Get Your New Product in the “Best Sellers” on Amazon in Less Than 2 Weeks! (Case Study)

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case studyBefore I dive in, I wanted to thank those of you who  donated to my “birthday campaign” to raise money for clean water through Charity Water for those who do not have access to it!   As this topic is unrelated to my business (but very important nonetheless) I will not go into further details, but if you want more information, please visit the link above or email me at daniel@alittlesliceofthepie.com.  Thanks for helping make a difference!

Now… onto business!…

PRODUCT CREATION CASE STUDY

I am super excited to share information about a product that I’ve private labeled and brought to Amazon’s marketplace that is really taking off!

Before I begin, I should be clear about a couple of things:

1. Unfortunately, I will not be able to share the specific product (for competition reasons.  Seeing as this contributes to my income for my family, I’m simply uncomfortable revealing this at this time). With this said, I will provide enough detail in terms of numbers and competition that you’ll understand, by the end, how this could be done in any category, niche and with virtually any product!

2. In the title, I mention getting your products into the “best sellers” section.  Keep in mind that Amazon has a top 100 “best sellers” for every category AND subcategory.  My product is in the “best sellers” for 2 subcategories.  Before you discount this, keep in mind that both of these subcategories are very prominent.  Also, the main broad (parent) category contains over 20,000,000 products (that’s two hundred MILLION) and my product is ranked just over 8,000 in this broad category!  The most important factor, however, is where they rank in terms of keyword, which I’m about to talk about, so let’s get started!

PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY:

This case study will show you just how possible it is to get your product selling in an incredibly short amount of time with relatively little effort on your part (I was actually quite shocked as I had a lot more planned in terms of promotion!)  Now I know not all of you are at this stage yet where you are introducing a new wholesale product or private label product to the marketplace.  PLEASE don’t feel the need to rush ahead- go ahead and follow the steps in my ebook (you can grab this for free by entering your name and address in the side bar).  Always start slow, get the feel for it, and THEN proceed to the next step.  I wanted to create this post for those of you who are already on this step or if you’re not, to give you something to look forward to and to motivate you to keep pressing on!

When I say I brought this product “new to the marketplace” I do not mean that this product or type of product did not previously exist.  In fact, the competition was (and is) HEAVY- to the point where it may appear to be a saturated market.  Surprisingly, this is not necessarily a problem on Amazon if you know what you’re doing (I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but I’ve figured out a couple things over the years.)  I will outline below the numbers to help illustrated the exact situation I was in:

INITIAL STEPS:

As mentioned in my ebook, the first steps to private labeling a product are:

1. Find a niche

2. Pick a potentially profitable product

3. Find a supplier

4. Have graphics, a logo and packaging designed for the product

5. Place your order

From here, it is a matter of listing your product on Amazon using relevant keywords, a nice image, a good headline and description etc.  Once this is done, you need a strategy to get your item NOTICED thus producing sales!  If you are selling an item already listed on Amazon, Amazon has done the work for you and you need not concern yourself with this step (at least not to as great of a degree.)

KEYWORDS:

Now, let’s talk keywords.  For those of you familiar with ranking in Google, keyword research, SEO, traffic strategies etc, you’re going to love this!  One of the first things I learned when looking into the “Google ranking game” is that the MOST important step is proper keyword research.  I was told the horror stories of internet marketers who would choose a keyword, build an entire campaign around it and spend months getting to the first page of Google only to find out that they keyword was not good and it did not produce conversions (sales!)  This is often because the keyword is too general like “golf clubs.”  Someone searching for “golf clubs” is not necessarily looking to BUY golf clubs- maybe they just want to know ABOUT golf clubs.  Here is the great thing- Amazon is like a giant search engine devoted to BUYERS!  Nearly everybody that searches Amazon intends to BUY, so there is no more guessing.  If someone is searching for a keyword, you can bet they are looking to buy a product.   Just like with Google, keywords are the primary method people use on Amazon to search for a product.

COMPETITION:

When I was getting ready to promote, I picked 3 keywords- a “long tail” keyword, a moderate keyword and a competitive keyword.  My “long tail” keyword had 365 listings to compete with.  My “moderate” keyword had just over 2000 listings compete with and my “competitive” keyword was competing with over 7000 listings.

STRATEGY:

My strategy was as follows:

- Keep the price low.  My price to anyone who found my listing would be about at cost (I made $1.00 profit)

- Give the product away to anyone willing to write an honest, unbiased review (completely within Amazon’s policy)

- Run a promotion for friends and family selling the product at a loss (I lost $7.50 for each sale).  Every sale, however, raises the sales rank and thus raises the position of the product in Amazon’s “search engine.” so this was like an “advertising fee”

- Run “Amazon sponsored ads” for my keywords

(I also planned a lot more promotion including press releases, youtube videos, pinterest posting, facebook posting and more, but never got to these because of how quickly this product became popular!)

- Once the product gained traction, I was going to slowly raise the price up.

RESULTS:

The target price for this item is $39.99 (this will be my final price once I reach “the top”).  I paid about $13.00 for each unit including shipping and handling, misc charges etc (I actually overpaid- I’ve now negotiated to get each item for a little over $8.00 each plus shipping for my next order).  Here is the breakdown:

Random order at full price (somehow someone found me without me doing ANYTHING!) = $39.99 = GAIN of $31.00 (after fees)

Free give-aways (for review): 4 “sales” (loss of $13 each – $2.99 in shipping costs = loss of $63.96

Products sold for $9.99:  2 sales (loss of $7.50 including all fees) = loss of $15

Products sold for $19.99 (to the general public):  11 sales ($1 profit per item) = GAIN of $11

Product begins to gain traction- raise the price to $24.99: 5 sales ($5.25 profit per item) = GAIN of $26.25

Ads ran for 9 days (I was very aggressive with my bids to get noticed).  Total spent: loss of $25.95

TOTAL = LOSS of $42.91

So I spent $42.91.  What did this get me?

Long tail keyword: #1 spot!

Moderate keyword: FIRST PAGE half way down!

Competitive keyword: Bottom of page 2!

Here’s the best part: since recording this data, I’ve raised my price up to $29.99 (not quite to full price yet) and have been selling an average of 5-10 units per day doing NOTHING.  This has been going on for about a week and a half and is going strong (and the ranks have increased slightly for the second 2 keywords!)  You can see that my initial loss of $42.91 was well worth it as I’ve since I’ve recouped the loss many times over!  Obviously I have a way to go to recoup my full investment (in the products themselves) but at this rate, I’ll definitely get there and will be quite profitable when it’s time to re-order!

I hope this is inspiring to others who are thinking of “breaking into” the marketplace with your first product!  Please share comments and questions below!  If you haven’t yet, please consider signing up to my newsletter where I share MORE details on this kind of stuff!  Thanks for your support!

93 thoughts on “Get Your New Product in the “Best Sellers” on Amazon in Less Than 2 Weeks! (Case Study)

  1. Daniel,

    This not only is an excellent case study but your followup to everyone is beyond what I’ve ever encountered. Much thanks.

    Here’s my question: My company has invented a new product in a niche and will have no competition. The category it is in, literally, does not exist. We have filed for trademark and patents and have done everything from design of packaging to manufacturing our own tool (molds).

    If the patent is still pending when we launch this product, do we have to worry about either:

    1. Amazon creating their own molds and competing with us.
    2. Amazon allowing a counterfeiter to do a knock off.

    We intend to register the product with Amazon.

