Welcome to Full-Time FBA

arrow-blue-outline-rightWelcome! On this blog, we talk about our journey towards making FBA our full-time job. We give out free tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time, money, and resources. If you want to subscribe, just fill out the form over on the right side of the screen.

Seller Central Cover Mini x3To show you our appreciation, we’d like to give you a free download link to our newest book, Seller Central Tips: Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches. When you confirm your subscription, the download link will magically show up in your inbox.

By the way, we hate spam as much as you do, so we only send you stuff that will help you make FBA your full-time job! Let us know if you have any questions.

Stephen & Rebecca Smotherman

It’s Our 4th Bloggiversary, But You Get The Free Gifts!

Four years ago this week (July 11 to be exact) my wife and I launched the Full-Time FBA blog with the goal of helping people turn part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.

It’s been an amazing four years filled with more than 170 blog posts, over 3000 comments, and a line of indispensable resources focused on helping you with your Amazon FBA business (keep reading for a limited time coupon code!).

We’ve also provided you with hours and hours of free video training on the Full-Time FBA YouTube channel, as well as an active Facebook community of Amazon sellers who love to help each other out.

But enough about us…

Today, I have THREE very important announcements to share with you. If you like saving money or getting things for free, then you’ll probably like this:

Overcoming Your FBA Fears1. FREE BOOK – Our first ever Kindle book, Overcoming Your FBA Fears, is now available as a free download. This book currently has 82 reviews with an average star rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. We’re really pleased with how well this book has been received by the reselling community. You can download this book for free right now.

Overcoming Your Amazon FBA Fears Vol 22. FREE BOOK – Our most recent Kindle book, Overcoming Your FBA Fears Volume 2, is a follow-up to the highly successful Volume 1. This week only, Volume 2 is also absolutely free to download and will help you overcome many of the fears that are holding you back from finding success in your Amazon FBA business.

3. THE BIG BLOGGIVERSARY SALE – To celebrate our 4th year of the Full-Time FBA blog, we are having a special 5-day flash sale on all of our best-selling products starting today (July 10). If you use the coupon code FULLTIME40, you’ll save 40% off the cost of all of these ebooks and video courses:

Book & DesktopThe Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions

Keepa and CamelCamelCamel are programs that track both the sales rank and the current low price of almost every item on Amazon. This course will help you understand the complicated data in order to use the sales history on Amazon to accurately predict future sales ranks and prices.

Use coupon code FULLTIME40 and save 40% off the cost of the course.

The Reseller’s Guide to Selling Shoes: Kick Up Your Profits With New Shoes Via Amazon FBA

Raise your ASP (average selling price) by adding shoes to your Amazon FBA sourcing strategy. In this course we’ll show you where to find profitable shoes to buy and how to sell them on Amazon for amazing profits!

Use coupon code FULLTIME40 and save 40% off the cost of the course.

The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits

Sales rank is one of the most misunderstood aspects about selling on Amazon. In this course, I’ll show you how to understand sales rank so you can make much better sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA inventory.

Use coupon code FULLTIME40 and save 40% off the cost of the course.

Book Cover 3D TransparentThe Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business

Imagine if you knew everything you needed to know for every month of your Amazon FBA business. In this book, I’ll show you what to do, what to expect, what to avoid, and how to make the most profits each and every month of the year.

Use coupon code FULLTIME40 and save 40% off the cost of the ebook.

BoardGameBook MiniThe Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money

Board games, both new and used, can be found in abundance to resell. In this book, I’ll show you the secrets on how to know what new and used board games are most profitable and how to maximize your profits in this highly overlooked sub-category.

Use coupon code FULLTIME40 and save 40% off the cost of the ebook.

Note: The coupon code FULLTIME40 will expire at midnight (Pacific) on Friday night, so use the coupon to save big on on all of our best-selling Amazon FBA resources before the coupon code expires.

Finally, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining my wife and I on this Full-Time FBA journey. We both look forward to many more years filled with helpful articles, new books, videos, and – especially – hearing from you on how you were able to turn part-time hours into a full-time income via Amazon FBA.

Stephen & Rebecca Smotherman

 

JoeLister Review: How to Increase your Customers with Multi-Channel Fulfillment

We’re all looking to increase the amount of customers looking at our online inventory and boost our e-commerce sales, right? The more people who see your inventory, the more people will buy it!

One way to get more customers buying your inventory is to list that inventory on multiple sales channels. You can also use multi-channel fulfillment, where your inventory is listed on multiple channels but fulfilled from one channel. For example, you can list your inventory on both Amazon and eBay, but have the Amazon FBA warehouse fulfill your orders, regardless of whether the sale comes from Amazon’s website or eBay’s.

JoeLister is a third-party program that allows you to list your Amazon FBA inventory on eBay in just a few clicks per item. I’ve been using JoeLister for a few months now, and I’ve enjoyed the boost in sales I’ve received from having extra eyes viewing my inventory.

Since I’ve had a while now to get some experience with JoeLister, I want to share with you the reasons I like the program and a couple of my frustrations as well.

