TAS 344 Exposing Amazon’s Hidden Fees and Knowing Your (TRUE) Profit Numbers with Greg Mercer

You know Scott only brings the best guests on The Amazing Seller that give you value and insights into selling on Amazon and building your business. On this episode, Scott’s done it again with guest Greg Mercer. Greg knows the industry intimately and wants to help entrepreneurs like you get the most out of your efforts to make a profit. He’s created a great application called “Fetcher” that will help you navigate the processes and systems involved with selling on Amazon. This is a helpful and information packed episode that you don’t want to miss!

Underestimating fees and expenses selling with Amazon

With some of the recent changes at Amazon regarding their storage fees, it’s good to get a helpful perspective from industry leaders like Greg Mercer. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott and Greg go over some tips to make sure you don’t overpay for storage fees, product returns, and more! This is a great chance to understand some of the more complex aspects of selling on Amazon. Make sure you grab pen and paper when you listen to this episode!

Are you leaving money on the table?

As a business owner, you want to make sure every dollar counts. You try to find every possibility you can think of getting the most value out of products you sell and systems you use. Greg Mercer joins Scott on this episode of The Amazing Seller to help you make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table with your Amazon business. Greg and Scott’s insights will help you understand the processes and in’s and out’s of Amazon's Seller platform. If you want to know how to make the most of your efforts, make sure to listen to this episode!

Check out Fetcher – no RISK!

Do all the software and tools available get your head spinning sometimes? There are so many options out there it can be hard to pick just one. To cut through the complexity, Scott’s invited Greg Mercer on the show to describe the benefits of his application, “Fetcher.” Greg has such confidence in the value and benefits Fetcher will give you as an Amazon seller that he’s giving away a FREE 30-day trial. Don’t worry about giving your credit card info. Just check out this great application and hear about all the benefits on this episode of The Amazing Seller!

Is it too late to get into selling on Amazon?

Are you wondering if it’s too late to get started selling on Amazon? You aren’t alone! Scott and Greg get this question a lot. Don’t be discouraged, it’s not too late. You can jump on board and find success and independence. Make sure to catch this episode of The Amazing Seller as Scott and Greg give an update on the state of the marketplace and how you can get involved with helpful tools and insights. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [3:30] Greg Mercer joins the show.
  • [5:45] A checklist to catch mistakes you might be missing.   
  • [14:22] Underestimating fees and expenses.
  • [23:30] PPC spending.
  • [27:00] Figuring out FBA fees.  
  • [31:00] The advantages that Fetcher can give you and how it works.
  • [41:30] Answers to common questions that Greg gets about Fetcher.
  • [45:30] Greg talks about a great Fetcher deal for TAS listeners.
  • [49:30] Some parting advice and insight from Greg.

 

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 344

TAS 344: Exposing Amazon’s Hidden Fees and Knowing Your (TRUE) Profit Numbers with Greg Mercer

[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 344 and today we’re going to be exposing…

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…Amazon’s hidden fees and knowing your true profit numbers. I’ve invited on a good friend of mine, he’s been on the show before, Mr. Greg Mercer. He’s going to be hanging out with us for the next 45 minutes to an hour.

I forget exactly how long this one goes for but it’s a great conversation that we talk all about the numbers. A lot of times people don’t want to look at the numbers 100%. We always talk about top line but we don’t look at the bottom line and really all of the numbers that go into that. We’re going to be covering everything that we should be tracking and then we’re going to talk about some of those hidden fees that I wasn’t even aware of and Greg wasn’t even aware of.

Now we do know what those numbers are and you can use this as a guide and also a way for you to start tracking these even if you’re just starting and you are using a spreadsheet, this is going to help you. Now I have had a lot of people ask me, “Scott what software would I use if I wanted to start to track the expenses to give to my accountant and all of that stuff?” In the past I’ve used Wave apps and that one there works really well but you have to import all of your data and it doesn’t give you any Amazon data, only the stuff that you actually tell it.

It doesn’t connect directly. The other ones that are out there is Quick Books and Fresh Books and Zero. They all do good things but they’re like for a wide range of businesses. Greg actually struggled with this as well and that’s why he created a tool called Fetcher which we’re going to actually talk about at the end of the podcast.

I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to give it a test try and you can head over to theamazingseller.com/fetcher and you can get a 30 day free trial there. The thing is with this software, it literally is focused on Amazon sellers. That’s who it’s used for but you can also track other additional expenses. That’s the one that I’m currently using. I really like it.

[00:02:00] Scott: It’s easy to use. If you want to check that out head over to theamazingseller.com/fetcher and you can check it out for yourself. Like I said, even if you just take this to import all of your data and then have it tell you your profit-loss and taking all of those expenses it’ll go back in time which is really cool. I believe Greg said it goes back all the way I think about two years which is pretty crazy and it’ll give you all of your statistics, all of your expenses that Amazon has pulled that you might not even be aware of.

It’s kind of eye opening especially if you have more than one product because you can see the products that are doing well and you can see products that aren’t doing so well and where you might have to make some changes. Like I said, you’re going to love this conversation that I have with Greg because there’re some fees here that we’re not even aware of and he’s going to expose these for us and we’re going to be able to get down to your true numbers.

The other thing is here real quick, I forgot to mention this, but we actually recorded this on video. If you want to see our conversation, our talk in person, on video you can actually get that on the show notes. I’m going to take that video and embed it into the blog post over at theamazingseller.com/344. The transcripts will be there, the show notes will be there and the video will be there which I haven’t done too many of those.

Definitely if you want to check that out go over to the show notes page. What do you say? Let’s get rocking and rolling here. Why don’t you guys sit back, relax, enjoy this conversation, this in depth conversation about accounting and about your true numbers with my good friend Mr. Greg Mercer. Enjoy.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:03:34] Scott: Well, hey Greg welcome back to the podcast man. What is up? How are you doing man?

