6 Ways to Beat your Competition with Amazon Private Label

A successful product is like a pro baseball pitch: just a throw isn’t enough. It needs something special: a spin, a curve, an angle.

As competitors crowd Amazon, the need for differentiation grows. A product with an angle always has a customer.

“But how do I differentiate?” you ask. The 6B’s. The 6 Ways to Beat your Competition with Amazon Private Label.

These 6 strategies are also great to set you apart and make sales:

1. Better
2. Before
3. Brute
4. Bundle
5. Brand
6. Bulk

After reading this post, you’ll be able to make a strategic decision about product positioning.

BETTER

Make it physically better. In what way? Amazon will tell you!

Go to Amazon.com, look at your competitors, click on the review count next to their star rating, then click to see 3-star reviews on the left. This shows you the “Most helpful critical review” on the right hand side.

Often, a customer drops a gem: a physical modification to improve the product. Visit another competitor. Then another. Then another. If there’s a pattern in the “Most helpful critical review”, make the physical change and profit. Make sure it’s a small change.  Big changes aren’t always financially viable.

Here we are looking at the leader for the search term “babyproof edge guards.”
6 Ways to Beat your Competition on Amazon
We click on the “431 customer reviews” button, and click on the 3-star category, Amazon will show us the “most helpful positive review” and the “most helpful critical review.”

The critical review suggest a product improvement. In this case, it’s that the tape doesn’t adhere as well as that reviewer would have liked. Look around. If you see a pattern in the feedback, your position could be “sticks better!”

6 Ways to Beat your Competition on Amazon

BEFORE

Sell it before anyone else. Many look at what’s already popular on Amazon and try to copy it.

And why not? That’s a good strategy!

But if this is your third or fourth product, consider a first-to-market play. Instead of sourcing Amazon to Alibaba, try Alibaba to Amazon private label. Ask your supplier what else they’ve got. Look at offerings on other e-commerce sites that aren’t sold on Amazon. Look at Wal-Mart, Target, Staples. Ask big box employees what’s been selling well, with the excuse that you need gift ideas for your (husband, wife, or other relative who matches your Amazon target market). Go to large online communities like Reddit, and ask what they want but don’t have in your product category. Look at product launch communities like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Quirky and see what people are making.

BRUTE

Push it with brute force.

For example: you roll out 1 white, generic lint roller (pun lintended). There’s nothing particularly special about your lint roller, but you build up your review base to hundreds of reviews, and customers perceive your product as the definitive solution.

There’s force involved in launching every new product, but the amount of force required depends on the leaders in your niche. The path to page 1 is a simple calculation.

BUNDLE

Everyone’s selling it on its own? Bundle in an accessory. Some common bundling techniques include:

– adding a book (ebooks are so 2014, add a real instructional pamphlet)
– giftable packaging
– adding a case or storage container
– add a warranty
– a product add-on that enhances the experience
– creating a full-on kit based around a specific activity

With physical add-ons, exercise caution.

If the customer can’t use the accessory with the main offering right out of the box, don’t add it. Don’t add “nice to have” items. They increase your shipping fees and add additional costs in the mind of the buyer.

Here’s a good example of an add-on. For the search term “whiteboard markers”, Expo sells markers plus the one thing every customer inevitably needs: an eraser. So, they bundled:

6 Ways to Beat your Competition on Amazon

Kits are a little different than bundles.

If you make a product kit, it’s less clear which product is the main offering. The best kits serve every need of an enthusiast in a certain area.

Here’s a good example of a kit, as you can clearly see. Ha ha. According to JungleScout, these guys pull in $49k, $25k, and $24k per month respectively. The average person may not know about at-home canning, but an enthusiast does. And an enthusiast needs a full kit.

Kits are particularly effective if the combination is hard-to-find in a big box store, making your listing the only game in town.
6 Ways to Beat your Competition on Amazon

BRAND

Imagine that you’re grocery shopping.

There’s Nutella on the shelf. Creamy, thick, chocolatey Nutella. Next to it, there’s a generic chocolate spread. If you buy Nutella instead of no-name, you’re also buying pride, satisfaction, the feeling that you’re getting the best experience for you and your family.

Amazon is the same. Position your product so that it has a brandable term in the title, bullets, description. Take pride in your work so that your customers can take pride in it too.

BULK

If everyone else sells a single unit, can you sell a pack of 2? 5? 10? 25? 50?

Here’s a hack for you: consumers perceive larger quantities as offering some sort of a per-unit discount. Most people don’t do the math. They just assume. As a seller, you can take advantage of this phenomenon and sell multiples. But make sure the bulk deal is logical. Bulk hand soap: go crazy. Bulk 3-hole punchers: what are you going to do with those?

Here’s one: novelty sunglasses. You can’t make money selling 1 pair at a time (Amazon fees considered), but you can sure make money selling 36 pairs at a time!

Beat your Competition on Amazon

There you have it, the 6B’s of product positioning:

1. Better
2. Before
3. Brute
4. Bundle
5. Brand
6. Bulk

Think about your product and how to spin it, and using the 6 ways to beat your competition on Amazon–they won’t know what hit ’em. We hope you enjoyed our article on the 6 Ways to Beat your Competition with Amazon Private Label.

