Why You Aren’t Selling on Amazon FBA

Why You Aren't Selling on Amazon FBA
So, why aren’t you selling on Amazon yet?

Why You Aren’t Selling

One of the biggest surprises for me from the 2017 TBB Survey was that 77% of you all aren’t yet selling on Amazon.

I’m going to make an assumption that you are here to learn about selling on Amazon – ok and also to see what I’m going to screw up next – so I was a bit taken a back by this.

On  one had it does make sense, I’m still an Amazon beginner so it follows that other Amazon beginners would be drawn to this channel.

But, I want to make sure that we all don’t hang out too long in beginner land, that we are continuing to move forward.

So in today’s video I’m asking you, what do you need to help you take the next step and move forward to selling on Amazon?

Here are some resources that can help:

Is Private Label Right For You? Free Email Course

28 Day Pick Your Product Challenge

Private Label Resource Guide

Or maybe you need accountability and motivation.  If so, I’ve got you covered also.  Group coaching is available for sign up from my email list.  Click here if you aren’t signed up already!

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

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

Lessons Learned from My First Amazon FBA Q4

Lessons Learned
Today I’m sharing the lessons that I learned from selling in my first Q4 on Amazon.

Let me not bury the lead, I didn’t sell as much as I hoped I would during fourth quarter.

In this video, I am going to share the lessons learned during my first Q4 and some of the things that I plan to do better next time.

Inventory

My biggest problem is that I didn’t get inventory in stock until December 4th, completely missing the first part of the holiday rush.  This is something that I have to remedy as my sales could have easily been doubled had I been in stock in November.

Pay Per Click

Another issue I ran up against was being unsure how much I should spend each day on PPC.  I really didn’t change my normal campaign and I think that my sales suffered as a result.  More to come on this soon.

Add Products

The more products you are selling, the more you can sell.  I know that sounds really basic, but if I had more products to sell, I could have sold a lot more product. Adding additional products to my business is crucial for a bigger Q4 in 2018.

Lessons Learned

Keep products in stock, study up on PPC and add more product lines.  Sounds simple, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  I’m excited to see how much progress I have made come Q4 2018!

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

You can watch more videos from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

Goals for 2018 – Amazon FBA, 30 Day Challenges and The Bootstrap Boutique

2018 Goals
Sharing my goals for 2018

Each month, I will share a detailed monthly goals report via YouTube Live and here on the blog. My 2018 goal report goes over each of the goals I set for myself this year and the progress I have made on them so far.

Looking for past goal updates – here they are!

My Goals for 2018:

AMAZON FBA

During 2018 I will easily find 3 additional private label products to manufacture and sell via Amazon FBA.

I am excited about the prospect of launching 3 products and selling 4 products on the Amazon platform next year.

I will easily generate $1,000 profit each month from selling products on Amazon.

Increasing the number of products I sell and continuing to optimize my current product will help me achieve the goal of $1,000 monthly profit.

I will happily attend Sellers Summit in May, 2018 and learn from some of the top eCommerce sellers in business.  I will make valuable connections with other sellers.

I cannot wait to attend Sellers Summit next Spring. I plan to squeeze every drop of value possible out of the conference and share everything I learn with you.

30 Day Challenges

Over the course of 2018, I will complete four 30 Day Challenges to improve specific areas of my life and business.

January: 30 Days of Meditation

During the month of January, I will easily complete 30 straight days of meditation. I will meditate for a minimum of 10 minutes each day.

I have an inconsistent meditation practice currently, but when I do it I notice great benefits like an increased ability to focus. Its valuable time that I look forward to spending in practice.

April: VEDA – Vlog Every Day in April

During the month of April I will easily participate in VEDA, posting a video to The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel each day.

My current plan is to film an Amazon tutorial each day during the month of April. If there is something that you’d like to see in particular, let me know!

June: 30 Day Yoga Challenge

During the month of June I will easily complete the 30 Days of Yoga program from Yoga By Adriene.

I look forward to completing 30 days of yoga to spend time focusing on my body and it’s movements. As I’m getting older I notice I’m not as mobile as I’d like to be, and this will allow me to take steps to better that. You can learn more about the program here.

November: 30 Day No Complaint Challenge

During the month of November I will easily complete a No Complaint Challenge.

Ok, “easily” might be a stretch on this one, as I’m not sure I can go so long without finding something to complain about, but my real goal is to be mindful of times when I find myself complaining and choosing to be grateful in the moment instead.

 

The Bootstrap Boutique

Group Coaching

I will happily start a new coaching group for new Amazon sellers.

I completed my first  group coaching program in December of 2017 and was amazed by the success of the group. Not everyone is selling on Amazon currently, but everyone made progress in their own way.  If you’d like to sign up for an upcoming program, please send me an email.

New Website

I will easily launch a new website for The Bootstrap Boutique.

