We couldn’t find any hands-on, visual, free, entertaining Amazon training… so we made it.
NOTE: THIS IS A LIVING DOCUMENT.
HonestFew releases 1 piece a week, so this document will update over time. It’s like your personal business coach. Bookmark it and share it with your friends… they’ll
THANK YOU FOREVER!
Follow the steps below and learn how to get an idea, and then how to source, ship, pre-market, position, rank, get reviews, and drive traffic.
Let’s get down to business.
You can do these one at a time, or ‘Netflix marathon’ them on YouTube.
(1) WHAT PRODUCTS ARE GOOD TO SELL?
First thing’s first: the product. When you pick, there are 2 main things to consider: physical specs and market conditions.
Physical specs: lightweight, fits in your pocket, $25-$100 retail price, 2x profit (e.g. make at least $15 on a $30 MSRP), not patented, brandable and customizable, can’t be bought at the local Wal-Mart, no instructions needed, can be re-ordered, simple technology, passes a stress test, 1 SKU. You don’t need all of these. Just most.
Market conditions: no dominant household names, the product has multiple keywords, it’s trending on Google Trends, you can build a future product line around it, your competition’s presentation can be improved, you’re a member of the target demographic for the product, some FBA sellers are already making (some) money in the niche, high RPR (this one needs some explaining, so watch the video starting at 6:30).
(2) HOW TO FIND PRODUCT IDEAS (MATRIX TECHNIQUE)
Simple brainstorming technique:
1. Look for items in your house that fit the “private label” criteria (see step 1).
2. Open an Excel document.
3. Put the items you found in Row 1.
4. Put “modifiers” in Column 1 (e.g. words like “mini”, “industrial”, “for men”).
5. Fill out the table.
6. Search the contents of the table on Amazon.
7. Get product ideas.
(3) STUCK? HERE ARE 100 GREAT IDEAS
I spent over 20 hours finding a list of 100 good business ideas and made a funny video about it.
Consider high-ticket items with low competition. It’s best to monopolize a small niche first, and then branch to related markets. For example: old-age care, CPR dummies, urns for ashes, pet rehabilitation, fraternity wear, slacklines, lie detectors, mermaid fins.
(4) COMPARE YOUR OPTIONS USING JUNGLESCOUT
We use a metric called RPR (“revenue per review”) to decide whether a niche is good or not.
RPR is the monthly revenue of a seller divided by the number of reviews they have.
A high RPR is good: it means that the seller makes a lot of revenue in relation to the number of reviews they have. If you sweep in with authority and page rank, you can make money.
A low RPR is bad: it means that the seller isn’t making a lot of money despite a high review count. This indicates a saturated market and should be avoided.
(4) SOURCE FROM CHINA WITH ALIBABA
I show 2 methods of talking to suppliers on Alibaba: buying requests and direct messaging. We learn to compile data from suppliers so you can accurately compare them against eachother. And then, we cover logistics: sampling, telling a re-seller from a factory, shipping, payments, and mass orders.
(5) SHIP BY AIR TO AMAZON WAREHOUSES
We dive into Amazon Seller Central’s shipping queue workflow for a step-by-step guide on shipping by air to Amazon FBA warehouses.
All the most annoying stuff: barcodes, ASINs, SKUs, FNSKUs, product labels, product case labels, warehouse destinations, and other things that will make you want to scream.
Share this guide with your supplier if you’re planning on shipping directly from China to Amazon.
(6) BUILD A PRE-LAUNCH AUDIENCE ON INSTAGRAM
We take example Instagram account “dogownersonly” from 0 to 1000 followers by engaging with actual Instagram users. Why not pay for bots, Patrick?
Because bots won’t buy your product at launch time. While your product samples are shipping, use the down-time to focus on marketing.
(7) POSITION YOUR PRODUCT
It’s time to think about marketing.