 


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Source the Perfect Product for your Amazon business (Templates + Real Examples)

Today, we’ll be showing you how to source the perfect product for your Amazon business from start to finish.

Before we embark, remember these 3 sourcing principles…

(1) It’s a numbers game. More quotes = more information = better decisions.
(2) Don’t be afraid to walk away. As the buyer, you hold all the cards.
(3) Compile your data. Seeing supplier quotes side-by-side can help you reach a quick conclusion. We’ll show you how to do this later on.

So let’s take action, get quotes, and find our new best-seller!

There are 2 ways to get quotes on Alibaba: Buying Requests and direct messaging (we’re talking about Alibaba today, but these ideas apply everywhere).

Post a Buying Request first. It helps you articulate what you’re looking for and starts working on your behalf while you actively message suppliers.

And hey, if you want to see footage from Alibaba and walk through everything step-by-step, check out the video version of this article.


POST A BUYING REQUEST

Alibaba.com has a big blue button on its homepage that says “Get Quotations Now”. Ok.

Source the Perfect Product for Amazon
“Get Quotations Now” takes us to the Buying Request form.

Source the Perfect Product for Amazon
Product Name: stuff the “Product Name” section with keywords like it’s Amazon in 2012. It helps suppliers find the request. Jump into the Google Keyword Planner tool if you need more ways to refer to your product.

Quantity: if you don’t know the cost per unit, it’s hard to say. You don’t want to set expectations too high, and you don’t want them to pass you by. “500” usually garners ample replies.

Details: when sourcing, never portray yourself as the final decision maker (e.g. CEO, President, Founder). Be a Buyer, Purchasing Director, VP of Product Development. Why? It removes the awkwardness of negotiation. Since you’re an employee, you must adhere to a budget. You have no choice. You must have the product specs a certain way. You have no choice. If they’re not talking with the sole decision maker, they can’t control some variables. That plays to your advantage. It also gives you more time to decide (“let me consult with the department”).

Upload Photos: upload many photos for reference. If you product doesn’t exist yet, graft a few different images together. Nothing fancy, but be sure to convey the idea.

Here’s a Buying Request template to save you some time:

Hello! This is [name] from the [company] Buying Department.

I’m interested in buying an initial order of . If you can manufacture them, please send me an email:

[email address]
[note: you can’t actually include emails in the request, so write something like name [at] domain [dot] com]

In your email, please include:

(1) PICTURES: a detailed set of pictures of your product
(2) PRODUCT: what is your preferred price per unit/set?
(3) MOQ: what is your preferred minimum order quantity?
(4) [SPECIAL MODIFICATION]: what is the price of [custom change you want to make to the product]?
(5) AIR SHIPPING: what’s the shipping cost to the USA by express courier (e.g. UPS, DHL, FedEx)?”

Why is this template the way it is?

Use email. Ask them to email you instead of chatting on Alibaba. Why? To get their email address and to start screening suppliers. If you ask for an email and they only send you a message on the platform, they didn’t follow instructions. That’s not an immediate “no”, but be wary.
Numbered questions. School systems condition people to answer a list of numbered questions in their entirety. Unnumbered or long-winded messages invite unfinished responses, and drag out the conversation. We capitalize the main idea for each point for simplicity.
Say “preferred”. Say “preferred price” and “preferred MOQ” instead of just “price” and “MOQ” in case it’s high and you need to negotiate it. By being framed as “preferred” they are less fixed payments and more fluid figures. This tip alone saves you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Air ship. If your product is small and light, air shipping is fine. If it’s heavier and larger, you might consider the sea shipping/freight forwarding combo. If it’s done by express (UPS, DHL, FedEx), then they’ll clear customs for you, and you don’t need a freight forwarder.

Now, post the request. As you wait for replies to roll in, search your product on Alibaba and scroll for gold.


SEND DIRECT MESSAGES

How do you guarantee replies? Write to suppliers with a history of replying. Foolproof.

On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a supplier’s Response Rate. Also, Alibaba Trade Assurance now shows sales numbers. Generally, suppliers with transactions are more trustworthy. Sellers without transactions may also be great, though. Don’t rule them out.

Let’s source “flea collar.” It’s small, appeals to a specific niche, lightweight, brandable, customizable.

Scrolling down…

This pink collar has 2 transactions worth $10,000 and a response time over 72 hours. That’s a slow time, but the sales add legitimacy. “Yes” to a message. Why not, right?

5 Flea Collar Example - yes

This blue flea collar has no Trade Assurance sales and a 72 hour response time. I’d be less inclined to send a message.  
4 Flea Collar Example - no

I’d be very inclined to message these guys. Great sales, great response time, great photo. 100% “Yes”.

3 Flea Collar Example

Let’s save you some more time. When you find a supplier that you like, use this template. It’s similar to the Buying Request, but this time we can include our email address:

Hello! This is [name] from the [company] Buying Department.

