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Episode 30: What could we be doing to prepare for Amazon FBA coming to Australia?
0:34 Can you download Jungle Scout to an iPad?
1:00 What could we be doing to prepare for Amazon FBA coming to Australia?
4:00 How would you start an Amazon business differently, if you had significant capital to begin with?
5:58 When calculating FBA fees, does Amazon use the product or packaging dimensions?
6:44 How can I remove inventory from Amazon FBA without significant expense?
8:38 Is it possible to have too much demand? So much that you couldn’t match that number of sales at the beginning during the launch period, in order to get your product ranked?
Chanel asks, “Can you download Jungle Scout on an iPad Pro?”
Unfortunately, at this stage, mobile devices and tablets don’t support Chrome extensions, so you couldn’t download the Chrome extension on an iPad. However, we do have some exciting things in the pipeline, and a bit later this year, we are actually supporting functionality for the Jungle Scout web app on an iPad or tablets so stay tuned for updates on that.
Jean-Paul asks, “What could we be doing to prepare for the Amazon Australia opening? Company registration or any other type of registration in Australia? Et cetera …”
So, I’m gonna assume that you’re an Australian looking to capitalize the new market that’s coming and perhaps you’ve never sold anything before on Amazon. One of the best things that I’d recommend is getting started now, in another market place. Start selling a product in the U.S. It’s invaluable experience, setting up that first listing, working with manufacturers in China, sending your product over, and just going through that entire process. You’re gonna learn a lot from that, and that’s gonna benefit you when you have the opportunity to do the same thing in the Australian market. It’s difficult to know at this stage, what products to sell in Australia because we don’t have that sort of historical sales data.
What I’d recommend is turning to things like eBay Australia, and seeing what are some of the best selling items there. You can actually click on “listings” and, quite often, it will tell you how many have been sold in the last day or the last hour. That’s a really cool way to gauge the demand for these products. Also, look at retail catalogs. See what things are on special. Often, the best selling products will be marketed at the front, so just look around you and just see what’s selling in the physical world but also the online world. They are a little bit different. Not everything that sells at an actual brick and mortar retail store is gonna sell as well online, so I would just have the mindset of always looking for product ideas.
I would be jotting down lots of potential ideas, perhaps talking to people about what products they try to source online. One of the things I notice in Australia is that there’s a lot of niche items that are hard to get online, or certainly, without having expensive shipping costs or getting it from overseas and so forth. I think those are the kinds of products that are gonna do well in Australia because now they’re gonna be readily available within a couple of days or a lot easier and probably a lot cheaper. So I would just keep brainstorming ideas.
I hope that gives you a couple of tips on things that you can be doing now. The thing to remember is, whilst you certainly want to be an early adopter into Amazon Australia, there’s still gonna be so much opportunity for years to come. You definitely want to be an early adopter, but there still is gonna be so much opportunity for quite a few years to come.
In terms of company registration and that side of things, I’m not the best person to speak about that. You should be able to just sell as an individual when you first start out. A lot of the time, I recommend that until you start making some money and you’ve got your product launched and doing some regular sales. It’s probably not absolutely necessary to start out with a company, however, if you have more capital, than you might want to do that from the very beginning. The best thing to do would be to sit down with a consultant, look at the different tax advantages and so forth, and plan out what the best steps are for you.
Red Red Blue Music asks, “How would you start an Amazon business if you had access to significant capital? Would you do anything different than the usual advice for starting a business on a low capital budget?”
The biggest thing I would do differently here, is just launch more products. If I had a substantial capital, rather than just launching one, I might launch four or five of the top products I’ve been looking at. Generally, for a lot of products, I would say a thousand inventory is probably a good amount, it’s a good sweet spot. You don’t want to order too much inventory, but you do need enough to survive for a couple of months. Allow for some promotional giveaways, and have enough there to last you until you get your next shipment in. Maybe you would send in 1,000 units of your main product, and then maybe 600 to 750 or something of all of your other products. These are really all hypothetical numbers depending on the products you’re choosing, but essentially, I would launch more products at once. It means you’re just gonna be able to scale your business faster.
A lot of the things that we talk about, the strategy that you would use would be more or less the same. It’s just the timeline in which you do it, will move along a lot quicker. On the other hand, one of the nice things about starting out with just the one product, is that you’re gonna be sort of ironing out all the little kinks and making little mistakes here and there. It’s all invaluable experience, just going through the process that first time. Then you can apply that on your subsequent products and those launches are probably gonna do better. When you launch all your products at once, you do have that slight disadvantage that you might be making some of those mistakes at the start, but if I did have access to capital, I would still prefer to do it that way. As I mentioned, you will scale and grow faster, and by having a number of products you’re diversifying, or spreading the risk out, amongst those products. That’s probably the big difference here.
Mo asks, “Hi, Lennard. When calculating FBA fees, does Amazon measure the dimensions of the product itself or the dimensions of the packaging carton the product comes in?”
They definitely base their fees off of the packaging dimensions, not the product itself. Keep that in mind. The other thing to note as well, is that Amazon seems to round up the numbers. I think it could be like the nearest inch, or something like that, so I would keep that in mind. If you’re approaching the next tier, say from standard to oversized, I would make sure that you’re well under an inch below that. I would give yourself just a little bit extra leeway because if you’re, maybe 13 1/2 inches, they might round you up to 14. That’s one observation that I would keep in mind.
Diego asks, “I sell from Australia in Amazon US, and I have three listings that can’t be sold anymore in Amazon due to a new ASTM Testing requirement. We understand we can request removal of the imagery, but with the Amazon FBA fees, the cost would be significant. Is there anyway to get a bulk removal order done by Amazon FBA, or any other recommendation?”
Firstly, just to clarify, when you’re doing a removal order from Amazon, I don’t believe you have Amazon FBA fees but there are removal fees. I just want to clarify that so everyone understands. When you want to remove your inventory from Amazon, there are removal fees. Which is basically a shipping fee to send it out from Amazon. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to avoid these fees. That’s just the cost of business I’m afraid, but one other recommendation is, I would look into liquidating your stock.
You’ve generally got three options. You can either ship your products out of Amazon, or you can dispose of them where you pay a fee and Amazon will destroy the product, that’s kind of a worse case scenario. Then the other option is to liquidate it, where essentially, you’re selling your product at a cheap price. Basically, like wholesale price, to Amazon and then they will sell it. What I would do is I would compare the cost of shipping it out of Amazon, versus how much you would get by liquidating the product. While you might get less money by liquidating the product, at least it’s done. If you ship the product out of Amazon, you still have all of that inventory and so the question would be, do you have a plan to get rid of it? Are you gonna sell it on eBay, or sell through some other channel? You still are stuck with that inventory if you’re just trying to get rid of it, so I would essentially, work out how much you would get back from those two scenarios and see which one is going to end up better financially or which one is going to be easier for you in the long run?
Jenny asks, “To determine if the product is competitive or not, people all indicate using the number of reviews. I found a product, the number of reviews for the first 10 listings are all around 200 reviews, but the estimated sales for them are all over 1,000 per month. Is this product too competitive, since if I want to make my product show on the first page, I have to have over 1,000 sales per month?”
This is an interesting question. Let’s make some assumptions to begin with. We’re looking at a particular niche. The top 10 listings, no more than 200 reviews in all of those. So it ticks the box that we normally talk about, in terms of being competitive. All the numbers and reviews are fairly low. Now, in terms of the sales, all of those top 10 listings have more than 1,000 in demand. That’s actually really high. In most cases we talk about how that’s a great thing, having so much demand for your product. You’ve got high demand and low reviews, which is exactly what you want.
Now, what Jenny is talking about here in her question is referring to a strategy that we’ve shared for launching your product. Let’s say you’re going up against listings that are doing 15 sales per day. What you could do is run a promotional giveaway where you discount your product and you match the number of sales that those listings are getting on the first page. So you’re say doing, 15 giveaways per day. Let’s say you do that for a couple of weeks, so that you’re matching the sales volume that those particular listings are getting. If you do that for long enough, let’s say a couple of weeks, then you’ll have a good chance of being ranked up there, and hopefully spark some other natural, organic sales as well.
So this leads to the question, can there be too much demand? If all the listings in this particular scenario are getting over 1,000 sales per month, that’s like 30 sales a day. Now if you wanted to use that promotional giveaway strategy that we talked about before, then you would need to be giving away 30 units per day and for a good amount of time, in order to spike your listing and get ranked up high in the top 10. But essentially, no. I don’t think there’s ever a time where you can have too much demand. It’s fantastic. It sounds like a great niche with such low competition and all the listings have really high numbers. Yes, it would be really hard to match that number of sales by doing promotional giveaway but I don’t think you would necessarily have to do that. Even just doing a smaller giveaway would start to get you ranked hire, okay? I still believe it’s possible, even though it would be hard to match that exact number of sales.
And the thing is, if all the top 10 listings are doing over a thousand in sales, then I would say that after that top 10 listings there are still sales to be had lower down the page. There possibly is sales still in page two, or a sub-niche of that product. So to sum up, yes, I would still absolutely go for a product like that. If it matches what we talked about, low reviews and high sales, the only time that I would recommend against high sales is if it was only the first or second listing. As long as those sales are spread out, then I would go for it.
So that wraps up all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value from those answers. Make sure to give us a big thumbs up below this video if you have. Also, I mentioned at the start that we’ve got a brand new session. Q&A with Greg, live here on YouTube on Fridays. So I encourage you to subscribe to our channel so that you get notified when he goes live. In fact, we’re gonna be switching to that format for a while, so definitely make sure you check out those live streams. You’re still gonna see me here on the channel, sharing lots of other content. Thanks for your support. All the very best, guys. And I’ll see you next time.
Episode 29: Should I Form an LLC if selling from Australia?
0:38 Do Australians selling in the US form LLCs?
1:13 Do Australians get public liability insurance from Australia or the US?
1:43 How do sellers make a profit with listings priced at $8-$10?
2:52 Is it within Amazon policy to sell multiple listings of the same product from different brands?
4:14 If I see a niche where some of the top sellers have good sales but a few of them don’t – is this a good niche to go into?
5:28 If I find a good product but there’s no opportunity to improve it or bundle it with something else, should I still sell it?
If you wanted a question answered on Ask Jungle Scout, make sure to drop it in the comments section below this video and make sure you subscribe to the channel for this video and all the others, and let’s get to the first question.
Leigh asks, “Do Australians selling in the US normally form an LLC in the US, or a Proprietary Limited Company in Australia?”
Leigh, I can only speak for myself. I set up a company in Australia, and I believe that’s totally fine to use that as the entity to sell on Amazon. However, you can actually use that entity to then create an LLC in the US as well, if you wish. In my findings, it doesn’t really matter which way you want to go. Just forming a company in Australia is fine. I found that was the easiest and most straightforward to go about it.
“With public liability insurance, do Australians get this in Oz or in the US? And any companies you would recommend?”
Public liability insurance is probably not something that you absolutely need. I don’t know too many sellers that have gone down that road of getting it. I certainly haven’t. I know lots of other Australians that haven’t done this either. Because you’re primarily working online, there isn’t as much of a need for public liability insurance, in my opinion. I don’t have any recommendations if you want to go down that road.
Philipp asks, “While researching, I stumble upon many FBA products at a much lower price point than what you recommend, like $8-$10. How is this profitable for those sellers?”
Quite likely Philipp it isn’t, or it’s profitable to the point where they might be getting a dollar profit or something very, very small. Just based off of that alone, it will probably take them a long time to scale and have enough profits in order to invest in new products and so forth. Or, they could be selling a really cheap $8-$10 product that gets hundreds and hundreds of sales, so they make it up in the sales volume.
They’re getting so many sales that those… Whereas, a person with a healthy $5-$7 profit might be getting 300 sales per month, this person with a dollar profit might be getting a thousand sales per month, and make up for it that way. Regardless of how they’re doing it, as we’ve mentioned before, it’s not really worth setting your price that low. It’s just going to take you a long time to scale up your business. Just stick with going for products that are priced at a higher price point.
Steve asks, “Is it within Amazon policy to sell multiple brands of the same product or niche? For example, I can have a brand named ABC selling a red baby hooded towel with a unique design, then launch another brand name, XYZ, selling a slightly different designed baby hooded towel.”
Yeah, absolutely you can do that. A couple of things I’d mention, though, is I’m not entirely sure why you would to have two competing versions of a particular product.
If you’ve got slight variations of the product, you’re probably better off putting them under the same listing and having a variation of that particular product, so that all the reviews that you get for either of them go under that one listing, so that you’re really building up that one listing. That would be my suggestion, rather than having two different listings for a very similar product.
The other thing to keep in mind is brand registry. If you have two different listings from two different brands, if you wanted to get brand registry which gives you access to enhanced brand content, which is like images in your description, and it gives your brand more protection if anyone tries to hijack it or anything else, then you would need to get a trademark for both those brands. Trying to minimize the number of brands that you have is probably a good idea. If you can stick to just having the one brand, it’s probably better for you in the long run.
Mendy asks, “I found a product that has a lot of demand and a bunch of sellers with low reviews selling substantial amounts. Problem is there are a bunch of sellers that are also just not selling substantial amounts, and I don’t find a reason why. Meaning there are a lot of sellers with good listings, good ratings, over 20 reviews, and are on the first page but yet some sell well, some don’t. Is it too risky to get into a product like this?”
Hey Mendy, yes, it sounds like it might be a little bit risky to go into this particular niche.
It sounds like in your top listings, maybe in your top 10 or so listings, it sounds like half of them are selling quite well and the others aren’t. What we try to look for is that the sales are fairly well spread out. We want to see that the sales are fairly well distributed, so that no matter where you place in those top 10 listings, you’re fairly likely to capture that share of sales. If only some of the listings are selling quite well and others aren’t, then I probably wouldn’t go into that market. I can’t say exactly why some of those listings aren’t and others are, however, that is the reality. I would just avoid going into a niche like that.
Moe asks, “First time seller, found a product via Jungle Scout extension with high sales volume and low reviews. The issue is all reviews are positive and there really is nothing to improve on this product. I’m thinking about bundling but someone already beat me to it with my bundling idea. Everything else seems to be no value add. Is this worth pursuing if I’m all going to do is change the print design of the product, but the quality is going to be the same as the competitor’s? Would you consider copying the same bundling item? Help.”
This is an interesting question because we talk a lot about differentiation, how you always want to find a product that sells high, has low competition, and then make a little twist to it, by either bundling it with something else or making a slight improvement to the product to beat the rest of the competition. But what do you do if you’ve looked, gone through all those steps, and you can’t find anything to improve or someone else has already done the best idea for a bundle? Should you still go ahead with that product?
It’s a tricky question. I can’t answer this for your particular product without seeing it, because this will change depending on the product. What I would say here is that quite likely if you wanted to sell this product I would say go into it with the mentality that you’ve just got it for a window of time. You might have six months or a year where you could go into that market, build up a good listing, and dominate for a while or make a good amount of sales and profit, for a period of time. But I would always keep in mind the fact that really your listing isn’t overly different to anyone else’s.
More people will most likely come into this market because it’s selling well, so I would keep that in mind, and I would look at the profit margins. If you can get a significant profit margin on this product, I would potentially look at selling it, and just work towards building up enough profit and moving onto the next product. Compared to other products where you might differentiate them, and you might be planning to go into that product line for the long haul, and really building it up and really dominating that niche in the long term. This one might be more of a short term product. That’s another way to look at it.
That’s just my opinion. Yeah, I would go back to looking at what is the profit margin on this product? How cheap is it to source? If it’s fairly cheap to source and you’ve got a fairly reasonable profit margin, then yeah, I would probably still go in and sell it, but just keep in mind that it might have an expiry date.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you enjoyed those. If you’ve got some value, please give us a thumbs up on the video. It really makes a big difference, and we appreciate it. If you want your question to be answered on the show, make sure you drop it in the comments section below this video. There’ll also be a link below this video to the part two of the million dollar case study that I mentioned at the start. Definitely check that one out. It’s a free A to Z resource of all the steps involved with launching a product on Amazon, but also specifically in the European marketplace. Thanks for joining today, I look forward to answering your questions next time. See you, guys.
Episode 28: Should I trademark my brand name while I’m still searching for my product?
0:32 Do you use software or tools to fill out the search terms in the backend?
0:47 With so many tools out there to find lots of keywords, how do you possibly use all this data in your listing?
4:31 How long can you sell as an individual before forming a company?
6:33 Should I trademark my brand name while I’m still searching for my product?
7:44 If we use Aliexpress to buy a small test order to get the feel of the process, should we sell on a new or existing listing?
Franco asks: “I was wondering what you use to fill out the search term in the backend. Do you use any software?”
There are a lot of different tools out there to help you do keyword research. Here are some of top ones that we recommend.
The next question is related to the first one. “Keyword research seems to be a massively important part of FBA. Having identified a potentially good product, there are numerous paid and free keyword research tools, including Keyword Inspector Reverse ASIN, Amazon PPC, MerchantWords, et cetera, which will generate hundreds or thousands of potentially profitable words and phrases. Please explain how to use this vast quantity of data in one listing.”
This is a good question because there are so many tools to help you with your keyword research. The thing to note here though is that with the hundreds or thousands of keywords that you’re getting, most of them aren’t intended to go into your actual listing in your description and title, and even in the backend. A lot of the keywords that you’re getting are usually to put into PPC campaigns so that you can experiment with trying to get sales through all these new keywords.
When it comes to optimizing your listing I’ve probably only used a couple of different tools really to get those keywords or those main keywords that you want to try to rank for in your title and description and so forth. As simple as it is I really like Amazon’s auto fill. What that means is when you go to the search bar and you start typing in the name of the product that you’re after, let’s say you’re wanting to sell a yoga mat, if you just started typing in Y-O-G it would actually give you all the sort of top suggestions that would show you yoga mat, yoga mat black or hot yoga mat, it would start showing you all the most popular search terms based off of the first characters that you’ve typed. You can experiment very easily this way and it will give you all the kind of most popular search terms. I really like that method to start collecting a few of the top keywords that you want to rank for.
Another free tool I like for doing this as well is keyword.io. I like this one because it says that you can actually search for keywords that are actually on Amazon so that’s really handy to get some more keywords as well.
Then another one that I like but is a paid tool is Keyword Inspector. What I like about it is that it’s able to essentially give you all the keywords that a competitor’s product is being ranked for or is getting sales through. I find that really helpful. I’ll look at a couple of competitors’ ASINs, see what keywords they’re getting sales on, and use that as kind of a basis for the ones that I want to rank for, but also this will give me some of the main keywords as well that I’d like to put into my actual listing. I would kind of cross reference those two or three lists, see which keywords are common in all of them, whichever ones are the most common in all of them are probably the top main keywords. Then I would take that sort of top five to 10 keywords and those are the ones that I would be trying to insert into my listing.
When it comes to all the rest, you’re experimenting with all these tools out there and you’re getting lists and lists of keywords, there are two places to put them. Firstly, you can put that in the backend of your listing. When you go to edit listing there are five fields that you can fill up with keywords, so I would use them in those five areas. And then I would also insert those keywords into different PPC campaigns.
Now we do have some more detailed webinars on keyword research and listing optimization, as well as PPC and how to set up those campaigns. I’ll leave the links for those below if you’d want to check that out in more depth.
The next question is: “How long can international sellers sell as individuals with no legal entity? What is the optimal time to switch to a business structure in the home country, before first inventory, after you’ve already made some sales, and what is must time to go business and not individual anymore? Is the level of sales or anything else?”
In my opinion there is no right time to switch from being an individual to a corporation of some sort. In fact, you can just stay as an individual for the life of being an Amazon seller. Of course as you scale your business as it does get a lot bigger, then it probably makes more sense to become a corporation to kind of protect yourself a little bit more. I’m sure there would be tax advantages and so forth to do so. However, I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much at the start. I sort of feel like you don’t really need to ask that question because it will become very apparent.
When you’re starting out, you’re just trying to make a profit. When you’re in that early stage, I really wouldn’t be worrying about setting up a company structure or kind of wondering like, “Oh, should I do it on my next shipment,” or so forth. I think that when it’s applicable to you, it will become very apparent. You’ll be at that next level where you’re getting in decent numbers of sales, your sales levels are growing, you’re thinking bigger picture and thinking what are my next steps to take this to the next level. I think it will be quite apparent when you’re needing already to shift over. There is no set time. It’s not after two or three shipments or there’s nothing to … no formula as to when you should do this. It’s just when it makes sense for you. If you’re not making a profit at the start or not making many sales, it really doesn’t matter. I’d say don’t worry about it now and I believe that you’re going to know when it’s the right time.
The next question is: “I am still searching for my product, but in the meantime should I trademark a name or logo before I find the product I wish to sell?”
I can’t say for sure. In my opinion I probably would go ahead and start the trademark process because thinking long-term there are advantages to having the new brand registry. It seems like Amazon are going to bring out like even more features to support brands that are registered, so I think for the life of an Amazon seller getting brand registered is going to be a very big plus.
I would personally get that process started now if it makes sense. If you’ve got a limited budget, I would save that for the product itself, because that’s ultimately the most important thing. It’ll be silly to spend money on a trademark and then have no money to get inventory. But if you can afford to, I would, yeah, I would get started on the trademark today because it will take a few months anyway so you’re probably already going to have your product into Amazon and be into your second shipment. So the sooner you start that process the better, but only if it makes sense for you and your current budget.
Demetrio asks: “Hey there, you mentioned that in order to get a feel for how things work we can buy from AliExpress. When we go list these items we purchased from AliExpress, would we list them as a new product or an existing product?”
I was talking about doing a small test order even of like 10, 30, 50 units, sending it into Amazon so that you get the feel of how the process works and you get more comfortable with it before you place a larger order of 500 or 1,000. When you’re doing this I would just go straight in and create a new listing, and yeah, create a new listing rather than selling on an existing one.
That way you get the experience of setting up a listing and seeing how that works, adding images, optimizing it, writing in the description and so forth, so you get practice at that, and then you’re all set to go if you want to continue going ahead with that particular product, you’ve got the listing set up, potentially even might have one or two reviews from that small order that you sent in. So yeah, I would definitely just go ahead and create a new listing.
That’s all the questions for today guys. I hope you got some value from those answers. Let us know by giving some big thumbs up. I’d really appreciate it. Also, if you haven’t heard, we’ve just launched part two of The Million Dollar Case Study. We’ve shared with you the process of getting a product launched in the US, but we know a lot of you have been asking about the European markets so we thought we’d launch our second product now in the European market. Head to this link here to check out The Million Dollar Case Study part two in Europe. All right, remember to leave your questions in the comment section below. Have a fantastic week. I’ll see you next time guys.
Episode 27: What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?
1:16 If I have tracked 10 products and I need to narrow down to the top 1 or 2, how would you go about it?
3:47 How long should we track a certain niche? Days, weeks, etc.?
4:42 I have a tracking limit of 40 products. Theoretically, if I tracked one product and it had a niche of 40 products and I put them in the tracker, would it count as 1 product to limit or would I not be able to add any more products?
5:27 What’s something you wish you knew starting out that you know now?
8:48 How do you recognize when your first product is stable enough to even think about trying a second product?
Now, you’ve heard me talk about the million dollar case study a number of times. It’s probably the ultimate course or resource on selling, on amazon. It’s a webinar series, and there’s now well over 20 webinars. There’s well over 20 hours worth of content there. It’s an in depth guide to selling on Amazon.
However, the video that we’ve just released is a 40 minute condensed version from A to Z, a complete guide to selling on Amazon. If you’re brand new and you want to get an overview of the process, or you just want a bit of a refresher of all the steps, from A to Z, then check out our brand new video “How To Sell On Amazon.”
If you enjoy that one and it helps, please let us know in the comments of that video also. This week we’re going to do something a little bit different. I’m going to share with you some question and answers from a recent webinar that we held, and more often when one person is wondering, other people are wondering too.
I hope you get some value from these questions and answers.
Okay. Angela asks, “If I’ve tracked 10 products and I need to narrow down to the top one or two, how would you go about it?”
There’s a number of things I would look at. One of the main things I would look at is, which products give you the biggest profit margin. You can look at … Okay. Go to somewhere like Alle Baba. Alle Baba. However you pronounce it. It’s a great place to find supplies. You can go on there, search for the product that you’re after. You can then contact those suppliers to get some quotes or a lot of listings will give you kind of a rough idea of how much that product will cost.
I would go and try to find out roughly how much that product will cost. You can see from the listings already on Amazon, you can see roughly what they’re priced, and you can have an idea about how much you can sell for. Then, here in the product database you’re able to get the net amount, so you can find out the FBA fees. You can get an idea of the product cost. I would just allocate one to two dollars for the shipping, just as a rough number.
If it’s not too big, if it’s just kind of a standard sized product, it’s not too heavy or anything, then it’s probably going to be somewhere between a dollar and two dollars for shipping. Basically, with those calculations I would try to figure out which products have the biggest profit margin. The other thing I would look at as well is, which products are the cheapest to source?
Okay, so yeah. I would write down sort of from top to bottom, which of the products that give you the best profit margin, and then also, which products would cost you the least. You’ve got sort of the biggest upside, and then you’ve also got the lowest risk products.
From those two lists, I would narrow it down to what I’m the most comfortable with. You might have one that has a really big profit margin, but it might cost a lot more. So maybe you might be better off, or you might feel more comfortable with a product that costs less. That doesn’t give you quite as much of a profit margin, but is a little bit less risk because you’re not investing as much up front.
I hope that makes sense. That’s how I would go about it.
Kevin asks, “How long should we track a certain niche? Days, weeks, et cetera?”
As a rule of thumb, I would say about a couple of weeks. If it’s a product that you’re really honing in on … Really the answer is, as long as you need in order to be certain about a particular product. Okay? Yeah. Again, coming back to this example here … This is a good one for this yoga mat.
Well actually, even at the seven day view, this one actually has some really good data. It gives you 19, 8, 9, 10, 14, 8, 11 … And what’s the average showing, 10 per day. Yeah, if you’ve got seven days of real sales data like this … This is actually pretty good, but still at the minimum I would prefer 14 days. It gives you a bit better of a picture of how well this product is selling. Yeah, I guess I would say, “As a rule of thumb, say 14 days or two weeks.”
David says, “I have a tracking limit of 40 products. Theoretically, if I tracked one product and it had a niche of 40 products and I put them in the tracker, would it count as one products to limit, or would I not be able to add any more products?”
Yeah, so that’s correct. Really, the correct way to say it is, “You can track 40 listings in the product tracker.” Okay, so in terms of how many niches you’re investigating, I would always aim for somewhere between seven to 10 listings per niche. So with a tracking limit of 40 products I’d say, “You could probably track four to five different niches at one time.”
David says, “What’s something you wish you knew starting out that you know now?”
Probably just about everything, and trying to narrow it down to one thing. Probably one of the greatest mistakes I made when starting out is that I tried launching my second product too soon. Okay. I had one product that was starting to do well, and then I was really excited about bringing in another product, so I spent money on a new product but because you need to spend money on marketing it, doing promotional giveaways, which costs you money, and PPC and so forth, it’s not as profitable at the start because you don’t have any reviews.
