As the clock ticks closer to the holidays, here are the key dates and tips and tricks for how to prepare for Black Friday.
Believe it or not, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us yet again.
With Halloween officially behind us, the always-hectic holiday season spearheaded by Black Friday is near. For those selling on Amazon, hopefully, you’ve already taken time and steps on how to prepare for Black Friday and crush it for the remainder of 2022 and start 2023 off right.
Whether you’re on top of your planning or an inexperienced seller unsure of the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday seller tips, we’ve got you covered with important dates and details to make this holiday season one to remember.
Should Amazon sellers prepare differently for Black Friday?
Unquestionably and without a doubt, yes.
When ranking the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday likely comes to your mind first. For decades, Black Friday has established the Friday after Thanksgiving as a day for shopping.
Steep discounts and special one-day-only deals make it a prime choice for shoppers to start or finish their holiday shopping. Every year, news stories about customers lining up at stores hours before they open and the ensuing pandemonium once doors are opened command attention across the United States.
Beyond the obvious influx of traffic and sales to be made on Black Friday, the date is also important for secondary reasons. Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, with days rivaling Black Friday sales showing up over the next few weeks.
Cyber Monday and Super Saturday (also known as Panic Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas) are both on the calendar’s short list of top sales days. When we mention being prepared for Black Friday, we also mean being prepared for the rest of the major sales events that follow Black Friday.
How to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022
Check your inventory restock limits
Ensure your inventory can meet the increased consumer demand
Be aware of shipping deadlines
Optimize your product listings
Plan your advertising strategy
Consider creating coupons and promotions
Monitor performance and adjust accordingly
Check your inventory restock limits
While utilizing all of your inventory limits throughout most of the year can be costly, it may be worthwhile or necessary during the busiest time of the year. To find out what your restock limits are, go to Inventory > Shipments in Seller Central. Below, we’ve included a few links to updated 2022 fulfillment fees.
If your inventory restock limits are less than satisfactory, you may consider going outside FBA and looking into third-party logistics (3PL) services as soon as possible.
Check out our podcast with Michael Sene from Deliverr one of the most popular 3PL providers for Amazon sellers and more.
Ensure your inventory can meet the increased consumer demand
If you’ve been selling for more than a year on Amazon, go back to your reports for last year’s holiday season and see how your sales were impacted by the holiday season.
If this is your first year in FBA, it might serve you well to check out a product research tool with historical sales data such as Market Intelligence.
Because we know not all sales are distributed evenly in a category, you may want to look into how specific sellers have fared in the past over the holidays if their business is mature enough to have historical data.
When comparing sales with individual products, look for common competitors or similar-sized sellers in your market.
Be aware of shipping deadlines
Unfortunately, it’s too late if you haven’t already made your fulfillment order for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The last day an arriving order could be guaranteed in stock by Black Friday and Cyber Monday was November 2nd.
On the bright side, you can do your part to avoid any issues for Christmas by making sure your inventory arrives at Amazon’s fulfillment center by December 1st to ensure your product is available and stocked up by Christmas to avoid your product being out of stock for holiday shoppers.
While Amazon is usually very thorough with these dates, it never hurts to stay on top by checking Seller Central’s announcements periodically to keep track of any changes.
Optimize your product listings
Often overlooked until it’s too late, ensuring your product listing is optimized can be incredibly valuable during the holiday season. Additionally, the term “optimized” can admittedly be vague when used as a catch-all term, so let’s get specific on what that means.
When we say optimized regarding your listing, we mean a few different things. Overall, you want your products to be presentable, easily understandable to customers, informative, attractive to shoppers, and visible to anyone looking for your product.
You can achieve these aspects by enhancing your product photography and copy. The perfect product photography for your product listing takes care of the presentability and attractiveness while helping with the informative aspect by showing potential use cases for your product. Also, it’s a good time to double-check that your product photography meets Amazon guidelines and avoid any potential issues during this critical time.
The other half of optimizing your listing involves the written copy on your product detail page. This entails utilizing tools such as Keyword Research, Listing Builder, and Listing Analyzer to make certain your listing indexes for all search keywords customers might use to find your product. Just remember your customers are human beings, so don’t sacrifice readability for keyword indexing and utilize all the space Amazon gives you to inform and sell your product.
Plan your advertising strategy
Recently, we took a look into how sellers should handle advertising during major sales events in the run-up to the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale. Check it out for key insights and invaluable data on how significant increases in traffic and sales can skew your advertising campaigns juxtaposed to more standard sales periods.
Needless to say, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce. Understanding how the math and trends will change during Black Friday through New Year’s Day will yield dividends by preventing wasteful spending and racking up sales through the right strategies.
Consider creating coupons and promotions
It’s easy to lose track as a seller, but consider how you make your purchases. Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is often overlooked with all that’s on a seller’s plate during these hectic times.
And we all love a good deal, right?
Especially during the holiday season as sales volume can increase drastically, it may be worth including coupons and promotions to increase sales.
A major chunk of the Black Friday and holiday shopping audience are hunting for deals, steals, and major markdowns. Giving them what they’re looking for can give your product the edge over the competition, especially those with a cheaper price, brand name, or better reviews.
Of course, selling on Amazon is a business so don’t go too crazy with the coupons. But depending on your product, the sales volume could very well lead to more profits for your business by providing your product at a cheaper price. For many shoppers, seeing that markdown price and the money saved by buying now is one of the most important factors that can lead to a purchase.
Monitor performance and adjust accordingly
As always, monitor sales performance throughout the holidays and adjust your plans appropriately. And not just the performance of your own products, but the competition as well.
Tracking competitors in Competitor Intelligence becomes even more crucial during this time when the stakes are the highest.
Within Competitor Intelligence, you’ll be able to track rank changes, price changes, and virtually everything you could want to know about a competitor. You can even set up notifications, so you can stay informed and react accordingly to competitors offering deals.
Wrapping It Up
Although time is running thin to make changes to make Black Friday 2022 one to remember, there’s still plenty you can do to go into the core of the holiday season with confidence.
By checking off these steps and monitoring performance, and making intelligent, data-backed decisions, you can put your products in a prime position to walk away from this season as a major winner.
Are YOU missing out on thousands of dollars because of hidden Amazon inventory and fulfillment fees?
Happy new year! On this installment of Follow The Data, host Cam Yoder chats with Joseph Abitol, founder of Seller Locker on how you can start 2021 on the right foot by saving your business from hidden yet costly Amazon FBA fees!
While most FBA sellers just accept Amazon-related fees as the cost of business and focus solely on driving sales, Joseph Abitol explains this is a mistake that could be costing your business a hefty amount of cash.
Well, a penny saved is a penny earned. But how exactly do you earn this money?
Cam and Joseph dive headfirst into how to identify the areas where you might be losing money. Additionally, Joseph provides a quick three-step process to remedy those losses!
Need proof of SellerLocker’s methods? Joseph shares his screen and showcases how one seller recovered over $400,000 in fees! (6:04)
In this space, unfortunately it’s common that “gurus” will use inflated or false numbers to showcase their alleged expertise. But this isn’t that. If there were any doubt about sketchy math, Joseph provides the proof that others won’t show.
The three-step process Joseph recommends that all sellers can do, with or without SellerLocker (8:36)
SellerLocker originated as a tool for the elite sellers on Amazon, but has developed methods that every seller can use to be reimbursed for lost money. Depending on the size of your business, this is an explosive, groundbreaking method to help improve your bottom line.
When you sell on Amazon, it’s easy to trust the system in place. But given the massive amounts of lost money, should sellers be skeptical? (11:30)
Cam asks the hard-hitting question. If this money has been missing, how can sellers trust the system in place? It’s less devious than you think, and Joseph breaks down why the reimbursed money and how Amazon already reimburses sellers for some of these fees you may not be aware of.
In step one, Joseph shows you how to open a claim. And too many sellers stop there. Following up on your claim is the only way to get your money back, and SellerLocker has methods to automate this process so you can save money automatically.
Always keep your receipts! This isn’t just a helpful tip for shoppers, it’s also one for Amazon sellers. When reporting these issues, Amazon asks for proof through documentation, just as a store will ask for a receipt to issue a return. SellerLocker showcases what documents you’ll need, and how to create a system to organize your documents.
Closing advice from Joseph on getting into ecommerce in 2021 (30:24)
Is 2021 too late to get into the ecommerce game? Nope! Even Joseph’s dad is looking to get into the selling space to take advantage of the massive amounts of money sellers are making. With the right tools and strategy, you could be one of them.