I’m interested in buying an initial order of . If you can manufacture them, please send me an email:

[email address]

In your email, please include:

(1) PICTURES: a detailed set of pictures of your product
(2) PRODUCT: what is your preferred price per unit/set?
(3) MOQ: what is your preferred minimum order quantity?
(4) [SPECIAL MODIFICATION]: what is the price of [custom change you want to make to the product]?
(5) AIR SHIPPING: what’s the shipping cost to the USA by express courier (e.g. UPS, DHL, FedEx)?”

Look forward to hearing from you,

[Name]
[Buying Department, Company]

And when you’re sending them a message, change the subject line. There will be a template line in there… but don’t use it!

Use something short; “Order of [Product]” or “I’m interested in [Product]”, or even type the supplier’s first name in it. It stands out in their inbox and gets a reply before the mass of other private labelers. It’s best to send messages at the beginning of the Chinese business day. For California, 6pm UTC. For New York, 9pm EST.

Send messages to at least 10-15 suppliers. You have nothing to lose.

Now, you’ve posted the Buying Request and you’ve messaged your top picks. The responses start to roll in. The results? Eclectic.

The good: some suppliers will send you an email (not an Alibaba message) answering each of the 5 questions point-for-point are shoe-ins. Treat them well. Tell them you appreciate the prompt response.
The not-as-good: some suppliers will send you an Alibaba message with a generic email response, or will ask how they can help. Don’t discard them yet. This phase is all about getting as much information as possible. Simply re-send the original email or engage them on the platform.
The bad: some suppliers won’t respond, or will respond days later. Maybe they were at a trade show? Don’t discard yet.


ORGANIZE THE RESPONSES

We need a place to organize everything. A home base.

The goal is to get a lot of different quotes. An average will emerge. That way, it’s easy to compare and find red flags. You don’t want red flags.

Unless you’re private labelling red flags.

Anyways, crack open a fresh spreadsheet and let’s get going.

Make an Excel doc with 11 different columns. PCs can press Alt+Tab to flash back and forth from this window to your Excel. Mac users can press Command+ Tab. It’s a nifty little trick.

Source the Perfect Product for Amazon

A1: Name of the supplier
B1: Email of the supplier (you’ll have this if you don’t go through Alibaba; and even if you do go through Alibaba, it may be on the supplier’s profile)
C1: Website of the supplier (either web or en.alibaba site)
D1: MOQ of the product, or the quantity you’re looking to order
E1: CPU (cost per unit of the product)
F1: Sample fee of the product (normally, this isn’t in the first template as to prevent confusion, so sort this out later)
G1: Product cost
H1: Shipping fee (the Air Shipping cost to your place, or Amazon business warehouse)
I1: TOTAL
J1: Price per unit
K1: Notes (your personal impression of the communication as a whole)

Now, add these 3 formulas in the 2nd row:

G2: click the G2 cell and then write this formula: =D2*E2. MOQ multiplied by Cost per Unit = your product cost.
G1
I2: click the I2 cell and then write this formula: =G2+H2. This adds the Product Cost and Shipping Fee together for our grand total.
Source the Perfect Product for Amazon

J2: click the J2 cell and then write this formula: =I2/D2. This divides the total cost paid for product and shipping by the number of units you’ll be getting— your true price per unit, with everything accounted for (except for things you need to pay for when the inventory hits Amazon like Amazon’s referral and storage fees, PPC, duties etc.). More on that another time.
Source the Perfect Product for Amazon

We’re done!

Congratulations, you now own a universal sourcing template. This makes life SO much easier. Now, you can punch supplier quotes into the spreadsheet and see the total instantly. A lot of sourcing is about how the suppliers’ data sets compare to eachother. Feel free to add or subtract columns from this sheet. You may need to account for more costs than shown here.

But, numbers are only half the equation.

Now that we’ve got the technical side down, it’s time to learn how to spot a good supplier using street smarts.


A GOOD SUPPLIER…

Is a manufacturer, not a re-seller.

You may have noticed that the exact same product is offered by different sellers on Alibaba. How can this be? Re-sellers. They (through no fault of their own) need to make money on the re-sale, so they’ll charge a mark-up. Every dollar cuts into your profit, and ends up costing thousands in the long run. Here’s how to screen out re-sellers:

– PHOTOS. Ask for factory and facility photos.
– EMAILS. Emails like “sales2@companyname.com” indicate a factory as opposed to “nancy@companyname.com”. Not always true, but you should be talking to a member of a dedicated sales department, not a 1-person production. Once you get a good prospect, move to Skype or WhatsApp for faster chats.
– TOUR. Tell them your sourcing agent in China is conducting facility tours this month, and would like to stop by (you don’t even need to follow through on this; just see how the supplier reacts). Or, you can do this for real.
– SKYPE. Ask them to video Skype you from the factory in an hour. Are they ready?
– TRADE SHOWS. Upcoming trade show listings on their site and on Alibaba. If they are willing to appear in person, that’s a good sign.
– DOCUMENTS. Does your supplier have source documents that only the original factory would have? These include quality control docs that vary by industry (CE, FDA, ISO9001, RoHS, MSDS reports, material test results, etc.) and Adobe Illustrator (.ai, .eps) or Photoshop (.psd) files for their packaging and instruction manuals.
– BRANDING. Look at the version of the product everyone’s selling on Alibaba. Zoom in. Is there a visible brand or logo engraved anywhere? Search that brand name online, and you’ve found the original.
– PRICING. When you’re comparing prices in the Excel doc, who has the highest prices? This may indicate who re-sells, since they need to make margin on the sale.
– CUSTOMIZATION. Factories own the machinery used to make the product, so they can customize more easily than a re-seller can. If you ask a supplier to make a custom physical change and they can’t, is it because their machinery can’t do it? Or, is it because they don’t have any machines to begin with?
– PRODUCT LINE. Re-sellers often offer expansive lines of materially different products. Ask yourself: does it make sense for these items to be manufactured in the same factory? If a supplier sells flea collars but also selfie sticks, they’re a re-seller. True factories have breadth in a small area of expertise.

