TAS 286 Ask Scott Session #86 – Your Business and Marketing Questions

There are always ways to learn. There are always ways to build your existing business even bigger. These Friday episodes of The Amazing Seller podcast are aimed at helping you learn how to do that by answering your Amazon private label or eCommerce questions. On this episode you’ll hear real-life questions from real-life sellers who are doing their part to learn how to build a business or make their existing business bigger. You can learn a lot by listening to the questions and answers on this “Ask Scott” episode of the show.

What’s the best way to get my brick-and-mortar products selling on Amazon?

One of the callers on this “Ask Scott” episode is curious what he needs to do in order to bring his existing products – that he sells in his physical location – onto the Amazon sales platform. Scott thinks this is an amazingly helpful question because in his view, every person who is already selling things offline should immediately (if not sooner) get their products listed on Amazon. On this episode, Scott’s going to share why he thinks this person should get his products onto Amazon and how he should go about it. It’s a great response to a very good question that you’ll want to hear.

How do I enter a market if I’m concerned that it might be too saturated?

If you are curious about what it takes to build a successful product business on Amazon then you need to hear the question one of Scott’s listeners asked on this episode. She’s curious how she can determine if a specific market she’s interested in is too crowded with sellers – and beyond that, she wants to know if there is a way that she can begin to offer products within the wider market without coming into direct competition with the big players. Scott’s got some very creative and interesting approaches to this question and he shares his ideas on this episode.

What are the best ways to work alongside your spouse in a business partnership?

One of Scott’s listeners is eager to get started with Amazon private label sales. He and his wife have been listening to the show together and want to work on their Amazon business as a team. He called in to ask for Scott’s advice regarding how to best work together with a significant other. He’s concerned about the stress and potential for difficulty and conflict – so he wants to head those things off before they get started by applying Scott’s great advice. What would you tell him? You can hear Scott’s answer and suggestions on this episode.

Do you have a question about business, eCommerce, or selling private label products?

It’s always good to have an experienced person in your corner, a coach or advisor who can point you in the right direction and give you their lessons-learned from experience. That’s what this “Ask Scott” episode of The Amazing Seller podcast is all about. You can call in to leave a voicemail question for Scott Voelker and he’ll do his very best to answer your question – and include it in one of the next Friday episodes of the show. You can find out how to ask your question and get an answer from Scott by listening to this episode.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to the podcast!
  • [2:07] A quick favor! Would you subscribe to the show and share it?
  • [3:45] QUESTION ONE: How would you maximize reviews when I am moving existing products to Amazon from a different platform?
  • [10:33] QUESTION TWO: How to I discern how saturated markets are?
  • [17:10] QUESTION THREE: What advice would you give to those who are married and want to go into business together?

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 286

TAS 286 : Ask Scott Session #86 – Your Business and Marketing Questions

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 286 and session number 86 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your questions here on the podcast, you guys know I love every single minute of it and you know what? Since I've gotten back from Arizona from our TAS Breakthrough Live Event, I enjoy these even a little bit more. The reason is because I know who I'm speaking to. I know…

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…a lot of you because I've interacted with you but there're a lot of you that I might not have met but now the event really allowed me to speak to individuals and groups and really just get to have that cup of coffee with some good friends of mine and that's you right now.

I want you guys to imagine that we are in that coffee shop or in that room and we're having that cup of coffee or that beverage and we're just going to be to be talking about this business stuff. That’s really what I want to do here and like I said, I am fired up to jump into this week’s Q&A because I am just re-energized in a sense because of that live event that we just had. Really, really excited and anyone that's listening that attended that live event, I just want to say you guys rock and you guys made me feel really, really awesome for that weekend.

Just about how much value that you've received from the podcast and a way for us to work together. I just want to say thank you so so much, I do appreciate it. If you didn’t make it, well maybe next time. Maybe next time we'll hang out and we can get together and have that cup coffee. If you guys want to hear of any upcoming live events that we do, right now there’s nothing scheduled but if you do want to get on that list, you can just head over to theamazingseller.com/live and you can probably see some highlights there, maybe not from this one yet depending on when you're listening to it but you'll see some highlights from a live event that we have done in the past.

