FBA selling commandments: person behind books

Amazon Sales Strategies: The 10 Commandments of FBA Selling

The question we get more than any other is: What are the top Amazon sales strategies for FBA selling?

But there’s so much advice out there—free or otherwise—that it would be impossible to follow every recommended tip and trick. Guidance that works for one seller may not work for another. In fact, many strategies end up contradicting each other.

So how do sellers know what advice they should actually focus on?

In our experience, we’ve learned that there are certain rules — rather, commandments — to FBA selling that truly make the greatest impact.

Take a look at the following principles that Amazon sellers at Jungle Scout swear by. They just might give you a fresh perspective on what matters most.

1. Thou shalt not rush research

Product research is both a science and an art, and it can make-or-break a product.

Not only do you want to be sure that you’ve got a product that’s going to sell, but you also want to make sure there isn’t a ton of competition (see Commandment #2), the product isn’t seasonal, there aren’t any issues with trademarks/IPs, etc. 

For that reason, make sure you do your research. But don’t go overboard. Analysis paralysis is the enemy of many new sellers. The key is to strike a balance between doing your due diligence and making a timely decision.

Try to find at least 5 to 10 good product ideas, then give yourself at least 3 to 5 weeks to properly vet your product choices.

2. Thou shalt not ignore the competition

Quite possibly the biggest mistake new sellers make when researching products to sell on Amazon is not taking a look at the competition.

Some see a huge units sold/month number for a product, and then fail to notice the 300+ average reviews its niche has, indicating it’s highly competitive.

Often, we recommend that sellers look for product niches that have better than average monthly sales—we suggest 200-300 units per month—but have less than 100 reviews on average.

In addition, you don’t want to go after a product niche where there is a single dominant seller. 

Remember: it’s easier to swim in an ocean free of sharks than it is to swim in one loaded with predators. In other words, while it’s not impossible to enter a crowded market, it is extremely difficult. 

3. Thou shalt improve — not copy

The biggest advantage of going the private label route is being able to tweak and improve a product to make it your own.

But while you don’t have to completely create something from scratch, you shouldn’t just recreate the exact same product another seller is selling either. 

The reason? If two sellers are offering nearly identical products, Amazon’s algorithm often gives priority to the older item. After all, it was there first and probably has more reviews. (Plus, if a product does have drawbacks, you don’t want to duplicate those same mistakes!)

Instead, learn from other sellers’ products. Read their reviews and feedback, then take that information to improve the item where you can.

4. Thou shalt not overspend on your first inventory order

As you’re starting out, try not to spend too much on inventory. Though it is important to avoid running run out of stock, it’s typically a lot easier and less costly to order replacement inventory than it is to get rid of slow-moving product.

Plus, in the beginning of your selling career, being out of stock for a couple days (or even a week) does a lot less damage to your business than liquidating wasted inventory.

Therefore, we recommend that you purchase no more than 2 to 3 months worth of expected sales for your first batch of inventory. (Some experienced sellers order even less than that, waiting for statistical evidence that a product will sell before they place a full order.)

5. Thou shalt not be impatient

Amazon selling is an amazing entrepreneurial experience, perfect for both new and seasoned e-commerce sellers. However, it’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme.

When done right, it can take as long as 3 to 4 months before your product even arrives at an Amazon warehouse. And it might be another 1 to 2 months until you break even.

Success takes time.

And don’t let the internet gurus or YouTube hype men tempt and distract you with FBA selling commandments that promise instant success. That’s a formula for failure. 

6. Thou shalt not violate Amazon’s Terms of Service

We get it. It’s tempting to go after those 5-star reviews by any means necessary. But be forewarned. Amazon will catch you if you do anything against their terms of service (TOS). And when they do, your account could be suspended in such a way that it may be nearly impossible to get reinstated.

That equates to a lot of lost time and money, which is why we live by this mantra: “If it seems like a bad idea, it probably is.”

To help you get clear on their rules, we’ve taken apart the Terms of Service for you, to make it a little easier to digest. 

7. Thou shalt not check on a Pay-Per-Click campaign for at least for a few days

Give your campaign time to grow some legs. Hitting that pay-per-click (PPC) refresh button isn’t going to make a sale magically appear.

As long as you’ve set a maximum spending amount per day, you don’t have to manually check your spend every minute. Only after a week (or two if you can handle it!) should you assess your PPC performance. That way you’ll have some data to analyze.

From there, determine if you need to make any adjustments to your keywords and/or bid amounts. 

Check out this article on the top recommended Amazon PPC strategies: Amazon PPC Strategies – The Ultimate Guide 2019.

8. Thou shalt be prepared for Amazon to change something

Those of us who’ve been selling for a few years remember October 3, 2016. That’s the day Amazon stopped allowing incentivized reviews. 

For many sellers, this was devastating. (Product-for-reviews was the core of many FBA selling commandments. Back then, you launched your product and gave away 50 to 100 units to shoppers in exchange for a review. It made launches incredibly easy.) There was zero warning from Amazon regarding the change, and it sent plenty of sellers running. 

But this commandment isn’t here to scare you away. Ultimately, however, this is Amazon’s platform and their first priority is always their customer. If they think something is negatively impacting their customers’ experience, they’re going to change it. 

And if you’re doing something you think Amazon might ban down the road, have a back-up plan in case they do make the change and prohibit it in their TOS.

The best thing we can do as sellers is to stay flexible.

9. Thou shalt not rely on Amazon alone

You heard right. Amazon might be the your e-commerce start, but it doesn’t have to be the end too.

Not that you should just jump to another sales channel, though (you’re not going to find nearly the volume of sales anywhere else). What I recommend is for you to spread the message far and wide that your brand exists. 

For example, you could build a following on Instagram or Facebook. You could also answer questions related to your product’s niche on Yahoo! Answers or Quora.

Fresh content, either written on a blog or video on YouTube, is another great way to draw attention to yourself and your brand. 

By making sure that people know about your product, if and when Amazon makes a major change (see Commandment #8), or your niche becomes more competitive, you’ll have other resources to fall back on.

10. Thou shalt not sell alone

This doesn’t mean you need a business partner to sell on Amazon. In fact, the majority of third-party sellers are a one-person show! Rather, this is about finding a community of sellers.

You can find Amazon seller meet-ups and events happening in cities worldwide. These offer you amazing opportunities to connect with people who are doing what you’re doing, experiencing what you’re experiencing.

Plus, everyone can use a little extra encouragement and understanding when the FBA road gets rough. Not to mention, joining a social media or mastermind group helps to keep you even more accountable.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Amazon FBA Competitive Edge. This is the official Facebook group for Jungle Scout users, with more than 50,000 members sharing FBA selling commandments, resources, and experiences.
  • Dan Vas’ Facebook Group. An experienced seller himself, Dan’s group has some of the best minds in Amazon selling working to help sellers with Amazon FBA.
  • ASGTG. One of the most popular newsletters for Amazon sellers, ASGTG gets Amazon sellers news sometimes before Amazon even releases it. Highly recommended for staying on top of Amazon events (see Commandment #8).

What are some of your Amazon selling rules?

Did we cover everything? Or are there FBA selling commandments we left out? Let us know in the comments below.

And if you’re a Jungle Scout user, be sure to join our online selling community, Amazon FBA Competitive Edge to learn more about selling on Amazon FBA.

Good luck!


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