Now that you’ve got both feet on the ground as an Amazon seller, the tricky part is finding what products will put you ahead of the pack. You can look at snapshot estimates from a random collection of sourcing tools, piecing together what you hope is an accurate picture of the market and product — or you can improve your chances of sourcing only the right products by making use of the right Amazon market intelligence.
Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence tool gives you the most comprehensive access to Amazon-wide insight across billions of different data points. With it, you can make truly informed decisions and validate any product before you ever launch it.
What Real Amazon Market Intelligence Looks Like
Intelligence is nothing without data, which is what makes our Amazon Market Intelligence tool so valuable. It’s the only tool that can collect and leverage data points from across Amazon’s entire market. With the data the tool gathers for you, you can glean the kind of insight and analysis that can help you almost predict the success of any product launch. For example, the billions of data points you’ll have access to can help you assess markets and products by:
1. Name brands: See whether any big household names or Amazon itself is selling in the market. It will be easiest for you to compete against other smaller brands, so stay away from markets that are dominated by one brand or a few dominant brands.
2. Sales spreads: If a few products are claiming most of the sales in the market, it’ll be harder to claim a piece of the pie, especially as a newcomer. Look for markets where sales are spread pretty evenly between the products on the first page.
3. Competitors’ intelligence: Finding a few products dominating sales spreads isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Use the Market Intelligence tool to reverse-engineer their strategies. For example, track what keywords the dominating products use in sponsored ads and make a list of your own variations.
4. Market trends: Sales trends tell you a lot, but if you want to determine which trends are fads and which are actual depictions of the market, you’ll have to look at data from across a few years. Use market trends to avoid investing too heavily in the next fidget spinner.
5. Price margins: Even with a great product, you won’t make a profit unless you can cover Amazon’s fees and still stay price-competitive. You can research the cost of sourcing units from a site like Alibaba, then plug it into our Amazon FBA calculator.
6. Product reviews: Speaking of being competitive, you can enter the competition a lot sooner in a market where mediocre performance is the norm. Research reviews throughout the market and pay special attention to those that are generally low.
7. Product fulfillment: Finally, stay away from markets filled with FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) or AMZ (Amazon original) designations. If your products are FBA, then you can compete more effectively in markets that are mostly filled with FBM (fulfilled by merchant) products. Data can mean the difference between entering a market and thriving in it — or sinking fast due to poor intelligence. With our Amazon Market Intelligence tool, you can make sure you end up on the thriving side every time. To learn more, sign up for a free trial today!
We’ve all been there. You look around and notice you have somehow collected enough books to open a mini library. There’s old textbooks you’ll never use, books that were given to you as gifts, and the stack of books you keep saying “one day” to. No? Just us? That’s fine. The point is, sometimes you find yourself with a stash of books, and you don’t know what to do with them. You could donate them, but sometimes those books cost a small fortune. And you don’t want to lose out on all that cash you spent on that geology textbook you didn’t even use (Sorry, college professors). So, what do you do with them?
Solution: Sell Used Books on Amazon
If you’re looking to get into the Amazon selling game, selling your new or used books is a great place to start. There’s no risk of spending a small fortune sourcing a product that may or may not sell and no need to worry about manufacturing or importing costs.
And if you’re already in the Amazon selling game, adding books to your inventory is a no-brainer if you’re looking to make a few extra bucks here and there.
How to Sell Used Books on Amazon – Getting Started
First things first, you’ll need a stash of books to sell, and you’ll need an Amazon seller account to access your dashboard, Seller Central. Amazon offers two types for you to choose from: Individual Seller or Professional Seller
Individual Seller: $0.99 per sale closing fee, NO monthly subscription
Professional Seller: $39.99 monthly subscription fee, NO per sale closing fee
If you’re unsure which option is right for you, consider how many books you are wanting to sell per month. Amazon allows a maximum of 40 items per month on an Individual seller account. If you are planning on selling more than 40 books, or you are planning on selling books in addition to other products totaling more than 40, you will want to opt for a Professional seller account.
Listing Information – What You Need to Know
Once your Seller Account is all set up and ready to go, gather the appropriate information about your books. This allows you to have all your information readily available when it comes time to actually list them on Amazon. Whether you just make sure you know where the information is located in each book or you write it down so it’s all in one place, here is the information to gather:
What’s an ISBN and where can I find it?
ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. They always consist of 13 digits and are assigned to each edition and variation of a book. It can be found on the book’s barcode.
How do I know what the book condition is?
When selling pre-owned books on Amazon, you are required to list the book’s condition. This is applicable to hardcover and paperback books. Your books can be one of six types of conditions:
Used – Like New
Used – Very Good
Used – Good
Used – Acceptable
Used – Unacceptable
Books categorized as Unacceptable are not sold on Amazon. This includes books that are sale of advance reading copies, including uncorrected proofs, of in-print or not-yet-published books.
Listing Books to Sell on Amazon
Once you have all the information, you’re ready to list your books for sale. When it comes to actually listing books, Amazon is by far the easiest platform to use. Creating a listing for your book can take as little as one minute.
When starting a listing, there are three different options for you to choose from:
“Sell Your Stuff” and enter the Title or ISBN number
Search for the book as if you were wanting to buy it and click “Start Selling”
List a New Title if no results come up for the ISBN you’re wanting to sell
Sell My Stuff
Go into your Seller Central and find the “Sell Your Stuff” tab. Type in the title or the ISBN number and search. Make sure your category is set to “Books.”