A special thanks to Joseph for hopping on the pod and sharing these invaluable insights! SellerLocker is a great software tool that automates this money-saving process for you that we highly recommend checking out!
When starting your Amazon FBA business you’re taking a risk. One false move could cost you precious time and money or worse. A mistake when looking for what to sell on Amazon FBA could send your business crashing down before it even begins. The Amazon ecosystem can be confusing to navigate, but by arming yourself with plenty of information, you can maximize your chances for success.
So if you’re a newer Amazon FBA seller, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes to avoid when starting your FBA journey. Most of these are centered on the Private Label selling experience since over half of Amazon FBA sellers have one or more Private Label products.
#1 – Following the wrong resources
It’s extremely easy—maybe a little too easy—to find courses, gurus or service providers that give out or sell lists of the “best products to sell on Amazon.” If you see someone selling or giving out “hot product ideas,” run away.
There’s a huge market for courses, gurus, and consulting services centered around the Amazon FBA seller journey. And it’s not hard to see why. Amazon can be confusing, to say the least, and people want to be told how to be successful. The problem is, when everyone takes the same advice, especially when it comes to products, it can lead to oversaturated markets. That means it can be exceptionally hard to generate visibility and drive sales. A market can be great, but if a few hundred sellers all source that same product, the supply can overtake the demand, leaving you with high competition and a bunch of inventory that’s too hard to sell.
#2 – Following trend markets
Just like you ran from the gurus and best product lists, do the same for trendy markets. Chasing trends can be extremely risky, especially as a newer seller. They’re only really profitable for those who are really, really early to the party.
For an example of this, look no further than 2017’s fidget spinner:
In late 2017, the fidget spinner made some early sellers a lot of money. But as more people hopped on the bandwagon, demand crashed, and a lot of money was lost. Think of it this way, if a product is trending on social media or TV, you’re probably too late to the party. Even if a market looks amazing, with tons of sellers moving thousands of units with low review quantities, you probably won’t have enough time to capitalize on it. On the short end, it’s going to take you two months to get your product to the market. And by that time, public hype will have started to die down.
If you do hop into a market that quickly becomes saturated, many sellers find themselves in pricing wars with their competitors, limiting their profit margins. This could lead you to sell below cost and lose money.
The people that profit from a trend market either get extremely lucky with timing or they have a low cost (meaning they are a manufacturer) or a ton of capital to pour into a product to drive and hold ranking. Everyone else will likely end up taking a financial hit.
#3 – Not thoroughly researching restrictions/barriers for your desired market
There are quite a few categories on Amazon that have a required approval process to begin selling. For these categories, you may need to submit formal documentation and invoicing. You may also have to pay an upfront fee to be permitted to sell in the category. This can be disastrous for new sellers hoping to hop into a category quickly and start selling. Make sure you have taken the time to understand categories that require this upfront work by checking out Amazon’s approval process. Additionally, there are also specific products that have different restrictive barriers.
#4 – Sourcing low-quality products
If you are planning on selling a private label product, make sure it’s high quality. Sourcing a low-quality product can doom your Amazon venture from the start. Reviews are extremely hard to generate on Amazon, and a few negative reviews early on can sink a listing in a flash. Take the time to order samples and analyze durability, functionality, and overall quality to address any concerns that could drive complaints from buyers. Also, take the time to read through negative reviews from your competition and see if there are any issues that you can improve on. You may even want to purchase a few of your competitor’s products to compare to your samples as a quality check.
#5 – Sourcing an expensive product (for that market)
Another thing to be aware of is all the hidden costs of starting a private label business. Until you actually get started with the selling process, it can be difficult to understand all the costs associated with an FBA business. Between shipping, sourcing, Amazon fees, PPC, promotions, listing creation and more, there’s a lot of costs to be aware of before you jump in. At Viral Launch, we actually have a tool that can help you with initial cost estimates. Amazon also has some great resources about referral fees by category and shipping tiers you should check out before getting started.
While it’s extremely important to have a high-quality product, if you cannot match or beat the majority of your competition on price, it’s probably not advantageous to enter the market. We recommend being sure you can break even by selling at a lower price than everyone on page one. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will afford you some flexibility to adjust pricing with fluctuations in the market.
Keep in mind that while quality is important, it is extremely hard to sell a higher priced item based on quality on Amazon. You’re allowed limited space for copy and images and shoppers are typically looking for low prices.
#6 – Selling a product you’re passionate about
This one might surprise people. It might make sense to some to sell a product you’re knowledgeable or passionate about, but it can often do more harm than good. Sourcing a product you’re passionate about can cloud your judgment, lead to mistakes in pricing and make it harder to bail out if a product just isn’t selling. While it’s not wrong to sell something you’re passionate about, it can cause you to react emotionally rather than logically. So just remember to focus on the bottom line.
The 12 Most Common Amazon FBA Mistakes to Avoid – Video Version Check out the video version of this blog below and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe:
#7 – Not inspecting a product
This is another note for private label sellers and it goes hand in hand with sourcing a low-quality product mistake. It’s important to ensure the product that comes off the manufacturing line and to your customers is in good shape and quality. Many sellers hire an inspection agency that will go in and observe the manufacturing process to check out inventory and monitor any defects or flaws. This step can save you significant time and money in the long run because you’ll catch mistakes before the inventory is sent to the United States or Amazon.
#8 – Sourcing a patented product
When looking for private label products to source from a manufacturer, it’s important to consider patents. In some cases, sellers will have a product manufactured that’s actually under a patent. Most likely, manufacturers you’re buying from won’t know the product is patented and will try it to sell to anyone who will buy it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s legal. Imagine investing a bunch of capital in product inventory only to get a cease and desist or lawsuit from the patent holder.
#9 – Not putting enough effort into building your listing (including photos)
If you’re a private label seller, you own the product listing. That means you have to set it up. You’ve put a lot of effort into finding and sourcing your next great product. It would only make sense to put the same amount of effort into creating your listing, right? Unfortunately, many Amazon FBA sellers don’t subscribe to that notion. Between your photos, title, bullets, and product description you don’t have much space to capture a customer’s attention and explain what your product is and does. That’s why it’s so important to use the limited space you have to its full advantage.
Effective listing copy accomplishes two goals. It provides persuasive sales copy while also helping you to index for valuable keywords. Before launching a listing, make sure to do extensive keyword research. Find the most relevant keywords for your product and make sure they’re in your listing, most importantly in the title and bullets. And, make sure you’re writing engaging and accurate copy for your product. If you’re not comfortable writing your own copy, check out the listing optimization service from Viral Launch.
As for photography, many sellers think a smartphone photo and a few clicks in Photoshop will do the trick, but they’re mistaken. Professional photography can play a huge role in whether or not a product fails on Amazon. Because Amazon is such a crowded marketplace and you have limited space to sell customers on your product, including high-quality photos can truly make a difference in sales.
#10 – Violating Terms of Service (with reviews or by attacking competition)
There are a lot of companies that pitch different “black hat” (against Terms of Service) strategies. Most of these are centered around generating reviews. While these strategies may seem tempting, Amazon heavily polices review generation. If you get caught paying for (or otherwise incentivizing) reviews, you’re putting your selling privileges at risk. Engaging in review manipulation tactics is common on Amazon, and many sellers get away with it initially, but Amazon has been seriously cracking down on review fraud and the impact can be extremely detrimental to your business.
#11 – Not monitoring your listing or data
For private label sellers, your product listing is sort of like a living, breathing organism. There are ups and downs and changes from day-to-day. Far too many private label sellers throw their listing up and think they’re done. It’s important to continue monitoring your listing to collect data and see how it’s working. You should also keep track of how competitor listings are doing and the category as a whole. Make sure to monitor your ranking for important keywords and ad campaign data as well, using those insights to develop a long-term strategy. Getting your listing up is only half the battle. Tweaking and optimizing based on feedback is the other half.
#12 – Putting your product into the wrong category
As a private label seller, one part of setting up a product listing is deciding what category your product will be listed in. During this step, it’s important to place your product in the proper category. Some sellers try to categorize their product in a lower competition market as a way to earn the Best Seller Badge. However, many searches filter to a specific subcategory, so incorrectly categorizing your product could filter you out of crucial search results.
