Fads can make you a fortune fast. Two kids
who were among the first to sell fidget spinners in 2016 made $350,000 in just
But the problem with fads is that they can
die very quickly. First, the big guys notice the market, create their own
products, and use their immense economies of scale to bring the price down.
Fidget spinners started at $25 and ended up selling for $5 each by mid 2017.
And eventually, a fad has nowhere to go. I
saw a market trader trying to sell some a while back – three for a buck! (I
wonder what he paid for them?)
It’s true – more and more people are buying
groceries on Amazon. Partly because of Covid-related concerns about visiting
big stores, or because of local lock downs, partly for convenience –
particularly for people who are working at home, and partly for choice. A year ago, about a third of US customers had
bought groceries on Amazon – now it’s well over 40%.
Some specialty foods are particularly
difficult to get if you don’t have much choice where you shop – for instance
for those living in small country towns. Gluten free, Kosher, and Vegan
specialties aren’t always available while many consumers want to know they’re
eating Fair Trade or Organic food. These could all be good niches.
But selling groceries on Amazon is a bit
tougher than selling dog chews or pencil sharpeners. Amazon needs to know
you’re not going to poison anyone, and it also needs to know you’re a reliable
distributor. So first of all, check whether you’re automatically approved (if
you have a good track record, that could happen), or get approved by providing
a purchase invoice from a manufacturer or wholesaler for at least ten units as
well as live photos of the product and packaging.
Amazon Seller Central provides far more
data than most sellers ever use. It will tell you about your stranded
inventory, it gives you advertising reports, sales totals, page traffic, FBA fulfillment
reports. There’s a whole lot there, but you need to cut through the plethora of
data to get to the essentials.
Essential 1. This is your conversion rate,
shown as ‘unit session percentage’. A conversion rate of 5-10% is good; that’s
better than most websites, as people tend to go to Amazon when they are ready
to buy, not just looking for general information. If you have a conversion rate
lower than 5% then you have an issue.
That could mean your listings page isn’t
good enough. Do you use A+ content? If you qualify for it, you should
definitely use it. Do you have great images and a good video?
It might mean you have bad reviews. You’ll
need to do something about that. Or it could mean your price is too high –
check comparative listings.
Packaging design is partly about branding –
and we’ll get on to that later. But there are also a few things that need to be
on your packaging, and without which, you won’t be able to sell – or worse,
you’ll be doing so illegally. Don’t worry, it’s not too difficult to comply
with the regulations, as long as you carry out the following steps.
1. One of the most important things that
needs to go on your packaging is your FNSKU – the stock number that Amazon issues
you when you create your listing. You could ask your supplier to put it on with
a sticker, or actually print it on the packaging (for instance if you’re using
a cardboard box).
You can also get Amazon to do it – but that
costs money. It’s much better to get it done by your supplier. (You’ll need to
generate a pdf file from Seller Central, where it says ‘Print item labels’.)
There are a good number of ways that you
can kickstart a new product. That’s good, because Amazon is a very, very big
marketplace and it’s not easy to get your product noticed.
For instance, you could use a ‘deals’ site
to promote your product. Use Seller Central to create your coupon codes, and
give those away via the site. For real impact, try half price, or even 70% or
90% off, just to get the ball rolling. Remember, this isn’t a loss making
product, it’s a marketing investment.
The idea is to get people who would be
“kind of” interested in your product at the regular price to say
“hey, at this price it’s a no-brainer”. You’ll be able to rack up
some sales quickly that way. However, ensure you set a maximum order level to
prevent people being naughty and buying your product to resell at a profit!
Managing your inventory better can save you
a lot of money.
If you want to know how well you’re
managing, first stop is to go look up your IPI score on Amazon. This will give
you a broad view of how well you are managing. If it’s not too good, then there
are a number of actions you can take to improve your inventory turnover and
reduce your storage charges.
First off, identify any items in long term
storage – that is, over 365 days. It’s a pretty simple calculation to compare
this with your sales figures to see how long it will take to sell off all this
stock. If it looks like it’s going to take a while, then you need to take
You could, for instance, run a promotion or
reduce the price. It’s pretty simple to calculate your break-even price for
selling the stock against paying another month’s storage charges. (Of course,
that assumes you do sell the stock.) If your product is just slow selling but
ticking along, this is the right thing to do.
Keywords have a demand curve, like any
other good. If you imagine it starting right at the top left side of the chart,
there is a huge number of searches for a single overall keyword. As you get
more and more specific, the number of searches falls off – but so does the
amount of competition for that specific keyword (or, if you’re advertising, the
amount you’ll pay for it).