There are 6 ways to position your product so that people will choose you over the other guy:
1. Better: physical, product-based improvements.
2. Before: enter the market earlier than everyone else. If you paid attention to RPR in Step 1, you should be OK.
3. Brute: get more sales and reviews than them and become the authority. Only do this if you have money to spend.
4. Bundle: combine the product with another, complimentary product.
5. Brand: improve your listing and price high to be seen as de facto “best”.
6. Bulk: buy and sell the product in bulk (when everyone else is selling singles).
(8) OPTIMIZE YOUR LISTING (AMAZON SEO)
Build the ultimate sales machine by doing these 9 quick things:
Title: max out the character count with help from the Google Keyword Planner Tool; make it read like a sentence. Don’t use phrases that mention rank “#1 Best-Selling”.
Price: run a tasteful long-term “price slash” to spur buying behavior.
Photos: 1 main photo on all-white, 3 product detail shots on white, 3 lifestyle shots showing the product in use in a way that expresses a benefit.
Bullet Points: people care about benefits more than features. Trigger “Life Force 8” benefits in your writing: 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. #triggered
Description: use HTML tags to make it visually appealing and readable. Include a call to action at the end (e.g. “Click ‘Add to Cart’ now”).
Search Terms: include keywords that are relevant to your product that you haven’t used in your title, bullets, or description. No need for commas. For more technicalities, check out Amazon’s “ Optimize Listings for Search and Browse”.
Keywords from PPC: once you start running PPC, take keywords with good ACoS scores and use them in your listing. It’s market-informed optimization. Thank me later. Cheque payable to “HonestFew Inc.”
Fulfillment: use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) instead of Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM, aka shipping orders yourself). You’ll get business from Prime Members, free up some time, and appeal bad reviews that pertain to shipping errors.
Reviews: just 50 Amazon reviews can increase sales by 4.6%. And, they’re a must if you’re running Amazon PPC ads. Times have changed. Customers always read reviews before buying; reviews are the new ads.
(9) TAKE A TOUR OF SELLER CENTRAL
We explain every button, box, and function of Amazon’s portal for third-party sellers: Amazon Seller Central.
If you’re a new seller and feel overwhelmed,
watch this video. Welcome. Have some tea and cake. Gatsby will greet you at the door.
(10) MAKE SINGLE USE CLAIM CODES
When Amazon Sellers launch a new product, they sell units at a discount to get an initial batch of sales and reviews. But how do you give specific people a discount without leaking the deal to everyone? Single use claim codes.
Here’s how to make ’em.
(11) GET AMAZON REVIEWS (6 TACTICS)Read:
NOTE: as of October 3rd, 2016 Amazon does not allow physical products to be sold in exchange for reviews: https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/abpto3jt7fhb5oc
More content about this is coming up, but know that this practice is no longer allowed.
However, that leaves sellers in a funny place: to sell on Amazon, you still need (1) sales (to increase momentum) and (2) reviews (to increase your conversion rate, build trust, and run pay-per-click advertising). So, HonestFew has pivoted to become a sales platform, instead of a review platform. As usual, we give sellers access to 50,000+ Amazon shoppers. We promote your item for sale at a discount, as if you got a press feature or were running a Black Friday sale. The shoppers buy your product, which increases your sales. So, that’s taken care of.
As for reviews, we give you the ability to follow up with your HonestFew customers, providing excellent customer service and asking for an honest review of the product if you’d like to. But unlike before, there is no implied contract of “discount for review”. Shoppers are allowed, but not required, to leave reviews on the product. We made a statement on the tail of Amazon’s press release, which is here: https://honestfew.com/amazon-update-on-customer-reviews/
Especially in the beginning of a product’s life. No one’s going to buy your product if it has 0 reviews. But how to get them?
There are 6 methods:
1. Friends & Family: don’t do this. I don’t even know why I put this here.
2. Facebook Groups: public, free.
3. Forums: niche, manual.
4. HonestFew: invest up front, time-efficient.
5. Build an Email List: proprietary, good.
6. Customer Service on Amazon: slow, consistent, a must.
(12) RANK ON PAGE 1 AND STAY THERE
HonestFew has successfully landed dozens of sellers onto page 1 for their keywords. Supplements, dog chews, copper mugs… you name it.