Sellers can look up their product in Seller Central to determine potential categories, just make sure your product is relevant to the one you choose. If my first aid kit, for example, is not for survival or tactical purposes, there are several options below I would want to avoid in terms of category choice. More than likely, I would want to be in generic first aid kits under Health and Personal Care:
Learning from Your Mistakes as an Amazon FBA Seller
This is the part where I wish we could tell you a magical secret that would make you wildly successful with your Amazon FBA business and richer than you could have ever dreamed. But on Amazon—and in life—these magic shortcuts just don’t exist. The only way to maximize your chances for success as an Amazon FBA seller is through hard work, data leveraging, and constant research and education.
It’s also safe to say that you’ll make some mistakes. The hope is, however, that those mistakes are minor and few and far between. But, when you do make mistakes it’s important to learn from them. Hopefully, this blog has helped open your eyes to things you’ll want to keep in mind and help you from making a big mistake that could doom your FBA business.
Ready to ditch the corporate life and sell Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)? Not sure how to get started?
Or maybe you’re already selling Amazon FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) and looking to make the switch …
If you’re interested in FBA vs. FBM each program has its pros and cons. But ultimately, FBA provides an unmatched, hands-off selling experience with the ability to scale. For these reasons, many sellers prefer FBA to FBM.
FBA is a method of fulfilling products by having Amazon store, pick, pack and ship your inventory. Through FBA, Amazon even handles returns. Although there are additional fees, setup, and tax obligations, FBA makes it easy to quickly start and scale your business. lot of the content in this blog can also be found from our How To Sell series! Check out the video if you’d like to get started on your Seller Journey:
Why Would I Want to Sell Through Amazon’s FBA Program?
You don’t have to store boxes of inventory at your house. One major benefit to selling FBA is that Amazon handles a good portion of the selling process, namely the most time-consuming portions. Although you still have to set up an Amazon Seller account (we’ll talk more about how to do this later), choose a product to sell, list the product, and have the inventory sent to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, Amazon takes care of the rest of the process with FBA. So when a customer orders your product, Amazon handles the fulfillment logistics of picking, packing, and shipping. In their words, “You sell it, we ship it.”
Once your products are ready to sell and in stock at Amazon’s warehouses, they are automatically eligible for Prime 2-day shipping. Although it is possible to be a Prime seller through FBM, you must meet extensive criteria to be eligible. And with an estimated 112 million Amazon Prime members, or about 62% of U.S. households subscribed to Prime in 2019, you can’t afford NOT to have Prime shipping. Numbers like that are hard to ignore when it comes to the sales potential that Prime provides.
What are the Different Methods of Selling on Amazon FBA?
Now that we’ve established which program you should sell through (FBA), let’s talk about methods of selling, or where to get inventory. There are many options, all of which appeal to different kinds of people. Some are more hands-on, while others allow for higher earning potential. Three of the most common methods include Retail Arbitrage, Wholesale, and Private Label.
Retail Arbitrage – This is a process of finding discounted products in retail stores (such as Walmart, Target or Kohls) and reselling them on Amazon. To make it profitable, the items need to be bought at a significant discount and sold at a higher price on Amazon. You can sell other branded products using this method and it is often a lower risk option, since you can check before purchasing the items if you will be able to make a profit or not. You can also search liquidation stores or online sites for pallets of returned items that can be resold.
Wholesale – To sell wholesale, a more unique method, you must find a manufacturer (local or abroad) and convince them to allow you to sell on their behalf. The smartest way to do this is to create an official business or LLC, acquire a wholesale license, then reach out to manufacturers/wholesalers to discuss a contract for selling their items. Getting the business to agree to providing you exclusive selling rights can lower your competition as well.
Private Label – Private Label selling involves working with a manufacturer to produce items and add your own brand name and logo to the products. As long as there is no patent on the product model, you can legally sell under this method and even work with manufacturers to create product modifications or additions to make your brand’s product stand out. Many private label sellers use Alibaba.com to connect with manufacturers, get samples, purchase inventory and more.
How Do I Get Started with FBA?
There are two account options when selling on Amazon: Individual and Professional. With Individual Selling Plans, you pay $0.99 per item every time a product is purchased. For those sellers making fewer than 40 sales per month, this may be more cost effective than paying the $39.99 Professional Plan subscription fee. These fees are on top of other FBA fees, which we’ll get into more later.
If you haven’t already created a Seller account, you will need to set one up. If you already have an account as an FBM seller, you can easily switch over to FBA inside your Seller Central account.
For retail arbitrage sellers selling FBA, you will need to add the product to your inventory in Seller Central and follow the steps to create labels for your items, which can be printed at home. Once you have printed labels, you can package different items in one large box to be shipped to an Amazon fulfillment center and print a shipping label for that box as well.
Keep in mind that you will need to pay for these shipping costs out of pocket, plus any materials needed for shipping (labels, boxes, tape, scale, etc.). Additionally, Amazon may require you to send inventory to multiple fulfillment centers depending on their inventory levels, which could increase your shipping costs.
Amazon does not require sellers to sticker products at the SKU level as long as you have a manufacturer barcode for the product. But other sellers with the same product (that are also “stickerless”) could get mixed in with your inventory in an Amazon warehouse and could be picked up and shipped to a customer instead of your stock. If their product is used, lower quality or even counterfeit, you could receive poor reviews, a higher return rate or even be suspended by Amazon for counterfeit sales (even if the product is not actually your inventory).
If you choose to sell Private Label or Wholesale, you’ll want to find a good product to source as well as a trustworthy manufacturer. Check out our podcast about finding a good manufacturer to make sure you make a smart partnership as well as our podcast about sourcing the right product to make a sourcing decision that meets your goals.
You can choose to label items yourself (following the method mentioned for Retail Arbitrage) as long as each unit has a scannable barcode or you can pay to have Amazon prep and label each item for an additional per-item fee. Fees can be as low as $.70 per item to as much as $2.20 per item.
When your shipment is ready to be sent to Amazon, make sure you have an organized shipping plan that includes easy tracking so you can ensure your inventory makes it to the desired fulfillment center. To learn more about carriers who partner with Amazon to deliver shipment to their warehouses, visit their page featuring Partner Carrier options.
Once Amazon has your inventory and your listing(s) is live, Amazon will handle the delivery of purchased items to customers as well as customer service throughout the process. Sellers just need to ensure their item is always in stock and ready for customers to buy. Check out our blog on inventory best practices to make sure you never get behind or run out of stock.
What are the Fees for Selling through Amazon FBA?
Because your inventory is stored, packed and shipped by Amazon when you sell FBA, there are additional fees associated versus FBM. Earlier in 2018, Amazon restructured their FBA fees into two fee structures:
Fulfillment Fees are per unit, based on the size and weight of each item and include the complete picking, packing, shipping and handling, customer service and return process for each item.
Monthly Inventory Fees are assessed per cubic foot based on the total size of your items. Inventory fees increase for Q4, so it’s important to calculate your costs for each quarter. Below is a breakdown of Amazon’s FBA fees. Make sure to double check your math with an FBA Calculator for help determining your costs before you source.
Other potential fees sellers could incur include long-term storage fees (if items in your inventory have sat in a fulfillment center for 6 months or more) and additional storage fees if you choose to participate in Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment Program (more on this later).
Things to Keep in Mind as You Start Your Amazon FBA Business
Although there was once a time when online sellers could get away with not paying sales tax, those days have come and gone. In June of 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of South Dakota in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc. Now, one-by-one, states are starting to enact economic nexus legislation.
Because the decision is new at the time of writing this post, it will take some time for the effects to play out. We encourage sellers to keep an eye on internet sales tax by state, and stay informed on the latest news in Amazon sales tax. Sellers should connect with a tax consultant versed in online sales tax regulations to avoid slip ups or potential mishaps in their FBA businesses.
Did you know that you can fulfill orders from sales channels outside of Amazon.com through the Amazon FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment Program? Rather than having multiple different inventory locations and shipping methods for your different online sales sites, store all of your inventory in Amazon’s warehouses and let them pick, pack, ship and handle your items to customers, whether the sale is through Amazon.com or elsewhere. There are additional fees associated with the fulfillment process for multi-channel orders, but you can skip the headache of storing, packing and shipping your items and let Amazon do the heavy lifting.