For example, here’s the collar supplier who was a definite “yes” earlier. As you can see, they’re all about paracord stuff. That’s all they do.

Source the Perfect Product for Amazon
Plus, they can offer footage from the factory floor. Another good sign.
Source the Perfect Product for Amazon

Anyways, where were we? Right. A good supplier…

Is thorough.
– INSTRUCTIONS. Use instructions to screen. Professional reps read your instructions and follow them. For example, if you’re chatting on Alibaba and ask them to email you instead and include their company website, pay attention to who follows the instructions and who doesn’t. Pay attention to who answers the 5 sourcing questions point-for-point. Those suppliers are trying hard and deserve your attention.
– PAYMENT. Good suppliers connect with payment methods like PayPal and Alibaba Trade Assurance. These 2 methods in particular have some hoops and fees on their end, so it’s a good trust indicator. However, good suppliers may not have Trade Assurance set-up yet and prefer T/T wire transfers, so it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. You can pay for order #1 via PayPal or Trade Assurance, then move to wire transfers once you’ve confirmed the quality.

Doesn’t need good English or a good website.
Factories are notoriously bad at marketing. Don’t discard a supplier based on their English or the look of their site. More important than perfect English is their attention to detail, the effort they make to answer your questions, and the area of expertise of the factory.

Can supply you with a product line. 
Source with the future in mind. Does the supplier you’re considering have an extensive line of products in the same area? In the case of the paracord supplier, order #1 is a flea collar. Once that does well, you can buy collars for cats, paracord leashes, paracord chewtoys, etc. Finding a good supplier the first time saves from having to do this process over again.


NEGOTIATIONS

Tips to come to win-win agreements with suppliers:

THE ‘HOLD THE BOX’ TRICK. You’re building a brand and want a custom box. Some suppliers may have an MOQ of 500 products, but and MOQ of 1000 custom boxes (because their packaging guy set an MOQ on it). 1000 boxes means you need to make 1000 units, right? No. Make 1000 boxes, ask them to hold 500 with them in China for your next order, and make 500 units as planned. They meet their packaging minimums, and you order the right amount.

THE SAMPLE REFUND. Pay for samples with PayPal, and ask if the amount can be refunded if you end up placing a mass order. Affirm that they won’t lose any money in the process, and that it will incentivize the Buying Department to go through with the order. You get your sample payment back, and they get more business.

THE ‘LONG TERM’ APPEAL. If you can’t seem to agree on the price, appeal to future orders. “It may seem that this order is worth only $3000,” you say, “but we’re a growing company, and a successful order today may lead to easy repeat business for you: $5000, 10,000, $20,000. What’s the best price that you can offer me?” You get lower prices, and they win a long-term partner.

DON’T SAY ANYTHING. If you stay quiet for a few days, they will follow up. After a few messages, they’ll be more receptive to lower prices. In the end, you are the buyer and hold all the cards. The best negotiation tactic is being willing to walk away from the deal.

– PRAISE. If someone does something we don’t like, we tell them. If someone does something good, we say nothing. Break the trend. Praise sales reps for following up, fast responses, good product certifications, quality, service. When negotiations hit, you’ll be glad you’ve set a friendly tone.

HAVE A BUDGET. Set a definitive amount you’d like to spend on the order, and stick to it. With MOQs, modifications, packaging, and shipping, it can be easy to exceed your budget. If anything, share your budget with your supplier and ask how you can work together to make it fit.


SAMPLING

You’ve found suppliers, compiled their information, and negotiated the price of the mass order. Now, you need a sample unit to test the quality. Going into a mass order without a sample is… risky. Always sample.

Here’s the anatomy of a sample order:

– sampling fee = the fee for the product. It’s free, unless you make a custom sample.
– custom work fees = fees for custom logo printing, set-up, stitching, mold fees (which can get pricey)
– shipping fee = most likely by air (DHL, UPS, FedEx), and will comprise a good chunk of the sample fee

How much should you pay? Expect anything from $30-$200, depending on the complexity of your product.

What do you do with a sample once it arrives:
– photography (photography first, while it’s still unscratched)
– durability testing (drop test, waterproof, material)


PAYMENT

For the sample, use PayPal. It’s instant and favors the buyer, in the event that something isn’t right with the sample.

For the mass order, you’ve got options!