Because I launched the second product, I then ran out of money to restock my first product. Then I ran out of stock on my first product, and then subsequently I dropped my keyword rankings a little bit, and I basically just lost some momentum on my first product, which I had to try to catch up, and then … Yeah.
The lesson learnt was that I should have stuck with my first product a lot longer, until I was very, very confident that I could pull away money for a second product. That’s probably the big takeaway.
Of course, all the little details, once you’ve been through it once, it gets a lot easier. You get a lot more confident. You learn so much more, and you’re always going to go, “Oh. I wish I would have known this when I started out.” However, what I would say is that just starting out, and just going through the process is super, super handy.
You can listen to me, or Greg, or anyone talk as much as you like, but just going through and doing the process you’re going to learn so much more. I mean, I’d even recommend if you don’t have that much money, to spend all your … A little bit more risk averse, and you’re a little bit worried about doing this. Go to somewhere like AliExpress. Alle Baba is a great place to source product. AliExpress I think is connected to them. With AliExpress, you can actually get smaller minimum order quantities, so on Alle Baba, you’d have order at least 500 or a thousand units at a time, in most cases.
You can often negotiate your first order down to maybe 200 or 300, but generally they’re larger order quantities. What you can do if you’re a little bit nervous, is go to AliExpress. You can order like one unit, but I’d order like 20, 30, 50 units in just a very, very small amount. Send it into Amazon, so that you get familiar with how to create a listing. How to set up a shipment, and sending it into Amazon.
You don’t have to spend very much money at all, to send in 20 or 30 units, but just actually doing that, you get to understand how the process works, and then you’ll feel more confident when you send in 300 or 500 units from Alle Baba. Yeah, even doing that I reckon is kind of a good strategy. Just getting that experience under your belt. So, I kind of went off on a tangent there David, but I hope something in there was kind of useful.
David says, “How do you recognize when your first product is stable enough to even think about trying a second product?”
I think it ultimately comes down to the math. Now, it’s kind of too much to go into right now, but once you’ve gone through the process once with one product, you’ll be able to figure it out. So really, I would do the calculations for a second product and kind of go, “Okay. How much is it going to cost me for my first order of 500 or a thousand units?” We’ve actually, as part of a million dollar case study a couple of weeks ago, we had on the founder of [Forecast Link 00:09:26], which is basically inventory management and forecasting.
Forecasting how many sales you’ll get, and so that episode explains this really well, but you need to figure out how many units do I need for my first order because you need enough units to help you launch your product because you might say, “Okay. I might need like a hundred units to give away at 50% off, in order to launch my listing.”
But if you give away 50% off, you’re probably going to break even or lose some money on those 100 units, and then once your listing starts doing well, you need to have enough units left over to last you until you can bring in a second shipment, so that you don’t run out.
Using the strategies from this webinar, which I’ll share with you, you can sort of work out how many units you’ll need for your first order. From that, you can then work out, “Okay, how much is that going to cost me in total?”
Let’s say my first order is going to cost me 2,000 dollars for my second product. Now what I would do is, I would calculate, “Okay. How much profit am I making currently?” Let’s say I’m making 15 sales per day, each product is giving me four dollars profit. I would calculate, can I afford to take away 2,000 dollars without … And still have enough left over to bring in more inventory for my first product, without it running out.
Yeah. Once you watch this webinar on inventory management, and forecasting, it’ll kind of give you some of these equations so that you can figure this stuff out. But yeah, essentially it’s like figure out how much your second product is going to cost, and then you need to figure out, “when can I afford to take away that amount and my first product, I can still afford to bring in shipments without it running out?”
I know I struggled to get though that, but that’s essentially the process. It’s kind of math and figuring it out. When I first started, I had no idea how to do this, but as I said, “By going through the process, you start to figure out how to do it.”
For me, it was a lot of pen on paper. Lots of calculating, but yeah you can sort of figure it out. Usually I think, from my experience anyway, whenever you think that you’re ready to get in a new product, you should probably wait. That’s been true for me anyway.
That’s all the questions for this week guys. I hope you got some value from those. Give us a big thumbs up if you did. Also, remember to drop your questions in the comments section below this video for a chance to have it answered. We’re going to mix up the questions a lot more, so make sure you drop it in the comment section below this video.
Have a fantastic week guys, and I’ll see you next time.
Episode 26: Should I compete with Chinese sellers?
0:29 I was just beaten to market by a Chinese seller. Should I move forward with this product or find another?
2:23 What do you do when the number of sellers increases just before you pay for and send in your product?
5:56 Do I hire a freight forwarder before or after paying for my goods?
6:22 Should I use the photos sent to me by my Chinese manufacturer?
7:31 After you change your unique identifier from UPC code to model number, will your FNSKU change?
8:20 Now that Amazon will begin collecting GST from Australian based sellers, should I get an ABN and register an Australian business name?
VidWatcher asks “I was just beat to market by a Chinese seller with the same product about a week or two before my launch. They will only a short headstart on sales and reviews and have much worse branding photos copy than my listing will. Should I be worried? Will having a duplicated product on the market hurt my perceived value to customers? Should I use a thumbnail that makes it less obvious it’s the same product? They don’t run PPC on their existing product in the same niche and have below average sales, for what it’s worth.”
All things considered, this isn’t the worst situation you could be in. As you mentioned, their photos and their listing and that sort of thing are a lot, lot worse. It sounds it possibly is a Chinese seller.
If that’s the case, a lot of the time, they’re not very good with those listing optimization things. You see grammar errors and spelling errors and that sort of thing, so their listing isn’t going to be well marketed. In that sense, I wouldn’t be too worried. Again, they’re probably not as well educated in terms of how to launch a product. They’re most likely just going to put their listing up and set and forget it. They’re probably not going to be pushing as hard with PPC or doing promotional giveaways or doing all of the things that we know about in order to get your product launched. Even though they’ve got a listing up, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get sales. In a lot of ways, I probably wouldn’t be too worried.
The final thing I’d consider is how similar is your product to theirs. If it’s exactly the same, I’d look at doing something a little bit different with yours, whether that’s just the packaging at the very, very basic level or bundling another small item in or making a small improvement upon your product. Regardless of whether another competitor comes into the market or not, that’s a good thing to do to future proof against other people that come in and try to sell against you in the future. I’d keep that mind.
Arthur asks “Have you or anyone else at Jungle Scout ever decided on a product, contacted suppliers, gotten samples and are just about to make payment and arrange shipping only to double check the JS extension one last time to find that the number of sellers and reviews has increased within the time that it took to arrange all that? If so, would you still go ahead with that product or find something else that won’t take quite as long?”
This is a very similar question to the previous one. Now, in most cases, I would say I wouldn’t be too worried about new sellers coming into the market. Because again, they’re just starting from scratch as well. When I launch a product, my mentality is that I want to go all in. I want to go very aggressive and move very quickly.
What I’d like to share here is to always have that mentality. Whether enters the market just as you’re starting to enter the market or whether they enter down the track, I think you’re better off always preparing for that. At some stage, you’re going to have new competitors, so you always want to be hustling. It takes a little while to find a product and to get it made and so forth, but I feel like once you’ve decided and you’ve got that product, you really need to hustle, get it to market as soon as you can, start getting sales as quickly as you can, start building your listing. Because inevitably, whether it’s today, yesterday, two weeks, or two months from now, somebody else is going to enter that market as well.
I feel like you should always be prepared for that to happen, that way you’re not blindsided or you’re paralyzed when you suddenly see someone enter the market and you go what do I do? I think it’s a good idea to always be thinking ahead and going even if you’ve entered the market you are starting to dominate, I’d always be going what else could I be doing to my listing. Maybe, I’ll just start to take some new images from a different angle and a lot different to the ones I’ve got. The ones I’ve got now are performing really well, but if someone else enters the market, I want something up my sleeve. My best advice here is take it slow in product research, verify the numbers, be very certain about the product and the niche.
Then once you’ve decided, go all in, block out everything else and move very quickly, don’t worry about who else is coming in, just focus on the steps in front of you, which is how am I going to launch. Follow the plan and don’t get distracted or don’t let little doubts creep in. When I say be very sure in moving into market, it’s not to say that there won’t ever be little doubts. There always are going to be little doubts. I don’t think it gets any easier. Even if you’ve launched a number of products before, the next time you do it, there’s always that little bit of a fear of what if this doesn’t work out. I think a lot of those fears come from our emotions rather than the actual data. When you’re having those doubts, go back to the data.
Look at the numbers and the research that you’ve done because normally if you look at that, a lot of the time you’ve already verified that it’s got the sales. You can see that the competition isn’t too bad. You’re looking at the hard numbers and the data and that normally tells you that it’s a good niche. It’s all those other what ifs and little doubts that enter your mind that are really based on nothing. That’s just your emotional side kicking in. I know that’s a little broad, but I can’t say for sure whether you should continue with this product or move on to another one. I would just say revisit your research. If all the reasons why you decided to move on this product are still valid, then I would continue ahead as planned.
Nathan asks “When do I search for or hire a freight forwarder on Freightos? After or before I purchase my goods?”
For those of you that don’t know, Freightos is a website where you can go to and compare lots of freight forwarder quotes. You can go there first before you purchase anything, just to get some quotes on the shipping so you have an idea of how much it costs. Then once you’ve purchased the actual product, you can go back to Freightos to actually book in a freight forwarder.
Jo M asks “With private label, do the Chinese manufacturers send you images to use on your listing? It’s just if they are sending straight to the fulfillment center through a freight forwarder and you don’t see the product, how do you obtain the images?”
I wouldn’t ever recommend using the images the Chinese manufacturers send you. They’re normally going to be pretty bad and pretty generic. It doesn’t take that much in order to get your own images done and they’re going to be way, way better. Also, I wouldn’t send a shipment into Amazon without ever having sighted the product. The way I’d go about it is when you’re choosing your suppliers, I would get samples from two or three different suppliers.
Then when you’ve got those samples, you can decide on which supplier you like, so you’ve actually sighted the product that that supplier is selling. Then, you make a large order with that supplier and it’s still fine to send your shipment direct from the supplier to Amazon. That’s still totally fine, however I would get them to then send you another sample, but this time it’s sample that’s got your logo or branding and your packaging and so forth so that you’ve then got that sample in order to take photos yourself or you can pay a local photographer or product photographer to do it for you.
Shannon asks “Once you get brand registry and you move your unique identifier over to a model number, will the same FNSKU continue to work once the model number is the unique identifier? For example, I designed boxes with the FNSKU given to me by Amazon from the UPC supplier. Will I need to change the barcode on my boxes?”
No. Your FNSKU barcode should stay exactly the same. That normally doesn’t change, but it is very easy to check. Once you’ve changed your unique identifier over to a model number, just go to manage inventory and then next to your listing, click on the dropdown menu and click print label. That will print out a little PDF with your FNSKU barcode on there, so that way you can double check what your current FNSKU, but I don’t believe it should change at all.
Hadi asks “As you might know, Amazon will start collecting GST from Australian based sellers unless these sellers have provided Amazon with an ABN as confirmation that they are GST registered in Australia. In this situation, would it be a good idea to register your Amazon name as an Australian business name plus an ABN and then optionally register for GST since in Australia you are not supposed to pay GST unless your turnover is 75,000 and more?”
Yeah. That’s exactly what I’d recommend, Hadi. If you’re selling in Australia and you haven’t got an ABN, firstly I’d apply for an ABN, it’s totally free. Then, if you’ve got a seller store name set up, I would just register that one as a business name and then you’ve got both your ABN and you’ve registered your business name in Australia.
You have the choice of whether or not you want to register for GST, but my understanding is it’s probably better to register for GST for this situation with Amazon and then submit your ABN to Amazon, save that in your profile settings there, and then my understanding is that Amazon will not take out GST from your sales on Amazon. However, you might have to organize paying GST separately. That’s not something I know heaps about yet, but we’ll update you guys as we learn more about how to deal with this situation in Australia.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value from this episode. Let me know in the comments or just simply give me a big thumbs up. Speaking about selling in Australia, we’ve actually just launched the The Million Dollar Case Study Part Two, where we’re expanding into another marketplace in Europe. You can check that one out at this this link here. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I look forward to answering your questions next time. See you guys.
Episode 25: Will I be penalized for running out of stock?
1:01 Can you go into a saturated market if you find a sub-niche within it?
5:13 How many computers can you install the chrome extension onto?
5:30 Will I be penalized and my BSR suffer if I run out of stock?
6:18 How do I separate my product from another person’s and not be put under their listing?
Turk’s question is about saturated products. “I know that JS does not recommend going into a niche that is saturated, even though it has tons of sales. How about a niche branch? For example, fidget spinners are well saturated, and I don’t recommend selling that product line. However, Batman or Superman spinners might be a branch of this line that could be promising. I know you gave a very bad example, such as spinners, but I hope you get my point here.”
Thanks for the question. I know exactly what you mean. You’re saying, “If you take a saturated product, but find a niche within that product that may be be easier to break into.” Let’s say you’ve got a smaller niche within fidget spinners. If you can look at that, look at the first page of results, analyze that like we’ve talked about before, looking at the top 10 results, once seeing the demand, but then more importantly, seeing the competition, if you can see that there is low competition in this sub-niche and there’s also sufficient demand, then it may be well worth exploring. However, I’d still be a little bit careful here because the main product of fidget spinners is so saturated that you’re going to have a lot more eyeballs on that particular product or niche, and so more people are still going to probably enter the market even within the sub niche that you’re looking at.
Also, I just want to talk about entering a competitive market. If you just want to go into a market where there are huge sales, but also big competition, it’s not that it’s impossible, but it is going to be very hard. Essentially what you have to do in these competitive markets is bully your way to the top. This is going to involve really heavy PPC campaigns. This is going to involve heavy giveaways, promotional giveaways. What you have to do in these really competitive markets is essentially bully your way to the top. What this means is heavy PPC campaigns, heavy promotional giveaways, and for a long period of time.
In a less competitive market, this launch process could take a few weeks up to a couple of months perhaps, whereas in a competitive market, this is a much longer process. You could be talking six months, 12 months, or longer, and potentially just losing money all this time. Remember, you’re going up against listings that have hundreds and thousands of reviews. In order to stay in that top ten and get that visibility, you need to be able to match the numbers of sales that they’re getting.
The only way you’re going to be able to do that is by going fairly heavy in your promotional giveaways and with your PPC, doing whatever you can to get that sales velocity up. You’re going to have to do this for a very long time because at the same time, you’ve got lots of other competitors entering the market and doing the same thing. Because everyone else is advertising as well, everybody’s advertising costs are going to go up because they’re all trying to outbid the other. Really, it’s just a matter of who can sustain losses the longest, who can be the last man standing. A lot of the time, it will take six months, 12 months of losing money. Although you’re losing money, what you are gaining is these keyword rankings.
Eventually, if you can sustain that, everyone else will hopefully, or all the new competitors, will eventually drop out because it’s costing them too much money. Then the reward comes for you at the end when you can finally stay in a sustained position higher up in say the top 10. You’re reaping the benefits of that by getting the huge numbers of sales that come in. However, that reward doesn’t come for quite a way down the track. It’s very different to a less competitive market where you could be perhaps reaping those benefits, though not as great, maybe two or three months in. With a competitive market, you’re going to have to be putting a lot of money into this just to really fight for your keyword rankings and do this for a much longer period. I hope that gives you a little bit of a picture of what it’s like going into a competitive market, so the rewards are definitely greater, which is why some people would consider doing that. For most people, you’ll want to go for a less competitive product and have more of a balanced risk and reward.
The next question is, “On how many PCs can the Chrome extension be installed on?”
You can actually install the extension on multiple computers. However, you can only be logged into one at a time. If you try to log into multiple ones, it’s going to boot you out of one of them.
The next question is, “Sales on my product have unexpectedly increased drastically and now I may sell out before I can get my inventory order to FBA. If this happens, will my Amazon ranking be penalized when I am once again restocked?”
Generally speaking, yes, your best seller rank will increase when you run out of inventory. When you get stock back in, it won’t be quite as good. However, what we found a lot of the time is that it doesn’t take too long. Within two or three days, you can usually bounce back and regain most of the ranking that you previously had. One good strategy here is just to do a small promotional giveaway, maybe do five or 10 units for a couple of days, and with that little bit of a sales velocity, that’s usually enough of a kick to get your best seller rank back to where it was.
The next question is, “If I list a product with the same ASIN as another seller, is there a way to have my own listing that would be an improvement over the other seller? I’ve heard that Amazon will place my product under the existing listing no matter what the listing quality is.”
When you’re in Seller Central and you click “Add Product” or you want to create a new listing, Amazon will always ask you to type in the name of the product or to search for an existing one, or search for the product that you’re looking to sell. If you do this and select one of the existing products, then Amazon will try to put you on that particular listing. However, if you’re doing the private label model, which is what we talk about, and you’re creating a brand new product, then you want to completely ignore this and just go over and click onto “Create A Brand New Listing”. Doing this will ensure that you don’t get put onto another person’s listing and that you’ve got complete control of your private label listing.
The next question is from Idan who asks, “Does Jungle Scout find private label items only?”
While we focus mostly on private label, you can actually use Jungle Scout to find products for wholesaling or retail arbitrage. At the end of the day, you want to find products that have high demand, and that’s exactly what Jungle Scout does. However, what will change here is some of the filters that you use. When we’re looking for private label products, we’re looking for listings that have low numbers of reviews so that we can compete easily against those listings.
When it comes to retail arbitrage or wholesaling, this isn’t as important. It doesn’t matter how many reviews as much are on a listing because you’re not trying to compete with that listing, you’re just trying to find a good product to sell on. You can actually filter the number of sellers that is on a particular listing. We don’t use that too much for private label, but what you could do is you could set a limit on the maximum number of sellers you’d like to see on a listing, and also look at a listing that has high demand. That’s probably what I’d suggest if you’re looking to do wholesaling or retail arbitrage.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value from some of those answers. Let us know by giving us a big thumbs up on this video. Also, if you want your question to be answered on the show, make sure you drop it in the comments section below this video as well.
I did mention I would share with you a link for this week’s session of the Million Dollar Case Study, which was all about inventory management best practices. It’s something that’s not talked about lots in the Amazon space, but is a very important subject to look into and can definitely help improve your business, particularly over the long term. Head to this link here in order to check out that session. Enjoy. Have a great week. I’ll look forward to answering your questions next time. See you, guys.
Episode 24: Should I compete against Amazon?
0:28 Should I use Payoneer or World First?
1:51 Should I compete against Amazon?
3:09 What does it mean to avoid products with brand allegiance?
4:45 What do you recommend for product giveaways? How many units and for how many days?
6:33 When changing a UPC code to a model number – does the supplier give us the model number?
7:42 What’s the latest strategy for getting reviews?
Let’s get to the first question. Vidhya asks: “Payoneer or Worldfirst? Which is best?”
For those of you that have followed the show I have spoken about Payoneer and Worldfirst before. I’ve mentioned them both as services that I’ve used in the past. Now Vidhya mentioned in another comment that she is not able to get Worldfirst in her country so I would absolutely recommend Payoneer. Both allow you to receive Amazon payments in US dollars without having to have a US dollar account. What I like about Payoneer is that it includes a debit card. Anything that requires a credit card purchase, things like Jungle Scout or other software and services you can actually use a card. Worldfirst doesn’t have that but what I do like about Worldfirst is that the fees tend to be a little bit lower.
I haven’t used Payoneer recently but what they always do is that they take out 1% of any money that comes in whereas Worldfirst didn’t do that. I’d often use Worldfirst to pay my suppliers ’cause you can basically do a wire transfer from Worldfirst whereas Payoneer because it takes that little bit extra out I still use it, I still put money into my Payoneer account and then I just use that for my credit card purchases. However if you don’t have access to Worldfirst I’d highly recommend Payoneer. I just logged on recently, I haven’t used it as much but it seems like they’re adding a lot features so I definitely still highly recommend Payoneer.
Sean asks, “If a product or a brand is shipped and sold by Amazon is it a bad idea to private label the same product even if I can make it cheaper and better? Reviews are bad but selling a lot according to the Jungle Scout product database. Should I not try competing with Amazon?”
That’s a great question Sean. Now there a lot people that do feel a little bit wary about selling against Amazon and I totally get that. However we feel that it’s not necessarily that bad of a thing. You see a lot of the time Amazon will just launch a lot of products and essentially just sit and forget them. It’s a lot different to FBA sellers or FBM sellers who are in there checking their competition, trying to go into price wars or trying to be competitive essentially. When you’re going up against Amazon, they’re not going to do that. They’re not going to be checking your listing and you’re never going to get sabotaged by Amazon trying to put bad reviews on your listing or anything like that.
When you look at it from that perspective, in some ways it’s actually potentially like an advantage selling up against Amazon. We’ve heard from Amazon staff that they don’t favor their products any more so than those from an FBA or an FBM seller. So I don’t see any reason to not sell up against Amazon.
Max asks, “I recently watched the first video of your Jungle Scout Million Dollar Case Study. It was absolutely fantastic and super helpful though I’m confused over one thing. When you guys said to avoid brand allegiance areas, does that include areas where there seems to be a main seller selling lots of variations of your product? Or is it just avoid areas with the big names like clothing with Nike or baby nappies with Pampers?”
Thanks for the question Max. When we talk about avoiding products that have high brand allegiance, we’re talking about those products where people are less likely to buy from a third party or a no name brand. You do see that a lot in clothing. People like to wear certain brands like Nike or Under Armor or that type of thing. Think of the shopping habits of yourself and of people you know. Are there products that you would only buy from a particular brand? Think of phones and Apple. There are a lot of people that are hardcore Apple fans that will only buy from that brand.
So going into that market would be quite difficult because there’s such great brand loyalty to Apple and to Samsung and these particular brands. When you’re looking at products on Amazon it’s usually fairly apparent when there’s a brand that’s dominating a lot of the sales. So when you’re looking at say the top 10 listings if you see that one or two listing are taking most of the sales and there’s not as many spread out amongst the other eight or the remaining listings then that might be a sign that that particular listing or that brand might be holding brand allegiance. So when doing product research always watch out for brand allegiance but I hope that helps.
John and Evan’s Fishing Adventures asked: “When doing a launch, how many units do you recommend giving away and for how many days? I’ve heard to take the average number of units sold per day on page one and give that number of units away. Is that right? If so, for how many days?”
On recent session of the Million Dollar Case Study, Greg actually shares his launch strategy which we used for the Jungle Snugs, our baby hooded towels. And that was very much along the lines of what you’re saying John. By looking at the top listings on your main keyword, seeing how many sales per day they are doing and imitating that number of sales. It makes a lot of sense that if you want to be in the top 10 listings under that particular keyword you would need to be matching the number of sales that they are doing in order to be there.
Now the length of time that you run this promotion for will vary a lot. However I’ll give you some broad numbers just as a guideline and a starting point because I think it’s important to keep this in mind when you’re planning your first order. Because you will need to allocate some units to go towards giveaways and you probably will lose a little bit of money on this giveaway but it’s a necessary step to launch your product.
So I would recommend starting with between five to 10 units per day at a discount of somewhere between 50 to 80% off and I would run this for maybe one to two weeks. Again the length of time will vary. It depends how quickly some reviews start coming in, depends on how competitive your niche is. But really you just essentially just need to rinse and repeat this process until you start to get some natural organic sales. But I hope those numbers give you a least a bit of a starting point for how many to give away.
Sargis has two questions. Number one: “Now that Amazon is asking for product numbers instead of UPC codes, does suppliers provide us with a PN, a product number? If yes, does the product number change for our own product since that product is already existed with a product number before?”
What I think Sargis is referring to here is that when you get brand registry what you likely want to do is change your product from being attached to a UPC code to what’s called a model number. Now firstly to clarify, Amazon is not exactly asking for a product number, they still ask for a UPC code when you set up your listing unless you get a GTIN exemption.
There’s a link below to another past episode where I talked about this in more detail. However, what you need to know is that if you get brand registry you can change your unique identifier over to a model number. As you are the manufacturer of your product you can actually create the model number yourself. So you go into the back end of your listing and you can actually put in whatever you want the model number to be. You can actually create and designate that one yourself.
The second question from Sargis is: “What’s the latest strategy for getting customer reviews?”
Really the strategy hasn’t changed. You still need to get sales happening because the more sales that you get, the more reviews you will get inevitably. That involves things like running promotional giveaways and then running PPC campaigns also to drive more sales and then making sure you have automated email campaigns running. Following up your customers with emails to increase the likelihood of receiving reviews. All those thing still work and that’s still the best strategy moving forward.
That’s all the questions for today guys. Now I just wanted to share my tip of the week. It’s a free tool that we actually offer called the product listing grader. So you can just put in your ASIN and it will instantly give you a breakdown of how well optimized your listing is. We spend all this time and money and effort driving people to our listing but then it’s super important to make sure our listing is as optimized as possible to increase the chances that people will click add to cart and actually purchase your product.
So once you put your ASIN and an email address it’ll give you a detailed breakdown of how your listing, how well optimized it is and also some suggestions on how to improve it. I highly recommend checking out this link here to access it. Once you put in your ASIN and your email address it’ll give you a detailed breakdown of how well optimized your listing is and then some suggestions on what you can do to improve it. I highly recommend checking out that one to optimize your listing below.
I hope you guys enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to give us a big thumbs up if you got some value from today. Also make sure to subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. We’ve got some great content coming out all the time. Hope you guys have a wonderful week, I’ll see you next episode.
Episode 23: Can I Use a Pending Trademark for Brand Registry?
0:29 If I can’t get data on my product from Google Trends, is this a warning sign not to go ahead?
1:36 Can I use a pending trademark for Brand Registry?
2:05 When I change the identifier on a product from UPC code to model number, do I need to contact Amazon about each individual listing under that brand name?
3:49 Are you concerned when you see a niche with lots of listings with multiple sellers? These are often big brands.
Emma asks, “Quick question about Google Trends. I was looking up a product recently, which looks like one of those knock it out of the ballpark kind of products. However, it’s come up saying not enough search volume to see results. After running trends through Jungle Scout, I can see a ton of demand for this product plus good margins, too. Is this a warning sign not to go ahead?”
Thanks for the question. No, I wouldn’t see this as a warning sign not to go ahead. What I do is that I go to the Google Trends website and perhaps try some different keywords to see if you can get some results by putting in some different keywords, some different ways to type in the product that you’re looking at. Google Trends is a great way to identify seasonality in a product. However, it’s not the most important element when it comes to your product research. I would focus more on the demand.
How many sales are there and the competition levels, how many reviews do all the top listings have? Those are the more important things. Being able to bring up data on Google trends is definitely nice and valuable, but it’s not a deal breaker if you can’t do it.
Receita asks, “Does my Trademark have to already be approved in order for me to apply for brand registry at Amazon or just a document showing that I’ve already applied for a trademark is enough?”
Thanks for the question. Now I haven’t done this myself, but I have heard from a lot of sellers that you do need a completed trademark in order to apply for brand registry. You can’t use a pending one when you’ve just submitted the application, you do have to wait that period of time for it to be completely registered.
Ellen asks, “I’ve requested that Amazon change the unique ID for a listing from the UPC to the model number. What they did according to them, was go in and change my registered brand’s unique ID parameter to a model number. They stated that all product listings under that brand now automatically have the model number as their unique IDs. I’ve been under the impression that you have to request that they remove a UPC from each listing and set up a model number as the unique ID each time. Would you have an opinion on this?”