Let’s start off with the positives:

  1. Automated listing on eBay – Who doesn’t love automating your online business?! I love that with just a few clicks per item, I can create listings on eBay from my Amazon FBA inventory. Part of the reason I hadn’t tried multi-channel fulfillment before now is that I don’t love creating each individual eBay listing. But JoeLister makes the process of creating the listing super easy by importing titles, descriptions, and pictures from Amazon into the eBay listing.
  1. Smart pricing feature – JoeLister is able to make calculations based on both the Amazon fees and the eBay fees, and it gives you suggestions for your eBay price accordingly. It’s important that you know your numbers when you are setting your prices, and JoeLister makes it simple for you to make comparisons with your Amazon price and with other recent eBay listings of similar items. You can easily set your eBay price with your payout for that sale in mind. Note: Amazon terms of service require you to price your multi-channel fulfillment inventory at or above your Amazon price when you’re pricing on other platforms. You should not set your eBay price lower than the Amazon price when listing through JoeLister.
  1. Automatic fulfillment of orders – This is where JoeLister becomes even more exciting, in my opinion. When you list an item through JoeLister and an eBay customer purchases it, the fulfillment process for that order is completely automatic. JoeLister communicates between eBay and Amazon to set up the fulfillment order, have the item shipped from the Amazon warehouse to your eBay customer, and provide the tracking information. You just sit back and watch!
  1. Syncs with Amazon and eBay – Another cool feature of JoeLister is that it synchs your inventory amounts between Amazon and eBay. So let’s say you have your Amazon inventory listed on eBay through JoeLister, and you make a sale of one unit of that item through Amazon – JoeLister automatically syncs and adjusts the quantity available on eBay for that listing. It works the same way going the other direction – if you make a sale on eBay, JoeLister syncs to adjust the quantity available in your Amazon FBA inventory. You are never in danger of selling an item on one platform when it’s not truly available because you already sold it on another platform.

Frustrations with JoeLister:

Our business model includes a lot of shoes, and we’ve noticed a slight problem when we are automatically creating listings on eBay from our shoe inventory. When JoeLister imports the title of the product, it often takes the title directly from the parent ASIN of the shoe. That parent ASIN title doesn’t include any info about the size or color variation that I’m actually wanting to sell on eBay. When this happens, I have to then manually add the size and color for my variation to the title as I’m creating the listing. Kind of a pain, but not a big enough problem to be a deal breaker for me and JoeLister.

In general, I recommend double-checking all your titles when you are importing your listings from Amazon into eBay anyway. Amazon and eBay titles are two different beasts, and you want to make sure your eBay listings through JoeLister are optimized for eBay customers who are searching for the types of items you are selling.

Overall, we have enjoyed having JoeLister as an addition to our e-commerce business. We definitely saw the most benefit from using the service during the Q4 months, but we have continued to see enough sales in the early months of this year to justify using JoeLister.

The pricing options for the service range from 100 listings to an unlimited number of listings, and we have tinkered with different amounts during Q4 and afterwards. Everyone has a different strategy for how they want to use the service, so I recommend just trying it out for a while and seeing how it might best benefit your own particular business. You don’t have to import all of your Amazon SKUs to eBay with JoeLister, so you can play around with different combinations and see what types of listings work best for you with multi-channel fulfillment.

If you’re interested in trying out JoeLister, you can get a two-week free trial through this link. You can check out their website for more information on the types of plans they offer and for videos about how to use the program. If you do the two-week free trial of JoeLister, hopefully you will make enough in eBay sales during that two weeks to be able to pay for a subscription moving forward!

Have you tried JoeLister before? Have you tried multi-channel fulfillment of your Amazon inventory? We would love to hear your thoughts and questions on the topic in the comments!

How to Find Profitable Inventory for Amazon FBA Sourcing

In the course of just one week (or even a day!), it is possible to come across thousands of items you could potentially resell on Amazon. Obviously, not all of those items are going to make the cut and end up in your shopping cart. Some items are a no-brainer purchase. Some are definitely NOT something you should buy for resale. And some items are kind of iffy – should you buy it or not?

How do you know whether to buy an item or just pass and move on to the next item?

For the rest of this article, I want to talk with you about how to find profitable inventory to sell on Amazon – more specifically, I want to show you my thought process when I’m deciding whether or not to buy an item.

First things first: I want to make sure you are using the right tools when you are sourcing. When I am doing retail arbitrage (RA), I always use the Scoutify app on my smart phone to scan inventory and see all the necessary numbers to make a smart sourcing decision:

  • Sales rank
  • Price
  • Fees
  • Profit
  • Number of competitors
  • Historical sales rank and pricing

Some sellers choose to use only the Amazon Seller app for doing RA, but I have found the info it returns to be incomplete. I prefer to have more information at my fingertips when I make a sourcing decision, so I use the Scoutify app that comes bundled with the listing software Inventory Lab.

OK, now that we have that covered, let’s look at my thought process when I’m making a sourcing decision. This process works whether you are doing RA, OA, wholesale purchasing, or any other type of sourcing for Amazon FBA.

