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201 Business Development Strategy for Amazon Sellers with Aaron O’ Sullivan of Systems Culture Impact

This is Part 3 of the interview with Aaron O’Sullivan from SystemsCultureImpact.com. This episode is geared towards people who are scaling up from 20-30 products to 100+ SKUs or product lines and people around the level of 6-7 figures per month that are looking to create a business development strategy. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview to find out more about the systems you need to set up in your life and business to scale.

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168 Get Started with eCommerce and Amazon with Steve Chou Part 1 of 2

On the show today is somebody who is really a big name in the ecommerce and online training for the ecommerce world, Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. Today he will be teaching us how to get started with ecommerce off Amazon. Continue reading

#101 Finding a Killer Amazon Product Part 1 of 5: Generate Great Ideas

Generating Product Ideas

Generating Product Ideas

The first step to finding a Killer Amazon Private Label Product is generating good ideas.

I think there are basically two ways to do this:

Option 1: Organic Ideas

  • Brainstorm – I use a tool called Workflowy but a Google doc (especially good if you’ll be sharing with a partner or VA) or Word or Pages (Mac) document would do. Or even a notebook!
  • Go to Argos, Tiger and similar shops – maybe Tesco for UK if you’re after clothes or Walmart in the States
  • Look at physical catalogues like Argos etc
  • Sign up for specialist magazines or catalogues eg for Cookware
  • Look around eg your kitchen, friends’ kitchens, etc.

Option 2: Use research tools to generate ideas

  • One tool I’ve used is the Product Database from Jungle Scout (affiliate link). I personally tend to start from ideas but if you’re more numbers driven, this tool can be great. I have a couple of my mentees who love starting this way.
  • If you do it this way, you’ll need to start off with some criteria. I’ll talk more about this at the next stage, but I would avoid cheap, light products. The $20-40 selling price range is where everyone else is; I suggest going much higher. You can do interesting things like only looking for products above 5 lbs weight etc. Have a play and see what comes out.

Either way – we just gather ideas at this stage, we don’t want to rule out too much. First we gather, then we whittle down ideas.

 

#94 The Seven Steps of an Amazing Amazon Business Launch

  • Amazon Overall Startup Process – 2.5- 6 months
    • 1. Product selection – 4-12 Weeks / Many Hours a week!
    • 2. Business setup – 2-4 weeks/ A few hours only
    • 3. Sourcing – 3-12 Weeks or More! / Many Hours a week!
    • 4. From Port to Live – 1-3 weeks/ A few hours
    • 5. Product Listing – 1-2 days/ A few hours
    • 6. Product launch – 1-2 weeks/ A few -many hours
    • 7. Stabilise – Ongoing/ 2-3 hours a week, then say a day a week

Which of these areas is your biggest block to progress? Let me know at http://www.amazingfba.com/fb !

#71 – 7 Amazon Myths for Private Label Startups

  • Amazon Myth #1 Startup capital : $1000 is enough.

    • The first Amazon myth is that you can start a Private Label business with $1000 or so. Reality: $1500 is an absolute bare minimum; $3000 is more realistic for private labelling. 
    • Of course you can start making money on Amazon with just a few hundred dollars – but not with Private Label, unless you get very lucky. You’ll be looking at models like Retail Arbitrage, Online Arbitrage or flipping generic products from Aliexpress to Amazon. That’s all cool – go for it! Just be clear that that’s a different way of doing things.
  • Amazon Myth #2 Simplicity: It’s simple to run an Amazon private label business. 

    • Reality: Amazon is highly automated. But product ordering and freight are not. The business of finding products that will actually sell at a profit is not that easy. And ordering from China the first time takes some experience and willingness to learn a lot fast. 
  • Amazon Myth #3 Speed of ROI: you can get your money back fast (say 2 months)

    • Reality: In theory, you can; in practice, it could take 6+ months. From idea of starting this to reality of PL product live in Amazon usually takes at least 4 months at a minimum.  
  • Amazon Myth #4 Scalability: You can just grow this to any size without adding to your business