Thanks for the question Ellen. I’ve actually been through this process as well and I got the exact same answer from Amazon. I requested from them to change the unique identifier on one of my listings and I was under the impression also that I would have to do that for all of my listings that were under this particular brand. However, they replied back and they said that they changed it for me and that all the listings under that particular brand would be then changed to a model number instead of a UPC code. I got the same answer as you and I’d be satisfied with that. I wouldn’t worry about trying to chase up those other listings that are under the same brand.
If in the future they did try to pull you up for some reason about having a third party UPC code, for instance, on one of your other listings, just make sure that you’ve got that email from them, probably screen shot it and document it so that you can always show them that email where they’ve actually said to you that all listings under that particular brand should be now changed over to a model number. As long as you hold onto that email you’ve always got proof of it, then yeah, I wouldn’t worry any more about it.
Haydn asks, “You’ve mentioned a number of sellers on one particular item doesn’t matter, however, what about when you see a niche with mainly products with lots of sellers on each product? Does that not concern you? E.G., these products are selling only because they’re big brands? Normally lots of sellers on one item is because it’s a known brand.”
When it comes to big brands, the main thing you want to identify is whether customers are brand loyal and will only purchase that product from this particular brand or whether they’re happy to purchase from other brands or smaller brands as well. The easiest way to be able to tell is to see how well the sales are distributed amongst the top ten listings. If the sales are really well distributed or fairly evenly distributed, then that means that customers aren’t particularly brand loyal to just the few big brands or big names that are in there.
If most of the sales do just do to the few listings that are big brands, then that means that customers may be more likely to be loyal to those bigger brands because they know them. That would be the determination for me. It really doesn’t matter too much how many sellers are on each individual listing. I hope that makes sense.
That’s all the questions for today guys and now for the tip of the week. Today’s is a very simple yet important one and that is, success leaves clues. When you go about doing anything in life, one of the most powerful ways to learn is to learn from people that have already done what you’re setting out to do, if you can press years of experience down to just a few hours of learning without having to make the same mistakes or go through the same trial and error. So how does this apply to selling on Amazon? If you’re not aware, we’re hosting a public product launch. It’s called the million dollar case study.
We’re sharing every single step along the way from finding the product to sourcing it to shipping it into Amazon, setting up the listing, optimizing it, launching the product. Greg’s running it, who’s been a successful Amazon seller for a number of years. He’s launched over 100 products and he’s sharing everything that he knows, all his tips and strategies to get this product up and running and not holding anything back. No matter what stage of your journey you’re at, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been selling for a little while, you can always learn a lot more from someone as experienced as Greg. I’ve put a link below in the description.
We’ve actually put together an ebook that’s a recap of the first ten sessions. It’ll also give you links to all the webinar sessions so you can go back to the very start and watch up to where we are now and we’ll also register you for future webinars so that you can continue on and follow the million dollar journey. As I mentioned, it’s totally free. I personally have got a lot of value from following the case study myself, so I know you will too. Also, I hope you guys have got a lot of value from this episode of the Ask Jungle Scout show. If you have, make sure to give us a big thumbs up and I look forward to answering your questions next week.
Episode 22: What Criteria Do I Search For in the French Market?
0:52 As I live in Morocco, would I be better off selling in the US or European market?
3:22 How would your criteria change when looking for products in the French market?
4:57 Can I change my store name if one of my products is using that as the brand name already? Is it advisable to sell miscellaneous products underneath a different brand?
8:09 Do you recommend setting up an LLC before selling your first product? Do you need to have a company in order to get Brand Registry?
9:30 If I run a giveaway promotion, can I send those customers follow up email campaigns?
But first, let’s get to this week’s questions. Inssaf asks, “I want to start buying on Amazon and I am considering one of the two platforms, US versus Europe. Which one to go for, given that I live in Morocco? Once an order from a supplier is made, does this supplier send my products directly to the address of Amazon or to only the port? I want to get more insights about logistics from suppliers to my Amazon store because I don’t live in the same country where I will be selling my products.”
Thanks for the question. So the great thing about selling on Amazon is that you’ve got an international business. It doesn’t matter which country you come from, you can sell on any of the Amazon markets and manage it completely remotely. So it doesn’t really matter whether you want to sell in the US or in European markets based off the fact that you live in Morocco. Instead, it would be a better idea to look into, you know, what product opportunities you can find in either market. In the US, there’s a lot more demand for product. There’s a lot more sales happening. But in a lot of these European markets, there’s also less competition in a lot of niches so there’s a lot of opportunities in both of those market places.
In terms of logistics, because you’re not in the country that you’re shipping to, it’s probably easiest to send direct from China to Amazon. Now if you get your supplier to organize the shipping for you, then they will just send it the whole way. Okay, they will send it direct and you just pay them for that. If you choose to get your own freight forwarder so that you have a bit more control over your shipment, there’s a couple of different ways this could play out.
Now it depends on what shipping terms you’ve organized with your supplier when you made the purchase order. There’s two common ones that you’ll hear of, FOB and EXW. So FOB means that your supplier is responsible for shipping your product to the port and from there your freight forwarder will pick it up. Then they are responsible for then taking it all the way to Amazon. If you have EXW terms with your supplier, then they won’t move it from their factory at all. So your freight forwarder will have to come and pick it up from the actual factory and then take it all the way to Amazon. So, of course, if you can get FOB terms with your supplier, then that’s preferable. But it’s always a good idea to check so that you know, you know, what your freight forwarder, where they’ll have to pick it up from.
Vincent asks, “In many of your videos, your criteria are the price has $18, the number of sales between 300 and 500, and the number of reviews less than 50, to find a market not too mature. If all this works for the United States, could you guide me a little bit for the French Amazon market?”
So the main criteria that’s going to change when you’re looking at markets outside of the US is the sales numbers. Within the US we say to look for a combined amount of 3,000 in the top 10 listings. In these other marketplaces, it’s going to be a lot less, so you might only look for 1,000 or 1,000 to 1,500 sales in the top 10 listings combined. You still want low competition such as less than 50 reviews or even less than 100 reviews. In terms of the price point, I would still look for the equivalent of $18 US or even $15 US. Then find out what the equivalent is in that local currency, let’s say it’s pounds or Euros. So I’d find out what the equivalent is and I would make about $15 US still about the minimum price that I would look at. So other than that, all the criteria is pretty much the same.
I just want to take this opportunity to say, though, that there are a lot of opportunities in some of these other European marketplaces and we are going to be coming out with a lot more content in the future to help you guys navigate some of these other marketplaces, so stay tuned for that.
Eric asks, “Under my account, I have several brands. Let’s say they are brand A, B, and C. I am planning to list one category of products under Brand A and B respectively and I’m planning to create a Brand C to sell miscellaneous products. Would you recommend I use Brand C to sell those miscellaneous products or sell those products under the store name if allowed? If I’m allowed to sell products under my store name, am I able to change my store name afterward, since I already list products under it?”
Thanks for the question. So I think you’ve got a little bit confused between your store name and your brand name. They’re two different things and neither of them are really connected, okay? So any of your listings can have a different brand name and your store name can also be changed if you’d like, okay? It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a listing that has the same brand name as your store, it’s still totally fine to change your store name.
In regards to how you’ve structured your brands, I think that’s a great idea. So now that you need a trademark in order to get a particular brand registered under Amazon’s Brand Registry, what do you do if you’ve already got a brand registered but it’s for a very specific market, like it’s Lennie’s Dog Products? So I’d feel like I can’t really sell any other products underneath that brand or if I start a new brand, then I’d have to go out and get a new trademark for that particular brand. So what I’d recommend, in that situation, if you’ve already got a brand that’s been, you know, brand-registered, is very niche-specific, what I would do is consider having a second brand. But now with your second brand you make sure that this one is quite generic and quite broad so that from now on you can sell any products under that second brand, okay? So yes, that may mean that you might have to go out and get another trademark for that particular brand, but that’s probably your best bet moving forward.
At the same time, if I’ve got Lennie’s Dog Products branded but now I want to go out and sell a clipboard that obviously doesn’t really fit under that brand name, I probably wouldn’t get too hung up on it, okay? If you’ve already got that brand registered, then, you know, you’d probably be fine just putting the clipboard under that brand name. To be honest, most customers probably aren’t even going to notice the brand name of, you know, the listing that they’re looking to purchase. As long as you’ve got a good listing and a good product, they’re probably going to buy it anyway, okay? If they do notice, it might look a little bit strange but I don’t think that would ever stop anyone from buying your product. So there may not be a need to go off and buy a second trademark just to get another brand registered. But if that does worry you, having the slightly funny name to the product, I would just bite the bullet, go out, get a second trademark for a new brand registry, but this time make sure it’s a nice, broad, generic name that you’ll be able to sell lots of different products under in the future.
The next question is from Carambola. “I’m from St. Lucia and I want to start selling private label products on Amazon USA. I’m not a US resident or citizen. I have read in numerous sources that it is a good idea to set up an LLC for this. My question is, do you recommend setting it up before you even start selling your first product or do you recommend to first test the waters and, if the product sells well, then form an LLC? Do you need to have a company set up to be able to register in the Amazon Brand Registry?”
Thanks for question. Yes, it is a good idea to create an LLC. What it does, it just basically provides a bit of a safeguard around you and your personal assets if anything goes wrong in your business. In regards to whether you have to set up an LLC before you start selling, no, you don’t have to do this. Myself and many other sellers have all started out just as individuals without any LLCs or any sort of corporations set up. Then, once you’ve got a listing up and you’re starting to get sales in, you’re getting money coming in, when it makes sense, then go out and form an LLC. I do recommend you do this but you don’t need to do it straightaway. Finally, you don’t need an LLC to apply for Amazon Brand Registry. Anyone can do this.
Spiros asks, “If I offer discounted or free coupon codes through Vipon, once the customer has generated this free or discounted sale through Amazon, will I be able to send out an automated email thanking the customer for their purchase and also asking for an honest review? Even though the sale was free or at a discount, would this type of follow-up email requesting an honest review be allowed? I believe it should. And also, would this type of review count as a verified review, even though it was for a discounted or free product which was generated through Amazon?”
So, yes, as far as we’re aware, it’s perfectly fine to send follow-up emails to customers who have bought your product at a discount or as part of a giveaway promotion. The distinction here being that you didn’t have any communication with the buyer when you first gave out that coupon code asking them to leave a review. If you’re using [Jumpsin 00:10:23] or I’m sure it’s the same with Vipon as well, you know, you don’t know who it is that’s buying your products when you give out the coupon codes. It’s almost random, okay? You don’t know who the buyers are. You’re giving out these coupon codes and then people go out and purchase them. It’s then perfectly fine to follow up with an email campaign because you’re doing that with all of your customers. So, yes, that’s perfectly fine to do that as long as you haven’t contacted them at the start asking for a review in exchange for the discount.
So that’s all of today’s questions. So let me share with you the Tip of the Week. What I want to share with you today is how to go about applying for a GTIN exemption. Why would you want one of these? Well, currently to set up a listing on Amazon, you’re required to input a UPC barcode. Now previously you could just get that from a third party like Speedy Barcodes and it would be really, really cheap. You could buy a whole heap of them for like a few dollars. However, Amazon came out a little while back and basically said that they wouldn’t accept these third-party UPC codes and essentially you’d have to purchase it direct from GS1. Now, if you purchase through GS1, it’s quite a lot more expensive and there’s a renewal fee each year. There are in fact two ways to get around this.
The first one is with Amazon Brand Registry. So if you get accepted into Amazon Brand Registry, you can then ask Amazon to change the unique identifier on your listing. In other words, you can sort of detach that UPC code and change it to another identifier, like a model number or something, okay? So what you could do in this strategy is go out and use one of these third-party UPC codes that Amazon says that they don’t really allow. Use that just to set up your listing because you do need to input a UPC code when you set up your listing and then, once your listing is set up, apply for Brand Registry. This does require getting a trademark, so I would apply for a trademark. As soon as you get that, apply for Brand Registry. As soon as you’re accepted, then ask them to essentially remove that UPC code.
So what does this mean? It means that you will go for a bit of time using this third-party UPC code on your listing. That’s what we’ve done on a number of our listings, and it’s been perfectly fine. I don’t personally know of anyone that’s had their listing taken down or their account suspended from using a third-party UPC code. So really it’s just a temporary measure while you’re waiting for a trademark or waiting for your Brand Registry application to be accepted. So that is one thing you can do. We feel like it would probably be fine, but please be warned you are taking a risk. As I said, I don’t know of anyone that’s ever got pinged for this, but it is a risk. So you just need to decide how comfortable you feel with that option.
If you aren’t comfortable with that option, there is one more thing you can do. That’s what I wanted to talk about today is applying for a GTIN exemption. So before you create your listing, you can apply for an exemption so that you don’t have to input a UPC code at all, okay? So there are some categories that Amazon won’t allow you to apply for an exemption in. These are the categories that Amazon will allow you to apply for an exemption. So if you’re wanting to sell in one of these categories, then you can apply for an exemption and potentially not have to get a UPC code at all or have to go to GS1 to get an expensive one. What Amazon requires from you in order to apply is a support letter from the brand owner or the manufacturer of the product. The good news is that’s you. You’re the brand owner and the manufacturer. The other thing that Amazon asks for is a website with the products, so you can just create a very simple website that shows your products. Send those into Amazon and then they will process your exemption.
Now I don’t know how successful this is, however it is another alternative if you don’t want to go out and purchase an expensive UPC code from GS1 or if you don’t want to take the risk of using a third-party one until you get Brand Registered. There is that third option. So, if you’re in one of those categories that allows exemptions, definitely try it out.
So I hope that clears up the different options that you have in order to get your listing created. So if this is what’s been holding you back from getting started, then there’s no reason now not to start your Amazon business. Of course, before you list your product, you need to find a profitable one as that is the basis of any successful Amazon business. If you haven’t found a product yet, we’ve actually put together a 10-step guide on how to find a profitable product. If you want to check it out, head to this link here to get your free e-book. In it you’re going to find out which categories to start out in, which price range for your first product, and things like how to do competitor research, and of course now I’ve shown you how to get your listing set up and created on Amazon. So make sure you click that link to get your free guide.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode. As always, if you want your question answered on another episode, make sure you drop that in the Comments section below this video. Have a fantastic week and I’ll see you guys next time.
Episode 21: Can I start an Amazon business with $1000?
0:25 Can I start a successful business with only $1000?
2:52 When you get a supplier to modify a product, is there a way to stop the supplier selling this version to other buyers?
4:03 If you trademark a generic product, will this stop other Amazon sellers from being able to sell it?
5:27 If you choose a less competitive sub-category in order to get the best seller badge, will this limit the way customers find your listing?
7:34 Is there an advantage to having all your products under one brand VS multiple brands?
8:44 I see you have reduced the price of your baby hooded towels to $17.95 (from Million Dollar Case Study). Was this an intentional strategy and will you increase the price again later?
So the first question is from Tarzziccio. I apologize if I’ve got that wrong. “Can I still start a successful business with only $1000.”
So thanks for the question. And the short answer is, yes you can start with only 1,000. But I want to stress that the more you can invest upfront, the quicker your business is going to grow. So let’s say that you want to order in 500 to 1,000 units at the start. If you can get them for anywhere between three to five dollars per unit, 2,000 dollars is probably a really good amount to start out with. Yes you can start with smaller amounts, but it means you’re gonna have less inventory when you start.
Now, the only issue with this is that it’s gonna slow your growth. Because one of the best things that you should do at the start of a product launch is do some product giveaways. So reduce your price to a discount so that you can increase the sales. So by the time you allow units for your promotional giveaway, and then once you get selling, you need to start selling enough units that you then have enough money, enough cash flow from those sales in order to be able to order in the next shipment before it runs out. If you only have 1,000 dollars to start with, you’re probably only gonna get 200 or 300 units of inventory. Which by the time you run a promotional giveaway then you start to sell, it’ll take you a little while to have enough cash flow back in in order to order in more inventory. And so by the time you get that next order in, you’re probably going to run out, or it’s going to be very hard to stay in stock unless you invest more money in.
So, it just means that your growth will be a little bit slower if you’ve only got 1,000 dollars in most cases. You might be able to find a product that you can source for one or two dollars. In that case, maybe 1,000 dollars would be okay. So to sum up, the more you can invest at the start, the quicker your business will grow. I feel that 2,000 dollars is a good amount to start if you can afford it. However, that being said, starting with a smaller amount is better than not starting at all. Okay? I’m not trying to say that you have to wait till you’ve got 2,000 dollars to spend. If your funds are very limited and you do only have 1,000 to invest or to risk, then I would definitely say go for it. It’s better to start than to not start at all.
Hadi asks, “Sometime Amazon sellers ask their supplier to modify a generic product to differentiate from the market. In this case, is there a way to prevent the supplier from selling the modified version to other customers? Or does brand registry help here?”
So this one’s a little bit tricky. Depending on the factory, they may honor this. There’s no real way to enforce any agreement. What I’d suggest is putting an agreement in place. But it really depend on the factory and your relationship with them. If you’re a good customer, you’ve been with them for a while, and you’ve got good rapport, then they may honor it. However, I don’t think there’s really any way to enforce this. One other thing you might be able to try if you’re a little worried about this is to put it in agreement that when your mold isn’t being used, the one that you’ve got them to create specifically for you, to get them to store it somewhere offsite while it’s not being used. However, I don’t know. It might be a little bit of a headache to organize and do this. So personally, I probably wouldn’t worry. But it may be worth trying if you’re a little bit worried about this.
Hadi also asks, “If an Amazon seller who brand registered their trademark with Amazon was the first to launch a new generic, unmodified product on Amazon, can other sellers still buy this product to sell it on Amazon since initially it is generic?”
Okay. So first I just want to start by saying that I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice at all. We do also have a really great webinar as part of the Million Dollar Case Study session number 4, where we had a patent lawyer come in and talk about patents and trademarks for Amazon products. So I definitely recommend checking that one out. And it’ll also have the link below this video.
So to start with, trademarks are more for brand names and logos, not so much for a product. So you can’t really trademark an actual product, to my understanding. What you could do, you can actually patent a product or technology, however, I don’t think you would be able to do that in this case even with a generic product because you didn’t create it. Only the creator of that product could patent it. So that short answer to your question is no. I don’t believe that that is possible. However, you would need to take it up with a lawyer if you’re looking at doing this with a specific product.
Arturo asks, “I saw one of your video where you advised to look for a category where it would be easy to rank number one and get the best seller sticker. My question is, would this method affect the way that customers find your product? Since we’re looking to rank for a category that is not our exact main category, could it change the way people find you?”
Thanks for the question, Arturo. So what he’s referring to is a little trick that you can try where you look at all different subcategories within your parent main category. So let’s say you’re in home improvement and you’re selling a hammer. So then look at the best selling products in each of these subcategories and find out which subcategory has the lowest selling product. Because if you then put your product in that category and you get more sales than that product, you have a better chance of winning the best seller badge.
So, I just want to preface that with I only recommend that you do this in categories that are related to your product. If you’re selling a hammer, I wouldn’t put it in a beauty category just because you can rank better there. So I definitely would recommend making it still relevant to your product, but you might have a little bit of wiggle room in moving into a subcategory that easier to rank in.
Now Arturo is asking, will this affect the way that customers find you because you’re now in a slightly different category? It may not be the category that they would look into in order to find your product. I feel that, no. This won’t really affect the way that customers find you because most customers will just type in keywords to find the products they’re after. Most customers aren’t going to be clicking onto the categories and seeing what the best products are within the categories. I’m sure there are some that do, but I think most customers are just gonna go into Amazon.com, type in the keyword for the product they’re after, and find the product they want based off of a keyword search. Which isn’t affected by the category that you’re in.
Alexey asks, “I notice that Jungle Stix and Jungle Snugs are sold under respective brands. Under new Amazon rules per session nine of the Million Dollar Case Study, I assume you would have had to trademark each brand if you weren’t grandfathered in. Is there an advantage of creating a separate brand like that for each product versus having a single brand like ‘Jungle Brands’ and rolling all the products under that brand to save on trademark costs?”
Thanks for the question, Alexey. No, there isn’t really any advantage to having multiple brands selling under the one store other than just the flexibility of being able to do that. At the time that Jungle Stix was created, you were able to have those multiple brands under the one store and still get brand registry for each. However, now things have changed. Now that you do need a trademark for every different brand that you have if you want brand registry, it probably does make a lot more sense just to have one brand name. So I would suggest moving forward if you’re looking at a number of products, try to come up with a brand name that is fairly universal that will allow you to sell lots of different products and be fairly flexible with your product line.
Mela asks, “I’ve seen that you are offering the product for $17.95. I’m assuming that you’ll be increasing the price at a later point in time as you are marketing the product as a premium. Is reducing the price in the beginning an effective strategy for ranking more quickly? Or how does it all play out?”
Thanks for the question, Mela. So what they’re referring to here is the Million Dollar Case Study, where we’re doing a public product launch of baby hooded towels. Now in session 17 of the case study, which I’ll put the link below this video, Greg actually does give an update on why the price was set to $17.95. So when the product first launched, it was set to $24.95. And that is more the price that we want to sell it in the long term. However, at the start, the initial goal is just to get sales velocity. If you go back and you watch the Million Dollar Case Study, you’ll see that we’ve gone through a product launch stage. We’ve set up PPC campaigns. We’ve done promotional giveaways. But while the listing is still very new and we’re trying to get reviews and, more importantly sales, Greg decided to drop the price temporarily to $17.95.
So to answer your question, yes. Dropping your price early on is a good strategy to keep the sales going at an earlier time. However, one thing that Greg mentioned is that it’s kind of tricky because you don’t want to lower the price too much for too long because you could potentially drive down the price of all the listings in the market. ‘Cause if everyone else is priced above you and you go cheaper, they will end up going down cheaper than you in order to compete. And eventually you drive the price down for everyone. So yes, you do need to be mindful of that.
And as Greg explains in session number 17, he’s only going to leave it at $17.95 just until the rankings get a little bit better, until they start to rank in perhaps the top half of page one for their main keywords. And then they’re gonna start raising the price up, hopefully to about 25 dollars or maybe 23. Because as you said, it is being marketed as a premium product. So yes, lowering the price at the start is a good marketing strategy, but just be careful to use it in small doses.
So that’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you found those answers useful. Please keep sending them in. If you’d like me to answer a question, make sure just to pop it in the comment section below this video.
Also, you’ve heard me mention the Million Dollar Case Study a few times in today’s video. So make sure you check that one out. It’s a fantastic resource, particularly if you’re just starting out. You can follow along with us and from product research all the way up to launching and optimizing a listing. So definitely check that one out. The link is in the description below. Make sure you subscribe to our channel as well if you haven’t already. And until next week, all the best with your product research. Happy Jungle Scouting. I’ll see you then.
Episode 19: How many reviews should you have before you turn on PPC?
0:21 Can you use the same photos given to you by your supplier?
1:10 How many reviews should you have before you turn on PPC?
3:31 Can you start selling on Amazon as an individual and then change to a LLC later on?
4:10 Who pays the PayPal fee when making a payment to your supplier?
4:52 Any suggestions for using a lifestyle image as my main image, as opposed to an image with a white background?
8:22 How often is the Jungle Scout Product Database updated?
So, make sure you leave your question in the comment section, below this video, for a chance to have it answered. Let’s get to the first one.
Antonio asks, “What about if the competition has the same pictures that you received from your supplier? Can you use the same pictures?”
Thanks for the question, Antonio.
So, yes, I do, actually, see a lot of listings on Amazon, where they’re just using the same pictures that have been give to them by the supplier. So, I guess, if the supplier owns the rights to the photos they took them, then, you probably are fine using those images. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, personally. I really like it if all my competitors are using the same images that came from the supplier, because, usually, they’re pretty bad images. And secondly, it means I can go out, and take my own images, that are just going to blow all the others out of the water. Your own images are just going to be a lot better quality, and you’re going to be able to find ways to take photos that make you stand out from all of your competition.
Nathan asks, “How many reviews do you suggest getting before turning on PPC? People on your Facebook page say, ‘Don’t even bother with PPC, unless you have a minimum of six to eight reviews.’ Is this correct? I have an auto PPC campaign running for about a week, with zero reviews, and got zero sales.”
So, yes, when you first start out, with zero reviews, brand new listing, it is going to cost you a lot in PPC spend, in order to get some sales. By the time you have four, or five, reviews, at least, that could be a good time to turn on your PPC, because by then there’s a bit more social proof, having those few initial reviews. It proves you’ve got a legit listing, and people are more likely to buy it from PPC. So, that’s probably a point where you’re going to start seeing more sales from your PPC spend.
However, on the other hand, I, personally, like to turn on PPC, from day one. That’s just a personal preference, because I like being a little bit more aggressive, and if there’s a chance of getting a sale from PPC, I’m going to want … I’m going to turn that on, from day one, just because I can’t wait a few days to get some reviews to come in. However, when I do that, I only have a budget of, say $10 a day, so that if I don’t get any sales, it’s only a small amount of money that I’ve put into it.
The other advantage of turning on your PPC campaign, at the very start, is that you start to get all of these search term data. So, when you run an automatic PPC campaign, that’s where Amazon starts coming up with the keywords, that it wants to advertise you on. So, you want to do that, for, at least, a good week, or so. Then you can actually go through that search term report, and see what keywords Amazon has associated with your listing. So, it’s a good bit of keyword research for your listing, and so, the sooner that you start your PPC campaigns, the sooner you’ll get that data. So, that’s the other good reason for it.
But, to sum up, I would say, if you’ve got a very tight budget, and every dollar counts, then I would certainly wait until you’ve got, at least, four, or five, reviews on your listing, before turning on PPC, because you’re going to get a lot better value from your PPC. However, if you’re wanting to be a little bit more aggressive, and you’ve got that little bit extra money to spend, I think it could be fine, just turning it on from day one.
The next question is from Freedom Seeker, who asks, “As a first time individual, in order to do Amazon FBA, can I register as a professional, and later on, if the product does fine, then open up an LLC, maintaining the same Amazon account and product listing?”
Thanks for the question.
Yes, you can. That’s the way that I started out. I know a lot of other sellers often start out as an individual on their Amazon Seller account, and then they change that, if they, then, later, incorporate and have a company structure.
So, as far as I’m aware, that’s totally fine. I’ve done that. I know a lot of other people that have, too.
The next question is from Samantha, who asks, “Who pays the PayPal when one makes a payment to the seller? I negotiated a smaller order, 650 items. My goods are being held, as they claim, because my order was small, I have to incur the PayPal costs. Does this sound right?”
So, yes, in my experience, whenever I’ve done PayPal transactions with suppliers, they always make you, as the buyer, incur the PayPal fee that shouldn’t be any more than 5%. But, yeah, often, they will charge you that extra 5%, because PayPal does take that fee, either from the buyer, or the seller. But, when dealing with suppliers, it ends up being you, as a buyer.
The next question is from PJ. He asks, “My Primary image for my product has a white background, as per Amazon’s recommendations. However, I have a secondary image, more of a lifestyle photo, without a person, that I think could get a better response as my primary image. I’d like to split test this image, but I’m worried Amazon will penalize me, on my ranking, for using an image that does not have a white background. Do you have any words of caution before attempting this?”
