For the past 30 days, we have been selling a private label product, Jungle Stix, via Fulfillment by Amazon. After accumulating some actual sales data over that time (and celebrating the year-end holidays), it’s time to have some fun and dig into the numbers! To recap quickly, in mid-October we started with the product research, received some samples and chose a supplier two weeks later, and by mid-November had our order placed and bamboo sticks being manufactured. By the first week of December, there was a live listing on Amazon. There were a lot of small steps along the way, which you can catch up here. If you are looking to launch your own product or improve your current process, you should definitely check it out because Greg is super transparent into his process and tactics to achieve his uber-human speed and efficiency.
As of the first week in January, Jungle Stix has a live listing with some nice high resolution images (courtesy of Robert and team at productphotography.com), 28 five star reviews, and a Best Seller Rank of #1565 in Patio, Lawn and Garden. Depending on the search term, you may see Jungle Stix at the bottom of Page 1 or top of Page 2 for “marshmallow sticks” and at the top of the results for “bamboo marshmallow sticks”.
But more importantly, how about the revenue for the first month? Not so bad…from 12/7/15 to 1/7/16, there were 233 units sold for $6521 in sales. One note though is that this figure includes discounted products that were given away in promotions, though Amazon does not apply the discounts to the figures.
The past few days have seen a nice bump in sales, with 16 and 11 units ordered per day, which increased our Best Seller Rank up to its current #1,565. If we are able to maintain a similar sales velocity, say 13.5 per day, we would sell 405 units per 30 day month, and at $27.99 per unit, we’d gross $11,335 in revenue. Curious to see how the projections stacked up with Jungle Scout results, it was impressively close. Let’s just hope that our BSR goes nowhere but up (ie towards #1):
Where do we stand on inventory?
As a recap of how the inventory was ordered, there were 1000 units ordered initially. 100 were sent Air Express (more expensive but fastest), an additional 200 were sent Air Cargo (a few weeks slower than Air Express but cheaper), and the remaining 700 units were sent Ocean Freight, which was significantly cheaper but took about six weeks. You can clearly see in the Jungle Scout Product Tracker that right when inventory was running out, the Air Cargo shipment arrived on 12/22 to avoid being out of stock. With only about 80 units left in stick, it looks like we’re at high risk of running out of inventory again before our next shipment arrives mid-January.
I caught up with Greg to ask him about Jungle Stix and the launch. Here’s the chat:
Gen: One month into selling, what are your thoughts on Jungle Stix so far?
Greg: It’s going pretty well so far. I was hoping to eventually sell 10 units a day, and it is still early, but looks like we’ll be able to hit that soon. It did take a few days after the listing was posted to Amazon in order for reviews to come in, some time around 12/14. Once we started getting some reviews, we started making more sales. In fact, the only days we didn’t make sales were on 12/25 and 12/31, and things slowed down a bit over the holidays, otherwise in the past few days we have sold 11 and 14 so I’m cool with that.
Also, you have to remember that the Google Trends indicated that we’d be coming to the low-points in seasonality in Jan-Mar, so as we move towards warmer weather seasons I’m expecting sales to increase as well.
Gen: How actively have you been managing the campaigns and listing?
Greg: I’ll log in to Seller Central about three times a week, and just check in on the sales. I started running advertising soon after launching the product and getting a few reviews. After the PPC ads were running for a week, I did a bit of work to those campaigns (paused 3 or 4 terms that were performing poorly) but not even that much.
Gen: Can you explain a bit about your PPC strategy?
Greg: Sure, I did one Automatic campaign which just uses keywords that Amazon recommends based on the keywords and descriptions of the listing. I also created my own Manual campaign that included all of the keywords Amazon recommended and some keywords that I pulled from Google’s Keyword Planner. I set a budget of $40 per day just to see what happened, but the most we’ve ever spent was $16/ day, our average is probably around $6 or $7/day. The reasoning for this is there just isn’t enough search traffic to spend more.
Gen: What was your strategy with promotions and reviews?
Greg: We started by putting up 30 units on Review Kick to get some initial reviews and feedback. I’m pretty happy with that, we’ve received reviews from nearly everyone who we gave to (27/30 to date), and still have a few more coming in that were just ordered. It’s pretty cool too, we have a really thorough video review where the reviewer actually roasts a marshmallow. We have a review from a Top 500 reviewer, which is a big deal with the little badge they have next to their name, Amazon could possibly even weigh that one more heavily. And we have three reviews with images. So overall the promotion has worked out well, not just from a giveaway->review conversion stand point (90% or more) but the quality of the reviews is A+.
Once we have more inventory, which should be some time in the middle of January, I’ll start another push for reviews to hopefully boost our page ranking for some keywords and get more organic sales. You can see what our dashboard looks like in Review Kick below. One of the really nice things about it is you get statistics about the reviewers who would like to purchase your product. I don’t care much about their average review but more so their ranking and helpful votes. This is the key to getting really high quality reviews – giveaway your product to people who are going to write thoughtful, thorough reviews. High quality reviews make your product convert better and makes Amazon an overall better quality marketplace – a win-win for sellers and the 600-lb gorilla.
Gen: What types of things do you plan to do to improve the sales?
Greg: There are a few things that we can do, though it is early. For example, we don’t really have enough data from our paid campaigns to know yet what additional keywords we should target. Once we get more sales and data, I’ll be able to pull those out and increase bids on those converting keywords.
Once we get more organic sales, we may want to incorporate some email autoresponder sequence of some sort in order to increase the likelihood of a customer leaving an honest review.
As we get towards the summer when these are in greater demand, we may want to create some kind of smaller promotions for the Jungle Stix, like a small percentage off or some post-order offer to qualifying purchases.
Lastly, once we get more PPC and keyword data, and can have a better idea of what our customers want, we can improve our listing to include more of those keywords. This will create a listing that appeals to their specific wants and needs, and also help us appear in more organic searches.
Gen: Now that you’re making some mostly passive income, are you going to quit your job?
Greg: (Laughs historically) While it looks like the Jungle Stix will generate roughly $3000 in profit each month, since we’re donating all the money to Charity, I better keep my day job at Jungle Scout. Not to mention, relaxing is terribly boring – I like building businesses and helping people sell on Amazon!
We will keep sharing updates on Amazon performance and how the PPC campaigns develop. We will be reviewing PPC strategies in greater depth on our next (possibly last??) webinar, you can REGISTER HERE to get the time/date details which are still TBD.
In the meantime, ask any questions or share your thoughts in the comments section below or the Facebook group. Are there any Amazon hacks that you’re curious about or that you suggest we try? We’ll be continuing to share all the details of the launch, so let’s run some tests together!