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Amazon FBA product listing variations

If, say, you produce a red tee-shirt, and a blue one, you have two choices of how to list on Amazon. You could list each as a separate product. Or you could list them as a single product, ‘tee shirt’, which comes in two variations, red and blue.

You could give your customer even more choice if you also add size variations, such as S, M, L, all the way to XXL. This is a variation relationship listing; some people call it a ‘parent-child’ listing.

It’s pretty simple to do. You first need a Parent ASIN. The Parent ASIN isn’t a sellable item – it’s just a catalog entry. Then you need a Child ASIN for each of the variations. And the Child ASINs fit within a variation theme, such as size, color, flavor, pattern. Amazon even offers you a Variation Wizard to make the process easy.


How to sell kids’ products safely and profitably

Selling kids’ products on Amazon can be a real money maker. But you need to get it right, otherwise you can come a cropper. You might even have to destroy your inventory if it doesn’t pass certification.

We’ll look at the regulations in a minute, but first let’s look at your marketing. Unlike other products, with children’s products you’re not selling to the end user, you’re selling to an adult – usually a parent or close relative. So your marketing needs to reflect that.


Using the 80/20 rule to improve your business

The idea that 80 percent of your results come from just 20 percent of your work is quite amazing. If you get things right, you could end up doing a fifth of the work you are today, and making the same profit!

Of course, to get things right, you need to identify which is the 20 percent of your work that’s producing the results.

Let’s look at your products first. Which are the 20 percent that makes real money? Which are the also-rans? All the data is there on FBA Seller Central.

You might not want to stop offering the other products. For instance, if you sell boots, but you also have bootlaces that match, it may be quite important to your customers that you retain that product line. But you might not want to do any separate marketing for the bootlaces, for instance, or a lot of separate content for the product listings – your aim will be to reuse the videos and text that you use for the boot product pages, as much as possible.


2022’s big dates on Amazon

While Amazon is a great sales channel all the time, like any retail business it does better in the holiday season, and some dates can make a huge difference to your sales performance. Running through the year, you’ll notice there are some major events that can affect your sales. (For those outside the US, Thanksgiving and Independence Day won’t apply, while local celebrations like July 14th in France or St Nicholas’ Day in the Netherlands will.)

February has the Super Bowl (13th) and Valentine’s Day (14th), and is Black History Month. But the biggest event is Chinese New Year which falls at the start of February this year. Suppliers may be closed for a week before and after this holiday so be sure to check with them and order well in advance! 

March is normally Spring Break, though with the pandemic, that might not happen – but there’s also International Women’s Day on the 8th and St Patrick’s on the 17th.


How to do your annual FBA audit

You will probably want to sit down with your Seller Central web page open to do your audit. Some of the questions might need you to do a little research. But don’t just look at the numbers – keep yourself focused on the questions in the list.

First, how well did your products sell? Were there some that surpassed your expectations? Why do you think they did so well? How can you use that going forwards? For instance, if you’ve spotted a great niche for yoga products for men (a lot of yoga stuff is female orientated), then can you launch more products in that line? Are some products faltering?

It’s also a good idea to look at the shape of your product portfolio. If you have one top product that accounts for most of your sales, and a bunch of also-rans, that’s not very healthy. Think about how to get your other products performing properly too.


How to use TikTok to promote your brand

TikTok is particularly good for selling to younger buyers, but it’s beginning to get more traction across the generations. What we love about it is that unlike other video platforms, TikTok stimulates interaction with users, for instance with TikTok ‘duels’ and challenges – leveraging your initial investment in video for greater impact.

The best approach to TikTok is to create a vlog, not just a single product video. Think of something fascinating, in a common format, that can be addressed in 15 or 30 seconds and promotes your product. For instance:


Use Amazon Subscribe & Save to increase your sales

Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program is a huge opportunity for vendors. First of all, it provides a regular income instead of a one-off sale. That makes your business more predictable.

Secondly, it can build customer loyalty. If a customer has to come to Amazon to look for, say, toilet paper, they might buy yours again – or they might just buy whatever pops up on top of the search results. But if they’ve subscribed for a monthly delivery, then they’re not going to have to think about whether they’re getting low, and they’re not going to have to search to find what they want – your product will arrive automatically.

