We have a fantastic guest today to talk about an interesting topic. It’s very important for us crazed over busy Amazon sellers to help with Amazon outsourcing. Today we welcome Conner Giillvin who has been an Amazon Seller since 2009. He is also the co-founder of Freeeup which is an Outsourcing company specifically for Amazon.
He has been working with his business partner, Nathan Hirsch, since 2009 when they first started selling on Amazon and going to college together. Nathan was the first one to learn about Amazon and see if there was an opportunity. The way that they started working together was by purchasing textbooks back from students and then listing them up on Amazon and figure out how to use this whole new marketplace that was online.
They started to come up with their own ideas of what worked fast and we just didn’t love the process that Upwork’s freelancing platform was offering. They wanted there to be a pre-vetted system. One where you knew the person had the experience, was going to be a good fit for communication and could come into our business pretty quickly. That’s the reason why they created Freeeup.
You as a business owner really need to figure out how to value your time. So, if you’re spending even an hour each day replying to emails… that’s an hour that you could be spending on something else which could be more beneficial to growing your Amazon business.
That’s something you always have to keep in the back your mind even if you’re just getting started at a certain point. You’re going to have to value your time at a different level because there’s going to be a lot of things that are going on, and a lot of processes to maintain.
It’s specifically for Amazon sellers. Freeeup started very centered around the Amazon world and just the eCommerce world in general. That continues to be where they’re expanding and trying to pull more clients into the business. They have a lot of experience hiring people with Amazon backgrounds so they kind of know what they‘re looking for and can be good for business owners.
The second reason is they are a lot faster than using Upwork or a freelancer platform like Fiverr. So with us, you can create a free account. You come into your account very quickly. You just fill out a form with only about 10 questions. Submit that to them and they make that available to all the Freelancers that are within the network. Within 24 hours you’re introduced to just one person that fits exactly who you’re looking for give us.
Maybe their problem is product research and they are having trouble looking for those products that are going to sell well. They might even have a little bit of an idea of what processes they would like to use, but it’s just not something they can have the time to do on a day-to-day basis. So they come to speak with us about what kind situation they are in. From there they just submit a ticket and they are introduced to a freelancer very quickly that fits their needs.
Amazon takes a good amount of knowledge of knowing how to create a listing on a detail page. If it’s a new listing you’re going to create it from scratch you want to have some knowledge of Amazon SEO. You’ll also be creating effective titles, and what to put in the description.
All these types of things are something that you could definitely hire someone for and get outsourced. Even if you’re just jumping on another ASIN and selling a product that someone else has already created.
Once you find a product that you like then would contact the supplier and start figuring out how you’re going to get that to the Amazon fulfillment center. As a new Amazon seller outsourcing to a freelancer who may already know the ins-and-outs when seeking out the right suppliers can be a great benefit. They would hire freelancers to kind of research the manufacturer’s website, get the contact information, and sometimes even gave them an email template to send out to them to try to initiate that conversation
This is really the critical point where you do want to start outsourcing some tasks. The first one that they would encourage these types of people to get off their plates is customer service. As you’re growing your Amazon business you’ll eventually start to get all those customer inquiries through email, and through the phone. You’ll also have returns to deal with. All these different types of things which can take several hours out of your day. This is not something that you should be spending your time on.
Their recommendation and the way that they like to start to outsource things is to go through the processes yourself so you‘ll understand what’s working and what’s in line with Amazon’s policies. Do that for maybe a month to a couple months and write down a process. These type of situations, it’s best to get that all into some sort of document.
That makes it easy to share with others and use to get that person properly trained into that position, and make sure that you’re not hiring someone that will do whatever they want with your customer service. You’re putting them into your own systems, your own processes. So they can just merely handle it for you while you go in three other things.
Greg has first-hand experience with this as he has launched six or seven products since October; three or four in the last few weeks. An Amazon product launch is very different after this updated Terms of Service was released.
Let’s take a 10,000 ft. look at this. In order to rank organically on Amazon, you need to have sales. There are a few ways to get sales. You can make your products really cheap, you can try to drive outside traffic, you can use deal sites like JumpSend. Without sales, you can launch your product but it will end up in the deep dark hole of Amazon and no one will find it. As Amazon sellers, we need to be thinking about how we can get sales on a product that is not organically ranking and doesn’t have any reviews so there’s no social proof.
Greg utilizes his JumpSend tool. It’s a deal site where about 30,000 people are visiting and looking for good deals. It’s no longer a place to get reviews, it’s a place to get sales. It still works, and it is completely within the Terms of Service of Amazon.
So Greg puts his products on JumpSend. Then he offers it at a price people want it, which can vary. He offers about five coupons a day, maybe ten if it’s competitive. From this, he is getting sales. He will do this for about a week. After that time, the product will be ranking very well. From those sales, a few will end up resulting in a review. He will also turn on pay-per-click advertising (PPC). It’s costly, but it does get you sales. That’s what you need to get started; you have to have these sales.
Where most people go wrong, is that they get scared of spending the money. Usually, Greg has to turn PPC so high that he is losing money on that sale. If he is offering 70% off, then he is likely losing money. People seem to get shy about losing money. However, that’s a part of doing business but you will recoup this money in the long-term. A big problem for people is that they’re afraid to bid the PPC that high, or they’re afraid to give that big of a discount because they’re afraid of losing money.
