Another month of EXCELLENCE has been achieved! 🙂 This was another record month for me with sales of more than £22k on the Amazon UK platform recorded for my FBA business. In my August income update, I shared my thoughts on how excited I am for the 4th Quarter, and it seems that, for me, it has started early since I’m already experiencing this boost in September!
It was like magic. Once August hit, my sales started to pick up, and by the first days of September, I could see that the month would be a good one for me! In fact, in the second week of September, it looked like sales of £1k per day would become the norm. Unfortunately, later on in the month, that momentum dropped off a bit…
Aside from sales, September was no ordinary month—it was also my one-year anniversary! Last year, on September 7th, I started selling this new product from a brand-new Amazon account and began sharing my journey with you via my monthly blog posts and videos. I’m very happy to report that the progress made throughout the year has been amazing! It could have been even better if the Amazon US selling experiment worked out, but, hopefully, that can still be fixed with the updated version of the product. We’ll talk more about that in the Amazon US segment later in this post.
Unlike other Amazon FBA bloggers and course sellers, I use my REAL-LIFE business as an example. It’s the exact same business that I openly share with my Amazon Sharks students. This is not a hypothetical business and it’s not an invented example of what could be possible—it’s a real business, selling real products on Amazon using FBA. I think it’s important to highlight this point of differentiation.
I don’t try to impress you with rented Lamborghinis and exotic holiday shots; I share an everyday, down-to-earth approach to the FBA business. The results I share can be achieved by anyone using my Amazon Sharks system since they are based on the reality of my business—not a fantasy! NO fake screenshots or photoshopped sales numbers from YEARS ago! All the information I share with you is factual, actual and 100% genuine. (more…)
Let’s talk about product packaging! Packaging is something that may sound super simple but actually carries many different challenges, rules and knowledge that you, as an Amazon seller, should be aware of if you want to create outstanding packaging for your best-selling Amazon product!
However, before we dive into the technical aspects, you might be wondering why custom packaging is so important? Is it important at all? Can’t we just go with plain, brown boxes that suppliers offer by default? Can’t we just skip using packaging at all?
You can, of course, do that. Many sellers don’t pay attention to this; they don’t think it’s important or they don’t want to invest any extra money on top of their product cost and everything else. But, if you ask me, that is a BIG MISTAKE!
I am personally a HUGE fan of custom packaging, and I always, always put extra work into creating the most attractive packaging for the product in a niche I’m working in—as well as making sure it’s practical, of course!
And it’s actually NOT that difficult to do because you will be outsourcing most of the work to a professional anyway. There are no good excuses to avoid doing this, so let’s take a closer look at WHY Amazon sellers with custom product packaging have a much HIGHER chance of winning that sale over someone who hasn’t put in any effort.
Why Does Custom Packaging Matter?
There are many important reasons why you SHOULD DO custom packaging for your product, including (but not limited to):
1) Visual Presence
I’m sure you’re already aware that people who shop online buy with their eyes. Logically, until we have more advanced virtual reality technologies, people shop online primarily by looking at images. They search for a product on Amazon, VISUALLY pick the one that looks the best (in their perception) from the search, click on that listing, and then possibly make the purchase. It’s all a visual experience, and it’s mostly based on product images.
Oh, don’t you just LOVE this time of the year!!! 🙂 The time of year when the kids go back to school and you’re lucky that you’re old enough to just be the driver or sandwich maker in the morning. YES! I don’t know about you, but for the most part, I hated being in school. I didn’t like it at all—well, apart from the partying and hanging out with friends. I was lucky enough to be born “smart”, so I didn’t have to put in much effort at all to sail through those school years. Looking back, I almost never did any homework and still, somehow, I magically made it through.
Anyways, back to the present day with my own kids, and I obviously look at the whole situation from a completely different angle. Still, in my mind, September is the clearly defined line when summer ends and the real work begins. These next four months in the lead up to Christmas are always the most productive for me—and the most exciting, of course! Anyone who is in the retail business is excited for the 4th Quarter because we all hope to break new sales records and end the year with tons of profit to splash out on unnecessarily expensive Christmas presents.