I can’t wait to get a new website out into the world.  I have a new look and feel picked out, and am getting new pictures taken in January. I’m so excited to share this with you!

Speaking

I will easily speak at a conference or event, sharing the opportunity of Amazon FBA.

I am excited to speak at a conference or event during 2018. If you know of any opportunities I should explore, please email them to me.

Guest Appearances

I will easily appear on podcasts or write guest posts for 12 other websites during 2018.

I enjoy sharing my story and about the opportunity of selling on Amazon FBA with new audiences. During 2018 I will average 1 guest appearance a month.

 

I’m excited about the goals that I have set for 2018 and hope that you will join me in improving your business next year.  Share your goals and progress with me in the comments below!

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

December Amazon Update

December Amazon Update
This is my first year selling during Q4 on Amazon! How’s it going?

Today I’m sharing my December Amazon Update.

Selling During Q4

This is my first time selling during the holiday rush that is Q4. I was late getting started due to being out of stock and waiting on a new shipment of products.

My supplier warned me that they were getting busy and that there would be a long lead time on production.  It turned out to actually be 55 days until my product was ready to ship to Amazon. Ouch.

This means that products weren’t checked in to an Amazon warehouse until the night of December 4th, or Cyber Monday. I was happy to see sales that same night, but sad that I missed out on Black Friday and that crazy first weekend of the shopping season.

It also meant my product sales were never going to be as good as they could be, because Amazon doesn’t immediately give you your ranking back when you get back in stock.

I’ve been back in stock for 2 weeks at this point and have sold about 1/3 of my inventory. Honestly, I thought it would be more and that I would be almost out of stock again, based on what I have heard about Q4 sales from other sellers.  There is definitely room for me to improve here next year.

Shipping Expenses Hurt Again

This production run is a lot more expensive for me because my shipping is more expensive.  This is supply and demand working against me as this is a busy time of year for transportation companies as well.

From the time I got my first shipping quote in August until when the products actually shipped in late November, the price rose by over $1,000.

$1,000.

Yeah.

Pay Per Click

Because my profit margin is lower than I’d like, I can’t be as aggressive as I’d like with PPC.

I’m currently running 3 campaigns, an automatic, a manual, and an exact match manual with a limit of $20 a day.

Inventory

My main concern is maintaining profitability so that I can continue to order larger quantities of products and start hitting some quantity discounts with the suppliers. I’m also considering sea shipping for my next order, I am just hoping that I have a shorter production time to make up for that lag in sea shipping.

Product #2

We are officially in production! I am so excited to get started with a second product and to have 2 products selling on Amazon.  It should be ready in about 20 days and is a smaller and lighter product than #1 so should be much cheaper to ship. It has definitely been cheaper to produce.

Book Keeping

Gotta get on that so it’s ready to go early in January for my CPA.  I’m excited that according to Fetcher, I’m showing a small profit for the year!

Merry Christmas!

This is the last official video between now and Christmas, so if you celebrate I hope that you have a wonderful day full of all the people and things that matter to you.

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

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

What NOT To Sell on Amazon FBA

Don't Sell This On Amazon
A short list of things you should not sell on Amazon in order to be successful

There are so many things that you can sell on Amazon and have a successful business, but the flip side to that is that there’s also a few things that you should stay away from. So what should you not sell on Amazon FBA?

Restricted Products

The first type of product that you should not sell are products that are restricted on Amazon. There are times when you are able to create a listing for these products within Seller Central, but you put your account an risk when you do so.

You can find a list of Amazon FBA restricted products here.

There are also products or items that could get you banned.  Items like “play money” which looks a lot like real money.

Lock picking sets is another example of an item that sells well on Amazon but could be risky for your account.

Trends That You Aren’t On Top Of

And when I say on top, I mean….extremely early to market.  You should be on the first 25% of the below chart to make money here, and the hard part is knowing where a product is on the chart, especially if it is becoming trendy.

product lifecycle stages
Product Lifecycle. Source: https://www.slideshare.net/DashrathPurohit/product-life-cycle-and-marketing-strategies

If you are going to go after a trend, you’ve got to be fast. You should plan on getting in, making money and getting out, and not trying to build a company on the trendy product (*cough* fidget spinners *cough*).

Example Products from FBA Teachers

Garlic Press. Apple Slicer. Bamboo roasting sticks. Yoga mats.

These are examples used by people well known in the Amazon FBA space. These products have thousands of additional eyes on them at all times due to the exposure they get on podcasts, blogs and videos.  You can feel confident that even if the teachers aren’t selling these products, there exposure is much higher than the average product which can increase competition.

Products with Too Much Competition

“Too much” is going to be different for everyone. We all have our own comfort level with products.

Generally speaking, if the front page of a product search shows products with thousands of reviews each, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get on the first page.

Don’t Make It Harder on Yourself

These are a few ideas of products where it is likely easier to just say no to keep your account healthy, or your sanity intact.