– Western Union: don’t. If a supplier only takes Western Union, don’t deal with them. No buyer protection; once the money’s gone it’s gone. Takes 3-5 days.
– PayPal: you can, but the fees on the receiving end are high, so most suppliers will be against it. You can offer to split the PayPal fees for order #1, and think of it as a sort of “insurance policy” on the first purchase. Instant.
– T/T Wire Transfer: the payment method of choice for most suppliers. It’s done from bank to bank, and is fairly reliable. But like Western Union, there’s no buyer protection. Takes 3-5 days.
– Alibaba Trade Assurance: Alibaba’s escrow service. All payments are based on an online contract. The money is sent to an Alibaba-owned account, and then transferred to the seller. Some buyer protection, and has the send reliability of a wire transfer. Takes 3-5 days.

Source the Perfect Product for Amazon

Or, do a hybrid. Use PayPal or Alibaba Trade Assurance for your first order to get the protection, and then switch to wire transfers after a successful first batch.


THE NEXT STEP

There you go! Now you’re ready to source the perfect product for your Amazon business.

In this article, we:
– took our idea
– sourced it on Alibaba using a Buying Request and direct messaging
– collected and analysed the pricing in a spreadsheet
– separated re-sellers from factories
– negotiated win-wins
– sampled
– paid for the mass order.

If you like this article, try these on for size:

How to optimize your Amazon listing for more sales (Amazon SEO)
How to get Amazon reviews (6 proven strategies)
Are you making use of your most valuable resource as an Amazon seller? 


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Boost Amazon sales rank in a competitive niche fast | Amazon FBA guide

Amazon Case study: Boost Amazon sales rank in a competitive niche fast

[video_embed video=”0W_n2JQzZMk” parameters=”” mp4=”” ogv=”” placeholder=”” width=”700″ height=”400″]

Today we’re going to show you first hand how to rank on Page 1 in a competitive niche on Amazon. Here’s everything you need to know in 10 seconds:

Step 1: look up the search term for the product you’re selling on Amazon.
Step 2: calculate the average review count on page 1.
Step 3: giveaway enough products for review to overcome that average review count.
It’s that simple. Follow the steps and you’ll be able to boost Amazon sales rank and get your product ranked on page 1 of Amazon in no time.
The rest of this article goes into detail on these 3 steps.
At HonestFew, we connect sellers with reviewers, so of course I want to partner up with you for this, but regardless of what strategy you use in the end, let’s rank.
To illustrate, let me give you an example.
It’s the story of Andy, a client of ours who started selling on Amazon 3 months ago. We worked with Andy on his product giveaways, and the product went from page 20 to page 1 in 3 months in a competitive niche.
We’re talking like “forskolin and iPhone cases” type of competitive. This stuff is vicious, getting your product ranked on page 1 of Amazon for something like this would be no easy task.
So in this particular niche, there are a handful of really strong guys (2 sellers with 1000 reviews and a handful of 500s). So off the bat, Andy knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
As a general rule, we’d recommend not picking markets where other sellers have over 1000 reviews, because you inevitably need cash to catch up, and the market may lack depth if 1 seller monopolizes all the sales.
But this market had some great volume, so he sourced and shipped to FBA.
As soon as the product touched down, Andy got in touch about a product promotion. He wonders, as many do:
I need reviews, but how do I know how many units to give away?
The answer: enough units to be perceived as a viable option in the mind of the buyer.
I’ll say that again: the number of units you need to give away is enough to be perceived as a viable option in the mind of the buyer.
Reviews are social proof and a sales conversion tool. As a customer, if you see one product with 200 reviews and another with 15 and they’re both similar, which are you more likely to buy?
Once competitive review counts are close, say 200 vs. 175, it doesn’t matter as much. At that point, it’s more about features and benefits. You just need enough reviews to be a viable option.
In the interest of protecting Andy’s niche and product, I won’t show them.
But with Valentine’s Day a quick 6 months away, let’s hop over to Amazon and look at some “scented candles” as a concrete example. It’s never too early to start shopping for Valentine’s Day, am I right?
Let’s look at the reviews: 200ish, 450, 260, 200, 70, 12, 2200 (that’s impressive—and these guys have got the right idea by bundling candles together and charging more for the pack, but more on that another time), and then quite a few in the hundreds down the page.
You can collect the review values from page 1 manually, or use a product research tool like Jungle Scout. It’s a Google Chrome extension that does it all for you.
Jungle Scout gives you a summary of every product in this “scented candles” search, and their data. We want to know what the competition looks like on Page 1, because this is where we want our product to appear.
And full disclosure, I put an affiliate link to Jungle Scout in the description, so if you’d like to see more content like this you’d be supporting the channel by getting Jungle Scout through that link: http://www.junglescout.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=256
Anyways, it shows you individual and average review counts. Right now, it’s 439. That seems pretty high.
Check to make sure the average isn’t being raised by something that isn’t a scented candle.
In this case, we’ve got these oils here at the bottom, which are bringing up the average review count. They’re inflating the data.
So nix that, and you’ll see the average has dropped to 305, which is accurate.
So now we know we need— let’s just call it 300 reviews, to have the same amount of social proof and conversion power as the other page 1 listings.
To get 300 reviews at a successful 75% review rate is 400 products given away. Say you can source the candles for $3 each. That’s $1200 in product, and add $800 for air freight (cause I feel like candles are kinda heavy).
So you need to spend $2000 + Amazon fees (which total $2 or $3 per unit depending on your giveaway price) to get 300 reviews and start selling on page 1 for “scented candles”.
Then, Jungle Scout will also tell you estimated revenue and sales on page 1. So there, you can see how long it would take to break even on this product purchase.
When I averaged the revenue from the top 15 “scented candle” sellers on page 1, the average monthly revenue is $10,000. So these scented candles would be profitable upon the second re-order.
What about Andy?
Well, we worked the same plan with Andy, only it was to get 400 reviews over the course of 3 months.
Month 1:
100-unit promotion of the products at $1 each + an HonestFew Video review given for $0. The sheer quantity of sales spiked BSR, got him on the map, and resulted in his first 87 reviews within 14 days (that’s our turn-around time). The review count upped his conversions enough to turn on Amazon Pay-per-Click, and the video review put a high-converting product video on his listing, which was then upvoted by buyers as Most Helpful.
Month 2:
We did a 200-unit promotion at $1 each. His rise became noticeable as he went from page 4 to mid-page 2. On mid-page 2, he was making 3-4 sales a day. Recognizing that our work wasn’t quite done, we ran another promotion.
Month 3:
The final 200-unit promotion at $1 each. The combined sales spike and review count resulted in selling at 10 units a day organically on the middle of Page 1. With those sales, he’s building his natural review count.
And if you’re wondering about Amazon’s updated terms of service on product reviews, the verdict is in: they’re fine. We made a whole other post about the do’s and don’ts, which you can check out here.
So today, we went through a timeless formula for Page 1 ranking:
Step 1: look up the search term for the product you’re selling on Amazon.
Step 2: calculate the average review count on page 1. We did this with Jungle Scout.
Step 3: giveaway enough products for review to overcome that average review count. Again, JungleScout gives you your estimated break-even point, and HonestFew gets your products in front of reviewers for honest evaluation.
Another take-away from Andy’s story, aside from making deliberate Page 1 calculations, is that product selection is key. It’s the 20% of the work that accounts for 80% of the results.
Pick a product with low or unoptimized competition, but high demand. If you do this with surgical precision, you can make sales without having to brute-force your review count. But, more on this at a different time.
We hope you enjoyed our article on how to boost Amazon sales rank and getting your product ranked on page 1 of Amazon! And on that note, get out there and build the business of your dreams.

