Summer means camping. And camping means being ready for anything. And being ready for anything means…
Multitools, that’s right.
So here are the top 15 multitools on Amazon right now, which we found and then sorted by pricepoint, starting with the cheapest one. So, let’s get into it:
True Utility $3.61 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XCSP61U
Not only is it a spiffy yellow, but it’s extremely cheap. Normally, good things aren’t cheap and cheap things aren’t good. But this might be the exception at the lowest priced multitool on Amazon right now.
Jeep $8.39 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IOMIXJ6
It’s a silver adjustable screwdriver and wrench, and the form factor reflects that. Some negative reviews make me question how well it works in some areas. But do your research, and it should be fine.
Swiss+Tech $8.54 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001AY2WLU
Aside from having the most interesting main product photo in its category (a spider-like splayed position), the Swiss+Tech model offers a lot for the price and may just be your new best friend.
CoBean $8.68 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AH9A8JM
This one’s great, because it takes on a hammerhead on one side of its body, unlike a lot of its more fragile-looking counterparts.
Gerber $10.58 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004DT2912
The first model of the $10 mark, this knife-heavy model looks like it would packa a punch. Ideal for whittling, camping, and cutting ties of all kinds (not emotional ones).
Jaybrake $11.73 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001LUMZHO
Higher ratings, reasonable price, and all of the tools you’d expect. The Jaybrake model is the most “classic” and “expected” multitool on this list so far.
Gelindo $14.99 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z7CQT38
If you’re the type of person who wants things in a full set, this multitool comes with a carrying bag and blue accents. This one’s visually different from the others. Functionally, probably on even ground.
VODIY $19.97 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QN3S5IW
Like Gelindo in the previous entry, this tool comes with a carrying case and even screwdriver heads in a sleek selection. If you want the whole nine yards, go VODIY.
Vitopeak $19.99 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0196G93HE
If you like a sleek all-black set, go with this one!
Leatherman $34.89 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DI0XM4
I thought I’d end with the $35 gorilla in the room. This stainless steel model from Leatherman. It’s certainly the “luxury” play in this market, and if you want to make sure that your cash is in good hands, this seems like the reliable choice in this market.
The product’s here! Our Amazon FBA private label product launch checklist | HonestFew Show #2
Welcome to the HonestFew show, where I show you every detail of launching a physical product on Amazon from scratch.
So come along, let’s go on an adventure. You’re watching a brand start from 0, which is pretty cool right?
Just 2 weeks ago, the product was in China.
I issued shipping instructions to our supplier. He did as I asked, and shipped 300 units to Amazon.com and 1200 units to our location here in Canada.
The 300 units have arrived at Amazon. Here’s a screenshot from Seller Central. If you're new and you want help navigating the platform, check this out.
When you click on the quantity, it’ll show you the status of the products that are in stock. In our case, they’re “Active” and ready to sell.
And 1200 have arrived at our place in Canada.
A few technical notes about shipping:
- we shipped it by air from our supplier using UPS. DHL would also work and has similar rates.
- because it was air instead of sea, there was no freight forwarder involved. But, I still needed a party to help clear the shipment from China to our location in Canada.
- I got a call from UPS that said something like “You know, UPS is a licensed customs brokerage and we can help you clear it. Do you want to?” I said “yes”, I paid the duty fees ($600), and I now have the product.
When you import anything, there are often 3 costs:
Product cost. The per unit cost. If you want to know more about how to source products, I created a definitive YouTube sourcing guide with templates and examples.
Shipping Cost. Paid to the supplier for the transport of products to you or directly to Amazon.
Duty fees. This amount isn’t known in advance. In my case, 6 10lb boxes for $600. The charges depend on weight, volume, and declared value.
Cool. So the product arrived on May 24th, which was 3 days ago.
We’ve all been there: the product arrives, you’re excited, and now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and sell.
When it comes to e-commerce (Amazon and beyond), here’s the checklist we use. If you’ve got this stuff, you’re good to go. I hope you’ll find it useful.
There are 3 main things to do before an Amazon product launch:
(1) Create digital assets.
(2) Create written assets.
(3) Get initial sales and reviews.