Click “Start Selling” and begin your listing.
Go to the Amazon homepage and use the search bar to find the book you are looking to sell. Once you find it, go to the listing detail page.
Click “Sell on Amazon” on the right side of the screen to begin your listing.
On the rare occasion the above two options don’t work, Amazon will provide you with the option to create a brand new listing.
This will happen when you search for an ISBN and no results come up, meaning there is no existing listing for that book. Amazon will then direct you to begin a new listing.
For a new listing, you will need to provide the following:
Setting the Price – What’s the best price to sell my books for on Amazon?
When listing your book, Amazon shows you how many other offers for the same book are being sold and what price range the books are selling within.
This is super convenient and helpful, as it will allow you to determine your price point. If you’re a new seller listing a single copy of a book, you should list it as the lowest price in the price range. This will boost the chances of a quick sale.
For some books, it might make more sense to list in the higher price range. This could be for current edition textbooks, first edition novels, or special edition books.
Shipping and Costs
Once you input all the required information and click “Save,” your listing will go live on Amazon and will be ready for potential buyers to search for.
You will need to decide on your shipping method: FBM vs FBA.
FBM – Fulfilled by Merchant
If you’re only selling a handful of books, this might be the option for you. Because you already have the books, you just keep them in your house until someone buys them. No additional storage fees! Once a book is sold, you are responsible for boxing it up, labeling, and shipping it out. Shipping costs can be calculated into your initial price point.
FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon If you’re selling more than 40 books, multiple copies of a book, or you don’t want to have to worry about shipping, FBA is a great option. For extra fees, you ship your inventory to an Amazon Fulfillment Center and they take care of the rest when an order is placed.
Make sure you fully research the pros and cons of FBA and FBM before deciding. Deciding on a fulfillment method is important as additional steps and fees may apply.
The Pay Out
Getting paid is arguably the best part about selling on Amazon. If you already set up your seller account and have everything approved, you probably remember Amazon requesting your bank information.
Amazon will directly deposit payments into your account every two weeks. Each deposit can take up to 5 business days and Amazon will send you a notification when the payment is sent.
Other Ways to Sell Books
If you’re looking to sell books that aren’t pre-owned or used, there are definitely options. Amazon offers 5 book selling portals for you to sell from if you wish. These portals are for selling e-books, audio books, and even self-published books. But that’s a blog for another day!
While Amazon is now the second largest ecommerce platform in terms of sales, it actually got its humble beginning as an online bookstore in 1994. It all began inside of Jeff Bezos’ rented garage in Bellevue, Washington!
Jeff Bezos chose books due to the high demand of literature worldwide and their low price point. This still stands true today so selling used books on Amazon is a smart move to make some extra pocket change and relieve your overcrowded bookshelves.
There are many ways to make money on Amazon. Whether your goal is to simply make some extra cash or build an entire business from the ground up, Amazon provides incredible potential. You can choose to sporadically sell random household goods around your house or start a full-time private label company. And get this – you can even make money selling open box items on Amazon. Refurbished items are a great money maker as many shoppers are looking for deals and are willing to buy open box items to save money.
The Amazon Renewed program was launched in 2017 as one of Amazon’s newest selling categories designed to bring refurbished items to its millions of customers. This exclusive seller group requires an application process and only those sellers that meet the outlined criteria are allowed to participate. Sellers who are approved are then qualified to sell their used items as “Certified Refurbished.”
The criteria to sell on Amazon Renewed includes a combination of both quality and sales requirements. Becoming part of this group means less competition since members must be approved.
What Types of Products Can You Sell with Amazon Renewed?
Amazon Renewed allows you the opportunity to sell refurbished products in many different categories across the ecommerce site. This means you can probably find a product that falls under your area of expertise. Refurbished items often refer to electronics, but they don’t have to be. You can sell Amazon refurbished products in all of the following categories:
Laptops and computers
Video game consoles
Headphones and audio
Home and industrial tools
Outdoor and sports
Requirements to Sign Up and Get Approved
Becoming certified to sell on Amazon Renewed is no walk in the park. You’re required to provide details of your experience selling “like-new” products, including sales data and more. Amazon will only approve you if you meet the following criteria outlined on their website:
You can supply invoices showing a minimum a total value of $50,000 in qualifying refurbished purchases in the previous 90 days from the date of the application. You may black-out the unit purchase amount on the invoices. Note that sellers intending to offer products related to Home, Home Improvement, Tools, Lawn & Garden, Outdoors, Kitchen, Sports, Toys, or Automotive, you may supply invoices showing a minimum total of $20,000 in qualifying refurbished purchases in the previous 90 days.
If you are an existing seller on Amazon, we require an ODR of 0.8% or less, with a minimum 700 orders in the trailing 90 days.
If you want permission to list factory refurbished items (with no manufacturer warranty) you need to submit a minimum of 8 images of a sample unit for product and packaging review (box in which the product will ship, inside packaging and padding, product from top and bottom, product from all four sides).