I typically ask myself 4 main questions when I’m making a sourcing decision:

  1. What is the ROI? We’re all in this business to make money, so we want to make sure the items we’re sourcing have a good ROI, or return on investment. When you are first starting out at Amazon FBA, I recommend finding items that have a 100% ROI. If you have a higher percentage ROI, you have a lot more wiggle room to make some mistakes and adjust your price if necessary. As you gain more experience and confidence, you can begin sourcing items that have a lower ROI. Some sellers stick with 75% and above, while others stick with 50% or above. If you find an item that will sell very quickly, you can even go as low as 30% ROI. The main point here is to find items that have a good ROI, whatever the parameter is that you’ve set. If you can’t make money on your investment, you want to move on and look for different inventory items.
  1. Am I approved to sell the item? Some categories are gated for certain sellers, and some brands are restricted to sellers. The second thing I look at when I’m making a sourcing decision is whether or not I am approved to sell an item. If I can’t sell it, there’s no point in continuing to consider it. You can see whether or not you are approved to sell an item from within the Amazon Seller app, but Scoutify also has a link to show you whether or not you are restricted for the item.
  1. What is the sales rank? The sales rank of an item is how I can tell whether or not the item will sell quickly on Amazon. Amazon tells us the current sales rank of every item in their catalog, and we can see that information when we scan an item with a sourcing app. You want to make sure, though, that you are considering the average sales rank when you make a sourcing decision, not just the current sales rank. Amazon updates sales rank frequently throughout the day, so you need to know how much that sales rank varies over time. You can look at graphs on CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to figure out the average sales rank in a glance; both Camel and Keepa have quick links through the Scoutify sourcing app. I recommend checking out an Amazon sales rank chart to make sure you know what is a low or high sales rank for the category of the item you are looking at. Our blog offers a monthly updated sales rank chart for subscribers. You can use the chart to see if an item’s average sales rank falls in the top 1%, 3%, 5%, 10%, or higher for its category.If you’re interested in learning more about sales rank, we offer an affordable mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. I’ve included in the mini-course everything I know about sales rank to help you get started with making smarter sourcing decisions.I make my sourcing decision based on how high or low the sales rank of the item is. If an item has a low average sales rank, it is a faster selling item. If the average sales rank is high, the item will sell more slowly.
  1. What is the competition?Unless no one else is selling a particular item, you are going to have competition if you sell that item. There are two main competitors you need to consider: Amazon and other third-party sellers. When it comes to competing with Amazon, I generally choose not to buy items that Amazon sells. I always look to see if Amazon is in stock on an item or has been in stock recently. If so, I typically pass on that item unless I can price it significantly lower than Amazon. As a general rule, Amazon does not tend to share the buy box, and since the buy box is where over 70% of Amazon sales come from, I don’t want to risk buying inventory where I will never have a chance to get that buy box. To see the history of Amazon being in stock or out of stock on an item, I check the Keepa graph for the item through the Scoutify app. I also like to look at the other third-party sellers who are priced competitively on the item. I’m only interested in those sellers who are priced within 1% or 2% of the buy box price. Anyone priced higher than that isn’t truly going to be my competition.I want to make sure there’s a relatively low number of sellers priced competitively, so that I can be assured of getting time in the buy box. The higher the sales rank, the fewer competitors I want on the item. If the sales rank is lower, I am more willing to tolerate a relatively higher number of competitors – with a low sales rank, the item will be selling fast enough that I can still get time in the buy box and make my sales.

Those are my four main deciding factors when I am making a buying decision for my Amazon FBA business. As with anything, there are some exceptions that come up when I’m looking at this criteria. The more comfortable you are with your experience at making these decisions, the more you will be able to see when there are exceptions to the buying parameters you set up for yourself.

There are other less important factors I sometimes consider, as well, such as number of reviews and whether or not they are positive. I tend to use other factors in my decisions when I’m on the fence about a buy.

Do you use similar buying criteria as the ones I’ve covered above? Is there anything else you absolutely must look at before making a buy for your FBA business? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Why I’m Using Poshmark to Sell My Amazon FBA Returns

Have you used the fashion buying and selling platform called Poshmark? It’s a website and mobile app where users can list their new and used clothing, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics for sale. I recently began using Poshmark as another platform (along with eBay) for selling my Amazon FBA shoe returns and shoes with boxes damaged in online arbitrage (OA) shipments.

Poshmark is super easy to use and geared towards the Instagram crowd, with lots of sharing, following, and liking of sellers and their items. Buyers can scroll through photos of fashion items arranged by brand, style, and people you follow. You can comment on items and @reply to other people’s comments, similar to other social media apps.

I decided to give Poshmark a try, since I have a stack of shoes in my office that I can no longer sell as new on Amazon, either because a customer returned them no longer new or because they arrived in an OA shipment with a damaged box or generic box (I don’t like to send higher end shoes to Amazon without a brand new, pristine box). I spent some time one afternoon setting up my account, snapping photos with my phone, and listing shoes in my new Poshmark closet. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results and wanted to share about Poshmark with you, in case you have Amazon returns in the apparel category that you want to try listing.

