TAS 376 Ask Scott Session #116 – Promotion Placements – Managing Your Amazon Business – UPC and FNSKU Codes

If it’s Friday, that means another EXCITING session of Ask Scott here on The Amazing Seller Podcast! Are you fired up and ready to TAKE ACTION? Scott comes ready with his usual fire to deliver some helpful insights and answer questions from TAS followers like you! On this episode, he starts with a helpful lesson, just take one bite at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself! Make sure you go at a pace that is enough for you to handle. Don’t get overwhelmed or distracted by the concepts that Scott covers for TASers who are a few steps ahead of you. Remember, you can always go back to previous episodes, ASK questions, check out the TAS resources section, and engage the TAS Facebook community!

Promotional Offers and Discounts

You know that one of the best ways to drive traffic to your listing and to increase product sales is to lower your product’s price. But what is the best way to advertise that price reduction? How can you effectively communicate to your customers that you have a limited time promotion or discount? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott explains why sellers like you should avoid listing discounts or promotions in the bullet section for your product listing. He also gives great alternatives that will help you figure out where in your product listing to advertise those special deals for your customers. Make sure to catch this episode!

What is the time commitment with Selling on Amazon?

If you are working a regular 9 to 5 JOB, your time is a precious commodity. You might be getting started with selling on Amazon to make that awesome decision to become your own boss. As you get ready to start selling your first product you might be wondering, “Do I have enough time in my week to manage my product successful?” On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott explains what to expect when it comes to carving out time commitments and what it takes to manage your first couple of products effectively. If you are just getting started as an Amazon seller, you don’t want to miss this helpful episode!

Dealing with UPC’s

What’s the deal with Amazon’s UPC policy? Do you need to have a UPC from a particular source? Is it a requirement to have the FNSKU barcode printed on the outside packaging of your product? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott cuts through what seems like a complicated topic and gives sellers like you the vital information that you need so you stay within Amazon’s terms of service. Don’t let all the confusing terms processes get in your way on your journey toward success! Let Scott and the TAS community help you along the way, get started by listening to this episode!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER  

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [2:30] Take one bite at a time!
  • [4:30] Shout out to TASer, Greg!
  • [6:30] Question #1: Can I put a discount or promotional offer in the bullets for my product listing?
  • [10:30] Question #2: What level of time commitment should I expect for each product that I sell on Amazon?
  • [18:20] Question #3: What are Amazon’s UPC preferences?

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 376

TAS 376: Ask Scott Session #116 – Promotion Placements – Managing Your Amazon Business – UPC and FNSKU Codes

 

[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 376 and session number 116 of Ask Scott. This is where I…

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…answer your questions here on the podcast and I do it every single Friday and I am pumped to be here with you once again. I’ve got a few questions I’m going to answer today and those are really about… I’ll just give you guys a little heads up promotional placement. We are going to talk about that, we are going to talk about managing your Amazon business and we are also going to talk again about UPCs, FNSQs, all those numbers that could be confusing and who’s supposed to do what and what ones are we supposed to be buying and all of that stuff.

So we are going to talk about all of those today and before I did jump in though, I wanted to do a couple of things. Number one I want to thank you for being a listener. You guys are awesome and the more that I get to meet you guys in person and I’ve done this many times now when we’ve had these unofficial meetups and all of that stuff and I just really, really love spending time with you. But I also want to let you guys know that it means a ton to me that you guys are listeners and that you guys send me emails or post on Facebook or whether I meet you in person, you tell me your story.

I want to hear your stories so I’m going to give you guys a way that you can do that. You can head over to theamazingseller.com/action. Just go that link, there’ll be a little voice recorder there and just record me a short little message maybe your first name, where you are tuning in from and then just a little bit about your journey so far and maybe how the podcast has played a little bit of a role on that. I would love to hear your story. The other thing that you can do is if you want to ask a question and have me maybe answer it here on an upcoming show all you have to do is head over to the amazingseller.com/ask and yeah you can ask a question there as well.

