Where to Ship Private Label Products: Your Home or Amazon?

where to ship private label products
Where should you send that first shipment of private label products?

New Amazon sellers have a big decision to make, should your first shipment of products come to your house to direct to an Amazon fulfillment center?

Related: How to Ship Your Product to Amazon

There are pros and cons to each, but I think that new sellers should receive production runs, at least the first few, themselves before sending on to Amazon.

Some of the benefits to shipping direct to Amazon include:

  • lower cost as you aren’t double shipping goods (China to you, you to Amazon)
  • potentially shorter travel from China to Amazon fulfillment center
  • less down time before your product is ready to sell
  • no inventory in your home

But..despite all that, I still think that you as a new Amazon seller should have products sent to your home.  It comes down to this:

No one cares about your products as much as you do.

Even if you have an inspection done in China (and if you are sending direct to Amazon, you absolutely should), it’s not the same as putting eyes on your own product.

You’ve seen your supplier’s quality level for a sample, maybe two.

But is the quality maintained over 500 units? Over 1,000 units?

Hopefully the answer is yes, but you may find differences between the first box of product and the last, and that is something that you want to be aware of.

Also, when you are launching a new product, you are never quite sure exactly how quickly your products will sell.  100 units may last you a week or they may last you a month.  If you send too much product in and it sits in the warehouse, you are paying extra monthly storage fees and also have the possibility of hitting long term storage fees.

The ability to control how much inventory is being sent to Amazon fulfillment centers is a nice benefit of having product sent to your home, until you have a better idea of your inventory turn.

Do you agree, or do you think it’s always better to send to the Amazon fulfillment center? Tell me in the comments!

You can watch this video on The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can subscribe to The Bootstrap Boutiquie’s YouTube Channel here.

How to Ship A Product To Amazon: Step by Step Tutorial

How to ship a product to Amazon
Step-by-Step tutorial for how to ship your private label products to a warehouse for Amazon FBA.

Today I’m going to show you the step-by-step process to set up a shipping plan to send your products to an Amazon fulfillment center.

How to ship a product to Amazon

This is an important part of selling on Amazon and can cause a lot of stress. Watch this tutorial (take notes!) and you’ll be shipping products to Amazon like a pro!

Don’t forget that in order to create a shipping plan, you must first have your product listed in Amazon Seller Central.

You also need a FNSKU attached to your product, and a UPC or any other type of bar code should be covered up when going into an Amazon warehouse.  See the difference between FNSKU and UPC here.

Mentioned in the Video:

How to Set up a Product Listing on Amazon FBA – another step-by-step tutorial showing you how to list your private label product on Amazon for sale.  Do this first!

Or watch the video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel, here.

Product Tear Downs With Jungle Scout

product tear downs jungle scout
Use Jungle Scout to look at 5 potential private label products to quickly see if thy are good options to sell on Amazon.

We are going back to the updated Jungle Scout Pro Chrome extension in this video to take a look at potential private label items and demonstrate how the new features help you make quick decisions.

Still need to buy Jungle Scout? Get it here!

Today we are going to look at 5 products that I have previously evaluated and passed on for different reasons. If I’d had access to the new features in Jungle Scout earlier this year when reviewing them, I could have gone through the process of eliminating them from my list much more quickly!

Product Tear Downs

Owl Shaped Bird Blinders

These items are used in gardens to scare birds away from your growing crops.  When I first looked at these back in the Spring, they were selling much better, which makes sense. Spring is a time when you would look for these items as people are spending time in their gardens.

Owl Shaped Bird Blinder
Owl Shaped Bird Blinder

Here is the Jungle Scout screen shot:

Jungle Scout - Owl Shaped Bird Blinder
Jungle Scout – Owl Shaped Bird Blinder

What you can quickly see here is that average monthly sales are low across the board.  Again, this wasn’t the case in the Spring but it’s good to know that this is a seasonal product without much interest during the rest of the year.

The average selling price is also low, and if my memory serves me correctly it was low earlier this year too.  This is a price point that may not give you a lot of margin.

The opportunity score rates this at a 4 – low demand and low competition.  Anything with low demand should probably be a “pass” unless you have a really good reason for pursuing it. Otherwise you risk your inventory sitting in Amazon’s warehouses for far too long.

Bird Scare Tape

This product has a similar purpose as the bird blinders, but you can hang it or tape it along a fence post.

