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Welcome back. This week, we’re revisiting a previous episode for two main reasons. First, it’s the holiday season, and I know many of you are enjoying the break or are quite busy. It didn’t seem like the perfect moment to introduce something new. Second, as the year wraps up and we look forward to a fresh start, it’s an excellent time for businesses to reflect and plan. If you’ve been thinking about starting to sell on Amazon or improving your existing efforts there, this episode is for you.

I work closely with many Amazon sellers, guiding them through setting up and enhancing their presence. I’ve seen great successes, but I’ve also seen challenges, often beyond the seller’s control. That’s why this episode is all about understanding if Amazon is the right marketplace for you. We’ll talk about how to figure that out and what factors you should consider before diving in. So, whether you’re unwinding during the holidays or gearing up for the new year, this episode could provide valuable insights for your business journey in 2024.

Listen in to hear me share:

  • An introduction to  me and why I wanted to record this episode (01:28)
  • Why Amazon is an appealing place to sell your products (05:32)
  • The advantages of FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) (08:19)
  • Accessing a global market (09:20)
  • Things that aren’t so great about Amazon, seller support (10:19)
  • Things that aren’t so great about Amazon, there is a lot of competition (11:42)
  • Product listing rules you need to adhere to (13:04)
  • The sort of products that Amazon works well for (14:43)
  • The importance of researching the market and your competition (17:04)
  • Free tools you can use (17:51)
  • How I can help you get started with selling on Amazon (21:13)

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Podcast Episodes:

30 Where’s the best place to sell your products online

79 What to do when things go wrong on Amazon

107 Common Amazon issues and how to resolve them

159 How to start selling on Amazon

183 How to rank higher on Amazon

Blog Posts: 

How To Rank Higher On Amazon

Jungle Scout – My favourite tool for selling on Amazon

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Is Amazon Right For You? Mini Strategy Session

