Category Archives: Seller Central

Launching on Amazon is getting Harder – Do it Now Before it’s Too Late

Amazon is entering the maturity phase of it’s business. They’ve won the eCommerce game, and they’ve won the retail game. They’ve successfully made it faster and cheaper to buy items across the United States than anywhere else. I personally predict that American Made and High Quality Goods will be the next phase of Amazon. In addition to that, you will need to start pushing external traffic into Amazon to even get off the ground.

Examples of new barriers to entry:

  1. Categories Requiring Approval – Grocery, Topicals, among the hardest.
  2. Ads within Amazon ecosystem aren’t triggering impressions as of June 2018 without prior sales history. (No one is talking about this)
  3. Brands much have a trademark to register with Amazon. It takes 6 months to get a trademark.
  4. All consumables, liquids, topicals, require hazmat approval.
  5. Batteries require documentation.
  6. Photos, titles, and other critical attributes are now being towed to a specific bright line. Either produce good customer experience, or Amazon removes them or changes them to whatever they see fit.

So what do you do about all of this? Launch on Amazon now!

In order of priority, here are the things you should do:

  1. Open a Seller Central account.
  2. Hire a consultant who can get you launched. Yours truly has scaled an Amazon Agency, and we onboard 3 clients a week. www.MyAmazonGuy.com Steps 3+ are best done by the pros.
  3. Load products to the account.
  4. Ship products in.
  5. Optimize products. Get your titles, photos, bullets, back end SEO all setup.
  6. Launch Sponsored Ads.
  7. Launch a storefront. Article and video on that here. 
  8. Launch Headline Ads.
  9. Build Enhanced Brand Content.
  10. Get reviews on your products.
    • Sign up for early reviewer program.
    • Get Feedback Genius to automated review requests.

Every company ever is going to get stuck on one of those steps. Whether it’s the logistics, the merchandising, or the marketing. That’s why you should hire a consultant who can get done in days what your company will try do in months. Let the top executives make the hiring decision of on a consultant, so that they are empowered to cut through the red tape, and growth hack you some results.

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How to Create Amazing Amazon Listings: Part 2 – Amazon Title, Bullet Points, Descriptions, and Search Term Best Practices

Creating an Amazon Listing that generates sales and builds a brand takes a lot of work.
You have to have titles optimized, copy in place for title and descriptions, backend keywords added, clear photos, and much more.

Today, we’re going to talk about optimizing our title, bullet points, descriptions, and search terms to ensure that we get in view of potential customers and convert as many clicks into sales as possible.

A software called Sellics states that the order of importance is: Title, Back-end Keywords, Bullet Points, Description

Title Best Practices:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word
  • Don’t include trademarks or registered marks
  • Don’t include the type of company (Ltd, Srl., Inc., etc.)
  • Include only the information required for each field
  • Avoid duplicate words
  • Keep under the Character Limit of 200
  • Add keywords to title to help with SEO

[Example:

Meliora Goods 4K Ultra HD QLED Smart TV 240Hz High-Contrast 1 Billion Shades of Color HDR Power-Efficient Voice Activated Back-Lit (65”)]

 

Bullet Point Best Practices:

Bullet points should highlight the five key features you want customers to consider. These might include dimensions, age rating, ideal conditions for the product, skill level, included accessories, country of origin, and so on. Each individual bullet point should:

  • The first words on each bullet point should start with all-capitalized letters followed by a Colon
  • Reiterate important information from the title and description where applicable
  • Use semicolons to separate phrases within a single bullet point
  • Be more than 10 characters but less than 255 characters
  • Use 3-5 Bullets with 2-5 sentences in each.
  • The first bullet should be unique to the SKU and should capture the attention of the customer
  • The second through fifth bullet points can include size, brand statement, generic benefits that can apply to multiple SKUs

Bullet points should never include:

  • Website links

[Example:

  • MAXIMUM ANTI-AGING RESULTS: Our Anti-Aging Serum is a luxuriously rich, silky Facial Serum formulated to diminish the visibility of fine-lines, age-spots, and wrinkles. Enriched with 24k Gold, Amino Peptides, and super-antioxidants Vitamins A,C,E – all known for their anti-aging properties – this Serum improves skin’s firmness and elasticity for a radiant, youthful appearance. Directions: Gently tap onto clean skin. Use 2-3 times a week. FOR ALL SKIN TYPES.
  • HIGH-PERFORMANCE ANTI-AGING INGREDIENTS: Enriched with powerful Anti-Aging ingredients 24k Gold, Amino Peptides, and super-antioxidants Vitamins A,C,E – all known for their anti-aging properties, this Serum is designed to boost, nourish, and recharge your skin for a glowing, radiant appearance. 24k GOLD is the best natural, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory antioxidant. POTENT AMINO PEPTIDES stimulate Collagen reproduction. VITAMINS A, C, and E are super antioxidants for best anti-aging results.
  • HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE TIMELESS SERUM TO BOOST RESULTS: This 24k Timeless Anti-Aging Serum defies the aging process by reducing the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles, and other visible signs of premature aging. It nourishes the skin from within with supreme anti-aging ingredients for a luminous, flawless appearance. This cream’s luxurious texture will leave your skin revitalized and recharged for hours after each application.
  • BEST VALUE FOR THE GOLD STANDARD OF SKINCARE: We provide spa-level skincare at an affordable price point providing the best value for an exclusive, high-end skincare.
  • MADE IN USA. NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS. CRUELTY-FREE. PARABEN FREE. NO FILLERS. NO HARMFUL FRAGRANCES: Discover the Gold Standard of Skincare. Buy now and discover the Gold Standard of Skincare. Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back.]