Thanks for the question PJ.
So, just to quickly stipulate, Amazon states that your main image, the one that shows up in the search result, must have a white background, show the product, only, and show no text, or logos, or props.
So, PJ’s saying he’s got a great image, like a lifestyle one, where it could be someone using his product, or so forth, and having fun with it, et cetera, that really sells the product well, but is technically against Amazon’s terms of service. This is kind of a tough one, because I have seen a lot of listings that don’t have that white background, however, they’re still there. They haven’t been taken down. They haven’t been penalized by Amazon. So, the chances are, you might be fine, but you just never know. It’s really up to you, whether you want to take that risk.
It might be better just to stick with the regular main image, up against the white background, and then to use your lifestyle shot as, maybe, the second one, so that as soon as people click onto your listing, that’s the very next image that they see, and, hopefully, then, that will sell them to … go through and complete the sale of your product. I’d suggest thinking about it in the long term.
So, let’s say that you change it now, or you do a split test, and you discover that this lifestyle image does, in fact, get more conversions, and more sales, which is great. So, you set that as your main image, now, and it does help you, in the time being. You get a little bit extra profit, some extra sales, this month. In the long term, you’re probably not going to get away with having the lifestyle image up permanently. At some point, you’re going to need to revert back to the white background image.
So, if you look at it in that perspective, it’s probably not even worth it for the short term benefit. It’s probably not worth the risk, in my opinion. What I do like, though, is you understand how important your main image is. This is one of the big things that will get people to click on your listing versus other people’s. So, finding some other way to make your main image stand out. Even if you can’t use a lifestyle image, here, I would look closely at all the competitors, and go, “Is there any way that, you know, I can take my product from a different angle, that, you know, just separates my product from all the rest, and, you know, entice people to click my listing, versus the others.”
I definitely think you’re on the right track, finding ways to make your main image stand out. But, I think, in the long term, you’re probably better off sticking with Amazon’s guidelines, of sticking to a white background.
The next question is from Jim. Now, this question is, actually, from our Jungle Scout Office Hours. It’s a webinar that we run each week, for our member, giving them the chance to come in, and ask any questions that they might have related to product research, or Jungle Scout, or selling on Amazon. So, I just wanted to give a shout out.
If you’re a Jungle Scout member, just go into Member Resources. In there, you’ll get a chance to register for this free webinar that we do every single week. So, if you’re a Jungle Scout member, definitely take advantage of this great resource.
On to Jim’s question. “How often is the product database refreshed?”
So, the product database is part of the Jungle Scout web app, which is one of our products. Another one of our products is the Jungle Scout Chrome extension, which runs live on Amazon. Both the database in the web app, and the Chrome extension, give you sales estimates. But, they’re a little bit different, in terms of … the Jungle Scout Chrome extension will give you sales estimates live, on Amazon, when you run it. Whereas, the product database refreshes periodically.
So, to give you an idea, we’ve got, I think, almost 38 million products in the database. So, with that many products in there, the amount of resources it would take to update that data every second, or every moment, would be insane. So, all this data is updated periodically, a couple of times per week. So, the estimates in the product database might be up to a couple of days old, versus the live estimates that you’ll get by running the Jungle Scout Chrome extension.
If you ever are unsure, and you’re using the product database, there is, actually, a little blue button there, that’s refresh. So, you can hit that refresh button, and it will update that listing on the spot. So, you can always access the most up to date data, within the product database.
So, that’s it for another show, guys. Make sure to give us a big thumbs up, as usual, if you liked the episode. Make sure you leave your question in the comment section, below. And I’ll look forward to answering your question, next week. See you, guys.
Episode 18: How to drive traffic to Amazon with social media?
0:32 How important is ‘rank’ when doing product research?
2:23 How does the JS extension display the sales and revenue for variations? All together or separately?
4:32 How do you drive traffic to Amazon with social media? Can I use a Super URL?
6:54 How many products can I sell on Amazon?
7:55 Which categories allow variations and which don’t?
8:51 Do the number of sellers on listings count when looking at competition?
Let’s get to the first question. Alicia asks: “In most JS videos about looking for products, there isn’t much emphasis on the rank number. Other Amazon gurus do emphasize this and I’m not sure why. Could you comment on how rank plays into the sweet spot of product research equation?” Thanks for the question Alicia.
Now, I’ve never gone through any other training that utilizes the rank as an important factor when doing your product research. I’m not 100% sure why the rank would be the focus, however, I would say if you’re doing product research manually and you weren’t using Jungle Scout, I can probably see why the rank would be used, because really that’s the only thing that you’ve got in order to determine how well a product is selling. The reason we don’t focus on rank is because we’ve taken it a step further. We use the bestseller rank in order to determine the estimated sales. In a sense we are using the rank, but we’ve used that to determine the sales, and now it’s the sales numbers that we want to focus on, because at the end of the day that’s what you’re after.
The reason I wouldn’t use rank alone is because rank 10 in the sports category is going to be completely different to rank 10 in the clothing category in terms of how many sales they’re doing. For me, anyway, the rank alone doesn’t really give you much information. One thing to keep in mind though even if you aren’t a Jungle Scout customer is that we actually have a free sales estimator tool where you can take the bestseller rank from the parent category of a particular listing and just plug it into our sales estimator, and it will give you a free sales estimate of how that product is doing. If you aren’t a Jungle Scout customer, that’s a really great and easy way to use the rank in order to determine a sales estimate.
The next question is if a seller has one product listing that has six different size options, in terms of estimated sales does the Jungle Scout Chrome extension only calculate the size you have chosen or is it cumulative of all six? I’ve been using the JS Chrome for the research of what sizes and options work. Any input or confirmations would be greatly valued. Thank you. There’s a couple of different ways that the Chrome extension will provide estimates for products that have variations. Let me run through a couple of these. In our first example here you’ve got a t-shirt. It has a whole heap of different sizes. It’s also got a lot of colors, so there’s a lot of variations here.
Now, if we run the Chrome extension you’ll see that all the variations are represented by these orange bars here, and then afterwards it goes back to other listings. What you will notice as well is that the bestseller rank and the estimated sales are all the same number. That’s because no matter which variation you select Amazon gives us the exact same bestseller rank. We can’t tell the difference between these variations and we can’t tell the number of estimates apart. All we’ve done here is just divided the total sales for this listing out across all the variations. If you wanted to know the entire total sales for this listing you would just add all of these numbers together.
Here’s another listing that also has a lot of colors and a lot of different sizes, so let’s run the extension here. Now, this one is going to be a little bit different. Again, all the variations are listed in orange, but what you’ll notice here is that this time the bestseller rank is different for every single variation. That means that we can give you specific sales estimates for each variation and you can see which variations are doing better than others. Ultimately we’re limited by the information that Amazon gives us back. There’s no way of really knowing which listings are going to have individual ranks or whether they’re all going to get the same. Those are two different ways that you could see variations displayed for the Jungle Scout Chrome extension.
Deepak asks: “How to drive traffic to the listing via social media? Can I give my product a super URL with social advertising?” Very quickly, as I’ve mentioned before if you’re just starting out on Amazon we don’t recommend using social media or other forms of traffic to drive people to your listing. You’re much better off spending that time and money on your listing to get it going. When you do get to that later point and you want to start playing with some of these social channels, the two that I would recommend are Instagram and Facebook. They both provide great targeting options and advertising options. They can be relatively inexpensive as well. They’re both very visual mediums, so you can use a lot of great videos and images of your product. I think those are two that other Amazon sellers have been utilizing as well, and have seen a lot of great results from. I would recommend Instagram and Facebook.
In terms of using super URLs, I probably wouldn’t personally. I know a lot of people have stopped using them. Over six months ago all the big deal sites stopped allowing people to use super URLs when they were doing product giveaways because it seemed to be a little bit more of a gray area within Amazon. Potentially they don’t allow it at all now. I do know it was a very gray area, so by this point I think it probably is something to steer clear of. That does raise the question if you’re doing products giveaways or you’re driving people to your listing and they’re not going through a keyword, will you get the benefits of ranking for keywords in those situations.
From a lot of testing that we’ve done, it does actually appear that you do get some kind of keyword ranking benefit even when you’re doing product giveaways now that don’t go through a super URL, and so I would imagine it’s the same when you’re doing external advertising and driving people to your listing. Even though they’re not going through a keyword, Amazon are pretty smart, and I think perhaps it might have something to do with the keywords that you’ve got in your backend, or perhaps the ones that are in your listing. It seems that you will still get some benefit just from getting sales. To answer your question, I probably wouldn’t use a super URL, but you still will get a lot of benefit from driving people to your listing.
The next question is: “How many products can I sell on Amazon?”
You can sell as many products as you like. Some sellers sell hundreds or thousands of items on Amazon, but I just wanted to take this moment to share a point that I feel it’s best just to focus on one product at a time. Particularly if you’re just starting out and you’re learning the process, you’re better off just focusing on this one listing, going through the launch process, and really optimizing that listing and doing all the steps that we teach just one time around. Because as soon as you bring in another product, it gets very complicated. When you’re trying to bring in more inventory, it can be very hard to manage the stock levels and make sure that you don’t run out.
Some people might have a lot of capital upfront and they might choose to launch several products at once, which is absolutely fine, but if you’ve only got a limited budget and you’re very new, then I highly recommend just starting out with one product. Olivia asks: “When launching a new product on Amazon, I was trying to find a category with low competition like Greg talks about, but also that has variations available without going in and adding a new product to find out. Is there an easier way to figure out which categories have variations available?” Thanks for the question Olivia.
I tried researching to find out the categories that don’t allow variations, but I had a hard time and I couldn’t actually find a list for you. However, what I do understand is that there is only a very small few categories that don’t allow it. I think it might be a couple of the electronics categories. What I can share though that is slightly unrelated but I think a lot of people would find very useful is a list of all the categories that require approval. This is the entire list from Amazon. It’s not to say that you can’t sell in these categories, but just keep in mind that there will be additional approvals required.
The next question is from Aaron who asks: “Number of sellers don’t count at all?”
Thanks for the question, Aaron. What he’s referring to here is when doing product research, when we’re talking about competition, of course, what you’re looking for is low competition which is represented by reviews. When you’re looking at the first page of results for a particular keyword, you’re looking at how many reviews do the top listings have. No, we don’t talk about the number of sellers on each individual listing, because in our opinion it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, there’s your competitor’s listing and then there’s your listing.
Now, the customer is just going to be looking at the two listings and they’re going to be deciding based on the listing quality, but also the number of reviews on each one. If your listing has five reviews and the other listing has 1,000, they’re most likely going to buy from that listing. It doesn’t really matter how many sellers are on that particular listing. At the end of the day, even if there are 100 sellers on a particular listing, they’re still just on that listing. That’s all you need to compete against. Sure, maybe some of those sellers might look to start their own listing to compete against you, but again, they’re just starting from scratch, from a brand new listing as well. We don’t feel like the number of sellers really impacts your competition at all. Hopefully that makes sense.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. Please give us a big thumbs up if you like the episode. Make sure to leave your question in the comment below, and I’ll look forward to answering your questions next week. See you guys.
Episode 17: What happens to customer returns?
0:38 Is attaching an e-book to follow-up e-mail campaigns still possible with so many customers now opting out of emails from sellers?
2:30 How do you get GS1 UPC codes and how do I replace current UPC codes on my listing?
3:59 How do I avoid Amazon being flooded with competitors while I wait for my product to get made?
5:30 Does Freightos have an advantage over using the shipping that suppliers offer?
7:18 Greg mentions that to rank on the front page you will need around 10-15 sales a day to rank on the front page. Can you explain how you come to make that estimate?
8:36 What happens with the returned products when you sell on FBA?
First question is from Shay who asks: “Is attaching an eBook to customer follow-up emails still possible with so many customers now opting out of receiving follow ups from sellers? I’m afraid to offer an eBook. The customer opts out of future communications, then gives a negative review because they never received an eBook. Does Jump Send offer a way around this?”
Thanks for the question Shay. What this is speaking to is that quite recently Amazon has actually allowed or made it easier for customers to opt out of emails and communication from sellers. You can definitely still send follow-up email campaigns and we highly recommend you still do so, however, not all of them will go through.
If you’re offering an eBook, there’s a couple of ways you could do this. The first way is to actually make it just a pure bonus for the customer. You don’t mention it in the listing or the description, and then you send it to customers in a follow-up email campaign purely as a bonus. This is a great way to over-deliver value and give them something unexpected to really wow your customers. That way if they opt out of your emails and they don’t receive it, then they’re not going to be unhappy. I totally see what you’re saying, if you do offer this as included with your product in your listing and then they don’t receive it, they might be unhappy.
If you were to go down that route, what I would recommend is putting it in a product insert as well. You can include little product inserts in your packaging. What I would do is I would do that and I would say go to this website, put your website in, in order to claim your free eBook that goes along with this product. That’s the way I would go, so that even if they don’t get emails from you, that they will still definitely be able to access the eBook as promised.
The next question is from Stuart who says: “Can you please do a video about GS1 UPC codes, specifically how to update your private label listings with a new UPC? I have several listings with history and reviews, and I don’t want to lose it.”
Thanks for the question Stuart. Essentially the process of getting codes from GS1 is fairly straightforward. You go to their website. You give them all the information that they’re asking regarding your business, and they will give you the GS1 UPC codes in exchange. However, what you’re wanting to do is it sounds like you’ve got current UPC codes attached to your listings, and they might be from third-party sellers and you’re worried about your listings being removed, so you want to change the UPC codes.
As far as I’m aware, unfortunately you’re not able to change a UPC code once it’s been attached to your product. You can’t change it. The best thing to do, I believe, would be to apply for brand registry, and then once you’re successful for brand registry, you’ll be able to change the unique identifier that’s attached to that listing, so instead of identifying it with a UPC code, you can then identify it with a model number or a different value, which would then detach that UPC code. Because once you’ve already allocated a UPC code, I don’t think you can change it to a different one. You might have to look at the brand registry process.
The next question is “When I order inventory from China, it takes 30 to 50 days. In that duration Amazon gets flooded with the same product that I have ordered. How do I avoid this going forward?”
I’m assuming everyone is using the same Jungle Scout app, which is why this happens. Thanks for the question. Really there’s no way to avoid this. There’s no way to predict if other people are going to come in and try to sell the same thing that you are. I’ve seen this happen to myself personally, and to be honest it doesn’t really worry me, because at the end of the day they’re just starting out as well. They’ve got zero reviews, zero sales, and I’m confident that I’m going to be a lot more bullish, I’m going to be a lot more competitive than they are, and I’m going to push my way to the top regardless of other people trying to enter the space.
What this really comes down to is making sure that your product is different to everyone else’s. If my product is, you know, I’ve verified a particular niche or a product that’s doing well, and I’ve found a little way to make mine a bit different, bundling it with something else, or making an improvement, making it 10% bigger, whatever the case may be, if I’ve made my product unique and different to everyone else, I don’t care if a number of other people come in selling that same generic item, because I’ve differentiated. My product’s a lot harder for other people to copy, so that would be my suggestion. Just focus on making your product different, and focus on following the launch process. I wouldn’t worry about anyone else that’s entering that space.
The next question is from Jacob who asks: “My manufacturer offers shipment themselves. Does anyone know if using something like Freightos has an advantage over just expecting what the manufacturer offers?” Thanks Jacob.
Freightos is essentially a website that will compare a whole heap of different quotes from different freight forwarders, so it’s definitely worth going and using Freightos to get a whole different lot of quotes, and then you can compare that to what your manufacturer is offering. As for whether you go with your supplier’s shipment or whether you go down the track of finding your own, the main difference is that if you go and organize your own freight forwarder, you have a little bit more control of your shipment.
If you organize that with your supplier, you pay them the money and they’re the ones that are relaying with the freight forwarder. You have to go through them to find out what’s going on, whereas if you organize it yourself, you have that bit more control and you can talk directly to the freight forwarder. You know what’s going on. I’ve done both. In the past I’ve used my supplier’s shipping methods, and then I’ve also organized my own freight forwarder using Flexport. The advantage I see of doing it that way is again that you have that bit more control over what’s going on with your shipment. You can also be very confident that all the relevant paperwork and everything is completely up to date and above board.
With Flexport I was required to purchase a customs bond, and I had to fill out some paperwork, so I’m very confident that everything is totally legit. Some of those things you don’t have to do when a supplier organizes the shipping for you. I’ve never had any problems with that in the past, however, I think organizing your own freight forwarder as time goes on is probably the most safe method.
The next question is from Taylor who asks: “Hey, Greg, you mentioned that to rank on the front page you’ll need around 10 to 15 sales a day to rank on the front page. Can you explain how you come to make that estimate?” Thanks Taylor. This question was posted on a recent episode of the Million Dollar Case Study, which I mentioned earlier. This session was about the product launch strategy that Greg uses. Once you’ve got your product into Amazon, how do you launch it so that you can get ranked on that first page of search results and start getting natural, organic sales.
Greg mentioned that one of the methods he’s going to use is by doing promotional giveaways and giving away 10 to 15 units per day for a period of time. Now, the way that Greg came at that number was based on the product research, so based on how many sales are the current products doing on that first page of results. That’s where the number comes from. If all the listings on the front page of Amazon are currently doing 10 to 15 sales per day, therefore that’s how many sales you’re going to have to do per day in order to get your listing ranked on that first page. I hope that makes sense.
The next question is from Zhecho who asks: “What happens with the returned products when you sell on FBA? Where do they go? Obviously they get sent back to Amazon warehouse, but then what happens?”
Thanks for the question Zhecho. Firstly, I want to state that this is for FBA, and this is just my understanding, but let’s back up for a second and go through the entire process. Firstly, a customer initiates a return. The next thing that will happen is that Amazon will take that money out of your account for the refund, however, they will hold onto that money, and they’ll give the customer 45 days to return that product. If they don’t return it within that time, Amazon will reimburse you with that money, or if they do return it then Amazon will issue them with the refund.
Now, let’s say that they have returned that product. What happens with it when it gets to Amazon’s warehouse? There’s a few different things that could happen. Firstly, if the product comes back in completely new condition, the box is all intact and unopened I believe it can be added back to your inventory and resold as a new product. If it comes back and the product is intact but the packaging and so forth is damaged, what you might see is that Amazon warehouse deals will come onto your listing as another seller, and Amazon will sell that product themselves in a used condition. I think they will actually reimburse you for that product so that you get paid, and then they will sell it in a used condition.
The other thing, if the product comes back and it’s damaged, then Amazon will add it back to your inventory but it will be marked as unfulfilled and you can’t sell that to customers. You will then be required to remove that inventory from Amazon as it can no longer do anything. You can create what’s called a removal order and you can choose somewhere for that product to be sent to, or you can create a disposal order, so you pay Amazon a fee and they will dispose of that unfulfillable stock.
I’ve had to do this a number of times, because for me it’s not practical to get it removed from Amazon and sent to Australia, so I’ve just had to pay Amazon a fee in order to dispose of this unfulfillable stock. Hopefully that breaks down for you some of the different things that can happen with returned stock.
That’s all the questions for today guys. I hope you liked the episode. Make sure to give us a big thumbs up to let us know that you did. If you want your question to be answered on the show, make sure you drop it in the comment section below. Wishing you all the very best with your product research and your private labeling, and I look forward to seeing you guys next week. See you.
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Episode 16: Do I need a trademark now to sell on Amazon?
0:23 Do I have to have my brand trademarked to sell private label now on Amazon?
1:30 Do you need to brand register for every product that has a different brand name?
3:09 How can I offer an e-book with my product?
4:22 How should we utilize the Negative keywords in PPC?
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5:06 I’m dealing with a supplier that’s not answering my questions for a week. Should I move on?
6:37 Is brand registry with Amazon, the USPTO or somewhere else?
6:49 What kind of legal documents do you require to sell on Amazon?
More on Tax & Legal Structure
The first question is from Keith who asks “Do I have to have my brand trademarked to sell private label now on Amazon?”
All right. I wanted to include this question because I know there’s still a lot of confusion around this trademark and brand registry theme. To clear it up, no, you do not have to have a trademark in order to sell on Amazon. You will need a trademark in order to get brand registered. Now, you don’t need to do this in order to sell on Amazon or to get started, however being brand registered gives you access to other things like enhanced buying content and of course it helps protect your brand a little bit more. If someone tries to hijack your listing, it’s going to be a lot easier to verify that you are the real manufacturer of your item.
To clear it up, no, you do not need a trademark in order to sell on Amazon. If I was just starting out again, I wouldn’t go out and get a trademark straightaway. It’s quite an expense, and so I would do that down the track once I’ve launched a product or two and it’s up and selling. At that start, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
The next question is from Cedric who asks “Do you need to register for a brand for every product that has a different product or brand name or do you need to go through brand registry only once?”
With that in mind, are you better off to private label your products under brand name to save costs or is it okay to have separate brand name for each of your products? What is the best practice?” To follow up with the previous question, brand registry does just apply to one brand name. If you wanted to have multiple brand names within your seller store, you would need to get separate trademarks and separate brand registry for each of those. The reason that you might want to do this is if you want to sell different products from different markets.
What you would do in that case is to have a more generic store seller name and then sell different brand names. However, this may not be as practical as it once was now with their requirement of getting a trademark for each brand registry. You can still sell multiple different brand names, but you may not want to brand register all of them. Personally, my recommendation would be is to focus on your main brand and sell as many products as you can under that particular brand name. If I’ve got four or five products under one brand name and I want to introduce one from a different market and put a different brand name, I’m probably not going to worry about brand registry on that one product. As much as possible, you want to try and put everything under one brand name, so that you can get a trademark and access that brand registry.
Otherwise, it is going to cost a fair bit to get multiple trademarks for different brand names.
Robin asks “I would like to add an eBook with my product, but can’t really put it with the product from the supplier. Can I put a statement in the product description saying that there is an eBook with how-to information and you can get this by emailing us at address after you purchase? Is this allowed by Amazon or is there a better way to handle this?”
Thanks for the question, Robin. Adding an eBook to your product is a great way to make it a bit more unique or add some value to your product, however you can’t put on your description please me at this particular address in order to get your eBook. The best way to do it would be to attach the eBook to an email when sending it out through an automated email campaign.
For instance, we have service called Jump Send that does just that. It sends out automated emails when customers purchase from your seller store and you can attach a PDF or eBook to one of those emails. That would be a better way to do it. Essentially, Amazon doesn’t want you directing people away from Amazon. They wouldn’t allow you to put your email address or for you be marketing yourself or your own website on your listing. I hope that makes sense.
Vincepeng asks “How should we utilize the negative keywords in PPC? Should I put the keywords for my Exact Match campaign into the negative keywords into my Phase/Broad Match campaign just to reduce redundancy?”
Thanks, Vince. I’m no PPC expert and I haven’t personally tried using negative keywords or putting them into campaigns, however we recently just did a great webinar as part of our million dollar case study with an Amazon PPC expert. I’d highly recommend checking out that webinar as it goes into everything, all the details about setting up PPC campaigns for your product and will cover this topic in more detail and better than I could answer it.
The next question is “I am dealing with a supplier who is not answering my questions for a week at a time or more. I am trying to make a new product and I have already paid for a mold to made, the seller is eight years old gold star Alibaba. Should I just move on to a different supplier or should I wait more?”
Thanks for the question. Yes, personally, I would move on. If you’ve got a supplier that is taking over a week to get back to you, that’s just not someone I want to deal with. I want to be building long term relationships with people that are easy to get along with. However, that being said, we did have an additional comment from Jurek on this comment that did provide a potential solution.
“I had the same issue in the past. With that sort of communication, it took more than four months to develop a custom product. Finally, I was fed up with that kind of communication, but I wanted to deal with that factory. I found the upper level decision maker on their LinkedIn page and wrote him a message about my issue. I didn’t get a response from him, but the next day I got a response from the same representative as before and they took no more than an hour. From that moment, everything goes very smoothly. I used that method twice with different suppliers with the same result.”
Thank you for providing that solution, Jurek. I hadn’t thought of that and that is a great strategy. One thing you could do is go into LinkedIn, look for that company, see if you can contact someone else within that organization or someone higher up, and talk to them about your issue.
It sounds like it’s worked for Jurek before, so that might be a viable solution for you too.
Sargis has two questions. “When you say brand registry, are you talking about registration with USPTO, Amazon, or somewhere else?”
Okay. Brand registry is just on Amazon’s platform. Question two, “What kind of legal documents do I need for starting a business on Amazon?”
When I started selling on Amazon, all I had was a business name, the most basic of entities. You don’t really need very much to get started. What I’d highly recommend though is checking out a recent webinar we did as part of the million dollar case study where we had an expert come in and talk to us all about setting up a company structure and the different structures for US residents or US residents living overseas or nonresident aliens, people living outside of the US that are selling in that market.
No matter which category you fall under, he talk us through which structure to set up and the basics that you need to get an entity set up and to sell on Amazon. You can actually just sell as an individual. There is very little paperwork that you really need in order to get started.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value from the show. Make sure to give us a big thumbs up if you did and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. Also, make sure to leave your questions in the comments section below for a chance of them to be answered in a later episode. Until next week, guys, have a wonderful week.
Episode 15: Is it possible to travel while selling on Amazon?
0:20 On the Chrome extension, for a product with multiple sellers, is the 30 day total of all the sellers or just of the one in the Buy Box?
0:53 Do we have access to download customer emails to build our email list through Jump Send ?
3:08 Can I use Jump Send in Amazon Japan ?
3:47 I want to share possible solution for more than 500 oversized units. If you will ship with Flexport let’s say 1000 units, they could keep 500 in their warehouse in LA until you sell first 500 on Amazon. Actually, it is even more cheap than storing your goods in Amazon warehouse.
5:00 I’ve got a question about running a private labelling business on amazon combined with vacation. Is it possible to actually travel for 2 months (or more) and still be active selling on Amazon? I’ve heard of a vacation mode on seller central.
Jerry asks, “On the Chrome extension, for a product with multiple sellers, is the 30 day total of all the sellers or just of the one in the buy box?”
So if you’re familiar with the Jungle Scout Chrome extension, it runs on the Amazon store and gives you estimated sales for all of the listings that appear. So to clarify, those values are monthly values, and then also it applies for all of the sellers on a particular listing. So if a listing has 10 or 20 sellers, the estimated sales number accounts for all of their sales.
The next question is, “Do we have access to download customer emails to build our email list through Jump Send?”
So as a quick refresher for anyone that doesn’t know, Jump Send is an App of ours that allows you to send automated email campaigns to everyone that purchases from you on Amazon. Sometimes there’s a little bit of confusion here with some people thinking that you’re able to capture a customer’s email address through this process.
Just to clarify, no, you cannot get a customer’s email address. The way Jump Send works or any other email software for Amazon sellers is that it integrates into the Amazon seller messaging system. Amazon masks both the email addresses of the buyers and the sellers so that neither can contact each other directly, but only through their platform. If you’re using Jump Send or any other email service for Amazon sellers, we just gonna be going in through your seller account and using that messaging that system. There’s no way to capture a customer’s email this way.