If you are selling retail arbitrage or wholesale, the Buy Box is going to be very important to you. The Buy Box is the box on the right hand side of a listing page with the price, seller and shipping information as well as the “add to cart” button. If there are multiple sellers on a listing, they will be listed below the seller who has “won” the Buy Box. Since the majority of buyers purchase from the seller who has “won” the Buy Box, winning is critical to increasing sales. Although there are several factors considered to “win” the Buy Box, fulfillment method is a crucial component. And FBA sellers are significantly more likely to secure the Buy Box over other sellers.
If Amazon is handling the customer service for your product under FBA, you shouldn’t have to worry about reviews right? Wrong! Reviews are a huge driver of sales, so whether you’re selling wholesale, retail arbitrage or private label, bad reviews and a low star rating can tank your sales rate. And, with the ability to filter by star rating, too many bad reviews could effectively leave you out of a user’s search results.
For private label sellers, positive product reviews are key to buyer trust in your product quality. If your product is similar to several others in the market, a better star rating could guarantee your product is chosen over your competitor’s. For wholesale and retail arbitrage, positive seller reviews are extremely important to establishing trust in your brand’s quality. Buyers want to hear from their peers if they can trust purchases coming from your seller account or if they should be concerned with used or damaged goods.
There’s been a lot of talk around reviews and Amazon cracking down on review fraud, so making sure you don’t violate Amazon’s Terms of Service for reviews is vital to avoiding suspension. Check out our video about Amazon’s recent “review crackdown”:
Final Thoughts: Learn from Failure
Look, it’s no secret – Amazon FBA can be a confusing and difficult platform to navigate. You’re bound to make some mistakes. What’s important is that you learn from your mistakes and minimize missteps in the future. Following our Amazon FBA guidelines is a good start, but to be truly successful, sellers should keep seeking out new information and staying up to date on changes.
There’s an old quote that states: “Complacency is the enemy of progress.”
Getting complacent or lazy at any stage of your FBA business journey is a recipe for disaster as it requires constant maintenance and upkeep to stay on top. By working hard and arming yourself with up-to-date information, you’ll have the tools you need to achieve Amazon FBA success.
You want to start selling on Amazon, but you’re wondering about Amazon seller fees? Seller fees include:
Storage and shipping fees (if applicable)
The total fee depends on what products you sell and how you choose to sell them.
Selling on Amazon is an amazing opportunity for individuals looking to make money online. All you have to do is find a great product to sell, buy it, and put it up on Amazon. Oh yeah, and pay Amazon seller fees.
Amazon seller fees vary depending on the product you sell and the way you choose to sell on Amazon. If you sell under an Individual account, fees are different than if you sold under a Professional account. Fees also vary depending on how you ship your products.
Every selling option has its own set fees. So let’s break them down.
If you are selling items on Amazon under an Individual seller account, you will be charged a $0.99 fee for each item that you sell. So if a shopper finds your product, adds it to the cart, and checks out, you’re being charged $0.99. If a shopper finds your product and adds 3 of it to their cart and checks out, you’re being charged $2.97.
If you’re just selling your old textbooks or lightly used products from you garage, this fee is no big deal. You’re probably just happy to get rid of what was taking up space in your house. But if you’re selling products as a side-hustle or growing an entire brand, the $0.99 fee starts to add up and cut into your margins.
That’s why Amazon offers another option. If you’re selling more than 40 items a month, you will want to look into a Professional selling account. With a Professional account, you pay a flat fee of $39.99/month and have no per-item fees.
The second fee sellers have to pay is a referral fee. Depending on the product category, the referral fees may be higher or lower. For example, Amazon device accessories have a 45% referral fee, but personal computers only have a 6% referral fee.
If you’re selling an Amazon Echo charger, that means 65% of the selling price for that product goes straight to Amazon in referral fees. And if 65% of the selling price is less than $1.00, Amazon will charge you their minimum fee of $1.00. See the full breakdown of referral fees by category.
For orders that are packed and shipped by the seller, Amazon adds the shipping cost to the sale price before calculating the referral fee. For example, if you are selling salt and pepper shakers for $12.99 with $2.38 shipping charge, your referral fee would be $2.31.
For all media items, sellers also have to pay a closing fee of $1.80 per item sold. Media categories include Books, DVDs, Music, Software & Computer/Video Games, Videos, and Video Game Consoles.
FBA Shipping Fees
Sellers who are part of the Fulfillment by Amazon program also pay FBA fees. Sellers are charged for storage, order fulfillment, and optional services like gift wrapping. This is in addition to the $39.99 they pay each month for a Professional Seller account, Referral fees and any Closing fees.
Amazon inventory and storage fees vary based on product size and time of year. If you have a standard size product, storage fees are $0.69 per cubic foot January through September and $2.40 per cubic foot October through December. If you have an oversized product, storage fees are $0.48 per cubic foot January through September and $1.20 per cubic foot October through December.
Amazon order fulfillment fees for your product depend on size and weight. Because storage and fulfillment fees are dependent on size and weight, these fees are important in your product selection process.
For instance, laundry baskets might look like a decent product market. But if the price point is about $24.97 and Referral fees are $3.75 and FBA fees are $18.62 because of the size and weight of the item, that leaves you with almost no margin. And then you still have to subtract the landed cost of the item.
When you subtract Amazon seller fees and calculate profit, a market that once looked appealing with $13,000 monthly revenue may not match your goals anymore. You can use the Viral Launch FBA Calculator to see your potential profit after Amazon fees. Or you can access the cost calculator inside the Market Intelligence web app or Chrome plugin. Make sure you’re getting the most accurate calculation by adjusting the size, weight, and landed cost of your product.
Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and do Amazon search optimization at the same time? Join hosts Cameron Yoder and CEO Casey Gauss for this conversation with Viral Launch Lead Copywriter Yale Schalk. And find out how to set up the best possible listing with these 3 Amazon SEO tips.
Contrary to common belief, getting ranking on Amazon is not about lowering your BSR. It’s about getting sales attributed to a keyword. Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and capture all your product’s keywords at the same time?
I’m Cameron Yoder, 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 30,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 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.
In today’s episode I sit down with our Lead Listing Specialist, Yale Schalk, to talk about the best practices for writing an Amazon listing. We’ll talk about the keyword research, writing for Amazon SEO and how to convert shoppers. Let’s jump in.
So okay, we have Yale in with us today. Casey’s also sitting in on this.
What’s up, guys?
So we’re talking to Yale today about listing optimizations. First, Yale, thank you so much for coming in on the show. How are you feeling about being on the podcast?
Awesome. Awesome, Cam. Really, really excited to debut on our expertly-produced podcast, which by the way I just want to say that everyone should be subscribed to, and you know, every morning you wake up just find your nearest rooftop and shout it and tell everyone. But yeah, excited for that and really excited to kind of jump into some key information that I really know is going to help a lot of people out there.
Yale is also already on the ball with recommending the podcast, which is great. I love it. Yale is our Lead Listing Specialist, okay? And he’s been a veteran writer with 10 years of experience writing about retail products. So he’s written for brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok and is known in the office for his excellent taste in sneakers, okay? So actually Yale, what is your favorite pair of sneakers?
Oh, wow, that’s – it’s literally an impossible thing to answer. You know, obviously, I was raised on Michael Jordan and Air Jordan sneakers, so I can at least narrow it down to that, but from there it’s all bets are off. There’s just too many.
Well, all that being said, Yale is definitely deserving to be on this podcast talking about listing optimization when it comes to Amazon specifically. But before we dive into Amazon-specific SEO and Amazon-specific listing ops, I want Yale – Yale, can you touch on just SEO in general, SEO as a practice?
Absolutely, for sure. So you know, when people think of, you know, the term SEO or, you know, properly search engine optimization, you know they think of Google, right? They think of, you know, their minds go right to Google because Google is this ubiquitous thing that is just out there. So but SEO is not confined to Google. You know, it’s like if you’ve ever seen the movie The Matrix, you know at the end when Neo sees everything in just this digital rain, and it’s just like streaming lines of green code everywhere, you know, I like to think of SEO like that. I think it’s, you know, it’s very much in the fiber of anything that you search on the internet, and it’s necessary, you know, any time that you type something into a search bar.
Yeah, The Matrix.
I love that analogy. If you haven’t seen The Matrix you just missed out on a great analogy.
Watch The Matrix, buy some sneakers, and then you’ll be set. So that’s general SEO, right? So can you move further maybe into like, I don’t know, Amazon or Google specifically?