That means your advertising spend can be entirely targeted on finding new customers – you don’t have to win back the customers you already have.


Starting Amazon FBA on a shoestring

You really shouldn’t let a shortage of funds delay your getting started on Amazon. The sooner you start, the better – you’ll begin to generate profits more quickly, and you can then reinvest those.

Most new sellers start with $4,000 or so. But you can still get started for a really small amount – as low as $500 in capital cost upfront if you really bootstrap, but more commonly, around $2,000 for a private label business.


Getting the best out of Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click advertising can be quite a substantial investment, so you want to make sure you are getting a good return. Fortunately, Amazon gives you all the tools you need to do this – though you’ll need to invest a bit of time and effort in getting up to speed.

The first thing to do, if you have an existing PPC campaign you want to optimize, is to cut out the waste.

For instance, if you’ve run out of stock, stop the ads (or as the skinflint said when his taxi drove off a cliff, “If you can’t stop the car, at least stop the meter!”) There’s no point advertising something you can’t deliver!


How to answer customers’ questions

This sounds like an easy thing to do. It’s not. Answering customer questions can have a big influence on your sales, but you have to do it right.

First of all, don’t use a script or a canned answer. People notice. It makes you look like you can’t be bothered. Answer each question with a fresh answer. Take the question seriously and answer it specifically.


How to rewrite your product page

Everybody thinks they can write, but copy-writing is a skill that has to be learned. Good copy-writing can make a huge difference to your sales, because it makes the difference between getting your customer excited about your product, and leaving them unimpressed. At the same time, you’ll want to get your keywords into the page so that search engine and human readers both get what they need to know.

A lot of copy-writing is not about beautiful writing but about getting the structural basics right. These are:


All you needed to know about shipping

You need to get your product from the supplier to Amazon’s warehouses. Put that way, it sounds easy. But it might involve quite a few different steps – it’s not as easy as sending a letter to your mom by USPS.

•    ‘Incoterms’ stands for ‘international trade terms’, a bunch of standardised arrangements for shipping. That means you don’t have to negotiate every single little thing, and it also means you know who is responsible for the goods at each stage of the journey. Let’s sum the incoterms up in a list.

•    EXW means ‘ex works’. Once the factory has the goods on the loading dock, their responsibility is at an end – they don’t have to load the truck, get the goods to the port, arrange for the shipping or customs. You also take on the risk when it leaves the factory, so you need insurance.


How to get the most out of trade shows

The first key to getting the most out of trade shows is to prepare properly. Eighty percent of your returns will come from doing the right prep.

Don’t just turn up. Pre-register. You’ll get a confirmation you can print out, which will save you queuing. You’ll also most likely get access to more information by pre-registering, which will help your preparation.

Research the exhibitor list. Decide who you want to see, and try to set up appointments in advance, mentioning your main interests. That way you are expected, someone will already have prepared appropriate materials for you, and you’ll get to see a salesperson, not someone who’s just paid to hand out brochures.



Everyone knows that you really need to rank on the first page for Amazon search. But fewer people realize just how important it can be to have your product grab the number one spot on page one.

According to one survey we’ve seen, click through rates for the top ranked product are more than double those for the second rated product. The top ranked products get nearly a third of total clicks. The third, fourth and fifth ranking products get smaller portions, but the fall isn’t nearly so steep as it is between the two top products. So the message is; if you come first, you get the lion’s share of click-throughs.

It’s worth fighting as hard as you can to get to number one. On the other hand, it’s not worth duking it out to go up from, say, four to three.

Okay, let’s say you want to do “zero to hero” in just a couple of months. Can it be done?

Yes, it can. And here’s how.


Hacks to improve your productivity as an FBA seller

When your productivity suffers, your business suffers. A lot of the time, you’re probably spending your effort on things that don’t need it. So here are a few tips for improving your profitability.

1. First of all, have a disposable e-mail address. Sometimes, just contacting a supplier means you’ll be getting all kinds of special offers and newsletters from them for ever after, even if you don’t end up doing business with them. Use a disposable address for first contacts and then you can always junk it; keep your real email for real suppliers and customers (and Amazon, of course).

2. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Skitch from Evernote is a great tool that lets you create images and, even better, easily provide input on images – for instance drawing an arrow to show the crucial aspects of a product or ringing the letter that’s wrong in the product name. Particularly if you’re dealing with suppliers for whom English isn’t a first language, this is a great way to get your point across. It’s also a fantastic tool for brainstorming with team members.


Marketing hacks to improve your FBA sales

So often, a product is just ticking along quite nicely on Amazon when it could be a real barnstormer. Or it’s not doing anything much, when it could be selling steadily. The difference is in the detail – so tweaking your sales listing and advertising could do the trick and help it achieve its potential.

First of all, look at your listing title. You have up to 250 characters there, so if all you’re saying is “tea towel”, you’ve given up prime real estate with nothing to show for it. Have a think about what tea towel buyers want – they want to know what color, is it cotton, will it fit their interior design style? So take up some of those 250 characters and let them know, it’s blue and white striped, 100% cotton, French cottage or farmhouse style – zap! You’re selling!

The same way, “lucky horseshoe charm” doesn’t convey nearly as much information as “SweetiePie brand lucky horseshoe charm for bracelet – hallmarked sterling silver jewelry” which gives your brand, what the charm is intended for, and the fact that it’s real sterling silver (or “925” – that is, 92.5% pure silver).


Creating a purchasing strategy

Many FBA sellers get started with a single product. They spend a lot of time researching suppliers, get a shortlist, get samples and T&Cs, choose their supplier, and get the product shipped. And then for their next product they go through the whole process all over again.

That can be really time-consuming. Imagine if you spent hours going through your shopping list and deciding which supermarket to visit for each item. You’d never get anything else done! So you need a long-term purchasing strategy.

First of all, unless you’re a very fast-moving business trying to grab trends quick and exploit them fast, it makes sense to build long-term relationships with your supplier. That’s the same whether you’re buying through Alibaba, from a Chinese manufacturer directly, or in the US or elsewhere.


Your Amazon Storefront

Your Amazon Storefront is a micro-site within Amazon which showcases all your products and has information about your brand. It’s really useful if you have a particular niche such as stationery and art supplies, pet products, or cookware, or a target customer such as DIY enthusiasts or lovers of the outdoors.

It gives you a place to do a bit of storytelling about your brand and its values, to assert your credentials and to get potential buyers interested.

While your product pages have to obey strict rules, such as photos against a white background, you have much more control over the look and feel of your Storefront. With 2.4 million sellers on Amazon, this is your chance to stand out!


Learning from mistakes – Epic FBA Fails

We usually focus on success stories. But it’s fair enough to say that a lot of FBA businesses do just about okay, and some are really quite epic failures.

We’re not going to be negative. We’re actually being quite positive here, because the really big failures usually stem from one of a relatively small number of problems – and when you know what the mistakes are, you’re much less likely to make them!

Let’s take the two most dangerous mistakes first. (This is our version of learning how to put the brakes on before we let you out on the highway.) They are the dangerous mistakes because they can lose you a whole lot of money. Other mistakes will usually just stop you achieving a profit or a worthwhile profit (working for a year to establish a business turning over $100 a month is pretty sad).

First, spending on PPC advertising without setting some targets and some limits. If the problem lies elsewhere, no amount of advertising is going to get you sales – but it will cost you money. Setting a limit is easy to do, so do it!


Bundles for Amazon

If you own a brand on Amazon FBA, you can bundle your products to create an all-in-one package. That’s an advantage that unbranded sellers don’t have, and it can help you sell more product at better margins.

First, think of your customers. What are the experiences that are likely to lead them to want a package? For instance, “I just got a new puppy, what do I need?”

If you’re in this space, a chew toy, harness and leash, litter tray, food bowl, water bowl, collar with name-tag, and puppy bed all packaged together could make a great package for first time dog owners.

“My granddaughter’s moving into her own apartment…what can I get her?” If you have kitchen products for instance, a gift pack bundling things she’ll find useful with some appealing items – spatula, measuring cups, pans, a recipe book and some spice packets – could sell well.