Another month has gone by, and it’s time to update you on my FBA business progress. In these monthly posts, I show you the real numbers behind one of my Amazon accounts. I’m talking about REAL sales and REAL costs, including a full breakdown of my product and advertising expenses!
I do these posts mostly for myself. It’s basically a diary of my journey into building a brand-new company and turning it into a £1M+ a year business. That’s the plan, and I know exactly how to achieve it, which is why I like to do these monthly posts to keep myself ACCOUNTABLE!
It’s so easy to get sidetracked with the other projects and businesses I have, so it’s a great strategy to keep all my goals and tasks written down in such a public way! It would make me look really bad if I didn’t act on these, right?
I highly recommend that you do the same. Write a journal or keep your tasks and plans written down on paper so you can regularly check on them and see where you stand with your journey towards the goals you have previously set.
Good question! And it’s a common one that many newbie sellers ask me when they start getting into the product research process. Should you simply pick random products OR look for niches with multiple products? Let’s find out in today’s blog post!
First of all, let’s just quickly set the definition of what RANDOM and NICHE products are and then we can get into differences between them.
A random product is usually something that doesn’t provide many opportunities for horizontal expansion.
For example, a computer desk is plus/minus a random product. Yes, furniture is a niche, and yes, office products are a niche, BUT in relation to Amazon FBA businesses, these would not be classified as such because they’re simply too generic or too wide a category.
It is almost impossible for a small seller to get a furniture store/business off the ground. It is important, when starting an Amazon FBA business, to make decisions with your business growth plans in mind, which we’ll cover in a minute.
Another classic example of a random product is the famous garlic press. You might think it’s a niche product (kitchen niche) but it’s actually not. It is a random, one-off product purchase.
Yes, people who buy garlic presses would most likely be interested in other kitchen products, but that’s typically at some unknown time in the future! Usually, when someone goes on Amazon to look for a garlic press, they just want to buy that garlic press.
Amazon product launches—the hottest topic of 2019?! Yes! Everyone wants to know the MAGIC formula to launch a product on Amazon and gain sales, reviews and organic rankings as quickly as possible.
BUT does a magic formula like this even exist in the first place?
I’m afraid not…. let me explain why.
Up until a few years ago, the whole “ranking” thing did work very well for sellers. You know the drill: launch a product, do high discount giveaways, which instantly boosts your sales velocity and automatically increases your organic rankings. Just two years ago, all you had to do was create a spike in sales velocity for just 7 or 10 days and it would basically “stick” and transfer to organic rankings.
Many smart people became millionaires because of this trick. I don’t know why Amazon let it go on for that long but, unfortunately, by the time I got involved with selling on Amazon, it was already too late. Amazon had fixed this “hole” in the system and created a much more complex ranking algorithm, making discounted giveaways pretty useless.
Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll need a lot more than a few clever tricks to successfully launch a product on Amazon and achieve good organic rankings. A LOT MORE work needs to be put in! Sales velocity is still a super important ranking factor BUT only if you sell the product at full price. No more heavy discounts to try to trick the system.
You should see my face as I’m writing this blog post at 5 a.m. on the 1st of January. I am SO excited for the new year ahead! I can’t even remember the last time I felt as energised and POWERFUL as I am today. This year will be the year of BIG changes and BIG achievements – and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
If you’re wondering WHY I am writing this post at such an early hour –and on a day when almost everyone else is lying in bed fighting a hangover – check out my 4 a.m. wake-up routine post!
This will be a long post as we have so much to cover! As usual, I will start off by sharing all the sales data, costs and NET profit numbers for both the Amazon UK and Amazon USA platforms. Then I want to quickly cover the whole year of 2018 so you can see the progress I have made.
Lastly, we’ll finish up with an IMPORTANT update on the next steps I will be taking—and already have taken—to move my business to an entirely new level in 2019! This includes expansion to eCommerce, wholesale AND other Amazon regional websites. As it’s January, it’s the perfect time to put some time stamps on all the goals I have set out to achieve in this year, so we’ll also be doing that at the end of this post.
Today I want to talk about a simple change in your account settings that can and most likely WILL increase your Amazon FBA sales with NO extra effort on your part! I’m talking about adjusting EXPORT settings which you can find in your account by going to:
Fulfilment by Amazon Settings
Shipping programmes and export settings
There you have an individual settings page for each marketplace you sell on and for this post an example I will use the Amazon.co.uk marketplace.
So first things first – do you have the setting ENABLED or DISABLED? If it currently shows DISABLED, you’re almost guaranteed to lose money on extra sales, on a daily basis.
But even if you have the setting ENABLED, follow next steps as it could be that you have not set it up correctly.
So, click on the EDIT button to access settings page.
There you have 3 options:
1) Domestic – means that export is disabled and you only offer your products to the local market.
2) EU 27 countries.
If your product has no restrictions on selling it in other countries (like food items, supplements that may require special certification, lab reports in each country etc.), you should have this setting set to Worldwide to reach as many customers as possible.
This year you will hear me talk A LOT about BRANDING as it is one of the key components to create a successful Amazon FBA business.
But is it enough to create a name, a logo and put it on the product? Is that what Branding is all about?
No, of course, it’s not. Branding is a much more complex topic, BUT for Amazon sellers, the first thing you have to deal with is the actual name and logo for their brand. And many people struggle with this a lot. They create brand names that make no sense, have no clear positioning, have bad logos etc. etc.
BAD branding can do you more harm than good. Yes, if you use just ONE brand name across many different product categories you can harm your business. Using the same name & logo for a make-up kit and a motorcycle bag is a VERY BAD idea!