Absolutely. So the way it works is basically that, you know, the input for a search is almost always language, and then the search algorithm uses that language to return a set of results, and then to get your content in that results list you have to give the algorithm basically what it wants. So then that begs the question, okay, so what does the algorithm want? In terms of Google SEO, that’s about proving credibility with, you know, relevant headings and meta-descriptions and links, and of course language for Amazon. It’s different from the standard SEO set up in that the results exist within Amazon’s platform. You know, for example, you don’t navigate to a different domain when you click on a result. So Google looks for site credibility with links and traffic, while Amazon looks for language, you know, or specifically keywords. So it’s really important for everyone to keep in mind that Amazon is really its own ecosystem when it comes to how searches are conducted and how those searches help determine the results you get when you or, you know, your potential customer, is looking for something.
And I think it’s important to mention that – I think this is a stat from either 2016 or 2017, but over I think it’s like 55% of product searches begin on Amazon. So when it comes to king of search engines, when it comes to product searches, I think Amazon takes the crown.
And that’s something I don’t think a lot of people think of, simply put, Amazon as a search engine. But in fact, like you said, it is, and listings in a sense really are all about SEO when it comes to Amazon specifically. So Yale, would you be able to introduce to us just some tips, maybe three basic tips that you have for everyone when it comes to listing optimization and keyword optimization on Amazon?
Absolutely, for sure. And you know, I think the good set up for this is like, you know, obviously everyone wants the highest visibility for their product. You know, ideally that’s page one. That’s what everyone wants to be on Amazon. So you really cannot afford to overlook the importance of keywords when assembling your product listing. You know you can have, and you know I never tire of saying this, but like you can have breathtaking photos, and you can have the most exquisite product description, but you know, without the proper keywords and the correct placement of those keywords in the listing, you know you’re basically – you know you’ve got a Ferrari with no engine. You know, it’s looking amazing, but it’s not going anywhere. So I just really want to emphasize, you know, first off that, you know, you can’t just throw information together and hope something happens. You know, I can tell you that it won’t. It doesn’t work that way. So it’s vital to get that keyword foundation in place.
So I would say for the first tip is plurals, plurals of words. So Amazon says that they account for plurals of words. So if you search swaddle blanket, you know, you’ll get different results than if you search swaddle blankets. So some listings will have, you know, both the plural and the singular form of the keyword while others won’t. So when someone searches blankets it’s, you know, hard for the algorithm to determine, you know, what exactly that person is expecting. So the algorithm is very smart, but it has its blind spots, and so one of the blind spots is it doesn’t know, you know, for example for this example that, you know, if you’re looking for multi-packs of swaddle blankets or if they’re looking for all the swaddle blankets on Amazon, so having both forms of the word, you know, or multiple forms of those words, those keywords, is really important for you to show up in any search related to your main search terms.
So tip number one, overall is suggesting to use both the singular and plural form of your primary keyword, or how many keywords do you think this would apply to?
I would say as long as you’re starting with your root keyword you want to kind of work in maybe the most common – and this is something that you’ll be able to kind of see in your keyword research, but and you’ll be able to notice patterns of what people are searching for, but usually you’ll just find like those simple little variations, those little, like little degrees of that root word, you know, just plurals and just different tenses of the word that people might throw in there when they’re searching for products.
I think it’s important to mention also, I think one common mistake, and I don’t know if this is one of the tips, but you know, people always want to know am I indexed for this word. So just because you’re indexing for a word does not mean that you’re driving the same amount of keyword power or keyword juice, however you want to refer to it, to those words. So this is an important concept, and you’ll hear more about it.
Let’s go on to tip number two.
Tip number two. Tip number two is keyword stuff the title. Yeah, you heard that right. Keyword stuff the title. So there’s been – this has always sort of been a philosophical debate on, you know, are you going to be rewarded if you keyword stuff? Are you going to be penalized if you keyword stuff? But I can tell you in the case of Amazon, in the Amazon world you’re going to be rewarded. So the title is definitely the most important, you know, real estate in your listing in terms of SEO. So you should really use as many keywords as you can fit, you know, without compromising quality or under-serving your character limit or overstepping that. I mean when you overstep that’s definitely something you’ll be penalized for, but so you know, what do I mean by compromising quality? So you know you have to make sure that you’re showing shoppers the information they’re looking for, like you know, things like ounces or fluid ounces might be important to consider, you know, if they’re considering price, or you know, certain features like dimensions or certifications like organic are there to include. So you know, this tip is really about just including as many super relevant keywords, you know, while leaving just enough space for those important, you know, product tidbits that people are looking for.
And I always like to say, you know, I would much rather have, you know, a 3% lower click through rate because my title isn’t as beautiful but rank for, you know, twice as many keywords or three times as many keywords simply because I’m putting them in the title versus having that super short, you know, elegant, you know, four-word title that has like my brand name and just a few other words. Let’s say it’s a frying pan, so brand, you know, stainless steel frying pan. There are so many additional words that you need to be including in your title to maximize the position and total volume of keywords that you can rank for; well, rank well for. And so yeah, I would much rather have this longer title, rank for so many more keywords than you have this beautiful title that may drive slightly higher click through rates.
Yale, what’s your opinion on having the brand name in a title?
It’s awesome that you mentioned that because I was just going to follow up on that point. Yeah, a thing that I really want to talk about for a second is not insisting on including brand names in titles. I empathize with, you know, every seller that, you know, wants to do that. I mean, everyone wants to have the competitive advantage and get their brand out there, but I would say that you have to apply a pass/fail in terms of your brand name. So look at it this way. You just have to treat it as another keyword, and if there aren’t a ton of people searching for your brand name, then it’s always a good rule of thumb to substitute in an actual, you know, high-volume search term instead of your brand name. And I know that there might be a conception out there that, you know, people aren’t going to see your brand and you know, that’s something like that’s going to be a disadvantage for you, but you know, don’t worry. It will show up – you know, your brand is going to show up in the subheading. You just want to make sure that you make the most use of the title.
Yeah, to summarize it, people, you know, aren’t searching your brand name. If they are searching your brand name they’re going to see it in the search results. It says, you know, by brand in most categories. And even if not, if they’re searching for your brand name they should know what your packaging looks like because you should have cohesive labels or packaging or whatever in your photos. They will recognize your brand. You should not be concerned about them recognizing or not recognizing your brand. And by including that brand name in your title you’re just wasting super, super valuable character space.
I think the question should be what more valuable words you can put into your title that would take the place of your brand name.
Yale, what is tip number three?
Tip three, prioritize keywords and then write your copy. Yeah, this is another thing that I’ve seen a lot where maybe sellers get focused on, you know, really fleshing out their copy, their listing, and they’re focused on, you know, stuffing as much information and even sort of messaging, you know, that they’ve come up with into the listing. But I would say that, as we’ve said, you know keyword is king, and you really have to sort of like lay that foundation first and then, you know, work in your copy from there. You know, again, it seems to make a lot of sense to look at your listing from your sort of branding ideas and everything like that. But you’ve got to get the keywords right, and then you know, then you can provide the insight and wrap everything around that.
I think this fits well, actually, with your second tip, which was keyword stuffing the title. In a lot of cases I think people have a rough time picturing where – and correct me if I’m wrong, Yale, but people have a tough time picturing where to get started with keywords, and so maybe they’ll write – they’ll try to eloquently put together like a string of words that connect well, maybe have some keywords in, and then they’ll try to like piece together other keywords that they want to put into the sentence that they’ve developed.
When in this case you’re saying like no, start with the foundation, like with your title. Let’s say with your title. Start with the foundation of as many keywords of like a bunch of high-end keywords, keywords that are going to convert or have a lot of traffic leading to them. Start with that foundation of all those keywords, and then maybe piece them together. Is that what you’re saying?
Oh, for sure, for sure. I mean you really do, like we said, with the title you really have to get the right keywords up there upfront and you know obviously try to assemble those in, you know, the most beautiful way that you can and sort of balance, you know, walk that line of getting the keywords and getting the product information up there for people, and then from there it’s really just a matter of prioritizing.
Yeah, and this is what I was kind of alluding to earlier that I didn’t want to go into because I didn’t want to steal Yale’s thunder, but just because you are indexed for a word does not mean you are driving the same amount of ranking power. So what this means is just because you have, you know, keyword XYZ in your description that yes, you – or a bullet point or whatever – yes, you will be indexing for that, but just because you are indexing because the word is in a bullet point doesn’t mean you’re driving the optimal amount of power, and you’ll drive that optimal amount of power by having it in the title, preferably the highest volume keywords at the beginning.