Amazon has done this to protect the privacy of both parties. They also don’t want you to be taking a customer away from Amazon, so that’s why it’s a little bit of a gray area trying to get email addresses from your customers off of Amazon. Instead, what some sellers do is that they place an insert card inside of their product that they’re selling on Amazon so that a customer will get that insert card and then they’ll go to your website and sign up to your email newsletter or subscription in order to get perhaps a discount coupon or something similar. Some people will make it like a warranty card, so please come to my website in order to register for that.
Now there is some contention as to whether or not this is allowed by Amazon. There certainly have been sellers that have spoken to Amazon representatives and got the okay that this is all right. The best thing to do if you’re thinking about doing this yourself is to make sure that what you offer the customer is, for instance, a five or 10% coupon card to go back to Amazon, okay? If you’re sending people back to Amazon then I think in most cases this strategy would be okay.
The next question is, “Can I use Jump Send in Amazon Japan?” Now I just mentioned Jump Send in the previous question, so just to quickly piggyback off of that in addition to doing automated email campaigns Jump Send also is a deals website that allows sellers to provide promotional giveaways to boost their sales, and then also for buyers to get discounted products. So for the Amazon seller this is a fantastic product launch platform. Currently Jump Send is only available in the US market, however, we’ve got plans to expand to the UK, and then further markets in the future.
Next I wanted to share more of comment than a question, which is actually a follow-up to a question that I answered in episode 12 about inventory limits for oversized products. Normally you’re restricted to 500 units when you first send in inventory for an oversized product. However, Jerrick sent in a possible solution for this. “If you ship with Flexport, let’s say 1000 units, they could keep 500 in their warehouse in LA until you first sell 500 on Amazon. Actually it is even more cheap than storing your goods in the Amazon warehouse.” Thanks so much Jerrick for sending that one in.
So the problem is, if you’ve got an oversized product you can only send 500 units in. However, what if your supplier says your minimum order quantity is 1000 units? This is a great solution. So apparently if you use Flexport who is a freight forwarder, you can actually send 1000 units to them, and then you pay them a fee and they will hold onto those extra 500 units, send the first load of 500 units into Amazon, and once those are sold, then you can send the other 500 units. So this is a great way around that problem. So thanks again for sharing that comment.
The next question is from Robert who asks, “I’ve got a question about running a private label business on Amazon combined with vacation. Is it possible to actually travel for two months or more and still be active selling on Amazon? I still have the possibility to check my seller’s central account a few times each week, but is there anything else that has to be done while your product is selling on Amazon? I’ve heard of a vacation mode on seller central.”
Thanks, Robert. Yes, there is a vacation mode on seller central, however, this mostly applies to fulfilled by Merchant listings. So if you choose to use this feature it will automatically deactivate all your listings that are fulfilled by Merchant. If they’re fulfilled by Amazon, they will continue to be active. If all of your products are being fulfilled by Amazon, then I actually really wouldn’t worry about this vacation feature.
The great thing about fulfilled by Amazon is that they do most of the hard work, all the fulfillment. Really all you need to do is reply to customer emails, keep an eye on the inventory. Once your product’s launched, it’s a fairly hands-off business. So the great thing is that you can on vacation and with just a little bit of time each week, you can still keep this business running. However, if you’re fulfilled by Merchant and you’re fulfilling these items yourself, if you do go on vacation, then this is a very handy feature. It’s also if you suddenly get sick and anything happens that prevents you from being able to go to the post office and fulfill these orders from customers, you can just turn on this vacation feature. It essentially sets all your listings to inactive and then within the hour Amazon will pull down your listings.
However, just a couple of notes on this feature. Amazon says you still do need to reply to any customer inquiries or messages within 24 hours, and any subscription fees will still be charged each month. So it doesn’t put your account on hold, it just pulls down your listings temporarily.
So that’s all the questions for yet another episode. I hope you enjoyed today’s questions. If you’d like your question to be answered on the show, make sure you leave it in the comment sections below. I very much look forward to answering your questions next week. Until then, I’ll see you later.
Episode 14: Can I use Jungle Scout in India?
0:21 In the back end of my listing, do I repeat the same keywords for different phrases?
1:14 How much does amazon charge you when you sell your product with a promotional code?
2:02 How do we add “related videos” to our product listing?
2:53 Can I attach my Payoneer to my Paypal?
3:41 Can I pay suppliers using Payoneer without Paypal?
4:25 Can I use Jungle Scout in India to find good selling products?
4:42 What are the differences between the 3 phases of the Canton Fair?
The first question is from PJ. “If I have a single key word that I would like to utilize in multiple search phrase for my listing, do I repeat entering that same keyword for each phrase or a variation of a phrase.” Thanks PJ.
To my understanding, no. You don’t need to repeat keywords. What PJ is referring to here is that in the backend of your listing, your given five different fields where you can fill in as many keywords as you’d like or as you can fit in order to help your listing rank organically.
So what PJ is asking, let’s say that your product is a yoga mat. You want to rank for red yoga mat, blue yoga mat, yellow yoga mat. Do you need to repeat those over and over or can you just the word yoga mat once? So, my understanding is that you only need to use the word yoga mat once, and then you would just put red, blue and yellow next to it.
The next question is, “how much does Amazon charge you when you sell your product with a promotional code, like when the product is bought at 40% off its original price, does Amazon charge the referral fee based on the original price or the discounted price?” Thanks for the question.
So the answer is Amazon will charge you the referral fee based on the discounted price. So there are two parts that make up Amazon’s fees. There’s the referral fee, which is a percentage of that sale price, and then there are set fees that don’t change like your pick and pack fee or weight-handling fee. So those stay the same, but the referral fee will change dependent on that price. So yes, if you do discount an item, Amazon will charge you less in referral fees.
The next question is from Elon who asks, “How do we add related videos to our product listing?” Thanks for the question Elon.
So firstly, I’ll just explain that on a listing, you’ll see as you scroll down a little bit, there’s a section called related videos, and so he’s asking how do you get a video into that section. Now, there’s no official way that you can do this. You can’t submit a video to Amazon. However, I have heard of one service called Amazonproductvideo.com and you’re able to submit a video to them in order to get it inserted into that section for a fee. Now I haven’t used them personally, however, they do state on their website that this is all completely above board and abides by Amazon’s terms and conditions. So it might be worth checking out, but I haven’t tried it personally.
The next question is from Nicolas. Now this is a follow-up question to a question I answered last week about Payoneer, a service that allows you to see US dollars. So, I am from Chile. I use Payoneer. I have to go to the bank to get the cash from the cashier whenever I need to replenish products, so can I attach my Payoneer to my PayPal so I do not have to go to the bank? Thanks Nicolas.
Yes, so you can attach your Payoneer account to your PayPal account. The way this works is that you get given a debit card or a credit card from Payoneer, and you just simply add that to your PayPal account, and then use your PayPal account to make payments by selecting that particular card. Therefore, that is using the funds that you have with Payoneer.
Jonjon asks, “I have an additional question about Payoneer payments. If I use a Payoneer card to pay my suppliers, it can only be done through PayPal. Can I just pay my suppliers with Payoneer without PayPal?”. So the thing about Payoneer is that they don’t let you sent payments directly to suppliers such as a bank transfer or a telegraphic transfer. All they enable you to do is to use the card that they give you to make credit card payments for different services. So, the only way I found to use those funds was to either make a credit card payment or to attach it to my PayPal account and use PayPal to access those funds.
The next question is “Can I use Jungle Scout in India to find a good selling product?”
Yes. Absolutely. Jungle Scout is now available in nine different markets, all of these ones here, both the Jungle Scout web app and the Jungle Scout Chrome extension.
The next question is from Ralleo who asks, “What are the differences between phases one, two, and three? What would you recommend to attend?” Thanks for the question.
So, this is sort of a call out to a video that I posted recently about my visit to the Canton Fair, which is the largest trade show in China, and so the Canton Fair is broken into three different phases. Each one lasts about a week. Phase one is predominately electrical and household electrical products. Phase two is consumer goods, gifts and decorations, and then phase 3 is a lot of office supplies, medical supplies and goods, food, shoes, textiles, and products similar to that nature.
Now, I’m certain that you could find good, private-label opportunities in all of these phases. There’s just a much bigger variety of products that you can look at phase two. In phase one that I went to, whilst there was a couple of buildings with some sort of consumer electronics that did have a few good private-label opportunities in it, there wasn’t many buildings in total that I could go explore, whereas in phase two, most of the buildings, you could find lots of great product ideas. So, I would say phase two. However, you can go on to the Canton Fair website and look at each phase in more detail and see what products are being offered at each, and then you can decide, which one calls to you the most.
So ,that’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value from the episode. If so, please give us a big thumbs up and make sure to subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already, and I’ll look forward to answering your questions next week. See ya guys.
Episode 13: Using Payoneer to receive Amazon payments?
0:21 What are your thoughts on the service Payoneer?
1:57 Do you know any companies that can help get a trademark for your brand/ product?
2:18 How do release multiple variations on a listing?
4:44 I have found a wholesaler I’m going to be buying from, but my question is can I go thru Amazon to sell , but do my own shipping?
5:42 I have found a wholesaler I’m going to be buying from, but my question is can I go through Amazon to sell , but do my own shipping?
6:42 What do you when Amazon splits your inventory and when your product has been deemed oversize?
Diego has a few questions, and the first one is… “I am new and also selling in Amazon US from Australia. I recently noted that there is a new service called Payoneer, which I understand can be use for receiving Amazon payments. Have you tried it? Any comments?” Thanks, Diego.
Yes. I use Payoneer, and I do find it very good. There are two services that I use predominately, Payoneer and World First, both of them accept payments from Amazon. The downside with Payoneer is that it charges you 1% for everything that comes in. It takes a 1% cut. The upside of Payoneer is that it gives you a debit card so that you can use … You can make credit card payments. Most of my Amazon payments come into World First. However, every now and then, I send one payment to Payoneer to keep that debit card topped up so I can use that to pay for services like Jungle Scout or anything else that requires a credit card.
The reason that I stopped use Payoneer all the time is because they take that 1% out of everything that you capture, which World First doesn’t. Also, then the only way I could pay suppliers using Payoneer was to link the debit card that they give you to PayPal, which then most suppliers with charge you an additional 5%. I was getting charged 6% by using Payoneer. Plus a lot of suppliers won’t take PayPal for your orders so for that reason I moved to World First where the fees are a lot cheaper for those larger transfers. Overall, yes, I do really like Payoneer, I think it’s a great tool to have particularly being able to utilize that debit card. However, it may not be the best place to receive all your money.
Diego’s second question… “With the announced changes to related to brand registry and the requirement of having a trademark, would you recommend any company who can help with this process?”
I haven’t gone through this process personally. However, a company I’ve heard a lot about it Legal Zoom. I’ve heard that they’re great for helping you setting up companies and corporations as well as trademarks and so forth so check them out.
Third question is… “I have a product for which I wanted to do a variation and I thought it was a straight forward process as I can see many listings selling a number of product variations. To summarize, in your experience, is it possible to get a few products in a single listing without doing a violation? If not, is there any recommendation when launching the product variation in order to leverage or benefit from the traction achieved with the first product?”
Okay. Some categories won’t support listing variations. However, I have seen in some of those categories where they won’t allow you to create a new listing with variations that you will see plenty of old sellers that have had variations set up. You do see some inconsistencies with what Amazon says, but, unfortunately, you just have to play by their rules. I want to come back to some more general advice with variations. What I would personally recommend is just starting off with one variation. When you set up the listing, it’s a good idea to create the multiple variations that you might have in mind so if there are any variations that you can think of that you might sale one day. It’s easier to set it up at the start when you create the listing than trying to add variations on later.
However, I would just recommend launching one variation at once, because if you have two that’s like launching products simultaneously. You need money for both, you don’t know which one’s going to sell more. Your better off just launching the most popular variation that you think people will be after. Then once that one’s up and running then perhaps introduce the second variation, which will of course being on the same listing it will benefit from the traction that your first variation has got. What I’m seeing work very well before is a seller that has one product launched and then they’ve introduced the variation. Now, the first one was either a cheap product or just a single unit and then they’ve brought in a variation that’s either got a higher price tag, it’s a larger version, or it’s a two pack or something. And people might click on the listing because of the first variation that they launched, that one that’s been doing well in the ranking and that’s drawing people to the listing. But when they get to the listing they then are almost up sold because they’ll see there is the option of getting this two pack or six pack or this larger better version that costs a little bit more. That’s one way the introducing multiple variations can benefit from the traction that you’ve gained with that initial variation.
The next question is… “I’m new, I want to sell on Amazon to get my feet wet. I found a wholesaler I’m going to be buying from but my question is … Can I go through Amazon to sell but do my own shipping?”
Yes, you absolutely can. There’s two things. There’s fulfill by merchant and fulfill by Amazon. Fulfill by Amazon means that you ship your wholesale stock or your goods into Amazon and then they will ship, pack, and send it out to customers, do all the fulfillment. What you want is fulfilled by merchant. That means that you can list your product on Amazon. You’ve got a listing up there, you can be selling on their marketplace. However, you hold onto all the stock in garage or wherever you want to hold it and you do all the fulfillment. You send it out the customers and fulfill those orders yourself. Once you’ve set up you seller account, you then create your listing and you’ve got the options of either getting this product fulfilled by merchant or fulfilled by Amazon. You can actually change that at anytime. But what you want to do is make sure it’s fulfilled by merchant.
The next question is from Alexander. “How long should you track a product for before deciding to take action?”
As a very broad rule of thumb, I would say two to four weeks. If you’re really set on this product, the more data you get the better. Really the longer you track it for the better. But I would say probably two weeks at a minimum. But your really looking for is consistent data. If you’ve got two weeks worth of data but it’s showing you 2 sales today, 80 sales tomorrow, then 30, then 10, then 12, you’ve got numbers all over the place. It’s very hard to be confident about how many sales that product is getting. But if you can at least get some blocks at least four or five days where you can see that the sales numbers are all fairly consistent or within 50 sales or something of each other. And you can be more confident that that product is indeed getting this number of sales on average. However long you need in order to be confident in the sales that that product is doing.
The next question is… “I would like to ask, in the situation where Amazon decides to split your inventory and send to different warehouses because the dimensions show that the product package is oversized. What to do in this case?”
If Amazon has deemed your product to be oversized, I don’t think there’s much you can do in terms of negotiating with Amazon or changing it in this instance. I think the best thing to do would be just to see if you can make that product packaging smaller and more condensed in the future. Is there a way to package it so that the dimensions aren’t so big or changing the way the product is being packaged. I think that would be the best thing to do. In terms of your inventory being sent to multiple warehouses, there is not much I can advise here, but I can share my experience. My first few shipments, Amazon did ask me to ship to multiple warehouses. However, since then, for the last six, eight shipments I’ve done, they’ve all just asked me to send to one place. I don’t know whether overtime Amazon might just get you to send to one place or maybe as you increase the units that you’re shipping in, maybe they’ll only ask you to send to one place. I don’t this for sure, but that’s been my experience and hopefully that helps.
Okay. That’s all the questions for today, guys. Make sure to give us a big thumbs up if you got some value. Make sure to leave your questions in the comment section below and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. I look forward to answering your questions next week, guys. I’ll see you then.
Episode 12: What if a manufacturer sells your product to someone else?
0:23 What if a manufacturer sells your product to someone else?
2:18 How do you stay under Amazon’s oversize limit of 500 inventory when you get customized products?
3:05 If I’m interested in unrelated products, do I have to keep my storefront name very generic so I can put various brands underneath?
4:15 How should I be optimizing my listing in the backend? What tools can I use to get the most relevant keywords?
So the first question is from ayedylan. “What if someone contacts your manufacturer and your manufacturer gives the same product to someone else and sells it under your listing for yes? It’s your fault if the item is deemed inauthentic?”
Thanks for the question. And I can understand how this could be a concern. Fortunately, I’ve never seen this happen or have had it happen to me. However, I have read a couple of cases where this has happened to other sellers. If your manufacturer was to sell your product with your brand on it to someone else, I don’t know that there’s much that you can do about it afterwards, however, the best thing here is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That’s why brand registry is important. It proves that you are the legitimate manufacturer of your brand. As of this point in time, Amazon has closed registrations for brand registry, and they’re reopening it in May.
Now there’s a lot of talk about needing a trademark in order to utilize this new brand registry. However, I don’t want to go into that because we don’t have enough information. But what I would say, is that when a new brand registry does come out, it’s well worth you time putting in an application, in my opinion.
In this situation where someone else is selling your branded product and you own the trademark for that brand, I think it would be much easier to prove to Amazon that you are the authentic owner. So what do you do in the meantime, however? If you can’t afford a trademark, or perhaps you’ve got a pending registration, what do you do in that period to stay protected? Well honestly, if I’ve just launched a product, I’m really not gonna be too worried about it. I can’t see why anyone would try to sell my branded product if I’ve got zero reviews, or five, or ten reviews. People look to hijack listings that are doing very, very well, have a number of reviews in most cases. So not having a trademark and brand registry wouldn’t stop me from getting started. And then I would just introduce that in as soon as it’s logistically possible.
The next question is from Lisa. “My question is about seller account, storefront name, and branding. Let’s say I’m interested in looking for products in home and patio, yoga, and educational toy spaces. Those three items are not related and will have different brand names, correct? Do I have to keep my storefront name very generic so I can put various brands underneath?”
Hey Lisa. Yes, that’s exactly what I’d do. If you’re intending on selling products in different markets, I would make your seller store a bit more generic. So that might be like, “Lisa’s Products” as your store seller name. And then you could sell a yoga mat under one brand and then you could sell a toy under another brand. But then you’ve got a seller store name that is generic enough that you could actually be selling any of these products.
“How should I be optimizing my product listing back end such as under Keywords search terms? How can I make the most out of the character field limit? Comma separated, or no commas? What tools can I use to get the most relevant keywords?”
Thanks Jonathan. So for those who don’t know, when you create a listing, you can edit the back end. And you’ve actually got five fields where you can input a whole heap of keywords to help your listing rank for those particular search terms. A common question is whether or not to put commas in between the keywords. Amazon has actually stated, no. They don’t want you to put commas. You just want to put a space between those keywords. My advice would be to completely fill all five fields with as many keywords as you can. In terms of tools that you can use to find keywords, I recommend keyword.io, Google Keyword Planner, and Keyword Inspector. I like Keyword Inspector because you can plug in your ASIN or your competitor’s ASINs, and it will give you all of the top keywords that they’re making sales through. So you can grab those same keywords because they’re gonna be relevant to your listing as well. And then put them in the back end of your listing.
Jerry asks, “How does a new seller determine how much inventory Amazon will receive? I’ve read 5,000 standard size and 500 oversize units. 500 units seems like a tough requirement to stay under with a supplier when you customize the product. Is there a cubic foot limitation? How soon can you add inventory to what you’ve got?”
Thanks Jerry. Yes, that’s correct. When you start out, you can begin with 5,000 standard size inventory and 500 oversize inventory. When it comes to standard inventory, you’re most likely not gonna have too many problems with hitting that limit. Generally speaking, most people probably won’t order more than 1,000 or 2,000 at a time. Now you did bring up a good point that with oversize inventory, you’ve got a limit of 500 units. However, in most cases because you want to customize your product, the minimum order quantity normally goes up. So you’re saying how can you get customized inventory when the minimum order quantity goes up? However, you’re only allowed to hold up to 500 at one time.
Now, I don’t have any personal experience with getting in oversize units. But I have talked to suppliers about them in the past. And from my experience, what I’ve found is that with oversize items, they’re normally gonna cost a lot more. So standard size ones, you might get that product from anywhere between three to five to maybe seven dollars per unit. Whereas with the oversize items, they’re normally gonna be like eight, ten dollars, upward per unit. I’ve usually found that when the unit cost is higher, the minimum order quantity will be lower. So those suppliers are usually more open to smaller order quantities of 500 or less.
However, in the event that you might have to order 1,000 units as your minimum order quantity but you can only send in 500 at a time, what you could do is talk to the supplier about holding on to that other 500 inventory and just sending in 500 immediately and then waiting for those numbers to go down before sending in the rest. That would be the other way around this. In terms of increasing your oversize limit, Amazon have stated that you need to sell off eight percent of your inventory every week for at least nine weeks consecutive. If you’re doing that, that will increase your inventory limit.
However, you can always send more inventory into Amazon as long as you’re under that limit.
So that’s all the questions for this week, guys. Make sure to keep sending them in. If we don’t answer them on the show, we’ll get back to them in the comment section. If you’ve enjoyed today’s video, make sure to give us a thumbs up. And until next week, have an awesome time, guys. We’ll see you then.
Episode 11: What is a good profit margin for your FBA product?
0:16 What is a good profit margin?
1:18 Is it a bad idea to launch a seasonal product?
4:32 How are you going to take advantage of the market place when Amazon FBA comes to Australia later this year?
5:43 What methods you guys using to keep your listing optimized?
8:29 How would someone sell on your listing, and/or how would you sell on someone else’s listing?
So Mark asks, “What is a good profit margin in dollars?”
So to give you an actual number, I’d say $5-$10 per product. But it really depends on what you need to make your business profitable. I would aim for a 30% profit margin on all my products, but at the end of the day a $2 profit margin is still better than zero. That’s obviously not an ideal profit margin, but perhaps you might be making up for it by sales. You might only be getting $2 per product, but you might be making like 50 sales a day.
The other thing I’d take into consideration is the unit cost. If you can get a product for like two or three dollars, then I’d be happy at taking a smaller profit margin. Whereas if I’m paying $50-$60 dollars to get a product in, I probably wouldn’t be happy with a $5-$10 profit margin because if there’s ever any refunds or anything like that, it will quickly chew into that profit margin and just not make it worth your while. But to sum it up, if you’ve got a product that you source for $5-$6, I would be aiming to get a $5-$10 profit margin.
“Is it a bad idea to launch a product close to or during its season’s peak? For example, a product I’m looking into peaks in Google trends around May. Is it smart to create the new listing on Amazon at the end of April, early May and hope to get sales and reviews and accept the risk that my sales will gradually drop for the next six months? Or should I just move on to a different product?”
Okay, this is an interesting question. We wouldn’t normally recommend going into a product that is quite seasonal. So what I would do if it were me, I would stock up before the peak season, utilize that peak season to sell off all that inventory. You might have a little bit left over afterwards. You might have to reduce your price. Get rid of that stock, and then just leave that listing and don’t restock it until the season comes around again. And just plan to sell that as a seasonal product.
The hard thing here is that it is really difficult to forecast exactly how many sales you’re going to get. So the trouble is that you may overstock and not sell all of them. Then when the season is gone, you’re left with all that inventory. So that’s the risk that you’re taking, however of course, the upside of it is that you could potentially get a lot of profit during that peak season and a lot of sales.
For the product that you’re mentioning, where you said that the peak is in May and you asked, “Should I wait until the end of April, early May in order to get my listing up?” I would say no. If you’re planning to utilize the peak that’s in May, I would get that listing up as soon as possible and start to try to get at least a few sales in so that you can get a few reviews on your listing. Because even though it’s a popular product, it’s not just going to sell instantly.
You still need to follow all the rules, and you still need to have reviews and sales to get your listing ranked and to get it noticed. So the sooner that you can start getting a few sales and a few reviews, the more you’re going to be able to capitalize when all of the sales are coming in. Because rather than having zero reviews you’re listing might have at least 10 or 20, and more people are going to buy it so that you can really utilize that peak season.
So how do you offset or prepare for any long-term storage fees? Well like I said, it’s really hard to forecast how many sales you’re going to do. So you don’t know how much inventory you’re going to have leftover. But what you can do is, as it’s getting towards the end of the season, and you know that there’s probably only going to be a couple weeks more of sales. If you’ve still got lots of inventory, I’d just be gradually reducing your price because basically, the best thing you can do is try to get rid of your inventory by the end of the season. So just watching your sales and just reducing your price accordingly to get rid of that inventory before the season is over is probably my best suggestion.
Should you move on to another product or not? Well as I said, we don’t normally recommend going into a seasonal product, particularly if it’s your very first product. If you wanted to play with this, I would say do it once you’ve got one or two established products that sell all year round, and you’ve got a bit extra profit to play with because this is a riskier move.
Okay Jacob asks, “Also coming from Australia and just starting out on my first product currently. How are you going to take advantage of the marketplace when Amazon FBA comes to Australia later this year? What pointers do you have for new sellers like myself?”
Thanks Jacob. So what I would do if I was just starting out now and keeping in mind that Amazon is coming to Australia later this year, and I wanted to take advantage of that marketplace. I would start with a listing now in the U.S. and just focus on the next few months in building that up. What you want is the experience of setting up that first listing, having a few months to optimize it. There’s so many lessons that you learn from launching your very first product. So it’s great to do that in the U.S.
The other thing that you’d be looking to do is to try to build some cashflow. Have some profit put aside so that you’ve got a bit of money or a bit more capital to invest into new products when Amazon opens in Australia. The other thing I would do between now and then, is product research. There’s a lot of markets and niches that are already saturated in the U.S. and other markets, however they’re now all going to be up for grabs when it comes to Australia. So I’d keep that in mind.
Bla bla asks, “What methods do you guys use to keep your product at the top? I use strong PPC every month, and I do give about 10 giveaways every month. What should I do more as some of my competitors are really pushing me down?”
Thanks for the question bla bla. So I have a hunch here that you have a low number of reviews on your listing. There’s a period at the start of your Amazon listing, until you get … And there’s no real magic number, but let’s say between 25-50 reviews. Until you can get at least 25-50 reviews, there’s this period of time where you really need to just grind out with the PPC spend and doing giveaways on a fairly regular basis. And this is at break-even cost. So you mightn’t be making much profit, potentially even no profit, but you just need to rinse and repeat this process over and over and over unfortunately, until you can get at least 25-50 reviews.
Because if you’ve only got five reviews, if you’ve only got 10 reviews, it’s gonna be very hard to have a profitable listing with PPC and so forth because your conversion rate’s going to be really low. People might be clicking onto your listing, but they’re not going to buy it because there are other listings with more reviews.
So maybe you need to go a little bit heavier or more frequent with the giveaways. I definitely recommend having an automated email campaign in place, if you don’t already. That will help increase your chances of getting reviews a little bit. But yeah unfortunately, you just gotta keep grinding this out until you get to this magical number, whatever it is, at least I’d say 25 reviews. Where your PPC spend will start to get more profitable, you’ll start to get a lot more organic sales. Until you sort of hit at least that number of reviews, you’re going to have to be happy with just breaking even on your profit margins until you can get to that point.
The other thing I would look at in order to make sure you really keep your listing on top, is to be constantly optimizing it. So look at your images and compare it to your competitors. Do you have the best images? Could you perhaps take some new images with a different angle that might standout moreso than your competition? I think images are a huge part in selling your listing. But then also looking at your description and your title and seeing whether these things can be improved. Optimizing your listing can do a great deal of good when it comes to increasing your sales and standing out from your competition.
So Alicia asks, “Could you go into greater detail about the anatomy of an Amazon listing? How would someone sell on your listing and/or how would you sell on someone else’s listing? As a newbie, I found this confusing. If you could explain the Buy Box as part of this, that would be awesome too.”