Your company provides a minimum 90-day warranty on all of your Certified Refurbished products
For approval to list on Apple and Samsung brands in Consumer Electronics categories (Excluding Wireless), we require invoices dated from trailing 90 days that total $100K in Apple/Samsung products (non-Wireless). For approval to list on Apple and Samsung brands in Wireless category, we require invoices dated from trailing 90 days that total $2.5 million in Apple/Samsung wireless products. Invoices have to be directly from a national Wireless carrier or retailer with over $5 billion in annual sales (Example: Verizon, AT&T or Target) or the manufacturer (Apple or Samsung). We also accept Wireless invoices from Assurant, Brightstar, PCS Wireless, and Vertex.
These requirements can be hard to meet, especially if you’re just starting out. Sellers who don’t meet this criteria are still able to sell their products on standard product ASINs in “used” condition. Selling products this way will give you the time to build up your business and eventually meet the demands of Amazon’s Renewed program.
Finding Refurbished Items to Sell
If you’re completely new to selling used items on Amazon and are wondering where to start, the first step is to do some research. Find products that are in demand by using a market research tool. Our favorite is Market Intelligence from Viral Launch.
This tool pulls data from all the top sellers on Amazon for a specific market. You can then use this data to help you identify markets with high demand, but low competition, as these are the best markets to be in. Look for products that are getting a lot of search volume. A low average review count also indicates that you could easily compete in this market as products with a high number of reviews often get the most sales.
Once you identify a good product market, you have to source refurbished items to sell. Maybe you already have a connection to a manufacturer, but if not, one place to look is Alibaba. Just like finding new products on this online marketplace, you can also search for refurbished items to source. Alibaba can help you connect with manufacturers who offer open box items that you can then source and sell on Amazon.
You can also purchase refurbished items in bulk from various online liquidation companies. These companies work directly with retail stores to liquidate surplus inventory, which you can then purchase in bulk, often below wholesale prices, and sell for a profit. Many of these liquidation sites use an auction system with the products going to the highest bidder.
Advantages of Selling on Amazon Renewed
Selling any product on Amazon comes with a long list of advantages. First of all, this huge marketplace gives you access to millions of already loyal customers. Amazon has built a global platform that has the potential to bring high visibility of your product across the world.
You can also utilize their other capabilities, such as their fulfillment process, so you don’t have to package and ship items yourself. By selling in the Amazon Renewed program, you get access to customers and also face less competition since only select members are allowed to sell in this category.
How to Drive Sales for Your Amazon Refurbished Products
Even though you face less competition as an Amazon Renewed seller, you still need to take steps to ensure your product will sell well. First of all, you’ll need to set the right price for your item. Shoppers don’t want to pay a high price for open box items, so it’s best to shoot for a price that gives the customer a significant discount, but still allows you to make a profit.
Next, if you have control of your listing’s content, you’ll want to be sure your listing is optimized to get your product seen and to convert sales. You can use a keyword research tool to help you identify the highest volume keywords for your product market and ensure they’re placed in your listing. Or you can even hire a professional copywriter to identify keywords and write the listing for you.
Start Your Amazon Renewed Journey
Amazon has tons of opportunities to make some extra cash or even start a full-fledged business. The Renewed program is just one of many. Take advantage of these tips and start your Amazon selling journey today! We’ll be here to help you succeed whenever you need us.
Follow the Data Episode 6: Dispelling Myths: Fear of Suspension
Account suspension is every Amazon seller’s greatest fear. But how much sleep should you really be losing over fear of suspension? Viral Launch CEO Casey Gauss and co-host Cameron Yoder talk about what it really takes to get suspended and how frequently FBA sellers have their accounts shut down.
Follow the Data Show Notes
Feedvisor’s 2016 Amazon seller survey reported that over 60% of sellers fear Amazon taking away their seller privileges, and while we can’t speak to the quality of the survey sample, we know that many sellers are worried about suspension.
Amazon is not out to get Third Party Sellers. In fact, Third Party is a huge part of Amazon’s success to this point, with 44% of all Amazon items, worldwide, coming from Third Party Sellers. What is true is that Amazon will do whatever it takes to create a positive shopping experience for their customers. Make sure your products are contributing to that experience, and you have no reason to fear suspension.
Want to be on the show? Leave us a voicemail at (317) 721-6590
Getting an account shut down is one of the largest fears of Amazon sellers, with over 60% claiming to fear Amazon suspension in a recent seller survey.
It’s not uncommon to see sellers dip, dive, dodge and duck through all kinds of hoops to avoid the Big Brother-esque appearance of Amazon suspensions. I’m Cameron Yoder.
And I’m Casey Gauss, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 20,000 product launches and our experience working with 5500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.
These first four inaugural episodes of Follow the Data are all part of our Dispelling Myths series in which we explore topics that have garnered a lot of conversation among the Amazon seller community recently, but have not proven or disproven using factual evidence.
We’ll talk about why these Amazon theories make sense and what the data is actually saying about what’s happening.
All right, Casey. We’re talking about dispelling myths again, Episode 4. It’s the last episode in the series, and we’re talking about account suspension.
Yeah, man. So I mean I totally, totally get it. It’s everywhere. You know, according to that survey 62% of sellers fear suspension. To be honest I don’t know why that wasn’t 100%.
So yeah, many people of other fears, of course, in Amazon. But okay, talking about account suspension, what makes people so afraid? Like what are they afraid of?
