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#66 Q & A Tuesday No. 10

Q.1 Stefan CONVERSION RATES

Lets talk conversion rates – what sort of % are you all getting through ads and through organic? I am in patio, lawn, garden and getting a terrible 2-3%. I think it might be my main image.

I have tried the price. Its really weird – I tried price points between $10 to $25 and am not seeing a big difference in conversion %. Obviously at $10 I am getting more conversions, but I’m also getting more sessions. The conversion % is still 2-3%…. 🙁

Broadly: below 10% is not good in most categories; 5% or under is emergency level.

I would test price, which sounds like you have, and test main images.

Yes it will affect CTR but it will also affect conversion as well.

Q. 2 Alexandros BREXIT

Hello guys, does anyone here have an idea on how the Brexit is going to affect FBA businesses (apart from making importing more expensive) ?

As you say, main effect is making importing more expensive if you’re converting out of pounds and buying from the Chinese in USD (or probably RMB too).

If you have USD, keep them! They are more valuable than they were to UK sellers and probably will stay so for a while.

If you haven’t already done so, set up a USD account in the UK (eg Metrobank, my bank; HSBC) and set up a receiving account to receive your USD from amazon.com with Currencies Direct.

The Euro is also more valuable at the moment if you have been selling in Europe, but seems to be a more troubled currency than the USD. You can set up a similar setup (I haven’t done this yet as not yet selling in Europe).

Q.3 David PROFIT/AMAZON ADS

PROFIT HUNGRY: Just looking for some advice on whether or not I should keep PPC running on one of my new products…really trying to maximize the bottom line, not just increase revenue. This maybe be only answered by A/B split testing +/- Ads.

Below is a quick snapshot. Thanks!

1. Launched with no reviews this month and ranking on page 1 for just about any keyword I can think of now with only 2 organic reviews.

2. 1/2 my sales are coming from PPC.

3. Avg. CPC is ~ $0.50.

4. A lot of keywords I am in position 1. For keywords where I am raking 4-5 organically, PPC pushes me to the top stop on all Ad keywords.

5. Eventhough, the ACOS is acceptable on the main keywords, this Ad spend is driving down my profit margin.

OVERALL, IS THE AD SPEND WORTH IT? WILL I GET ROUGHLY THE SAME # SALES WITHOUT IT?

Broadly: is your ad spend worth it?- depends on a. your conversion rate b. your profit margin. Your ACoS of 11-14 % roughly looks good as long as you have a healthy profit margin.

EXAMPLE

If you spend 50 cents a click average (As you say) and you have for example a conversion ratio of say 20% (1 in 5), it will cost you $2.50 ad costs per sale made though Advertising;

Then if your organic sales are 50% of your overall sales (as you say) then your average cost of advertising across ALL your sales would be $1.25 a unit. If you have a $5 profit margin, fantastic; if it’s $1, you’re making a loss.

So the missing pieces are: conversion %age and profit margin.

In answer to “Will I get roughly the same sales without advertising” – simple answer: no! You said yourself – only 50% of your sales are organic. You will nearly always get more sales with advertising; the P & L question is whether you make overall more profit with it than without. To answer that, you need to crunch the numbers.

Q.4 Ben PROMO CODE WORRIES

I’d just like to clarify some details regarding discount codes.

I understand that I can limit these to one use per customer.

But does that limit it to one ITEM per customer?

So, a customer might be able to use the code once, but in that one purchase wipe out loads of my inventory?

Thanks everyone 🙂

Good news: as long as you use only a $ amount off, you are perfectly safe.

EXAMPLE A1

customer has your coupon code for $19 off.

Buys 1 unit of your $20 product, pays $1.

Example A2

customer has your coupon code for $19 off.

Buys 3 units of your $20 product, pays $41.

NEVER use %age off for a giveaway. Here’s why:

EXAMPLE B1

customer has your coupon code for 95% off.

Buys 1 unit of your $20 product, pays $1.

Looks okay, right?

BUT…

EXAMPLE B2

customer has your coupon code for 95% off.

Buys 3 units of your $20 product, pays JUST $3

or even…

EXAMPLE B3

Buys 300 units of your $20 product, pays just $15!

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 away.

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

 

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#58 Kevin King Interview – Part 2 of 3 – Finding a Private Label product, Keyword Research & Profit

What would your advice be to someone just starting off with, say $10,000 and 20 hours a week, but still has a day job? How can they get started?

