E-Commerce Is Thriving In 2020 — And Only Growing Stronger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon is responsible for 50 percent of all e-commerce trade, so their earnings are an incredibly powerful indicator on the overall health and direction of e-commerce.

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

As retailers who have relied upon traditional retail flock to Amazon, e-commerce will only strengthen their advantages and continue to take a larger piece of the retail pie. But will the arrival of major first-party sellers take a chunk away from third-party sellers?

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

Graph via MarketplacePulse.com

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

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

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

Amazon has grown to an international powerhouse thanks to its platform designed to make the process of buying and selling online easy for those on both sides. On the seller side, Amazon has opened the doors for aspiring entrepreneurs by leveling the playing field with massive warehouses for storage and their state-of-the-art two-day Prime shipping logistical program.

These assets are enormous advantages that have simplified or entirely erased areas of concern for those with entrepreneurial ambitions, allowing them to spend their time and energy on finding the right product and maximizing their opportunities for success in the marketplace.

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

Every day, hour, and minute of experience you have on Amazon is valuable for growing your brand and maximizing your profits, and others will surely be entering the marketplace as the industry continues to grow.

Fortune favors the bold and the informed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Check if Your Products are Eligible

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

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

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

7 Steps to Creating an Inbound FBA Shipment

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

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

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

Other Notable COVID-19 Updates for Amazon Sellers

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

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

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

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

How to Move Forward

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

1. Study the process. 

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

2. Research the impacts. 

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

3. Add to your product line.

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

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


What is Private Label? An Introduction to the Popular Amazon Selling Method

Most people have heard of the online retailer Amazon. A lot of people use it as one of the main ways they buy products and goods. In fact, in early 2016, it was reported that Amazon had more than 310 million active customer accounts worldwide. And in 2017, net sales totaled $178 billion. What a lot of people might not know, is that a good portion of Amazon sales come from private label products.

And the great thing is, anyone can learn how to sell on Amazon, especially through private label.

In this post, we’ll go over private label products and how you can use them to build an Amazon business from the point of view of a seller. We’ll cover what a private label product is, where to get them and how to pick the right one.

First, we need to answer the question:

What is Private Label?

The concept of private label as it applies to Amazon and selling is actually pretty simple. Think of all the products that are on Amazon. Everything from phone chargers and first aid kits to kitchen utensils, toys and everything in between. Have you ever stopped to think about where these products come from and who is selling them? More often than not, the “company” behind the product listing you’re looking at isn’t so much a company as a single person or small team selling products.

So where do they get the products? People who sell private label products on Amazon “source” generic products from manufacturers and then market them under their own brands as a “third party seller.” This is actually one of the most popular ways to sell on Amazon because it’s the most scalable. As a third party seller, you buy your product in bulk from a manufacturer at lower per unit prices and then re-sell on Amazon for profit.

Sourcing Private Label Products

So this next step in understanding what private label is learning how sellers find them. One of the most popular ways to source products is through the website Alibaba. In short, Alibaba connects you with overseas manufacturers allowing you to purchase your selected products in bulk for resale. However, there are some things you have to keep in mind. Many of the manufacturers you work with will be from another country, so you’ll have to think about possible communication issues and cultural differences when dealing with them.

Just to give you an idea of what the Alibaba interface looks like, take a look at this example search we performed for a random product, in this case a phone charger.

 

You can’t see on that screenshot, but there are literally 100 pages of products related to phone chargers that you could source and sell under your own brand. By just browsing through the searches, you can get an idea of what the per unit prices will be for products like these, what the minimum order the manufacturer will accept is, and there’s even a button to “Contact Supplier” directly through Alibaba. And once you choose a specific product listing, there’s even more information available.

All this available information will allow you to do your homework on the manufacturer, to ensure they will be a good partner to work with. Alibaba also has its own quality assurance metrics to help you pick legitimate manufacturers to work with, but a lot of the work will still come from your end during communications with prospective partners.

Picking the Right Product

Now you that you know where to get a product from, let’s talk about how to choose the right product. Like with everything on Amazon, this process takes a good deal of research. You don’t just browse Alibaba, find a product you think is cool and then sell it. First, you need to do your homework.

Choosing the right product to sell private label is crucial to your success. One wrong move can cost you time and money, or worst, ruin your Amazon business before it begins. When thinking about what product to sell there are a lot of factors to consider like price/profit margins, marketplace viability, popularity and much more. By using a product finding tool, like Product Discovery from Viral Launch, you can generate a list of possible products that align with your goals.

After you’ve got a list of items you think could be winners, it’s time to validate. There are a lot of market research tools out there for Amazon sellers, including our own Market Intelligence. This type of software eliminate guesswork so you can steer clear of risky products that might lose you money.

For instance, our tool allows sellers to see demand for a product by looking at estimated sales numbers, keyword search volume, and market trends. You can also take a look at how top competitors have performed and are performing with similar products.

Our tool also allows you to look at potential barriers to entry like reviews, big brands and high initial investment.

Want to learn more about how to find great products? Check out this video:

Next Steps

Now you know where a vast majority of the products available to buy on Amazon come from, you might be thinking about getting involved. If so, there’s still a lot to learn about how to become an Amazon seller. You’ve got to start an Amazon seller account, figure out how you want to fulfill your orders, learn what makes an effective listing and how to market your product and much more.

One of the most important things to keep in mind as you continue on your journey of becoming an FBA seller is to never stop learning. Things can change on Amazon in what seems like the blink of an eye, so it’s important to stay up-to-date. What’s great is that information is out there, you just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to research.

Your friends at Viral Launch would love to be there every step of the way by providing tools and resources for your Amazon journey. If you’re interested in learning more information about all things Amazon, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel or listen to our podcast Follow the Data.