Yeah, I mean for the majority of sellers – we’ve kind of already talked about this – 90% plus of their business is on Amazon, and so the possibility of Amazon shutting down your account and saying hey, you can never sell on Amazon again is extremely intimidating. Let’s say you’re making $10 million a year. That’s a lot of money for a lot of people, and for Amazon to be able to say hey, you’re not allowed to do this anymore, is extremely intimidating.
Right, even for a short period of time.I mean many people, many sellers have now moved their primary method of income to Amazon sales. That’s a scary thing.
Yeah. And probably even scarier is that Amazon is of the shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality, and so that is that much more intimidating. And some of the things that throw flags, you know, could be competitors saying that your product is, you know, used but you’re selling it as new, or you’re selling a supplement and it came with the seal broken. You know, it’s so easy for competitors to kind of play these tricks on you.
And you know, so the biggest suspension that I’ve seen, or the most costly was a friend of ours, and he was suspended for, I want to say like 7 to 10 days, and the reason he was suspended – he has like thousands of SKUs. The reason he was suspended is because the title in one of his listings still said “holiday sale.” Now it should never say “holiday sale,” but this is like May or so, and yeah, his entire account was suspended because one listing had the phrase “holiday sale” in it, which for those of you who don’t know, you should never be using temporary language in your listing. This is how you get suspended. Anyways, yeah, just insane. So again, I completely get it. But I kind of want to dive in a little bit deeper.
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Well, let’s – let’s go back when did this fear really start popping up? Do you know? Like how far back, or has it always been present kind of since the beginning?
Yeah, you know ever since I’ve been around it definitely has. I have not noticed it as much. I think as Amazon continues to step up and kind of rope in what is and is not acceptable, some practices that people would expect to be acceptable are not. You know, namely including a URL in your email follow-up sequence or saying hey, click here if you had a good experience or click here if you had a bad experience and leading them to different places can get you suspended. So you know, I think that potentially the fear is fear of the unknown, right? Is that I think that I’m doing everything right or appropriately, but then Amazon says well, actually you know we want to interpret things this way, or we think that you’re doing this thing that you shouldn’t be, so you’re going to be suspended and we can talk about it in a week.
You talked about diving deeper. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into everything. Let’s talk about – let’s talk about loopholes and kind of the above and beyond that people are going to out of a fear of suspension. Casey, touch on that a little bit.
At the end of the day we kind of want to talk about the things that are limiting your ability to succeed. And so I would say, one, you need to make a decision based on what you believe and how you interpret the TOS, and at the end of the day you need to feel comfortable with how you’re operating your business. It is your business, of course. But again, we’re just here to show you kind of what we’re seeing, what is the data telling us so that hopefully you can make the best decision possible for you and your business.
So anyways, just wanted to state that. Sellers not sending email follow-ups has got to be the number one thing that we’re seeing people avoid to try to avoid suspension. We don’t know anybody that has had a solid email follow up sequence that has gotten suspended. You know, obviously we don’t see everything, but that’s one of them.
You know, there are so many sellers setting up all these VPNs and VPSs to access their multiple accounts. While I definitely get people being over precautious, again, so Viral Launch, we have access to a lot of accounts, and all through legitimate means. We have one account, and of the clients that we need access to their seller accounts, they just give us access through Amazon seller permissions. And so we’re not violating any terms of service so we don’t need to be hiding anything. You know I have a friend that he sets up hundreds of accounts. They’re all through legal manners. You know, every account has a different LLC. It’s a different entity. And he accesses them all through Amazon seller permissions, no VPNs, no VPSs. I’m afraid that when you are trying to not look suspicious that is when you are looking suspicious, and so that is how you most easily slip up.
But you know, those are just a couple of examples. We see people that are afraid to run any kind of promotions externally. And I’m not even talking in reference to Viral Launch. I’m talking, you know, doing small discounted promotions on Facebook because people are afraid people are going to leave reviews, and they’re afraid that they’re going to get suspended because of that. So those are just, you know, what in my mind the most white hat things you could be doing, and again this is not necessarily to sway you to do any one particular thing but kind of just to give you an overview.
Yeah, some people seem to think that Amazon, or have a fear I guess that suspension is correlated with Amazon’s perspective of third-party sellers, right? When you think about third-party sellers on the Amazon platform, what do you think their stance is? Are they gunnin’ for the third-party sellers necessarily, or is that an overemphasis of what people are actually afraid of, which is just being suspended?
Yeah, no, that’s a good question. So I do think it’s important for sellers to understand. But of the 5500+ brands that we’ve worked with I’ve only seen one account actually get banned, and these guys thought they were too big to fail. They thought, you know, we’re doing – they’re doing over 30 million a year, right? And from their perspective they’re like we’re so big Amazon can’t possibly shut us down. And so these guys are just pushing the envelope in so many ways. They’re just getting suspended so many times, or they’re getting so many policy violations, and they just never quit. And so what that resulted in is being banned from Amazon’s platform. And so Cam, going back to your question –
– you know, let’s say they’re selling an iPhone 6 case. Well, Amazon doesn’t necessarily care if that seller’s iPhone 6 cases are on page 1 because there’s tens of thousands of other iPhone 6 cases that will gladly fill that hole. And so they’re not missing out on any customers. They’re not missing out on any sales by that seller not being there. So Amazon’s ultimate goal is to provide the best customer experience possible. And if you’re doing something to violate those terms, you’re gone. And again, because there’s thousands or tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of sellers or products that will take your product’s place. So you are never too big to fail. Please never think that.