It’s funny because I grew up in the country where everyone hung aluminum pie plates around the vegetable garden to ward off birds, but I guess you could buy something especially for that too. 🙂

Bird Scare Tape
Bird Scare Tape

And here is the Jungle Scout screen shot:

Bird Scare Tape - Jungle Scout
Bird Scare Tape – Jungle Scout

This product has the same problem as the bird blinders and likely for the same reason, it is a seasonal product that will have peak demand in the Spring.

Also, this product has higher demand than the bird blinders, but also higher competition. What you can’t see in the Jungle Scout screen shot is that the Listing Quality Score (LQS) for these listings is higher, mostly 6 and 7s for the top sellers. That means the listings are strong enough that you may not be able to outsell the competition just by having a better listing.

Sticky Fly Paper

This next product seems more promising, someone is bringing in 10k a month selling sticky paper! But there are still some issues with it that Jungle Scout points out to use.

Sticky Fly Paper
Sticky Fly Paper

And the Jungle Scout screen shot:

Sticky Fly Paper - Jungle Scout
Sticky Fly Paper – Jungle Scout

Finally a product with some demand! It makes sense that this would not be as seasonal as the bird scare products, but it takes a dip each winter.

The problem with this is competition.  There are competitors with over 1,000 reviews and several more with over 300.  For a low cost product, you would likely have to spend a good deal of your profit margin on PPC just to compete, which may not be the best option if you are starting out as a new seller.

Adult Tie Back Bibs

I was interested in this product because in the United States, we have an aging baby boomer population and, like it or not, the demographics suggest that there will be an increasing need for senior care products.

The good news for you boomers is that, based off this product, we aren’t there yet in terms of tons of people needing it.

Adult Tie Back Bib
Adult Tie Back Bib

And the Jungle Scout screenshot:

Adult Tie Back Bib - Jungle Scout
Adult Tie Back Bib – Jungle Scout

As you can see, no one is buying this product. Average monthly sales are slow and demand is low along with competition.  Also, the price on these is hard to get excited about. You see some higher priced items in the list, but when you look closely, these sellers have 500+ individual bibs in a pack. This is going to be a big, heavy item to ship.

Doll Stand

I can’t remember exactly why doll stands caught my eye, but when I do product research I like to look at a variety of products and this one made the long list. But not the short list. Let’s look at why.

Doll Stand
Doll Stand

And the Jungle Scout screen shot:

Adult Tie Back Bib - Jungle Scout
Doll Stand – Jungle Scout

Something that stand out immediately to me is just how few individual sellers there are here. It appears that one brand is dominating the top listings and they have lower prices than many of the competitors.  Also, there is lower demand than competition.

This brings us to an important point with the Opportunity Score. You want your demand and competition to at least match.  Low/Low or Medium/Medium for instance. When you get into a situation where you have low demand and medium competition, or low demand and high competition, you are working against the law of supply and demand.  That’s not a good place to be as a supplier.

 

I hope that these product tear downs are helpful examples of what you don’t want when finding products to sell on Amazon.

Let me know if you have further questions!

Jungle Scout Pro 2.0 UPDATED – New Features to Help You Sell More on Amazon FBA

jungle scout pro updated
Jungle Scout recently got a facelift, but the update isn’t just cosmetic. Check out the new features in today’s video.

UPDATED Jungle Scout Pro!

Jungle Scout recent rolled out a fresh new look for their popular Chrome extension.

Still haven’t bought Jungle Scout? Get your copy here.

The updated Jungle Scout Pro adds features that will help you make better decisions about what you should sell on Amazon.

I especially like the features that can help you make a quick decision when starting the product research phase.

I like to do my research by creating long lists of ideas and narrowing down from there.  With the new Opportunity Score and Listing Quality Score (LQS), I can quickly see what potential products need to be crossed off my list.

For example, if I wanted to private label a product, but the Opportunity Score was a low number and indicated that the product had medium demand but high competition, I might think twice.  If the LQS column showed that all my competitors have high quality listings, then I’m looking at a product that will be tough to compete against.  I can quickly move on to a new product idea.

Of course, Jungle Scout is a tool and not the final say (good news, that’s you!), so you should take all this information it is giving you with a grain of salt, but for making a quick decision early in the process, these new features can’t be beat.

Other Fun Additions

I’m also a fan of some other new add ons from the Jungle Scout team.