Thanks Alicia. So the physical process of actually selling on someone else’s listing is quite easy. If you go to any Amazon listing, you’ll see on the right-hand side, there’s an option that says “Sell on Amazon”. You then fill out some details on the condition of your item. And with a couple of clicks, you’re then selling an item on someone else’s listing. Now as long as you’re honest and accurate about the condition of the product, then this is totally fine. And this is a totally legitimate thing to do.
Let’s say you purchased a Go-Pro camera off of Amazon. You opened it up, and then you no longer used it for whatever reason. You could actually go onto Go-Pro’s listing and you could sell on their listing, if you stated that your product is used. You could then sell it on there, and you can select whether you want it to be fulfilled by Amazon in which case you would send it to Amazon. Or fulfilled by merchant in which case you would just send that out yourself.
Or the other scenario is that perhaps someone’s gifted you a brand new Go-Pro still in its box. Again you could sell on Go-Pro’s listing, and you could sell it as new because you have it unopened, and it’s from the manufacturer. It’s the authentic one. As long as it’s the authentic one, and this again is totally fine. Those are two legitimate cases of selling on someone else’s listing.
So if you’re a private label seller, any of your customers can actually go onto one of your listings and sell off the product that they purchased from you. That’s totally legitimate. Because it is so easy to sell on someone else’s listing, it can go into this sort of shady area where people start trying to sell fake versions or non-authentic copies of a product because they’re seeing that that listing is making lots of sales. That’s what people are referring to when you hear the term “hijacking”. It’s where someone is selling on your listing, but they’re not just selling one used copy. They’re claiming to have a whole heap of new stock, which couldn’t possibly be the case because you are the sole seller and the manufacturer. So no one else should have access to your product.
In terms of the Buy Box when there are multiple sellers on a listing, Amazon needs to decide who has control of the main page when someone clicks onto the listing and clicks buy. So this person is called the Buy Box owner. It’s the person that by default is the seller on the listing and will capture that sale when someone clicks onto that listing and clicks buy. If you’re a private label seller though and putting your own brand onto products, you should be the only seller on that listing anyway. So you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the Buy Box because that’s more if you’re trying to sell on someone else’s listing. So I wouldn’t worry about that too much as a private label seller.
That’s all of today’s questions guys. Give us a thumbs up if you enjoyed the episode, and make sure to leave your question in the comment section below so that I have the chance to answer it. I look forward to seeing you guys next week. See you then.
Episode 10: How to quality check your inventory in China before sending to the US?
0:27 How do you do quality checks for shipments going straight to FBA?
1:08 Can you explain the differences between private label, retail arbitrage, wholesaling etc?
4:26 Could you please make a quick step by step guide on how to create a shipping plan?
8:08 If I need to purchase two products from two different suppliers, do I need to have the products shipped to me and package myself, or is there another option that I am not aware of?
8:52 You always talk about the first 10 sellers. But you never look at listings further than that. Could you comment on the total number of listings and how this affects competition?
11:04 I have a question regarding Amazon Brand Registry. I have the logo on the packaging, but not on the items themselves. Am I eligible for Brand Registry?
Vince Peng asks, “How to make sure products are of good quality when you have the supplier ship directly to FBA? Does your forwarder do QA, quality assurance, on your product for you?”
Thanks, Vince. I’m not aware of any freight forwarders that would do inspections on your inventory. This would normally be done by a third party company. I haven’t used any personally, however Greg recently mentioned one that he’s used before that’s called AsiaInspection.com. What they do is that they go to your factory and inspect your shipment before it gets shipped out. The advantage of this is that it’s a lot easier to fix any problems that you might find with your inventory before it’s been shipped to Amazon.
Alicia asks, “I’m particularly confused by the differences between a private label seller versus someone who sells on an already existing brand on their store page. I’m also confused by an existing brand being sold by multiple sellers. Are those sellers distributors? It will be great if you also define differences from private labeling, retail arbitrage, wholesaling, etc.”
Thanks, Alicia. I’ll start by going through the different definitions. Private label. Now, this is the one that we talk about the most and it’s the act of taking a generic product and putting your brand and your logo on it, so when it comes to selling on Amazon, you create a brand new listing. You are the manufacturer and also the seller of that product.
Then you have retail arbitrage and wholesaling, both of which involve selling on existing listings on Amazon. So, with retail arbitrage, that’s where people will go out bargain hunting. So they might have access to discount racks or places that are liquidating stock and essentially be at bargain hunting, buying products cheap, and then selling them at full price on Amazon on the current manufacturers’ listings. Just note here, they’re not creating a new listing, but just selling on someone else’s listing.
Then you’ve got wholesaling. That’s where you’ve been officially authorized as a reseller of a particular brand. Again, you’re selling on their listing. You perhaps contacted the company and then you bought from them wholesale and then you send it into Amazon and you sell on that listing. You can’t create your own listing for this because you are selling someone else’s brand.
I hope that makes sense. Now, generally speaking, as a private label seller, there should only be one seller on that listing. That is because you are the manufacturer and the seller. No one else should be able to sell your product unless they bought it from you and you would know about it. There are a few instances where this might happen, though. For instance if there’s a customer return and it gets sent back to Amazon, sometimes they will then relist that as refurbished and it will be sold by Amazon in a used condition. Sometimes you might actually sell to a customer as well and they may not want it anymore. They are allowed to sell off that item on your listing. If they’ve opened it, they need to state that it’s been used. Or if they haven’t opened it, they are able to sell it as new on your listing. However, it’s just one unit and once that one unit is gone, there’s nothing to worry about.
Then it comes to probably the worst one, which is where someone is selling counterfeit stock on your listing. This is the one that you want to be a little bit careful about and we have talked about this in some other videos. So, I’ll link to that video below. It’s called Listing Hijacking. That’s the other way that there could be someone selling on your listing. Otherwise, yes. It would have to be someone that’s been authorized as a reseller of that brand. I hope that was able to clear that up for you, Alicia.
Arturo asks, “Could you please make a quick step-by-step guide on how to work on a shipping plan? There’s a lot of important choices to make there and could be really informative for those who have never done this before.”
Cool. Thanks for the question, Arturo. Let’s jump to my screen and I’ll show you now. Now I’m in Amazon seller central and I’m just setting up a new shipping plan. Firstly, you can choose to either create a new plan or add an existing plan. Adding to an existing shipping plan is perhaps you’ve got two products, you’d want to send them both in at the same time. When it comes to sending in the second product, you just click “add to an existing shipping plan” and it gives you the ability to choose the shipping plan that you’ve already set up. Otherwise, just create a new shipping plan.
The ship from address here is where you put in your supplier’s address, so just ask your supplier for what their address is, or it should have it on the invoice or on their website. Now, if you’re just sending in the one type of product, you want a case packed product. I’ll show you the little demonstration over here. Individual products is if you’re sending in a whole heap of different SKUs in only one box. Otherwise, if it’s just the one product and you’re sending in everything the same, then go with case-packed products. Continue.
On this page, you now need to enter the quantity of units that you’re going to be sending. If you don’t know how many units are sent per case or per carton, ask your supplier. Now, this doesn’t have to be the exact number of units per case and number of cases, as you can create the box configurations later on. The most important thing is that the total number of units is correct. You can modify this later, but it only allows you to change it by a few units less or more. Amazon wants you to confirm that you’re aware of any storage fees. Now, for some products, you might have to give more information if it’s in a restricted category or something like that. But for the most part, you shouldn’t need to take any further action. Click continue. Again, in most cases, you should be able to click continue.
Now here, you get to choose whether you’re going to apply the FNSKU barcodes or whether Amazon is going to do it. Notice if I select Amazon, it shows me that it’s going to cost 20 cents per unit. Usually, you can get your supplier to do this, so I would just make that merchant. If you haven’t got the labels already, you’ve got the option to download them here. However, you can do that straight from your inventory screen as well. Click continue.
Now you can give a name to your shipment over here and if you can confirm that all these details are correct, hit approve shipment. Come over to work on shipment. You do have to create a shipping plan in order to see where Amazon is going to send the product. In order to be able to tell your supplier or freight forwarder exactly where to ship your products, you do need to create this shipping plan first. Now, copy the address that Amazon gives you and send that to your freight forwarder or supplier.
Now you can review your shipment contents, select your shipping method, and then you can select your carrier if it is here or just hit “other.” Just select whether it’s everything in one box or multiple boxes. Usually it will be multiple boxes. Now you can set up multiple box configurations. If you’ve got different box sizes, you can set that up here. Make sure that your total adds up to the correct amount and then you can confirm that one. If you have changed the number of boxes that you’ve got here, do make sure that you print your box labels again. This will give you the pdf, which you can send to your supplier or freight forwarder. Once you’ve done that, hit complete shipment and you’ll be done.
Tiffany asks, “If I need to purchase two products from two different suppliers, for example, a cup and a lid, do I need to have the products shipped to me and package myself, or is there another option that I’m not aware of?”
Thanks, Tiffany. Now, I have answered this question in a previous episode and I’ll link to that episode down here below. But I wanted to include this one just in case there was anyone else out there new that was wondering the same thing. Make sure you check out that episode. The very short answer is yes, there is another option. In a lot of instances, you’d be able to send from one supplier to the other and then that one supplier will ship and package both those products for you.
Okay, Cedric asks, “You always talk about number of sales, number of reviews, price, size, and most of the time you look at the first 10 sellers. But you never went into detail on the total number of sellers, e.g. you never scroll down much further than 24 or so. Could you comment on the total number of sellers and how a product can be considered a red flag or not, according to this number?”
So, yes. We generally talk about looking at the top 10 listings or the first page of results on Amazon for a product that you’re looking at and you’re asking why don’t we look at the subsequent pages when gauging competition? Well, you’re right. It does actually play a little bit of a part in terms of how competitive a product is. I wouldn’t place too much importance on it. Essentially, Greg’s rule of thumb is that you don’t want more than two, three, or four pages of results for the exact item that you’re looking for. If you look for stainless steel water bottle, it’s okay if you’ve got a couple of pages of those water bottles. But then, once you get to page three or four, you’d be wanting to see that it’s starting to show glass water bottles or things that aren’t necessarily related to the key word that you’re targeting. You don’t want too many pages of results, because that might mean there is a lot of competition.
That being said, the first page of results is still the most important. Why? Because that’s where people shop. Most people aren’t going to go past page one to make a purchasing decision. Really, the people that you’re trying to beat if you launch that same product, you’re trying to beat the people on the first page. You want to see how competitive are they? How many reviews do they have? Because that is probably the most important part of assessing your competition is that first page of results. That’s why we don’t talk as much about looking at subsequent pages. It is something to take into consideration, but it’s not as important as the first page of results.
Antal asks, “I have a question regarding Amazon Brand Registry. I have the logo on the packaging, but not on the items themselves. Am I eligible for Brand Registry?”
Thanks for the question, Antal. I was about to answer this question but then I discovered that as of today, mid-April 2017, Amazon isn’t taking any applications for brand registry because they’re bringing out a new system that I believe is going to be called Brand Central. Now, we don’t know much about this, however Amazon has said that they’re putting it in place to further protect sellers, so hopefully it’s going to be a better version of the current Brand Registry. In light of that, I don’t actually know what the new guidelines are going to be. It doesn’t look like we can apply currently. It could come out very soon, so hopefully that is the case. I, for one, am quite excited to see what they come up with and fingers crossed, it will be something that will help sellers protect their brands even further.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. I hope you got some value. Please give us a big thumbs up if you liked today’s show and always remember to put your question in the comments below so that I have the chance to answer them in a later show. Until next week, have a wonderful week, guys. We’ll see you then.
Episode 9: Have you had a failed product?
0:23 The product I want to sell on Amazon is already listed by a few sellers and it’s obviously coming from the same supplier. Is this is red flag?
WEBINAR ON HOW TO FIND SUPPLIERS
1:35 I don’t want to sell the same product as another seller, but how can I tell if the products are different since I don’t know the other sellers manufacturer?
2:41 Can you talk about how you differentiate your product from others on Amazon to stand out against other sellers?
4:06 What does EXW mean? How does shipping from China work?
HOW TO SHIP FROM CHINA
Brennan asks, “The product I want to sell on Amazon is already listed by a few sellers, and it’s obviously coming from the same supplier. Is this a red flag? Should I consider manufacturing a similar model with a few changes?”
Thanks for the question, Brennan. What you’ll notice, if you look on Alibaba and search for a product, you’ll notice that dozens and dozens of suppliers are often all selling the exact same thing. More often than not, they’ll be using the same images as well. It would be really hard to pinpoint if someone else is using the same supplier that you’re looking at. I personally wouldn’t really worry about whether your supply is selling to other people or not. I’d focus on the main steps and not get distracted by these other questions or doubts. I know some people have had experiences where their supplier has then sold their product to other people as well, but there’s no real way to know that up front. You just have to follow the steps that are in front of you, get your product made, get it launched, because until you do that, none of those other issues are even relevant.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to vet suppliers when you’re first looking for them. We did a great webinar episode with Gary Wong, and a link to that episode below.
Jerry asks, “As a private label seller, I don’t want to sell the same product as another seller, but how can I tell if the products are different, since I don’t know the other seller’s manufacturer?”
All you can do, Jerry, if you want to check out a competitor’s product, just buy one off of Amazon. That way you get to see their packaging, you get to see their product, and then compare that with the ones that you’re looking at on Alibaba or Global Sources, or anywhere else. But even simpler than that, you don’t necessarily need to see their product or know who their manufacturer is. You can just look at their listing. Of course they’ve got images there, but you can also look at their reviews. Now, I would go in and look at the two star reviews and the one star reviews. Go through, read all of them. See what common things people are complaining about with their product, and then write those things down and go to your supplier and say, “Hey, can you give me this product, but make these changes?”
For instance, it might be can you make it 10% bigger, or can you make it from this material, and negotiate with your supplier and try to improve upon the things that people don’t like about your competitor’s product.
Julia Roberts asks, “Hi, Greg. Can you talk more about how you differentiate your products with others on Amazon? What’s your strategy? How many different ways can we think about it, how to add more value to your product so that people would like to buy yours instead of other sellers?”
Great question, Julia, and I just mentioned one of the ways you can do this, looking at your competitor’s reviews, seeing what people don’t like about it, and then asking for your supplier to make those improvements on that product. Making modifications and improvements is one way you can do it. Another way is by bundling your product. What this means is to take the product that’s existing, and then find something else related or that other people like to buy and then sell them together. It’s a good way to raise your price as well. You might have a product that by itself is only worth, around about the $10.00 mark, but by bundling it with another item, you can make the value $18.00 – $20.00, depending on what you’re adding. How do you go about bundling? What I do is I look up that product on Amazon, I’d open up say the top 10 listings, and then if you scroll down, you’ll see a section that says Frequently Bought With, and then in those top 10 listings I’d jot down what is being frequently bought with that product, and then whatever is the most common product is likely a good product to bundle with that original item. There’s a couple of ways that you can add value to your product and make it stand out against your competitors.
Infinite Abundance asks, “On the sample RFQ there was a question on EXW quotation price. What does that mean? Also, what shipping costs are there for shipping your product from China, and how does it work?”
Two abbreviations you’re going to see a lot are EXW and FOB. FOB means that the supplier is responsible for shipping your product to the nearest port. From there it’s your responsibility to get it shipped from that point to the US or to your house. EXW means that they don’t have any responsibility to ship it outside their factory, so you need to organize getting your product picked up from the actual factory. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can get your supplier to organize the shipping for you, so they’ll give you a couple of quotes. You select the one you’re happy with, you pay your supplier, and then they organize getting it shipped to the US or to your house. Or you can get a freight 40 yourself that you deal with. The advantage of that is that you’re in more control. If your supplier does it you’re not really in the loop with exactly what’s happening with your shipment. Personally, I’ve had my supplier organize a lot of the shipping over to the US to Amazon, so it hasn’t really worried me whether the quotation has been EXW or FOB. But as for more detailed look at the shipping process from China to the US, Greg answered this question in more detail a couple of weeks back. A link to that one, below.
The final question is from Eudo who asks, “I want to know if you can tell us if you’ve ever had a bad product? Have you ever launched a product which didn’t sell and you had to quit and move forward to another, or have you managed to reduce risk on every launch product by doing all these steps?”
Personally, yes I have had a failed product before. For me, what happened was that the profit margins were too low, and the return rate was too high, so by the time I added in things like PBC, the product was really running at a loss. Once I realized this I tried everything I could to optimize this product. The best thing I could do was just try to sell off, or kind of liquidate the remaining stock and put those funds into a better product. The way I went about this was dropping the listing price so I could get more sales. I dropped it to the point where I was at break even or even a dollar or a little bit less. Yes, you do lose a bit of money, but it’s better than having stock there and not selling any of it.
Sometimes what you’ll find is that if you do lower your price, you might actually get enough sales to get that product selling, however in my case, the profit margins weren’t good enough anyway, so there wasn’t much I could do. That’s why product research is very important. As you mentioned in your question, by following these steps that we outline when it comes to product research you can eliminate a lot of the risk. You can’t ever eliminate 100% risk and know for sure that the product is going to be a success, but the more steps that you follow, the higher your chances of your product succeeding.
That’s all the questions for today, guys. Please give us a big thumbs up if you got some value from the show and make sure you leave your questions in the comments section below so that I can answer them in a later episode. I hope you have an amazing week, guys, and I look forward to seeing you next time.
Episode 8: Generic or customised sample?
0:20 How does the ranking system work on the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension?
1:11 How do you use JumpSend for discounted product giveaways?
6:27 What products are bought from the US by European customers?
6:55 Should I buy a customised or generic sample?
8:06 I’m scared to launch my product. What to do?
Jenny asks, “How does the ranking system work on the JS Extension? All the other headers have explanations, but I can’t find anything on the ranking.” Good question, Jerry, and thanks to Micheal for answering this one on the channel, but I just wanted to answer it here for anyone else that’s wondering. If you’re using the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension and you’re wondering how we rank the products, that rank just comes from the order that those listings appear on the page. So, there’s two places that you can run the extension. One, on an Amazon search page when you put in a key word, the other is on a product detail page when you open up a listing and it will show all the other products that are listed on that page. We just display it in the order that it appears on the page. There’s no special order. Then, of course, you can sort by the different headings like sales, and reviews, and so forth.
Elon asks, “Can you break down how to use Jump Send for promotional giveaways when launching your first product?” Sure, Elon. Now, Jump Send does two primary things. One, it hosts promotional giveaways to help increase your sales, two, it sends out automated email campaigns. I’ll show you a quick example of running a promotion. The first thing to do is to put in your ASIN. I’ll put in this one as an example. It’s brought up this yoga mat. Now, I get to come down, of course, select the category. Jump Send is a deals website for customers on Amazon. They’ll get to see what the originally price is currently on Amazon, and then the price that you’re offering. Let’s say that in this example we want to do a 50% off deal, so let’s make it $9.99. If it’s FBA we’ll select FBA, hit next.
The next thing is inventory protection. In order to run a promotion you need to create the coupon codes in Amazon. You do that by coming to “Seller Central,” going to “Advertising,” “Promotions,” and then you select “Money Off Promotion.” Now, we have more detailed videos on how to do this, so I’ll link to those below. However, the thing to keep in mind is that you can only select percentage off, which in fact applies to your entire order. So, if you were to put 50% off here, a customer could purchase one product from you or they could purchase ten, and they will receive 50% off the entire amount. That’s why our inventory protection is very important, because what this does is it will limit the number of units customers can purchase from you during the promotion, or you can continue it afterwards. However, this does apply to all of your organic sales as well, so keep that mind. So, select this on. This is how many it’ll be limited to during the promotion, and then if we want to limit it after we can do that also, or you can set it back to normal which is unlimited.
Keep in mind that the promotion dates that you set here are separate to the ones that you create on Amazon, so the best thing to do is to make sure that they match. We can’t read what your start and end date are on Amazon, so you have to make sure that they do indeed match. This also applies to the amount off in the previous step. Again, we can’t read what you set here on your coupon codes on Amazon, so you need to make sure that the percentage off you list here is the same price that is listed on Jump Send. Hit “Next.”
Here is a more detailed video on how to create coupon codes, and this confirms when your promotion will end. This is where, once you’ve gone through these steps of creating coupon codes, you can paste them into here. I’ll just make some up for now. On the next page you have the option of either manually approving shoppers yourself or automatically doing it, and we can automatically approve a certain number. So, if you only want to give away five products a day, then we can automatically do that for you. I’ll select, “Manually approve shoppers.”
It’s important to read over this promotion overview before you publish, because once you publish it goes live on our deals page. The purpose of doing this is to increase the number of sales you get in a short period of time. This is particularly useful if you’re just launching your product, because when you’ve just launched you’re probably sitting on page 300 for your particular keyword. However, as soon as you start making sales, even at a discount, it will start to move you up the rankings of your keywords, therefore giving you visibility, and then hopefully it will start to give you some organic sales to get you going.
The other important function of Jump Send is to create automated email campaigns. You then have the option of starting from scratch, writing all of your own emails, or starting with some templates that we’ve already created. Let’s do the two review requests. Up at the top you can name your campaign, and you can also select the products which you want this email to be sent for. Once you’ve done that, hit “Save product selection.” There’s also a more detailed video tutorial on this. Scrolling down, you’ll see a lot more options here. If you go right down, this is the actual email that will go out to your customers. These are things called auto fill tags. This will automatically grab their name and their order number from Amazon, so that parts all done for you. You just need to change the main text, if you want to, or you can it as it is. Of course, put your name in there. Up above, you can choose the frequency of when it goes out the buyer, so in this case it’s as soon as possible after an order has been confirmed.
Now, you’ll see up here, these are the different emails, so if we go to, “First Review Request,” that selects one. This ones got different settings, so that’s two days after the order has been delivered, and the finally, seven days after the order has been delivered. Once you’re happy with these emails, you do need to make the message active, otherwise it won’t go out. When you’re ready to go you can save the changes, and then publish the campaign. Now, why would you want to do this? Reviews are important to a lot of people, and sending follow up emails to our customers after they’ve purchased from us is a very good way of improving the chances of getting reviews.
Joakim asks, “Is it possible to see what products are bought from the US market by European customers?” Unfortunately Joakim, I’m not aware of any way to do this. If anyone else knows different, please put it in the comments below. But generally speaking, the people who are purchasing on Amazon will usually purchase from their relevant marketplace. So people in the European marketplaces will usually purchase from Amazon France, Germany, et cetera.
Chris asks, “When I buy a sample for evaluation, should I purchase the sample to evaluate the quality or when they make the modification or color that I want?” Cool. What I think you’re asking here, Chris, is whether to purchase a sample generic, or whether to get it with the modifications that you ultimately want for that product. What I would suggest is try and get the modifications if you can, however, in a lot of cases this will cost you a lot more. Say, if it costs like $50 or $60 for a sample by itself, sometimes a supplier might charge you $200, $300, or something ridiculous in order to get that sample, often because they need to create a whole new mold for your custom product, and they don’t know whether you’re going to place a large order, so they’re going to charge you a lot more to get a custom sample. What I’d recommend is try and get that, and if the price is ridiculous just go for the generic sample. Usually, you’re just wanting to check the build quality and make sure that the quality of the material in the sample is good. Most of the time the generic sample should suffice.
Antonio asks, “Currently, I have two potential products for private label and a few products for a wholesale. I’ve done my homework so far, I’ve managed to get a few thousand bucks to set me up, so all of these products that I have, I think they really have potential. I already spoke to some manufacturers and they already quoted my products, I just can’t make the decision. I think I’m stuck. I’m very scared about sales. What if the product doesn’t sell as well as I’m thinking, or even worse, if it doesn’t sell at all?” Thanks for the question, Antonio. I wanted to include this one in here because I know that’s a place that a lot of first time sellers, or even experienced sellers that are launching new product are in, where you’ve done all the homework, you’ve done the verification, you’ve checked the numbers, you’ve done as much as you can, but it’s just really hard to press that go button and actually launch your product.
The purpose of Jungle Scout is to help you verify potential product ideas as much as possible, but unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that those products are absolutely going to sell. No one can. You can do as much homework as you want, as much research, but at the end of the day no one knows for sure, and the only way to know is to take that leap of faith and try it. The name of the game though is to do as much preparation as possible to minimize the risk of it being a failure. There are sellers that I’ve spoken to that have gotten off to a rocky start with a product, and it seems like it wasn’t going to sell, however, they persevered and they had that strong belief that they could make it work, and they persevered and they were able to turn it around. So, at some point you need to take that leap of faith, once you’ve done as a much as you can to prepare and minimize as much risk as possible. If you believe in it, you can make it happen.
That’s all of today’s questions, guys. I hope you got some value from that. Make sure to give us a thumbs up if that’s the case. If you want your question to be answered on the show, make sure you leave it in the comments below. Subscribe to us on YouTube for more episodes, and until next week, I hope you have an amazing week. Thanks a lot, guys.
Episode 7: What to put on my Amazon product inserts?
0:20 I am currently selling on Amazon.com and I would like my products to be available for shipping to Canada. Is there is a way to do it?
1:41 Is there a step by step course you sell, in order to go into all the details?
2:42 Whats the most effective way to produce high return sales and/or reviews by means of adding an insert with each product?
6:28 Why do some products on the Jungle Scout Web App, that have better rank, sales and reviews, sometimes show up as 10th on the first page?
I found that some products that are actually sold by Amazon can be sent outside of the country, such as movies, and books, and that sort of thing, but for the most part, I haven’t found many products that have been able to be shipped outside of the US. I would say that’s why Amazon’s created the multiple market places like Canada, and Mexico, and all the different ones because they want you to purchase those products from the relevant market place that you’re in. My understanding is that if you want to sell products to the Canadian market, that you would need to list that product on Amazon Canada. If anyone else knows any differently, please put it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
Vegan X asks is there a course you sell to go in order step by step in details? I’m a bit lost on what to purchase on Amazon and want to be guided the right way. I’ve already paid for two courses and they’re not as detailed, or not showing me everything that has to be learned. Cool. Great question. I wanted to include this one because I know there are a lot of you out there that are a little bit lost and a little bit stuck. The good news is, yes, we do offer a course of sorts. It’s called the Million Dollar Case Study. It’s free to join and we’re showing the process of finding a product and launching it, everything in between from finding suppliers, setting up PPC campaigns. Every single step along the way we’re going to be sharing. We’re about five webinars in. We’ve got another one coming up next week, so go to this link below and you can register for the webinar completely free to follow along and learn all about how to launch your own product.
Now if you’re enjoying these videos, could you do us a quick favor and just hit that thumbs up bottom? It’d mean a lot. Thank you so much. The next question is from Mikeal Butler. What’s the most effective way to produce higher return sales and or reviews by means of adding an insert with each product? I was stuck on sending them a coupon code for half off a second a purchase, or a link to get their email to put them on a giveaway where one of five people win a free product, or a gift card, or something. I feel like giving them the right incentive could help boost sales and I have a high margin for profit on each unit, so I could run a lot of cool profit promotions, but I also don’t want to waste my money.