Well, and you said, I mean, like you said before, I mean it took a little, a little bit for them to get fully suspended, but they were asking for it, right?
Like they were clearly doing things that were against TOS, and they weren’t automatically suspended from selling right off the bat. It took a little bit. But they were clearly violating Amazon’s policies, and that of course led to the suspension.
Yeah, it took a lot of bit.
No, it was a lot. And so again, so kind of the point here, is that I really don’t think that you should be as scared as, you know, you probably are. Again, of the 5500+ brands that we know, I’d like to think that we have a fairly ambitious subset of the market that we are aware of, and only one of those accounts has ever been banned. And again, it wasn’t like these guys thought that what they were doing was okay and they just happened to get banned. You know –
They were clearly – they were clearly violating.
Yeah, they were clearly violating the terms like multiple, multiple times, and they got suspended over here, and then they got suspended over there. And you know, it seemed like everything that they were touching ended up as a policy violation. And so that’s why they were suspended, not because you know they accidentally did this or they accidentally did that. So again, you know, at the end of the day, just make sure that you’re being smart about Amazon’s terms of service. You know, if you are suspended make sure that you’re honest, and make sure that you learn from these mistakes and that you don’t repeat them because that’s how you get banned. You know, at the end of the day I think that Amazon wants to create a great selling environment. They just have to be, you know, overcautious for the sake of their buyers. And if you’re not willing to learn from your mistakes and avoid those same activities, that’s how you really get into trouble.
And just avoid breaking TOS in the first place. Like you shouldn’t be intentional about that. But just emphasizing, emphasizing the data, once again, because this show is all about the data, right? The data is pointing to kind of the fact that it’s not as common as people think to get suspended, right?
Yeah, not only to get suspended, but really to be banned, right, to never be able to sell on Amazon. Are you going to get suspended? Possibly.
The piece of advice that you had given before I think is very applicable to a lot of sellers here, which is to, yeah, if you do get suspended, again, that’s not really – the data is showing that it’s more uncommon than people think, but if you do to pick yourself back up and to learn from that experience and to say okay, I know this about Amazon now, and I know that what I was doing was violating that TOS. Maybe you knew about it and maybe you didn’t. But regardless, moving forward is the most important thing if you want to – if you want to continue selling.
Yeah, and you know, the one sensitive area Amazon has is reviews, second being counterfeits. So in the private label space just make sure that you’re being straight up with reviews and how you’re obtaining them. You know, I can’t encourage you enough there.
Well, that’s all for this week. Thank you so much for joining us on Follow the Data. For more reliable information about what’s really happening on Amazon subscribe to the podcast and check out the Viral Launch blog at viral-launch.com.
And don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you liked the podcast. Even if you didn’t we love your feedback. We really appreciate everything that you guys do for us, and we just want to be able to do more and show more people. So the more reviews we get, the higher we rank, and the more people we can help as Amazon sellers.
This wraps up our Dispelling Myths series. We’ll be back with more trends and tips and data points to help you navigate the world of Amazon FBA. And one last thing; if you want to be featured on the show feel free to leave us a voicemail and tell us your thoughts on today’s episode or ask any of us your Amazon questions. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.
You’ve heard the crazy success stories, like how one ambitious seller made $40k in his first 30 days selling on Amazon. Perhaps you have a mortgage to pay, a family to feed, or student loans to pay off. Or maybe you’re looking to invest in something that will take your income to the next level. Or you might be trying to build a brand you can eventually sell for 7 or 8 figures. Whatever position you’re in, you are wondering how to sell on Amazon.
You’ll find loads of information out there on different podcasts, blog posts, webinars, and tutorial videos. Yet one of the most common issues that arise with sellers is: I don’t know where to start. It’s easy to get lost in all of the information about how to sell on Amazon.
We’re here to break it down into three easy steps. Whether you’re looking at selling retail arbitrage or private-label, how to sell on Amazon can be simplified into three keys to success: start with a great product, set up your listing to rank and convert, and get your product in front of the client.
How to Sell on Amazon Key #1: Start with Sourcing a Great Product
What makes a great Amazon product? That’s a loaded question, but thanks for asking. I’m happy to walk you through it.
First, I’ll define a bad Amazon product. Perhaps that’s easier. There are exceptions to these universal truths, but generally speaking…
A bad Amazon product market is one that has:
Extremely low sales. You likely don’t want to get into a product market that is averaging monthly sales in the low double digits year-round.
A sales/review ratio of 1 or less. You have to have a competitive amount of reviews to sell well among the top sellers because of social proof. Shoppers trust the opinions of other shoppers, and the more (good) opinions you have, the better. With a decent review strategy, a seller could expect to see roughly around 6 reviews for every 100 sales. For a product market seeing 1,000 monthly sales with 1,000 average reviews (a review ratio of 1), it would take over 16,000 sales to reach 1,000 reviews. I’d suggest staying far away from this market. At 1,000 sales/month, that would take around 16 months to achieve. Avoid these types of markets and get into one with an easier barrier to entry. Note: Markets with a ratio of 1 or less may make sense if it is a natural extension of your brand. With that said, generally only the elite sellers with deep pockets are able to make these markets work.
