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.

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. 

 

Goal Update – February 10, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

Goal Update February 10, 2017
Check in for a Goal Update from February 10, 2017

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

 

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

 

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Sell all 250 units of my Private Label Product

0 / 250

So you guys know that I’ve got my first product live on Amazon, I am super excited. It just went live yesterday, or maybe the night before, but anyway. I haven’t sold anything yet, which is fine. I’m running PPC so just waiting for that to kind of kick in and find me some good keywords to focus in on.

But do you notice anything different about this chart that I’m showing on the screen right now? Give you a second. Ok, look at that top number. 250. What did that say last time we checked in? 500. I got my shipment in and it’s 250 units, not 500 units. And at first I was like, “uhh, what happened?”  So I went back and looked at my purchase order and nope, Megan you ordered 250 units. Not 500 units.

And on one hand that’s ok, You know it’s ok, its less to sell and I’m glad I don’t have 50 boxes in my house because they are kind of sizeable. The problem is that my product cost is double what I thought it was. So it is going to be almost impossible for me to make a profit because my product cost is actually right under $13, actually $12.92 and I thought it was going to be more like $6.50 so I have almost no margin. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m probably taking a hit on profitability on this first product.

So, I am very upset with myself. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Maybe another time.

Launch a second Private Label Product

Let’s move on to the second product, I’m still in the research phase, still using Jungle Scout.

What I’ve actually done is I took a sheet of paper, I’ve got it around here somewhere, but I said I’m not even going to start pricing and sourcing until I can fill up this whole sheet of paper with good ideas and so I have been spending lots of time in the bowels of the Amazon search engine trying to uncover some good opportunities.

I do have 2 or 3 things I’m pretty excited about but I’m really just, I think the problem might be with this first product is that I didn’t go deep enough, so I’m trying to go super deep this time and just make sure I’m on more solid footing with what I am trying to source.

So, I’m still working, I’m working really hard on this one actually. Like my two main focuses right now are optimizing the listing for product one and really digging deep on product 2. That’s where I am right now.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers

4522 / 5000

Moving over to twitter, I am so close to my goal of 5,000 twitter followers as of today I am at 4,522 people following the @MegLoftin handle which is just incredible.

I really enjoy Twitter, I hadn’t really been on it before, I’ve had this handle for a long time but I just kind of grabbed it a while back so I could get my name, but I hadn’t ever really used it until the last 8 or 9 months or so.

But I really enjoy twitter, I enjoy checking in on it and interacting with people so if you are on twitter make sure that you are following me @MegLoftin come say hi.

Let’s be uhhh, twitter friends, I don’t know what that’s called.

Send out 1,000 Tweets (GOAL MET)

1061 / 1000

Ok the second goal related to twitter at least is to have over 1,000 tweets on my @megloftin handle, I have surpassed that now as of this morning I was at 1,061 and you know that just continues to keep happening because like I said, I enjoy Twitter.

I enjoy interacting, I enjoy being there , so I have definitely already hit that goal with really just a month in, 6 weeks in maybe to this quarter so that number is just going to continue to grow because I like tweeting.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers (GOAL MET)

288 / 200

Wow, you guys. YouTube subscribers, we are up to 288 on this channel.

So that is amazing, thank you, and you know I’ve been adding about 20 a week or so and I just hope that continues I think I’ve got some really good videos coming up that I hope appeal to people and make them want to hit that subscribe button so we can continue to grow and learn from each other and help each other.

So again, if you think these videos are worth watching, maybe you think they are worth sharing too and you can tell your friends that are interested in Amazon about it and we can just kind of all grow together. Let’s do it.

Post 20 YouTube Videos

15 / 20

The next YouTube goal was to have 20 videos at The Bootstrap Boutique channel, I’m up to 64 videos now from 49 so well on the way to hitting, I’ll actually hit 20 here pretty soon.

Probably by the next goal update or the one after that. So I’m not worried about hitting this goal, I’m definitely going to exceed it, doing the 2 videos a week plus the one every other Friday definitely puts me in the ball park to hit 20 in the first quarter so that’s awesome!

Review 3 books on YouTube

2 / 3

The next goal was to review 3 books at The Bootstrap Boutique channel in the first quarter so you guys know I did Eat That Frog!

I also did 5 book reviews in 1 video but they were only 1 sentence each. So it’s really what is the essence of this book. And I just did classic books that everybody that is interested in running a business should absolutely read, there’s no doubt about that for any of these books. Got some good feedback on it, people seemed to enjoy it.