[00:03:40] Greg: Scott I’m fantastic. I’m really stoked that you’re having me back. It’s always blast chatting with you. It’s been a while so we have a lot of catching up to do.

[00:03:47] Scott: We do have a lot and actually you told me you might be coming to my town here eventually, my neck of the woods.

[00:03:57] Greg: Just few weeks.

[00:03:57] Scott: We might be able to grab some lunch or something. It’ll be really fun. Maybe we’ll have to do a Facebook Live or something on that too that’ll be cool.

[00:04:04] Greg: We should definitely do a Facebook Live, that’ll be awesome.

[00:04:06] Scott: That’d be cool. Lots going on and I know you and I talked a little bit before we got on here but let’s jump on and let’s catch up. A lot of things have happened. I don’t really want to get into the things that we’ve really talked about in the past because we’ve already talked about those things. What I did want to have you on for is really talking about some of the things that you’ve been exposed to or been seeing it now that you have a tool that you guys created called Fetcher.

You’re starting to see from all these different sellers and maybe even the support tickets or whatever. You’re seeing that people are having issues with certain parts of their business with money, with like financing and understanding all of the expenses and what is profit? What is really the profit number? I know before that software was even built, was actually last year… I think it was in Miami I think it was when we were at Steve Chou’s event you showed me a demo before it was even live and you were like, “This is what we’ve been working on. I really like it.”

You’re like, “The one thing that I’m realizing is there are products that I have that aren’t doing as good as I thought they were doing.”

[00:05:12] Greg: Scott you weren’t supposed to say that out loud.

[00:05:13] Scott: It’s true. If you don’t know the numbers how do you really know, we’re kind of guessing. Maybe what we can do here is give people like a checklist of some kind of maybe just give them some of those things that you found that people might be making mistakes or don’t know what to look at so they can really know their numbers and they can track it better and maybe even talk a little bit about inventory and all of that stuff. If you want to go ahead and kick that off that would be awesome. Just tell us a little bit about that part of the business because that’s not really the sexy part really. I mean the money is but not like losing money isn’t really that fun.

[00:05:50 Greg: Absolutely. I could say myself and I think probably you too and a lot of other sellers don’t have a great grasp on their Amazon financials because Seller Central makes it tough on you. If they made it easy with like a nice to read dashboard and easy to find all these numbers and stuff it’ll be a whole different ball game but that’s not the case. We have to work with what they give us.

What I used to do, what a lot sellers I think do is try to download all these different reports, put them together. Maybe if you’re real savvy excel you have some macros you create to automatically put this stuff together but it’s tough. What I found with my business and from talking to a whole bunch of Fetcher users I found three or four areas that I’d say surprised the most people or they didn’t quite understand or they were shocked to see that stuff.

I’d say one of the big ones is refunds. All Amazon sellers know that they’re giving refunds. It’s like another refund is being sent back but Amazon doesn’t make it easier on you to understand your return rate for particular products. It’s like, “I’m getting these emails saying it’s being returned or I know they’re being sent back but what is my return rate?” If it gets too high they send you a nice email saying, “Hey, we’ve suspended your listing and you can’t sell this until you address this issue.”

Before that it’s like what is this? Is it 3%, 5%, 10%? I was pretty shocked once I was able to see this in an easy-to-read graph like how much returns I was getting for some of these products. Some of them I was pleasantly surprised, sweet, 1.5% that’s fantastic. Other ones it’s 9% or 10% like holy crap, I need to A, put more attention to figure out why this is being returned and B, I need to make that I’m factoring that in at my profit.

[00:07:13] Greg: Me personally, I don’t put returns back into circulation because what I found is that opens it up to people repackaging a product, it gets put back in circulation and then Amazon ships that to another customer and I ended up getting a bad review. I actually decided that it’s worth it for me to just dispose inventory or have it repacked and never ask Amazon to put it back in circulation.

I need to be understanding if I’m getting 10% returns I need to factor in that 10% of my inventory I’m usually disposing off. That’s a pretty significant amount that you need to be factoring in. I’m not the only one. After talking to a whole lot of our customers I realized that a lot of people are realizing the same thing. If you’re listening to this and you’re an Amazon seller you need to be thinking about that too.

You need to be understanding what your return rate is and make sure you’re factoring that in at your end-of-the-day profit.

[00:08:40] Scott: What is the trigger? Do you know the trigger that Amazon comes up with that it’s a high return and we’re going to suspend or suppress your listing until you get that figured out? I know for me and it was weird. We might have had like 100 sales but five returns or something and they flagged us. I was like really? Why? That wasn’t even that bad, I didn’t think but to them it was enough and now the problem that we ran into was I still got 300 more units in there. How do I know that some of those aren’t bad?

How do I not mix new inventory with the old inventory? We ended up doing a whole order and then bringing it back to our facility and then being able to inspect it and then we were able to ship it back in but I lost money there. I had to do it because I didn’t want to ship new inventory on top of the old inventory.

[00:09:38] Greg: It’s mixed in. From what I’ve seen, you normally don’t get those emails I don’t think until 10% or 12% returns. That’s what I’ve seen with my own emails and from talking to other sellers. However, I’m sure they take into account the reason that buyers select when they’re returning a product. If you’ve ever returned anything to Amazon there’s a drop down you select what the reason is.

If it’s like it doesn’t fit I’m sure they don’t ding you. That doesn’t negatively affect the health of that listing but if it was something like not as expected or whatever other defects then I’m sure those are the ones they can count. I think I’ve seen that it’s usually above 10% when they suppress your listing and make you tell them what are doing to fix it so you stop getting as many returns.

[00:10:28] Scott: Have you found though that if you say what you’re going to do to fix it and it’s not pulling the inventory? How would you get around that? Do you have any suggestions on that?

[00:10:37] Greg: I’ve actually found just by… I’ve found that pretty much whenever you respond to them that they’ll reinstate your listing for that reason. You could just say like…

[00:10:47] Scott: Okay. Acknowledging it.