A lot of you have already been doing that and I want to just say also be patient because I do get a lot of questions but I will try to answer each and every one on an upcoming episode.

[00:02:00] Scott: Now this episode is 376 so the link to grab the show notes, the transcripts, all that good stuff is over at theamazingseller.com/376. Now you guys know on Fridays I like to give you guys what’s been on my mind or what’s going through my head and one very simple thing that I want to say here that hopefully will sink in and also allow you to not get overwhelmed or when you are starting to feel overwhelmed think about this right here, and what this is it’s really simple and I’m sure you’ve heard it before but I think you might need to write this one down. “One bite at a time.”

You can’t go out there and expect to understand everything. You hear me talking about launching a product. I talk about building a list, I talk about funnels, I talk about marketing, I talk about maybe sourcing. It seems like there’s a lot of stuff and it might feel like I’m spraying you in the face with a garden hose or a fire hose and I understand that. I’m trying to help everyone at different parts of their business but that does not mean you have to do everything right now. We did a Facebook Live the other day and Dom Sugar had a little meet up in Canada and some people came out and they go, “Dom there is so much information I’m just not sure what to do during this launch I know Scott talks about building an email list and then we talk about pay-per-click and we talk about all this stuff.”

We went over that on Friday on our Facebook Live, it was on a Friday, and we basically just said, “Listen it doesn’t mean you have to do it all. It means that you need to mix it up or you need to do one thing at a time. Try one thing, if you are in the product selection phase that’s where you need to be, that’s where you spend your time. Don’t start thinking about launching right now, just think about the product, the criteria, all the things that go into that phase.” You guys know I always break it down into phases so that’s what you want to do one bite at a time. No one expects you to do everything at once and you are not going to know everything at once, you are not supposed to.

[00:04:02] Scott: So one bite at a time. Slow down, take a breath and see where you are at and take that one bite at a time towards the thing that you are working on right now. Now one last thing before we do jump into today’s questions I want to give a shout out, I want to give a little Facebook love to our amazing TASers out there. You guys are awesome, community is growing, the community is just even better than ever I mean so many people are being so helpful and I want to give a little shout out, I want to give a little high five to Greg Hatts. So Greg, I want to say thank you so much for posting this and this was a little win that he was able to celebrate and I always tell you guys it’s not about the big, big gigantic wins it’s about those little wins because they build over time and they compound on each other.

But Greg posts here little screenshot $160 in sales today and then ten units sold so far today and he’s got the last seven days $463. Little screenshot there and he writes, “Been at it for about a month now with my first product, finally hitting ten units per day. This stuff really works, thanks Scott.” And of course I jumped in there and said, “Awesome, high fives,” because that’s what we need. We need to understand that it’s not going to all happen overnight and the thing is Greg is getting results because he did something. I say this over and over again, we can learn this stuff, we can consume it, we can sit there and think about it and what if this happens and what if that, but you won’t know until you actually do something. You will never get a result.

I’m not saying go out there and be hasty go out there and rush things but I’m saying until you actually do something you can’t judge on what you are doing or you can’t base any decisions until after you’ve done something. You’ve got to work yourself through it. You can start small still but you’ve gotta start somewhere and I just want again to say awesome job Greg and everyone else out there that has some small wins right now celebrate them.

[00:06:01] Scott: High five each other, post that in the group, I think that that support around you is so important, the mindset is so important and this stuff right here can fuel you and motivate you to keep going. Alright so alright guys let's go ahead and let’s get rocking and rolling here. I am so fired up today I can’t wait to jump into today’s questions so let’s go ahead and do that. Let’s go ahead and listen to today’s first question and I’ll give you my answer. Let’s do this.

[Q&A SESSION]

[00:06:27] Brian: Hi Scott my name is Brian and I had a question in regards to promotion. If your product was say 60% off are you allowed to put a bullet just stating that your product is 60% off for a limited time? Not in the title, would be in the bullets I just didn’t know if that was against the terms of service. I would love to hear from you.

