When you sell a product on Amazon that comes in multiple versions (for example, varying quantities, sizes, colours, designs or flavours), the question arises of whether or not you should use variations or list each item separately.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using variations on Amazon? In this post, I’ll try to answer these questions in detail and help you make the right decision for your Amazon FBA business.
Now, Amazon doesn’t work like eBay where you create a product listing and then add variations to it. On Amazon, each variation is an individual listing anyways, which sort of complicates the situation even more. As a starting point, I recommend you check out Amazon’s quick guide on how variations work before you decide which way to go for your products.
But the main idea is that, on Amazon, you simply “link” products to create a listing with variations. The main listing is called the PARENT listing and the variations are called CHILD listings. You create the parent listing and then link your child listings to it. To better understand how it all works, here’s explanation right from the Amazon’s help page:
The standard approach to doing this is to launch two campaigns in the beginning:
Manual campaign for most obvious keywords in all three match types (Broad, Phrase and Exact);
The Manual campaign will obviously target your most important keywords (search terms), but the Auto campaign is mostly used to discover new keywords that you may not have thought of on your own. Over time, you can move profitable keywords from your Auto campaign to your Manual campaign, so you can dial down bids on a keyword level. This is all super simple and it works exactly as it should.
A trend I have personally witnessed over the last few months on Amazon is that Auto campaigns are increasingly geared towards PLACEMENTS rather than keyword searches.
Placements mean that your product ad is shown on other/competitor product pages rather than in the main search results.
For many people, gathering the initial capital for making a stock purchase is the biggest obstacle when trying to start an Amazon FBA business as, let’s be honest, an Amazon business is a CASH-FLOW business, and the more money you can invest in your stock/product portfolio, the quicker you will see results.
Some people have money they could invest, but they don’t want to take the risk. What if the product doesn’t sell? What if the competition is too great? So, with that in mind, is there a way to test a product on Amazon WITHOUT placing bulk orders with suppliers in China? Let’s find out!
The standard approach to starting an Amazon FBA business is:
You do market research using Jungle Scout (or a similar tool) and identify a product with good potential that is suitable for your buying power (budget).
You source that product in bulk from manufacturers in China using Alibaba.com, usually in starting quantities of 500 to 1000 units.
You create an amazing listing, then start to advertise your product using PPC ads to build up sales velocity, rankings and organic sales.
In today’s post, I will give you a quick update on my Pan-EU expansion. This time, I’m covering Amazon Italy (Amazon.it).
When I first started to think about expanding into the European Amazon marketplaces at the end of last year, I did some research using Jungle Scout to see how well products similar to mine were performing abroad. I was particularly interested in how many sales these products were generating per month.
While I saw great sales volume in France and Germany, Italy and Spain showed very little potential. So, although I didn’t have great expectations for Italy, my plan remained the same: to make at least enough sales to cover the monthly VAT filing costs that I need to pay to VATGlobal.com
IMPORTANT!!! I have arranged a special deal with VAT Global for my blog readers. You will receive a special discount on the VAT registration and returns fees IF you mention this code when contacting them: ANDYVAT2020
In Italy, that meant I had to make more than 40 sales per month because the FBA fees in Italy are much higher than in the UK, France or Germany, for example. I’m selling my product at €9.99 and the FBA + referral fee is €4.64!!!
This means that after VAT and the product cost, I’m left with a small profit of just about €2.50. If my VAT accounting costs for Italy are about €100 per month, it means that I have to make at least 40 sales to cover those costs before I make any profit.
Many people who are new to selling on Amazon often get a shock when this happens. You create a new listing in your account because you need to get a FNSKU barcode/label for your product packaging. You then enter the product title, price and save the listing. Amazon doesn’t give you any warnings and your listing is created. You get your FNSKU label and forget about it for now, as you have other things to work on.
Then, after some time, when you log back into your account, you learn that your listing is SUPPRESSED!
And that’s when the panic starts! What happened? Has Amazon suspended your listing? Do you need to create a new listing? Do you need to contact Amazon support?
None of that. And for God’s sake, please don’t delete that listing or create a new one! If you do this, your FNSKU code will change. If you’ve already done your product packaging, you’ll have to use labels to change it to the new code for the new listing.