[00:10:48] Greg: I acknowledge it. Often times what I’ll do is I’ll change my listing to make sure that the buyer understands better what they’re getting. I found that often can help. I usually do something like that and they’ll usually reinstate it.

I think I’ve had one time I had a listing suppressed twice and I was able to respond to them and get it reinstated twice. If that were to happen a third time I don’t know if that would still work on that product. I ended up selling out and not restocking it. I have been able to do it twice just responding to their email like acknowledging it and telling them like, “Okay, I’m changing this listing or I’m making it more clear that…” Whatever the reason is.

[00:11:29] Scott: I think, like you said, yours might have been just it not described as they thought so that’s an easy one. Now you got to describe it better. Ours was missing a part. We’re missing a part and what we found is there’s different types of poly bags and the one that we had was breaking at the seam.

An Amazon employee could have pulled it out of there, the part could have fell out, they didn’t even know it and now they’re packing it because of the poly bag that it was in. We had to contact our supplier and say, “Hey, don’t use those poly bags anymore.” They’re like that fused welded corners versus it being it like a full seamless bag with just an opening. We learned from that the hard way. I had to pull some units but for yours, it’s like if it’s not described, oh I thought it was round but it’s square. It’s like I probably should put that it’s square in there if it’s not there. Something simple like that.

I get it. If you respond to them, give them, “Okay we’ve updated our listing to make it explained better,” then they’ll probably say, “Okay cool, we’re going to reinstate you.” That makes sense.

[00:12:39] Greg: Same thing. Even if it’s just like overall a crappy product that’s just not getting as good reviews as you would have hoped for and is getting returns too I think you could still do something similar like that. Just respond saying something along those lines. From what I’ve seen they always reinstate it for that particular listing when it gets suspended.

[00:12:56] Scott: Got you. That’s refunds. Like you said, a lot of people they don’t see their refunds. Where would you see your refunds in the Seller Central if you wanted to do it manually? Do you know that off the top of your head?

[00:13:09] Greg: I don’t think there’s a good… There’s no aggregated area that shows you the number of returns for a particular product or…

[00:13:18] Scott: You just see that in your statement. At the end is probably you would see returns? How do you know which ones are what? You’d have to dig into that and again that… You’re digging in.

[00:13:31] Greg: If you’ve like a smaller business, if you’ve only have one product they do send a notification when a product’s getting returns. If you only have one product and you’re getting a few returns a month it’s like you can just figure it out through their emails and stuff but it’s really hard to do if you’re starting to get a few different products and keep tracking more products.

That was the thing that I think it shocked myself and most sellers that we talk to the most. It’s like now I finally understand that this product’s getting a ton of returns. I need to devote more time to that or nothing else. I need to make sure I’m factoring that into my profits that I’m disposing off 10% of my inventory.

[00:14:11] Scott: That’s returns. That’s one thing that you see that people are overlooking or they’re not even realizing. What’s next? What do we look at next?

[00:14:22] Greg: Underestimating fees or expenses. This can be a real doozy. Amazon has some pretty sneaky fees. I never knew that for them when you get a return that sometimes… I don’t even know when they do this and when they don’t or sometimes they charge a commission for, I guess, accepting the return or maybe putting it back in your inventory if you have that turned on or just the customer service that they’re providing around that. It’s called a refund commission or a return commission.

There’s other little fees like that that… It’s like 20 cents here, 50 cents there, a dollar there. It’s like, “What the heck is this fee? I’ve never heard this in my life.” There are some sneaky fees like that. If you’re trying to do this without any software, in your settlement report you can see the balance after all of those and you can start to become aware of some of those a little bit better but it’s pretty hard to do.

The other one is just keeping up with their ever changing… Just like last month they changed their fees again. It seems like they’re doing it about twice a year. It’s not always raising it. I think this last time they did it for a certain I think large oversized items underneath a certain dollar value actually got a little bit cheaper but most got a little bit more expensive.

Trying to keep up with those I like a never ending battle with Amazon if you’re trying to do it manually in the excel sheets and stuff. That’s the other thing I think most people are surprised by. The other fee and I’d say this is single handedly the biggest opportunity for a margin premier in your business is the storage fees. I think most people are aware of these. They’re not too bad the first few months but once you get to like six months and especially once you get to a year they can be very significant.

[00:16:25] Scott: Especially fourth quarter.

[00:16:27] Greg: As I was about to say. In fourth quarter they changed the fee structure. I know this past November and December… Especially December I think I got hit pretty hard. This is something to be very mindful of. The big picture all these things that we’re talking about, this whole podcast, it’s mostly important that you’re understanding all this so when you’re calculating your profit at the end of the day you can actually be getting true numbers.

Everyone wants to give you revenue numbers. It’s sexy to talk about revenue like a million bucks, 200,000 bucks but at the end of the day your profit… Especially if your cash flow is what is most important. I just want to make sure people are understanding all these things.

[00:17:07] Scott: Absolutely. I think it’s definitely needed. We definitely need to break this stuff down because for the longest time… I come from old school business where it’s like I spent X and I charge this and I paid this, what’s left? That’s my profit. If you don’t know those expenses how can you increase your margins by just maybe tweaking something like you said?

At least understanding that… Like you said, a very simple thing is as if you know that after six months you’re going to be getting hit with a bigger storage fee, you probably want to manage your inventory a little bit better. When a few years back you could send in 1,000 units and let them sit there and it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was like Amazon was your warehouse and they wanted it that way in the beginning and then all of a sudden they’re like, “Wait a minute we’re bursting at the seams.”

Now we’re going to start charging you and we’re going to hammer you. I think you have to be able to see your inventory better and you have to be able to manage that and almost project what it’s going to be in the next 30, 60, 90 days I think is the best thing. It’s hard because a lot of people and I get this a lot of times now, it’s like I want to order 1,000 units so I can save on money to order that stuff but I don’t want to send it all on Amazon so what do I do?

