TAS 160 Ask Scott Session #45 – Amazon FBA Questions

This is the episode of the Amazing Seller podcast where you get to ask your own questions and Scott will respond! That’s what you’re going to hear on this episode… real Amazon sellers or potential private label sellers who are just like you, asking questions about the way forward into Amazon sales. Scott answers them honestly, from his experience and from what he’s learned relating to other successful Amazon sellers and running his own business. If you want to ask your own question, you can do that by going to www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask

I’ve only got $1,000 to get started with. How would you stretch that money as far as possible if you were beginning again?

There are many ways you can get started with building your own business by selling on Amazon. Scott’s not so arrogant as to think that there’s only one answer to the question. But some of the things he recommends are these: retail arbitrage as a way in and a way to get started – and you can do it today! From there you could move toward finding lower priced products on Alibaba or Ali Express to head toward private label sales. In all of this there are a variety of things you can do to trim costs, so be sure you listen to this episode to get the full picture of what Scott advises.

My products are running out of stock. What should I do to address this?

It’s a great problem to have when your products are selling at such a rate that you’re running out of stock before you can get more products in from your supplier. What should you do? Well the first issue you need to look at is your price. Is it possible that your product is prices way too low for the market? In response to this question Scott’s not only going to share a smart way to start increasing your price to discover your ideal price point, he’s also going to give you some other strategies for managing your inventory and keeping products in stock at all times.

You used to use Feedback Genius but have switched to Salesbacker. Can you tell me why you switched and what the differences are?

This listener is correct. Scott used to use and promote Feedback Genius in the early days of his Amazon private label sales business, but he’s made the switch to a different piece of software, Salesbacker. On today’s episode a listener asks what the differences are between the two and why Scott made the switch. Scott’s answer has more detail than we can cover here (so you should listen to his response), but the main reason is that Salesbacker was created for specific use with Amazon private label sales. The features and functions are specifically designed to give sellers exactly what they need in a variety of ways. Check out Scott’s entire explanation on this episode.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:25] Scott’s introduction to the podcast!
  • [0:40] A voicemail Scott loves and wants to share to pump you up!
  • [1:24] How you can submit your own questions
  • [4:05] Proof that you can get started with a relatively low amount of cash.
  • [5:43] QUESTION ONE: Is there any way to know the shipping costs ahead of time? I only have $1000 to play with, how can I stretch it as much as possible?
  • [15:10] QUESTION TWO: How should I address the issue of running out of stock?
  • [18:48] QUESTION THREE: Can you tell me the benefits between Feedback Genius and Salesbacker?

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 160

TAS 160 : Ask Scott Session #45 – Amazon FBA Questions

[00:00:03] SV: Hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller podcast, this is episode number 160 and session number 45 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your questions here on the podcast. You submit them via voicemail and I answer them. I love doing these, as you guys hear

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[INTRODUCTION]

me say all the time. As I’m usually sitting here with a cup of coffee, today I’m sitting with a glass of water, the little bit of later in the day that I’m recording this episode so the coffee’s already gone. I’m sitting here with a nice glass of cold water but it’s freezing out but yeah, I drink cold water. Cold water and getting ready to hang out with you guys and actually answer your questions that were submitted and I really look forward to this.

Now, I did want to say that I have a great voicemail that someone sent me that I wanted to share with you because it really pumps me up to be able to hear this. Just you guys in the Facebook group and everything, when you guys are talking about what you’re doing even if it’s struggles and then from there you are able to achieve a learning lesson from that struggle and then turn that around, I love hearing that stuff so keep that stuff coming too. I really do appreciate that and it pumps me up to know that you guys are pumped up. I want to share that one with you first before we go ahead and dive into today’s questions. Before I do though I wanted to remind you, if you wanted to submit your own question, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can leave me a voicemail there. Just leave your first name and where you’re tuning in from and then your short answer or your short question … Not your answer, your question and I’ll go ahead and I’ll try to get it aired on the show here. Again, that’s theamazingseller.com/ask, keep them coming and I’ll keep answering them.

Let’s go ahead and listen to this quick, this nice little story that was submitted by Mark and I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

[00:02:00] MM: Hey Scott. It's Mark Milson, in Spokane, Washington. I thought I’d send you a good news story. I’ve been studying you for about a year now and I finally decided to take action, as you say. My wife and I did have a ton of extra money so we bought $1.45 item from Ali Express. We spent about $75 to get 50 units of our first product in and because the product was cheap enough we didn’t even get a sample, we just ordered it. We picked our product because it had well over a thousand reviews and it was almost all five star.

