November 23, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 15 Comments

How to Save HUNDREDS of £££ PER MONTH When Starting Out with Amazon FBA!

Welcome back!

Here’s an incredibly simple trick on how to save hundreds of pounds when you start selling on Amazon – DO NOT BUY Amazon marketed software and tools! Simple. End of post.

No, seriously – this is something I want to talk about in more detail, as I know there are many people out there who struggle with this and I want to save you time and money on tools and services that you don’t actually need.

So here’s the classic story of how it goes – and this is something I went through few years ago too, when I was starting out with my first Amazon FBA business. What you do is you start watching how to videos on YouTube, you start following blogs and Facebook groups – you probably buy a course or two and just learn, learn & learn! You’re in the research stage and want to find out as much as possible about how selling on Amazon works, how to avoid common pitfalls and so on.

That’s all good! You’re even reading this post because you want to learn more about this whole Amazon business, right?

The problem starts when you see one software being recommended in one YouTube video, then – something else in another video. Then you read on a blog that you definitely need to use this tool for doing X thing. Then you dig deeper and find out that you also need these two services and so on!!!!

There are hundreds of tools and services out there targeting Amazon sellers that “help” with various tasks like:

  • Market research
  • Keyword research
  • Keyword tracking
  • Ranking tracking
  • Product launches
  • Automated emails
  • Feedback request
  • Listing monitoring
  • Accounting
  • Split testing
  • Stock monitoring/re-ordering
  • Sponsored Product Ads (PPC)
  • Landing pages
  • Etc. etc.

And when you’re in that research phase you think that you need to use ALL of them to even have a chance of making money on Amazon! (more…)

November 16, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 18 Comments

How to Save up to 50% on Sponsored Products AD Cost 
on Amazon!

When you launch a new product on Amazon, you have to have a plan in place for how you’re going to promote it. It’s usually not enough to just create a listing, unless the competition is very small, so you need to drive traffic to your listing on your own, to get those first sales & reviews in.

The fastest and easiest way to do this is via Amazon’s own Pay Per Click advertising system – called Sponsored Product Ads, where you can quickly create paid advertising campaigns and start driving highly targeted traffic to your listing.

Some people recommend that you don’t do sponsored ads from day one and that you should first get at least 3-5 product reviews in. I can only partially agree to that as from my experience, you can successfully run ads, make sales and even make ad campaigns PROFITABLE with a brand new listing, with no reviews in place.

It will depend on the product’s price though as if you sell something more expensive, you can expect to have very low conversion rates if you run ads to a listing with no reviews. But if your item sells for less than £20-£30, you should definitely start running sponsored product ads from day one! As with such cheap items, basically impulse purchases, people are obviously more open to making that purchase compared to products that cost say £100+.

Here’s the thing – you have to accept that your ads most likely won’t be profitable for at least the first few weeks as it takes time for Amazon’s system to optimise your auto ad campaigns and it will take time for you to optimise manual campaigns too.

If your listing/product is really good and the conversion rate is high, you can aim to break even! If you can break even on ad spend in the first week or two (meaning you don’t make any profit nor loses), CONGRATS! This means that when you optimise your ads, you will be in for a healthy profit.

But you can do even more! Here’s one little trick that I used to save almost 50% in sponsored product ad costs when I recently launched a new product…

So I launched a product and created both Auto and Manual campaigns (for the most obvious keywords), just like I usually do. Then of course, as with any new product, I constantly checked sales throughout the day as well as the ad spend to see how it was performing. (more…)

November 9, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

One SIMPLE Trick That Increased My 
Amazon Sales by 30% OVERNIGHT!

This week I want to show you one simple but really effective trick that increased my Amazon sales by 30% – yes, 30%! And it didn’t cost me a penny!

I know that I haven’t covered any of the basics of selling on Amazon on my blog yet but I really needed to get this out so people who already sell on Amazon can implement it asap.

It’s all about your main product image – the one that shows up in search results. Usually I will use square images for my Amazon products as that is really the format most places go for now – like eBay, Instagram or even Facebook. Square format for images (and even videos on Facebook) is the new default standard.