► Succeed: https://honestfew.com/make-more-money-on-amazon/

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The New Amazon Terms of Service Changes You Need To Know | Sell on Amazon

Sell on Amazon – The New Terms of Service Changes during August 2015 and what you need to know for September 2015

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Amazon added a new section to its Prohibited Seller Activities and Action which has everyone buzzing. In this article we cover the new Amazon Terms of Service changes that you need to know.

I’ll now present an actionable plan to make more sales on Amazon, avoid losing seller privileges, and make the TOS changes work in your favor, instead of against you.

First thing’s first. Let’s get on the same page by checking out Amazon’s TOS.

Here’s the excerpt from Amazon’s “Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions”. You can read the full document here: http://amzn.to/1UDoxo3

For the latest on Amazon reviews, check out these pieces:

Amazon removes verified purchase badges (November 2015)
Will this get me banned? Getting Amazon reviews the right way (May 2016)
Amazon sues sellers for fake reviews (June 2016)

How do the new Amazon terms of service changes affect reviews?

But here’s the section on reviews. It reads:

“Reviews: Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative.”

From this, and from the Amazon Vine Program, which gives free product to reviewers in exchange for feedback, it’s clear that honest reviews will always be a part of Amazon’s system.

Reading on…

“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 copy of the product. If you offer a free product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written.”

This takes money out of the equation. Make sure that you solicit honest reviews, with no compensation for the reviewer except a copy of your product.

And here’s what Amazon added recently:

“You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review.”

This is great.

It presents an opportunity for most sellers, because this new clause targets black hat tactics, and rewards sellers who build reviews by the rules.

We asked Amazon Seller Support to define the terms. Here’s what Amazon said:

New Amazon Terms of Service Changes

“Intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings”
means knowingly influencing the outcome of the product giveaway— in other words, asking for a positive review instead of an unbiased one. This is against TOS, because asking for 5-stars instead of an honest opinion is intentional rank manipulation. That’s a black hat tactic, so we’re glad it’s gone.

New Amazon Terms of Service Changes

“Offering an excessive number of free or discounted products”
We asked what counts as “excessive.” Like, is it 1000? 500? What’s excessive? Amazon says “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. Again, a black hat tactic, so we’re glad it’s gone.

To make sure I understood, I posed this example: can I issue 1000 units to 1000 unique customers for free, granted there were no refunds, no multiples sent to the same person, and no solicitation for positive reviews. The answer?

Yes.

And while 1000 units is extreme, of course it’s permitted. It’s consistent with Amazon’s best interests.

Amazon wants people to test-drive products. 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.