I don’t know that I’ll do it again because I’m just trying to fill out one more space which I already have the book ready to go, I’m really excited to share it with you for my last one for this goal, but as things come up in the future, especially if I can kind of find a theme, like this one I was calling the “classic business books” so maybe we’ll do a productivity one or something like that. I don’t know. Stay tuned.

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

1 / 3

And then the last goal that I have was the 3 appearances and/or collaborations on podcasts on YouTube channels, on whatever and I still only have in the books Be Moving Forward with John Lim that is coming out March 7th.

I’m super excited about that. I do have a meeting on the books this afternoon to talk with another creator about doing some collaboration stuff so I’m super excited about that.

Of course I will keep you guys posted. And then we would just be looking for one more opportunity.

If you know somebody that you think I would be a good fit for and mesh well with and you want to see me pop up on their podcast, on their youtube channel, on their blog, whatever, just let me know. I am open.

Wrap Up

That’s going to wrap it up for this 2 week period. As you can see, there’s a lot of work to do still on the Amazon stuff, the YouTube, the Twitter, we’re making progress there. But let me tell you, my focus is really going to be on marketing that product. I’ve got some fun ideas and things I’m trying out to drive traffic to my Amazon listing. So more to come there, I will be sharing it all along the way, of course. And I will talk to you next time. Take care!

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

You can see all The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube videos here.

Goal Update – January 27, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

Goal Update January 27 2017
Goal Update Report for January 27. 2017

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

 

Goal Update January 27, 2017

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

 

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product

0 / 500

Alright, first goal was to sell out of all 500 of the products that I’ve ordered. This…wah wah…is still a big fat zero but did you see my video from yesterday?

Because all my products have arrived from China they are in my house, I’ve just now got to work on getting them out of my house and into Amazon. So that is going to be a big focus of mine over the next few days.

Launch a second Private Label Product

The next goal is to launch another product at Amazon, I’m still kind of looking at some stuff in Jungle Scout, I’ve got a few ideas.

But I think I want to try Aliexpress this time and just order like one or two things and see if something sticks, so just want to try out and experiment with a different way to do this so …more to come.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers

4243 / 5000

Ok, moving over to Twitter, that’s my @megloftin handle and when I started on January first I had 2679 twitter followers and wow guys, we are up to 4,243 just 27 days later. So, that is just a function of showing up, spending time on twitter, finding other people that I’m interested in following, talking to them.

I’ve been making an effort to just @ reply people or just @ tag people, I don’t know the technical term for it, but reaching out to people and saying “Hey, I appreciate what you’re sharing online” and especially if there is something particular that they have shared that I liked, I am just really trying to say hi to people on Twitter. So if you follow me there, say hi to me. That would be awesome.  I will say hi back, I promise.

Send out 1,000 Tweets

939 / 1000

My next goal was to hit over 1,000 total tweets on my @megloftin handle.  I’m currently at 939 so this is one we are definitely going to get to, like I said, I just make time every day to go to Twitter and post stuff.

I am really trying to do it to reach out more, I also really like to retweet content and to share it.  Because I feel like that’s how I find the best stuff on twitter, is through other people retweeting things to share so I just try to pass that along.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers (GOAL MET)

250 / 200

Youtube subscribers. Guys, come on. You’re awesome. Thank you so much for being here, again. Can I say that again? Yes. Will I say it again? Yes. I appreciate you guys so much. I had a  goal of 200 and we’re at 250 as of this morning which is amazing.

I’ve got a question.

Do you think we could hit 500 in this quarter?

That feels crazy to me, that feels like a really scary goal actually to even say it and put it out there. I was talking to my husband about it last night, and he was like, “You might hit 300, you might hit 400.” And in my mind I was thinking, “I want 500.”  I think I want to hit 500.” But I didn’t, I didn’t say it. I chickened out. But I will tell you guys. You know how I like to share things with you guys that I don’t really put out in my real life.

But that would be well beyond my wildest dreams of what I even thought I would ever do on this channel, so if you think that what I put out is worth watching, then maybe you think it’s also worth sharing. And if you share it with your friends and with your communities, then that would just mean the world to me.

Post 20 YouTube Videos

10 / 20

So YouTube Videos, when we started this in the beginning on January I had 49 live on Youtube and as of this morning I have 59 live on Youtube.

I’m not sure if that actually counts the product update video I posted yesterday because that was like a 10 minute thing I just kind of put together and threw up there because I was so excited.

But yea, 59 or maybe 60 videos so we are right on track to hit 20 in the quarter and don’t worry they are going to keep coming at ya on Mondays and Wednesdays up until the end of March.

