now have time, but the circumstances have shifted. If there were ever a time to buckle down and figure it out, it’s right now. 

Find out how your products have been affected. See how sales are trending in your market. Map out your options. Dig in and figure it out because that spirit is exactly what got you into this business in the first place. We’ll be here for you along the way updating you of the news. If you want to see how other Amazon sellers are handling the situation, get advice, and stay up to date on the most recent changes, join our community on Facebook: Amazon FBA Data Hunters. We’ll see you in there. 

How Viral Launch can help

How E-Commerce Brands Can Best Bounce Back In the Wake of the Coronavirus

While coronavirus has impacted nearly every aspect of the global economy over the past few weeks, e-commerce brands have been hit especially hard. Retailers with major ties to China have struggled to deal with significant interruptions to the supply chain as well as travel limitations between countries. 

The good news for e-commerce brands is that the spread of coronavirus in China has been slowing down, allowing factories to reopen. The bad news is that coronavirus is still a major concern worldwide and it is difficult to predict how its spread throughout the world will affect business. 

Because of the continued concern for the world population’s health, it’s imperative that e-commerce brands take careful steps to navigate this global issue, minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities. Here’s how you can revitalize your brand, despite any recent effects of this recent disease.

Increased Customer Communication

With the frequent shipping delays, inventory shortages, and unknown an unknown timeline for the end of the coronavirus, some businesses have been worried about dealing with upset customers. But even the best brands can’t control for unexpected events like global disease. Customers will understand this as long as you keep them in the loop. 

It’s true that upset customers can wreak havoc on your brand. Fifty-two percent of customers tell others to avoid a brand after a bad experience, and 47 percent of customers have switched to a different brand due to bad customer service. It’s essential to take care of your customer, so when circumstances are out of your control, the best thing to is update customers as the situation evolves.

You’ll earn the trust and loyalty of many people simply by being honest and showing you care. Share your estimated timeline for progress with customers and be clear that you will continue to update that timeline as you receive more information. When your operations are back to normal, you’ll have an even more solid customer base than before.

The Online Advantage

Rising anxiety about coronavirus is causing many customers to stay at home. This means e-commerce brands have a major advantage over brick-and-mortar. This is an excellent moment for online retailers to reach out to customers who need products, but don’t want to expose themselves to germs in public spaces.

In fact, e-commerce has helped the economy during disease outbreaks in the past. During the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003, Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, took off. Cell phone and Internet companies also thrived at the time. Due to the lack of reliable information about the disease provided by broadcast news, many people turned to their phones and computers to learn how to protect themselves. 

The SARS epidemic was tragic, causing numerous deaths throughout Asia. While millions of people were confined to their homes, however, the e-commerce sector worked to allow life to go on by offering services online. 

E-commerce has the chance to help the world economy during the current coronavirus outbreak in the same way that it helped during the SARS epidemic. It’s important to capitalize on this moment in order to keep your business alive as well as help those people who need your products.

Allowing Remote Business

The spread of a global disease is one of the many reasons to be grateful we have 21st century technology to work with. While there are plenty of aspects of business that must be conducted in person, administrative work, client meetings, and company-wide communication is possible to be conducted remotely. 

Especially if you are located in a region with a growing number of coronavirus cases, the more people who stay home, the easier it will be to contain the disease. The worst thing for your company would be for an outbreak to spread through the ranks of your entire company, completely immobilizing business. 

For those positions that require in-person work, be sure to emphasize the importance of employees watching for symptoms of sickness and staying home if they suspect they may not be fully healthy.  

Diversify Fulfillment Centers

Many e-commerce retailers have seen benefits of having fulfillment centers in a variety of geographic regions. It leads to faster shipping times and the ability to hold greater inventory, avoiding products being on back-order.

Diversifying your location for this centers is best practice in business at all times, not just during a global disease. But the rise of coronavirus has shown that if you are following this diversified location model already, the disease’s impact on your company will not be quite as harsh.  

Although multiple regions in China were hit by the coronavirus, some experienced more severe outbreaks than others. If you have fulfillment centers and warehouses in multiple locations, you increase your chances of being able to keep some of your company’s operations running during an outbreak. 

You’ll also benefit from using multiple fulfillment centers during a disease epidemic because you’ll be able to hold greater amounts of inventory in order to make up for a potential slowing of production in factories. Many businesses are currently seeing products run out without the ability to replace them due to the interruptions to the supply chain caused by the coronavirus. If you can inventory shortages, you’ll be able to win over the customers from other businesses that were not able to meet customer demands. Strong inventory management during a time like this is one of the biggest things that will set you apart as a brand.