The general advice is to start small. Most people would say to start with something that can be air-shipped and fits in a shoebox. Kevin believes that is the wrong approach because that’s what everyone else is doing. Instead you should go where others aren’t. The items may be a bit larger therefore you might have to ship them by sea to reduce costs, but there will be less competition which means more potential for success.

Kevin has products in the kitchen category – he’s actually doing things that go on the stove, weigh 3-4 lbs apiece. Can sell for $10-20 profit per sale rather than $4-5.

Kevin is very emphatic about ensuring the quality of the products. Never, and he means never, ship products from China without an inspection. Whether it’s the first time working with the factory or the 6th. Always get an inspection.

Ensure that you take all these costs into consideration, and then make sure you can mark it up at least 3x. Preferably 5X Also, avoid any item that has been used as an example in a training course because there will be many people that will try to replicate it which in turn means more competition. Like Greg’s bamboo sticks or Manuel Beaver’s example product.

Finally, get good images. Pay to have high quality images of your items because it will make a difference and it will pay for itself through additional sales. Use all 9 images, at least 1500 pixels a side so they are zoomable.

Even if you spend $500 for great photos, and you sell one extra unit a day at $10 profit, you have your money back after a month and a half.  A lot of people don’t read your copy. Kevin has put codes for 100% off in the description and only one person used it out of 50 orders. A vast majority of people will based their decision on the title, price, and picture.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that 60-70% of sales in the US are from mobile devices which limits how much copy people actually see. So you need to make the first little bit compelling. You have the first 200 characters of your description, and the first 3 bullet points (they have to click a button to see the others) . Make them count.

Make sure you have good packaging. Your logo should be everywhere you can put it as well as instructions for the product that prompts the customer to register the product.

Put an instruction sheet in with your packaging, that asks for a review on the back.

What advice can you offer about product launch?

Product launches are very important. Don’t skimp on product quality. You may get away with it for awhile but eventually the returns and negative reviews are going to catch up to you. Make sure to test the product yourself to ensure a high quality. The more you know about, the easier it is to market. Especially if you develop a product yourself.

As soon as there are 10-30 units of product ready (whatever fits in a case), he gets those sent over and then goes and looks for top reviewers – like Review Sniper, AMZSuite has something to look up top 10,000.

Or Google: Take competitor’s ASIN,  Search string is something like:

URL=amazon.com  ASIN “top 500”

Reach out – let product speak for itself. Customise it to person – send out 15 emails to top 500 reviewers – Kevin gets say 11 out of 15 to respond.

Don’t say “It’s great”; customise e.g. Milo is dog’s name, so put in “Great new product for Milo” in subject line.

Email:

Hi Michael

We’ve got a great new product that Milo might be interested in trying out. 

Here’s the link:

www.amazon.com/B00ABCDEF

Let me know if you’re interested in receiving one in exchange for your honest opinion.

Thanks, Kevin

Don’t try and sell them on it. Let them click on the link – if they like it, they’ll get back to you.

Some of them get 200 emails a day. Some of it is garbage!

Kevin doesn’t chase them. Maybe 6-8 will write a review. He might do one follow up a week later.

Follow-up email:

Hi Michael 

I hope the item arrived okay. Let me know if you have any questions.

Looking forward to your comments.

Thanks, Kevin

Don’t say things like “I sent this to you for free – why haven’t you reviewed it?

The next step would be to invest heavily in pay-per-clicks for a few days.

He will bid say $5 a click for a few days on an Automatic campaign. Then dial back pay per click to say 50 cents a click. This will boost your visibility on Amazon. Any sales are just gravy.

All you really need is 5-10 reviews.

It will boost the SEO value of your product which will lead to high conversion rates. You may be losing money on these sales but it will establish you in the search results. At this point you will want to incrementally increase the price back to where you intend to sell it.

Reach out to your competitors customers. Look up top reviews of competing products and contact the top reviewers about your product with a personalized email. You can offer them the product for free for their opinion on it. This will help validate the product and get the ball rolling. The best would be to get a video review. Kevin recommends hiring a service that can connect your with reviews. He recommends getting two or three reviews per variation of your product.

It’s critical to have a good video review, on the first page. If you get one down the road, it may get buried. If you get it early on, it’s likely to stick to the first page. Kevin uses a service that has keen video reviewers. Even if it’s a boring simple product, a 45 second video makes a big difference.