My thought is always Garage. If it’s not going in your garage then you might want to get a little storage facility. There’s one local here. I’m actually working with someone here. A little storage unit, a little 10 by 10 storage unit. It’s like 75 bucks a months. You might just have it shipped to a little storage unit and then you got to fulfill it, I mean if you’re small. If you’re bigger obviously that’s not going to work.

You’ll have to use some type of third party storage company which they’re out there. That’s a big one too because if you miss that and you wake up one morning and you get that notification that you’ve just been hit with this monstrous bill because you have a ton of inventory because you thought you were just going to store it there for pennies, that’s going to change the bottom line too. It’s a big one.

[00:19:06] Greg: Absolutely. The other thing is again about understanding your true profits for all these different products. If you only have one product this stuff isn’t as much of a concern for you but once you have multiple products…

What I found with a lot of sellers once they truly understand that product has 35% margins, this product only has 10% margins instead of spending my cash reordering that product that only has 10% margins often times it’s much better people, for the cash flow purposes it’s like why don’t you ditch that product and replace it with another one that has the opportunity to have 30% margins and 40% margins. Better understanding your finances can help you make these overall much better business decisions as well.

[00:19:51] Scott: That makes a ton of sense. Like you said, you wouldn’t know that unless you can see or if you create your own spreadsheet where you can see line by line the different products and what each product is costing you. What the margin is for each product and then you can gauge it off of that.

Again that’s something that you have manually do which I’ve done. I’ve definitely done that and it’s work and it also makes it really hard when you want to sit down at the end of the quarter and you need to send stuff into your accountant and you need to figure out what was my profit-loss with the inventory that we have too? I’ve had my CPA on, Josh Bauerle, and he says one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of sellers make is they think they’re going to buy a whole bunch of inventory and use that as a write-off.

You can’t use that as a write-off until you actually you’ve actually sold that item. Again, at the end of that quarter you need to know each product that you’ve sold and then you use that… Whatever you paid for that, then you use it as a write-off but you need to know that number. Then you got to go back in to Seller Central and you need to figure line by line all the items, all the ASINs, all the SKUs and you need to figure out what they were or what they cost you and all of that stuff. You have to do this stuff. It’s part of business. It’s not sexy at all.

[00:21:10] Greg: Exactly. With Fetcher or if you’re going to do this manually… I want to emphasize what you were just saying here again about using the accrual method of accounting as opposed a cash basis. A lot of people that I think come into this space might be trying other types like online businesses or other things like that. With other things especially let’s say just like online marketing where we were selling an e-book or something it’s very nice to do… Very easy to do like cash basis method of accounting which is very simple.

It’s like dollars in dollars out. What you’re describing is the accrual method of accounting which is much more difficult. You realize expenses or sales… You realize expense of a product when it’s sold not when you’re… It’s not like I’m going to order $5,000 right before 2016 and cycle it right off this year. It doesn’t work that way.

[00:22:04] Scott: No, it does not. It’s funny because… It’s not really funny, people had contacted Josh who’s been on my show a few times. He said that’s the number one thing that people make the mistake of thinking that I’m going to buy before 2017 ends, I’m going to put a big order in for $20,000 and I’m going to use that as a write-off. That’s not the way it works.

This isn’t a CPA lesson here for anybody. I’m not a licensed CPA or a financial advisor but I do know that rule and that’s a big one. For cashflow purposes, you want to definitely know where you are at all times. A lot of times people… It’s scary for a lot of people because it’s numbers. Who likes to… Well, I like numbers but I like to see the numbers when they’re in my favor.

I like to also know where my business is all the time because I want to know at every given time I’ve got enough money saved for my taxes. That’s just me. I think anyone rather than getting surprised should know where they are at every moment and especially for inventory; reordering inventory and stuff like that. What else have you got? Those are some pretty big ones. You got any other things for us?

[00:23:23] Greg: The other thing that we see from a lot of sellers is being surprised on their PPC spend. Let me explain why this is true and why it actually surprised me a little bit too. When I’m in there managing my campaigns I usually feel pretty good. I’m like the ACOS of this product is only 15% or 12% or 18%, I’m doing pretty good. I’m decreasing bids.

What a lot of sellers, I was guilty of this myself, don’t take into account are all of the keywords that they’ve bided like a small amount and only gotten a couple clicks, have never gotten a sale they’re not showing up in that area that’s showing you the ACOS. That’s where a lot of people are managing their campaigns at.

If you have 100 words that you’ve gotten a couple clicks on each at 50 cents or a dollar each that can… It’s just pennies here, quarters there but it starts to add up at the end of the day or the end of the month. A lot of people are surprised when they see that their overall PPC spends are higher than what they thought. They’re like, “Wait a second. My average ACOS was only 12%. That should really good and it should be really profitable.”

It’s like wait a second, you also have 500 clicks that never resulted in a sale. Seller Central wasn’t showing you the ACOS there. The overall PPC spend is a little bit higher than what you think. Those would be the main things that people need to be thinking about and taking into account when they’re trying to determine their profit at the end of the day.

[00:24:55] Scott: I agree with that 100%. I’m pretty aggressive with pay-per-click. You’ve said that you are too especially when you’re launching a product and stuff. That stuff I get it. We understand that but if you can start to whittle that stuff that down to where you’re only focusing the money on the ones that are converting preferably it’s not always going to be that way. If it was we’d all have it figured out but there is going to be some spend. If there’re some there that have gotten clicks over clicks over clicks and they just have not resulted in a sale those are costing you money that you’re literally giving away.

The only time we want those keywords or search terms is when if we actually are making sales eventually. That’s when they make the most sense. I would rather have a handful that converted than 1,000 that didn’t that I was getting impression and I was getting clicks that I was paying for but you’re absolutely right.