And this is the first FULL 4th Quarter for my new Amazon business—the one that I have been covering in these monthly posts throughout 2018, which makes me super excited! If you haven’t been following my earlier posts, you can find them all here.
There are three big reasons why I’m excited:
Starting from October, I will have the previous year’s sales data for comparison, so I can see whether or not I have made any significant progress with this business.
I have been extra careful this year. I have prepared double the stock amount I had last year. Hopefully, unlike last year, I will not run out right before the busiest shopping days!
I have two new Christmas variations of the product prepared, so I am hopeful that this will also help with sales and reaching a wider audience of Christmas shoppers.
And, of course, there’s ongoing work on the Amazon.com site too. The new product is in production right now, and I plan on starting to sell it in October. Even though it’s not a product directly related to the holiday season, I do hope that I have finally managed to crack the correct version and price point, but more on that in a moment. (more…)
I wanted to write a post about 3D printers this week, but we’ll have to leave that to another time. There’s something much more important and urgent to cover this week: Amazon’s brand-new Inventory Performance Index, the new storage limits, and some additional inventory-related news.
Judging by the latest inventory rule changes (like the introduction of long-term storage fees) and the other changes we’ll cover today, it seems that Amazon doesn’t want to be fully involved in the fulfilment game—apart from their own—or Amazon seller needs.
Why else would they introduce all these new rules and limitations, right? If they wanted to, they could just continue to build warehouse after warehouse (or continue to let their fulfilment partners do it), and then cash in on the storage fees. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about how much stock we send in or how long we keep it there, right?
Amazon’s storage fees are already several times higher than what you would pay to a standard fulfilment company, so the business should be very profitable, right? I mean, they currently charge more than £50 a month to store a pallet of goods! With standard fulfilment companies, that costs just £10 to £20! You could build a profitable business solely based on storing those pallets, regardless of whether or not the actual stored goods sell.
Anyways, based on these new inventory storage limits and the inventory performance index, it’s clear that Amazon doesn’t want to be purely in the fulfilment business. They want us sellers to be as efficient as possible with our inventory! The new stock management principle is, basically, Quickly In and Quickly Out! Which means that:
We should only send stock to the Amazon warehouse that we know we can sell quickly.
Using Amazon as a long-term storage facility is no longer a viable option.
And quickly doesn’t mean months anymore. Yes, as you will soon find out, in order to maintain a perfect score, Amazon actually wants us to turn over inventory in under 4 WEEKS! We’ll get to that detail in just a moment, but for now, just realise that the inventory game is changing. You will have to make drastic decisions in the very near future to stay compliant with these new rules and be able to use FBA services. (more…)
It has been a super busy week for me, so, today, we’ll have a short and to-the-point post about a little-known feature/Amazon rule that not many people are aware of: Seller Feedback Removal! Yes, you can quickly and easily remove most of the neutral and negative feedback you receive on Amazon simply by filling out a short form!
Before we get into that, I just wanted quickly to share some news about my Amazon FBA US journey. If you’re not familiar with my monthly posts, you can read more about it here. I’m starting to regret the decision to begin development of a new version of the product. Why? Take a look at today’s sales data for the existing version of my product:
30 sales TODAY alone! With no ad spend whatsoever!
That’s obviously a record day, but I wonder what is going on here? Will it continue growing like that? Will days like these become the norm? That wouldn’t be bad at all because 30 sales a day means I’m netting $100 a day or $3k per month. The problem is that I probably won’t find out because I will run out of stock very quickly at this rate! At the same time, I have already started working on my new, bigger version of this product. Arghhh! So many decisions to make! I will put more details and results in my August 2018 Amazon FBA update post, which will go live early in September.
I don’t know exactly how this will work out, but, once again, the whole situation just reminded me to be more patient when it comes to results, rankings and sales on Amazon. To some extent, my monthly update posts put an unnecessary pressure on me because I want to share new things with you, make good progress, show that sales are improving, etc., but you often just have to sit it out and wait a few months to see whether something will work or not. (more…)
I have some really good news to share with you—some REALLY good news! I have been waiting for this moment for years now and it has FINALLY become a reality. Transferwise is now supporting USD payments to China! BINGO!