Once he has several reviews,  he’ll discount the product say $45 product down to $19,  and go for PPC aggressively. He’ll start getting lots of sales for say 4-5 days, any reviews will be verified reviews. Low price boosts conversion rate. Losing money on each sale but cost of entry to market. Run for 200-300 units. It goes into algorithm.
Then raise to $24.95, $29.95 back up to $45 and that’s where it will stay.

If you go “out of range” (too high) with your price, you’ll lose the buy box, even if you are the only seller! Amazon flags it as an error. 

Kevin looks at first shipment of say 1000 units as a cost of entry to a market. You have to buy your position. It’s an upfront investment. He’s got onto page 2, Kevin will spend a bit more to get to page 1, after which he will be into big profits.

You can have a product that is not in a competitive category so you don’t have to do much advertising. Just run a low bid ad campaigns.

Kevin had a sports category  product that sold only 1-3 units a day, he played with various things till it took off. Now it sells about 20 a day at $14 profit per unit after advertising cost.   Kevin recommends “Hello Profit”.

The importance of cost analysis (esp. advertising costs)

Kevin explains that the number of sales doesn’t matter. Profit does. People who run Facebook groups who boast about sales numbers don’t interest Kevin.

A lot of people have cashflow but they aren’t making profit. You can have 100 sales a day, but if you don’t factor in advertising and other expenses into your cost, you might just break even or actually be losing money.

Kevin uses spreadsheets to track his costs, once he has the data, he builds Advertising costs into Cost of Goods Sold. Kevin adds up what the overall cost of advertising is over all units sold. He knows therefore what his maximum spend on Amazon Ads can be to break even or to make a profit.

Don’t use ACoS to work out real ad costs.

EXAMPLE: Kevin has a custom product made in china for $20 each, $1.50 to ship, a few other fees, so hard cost is about $23. He sells it for $59. Amazon takes about a third roughly.

SO Amazon is roughly paying him $40 cashflow. Now he knows how much PPC costs – he can spend $7 a unit sold on advertising to make $10 per product. If say his PPC sales are ⅓ of his sales, he could spend $21 per PPC sale and still break even. 

Don’t go off ACoS to work out true Ad cos per sale – you need to break it down. Export search term report into Excel or Google numbers etc. and create a pivot table.

Brian Johnson (PPC expert) shows you how to do it in this video …and Greg Mercer (of Jungle Scout) wrote a blog post about it.   

You need to factor in COGS and changes of sales price. Lifetime ACoS is almost meaningless.  You need to see what you’re making on every single sale: how much you made and how much you spent on Ads.

If you can’t or don’t want to do this analysis, hire someone else to do it.

  Kevin recommends Hello Profit .   It is a great tool that will factor in the advertising costs, manufacturing costs, refunds, fees, and everything else that affects your profit. Kevin logs in 3-4 times a day and it will automatically calculate COGS, Amazon ads, Returns etc.

It’s not perfect or as good as Xero or Quickbooks but it’s the best thing to do to keep an eye on what’s happening. Kevin uses it to adjust PPC. If you have more than one product, at least try their 21 Free or $1 trial. Don’t forget to factor in Refunds!

What is your process for keyword research?

Do it before you order. Once Kevin decides on his product,  he does the research. Before he places his first order. Using Keyword Inspector and Scientific Seller , he will do research on his competitors to collect keyword data. Google Keyword planner is good for research, as is  Merchant Words, but some of the words are not associated with your product.

Taking all the data gathered he uses Helium 10 to makes sense of it all to find the best keywords. It de-dedupes it [removes duplicate keywords]. He’ll use this tool to build out his listing. Kevin doesn’t repeat keywords in his listing.

Amazon is always changing so it’s important to stay up on the trends. Right now the title is very important. Everything in the title will get indexed by Amazon. If you have a title like “Blue Garlic Press”, it will also index you for “Garlic Press” – some are giving away 200 units to rank for 10 keywords.

The next thing to get indexed are the bullet points. Amazon tells you they don’t index those but that’s BS.

In most categories, they do not index The description doesn’t get indexed completely. Only part of it so you need to make sure that your strongest keywords are in the first or second line.

You can type in your ASIN in the Amazon search bar next to a keyword and see if  your listing is getting indexed for that keyword

e.g. into search bar, put:

B00HEZ888K Soft-handled Garlic Press

Trust but verify!