I think that’s a big thing that people will a lot of times they’ll set and forget their pay-per-click. They’ll just go ahead, set it, forget it and okay I guess that’s what I was supposed to do. You’ll be amazed if you just go in. I’ve done it. I’m guilty of that. I’ve done that. I’d go back in I’m like I haven’t really tweaked this in a couple of weeks. I go in there I’m like, “Holy crap, I spend a ton of money on keywords and I should have come in here a week away and I would have been able to pause those and I would have save 50 bucks.”

50 bucks that’s dinner. That’s something that could have been in your pocket that didn’t result in a sale and didn’t result in any positive thing for your business other than it’s a lying item that’s a negative. That’s big. That’s really, really big. Let’s talk about, if someone was to do this what would be…? We’re going to talk about Fetcher here but I always want to give people like if you’re going to do this on a spreadsheet, are those the main things that we should have down? How do we figure out all of those little miscellaneous FBA fees? Can we just go to the FBA calculator? Will that give us all the fees?

Is there any way that we can kind of get a good idea if we just wanted to manually do this?

[00:26:59] Greg: The FBA calculator it’s… To answer your question, no the FBA calculator is not the best place because that’s great when you’re doing product research and you’re trying to figure out, what are the typical fees for this product on every sale? What the FBA calculator isn’t going to take into account is those things that I’m saying like refund, commission, they charged you a few dollars because some of the labels were falling off and they had to redo them. All of those types of things is what the FBA calculator is not going to be able to do.

There is a report called a Settlement Report inside of Seller Central. That is a good one. That shows you how your payment was calculated. A lot of times that should show you a lot of the fees like the long term storage fees, that shows you the fee like Seller Central charged you 40 bucks a month to have that professional sellers account. Other kind of miscellaneous fees should be labeled line by line on that particular settlement report.

This is for your whole business as a total. That gives you a good snapshot view. The tricky part about this now is it shows you, you were charged 100 bucks this month for long term storage fees but there’s nowhere that breaks down which product was the one that occurred those fees. If you only have one or two products this is pretty simple. You can still do it on an excel sheet without many headaches.

Once you start getting a few products it’s pretty tough to understand. That’s a really good one. Other than that, there’s other reports that you can download, like the report tabs and then the business reports. There’s different ones you can download to try to understand what your PPC spend is, you can match… You should know your campaign names, you can match those up with your different product and that kind of thing.

[00:28:59] Greg: It is possible by looking at those different things. Like I said, if you have one or two products or even a bunch it is possible to do that. At one point I was thinking about, why don’t I try to create this spreadsheet that has these macros? What I found was different people like to calculate these things a little bit differently.

I wish I could give you the secret report in Seller Central that had all this information but you are just going to have to piece together a few of these different reports to understand those full costs.

[00:29:34] Scott: I guess that’s what I give people. I want to give them… There is a long form way of doing this and I’ve done it that way. Now pretty much any brand that I’m working is definitely using the tool now and that tool is Fetcher. I want to talk about and I want to say how excited I was after it pulled in the data and I’m like this is pretty amazing.

The one thing that’s really amazing, let me just start off with this, is that it literally almost and maybe it is real time, you can maybe clear that for me. Let’s say I have 10 SKUs, 10 ASINs and they might be in the same category. For that day if go into my seller’s account and I look at how many sales I have it says that I have 20 sales in that certain category but it doesn’t tell me the different ASINs.

I have to wait till the next morning and then I have to wait till they publish that new report and then it will tell me all of the different SKUs and what they sold for that day. The one thing that I loved about Fetcher was I was able to go in there and look that day and see the ASINs that had sold.

[00:30:50] Greg: Fetcher is actually up-to-date to the minute so it updates everyone’s account every minute.

[00:30:55] Scott: That right there alone is huge.

[00:30:57] Greg: I don’t even go into Seller Central and check my sales anymore. I just go into Fetcher because it’s way easier and you see actually which products there are and not what category.

[00:31:04] Scott: That was one feature I was… I was always like why did they 24…? Isn’t Amazon big enough to create something to give us like up-to-the-minute data? Why are they …?

[00:31:13] Greg: It seems ridiculous. Why do you make it so hard on us at Seller Central?

[00:31:17] Scott: It’s like I’m excited I’ve got so many sales in a certain category but I want to know what SKUs. What ones are selling today or which ones aren’t selling today? That was one big one that I was excited about. I’m like this is cool and I didn’t even know that when I signed up to start using it. I noticed then I’m like that’s pretty cool. I’m looking over here and it says this and I look in here and it tells me every SKU that’s selling. That’s pretty cool. That’s a cool feature.

The thing that I did notice is depending on how old your account is it starts to pull in the data but it takes a little while to pull in that data. It takes a little bit of time. It’s pulling in data from months back. Does that start from the beginning or does it go all the way back? How does that work when it starts pulling the data?

[00:31:59] Greg: It goes up to two years ago. If you have an account for longer than two years you only get two years’ worth of information. If you have a small account it can probably pull all of your data. If you only have one or two products it can probably pull all your data in a couple of hours. If you’ve a big account let’s say 100 grand or more it might take 24 hours maybe 36 hours.

What it is like we get the information from Amazon’s API and they only let you make 100 requests a minute. We’re pulling it as fast as Amazon will let us.

[00:32:28] Scott: I got you. That’s pretty exciting. When that data starts… Kind of walk us through it. The data starts getting pulled in, literally connecting your account. It’s funny, before you and I jumped on, there’s a brand that I’m starting with a partner and I literally just set it up this morning before I got on with you. I’m like I’m talking about Fetcher today I probably setup that one now because I’ve been meaning to do it and I want to tell Greg that I did it.

Greg thank you for that. I went ahead and I did that additional account. I’ve got that one setup and it’s starting to pull in some very beginning data. We don’t have a ton yet. It’s a fairly new account. What happens now? We go ahead, we set this thing up. It’s really easy I got to be honest. I’ve setup some other ones with APIs and it’s just… The directions alone are hard. Yours was very, very easy to connect the account through the API, so self-explanatory and you had step 1 do this and step 2 do this.