Yale, can you touch on just a little bit about how much energy people should be putting into their bullets, into their descriptions or their backend keywords? I think a lot of people tend to freak out about the bullets as much as they do the title. And you already mentioned that the title is going to be your primary keyword ranking driver, but where are the other aspects of a listing when coming into this?
Oh wow, yeah, so you the – yeah, of course, like we said, the title is obviously the most important part, and you know, where the keywords are really prioritized there. But from there I think the most important point for crafting your listing is to keep in mind that buyers by and large are on Amazon to basically scan information. They’re not there to, you know, read novel length listings, and a lot of the times yes, you know, obviously your product information is obviously helpful when they’re, you know, comparing products and trying to make a decision. But a lot of the time they’re just scanning that information, and they need it very succinctly. They need it very concisely, and that’s really going to a lot of times be the difference between, you know, someone adding your product to cart and checking out and, you know, maybe passing over and going with someone else. So yeah, definitely keep that in mind. You know, think of it in terms of a priority list. So the title is the number one priority, then the bullets number two, product description three, and so on. So yeah, definitely assemble your information accordingly.
Yale, is there anything else that you’d want people listening to know, even if it’s just in general, about listing ops or if you’d want to summarize in any way? What more, what else do people need to know?
I would say, you know, I think the thing that comes to mind most for me is that each segment of the Amazon selling process is so important. And you know, that’s really why Viral Launch exists. You know, we exist to help you get that right. You know, so I would say use our software. Get in touch with us to do your product photography. Get in touch with us to do your listings. You know, we really have – we’ve really refined and really perfected the entire process. So you know, we really are here to help you be successful.
That’s great. Casey, do you have anything to add?
No, Yale’s just been killing it. You know I think that too many people – you know, I’ve definitely seen plenty of people say, you know, I don’t have time for keyword research. I don’t have time to put into my listing so I just threw something up, and I’m moving on. Essentially people just look at it as just another box to check, and the thing is like Yale mentioned at the very beginning of the listing, or sorry, the podcast, the listing is absolutely critical to achieving success on Amazon, especially as you continue to enter more and more competitive markets. The greater the level of competition, the greater your listing needs to be from a, you know, keyword structure standpoint. So if this is not on point it’s going to be so much more difficult for you to drive rankings, to sustain rankings and to drive sales. And so if you aren’t willing to take the time to invest in this listing, you know, I think your Amazon FBA journey is going to be pretty difficult.
This is one of those – it’s another one of those no-brainers. It goes with photos. Like why would you not have the best photos possible? Why would you not have the best listing optimization possible? If you don’t optimize this, if you don’t put energy or effort into it, then you’re not going to get the results that you could if you would have put that time or those resources into it.
Yeah, it’s just another corner that people like to cut that really ends up biting them, you know, later.
Don’t cut corners. In this case one of those corners is listing optimization. So do not cut listing optimization.
Yeah, I got good feedback from somebody at a conference that I spoke at this weekend, and they loved the – you know, everybody’s looking for that silver bullet. And we say you don’t need a silver bullet. You need an arsenal. And one of those weapons in your armory needs to be an amazing listing.
Well thank you so much, Yale, for joining us and for providing so much valuable information on listing ops.
Well, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for listening to Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information about how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and check us out on YouTube. For those of you who are looking for your next great product I have a series of product discovery walk-throughs videos on our YouTube channel that show you really how to leverage the tool. Just search Viral Launch on YouTube, go to our page and look for my face in one of the videos. Don’t forget to leave us a review and let us know what you think of the show. And if you really like the show and you like what we’re doing here at Viral Launch, tell your fellow Amazon sellers about us. We want to be a resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends, spread the word and share the show with other Amazon sellers.
Thank you, again, so much for listening. Feel absolutely free to hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you have any questions or feedback. And if you want to be featured on the show or have an Amazon related question or an idea for an episode, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Also feel free to just hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you want to be featured on the show, too. We can always take those questions and feature them on the show if you don’t want to call in. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.
Change is a constant with sales tax. Thousands of sales tax changes occur annually, affecting rates, rules, and regulations: Exemptions expire and are imposed on new products; rates increase and decrease; jurisdictions expand, contract, or even cease to exist; and so forth. Such changes affect any retailer making sales in the affected jurisdiction. But many of the changes coming in 2018 target online sellers in general, and specifically Amazon’s marketplace vendors.
States target online marketplace sellers
Online marketplace sales topped $1 trillion in 2016, according to an Internet Retailer research report. Yet state sales tax revenue isn’t sharing the meteoric rise of the internet marketplace. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that states missed out on up to $13 billion in tax revenue from untaxed remote sales in 2017 alone, roughly $6 billion of which was from online marketplace sales.
Therefore, states are redoubling their efforts to let no online sale go untaxed. Now that Amazon is collecting tax on sales of its own products in all states that have a sales tax, states are targeting marketplace sellers that, until recently, largely escaped the attention of state tax authorities.
New remote seller requirements took effect in Maine and Rhode Island in late 2017. Washington state is taxing marketplace sales as of Jan. 1, 2018. Under a new law in Pennsylvania, referrers, remote sellers, and marketplace facilitators must collect tax on their sales by March 1 of this year. A similar law in Minnesota, the first to be enacted, is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2019.
Yet these aren’t the only laws targeting non-collecting remote sellers. In Virginia, out-of-state vendors that store property in an in-state warehouse or shipping facility, even one owned by another party, are considered to have a physical presence in the state and an obligation to collect and remit tax on their Virginia sales. And as of Dec. 1, 2017, certain remote vendors who “purposefully or systematically exploit the Mississippi market” are considered liable for tax on their sales in Mississippi.
Furthermore, a handful of states may have found an effective way to work around the physical presence precedent that has long prevented states from taxing remote retailers. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Rhode Island now maintain that the presence of software or web cookies on an in-state device establishes a physical presence and an obligation to collect and remit tax. Legal action is pending over at least two of these policies; if the states emerge victorious, others may follow their lead.
All’s fair in love and sales tax
That’s what’s happened with Colorado’s use tax notification and reporting requirement, which the Supreme Court of the United States let stand. Vermont, Washington, and several other states have enacted similarly onerous reporting requirements on non-collecting retailers.
The full impact of these requirements has yet to hit. In the coming months, residents of states with use tax reporting laws will start receiving reports of their purchase activity from non-collecting vendors. They’ll be informed that the vendors are required to send similar information to the state tax authorities. How would you react to such news? Would you rather pay tax at checkout, or have your personal information turned over to the state?
The trend is clear: States will not stop until they can collect tax revenue from most, if not all, remote sellers. If that happens, retailers that don’t currently collect will need to deal with rate changes, new and expiring exemptions, and other state and local sales tax changes.
Merry Christmas listeners! We’ve got a present for you: 7 tips for your FBA business courtesy of our CEO, Casey Gauss. As you set your business goals for 2018, these tips will help you focus on what will take your business to the next level. Looking to sell for the first time? Even better. Listen closely for advice about what pitfalls to avoid and what will set you apart from other Amazon Sellers.
Reinvesting your Q4 profits is the best way to get the most out of your extra earnings. Think about what seasonal products you might be able to turn around in time for upcoming Q1 holidays.
Looking for more reliable information from the Viral Launch? Check out our Dispelling Myths Series. Viral Launch takes on 4 common myths in the Amazon FBA community.
Want to be on the show? Have your own story of entrepreneurial success? We’re working on an episode that features our listeners! Leave us a voicemail at (317) 721-6590 with stories or questions about your Amazon business.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and happy New Year. It’s the holiday season and the end of Q4 2017. As we head into 2018 we want to help you focus on what’s going to make your business as profitable and successful as possible.
Today I’m giving out seven tips to grow your FBA business to help you get in the success mindset heading into the New Year. I am Casey Gauss.
And I’m Cameron Yoder, your hosts 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 28,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 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. Let’s dive in.