This means we no longer have to overpay our banks for sending USD to our suppliers in China, and don’t have to use shady online currency exchange places, etc. It’s all gone, forever! We can now make simple, quick and cheap international USD payments to Chinese suppliers (and many other countries), and all for a very low fee with guaranteed currency exchange market rates!
If you have been importing your products from China, you will know that banks can charge £20 or even £30 for international bank transfers to China—even if the amount is very low, like £1000. Plus, they never use actual market rates for exchanging GBP to USD (the market rate is basically the BEST exchange rate you can get, which gives you most dollars for your pounds). That means that you’re overpaying twice:
1) The high fee for making the payment
2) The bad currency conversion rate (which can be as much as a 2% difference)
Combining these two, you can actually lose 5% (or more!) on a GBP to USD conversion and transfer to China, which is SHOCKING! Obviously, the more money you send, the lower the percentage because the transfer fee per £1 decreases as the sum increases. Still, why pay even 3% to a bank when you can put that money in your pocket? Exactly!
As small business owners, we are always looking ways to save money and efficiently cut costs, and bank fees and transfers are an area where you can cut costs with absolutely no impact on your product quality or customer service. You should never be overpaying on fees and you should always seek out the cheapest, most efficient cost-saving processes for services that don’t affect your customers. (more…)
Another month has come and gone. While the majority of people are enjoying their summer holidays, since mid-July, I have been spending most of my time in the office working on various business-related tasks. Of course, I could opt to extend my time off, but as I explained in my June update post, it does not bring out the best side of me. I feel so much better now that I’m back in my routine and making consistent progress on my business every day.
Also, there’s that great feeling inside that comes from knowing that I’m working while everyone else is holidaying. Maybe that sounds weird and maybe you feel the opposite way? Why should I work when everyone else is partying in Ibiza? It probably depends on how you look at things. For me, this feeling is magical—it seems to me that I’m getting ahead and will eventually be rewarded for doing this in the future.
It’s a similar feeling that I experienced 15 years ago when I was spending ALL my free time—evenings, weekends, holidays—learning about online business and e-commerce while my mates were hanging out, binge drinking every weekend, and basically living through the best time of their lives (probably). Back then, it also felt like I was doing the right thing. Even though it was hard work and I was missing out on some fun, I knew that I would eventually be rewarded for my sacrifice, and I have definitely enjoyed the fruits of that for many years now.
I really like how Gary Vee talks about this concept. He explains that TRUE success is created in July/August. While the majority of people are taking off time, you take this time as an opportunity to work even harder towards your dreams! And then, by the time Christmas comes around, you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Nothing could be more true when we talk about Amazon businesses. Now is the perfect time to work on planning your sales for the holiday season, do your market research, find new suppliers, etc., so that you are months ahead of everyone else and don’t have to panic to get your stock in on the last week of November!
What am I trying to prove with this? Nothing! Just that working during the summer months can also be very satisfying if you look at it from the right perspective. Making progress while everyone else “sleeps” is a GOOD THING, in my opinion, and if you’re doing the same: congrats and well done! (more…)
When you’re are starting a new listing on Amazon, the biggest problem you will face in terms of sales conversion rates is product reviews. More specifically, a LACK of product reviews. Let’s be honest: a listing without reviews can look like a ghost listing. It almost looks like the product is out of stock, and this dramatically reduces your chances of getting good sales from day one.
We’re used to seeing product reviews and using them to inform our online purchasing decisions, so our unconscious mind has been programmed to seek out listings with reviews on Amazon. But it’s even more important than that; as online buyers, we have learned to quickly scan these reviews and pick only the listings that have a higher quantity and quality of reviews for comparison. We automatically click on listings in search of those that have best reviews first. It is only when we can’t find what we’re looking for that we will click on other listings in the search results:
Don’t believe me? When was the last time you bought something on Amazon from a listing with no reviews? Can’t remember? Me neither.
It’s possible that I have done it on a few occasions, but only if there were no alternatives OR it was a well-known, branded product so I wasn’t unsure about the quality. Plus, when I see a product being fulfilled by Amazon, I trust that I will get it and I will get it on time.