But the problem was that my product is not actually square, but more “tall”, so with this format it looked very small in the search results on mobile devices and even on the desktop version. I sort of saw it from day one but didn’t think of it as a big problem.

However, I knew that I had to at least try it out to see whether it would make any difference or not. So, what I did is create a new MAIN image for my product with a size of 1500 pixels in height and 1000 pixels in width and zoomed in to the product so it takes as much of the space as possible:

Now, if you ask me – from a photographer’s perspective it did not look very good BUT that doesn’t matter! What matters is that my product is now shown MUCH bigger in search results on both mobile and desktop devices.

And this essentially increased the click through rate from search results to my listing by 30%+ as more people noticed my product and clicked on the listing. As a result, I now get all those extra sales.

And this doesn’t only apply to search results of course as products are also featured in many other places on Amazon – on competitor’s listings, cross-selling blocks and other places. (more…)

November 2, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 28 Comments

How Much Money Do you 
Need to Start an Amazon FBA Business?

So the question is really simple – how much money do you need to invest in stock to start an Amazon FBA business?

The short answer is £1000.

The longer answer – it depends…

Let me cover the budget issue in detail in this blog post so you know for sure whether or not your situation is suitable for the Amazon business model.

First of all – when I talk about starting an Amazon FBA business, I’m referring to private label products, imported from China (in most cases). This means that you create your own brand, source products from China, brand them, import them into the UK (or whatever country you’re in), send your stock to Amazon’s warehouse, and start selling. This is what I have always been doing and in my opinion it is the BEST way to build a profitable business on Amazon.

But obviously there are other models, like:

  • Retail arbitrage – where you look for heavily discounted items online/offline from popular retailers with the aim to buy and then flip them on Amazon for a profit.
  • Wholesale – where you buy from local, UK based wholesale companies, like Pound line wholesalers and others.
  • Liquidation & Clearance – where you buy liquidated/clearance stock from specialist companies. This can also include tested or untested customer returns.

With these models you can start selling on Amazon for as little as £50 or even less! As all it takes is for you to find good deals on products already selling on Amazon, then you can buy them in small quantities (retailers don’t have an MOQ!) and start selling!

The problem with these models is that they’re not real businesses in my mind – they are more like a hobby type of business or second income business as you will find it very hard to constantly look for good deals and at the end of the day it still all comes down to who can offer the lowest price on Amazon for that particular item.

This can be a good training model though for people who don’t have enough money to start importing – to get used to Amazon’s platform, Seller Central, rules, how it all works etc. But to be perfectly honest, even with a £100 budget you can actually start importing from China and that’s the way I would recommend people go, even with super small budgets.

Going back to the main private label products model – the question really is not that much about how much money you have to invest but what product you’re trying to source with the money you have! I have talked about this a lot on my blog and I usually refer to it as the BUYING POWER you have. (more…)

May 9, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

FREE Traffic & Sales Method for your Amazon Business!

Let’s talk about product images – yes, again! I’m sorry but if you still haven’t realised that product images are super important when selling physical items online, then you probably shouldn’t even be in this business.

I have talked about product photography EXTENSIVELY on my blog, covering topics like how to properly size gallery images, how to watermark your product pictures and much more, BUT I haven’t touched on one important topic yet – an incredibly powerful way of making product images work for you 24/7 – bringing in more customers and sales WITHOUT you lifting a finger! Or if you don’t mind putting in a bit of effort, you’ll see even bigger results!

What am I talking about? Google of course. And Pinterest/YouTube too (more on that later).

If you use Google as your chosen search engine (who doesn’t!?) then you’ll have probably noticed a pattern in the first page results when you search for a physical product… there are usually listings from Amazon or eBay (or both), some independent websites, one or two YouTube videos and a selection from Google Images:

It will not be the same on all searches but in most situations when you search for a product on Google you’ll get one or a few of these blocks:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Google Images

I have already covered how to do SEO for eBay & Amazon listings on my blog but for today I want to cover images specifically – ones that show up in Google Image searches. (more…)

April 5, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

eBay is better than Amazon! >><< Amazon is better than eBay!