No popular search terms on Amazon. In most cases, inventions aren’t great for Amazon. The benefit of selling on Amazon is the ability to jump in front of traffic that is already there. If customers are not already searching for terms most relevant to your product, the likelihood of high volume sales is slim. If no one knows what your brand new product is, or even how to search for it, then Amazon is likely not the platform for you.
Extremely low margins. Unless you have the capacity to move an insane amount of inventory, stay away from products where you’ll make less than $1 per sale. This is especially true in markets where there isn’t a ton of demand.
A great product to you may be a not-so-great product for me. It all depends on your goals. For instance, I might think 20 sales/day for a product sounds great, where you might want 40+. I might want to dominate a smaller niche, where you might want to try to compete with big, established sellers in a larger market. To define a good product to sell on Amazon, you must take your expectations and goals into account. However, there are some things that apply to all good Amazon products.
Generally, a good Amazon product market has:
Sales that align with your goals. I won’t give hard numbers here, but you’ll just want to ensure that the product you source sees monthly sales that align with your goals. Those numbers will widely vary from seller to seller, and that’s totally ok. To understand what kind of sales you can expect, look at how the market has performed historically, as well as how it’s performing now in context. Does the product sell consistently? Is the market increasing in popularity? Are sales declining? These are all questions to consider when looking to source a product.
A high sales/review ratio. This means the product market has more sales than reviews. Reviews are generally the greatest barrier to entry for a market. The lower that barrier compared to sales potential, the better. We generally consider an average market ratio of 3 or more to be desirable. If you can find a ratio of 5-10, then you may have struck a gold mine.
Room for improvement. There are many markets on Amazon with subpar listings: novice label and packaging design, amateur photos, sloppy copy, and low review ratings. These are great opportunities to source a high-quality product with an outstanding listing. There’s so much potential to position yourself as the best option on the market.
Healthy margins. Of course, you want to make money on each sale. We typically don’t recommend sourcing any product with less than a 30-40% expected profit margin. This leaves room for unexpected costs or price competition in the market.
To determine if a product market is a good fit for you, you’ll want to evaluate the product’s estimated monthly sales, both historical and present, sales/review ratio, average review quantity, average price trend, best selling period, sales pattern, and more. To aid you in your product research, we’ve come out with an extensive tool to show you all the data you need when making sourcing decisions.
How to Sell on Amazon Key #2: Set Up Your Listing to Rank and Convert
Now you’ve got a great product. You’re off to a good start. But a great product isn’t enough. You could have the best product in the whole world, but if you don’t have an awesome Amazon listing to show it off, you might as well have no product at all. There are two different types of conversion rates: click conversions and on-page conversions. Click conversions refer to how many shoppers click on the listing when they see it in search results. On-page conversions refer to how many people buy your product when they’re on your listing.
In a perfect world, every single time someone saw your listing, they’d purchase the product. In the real world, we want to get as close to that perfect world as possible. There are a couple of key listing elements that you’ll want to master for optimum conversions. Your photos, price, reviews, and copy all play a major role in a shopper’s decision to buy or not buy.
Master your photos.
Product photos are perhaps the most important element of a listing when it comes to both click and on-page conversions. The key to great Amazon photos is having professional photos that tell a story, build an emotional connection with the shopper, and accentuate all the product features. If your photos look unprofessional, rushed, and non-representational of the product, a shopper is not likely to click or purchase. A buyer doesn’t want to feel like they’re getting the product from some amateur in their garage. However, with the same product and aesthetically-pleasing, descriptive photos, a shopper is much more inclined to buy. Good photos communicate high quality. Take a look at the photos below. If the listings are very similar (price, information, reviews, etc.) and photos are the only varying aspect, which product would you choose?
Compete with your price.
Price is a very important factor for click through rate. Shoppers are unlikely to click on your listing from the search results page if your price is too high, which will be detrimental to your click conversions. Again, place yourself in the shopper’s shoes. If most iPhone chargers on page one are around the $7.99 mark, it’s unlikely that you’ll click on one that is $15.99. It’s important to make sure that your price is comparable to surrounding listings to achieve the most clicks possible.
Rack up your reviews.
Ever since Amazon’s policy update regarding giving products in exchange for reviews, reviews are harder to come by. But, reviews still remain the #1 factor on Amazon for social proof. Think about it: when you’re shopping on Amazon, and there are two similar products, one with around 10 reviews and one with over 2,000 reviews, which one are you more likely to consider buying?
While the number of reviews isn’t actually an indication of sales or even quality, it helps shoppers to understand that other people have bought the product. They can then be more confident in their decision to buy the product, since many others have bought it and given it a good rating. For this reason, you’ll want to work hard to gather as many reviews as possible right from the start. Here are some tips to getting initial reviews:
Implement a killer email follow-up sequence. To make sure that you are capitalizing on every sale and gathering as many reviews as possible, you’ll want to send out follow-up emails asking for reviews and feedback. Keep in mind that tons of Amazon sellers are doing this exact same thing, so keep the copy short and to-the point, making it easy for the reader to find the call-to-action. Typically, we recommend sending an email seeking a review 5 days after delivery, and then another email seeking seller feedback 6 days after delivery. The industry average for reviews is about 1%, which seems a bit low, doesn’t it? Viral Launch’s Review Booster sees about a 5% review return on the email copy, and if you’re interested in receiving further guidance or getting copy for your sequence, check out our Review Booster service.