[00:06:47] Scott: Hey Brian thank you so much for the question and this is a great question. Now I’ve seen some people put in the first bullet they’ll put ‘50% off, mother’s day special’. Not supposed to do that, that is against terms and services. There’s no promotional material is supposed to go inside of those bullets the bullets are meant for benefits and features. And some could say, “Well it’s a benefit if they are going to save some money,” to you maybe but not to Amazon. Amazon wants those to just be information about the product, benefits, features use it for those spots.

Now the one cool thing that Amazon does now is when you put something in your promotional area there is actually a little spot there that goes up top now just below the price so that’s new so that’s really a great spot to put something like ‘buy one get one 50% off’ or maybe it is 20% off or whatever it is. You can have your little promotional thing there and it's blue, it’s in a nice blue color and it’s very noticeable so I wouldn’t worry about putting it in my bullet I would rather put it there anywhere in the promotional area so use the promotional tab, use the promotional area, run those things because I’m telling you that can increase the amount of sales that you get from that one customer.

We can increase the size of the cart if it’s a good deal. You can even cross-promote in there because it could be like ‘buy one of this get twenty 25% off of other products’ and then they would click to see the details and then it would show the details. So that’s one way. There is another way that you can do it. Now again this is riding the line a little bit, it’s probably, I’m not going to say that’s it's grey but it’s not a 100% white. Let’s call it that white hat, grey hat, black hat so you can put something in your images that could then let them know about something. Technically you are not supposed to put promotional stuff in there as well but I don’t see a big issue in that. I don’t think it should be like obnoxious but you could technically direct people to where they should be looking.

[00:08:49] Scott: Maybe it could be an image with your product being used and then a little footer banner could say something like, “Check out our promotional area for monthly deals,” or something like that. I don’t personally have a problem with that but again use your own judgment. If you looked at the Terms of Service there is probably going to be in there something that states “100% product-based” or whatever. But me personally I don’t think that that’s a big deal. I’m giving them more information about the product and I’m also then just throwing that in there.

Now this is not on the main image, okay? Nothing like this would go on the main image. That is completely against terms of service so that is no, no we do not want to do that. Anything additional as far as those additional images you can put other things in there. You can put badges, you can put people, you can put lifestyle shots, you can do all that stuff so that stuff is definitely okay at least as of right now that I’m recording this episode. So be careful, I would be careful of putting stuff in the bullets, I would be careful of putting it in the description and I would just put it in the areas that they allow us to put them in which is definitely in the promotional area. That’s what they want that area for so that’s what I would do and yeah I think that you’ll do well with that.

I think that the other thing to note here is if you are going to do something do something really valuable so people want to actually do it not like 5% off your next purchase. It’s not big of a deal. You know what I mean like 10% minimum I think. I think even more but 10% minimum is what I would probably do. Alright so hopefully this answered your question let's go ahead and listen to today’s next question and I’ll give you my answer.

[00:10:28] Greg: Hey Scott, Greg here from Grand Junction Colorado. I have a quick question for you. We are about to launch our first product and I’ve been hearing a lot lately that Amazon is taking more and more time for people to basically manage their product, manage their inventory and what I’m afraid of is we’d like to eventually get two maybe two, even three products out there but what I don’t want to see happen is this one product end up taking 30, 40 hours a week of our time. Would you have any recommendations for leveraging other programs or systems or maybe hiring an ISA or even family member to manage inventory, orders, follow up, that sort of thing? I’d appreciate your feedback on that and your advice. Thanks Scott.

[00:11:19] Scott: Hey Greg thank you so much for the question and I talked a little bit about the time it takes to run an Amazon business or an ecommerce business in general. It’s going to be different for everyone but let’s focus on Amazon as a channel right now. I mean if it was eBay it’d be an eBay channel, it could be Etsy or maybe all those channels but right now I’m not really sure I’m understanding what you are saying because you are making it sound like people are saying that it’s really hard to manage your inventory and it’s hard to maybe manage your pay-per-click. I don’t know where that time that they are saying and Amazon is not good about the management of it and stuff or maybe the reporting is behind maybe that’s what you are saying?