    My second question is this:

    If we are a new seller using FBA and have no competition in our niche, is it possible to win the ‘buy box’ right out of the gate or will it take time, sales, reviews, etc.?

    1. Hi Mark,
      So glad you’re enjoying the blog and thanks so much for the kind words about my followup!

      Unfortunately, your questions are a bit outside of my realm of expertise. I would highly recommend consulting with a trademark/patent attorney on this. I can only tell you what I “know” but be aware my “knowledge” comes only from personal experience as well as independent research. It is by no means legal advice (and may not be 100% accurate).

      With all of this said, from what I understand trademark issues are easier to deal with than patent issues. In other words, if someone blatantly uses your trademarked name for their own product, you have a strong case against them. However, patent issues are tricky. My understanding is that they are very specific. Let me give you an example. Fairly recently, a product was introduced called the “3Doodler” (see it HERE). This is a patented product. There are manufacturers who create a nearly identical pen (slightly different design, same function) like THIS and THIS. When these copycat pens were initially made, 3Doodler sent a cease and desist letter. The manufacturer responsible for creating the copycat version reviewed the patent and changed 1 minor detail- the way the filament was cooled- and proceeded to introduce the product to the marketplace without any legal ramifications! In other words, patents have loopholes- big ones! This is where an attorney will be helpful to you.

      I would imagine Amazon will not likely create their own mold and product unless they see serious sales potential (tens of thousands of units moving a month for instance). Remember Amazon is not a big player in the product creation business (they have a few like their kindle, but their lines are quite specific). However counterfeiter knock offs are possible and even probable if the product becomes popular. You will find that nearly every popular original product out there has a knockoff version (that is completely legal!) Yes, beware of this and get legal advice before making your intellectual property available.

      As for question 2, it does take a bit of time to get the buy box. Amazon does not disclose exactly how the algorithm works, but they do look at price, your seller account history and feedback, popularity of the product, sales etc. I’ve been surprised with some of my products where I am the only and don’t get the buy box. It usually happens eventually though. I hope this is helpful!

  2. Hi,

    I have done retail abretrate and a little wholesale. Now I am getting into private labeling. I have a brand name a domain name to go with it and a logo. My question is shod I make a custom packaging or just put my logo onto the package the manufacturer makes?

    Also i use a great tool Azon suite by Chris

    Thank you

    1. Great to hear that you’re getting into private labeling. If you can afford it, I recommend getting your logo printed on the actual product and also getting completely customized packaging. When I started however (and I was ordering very low quantities) I just had the supplier add my logo to their packaging. You can do this if necessary, but these days I would say creating your own packaging is one of the most important part of private labeling.

      1. Also one more question.

        How do you find/analysis what products to private label?

        I found some products but one product have like 10 people private labeling it and the ranks on some are great.

        But I found other products that there are only like 4 or less private labels but rank is like 4000 or less I have a few items but what’s the best way to approach what item to private label?

        Thanks again

        1. Hi Avi,
          If you haven’t yet, I would suggest checking out my book. It will answer this question and many more. The full answer is too complex to go into in a single comment, but let me touch on some of your points:

          1. The main things that matter for private labeling are:
          a. keyword competition
          b. sales ranks of similar products
          The research stage is THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGE. You need a product that:
          a. people want
          b. is in a market that has room for you to grab a “slice of the pie”
          c. makes profit

          2. I always research potential products first (both what is selling or what people want and what my cost would be) and then I do keyword research. I use a combination of longtail pro and freshkey but you can easily do this manually using the google keyword planner and Amazon’s keyword suggestion tool (these are what these 2 software pieces are based on anyway- the software just makes it a lot faster!)

          3. Once you have your target keyword(s) type them into Amazon’s search bar (one at a time) and analyze the competing results. The number in the top left will tell you the number of listings that come up for that keyword. Then analyze the top 5 or top 10 sellers. It doesn’t hurt to analyze sellers on later pages as well (since this is where you’ll start) to see if they are getting any sales.

          4. To analyze, I pay attention to:
          a. the sales rank (be mindful of the category as “4000″ will mean something completely different in video games than it does in sports and outdoors for example)
          b. The number of reviews
          c. How many products look identical (buying from the same supplier)
          d. the quality of the reviews (pay close attention to critical reviews- this is great for research-find a product that is BETTER and you’ll make the sale instead)

          There is a lot more to it, but these are the basics. I hope it helps!

          1. Yes I brought your book and slimmed through it. I wish you can make it a softcover reg book.

            Do you have a good spreadsheet layout that can be helpful to input this information?

            Thank you

            1. Hi Avi,
              I have not considered making it into a regular paperback book. Perhaps when it gains more popularity, I’ll think about this :)

              Unfortunately, I don’t have a spreadsheet available that I give out. I do make spreadsheet to help me compare products though just using the information I mentioned (product, keyword(s), number of competing results, competing listings, number of reviews, sales rank etc. Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Daniel, thanks for all the great info you share with us!

    I’m starting my FBA business and have a lot of doubts about product selection:

    whats your BSR target? how do you identify a product with good demand? how do you measure competition? how do you know you can outrank other products?

    Any other product selection criteria we should be aware of?

    Sorry for posting a lot questions! i want to move forward quick, feel like i came late for the FBA party

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Andres,
      No worries, you’re not “too late” for the “FBA party!” :) There is still a ton of opportunity and there will continue to be as products are being introduced to the consumer marketplace at a faster rate than ever in history!

      When you talk about product selection, are you speaking of arbitrage, wholesale or private labeling? I recommend starting with arbitrage (buy low, sell high). The great thing about this model is product selection is not that important since you’re buying low risk. With arbitrage, your focus is almost entirely on the sales rank and the profit margin.

      The BSR target is going to be different for each category. Please see my 2 posts on sales rank (HERE and HERE) for an overview. Start there and then you’ll have a pretty good idea on the sales process and you can move into wholesale. At that point, you’ll want to look more into niches and competition (but you’ll already have a feel for this from arbitrage sourcing.) Private labeling will be the next logical step, but after doing arbitrage and wholesale for a while, you’ll have a great feel for the market and will be able to introduce a product that people are looking for! Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Daniel, thanks for the reply.

        i want to jump to private labeling, i live outside USA and arbitrage is not an option..

        Great posts about BSR, what’s your BSR target for private labeling? how do you know you can outrank the other products??

        1. Hi Andres,
          Private labeling is a great method of selling online and has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks. Be sure to learn as much as you can before jumping in. I recommend starting with arbitrage, moving to wholesale and then private labeling, but I understand that being outside the U.S. creates limitations. You may want to consider either selling on your local Amazon site (Amazon has one for many countries now) or hiring a contractor to do some of the work for you with arbitrage. If you’re determined to start with private labeling, it’s very possible to be successful, just do your research.

          I don’t target a BSR for private labeling. I treat Amazon like a search engine (like Google). I try to get my product to the front page (preferably the top listing) for my target keyword(s). Sales rank is important particularly for arbitrage and wholesale, but when you’re creating your own listing, getting to the top is the most important thing. When looking at competitors, however, you’ll want to check sales rank (and keywords). Aiming for the top 1-5% of the category is a great place to be. Outranking competitors is done with sales. To get those sales is a more involved topics (requires lots of reviews, driving traffic from inside and outside sources, providing excellent information, product images, keywords in title etc.) I’ll go into this much more in my upcoming book. You’ll be receiving it on Feb 10th! Thanks for your interest!