Run sponsored ads. Conversions likely won’t be great with a low quantity of reviews, but sponsored ads are a great way to drive some initial sales. New products typically get more sessions, but few sales may also mean fewer impressions. Basically, sponsored ads can be hit or miss. But, it’s generally worth losing a bit of money up front to drive initial sales.
Start with a low price. We suggest listing your product at about break even, or as low as you feel comfortable, to help get initial sales. But, just be careful here to not become an add-on item or start a price war with competitors.
Drive external traffic. This can be a more expensive option, but external traffic has the potential to help with gathering initial reviews. Having a customer list can be leveraged for initial sales to drive reviews. Driving external traffic is also a great way to increase keyword ranking, as Amazon rewards those who bring in new customers from outside markets.
Optimize your copy.
Copy is INCREDIBLY important for indexing and keyword ranking, but it also serves to describe your product to a shopper. What exactly is the shopper getting? What makes your product unique? What are its special features? How do you use it, and what can you use it for? These questions all need to be answered through your title, bullet points, and description. If the listing doesn’t fully explain the product, you risk losing out on buyers who want to know exactly what they’re buying. While photos should accurately portray your product, the copy should back it up by explaining what a photo cannot.
With great photos, a good price, a competitive number of reviews, and sales-inducing copy, your listing will be set up to convince a shopper to buy your product. Now, it’s time to get in front of those shoppers!
How to Sell on Amazon Key #3: Get Your Product in Front of the Shopper
So you have a great product. You have an awesome listing that’s going to convince a shopper to buy it. Now, you need to become visible. The cool part about Amazon is that you don’t have to find the buyers. They’re already shopping on the site for your product (assuming you followed Key #1!). But now, the buyers have to find you.
This can be done through ranking on page one for the important keywords (or customer search terms) associated with your product. Think about it this way… You need a new charging cable for your phone, so you head to Amazon and type “iPhone charger” into the search bar. You head right to Page 14 of the search results and buy the 7th product from the top. Wrong. You’ll probably look through the first – and maybe the second page. But you likely won’t get any further than that because you find what you’re looking for on page one.
As a seller, it’s important to understand this buyer behavior. The products that rank are the products that sell (so long as they’ve got great listings. Don’t forget Key #2). The largest factor for ranking on Amazon is sales. The goal is to get as many eyes on the listing as possible. You need to drive sales in order to rank for high-volume keywords associated with your product.
From the beginning, you may see a couple organic sales each day, simply by indexing (showing up somewhere) across all related keywords. You can increase these daily sales by running Sponsored Ads. Another great way to kick-start your product’s visibility is to run a promotion. With Viral Launch, you can run a discounted giveaway that will target a specific keyword and increase the product’s rank, putting you in a perfect position to be found by shoppers who are searching for your product. The sales from that promotion will also be funneled through the words in your title, giving each of those keywords a ranking boost (which, again, is why Key #2 was so important. Optimize your title!). For more information on how to launch or where to begin, reach out to one of our dedicated seller coaches who will be happy to assist you.
After a strategic Viral Launch promotion, you’ll be ranking on page one for a main keyword and visible for many other related keywords with thousands and thousands of eyes on your listing. And now, you’ve got a great product, you’ve got a listing that converts, and you’re easily found by shoppers. You’ve just mastered how to sell on Amazon.
How to Sell on Amazon: Tangible Next Steps
Now that you’ve got an overview of how to sell on Amazon, it’s time to go for it. You can make excuses because it’s easy to do. Not enough time, not enough resources, not enough information. Or, you can start. And you can do it with the help of industry experts.
1. Set your expectations and goals. How much money are you wanting to spend up front? What are your monthly sales goals? Are you in this for the long run, and do you want to possibly expand to more products in the future? How much time do you want to dedicate to this Amazon business? What is your capacity to run day-to-day operations? Knowing your expectations and goals will be important as you move forward with determining your course.
2. Start your product research.Remember, it’s crucial to start out with a product that is going to set you up for success. Research possible product markets that you may be interested in. Look at the current top sellers; how are they performing now, and how have they performed in the past? Know how many sales you could expect if you were selling among the top sellers; is this range within your sales goals? Check out the market as a whole: is it on the rise or declining? Know the product’s best selling period; is it seasonal or year-round? Look into how difficult the barrier to entry will be for the product market; will you have to gather thousands of reviews to be competitive? Understand what your profit margin will be; will it be within your goal range? For answers to all of these questions and more, check out Viral Launch’s Sourcing Tool. You’ll find the real-time and historical data, trends, and information that you need to research potential product markets…all at your fingertips.
3. Reach out to suppliers. Check out different sourcing sites to find one that you like. If you’re a newbie, look into Alibaba, which is easy to navigate and popular among Amazon sellers. Reach out to potential suppliers through the internal messaging platform on the site to get a feel for the total expected cost, including unit and shipping costs. If you are sourcing on Alibaba, we recommend filtering results to Trade Assurance, Gold Supplier, and Assessed Suppliers only. That way, you know you’re dealing with suppliers who are established and reputable. You can filter for these results by checking the Supplier Types on Alibaba search results. Send them a brief message, showing interest in their product and inquiring about pricing and item information.