Cool, guys. So we’ll start kind of in the source, launch, dominate order. Tip number one coming to you through the kind of source perspective, tip number one is pay attention to the sales-to-review ratio when entering a market. Really what this means, you know, we call this the ROI ratio, but really what sales-to-review ratio is, it’s just a very simple calculation, estimated monthly sales divided by total review quantity, and really this is a calculation that does two things for you. One, it is showing you kind of what the reward is versus the amount of work you have to put in. So if I want the reward of selling 1000 units of this widget per month, then the amount of work I have to put in is to get to, you know, X number of reviews. So let’s say 100 reviews, right? So if I only need to get 100 reviews to sell 1000 units, that’s a sales review ratio of 10. And that sounds like a pretty awesome scenario considering or assuming that all the other metrics are good, so price point, margin and so forth. But you know that’s far better than having to get 10,000 reviews to sell 1000 units, right? So the sales-to-review ratio, just a really simple quick calculation to, you know, as this kind of litmus test for should I consider this market or not.
I’m still amazed at how many people don’t take this into consideration when entering new markets. And it’s a really simple concept. Like it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Really it makes sense if you’re looking at a market and you see a bunch of sales and a ton of reviews, then of course you’re going to have to, in order to compete well, have to get that review count up to match what the market’s at. But if you’re in a market with a low number of reviews and high sales, obviously that’s opportune for you to enter and do well.
Yeah. Thanks, Cam. So tip number two, go wide, not deep. So a lot of people are always looking for that home run product that is going to, you know, make them wealthy overnight. We have a guy named Brock Johnson coming onto the podcast. In six months he sold like $6 million worth of one product. That’s a unicorn. It’s very tough to find unicorns if you’ve never seen one. So anyways, you know, it’s so much more practical to be able to go really wide and not very deep. So what that looks like is, you know, if I were jumping into selling on Amazon this is the strategy that I would take because this is what I see kind of a lot of people having success with. Anyways, what this looks like is going after products where maybe the maximum sales potential for that market is $10,000 or $15,000, $20,000, some fairly low amount. I guess it’s all relative because for a lot of people $10,000 a month is insane. But essentially what you’re looking to do is enter markets where competition is not very high and you know, there’s lessons in it for the big players with the big budgets who are going to, you know, maybe use black hat tactics against you or whatever to come into the market and try to hurt you and your business.
I see this all the time with supplements and cell phone cases and beauty products. You know, what happens is people end up – competitors will buy your products. They’ll say that they’re getting the products – you’re selling it new, but it’s coming used, you know, the seal was broken, or they up-vote your bad reviews, or they leave a bunch of bad reviews, or they leave a bunch of unverified five-star reviews to make it look like you are going and soliciting these reviews. There’s so many things that competitors will do, and it’s just such a headache to fight in these markets, especially if the markets are mature. It takes a lot of time, a lot of money to reach maximum sales potential versus going in these, you know, markets that are not very deep where you’re making, you know, $10,000 a month top line.
The nice thing about it is you don’t really have to worry about competitors if you find the right markets. It’s extremely easy to enter. You don’t have to spend that much time, that many resources, like achieving success with these products. It’s so easy to do that. And so I would much rather sell 10 products that do $10,000 a month than one product that’s doing 100 K a month, and the reason being, again, competition, ease of entry. A lot of the time going for these, you know, smaller products, it takes 30 days to reach maximum sales potential, or maybe 60 days to reach maximum sales potential and boom, you’re off to the next product. And you can just continue to iterate from there versus going after these $100,000 a month markets generally assuming that there is some degree of maturity around it. It’s going to take you quite a long time.
So I see plenty of people just going – you know, the biggest account that I know of these people that are going, you know, in these wide markets, or going wide versus deep is $30 million a year just in Amazon US. So these guys have a killer business, and they’re just going after all the, you know, low-hanging fruit opportunities. And I would highly suggest anyone jump into there that can or is looking to start sourcing in a different strategy or whatever. I think this is probably the fastest, simplest, you know, lowest headache opportunity to growing your business quickly.
I would even say – I would add to that a couple years back I think this looked a little bit different just because the market, the Amazon market as a whole, was pretty different where competition with the deeper markets was a little bit less than it is now. Not to say that going deep was better than going wide, but even now since competition is so fierce, especially in those deep markets, going wide is going to let you really look into those markets that people haven’t discovered yet and/or are definitely not as competitive as the deep ones.
Yeah, completely agree. Awesome. So we will move on to the launch phase of your FBA journey. Tip number one, you know, I would still – we’ve been trying to, you know, kind of preach this so sorry if you’ve already heard this, but so many people still have not, and I think it is just a very, very simple hack to potentially dramatically increasing your sales. And what that is is you need to include both plural and singular forms of your words in your listings title. So in Amazon’s style guides or guidelines they say you don’t need to include both singular and plural forms. And they say that Amazon, you know, they already account for this in their algorithm, but it’s absolutely untrue. You know, just one quick anecdote. Someone is running a launch for grill gloves. I believe they had gloves in their title, but they were running a launch for a grill glove, and for a grill glove though, the key word that they’re targeting, they hit page 2 like top of page 2 for the launch and they were, you know, kind of disappointed that they didn’t hit page 1. But if you went and looked for the plural form, grill gloves, they were like in the top 10 on page 1 even though they weren’t targeting that word just because it was in the title. And so basically that just goes – and we see this all the time. So this just goes to show that, you know, Amazon does treat singular and plural forms of words differently. I mean if you want to go prove it or test it out for yourself literally search grill glove. Search grill gloves. There’s going to be different search results or in different orders. If there’s not, go try other words, fish oil, fish oils. Just go try a few singular and plural forms of the same word and you’ll see different order of words, different results, and the title has a lot to do with this. So it’s a very quick fix. But like, you know, seriously, the difference in ranking or the amount of keyword power that you’re driving to one word could be the difference of thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars in revenue every month.
That’s an easy action step, too.
To simply go over, go over listing and see if you have both plural and singular forms of your main keywords.
Yep, and then the second part to that tip is just don’t repeat words. So you know, let’s say this grill glove seller, they have grill glove then grill gloves and barbecue grill gloves in their title. You don’t need to repeat all those words. It should be in phrase order. So ideally as much as possible, right, so it would be something like, you know, grill gloves, best glove for grilling, or you know something like that. That was just off the top of my head, so probably wasn’t the best. But anyways, you kind of get the gist there. But anyways yeah, you have to have – even if it doesn’t make 100% sense, you know, let’s say you’re selling one glove. You should still have “gloves” in your title because people are searching gloves. Or let’s take a grill brush for example. People are inevitably searching grill brushes, right? Even though you’re only selling one brush you have to have the plural form because people are searching brushes, and by having that in your title when sales are driven through your listing you’re driving that much more power to the ranking for that plural form.
And by not you’re missing out on all that opportunity.
Right. And competitors are. And then second tip for the launch phase is just being aggressive. We just see so many people kind of, you know, tiptoeing to success or waiting kind of for the success to come to them, and it’s just less and less likely every day as competition continues to increase. You really have to go after that success, and I mean really looking at opportunity costs. If you are taking six months to get a product up and, you know, hitting maximum sales potential you’re missing out on so much opportunity. If you did that and if you were more aggressive, hit maximum sales potential in three months you would have twice as much time to go after that second opportunity. And so now you have, you know, let’s say you repeat that with a second product, and so then within six months you have two products at maximum sales potential versus the one. So by going slow, yes it is probably more cost-effective or more cost-efficient, right? So you don’t spend as much money going and achieving that success, but by spending that money and being aggressive you have the opportunity to make that much more money.
We’re getting into the New Year now, and we’re going to touch more on New Year tactics later. But really this aggressiveness, this tip to be aggressive is a great one to hold onto moving into 2018, even to now, and understand it’s getting close to the end of 2017 and everyone’s going to be spending time with their family and the holidays and whatnot. But planning ahead for 2018, to actually sit down and plan how you’re going to be aggressive is honestly a great strategy, just to even plan it out and see what it looks like for you specifically. Again, reevaluating your goals and setting new goals to just flat out be aggressive among other things. But Casey, let’s move on to dominate. What have you got?