Once it’s connected it’s like boom! It says enabled and then all of a sudden your account starts feeding or getting fed with your data. Literally, probably when I get off with you I’d be able to go back and refresh and then see some data coming in. The only thing that I really have to do on my end, from what I understand, correct me if I’m wrong, is I just have to plug in my numbers of what I’m paying for that item.

[00:33:48] Greg: That’s exactly right. That’s the one thing that we’re not going to be able to get from Amazon. You have to go under the expenses section, spend a few minutes filling in those; the expense for the item, maybe the expense for getting it shipped to you or shipped to Amazon. Those will be the only things we don’t know.

If you use Amazon’s shipping services, like you’re printing off labels off Amazon then you don’t have to enter those shipping costs to get your product into Amazon because we can pull in that data. That’s really all you have to do. That’s the one step after that it’s on auto-pilot. It downloads your new sales every day, it calculates your profit, it shows you your refunds, it gives you your P&L statement. It’s almost tax time.

If you’re worried about last minute taxes it’ll probably be… Even if you just use the free trial and cancel it it’s like you might as well get the P&L statement out of there and then give it to your CPA they’ll love you for that.

[00:34:39] Scott: It’s funny, I worked with another partner that I helped out, it was a small account. We did $100,000 last year in revenue and we used the Fetcher to basically… I wanted to use that as an example to share with people some of the dashboards and stuff like that. I haven’t done that yet, I’m going to. We did over $100,000 in the first 12 months. We did 33% margin because everything that we plugged in Fetcher told us that’s with pay-per-click, that’s with all the expenses, the refunds all that stuff.

It wasn’t too bad. It was like 33 grand basically in the bank account. I was pretty cool but it also allowed me to play around the software when you just launched it and then getting to see how it’s evolved and stuff. It was funny because he had contacted me, last night actually, and he said, “Hey, how do I go in and find all of the different SKUs and how many they sold?” I go, “It’s super simple. You do this, you do that.”

I shared with him what to do and literally in a matter of a couple clicks line by line every single item broken down in great detail and all he’s got to do is hand that off to his accountant now. That was super easy because it just did all that hard work for us. The one thing that I wasn’t sure on it and I had this question I think I might have emailed in. I said we’ll just talk about it when we get together.

What about inventory? Does that help us at all see what happened in the past and what we’re going to be doing in the future? Any type of projection? Anything like that?

[00:36:16] Greg: On your dashboard, the main page of Fetcher it gives you a snapshot. The dashboard’s like an overall health of your account. In there, it does have an inventory section that shows you your inventory level, the average daily sales and based on how it’s been selling the past month how many days you have remaining.

It does help you a little bit. Fetcher’s mainly like an accounting and profit analytics tool so it’s not going to do anything sophisticated like gauge your inventory projections based on seasonality or anything like that. It gives you a great little snapshot to understand how it’s been selling for the past month. I would have 45 more days at this level. That’s really useful too.

[00:37:02] Scott: It’s very useful actually and again I think just to keep it simple is always best and I think that’s what you guys have done. It’s a super simple dashboard. It’s so easy. There’s options but there’s not too many options. It gives you all the stuff you need and then just with a few clicks you’re there and then you can just set different times frames and instantly it pulls in the data, it shows you nice, pretty graph.

That’s one thing you guys do really well with Jungle Scout and everything that you guys have put together is a really clean interface and just easy to use which I love. What else about the software should we talk about? What are you seeing that people are enjoying the most by using it? Is there anything that comes to mind that the people are saying that they just love this or is it just they love being able to see it in a snapshot within a minute they can exactly where their business it?

[00:37:53] Greg: When you talk to a lot of our customers, one thing everyone loves is the P&L statement. Everyone loves being able to see that and printing it off and giving it to their accountant or whoever else. They also love how it’s like up-to-date. I guess this is what you were saying too like up-to-date to the minute. They love going to Fetcher and check their sales instead of going to Seller Central so it’s awesome.

We do like a product by product breakdown and in that we give some really nice like PPC data. We’re not trying to optimize keywords here but what we’re trying to do is show you your spend on a daily basis and that’s been correlated to PPC sales both on a one, seven and 30 day basis. You can nicely see in the graph like this day… I spent this money here but it did correlate to a sale like in a 30 day period and maybe not in 24 hours but it did a seven or 30 day period.

That’s pretty cool. Overall though, I’d say the number one thing that people are stoked about or excited about is just how easy it is to visualize their business. Like you said, it’s like just looking at the graphs it’s very simple and intuitive and easy to understand right away. It does a really nice job at that but then the other cool thing it is robust enough to be able to dig in.

You might not even know this Scott but you can actually click on some of the expense pie charts and it gives you a breakdown of all the fees that are in there. We spent a lot of time, devoted a lot of effort and energy to try to make sure that this… We didn’t want this to be like Quick Books that a lot of people get super overwhelmed and not sure how to use it.

We made it simple enough for the everyday user to quickly be able to visualize and understand their Amazon business yet robust enough to be able to dig into the numbers when you need it to, to understand how this was calculated? What fees are included in this? What my refund rate was? All of those types of things.

[00:39:46] Scott: It does a great job at that. It really does. It’s super easy and like I said, it is pretty much a set and not forget but just set it up once and then let the data speak for itself and then you can see it all without having to dig through 100 reports and start to create these spreadsheets and stuff.

Like I said, one of the bigger features is your inventory is how much inventory have you sold for that tax period to let your accountant know that’s what we spent. It’s right there. That makes it really, really easy when before you’re pulling that report inside of Seller Central and you’re trying to do the math here. This actually calculates the math for you because it has your data. It has your, I spent $3.75 for this item and I paid 25 cents to get it here and that’s all calculated.