Say Millie’s Hairbrushes teams up with HonestFew to send 300 fancy pink brushes to reviewers for honest evaluation. One reviewer writes that she loves the design, it works well for her— but she had trouble combing her daughter’s crazy curly hair. A customer with straight hair sees the review, and buys the brush. A customer with really curly hair sees the review, and avoids a bad experience and a possible return. The customers are grateful, the seller makes a sale and builds their review count, and Amazon’s paid for their service.

Everyone wins.

Honest product testing will be around forever because it ensures customers get what they need and can buy with confidence.

That’s why we connect products with honest reviewers.

More to the point, we’re actually pioneering HonestFew Video, or HFV, which allows companies to get honest video reviews of their products. So for only a 6-unit giveaway, you could have 6 video demos on your listing. More about HFV here: https://honestfew.com/product/video-package/

To sum it all up, here’s how to avoid losing selling privileges when doing promotions:

Do:
– ask for honest, unbiased feedback on the products you’re promoting. In person, email, everywhere.
– have reviewers state that they received the product for honest review in their written review on Amazon
If you’re using HonestFew, we do all this for you with a guaranteed review rate. But if you’re promoting to your email list or something, be sure to use this language.

Do not:
– ask for positive or 5-star reviews
– pay or otherwise compensate people to write reviews
– issue refunds on products that were sent out for a review
– send multiple copies of the same product to a single reviewer
– write claims regarding your product’s BSR in your listing title or ad copy (things like #1 or Best Selling)
– review your own products or those of your competitors
– send products to friends and family for reviews

These changes aren’t aimed at you.

They’re aimed at those trying to rank by manipulating the review process. Build a good product that works well, optimize your listing, promote as many units as you need to get on page 1, and get where you deserve to be.

If you’re ready to put things into motion, you can drop us a line at https://honestfew.com/amazon-sellers/

We run product promotions every day for sellers who are looking to get to Page 1 without struggling for every review and sale. Thanks for reading the newest piece on the new Amazon Terms of Service changes, and stay honest.

For those of you who would like to continue the conversation, feel free to head over to the HonestFew Mastermind Facebook group. We’re a select community of Amazon Sellers. We share exclusive tips and content, engage with fun and constructive programming, promotions, and contests to win review packages. Best of all, it’s entirely free. So what are you waiting for? Join today! HonestFew Amazon Mastermind!


► Succeed: https://honestfew.com/make-more-money-on-amazon/

► Get our emails: http://eepurl.com/bZkwBL

► Learn everything on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1QU0lja

► Join our private Facebook group: http://bit.ly/1okRRWO

► Consult for free at 1-855-707-2395 or Skype HonestFewCo

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Build Brand Awareness with an Amazon Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that e-commerce is representing a greater and greater share of overall commerce each year, and that virtual fortunes can be made for those who plan and execute well a few key strategies for gaining exposure and market share across multiple sales channels.

If you are an e-commerce site operator and you sell your own private label brand of products, today I am going to share with you a four-pronged Amazon marketing strategy on how you can dominate Amazon with your store’s product line and increase traffic to your ecommerce site. So grab a pen and paper and take notes….

As I go through this strategy, the company and model I’d like you to keep in mind is Spigen, a leading seller of cell phone accessories on Amazon.

Building Brand Awareness with an Amazon Marketing Strategy:

Objectives:

  1. Increase market share for, and create fans of your product line
  2. Increase sales revenue for your business
  3. Move buyers from Amazon to your own e-commerce site

The Plan:

List products currently for sale in your e-commerce site on Amazon.com, starting with the lower competition categories that are in your niche (e.g. travel accessories, office products, baby products, or sports and outdoors).  Optimize your listings to basically “out market” your competitors, thereby gaining increased sales rank.  Then wash, rinse, and repeat with any products you may have in more competitive categories.

Tip: Use a Super URL to link product pictures from your e-commerce site to your Amazon listings rather than your cart checkout – OR – utilize Amazon Payment Services to increase buyer trust on your site.

Phase 1: List Your Products on Amazon.com

Starting with items in the less competitive niches, list your products on Amazon.com in the most highly optimized manner possible.  The areas of most importance to pay attention to, in order, are:

  • Product Images – at least 7 super high quality images including action shots
  • Product Title – Start with your brand name, in all caps, and include 2 – 3 keywords
  • 5 Bullet Points – Concise with key features and benefits. Use Additional keywords
  • Keywords to Rank For –  Not visible.  Used in your listing setup. Don’t repeat main title keywords to save characters allowed
  • Questions & Answers –  Use this area to respond to questions with keyword optimized replies.  This helps boost your product ranking.
  • Description –  Create a compelling, benefit rich description using basic [paragraph] and [Bold] headline tags to increase readability.

You want to have all items Fulfilled by Amazon rather than Merchant to help boost ranking and garner potential Amazon Prime customers. You want to ship at least 200-250 of each product into Amazon for those products you are going to promote with a :”blast” style launch.

Phase 2:  Amazon Marketing Strategy

On Amazon.com, product performance comes down to two things basically – sales and reviews.  Sales depend on converting traffic into buyers, and conversions depend upon having optimized listings and social proof in the form of reviews.  You can see how most of these factors are related to one another.

