I have been inundated recently with questions regarding selling on Amazon.
If you haven’t yet seen our latest monthly stats post you can do so here – Amazon Monthly Stats – July 2015
So in answer to the emails, FB messages, comments and helpdesk tickets I’ve been receiving, here are the answers to the most common questions;
1. What is Amazon FBA?
FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. In other words you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and they pick, pack and distribute your products while also offering full customer service including returns & refunds etc.
This allows you to focus on what’s important such as promoting and marketing your products.
2. What is Private Labelling?
Private-label products are typically those manufactured by one company for offer under another company’s brand. (Wikipedia)
So another company manufacture’s a product which you then purchase at cost and brand as your own.
We typically source our products in China as the manufacturing costs are lower allowing us to achieve a greater profit margin when selling the product on Amazon.
3. Do I have to source from China?
We typically source from China to keep costs down, however private labelled goods are manufactured world wide, so you can source from wherever you prefer or can get a good price.
4. How much money do I need to get started?
This is important, as unlike many online business opportunities, you will need up front investment for your stock & for shipping that stock to the Amazon fulfilment centers.
The cost of your initial product really depends on the product you choose, so the lighter and cheaper it is the less up front investment.
It could be as low as $800 or as high as $5000 for your first stock order, it depends on how good your negotiation skills are!
We started with $1300 for 500 units and then reinvested the profits back in to the business for the next stock order.
5. Are there any extra fees / costs?
As with all businesses, there are always going to be extra costs you need to account for, but they will vary greatly depending on the different choices you make as your business grows.
To start with as well as your stock costs, there is a fee of $40 for selling on Amazon which is paid monthly.
They also charge you storage, handling and referral fees, but these only come off when you make a sale. So they are not extra funds that need to be found.
You may want to invest in one of the software options out there that make life easier when sourcing / listing products. These typically range from $30 / month to one off fees of $100 or so. Which ones you choose to invest in is entirely dependant on you.
Then once you are up and selling you will definitely want to start investing in some more advertising options. You may want to write & submit press releases, use Amazon PPC, run social media campaigns, outsource some of the daily tasks etc. It’s almost impossible to predict what your specific costs will be.
But the idea of any business is to keep costs low as the business grows, reinvest your profits, and ensure all advertising is an investment not a cost, i.e., you get a return on your investment.
6. How much time do I need to invest?
This is a very tough question to answer, as in all honesty, the answer is whatever time you have to dedicate to it.
If you treat it like a full time business, you’ll get full time results, If you do it part time you’ll get part time results.
In other words the more time you have to dedicate to it, the faster you’ll get results.
Like everything in life you get out what you put in.
So I guess the better question is, can I start this part time while running my other business / doing my other job.
The best way to answer that is to give you an example of one of our students who had 3 jobs when he started his Amazon business.
6 months down the line, he has given up 2 of them and is about to sack the 3rd job to do this full time.
So Yes you can start this while funding yourself through other means and it won’t take long before this out funds your other means!
7. Why do you sell in the US?
We sell in the US because it’s the biggest market and therefore the lowest hanging fruit.
Of course the method can be replicated anywhere in the world there are Amazon fulfilment centers, but we highly recommend cutting your teeth where there is the most business.
8. What If I’m Not Based in the US?
We have students from Australia, the UK, Malaysia, Europe, South Africa and all over the world. It really doesn’t matter where you are based, you will still trade in the US.
The business model is such that you will arrange manufacture of your goods in say China and then will get them shipped directly to the US, so the only time you may lay eyes on your product is when ordering a sample for yourself.
You do not need to create a business entity in the US. In fact you do not need a business entity at all, (although later you may find for tax purposes it is beneficial to do so).
You can set yourself or your business up as a seller on Amazon.com wherever you are based in the world and sell your goods in the US.
Please note we do not offer advise on how to set yourself up as a business and urge you to speak to a qualified professional, ie an accountant in your own country if you wish to go down this route.
9. Is Amazon saturated and won’t us new sellers be competing against each other?
With over 240 million customers and hundreds of thousands of products we have a long way to go to reach saturation.
Add to that Jeff Bezo’s lofty goals and future predictions for the growth of Amazon and I can confidently say the time is NOW!
10. How does Amazon pay me?
You get a direct payment into your nominated bank account every 2 weeks, which is made up of total sales revenue minus FBA fees & expenses.
11. Are there any technical skills required?
None whatsoever, that’s one of the things I love about this business model.
If you are happy to simply sell your products on Amazon then all you need is to get your head round Amazons platform (not difficult), be able to use email and / or Skype to communicate with suppliers and have unwavering tenacity and a strong work ethic.
If long term you decide to expand your business beyond Amazon, then at that stage you may start to consider a website, your own brand growth etc. But to get started, no tech skills required.
12. Do you offer any training / coaching on building an Amazon business?
Unfortunately our training program Azon for Beginners is now closed for the foreseeable future. But there are lots of resources out there to help you with your journey.
1. This blog! Keep an eye out for update posts, tips and strategies for growing your Amazon business and be sure to download my The Beginners Guide to Building a Business on Amazon ebook which walks you through the 4 key steps to starting and growing an ecommerce business on Amazon
2. Keep your eyes & ears out for webinars and updates from Jason Fladlien & Wilson Mattos from Rapid Crush. These are the very clever guys we learnt from and I highly recommend their training programs.
3. Ezra Firestone is a must. Having been in the ecommerce game for over 10 years now he is a man of great experience and is happy to share his experiences with you. You can find him here – http://smartmarketer.com/
4. Scott Voelker is an Amazon Seller and runs a popular weekly podcast on how to start, grow and build your Amazon Business.
5. Chris Guthrie, also an experienced Amazon seller runs a blog which not only helps with selling on Amazon but also covers general online entrepreneurialism. Also from time to time he also opens his Amazon Selling coaching program which specialises in helping you to grow and build your own profitable Amazon business, plus he’s just launched a new podcast dedicated to Amazon sellers.
As I find more resources I’ll be sure to add them to my posts. In the meantime I hope these help!
I do hope this has helped to answer a lot of your questions.
This is really a work in progress and if I have missed anything or you have any further questions please ask below and I will update this post to include them.
In the meantime, please ensure you have downloaded my The Beginners Guide to Building a Business on Amazon ebook to understand the 4 key steps to getting your Amazon business off the ground and do check out the ecommerce section of the blog to read all about our very exciting journey on Amazon!
Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to ask your questions below, I’m here to help!
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