  4. Daniel,

    Awesome post! I see it’s about a year old, but it’s the best I’ve found on the topic. 3 questions please:

    – Does your product actually have the little orange “#1 Best Seller” tag?

    – How are the best seller subcategories determined? When listing my PL product, I noticed I was only able to pick one eventual subcat. How did you end up getting listed as best seller in 2?

    – Since a lot of products can relate to more than 1 subcat, I am trying to figure out which subcat to choose, so I have the best chances of getting #1 in that subcat… versus the more competitive “obvious” subcat.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Burke,
      Glad this post was helpful. Great questions!

      1. No, this particular product does not have a #1 best seller. It’s in the top 100, but not #1. However, since that time, I’ve added new products to this brand and one of the products DID get the #1 best seller tag for it’s category! Pretty cool feeling!

      2. You can only pick one subcategory. Amazon actually takes the product and categorizes it in other categories once it starts selling. I don’t know exactly how they do this, but it very likely has to do with keyword relevance or what category customers are actually selecting when searching. The short answer is “I don’t know how my item got in the other categories” ha ha! This happens automatically and unfortunately, I don’t know that the merchant can control it (if it’s controllable, I’m not aware of how)

      3. I personally pick a keyword I’m trying to target first. Lets say “running shoes” for example. Then I type this into Amazon (in “all departments.”) Take a look at the top 5-10 listings. Check what category they are in (look at the top of the page, not by the rank). This will give you a good idea of how to categorize your product- after all, you want to do as well or better than your competition right? I’ve found this to be the beginning of the way to get there!

      Hope this helps!

      1. Daniel,

        Yes, it helps a lot! Glad to hear your additional products are killing it :)

        Thanks for the tips, my products go live this week, so I hope to be in your league soon!

      2. Hi Daniel,
        I was curious how the best seller tag affected your sales once you got it? Did getting it result in a good bump in sales? I’ve head some people say 30% increase but not sure that has true for everyone.

        Also you can contact Amazon and request to be added to an additional sub-category. They call them browse node IDs or something along those lines. For my first product I carefully picked a related but not very competitive subcategory and should be able to easily get the best seller tag I hope!

        Brent

        1. Great question Brent,
          It’s really hard to say because the product went almost immediately to a best seller when it was released AND it was near Christmas time so the sales were soaring. It’s since lost its best seller tag and the sales have definitely slowed down, but it’s hard to tell if this is due to the holidays being over or the loss of the tag. My guess is the holidays since it is still selling better than any other product in this account!

          Interesting information about the sub-category! I’m going to have to give this a try! Obviously if you can get into a subcategory with fewer products, your chances of getting that tag dramatically increase! Thanks for the heads up!

          1. Thanks for the info! In your Seller Central account type “browse nodes” in the search bar. Click on the first result that comes up “Browse Tree Guide”. Click on the desired category to download the latest Excel spreadsheet. In the 2nd tab of the spreadsheet will give you all of the browse node Id’s for that category. When you call Amazon just give them the Browse Node ID number and they and will add it to your listing for you!

  5. Hi Daniel,

    I stumbled upon your profile on the Warrior Forum if I am not mistaken and you literally opened a new world to me. I have read all of your articles but I believe this is the ideal article to ask a couple of questions if I may.

    1. Regarding the private labelling, I would greatly appreciate some further clarification. What do you request from the manufacturer in terms of labelling, logos etc? Can you get specifications from the manufacturer? And if so, do they provide you with detailed specifications about the labelling and logo on product and/or on packaging etc? How does this really work? I am completely clueless and I do not seem to get an appropriate answer when searching online. If you could possibly list a few steps on the process it would be great (and I really hope that it does not take a lot of time writing this down)

    2. Are there any regulations/legislations that you need to take into account when selecting a product or when placing a label on products that you import in the US? Is there a chance that the particular product is not permitted in the US or something like that? Is there a chance that the customs (or similar) in the US reject your product due to insufficient certifications?

    3. Do you need any certifications on the products that you import in the US?

    My apologies for the long comment.

    Thanks!
    John

    1. Hi John,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad you’re finding the content on this site helpful! Private labeling is such a complex subject (as far as all of the details) that it would be too much to go into in a single comment. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend checking out the Amazing Selling Machine as all of your questions and more are covered in great detail in the course (its 4 payments of $997 or $3,499 upfront. If you put in the effort, you will likely make this back plus much more by the time you complete the course!).

      If you haven’t yet, I’d alsorecommend downloading my free ebook as it will answer some of your questions. In it’s most basic form, private labeling is simply putting your own label on someone else’s product.
      I can’t answer all of your questions specifically, but I will respond generally below:

      1. You would simply ask the manufacturer if they will print a custom logo on the product and custom packaging (not necessary, but recommended.) If so, ask for templates or specifications. Once you receive these, you can design it yourself (if you have the skills) or hire a designer to do it for you (sites like elance or even fiverr are great for this!)

      2. Yes, but again, this topic gets complex. IN addition to this, I’m not a lawyer. It’s best to consult with a professional on this. Sorry I can’t give an easy answer. Every product is going to be different. Also, every state has different laws, so depending on where you’re selling from, this can be very complex very fast

      3. Again, depending on the product, possibly. For instance, if you’re selling food items or items that touch food, you’ll want to get certifications from the FDA. This is not usually difficult as the manufacturers will often take care of this for you. There are so many health and safety laws and regulations that it is difficult to give a blanket answer to this question (for instance, FDA certifications are even required for some of my items that have nothing to do with food!) I’m very sorry I can’t help more specifically in this case.

      I learned much of this the hard way (from making the mistakes!) This is why ASM, though expensive, is extremely valuable. You would be connected with hundreds of others on the same path instantly and could talk about your specific product ideas and the best way to go about it.

      I hope this helps a bit to point you in the right direction. Thanks for your interest!

      1. Hi Daniel,

        Thank you for your very detailed response. Much appreciated. You are possibly the only blogger I follow who (at least) seems to care about their readers’ success without the BS part.

        I will surely look at the ASM. It does cost a lot of money but it is all about the ROI I guess in the end. I already watched 3 videos but I will need to make up my mind for signing up soon, as it seems that it begins shortly.

        Just a couple of questions about the ASM. I have experience (or at least that is what I believe) on ecommerce, supply chain, e-fulfilment (I already use a company in UK to do this for me for both online and offline, way cheaper than doing it on Amazon UK) SEO and SEM. I have 1 well established ecommerce business which drives most of my income, ebay and amazon shops controlled centrally (and nicely) from the magento ecommerce platform and a few small niche websites (for affiliate income mostly) including 1 big authority niche already. Moreover, I bought several different products from China in the past (Air and Ocean, Pallets usually, haven’t managed a container yet) and I have experience from international selling (nothing in US so far). However, it will be the first time to sell something in US as well as private labelled which are 2 things that I have no knowledge and experience but at the same time it is a very exciting and challenging task. (I forgot to mention that I’m based in UK and selling in UK and mainland Europe). Would the ASM be something beneficial for someone with this kind of experience?

        As for the artwork and content, I outsource all of the work on several freelancing websites to talented people (at least more talented than me, its not the ideal solution for everyone). You usually pay a little amount of money and they tend to deliver excellent work.

        As far as concerned the health and safety issues, I mostly stick to products which are neither edible nor contain any electronic components since those are usually the ones which can potentially hurt your business in many many ways. Just like you, I learned many things the hard way from my existing businesses by losing thousands of EUROs in more than one instance. I had bad experiences 2 times already with electronic products from China and I kinda drew a line there. But being clueless about the US regulations is something that concerns me a lot and from what I understand the ASM course might the way to get some answers.