All successful sellers do these 3 things:
Quality. Focus on making something good. Obvious, simple… and completely overlooked. Marketing dollars are often used to push bad products. If selling it to your mom would make you cringe, back to the drawing board. Quality is a force multiplier, which makes
sourcing a very important step indeed. Reach escape velocity. Match and exceed the sales and reviews of your page 1 rivals using a promotional service like
HonestFew. Maintain momentum. After your promotion, drop your price and run Amazon PPC ads so that your organic sales ride the momentum of your promotion. Run more promotions if necessary.
(13) NOT MAKING SALES? TROUBLESHOOT HERE
If your product’s up but it’s not selling, don’t worry. You’re probably stuck in one of these 5 (very fixable!) phases:
Scenario 1: “Crickets”
> No visibility, no clickthroughs, no sales, and no repeat sales.
> Fix: jumpstart your product listing with initial sales and reviews.
Scenario 2: “Mime” (seen, but not heard)
> Visibility (i.e. page ranking), but no clickthroughs, no sales, no repeat sales.
> Fix: optimize your listing to make sure that it gets clicked when it appears in search results. so that means optimizing your 1 main photo, your product title, and your price.
Scenario 3: “No Cigar”
> Visibility, clickthroughs, but no sales, and no repeat sales.
> Fix: in Seller Central go to Reports > Business Reports > Sales & Traffic > Order Item Session Percentage (this number is your conversion rate). The average conversion rate on Amazon is 10%, so go for that (i.e. 10% of customers who visit your listing buy it). If they’re on your listing but not buying, it’s an optimization issue. They’re looking. You just need to convince them better. See “ How to optimize your Amazon listing”.
Scenario 4: “One-offs”
> Visibility, clickthroughs, sales, but no repeat sales.
> Fix: boost customer LTV (lifetime value) by using automated customer service software for Seller Central, collecting emails using packaging inserts, and seguing from email to social media. Also, consider cross-selling your items among different listings.
Scenario 5: “Scale it!”
> Visibility, clickthroughs, sales, and repeat sales.
> Fix: to scale, simply add more (closely related!) products to your store. Remember we said that the perfect product has a future product line around it? Buy Amazon PPC ads for more keywords. Improve your customer service. You’re on your way!
(14) DRIVE EXTERNAL TRAFFIC TO YOUR PRODUCT
When you’ve got consistent sales coming from Amazon customers, increase your ranking by marketing off-platform.
We divide driving external traffic into 3 branches: (1) sales tactics (e.g. deal sites, email list, contests), (2) working with influencers (e.g. YouTube and Instagram sponsorships), and (3) content marketing (i.e. creating your own media to drive traffic to Amazon). (#ididntneedtoknowthat use i.e. = “
id est” when you’re starting a synonym for what you’re talking about and use e.g. = “ exempli grati” when you’re mentioning an example of what you’re talking about).
(15) EXPAND TO AMAZON UK
Think you’ve maxed out Amazon?
Amazon UK is a 9 billion-dollar market, and British spending is actually
up post-Brexit. Plus, we compare the same product niche on Amazon US and Amazon UK with some telling results…
(16) PREVENT AMAZON SUSPENSIONS
HonestFew interviews the Amazon Seller’s Lawyer himself: CJ Rosenbaum. CJ has 20 years of law experience, has won cases against McDonald’s and KFC, has 2 million views on Quora, and bought Apple shares for $22 in 1996.
CJ shares what he does to appeal an Amazon suspension (given that the appeals team is now based in India instead of Seattle):
Concisely identify the cause of the problem. Amazon calls it the “root cause”.
State your immediate corrective action.
State your long-term systemic business changes you’ll be making to ensure quality in the future.