Selling products through Amazon and other ecommerce platforms can have incredible benefits for those who pour time and energy into establishing the right items to sell, optimizing their page listings, and understanding the methods to increasing their rankings. Depending on how deep an individual wants to go, it can be a source of a few extra dollars in their pocket each month, or it can be blown out into a full-fledged business.
Fanatics Media is here to give you all the tools and information you need to become a great Amazon seller at whichever level you choose.
Recently, our own ecommerce expert Justin Simon sat down with one of the most prolific names in the Amazon seller’s arena, Scott Voelker, to pick his brain on some of today’s best practices, the current state of private label products, and much more.
Check out the knowledge shared in this insightful conversation below:
Scott Voelker is the host of The Amazing Seller podcast on iTunes. Through this medium, Scott provides sellers, and those who are interested in selling, with in-depth, informational, and actionable knowledge on a variety of topics. When Scott started off selling on Amazon he managed to rake in $47,000 in 90 days, and he is happy to share his strategies with the world.
Here are some of the focal points from this didactic conversation:
Question #1: How did you get involved in Amazon sales and ecommerce?
As far as entering into the ecommerce space goes, Scott and his wife used to do retail arbitrage on eBay. Initially, Scott’s wife discovered some 4 foot cedar bridges in a local store that were selling for about $30. They decided to see how much they were on eBay to find that they were selling for around $140. They subsequently purchased 20 of them and sold them all through the platform which helped pay for their child’s private schooling.
The introduction to Amazon came through hearing about private labeling which excited Scott. It was much less work than retail arbitrage and similar to selling digital products, which Scott was already accustomed to, in the sense that inventory of all the same product is sold and when it runs out, you just order more.
Question #2: Private labeling is in a situation where people don’t know where it’s going. What is your take on where it is now and where it will be in the near future?
Scott is not a fan of hopping into trends and watching them disappear. He aims to create real, long-lasting businesses, and as far as he is concerned, Amazon is merely a starting point for that.
“That should never be where it ends, that’s where it should start, and then you should continue to grow.”
Selling through Amazon is a way to start, validate, and verify a product without having a website, email list, or traffic. After growth has occurred on the platform, one must think about creating a brand as opposed to just a product. You accomplish this by establishing how you can serve a market and solve a problem, and then bringing that solution forward. Too many people are zoned in solely on Amazon and they forget about selling through other channels – this is a huge mistake.
Question #3: In regards to other ecommerce sites outside of Amazon, is the consumer base large enough to have your product succeed?
“I think that private labeling for all these other channels is an opportunity that we could all be taking advantage of right now.”
If you can put a product on another platform without it creating too much extra work, it is worth it. You may only make five sales a week, but that is five extra sales. The numbers might not be as high as on Amazon, but the important thing is that you are leveraging other platforms ads, diversifying your efforts. This is something that Scott is personally looking to leverage soon as well.
Question #4: When someone goes into private labeling, what are the main points that people should be looking for?
Amazon provides all the clues a person could need as far as what’s trending, what’s selling, etc. The first thing to do is determine how you can solve a problem or add value to a passionate market that is struggling.
Start by looking at your own passions and problems in life. Create a “touch list” – take a notepad with you everywhere you go and write down everything single thing you touch on a daily basis. Write down things that annoy you or that you wish were different. Pay attention to your surroundings and as you go through this, you will become more aware. Once you have identified a product or solution, enter into the research phase to see if these products are selling or not.
Question #5: What are the most common mistakes you see?
The biggest is in the product research phase. All too often, people go for the cookie cutter items like garlic presses that are already selling.
“Don’t go after what someone else is selling just because it is selling.”
The key is to go after something that you can make better. Dig through products that are gaining a decent amount of sales and dig through the negative 1, 2, and 3 star reviews to see how you can improve upon that product. It might be a tiny change that allows you to do better in a market.
Product research is where you set the grounds for success. Going to Alibaba and grabbing the first item you see is the quickest way to fail because everyone else can get that same item, too.
Another big problem is that people get started, hear about all the things that they have to do, end up getting overwhelmed and quit before they ever start.
Question #6: What are your favorite apps and platforms for Amazon research that you trust and would recommend?
There weren’t many tools when Scott started out so product research was a long and tedious task. When Jungle Scout came out, Scott was a bit skeptical but was in the beta round of release. It ended up solving a huge problem for him; this is why Jungle Scout is his number one recommendation.
From his experience, this tool is the most accurate in estimated sales. He also uses the web app I Use for discovery, then drills down by looking at a brand that has a product that is selling well. From there, he looks at all the products they sell, filters that to see all the products that are selling well for them, and then he can gain product ideas from the ones that don’t have as much competition.
Be sure to check out the full replay where Scott covers how to prepare for massive Amazon events like Prime Day or Cyber Monday, the biggest sources of misinformation about selling on Amazon, and other illuminating pieces of advice. Also, be sure to check out The Amazing Seller podcast on iTunes for more of Scott’s ecommerce brilliance.