So if your following along and getting in the game, then you are a big chunk of the way down the path to starting your Amazon business. If your new to the series, check out:
- Amazon FBA 101 – What & Why
- Amazon FBA 101 – Choosing a Product
- Amazon FBA 101 – Evaluating Sales & Competition
- Amazon FBA 101 – Finding a Supplier
So you’ve found your supplier. If you’re like me you couldn’t be more excited. Things are finally happening. All the time, effort and money you’ve put in is finally about to be something tangible. But just getting the items in isn’t enough to start generating sales. Let’s talk about a few things that you may not have thought of yet.
You will need professional photos that meet Amazon’s criteria. It’s pretty simple. The photos need to be on white background. The real trick is that you need nice photos to make sales. The higher quality the better.
What makes a good photo?
- Super high res images.
- Lots of angles.
- Action shots. They can’t be your primary image but they’re great secondary ones.
- Show off the features.
If you have a complicated, unusual or novel product you may need to take photos that very clearly demonstrate your value proposition. It’s not that uncommon for me to come across products that I’m not even clear what they do.
If you’ve taken a generic or undifferentiated item and improved it, same logic applies. You need to show (not just say) why its better.
Creating a Listing
You can create your listing at any time. Earlier the better. I may do a mini-post with screenshots in the future on how to create one, but for the moment just remember also make it a “variation”. You also need to create the listing in order to create the shipping labels that need to be provided to your manufacturer ahead of time.
Make sure to create as description of a listing as possible, describing the product, its benefits, your company, return policy and anything else you want them to know. Find other high quality listings to use as a base.
Shipping and Labels
Amazon has a very confusing set of rules around labels and codes that trip up a lot of people. You need to know 2 things. First you need a UPC code, which can be purchased almost anywhere and for almost nothing. Google “buy UPC codes” and you’ll get a ton of hits. If you expect your business to scale and your SKU’s to increase, buy more than 1. I think I grabbed 100 because they were so cheap.
Every product must have that UPC code in the system, which is then used to generate ANOTHER code that’s used internally by Amazon. That code is what goes on your product NOT the UPC code. We personally have our manufacturers put those labels on, but you could do it yourself as well.
Long-story short – you buy and use UPC codes in the system but you use the internal Amazon code on packages. Amazon does not explain that well and it was really confusing the first time we tried to figure it out.
Once you’ve got that covered (either by your manufacturer or yourself) you need to ship to Amazon. Be sure that before you let your products out of the garage you personally open every single box and spot check at least a few items. In addition, it’s probably a good idea to hold back 10-50 items for yourself for various purposes.
The big day is here! Congrats. You’ve made it further than 99% of people ever do.
So your product is in the amazon warehouse and available for sale. Unfortunately your barely in the rankings for your key words around page 100 and no sales. How do you change that? Everything comes down to sales and reviews.
Friends and Family Sales and Reviews
The best option for reviews is friends and family. They’re free (except for product), hopefully reliable, and you should have close to a 100% response rate. The way we did this was simple, we put together a list of everyone we could think of that we were close enough with to ask to purchase, put together an email script, and blasted it out.
At the time we created a single code that knocked the product down to a dollar and blasted it out. I wouldn’t do that now. Now I would create individual codes for every person to ensure no possibility of it leaking out or something going wrong.
Anyone who was nice enough to reply back to your email, provide a discount code. By getting those first 10-25 sales and reviews, you should see yourself move pretty quickly in the rankings, depending on the competitiveness of your category.
DO NOT leave the “Detail Page Display” box ticked. If you do so, your discount will show up on the amazon listing, visible to all.
The amazon user interface is horrendous. Hundreds of sellers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory by making this tiny mistake. Don’t be another one.
You remember that AWESOME post we did on all the great deal sites you can get the hook up on? They work the other way as well. Head over to that post and start clicking through to see all your various review site options. I’ve never used one myself, but we are considering one for our upcoming launch of 3 new products. The one we are leaning toward at the moment is AMZ Tracker because for a low price you not only get access to their review group, you get all the tools they have to offer, which are closely equivalent to Jungle Scout. It’s a 2 for 1.
Having said that, there are a lot of great options out there. My favorite as a consumer is Snagshout, but damn they are expensive. If we were doing massive launches of 100-1000’s of unit giveaways, my decision might be different, but we’re doing literally 20-5o total and for that we can be a bit more cost sensitive.
We didn’t use facebook groups in our first launch, but we’re looking in to them this time. My product doesn’t lend itself to finding big groups that have interests in alignment with my product, but even still I think I’ve found a few that might make sense to offer the product to. In this case I wouldn’t do a major giveaway of 50% or more because the odds of getting major sales is low. However, it’s probably a great spot to throw 20-30% off coupons to see if you can drum up some week 1 sales.
Again, haven’t used this yet, but if you can find the right sub-reddits for your product, it can be a great place to launch. There are also subreddits like Shut up and Take My Money where people post great products out there. It may gain you a bit of traffic but occasionally they blow up and it can result in substantial levels of sales. The very best option would be to find a very niche and specific subreddit that is your pefect target market and launch there, particularly if your product is geared toward males between 20-30, though reddit has a lot more diversity than that.
At this point you’ve covered the following:
- Products were received, labeled, and shipped to amazon
- Listing was created and pro photos are done
- Friends and family have been contacted
- Any groups on social networks that make sense you’ve reached out to
- If you’re doing giveaways it’s launched.
That’s a fantastic start to move from obscurity to top few pages of amazon given some time. Let the sales and reviews start rolling in, monitor the situation, and adjust as necessary. Next up is Amazon Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) which we’ll cover in the future.
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