That’s the gist of it. To do an Amazon product launch, you have to force sales somehow. The easiest way is deal sites and PPC. Then you’ll start ranking organically, and start getting reviews. Another thing is that you definitely want to have an email follow up sequence turned on. You can use any tool for that, but keep in mind that JumpSend is also a follow-up email service as well as a deal site. It’s nice that it is a full launch package. No matter what you use, before you do your first giveaway, you need to have some sort of email follow-up that asks for a review.
The first email will thank them for the purchase. The second may let them know that they can contact you if you have any issues. The third could ask for a review. With an email sequence you’ll see that you can get 10-15 reviews out of 100 compared to the 3 out of 100 you may get without one.
Going back to the coupons. Amazon forbids any action that tries to manipulate the sales ranking, and in a way, giving out coupons does that. It’s not so much following the letter of the law but how Amazon sees that. If you give coupons to only JumpSend users but not to the general public, is that potentially violating the Terms of Service?
There is a clause in the ToS that was release in the first quarter of 2016 that said something to the effect that purposely manipulating sales rank is against the rules. It comes down to, what does this mean? It is a bit of a grey area. Greg’s personal opinion is that Amazon put that in because, at the time, sellers were doing these massive giveaways, especially in the supplement category. They were giving away about 100 units everyday for a couple days. That is probably what that clause was looking to prevent.
So, is giving away a couple coupons a day considered manipulating sales rank? All Greg really cares about is making sales and ranking organically in the search results. Since those Terms of Service were released, there hasn’t been anyone, that we’re aware of, that has gotten in trouble for manipulating sales rank. Some have gotten in trouble for some review type infractions. They have been big sellers doing about $500,000 a month. One seller, their VA got in touch with a top reviewer, didn’t ask for a review but it might have been implicated that they expected one, and their account was suspended for two months.
Some sellers have mentioned that some of their reviews were removed if the discount was too high. The sales were legitimate and organic in every way, but if the discount was over 50% off the regular price, then they were removed. You mention that you might give 70%-80% off, does that create any issues, as far as Terms of Service?
Amazon’s ToS are really vague, so Greg bases his knowledge off data and what people are actually experiencing. Whatever you do, do NOT imply that they are getting the discount in exchange for a review! That is a clear violation of Amazon’s ToS. If a person uses a coupon to buy a product, you’re just giving out coupons to make sales. Since October, Gerg has noticed that some of the reviews have been marked “unverified”, so he assumes that those are the ones bought with a coupon.
There is no way to know since you can’t track a review to an order. It seems that, for now, they are sticking. They might not stick a year from now. For the short-term, they are nice to have since, when you do an Amazon product launch, you won’t have many reviews. So even though they are unverified, it’s better to have them than little to no reviews.
They’ve done a lot of testing, and there is no one number, say 30% off, that will get a product verified. Some products, you can give a 50% off coupon and it will show verified. You can give 20% on another, and that will result in it being unverified. Even if you post it publically in the listing.
It’s reassuring that you’re not hearing about people getting their accounts suspended for giving away coupons and that, if you have a follow-up sequence, you can still get reviews. Since you have so many JumpSend users, you have a good amount of data. Also, that Amazon doesn’t seem as trigger happy with this as they seem to be with reviews.
Greg gives away about 5-10 units a day. That isn’t really manipulating sales rank. If it was 100 units a day or 500 units a day, it is probably more likely that Amazon will come knocking on your door. You just have to be mindful.
With the reviews, it’s worth repeating, you CANNOT give a coupon with the purpose of getting a review, or expect a review, or require a review. There is no more incentivised review.
Greg and some others that were running review sites had the chance to speak with Amazon lawyers. At first it was a bit scary but in the end it was a great experience. The lawyers were willing to work with them because they were looking to make the whole industry more legitimate and do away with the whole incentivized reviews.
There were a few things that aren’t in the ToS, but they did put it in writing. Big picture, you can’t incentivise anyone you’re giving a coupon to, in any way, to leave a review. An example of this, is that there were a lot of Facebook groups that had implied reviews with each other. They were saying that you don’t have to leave a review, but if you do you get more coupons. That’s not okay.
They’re not cool with you checking their review profile to see if they left a review. You may not require a review, but maybe you could check to see if they left one or not, and kick them out of the Facebook group.
Offering them more deals or giving them more coupons if they left a review is something Amazon is not okay with.
Basically, anything you do to check up on reviews, or anything link to reviews at all. That was when ReviewKick was relaunched as JumpSend. It’s totally legit and by the books. They have the lawyers blessing. You give out coupons to these people, but you have no idea who they are, you can’t follow up to see if they left a review. They don’t get more coupons for reviews. You’re just giving away coupons in the hopes of getting more sales.
Another thing that was surprising, Amazon’s not dumb. They are very in the loop. All these Facebook groups with the implied reviews, there is probably an Amazon lawyer in the group. Amazon is very attuned with what sellers are doing.
It’s surprising that people think they can fly under the radar. Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, and third-party sellers account for ⅓ of their sales.