If you’re interested in trying Poshmark, you can sign up with the code UZGDS to get a $5 credit to your account (in case you want to buy something instead of just selling stuff!).

Here are few of the reasons I’ve been enjoying using Poshmark:

  • It is always good to have multiple selling platforms. While Amazon FBA is our number one way to make money selling shoes online, we like to diversify our selling platforms, so that we always have multiple methods of generating income, just in case. We recommend keeping an active eBay account in good standing as a seller, but it’s nice to have another alternative through Poshmark.
  • Poshmark has an extremely simple interface. Confession time: Setting up my Poshmark account was the first time I’ve learned a new selling platform on my own. I married into Stephen’s Amazon and eBay accounts. I was hesitant to set up an account on my own, but Poshmark is very easy to set up and navigate, both as a buyer and a seller. Seriously, I had several pairs of shoes listed in my Poshmark closet in way less than an hour.
  • The expectations for Poshmark photos make it quick and fun to list your items.  The layout of Poshmark is very Instagram-y (I know, that’s not really a word), and I found it a lot easier to make my photos look nice and conform to standards on Poshmark than on Amazon and eBay. No need for white backgrounds or a certain number of pixels. Poshmark asks sellers to use photos of items in attractive settings or styled the way you would wear them. I came up with a quick way to arrange my shoes for photos on our living room mantle with our everyday flowers and artwork in the background. Poshmark gives options for different filters on your cover photo for each item, so you can make an ordinary photo stand out a bit more. Listing shoes on Poshmark feels a lot more like making a social media post than working on Amazon and eBay listings.
  • Poshmark has set prices for shipping, paid by the buyer. Poshmark uses USPS Priority shipping, with a standard $6.49 shipping fee, paid by the buyer. Once you make a sale, Poshmark emails you a PDF of the label to print and attach to your package. I love not having to worry about trying to set up free shipping or any other shipping concerns! Sometimes they offer reduced or free shipping as an incentive to help you get more sales, which is another great feature.
  • Along with the shipping incentives, Poshmark encourages other incentives for buyers. So far I’ve felt that Poshmark does a good job of creating a fun atmosphere that encourages buying. They have theme “parties” every day, where certain styles or brands are promoted. If you have listings in that theme, you can share your items at the party and gain more eyes on your listings. They also encourage sales or percentages off if buyers create their own bundle out of your closet.
  • Poshmark is social, but it requires little effort to interact. One of the features of Poshmark is that you can “follow” other sellers. Unlike most social media platforms, which require lots of effort to build up a following, Poshmark seems to generate lots of followers without much work. I have no idea how, but within the first week I had 300+ followers. I’m making sales and getting likes and shares without much effort. I’m sure I would have more if I followed a bunch of other people so that they would follow me back, but for now I’m satisfied where I am. I think the fact that I have high quality, name brand shoes is what makes me stand out.
  • Poshmark has helped me get ideas for my Amazon FBA inventory. It’s so easy to get sucked into browsing Poshmark, much the same way you can get sucked into scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. I’ve really enjoyed flipping through other people’s closets and seeing which brands and styles are getting tons of likes and shares. It has helped me understand the apparel niche better as I’ve seen buyers interacting over the items they prefer the most.

I sold my first pair of shoes within a week of listing them, and since then I’ve had sales trickle in every 2 or 3 days on Poshmark – right now Poshmark is doing better for us than eBay for selling shoes!

I’m also considering cleaning out some items from the closets around our house and listing them on Poshmark, and I’ve browsed and found a few items for sale that I’m keeping my eye on. If you enjoy shopping for apparel for yourself and your family, you should consider checking out the deals on Poshmark. If you sign up and use the code UZGDS, you will get a $5 credit to get you started in your Poshmark account!

Have you used Poshmark, as either a buyer or a seller? Are there similar platforms you use for your Amazon FBA returns? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

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If you’re ready to step up your game with selling shoes on Amazon, check out our course, The Reseller’s Guide to Selling Shoes: Kick up Your Profits with New Shoes via Amazon FBA. It’s a combination ebook (100+ pages) and video course (over 4.5 hours of no-fluff content) that will help you avoid all the mistakes we made and get your shoe selling off on the right foot.

How to Capitalize on Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping Price Change

Amazon just quietly changed the price for non-Prime members to qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping, a decrease from purchases of $35 down to $25. In other words, non-Prime members now have to buy only a minimum of $25 worth of Prime-eligible items in their shopping cart in order to qualify for free shipping. This can be an order containing a combination of items from every category.

This is not the first time Amazon has changed the price to qualify for free super saver shipping. In October of 2013, the price for free super saver shipping increased from $25 to $35 and remained $35 for almost 2 years. In early 2016, the minimum price increased from $35 to $49. In the middle of 2016, Amazon started to feel the impact of Walmart.com’s $25 free shipping threshold and responded by lowering super saver shipping from $49 back to $35. This week, Amazon has again lowered the minimum price back down to $25.