Let’s take an example: “dress”. There will be millions of searches for “dress”. What’s the chance you’ll be at the top? Zero. You can’t afford it.
“Black dress”. Not quite so many searches, but still a lot. And this is a keyword where big sellers are going to dominate, and the keyword’s really expensive if you want to advertise.
“Little black dress”. Fewer
searches, more specific.
“Little black dress Azzedine
Alaia.” Then “Little black dress Azzedine Alaia size 12.” Now
you’ve got a very specific keyword. Anyone who wants Chanel, Givenchy, Saint
Laurent… you’ve excluded them. And you’ve excluded the customers who want
If you think of Amazon as a kind of store, or a big depot, you’re wrong. What is its business model, really? It’s the same as Google – a massive search engine.
Unlike Google, it’s a search engine that
results in a transaction rather than just a click-through. But it’s a search
engine, and once you understand that, you understand that it works on keywords
as well as on other algorithms.
Keywords need to be relevant. And you need
to get that relevant data into the customer’s head ASAP.
Yes, you can have a great long title on
Amazon that includes all kinds of information about your product. But you need
to put the most important information up there first. For instance, brand. If
I’m looking for a Samsung phone, I need to see the brand up front. If I’m
looking for a cat carrier and the word ‘cat’ doesn’t appear right at the
beginning, I’m not going to read on.
Amazon hijackers can be very sneaky. You
might not even realize you’ve been hijacked, if your sales aren’t much
affected. But someone has copied your product, and they’re selling it with your
brand on it, and taking away your business.
Now there are sometimes viable reasons for
a second seller. You may have an authorized reseller, or someone may have
bought your product with a coupon and is reselling it. But other times, you’ve
been hijacked – someone noticed you were doing well, and they’ve decided to
skim the cream off your success.
You might only notice when suddenly you
start getting one-star reviews. What’s going on? People who think they’re your
customers are getting low-quality product from the hijacker, and blaming it on
So let’s see how you can reduce the risk of
being hijacked, and stop it continuing if it’s already happened.
#1 Being in the Amazon Brand Registry
program should help; it will give you more control over your listings. While it
won’t stop hijackers, the program will put dedicated protection at your
service. (But you do need to have a trademark first, which can take 18 months,
so this isn’t a short term solution.)
TikTok is immensely powerful once videos go
viral. A single TikTok post had one Amazon seller working overtime with over
10,000 sales in a single day.
Yet so far, brands aren’t well represented
on TikTok. Probably it will take the big brands some time to get on to this
platform, so right now, it’s less competitive than Facebook or Twitter.
• Start by building a presence. Tailor your
content for the platform – short, snappy, amusing. And when we say short, we
mean short – 15 seconds, that’s it! (On the other hand your video quality
doesn’t need to be top-notch – a decent smartphone will produce all you need.)
• Make sure your content is all relevant to your
niche. Keep everything on-brand; content, hashtags, the influencers you
collaborate with, your bio, even the emoji
Every $1 you save is $1 extra profit. In
the short term, this does not seem like a lot. But what if you sell 30,000
units a year?
The cheaper your product is – the higher
your profit margin will be and the less you need to invest in inventory. Your
cash flow improves too.
We will cover some of our top strategies
for reducing your costs.
Finding a Supplier
If you only ask 3 factories for a quote –
it is unlikely you will get the best item for the best price. It is super
important to make sure that you have contacted every available supplier for the
item. Go through Thomas Net, Alibaba, Global Sources and any other platforms
that may have suppliers making your type of item.
Request quotes from all the suppliers that
can make your product. This way, you can be sure to have the best initial
pricing. You will also get the best quality product this way too!
Even if you have an existing product
already selling on Amazon – you can reduce the price by negotiating with your
existing supplier or changing suppliers.
Give your top 10 suppliers a competitive
target price to hit. E.g. If all the suppliers quote you $4 to $8 for your item
– ask them all if they can do it for $3.20 and see what they say. If they say –
no – and come back at $3.50 you still just saved over 10%!
If your target product sells for around $30
on Amazon, you want to buy it for under $6 to maximize margins. Start with
giving suppliers a target price lower than your optimal buy price.
Suppliers usually have a very large margin
built into the product. They expect to negotiate and might have 10 to 30% added
into the product just to give away as a discount. By giving them a low target
price, a few of the suppliers will come back with much better pricing.