If you came to this post looking for a comprehensive head to head analysis of the world’s two biggest marketplaces, then I’m sorry to say that’s not what this is. No, today I want to talk about the phenomena of people always thinking that the grass is greener on the other platform, that everything is better somewhere else! It has reached the point where I don’t know whether to cry or laugh when I read on a regular basis how bad one marketplace is and how good the other one is.

I’m specifically talking about Seller Central forums – for both eBay & Amazon. If you have never read those forums, make sure to check them out:

https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/forums/index.jspa
https://community.ebay.co.uk/t5/Seller-Central/bd-p/27

There’s nothing wrong with these forums, in fact – they’re a great place to learn the ins and outs of selling on both Amazon and eBay. But they can be tricky IF you’re totally new to all of this and are just looking for information, especially IF you visit just one forum and not both.

Why?

Because you’ll find lots of negative information there. Horror stories even.

The thing is – most sellers don’t go on forums and don’t post when everything is running smoothly. They do it when things go wrong, when they face problems etc. It’s similar to company reviews online. Just check PayPal’s reviews on Trust Pilot for example:

1.3 Stars out of 10!!!!

It must be the absolute worst company, a total scam and criminal organisation! Who even deals with them???

Well, according to publicly available information, there are approximately 200 million active PayPal accounts in 2017. So how could 200 million people use a service that is rated 1.3 stars out of 10?

Because people mostly leave such reviews when they have problems with the company! I have never left a review for PayPal on Trust Pilot as I have never had any problems with it. Just like millions of other PayPal users.

Why am I talking about this? Well, just so you keep things in perspective when you read Amazon and eBay’s seller forums – most of the stuff discussed there is negative – problems, banned accounts, buyer-scammers, eBay glitches etc. And that’s fine of course but it DOES NOT portray the average, everyday life of a typical user. (more…)

March 22, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 122 Comments

VAT For Amazon Sellers WARNING – Pan-European Fulfilment TRAP!

I’ve written about VAT a number of times on this blog, and with good reason – it’s a topic that causes a lot of confusion for online sellers and if you get it wrong it can really destroy your business. In my opinion, registering for VAT when you don’t need to is the biggest tax mistake an eBay or Amazon seller can make!

But all that has been covered before on my blog, numerous times in fact, so what’s the point of today’s article?

Well today’s post is really a warning about Amazon’s Pan-European fulfilment service – which is a HUGE tax trap under new EU law.

As you all know, when you sell on Amazon you get access to all 5 European marketplaces:

  • Amazon UK
  • Amazon Germany
  • Amazon France
  • Amazon Italy
  • Amazon Spain

And you can sell to all of these marketplaces with your one seller subscription, which is great! In fact you don’t even need to create multiple listings – you simply create your listings on your home marketplace (Amazon.co.uk for example) and if they’re eligible, they’ll “automatically be re-created in the remaining four marketplaces via Amazon’s ‘build international listings tool’.”

But Amazon have gone one step further and recently a very exciting addition to the Fulfiled by Amazon fulfilment service was introduced, called Pan-European FBA.

The idea behind it is very simple – it allows you to offer your products to all 5 European marketplaces but rather than your stock being stored and shipped from one fulfilment center (as is normally the case) – Amazon will distribute them across ALL 5 countries.

This of course provides a number of important advantages to us as sellers:

It’s FREE!

Amazon don’t charge you to distribute your stock and you don’t even have to do it yourself. You simple send your FBA items to your local Amazon fulfilment center and Amazon then spreads it around all 5 countries (plus two more) based on expected demand. (more…)

March 1, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 7 Comments

HOW to Send Stock Directly from China to Amazon Fulfilment Centres (FBA)!

Amazon’s FBA program is becoming more and more popular with marketplace sellers, and that’s really no surprise – it’s a big sales boost and also removes a lot of the work of selling online! It allows you to concentrate on what really matters – branding, promoting, sales, sourcing etc. while outsourcing all the tedious fulfilment tasks such as packing products, printing labels, posting items, processing returns etc.