But, in general, a brand-new listing without any reviews has a much smaller chance of converting well. How much smaller? Amazon itself says that:
A listing with just one review will perform 3.5 TIMES better than a listing with no reviews—and I believe that data! In my experience, a listing with 100 reviews will perform at least five (if not more) times better than a listing with no reviews at all.
As you can see, it’s not a question of whether you need to get reviews for brand-new listings; it’s a question of HOW to get them and how many! In my experience, even 2 or 3 reviews can dramatically increase your conversion rates (and Amazon data proves that with the 3.5 multiplier), so that should be the minimum you’re aiming for. (more…)
I know, I know. You have all been waiting for this post for the last two weeks. The truth is, I really struggle with my work ethic during the summer months—especially with the exceptionally good one we’re experiencing this year! I know that it shouldn’t be an excuse for a business owner like me, but something magically happens to my brain in the summer. It simply goes into “lazy” mode and, without fail, my productiveness goes down.
Of course, each year, I try in vain to fight this natural urge to relax, but, as you know, when you are the boss, when you set your own hours, it is actually very hard to do. Yes, even though I’ve been in this position for soooooo many years, I still have to fight myself to get back to work and keep my motivation levels high. To be honest, it actually gets worse on some level when you reach a decent level of financial independence; it’s very, very hard to make money your main motivator when you’ve already got a good income coming in each month.
And there’s another thing: this year, this summer, I’ve come to realise that I’m a routine person, which means that I perform at my BEST when I’m in a set routine each and every day.
What do I mean by that? For me, routine means:
Waking up at the same time every day (6 AM)
Going to bed at the same time every day (10 PM)
Eating three healthy meals every day, at the same time each day
Going to the gym or doing some sort of sporting activity every day
Being outside for at least a few hours every day
There are a few other nuances, but you get the point. When I follow this routine, I’m the most productive, HAPPIEST, healthiest version of myself. I know that for some people this may seem like a strict military regime. You might think, “where’s all the fun?” The truth is, there’s lots of room for fun in those 16 hours between sleep and three healthy meals—trust me! 🙂 And I’m not saying that this is what YOU should be doing. I’m just saying that this is the way I keep myself feeling my best and most productive—and summertime, long evenings, and dinner parties have ruined that routine for me. Truth be told, I’ve even struggled to put this blog post together…
Anyways, I’m rested, rejuvenated and ready to get back on track with my routine. Enough partying; I’m ready to do some SERIOUS WORK! And there are lots of things to do, as you will find out later in today’s blog post. Seriously, I can’t wait until September starts, the kids go back to school, and the sun goes down before my bedtime.
Now, let’s get back to business—that’s what you’re here for, right?
For those of you who are first-time readers of my monthly results update posts: in these posts, I cover just one of my Amazon businesses. I detail how many sales I have generated, how much money I spent on ads and so on. I highly recommend you check out my previous posts in this series to learn more about the business and results so far. (more…)
As I covered in my previous Amazon UK FBA business update post for May, I have finally started selling my products on Amazon.com too, which is by far the world’s biggest Amazon marketplace! Many of you asked me afterwards for more details about how exactly to start selling in the United States because, while there are many online guides covering this topic, none of them truly give a complete and thorough overview of every step of the process from a seller’s perspective.
And that’s where I come in, right?! Today I want to give you a step-by-step walkthrough of how to start selling on Amazon.com using FBA! The principles will be applicable to sellers who already sell on Amazon UK (or any other Amazon European marketplace), but the same rules and steps will also apply to sellers who are just starting out. In this post, I will assume that you already have a product to sell and understand the basics of how Amazon FBA works.
Also, as you saw in my previous post, my US launch was actually much smaller than the UK launch I did in Autumn 2017. By that I mean, in my first month on Amazon UK, I broke £12k in sales. In my first month on the US platform, I made just $3k or so in sales.
This is quite important to understand: while Amazon.com is a much bigger marketplace with much greater demand in most product groups, it also has much more competition. You’re competing against much bigger players with a lot more resources!
So, unlike the UK platform where you compete with, say, 20 other sellers in your category, on the US site, you suddenly have to contend with 200 competing sellers! And it’s not easy, even for seasonal sellers like me.(more…)