Review 3 books on YouTube

1 / 3

These are the last two goals that I have to share. The first is books reviewed. I did a review of Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy, which was, you know. A little lukewarm, right?

Brian Tracy is a well known management professional guru and he has a lot of things to say, I just don’t know if that book was my favorite.

There’s a lot more to him that Eat That Frog! so don’t let my tepid review of that book put you off of him, he’s got a lot of awesome value that he shares through several of his books.

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

1 / 3

And then finally appearances & collaborations.

So like I shared with you last time I did a podcast interview with John Lim who hosts Be Moving Forward, which is a really fun podcast. And it’s not very long, that’s a good think about Be Moving Forward. It’s very bite sized you can listen to it on a commute or something like that and you’re going to get a lot of good knowledge from people doing a lot of fun stuff. So I definitely recommend you check it out.

However, since that time I have not done any other appearances or collaborations with anyone. I’ve got a couple of opportunities sitting in my inbox that I need to reach out on.

What I really wanted to share here was that I pitched somebody to be a guest on their podcast yesterday and they came back pretty quickly and said, “no thanks, we’re not doing that right now.”

And here’s why I wanted to share that:

One because I should be pitching a lot more and hearing no a lot more. Because that means you’re trying a lot more things.

But 2, there was a time when, if someone had wrote me and said almost immediately, “no thanks, not interested.” I would have thought that was something that I did wrong. I would have thought that I wasn’t worthy. And I was really happy about my reaction to that “no” yesterday because I just thought, “oh, ok.”

They are saying it’s not right for them right now. They’re not doing that right now, that’s fine.” And I just went on about my day. And I can’t tell you how different that is for me, than where I would have been 6 months ago. Where I would have thought it was my fault and I would have felt bad about it, all day. And I just didn’t.

And I was just really proud of that response that I had and that’s what I want for you guys too. It is important that we go out and that we try things and that we fail and that we hear no. You got to go through a lot of “no’s” to get a “yes.” If you’ve ever been through sales training for your job, you hear that over and over again. But oh my gosh, it is so true and hearing no that time is just setting you up to get to a yes down the road.

So 2 lessons from that , 1 I should be pitching a lot more, I should not just be waiting for things to come to me because it doesn’t really work like that in the real world, but 2 that hearing no and being ok with it, is a really good place to be, it actually feels pretty good.

It’s been a great couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share what I’ve got coming up next. Stay tuned!

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

You can subscribe to The Bootstrap Boutique YouTube Channel here.

 

Goal Update January 13, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

goal update report january 13 2017
Goal Update Report for January 13, 2017.

 

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

 

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

 

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

 

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Goal Update January 13, 2017

Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product

0 / 500

Regular watchers will know that my product is currently in China, so I haven’t been able to sell any units yet.

Launch a second Private Label Product

I have a few good ideas for my second product and am using Jungle Scout to validate them.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers

3546 / 5000

I started the year with 2,679 followers and have seen a steady increase as a result of being active on the platform.

Send out 1,000 Tweets

814 / 1000

I started the year with 722 tweets and have been tweeting regularly.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers

211 / 200

I started the year with 182 subscribers and am humbled by the fact that there are now 211 of us here on The Bootstrap Boutique.

Post 20 YouTube Videos

4 / 20

I started the year with 49 videos and now have 53 live youtube videos.

Review 3 books on YouTube

0 / 3

I have a book review ready to go, but it’s not posted yet.  Coming soon!

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

1 / 3

I’m excited to announce that I will be on John Lim’s podcast, Moving Forward, in March!

 

It’s been a great couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share what I’ve got coming up next. Stay tuned!

 

Amazon Sellers Account: Professional vs. Individual

amazon sellers account: individual vs professional
When creating your Amazon Sellers Account, you can have either an individual or professional account. Which is right for you?

Watch the video here.

Amazon Sellers Account – Which One?

Now why would I pay for something that I could get for free?

Hey, welcome back to another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. My name is Megan and I’m glad your here because this week we are going to talk about the first thing you have to decide when you go into Amazon to create a new sellers central account.

Now, Sellers Central we have talked about before, that is the back end system in Amazon where sellers can go in and manage their account.  When you go there for the very first time to create an account, you’ve got a decision to make.  You have to decide, do you want a professional or an individual account?

Now you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know, I don’t know which kind of account, which kind of account do I need?”  And that may even be why you’re watching this video.  You’re in luck.  So at first glance the main difference is really just price and if you don’t dig in too much to it, that’s really all you’re going to see.

So here’s the breakdown.

Individual vs. Professional

An individual account has no monthly fee, however Amazon is going to charge you 99 cents per item in addition to all the various charges that come along with selling.