Putting product inserts inside of your product packaging can be somewhat of a controversial subject. Some people have spoken to Amazon and they said that that’s totally fine. Others have gotten a more negative response, and heard that it’s not okay by Amazon. Generally speaking, though, the consensus seems to be that, as long as you’re not diverting people off of Amazon, if you’re not sending them to a Spotify store or somewhere else, then it’s okay. If you’re giving them a coupon code to go back to Amazon, to your store, then generally it seems to be okay. However, to try and answer your question, Mikeal, I would suggest you just try both. It really comes down to experimentation and seeing what your particular market responds to. Perhaps for your next shipment of 500 to 1,000 units, put in a little insert that is just asking people for that first one that you mentioned, giving them a coupon code that gives them 50% off a second purchase.
Then just see how many results you get from that. Then maybe in your next shipment you could try a different product insert if you want and that could be that other one you mentioned where they go into the draw to win a one in five chance of getting a free product. Keep in mind that for a lot of the sellers that I’ve spoken to that have tried this, they generally get a fairly low response rate. It could be maybe two or four percent of the people that buy their product actually act upon the insert cards, and go to their website, and register with an email or something. However, I still think it’s worth the while, even if you only get one person in 100, that’s still something and for the cost of actually printing the insert cards, if you do that in China, that’s where your supplier is, then it’s usually pretty cheap. It might be a couple of cents per sheet that you insert into your product. It really doesn’t cost much, and if you can get a customer from that, then I think it’s probably worthwhile.
The popular one that a lot of people do is the warranty card. They’ll have a little insert card that asks you to go to their website to register in order to get a warranty, and then sometimes they might also offer a five or 10% discount off the next product from their Amazon store. That’s one thing that you could do. What can be really powerful about the product inserts is starting to build an email list. That is an asset that you control outside of Amazon and it’s a really good long term play to start building a community, building a list that can survive off of Amazon. It’s definitely a great long term strategy, but I would just stress here not to worry too much about it at the start.
In my opinion, when you’re first launching, you just want to stay on the Amazon platform, worrying about getting sales and reviews, and just getting that momentum going. You’re better off focusing on the Amazon platform before going to external channels like building an email list, or social media, or Google Ads, or other forms of traffic, and sign ups, and sales, but to come back you your question, both your ideas sound good. I would say try them both. See which one gets you better results, and then go from there.
Okay, so the final question for today is from Info Info, or AKA Mark. I noticed on the Jungle Scout [inaudible 00:06:35] that a product which ranks better sells better, more reviews and the same rating and stars, yet only shows up 10th on the first page. Can you please explain? Instantly what I think of in this situation, Mark, is that you may not have the right keyword. For instance, let’s say that you’re looking at a yoga mat product, and it has high sales, and high reviews. It might be ranked number one under yoga mat, which would be probably the main keyword that it ranks for. It’s ranked first there, but if you were to search for more of a long tail keyword like yoga mat for beginners, or yoga mat in 2017, or something else a bit obscure, that product may not be ranked overly well on this more obscure keyword. It might appear ninth, or 10th, or further down the page because it hasn’t been ranked on that keyword.
What I would suggest in that situation is to experiment with your keywords and see if you can find the keywords where the listings at the top are the ones that are doing most of the sales because that’s generally what you should be able to find. That’s all of this week’s questions. If you haven’t given us that thumbs up, make sure you do that now and please subscribe to make sure you get every episode of Ask Jungle Scout. Remember to leave your questions down in the comment section below and we’ll see you next week.
Episode 6: Instagram contest to launch my product?
0:28 I’m currently running contests and advertising Facebook and Instagram but not getting many people to sign up. Any advice as to how to properly market?
On launching a product: https://youtu.be/d2kHa-1U0kI?t=4m39s
2:38 What do I do if a customer doesn’t respond to my request to remove negative feedback, and I’ve already contacted seller support to remove it?
4:58 I can’t determine if the high sales for a product are from that specific long tail I am researching, or if they’re actually coming from other long tail words that might have a lot more competition. How do you discern this?
7:13 I am in the design phase of the product and I have the doubt, at the moment of import I understand that I need the product to say “made in china”, could I put “made in china” in the package? or do i have to put it on product?
Greg asks, “I’ve just launched my first product with a few advertising strategies, none of which are converting to sales or list building. I’m currently running a contest and also advertising the contest on Facebook and Instagram. Not getting many people to sign up, as well as Amazon PPC, which to date hasn’t converted to a sale. Any advice as to how to properly market?”
So I can’t speak to this question specifically, as I haven’t seen your product or your campaigns, but what I would like to talk about with this one is the external advertising, using things like Facebook and Instagram, et cetera. When you first start out on Amazon, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it, however, we recommend just sticking to the Amazon platform.
Yes, you can drive external traffic from Instagram and Facebook and, you know, host contests on these other platforms, but at the end of the day, the best bang for your buck when you first begin is going to be on Amazon itself. Why? Because people are already on there ready to buy. People aren’t on Instagram or Facebook looking for products to buy. Generally speaking, they’re there to socialize. Some people might be there to buy, but in contrast, on Amazon, everyone on there is there to purchase products. They’ve got their credit card details saved. They can purchase with the click of a button, so spending your time and your money on this platform when you first start out is gonna get you a lot better results, in our opinion, than using Facebook or Instagram or Google ads or other forms of external traffic to get those initial sales going.
In terms of what to do on Amazon’s platform, I’ll link below to a previous episode where we talk more about how to launch your product, but just to quickly recap, PPC is definitely one thing. Doing giveaway promotions is another. Making sure you’ve got e-mail campaigns set up so that when you do get some sales that you’re following those people up with good customer service and improving the chances of getting reviews. Doing a combination of these things over and over will help you get launched and get out there, so check that other episode out to learn more about how to launch your product.
Question two’s from Elliot. “What do I do if the customer doesn’t respond to my request to remove negative feedback, and I’ve already contacted seller support to remove it? It’s an FBA order with a neutral rating and ‘nice’ as a comment.”
Good question, Elliot. Unfortunately, there’s probably not much else you can do if you’ve already reached out to this customer and asked them nicely to perhaps consider changing their feedback. Sometimes, getting negative reviews or feedback is just part of business. Whilst it mightn’t always seem fair or warranted, perhaps as being some kind of miscommunication, or the customer perhaps has got it wrong, essentially, Amazon really want to make a great experience for the customer and really make sure that they have the freedom of speech to be able to say whatever they want so that the rest of their customers coming to Amazon can trust the other reviews because they haven’t been manipulated. They’ve been very honest about the good things and the bad things about product. Unfortunately, sometimes that means you are gonna get some negative reviews, and sometimes, you can’t help it.
From my own experience, the best thing to do is to try to prevent those negative feedback and reviews from coming in in the first place. One of the best ways to do that is through e-mail campaigns, which everyone should have going. So what you can do in your e-mails is to have very friendly, supportive customer service that gives people the option to contact you if they have any issues, whatsoever. Doing that alone will drastically reduce the number of people that leave negative feedback for you because you’ve given them the option to contact you with any issue before they do that. And then when people do contact you, getting back to them as promptly and quickly as possible, solving their problem quickly, again, will drastically reduce that negative feedback that comes in.
I’d highly suggest still helping people even if they’ve left you negative feedback where they seem quite angry. Still try to reach out to them and fix their problem because there’s been times that I’ve seen sellers do this, where they’ve received negative feedback, and they’ve gone and fixed that person’s problem, and then it mightn’t have been for like, a few weeks later, or some period in the future, that that person’s actually come back and changed their review or their feedback to a positive experience because that seller went out of their way to help them, so provide great customer service, and you will alleviate a lot of the negative reviews in the first place.
The next question is from Lauren. “We’ve been using Jungle Scout for about eighteen months, and I can’t determine if the high sales for a product are from that specific long tail I’m researching, or if they’re actually coming from other long tail words that might have a lot more competition. How do you discern this?”
Cool. Thanks, Lauren. The best way to explain this one is to show you on my computer.
Okay, so we’re looking at the term “red garlic press.” So let’s run the Jungle Scout extension and have a look at the numbers, here.
So based off of “red garlic press,” looking at the competition alone, it looks like the competition’s fairly low. We’ve only got one listing with 300 reviews. The rest are all under about 50, so you could say that this niche hasn’t got much competition. Let’s sell this product, but what you don’t know is whether “red garlic press” is the most commonly searched for phrase to get this product. So in this case, the most common keyword is probably “garlic press,” so if we run the extension on this one and have a look at these numbers, you see that the competition here is a lot greater.
So how do you know which keyword to use? Well, really, it just comes down to experimentation. Playing with the order of the words here, really trying to come back to what is the base, most common keyword that people would use to find this product.
Another cool little tip that you can do that might help is if you start to type in the keywords here, Amazon will give you suggestions based on the most common searched for phrases, so some of the most common phrases here are “garlic press stainless steel” or “Pampered Chef,” et cetera.
Another way to check is to check Google Trends. So let’s type in “garlic press,” here, and then they’ve got a feature, here, where you can actually compare it to another keyword. So let’s put “red garlic press” there, and so instantly, you’ll see that the term “garlic press” is a lot more popular than “red garlic press.” So that’s a really easy way to gauge the popularity of different keywords to try and track down which ones to use.
The next question is from Alex. “I’m in the design phase of the product, and I have the doubt at the moment of import. I understand that I need the product to say ‘made in China.’ Could I put ‘made in China’ on the package, or do I have to put it on the product?”
That’s a great question, Alex. Yes, my understanding is, as well, that by U.S. law, you do need to put the country of origin, so if that’s China, then you do need to put “made in China” on your product. In terms of whether it actually has to be on the product, I think my understanding is that you can get away with putting it on the packaging. I know there are definitely some products that are able to have it on the packaging. I have a feeling that you can do that, and it will be fine. However, if anyone else has any experience with this, make sure you drop it in the comments below.
I’d love to hear from other people, but as far as I’m aware, you can put it on the packaging, and that should be fine.
Cool, so that’s all of today’s questions. If you’ve got a burning question to ask, make sure you pop it in the comments below. Please subscribe to our channel for more episodes of Ask Jungle Scout and the Million Dollar Case Study. Check that out, where we publicly launch a product and reach the million dollar mark on Amazon. Thanks for watching, today, guys. Have a great week. I’ll see you, next time.
Episode 5: Do I give up my product launch due to new sellers?
1:19 Two of the top 10 listing have over 200 or 300 reviews whilst the others have well under 50. Do these two listing with massive reviews just blow my product idea out of the water?
3:14 When you were looking at “Himalayan Salt Lamps’, your search found that there were 4 sellers who were doing very well & the rest were not. I think you said this was a concern & you would need to look into it further. What did your “gut” instinct tell you?
4:30 Before I was able to place an order I noticed that a lot of new sellers entered the market. In a case like that, should I give up or continue with the launch?
6:36 I was thinking about launching a PL product on Amazon UK but you say reduce the numbers i.e. 1000 per month sold in the top 10 sellers.. but won’t this dramatically reduce profitjQuery112402531176218530271_1499776201088
A couple of years ago, Greg did a collaborative product launch of bamboo marshmallow sticks where we shared the whole process of finding a new private-label product, right up until selling it and everything in between. We know that the Amazon landscape has changed, so in 2017 we’re launching this new case study where we’re going to keep going and launch new products, do whatever it takes to launch the million dollar mark. All the proceeds are going to charity and we’re going to share every single step along the way. I’ll put a link to the webinars down below. It’s totally free. You get to see exactly how we reach the million dollar mark. Definitely check that one out if you haven’t already.
Question one is from Dane and he asks I found what I think is a decent product. The quality of the listings in the top ten are poor and I believe I can definitely create a better listing. Two of the top ten listings have over two or three hundred reviews whilst the others all have under 50. Well under 50. Do these two listings with massive reviews just blow my product idea out of the water?
Cool, thanks for the question, Dane. So, in this case, that’s a pretty good situation. If you can find eight out of the top 10 listings with under 50 reviews, that’s a pretty good competition level. It’s fairly low. Yes, the two or three hundred reviews, those top two listings, are fairly high, but the question you need to ask here is what is the depth of the market?
So what I mean by that is how are the sales spread out amongst the top ten listings? If all or the majority of the sales are all going to those top two listings or two or three hundred reviews, then that is a problem, if the rest of them, the other eight, aren’t getting many sales. However, if you see that the reviews are averaged out fairly evenly amongst that top 10, then it mightn’t be such a problem that you’ve got those two listings with a lot of reviews.
Why? Because in the first scenario, where only the top two listings are getting the majority of sales, that means that for you to get a percentage of those sales, you would need to get your listing up into the first or second rank under that keyword. This is doable, but it’s a lot harder. It can be quite challenging, just getting your listing into the first page of Amazon, let alone into the first or second listing.
So, what we recommend is to try to find products that have the sales spread out amongst the top 10. If that’s the case, in your scenario, then I’d say it’s potentially a good product to go with.
Question two is from Nick and he says, I really enjoyed the second episode of the Million Dollar Case Study today. I had a question ab out your use of Jungle Scout and a decision you made. When you’re looking at Himalayan Salt Lamps, your search found that there were four sellers that were doing very well and the rest were not. On the call I think that you said that this was a concern and you would need to look into it further. What did your gut instinct tell you? With this concentration of sellers, would this mean that perhaps these four sellers are spending a lot of PPC?
Cool, great question Nick. And it’s sort of a good segue from the previous one, as the answer is very similar. I can’t speak on behalf of Greg, but this is what I believe he was referring to. If the top four sellers are getting the majority of the sales, it makes it a lot harder to break into that niche. It could be because they’re using a lot more PPC, but regardless of how they’re doing it, it just makes it harder for you, because you would have to match that level. Whether it be doing lots of promotions, doing lots of PPC, it’s not to say that it’s impossible to compete with those top four sellers, it just means that it’s a lot harder, and we’re trying to find opportunities that are a bit easier to bring into.
Just quickly, did that answer help you out? Let us know by giving us a thumbs up.
The next question is from Nika, who says, I’m in the research phase. Found a product that I like, talked to suppliers, got samples, but before I was able to place an order, I noticed a lot of new sellers entered the market. The number doubled with new sellers. In a case like that, should I give up or continue with the launch?
Okay, that’s a really interesting question, Nika. I can’t speak for you in terms of whether or not you should continue with the launch, but I’ll let you know what I would do in this situation. And I think it’s a bit of a call back to a question that Greg was answering last week about being a bit more aggressive or bullish with your product launch. In this situation, I would look at the quality of these other sellers. Are their listings any good? What are they offering? Also, what are you offering? Have you got something unique about your listing that no one else has? Have you bundled with something or made some slight modifications to add more value? I would look at that first and kind of assess whether or not you’ve got something different about your product. If so, I would then go ahead and try to outrun and beat the other new sellers that have just entered the game. There are many sellers who launch a product on Amazon but they’re not prepared to spend enough on their marketing budget, whether it be promotions or PPC at the start, in order to get that sales velocity going, which helps you rank. Which helps get you those first reviews and really gets you into the game at the start.
And so they’re sort of stuck at this point where they’ve got no reviews and they’re not getting any sales and they’re not really willing to spend any money to move ahead. That’s where if you’re a bit more aggressive at the start with your promotions and your PPC, you can still out beat a lot of new sellers that are coming on board. I would say it’s still worth looking at, whether to compete with the others, I wouldn’t rule it out entirely.
I can’t say for sure whether or not you should give up on this product launch or not. I would go through those tests that I just mentioned and then assess and go from there.
Our final question is from Steven, who says: “I am UK based, so I was thinking about launching a private-label product on Amazon UK. But you say reduce the numbers to one 1000 per month sold in the top ten sellers, but won’t this dramatically reduce profit? I’m struggling at the moment, because my instincts tell me that it is less hassle to sell on a UK platform, as I live here and potentially can have inventory shipped to me first for inspection or part storage and the send on to FBA. My problem is that in the US, it seems more complicated, plus I’m sure that there must be a good market here in the UK. I’m feeling a little bit confused.”
This is following on from a question last week where we were looking at the difference in demand between the US and all the other Amazon markets. Because the fact of the matter is that outside of the US, the rest of the markets have a lot less demand. There’s a lot less sales on those Amazon markets, so that is why Greg was saying, in the UK, you might be better off looking for between 1000 to 1500 sales in the top ten listings as opposed to the 3000 that we recommend in the US.
So, yes, this will mean less profit, because it is a smaller marketplace. So what you’ve gotta do is assess each product on a case by case scenario. So you need to look at one product and look at how competitive it is, because there’s two things that you’re looking for. Well, there’s more than two, but two of the main things you’re looking for is the sales volume, or the demand, and also the competition, so you want high sales, low competition. If you look at that particular niche or that product in the US, you might have high sales, but you might also have high competition. In the UK, you might have less sales but perhaps the difference between the sales and the competition is greater, so potentially it might be a better opportunity for you in the UK, even though you won’t get as much profit, there’s less competition, so you could potentially get a higher percentage or market share of that particular product or niche.
You do bring up a good point of the fact that in the UK, you could get it shipped to you, where you can assess the inventory first before shipping to Amazon, so that is a bit of a downside if you’re selling in the US, it’s potentially not economical to do that, to send it to the UK and then to US, so that is one thing that you will have to weigh up how much you want to be able to do that. I know there are a lot of sellers that are foreign sellers outside of the US that just send direct to the US. I can’t say which one is better, obviously if you have the chance to inspect the product yourself, it’s definitely better. However, there are a lot of people that don’t do that, as well.
That’s what it comes down to, is that you can look at the UK and these other markets as opportunities because there might be less competition and there might be less sellers in those market places. So that’s why sellers would look into these other marketplaces. If you’re just looking for the most sales volume, then the US wins, hands down. But looking into these other marketplaces, you might find some niches with less competition, which is why they’re unique.
So, that’s all the questions for today. I hope you found some value in some of the answers. If you’d like your question answered, make sure you drop it in the comments below. Also, I’ve put in a link for the Million Dollar Case Study. We’re going to be sharing everything about our brand new product launch. We’re totally excited about it, so make sure you check that one out. Thanks for watching today guys, make sure to subscribe for the next episode. We’ll see you then.
Episode 4.2: What if the new administration restricts imports from China?
Episode 4.1: How do you bundle products on Amazon?
0:15 What if the new administration applies limitations to importing from China?
2:27 How do you ship from China to the US?
4:39 How do I get my listing on the first page of Amazon?
Greg Mercer: So our next question is from T4AVideos. He said, “We have a super burning question not addressed in the Facebook groups. What are the plans to start a business and grow as an Amazon retailer, given the limitations that the new U.S. administration may implement?”
This is opening up a real can of worms, right? As probably everyone knows who is watching this video, there is a new president in the U.S. now, of course with a new administration. And there’s talks and rumors and “He said or Congress or whoever else, that could potentially like to put, or be stricter on imports coming into the U.S.
So I’ll give you my opinion on this. This is just my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth. But let’s think about few things here. One, I personally don’t think that they’re gonna put like a large tariff on goods being imported from China. You might be watching this three years from now and call me an idiot because I’m wrong, but that’s my personal opinion.
And this is why: at the end of the day, it’s gonna get passed along to the consumer. If I’m selling my garlic press or my water bottle right here or whatever else, me and all my competitors, we’re all importing it from China or from wherever else that they wanna like introduce these tariffs to. So at the end of the day, we don’t have enough margins to just eat up like a 20 percent tariff or whatever else, right? So what we’re all gonna do is we’re all gonna raise our prices 20 percent, and it gets passed along to the consumer. And the reason that I think that this isn’t gonna happen is because this would directly affect mainly the middle and lower class, right? Because they’re the ones whose pocketbooks it’s gonna hurt the most, having that extra 20 percent increase in prices on Amazon and at Walmart and at Target and Best Buy and everywhere else.
So I don’t think it’s ever really gonna happen. But at the end of the day, if it does happen, like I said, I’m just gonna raise my prices. And my competitors are, too. So with business, there’s always all kinds of things that you can worry about. I can worry about this, or that, or what happens if UPS prices go up. Or this or the other thing. But at the end of the day, you have to just get started. As an entrepreneur, you’re always involving, you’re adapting to these things. So I’m not worried about it. I’m not losing any sleep.
Lennard Smith: Okay, so our next question is from Nadine, who asks, “Can you please provide instructions on how to ship from China direct to FBA?” What do you think, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Absolutely. The way I look at it, there’s like two different ways to ship products from China or from overseas to Amazon’s distribution centers. One kind of bucket here would be like Air Express. And this would be like what a lot of are used to, sending things DHL or UPS or FedEx or TNT or whatever. And they essentially handle everything for you. They handle the customs, the importing, all that kind of stuff. It’s literally, you give them your labels, and they ship it from door to door. So that’d be like the easiest way. The biggest downside of that, though, is it’s expensive.
If your product’s very small and lightweight, it might not be a problem. It may still be cost-effective to ship products on kind of a per-unit basis. However, once you start getting bigger products, like our bamboo marshmallow sticks, those things are pretty big. They’re three feet long and they weigh a few pounds each. It’s gonna be cost-prohibitive to do that.
The other way is to ship ocean freight or like air freight. And to do this, you have to hire a freight forwarder. It may be possible to do it yourself, but it’d be really hard. Everyone just hires a freight forwarder, and so do I.
Some popular freight forwarders would be like Flexport or Shapiro or if you just Google “freight forwarder,” there’s tons of them. And they handle all the custom brokerage and that kind of stuff for you.
So let me give you an idea now how Jungle Stix get shipped from China to the Amazon distribution centers. What happens is, personally we’re using Flexport. So the factory delivers it to the port in China. Flexport coordinates with them to pick it. At the port, it gets on a boat, it gets delivered to Flexport’s warehouses in LA. Then they take the boxes off, they put them onto pallets and then I create a shipment in Seller Central and a truck takes it from their warehouse in LA to their distribution center. So I personally never touch Jungle Stix. It’s all handled. And that’s how we personally do it. And that’s how I would recommend it. That’s what you can do, and never have to touch your inventory.
Lennard Smith: Great, thanks for the rundown.
Greg Mercer: Alright, so our next question here, and I’m gonna butcher this name really badly. I’m gonna try. EmeryGrubitz, looks maybe German to me. And they say, “How can I get my product onto the first page of Amazon? There are lots of videos about this, but no one’s really helpful.”
Can you help her? This is a can of worms, right? We can talk about this for hours. But Lenny, do you have any tips of how to get on the first page of Amazon?
Lennard Smith: Well hopefully I’m not sort of repeating a lot of the stuff you’ve heard in previous videos. It sort of comes back to one of the earlier questions about sort of being a bit bullish with … promotions are a great way to do it, pushing with PPC is as well. So getting those sales and reviews, ultimately it all comes down to that.
So I hope that’s not a cop-out answer. It’s very simple ut it’s not at the same time. So the strategy to do it can change a fair bit. But ultimately, that’s what you’re trying to do.
The other thing as well, because often a lot of people say, “I’m doing PPC, I’m doing promotions, but I’m not getting much from that.” So you really need to make sure that your listing is as optimized as possible because if you’re spending lots on PPC and you’re not getting many sales for it, then you really gotta look and kind of go, “Okay, what’s my pricing like compared to my competitors? What’s the value that my customer is getting? Is my product and listing good, ultimately?” That isn’t as optimized as it can be, then doing promotions and PPC won’t get you sales and reviews like you want and won’t help you get to the first page.
Do you have anything more specific, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Sure, I’d be happy to piggyback on that. So you know, Amazon is more or less looking for two things of how they rank your product when a customer makes a search result. The first thing … so I guess it would be three things. The first thing would be keyword relevancy. So if they’re searching for sunglasses, they’re not gonna show water bottles. So it has to be relevant to what the person’s searching for. You wanna make sure to include those search terms in your listing.
The other two things that they’re looking for is sales velocity. So historically, how many units have you been selling every day? And the conversion rate of your listing. So a lot of things are gonna go into account for the conversion rate. That’s gonna be what your reviews have been in the past, how many reviews you have, how good is the listing, how quality are the images, does it sell well to the customer when a customer lands on your listing? So that would be like your conversion rate.
So those things you can adjust and fix. You can use a tool like Splitly to AB test different images, see which one converts better. You can test it for titles to see which one gets more clicks and that sort of thing. And then to get sales velocity, you need to sell product. So if you’re not selling lots of products organically, you can do things like increase your PPC spend, you can run a promotion, so maybe you’re running like 50 percent off and giveaway promotions. You can use something like Jumpsin or anything else to get additional sales.
Or one last thing is you can just try decreasing your price for a little while and see if that increases your sales velocity. But at the end of the day, I think we kind of harped on this before, but you need sales, you need sales velocity, that’s gonna move you up the ranks, and you need to convert customers once they land on your listing.
Lennard Smith: And so I guess as well, it’s not just something that will happen overnight and happen immediately. And there’s not just one or two things to help you do that. It’s kind of like, you need to do everything really well. it’s a long-term sort of plan. Because again, you could do some giveaways or do a huge PPC spend at the start, and you might get onto page one. But getting there is one thing. Staying there’s another. You then wanna consistently keep the sales going, which is where continually split testing and optimizing your image … so hang in there, keep experimenting with your listing, trying different techniques and you’ll get there in the end.
Alright, and that’s today’s questions. I hope you guys got some value from today. Give us a thumbs-up to let us know. Thanks for watching today and we’ll see you next week.
Greg Mercer: See you next week, guys.
0:15 2:30 How do you prevent seeing an inflated sales number in Jungle Scout?
4:30 Should you ever give up on a product, and if so, when ?
Greg Mercer: Yeah, this is a really good question and if you’ve been following along with a lot of our other training and YouTube videos and that kind of stuff you may have heard me say before that I have this rule of thumb that I like to look for about 3000 units of demand for the US store in about the top ten results, okay? I came up with this rule of thumb to be honest with you because no one likes the answer, “Oh, it depends, right?” People like going with rules of thumb and having a little more guidance than always just saying, “It depends.” So I came up with this rule of thumb. There’s definitely less sales volume in the UK and in the EU, right? That’s why he’s asking this question. You know, does the 3000 units of demand still apply there? I would say I’d reduce that a little bit to 1000 or maybe 2000 units of demand in the top 10 listings if I were to add up all the demand through them. However, let’s go in a little bit deeper. Why did I come up with this rule of thumb? What’s the bigger picture?
So the bigger picture is we’re looking for products that already have good existing demand on Amazon. It’s risky to try to guess what’s gonna sell on Amazon, right? Instead, we just want to give the customers what they’re already searching for, all right? So big picture, we’re looking for products and niches that already have existing demand on Amazon, right? Then we also want to see how competitive they are. The best gauge of a competition is how many reviews the listings have and how good of a quality of listing there are. All right? So at the end of the day, we’re looking for the biggest gap between demand and competition. We want to ones with the most demand with the least amount of competition. So that’s bigger picture, what we’re looking for, all right? Of course you don’t want “it depends” answer, right? If you do want a rule of thumb, in the UK, I think a good rule of thumb would be 1000 units, 1500 units, 2000 units would be quite a bit.
Again, that’s total demand if I add up all of the sales volume for the top 10 listings or as many relevant listings there are.
Our next question here, Lenny, is from ceeloc and he or she says, “How do you prevent seeing an inflated sales number in Jungle Scout? Let’s say the product’s new.” What do you think?
