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.
Every couple of months I like to check in with a video to discuss all the little things going on that don’t warrant their own video. Here’s what I’ve been up to!
Out of Stock
Unfortunately, my product has gone out of stock at Amazon again.
The day that I went out of stock, I sold 18 units before noon! That was exciting to watch. I was able to turn off my pay per click advertising and the rest of the sales came in organically.
What is really interesting about this is that my traffic was not noticeably higher. My conversion rate, however, was well over double it’s normal percentage.
I wish I knew what caused that difference to try and see if it could be replicated, but Amazon’s business reports aren’t giving me much to work with.
The good news is that I re-ordered my inventory way back when this round of product landed back in August. The factory warned me ahead of time that they were busy and the lead time was long, so I’d glad I put that re-order through so quickly.
It should be ready to go by the end of the month, which means it’s highly unlikely that it will be checked in for sale by the Black Friday cut off date. It should still have plenty of Q4 sales days though.
I found a potential second product that I’m pretty excited about.
I’ve ordered samples and have received 2. One is still on the way. I also ordered the #1 seller on Amazon to see how they compare and what changes I may want to make.
One thing that is frustrating is that in my initial emails. I always share that I need to make a small test order first, of 250 or 500 units depending on how expensive I think it will be. I asked if that is understood.
One of the suppliers that I work with just came back and said they have a huge MOQ (minimum order quantity) that they won’t move off. I wish that had come up during our initial emails as it would have saved us both lots of time.
Learning from the Past
It has been well documented that I made a lot of mistakes with product #1 that made it take longer to launch than it should have.
I have learned from those mistakes and started working ahead on the product listing for product #2. My listing is coming along nicely and I know better than to wait for all the products to come to my house before getting photos done this time!
You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.
You can watch more video’s from The Bootstrap Boutique 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.
Here is the Jungle Scout screen shot:
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. 🙂
And here is the Jungle Scout screen shot:
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.
And the Jungle Scout screen shot:
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.
And the Jungle Scout screenshot:
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.
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.
And the Jungle Scout screen shot:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Today I’m sharing three thoughts about how to best sell private label products on Amazon FBA in 2018.
This is in response to questions that I hear a lot from you guys, so here are my answers!
1. Is it too late to start selling on Amazon?
No! Amazon continues to grow at a frenetic pace. There are over 100,000 sellers selling over $100,000 worth of revenue each year. So why not you?
2. Should I build a brand or an open brand?
I don’t think this matters too much when you start. What matters more is that you start. I do think you should pick one or the other though. Either have an open brand and just look for things that you can sell, or curate a focused brand that will let you own your niche.
3. Should I diversify my channels?
Yes! But not yet. Start small, with one platform. Then expand. Become great at selling on Amazon before you worry too much about selling on other platforms. The learning curve is already so steep, don’t make it too hard on yourself.
What do you think is the right answer to these questions? Tell me in the comments!
Oh, and once you’re ready to move forward with selling on Amazon, check out my friends over at StartUpBros. They created the end-all-be-all guide to selling on Amazon in 2018 and beyond. Make sure you bookmark this because you’re going to need to read it more than once.