        Sorry again for the long comment.

        Thanks a lot

        John

        1. Hi John,
          It sounds like you have a lot of great experience in the e-commerce world! For me, I did e-commerce for a while and it was private labeling that really sky-rocketed things, but this will have to be a personal decision for you. If you haven’t yet, I’d recommend watching video 4 which explains everything that is in the course. This will give you an idea of whether or not it will be beneficial.

          I think the biggest thing you would benefit from would be the community- people like you who are on the same path. I know the course answers some of your legal and liability questions, but having others who are doing the same things and finding what works and what doesn’t is invaluable. Obviously, you would also have access to all of the ins and outs of the process.

          Please let me know if you have further questions. I’m always happy to help however I can! Thanks for the follow up!

    2. Hi Daniel
      I’ve been digging through your website trying to glean as much information as possible. Great information. One question I have is trying to find a product to sell and finding that an ASM student has already listed their product where I thought I might. (you can tell the difference between them and a regular listing.) Am I better off moving on and trying to find a different category or product rather than competing with that type of listing?
      thanks
      Jeff

      1. Hi Jeff,
        This is a great question! It all depends on a few factors:

        1. How competitive the product is (how many listings are you competing against?)
        2. Your marketing/promotion skills
        3. The profit margin of the top (if you can get sales, is it worth it financially?)

        There are ASM members competing against ASM members :) Personally, I go for less competitive keywords and niches because I lack marketing/promotion skills and this works out well for me. ASM teaches to go for more competitive products and keywords, but Matt and Jason are expert marketers. It’s the area where they excel and teach others how to succeed. Obviously, if you can get “to the top” in a competitive niche, the sales are going to be insane (there are ASM members selling 1000 units a day or more of their products!) It all depends on what your skills are and what your goal is. I personally don’t pay much attention to “are there ASM members selling this product” as much as “how competitive is the product?” If the niche is “easy” to break into, and the ASM guy has the top spot and I have the 5th spot, I’m still going to get my “slice of the pie” (not everyone buys from the top listing) and then I can work my way up to the top. Hope this helps!

        1. Thanks Daniel..what kind of light can you shed on the steps to getting a small product (about the size of a book) from China through alibaba. There is a lot of information and disinformation on the process.
          thanks
          Jeff

          1. Hi Jeff,
            Are you looking for a detailed guide on importing? The topic is quite extensive and I would not do justice to try to explain the whole process in a quick reply. At it’s basic level, it’s a matter of setting up a business (necessary for clearing customs) finding a legitimate supplier, having a product produced and arranging a shipping method to the U.S., but in reality, there are many more steps involved. I always recommend Walter Hay’s book “Import Direct from China.” It’s a paid ebook, but it’s well worth it. If I had found it earlier, it would have literally saved me from a mistake the cost me thousands. I’ve also saved thousands more after purchasing it! I hope this helps!

            1. Hey Daniel do you use a customs broker when you order from any Chinese companies? I do have the the book you mentioned and he has several different options he suggests.

              1. Hi Jeff,
                Yes, I do. I use Samuel Shapiro & Company as they will send the merchandise straight to FBA. I talk more in detail in my ebook “Invisible Inventory.” If you don’t have this one, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

                1. Hi Daniel
                  I’m getting ready to submit sample order to a chinese mfg for one product. Once I get that order and if I like it is it proper to ask for a small test order of say 15 to 20 product.
                  thanks
                  Jeff

                  1. Hi Jeff,
                    I’m glad to hear things are moving along for you and you’re making stuff happen! That’s great! Yes, if you like the sample, you can certainly ask for a small initial order. This is a fair way to test the market. The worst they can say is no. In some cases, they may say “we have a minimum of X.” If it’s acceptable, you can buy the minimum. If not, many manufacturers are willing to work with you to build a long term relationship (if they won’t do a small minimum, let them know that this is your plan- a long-term business relationship) Best of luck!

                    1. Hi Daniel
                      thanks a lot for answering a newbies questions. Should I worry about getting a customs broker involved with a small test order. I guess my question would be when should I get a customs broker involved?
                      thanks

                    2. Hi Jeff,
                      For a small test order, I definitely wouldn’t bother with a broker. This will just add to your fees. It will be much more practical to simply ship UPS or Fedex. In fact, even for my larger orders, I shipped this way up until last year (without a broker.) I continue to use UPS and Fedex if it makes sense (if the cost is reasonable or if I need the merchandise quicker.) I hope this helps!

  6. Daniel thanks for all the info! I’ve read through every blog post and its nice to see your progression.

    I’m actually about to launch my own private label product. I don’t mind taking a loss for awhile to rank the item as I have another source of income.

    In addition to using amazon sponsored deals would you recommend using google adwords?
    I was also thinking of promoting the product with a promotion code on pinterest and places like slickdeals.

    Do you think this is a prudent strategy to build the sales rank high enough to generate organic sales?

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Glad you’re enjoying the blog! Congrats on your first private label product! That’s exciting! Will you be launching on Amazon or elsewhere? If you’re launching on Amazon, I’ve found the most effective things to be:

      1. low price (initially)
      2. Get reviews by any means possible (but only within Amazon’s policies!)
      3. Amazon pay-per-click.

      I have been experimenting with Google adwords, but so far it’s been a massive failure. I’ve been paying in FAR more than I’m making. I’ve been frantically reading everything I can on it, but I’m still having trouble. With that said, I’m promoting a product with a very slim profit to begin with, so that could be the problem. I HAVE gotten sales as a result of adwords, so if you have nice profit in your product (or if you’re willing to lose hundreds of dollars initially) then it certainly can help get the ball rolling. I’ve found that Amazon’s pay-per-click is a bit better since Amazon can track the keywords customers are using internally. This helps them place you in their system for those target keywords which means you’ll eventually be able to turn the ads off.

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about both pinterest and slickdeals as far as promotion and I have friends that do very well with this! Personally, I’ve tried Pinterest with no results (though I admit, I didn’t try very hard!) I purchased a course from Lisa Suttora on Pinterest marketing and I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of work involved to create a decent Pinterest page. It’s all about social engagement- something I’m very very bad at unfortunately (notice I don’t even have a facebook page listed on here?!?) If you enjoy connecting, engaging and posting regularly, Pinterest may be a great option for you. It just doesn’t really work with a one time post “check out this deal.”

      For slickdeals, you’ll want to look at their terms and conditions. I’m not sure if you can promote a product on Amazon, or your own product. I’ve used it for finding deals, but never for promotion. If you end up using it successfully, PLEASE share! I’d love to hear about it!

      I hope this was helpful. Thanks again for your support!

      1. Thank you I will.

        I will be targeting a more competitive keyword so it will be a little harder to rank so I’m just trying to think of anything possible to get it going.

        As far as amazon policy as long as I give the item away I can ask for an honest, unbiased review correct as long as the review states that the item was received to try?

        This product will be strictly on amazon to begin.

        I will also keep you posted as far as the slickdeals thing goes. I need to do a little more research on that as well.

        1. Hi Andrew,
          You’re definitely on the right track. Yes, you can exchange products for reviews so long as you provide the product FIRST and you ask for an honest review (you may not ask for a positive review).

