Welcome to my Monthly Stats post.
This business is so exciting I wanted to record it’s growth from the very beginning and share with you what’s possible!
Hence each month I’ll create a post to show my sales stats on Amazon and also do a quick profit & loss for you so you can see what actually ends up in our pockets!
Please note I will never reveal exactly what my products or branding are. Not because I’m precious about it, I’d much rather give you a warts and all account of my journey.
But the conversion rate of my listings pages on Amazon is paramount to my rankings and I don’t want to run the risk of people just ‘having a look’ as it could have a devastating effect on my sales. Something to bear in mind for your products also.
I’ve included December 2014 & January 2015 together as this was my very first product which quite frankly was just a catalogue of disasters from start to finish!
Let’s do the numbers first.
Total Sales for the two months – $5612
Stock & Shipping – $1100
Promotional Expenses – $3500
FBA Fees – $1900
Marketing Costs – $1500
Total Profit / (Loss) – ($2388)
1. I didn’t understand at the time what a variation relationship was on Amazon.
It’s basically where you have a product and then you have variations on that product like colours or sizes.
It’s not difficult to grasp but there are a few more hoops to jump through.
So I merrily agreed to receiving a multitude of colours of my product, but I had no clue as to what the colours were or how many of each were arriving.
I arranged to have them sent to FBA Inspection which is a great middle man service in the US which receives your products for you and inspects / labels and reboxes if required before sending to Amazon. It’s a bit more money but worth it when receiving stock from unknown suppliers in China.
They separated the colours and let me know numbers etc.
Now this in and of itself wasn’t a terrible mistake. It was good to learn about variation relationships on Amazon and an interesting experience to go through, but had I done my research on my product a little more I would have seen that there was one particular colour which seemed to be the most popular and saved myself a lot of time and trouble!
2. The original sample sent to me from the supplier was designed in a specific way so I presumed (never presume anything), that the final product would of course be exactly the same.
So I set about designing all my images and descriptions on Amazon based on that presumption.
Unfortunately the first I knew that the design was actually different from the sample was on a review from a customer!
So having sent out multiple products for review I was now frantically getting photos and changing the image designs.
I know, I know, sounds obvious doesn’t it, but when you’re up to your eyes in all the organising and shipping etc, checking the product is just a small issue at the bottom of the priority pile!
Unfortunately this ended up in a few negative reviews, not what you want when you’re launching a new product.
Lesson – Always know exactly what’s leaving the warehouse. Ask for pictures of your product! As the product owner, it’s imperative you know exactly what you’re selling!
3. The packaging I chose for the product was sub standard and easily damaged in transit.
Therefore when the product arrived with the customer it looked all bent out of shape, which also contributed to some negative reviews.
Lesson – Pick simple but robust packaging that’s less likely to get damaged in transit.
4. Because one of the colours was outselling all the others, we started to give lots of coupon codes and freebies to increase reviews overall and our ranking, with the goal of ordering more inventory of the one colour and having a great BSR (Best Seller Rank) and hundreds of great reviews.
We ordered some more stock at the end of December expecting it’s arrival at the end of January.
Unfortunately our supplier really took his eye off the ball and although we chased and chased, the product was still not ready as Chinese New Year hit. By this time obviously all our stock had sold out (it had gone by the first week in Feb), our BSR had tanked and all the work we’d done on increasing our ranking was lost.
The stock eventually arrived a bit battered and bruised on April 24th. So now we have to start all over again increasing our ranking.
The good news is that we have lots of great reviews and another 4 months experience under our belt.
Big Lesson Learnt here – Typically when you pay a supplier they’ll ask for 30% up front and then 70% prior to shipping. We’d paid the lot on the suppliers assurance it was ready to ship.
Unfortunately we did so via a bank transfer so we had no come back whatsoever on that cash.
If you pay a supplier via Paypal or on a credit card you can reclaim the funds if anything goes wrong. Believe me I wanted my cash back and to tell the supplier what to do with his stock, but we just had to sit on our hands and wait or we would have lost the money.
So always pay via a method that gives you a reclaim option!
So, that was the start of our business!
Lots of great lessons learnt that we were able to take into the launch of our next product.
You see, things happen, stuff goes wrong. You just have to get up, dust yourself off and crack on!
That’s what we’ve done and I can’t wait to start sharing our growth!
Thanks for reading.