Let me just say this and maybe this will clear it up for you, I don't think it’s that complicated to run your Amazon business especially if you want to utilize a tool or two. Now for the longest time I was using a Spreadsheet. The inventory levels are going to be pretty much accurate with inside of Amazon. Now has there been times that they’ve been off a little bit? Yes you have to understand that they have… You’ll see the breakdown it will some are in reserve. In reserve means that they are either being transported to another warehouse or they are sold and they are reserving them so that way they don’t get sold.

But that stuff is almost real time in a sense. I mean it’s no more than eight ten hours behind let’s say that so you are still going to be there so I’m not really sure I understand that. Now when it comes to bookkeeping or accounting or any of that stuff that can be a little bit of time consuming if you don’t have a tool that allows you to see how many units are sold, your cost of goods because you’ve got to take that off and that was one thing that Josh Bauerle the guy that I’ve had come on the CPA, he’s come on the show. He’s actually going to come back on the show here soon again give us some updates on what’s been happening with tax stuff and all that stuff but the one big mistake that people don’t do is they don’t allow for the cost of goods, or I shouldn’t say that they don’t allow.

[00:13:25] Scott: They want to take the money that they’ve spent on inventory and immediately deduct that off and you can’t do that. You can only deduct the cost of goods after its been sold so you definitely want to make sure that you are clear on that but if you have a tool it will allow you to see this. And I’ve got to be honest I just started using Fetcher about four months ago and what’s really cool with Fetcher is I’m able to load in all of my different brands that I’m working with and with a click of a button I can go in and switch to a different brand so I can house more than one brand under this one account.

But what’s really cool about it is I was always taking after each month and I would break down how many units sold and then I would have a spreadsheet that said how much those cost me and then I would pencil that in and then we would pencil in cost for pay-per-click and then we would do Amazon fees and then you would do all that stuff and then at the end you’d come up with your profit, your net. With Fetcher, and I just did it actually this morning. I actually had to do it for quarterly taxes, and I went in and with literary with the click of a button to set the timeframe parameters I had all the data right there. I had all my inventory levels, I had how much that cost me, I had right down to the last line item and it all did it for me.

All I had to do was set it up and begin by just saying how much my cost of goods were and it did all the other work for me. I was even able to put in monthly expenses for tools that I’m using for those businesses and it automatically just triggers those every single month. I would say on an accounting side of things that’s where it can become time consuming but if you use a tool like Fetcher… I’ve mentioned Fetcher before, you guys know that I’m an affiliate for them if you guys want to go through my link buy me a cup of coffee and also get a nice 30 day free trial go ahead and head over to theamazingseller.com/fetcher. It’s very affordable too by the way.

[00:15:25] Scott: It’s really affordable I mean if you are even thinking about Quick Books or any of that’s stuff so much more affordable. Definitely go check that out and I would definitely say that’s going to make things a lot easier on that part of it. As far as inventory levels it will show you that, it’s not an inventory tracking tool which will give you projections but it will help you by seeing what your average per sale or your average sales per day are, how many units you still have in stock and all that stuff. But that stuff isn’t going to take you that long especially if you only have a handful of products. If you only have one or two products nothing, if you have more than ten that’s when it can get a little bit more time consuming.

If you are talking about pay-per-click again that can be time-consuming but now there’s tools out there and again I don’t want to just keep pushing tools on you guys but if you are at that point where you want to have someone else take care of this for you, you can have a tool that monitors that for you and does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. We use Ignite and again guys I’m not pushing links on you guys here. There’s free training on pay-per-click and how to manage it and all that stuff and how to set up these campaigns in the beginning a free resource theamazingseller.com/ppc go check that out before you even do sign up for anything like Ignite or anything because you can do this by hand. That’s going to be more time consuming too.