          Competitive keywords are tough in my opinion. I usually like to start with a long tail variation of the keyword. Once I rank for that, it’s much easier to rank for the more competitive keyword (assuming the competitive keyword was contained within the long tail version)

          With this said, Amazing Selling Machine will be launching tomorrow. This course recommends specifically targeting competitive keywords and products. I’ve not been through the course (and continue to target less competitive keywords) but I have friends who have been through it and I’m told that the course focuses heavily on product promotion. Apparently Matt and Jason have methods of getting any product to the top for any keyword. This means some serious money if you’re in a competitive niche (I know they both make over $100,000 a MONTH!- One of my friends who has gone through the course makes over $200,000 a month- and there are several other similar success stories.) The only real issue I have with the course is the price tag (nearly $4000!) From what I hear though, it’s worth it. If it’s outside of your reach, don’t worry- making money on Amazon with private label products is very obtainable without a course. Reviews are a great place to start. Also looking forward to hearing about your other promotion methods! Good luck!

          1. Thanks Daniel! Yes I have been sort of pushed away by the price tag but I hear some very good things about the system. I see you are now promoting their affiliate so maybe you should try it out as well. If you even sell two of their course you will pay for it anyway.

            I have tried to gather as many bits and pieces as I can about the program as well and feel like I have a decent understanding of it.

            Anyways we will keep in touch, I hope to have my product launched by the end of the month

            1. Hi Andrew,
              I completely understand. The price is very high for a course like this. It is justified of course by the one one one assistance, the community aspect and the live events (as well as the great content in the course itself.) I am fortunate to have a few friends that have actually gone through the course- it basically teaches some of the same strategies I’ve used throughout the years (and I’ve been doing this long before Amazing Selling Machine existed!) but they focus on high selling, high competition products. This is still a bit intimidating to me (I’ve not had much luck with these) but obviously if you can get your product seen, the income potential is enormous!

              Keep me informed on your product launch. This is very exciting!

    2. Hey Daniel
      I just got my eyes OPENED on shipping rates for small packages..did you have to go through the expense of just shipping small product counts to test. Is there a better strategy for getting small amounts of products to test in the market place.
      thanks

      1. Hi Jeff,
        Yes, shipping small packages can kill profits. There are a few different options:

        1. Ask the supplier if they can ship via EMS or China Post. This is usually much more cost effective than UPS, DHL or Fedex (but much slower and less secure).

        2. If you’re not able to work out a cheaper shipping option, you can look for a supplier who will offer a free sample. I have a few different suppliers that I work with that do this. They offer the sample PLUS shipping.

        3. If this doesn’t work, look for U.S. supplier. The profits will likely be smaller, but the shipping will be much much less so that should make up for it. You can use the U.S. “version” to test the market (assuming it’s a generic product) and then move to the Chinese supplier when you’re ready to order in large quantity. Hope this helps!

  7. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for all of your help answering these types of questions for those that are getting started.

    I have a question about your keyword method. When you say “365 listings” from above, how are you checking the number of listings to compete with?

    For example, if I search for “blue widgets”, there’s a number to the upper left hand corner that says 1-24 of 2,000 for example. Is the 2,000 the number of listings?

    And then on the left hand side, it will also show “blue widgets (500)”, “red widgets (400)”, etc….

    Maybe those are the listings you are referring to?

    1. Hi Jerry,
      You got it! In this example, 2000 would be the number of listings you’re competing with for that keyword. Hope this helps!

      1. Awesome! Thanks Daniel.

        And my last question regarding keywords.

        Where do you place your moderate, long tail, and competitive keywords?

        Do you place all 3 in your Title or in the Keywords tab from within your item’s listing?

        1. Hi Jerry,
          Another great question. I personally put the keywords in the title, description bullet points (if they will fit naturally) and the keyword section. The “longtail” is usually just a variation of the competitive keyword. For example:

          Golf club (competitive)
          Golf club covers (moderate)
          Golf club covers for irons. (long tail)

          In this case, the long tail keyword would be the actual product (golf club covers for irons) which is ideal. Once you get it ranked for “golf club covers for irons”, it will be much easier to rank for golf club covers and eventually “golf club”- and when you do, people will buy it even if they were merely searching for a golf clubs because they will see the benefit of buying a cover as well. This is just an example, but a good one (a product worth selling!)

          1. Aah… With that piece of info, I’m almost ready to send in my first items to test the water. It’s a small batch but hopefully will give me an idea on how it will fair in the market.

            Thanks Daniel! Great keyword examples…

            1. Awesome! A small batch is the way to go when starting out. This lowers your risk. You can always get more if it goes well! Good luck!

              1. I’m a little nervous at the same time.

                I see so many other competitors with superior products than mine and feel a little intimidated going up against them.

                I guess I will find out soon enough… :-)

                1. A lot of the “perceived quality” of a product is in the marketing- great titles, descriptions and images are a good start. I certainly don’t recommend selling low quality products, but it sounds like you’re selling good stuff. Ask yourself what makes the competing product(s) seem better and then work some magic with your titles, descriptions and images to make your product look amazing. I’m not suggesting that you be deceptive in any way- just that you point out the best features and benefits. This adds value in the customer’s minds. Keep us all updated on your progress!

                  1. Hi Daniel,

                    My item is bundle consisting of two items. I’m thinking and hoping they complement each other.

                    One difference between the number of listings from your example and mine is that my number of listings is quite larger than in your example. I’m hoping the numbers are relative to the different categories.

                    When you get your family and friends to purchase your items to review, do you give them a coupon code so they don’t have to pay full price?

                    I’ve been meaning to comment on your monthly financial results. They are mind blowing and inspirational. Is most of your business from private label products or retail arbitrage?

                    1. Hi Jerry,
                      Sounds like you’re on the right track! When you type in a keyword and the results are shown, they are relative to the keyword. If the competing listings are high, it’s usually not a problem- you’ll just need to start with a more focused (usually long tail) keyword. In the golf club example we discussed, you might start by targeting “red golf club covers for irons (3,362 results instead of 4,447) or “printed golf club covers for irons (1,995 results). Obviously, if you target these keywords, you want to make sure your covers are printed and red :) The point is to find words the people are looking for that describe your product. Go from very descriptive (printed red golf club covers for irons) to (eventually) broad (golf club covers or even “golf club”)

                      When friends and family purchase, I do provide a coupon code, yes or I just give them a product (if I have it on hand)

                      I appreciate the kind words on my reports. The majority comes from wholesale and private label products, but arbitrage and media products still sell every day and definitely “fill in the gaps.”

                      Be sure to keep us updated on your progress!

  8. Hi Daniel,

    I’m thinking of sourcing this item from China. I’m planning on printing my logo on the item but I’m thinking of using the standard shipping box that it comes with without my logo printed on it to save some money.

    Do you see any problems with this or think this is a bad idea?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jerry,
      yes, this is how I did it starting out. I would either use their packaging or (if their packaging had their own “brand” I would just opt to send the products in plain white boxes.) For one product, I used their design and replaced their logo with mine. This was still very effective in terms of branding, customer loyalty etc

      Since then, however, I’ve found that most suppliers will include custom packaging for free- or at very little cost, so definitely look into this before making your decision. If they offer it free, your only cost will be design. I’ve had several packages designed on fiverr for $40 or less. If this doesn’t make sense for your budget, using their packaging is a viable alternative, but be sure the picture on Amazon shows the actual product with your logo to help differentiate it.

      Hope this helps!