4. Connect with a seller coach. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to work with an expert Amazon coach free of charge. They’ll communicate how to sell on Amazon by walking you through the next steps in your individual journey, offering tailored assistance, and helping to validate or invalidate your product idea(s). From conception, our seller coaches will help you to source, launch, and dominate on Amazon.
Selling on Amazon seems daunting. It’s a leap. But we believe in you. When wondering how to sell on Amazon, it really comes down to sourcing a great product, having a listing that converts, and being easily found by shoppers.
Viral Launch offers software and services for every step of your Amazon journey. We’ve helped launch hundreds of successful Amazon businesses. Not only do we know what we’re talking about, but we’ve got the data and experience to back it up. Our seller coaches would love to help you get started and can answer any upfront questions that you may have about how to sell on Amazon. No more excuses. It’s time to claim your market share of the largest e-commerce platform in the world!
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If you’re involved in any of the online Private Label Amazon Seller communities (i.e. social media groups, podcasts, forums boards, etc.) chances are you’ve heard of or attended an e-commerce or Amazon conference.
An Amazon conference can be a great opportunity to learn from experts in the field, network, and discover what tactics other are utilizing to achieve success. If you have attended such an event, you know that to pull the most valuable information out of the experience, you have to sift through a deep and varied pool of presentations. Much of the information at an Amazon conference can be on topics that you are already well versed in or pertain to sellers in retail arbitrage. While this information can be interesting, it may not relate to you specifically as a private label seller. Additionally, you invest a lot of money on travel, accommodations, and tickets; get flooded with all kinds of information; and are then left to your own devices to apply this new information to your own Amazon business.
The Viral Launch team has attended multiple Amazon conferences. They’re a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the Amazon seller community, network, and learn about industry trends and seller concerns. However, we have noticed a limited emphasis on the unique techniques and problems of the private label seller and have since come to realize that there is a need for a different kind of experience.
While all the major e-commerce conferences are thinking bigger–more attendees, more speakers, more expensive programs–we’ve decided to think smaller. What can we do to benefit the individual private label seller? What can we do to provide information that is 100% relevant to your Amazon business? How can we help sellers dramatically improve their business and walk away with a tailored strategy and deliverables for success?
Out of these questions we developed the Viral Launch Private Label Space Camp.
The New Frontier of Amazon Seller Conferences:
Unlike any other seller experience currently available, our Space Camp is catered to your business specifically. Instead of a large, annual Amazon conference, we will be hosting three sellers per month, inviting them to Viral Launch Mission Control in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
Instead of sitting through speeches that may or may not relate to you as a seller, you will sit in with two other sellers in forum discussions and Q&A sessions where you can have your specific questions answered and your specific concerns discussed by Amazon experts responsible for running over 15,000 product launches and building some of the most successful private label brands on Amazon.
You’ll have the opportunity to sit down with our industry recognized CEO to discuss your business and identify the strategy and tactics you need to take your business to a whole new level.
Instead of sitting in a large group, you will have ample one-on-one time with our team to discuss strategies to grow your Amazon business.
Perhaps most importantly, in addition to leaving with a customized strategy on how to improve your business, you will consult with our expert coaches, photographers, and copywriters who will rework a listing for you free of charge!
What makes our Private Label Space Camp truly unique is that rather than having a few industry experts talk to a large group of Amazon sellers, you will have a whole team of industry experts who will talk to you and work with you and your business specifically.
How the camp works:
The day will start with our 3 sellers arriving at Mission Control for a breakfast meet-and-greet, and introductory discussion where you will be able to introduce us to the specific product you’re working with and ask our experts any initial questions you may have.
From there, we will move into one-on-one workshops with our coaches, copywriters, and photographers. You will be able to discuss your product and brand, have your questions answered, and learn about what goes into a quality listing.
Workshops will include:
Review Boosting Email Followup
In addition you will be afforded the opportunity to see how Viral Launch is building new tools to make you a more efficient seller, discuss your individual concerns, and consult with our experts on improving your listing.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included and there will be opportunities throughout the day to further talk with members of our team as well as your fellow sellers.
What you get:
The Viral Launch Space Camp is not just about discussing what goes into creating a quality listing. After consulting with our team, you will receive product photography, a full listing optimization, and review boosting email campaigns with management. You will also receive a free promotional launch, access to our split testing and product validation tools, and long term access to our personal coaches.
This one-of-a-kind seller experience will facilitate your questions, concerns, and needs as an Amazon seller. Return home with tangible benefits, like a professionally produced listing to help you sell your product more effectively.
How to Enroll:
With a limit of 3 sellers per session, our Private Label Space Camp attendees are selected through an application process. To apply, submit your information and product on our Private Label Space Camp page. If we think you’ve got what it takes and are serious about improving your private label business, we will contact you about next steps.
If approved, admission for the camp is $5,000 and will include a full day of one-on-one access to our team, masterminding sessions with other high level sellers, and a suite of listing services. Travel and lodging not included.
***SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER***
To introduce our brand new Private Label Space Camp, we will be running our first camp at an introductory price of $2,500 instead of the typical $5,000 price. And, one lucky applicant will receive an all-expenses-paid opportunity to attend. For this seller, we will cover airfare, hotel, and attendance to the camp. To sign up for our Space Camp or find out how you could win an all-expenses-paid experience, click here.