(1) Create digital assets. Photos and video.
Photos: we shot with an iPhone 6S with the Camera+ app and a lightbox, which is made of a roll of white paper (to create a seamless edge at the back), two white foam core walls, and studio lights that emit white light. And then, we eliminate the shadows in the background with Adobe Photoshop. After all, Amazon wants your main product photo to be on white.
Video: We shot a quick 30-second video (in the iPhone 6S’s 4k video) of the product in use (also on white) for future use. Since everything set up already, you might as well grab some video. The video was edited in Adobe Premiere. Regular sellers can’t use video on Amazon, but we’ll use it on our website and when we pitch retail, etc.
(2) Create written assets.
So for Amazon, that means an optimized title that reads like a sentence but still contains relevant keywords from the Google Keyword Planner tool.
Price: create some urgency by setting a price, then slashing it slightly.
Bullets and product description infused with ad copy that appeals to people’s true desires: survival, enjoyment of life, life extension; enjoyment of food and beverages; freedom from fear, pain and danger; sexual companionship; comfortable living conditions; to be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses; care and protection of loved ones; social approval.
And backend keywords that, like your title, relate to your product and you find on the Google Keyword Planner tool.
One of HonestFew’s most popular videos is about Amazon listing optimization and I go into a lot more depth there, so check that out if you haven’t already.
(3) Amazon keyword ranking strategy (sales) and social proof (reviews).
You can have the best photos, video, and ad copy and your product STILL won’t sell. You need to get momentum from somewhere so that Amazon’s algorithm notices you and says “this thing seems popular. I should show it further up the page.”
On Amazon, this means…
Get sales. So that your BSR (Best Seller Rank) increases on Amazon, and you appear higher in search results. Most sellers use heavy discounts because it’s not about making a profit per unit at this point: it’s about sparking the fire.
Get reviews. So that regular shoppers, who start seeing your product around see it as a viable option. Along with photos and ad copy, reviews are a strong factor in every customer buying decision.
If you've launched and you need help troubleshooting, check out this article.
Thankfully, this is what HonestFew does as a service, so we’ll be using HonestFew.com to get our initial sales and reviews. We’ve also been building an Instagram audience in the background (we passed 1000 followers the other day… thank you, thank you), so that we can also offer the product to that audience at a discount when we launch. We are using Instagress to have our account like and comment on specific content, allowing our audience to grow a little more every day.
Patrick, do I need a website? Social media pages? Facebook ads?
My opinion is no.
If it’s your first launch ever, just focus on Amazon.
Don’t build a brand website or a social media page if it’s not part of your Amazon launch strategy. The idea is to maximize Amazon as a sales channel first, get it right, and then expand to other channels.
That’s it for now. In the next episode, we’ll be launch and actually getting the product in front of customers, and I’m really excited that you’ll be there as well. Leave a like and subscribe if you enjoyed, and I’ll see you in the next one.
Reviews are making people rich.
Research suggests that customers trust user-generated content (like reviews) more than content put out by the seller, with 88% of customers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
And even more extreme, reviews basically equal sales.
For example: on Yelp, a 1-star increase in reviews boosts sales by up to 9%.
And look what Amazon’s doing: reviews in product results.
Reviews on every product listing.
And special rankings and profiles for reviewers. And reviewer profiles that link to social platforms!
See what’s happening? We’re in a new era of “social shopping”, with reviews — user generated content — as the new sales copy. Because people trust their fellow shoppers more than they trust marketing material from the company.
But what does this mean for you as an Amazon seller?
Well, we know that reviews boost sales.
So it makes sense to get more reviews, right?
What do most sellers do? Dedicate some inventory to be sold for review purposes, like how they send out copies of Oscar-nominated movies for members of the Academy to watch.
We, at HonestFew, take your product URL and promo codes, and connect you with thousands of Amazon shoppers on the other end. The shoppers buy at a discount and leave honest reviews on your product.
The sales tell Amazon “hey, this product is popular”, ranking it higher in search results. Rank higher, and you get more traffic. And then the reviews convince this traffic that your product is good, it sells, and you make more money.