The Keyword Cloud will show you top ranking keywords from your competitors.  The larger the word the more popular the keyword.

Jungle Scout Keyword Cloud
Jungle Scout Keyword Cloud

I also like the Historical Monthly Sales that you can access by clicking a products sales number.  This is similar to the information that you can get in CamelCamelCamel, but by viewing it in the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension you are able to save yourself a few clicks.

historical sales data jungle scout pro
Historical Sales Data in Jungle Scout Pro

Jungle Scout’s New Look

I’m really excited about the new additions to the Jungle Scout extention.  The JS team is pushing to be the premier tool suite for Private Label sellers, and you can feel it in this update.

By adding tools and information to the chrome extension that allow you to quickly gather data and make product selections, Jungle Scout has given uses the ability to move efficiently through the product research phase of selling on Amazon.

Make sure you are using Jungle Scout – get your copy today. 

 

Challenges of Selling On Amazon FBA and What’s Next – The Amazing Seller

Scott Voelker The Amazing Seller
Megan and Scott of The Amazing Seller podcast discuss what changes may come to Amazon in 2018 and how we should deal with them.

The Amazing Seller

In today’s video, I got the opportunity to spend some time with Scott Voelker of The Amazing Seller podcast.  If that name sounds familiar, you may remember that I helped him organize a meet-up earlier this summer, or just due to the fact that he has one of the biggest podcasts about Amazon on the internet :).

Scott was kind enough to hang out and talk about what FBA sellers should do to prep for changes coming in 2018 and beyond.

What’s Next

What can we do to prepare for the future?

Scott believes that customers will always buy products. This doesn’t change, it’s just the rules that change that we have to abide by.

It’s important that we as sellers remain flexible.

Also, Scott talked about something that got my wheels turning right there on air.  Make sure you see that around the 16:50 mark.

Email List

Also important is that we should take traffic and sales into our own hands.  Scott believes in the power of the email list and driving your own traffic to your listing.

 

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

Amazon No Longer Allows Reviews For A Discount. Now What?

no more reviews for a discount at Amazon
Amazon no longer allows sellers to offer discounts in exchange for an honest review.

Watch the video at YouTube here.

Well this changes everything.  Or does it?

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  My name is Megan and I just wanted to put out a quick video because yesterday Amazon dropped some really big news.

No More Reviews For A Discount

And that is that they are no longer going to allow incentivized reviews on product.  Here’s the background on why that’s important.

There are a lot of people online teaching you how to launch private label products on Amazon, which is one of the reasons I don’t really get into that to much.  I’ve told you before, you can listen to Scott Voelker he does an awesome job telling you how to launch a private label product on Amazon.  But pretty much everybody follows a step by step by step process.  And one of those processes is the launch process, by which you give out a number of free or substantially reduced products to people in exchange for their honest review.

So why is that important? Because reviews are social proof.

They help people make buying decisions, one product versus the other. And these discounted products have never been a problem, there’s just a few requirements that you have to follow.  One is that you cannot offer a product at a discount in exchange for a four or five star review.  So you couldn’t say, “hey buyer, I have this twenty dollar product, I’ll sell it to you for one dollar if you leave me a five star review.”  You couldn’t do that, you could in no way influence the way that people review your products or the star rating that they give you.

Now on the reviewer side, you had to give an honest review and you had to disclose that you had received the product for a discount.  So a lot of times at the end of these reviews you will see something that says, I don’t know, like, “I received this product  for free or a discount in exchange for my honest review.” Simple enough, right?

And there’s a ton of groups that you could use that would give you those reviews, so you could have anything from a free group on Facebook to paid services like ReviewKick (now called JumpSend) or GetBSR.com.  Here’s the problem with those reviews: Amazon was noticing many customers, and I’ll be honest, myself included, didn’t really trust those reviews, because when you are incentivized through a free or discounted product, studies have shown that you are much more likely to give a more positive review than you otherwise would.

So I know when I would shop on Amazon, and I always look at the reviews, I would kind of scroll past the top five or six or so because you know that those are going to be the discounted ones.  When you have these overwhelmingly positive reviews that don’t seem very well rounded it does create a lack of trust.

Amazon takes issue with that because Amazon is an extremely customer focused company.  I don’t know if they were coming under criticism for allowing this type of review system or what, but at the end of the day, they’ve decided they are just no longer going to allow it.  Of course they are still going to allow you to use Amazon Vine which is their own internal review club basically, but this is their sandbox, we’re just playing in it.  That’s what they are going to do.  Ok, we’ll find another way.