Or you can sign up for the professional plan, which is 39.99 a month.  Now thats a flat fee, there are again lots of little charges that Amazon gets in there, but that’s the account level fee.

But if you want to sell Private Label on Amazon, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling one a month, fifty a month, whatever, you just can’t do it with an individual account.  That individual plan does not allow you to create a new listing on Amazon, you can only sell what is already there.

So if you wanted to go an sell a cell phone case, you’d have to sell something that is already on the market, you cannot go out and create your own product under a private label and then upload that as its on listing.  But if you’re doing online or retail arbitrage, yeah you can do that with the individual plan, I don’t think there’s any issues there.  I think you would be totally fine to do that. But if you want to sell private label, forty dollars a month for the professional account, thats the way to go.

Professional Accounts for Private Label Sellers

Professional accounts give you some other features and benefits too.  For one you can upload a spreadsheet to Amazon with a whole bunch of listings.  For most of us doing Private Label, we’re going to pick up new products kind of here and there and going in and creating them once at a time isn’t that big of a deal.  But say you had something else already going, say you had a brick and mortar retail store or you had an ecommerce store somewhere else on the internet and now you want to move those items onto the Amazon platform also.  If you have hundreds of SKUs and you’re having to do that one at a time, that’s going to take forever.  So just the ability to upload that spreadsheet all at once with all the information that you need for your different SKUS is a huge benefit to people that are in that situation already.

That’s just a quick overview as to why you should choose the professional account over the individual account if you’re going to sell Private Label on Amazon. I know it doesn’t seem very bootstrappey to pay forty dollars a month when you also have the option to just pay a per item charge, especially when you’re starting out.  That was my thought too, but you just can’t do it as far as I can tell.

You just can’t sell Private Label on the individual plan, so we’re going to have to suck it up and pay that forty dollars a month.  But it’s not the end of the world, its just motivation to go out there and make it up, make sure you’re getting to where you are selling more than forty a month and hey, you’re coming out ahead anyway, so there we go.

Wrap Up

Thumbs up to this video if it was helpful to you, I certainly hope it was.  And feel free to subscribe to this channel, we post new videos every Wednesday, that way you will never miss one.  And I know that is a big priority for you.

If you have any other questions about Amazon or FBA stuff, just leave them down in the comments, I’d be happy to dig in and do some research so I can try to answer them for you.  Other wise, have a great week, we will talk next time.  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.

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.

Jungle Scout Tutorial: How To Find Products to Sell on Amazon

jungle scout tutorial
In this Jungle Scout tutorial, you will learn how to use the tool to evaluate potential private label items.

*Updated: Jungle Scout has a new look, check out the facelift here.

Jungle Scout Tutorial

Get Jungle Scout Here (affiliate link, obviously)

Today we are going to do a walkthrough of how to use the Jungle Scout pro Chrome edition. This Jungle Scout tutorial will help you understand how to use the tool to find private label products to sell on Amazon.

How To Use Jungle Scout

Jungle Scout Pro is a Chrome plug in that you use with the Amazon.com website.  It allows you to easily see the “behind the scenes” sales data for products sold on Amazon to help you make decisions about what you would like to sell.

Jungle Scout gives you estimated sales volume over the prior 30 days, as well as the fees that Amazon will charge to sell your product.  You can use this data to understand if a product will be profitable for you to sell.

Data Tracked in Jungle Scout

  • Product Name
  • Brand
  • Price
  • Category
  • Rank
  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Reviews
  • Rating
  • Seller
  • Fees
  • Net

 

999 Trick

The 999 trick is a way that you can figure out Amazon sales volume manually, without buying Jungle Scout Pro. It is actually the method that Greg Mercer, founder of Jungle Scout, used before he created Jungle Scout to automate the process for him!

If you have a product that you are interested in, you would need to track it over the course of 30 days and see how many products it is selling each day.

You’re able to do this by adding 999 units to your cart at the same time each day.  Because of a quirk in Amazon’s system, as long as the seller has less than 999 units in stock, they will tell you “Sorry, there are only XX units available.”  This is the number of units in stock.

You record that number in a spreadsheet and do the same thing at the exact same time the next day.  The difference between units is how many were sold the prior day.  Do this every day for 30 days and you will have the number of units sold that month.

This isn’t a foolproof method, a seller could send in more stock half way through the month! But if you want to track a product at no cost, you can get an approximation of the number of sales using this method.

Get Jungle Scout

If you don’t have the Jungle Scout Pro extension yet, what are you waiting for?  Jungle Scout makes your product research time more efficient and productive. Get your copy today (affiliate).

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.