  9. Do you do one-on-one phone consulting? If so, please get back to me as soon as you can. I fear that I’m making newbie mistakes in getting my product launched. Advise would be a great value. Thanks

    1. Hi LC,
      I’m honored that you would ask this of me! Unfortunately, due to working with my Dad on his business and also a couple other friends locally, I’m not able to offer any consulting or coaching. However, at the time of this writing, I’m still answering all of my emails personally. This may change in the future, but even if it does, I’ll still be involved at some level. If you get stuck on something or have a specific question, I’m more than happy to help you out! Feel free to email daniel@alittlesliceofthepie.com. Thanks for your interest!

  10. Hi Daniel,
    I was just wondering if you had any insight or good tips on negotiating with suppliers? Thanks so much!

    Brent

  11. Hi Daniel,
    I’m in the process of talking with suppliers to get quotes on my first private label product. I want my first order to be a trial order of 50-100pcs to limit my risk and test the waters, however they’re telling me sample orders are anywhere from 3-5x per unit of the 1200 piece MOQ price they quoted me.

    You mentioned you were able to negotiate from $13 to around $8 per unit! I’ve read through Walter Hay’s Importing book but I was just curious if you’ve learned any new tactics for negotiating with suppliers?

    Thanks,
    Brent

  12. Here are 2 approaches I’ve come across to collect emails.

    1. Create a bonus ebook or some other digital product related to your product that the customer can download by placing a URL on the label/packaging. The customer then visits the URL and gives their email for you to send them the ebook. This approach also serves as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition by adding additional value beyond the product itself.

    2. When following up with customers to leave a review by phone. Reward them with a $5 coupon they can use towards the future purchase of your products. Kindly ask if they’d like the coupon and when they accept, ask for their email to send it. Also ask if you can place a link to leave a review for the product they purchased in the email.

    1. Hi Brent,
      I actually use method 1 for one of my brands and method 2 for 2 of my brands! The trick is getting the visitors to the website :) I was hoping I could use adwords, but I think I’ll need to build out the sites a bit more so the visitors have more to do than fill in their email addresses- seems Google doesn’t like that much :(

      Thanks for the ideas!

  13. Hi Daniel,
    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s awesome and inspiring to see your progress and success with this approach.

    Regarding Google Adwords, do you just send the visitors directly to your Amazon product listing for each item? Do you use Google Product Listing Ads for this? Also do you still use Amazon ads to promote your items? Looking forward to a blog post about your Adwords findings!

    Thanks Again!
    Brent

    1. Hi Brent,
      Yes, I send visitors directly to the product. I thought about sending them to a website where I collect their email address, but I’ve heard from others that this is not a good idea since Google views this as a “bridge page.” The goal right now is getting the product ranked in Amazon. I’m developing a system to collect emails later.

      I used Amazon ads a bit to help with my most recent product. Now that it is doing well in Amazon, I don’t do any paid advertising for it. The post on adwords will likely come after I make a LOT of mistakes and finally figure it out (this seems to be the way I learn… sigh.) This is bad for me, but great for you! You can learn from my failures :)

  14. Hi Daniel,
    I was curious if you would provide an update on how your private label brands are selling on Amazon? Are you still seeing sales pick up or have they leveled off? Have you learned any new tricks/strategies to boost your sales? Have you still been able to maintain your $39.99 price point for this item? Have you been continuing to private label items?

    Thanks!
    Brent

    1. Hi Brent,
      Great questions! I currently have 3 brands on Amazon- with several products in each brand (my newest brand only has one product, but I’m in the process of adding 2 more and it seems it will continue to grow.) Each brand has products that sell every day. They stay steady. The newest product (with a $39.99 target) continues to sell well and is on the front page for all 3 keywords I was targeting (position 3, 3, and 7 for the respective keywords). I get between 8 and 20 sales a day. Unfortunately, it’s been difficult to maintain the $39.99 price since my competitors have all dropped their price :( However, I maintain around $32-$35 on average which I’m happy with. I’d love to get it higher of course, but need to continue to build reviews and rankings to do this.

      I’ve been experimenting with Google adwords for some products that have not sold well yet (different products than mentioned above). This is completely new territory for me. It’s incredibly effective for generating sales, but so far, I’m paying in more than I’m getting back. Meanwhile, the products I’m advertising are climbing the charts in Amazon, so my hope is that it will pay off eventually. I’m also learning as much as I can about Google adwords- knowledge which I will gladly pass on (via my blog) when I get a handle on it!

      I’ve also hired someone from elance to proactively request product reviews which seems to help a lot! Many people are happy to write a product review, but just need to be asked! I assume sales will stay steady until about September where they will increase for the 4th quarter. Thanks for asking! Hope this helps!

  15. Hi Daniel! First thanks for sharing your guide, i’ve been reading on how to sell products to amazon and found your website via google.

    I am not form the US and want to dive into private labeling for products from China.

    One Thing that keeps me thinking. How can i pay for Custom fees and duties if I tell my supplier to ship the item to Amazon Warehouse? I understand that I need to pay to my supplier for the products + shipping.

    How did you do it with your products from China?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Ferann,
      This is a great question! In the U.S, I pay the fees 2 different ways:

      1. When I ship through UPS, DHL, or Fedex, I’m billed for this directly. Sometimes I need to prepay and sometimes I pay after the fact (this is when my business is already registered with the company that is delivering.) For your first shipment, you’ll want to be sure the supplier has your legal business name, address, phone number and tax information (EIN etc.) Be sure to include this information on the package(s). You will likely receive a phone call from UPS (or whatever courier you are using) when the shipment is coming in. You can arrange to pay custom fees and duties at that time

      2. If you hire a customers broker, you will simply pay them and they will take care of all of this for you.

      Since you are not in the U.S. I would recommend option 2. Samuel Shapiro & Co is the preferred broker for FBA. If you will be importing straight to Amazon’s warehouse (which I assume you will) you will want to contact them for this. They will make the process fairly quick, and painless :)

      Hope this helps!

  16. Hey Dan,

    Thank you for all the amazing info you keep supplying to help people like me.

    These 2 points below is a bit confusing:

    - Give the product away to anyone willing to write an honest, unbiased review (completely within Amazon’s policy)

    - Run a promotion for friends and family selling the product at a loss (I lost $7.50 for each sale). Every sale, however, raises the sales rank and thus raises the position of the product in Amazon’s “search engine.” so this was like an “advertising fee”

    Ques. 1, Do you give the product for free on Amazon or outside Amazon? If on Amazon, how is this done. If outside Amazon, can one not be accused of influencing the reviewer to give a positive review?

    Ques. 2, If the friends and family do not have an Amazon Buyer account and you asked them to create one in order to write a review (normally positive) for your product, could that not be construed as something else?

    Thanks for your response.

    Your friend
    Kofi

    1. Hi Kofi,
      Great questions. I will clarify below:

      1. The product can be given outside of Amazon (simply deliver or ship the product to the reviewer yourself) or through Amazon by creating a fulfillment order (this is the same as multichannel fulfillment, but simply send it directly to the reviewer.) Amazon has a very good system for spotting “fake reviews’ or “influenced reviews.” Amazon will of course have no record of your conversation with your reviewer, but to stay in line with Amazon’s policies, I recommend simply asking for an “unbiased review” or an “honest review.” This is what I do. I never ask for a positive review.

      2. Customers create accounts for their first purchase on Amazon and often review that purchase on a regular basis. I don’t think this should or would be cause for any suspicion.