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

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

Amazon FBA: Preparing for 2018

Planning for 2018
Today I’m sharing 4 things that I’m doing during the last 4 weeks of the year to get ready for 2018!

Preparing for 2018

It is time to begin preparing for 2018, because it’s almost here!

What are you doing to get ready for next year?

If you’re still trying to figure out if Private Label is right for you, take my free 5 day email course here, it helps walk you through that decision in just 5 days.

Here’s four things that I am trying to get done in the last 4 weeks of December.

Set up Product Launches for 2, 3, and 4

Product #2 is almost ready to go, I’m just waiting for a little more cash in my bank account, which will come from the sale of product #1 over the holiday season.

But I need to make sure that I’ve got the momentum going for products #3 and #4 so I can get them launched sooner than later.

Continue to add Sales Tax Permits to States with Nexus

I’m working through my larger liability states to make sure that I’m collecting and paying sales tax in states where I have more product sales.

Tax Jar is a software program I use that makes it easy to see where my exposure is amongst the various states, and I am working down the list.

My goal for the rest of this year is to have one more state set up, and then to continue adding next year.

Wrap Up Bookkeeping

I’m going to spend an entire day towards the end of the year working on my bookkeeping. It’s one of those things that you have to do as a business owner even if it’s not sexy or fun.  (Remember when I said that this is work?)

Take a Step Back

Believe it or not, I’m going to work on taking a step back from the Amazon FBA world over the Christmas season and get a refresh on it. I’ve worked hard this year on getting my business off the ground and I want to be able to reflect on and enjoy that fact. I have plans to spend lots of time with family and friends and enjoy this time of year.

There’s plenty of time in 2018 to get back on the grind!

That’s all I have for the end of 2017, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

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

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s Youtube Channel, here.

Amazon FBA Barcode, UPC, FNSKU

UPC Barcodes FNSKUs
UPCs, Barcodes, FNKSUs. There still seems to be a lot of confusion around these terms.

In today’s video, I am going to attempt to clear up some of the confusion regarding UPCs and FNSKUs when it comes to selling products via Amazon FBA.

What is a UPC?

Remember, UPC stands for Unique Product Code. It is the number that is on any product that you buy in a store (the part that gets scanned at the register).

An FNSKU is also a number code tied to a product, but it is specific to the Amazon Fulfillment Network. In fact, FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit.

I did a video on UPCs vs. FNSKUs earlier this year if you need a refresher on the differences.

Where do I register my UPC?

Well, you don’t. Not at least in the sense you may be thinking.

This is something that confuses a lot of people, so don’t worry if you’re feeling that way.

Surprisingly, there’s no global database of UPCs and what product they are tied to. You are in charge of assigning your UPCs to your products and keeping them straight on your own.

Where do I buy UPCs?

Amazon has gotten much more strict in their messaging around UPCs recently.  See the following screen shot:

Amazon Seller Central GS1 Warning
Amazon is becoming more strict about UPC prefixes matching the GS1 database.

They are basically saying that if the prefix associated with the product does not match the prefix registered as GS1, you may be in trouble.

This is definitely one of those “buyer beware” situations where what you do is determined by your risk tolerance. You can buy from a third party reseller, but the safest thing to do is buy directly from GS1.

There’s lots more info on this in the video so be sure to watch!

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

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique here.

 

Private Label Resource Guide for Amazon FBA

Private Label Resource Guide
Download your copy of the Private Label Resource Guide to get a list of my favorite PL tools.

Private Label Resource Guide

Today I’m excited to share my Private Label Resource Guide that has all the products, tools and services that I use to run my Private Label business.

There are a TON of options out there, and it can get pretty overwhelming knowing who to work with.  I have had great experiences with everything listed below.

The Resource Guide is divided into 3 sections: Finding Your Products, Selling on Amazon, and Running Your Business.

You can download your copy here:

http://thebootstrapboutique.com/PLResourceGuide


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

You can watch more videos from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

What is a Carton Mark?

What is a Carton Mark?
What is a Carton Mark?

Its, true…you learn something new every day.

And recently, I learned what a carton mark is.

I’ve been through a couple of orders already with my supplier and I like to think that I’m pretty on top of the questions that they will ask me.

So when I got an email asking what I wanted for my carton mark, I was confused, I’d never been asked that before.

What is a Carton Mark?

After some research, I learned that while pretty simple, a carton mark is actually really important.

It is the information that goes on the outside of all your boxes and tells people what is inside the box.

A carton mark should have these things, at minimum:

  • Your shipping label (including a receiving and return address)
  • Country of Origin
  • Contents of the Carton*
  • Numbered Box + Boxes in shipment (Example: 1 of 3)
  • Weight + Measurements (metric)
  • Written in English

*If your contents are high value, you may not want to advertise what is inside in case unsavory characters come across your goods.

The video below has additional information about carton marks, should you need to create one for your supplier.

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

You can watch more of The Bootstrap Boutique here.

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.