Sometimes sellers ask us: looks great, but am I allowed to do this? Won’t this put my Amazon account in trouble?
For the answer, let’s go to the source: the Amazon terms of service. I’ll be leaving the links to these articles in the description below.
First, let’s check out Amazon’s Review Creation guidelines:
It’s got some common-sense rules like you can’t review your own stuff, no offensive language, or promotion of illegal conduct.
Be a good person; fair enough.
And here’s where it gets interesting; the “Promotional Content” section. Check out the “Paid Reviews” paragraph:
“ We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact.”
Ok, so Amazon allows you to offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review. Just so long as the product is…
> received by the reviewer up front
> you make it clear that you welcome both positive and negative feedback
> the reviewer isn’t refunded, and
> the reviewer discloses the fact that they got a discount for a review in public, which you see in reviews all the time.
Confirmed, this process is allowed.
But now the question is: how far can you take it? How many units can you give away for review?
The go-to document for seller rules is Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions.
Interestingly, it says:
“ Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace (which we now know — I’m going to speed this up because it’s pretty simple), providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative. You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free or discount copy of the product. If you offer a free or discount product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free or discount product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written.
And here’s where it gets good:
You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review.”
In preparation for this piece, I asked Amazon exactly what this means, asking if I could sell 1000 units of a product to 1000 customers at a discount in exchange for a review.
What does the policy mean by “Offering an excessive number of free or discounted products”? What does “excessive” mean?
So, “excessive” isn’t a numerical value. It refers to offering multiple units to a single person — a single reviewer — because this might influence the review to be more positive.
Amazon wants people to test-drive products. Reviews help them make money, remember?
So whether you’re giving away 100 or 1000 units, as long as the reviews are honest and free of manipulation, both quantities are fine. If you give away 1000 units of a great product, you’ll get great reviews. Give away 1000 bad products, and nothing can save you.
Ultimately, selling products for review is the same as a Black Friday sale, offering a big discount on Groupon, or getting press like Buzzfeed.
What’s happening is that you’re getting a large amount of traffic, customers buy, and your best-seller ranking increases. The only difference between these and a sale with HonestFew is that the buyers are there in the context of both buying and reviewing, not just buying. Which is clearly allowed on Amazon and will continue to be, because reviews drive conversions.
We go to extraordinary efforts to make sure that your products are sold and reviewed with no refunds, all-honest feedback, and the proper disclaimers.
When you’re ready to increase your sales and get Amazon reviews, get in touch. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us toll-free at 1–855–707–2395 (my partner Leo will pick up, he’s a nice guy), or Skype us at HonestFewCo. Let’s team up and grow your business.
We hope you enjoyed our article on How to get Amazon reviews the right way.I’ll see you in the next one.
When selling products online, it's all about how to source. In this guide, Pat shows you how to source products from China using Alibaba, the Chinese supplier portal. Spoiler: it's easier than you think. This guide on how to source products from China comes complete with buying request and message templates, negotiation training, how to handle payments, and more.
If you like a good read, check out the article version here or here on HonestFew's Medium.
We’re launching new a physical product. An Amazon FBA private label product, to be precise.
And I thought to myself: this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show you how to make money in e-commerce from start to finish. I talk about business a lot, so why don’t I just show you?
I’ll set the scene.
It’s May 2016. 11 Celsius/52 Fahrenheit right now. Overcast skies. We just went out for dinner (Chinese), and now it’s back to work.
Let’s talk strategy.
Here’s my understanding of successful e-commerce in 3 steps:
(1) SELL SOMETHING PEOPLE ALREADY NEED...
Design a product that meets a pre-existing need (something that’s already making sales for other companies). You can see whether or not people want your thing by looking at it’s BSR (Best-Seller Rank) on Amazon (the closer to #1 the best-seller, the better) and by using the Google Keyword Planner tool to see how many monthly searches for the product there are on Google. Large platforms like Amazon and Google have tons of customer information. All you need to do it tap it.
(2) ...THROUGH A HIGH-TRAFFIC SALES CHANNEL...