[00:02:00] Scott: I just have to say again, I am just so fired up from that trip and I'm looking forward to jumping into today's questions. Before we jump into that I wanted to ask you guys a quick favor. If you guys are fans of the podcast which if you're listening, I hope that you're and you're not subscribed yet go ahead and subscribe on iTunes. If you’re on Stitcher, the subscribe on Stitcher, whatever platform you're on right now, subscribe. This way here you don't have to remember to come back, it will just remind you when we go live with a new episode so definitely go ahead and subscribe and do one more quick favor. If you think there's anyone who'd get value from the podcast share it with them. That's it. Just share it with them.

Let them know about the podcast and yeah just go ahead and let other people experience the value that we're giving here and the community that we also are a part of. I really do believe that we are a part a community. And it's funny because someone had sent me an email and said, “Scott I am part of the TAS movement.” I thought that was really, really awesome. In 2017 guys I do have a mission statement and I am going to share that soon but I want to help a lot of people and that's really going to be that mission. That's what I wanted to share with you guys. All right. Definitely subscribe, share with your friends, family, whoever you think would get value from the podcast and that would be totally awesome.

Now, before I jump in one more quick thing, if you want to download the show notes to this episode you can head over to theamazingseller.com/286. Again that's theamazingseller.com/286, show notes, transcripts all over there. So go check them there. All right guys what do you say? Let's get rocking and rolling here. Let's go ahead and listen to today's first question and I'll give you my answer.

[Q&A SESSION]

[00:03:56] Clarke: Hey Scott. Clarke from Seattle Washington. Loving your podcast and your over caffeinated rants, super helpful man. Hey, listen. I would love your take on a question I have. I run an existing brands that’s currently offline but we're moving onto Amazon's ecommerce platform. We have four existing products that I'm moving over. Now my question to you is based on reviews. What would your review strategy be if you're in my position? How to best maximize and rank your products. I have a list of about forty friends and family. Should I have them all buy four of my products and leave reviews on them? I feel like that would be like phishing and Amazon would catch on and delete the reviews. Should I have ten of them review four products each or should I have forty of them review one product each? Really looking forward to it, again I appreciate all the info on your podcast. Have a great day man.

[00:04:54] Scott: Hey Clarke, what's up man. Thank you so much for the question and yes a little over caffeinated rants, tend to happen here in TAS land. Every now and then, it does happen. It does. I'm not sure if this would be the day that I have another one but it may, you just don't know. But anyway, I just want to say thank you so much for the question. All right. This is a great question. I love this question because you're already selling the product outside of Amazon. I get this question quite a bit where they say like I already have a brick and mortar business, can I sell my product on Amazon?

The answer is absolutely yes. A big fat yes because to me you've already done the product research. You've already validated the product in your brick and mortar, you're getting real feedback, you’re getting real customers so that's awesome. Anyone else that's listening right now. If you have a brick and mortar store and you're not listing your products on Amazon yet, you need to start that like immediately. Why not take advantage of that traffic and it makes it super easy to start doing transactions online especially using their platform. Definitely yes. Now, the question that you had was okay, I've got forty friends and family and I want to start getting some reviews up because I know that I have heard that if you get some reviews well then you're going to probably convert better.

The answer is that's kind of true but the thing is how much competition do you have online with the products that you currently have? If you only have competition there that has 5 or 10 or 25 reviews it's not really that big of a deal. Now if you're going after a product that you're looking at a thousand reviews or more then yeah, then you're going to come up with a review strategy as far as doing that. Things have changed since that big update has come out but you can still go out there and get some reviews, some honest reviews by just having a simple follow up with your customers. What I would advise doing, because you do already have traffic in your store because you already have a brick and mortar store and this goes for anyone that has a store, maybe give all of your customers a coupon to go to Amazon and buy the product there.

[00:07:04] Scott: This way here you're getting them to go to Amazon in one of your real customers, you're getting them to actually buy the products that's going to get your sales velocity there and they are also get sent through your email follow up sequence or one that you manually send out. Whether you use an automated email follow up sequence or you manually do it just you have to have something in place, whether you have someone on your staff that every day they go in and they email everyone that has purchased. That's the simple process. That's what I would do. If I had that traffic, I would go ahead and I would take a flyer and give it to them and say, “Hey receive 25% off your next order if you just go on to our Amazon store and do it there.” That's what I'd do there to try to get that to try to get that sales volume.