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#42 Amazon Product Research with Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout Part 1 of 2 [REPOST}

Episode #42: Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout Interview (Product Research – PART ONE)

(Note: all links to Jungle Scouts are affiliate links).

How did you come to be selling on Amazon? & Why Private Label?

Greg started with a day job as a civil engineer. About 3 years ago, he started buying items wholesale and sold them on Amazon. As that got more competitive, he switched to Private Label products.

What is difference between Private Label vs. Wholesale model? 

Wholesale: buy welk known brands from wholesaler, then sell on existing listings and rotate through the buy box, which is normally about the lowest price. 3 years ago that was okay, but it became very competitive.

With PL, you own the listing;  since it is your product, you can justify work getting reviews, nice photos etc. Greg never did the Retail Arbitrage (RA) model because it is not scalable. Greg was looking for a system, not exchanging hours for dollars

Why develop Jungle Scout?

The biggest bottle neck in Greg’s business was finding more products. At one point he had a team of 8 VAs in the Philippines who would look at ideas, fill out a spreadsheet. This is when he created the Jungle Scout Chrome extension is the same as the VAs – instead of 30 minutes, it takes 2 seconds.

Greg was trying to scale fast, so with a list of 200 keywords, one person (VA) could only get through 20 a day.

What is Jungle Scout and how do you use it?

Two tools: Chrome extension and Web App. (Chrome is a free browser you can download)

Extension integrates into browser – look on Amazon, click on JS button – pop gives you the relevant data to make decisions on products or sales. Data like price, how much you nett after fees.

Web App: Web based software that runs on the Jungle Scout website. It has several features – the most popular is the product Dat abase. It’s a rebuild of Amazon’s catalogue  for Sellers, rather than buyers (which is what Amazon.com is designed for), with filters  with your criteria -for example:

Sales: over 300 a month; and under 50 reviews; priced over $20, under 1 lb weight” .

What are your criteria for product selection?

This is for the USA store but a variation would work in UK etc. For example for keyword “Glass cups”-

Demand: 3000 units a month of demand [on page 1 of search results]. If doing manually, add up all the sales of “glass cups” (eliminate irrelevant results).

 That is a good number if you are aiming to sell 10 a day yourself (300 a month) – which is 10% of the total market. That’s easy to find but we want lower competition. 

Competition: 1 or 2 sellers in top 5 listings with under 50 reviews.  And in top 10 sellers, 3 or 4 listings with under 50 reviews.  This tells you it’s not too mature a niche. IF competition has hundreds of reviews, you’ll find it hard to compete.

Big picture: it’s a small %age of all listings on Amazon – but there are 100s of Millions of products on Amazon so that’s a lot of items!

Price: $20 or more. The smaller the simpler the better- easier for storage etc.

These are just rules of thumb – it can be good if it’s a bit less demand but a bit Less competition.

Every time I found a product I liked using the Product tracker, it looked hyper competitive.  How can I use the Chrome extension to find lower competition products?

The best tool is actually not the Extension, it’s best to use the Product Database on the Web App.

You can put in your criteria for products with under 50 reviews and min 3000 units sold a month.

You can do this with the Chrome Extension. Once you HAVE an idea, the Extension is the best tool to have.

But if you don’t already have product/ Keyword ideas, it’s not the best tool . 

In every category it looks like it’s good to PL. What are the other criteria for selection?

If every opportunity looks good, your criteria for competition is too lax. There are tons of opportunities with high demand but they have a lot of competition. Look for something with under 50 reviews in some of those top spots – easy to do with the Extension.

Only add up the demand for relevant listing results. Eliminate irrelevant searches.

What are the costs of the Chrome Extension  and Web App?

The Extension is for $90 or $150 (more features) one off costs

The Web App at the monthly $40 level is good for most people but goes up to $100 a month.  There is a free trial – and you can find lots of products.

Are there plans to make the Web App available in the UK?

The Extension already works in the UK.  The Web App will be built for UK in the near future.

But UK or Germany based sellers still use the Web App for the USA to get product ideas – you could then search in the UK store and verify that. A lot of the times you’ll find a good opportunity in the USA and it will be in the UK.