If you react correctly, then this change by Amazon will actually help your business. Here are some reasons to celebrate this change:

Amazon-Prime-Streaming-Video-Service-Bundles1. With this change, more people will be buying items that are Prime-eligible (this means items stored at FBA warehouses). With more people buying Prime-eligible items, there will be more people to buy your FBA products.

2. The more people who decide to use Prime shipping as a non-Prime member means that more people will be testing out Prime shipping benefits. More customers will fall in love with the free Prime 2-day shipping, and that will cause more people to sign up for Amazon Prime. The more Prime buyers, the more customers to buy your inventory.

It will take a little work, but those that react the fastest will win. I recommend doing some price changes quickly. Here is what I plan on doing with my inventory:

Price-Increase1. Price many items at $25. Search and see which inventory items I have priced between $22 and $25 to see if I should raise the price to $25. Based on my competition, this might be a great idea. This strategy will cause non-Prime shoppers to get free shipping on your items and they will choose your $25 item instead of a competitor’s item priced at $22 + $5 shipping.

2. Another “magic” price point will be $12.50. If the item you have could possibly be bought in multiple quantities, then this is a great price point for people who want to buy two. Two items at $12.50 total $25 and will qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping!

Of course there will be some exceptions to the above rules. Exceptions come into play when you look at other current FBA prices, how many items are being sold of that item, how the particular product category works, and more… but most of my prices will be updated with this thought process in mind! For more from Amazon on the Super Saver price change, click here.

So what do you think about the new $25 price point? How do you plan to react to these changes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Want more info on how to make a full-time living doing FBA? Scroll up, look at the right side of your screen, and subscribe.

Using Feedback Genius To Generate Positive Product Reviews

Last time on the blog, I interviewed Karon Thackston about her new book, Review Advantage (she said her coupon code review10 is still live). In that interview Karon shared so many great tips and tricks (as well as what not to do) in order to get more product reviews for the items you’re selling on Amazon.

Now we know that getting multiple great product reviews is important to increase sales, but too many times the process of asking for those reviews can be time-intensive. Some sellers seem to think it takes so much time that they don’t even ask for reviews at all. If only there were a program that would automatically ask customers for product reviews for us! Spoiler alert: there is!

I wouldn’t recommend trying to generate product reviews for every single item you’re selling on Amazon. If you’re selling one-offs or items with lots of sellers on the listing, you can’t spend the time and effort to generate reviews for those items. It’s just not worth it.

But some types of items you might be selling on Amazon could really benefit from a few (or many!) more product reviews. Here are the types of items we think are worth spending time and effort generating product reviews for:

  • High number of multiples/replenishables – For me it would take at least 10 or 20 units of a very profitable item in stock before I would want to take the time and effort to increase product reviews.
  • Items that I can order wholesale – If I can easily restock an item from a wholesale source, it’s worth it to me to help that product get more reviews.
  • Items where I create a new listing – It seems kind of obvious, but I would definitely take the time and effort to try to generate reviews for new listings that I have created within the Amazon catalog. This would also include bundles or private label items.

As we discussed in our previous blog post with Karon Thackston, there is a right and a wrong way to go about generating product reviews. Again, I highly suggest you check out that blog post for Karon’s great insight on this topic.
Once you’ve decided you have a product worth your time and effort in trying to generate new reviews AND you’ve studied up on how to compose the right type of email asking for reviews, I suggest looking into automating the process.

One method I’ve used to generate product reviews on listings I’ve created is the service Feedback Genius. Now, in the past I’ve done blog posts about how I’ve used Feedback Genius to keep my seller feedback at 100% – but Feedback Genius is also a great way to send out compliant emails to generate product reviews without going against the Amazon terms of services.

The way Feedback Genius works is you set up the service to send out automated emails to customers who buy your items on Amazon. If you’re trying to increase your seller feedback, you set up an email with links for leaving seller feedback to go out to anyone who buys from you on Amazon. But you can also set up the service to send out an email when you sell a particular ASIN, and that email will include links for leaving a product review. Pretty cool, huh? One automated system for emails, two different types of results.

For example, we had a source for the 4th edition of a book that was selling really well for us. After several months of selling on the well-established product page for that book, the 5th edition of the book was released. We decided to go to the effort of creating the product page for the 5th edition, knowing how well we had done on the previous edition – the new edition should do equally well, right?

Well, after a couple of weeks, we started to see sales trickle in, but we weren’t getting any reviews on the book on the new product page. We also noticed that even if we typed “5th edition” into the Amazon search bar, the 4th edition was still coming up at the top of the search for that book – possibly because the 4th edition had way more product reviews than the newer one.

We decided to set up Feedback Genius to generate product reviews for the 5th edition of the book, and sure enough, within a short time we started seeing lots of 5-star reviews coming in. The 5th edition also moved up to the top spot in Amazon searches for that book. Success!

We knew going into the venture that the book has a history of being well-received, and we knew it would be worth the time, effort, and money to send out the emails to generate product reviews. We had a source to keep replenishing our stock of the book, and we enjoyed the increase in sales once it had more reviews and landed in the top spot of searches.