We’ve been selling them for 6.99 and our sales have been better than we'd expected. Now we’re almost out of inventories so we actually raised the price to 9.99 and our sales have not slowed down, actually they’ve gone up. We only make a few bucks each sale which isn’t that much but it does prove to us that the system works. The Amazon apps shows a steady incline in sales for the past month and I probably check it ten times a day, I’m a little bit addicted.

We quickly went back to Ali Express, we doubled our order and also we found another supplier on Alibaba who’s selling the same products for less money and it actually appears to be a superior product. That shipment should arrive this Monday. Again on Alibaba I only reviewed the pictures and descriptions of the product but it was only 250 bucks for our first order and we should be making even better margins in the first products. That supplier also has a couple of other samples that they’re sending me in the mail in that same niche to expand our product line.

I just wanted to give you a small success story and say thank you for what you’re doing. Your advice and enthusiasm has got us to this starting point and I was happy to see that this business is real and it doesn’t take a genius to get started and to compete with the big guys. Thanks for all you do and press on my friend.

[00:03:54] SV: Hey Mark, that’s awesome man. I really appreciate you giving me that update. That gets me really, really excited for you and to be able to share that with others to know that you didn’t really start with a lot. So many people contact me and they’re like, “Scott, how much do I need to get started? Do I need like a thousand? Do I need 5,000? Do I need 20,000? What do I need to get started?” I don’t think there’s one answer to that, I don’t think there’s one right answer, I should say, to that question. I think it’s … Whatever you have available, that’s what you should be doing, you should be trying to find a way to, well I’m going to say it here, take action or #juststart, that’s my new hash tag by the way, because it really is about just getting the momentum started and learning the process.

If it’s retail arbitrage right now then do retail arbitrage. Even though I didn’t do retail arb doesn’t mean that I don’t suggest that people do it that don’t have the funds to get started or the means to get started. Just get started. Right. So just start, #juststart, right? That’s it, and #takeaction. Right. I really, really just need to stress that and by you Mark submitting this voicemail really shows that just getting started can work and that’s really what I wanted to share here.

Anyone out there listening and they’re saying to themselves, “I just don’t know, I don’t know if I want to do this because of X, Y and Z.” Ask yourself what the X, Y and Z is and if you want to do this bad enough and you want to get started then just start. Okay, just start.

All right, that’s great. I wanted to share that and I think that is so awesome and I’m really excited about that. Let’s go ahead and dive into today’s questions. I can go ahead and start answering these and then you guys can get on with your day. Let’s listen to the first question and I’ll give you my answer.

[00:05:48] Ali: Hey Scott, how’s it going man. My name’s Ali and I’m reaching out to you from Ontario, Canada here. First of all I just want to say, man, that it’s awesome the amount of valuable content that you put out there for free. Actually, I’m really happy that I found you on the internet. I’m not a member of the class yet but as soon as I can afford it I will be. The free content is amazing and it’s taught me a lot and I’ve learned a lot just by listening to you. I heard you really want to pull a trigger on this, I just had a few questions or a couple of questions.

First is, I’m in Canada so I was wondering is there any way to know what the shipping cost would be if I had a product sent to me from China to my house and then to the United States? What would it cost me from Canada to the US? Is there any way to figure that out?

Also, my next question is, it’s not a fair question but that’s where I’m at right now so I’m going to just fire away here. What if you only had like a thousand bucks to play with, to invest in your business? That’s where I’m at right now. I already got the jungle Scout and the chrome extension and also the web app. Now I already got a thousand bucks and I can’t wait, I want to do this. My question is if you were in that situation knowing what you know now, how would you really stretch that thousand bucks from sourcing a product from China, have it shipped from China to Canada and from Canada to the Amazon FB warehouse?

How would you go about doing that even if it’s not going to be explosive at first but at least setting up a foundation to move forward with just a thousand bucks? Can you make it happen pretty much? Yeah, that’s pretty much what I want to know and that’s where I’m at right now. Hope to hear from you soon and just keep up the good work man, good luck to you and hope to hear from you. Bye.

[00:08:20] SV: Hey Ali, thank you so much for the question. You know what guys, I didn’t even plan that to have that Mark’s little audio clip there and then talk about just starting and all that stuff and then Ali. You come in and then you ask the question of kind of like, “I’ve got this certain amount of money, what should I do? If you were to start all over again and you didn’t have a lot of money to start and you had a very limited budget like what would you do?” I’m glad that you asked this question actually and I’m glad that I placed it right here. I didn’t even intend on doing that guys, it just kind of happened so I guess it was meant to be.