“There seem to be three schools of thought with product selection – 1. find & build a niche brand of related products so you can sell over and over to the same customers, 2. hunt for single superstars / hidden gems, 3. gut instinct. perhaps you find/invent a product you think would do great, or it’s selling in another venue and has no rep/history on amazon to give informed decisions.

Jungle Scout and tools like it seem to be targeted at product selection style 2 [Superstars], how can it best be used to help with styles 1[Niche] & 3 [Instinct], or indeed does Greg believe in these styles or have a different view entirely?”

For Greg, gut instinct is out because it’s risky- he likes to use the data. It might work for some people!

GM has about 3 dozen items – When Greg first started, he was advised to create a whole line of products to get better sales [cross sales]. Greg didn’t find that to be true. He did it start with but didn’t see increase in sales.

When people shop on Amazon, they are not looking for particular brand, they just want the best reviews at the best price. So now Greg just finds opportunities and sells them.

However, If you wanted to find products similar to your existing products, in the Web App, you could select the product category.

The marketplace has given feedback that “finding gems” has worked better than Niche market approach. Maybe in certain categories, brand Is more important; just not in Greg’s market.

People are searching for the item and then getting one of the top 3 depending on reviews and price.

How do you deal with the competition? Especially how do you avoid a price war?

Greg never competes on price – he always works on pictures, the listing; improvements to product. If his competitor lowers price, he doesn’t. When launching new products, get into area that isn’t too competitive. Then by the time competition comes in, secure the top spot with lots of reviews.

Lots of people think they are too late to the party. Not true. It’s still a great opportunity. Greg is still launching new products. BUT You just have to be good with product research. If you pick an item that’s in a very competitive niche, it’s very hard to get anywhere.

You can’t fix a product at the marketing stage if the product selection is wrong!

If sales volume is dropping, Instead of lowering your price, do some giveaways and keep sales rank and overall, it will make you more money.

BUT Product selection is so important that lots of people get hung up on it. How do get round the selection deadlock (Paralysis analysis)?

Use the criteria that Greg gave – it’s proven, including a case study 

Once you’ve done lots of research, you will have a better feel for a particular market.

If in doubt, if you’re worried and just beginning, just choose even lower competition product even if you just sell say 5 a day. And or place an order for fewer units.

I know the Pro Extension will give extra info like FBA Fees, FBA Fulfillment category (eg oversize), net price after fees and so on. Is this available for Amazon UK? 

Yes, it is!

How about .de (Germany) or other European marketplaces?

Not yet, but this summer (2016), it should be available.

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.

1

#32 Amazon Ads Specialist Danny McMillan- PART TWO of Interview

This Episode, #32, is the second half of an interview that was prompted by our very own Facebook members! They said in a survey that Amazon Ads were the area they most wanted expert help with. Danny McMillan, himself a member of the group, responded by giving many golden nuggets to our listeners.

Continue reading

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#31 Amazon Ads Specialist Danny McMillan Interview – PART ONE

This Episode, #31, was prompted by our very own Facebook members! They said in a survey that Amazon Ads were the area they most wanted expert help with. Danny McMillan responded by giving many golden nuggets to our listeners.

This is the first of two episodes containing this interview.

Continue reading

#27 Setting up Amazon Ads for Max Sales & Max Profits

This Episode, #27, has been in demand by Facebook members for a while. It’s a Pure Tactics, Nitty-Gritty on How to Set up Amazon Ads.

SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #27 – Setting up Amazon Ads for Max Sales & Max Profits 

In this episode we set up five separate Amazon Ads campaigns for one product:
1. Auto campaign

2. Amazon suggested Keywords (from within Seller Central)

3. Amazon Search Bar suggestions (from amazon.com itself)

4. Search like your customer

5. Keyword Inspector – steal keywords from your competition!

If you want a video that walks you through the exact same campaigns step by step, with follow-along screen recording, click here to join our Amazon Insiders Club.

Glossary of Technical Terms: 

I’d urge you not to get caught up too much in this if it is going to paralyse you. You can set up the campaigns without really understanding the details.  You only need the understanding when you come to analyse the results. That is a key part of running successful ad campaigns, but we’ll deal with that separately. ONe step at a time!

If you’re wanting the detail, however, here it is:
URL: Simply a web address, e.g., www.amazingfba.com/27

ASIN: Amazon Unique Identifying Number (not sure what S stands for!) –  within the Amazon universe, this a  unique code for a product line. It is like a UPC (Universal Product Code), ie the barcode you will see on any product packaging at your supermarket, only just within the Amazon universe.