Most Internet marketers struggle in one way or another with getting traffic to their websites,  with over 225 million sales visits to Amazon per year, the traffic factor is taken care of.  You just have to convert that traffic into buyers.  And on Amazon, the better you convert, the more traffic they send your way.

Begin With Your Existing Customers

The first thing you want to do is to contact your existing customer list with a 25-50% off coupon to buy your products on Amazon itself.  Then follow up with those who do buy to ask for product reviews (within your Amazon SellerCentral Account).  This builds your social proof and increases sales.  Aim for at least 25 reviews for each product from your promotional efforts alone.

An aggressive tactic you can use to increase the number of reviews you get is to use a service like Feedback Genius or other e-mail follow-up services.  You can also opt to utilize the services of a virtual assistant to go through your orders and follow-up asking for reviews.

To increase reviews you can also contact niche blogs, forums, and/or products reviewers, among others, and give them a coupon to receive free products in exchange for a review.

Launch Your Products

A recently developed method to quickly boost sales rank, and even get reviews, is known as a product launch or “blast.” This method entails using Honestfew to give away a number of products to customers at a deeply discounted price (commonly $0.99 or $1.99), using a one-time coupon code.  This has the effect of significantly boosting your Amazon sales rank by getting a large number of sales in a short period of time.

A blast of 150 to 200 product units will usually be sufficient to rank your product in most non-competitive categories.  Intensely competitive markets such as dietary supplements or cell phones and accessories might require two to four times as many products be given away at those prices to gain significant rank and thus are more costly to promote.

Again, you follow up by asking customers for reviews.  Repeat this process for as many products as you wish to rank highly or reach your desired BSR.

Phase 3: Turn On Pay Per Click Advertising

Once you have an optimized listing for your product and around 25 reviews, it’s time to turn on one of the most inexpensive and cost efficient pay-per-click ad campaigns in existence – Amazon Sponsored Ads.  Just enter relevant keywords you wish to attract buyers to your listing with, and let Amazon deliver your product ads to thousands of their customers.

The goal here is not to profit from this advertising, but to boost sales rank by increasing sales.  Remember, the higher your product’s BSR (Best Seller Rank), the more organic sales you will make.  A break-even strategy is best employed here.

After you have optimized your Amazon Sponsored Ads campaign, it’s time to finally turn to sending Amazon some outside traffic by turning on alternative external paid traffic sources such as Facebook ads and Google PPC.  The Amazon algorithm likes external traffic as this brings Amazon more customers.  You will be rewarded with increased product sales rank as a result.

Phase 4:  Bring Your Amazon Customers Home

Once you have acquired an increased number of customers from the Amazon.com site (as evidenced by reaching approximately 250 product reviews) and grown your customer base, it’s time to point your external pay-per-click campaigns back toward your e-commerce site.  You can utilize some of your Amazon reviews on your site as an added customer draw if you like.

You can also resume having your customers’ use your check out cart, and you can now fulfill orders yourself if you prefer.  This will not only bring in new customers to your site, it will also increase their confidence level in using your site.  You can, of course, opt to maintain your Amazon listings in a multi-channel fulfillment arrangement.

Strategies To Grow Even Further

To increase building brand awareness and grow your brand or ecommerce business even further, employ such tactics as retargeting with tools such as Perfect Audience or Adroll, and doing media buys on selected web properties.

For those so inclined, moving into international markets with Amazon may be the easiest way to experience the ultimate in brand expansion.  The opportunities are limitless for the imaginative businessperson. We hope you’ve enjoyed our article on how you can build brand awareness with an Amazon Marketing strategy.

There has never been a better time to explore your desire to expand your brand than today.  With the advent of launch services such as HonestFew, explosive growth in sales and customer acquisition has bought what was once often a mere fantasy for the average person, into a practical, cost effective reality. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas so comment below.

For those of you who would like to continue the conversation, feel free to head over to the HonestFew Mastermind Facebook group. We’re a select community of Amazon Sellers. We share exclusive tips and content, engage with fun and constructive programming, promotions, and contests to win review packages. Best of all, it’s entirely free. So what are you waiting for? Join today! HonestFew Amazon Mastermind!

 


Resources moving forward:

► Automate your product reviews: http://honestfew.com/
► Get selling tips sent to your inbox: https://honestfew.com/join-the-honestfew-insiders/
► Meet like-minded people in our mastermind: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HonestFewMastermind/
► Considering launching with HonestFew? Call in toll-free at 1-855-707-2395 or through email at honestfewco@gmail.com

► Book your free Skype consultation with our Amazon Ranking Experts, add us on Skype at: HonestFewco


building brand awareness

Learn How To Crush It On Amazon

51jWDaB5lcL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_    For those who are interested in taking your Amazon Seller game to the next level, I’ve just released a new book on how to crush it on Amazon specifically for you.

It’s got a lot of great ideas and tactics to help make your store even more successful. It’s currently on sale for $8. Take a look, click here on on the book to your left. And for a limited time, I’ll be doing email and Skype coaching when you purchase your copy.