If you have a product that fits the criteria we listed above and you think it could benefit from some extra product reviews, check out Feedback Genius for generating reviews. Signing up through our Full-Time FBA link will get you a free 60-day trial with 500 free emails. That’s a lot of free emails!

So if you combine the lessons you learn from Karon Thackston’s wisdom on how to get more product reviews with the automated services of Feedback Genius, you should start seeing more reviews on your products…which should lead to more sales!

Now, we’d love to heard from you! Which items in your inventory could use more product reviews? Have you tried to seek reviews from your customer’s yet? What strategies have you used (that are within Amazon’s guidelines)? Let us know in the comments below.

Improve the Customer Experience: Think Like an Amazon Customer

One thing Amazon wants to be known for is having the most customer-centric online marketplace in the world. Amazon truly takes “the customer is always right” to the extreme – just look at their super lenient return policy if you need an example. They want happy customers. Customers who will come back again and again. Customers who trust Amazon. Customers who leave raving reviews. Customers who tell all their friends how much they love Amazon.

Amazon wants the customer experience on their website to be the best in the world.

And that’s a phrase you as an Amazon FBA seller should remember and ingrain into your psyche: the customer experience. If you can begin to focus on how you as a seller can contribute to the customer experience on Amazon, you can begin to increase your profits and decrease your returns as an FBA seller.

The easiest way to make this mindset shift is to think like an Amazon customer. Shift away from always thinking like an Amazon seller…shift toward thinking like an Amazon customer.

Shift away from thinking only about your bottom line as a seller…shift toward thinking about how the customer will react when they open your product after their delivery arrives.

One tendency many of us resellers have developed over time is frugality. We are always on the lookout for a good deal, and we’re willing to overlook some minor flaws in order to save a few bucks. When customers go to Amazon, however, to purchase new items, they are looking for good deals but not at the expense of quality. They don’t want to receive an item with dinged up packaging or crushed corners. They want their merchandise to arrive in pristine, gift-quality condition.

As resellers, we absolutely cannot send in inventory to FBA warehouses that will cause customers to lose trust in Amazon or have an unpleasant customer experience. We must look for ways to positively impact the customer experience by providing quality merchandise. And when we give customers a great experience, it can increase our profits by giving us more sales, more product reviews, and more positive feedback.

Here’s how your contribution to the customer experience can increase your profits:

  • Thinking like an Amazon customer opens your eyes to see more items to source. Too often when we’re sourcing we pass up quality inventory because we think, “No one would ever buy that!” But if you’re thinking like an Amazon customer, your mind is open to the possibility that even the oddest item could be something customers are searching for. Scan everything (we use the Scoutify app), and don’t just disqualify items because you personally would never be interested in buying them. Pay attention to sales ranks and sales rank history, and you’ll begin to learn trends in what Amazon customers are buying.
  • Thinking like an Amazon customer helps you find higher ROI items. ROI is return on investment – and in general we as Amazon sellers want to get the biggest ROI possible. As you’re scanning items and keeping an open mind about what customers are looking for, you can start finding items that other sellers would overlook, but that have great ROI potential! Often we make assumptions that items aren’t worth anything, but when we do the work of 1) thinking like a customer on the search for these types of items, 2) scanning anything that fits the description of what an Amazon customer would be looking for, and 3) paying attention to sales rank and how it works in different categories, then we can start finding items that stand out and have higher ROI than if we just follow what every other seller is doing and chase after the latest BOLO.

Now let’s look at the other side of this coin of thinking like an Amazon customer. Here’s how you can begin to decrease your return rate:

  • Think like an Amazon customer while you’re sourcing. When you’re sourcing for inventory, the biggest way you can positively impact your return rate is to stop sourcing borderline items. It may be a hard habit to break, but for the sake of your seller account, I highly recommend you not buy items that are at all questionable as to their condition – and that includes packaging. No more dinged tins, crushed corners, broken plastic, or missing shoebox lids. The reseller thinks, “They’re just going to throw the box away. What difference does it make?” But the customer thinks, “What’s the deal? Why is this packaging all messed up? Is something wrong with the item also? Guess I should return it.” While you’re standing there in the clearance aisle sourcing, stop looking at the dollar signs on your scanning app for a moment and think about how your customer would feel opening an Amazon box and finding this particular item. Would they be pleased with their purchase? Or would they be disappointed because of how it’s presented? There are plenty of high quality inventory finds out there for you to source, so if you think the customer will be disappointed at all with the item in your hand, put that item down and keep moving down the aisle. Your return rate will thank you.
  • Think like an Amazon customer while you’re listing. When you’re listing your items for sale on Amazon, always round down on the condition. You’re not going to be making it out of the store with borderline items anymore, right? But sometimes inventory items make it home with you and you find out too late that there’s a defect in the packaging or something else about the item that makes it not in new condition. In these cases, always round down on the condition. Do not list them as new. List them as like new or very good.

Think like an Amazon customer. If someone buys a book in like new or very good condition, but they open it up and see that it’s way better than they imagined, they’re going to be pleased (and possibly leave you positive seller feedback). On the other hand, if they order a new book but open it up to find it has shelf wear of any kind, that book might be on the fast track to your return pile (and your seller feedback might take a hit). Always round down on the condition, not up.