All that’s in there, all you gotta do is basically say here it is. This is what we spent and you can give them the breakdown and all that stuff. I love that because it makes it so easy to see. You’ve made it where it’s not, like you just said, it’s not scary. To someone that gets into Quick Books or Fresh Books or any of the accounting softwares… Not saying that you won’t need one of those softwares. Those are useful because you have other things in your business other than just Amazon expenses.

There’s other things that you’re going to have that software for this one here is, like you said, it’s Amazon stuff sales that’s happening, all the expenses broken down in great detail without you having to do the work. I love it.

[00:41:22] Greg: When I’m giving like a demo these are some of the common questions I get so I’ll just address them real quick Scott because some of the listeners right now probably have them. Everyone wants to know what marketplaces it supports. It supports all of the North American and European marketplaces.

[00:41:37] Scott: Good question.

[00:41:38] Greg: You can sync up as many accounts as you want. I can have like 10 Seller Central accounts, put them all under one Fetcher account. I can have five from the U.S. and one Canadian and one from Italy or wherever else. You can put them all in one Fetcher account and you can either look at all of them together or one by one. That’s pretty cool.

[00:41:57] Scott: That’s really cool.

[00:41:59] Greg: That’s pretty nice. A lot of people want to know if your expenses change. The last order you did Scott of one of your products maybe it was like $1 but this new order you negotiated your price for 80 cents, so yes they can do that. You can input a price change for a specific, like an effective date.

It does do that which is nice. That’s always one of the big question a lot of people have. One last one, people wanted to understand does this… You touched on this a little bit, does this replace Quick Books or Zero or is it like a complementary product? This is the best answer I have for them. If your only business activities are your Amazon business then what we found is most of the time this will replace Quick Books or people because you can put in other expenses like home office or mileage.

[00:42:54] Scott: I didn’t even know that.

[00:42:55] Greg: You can put all those other expenses into Fetcher. If your business is a little bit more like a larger and more complex where you’re trying to do things like depreciation of different items or things like that, Fetcher’s not going to be able to do that. It is designed specifically for Amazon sellers and we’re going to keep it that way because that makes it very specific and direct and easy to use for Amazon sellers.

If your business is just your Amazon business and nothing else then Fetcher works great for that. If it’s more complicated then you probably also need to sync it up with something like Zero or Quick Books or whatever else.

[00:43:35] Scott: You could add in… I didn’t know that. You can add in like if I wanted to do mileage I could add that in there or if I wanted to…? I could add additional expenses into Fetcher?

[00:43:46] Greg: You go under the expenses tab all the way to the right is an ‘other expenses’ section and you can categorize them like this was legal fees, this was photography fees, this was my staff, this was for design fees, all those types of things. You can input those directly in Fetcher too.

[00:44:02] Scott: That’s huge.

[00:44:04] Greg: It’s like a legit, robust, accurate P&L statement at the end of the year that you can hand over to your CPA and say, do my taxes now.

[00:44:12] Scott: I love that actually. That’s a huge little bonus there. I didn’t realize that you could actually do that. I guess that’s as much as I know about the inner workings of it. I thought that it was just those line items that we fed them there but that’s even better. I’ve told people, I’ve used… It’s a free accounting tool called Wave Apps. It works really well.

It’s free. It’s an online cloud based. The only thing that they do is they run ads on the side bar or they offer you accounting services and stuff so that’s how they pay for their free service. It’s a great tool and I told people that but it doesn’t allow you to basically pull in data from Amazon. This here to me would be, for any of my Amazon business or anyone I would partner with, I would set it up all here. Like you said, most of everything we’re talking about is just like office expenses or maybe you had meals in there because you did some travel or you may be entertained or whatever you did.

You can probably put all that stuff in there as you would have if it was your Wave Apps or Quick Books or Fresh Books or any of those. That’s really cool. Let’s let everyone know what you’re going to do special for TAS which you always do. I know we have a 31 day free trial. If you guys do not try this you’re not listening to what we’re saying here today.

You got to basically give it a try for 31 days because it’ll pull in all your data, you’ll be able to see it a snap shot. You guys have… I’m very surprised that you guys actually price is really, really affordable too. I was looking at that actually this morning before we got on because I didn’t know what you current price was. I know what it was when you launched and it’s really affordable for what you’re giving in return. Maybe we can talk about a little bonus that you’re going to give for TAS-ers.

[00:46:09] Greg: Absolutely. If you go to theamazingseller.com/fetcher I set you guys up your own landing page. On there, there’s a section to opt in for a free account consultation or audit. One of our account managers will actually hop on either at the phone with you or Skype or Google Hangouts. He can help you look at your account, your Amazon account, your financials and he can help you optimize it to help you save money.

He’s actually super good at that. He knows way more about these fees and stuff than even I do so you can understand you could be saving money by doing this here. He’s just really bright all around at optimizing Amazon businesses. A free consultation… If you go to that link theamazingseller.com/fetcher he’s more than happy to do that, hop on the phone call with you so that’s really cool.

Like Scott said, it’s a month free trial and you don’t even have to enter your credit card. A little bit like you enter your email address, you sync up your Amazon account, log in the next day, all your numbers are there. Even if you just try it for a month then cancel I think it’s a no-brainer.

[00:47:18] Scott: That’s definitely a no-brainer. That’s a great offer. Again, not even a credit card entering in so you can basically just go ahead and get your data, get your numbers. Like you said, if he just wanted to do it just to see where your business is right now definitely try it. I do think that once you see it you’re going to love it and I think Greg knows that too. Definitely just give it a shot depending on where your business is. I think it’ll definitely… At least it’ll give you a great idea as far as the health of your business right now.

If you’re brand new and you’re just starting it’s a great time to start for you because you can kind of start with the right foundation in place so this way here as you grow you’re going to be able to have all that stuff imported and you can start using that tool and then grow with the tool. I have to mention this too Greg, I love it that you can sync other accounts. I love that. From what I gather, the only way that you would increase your subscription is really the amount of products you sell per month.

