My first Amazon FBA product was a home run. In three weeks, I had recouped the money I had invested in the item, and it was well on its way to becoming the star product of my mini-FBA empire.
Naturally, with my first product a success, I was ready to launch my second. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way what happens when an Amazon product fails.
The curse of the watermelon slicer.
Back in the summer of 2016, watermelon slicers were all the rage. Sellers were making over 1,000 sales per month, while charging close to $19.95 for the product. Needless to say, I wanted to ride that gravy train too. So, I quickly contacted a vendor on Alibaba and purchased 2,000 units.
Look out, Amazon! Dave Hamrick’s BEST DANG watermelon slicers were going to blow up the world. Except, of course, they didn’t.
When my watermelon slicers finally hit Amazon, my listing was on page 15. Apparently, every other would-be Amazon FBA seller noticed the trend and rushed to launch their slicer too.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) costs skyrocketed to $5.00 per click, and the average price for the slicers went from $19.95 down to $12.95 (and some even less). Nothing I did could get me past the third sales page.
The product was dead on arrival.
What do I do if my Amazon product fails?
First, don’t freak out.
Yes, it’s frustrating to watch all your money and hard work go down the drain. However, failed product launches happen. True, it tends to happen less if and when the seller uses proven research methods, but even doing your due diligence doesn’t guarantee success.
So if your product goes belly up once it hits Amazon’s fulfillment centers, there are a few things you can do to “reboot” your product. Just follow these steps, making sure you complete them in order.
#1 – Improve your product listing.
This might be obvious to some of you but, nine times out of 10, if you’re not getting sales, the problem is your product listing. It’s not generating enough excitement.
Maybe the pictures are boring. Perhaps the product description and bullet points don’t sell its benefits. It could be that the title doesn’t use enough relevant keywords. Whatever it is, it’s important to identify the broken piece of your listing and fix it immediately.
You can also look at what your competitors are doing, pinpoint the weaknesses in their listing and product, and improve upon them in your own. Find your own weaknesses, too. Reviews are a good place to start.
Finally, beef up your Amazon PPC campaigns.
New sellers tend to use few keywords for their campaigns, and the ones they do use are usually popular and expensive. However, the more keywords you use the better. And Keyword Scout is the perfect tool to help with that. It can help you find hot, new, long-tail keywords to elevate your product’s visibility.
Even if your sales increase by just one or two 1 or 2 units per day, it’s better than seeing yet another zero.
#2 – Advertise and promote outside of Amazon.
Just because your product’s niche is popular on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s popular outside of that e-commerce platform. Start promoting your product on other websites. That should help you find new customers.
And while this tactic is a little more advanced, and requires a bit more work on your part, it’s not as difficult to pull off as you might think. Here are a few ideas to help you promote your product elsewhere:
- Start an Instagram account devoted to the product and its benefits.
- Use Google or Facebook ads, especially if they’re less expensive than your Amazon PPC costs.
- Write a blog that focuses on subjects related to your product.
#3 – Wholesale your products.
Until you’ve done everything you can to improve your product’s visibility on Amazon, don’t try to off-load your inventory. This is meant to be a last-ditch effort to recoup some of the money you invested into the product.
But, if you’ve tried absolutely everything, and there’s nothing else you can do to get your product flying off of Amazon’s shelves, then it may be time to sell them wholesale to another seller. And the best place to sell your products in bulk is via the world’s largest flea market: eBay.
Keep in mind, though, that if you sell your products on eBay, it might be costly to ship everything to the buyer. Amazon’s low-cost shipping rates are usually reserved for Amazon only. Plus, eBay buyers look for deals, so you may lose a little on the front end too.
Either way, it’s better to recover 80% of your investment, instead of having 100% of it tied up in products that aren’t selling.
In addition to eBay, you can look for buyers in Amazon FBA-friendly Facebook channels, on Craigslist, and any other platforms business owners use to find product deals.
#4 – Liquidate your products on Amazon (as your ABSOLUTE last resort).
If you can’t sell off your inventory – piecemeal or via wholesale – to another Amazon FBA seller, then you can liquidate your products on Amazon. But it’s important to note that Amazon pays out very, very little after they liquidate your products.
In fact, your payout could be as low as 2-3% of your product’s sales price.
So, if you bought a product for $5 per unit to sell for $30, then you could receive a mere $0.90 for each unit Amazon liquidates. To add insult to injury, it can take as long as six months for them to liquidate your products, even in low amounts.
I can’t say this enough. If your Amazon product launch fails, don’t be discouraged. Remember, you’re running a business, and businesses have obstacles.
To help your business move past this particular obstacle, make sure you follow steps one and two to the best of your ability. As a last resort, try selling them wholesale, and avoid liquidating the products through Amazon – if you can.
And never, never, NEVER freak out!
I think my pictures are rubbish but I have spent a fortune already ☹️ they just aren’t selling! I’ve tried dropping the price and doing an offer I’ve tried advertising but not on other sites .. to be honest I just want to get rid of it and be done with Amazon! I’ve found it frustrating and so many rules on titles and pictures .. how do I find people who will buy my stock or how do I find ways of doing better pictures?