Keyword – one, two, 3 or several words entered as a search term, on Google or in the Amazon search bar. e.g. “white” “white board” “White board marker” “White board marker kids”

Keyword Match Type: Amazon will match up a search term that a customer puts in the Search bar with the keywords in your amazon ad campaign. Whether it chooses to display your ad or not depends on how precise a match you set up between a. the search term (from the customer) and b. the keywords you put in your ad campaign.

Keyword matches come in 3 types: Exact, Phrase and Broad Match.

Exact match: your ad will only display if the  search term that the customer puts in is exactly the same as the keyword in your campaign.

Example

Your Campaign contains Exact Match Keyword:  White Board Marker

A. Customer enters Search term: White Board Markers

Result A: Your ad is displayed by Amazon  to the Customer in the search results

B. Customer enters search term: White Board Marker Pens

Result B: Your ad is NOT displayed

Phrase match: Your ad will display if the search term contains the your keyword as a phrase

Your Campaign contains Phrase Match Keyword:  White Board Marker

A. Customer enters Search term: White Board Markers

Result A: Your ad is displayed by Amazon  to the Customer in the search results

B. Customer enters search term: White Board Marker Pens

Result B: Your ad IS displayed (search term contains “White Board Marker” as a phrase)

C. Customer enters: Pens for White Boards

Result C: Your Ad is NOT displayed

Broad match: Your ad will display if the search term is broadly similar or related to your Keyword

Example

Your Campaign contains Broad Match Keyword:  White Board Marker

A. Customer enters Search term: White Board Markers

Result A: Your ad is displayed by Amazon  to the Customer in the search results

B. Customer enters search term: White Board Marker Pens

Result B: Your ad IS displayed

C. Customer enters: Pens for White Boards

Result C: Your Ad IS displayed

D. Customers enters: Pens for Boards

Result D: ? Maybe displayed, maybe not!

If you want a video that walks you through the exact same campaigns step by step, with follow-along screen recording, click here to join our Amazon Insiders Club.

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 your iDevice.

For Android listeners – Download the Stitcher Radio app (free) and search for “Amazing FBA Podcast.”  Or, if you have already downloaded a podcasting client, follow the directions in the next 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.

#19 Amazon FBA Seller Interview with David Aggiss

This Episode, #19,  is a very exciting first for the Podcast: our first interview!

David Aggiss was one of the first to join our Facebook community and has been a very active member, including taking the initiative to reach out to me and meet up in person at a conference.

David took some great training, and has been very committed to working his business. As you would hope, that has resulted in some very quick successes. Here, David shares his journey, what worked, what challenges he has had to overcome.

** REVIEWS CONTEST!**

The first 25 people to review the show on iTunes will be entered into a draw. The winner will receive a £50 Amazon Voucher from Amazing FBA!
Head over to iTunes now and leave your review! If you haven’t  already, you can also subscribe through iTunes to get all the info you need to start your own successful Amazon business!

CONTEST EXTENDED to the end of November or 1st 25 reviews, whichever comes first !

SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #19 David Aggiss Interview

  • David’s Background: got into property as an investor then moved into mortgage broking.
  • Was drawn to Amazon FBA private labelling model because it offered Passive Income.
  • Passive Income is important to him as a way to get to spend time with his young family and to escape office culture.
  • Also it can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like (Amazon handles sales and can do customer service – you can outsource a lot as well)
  • David started with Amazon training in April this year and his first product went live in September.

GIVEAWAYS and REVIEWS

  • He allocated 200 units to dollar giveaways, targeting 100 reviews (because of the psychology of triple digits of reviews, and because biggest direct competitor has 200+ reviews)
  • Aim was to give away 10 units a day for two weeks
  • Put in three batches of 50 codes to AMZTracker
  • Turned on PPC Amazon Ads after about 20-30 reviews
  • He actually gave away just 150 units, for about 100-110 reviews (so about 66% converted to reviews) as he was running out of stock and had hit his target no. of reviews.
  • David was able to be selective as his product was popular, so he tried to select reviewers who had reviewed similar products, had given a few video reviews and gave decent length reviews [i.e., not just one short sentence!]