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Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Hi, so today's episode is a re release of an episode that I previously published in January 2023 and I'm re releasing it for two reasons. One is because we are right at the end, it's the middle of the Christmas holidays and um, I didn't think it was a good time to start creating new content. Lots of you might be away or busy and you know, not be waiting necessarily for the latest episode to arrive. And also because I think it's really timely for lots of businesses. The beginning of a year is a time when they think about plans for the year, selling your products on Amazon or improving your existing Amazon business might be on your list of goals. And if so, I think you'll find this re released episode really, really useful. Everything I talk about in here is still really relevant. So, um, it hasn't outdated itself in a year, which is very good. Um, yeah. And so I hope you enjoy re listening to this episode. Welcome to the Bring Your Product Idea to Life podcast. This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products, or if you'd like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicki Weinberg, a product creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly, practical advice, as well as inspirational stories from small businesses. Let's get started. Hi, thank you for being here. So this is another episode where it's just me again. And this episode was inspired by the fact that every single day I hear from lots of people on small businesses who want to start selling on Amazon. And as you'll probably know, I also help and work with a lot of Amazon sellers every single day on either getting started on Amazon or on improving their sales on their existing account. And I see a lot of people do really, really well on Amazon, but I also see people who don't and what is worse I think and what I really feel for is that some of these businesses have, you know, there are reasons why they're not doing as well on Amazon as they might, but some of this is actually out of their control. Um, and of course I will talk later in this episode about the things that are within your control, but it might be that they would have been better off focusing their time and effort into another marketplace instead. Um, by the way, I'm not meaning to be harsh at all when I say that you hopefully know by now that my goal is to help as many people do, as possible, do as well as possible, whether that's on Amazon or on another platform, but Amazon definitely isn't for everyone. And I'm not saying that those who don't do well don't have a great product, although of course this is essential wherever you sell. It could just be that there's another marketplace that suits their product better. And I have actually recorded an episode about the best places to sell your products and I'm going to link to that in the show notes. So I guess what I'm saying here is that there are sellers who I think if they'd realized how competitive the category they're selling their products in, or, you know, maybe there's a really dominant seller there already who's selling something very similar, who has maybe a couple of thousand reviews, it can be really, really hard to get started. And that's not saying that you shouldn't sell by the way. I just think it's better to go in knowing that, okay, there's somebody else doing really well here or this niche is really saturated, um, but I'm going to, you know, open eyes and I know that rather than going and spending time and money on selling on Amazon, getting yourself set up and just not having any clue really as to whether things might work, um, whether you might sell your, you know, maybe you might make lots of sales of your products or whether it's going to be tricky to make any sales at all. And on the other hand, um, I should say that it might be that Amazon is not somewhere you've even considered selling your product and maybe you're listening to this episode, um, because you're considering that and I, you know, you think it could be a good fit. So do listen on whichever one of these applies or maybe none of them applies, but do listen because hopefully you'll find something useful and interesting that you can apply. So you have probably heard me say many times by now that Amazon is a tricky place to get started even if you have an amazing product and it is in fact so hard that I wrote a free guide all about this which is called how to successfully launch a product on Amazon or rescue one that's not selling. I'm going to link to that in the show notes as well because whether you're on Amazon already and you're not seeing the sales you'd expect or whether you're thinking actually I think maybe I'd like to get set up I think this is all just really useful information to have. I'll touch on some of this today but there's a lot that goes into getting started on Amazon, particularly if you're going into a category where there's already a lot of competition and other sellers doing well, you have to be able to compete. And when I say compete, I don't really like that word. What I mean is you also, let's assume these sellers are doing well, they're going to have really great listings. You need really great listings. They need really great images. You need really great images. They're going to be well optimized for SEO. You need to be well optimized for SEO. Um, I do apologize if some of this is obvious. But, um, do know that I say this from a good place because lots of times when I see people and they say, oh, I'm not doing very well. I've had my listing up for a couple of months, but I'm not selling any. Um, sometimes, not all of the time, but often I can pinpoint exactly why that is. And there were really practical things they can do to make improvements, but obviously they might then have, you know, they might have spent that first couple of months not making any sales. And that's not what I want for anybody. And, um. You know, even if it's, even if it is only a month or two, that's a month or two you could have been making sales. So I think it's really good to know a lot of this in the start. I want to talk a little bit about why Amazon is an appealing place to sell your products. So whether, you know, whether you find it appeals to you, maybe it's somewhere you want to sell, or maybe you're just considering it and you want to hear my take on it. Well, I think there are lots of reasons. It's obviously a huge well known marketplace. Um, I didn't have to tell you what Amazon was, for example. I'm pretty sure, if you're listening to this episode, you know what Amazon is, you've heard of them, you've probably shopped there before. Lots of us do shop there, so we're familiar with it. And there are lots of customers there already. So if your product is what people are looking for, it can be easier to convert them into customers than on Google, for