Next, sell it through a sales channel where buyers for your specific product are likely to be. Amazon is a sales channel. eBay is a sales channel. Facebook stores. Jet.com. Craigslist. Etsy. Your own e-commerce site. Third-party online retail. Physical retail. Anything that attracts traffic and takes sales is a channel. You can certainly sell in your own online store, but why not take advantage of a channel that already has trust and millions of shoppers with credit cards on file? And among channels like these, Amazon’s the largest. That’s why we’re in the business of producing honest reviews for Amazon businesses.
(3) ...WITH HIGH MARGINS.
Once you’ve found a product with pre-existing demand, source it. Source it for $10, sell it through a sales channel with traffic for $50. Make $40. That’s your profit. Ideally, you want to at least 3x or 4x your money. Make the product physically small and light. This cuts the costs on shipping, returns, packaging, and everything else. And most importantly, it should have the potential to be an aspirational brand. One thing that makes a physical product worth more than its materials is the implied sense of identity that comes with it.
So that’s the strategy behind what we’ll be doing. Back to our product.
It hasn’t hit the market yet. You actually get to see some pre-launch work.
Here’s what we’ve done so far:
> the product has been sourced. We bought 1500 units of a single SKU. That’s the other thing. Avoid products with different sizes and colors. If “medium black” is where 80% of the sales are, just make that one to begin with.
> it’s in the fashion space.
> because it’s in the fashion space, we had to get ungated by Amazon to sell there. If you want to know about the ungating process, leave a comment. I can make a separate piece about it if there’s enough interest.
> we’ve enabled our account to sell on Amazon.com (USA), Amazon.ca (Canada), and Amazon.com.mx (Mexico).
The plan is to focus on Amazon.com as our first sales channel, optimize it, then expand to other countries later on. As well as roll out our own e-commerce store and third-party online retail. And you’ll get to see it all.
We’ve paid our Chinese supplier by wire transfer. It’s been 4 weeks since then, and production’s done. Now, it’s time to ship.
I’m having our supplier ship directly from China via DHL to 2 locations: 300 to an Amazon.com FBA warehouse for our Amazon launch, and 1200 to our location. We’ve worked with this supplier before, but they’ve never actually shipped to an Amazon warehouse, so here’s the instructions I gave them:
We’re sending 300 to Amazon.com for an HonestFew promotion of 100–150 units to get the organic sales flowing in.
Then, 1200 to our location so that we can ship to different Amazons or online channels depending on what’s doing well for us. We’ll eat some of the shipping costs in order to stay flexible around which sales channels we use.
During production/shipping, pre-marketing for the launch is always a good idea.
Tip: never pay to make something before you know how you’re going to sell it.
My marketing efforts so far are focused on Instagram:
I’m building an Instagram audience so that when we launch the product, I can present it to them at a discount. Instagram is where mainstream consumer attention is, at the time of writing. Older generations are adopting it (it’s having it’s “mom” moment right now), and so that’s where my efforts are. The customers for this product are men, 25–55, pay attention to how they dress, and spend some disposable income on gadgets, tech, fashion, and grooming products. 3 weeks ago, I had 0 followers. Now, I have over 500. When I use Instagram, I look for content that my target audience would like, I screenshot it, I repost with credit, and use a few hashtags here and there. I could be doing better on the hashtags.
But posting well-curated pictures doesn’t guarantee followers. I pair Instagram with Instagress, which is software that can manage your account activity for you: liking, commenting, and following on your behalf. The photos that you like, comment, and follow for are based on a set of hashtags that I chose. I want to target people who are exhibiting buying behavior with similar items, so I chose to engage people using hashtags like #newsuit #newwallet #newpocketsquare #newcufflinks #suitup #fredperry (a brand with a similar customer base to ours), and the names of some mens fashion subscription boxes, because any guy who’s taking a picture of his monthly box of menwear stuff has shown not just general interest but BUYING behavior in our market.
The plan is to convert these followers into paying customers when the product launches. I’ll drive traffic to our Amazon listing via Instagram posts, contests, giveaways, and direct messaging on Instagram.
In addition, we’ll use HonestFew to start getting organic sales on Amazon and grow that sales channel.
And you’re going to see it all. Live.
See you next week.