Yeah, so three tips under dominate. First one, just reinvest your Q4 profits. I mean hopefully Q4 has been, you know, an amazing experience for you. Hopefully you broke some records and are just super, you know, proud of yourself and excited for what you’ve been able to accomplish. But you know, at least for my personality and if you, again, really look at the opportunity that still exists in the market, I think you really owe it to yourself and, you know, all the people that you are planning on helping with what you’re achieving here with your Amazon FBA business to just go super hard and reinvest those profits. You know, delay getting that Lamborghini or going on, you know, these month-long vacations. You still have so much opportunity. The last thing you want to do when you look back five years from now, 10 years from now is say dang, you know, that was a gold rush and I went to the Bahamas for a month while everybody else is panning for gold and hitting all these opportunities and, you know, I missed out. So anyways, reinvest your Q4 profits. The amount of success that we are seeing on Amazon is just insane, even to this day, and I just really want to encourage you to continue to take part in it. Delay the, you know, instant gratification, the short-term gratification for the long-term goals. So yeah, just reinvest your Q4 profits. Kind of a little reminder there.
Tip number two is go international. So we are planning on having some guys on the podcast that I met recently, and these guys did – in their first year of Amazon they did $10 million.
They’re killing it.
And some other fun facts for you is one of them, still in school full time, and they are both 20 years old. And the other fun fact for you is that they have never sold anything in Amazon US, only international. There is so much opportunity internationally. You know, these guys, you know, they’ll share their story and everything, but there is just so much opportunity internationally. The competition is a fraction of what it is in Amazon US, and I really think that you need to take your resources, you know, hire someone, bring someone on your team to be general manager of internationalization or marketplace director. I don’t know, somebody to go manage your international business.
But there is so much opportunity, and you really want to get in on the ground floor. I mean a lot of the like really successful folks in Amazon US that I know are all people that jumped in in 2014 or maybe 2015, and they went super hard when Amazon was so much easier. And now that Amazon has, you know, really dramatically increased competition and there’s so many additional sellers here, a lot more money going into driving success, it’s so much more difficult. But if you go look in the international markets, in the majority of these markets it’s Amazon 2014 still. And so you need to get in on the ground floor when, you know, Amazon is still – you need to ride that wave of success. So you know you’re on the ground floor. Revenue or revenue potential is just going to continue to increase internationally, but so will competition. And if you’re in, you know, on the ground floor you already will be ranking. You’ll already have the review quantity, and you can just ride that wave up.
It’s going to be – granted, it’s going to be a little bit different. I don’t think you should go into international markets expecting the same exact process as the United States, but these guys that we’re going to bring on later are examples that, guys, there are no excuses. At 20 years old they are killing it. They’re making bank, and they haven’t sold a single thing in the United States. So if that’s not proof as to what can be possible in international markets, then I don’t know what is. But that, I think that should be part of your long-term strategy, planning, right, to sit down and if international is something you’re interested in, find out more about it, do your research, and then dive in. All right, Casey, what’s tip number three?
Tip number three, so basically just never go out of inventory. We see so many people make this mistake, and you know, sometimes it’s inevitable. Sometimes your projections are way off, which is a good thing hopefully. But anyways, there can just be a lot of, you know, downside to going out of inventory. So essentially, you know, just make sure that you are planning accordingly. You know, look at something like market intelligence where you’re able to see kind of the market trends and understand to what degree sales are increasing, decreasing and, you know, how long the increase or decrease will sustain just so you have a really accurate, you know, indication of what to expect or how the market will perform over the, you know, coming X number of months that you need to plan inventory for. And then secondly, like so it may be too late, or it’s probably pretty close to too late if it’s not already.
Honestly, actually yeah, by the time this podcast is out it’s probably going to be too late depending on the production time for your product.
Yeah, I mean so the Chinese New Year is coming up, and I think it’s like early February to early March. Factories are closed down for a month, and before and after that, you know, it’s like, it’s just crazy production because they’re trying to fit everything in before and after for all the people that missed out. And so hopefully you’ve already ordered your inventory in preparation for Chinese New Year, especially if you’re wanting to launch new products. If not, like that can delay your time to getting that product up and running, you know, so far. But yeah.
This – it’s Friday, December 22nd, and I do know that a lot of manufacturers are taking orders this week in order to get products to you before the Chinese New Year. But with this area specifically, talking about inventory, guys, I honestly think it’s much better to play safe than sorry with this. And so it’s better to overcompensate for inventory here. And sure, you’re going to spend maybe a little bit more money, and you need to figure out how much money you have to play around with ordering inventory and different strategies with that. But it’s better to order a little bit more inventory than it is to run out of inventory and have to wait maybe a week to two weeks before you get your next shipment in. So plan ahead. Plan accordingly. Play it a little safe on this one.
I think that’s pretty much all for me.
Yeah, well okay. That’s all for this week. Thank you guys so much for joining us here on Follow the Data. For more FBA tips and reliable information that will help take your Amazon business to the next level, subscribe to the podcast and check out the Viral Launch blog at viral-launch.com.
Guys, we’re all Amazon sellers. We know the most difficult part of your Amazon business is getting reviews.
So hard. Please help us get reviews. If we could we would go review your product, but we don’t want to get you shut down. But by you reviewing this podcast we will not get shut down, so we would love your help on this. I mean really at the end of the day if you know anything about me or the company, like we just love honest feedback. So whether it’s in a review or whatever, any feedback just so we know how are we doing, what do you guys want to hear, you know, maybe our approach isn’t the best. Maybe you want us to use voice changers because you don’t like our voice, I don’t know. Anyways, we just love feedback. So yeah, thank you so much.
We’re also doing – we’re currently doing weekly webinars where we’re going through, walking through product discovery and different strategies that you can use to take advantage of the tools. So if you haven’t seen those yet keep an eye out for those. We do it every – typically every Thursday. But again, we just wanted to say thank you so much for listening. Happy holidays. We hope everyone has a great New Year. And don’t forget if you want to be featured on the show, or if you have an Amazon-related question or an idea for an episode you can leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember the data is out there.
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.
As some Europe-based Amazon sellers know all too well, expanding your selling dominance to Amazon UK is not as simple as listing your product and waiting for sales to ring up. Even a few innocent mistakes can get your Amazon Seller Account suspended and sideline your sales.
If you’re selling on Amazon UK or plan to, let’s look at the top 7 reasons sellers get suspended on that platform so that you can avoid these pitfalls and keep your business goals on track.
1) Not Following Amazon’s Shipping Requirements
There are two key hangups with shipping products in the UK. One, most people don’t use tracking with the Royal Mail. Two, an item can get stuck in customs, causing buyers to have to go pick up the item and pay for each day it sat in customs. Amazon wants sellers using tracking for every shipment and does not want to be associated with customer dissatisfaction from items held up in customs. The best way for sellers to eliminate both issues to participate in Amazon’s FBA Program. Amazon handles all of the shipping logistics, freeing you to focus on other parts of your business.
2) Forbidden Products
Each country has its own laws. If you’re a seller who isn’t up-to-date on regulations for certain products, your shipments could get held up at customs, anger buyers, and cause your sales to dwindle. Different products have different restrictions, so do your research! Make sure you can sell your product on Amazon UK by familiarizing with the regulatory nuances. Or, simply open an Amazon FBA Account so that Amazon makes sure your product gets to the customer.
3) Inauthentic Products
A suspension due to inauthentic products may be from “fake” products, or that the country from which you purchased your product is incompatible with the market in which you want to sell. In other words, the product may be legitimate, but country of origin is not authorized. For example, if you buy a product in Spain or China and want to resell it in the UK, it would be considered inauthentic because the product was designated for sale in Spain or China. Just a little bit of legwork to confirm compatibility can prevent you from sourcing the wrong product for sale in the wrong country.
4) Not Honoring Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents
Each country not only has its own tailored laws, they also adhere to specific guidelines for trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Make this part of your initial research so that you’re not investing money only to be shut down. Look into registering your brand on Amazon Europe, and consider getting a European trademark and patent.
5) Different Standards of Customer Service
People love Amazon Customer Service. Make Amazon happy and your potential customers happy by getting the customer service language for your designated country right. School yourself in the language and culture. Be aware of the types of buyers in the country or market, the products they will and won’t shop for, and plan accordingly.
6) Manipulation of the Platform
It’s always important to stay compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service. One of the quickest ways to violate TOS is using review programs to artificially benefit your bottom line, essentially painting a target on your business. If you’re going to use a review service, use one that is first compliant with Amazon USA.
7) Poor Product Quality
If your product is imperfect, dented, dirty, dusty, ugly or not as described, European buyers are likely to report it, return it, or both. Also don’t attempt to sell products that are defective, damaged, counterfeit, or used as new. Packaging should also be pristine, free even of seemingly imperceptible flaws like fingerprints. Also pay attention to negative comments from buyers. Those comments tell you what you need to fix immediately.