My answer to … Well, first off, before I give you my answer let me just say thanks for being a listener and thanks for all the kind words. I truly appreciate that. That’s what keeps me going guys. Like knowing that you guys are listening and knowing that my voice gets into your ears and from there motivates you and kind of gets you through maybe a tough spot or gives you that encouragement. That means everything to me. I didn’t realize that until I actually met people in person that were TAS listeners back in August, I believe it was, in Texas, and being able to look into the mic now and know that you guys are on the other end. It really does mean a lot so I appreciate that.

Here, let’s answer your question. If I was to start all over again and I had $1,000 the first thing I would do, just like you, I would invest into probably Jungle Scout and I would start there. That would be like my first tool because I got to have a shovel if I want to dig. I need that. I could dig with my hands, it could be a lot harder and you can manually do that with a rock and all that stuff but a tool’s going to make it a lot easier so I’m going to have to get a tool. The tool of choice for me for finding a product and doing that research is going to be Jungle Scout. Okay. I’m going to tie up a couple of hundred bucks there let’s say. Let’s just say I leave $200 for that budget, I leave even like 800 bucks. Right?

Now with that money I would probably, honestly, I would do one of two things. I would either do this and I would play around with this in my own mind. The first thing is I would either just go do retail arbitrage or I would look around my house, my apartment, whatever, and I would see what I had laying around that I wasn’t using that I could go ahead and turn around and sell on Amazon. I would start to try to get some money coming in but also start learning that process. That’s how I would do that.

I would also probably go into Target and then I would look at their clothes out, I would go into Coles, I would go into, you know, any Lowes, I’d go into any place that was a big box type store and I would start to see if I could find stuff and do the whole retail arbitrage thing, at least in the beginning just to start the process. I don’t have to wait for a product, I don’t have to wait for samples, none of that stuff. I can just get going because I’ve got a limited amount of money and I want to get started because I’m very antsy and anxious and that’s just me. Right. That’s probably what I would do.

Now, the other part of that that I would start thinking in my head is maybe, just maybe, I’m going to go ahead and do the Ali Express model and maybe I’ll do, instead of doing like a cheap product to begin with because if I had a little bit more money I think I would do the cheap product because I think it would be a little bit a little bit harder in the beginning even though a lot of people that have listened to the podcast have done that, I think I would take a different approach. I would probably look for something a little bit more on the expensive side between like 35 and $55, something that I would turn more of a profit from just selling one versus having to sell 10 or 15. Right. I would almost do like the Tayson Whittaker model which was basically going ahead and buying something that was a little bit more expensive. I think he bought his first product for like 75 or 100 bucks and then he was selling it for like 160, something like that.

Now, the problem with that is it that it probably would be an oversized item and then from there I’m going to have to start thinking about now when I do want to scale this thing up I got to figure this whole shipping by sea and free forwarding and all that stuff. But I don’t know if I would worry about that because I would just want to see if this product or this market would be into this thing and then I could also make some money without having to do a huge promotion because, again, I would be looking at Jungle Scout, I’d be looking at the web app, I’d be looking at if I could find products that were under optimized, that were still getting three, four, five sales a day at a higher price point because then I’m only having to sell three or four versus 10 or 15 or 20.

That’s probably what I would if I had that small limited amount of money and I went Ali Express and I bought that item I could probably have it in a few days. Yes it wouldn’t be totally customized but at this point we’re finding products that aren't really deep in the market for people just going out there and buying cheap products and trying to sell them. I do believe if you have more money you have more of an opportunity to test that by going out and ordering over 50 items of each and then running a promotion for each and then being able to validate the product that way but that’s a whole other thing.

Again, I’m just thinking out loud here guys and this is kind of like how my brain works. The very first thing I’d be thinking of is what can I do today? Well, I can go to a department store today with my phone and scan some items and see if I can find some stuff that can put in stock. Then also, here’s another little thing that I just thought of, just thought of this, the only thing I can start doing now is while doing that I’m also going to start seeing that there might be a market for these types of products. Then I can start thinking can I private label something that’s similar to this, obviously that’s not patented or a huge name brand or anything like that or maybe an accessory that went around this product that I went and I did a retail arb thing for.

People that have done retail arbitrage, I think they have an advantage. I do and I don’t think that I’ve said that publicly. Maybe I have but what I think here is that they’re able to test a bunch of different markets because they’re out there putting up 5 of this and 10 of this in all different markets. They don’t really care that it’s specific to their brand, they’re just looking at products that they think they can sell. Could be board games, it could be books, it could be toys, it could be a Nerf gun or it could be any of that stuff. When you’re starting to test all of these different products in all these different markets you can start to see if there’s markets that buy more frequently or that buy certain products related around this stuff. I’d be using it as a way to make money, I’d be using it as a way to learn the system and also learn the markets.