Now, the other thing you can do if you have an email list from your customers which I really hope you do or anyone listening, if you have a brick and mortar store, you still need to collecting email addresses because you can follow them up monthly either get them back in your store or get them to buy on Amazon. Now some might be saying, why would I want take my customers and push them over to Amazon? The thing is, sometimes they want to do that. If you have a recurring product that they would have to buy every single month or every quarter or whatever, why not put them into Amazon and them do all the fulfillment stuff. Now, you’re going to lose a little of foot traffic but that doesn't mean that they will never come back in your store again especially if you have only an in-store sale.

There's ways to get customers to come into your store and also to go to Amazon. I would say play around with that. Or maybe you only do it for your lunch, maybe you only let maybe 100 people do it that are on your email list. Now if you have an email list of customers, let's say you have 500 people on there, you might only send it out to 100 people. You don't have to let everyone know about it. It's like an exclusive deal for those people. That's what I would recommend doing. This way here you're getting real customers that are coming through your door, you're going to incentivize them and just go over and just buy your product to get a discount mentioning nothing about reviews and then just having them go through your follow up sequence.

[00:09:05] Scott: I believe that they will naturally want to leave a review anyway. That's what I would do. Hopefully that's helped you. Hopefully it’s helped anyone out there that has a brick and mortar store. If you know someone that has a brick and mortar store and they are not thinking about selling on Amazon okay, here we go little light bulb moment. Talk to them about launching their products on Amazon and you might be able to take the cut or take a cut of that. Maybe they don't want to touch it, you can say, “Have you ever thought of selling on Amazon?” “No I haven't. I don’t really know how to do that stuff. I'm not really technical type stuff person where I can get on there and figure out the computer stuff. I really just like going to maybe flea markets, I like selling my stuff on store, I like doing like little home shows,” or whatever it is.

They don't want the aggravation. Well, this is a great opportunity for someone that's like I don't know what products to put up on Amazon. This is a great for you to get on there and say I know all about that. Why don't I do that and I’ll just take 25% of all of the net sales. If you make 100 bucks you get 25. That'd be a sweet deal. Again guys, this is how I think and I hope that you think, there's always going to be opportunities there for you to take advantage of from the knowledge that you have. Again I went off on a little bit of an over caffeinated rant there. Hopefully this has helped you. Good luck, keep me posted and yeah I hope that you get out there and you do that. All right, let's go ahead and listen to the next question and I'll give you my answer.

[00:10:38] Destiny: Hey Scott. This is Destiny. I am new to wanting to selling on Amazon, I haven't done anything other than stumble across your podcast when I wanted to find out more information. I really appreciate what you're doing. I’m a college student so I listen to your podcast when I can. I think I have done about 6 or 7 of them. I started from the beginning and I listened to 6 or 7 of them. I listen to 3 and 4 over and over again to try to really understand how to pick a product but here's where I'm stuck. I know I'm not supposed to go into a market that's overly saturated and some of the stuff on Amazon like say the industrial section, it's not necessarily saturated because the reviews, there's only like maybe 200 to 300 reviews on each product. But I really can't see myself with a brand with that kind of stuff. It's boring to me.

But the section that I am interested in is makeup and cosmetics and stuff like that because that's what I like to do anyway. I have a feeling that that's going to be really, really saturated and the second question that I have to that is in the makeup section like are you looking at when it says beauty, like the beauty section are you looking for… Would like lipstick be a subcategory of that and like what are the bestselling ranks of, the bestselling products in the lipsticks category and look under that or do I just go to the beauty section as a whole and see what are the top selling. I had a hard time differentiating that and I'm just torn between the two just because I have a feeling that the beauty section is really saturated. So just some questions about how to go figure that out. Thank you so much. It's Destiny.

[00:12:32] Scott: Hey Destiny thank you so much for the question and congratulations on getting started. I mean that's the first step so congratulations on that. This is a good question and I'm not going to talk too long on it because I've talked about it a little bit before but this is what I would be telling you again if we're sitting down having that cup of coffee. I'd be like listen, going into a competitive market is going to take a lot of work and probably a lot of money. What I would do is I would try to find a sub niche and I would try to drill down into that. If it was a vacuum cleaner that I was going after, I would be the filter. I want to be an accessory to the thing and then this way here I don't have to compete necessarily with the main product.

Now, that doesn't mean that I can't be the main product down the road, it just means to enter the game, I want to find a way to add an accessory or something to that main competitive thing. Hopefully that makes sense. This way here you're not trying to go in there and really compete with thousands upon thousands reviews. If you love that market, then that means that you can do a lot of creative things inside of that market. Let's say you that you were going after, let's just say lipstick. If you're going after the lipstick you might not really go after that particular thing, you might go after the case to hold the lipstick.

