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.

October Update – Amazon FBA

October Update Amazon FBA
October Update – What’s been going on in FBA lately.

October Update

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.

Re-Order Inventory

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.

Product #2

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.

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.

Fetcher: Understand Your Amazon FBA Profit – Tool for Private Label Sellers

Fetcher helps you understand your Amazon Profit.
Fetcher helps you understand your Amazon Profit.

Amazon FBA Profit – Fetcher – Tool for Private Label Sellers

I am so happy to have the opportunity to speak with Shane Stinemetz, founder of Fetcher. Shane is a successful (almost 7 figure) Amazon FBA Private Label seller, who after selling for a while realized that he had no idea how much money he was actually making.

Sound familiar?  It’s exactly how I felt also.  Working with the reports in Amazon Seller Central and trying to make sense of them via Excel…well. It wasn’t pretty.

Enter Fetcher

When Shane realized his problem, he did something about it (man, we love action takers around here!). He teamed up with Greg Mercer, founder of Jungle Scout, and surveyed fellow Amazon Sellers. Turns out, pretty much everyone else has this exact problem.

Fetcher is a tool that helps you to understand the money behind your Amazon FBA business, which is important because once you know what is going on with the money in your business you can make better decisions.

I have been using Fetcher since April and love the clarity it brings. Every morning I get an email from Fetcher showing the previous days sales, COGS, Amazon Fees, Other Fees and PPC spend. Meaning, I know exactly how much money I actually made in profit the prior day.

This tool is clean, easy to use, and brings actionable value to you each day.  Definitely give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!

You can try Fetcher for free for 31 days with this link: http://www.fetcher.com/tbb

Fetcher is part of the Jungle Scout Family. See my tutorial on how to use Jungle Scout here.

You can watch this video on my YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos here.

*Note: Affiliate link used. Thanks for supporting the site.

Goal Update – July 21, 2017 (Profit First, Influencer Marketing, Amazon FBA)

Goal Updates July 21, 2017
Sharing my progress on my goals this quarter!

You can catch up on all my goal updates here.

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

  1. Implement Profit First in my business
  2. Use Influencer Marketing to drive traffic to my Amazon listing
  3. Create friendships with other Amazon FBA Sellers

Let’s see how I did!

Implement Profit First in my business

I’ve read the book twice now so I feel like I know what I need to do. However…I am struggling to find the bank accounts that I need at a place that won’t charge me a monthly fee for multiple savings accounts.

Because the Profit First system calls for multiple bank accounts to keep your money separate, I need to find a low cost solution to bank accounts.

I feel like the bank I’m looking for is a unicorn.

Use Influencer Marketing to drive traffic to my Amazon listing

I have been going though and searching keywords on YouTube that I think would be a good fit for my product niche.

I have found 20 channels that I will reach out to, but I need closer to 100. My goal is to have 10 videos created and knowing that not everyone I reach out to will say, “yes” means that I need to cast a wide net.

Once I get my product back in stock I need to learn how to create coupon codes. I want to offer these products to the influencers at no cost to them, but it will have to ship from Amazon since that is where all my stock is.  I will need to set them up with coupon codes that no one else can use, so this is something that I will have to research.

Create friendships with other Amazon FBA Sellers

This is something that is just happening naturally by being a member of this community.

Earlier this week I was in Chicago and got the opportunity to meet up with a new friend, Jennifer, from a Facebook group that I’m in. We had drinks and talked about selling on Amazon, and I’m fairly sure the bartender thought we were talking in a different language!

So that’s a wrap on what I’ve been up to for the last 4 weeks. I know I’m busier than I’ve ever been but I still can’t get over how fast this year has gone by.  Believe it or not, it’s time to plan for fourth quarter!

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.

Goal Update – June 23, 2017 (YouTube, Amazon, Branding)

Goal Updates June 23, 2017
Sharing my progress on my goals! Goal Updates June 23, 2017.

You can catch up on all my other goal updates here.

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

  1. Launch a second YouTube Channel for my Private Label brand and schedule 2 months of videos (8 total)
  2. Get my Private Label Brand brand registered at Amazon
  3. Work on The Bootstrap Boutique Blog
  4. Watch and comment on 20 Amazon Seller Videos per week

And finally, this isn’t a stated goal, but I plan to use my “theme days” to get it all done.

Theme days are:

Monday – Product Work

Tuesday – Private Label Brand

Wednesday: YouTube

Thursday: The Bootstrap Boutique Brand

Friday: Plan & Review

Let’s see how things went!

 

Launch a second YouTube Channel for my Private Label brand and schedule 2 months of videos (8 total)

Partial credit. I have started a channel for my Private Label brand and I have 2 videos. This is harder than I thought because I need help with filming.

Get my Private Label Brand brand registered at Amazon

When I set this goal, it wasn’t such a lengthy process.  Now you have to have a registered trademark, which takes a long time to receive.  I have applied for a trademark, it can take before 3-6 months to receive a trademark, so we will see what happens.  (Update January 17, 2017 I finally received notice that my trademark was approved!)

Work on The Bootstrap Boutique Blog

This hasn’t happened. I have browsed themes for the blog but am really getting nowhere. This will likely be one of the first things that I hire out when I have the capital to do so.

Watch and comment on 20 Amazon Seller Videos per week

This week I was able to watch 15 videos. It still isn’t the goal, but when I set this goal for myself I really didn’t stop to think about the time commitment involved in trying to watch 80 videos a month.

Watch today’s video to see my progress at accomplishing these goals.

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.