21 Jul How to Sell on Amazon?
How to Sell on Amazon
I’ll bet you’ve heard about Amazon’s meteoric rise to shopping domination. But have you heard how thousands of new millionaires have been made in the process? They’re doing it by selling “Private Label” products on Amazon FBA, which automates the entire shipping process…Say what? In this post, you’ll get a 10,000 ft view on what it takes to become one of those millionaires yourself.
Is Amazon FBA Right for You?
Once your product is in Amazon FBA, they take care of the rest. Shipping to the customer, returns, & of course their ultra-loyal customer base to buy it.
Selling definitely isn’t for everyone though. The upside is you work from where you want, with no limit to potential income, but you need to fit these criteria.
- Must be willing to spend minimum of $2000 on your first product shipment
- Must be ok with the risk of losing that investment if you make a major mistake
Basically, you can’t be broke & unable to leave your beloved comfort bubble.
Can you still Sell on Amazon as a Foreigner or do you need to set up an official business? Foreigners can sell on Amazon even living in another country, full blog post on that here. And while you don’t NEED to set up a business, it makes taxes, accounting, & liability much easier. You should probably go ahead and open an LLC for your new business. It’s an easy process😊
Finding Your First Hit Product to Sell
Ok so you’re game to start, now you need a hit product to sell to Amazon’s loyal customers with credit cards on file. While you can sell unbranded generic items, it’s MUCH better to “Private Label.” This simply means you find a supplier who already makes a product, & get them to make it for YOUR brand. Differentiating your product is important too, but more details on that here. Finding the right product to sell is super important, so we made a full blog post What to Sell on Amazon FBA.
Sourcing a Supplier
You’ve analyzed the market&you’ve found your first hit product! The next step is finding a supplier that already makes it.
For the majority of products, the best prices &suppliers are in China. Use Alibaba.com to search for suppliers of your product & contact them en masse. There’s some important guidelines when messaging on Alibaba since they get TOOOONS of emails from tire kickers.
- Have your Alibaba profile setup with all info & a company logo (get one on Fiverr for $5)
- Reach out to as many suppliers possible to compare prices, quality, & how well they can communicate with you (this is important!)
- Write as if you’re a sourcing agent, not the boss of the company. Bosses don’t typically send messages to suppliers in China 😉
- Ask for pricing above their listed MOQ (minimum order quantity). Once you have negotiated at this price, inform them you’ll place a smaller test order first. If you immediately ask for a lower MOQ they’ll ignore you.
Following these steps dramatically increasesthe number of suppliers that respond. The more options the better.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to just a few suppliers, it’s time to order some samples. Don’t be fooled by a good sample though… sometimes suppliers send you a great sample, but your shipment will be worse. Counteract this by getting a pre-shipment inspection BEFORE you pay the supplier the final payment. Suppliers sometimes wait until your 3rd or 4th shipment before sneakily lowering the quality so every single shipment needs to be inspected. Cheap ones cost $100 each, nothing compared to the profit of your shipment.
Once you receive your samples, compare quality between suppliers and decide a winner based on sample quality, price, & how well they communicate with you. If they’re taking days to respond to messages or misunderstand everything, do you really want to build your business with them?
Packaging and Labeling
While great product packaging isn’t mandatory, it’s a great way to add perceived value with very little effort. You’ll have to add an Amazon ASIN barcode to your packaging anyway, so you may as well design custom packaging with the barcode already on it.
If you’re keeping costs down & want to start with barcode only, get it done in China for only a few cents per sticker, rather than by Amazon FBA for 20 cents each.Just email your supplier the barcode & ask them to put stickers on the outside of every package. Most suppliers have connections with packaging & print shops & can easily facilitate this for you.
If you want to go the custom package route to create a premium brand feel, post a job on Fiverr or Upwork for package design. These sites have overseas designers for super cheap. The trick is to pick the ones with good portfolios that speak good English. It’s tempting to go for the cheapest option but trust me, 90% of the time they’re more trouble than it’s worth.
Send the finished design to your supplier & you’re done! In the rare case your supplier can’t do this or you need some special box, you can always find a packaging manufacturer in China and have them shipped to your supplier’s warehouse.
Shipping & Importing
This is the last hurdle before your product gets to Amazon! It’s one of the most complex parts of the process but don’t worry, there’s an easy solution.
Hire a freight forwarder to take your product from China to the US & take care of all the insanity in between. These companies make such a small profit & shipping/ customs are so complex that you’ll likely spend more doing it yourself.
For example, let’s say you had EXW shipping terms for a sea shipment (meaning you pay 100% of shipping costs). You’d have to arrange:
- Pick up from supplier’s warehouse & transport to the sea port in China
- Bill of Lading
- Chinese exit customs clearance
- Chinese port fees & paperwork
- Hiring the sea freight company
- Destination side port fees & paperwork
- Destination customs clearance (or hire a broker)
- Pickup by trucking company to final destination
This is an extreme example, FOB shipping terms eliminate half of this mess & air shipping even more so, but why create a mess when you don’t have to?
Find a reliable freight forwarder based on referrals from other Amazon sellers in Facebook groups. Reliable companies change all the time so make sure your info is current& reach out to at least 3 companies to compare quotes.
Preparing Your Amazon Listing
ALMOST THERE. Your product is en route to Amazon & you’re counting the days to launch. Now it’s time to craft your Amazon listing to convert browsers into buyers.
There’s 4 things that need to be done to create your listing:
- Amazing product photography
- Graphic design
- Writing the listing
Photography is both most important and can take the longest so get that done first. Many Amazon customers buy from the photos & don’t even read the description, & it’s what catches their eye to stop scrolling.For this reason you need to make them immaculate. You can often find a local pro on craigslist that does a great job for a good price. Don’t do them yourself unless it’s your job!
Once you’ve got your photos, hire a cheap graphic designer on Fiverr or Upwork to spice em up. Ever seen those pictures with zoom in bubbles showing off product benefits in a beautiful way? We need a few of those. You can also get FAQ pictures done, size charts, whatever makes sense for your product. These can really set you apart, especially if your competitors aren’t bothering to.
Bonus Tip: Make every photo 1500px x 1500px. This makes the best use of the space you’re given & is optimized for the zoom function. Resolution too low & you can’t zoom in, too high & you zoom WAAAY in.
Finally, you write the title, bullet points, description, and backend keyword fields. Since Amazon is a search engine, it must be fed the right information so customers can search for and find your product. Using keyword tools and customer research, you’ll discover the most popular search phrases for your product, then place them in your listing to be search engine optimized.
Put your most important keywords in the title & the rest throughout your listing and backend keyword fields. Write in a readable way that shows off product benefits, but doesn’t sound like an infomercial salesman… You’d be amazed how many sellers write like the Shamwow guy. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, you can always hire a copywriter. Kenji ROI has served my audience for a while & gives a special discount if you mention Kevin David 😉
Your product has arrived to Amazon, your listing is ready, and sales have started! I remember how my heart jumped when I got the email telling me inventory was live& for sale. The journey doesn’t end here of course but alas, this blog post does… *sheds tear*
Hopefully this gave you a good 10,000 ft view of selling on Amazon FBA. Does it seem right for you? If you’re willing to invest some time, money, & elbow grease, you can set up a virtually automated income source that keeps growing & growing. If you do a really good job, you can sell the business too, they’re pretty hot right now!
Want to continue learning? Our other blog posts dive deep into some of the biggest hurdles new sellers must face.