It’s not worth it to make 5 extra dollars on a sale but risk the return or the impact on your seller account – it’s not even worth it to make $50 extra! Amazon sellers must stop putting their bottom line ahead of the customer experience.

It may seem counterintuitive to think like an Amazon customer, but really, try it! Next time you’re out sourcing or back at the computer listing, start thinking about your products and how a customer would respond to these products if they receive them in an Amazon shipment. It may sound crazy, but thinking this way will begin to increase your profits and decrease your returns.

Have you found some ways to think like an Amazon customer? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Imagine knowing exactly what to expect in your Amazon FBA business every month of the year.

Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way this year. 

Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month to make progress toward making this year your best sales year ever.

Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 200-page ebook, monthly live webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

How to Increase Your Amazon FBA ASP (Average Selling Price)

Today’s post is a follow-up to the previous article we posted about why you should consider trying to raise your ASP, or average selling price. If you haven’t read that first article yet, you might want to refer to it before diving into this one.

For a quick review, your ASP is the average amount of money you make in sales per item you sell on Amazon. Raising your ASP has some great benefits to add to your Amazon FBA business.

But HOW do you go about raising your ASP?

It might seem easier said than done, but the reality is you can take a few steps to impact your ASP and give your Amazon FBA profits a boost. Here are our suggestions for increasing your ASP:

1. Set a minimum selling price parameter.

A while back, we made the decision in our Amazon FBA business to stop sourcing items that are selling for under $10-$12 on Amazon. Even if we could make 100% ROI on an item that is selling for $8 or $9, we decided to stop sourcing those items and focus our sourcing on higher priced items. When we eliminated the low-priced items from our sourcing strategy, we had more money to focus on buying higher-priced items – partly because we could add up the saved sourcing money to go towards higher-priced items and partly because we were saving money in fees and prep costs when we raised our ASP and lowered our overall number of units sold.

The $10-$12 range is what we chose for our minimum, but for other people that amount might be different. This type of minimum sales price might affect a lot of booksellers or others who (like us in years past) are dependent on high volumes of low-priced toy sales. Overall, though, we have found that eliminating those super low-priced items from our inventory has been the biggest practical step towards raising our ASP.

2. Consider selling bundles or multi-packs.

Multi-packs are multiples of the same item for sale on Amazon. Bundles are a group of items with a similar use or theme for sale on Amazon.

If you follow the Amazon guidelines, you can create your own bundles for sale and increase your ASP per unit sold over the ASP if you sold all of those individual items from your bundle separately instead. If you’re interested in learning more about selling bundles on Amazon, I recommend The Book of Bundles.

For multi-packs, you can no longer create a multi-pack if it doesn’t already exist on Amazon, but you can list a multi-pack of items if it’s already available in the Amazon catalog. Like bundles, multi-packs offer a great way to raise your ASP per unit sold over the ASP if you sold each of those items from your multi-pack separately instead.

Once again, you also save money in fees if you sell items in a bundle or multi-pack instead of individually. For example, if you sell 5 individual units of a $10 grocery item, you would make $50 in sales, but you would have to pay 5 sets of FBA fees. If you sold it as a multi-pack of 5 for $50, you would still make $50 in sales, but you would only have one round of FBA fees to worry about.

3. Source higher-priced items.

It might seem obvious, but sometimes we need to get back to the basics of the topic we’re trying to learn – if you want to raise your ASP, you need to have higher-priced items in your inventory. You can’t sell high-priced items if you don’t have high-priced items available for Amazon customers to buy.

The easiest way we found for selling higher-priced items in our FBA business was to add shoes to our inventory. Our ASP in the Shoes category is about $70, and our overall ASP across all categories combined has risen to $47 now that shoes are a main staple in our Amazon inventory.

When we talk to other sellers about adding shoes to their Amazon inventory, we often get asked, “Isn’t Shoes a restricted category? Isn’t it hard to get ungated?” And the answer is YES Shoes is a gated category, but NO it’s not hard to get ungated in Shoes right now. If you want more info about how to get ungated in the Shoes category, you can click here to download our free guide for the shoe approval process. If you want to read more on our blog about selling shoes on Amazon, you can click here for the blog series.

Shoes aren’t the only higher-priced items you can source. Other sellers like to sell electronics to raise their ASP. Some sellers go with high-priced toys to raise their ASP. Whichever category you like to focus on, there are ways to start sourcing higher-priced items as a step towards raising your overall ASP.

Those are the top 3 ways that we have impacted our ASP and raised it to a point where we’ve seen an increase in our disbursements and a significant boost in our Amazon FBA business. Do you have any other tips or tricks you would add to this list? Please leave us a comment below!

Why You Should Consider Raising Your ASP (Average Selling Price)

Did you see that we recently released a PDF of Amazon acronyms you can print out and refer to in your FBA business? If not, you can grab a copy of the acronym list here as a handy reference.