Lennard Smith: Let’s say that they’re talking about the Jungle Scout Chrome extension, which you run on Amazon on a search page. So what they’re probably talking about here is that it is possible for those sales number to be inflated if, for instance, that seller has run a promotional giveaway where they’ve given away a whole heap of stock at a high discount, which isn’t how many sales that they would normally do at full price. So if you look at that data and go, “Oh, wow. This product sells 4000 a month,” that may not be the best data to go on if they have an inflated sales estimate. So how do you prevent this? The best thing to do would be to track those sales or estimated sales over time. If you just look today, it might say it sells 4000 units, but if you were to check every day or every couple of days for, I’d say, at least a week, but probably maybe a couple of weeks, then you’ll get a better picture of how well this product is doing on a consistent basis because, again, today it could show 4000.
But then if it shows maybe 2000 tomorrow and then it sort of evens out and it’s 1000 or around about that mark for the next two weeks, then you’ll know that, “Okay, that’s probably the number of sales to expect from that product. Do you have anything else to add?
Greg Mercer: Yeah. It’s really good. I’m just gonna go ahead and piggy back on that, that that’s a great manual way to check how the sales are kind of differing on a day to day basis. If you are a subscriber of the Jungle Scout web app, actually the product tracker’s built right in there that will do that automatically for you and track on a day to day basis how many units are being sold that day. So that’s a great way. That’s exactly how you can find out, “Okay. Did this person just do a big promotional giveaway and their sales are artificially inflated or is this more like the organic or natural sales rate of a product?”
Lennard Smith: All right. Next question is from bla bla. So reading this question, it looks like you’ve spent quite a bit on PBC or Ready. You’ve got 10 reviews. You did a small promotional giveaway. Your sales aren’t very high and you’re wondering whether you should continue with this product or not. What are your thoughts, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Yeah. This is a really good question. I think this could potentially be a position that multiple people are in, other listeners as well. One other piece of information bla bla put in there is the products in the first five positions for the searchers all do have good sales. They don’t. They’re in about the 12th position, so this is what it comes down to, okay? When you launch a new product on Amazon, it’s obviously a new product. It only has 10 reviews. You need sale and you need reviews in order to rank organically and start making the natural sales, okay? So you need either to spend more money on pay-per-click or do more promotion so you’re making more sales, all right? So I think this is what happens to quite a few people is they get kind of nervous or scared that the product’s never gonna do well. So they don’t want to give away too many with a promotional giveaway because they might be losing money. They don’t want to spend too much on PPC because they might be losing a little bit of money.
So they’re scared to kind of put more money into marketing and as a result, they’re stuck and it’s not selling that well, maybe only selling a couple a day. So they’re in this kind of weird position. I have to say, I know it is scary spending the more in marketing. By marketing, I mean promotional giveaways and PPC. But you have to do it in order for it to start selling well, so I can almost guarantee that if bla bla was real … I love the username, right? Bla bla. If bla bla was really bullish and went ahead and did 10 or 20 giveaways every day for a week, they’d probably be up in those top five spots in organically selling just as many as those top competitors are. So if you do find yourself stuck in this spot, personally, I would recommend to go ahead and just suck it up and do more promotional giveaways for a week or two weeks or whatever it takes so you get ranked those top spots and then it will start selling well.
Lennard Smith: Yeah. Exactly. As bla bla mentioned, the top five positions for that keyword or for that product are doing well or have high sales. So bla bla has actually verified that the sales are there and so that’s why doing product research is important because if you can verify that the sales are there, you can be more comfortable with putting in that money upfront to push yourself to the top.
Greg Mercer: Yeah. If you also think about what’s worse case scenario here? They’re thinking about giving up on the product anyway. So why don’t you just do a big push? Try to get up there in the top few spots. Worse case scenario, it doesn’t get there and you were gonna give up on it anyway, so I mean, personally, I’d be bullish. I’d bully my way up there to the top spots.
Lennard Smith: Yeah. Exactly and I mean, if you’re going to give up on your product, you’ve got inventory sitting there. You’d probably want to reduce your price to try and move that stock and get rid of it anyway. But yeah. Like you said, do a promotion and you might actually bump it up and continue selling.
All right and that’s today’s questions. I hope you guys got some value from today. Give us a thumbs up to let us know. As always, make sure you leave your questions in the comments below so that we have the chance to answer them. Thanks for watching today and we’ll see you next week.
Greg Mercer: See you next week, guys.
Episode 3: What’s the max no of Amazon sellers you’d compete with?
1) Should I get samples from china before negotiating price or vice versa?
2) Do you prefer UPC or EAN codes for UK?
3) What would be the maximum number of sellers you would compete with?
4) I think that we got burn with our money. we may order on Alibaba for over $2,000 dollars. And it was on January 24 that’s the day that they got the money.
5) It’s been over 2 weeks and nothing happens. The supplier say to us that the have a 10 days holiday. What can I do with this situation?
6a) Can I establish more then one brand to sell on but use the same Amazon seller central account?
6b) How do you go about doing patent research on a product your interested in selling without the use of an attorney?
Greg Mercer: Lenny, takes for having me. I’m excited. Normally, you’re in Australia, I’m usually elsewhere, but for the next few weeks we get to do Ask Jungle Scout together, which is fantastic. Jumping right in, MrJcc357 asks, “I wanted to ask if I should get a sample from China before negotiating a price or vice-versa?” Lenny, what do you think?
Lennard Smith: Generally speaking I would negotiate a price before getting a sample because samples do cost a fair bit, like anywhere between $50 to $100, or sometimes maybe a little bit more. You don’t want to get a sample and not be happy with the price. Then it sort of makes it a bit redundant. It’s kind of pointless having that sample if there’s no possibility of you actually using that supply, but that’s my take. What do you think, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Yeah, and I agree with you. I’m going to add one thing to that and that is the one advantage of getting a sample first is you are letting the factory and the supplier know that you’re serious and that you’re a serious buyer. Like, “I’m willing to spend $50 or $100 to get this sample, so it’s much more likely I’m going out through this deal with you.” A lot of times I find that they’re more willing to kind of like work with you especially on the price after they know that you’re a little bit serious. I agree with you. I usually try to sort out pricing before I get my sample, and to be completely honest with you, you have the most negotiating power on your second and third and fourth order and so on because that’s when they know that, “Okay, this is a serious buyer.” Maybe you’re placing a bigger order at that point and, yeah, it just lets them know that this is going to be a long-term relationship, so it’s beneficial to work out a good price for both of us.
Lennard Smith: All right. Question two is from Norain Imtiaz, “Do you prefer UPC or EAN codes for the UK?” What do you think, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Good question. It’s usually safe here just to go with the EAN codes, and those are European type bar codes. If you’re not familiar with it, the difference here is UPC, I think that’s generally used in America or North America. The EAN codes are used for Europe. I think Amazon would accept both of them, but just to be safe I’d just go with the EAN code. I’ll just add in here that I normally like to print the FNSKU, which the unique identifier for Amazon products straight on my packaging, so I normally don’t even put the UPC or EAN on the packaging. I prefer just to put Amazon’s FNSKU, and that way you don’t have to label any of it. It’s already printed on your packaging.
Lennard Smith: From my experience the FNSKU, like you said, is the most important thong to have on there. It is the one thing that is quite necessary from Amazon’s point of view. If you do get it printed on your packaging, just make sure that it is scannable before they print all of them because if it isn’t scannable then it won’t be accepted by Amazon.
Greg Mercer: A quick little trick that I’ve found to check whether it is scannable, you can ask the factory to send you a picture of the packaging and just on your screen can use the Amazon app on your phone. It has a scanner and you can scan it right on your screen. More often than not it should be able to scan, even on your screen.
Lennard Smith: I did not know that. It’s very cool.
Greg Mercer: George Lazar asks, “What would be the maximum number of sellers you would compete with? Considering that you want to sell the same product but with different customizations.” George, what I think you’re trying to ask here is not necessarily how many sellers are on a particular listing, but how many listings are selling the same type of product. Because it doesn’t really matter that much how many sellers are one particular listing because if it’s only one listing it’s only taking up that much real estate in the search results. That’s what we really care about. Most Amazon consumers actually don’t know that there’s multiple sellers competing for a same listing. With that assumption in mind, I don’t like to see three or four or five pages of results of all of the same type of product, the same type of listing. That would be pretty competitive.
But, for me, what’s more important than how many listings there are are the quality of the listings. So a really high quality listing with really good images, great bullet points, a full description, all that kind of stuff. That concerns me more than just the sheer number of listings. Again, the number of reviews for the listings and the average star rating of the listings. That’s what I would be more concerned with in this particular case.
So, if there are five pages of all the same listings, that would be kind of troublesome to me. If there’s one page of results of similar products then I wouldn’t be worried about that, but, again, I’m moreso looking for the quality of the listings and the quality of the competition, not necessarily just how many listings there are.
Lennard Smith: Yeah, I totally agree. I think it’s all about the quality of the listings. I’ve seen situations where there’s been five or ten pages of listings for a particular product, but it’s still been okay. Because after, maybe, page two every single listing has no reviews or three reviews and can you see the product’s been up for two years or a long time, and so you can tell even though there is quite a number of pages that most of them aren’t really, you can tell they’re not doing any sales or they’re not relevant. So, I would add on that sometimes you can have more than a couple of pages but it’s still be okay. Would you agree?
Greg Mercer: Absolutely, I agree.
Lennard Smith: Alright, question four is from Jtito 77, so I can see with your question that you’ve been dealing with a supplier and they’ve been away for 10 days holiday and you’re wondering what can you do in this situation. I think you’re being burned or they’re just sort of fobbing you off. What do you think, Greg?
Greg Mercer: So, during this time of year … So, every year at either the end of January or the beginning of February is the Chinese new year and Chinese new year is a big deal in China. The factory workers usually take off a whole month, sometimes six weeks. The sales reps, they usually take off less time. They’ll usually only be off for two weeks. But during this time you can expect radio silence. I see this every year. People freaking out about this. Normally, like I said, there is radio silence. They won’t be replying to your emails and the factory workers legit take off a full month. Oftentimes in China, people who work inland, they’ll go to the factories. They’ll work there 11 months out of the year and then they have one month off to back to see their families.
So, I seriously doubt you got burned, alright. This is just that time of year that they’re away from the factories, away from their offices. I imagine once the factory comes back I’m sure they’ll start back up on your order, but this time of year it is the slow season until everybody gets back and then gets working again, so I wouldn’t worry about too much. I think you’ll be fine.
Lennard Smith: Alright, question five is from Maks, “Since our private label different products in different categories, can I establish more than one brand to sell on, but use the same Amazon seller central account?” What do you think, Greg?
Greg Mercer: Maks, you absolutely can. A lot of people get this confused, but your seller storefront name is totally different than any brand names. One seller’s storefront name, let’s pretend it’s called Greg’s Products, okay? This is a totally different entity, totally different area than brand names that I create. They don’t have to be the same. A lot of people assume they have to be the same and that’s not true. So, I can have Greg’s Products as my seller storefront name and it doesn’t really matter what you name your seller storefront name, okay?
Then I can have lots of different brands that I can sell. You can go on Amazon, you’ll see some people might sell thousands and thousands of different products that are all different brandings. That’s perfectly fine and that’s totally cool, so feel free to do that. Don’t think that you have to have the seller store name the same as the brand name.
Lennard Smith: The place where you set that is when you create a listing it asks for the manufacturer and that’s where you can put in whatever you want the manufacturer to be for that particular product.
Greg Mercer: Maks second question was, “How do you go about doing patent research on a product you’re interested in without the use of an attorney?” This is a really good question and, to start off, I will say, of course, I’m not an attorney, I’m not a lawyer, but I do know what I’ve done in the past and what other Amazon sellers have done. Here’s a few things you can do. For one, the US’s official website for searching for patents and trademarks is uspto.gov.
You can start by trying to do a search for the type of product on that website, however, I will admit that it’s not super user friendly. It’s not real easy to do. So, I’ll let you know about a few other places that you can do a patent search that, in my opinion, are a little bit more friendly. Now, I’ll also say, at the end of the day the only way to know for sure 100% without a doubt is to hired a lawyer. However, it is kind of expensive, so I’ve kind of found ways to be able to get around that.
For one, you can look at the competitor’s product on Amazon and see if it’s listed in there that it’s a patented product. A lot of people are prod of that. They want to show that off when they’re marketing. So they’ll say, “The patented spring assist system,” whatever else. That’s obviously a tell tale sign that there is a patent for that particular product. Another way you could just do a Google search. If I’m selling my stainless steel water bottle I can search for stainless steel water bottle patent and a lot of times if there is a patent for that product it will show up through that Google Search.
The third way that i like to search to see if there’s a patent or the other one that raises some red flags is how many other people are selling a very similar or identical product. If there’s only one person selling the product and it’s a pretty unique, kind of proprietary looking type product then there is a pretty good chance there’s a patent on it. If there’s a hundred different sellers all selling the exact same garlic press or whatever else. Chances are it’s not patented, because, if so, the patent holder would’ve gone after all those people selling the product.
So, those are a few ways that you can usually be pretty sure that the product’s, whether the product’s patented or not without having to hire an attorney.
Lennard Smith: I’d agree. I mean, it is possible that sometimes a listing may not say if it’s been patented, but usually if you think about it, having a patent is quite a good selling point for that product. It shows that that company’s quite serious about what they’re doing and usually they’ve got a unique product or technology. So, in most cases, I’d say if it’s got a patent it would say on the listing.
So that wraps up the questions for this week. Just remember if you’d like a chance for one of your questions to be answered make sure you drop it in the comments below and if you’d like this video, got some value out of it, make sure to give us a thumbs up.
Greg Mercer: Thanks for watching, guys. Take care.
Lennard Smith: See ya.
Episode 2: How do you bundle products on Amazon?
All right, so question one is from Vadimas. “How about customs duties. If sending goods from China to the US, when and how should you pay duties tax?”
Thanks for the question Vadimas. So what I’m saying is the sellers will their supplier that we need a freight forwarder that will handle customs duties. So basically they will pick, and a lot of them like FedEx, DHL, etc they generally all handle customs duties. So if your supplier is handling your shipment for you, they will basically tell you when there’s duties tax to be owed, or they might ask for you to pay a certain amount upfront. They might say, “Okay, based on your shipment value, it could be about $200, so please pay that in advance so that your shipment isn’t held up.” And then whatever the balance is, we will pay you back. So if you’ve got a good relationship with your supplier, then that option should be fine. You might be asked to pay a certain amount up front, but then your supplier will let you know how much it actually was, and then they’ll reimburse you the rest, or they’ll credit you for the next time there’s customs duties to be paid.
The other route to go is if you organize a freight forwarder yourself. There are lots out there. Shapiro, I know, I quite a popular one. I don’t know from personal experience, but I believe it’s a very straight forward process. They look after that all for you. So if you choose a US freight forwarder … and so basically what they do is they pick up your shipment from China, and they’re responsible for all the way over to the US. And they’ll walk you through the whole process of paying customs duties.
Whichever option you chose, the most important thing is that you make your supplier or your forwarder aware that you need someone, or you need the customs duties to be paid. You just need to ask the question and let them know it needs to be paid, and they’ll tell you whether that particular freight forwarder is able to handle that for you. Other sellers I’ve spoken to have said that basically they will get a call from, let’s say, FedEx or DHL saying that their holding their stock and they won’t release it until the custom’s duty is paid, and they’ve just been able to pay it over the phone or online, and as soon as they do that, then the items are then released.
The second question is from Greg. “How do you bundle products using overseas suppliers?
Okay firstly, why would you want to bundle your items? One of the big reasons people bundle different items together is to make their offering unique to what everyone else is selling, and also to make it harder for other people to come in and copy their product. So while it might seem a bit more difficult, it’s actually not too different to just getting one item. Essentially, you can ask the one supplier if they stock the other item that you’re after and get them bundled together, or in some cases, you might need to find two different suppliers. In that case, you would then pick the supplier that you want to be the main supplier that will ship your product to the US. I would ask that supplier, “Are you willing to accept this product, and put it in a package with your product?” And quite often, they’ll be happy to do that, and so then with the second supplier, all you do is you just place an order with them as per usual, but you get them to ship it to the other factory. The good thing about this is that shipping from one factory in China to another factory is usually fairly cheap, so the shipping there will be quite minimal, and then as I said, you get factory A, to package the two products together and then send them off together as one unit to the US.
Question three is from Assad. “Is it a must to get a trademark now for our product?”
Basically, the answer’s no. The purpose of a trademark is to further protect your brand or your products from other people copying them. When you’re just starting out your business, you haven’t launched any products, there really isn’t any reason for anyone to want to take your name or to really infringe upon that. And to get a trademark is quite an expensive thing to do. So generally speaking, a lot of sellers will start up their business without a trademark, and then that’s something that they’ll look at once their business has been well established. The point at which you want to look at getting a trademark is really up to you, and it’s dependent on how far along you are in your business, and when you would like to make that leap. If you’ve got the ability to get a trademark for your brand, it certainly is a good ideas and does give you a certain level of protection, however it’s not necessary at all to help your business.
Question four is from Jordan, “Any general tips for Aussie sellers starting up?”
This is a great question that doesn’t just apply to Australia but also sellers from all over the world that are outside of the US. As a seller in Australia, the biggest challenge that I came across was keeping my money in US dollars, because Amazon pays you in US dollars and then generally, your suppliers in China will accept US dollars only, and Amazon only pays you out in the currency of your own country, so if I was getting paid from Amazon, they would send it in Australian dollars, or it would be converted to Australian dollars. You can open up things like foreign currency accounts, so you could have a business account here in Australia that is in US dollars, however amazon would still send it in Australian dollars because that’s the country it’s going to. Not the problem with that is that if they send it in Australian dollars, if they send me $1000 US, that gets converted to Australian, then if I use that to pay a supplier in China, in that conversion rate, in me converting it back to US dollars, I’ll probably lose some money. So long-term for your business, you don’t want to be losing money in the exchange, so how do you go about keeping it in US dollars?
Well when I first started, I found a great services called Payoneer. They give you a credit card, and they accept Amazon payments in US dollars, you can then make payments with this US credit card, however, when paying suppliers, I couldn’t use a credit card, so in that instance, I was able to use PayPal with that credit card linked to it. Now the downside of this is that you get charged approximately a 4% fee on every transaction going through. The other thing as well is that not all suppliers will accept PayPal. They often will for smaller samples or smaller orders, but when you’re looking at larger orders, they generally won’t accept PayPal. A great service that I’ve now found, which is great for Australian sellers but I’m sure for lots of other foreign seller as well, is called World First. So I believe they’re somehow connected to Citibank, but they’ve got the ability to set you up with a US bank account, so you can get paid into that account with US dollars, and then you can make payments to suppliers from there in US dollars.
The other really big challenge I found as a foreign seller was figuring out the US tax system and the legal requirements. Now I want to start this out by saying that I’m not a legal adviser, I can’t give you business advice, this is just what I’ve found in my own experience. So firstly, as a foreign seller, do you need to pay tax in the US? Without going into it too much, if you’re doing FBA in the US, yes you do need to pay sales tax in those states. Any states where your inventory is being held, so it’s not just the address or the state that you’re sending your inventory to, because Amazon will often distribute your inventory to many different warehouses so that it can access their customers quicker. So you might have to pay in a number of states.
Now how do you find out which states you need to pay sales tax in? Well I’ve found that Tax Jar is very good for that. So basically, tax jar will tell you all the different states that you’re selling in. Now how do you go about registering in all those states? Basically you need an accountant in the US. Actually found that on Seller Central, they list a number of accountants that help people with Amazon businesses. Contact all of them, I believe most of them should be able to help foreign entities, foreign sellers to register for sales tax in the relevant states in the US. Then of course that same accountant can help you figure out any other relevant forms or help you to do an actual tax return in the US.
So there’s a second part of Jordan’s question, “Also how to money shipping wise if products are sent to Australia before it goes to FBA?”
I haven’t found a way. Most Australian sellers that I’ve spoken to just send direct from China to the US. It’s just too expensive to send it to Australia first and then to send to the US. It does make it harder. You do have the option of getting different services in China to inspect your product before it leave there so that it gives you some piece of mind about that product. The best thing to do is to get some samples sent out to you. Unfortunately then you do need to hope that the quality of your big shipment matches the quality of the samples. Perhaps you could get a couple of samples from each shipment that gets sent to the US to give you some further piece of mind. As a long-term business play, you want to build a good relationship with your supplier, so the more you can do that, you can get to a point where you can trust them that they are indeed sending the best quality. I don’t know if any other Aussie sellers or foreign sellers have any other experiences, or found a cheaper way to send to Australia and then onto the US. If you have, make sure you put it in the comments below to help us other Aussie sellers and any other foreign sellers.
So those are all the questions for this week, wanted to try and keep it a little bit shorter, but again, if you want your question to be answered on the show, make sure you put it in the comments below. Give us a thumbs up if you’ve liked today’s episode, and we’ll see you next week.
Episode 1: How do we get product reviews on Amazon now?
03:48 2) For product research, should we be focusing on estimated sales or revenue?
05:02 3) So basically anything that uses a coupon code or discount cannot be reviewed by the person whom you gave the discount to? Jump Send is just to increase sales?
06:08 4) Any Jungle Scout content on managing the packaging design process?
07:36 5) How do you suggest we get reviews these days since we are no longer allowed to give product away in exchange for reviews?
The first question is from Tony. “If I’m already using Jump Send, should I also use PPC? Is PPC a must for maximizing profits?” I’ll try and break it down into why PPC is important [00:01:00] when launching and then reasons to keep PPC going afterwards. When you first launch, you’re basically not gonna have a ranking on any keywords. You’re not gonna be found when people type in the name for your product. If you advertise on keywords, using Amazon’s sponsored ads or PPC. If you bid high enough, you can appear on page one. Essentially at the very top of page one, without having any reviews, [00:01:30] any sales, you can be there.
You can get visibility. That’s why PPC is super important when you get started. However, it will cost you a little bit more to start with, because you don’t have any reviews. You might get a lot of clicks, but not as many sales. Unfortunately, you just have to soldier through this first grind stage until you get a few reviews. The more reviews you get, the better your conversion rate will be and the cheaper your PPC will be. [00:02:00] Tony actually added another comment to his question and he explained that he’s been using Jump Send, which sends out followup emails to Amazon customers, to basically go, “Hey, I hope you had a great experience, thanks for buying and if you wouldn’t mind leaving a review, please do.” As your reviews grow, as your average star rating grows, let’s say from three to four to five stars. People are gonna be more likely to purchase your product [00:02:30] organically. Maybe you don’t need PPC. However in my opinion, I still find that it’s definitely worthwhile having PPC.
I think it comes down to keywords. For instance, you might have an average star rating of 4.8. You’ve got a good star rating. 100, couple of hundred reviews, whatever. You’re getting some good, natural, organic sales on your top three or four keywords. [00:03:00] However, there’s a lot more keywords out there, a lot more long-tail keywords. Potentially hundreds or thousands of keywords that your product could be found on, that you’re not ranking on. PPC is one of the best ways to get ranked on new keywords. If you’re advertising on a particular keyword and you get a sale through that, then Amazon decides to rank you on that keyword. That is why I [00:03:30] would suggest to keep PPC running, even once your listing is established.
Question two is from Milan Tomic. “Should we be focusing on estimated sales or revenue? I would think that revenue per month is more important.” What Milan is referring to, I believe, is the Jungle Scout Chrome extension. If you haven’t used that, it’s a Chrome extension that you can run on Amazon on a search page or [00:04:00] a product page and it will give you a whole heap of information, like estimated sales, the reviews, et cetera, et cetera.
What you generally want to see is in the top 10 listings, you want a combined sales amount of at least 3,000. That means that if you would get in the top 10 on page one, that your listing would hopefully get at least 300 sales or 10 sales per day. But you might only be able to get, say five sales [00:04:30] per day on a particular product. But it makes $30 profit per product. In that instance, yeah, maybe look at the revenue, because even though it doesn’t get as many sales, it’s made up for by the fact that it makes so much profit per product. In cases like that, maybe it is worthwhile looking at revenue, but for the most part, we just recommend looking at sales. It’s just easier to compare.[00:05:00] Question three is from HokkeeKun. “Basically anything that uses a coupon code or discount, cannot be reviewed by the person whom you gave the discount to?” That’s almost right. It’s not true that people that get discount codes, can’t ever review. Amazon were trying to stop incentivized reviews. Now what Jump Send does, which is totally within Amazon’s terms of service, is that when you give out discount codes, the seller [00:05:30] no longer has the opportunity to screen who they give them to. They can’t screen the reviewers, see how many helpful votes they’ve had or how many reviews and what sort of reviews they leave. Essentially, there’s no contact between the seller and the buyer. They’re basically anonymous. In that instance, the customer is allowed to leave a review. There’s no way that the seller could’ve incentivized them to do so. Hopefully [00:06:00] that makes sense.
Question four is from Scary Stories. “I need guidance on private label package design with Alibaba suppliers in China. Basically my suppliers have said we can do whatever, but after asking so far, they have not provided any computer file templates or details. Any Jungle Scout content on managing the packaging design process?” I wanted [00:06:30] to include this question just to clarify what we’ve seen happen a lot with suppliers. This is assuming that you’re getting a supplier in China, because that’s what we’re most familiar with. Generally speaking, suppliers should have a template for the packaging of their product. If you ask them for that, they should be able to supply that for you. That you can get a designer to work on and then send back.
Quite often they’ll have different packaging options. They might have a really basic [00:07:00] plastic bag and then they might have a box. The best thing to do, it all comes down to communication. Just always be very clear and ask the suppliers exactly what you want. Just ask them outright, “What are your packaging options?” Then they should be able to tell you what they are, then say, “Can I please have a template for the box to give to my designer?” If you just communicate, ask them, they’re normally pretty good at giving you what you need. [00:07:30] But generally speaking, they should have templates for any packaging that they offer.
Question five from Minderpal. “How do you suggest we get reviews these days, since we are no longer allowed to give product away in exchange for reviews?” I wanted to include this one in as well, because we still do get a lot of questions asking about, you know, what do we do now that there’s no longer incentivized reviews? We do have a detailed video about this, which will be in the description. You [00:08:00] should definitely check that one out to get the full explanation. But I wanted to cover it really quickly.
Pay Per Click, I already spoke about that earlier. Use Pay Per Click at the start. It is gonna cost you more, but you’ve got to invest that money upfront in your marketing to get some first reviews and to get your listing started. Then it’s promotional giveaways. Now they’re not dead. Just because you can’t ask for reviews anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t run giveaways. They’re still super powerful for getting some sales. I [00:08:30] believe that it’s all about momentum. The more sales that you can get, whether it’s full price or through a giveaway. The more sales you get, it just really helps your listing. Do a promotional giveaway. You’re not gonna see the same numbers of reviews that you used to, but a lot of people still will give you reviews. It’s a good way to get that sales algorithm going for your listing.
Then lastly is email campaigns. Followup email campaigns to anyone who does buy your product. [00:09:00] Just providing great customer service and asking for the review. There’s three ways that you can still watch product and get reviews today. All right, those are today’s questions. If you want to have your question featured on another episode, make sure you leave it in the comments below. Give us a thumbs up if you got some value out of today’s answers and we’ll see you on the next episode.