That’s just, again, if you’re on a limited budget that’s an opportunity to take advantage of and you can get started today. Right. #startnow or … No, that’s not it, it’s #juststart. Start now, that’s another one, # start now, no, # juststart, #take action. Right. That’s what I would say there. Hopefully this has been helpful. Again, thank you so much for submitting that question and giving me your feedback and how the podcast has helped you. I really, really appreciate that and I am rooting for you.

All right. Let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.

[00:15:11] Nicko: Hey Scott, what’s up, it’s Nicko here from Argentina. I have a question related to stock inventory. When you’re running low on inventory and you have to wait to until your order gets to [inaudible 00:15:23], would you raise your price and turn off PPC or would you just leave it like it is and sell out? What do you think is better in terms of getting back your sales as soon as you have your inventory? Thanks a lot.

[00:15:38] SV: Hey, Nicko from Argentina, what’s up man? That is awesome! I love it when I’m getting these international questions because well it just means that there’s people listening all over the world and it’s just awesome. I mean Chris and I, Chris Shaffer that is, when we do our live workshops we get people that tune in from all over the world and it’s just amazing to be able to speak to you guys. It’s just never been a better time so I’m always amazed by that. Really, really grateful that you sent in this question and I look forward to answering it for you. What do you say, let’s go ahead and do that. Right?

To answer your question, if you’re running out of stock, running out of inventory, the first thing that we’re all set to do and I believe that you should do this is start to slowly increase your price. Now, that could backfire on you and what I mean by that is your sales could go up because now perceived value sometimes is well, everyone else is $19.95 and this person’s $29.95 so it must be better. That can happen. Now, another negative to that is then you could also start getting refunds later down the line and that could hurt your sales in the future.

Some different things here, a little balancing act that we got to think about but I would probably first off just start slowly increasing it. I wouldn’t jump from like $19.95 to $29.95, I’d go maybe raise it a couple of bucks. Maybe $2 and I’d give that a day and then I’d do it again and then I would do it again. If I’ve seen that the sales were still increasing then I would just try to jump it a little bit just to try to go ahead and try to do that. That might not work long enough because you might not just have enough inventory and if that happens you’re going to run out of inventory, it’s not the end of the world. Yes it’s going to affect your BSR temporarily but once you get inventory back in stock you can go ahead and get that back relatively quickly by just doing a small little give away if you need to or maybe just trying pay-per-click at first.

Then you’ll see that because you’ve already been ranked there before, if you can start to spike those sales through that key word or the keywords that you want to rank for it won’t be that long before you’ll start ranking again. It’s not like you have a brand new listing that is starting from scratch again, you have some history there and Amazon knows that, it’s in their algorithm. You just need to influence it in again and that might be with pay-per-click and with a promotion, both maybe just one. I would probably start with just some Amazon pay-per-click and then if that didn’t work I might spike it a little bit with a small promotion.

It’s not the end of the world. It’s a good thing that you have product that’s selling. I know a lot of people say I’m kind of on that fence where I’m excited because I’m selling  but then on the other hand I’m going to run out of stock and everything I’ve worked for is going to go away. I’ve seen happen time and time again and everyone that’s ever run out of stock, they tell me, the minute they get new stock in and they run either a promotion or they turn on Amazon pay-per-click it’s usually a couple of days and they’re back in the ranking. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Congratulations on selling product. That’s the first thing we need to celebrate, you have product that’s selling, that’s a good thing. We could be sitting here talking about I’ve got a whole bunch of product that I can’t get rid of. Think of the positive and great job and thanks for listening.

All right, let’s listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.

[00:18:52] Milton: Hey Scott, Milton here from Utah. Really appreciated what you’re doing. Awesome podcast and at least keep up the work it’s definitely motivating and very helpful. Quick question. I am listening to all your podcasts. I am on fifth something but I was looking about the tools that you’re using and I found that you talked about on 135th. I just heard that one and I had a question because in the beginning you mentioned a tool that you were using Feedback Genius, that apparently you were not using that anymore, Salesbacker apparently is the one you’re using. Can you confirm that if that’s really what you’re doing and the benefits between one and the other? Appreciate it, thank you.