SALES

  • Sales got quickly to 10 a day, then went up to 15, then 20, then up to 25 sales/day
  • Sales: Month 1: including $1 giveaways, $5000
  • Month 2: $6000 but that includes running out of stock!
  • PRODUCT SELECTION:
  • Don’t overanalyse
  • Avoided oversize items because of upfront costs and cost of Amazon fulfilment
  • Went for something that could be bought for about $2 a unit
  • Did due diligence and made sure the numbers stack up
  • Not too competitive
  • Happy to go for 10 sales/day

SOURCING AND FIRST ORDER

  • Manufacturer’s MOQ was 1000  to have his logo on product plus customised packaging
  • David negotiated down to 700 units only with custom packaging (no logo on product)
  • But then after firming up the order, he said to supplier he was going to be ordering more, so negotiated including logo on product on the 700 unit order

CAPITAL and CASHFLOW

  • David has only used his capital for stock ordering. Other costs e.g. Amazon Ads etc. are on the Credit Card for cashflow reasons.
  • He needed about £2000-3000 upfront to order inventory and launch the product

AMAZON ADS

  • David turned these on after about 2 weeks and about 20-30 reviews
  • He ran a manual and auto campaign alongside each other at the start
  • He put a $20 daily budget to Manual and $10 to Auto
  • The auto campaign only produced 1-2 sales and those were for a Keyword he knew already was important
  • He then paused the auto campaign
  • He launched with bids of about $3 a click to get onto page one with ads while product was on page 14 or so of organic search results
  • He then gradually reduced the costs per click over time.
  • ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales)  started off over 100%; then it went down to about 65%; last month it was around 45%.

BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND HOW DAVID OVERCAME THEM

1. Stock management

  • running out of stock happened because he didn’t expect sales to take off so fast
  • The solution is that he will over-order (now has 1500 units in transit either in China or in the USA) and have 3-4 months worth of stock of his first product so he can focus on buying and launching product no. 2

2. Quality issues

  • These weren’t so terrible but there were higher returns than David wanted.
  • He is having the returned units shipped to him in the UK
  • He will then inspect these and then ship some on to China
  • David uses Viabox to receive returns, which gives a free USA Address. They’ll also store packages for up to 30-60 days and arrange shipping pretty cheaply.
  • David’s shipping 18 units for $40 (1.6 oz weight/unit). I make that 1.8 pounds in weight, so that’s about $22 a pound of weight or £14.75/lb (or about $49 a kg=about £33)

3. Reseller on his listing

  • One of David’s buyers for $1 (giveaway for reviews) listed his product for sale.
  • David had saved the URLs of the profiles of all of his reviewers
  • So he was able to track down the reseller and sent them a stern email
  • The reseller on his listing disappeared!
  • David had been prepared to just buy the product to get rid of the reseller anyway.

4. Time management

  • During the set-up phase, because of doing the Amazon business on top of having a full-time job and a young family, David was having to work evenings and weekends, sometimes 2-3 hours late evenings.
  • His solution is to commit to the business, and to try to fit in an hour whenever it’s possible, even if that’s 11 pm after a full day of work and family life!

BEST THINGS ABOUT THE AMAZON FBA BUSINESS MODEL

  • It can take off very fast
  • It requires very little input to maintain once set up
  • The money to be made is very substantial

ADVICE FOR NEWCOMERS TO THE BUSINESS

  • “Jump in and get going!”
  • Don’t over-analyse. For example, in his first batch of products, David had no inserts and no instructions. He’s just sorted both out for his last (2nd) batch.
  • If start-up capital is an issue, you can do what David did and use capital for stock but put the recurring costs on a credit card.
  • Have enough stock to not run out if you can!

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 your iDevice.

For Android listeners – Download the Stitcher Radio app (free) and search for “Amazing FBA Podcast.”  Or, if you have already downloaded a podcasting client, follow the directions in the next 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.

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#11 Amazon Product Launch

This Episode, #11, deals with Amazon Product Launch.

It is  part 9 of the “Amazing FBA Startup System”, which is a very highly structured series of podcasts (with very detailed show notes) designed to take you from zero to having a product launched and selling on Amazon.

If you haven’t already listened, you’ll want to at least listen to episode #10,  which deals with Product Listing.

Ideally, subscribe to listen to the whole Startup System, and start from episode #3 (episode #1 is a quick intro from me about the podcast, and episode #2 gives you the overview of the process I used to get to $20,000 in total sales in 7 months).