      The most important thing is to be sure you are selling a quality product that YOU would like/use/have a positive experience with. Before selling a product, be sure to get a sample and try it out. Is it high quality? Is it worth the price you will be selling it for? Would YOU leave a positive review? If you have a great product, then you’re likely going to get good reviews. Sending a product for free is simply a way to be proactive about GETTING reviews. Remember, just because someone receives something for free does not automatically mean they will leave a positive review. Using the product will still take time and energy and writing a review will as well! They are under no obligation to say anything positive, but if your product is great, their review will be also! If it’s not a good product, even if you are able to find a few people who will write a “positive” review, the REAL reviews will come in eventually and you’ll be exposed. The bottom line is, if you believe in what you’re selling, if you insure it’s high quality and stand behind the product, others will too!

  17. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for creating such an informative blog. I just finished reading your e-book and I am really exited to start my own business selling on Amazon. I have done some research and came up with a great idea for a product. Off course there is already one or two other sellers, selling that type of product on Amazon. Ranking 2,000 or less in the category. It looks like both brands are being sold by Amazon and both have TM registration. Will Amazon prevent me from selling a third similar product that I create with my own label with logo and TM??

    Thanks again for a great blog. I will keep returning here for info and sharing ideas.

    Johan

    1. Hi Johan,
      Glad to hear you’ve found the information helpful! There are a couple of different directions you can go. You could find the authorized wholesale supplier for the product already on Amazon and jump on that listing to get a “slice of the pie” that already exists, or you could create your own brand and work on promoting your brand. If I was just starting out, I would try to sell the existing brand first (if you’re able to) to be sure it is a good selling product. This lowers your risk. Once you know you have a “winner” then I would develop my own brand (assuming it makes sense to do so.) You are welcome to start your own brand of most products so long as it does not infringe on intellectual property rights. For instance, if you wanted to sell spatulas with your logo on them, that would not be a problem in most cases. However, if you go and produce a replica of the iphone and call it the “buyphone” you may run into some trouble. A trademark usually only covers that brand name or the actual mark used. As long as you are making your own brand (and possibly trademark) you will not be infringing on any rights. Be sure it’s a fairly generic product and you should be ok. Note, I’m obviously not an attorney. I would recommend getting legal advice if you’re unsure about the product.

      1. Hi Daniel,
        I Will start slow and then run with the big boys…. :) Really got interested in the idea of creating your own brand, importing from China or other country. Will for sure look into the wholesale part of the business first. I will stay in touch.
        Cheers / Johan

  18. Daniel,

    Great article. Every detail you give clarifies the process a thousandfold for me.

    A few questions for you – How long do you think it takes to begin seeing sales from when you first add your product?

    Also is there a way to see analytics as to how many people have visited your product page on Amazon?

    Thanks again,

    Will P.

    1. Hi Will,
      Thanks for the comment! As for how long it will take to get your FIRST sale, there is no way to say for sure. It depends on several factors (how competitive your product is, how in demand it is, what you do for promotion, whether or not you have reviews etc. When I first listed this product, I got my first sale within a couple of days- without any reviews, promotion or any work at all. I think this was a fluke however. When you first list a product on Amazon, it may briefly appear in the “hot new releases” section on Amazon. If anyone is searching that section in the small window of time it appears there, they may just buy it (I have no idea how else someone would have found my product!). Generally speaking though, if I do NOTHING, it will be a few weeks before I get my first sale (again, depending on the niche, competition etc). If I actively work at it, getting reviews, and promoting to potential buyers, it will happen much quicker!

      For analytics, go into reports/business reports/By ASIN/Detail Page Sales and Traffic. This gives you extensive information from number of clicks, to sales to when you have the buy box etc. Very useful! Hope this helps!

  19. Hi. daniel, I didnt speak to you in the last few weeks, how is everything? How was the trade show?

    You mention on your STRATEGY: Give the product away to anyone willing to write an honest, unbiased review (completely within Amazon’s policy)

    How to find people to give it?
    Are you sure that’s its with amazon rules? because I know that they are very strict with asking people, they can completely banned you.

    1. Hi Martin,
      Thanks for writing! The tradeshow was great and really eye-opening. I plan to write more about this soon!

      For getting reviews, yes the only thing Amazon allows is a review in exchange for a free product. Here is the line in their policy on what is NOT allowed:
      • Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package
      Their full policy is HERE

      This is actually how Amazon gets reviews for products that they sell. If you’ve heard of the “Amazon Vine” program, it is essentially this same idea. Amazon sends these people products in exchange for an honest review. The key is that you may not ask for a positive review. You must ask for an honest unbiased review. I send products to people I know personally or sometimes “friends of friends.” Once you tell someone you’re offering a free product, just ask “do you know anyone else that would benefit from this?” Chances are, they do! These people are always happy to try out a new product and give their feedback. I hope this helps!

  20. Hi Daniel
    This is a great post! I’ve been selling my own private label items in a few different places online, and Amazon is where I’ve had the least success. I just don’t seem to be getting many clicks, but this gives me some great ideas.

    I have a question about how you used your keywords…. Did you jam them all into your title, or just spread them around using the bullets, description, etc? Was there any rhyme or reason to how you used the keywords? I have pretty good knowledge of the keyword tools available online, and how Google uses keywords (title tags, H1 tags, etc) but I don’t know much about how amazon prioritizes the use of keywords.

    Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Matt,
      This is very interesting. I’ve had the most luck on Amazon with private label products and have not had nearly as much success elsewhere! I do sell some on Ebay, but nowhere near the volume of Amazon.
      When I first started, I would just a throw the product up on Amazon and hope that it sold- and a couple of years ago, this WORKED because there was so much less competition on Amazon. However, things change and it’s important to keep up! I’ve actually developed a fairly detailed strategy that works. I may write up a little course on this in the future- it’s far too much information to include in my comment (my comments already tend to be more lengthy than necessary!)

      Amazon and Google are really similar in the way that they are both giant search engines, but very different in the factors they use to “rank.” Google is all about getting the user great content, while Amazon is all about getting people to BUY the best products. You can get away with a little more on Amazon. Keyword rich titles are really important. From what I’ve gathered, Amazon puts a LOT of value on the title. Definitely use them in the description and bullet points also, but I believe the title holds the most weight. Amazon also has a section for entering keywords when you list a product. You’ll notice they have “keywords” and then “Premium Keywords” (or something like that) with a little box that says “for premium merchants only” (I can’t remember the exact wording. I always fill in both- for the main keyword section, I use the most commonly searched keywords and for the “premium” keywords, I copy the most highly searched keywords but also use many long tail keywords etc. I’ve found that Amazon values and uses this data more than Google because they want to rank you for keywords so you’ll sell products (this benefits them as well of course!)
      The big “secret” of doing well on Amazon is to get SALES. When people BUY your product, it helps your sales rank which in turn tells Amazon that people are interested in the product and they boost you up in their search engine. This is the key. If you can find a way to point people to your listings and incentivize them to buy, it will have a great effect on your listings. I hope this helps!

  21. Thanks a mill for all the info you share.

    What do you do that no one should compete with your products is there a way do make copyrite with amazon so no one is allowed to sell the same product with the same logo?

    1. Hi Martin,
      Yes, there are 3 things you can do:
      1. List your item with a “TM”. This is an unregistered trademark, but is completely legitimate in most states (check with your state- they will usually offer you a “common law” right to this)

      2. Submit your brand to Amazon’s brand registry. Amazon will then protect your brand from competitors along with several other benefits (including the ability to list your products without UPCs)

      3. Submit your brand for a registered trademark
      This is done for a fee. You’ll find some sites that “claim” to offer this service for less than $100, but there are additional filing and other fees. One of mine was a little over $400 when it was all said and done.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Daniel

        thanks

        How we can Submit brand to Amazon’s brand registry.? if we haven’t do this step first “3.Submit your brand for a registered trademark”?

        because Amazon will need registered trademark File then can permit brand registry..