This is a quick post about a feature recently introduced by Amazon that many sellers may not have even noticed yet. The Search Term report is now available within the seller dashboard on the Ad Group settings page, and all of the relevant data is available within the web interface, so there’s no need to download anything anymore:
Previously, in order to access the Search Term report, sellers had to go to Advertising reports to generate and download the .csv file. You then had to open the spreadsheet to access your data on clicks, search terms, ACoS and other aspects of your business. It’s no longer necessary to do this as the Search Term report is now available directly in the web interface.
Now, Amazon still allows you to download the report, too, and there are various other report types you can download. However, for your day-to-day PPC optimisation work, the web option is all you need.
When you start selling on Amazon, one of the first tasks you will face is the formation of your company OR registering as a Sole Trader, depending on which business type you choose. With this task comes the dilemma of choosing your business name.
In the case of registering as a Sole Trader, you don’t have to worry about the business name. Even though, in the UK, you can register a business name (trading name) as a Sole Trader, Amazon does not accept or use it. So, if you’re starting out as a Sole Trader, Amazon will simply use your full name as the business name. That means you don’t have to spend any time trying to figure out a separate business name.
With limited companies (Ltd.), it’s different. You will have to come up with a name for your business, and this is where many people get stuck and confused.
What name should I use? Do I have to match my company name with the brand name of my products? What happens if I expand into other niches and brands in the future? These are all good questions, and I will try to help you out and give advice on the best ways to handle this.
Each product you send to an Amazon FBA warehouse needs to have a barcode on it (or on its packaging). Whether you choose to use FNSKU barcodes or EAN barcodes (with the stickerless inventory option), you must make sure you have the appropriate barcodes in place so that Amazon can scan your items into their system upon arrival at the warehouse.
If you’re completely new to Amazon and don’t know where to get barcodes, here’s exactly what you need to do:
If you are opting to use EAN barcodes, you can simply use them straight away, without creating the corresponding listing. You simply get the code from GS1, then use a barcode generating service (such as https://barcode.tec-it.com/en) and send the image to your designer.
With that said, I would still recommend that you create the product listing first, just in case Amazon rejects the barcode for some weird reason.
If you want to use FNSKU barcodes, simply create the product listing first in your Amazon account. Go to Inventory and select the item. Then, from the menu, choose “Print Item Labels”. The provided file will contain multiple barcodes, but don’t worry! These are all the same and your designer will simply crop out one to use on your product’s packaging design.
To follow up on my recent Amazon France update, I want to share my progress on another hugely popular Amazon European marketplace—Amazon.de! I have been amazed by the results I have seen so far, so I hope this post will inspire more sellers to take action, register for the Pan-European program and expand their international sales.
I started selling in Germany in August. In the beginning, I was just using my UK stock via the European Fulfilment Network (EFN) FBA program. As you can see, I made 26 sales in August, which wasn’t a full month as I started selling on the 10th of August:
This resulted in a profit of about €78, as I’m selling the product for €9.99 with a profit of €3 per unit sold. My initial goal with the European expansion was to make at least 25 sales a month in each country in order to cover my VAT service costs, so I was happy to see that I reached that goal in the first month without even switching on the Pan-EU program.
Let’s talk about failure. I’m not a huge fan of the concept, but let’s be honest, business is a risky thing and there are no guarantees. Whether you’re starting an ice cream shop or an Amazon FBA business, things don’t always go as planned. There may come a time when you simply have to face the fact that you have failed.
Luckily for us, with an Amazon FBA business, failure will usually only happen on a “product level”. That’s what I like about this business. There’s always another product out there that you can work on and be successful with. One failing product doesn’t mean you have to stop altogether. In fact, in most cases, you will come out of such situations much STRONGER. The additional knowledge and experience you gain will make your second, third and fourth product launch much easier, and you’ll have a much higher chance of success.
In today’s blog post, I want to share my thoughts on the right time to cut a losing product and move on. What indicators are there that show you that investing more time and money into a product is not worth it? What can you do to minimise your losses and ideally recoup your investment?