    • Reality: Amazon will scale selling and fulfilment- but your capital is not going to grow so fast as to organically expand aggressively with private label because your money will only turn over 3-4 times a year.
    • If you scale up your scales 10X, then you increase your capital requirement 10X. Expecting to 10X your capital in one year, or even a few months, means a 1000% ROI per annum. That’s pretty unlikely unless you get very very lucky. And luck is not a strategy you can depend on.
  • Amazon Myth #5 Systemisation: Amazon takes care of nearly everything

    • Reality: Amazon takes care of sales & Fulfillment. But you need to Select product niches and find/work with suppliers. Of course you can – and should – create automated systems and delegate. But that takes quite a bit of time, experience, money and effort. 
  • Amazon Myth #6 Saleability: It’s easy to sell your business after 12-18 months if wanted.

    • Reality – actually can be true. But you are looking at 10-20X monthly cashflow – it’s not about sales volume so much.  And you will need to have built a sustainable business – see Coran Woodmass’s excellent interview for more guidance on the reality selling an Amazon business. 
  • Amazon Myth #7 Sustainability: Amazon is growing; commerce is growing, therefore there is room for lots more Private Label sellers and it’s easy to make sales and profits.

    • Reality: Yes Amazon is growing and dominates ecommerce; However, there are many PL sellers – it’s now competitive. To make sales and profits, you need to look HARD and move Fast and expect your products to have a shorter lifespan than previously.
  • Extra Myths:

  • Time Needed – Myth: You can work this on a few hours a week & Succeed
    • Reality: You can and should work it part-time. But it’s going to take many hours a week (probably 20+ hours/week)
  • Skills – Myth: It’s quick and easy to learn the necessary skills
    • Reality: You can learn anything but you’re going to need to work hard and keep working
  • “It’s Easy” – Myth
    • Reality: If it looks too good to be true, it normally is! Real things require real work. By all means work smart, but expect to work hard at least upfront.

Creating an Private Label business is much much easier and lower risk than a brick and mortar retail business. And it is still a huge opportunity. But it’s good to go in with your eyes open. That’s actually one of the key ways to maximize your chances of success.

#40 Amazon Marketing Mastery Mini-Series: Niche Market (Part 1 of 7)

Show notes for Episode #40

Master Marketing Principles Mini Series: Part 1 of 7

Principle ONE: NICHE MARKET

Market=Buyers (Demand) and sellers (Supply)

They work in a Marketplace like Amazon

First thing is to find DEMAND

Understand the Buyers=Shoppers=Potential Customers

You need to define a PERSON and a PAIN (or PROBLEM)

PERSON implies Demographics eg age, gender, geography

PAIN implies Psychographics eg Personal Values, Motivation to Buy, Like Quality; Value low price etc.etc.

For example A 40-year old man who live in London

He wants to see clearly at night and not have to find batteries;

high Value: time, safety.

Competition (Sellers)

Look at competition through shoppers’ eyes –

They are looking for BENEFITS eg you can see clearly at night

Not FEATURES eg special lens on your light

So translate Features into Benefit

For example:

“Special NightVision (TM) Lens  – so you can see really clearly at nigh!

Rechargeable Battery XYZ type – so it will last for longer.

No more hunting for AAA batteries!”

Be a member of your target market if possible.

But then Ask  people (e.g., in person; survey; etc) to build up a picture of your ideal customer:
WHO are they? (PERSON) WHAT do they want? (PAIN)

Remember:

“Whoever understands your marketplace best, wins.”

 (Andre Chaperon of Autoresponder Madness)

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST

A podcast is a free downloadable audio show that enables you to learn while you’re on the go.  To subscribe to my podcast for free, you’ll need an app to listen to the show from.

For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Grab your phone or device and go to the iTunes store and search “Amazing FBA”.

This will help you to download the free Podcasts App (produced by Apple) and then subscribe to the show from within that app.  Every time I produce a new episode, you’ll get it downloaded right on yt sentence.

For podcast enthusiasts – If you already listen to podcasts and have a podcatcher that you prefer, the feed you’ll need to add is: http:// amazingfba.com/feed/podcast.

For those who don’t have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this page.