How To Get Reviews on Amazon Now

So what does this mean if you are an FBA seller or thinking of becoming an FBA seller?  A few things.

Number one, Amazon has said in a Tech Crunch article I read this morning that they will go back and delete prior reviews if they are deemed excessive.  Now who knows what “excessive” means or if they’re actually going to do it, or if they are just going to get rid of anything that has that disclaimer in it.  But at the end of the day that is going to help established sellers with established products because even if they have a thousand of these reviews, if Amazon doesn’t deem that excessive that means they are still going to be there while you as a new seller or a less established seller are going to have to kind of claw and scratch your way back up the review chart.

Number two, it is going to be more difficult to launch more products.  Everybody that I have read that’s talked about this new policy has said that yeah, it’s going to become a lot harder to get new products launched.  And that is because its going to be harder to get that social proof.  You have to rely on people that are not discounted or not incentivized buying a product, using it, coming back and reviewing it.  The conversions for that are very small.  So it is going to be a lot more difficult to get those reviews going forward.

Review Request Emails

There’s a couple of pieces of software that can help you with that, one is Feedback Genius another is SalesBacker, I’m sure there’s others, but they will send out auto-response emails to people that purchase your products and ask them to come back and leave you a review.  So I predict that those two companies are going to become a lot more popular going forward.  And I’ll put links to those down below so you can go check them out if that is something you think you need to start using now.

We’re also just going to have to find other ways to market.  A few ideas would be Facebook ads, blogger outreach, have bloggers do reviews of your products and link back to Amazon, youtube marketing could be a new way to do that.  I’ve seen someone say that they used to just back in the day write thank you cards to every person that purchased their product.  That’s a little time consuming but its not a bad idea, I like real mail.  Could be fun.

But at the end of the day we’re going to have to find new ways to do it because this incentivized review program is no more.  And here’s the main thing that I really want you to take away because I have read this in a lot of different Facebook groups over the past 18 hours or so.  Do not try to find a way around this and continue to offer discounted reviews.  Amazon is going to go Liam Neeson on you.  They will find you, and they will ban your account, and then you’re going to be really sad.

My Launch Strategy

Can I tell you a secret.  I was never planning on using reviews in order to launch a product.  I know.  I know that sounds kinda crazy when this has been in the past a proven way to do it, but I just wanted to try something different.

You’ve been watching my videos for a few months now.  You should know, if you don’t know anything else about me, that I’m a little bit hard headed and have to kind of do things the hard way.

My plan was always going to be to use a mix of pay per click within the Amazon platform and also YouTube marketing.  This is a big part of why I’ve been doing these videos, is because I want to practice getting better on camera.  Still needs a lot of work.

The challenge now is that a lot of other people are going to be using these tactics also, and so that’s just going to make it a little more crowded.  However, I think there’s also going to be a lot of people that just drop out, hands up, “This is a step too far Amazon, I’m just not going to do this private label thing anymore.”  See ya.

Here’s the thing guys, it is important in business to be optimistic.  Haven’t you read Good to Great by Jim Collins? What is one of the most common traits among those successful companies? Undeniably optimistic leadership.  So when the game changes, change with it.  It didn’t go away, its just, yeah some of the rules have changed.  But is there still opportunity? Yeah, there is.  Is it going to be harder?  Yeah, it is.  But that’s life.

Leave me a comment in the description below let me know what you think about this new policy by Amazon.  Is it totally screwing you up or are you excited about the opportunity that is to come?  And hey, it can be a little bit of both, we’re not so black and white here, right? But I look forward to hearing what you have to say, I look forward to seeing what changes are going to come and what new innovations people are going to have.  It’s just a new opportunity guys, let’s grab it.  I will talk to you next week, take care.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

What is Private Label? (RA vs OA vs PL)

What is Private Label for Amazon?
There are many ways to sell products on Amazon – retail arbitrage, online arbitrage and private label are the most popular.

Are you ready to learn a new language?

Hey bootstrappers, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.

Have you ever noticed how whenever you start a new hobby or go to work at a new company, it is literally like you have to learn a new language to understand what people are talking about?  And that has absolutely been the case for me as I’ve been going down the journey of building a private label company on Amazon.