What is the reason why a customer will
leave a review? Is it because they had a good experience with the product? A
In this guide we deep dive into some of the
main reasons customers leave reviews.
A large percentage of customers will leave
a review simply because they think that the product is good and they want to
share their positive experience with the product.
These are the type of reviews we want to
get the most of. By not overpromising on the listing, showing accurate photos
and description of the product & working to make the item good quality – we
can gather more good reviews in the long term.
Help Other Buyers!
A major reason for customers leaving
feedback is not for the seller! They want to help other buyers to understand
the product better. They may even have suggestions on how to improve the
Reviewers know that other people like them
might be considering the product. They point out the good and bad points of the
product so other potential buyers can have a better understanding of the
As a seller, you should read all these
reviews and incorporate the feedback into improving your product over time. By
acting on the suggestions – you will turn more future buyers into happy
customers that leave positive reviews!
Instead of trying to catch up with what is
popular now, look into the future and see what will be popular. There are some
huge trends and shifts happening – making some niches sell a lot more in the
Even before Covid-19 there was a huge
shifting of people working more remotely and more from home. The Coronavirus
just accelerated an existing trend.
More and more companies were letting people
work at home, work remotely or spend part of the week at a home office.
What other big trends and shifts are taking
place that you could benefit from?
Working From Home
The trend of working at home is not going
to disappear. Yes, many people will go back to working in an office. But,
workers of all types are requesting at least 1 to 5 days a week to work from
If this trend continues, which products do
you think will be popular?
Everything from desks, to computer
accessories have had their sales explode upwards. Instead of going after the
main work at home trend, try to think of complementary products you could sell.
Why are promotions important? How can they
help you scale your sales & profits? In this article we will cover the top
tips for running promotions on Amazon.
Tip 1 Why Promote
Amazon ranks products firstly by their
relevance using keywords, then it compares the overall sales performance of
If you’re on page 2 and don’t get much traffic and it’s hard for you to sell a lot of products, you’re always going to be ranked on page 2. The reason for doing a promotion is to get more traffic for 7 or 10 days and increase your organic sales.
By doing this, your product sales will
increase such that Amazon will put you on page 1. Using a tool like cash cow
pro you can see the exact number of units you need to give away to be able to
rank in the top 10.
Tip 2 Preparing for Promotion
The first thing you need to do before
launching a promotion is to make sure your listing is fully optimized.
There’s no point driving lots of extra traffic to a product if the images are not high resolution and the copywriting is not optimal. Once you’re confident you’ve done everything you can to make a listing as good as possible, the next thing to do is to drop your price just before starting a promotion.
The reason for this is you want to maximize
sales while the boost from a promotion is helping you to rank. The more sales
you can get the more likely it is you will stick to the new higher position.
Just boosting BSR is not the goal: you want
long-term organic sales.
Sometimes you just get stuck with your Amazon business. If you are having a problem or issue – or you are not sure what to do next, we put together this guide on resources you can use.
In this article we cover the top tips for getting help with your Amazon business.
Tip 1 Seller Central
If you have an issue with your listing or account, the fastest way to resolve it is to contact Amazon through the help section in Seller Central.
During normal business hours they are very responsive and can usually fix most issues within a couple of hours. You can also email an Amazon representative and they usually provide a detailed response to your problem within a day or so.
For critical issues, always call the Amazon help desk for sellers.
Tip 2 Amazon Forum
If you have a seller central account you can also ask questions in the Amazon forum.
You may want to bounce ideas around for strategies and determine what is and isn’t acceptable on Amazon by asking your peers in this group. Amazon also monitors the discussion and responds to questions and issues.
This is a good place to get general tips, such as how to find a good supplier.
Products with a high review rating sell more, rank higher and have better conversion rates.
Getting reviews on Amazon can be difficult. In this article we cover the top methods for getting reviews for your products on Amazon.
Tip 1 Feedback Emails
What are feedback emails? These are automatic emails that go out to every customer that orders a product from you. This is one of the best ways to get more positive reviews and prevent negative reviews.
Set up an automatic email feedback collection system that sends an email to your customers as soon as their product has been shipped or delivered.
Not every customer will receive your emails, because they are allowed to opt out from receiving seller emails. Usually around 40% of orders will get your email.
Tip 2 Seller Feedback
Push customers to leave seller feedback first. The reason for this is you can remove negative seller feedback that is about the product.
For customers that leave a negative seller review, contact them and resolve their issue. For customers that leave a 5-star seller review, drop them an email thanking them and requesting that they leave you a product review. You can do this automatically by clicking the request review next to the specific order.