Your brand needs to RESONATE with your target audience – and resonate positively. We all know that a 22-year-old woman who’s into makeup has an entirely different perception than a 40-year-old highway dude on a motorcycle, right?
And you don’t have to go that far in extreme examples – even if your target audience is the same, you do want to brand and market products entirely different based on what they’re. If you’re selling Organic Coffee, the branding will be different compared to a business selling Aquarium tanks, right? Good!
There’s a lot of misinformation about selling on Amazon floating around the net – that’s the price we pay for today’s advancement of the technology – everyone has an opportunity to say something about anything. And it’s all good. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Internet.
The problem, however, is that often, such “free speech” opportunity creates a lot of NOISE, a lot of misleading information, wrong facts or misconceptions. eCommerce is no exception, and Amazon businesses are the hottest topic right now on YouTube where every man and his dog is trying to sell you something to make your Amazon business a success.
One of the MOST damaging misconceptions Amazon “gurus” portray and use is that Amazon FBA business EQUALS importing commodity products from China and branding them with your brand.
First of all, the term itself, Amazon FBA, is wrongly used – we all know what Amazon is but the FBA part is NOT an acronym for Amazon Business or Sell on Amazon, no! FBA stands for Fulfilment by Amazon. So if you read out the Amazon FBA phrase, it is: Amazon Fulfilment by Amazon
Which doesn’t make any sense?
But ok, it is what it is – everyone is using the term to describe “Business that sells on Amazon using FBA”. I also have adapted and now use the Amazon FBA term only because it’s what everyone has been taught to understand.
November—a record month for my Amazon FBA business with almost £30,000 in combined sales from the Amazon UK and US platforms! If it were 31 days in November, I would have safely reached that magic £1000-a-day or £30k-per-month mark. Arghh!
The vast majority of those sales came from the UK side of the business, which makes me even happier because last year, around this time, I set a goal to reach £30k in sales per month by the end of 2018, and now I have achieved it!
Well, not really. I know that these sales numbers are not sustainable and will go down after the Christmas shopping spree ends. We’ll talk more about that later in the video as it’s an important talk to have now, right before the New Year starts.
Things on Amazon.com took a big turn too. For several reasons, I’ve decided NOT to continue my aggressive ad spend and instead use the situation to test a different approach, something that may be more useful for those of you with limited budgets. We’ll get into the details of this in the Amazon US results section later. (more…)
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!!! Too early? I don’t think so! Judging by my November sales so far, it’s clear that people are already shopping for Christmas! Yes, the magical Quarter 4 has finally arrived, and hopefully, sales are booming for everyone!
However, this post is about October, and while this month is technically included in Quarter 4, I didn’t see any signs of that Q4 magic. In fact, compared to September, sales in October took a dip. This was partially my fault because I ran out of stock for a popular variation of my product for roughly ten days, which affected sales considerably.
Plus, it was the school holidays in October, and I always see sales decline during school holidays. Since the majority of my buyers are women—and many of them are mums or stay at home mums—when kids are at home, there’s not much time left for shopping.
Another factor is that I was on holidays too! I spent almost two weeks in sunny Tenerife, and that’s probably another reason why my sales took a hit. Why would that matter? The truth is: I don’t know. There’s no clear explanation to this theory, but I often find that when I take some time off, my sales go down. When I get back to the office, sales increase again. I know, I know. It shouldn’t be a contributing factor at all because I don’t actually do anything on Amazon when I’m in the office, but this is a trend I have noticed over the years. Call it karma or whatever you like—I still need to work to get those results!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very pleased with the sales in October, so I’m not complaining at all! Almost £22k is not a bad number. I’m happy as long as the monthly sales are higher than the previous year’s because I know that progress has been made. Plus, I’m even more excited to share the latest news on my Amazon US launch, so without further delay, let’s get straight into the numbers—and we have lots of them to cover today! (more…)
So, I bought a 3D printer! 🙂 Yes, after several years of thinking about it, I finally purchased a small, budget-class 3D printer. I wanted to thoroughly investigate this technology that everyone seems to be talking about, check out how good it has become, and figure out how 3D printing could affect the global business scene in the future.
A few years ago, when 3D printers were starting to become more and more popular, I instantly liked the concept a lot, and I could see that the potential for this technology would be massive in the future. At that time, I checked out a lot of YouTube videos on the print quality—and it was AWFUL! The individual layers of plastic were very visible, and the final pieces looked like they were handmade by melting plastic layer by layer.
In my mind, the quality of the final printed object is the NUMBER one thing the 3D printing industry needed to fix, and as you will find out later on in this post, they have done an excellent job in this regard over the last couple of years. Apart from quality, there are other essential factors to be considered—like speed of production, use of materials, complexity of models, etc.—but without a high-quality output, everything else is pointless.
Speaking of high-quality 3D printing, it entirely correlates with the current state of the VR (virtual reality) industry. I don’t own any VR devices, but the other day I stopped by Samsung’s demo for their Gear VR device and tried it on. I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I can’t understand HOW so many people are currently using these devices…
The QUALITY and resolution of the output are HORRIBLE. So much so that I could not stand it for more than 20 or 30 seconds. It was THAT BAD! I haven’t seen a screen so pixelated and graphics so bad since my teenage years with my first Sega Mega Drive games (those actually looked better, as far as I remember).
I know that many people won’t agree with me, but the current VR technology is totally unusable. The resolution and technology are simply not there yet. NOT EVEN CLOSE! Plus, a large percentage of people who use VR in its current state suffer from the motion sickness when using it—and, unfortunately, I’m one of them. (more…)