You might go after different, and I don't know much about lipstick, it might be a carrying case for your lipstick, it might be that type of stuff or maybe carry yourself towards people that are makeup artists that don't necessarily… It's not just for themselves, it's for clients and then they have to have a certain storage unit. You see how I'm going with this? We’re starting to brainstorm around that market but not being the one thing in that market or the big thing in that market.

[00:14:29] Scott: The other thing that you can do and this is something that I'm playing around with right now is if you want to draw attention and build up like an outside external launch list of some kind, because that to me will be if you're going to launch something that’s even semi-competitive you're going to want an external strategy so this way here you can have sales on day one and also you're not relying on Amazon rank you and do all that stuff right out of the gate and that would be like doing like this bundle of all of this make up accessory stuff but you have one component but you're going to go ahead and ruffle off or have a giveaway or contest where people would enter their email address but it has to be valuable, it has to be at least $100 value or more and then from there they just enter their email address and then on the back end of that is where you would have the email addresses that you know that they are into this thing and then you can launch your product to those people.

That can almost be done instantly if you wanted after they enter their name and email address. You can instantly afterwards say, “Hey, thank you so much for registering. We'll go ahead and notify you if you won in the next 20 days or whatever and by the way we have this awesome carrying case that we're giving away for 50% off or 25% off,” whatever it is. Then they can be driven right off to your listing almost immediately. Did you hear that? I snapped. That means quick. That's what I would do and again this is how I think, this is how I try to figure out a way to get yourself into that market without having to be really competing with the top dogs if you will. This way here you're able to still enter the market.

The other thing you could really do that would be really cool is if you're selling something like let's say a lipstick or something. Well, like you said, you are saying this is something you're passionate about well maybe you're going to do tutorials on YouTube or maybe you're going to find other people that have done YouTube videos and then you're going to reach out to the say, “Hey I got this makeup line. I'd love for you to try it and maybe do a review on your YouTube channel.” Not on Amazon on YouTube where they can then show their audience what they are using and it happens to be your product.

[00:16:34] Scott: Then they can drive people over to your listing or better yet, drive them over to a contest page or drive them over to a discount to get the product, something like that. I know that you're fairly new but again you have to think about how can you enter the market if you want to get into that market without really competing just with Amazon players if that makes sense? Hopefully it does. That is my answer to your question, good luck to you and again I would say just niche down like really just try to find out how to niche the market down. Don't just go after the fishing pole, go after the fishing pole that's built for the bass fisherman. Something like that. Let's go ahead and listen to the next question and I'll give you my answer.

[00:17:22] Will: Hi Scott. Will here all the way from South Africa. I recently discovered your podcast. Really good stuff, really enjoy it. Getting down to the brass tax of the question, my wife and I started the Amazon business a little bit a year ago, started slowly, getting more traction now and now she's actually looking out for her to actually resign from her work. Me and her will now go to business together to Amazon. Just like your input on it as you and your wife are known basically working together on Amazon business and just would like to hear your input into this. Cool. Thanks.

[00:18:17] Scott: Hey Will. Thank you so much for the question. I saved this one to the end. This is a great question and this goes for anyone that's going into business with either their significant other or if it's just a partner or whatever. You have to understand that when you go into a partnership you need to have different roles. Different strengths. You're both not going to probably have the same strengths. At least that's not what I have with my wife, who is my business partner and pretty much everything that we've ever done. She has her strengths, I have my strengths and we've always divided it up. Like you take care of that, I will take care of this, you're not going to come over here and start playing in my area and I'm not going to go over there and start playing in your area.

It just makes it really, really easy. I've also really just myself personally like I've built my own little workstation, my own  little area so that's where I do my thing and she has her own thing and sometimes most of the time we're really not doing it at the same time. A lot of times like right now, like just take for example this right here, I'm recording this,  she's not in the room, I'm by myself and I'm with you guys. That's like it's allowed time for this. Following up with customers, like Amazon customers, that's her thing. In the morning she goes through and sees if there's anything that we have to acknowledge.

Is there anything we have to address? Then she may come to me with a problem that she might not know the answer to and then I'll have to chime in there. But really, you have to figure out the roles and I can't stress that enough. Even if you're just doing it with a partner, you have to know that are you going to be the one that does product research and then do you hand it off once you find the product after you find the sourcer or is it you're going to take from product creation as far as like you're finding the product, then you're sourcing the product and then the minute you have some numbers then you hand it off because you have to have that in place.

