Starting on Amazon can be difficult work. There’s the business aspect of it, the product sourcing part, testing samples, coordinating manufacturing, shipping to the US, quality control inspection, creating your listing, getting acquainted with Amazon Seller Central (or Vendor Central and Vendor Express), and a ton of details in between. Who knew you needed a UPC? Or that your main photo needs to have a perfectly white background? And what’s an FNSKU? I thought Amazon used that other ASIN thing?
We could spend this entire article telling you how AMZ Transit can help you out, and that we regularly spend hours with our customers via both phone and email answering all sorts of Amazon related questions. But this blog is about learning something new. So instead, we’re going to share 5 tips with you that come from our most commonly asked questions.
- Don’t become married to a product – It’s easy to start with a product that interests you. Maybe you know a lot about gardening, and really enjoy doing it. So why not sell gardening tools, right? This is almost always a trap that many new sellers fall into. They get tied up with something they really love, and refuse to let it go. Whether the market demands it or not, they want to sell that particular product (or type of product). Next thing they know, they have 5000 units each of 2 products coming from China – only to realize that there are now 3 pages of nearly identical products at half their planned offering price. It’s a disheartening and frustrating experience that we see more than we’d like to. How do you avoid it? Think about what sells, or find a niche that you can work with. Many top sellers are offering the most far-left-field products you could imagine. Be the seller who offers weatherproof bags for yoga mats, not yet another yoga mat. Or skip the exciting pink electric hair brush, and shoot for a giant wooden comb that nobody else seems to offer. You get the idea.
- Cut the fat as you learn, and keep moving – Amazon is a constant learning process, and it’s a pretty big one at that. We’ve heard sellers say that Amazon is not the marketplace to cut your teeth on, and that you’ll get buried way too fast doing so. It’s easy to spend weeks or months learning the Sponsored Products system, or even the FBA shipment interface – only to realize you’ve just spent a month on one tiny component. But learning takes time, which is fine. The real issue surfaces when it’s time to repeat the process. Time to advertise a new product, or send in your 2nd shipment. Many sellers ask us if there’s a faster way to do things. And there often is, but they’ve learned it the long way, and they keep doing it that way. Think about when you were in school (high school, college, anything really). You had to write a paper, and that 5 page paper took an eternity. Collecting your sources, citing everything, turning in multiple revisions. Now, what if you had a boss who asked for a 5 page report by tomorrow? No problem! You’ve cut the fat from your processes, and become a lean and efficient machine. So how’s this pertain to Amazon? Realize that you’re self-teaching lots of things, and keep the ball rolling. Know that the way you learn something probably isn’t the most efficient way, and that everytime you repeat a process on Amazon, you want to evaluate ways to do it better, faster – or maybe just totally cut it! It’s easy to get caught up in the madness and lose sight of your most important, and more immediate selling goals.
- You’re starting a business, treat it as such – From the start, realize that you’re embarking on what could be (and hopefully is!) an awesome, life-changing journey. If you’re just looking to sell some items around the house, that’s one thing. But if you want to survive for the next 5 years off selling patio accessories on Amazon, build your business that way from the start. Lots of folks tread very carefully (which is fine), but avoid things that matter a lot in running a business, and it hurts them more. Like what? Make sure your finances are organized and in order, make sure you have a budget planned, use a new email address to keep emails from your supplier from getting mixed up with your mother-in-law’s daily meme chain emails. While it’s easy to get caught up in this (see #2 above) and bury yourself in planning, a certain extent of it will go a long way to keep the stress of running your business to a minimum. Every little bit counts. Think about companies that you like working with, and what makes them appealing. Maybe it’s fast replies to customer service emails, or a Facebook page with cool product photos. Going half in will only give you half in results, unfortunately.
- Be ready to accept failure – Many products on Amazon fail. Like, tons. There’s plenty of money to be made, don’t get that wrong. But some sellers spend months launching their first product, only to see it slip to page 18 on Amazon, and never go anywhere. It’s frustrating, and very disheartening. But, there are options. Lightning Deals, promo codes, and even liquidation (a last resort) can help you recover losses. This ties back into #1 above – if you’re so set on a single product, and you invest everything you have into it, it’s going to be devastating when it flops. Some of the most successful businesses we’ve worked with have started with 2 or 3 products, to give a better shot at success. As an added bonus, their brand immediately looks better founded with more than a single product.
- Get into it! With all the warnings above, we needed a more positive one! It’s also very easy to get caught up in the stress of running an Amazon business. Many people bury their heads in it so much, they stop enjoying it, and it becomes worse than the job they may be trying to quit in favor of self-employment. Don’t let it become that. There will be ups and downs, and being the boss, there’s no hiding from the downs (or leaving the office). But it can be a super fun journey, one that many of our customers tell us has taught them more than they could ever have imagined. Growing a successful business takes time, despite how many publications lead people to believe it’s that easy and fast. But in hindsight, you’ll see that you’re taking a huge step in your life, no matter how daunting it may seem right now. So, enjoy it!
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and that they help you on your selling journey. We’re here for all the logistics, and to offer pointers, but the learning process is all yours. Embrace it, and enjoy selling on the world’s largest marketplace!
Interested in letting AMZ Transit guide you as a new seller? Get in touch with us online or give us a call at 888-311-2253!