If you have any queries, just go to www.amazingfba.com/ask

 

#38 Amazon FBA Q & A Tuesday No. 1

Show Notes for #38 Q&A Tuesday No. 1

This is a brand new part of the Podcast, dedicated to answering questions raised in the Amazing FBA Facebook Group

Q1: Packaging your products

A1: Always ask your supplier to reinforce (priority order)

1. corners (where 3 sides meet) 2. edges  (where 2 sides meet) (3. sides is a bonus)

They won’t charge much more but won’t do it unless you ask. They work on wafer-thin margins but you shouldn’t!

Also ask for minimum 10% replacement packaging (to replace damaged packaging) to be sent along with your products to your warehouse in USA or to your home/office/warehouse in the UK (eg 500 units order, add 50 spare packaging boxes). 15%-20% is safer.

Q2: Has anyone used AMZTracker for reviews? How many reviews can I get from 50 coupons given away? How fast do reviews come?

A2: I’ve tried Snagshout (several promos), Tomoson (2 or 3 times) and AMZTracker (maybe 10-15 times!). I must say, AMZT is the cheapest/easiest and mostly the best. I’m wary of Amazon review clubs, so haven’t used them.

The simple answer is about 66%-70% so probably about 35 reviews from 50 giveaways.

Generally reviews should be mostly done within 2 weeks – many within a week.

Don’t get too obsessed with Review NUMBERS only; pay attention to the AVERAGE review (e.g. 4.8 stars) and the quality of individual reviews: plenty of detail is important now. Photos are good. Videos even better. AMZTracker seems to give good detailed reviews but the reviewers can be critical.

To ask your own question, join the Amazing FBA Facebook Group

Q3: Anyone fulfilling from the US to the UK?

A3: Broadly speaking – don’t! Get the Chinese (or US) suppliers to send directly to Amazon USA.

If you have inventory in the UK and want to send it to the USA as a test order, I’d use DHL or UPS.

BUT Air freight is often similar to or more than actual manufacture costs. Then you have duty, warehousing costs and Amazon inbound shipping to pay. So for anything over say 10-40 units (depending on size and weight of course), it’s probably cheaper and easier to go back to your Chinese supplier.

Q4: Is it worth using FBA Inspection’s photography service or is it better to use a proper professional photographer?

A4: I would personally use my product sample with the best pro photographer you can afford. I use Brian Cottam (and so have several members of this group, with great results).

I haven’t used FBA Inspection for product shots so I can’t speak from experience, but I would stick to using FBAI to just photograph any flaws with the product.

Also I would suggest getting someone in the same time zone or even similar area. A relationship with a great photographer is a crucial asset in your business. If you get a chance to meet them physically at least once, it’s a great bonus.

Q5: Do I need to be registered as a company or sole trader to set up my Amazon seller account? Do I need a reg business number?

A5: You can set up on Seller Central and change over from Sole Trader to company pretty easily.

I did this myself (although it was about 18 months ago or so).

The simplest path is to start off as a sole trader. If you don’t have much time or business experience, I recommend it.

However, setting up a company is simple and quick. I used Companies Made Simple  (as recommended by my accountant, Penny Lowe).

 The 3 bits of paperwork you’ll need to deal with after about 12-18 months are:

1. Annual Return (5 minute job max – easy)

2. Corporate tax return (involved- get an accountant to help)

3. Annual accounts (with Companies House) (also use an accountant).

This is more work than a personal tax return. However, you’ll probably need to use an accountant either way. AND you will be able to separate your business and personal tax situation, which is HIGHLY advisable!

This can wait till you’ve proven the market so don’t get stuck on this. But if you’re more serious/have more time/are putting more money in, I’d advise this route.

To ask your own question, join the Amazing FBA Facebook Group

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST

A podcast is a free downloadable audio show that enables you to learn while you’re on the go.  To subscribe to my podcast for free, you’ll need an app to listen to the show from.

For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Grab your phone or device and go to the iTunes store and search “Amazing FBA”.

This will help you to download the free Podcasts App (produced by Apple) and then subscribe to the show from within that app.  Every time I produce a new episode, you’ll get it downloaded right on yt sentence.

For podcast enthusiasts – If you already listen to podcasts and have a podcatcher that you prefer, the feed you’ll need to add is: http:// amazingfba.com/feed/podcast.

For those who don’t have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this page.

If you have any queries, just go to www.amazingfba.com/ask