example, as they're usually there to shop. So if they're in the search bar and they're typing, I don't know, shampoo for curly hair, if they're typing that on Google, they might be doing a bit of research, trying to find out what products are out there, or trying to find out, should you shampoo curly hair? But if they're typing shampoo for curly hair into Amazon, chances are that customer is looking to buy shampoo for curly hair. And, like with any marketplace, and as I said, I have a podcast episode where I go into all of this in more detail for all kinds of online marketplaces, there are good and bad points about selling on Amazon too. So I'm going to start with the good. So as I said, Amazon is a large recognizable marketplace, people know and trust. Um, and as well as knowing and trusting them, they usually know and trust them enough to put their card details on there. So I don't know about you, but I have my card details. I think I've even done probably more than one card detail saved on Amazon. So if I want to buy something, I can just do it with one click. It's really, really easy. So that's, you know, that's good for you as a seller because it means there aren't that many barriers to someone actually being able to buy your product. They're not worried about, is this site secure? Can I put my card details in here? Do I even know where my card is? Except, you know, it's really, really easy to buy from. And as I said, the customers are there already, so you don't need to worry about getting them onto the site. You just need to focus on them being able to find your product and then converting them into buyers. And there are lots of inbuilt marketing tools you can use on Amazon to attract customers and these get better and better all the time. So you can do advertising to your listing. You can advertise to your Amazon store. If you have an Amazon store, you can target by keyword searches. You can choose to advertise on other people's listings. You can do video ads. There's just so much that you can do and it does get better and better and I have to say I wouldn't consider myself an advertising expert but I have great results using Amazon advertising for my clients and I actually think of all of the types of advertising I have tried, and I have tried a few over the years, I feel like the Amazon advertising is actually pretty good and pretty easy to use. And at some point, maybe I'll do an episode all about that if there's any interest. Um, if you decide to use Fulfilled by Amazon or Amazon FBA, then this means they handle the logistics. So that's the storage and the shipping for you. Um, this can be expensive. So I definitely don't recommend you thinking, oh, that's great, I'll send them hundreds of. units of my product because, you know, as I said, it can get expensive, particularly if things aren't moving as fast as you'd like them to. However, for a customer, if you use FBA, it means they can benefit from Amazon Prime and which is often next day, not always next day delivery, is it? But often it is, but anyway, it's fast, it's free if you're a Prime customer, which lots of people are. Um, so that's another benefit really. Although I should also point out, if you're thinking about selling on Amazon and you don't want to use FBA for any reason, that is also fine. Especially as I just mentioned, prime delivery for me anywhere, I don't know if it's just where I live, it isn't always next day anymore. So as long as you can get your product to customers within a few days, you know, reasonably quickly, I don't think that's something that should worry you, so yeah, don't hold back and finally you have the opportunity to sell globally if you want to as there are marketplaces all over the world and so plenty of opportunities. At the time of recording there are 19 marketplaces in total. The last time I looked there were 18 so it's grown even since then, and I can only imagine that number will grow. So you can sell in Europe, the Americas, the UAE, Japan, Australia, all over the world. Um, and of course there are additional logistics and things to think about when you're doing that, but it is possible. And I will also mention here, again I'm not going to go into great detail, but selling into Europe, if you're based in the UK, or you're selling you know, you're selling from the UK, is actually much simpler now on Amazon. And if you ever want to know more about that, just let me know, because I won't go into detail here. Um, but Amazon certainly are working to try and make things a little bit easier in this aspect anyway, because I'll come on to the things I think aren't so great about Amazon. And the first one I will say is that the seller support isn't that supportive. And that's me being really, really polite. Lots of sellers struggle. Um, Because you might have an issue when you get set up or with a listing and lots give up, which is such a shame, but it is because dealing with them can be so difficult. Um, you need thick skin and you need to be really tenacious to get anywhere with them. I will be honest, I have got, I think it's about, at the time I'm recording this, which I think I've got about three clients that I'm managing cases for with Amazon and I've literally spent, in all cases, an hour, maybe three hours in one case, trying to get something sorted that you would think would be relatively simple. That is the reality. Um, and I'm not sharing that to put you off. I'm sharing it so you know what to expect because often people are really surprised because obviously customer service as a customer is pretty good. Um, but it genuinely can be quite hard to get things sorted out if something goes wrong. Um, not to say anything will, but based on my experience things can and do and it's hard. And I should also say that I did record an episode all about this. Again, I'll link to it in the show notes. So I explain how to kind of avoid things going wrong and if things do go wrong what to do and I'm hopefully, I mean, I hope you're never in that situation. If you are, you want some help, you know where to find me. Um, if you want to handle it by yourself, which by the way, you absolutely can. Hopefully that episode will really help you. As I alluded to earlier, another negative is that there's a lot of competition. I can't remember. I don't think I know how many product listings there are on Amazon, possibly millions. Um, and it gets harder and harder to get started. So I like to tell people this because something you've probably heard me talk about this before. Sometimes someone will contact me and say, well, I put my listing on Amazon two months ago and I can't find it myself and nobody's brought it. Um, yeah, that kind of the reality is that unless you do something, even if you have an amazing product. And you have a great listing. You've done everything I suggest. The final piece of this is you need to get people over to your listing. You need to do