Now the “normal” way to get set up with FBA is to package and label all your stock and send it to Amazon yourself, who will receive and sort it, but I get a lot of emails from people looking to get started with FBA who want to have their stock sent DIRECTLY from China to Amazon, without them ever having to see or handle their stock.

Now you may be wondering why, because surely that’s risky… and while that is true – if you can manage to arrange it like this, you save money on shipping and also save a lot of time and hassle for yourself.

And that’s exactly what today’s post is all about – sending stock directly from China to Amazon’s fulfilment centers in the UK!

Judging from a lot of the emails I get, many people seem to think this is as easy as simply putting the Amazon fulfilment center address instead of your own home/business address but unfortunately this is NOT the case… there are a lot of things you need to be aware of when sending stock directly to Amazon and you’ll need to use a freight forwarder to help you take care of all of the details (Woodland Global is the company I recommend for this).

So to start off, can you ship stock directly to Amazon from your overseas suppliers? Amazon’s answer to this question is no:

“Sellers with shipments that originate from overseas will need to arrange the import and customs clearance of the shipment, and then arrange for the delivery to our facility. Amazon may not be used as the consignee, importer of record or final address when shipping from overseas.”

What this basically means is that you need to arrange a freight forwarder for your shipment, so that they can clear your delivery through customs and then arrange the domestic shipping to Amazon. This is all fairly obvious, as if you simply posted items directly to Amazon from overseas, they’d be responsible for customers clearance and any import charges, which is of course not something they’re willing to do. (more…)

February 27, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

Handmade at Amazon – Etsy Killer?

Today I want to talk to you about an exciting new addition to Amazon’s selling marketplace, geared towards custom made, one of a kind products – called Handmade at Amazon.

Handmade at Amazon is a new store that’s available on all 5 of Amazon’s European marketplaces (and the US store as well of course):

Now this may sound very familiar to you and yes, this is basically Amazon’s answer to Etsy! Now if you don’t know what Etsy is, to put it simply it’s the eBay for custom and handmade products.

And Etsy has actually turned out to be a huge success with consumers who are looking for something a bit different – something unique, something quality, something with a story behind it…

The opposite of the mass produced, cheap, generic products that are so common on eBay and Amazon basically. Now there’s nothing wrong with such products, of course not, but this is just a different niche and market and after the success of Etsy, it’s not a surprise that Amazon want to tap into it as well. (more…)

February 17, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Where to look for HOT/TRENDY products to 
sell on eBay & Amazon?

Welcome Back!

Do you want to sell HOT and TRENDY products on eBay & Amazon with little to no competition? But how do you find such products and where do you source them from? And is there even any profit to be made on high demand/low supply products?

I’ll be covering all these questions and more in today’s Reader’s Question post!

As always, each Friday I answer a question sent in by my blog reader and this week it’s Julia, who asked me this:

Hey Andrew!

I’m a huge fan of your work and read your blog almost every day! I have also purchased your Easy Auction Business and eCommerce Magnates courses and all I can say is – WOW! Both courses offer so much VALUE! I don’t really understand why you’re selling them so cheaply as you could charge 10x the price and I would still buy them!

Anyway, I wanted to ask you – what’s your opinion on selling hot, trendy products on eBay & Amazon? Specifically branded products that are in high demand when they’re usually launched?I have been selling on eBay for many years now, but mostly imported every day products from China and am just wondering whether there’s money to be made in such hot products?

If your answer is yes, where should one source these products? Especially branded ones as I have learned from you that Alibaba and China is a no go when it comes to branded products.

Thanks very much!

Keep up the good work.

Julia

Hi Julia,

Many Thanks for your email and your kind words, it really means a lot! 🙂

It’s a very good question, hence why I’ve chosen to feature it in our weekly Reader’s Question blog post. I mostly talk about importing from China, which obviously means buying un-branded or your own brand products. But what about hot, new & trendy products? Can you make money selling them on eBay & Amazon? The short answer is – YES, you can! BUT this business model is not as straightforward as importing from China and it does come with more risk!

So the first thing we need to look at is – what is the definition of a hot/trendy product? (more…)