I think that your first package is like 2,500 sales per month and it graduates up from there to the next package and stuff. If you’re only doing 2,500 sales then you’re going to be at the one package and then from there. If you’ve got four accounts and they all combine to do 2,500 you’re managing four accounts. Is that right?

[00:48:37] Greg: That’s exactly right. We only charge actually 10 bucks to sync up another account. Sync up as many accounts as you want the tiers are just for how many orders you do each month.

[00:48:46] Scott: All right man. Well, this has been fantastic. A lot of information. I know it’s not a sexy topic but I think it is if people can… You’re going to know where you are at every second. Up-to-the-minute you’re going to be able to know where you are and login and pull that report or see how the products are doing and see all those fees and not have to worry about going in and calculating them.

That time that you’re saving is going to be your time either to spend with your family or whatever you want to do or go source more products. It’s going to free up time for you and I think it’s a no-brainer. Greg I want to thank you so much buddy. It’s always nice chatting. Any last little bit of words of advice or anything you want to give anyone? We haven’t really talked about anything else other than accounting. Is there anything else you want to talk about accounting or did you cover it all?

[00:49:37] Greg: I think we covered most of the stuff with accounting. Last words of advice like what’s on my mind, Amazon’s been in the news so much lately and it’s just crazy how much of a behemoth they’re turning into like taking over the world. I’m actually more optimistic about Amazon right now than I ever have been. They’re expanding to more market places and it seems like their market share just keeps growing and growing like more shoppers and more shoppers.

I’m really excited about the future of Amazon and especially like our role like third party sellers. It’s exciting. It real special to be part of.

[00:50:14] Scott: When people say that I shouldn’t probably get in because I’m too late you’d probably say that that wouldn’t be a smart move?

[00:50:24] Greg: I’d say that it’s a good time. I saw that on one of my webinars and I think the comment was that saying that there’s not enough oxygen for all of us to breathe in the world or something. It’s still great.

[00:50:35] Scott: I think it is. I always tell people, yes, you’re entering a marketplace where there’s going to be a lot of competition in some categories and some markets but you’ve supplied some really great tools that help us weed through and find those golden nuggets. You’ve got a lot of great training as well.

I think it’s a great opportunity. They take a lot of the heavy lifting out of it for us especially if you’re brand new, you want to get started or if you just want to start another side business they’ve got the platform, they’ve got all of the different pieces in place. Yes they charge us money and yes they charge a little bit much money at times but it’s still you’re getting in front of their traffic.

It’s like just dip the bucket down into the river of money and just grab a little bit because you can have it. It’s just a matter of going out there, supplying some good products to a market and then tracking all of your expenses with Fetcher. All right Greg, thank you so much. We’re going to hang out in Charlotte though when you come to town so we’ll definitely make that happen. We’ll do a Facebook Live or something, that’ll be fun. Just want to thanks again…

[00:51:47] Greg: Look out for our Facebook Live.

[00:51:49] Scott: Look out for that. I just want to thank you again buddy, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and hangout with you and I look forward to hanging out for lunch and we’ll be in Fort Lauderdale in May at Steve Chou’s event. That’ll be fun. A lot of hanging out with Greg Mercer. Greg thanks again buddy I appreciate it.

[00:52:07] Greg: Thank Scott. Take care bud, bye.

[00:52:09] Scott: There you go. Hopefully, you now can see a little bit clear as far as the fees that we talked about. You may want to download the show notes on this one, the transcripts because he does go through a lot of those things that you should be looking at. Again guys, theamazingseller.com/344. Also if you want to pick up a 30 day free trial to Fetcher, head over to theamazingseller.com/fetcher.

I am an affiliate with Greg on this product but I only back products that I use or other people that I know are using and enjoy and I know the team behind those people. Just want to throw that out there but it is a great product. I actually seen it before it was even revealed to the public in beta and I was blown away back then and I know what he was creating. The thing that I love about the stuff that Greg puts out with his software is this, it’s super easy and it’s affordable.

This here is so affordable I actually thought it would have been a lot more and being able to connect more than one account is really awesome. If you have two different sellers’ accounts or three or maybe working with a partner you can load in more than one sellers’ account which I think is really, really awesome. I think once you see this you’re going to see how easy it is to use and how it gives you everything you need in a dashboard. Super simple, nothing like Quick Books, nothing like Fresh Books.

The other thing that I learned which I wasn’t even aware of is that I can plug in like travel expenses. I could plug in any other miscellaneous expenses so it is my accounting software for that business now. I don’t have to use Wave or Quick Books or Fresh Books or Zero, I don’t have to. I can use just this. Definitely check it out. I’m a big fan of the product but also of Greg’s company.

He’s built some really awesome products but he also has a really, really awesome team behind it and I think anyone that’s listening that has used any of Greg’s products knows exactly what I mean.

[00:54:09] Scott: Definitely check that out, theamazingseller.com/fetcher and you can go ahead and get a 30 day free trial for that. All right guys, that’s it. That’s pretty much going to wrap up this episode. I want again thank you guys for listening, thank you guys for all of your comments and emails and Facebook posts and all of that stuff that you guys are doing to support the TAS community. I just want to say thank you guys, I really do truly appreciate it.

Remember, as always, I’m here for you I believe in you and I am 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 right back here on the next episode.

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2 comments
  • I like the idea of managing multiple accounts, however I would be very careful on doing that since it’s against TOS to have multiple selling accounts per person. And Amazon can easily suspend your seller account without notice. The best would be managing it thru separate app in different PC/IPs (I know Amazon tracked IP used for account login). I know because I owned multiple account either thru different business partners or business purposes.

    • It is NOT against tos if you have permission from Amazon. There are a variety of valid business reasons to have multiple accounts. As long as you have explict permission in advance, it’s totally ok.

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