[00:19:36] SV: Hey Milton, thank you so much for the question and yes you are 100% right. I have switched. I was using Feedback Genius in the beginning and I have nothing against Feedback Genius, I think they’re a great company. They are a pretty large company and they do have some great tools because they don’t just have that one tool, they have other tools. The one thing that I found … Again, they’ve had some updates since I stopped using them and they’ve added some of those features that I wished they would had before. I got to be honest, I’ve been talking to Chris Guthrie who is the creator of Salesbacker and he is a private labeler as well and he built it for private labelers. When you look at Feedback Genius that was really built in the beginning, from what I understand. It was built in the beginning for just Amazon sellers to build up their feedback that’s why it’s Feedback Genius. Right.

When you were doing retail arbitrage people wanted to build up their seller feedback because then it would give them more authority and they’d have a better account and they could outdo their competitors and all that stuff. Then we went into this private labeling thing and Feedback Genius was still able to deliver emails to your customers but it was feedback driven and in order to do reviews you had to just … I kind of just created my own little template system through there. This way here I would start asking for reviews as well in kind of reminding them and delivering that content. That was like a big thing for me. The other thing is your notifications. You were only getting notifications in Feedback Genius, you were only getting notifications you could set it that if you got a notification for a negative feedback that you would be alerted and that was great but nothing for a review. Salesbacker fixed that problem and they actually will notify you.

Now I think Feedback Genius has created an option now for that, if I’m not mistaken but Salesbacker has that built in. Salesbacker also has like a BSR thing inside, I know it’s not really related to your reviews necessarily but it’s a little stat that you can look at inside there, you can also see all of your metrics inside of there as far as like your conversions for seller feedback and for reviews. They have some templates that are built in so you can select from your drop down menu different types of templates that are already created for you and then you can just customize them. All of that in. I know that Salesbacker, Chris Guthrie, his company, I know that they’re rolling out new features and they’re always trying to create just a better experience for the user, for us and also for the customer.  

The one thing I love about it is it’ll notify me of a negative review and then from there I can click on that link in my email and it will take me directly to that person that left that review and I can comment right there. I don’t have to just go and say, “I got a negative review I got to go over to my listing, I got to go scroll through to my reviews and I got to find it and then I can comment,” because I think that you should be commenting on negative reviews. You can even on positive reviews just to show that you’re monitoring them and you’re in tune with your market. What I love about it is if I get a negative review, not a feedback, I mean you can do it for both but a negative review it’ll send me an email and say you just received a three star review and then it’ll have a link to that listing and to that particular review and then I can comment right there so it saves a lot of time. I can also have a VA, virtual assistant that is, do that work for me if I want.

I know there’re some other things that I can’t even really mention yet because they aren’t official but there are some really cool things that they’re going to be rolling out  because they’re always listening to us private labelers because that’s what they are, the creators of it. Just like Jungle Scout, Greg Mercer. He was a private labeler and just an Amazon seller in general before he built Jungle Scout. He built that tool for himself. Again, Chris Guthrie kind of built this tool for himself and what he thought that the market would find useful and that’s what he’s done there.

I’m a really, really big fan of it but I will say I know the guys over at Feedback Genius and they’re good people and they have a great software team and they have great products but right now personally I recommend Salesbacker and that’s what I use. But I think either of them will do the job for you, it’s just Salesbacker I think has some benefits that I like and also they’re going to be having some new ones out and they’re always listening and adding for the private labeler. That’s that. If you guys wanted to check out Salesbacker it’s on my resource page, you can go there, I am an affiliate for them as well as I am for feedback Genius because I was using them and I totally support their business. It’s really just, I think it’s just … whatever you’re comfortable with and it’s going to do similar things it’s just what features are important to you.

Anyway, just want to throw that out there but again you can find the resources to all the different tools that I use on my resource page at theamazingseller.com/resources and if you wanted to go directly to Salesbacker you can just head over to theamazingseller.com/reviews.

All right. Guys, I think that is going to wrap up all of the questions for today. If you have a question and you want me to answer it head over to theamazingseller.com/ask or just head over to the blog and click on my mug shot there and click on that then you can ask a question there. Leave your first name and where you’re tuning in from and then also a brief question and I’ll do my best to air it on the show.

Once again guys I want to thank you for hanging out with me, listening to me, I know there’s a lot of different options out there for podcast, you guys have kept this podcast in the top 50 of all of business and I appreciate it. It just proves that you guys are awesome, awesome listeners and I really appreciate it. Just thank you.

All right, that’s it. That’s going to wrap it up. Have an amazing day, remember I’m here for you, I believe in you, I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to … Come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, take action. Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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2 comments
  • Hi, Scott.
    Great episode, exactly what I was looking for! I think I am in the same boat as Ali. I’m wondering, Scott, can you send me his contacts? I’m international seller and I’m trying to implement something similar to what you’ve suggested. It would be great to talk with him and share some ideas. Is it possible?

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