You can spend an hour or two in your pay-per-click or more if you want to just keep refining, and keep digging through all of your reports. But again I’m not really sure I’m seeing what the, I mean if it’s product research that’s going to take time, that’s going to be your time you can train someone, you can hire a VA to do that and then bring you back all the top results. There’s always ways to lessen the load but in the beginning it’s really just going to be you getting your hands in there and starting to do the different pieces to it. But once you get things up and running there is not really a lot of day to day stuff that you have to do.

[00:17:19] Scott: It’s funny I talked to John Lee Dumas from EOFire and we were talking about he’s got two books, they are journals that sell on Amazon right now and he spends maybe only like two to three hours a month on monitoring that and he’s doing over $30,000 a month, so you don’t have to. Now I also talked to him I’m like, “You probably should be doing a little bit more than that,” and he laughed because he could be getting more sales, more results and stuff if he focused a little bit more on that so we may be playing around with that in the future with him but just saying it doesn’t have to be a ton of time.

I’m not really sure if I understand where you are coming from or maybe you are just hearing that and I’m not sure where you are hearing that because most people once they get things up and running not that much to manage. Hopefully this helped you or anyone else out there thinking to themselves this is going to be a beast to manage it really doesn’t have to be. Alright guys let's go ahead and listen to one more question for today, we’ll go ahead and answer that, we’ll wrap this baby up and let you guys kick off the weekend. What do you say? Let’s do this.

[00:18:17] Chaz: My name is Chaz and I’m from Salt Lake City Utah. First of I love the podcast Scott. I’ve tried listening to other Amazon podcasts and it’s just not the same, there is no comparison. I’m a full time college student and after listening to your podcast and your webinars and tips and other things but most of all taking action I’m itching to graduate so that I can spend even more time with my little Amazon project. I also listened to your podcast at my J-O-B and I’ve got to tell you I can’t wait to quit that thing. So I have two questions. I set up a brand new UPC code for a product that I’m selling and just so you are aware I made a G-T-I-N UPC code. I don’t know if you needed that but my first question is when I’m setting up the barcode there is two options, UPC-A and GS1 database stacked omnidirectional. Which one does Amazon prefer if any?

And my second question is how does labeling work? If I have my own UPC code do I need an FNSKU, do I just send over PDF to my supplier of the UPC and barcode and do they print it directly on the box or do they print it on the pallet or how does that work exactly? And also is there normally any extra charge to do that? Anyway thanks for any help you can give even if it’s just pointing me in the right direction to do my own research. I’ve had no issue taking action despite being a full time student with a full time job. It’s just too darn exciting. Thanks again Scott.

[00:20:08] Scott: Hey Chaz thank you so much for the question college kid too man love it out there hustling, getting things done, fired up about being an entrepreneur, I love it, absolutely love it. Thank you for being a listener by the way, thank you so much for getting out there and doing something especially while you are going through school I mean that’s crazy. People say, “I don’t have the time.” You don’t really have a lot of time either if you are in college doing all the homework and probably working a job too so there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on in your world I know that so yeah hats off to you man and high five.

Okay to answer the question we are back on the UPC, FNSQ, GS1, all of these different terms and language that we throw around here. Here is the deal, let’s talk about UPC codes first. Bottom line we need a UPC code as of right now to create a listing, that’s one thing and you probably already know that but anyone else listening that’s brand new, doesn’t know that you need a UPC code whether you print it on your box or not or you use a sticker it doesn’t matter you need that when you set up your listing. So to create a listing you have to have a unique UPC code. Now, what do I mean by unique?

Well, recently Amazon announced that we only want GS1 UPC codes for products. Now what they mean by that or what they meant by that is they need to be purchased through GS1 or registered in GS1’s database. Now if someone was a third party reseller as long as they purchase them through GS1 and as long as they are in GS1’s database then you are good, then you are fine but if you purchase one from a third party and they are not purchased through GS1 you could have an issue. Now I only have one other resource besides GS1 that I go to and that is Snap UPC.