How to Shop on Amazon

What I have learned that I definitely never paid attention to when I was a shopper on Amazon is that there are three different ways that you can purchase products there on the website.

So the first is just buying from Amazon, which I never had paid attention to and thought that was the only way for a really long time.  So what that means is that Amazon is going out there using their purchasing power to buy products from a company, from a manufacturer, from a distributor, from a wholesaler or whomever and are selling them to you.

But have you ever bought something from Amazon and then you didn’t get the Prime shipping that you are used to, or it came in a box that didn’t say Amazon on it?  That was probably merchant fulfilled, which means that a certain company, again a wholesaler, a distributer, or a product manufacturer is just uploading their catalog of products to Amazon and selling them through to you.  However, nothing is in the Amazon warehouse, its actually still with that company and when they get the Amazon orders then they ship them out to you.  So that’s merchant fulfilled.

Finally there is Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA you’ll see it referred to a lot in the private label community.  So Fulfillment By Amazon is where you have somebody that is purchasing a good, a product, putting a private label on it, and sending it actually to the Amazon warehouse and Amazon acts as first your storefront but also your fulfillment center.  So everything that is Fulfillment by Amazon actually sits in an Amazon warehouse.  So the benefit to that for a customer is that it is eligible for Prime shipping, so you can get it in two days or quicker now that there is that Amazon Now service.  And that’s what I’m focusing on and within that I’m focusing on Private Label.

So I’ll quickly go over the two other ways you can sell Fulfillment By Amazon and then we’ll talk about what is really the meat of this conversation, What is Private Labeling?

How to Sell on Amazon

People can sell Fulfillment By Amazon in one of three ways.

The first being Retail Arbitrage, the second being Online Arbitrage and the third being private label.  So you’ll see those shortened or abbreviated a lot of times as RA, OA and PL.

Remember, I told you we were learning a new language?

Retail and Online Arbitrage

Arbitrage sounds like a really big, fancy name, but all that means is taking advantage of price discrepancies between two different markets.  Wait, that could still be a little confusing.  So let’s say you want to buy a curling iron.  Walmart is selling a curling iron for twenty dollars and Amazon is selling a curling iron for twenty dollars.  Right, so in that case there is no discrepancy between prices.  Say Walmart buts that on sale for half off, so now you have a Walmart curling iron selling for ten dollars and the exact same thing selling on Amazon for twenty.  So someone involved in arbitrage would take advantage of that price discrepancy. They would purchase the ten dollar curling iron at Walmart and then turn around and sell it at Amazon for twenty.  That gives a profit of ten dollars.  Now you’re probably thinking, “Ok, ten dollars, that’s nice but you can’t make a living off it.”  And you’re right.  So usually people in the arbitrage space do not purchase a curling iron, they purchase all the curling irons they can get to from all the different Walmarts that they can drive to in a day.

So retail arbitrage is usually referred to that way, its purchasing something at a local brick and mortar store that you could actually go get your hands on the item and then selling them, that could be at Amazon, it could be eBay, I’m sure there’s some other online markets out there, that are similar, you know, Craigslist.  But you get the idea.

Online arbitrage is really the same thing, its just that the buy and the sell happens online.

What is Private Label?

Alright, but what is Private Labeling, or you may have heard it called white label before?

And if you never knew what that meant, its really just referring to buying some kind of generic product typically, putting a label on it, attaching it to a brand that you have, and then selling it under that brand name.  Many private label sellers, especially on Amazon, are just purchasing purely generic products, putting a label on it, and then turning around and selling it under you know whatever their label or their brand is on Amazon.

Up until recently, people have been very successful at doing that, however the market does appear to be becoming more saturated and with that it means that you’re going to have to put a little more effort into actually improving on products that’s already there.  It’s really not suggested to create something new because you actually don’t know it there’s a market for that, but you can generally take something that’s existing, give it a little tweak, a little improvement and then sell it fairly successfully on Amazon.

Ok so that’s it, I hope that explained it for you, if not, if you still have questions, leave them in the comments below I will be happy to answer anything else that you have as far as “What is a Private Label?” Or if you have questions about the arbitrage space, retail versus online and how you get started in that.  It’s not my specialty but I have researched a little bit about it so I’ll tell you what I know.

Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a video, we post new ones every Wednesday, I will talk to you next week guys, take care!


You can watch this video on The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.