Do you want to send me the link to your listing? Maybe I can give you some tips.
If you want to get rid of inventory, search for liquidators. You can also try listing your products on eBay and Facebook marketplace.
Brian, I launched my first product this spring and have spent hundreds in ppc to get 10 sales. I almost 1000 units in inventory at FBA. The import taxes were way above expectations s st this point I’m just trying to recoup anything. I’m al.ready priced at large loss as competitors have dropped pricing. Any suggestions? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09K5X8P8L?ref=myi_title_dp
You may be able to liquidate your inventory through Amazon. Create a removal order in Seller Central and there should be an option to liquidate.
I’m another FBA member who is at a loss as to what to do now that I have no sales. I signed up for Just One Dime and began my adventure after getting laid off from a job of 14 years back in 2020. I worked this project as a real job, 24/7 for well over a year. I spent hours upon hours finding a product, redesigning it, making 9 improvements all based on hundreds of customer reviews, getting samples make and finally approving an end product. I ordered 650 units from China, only to get stung with import taxes way beyond my expectations. The import taxes were more expensive than the cost of the product per unit. I spent a lot on professional pictures and went live on Amazon in January of 2020. I used PPC for quite a while dropping more money than I could afford which basically didn’t help my sales. All the expenses put me in the red with every sale. So basically there’s been no profit whatsoever! I’ve dropped my price from $29.99 (my competitors pricing) to $24.99, to $19.99, to $14,99, to $9.99. Well, it’s now 2 years later and I still have 400 units which have trickled down to maybe one sale a month, if I’m lucky. I took possession of all my inventory over a year ago as FBA fee’s were costing me too much to store and process sales. Do you have any suggestions before I donate all my inventory to charity or worse yet, heave all of them into the nearest dumpster?
Thanks for your time.
Sorry to hear your first product didn’t work out. You can try to list your items on other marketplaces such as eBay or Facebook marketplace to see if customers there are interested. There are a few different liquidation companies out there that will purchase your inventory or where you can list your inventory in bulk. One that comes to mind is fbafox.co.
Good evening. I found this article doing some research because I have encountered myself in a very difficult position where I’m afraid of losing all my money. I have 108 units available on Amazon for a few weeks now and haven’t made any sales yet. I had a PPC campaign running but after $100 spent with no sales, I decided to stop it. What other strategies can I follow to get organic sales? Because so far my product is there not moving around, and I’m getting desperate.
How is your product priced compared to your competitors? Do you have any reviews? How do your listing images look? Is the content properly optimized? It is hard to determine the issue without knowing more detail. First, work on your images and your listing copy. Fix those first if needed and try running PPC again. That should help with conversions.
How competitive is this niche? Are you getting any impressions on your listing at all?
Work on improving your listing and make sure your price is competitive.
I would like to call Amazon about a failed product. I cannot find a phone number. The product is past the return date but has a 2 year warranty with the manufacture . I cannot find a way to reach them either. They respond telling me I have a warranty but offer no phone number or contact information. What to do?
Hi Joann! If you ordered your product from amazon.com you should be able to speak with one of their service representatives using this number: 1 (888) 280-4331.
But, if you’ve already tried that, you can also go through the steps outlined for getting an A-to-Z guarantee refund in the following article:
I hope this helps, and good luck with the return!
Thanks for your advice! I launched my first product almost a year ago, and it has never been profitable. In the beginning I did a huge PPC campaign and at the height of it I was selling a couple units a day. My PPC ACOS was never low enough to make a profit, and now I am paying amazon storage fees on top of everything. I believe I have a good product, and I did my diligence, but unfortunately I got hosed by my photographer. The photos they delivered were not what they promised, and at the time I did not have enough budget to reshoot. Meanwhile, another similar product came to market just before I did with amazing photography and blew up. I believe that this aspect of the listing is what caused my product to fail upon arrival, and after such a loss I decided to take a step back and focus on other work for a while. (Spoiler, I did freak out). In 2020 I am determined to give it another try with new photography, but among my biggest concerns is that Amazon will have flagged my listing for poor conversion rates and the algorithm will make it nearly impossibly to save my listing. Do you know anything about this? Is it possible to take a listing that has performed poorly for a year and turn it around as though it were new? I have heard other places that I may need to appeal to try to start a new listing with the same ASIN, or something of that nature? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again, and happy new year!
Yes, I would recommend that you try reoptimizing your listing before you give up on it. Product photography is the absolute #1 best factor for converting, even moreso than price, I would argue. Good photos sell. I hope that’s helpful!
Thanks Dave. I already launched (6 months) my product and getting decent sales but all my money is going to ppc. Its very difficult to decide wether to continue that product without ppc or to ditch that and start again with new one.
Interesting predicament. I recently had a problem where my PPC costs were high. I cut off the ads and I’ve been getting a few organic sales since.
You might check to see how many of your products are sold actually through PPC and how many are organice.
Thanks for the tips, Dave! I am about to launch my first product shortly and the pressure is adding up as we get closer. Although I put things in place and did my due diligence research you never know what to expect.