One of the acronyms at the top of that list is ASP: average selling price. Over the next couple of blog posts, we’re going to discuss ASP and how it impacts your business.

Your ASP is the average amount of money you make in sales per item you sell on Amazon. ASP is calculated by dividing the dollar amount of sales by the number of items sold. To find your ASP, follow these steps:

  • Log in to Seller Central.
  • Hover over Reports.
  • Click on Business Reports.
  • Check out your Sales Snapshot – your ASP is the amount listed for “Avg. sales/order item.”

Why is it important for you to know your ASP and why is it important to increase your ASP?

I really believe that an Amazon FBA business needs a higher ASP in order to make it long-term in this business. If selling on Amazon is a business for you and not a hobby, you want to make sure you’re getting paid like a business would pay you. One way to increase your ability to pay yourself out of your business is to increase your ASP.

Sure, there are plenty of people who are able to make good money on Amazon with a lower ASP, for example book sellers or sellers in other categories that depend on high volume at low prices. Depending on your business model, you can really make a lot of money at high volume and low prices. But along with that type of business model also comes more work because you’re having to find and sell more items in order to make that volume. That type of business model also might require more outsourcing if you want to scale even larger, more sourcers to find your inventory, more listers and preppers, etc. I’m not saying this isn’t a viable business model; I’m saying that selling at a low ASP comes with a price.

In my experience, my business has seen more growth when I have focused on finding items to resell at a higher ASP, rather than trying to increase my volume on low ASP items. I’ll share with you a few reasons why I believe this has been the case:

1. You can save a lot of money on FBA fees when you raise your ASP.

Let’s think about an example using two FBA sellers, Bob and Sally. Bob typically sells lower priced items on Amazon. Today so far he has sold 10 items at $10 each, so he’s made $100 in sales. Sally, on the other hand, has sold one item today, but it was priced at $100. Both sellers have the same dollar amount in sales, but their FBA fees are taken out of those sales differently. Sally only has the one sale, so she only has to take care of the referral and FBA pick & pack fees for just the one item ordered. Meanwhile, Bob has to pay the referral and FBA pick & pack fees 10 times for 10 items. All those fees on low priced items add up over time.

In the end, Sally’s $100 of sales allows her to take home about $80 of profit. Bob’s $100 of sales leads to closer to $60 of profit. If you increase your ASP, you reduce your fees and increase your profit.

2. You can save a lot of time, money, and effort on prepping and shipping items when you raise your ASP.

Think about Bob and Sally again. With Sally’s one $100 item, she only had to expend the time, money, and effort to put one FBA label on her item, put one poly bag on her item, and pack that one item in her FBA shipment. But Bob with his $10 items…he (or someone he has hired) has to put on 10 FBA labels, seal 10 poly bags, and pack 10 items for shipment to get that $100 in sales. All of those costs add up over time, and you can save money and increase profits by reducing the amount of prep work required in your business. Increasing your ASP is a great way to reduce your necessary prep work.

3. You can give yourself more wiggle room for price fluctuations when you raise your ASP.

Back to Bob and Sally…

For sellers like Bob who have items priced mostly in the $10-$15 range, if the going price of their items begins to drop, they don’t have much room to lower their price and stay competitive without losing all their profit. If they lower the price even a couple of dollars, it drastically changes their return on investment (ROI). But if Sally’s $100 item lowers in price by $1, $2, or even $5-$10, she still has wiggle room to lower her price and stay competitive, without sacrificing her ROI.

Note: In general I don’t recommend always lowering your price whenever your competition does, which can start a race to the bottom. But in those instances where for some reason you need to keep your price competitive, having that wiggle room to lower your price without sacrificing profit and ROI is a nice feature of increasing your ASP.

4. You can increase your Amazon disbursements if you raise your ASP.

When you have fewer fees removed from your FBA sales and you sell more items with higher ASP, the natural result will be higher disbursements from Amazon. More profits, more money to reinvest in your business, and more money to take out of your business in the form of income for yourself and your family. That’s the progress we personally have seen over the past few years – the number of items we have sold via FBA has decreased each year, but our ASP has increased, and as a result our Amazon disbursements have increased.

Like I said earlier, some business models work very well by selling a high volume of items at a lower ASP. But for the amount of time, effort, and money that I want to invest in my business, I have found that sourcing and selling higher ASP items has given my business tremendous growth. My goal is to continue making a full-time income with only part-time hours through Amazon FBA, and increasing my ASP has been a vital component of achieving that goal each year.

Here’s one strategy I suggest for anyone who might struggle with having enough money in their sourcing budget to make it from one Amazon disbursement to the next: Start setting aside a portion of your budget solely dedicated to higher ASP items. Make sure you are gradually working at finding items that will increase your sales without increasing your work. In my next blog post, I’ll go into more detail about how to raise your ASP and start getting more bang for your buck with your sourcing budget, time, efforts, and energy.

Keep an eye out for that next blog post soon, but in the meantime we would love to hear from you in the comments. Have you had success increasing your ASP over time? Are you actively trying to increase your ASP? Or is your business model built on lower ASP items?