[00:20:19] Scott: If you're both dabbling in it, it makes it hard. Now, maybe both of you are going to say, “you know what, we're going to both do product research and then at the end of the week we're going to come to the table and we're going to say this is what we got this week and then we're going to look at the ones that make the most sense.” Maybe that's your strategy. It just really depends. Going back to the photography days, again my wife was really the creative, she was the one that knew how to take the pictures as far as not just even technically because technically she would admit it, she wasn't the technical side of thing.

She was more of creative. She learned the camera, of what she needed to know but then it was more about the eye for the shot. To me, I don't have that guys. I don't have that. What I do have is have the skillset now to take that image after she's done and then I can do some editing in Photoshop and make that picture really pop or maybe it's cropped a certain way. That's what I would do on my end and then also the marketing. That was my deal, that was my role. Then she was the people person. She was the one that dealt with the customer in the beginning. She would do the consultation, she would listen to their story, she would have the emotional side with them. Then from there I would come in and do the photography with her but I would be the one that would be getting the child or the couple to relax or to smile.

If you can see we both have of our own roles in anything that we've ever done and it works really good. A lot of people will say, “I don’t know how you do it. How do you guys work together without killing each other?” And the answer is we break it up, we also get along, we actually been married for 22 years so we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we're cool with that. It's a lot of give and take too. There's some things you might not agree with the one thing and the other thing they might not agree with you and there's a give and take. You have to figure out like what's most important and then you focus on that.

[00:22:20] Scott: If you both have a similar vision, it will work. I will say, everyone is different. Sometimes you can’t work with your significant other. Maybe you can’t. If you can't maybe learn that out, maybe do a test product and see how that works because it will be different. Right now maybe you're doing part time, when you're full time it's a lot of time during the day that you got to figure how to make that all that work. That was a little bit of a caffeinated rant I think as someone had just said earlier in the show. Yeah, that is my thoughts and my feelings on that. I think it can be a really beautiful thing because you do get to spend time with each other, I mean heck we can say 11 o'clock we want to just go take a quick walk together when we can and talk nothing about this and maybe we'll just talk about the kids or whatever.

There's a lot of benefits for us, it's allowed us to be together for most of our marriage. A lot of times people that work for 8/9 hours a day and they don't see their significant other or maybe they are even flip flopped on different times where the wife works during the day and the husband works at night and then boom, you got like no time. To me it's a beautiful thing if you can make it work. If you can't that's going to be a good thing if you can figure that out sooner enough so this way here you don't make the mistake and then be miserable in that either. You don't want that at all. Again, this goes for just a partnership. My father was in a partnership for over 20 years and it was like a bad marriage. It was literally terrible like going into these meetings that I was involved in was a lot of times it was a shouting match.

It was nothing was getting to get clear, the partner was not going to agree with the other partner and it was just going to be a constant back and forth, back and forth. To me it's just bad. It's just bad for business, bad morale, it's bad for everyone. So definitely make sure that it's the right fit and just maybe do a test project and I think you might already know just from the different characteristics of people and the different moods of different people, times of day.

[00:24:29] Scott: It's just going to show itself. But you won't know until you actually get in there and do it. Hopefully this has been helpful, good luck with that and that's going to pretty much wrap up today's session of Ask Scott. I did want to remind you couple of different things, the show notes are located at theamazingseller.com/286. Again that's theamazingseller.com/286. show notes, transcripts can be found there. If you want to register for an upcoming TAS Live event, the TAS Breakthrough Live when we do another one which we don't have one scheduled right now but if you want to be notified, head over to theamazingseller.com/live.

You'll get all the details over there and I just want to say guys, thank you so much for being a listener, for give me the feedback and whether this is helped you or whether this has just gotten you through maybe a tough day, a lot of people have said Scott sometimes I just listen because you're fired up and I want to get in that state. I want to get in that mood and you know what, that's cool to me too. Even if you don't come back here and you learn something which I hope you do but and if you didn’t and I just get you fired up for the day, then to me that's a success because if I can just get one person to move forward and bust through any type of road blocks or stumbling blocks to me that's a win. If I can do that for you, that'd be awesome.

All right guys, that's it. That's going to wrap it up. Remember I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you but you have to, you have to…. Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it so proud today, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

[END]

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