[00:22:09] Scott: And I have them on my resources page you guys can check out the resources page theamazingseller.com/resources. Now if you are at all thinking to yourself that you do not want to take a risk and I don’t think it’s a risk because if you try to put that UPC code in as you are registering your product it’s going to come back and it’s not going to work. So you are going to know and then you would have to go back to the company that you bought it from and then you would say, “Listen it’s not working I got to issue me a new one.” But if you don’t want to go through that, if you just want to go directly to GS1 then go to their website, purchase… They have a standard I think right now it's $250 and that’s gives you up to ten UPC codes. Not that expensive so just maybe if you want to cut through it go right there and that way there you know that you are getting the right code.

Now let’s answer the second part of this; UPC code, FNSKU number. FNSQ or FNSKU however everyone says it differently. It’s the FNSQ number the one that Amazon puts on their packaging it’s really their unique code. Now if you are brand registered or you’ve been selling for a long time and you are brand registered and you are grandfathered in depending on the level of seller that you are, you may just be able to use a UPC code and bypass the FNSQ number but for most people that are just starting out you are going to have to have the FNSQ number that they provide you on your box. Now, if you don’t want to print that FNSQ number on your box or on your packaging you could have Amazon do it, Amazon’s going to charge you twenty cents to do it.

I’ve done it that way in the beginning, it works, it costs you twenty cents extra per unit so in the beginning if it’s easier have them do it. If you can have your manufacturer printed on there you are going to say twenty cents on each unit that you sell.

[00:24:08] Scott: Again not really that complicated but understand that you will most likely need the FNSQ number. So Scott, where do you get the FNSQ number it might be what you are asking yourself? You get that right in your listing as far as when you start to get ready to sell it when you are going to say that I have inventory there. There is going to be a little drop down menu that says FNSQ number and then from there you can go ahead and grab that number. It will be right next to it. If you go on your back, it’s hard to explain in audio but if you just go onto your backend into that listing and then you go as if you are going to send an inventory it’s going to bring you through that process.

You’ll see the FNSQ right there and then from there you’ll have it. Now you may not have the barcode so then you can go to a website and you can type in that number when then they’ll generate the code for you or what I’ve done is I will act as though I’m going to complete a full order and then I will say that I’m going to print the labels myself and then I will just spit out a PDF and then I’ll just take a screengrab of the FNSQ number and I’ll use that as my image and then I’ll send that off to my manufacturer. There is a whole bunch of different ways that you can do it but just understand you need more than just the number. You need the actual bar code on the box because they are going to scan that.

They are going to actually take that and they are going to put it over any UPC number or any other number that’s on that box. So if you are creating your own packaging it would only have your FNSQ number on there or again like I said if you want to make it even simpler just pay them twenty cents as you are going through the process of sending an inventory. They are going to ask you, “Are you going to label it or are we going to label it?” And then you’ll say, “I’m going to label it,” meaning yourself and then they’ll say, “Okay,” and then as long as you send it there with an FNSQ number you are good. If you say, “No I want you to do it” then they are going to basically charge you twenty cents and then when it comes in they are going to slap an FNSQ number on the package, easy peasy, not that big of a deal.

I know a lot of people get hang up with a lot of these numbers and what number do I need? We are hearing BSR, we are hearing FNSQ, we are hearing UPC, we are hearing GS1, all of these numbers.

[00:26:12] Scott: Don’t over complicate this process, it’s not that difficult. Alright guys I think that is going to wrap up this episode. Again I want to thank all of our TASers out there, all of our loyal listeners, our followers and everyone that’s out there helping inside of our Facebook community as well. If you guys are not part of that community I urge you to go over there request to join its totally free. You’ll be surrounded with a whole bunch of other TASers. You can head over to theamazingseller.com/fb and request to join and you’ll get approved really quickly actually probably within a couple of hours and then from there you can go in and you can dig around and see what people are talking about. You can ask questions, you can look through the search area there is a whole bunch of resources there and some really awesome people.

Alright so guys that is going to wrap up it up remember as always I’m here for you, I believe in you and I am rooting for you but you have to, you have… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day guys and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

[END]

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