  22. Hi, daniel it sounds from your posts that people can make more than just a piece of the pie!
    I have a question you mentioned number 4. Have graphics, a logo and packaging designed for the product
    How do you get someone to design a packing for a product and how do you take an excellent picture to list on amazon.
    Also can you explain about the keywords you mentioned 3 different types of keywords.
    Do you need to be a proffesional writer in order to make a perfect description for a new item?

    Martin.

    1. Hi Martin,
      The great thing about e-commerce is that it’s a 1 trillion dollar industry (and growing!) so even if I were to make a million dollars, it would still be a “piece” of the pie, because the pie is GIANT! That is why there is SO much opportunity here!

      To answer your questions, I have used Elance and Fiverr for finding packaging designers… don’t write off fiverr due to the low cost- you can get quality work done there (one of my designs cost 4 gigs- $20 for full package design- and this guy was GOOD!, for another design, I had the logo designed through fiverr and the packaging through elance). Basically, you’ll just need to obtain a “package template” from the manufacturer/supplier and send it to the designer. Then when it’s finished, send the design files to your supplier in whatever format they require (usually AI or PSD)

      For my Amazon listings, I either obtain pictures from the manufacturer, take my own pictures or do a combination. You want them to look professional. In this case study, the manufacturer took pictures, but they were not against a white backdrop (as Amazon requires). I had a designer clean them up and make them look professional. Before I had money to put into this kind of thing, I took a picture of a small product I was selling inside my microwave (with the door open- the inside of the microwave is white so it made a great “all white backdrop). I cleaned it up a bit myself in photoshop (I know VERY little photoshop, but enough to do small jobs) You could also use a program like Gimp or paint.net which are both free (I’ve used both with great results!)

      As far as the keywords, it’s a bit too big of a topic for a small comment… I may need to write a whole post on this. You’ll want to use keyword research tools. You can use free ones (like the Google Keyword Planner) or paid ones like Long Tail Pro (HIGHLY recommended). You find highly searched, low competition keywords and then attempt to “rank” in Amazon for those keywords. I write the descriptions myself. I have never hired a professional writer. It may lead to more sales, but I can’t say for sure as I don’t have experience with this.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Daniel.

        I’m really glad I found your website. This is great stuff.

        Regarding the packaging. Have you encountered a situation where the manufacture could not use your design template to create the packaging box and had to use a third party company to do it?

        I can’t use the box that my supplier includes with the item. They can’t do a custom design unless my MOQ is 3000. I’m not there yet.

        I was wondering if you had any suggestions. Thanks!

        1. Hi Jerry,
          Glad you’re enjoying the site! Every supplier will be different, but I have a couple of ideas that work for many suppliers:

          First, I always get the template from the supplier, then give that template to my graphic designer and get the design done based on the template from the supplier. This insures that everything is the proper dimensions etc.

          3000 is definitely a lot for a minimum quantity. Usually I can get away with 500-1000, but there are situations where suppliers require a higher minimum. The supplier will usually not be doing the printing themselves- they will outsource this to a third party company. This is where the minimum comes from. Here are my suggestions:

          First, shop around for a different supplier. Different suppliers will have different minimums. This is where a trading company can sometimes come in handy. They can often get the actual manufacturer to lower the minimum since they buy in such high volume- they will meet the minimums so you don’t have to. You’ll often pay slightly more per unit, but it will be worth it because you can get products at a lower minimum. Note, it’s always best to work with the actual manufacturer, but in some cases it won’t make sense (where there are high minimums).

          The second option is to strike a deal with the manufacturer/supplier. Let’s say you only want to order 100 units, but the “minimum quantity for customer packaging design” is 3000. I would approach it this way:

          I would ask the supplier if I can order 100 units with no printing on the item (no identifying marks, logos etc- just the item) but order 3000 custom boxes/wrappers/bags/labels (whatever custom designed packaging is required- for this example, lets just say they are boxes.) 3000 boxes will not be very expensive to produce when compared to 3000 products. I would simply ask if the 3000 boxes can be produced, use 100 of them and have 2900 set aside for future orders. If you never use them, you’re out some money, but it should still be worth it (packaging is relatively inexpensive.) If you do have more produced and you get to the point where you can order 500, 1000 etc, you’ve already got packaging which will speed up future production orders! Once you get to their minimum custom product order (say it’s 1000) you can begin having the logos printed directly on the products!

          Hope this helps!

  23. Daniel,

    This is an excellent case study. I stumbled upon this business model a couple of days ago and I’ve been researching it to get a gist for how it works.

    I’m thinking about tackling it by bundling a couple of physical products but I don’t know where to get a great price on these products. Do you have any sources you can turn me on to?

    Do you have any experience with “bundling” products?

    In your experience, would you stock inventory if you get a great price on some items or not?

    I’m really thinking about going for the more expensive items but I like your strategy and thought process. And, your conscious decision to take a loss on the front end, in order to make bank on down the road is really admirable. WAY TO GO!!!! A lot of us wouldn’t even consider taking that risk. As a matter of fact, we’re so afraid of spending money and losing money, we totally miss out on MAKING money!

    Will you be posting any more case studies in the next month or so? I would love to learn more from you and apply a lot of what you’ve shared to growing my own business.

    I just subscribed and will be looking forward to receiving notices about your blog posts.

    1. Hi Fred,
      So glad the case study helped! To answer your questions:

      1. Yes, “bundling” products is a fantastic way to not only raise your profit, but also get exclusive listings. I have done this many times. This was one of my primary strategies before I discovered private labeling. I am now focusing on a more “hands off” approach- having my suppliers send directly to Amazon which makes bundling nearly impossible unless the items come from the same supplier (which I still do occasionally.)

      2. Bundling can be done with arbitrage (buy low sell high- you don’t need a “supplier” for this) or by utilizing wholesale suppliers. Worldwide Brands will give you access to millions of products through suppliers, but it’s not not a necessity to sign up with them (it’s just more convenient). They tell you on their site how to find suppliers yourself (look at the packaging on the item you want to sell, locate the companies contact information, call them and request to be connected to the wholesale/distributor division, get pricing etc.) You can also import from China using sites like Alibaba and others. However, if you go this route, I would recommend reading ” Import Direct from China” as this will save you a LOT of time, money and mistakes when importing.

      3. I didn’t fully understand this question. It sounds like you’re asking if I would stock items if I get a good price on some, but not others. If so, the answer is yes. My strategy is to sell some products QUICKLY that make very little profit (per item) and sell some items SLOWLY that make large profit. Obviously if you can find item that make good profit that also sell quickly, that is ideal, but generally speaking the fast selling products will only make a few $$ each while the slow selling products will make a lot more. Both are helpful to have in stock!

      4. Yes, with private labeling, it’s generally very worth it to take a loss on the front end. This is why I teach not to START here. You should start with items where you are making a profit consistently (media, arbitrage wholesale items with an existing track record etc). Then, once you build enough profit that you are able to risk some of it, then it’s time to take a loss to build profit on the back end (at least that’s my strategy – which has succeeded every time I’ve tried it)

      5. I’m not sure if I’ll have more case studies in the next month, but definitely more in the future!

      Thanks so much for subscribing and for your interest!

      Daniel

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