something to get attention on it. In the guide I mentioned earlier, I've got loads of ways you can do this. A lot of them are free. I'm not saying you have to pay for advertising. You certainly don't. I know that that's, you know, that definitely might not be in your budget. But you do have to get, do something to get people over to your listing. Because in lots of categories there were going to be other products and other sellers who've been on there for ages. They've got reviews, they've got sales history, and they're going to come page one of the search results every single time, along with the people that are paying to be there, of course. So it is really tricky, but, you know, it is also possible, I should say. Um, there's, I hope I'm not focusing on the negative too much, but I always like to be balanced and I also like to be honest. So another thing to think about is there isn't definitely an art to creating a great product listing on Amazon. And you need a great product listing, as I've said lots of times. And there are also lots of rules to adhere to, and breaking any one of them can get your listing closed. Um, which isn't as bad as it sounds, you know, they just shut it down and then you fix it and then it goes live. It's honestly not a big deal. So this includes the wording you can use, though, you know, be careful about claims that you make. You can't link to external websites. Um, your main photo has to be on a white background. Do not, to be honest, it's nothing that should cause you any problems, but it's just worth knowing about it. And then the final thing that I think is a bit of a downside selling on Amazon is you don't get any customer details. Obviously, if you're fulfilling orders yourself, then you'll get whatever you need for shipping, but that is it. You can communicate with customers, but you have to be very careful about what you can and can't say. It's tricky. I mean, my advice really is, unless they contact you, reaching out to customers via the Amazon email portal possibly isn't a good idea because if you say something you're not meant to say you're going to get yourself in trouble. So it's always better if you are selling on Amazon to try and get customers on your email list another way. And um, so things for example having something in the packaging maybe or having something on the packaging just of your website So the customers can find you off Amazon and then hopefully, you know, go to your website following your social media, whatever you want to do, but ultimately get on your email list because if the worst did come to the worst and suddenly you weren't on Amazon anymore for some reason and someone wanted to buy from you again, it would be great if they could find you somewhere else. So, in terms of what kind of products are Amazon good for, because I think that's definitely worth touching on, you can sell most things on Amazon. I did have a look at things you can't sell in Amazon in the UK and some of the things that came up with vehicles, new or used. Yep, I think that makes sense. Airbags, I didn't even know you could buy an airbag separately. I mean a vehicle airbag that is. Um, used clothes, I think we all knew that. Clothing made from animals. I think we hopefully knew that, um, this isn't the full list and there are, there is a list of restrictions that you can check for anything you want to sell. Um, hopefully whatever you want to sell is something you can sell in most cases, whatever. There's been very few cases someone's come to me and said, I want to sell this on Amazon. I've had to say sorry, you actually can't. Um, the only recent example I can think of is a product that contains CBD oil that couldn't be sold. Um, you might need to request approval for the product that you want to sell. That can take a little bit of time. And also remember that requirements can and do change. So for example, there was a time when Amazon were accepting sellers for CBD oil. So if you Google it, you will see CBD oil products on Amazon. But they're not accepting new sellers at the moment. So just because you see something on Amazon, you think, oh, I definitely saw that there. They might have set that listing up months ago, years ago, when that was okay. What Amazon very rarely do is retrospectively, retrospectively remove anything. So just because you see something on the live site, don't assume that you can sell something similar. Just check out the restrictions. And it also might be that you can sell the product, but if you wanted to send in for FBA, you'd have to submit a safety data sheet. Um, if you have a product that needs a safety data sheet, you will know what safety data sheet is, I am sure. So I'm not going to go into details about what that is, but you know, the kind of products you might need that for are hand sanitizers, fragrances, food, cosmetics, um, and I guess the only issue might be is if you are a handmade seller. So for example, if you're selling a candle kit and it contains a fragrance oil, you might get asked for a safety data sheet for that fragrance oil. Having said that, it very likely wouldn't mean that you can't sell that product. It would just mean that you couldn't use FBA and that's not necessarily a bad thing or a reason not to sell on Amazon. So I guess the next thing to think about is how to know if there is demand for your product. Um, and if there, you know, and what the market's like, and I definitely, definitely suggest doing some research before listing your products on Amazon. If demand and competition for products similar to yours are really high already, it can be really hard to stand out and you will be competing with sellers who already have sales history and reviews, as you know, as I've said plenty of times and they're going to be on page one. Equally, let's say your product is really unique. So maybe people don't even know a product like yours exists, or maybe it's something that people might not necessarily go to Amazon for. Um, it can also be really hard to get noticed. So you do want to do a little bit of research. If you want to carry out your own research yourself for free. tool is the Jungle Scout sales estimator is a, as I said, it's a free tool and this will give you a rough idea of how many sales a product makes on Amazon per month. I have a blog post and a video within that blog post that explains how to use it, but I think it's pretty intuitive, but I'll link to it in the show notes, both to the tool and to the blog post explaining how to use it. And then what you can then do is get an idea of what the fees would be, which is also important. Using an Amazon tool, which is called the FBA Revenue Calculator. Again, this is a free tool and I'll link to that in the show notes. And basically what you can then do is work out based on what your product is and what you'll be selling it for, what kind of fees you could expect if you're selling it on Amazon. And they really