**STOP PRESS** REVIEWS CONTEST!
As announced on the show:

The first 25 people to review the show on iTunes will be entered into a draw. The winner will receive a £50 Amazon Voucher from Amazing FBA! 
Head over to iTunes now and leave your review! If you haven’t  already, you can also subscribe through iTunes to get all the info you need to start your own successful Amazon business!

SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #11

The launch is basically divided into two areas for me:

  1. Prelaunch – before your product is live on Amazon- essentially creating lists of potential reviewers
  2. Launch – going after reviews (to increase conversions) and driving traffic to your listing.

Don’t Forget to Optimise your product listing before actually Launching! Check Episode  #10 notes if you haven’t already.  

PRODUCT LISTING ELEMENTS

  1. Photos
  2. Title
  3. Bullet Points
  4. Product Description

Underlying the last 3 elements is the hidden “Key”:

5. Keywords!

See Episode #10 notes for more details on Optimising your listing

A. Prelaunch (all of this is semi-optional but it’s ideal if you have time)

        1. Friends & Family – if UK based, build lists  ready for “unverified” reviews
        2. If US-based, do the same but you can also approach friends for actual Amazon Sales
        3. Use own list of existing clients or prospective clients  if you have one with strong cross-sell potential
        4. Facebook Fan Page
          1. Post 2-3 X/day – before launch
          2. pay for likes aim: 1000-2000
          3. run facebook ads to “fans”
        5. Creating anemail list (very optional)
          1. Run Facebook Ads
          2. Optin pages: Lead Pages. Costs about $25 a month. Relatively easy to use, looks just great, quick downloading pages. I’ve used these for 3-4 months and it works well.
          3. Email autoresponder:
            1. aWeber costs around $18 a month – the industry standard for most online marketers (unless you’re using Infusionsoft, which is over 10X more expensive). My current provider.
            2. madmimi is free for up to 100 subscribers. I haven’t used it but I’m tempted by the FREE price tag and a recommendation from Scott Voelker.

B. Launch

      1. B1. *Getting Reviews – TOP PRIORITY!**
        1. Use Amasuite software to (semi) automate this and other essential tasks
        1. Creating “Promotions” in Amazon (essential)
        2. Contact Top Reviewers (optional)
        3. Create your own list (see above) then email them your promo code
        4. Paid review services (I believe one of these is fairly essential)
          1. Tomoson – also Bloggers (for traffic) – free for 1 month then $99 a month (gulp!). I signed up too early then didn’t use them in the free period. If you’re going to use this, wait until your product is live, then get cracking fast – you have one month only for free! Many Amazon sellers I know have had success with these.
          2. Snagshout – my favourite if you’re only going to give away very few units (say 10-20). Cost ca. $5 per giveaway (plus Amazon costs!). Give them your list of single-use codes and they do the rest. I’ve used them 3 times and the review %age was high (around 75-85%, as they promised). Occasionally the reviews were very very short (try 6 words!).
          3. AMZTracker – my personal favourite as the Amazon Review Club is included in the monthly price. Give them your list of single-use codes; then you can choose which reviewers to use.
          4. Facebook Fan Page
          1. put up offer
        1. Email list if possible
          1. use Facebook page

B2. Driving Traffic to your listing

  1. Start when you have at least 5-10 reviews; more if possible (depends on how competitive your niche is) – maybe up to 25 if you’re going to give away a lot/competitive niche.
  2. Amazon Ads (essential )
    1. start with auto campaign
    2. run for a week then leave for a week
    3. review ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales) and Sales
    4. break out best performing keywords into a manual campaign
    5. You can also use the best keywords from the competition from your AMZtracker analysis
  3. Other traffic sources (optional):
    1. facebook page
    2. Facebook ads (combine with page Likes ads)
    3. email lists of buyers
    4. Social Media generally:
      1. Youtube
      2. Twitter
      3. Pinterest – note, join the USA version to connect with US customers!
      4. Instagram

In the next episode we focus on Life After Launching…how to stabilise your business and your Essential Daily Disciplines (and Weekly Must-Dos…).
Including the ins-and-outs of Amazon Ads and Amazon statistics generally.

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 your iDevice.

For Android listeners – Download the Stitcher Radio app (free) and search for “Amazing FBA Podcast.”  Or, if you have already downloaded a podcasting client, follow the directions in the next 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.

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