break it down. They'll say, okay, this would be the, um, this would be the fee you'd pay for actually getting the sale. And this would be what the shipping would cost you. This is what the storage will cost you. It is an estimate. You know, the tool is called an estimator, but I think it's definitely worth taking a look at if you wanted to invest in an Amazon research tool to do your own research. So if you actually wanted to pay for something, I recommend Jungle Scout. It's probably the tool that I use the most. I have the full tool and I also have the Chrome extension and that allows me to see at a glance how well any product sells on Amazon and what the monthly revenue is. So when I do a search on Amazon, which is really weird by the way when I'm shopping, not working, um, when I type something in the search bar and the results come up, I get to see when that product was listed, how many sales they make, what their revenue is, all this extra information. And which is useful because you can, you know, you can do that for your competitors. If you've got someone who you think, oh, they're quite similar to me, let's see how many sales they're making on Amazon. You can find that out. Um, you can also search for products and all for keywords, and you can see what the competition is like, what the demand's like, how well optimized the listings are. I say competing again. Again, I don't like that word, but other listings in your category are. Like if you were selling a bamboo baby towel, let's use it as an example. You could search bamboo baby towel, you could see what comes up, you could see how, what, you know, which towels are selling the most. You could see what keywords they're using. You could see how, you know, how many people are selling that product. It's all really useful. Um, and then there's a full tool and that also has product ideas for sort of products with really good potential. It has Amazon specific keyword tools, has analytics. You can look at your sales margins and profits. That's if you do start selling on, selling on Amazon, you can link your account up and you can also do some automated emails to customers on jungle scout as well, which is something else that I did. So. Um, I used to have something where every time somebody asked for a return, they'd get an automated email seeing if I could help them. And that was a really good way of cutting down on negative reviews as well. And if you're looking to build or expand your business on Amazon, I personally think Jungle Scout is well worth looking into. And I will provide a link for that in the show notes as well. Um, I will be very honest and tell you this is an affiliate link. However, as I say, this is a product that I use so much, I'm happy to recommend it to anybody. Well, anybody selling on Amazon, not just anybody. If you're not selling on Amazon and you're not interested in selling on Amazon, it's probably not the thing for you. So, um If you, however, heard me say all of this and you're just like, this sounds very complicated and you want to avoid doing all of this yourself, I can actually help you. So I offer what I call mini strategy sessions, where I can find out for you whether it's worth selling your product on Amazon and then I can tell you what I think and why, plus all the steps you need to take to make it happen. So basically everything that I've just told you, you could do, I do instead. Um, so you find out whether there's a market for a product like yours based on research that I'll do myself. So we would set up a call, but before we have a call, I would do loads of research and I'd produce a nice little report for you as well. And I would give you my honest opinion on whether or not you should sell your product on Amazon. And I'd be, as I said, very honest, I would never say, absolutely go for it or absolutely don't, but I will say, I think that you could, and this is why, or I think that maybe you shouldn't, or I might say, I think that you could, however, you need to know this, you know, you need to know this is a busy marketplace, or I've noticed that your product has this feature that others don't. So if you do decide to sell on Amazon, this is what I would sort of lead with. And then I would talk about what's involved in setting up and launching a product on Amazon, including you know how much time you need, um, and what exactly is involved step by step. So if you do this as well as a call with me, you get a bespoke market research report, which includes all the competitive analysis. You get the Amazon sellers checklist, which sets out the steps you need to take to get your product on Amazon. And you get my Amazon launch guide to get you off to a great start. I honestly think this is an investment worth making because you can find out whether there's actually potential for your product on Amazon before you start thinking about spending any time or any money on getting started. This can actually save you a lot of money and time, not to mention all of the frustration and heartache. If you just jump in a few months later, find out, actually, it's just not the right place for your products. I also take you through how to get started, how to do it really well, because I've said in this episode, there's a lot to know about how to get off to a great start on Amazon. So you need the great listing, high quality images. It's useful to know about all the features available to sellers, especially as many of these are free, but often people don't know about them. And if you want to know more about what's required right now, you can download the Amazon Launch Guide right from the show notes. So you have that to get you started. So I really hope that was a useful episode. I hope that you've taken something from it. Um, I probably haven't answered your question of should you be selling your products on Amazon. I'm really aware of that. Um, but, you know, for each and every one of you, it's going to be a really different answer. Um, because it really depends on what your product is and what category it's in and all kinds of things. But hopefully I've given you enough information that you can go away and at least think about it, consider it and think what your next steps will be, if any. So as always, it's been absolutely lovely talking to you. If you have any questions, you can get me on Vicki, that's V I C K I at vickiweinberg. com. You might want to go for, through the show notes as well, actually, so you don't need to look up how to spell Weinberg. Um, um, but I genuinely, genuinely love hearing from you. So if you have any questions, feedback, anything at all on this episode, then I would really love you to get in touch. Have a lovely rest of your day. Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode. Do remember that you can get the full back catalogue and lots of free resources on my website, vickiweinberg. com. Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.