 

Product Description Best Practices:

The product description lists the product features, explains what the product is used for, and provides other product-specific information.

A good product description is concise, honest, and friendly. It introduces the product and gives an overview of its uses and where it fits in its category. It can expand on the features mentioned in the bullet points.

When writing your product description:

  • Use between 100 and 200 words, but under the character limit of 2000
  • Write full sentences and use a full stop at the end
  • Include HTML formatting

[Example:

Enjoy our <strong> Living Progesterone Cream </strong>! Each pump of Living Progesterone 50 delivers a generous 50mg of Progesterone, or 5% strength per bottle. <br /> Every Living Progesterone 50 container manufactured includes over 80 pumps that should last approximately 2 months. <br /> Living Progesterone 50 is 100% Paraben free and 100% Phenoxyethanol Free. <br / > Living Progesterone 50 has a 5% strength, which means that one pump provides 50 mg of progesterone. <br /> Living Progesterone 50 usage may vary, however, one bottle should last at least 2 months. After it is applied, Progesterone only lasts for about 5-6 minutes in the bloodstream because it is so readily picked up by receptor sites. <br /> The most important time of day to use progesterone is before lunch. Insulin levels are the highest in the afternoon, which, of course, is why many people get sleepy between 3-4PM. Please keep in mind that when sugar levels drop, the body will be releasing adrenaline to raise the sugar levels back up. <br /> <strong> How to use: </strong> <br /> This container yields about 180 half pumps or 90 full pumps. Massage into your inner arms, thighs, chest or apply to inner forearms and rub arms together until fully absorbed. Use at night or once or twice a day as needed. Each pump delivers about 55mg of Bio-Identical Progesterone along with MSM, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, and Licithing in a rich cream that absorbs into the skin. <br /> <strong> BENEFITS: </strong> <br /> Progesterone has been shown to help with a variety of health conditions, including: <br /> – Stress <br /> – Adrenals <br /> – Unbalanced Cortisol Levels <br /> – Sex Drive <br /> – Managing Cholesterol Levels <br /> – Sleep <br /> – Restless Legs <br /> – Managing Thyroid <br /> – Managing Blood Sugar <br /> – Aging <br /> – ADHD <br /> – Depression <br />]

 

Search Term Best Practices:

In order for customers to find your products, it’s important to provide keyword search terms customers might use when searching for products…

Our system limits the length of the generic keyword/search terms attribute to less than 250 bytes. It is still technically possible to go over the limit, however if you do, none of your entries will be indexed by our search engine. Being indexed means that your product is eligible (but not guaranteed) to appear in search results.

In general, characters count as 1 byte. However, some special characters such as ‘é’, ‘ä’ or ‘&’ count as 2 or more bytes. We recommend that you use an online byte counter to check the byte count of your generic keywords.

Your keywords should be:

  • Not separated by a comma or semicolon
  • Include synonyms, abbreviations and alternate names.
  • Include spelling variations; no need for misspellings.
  • Use either singular or plural; no need for both.
  • Don’t repeat words within the search terms field.
  • Don’t include your brand or other brand names in search terms.
  • Don’t include ASINs in search terms.
  • No need for stop words, such as “a” “an” “and” “by” “for” “of” “the” “with” or punctuation, such as ; : , – .
  • No temporary statements, such as “new” or “on sale now”
  • Don’t use subjective claims, such as “best” “cheapest” “amazing” and so on.
  • Don’t add abusive or offensive terms.

[Example: ORO24KARAT ORO 24KARAT GOLD OROGOLD 24K 24KGOLD reinvigorating express non-surgical facelift minimize age spots reduce fine lines new anti aging formula anti wrinkle made with gold 24 karat]

 

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Understanding the Amazon Inventory Index – The Magic Score of 350

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether inventory will be limited, and when the magic date comes into effect for FBA inventory limitations. With the new FBA Inventory Storage Limits, if your Inventory Performance Index is less than 350 for six weeks before the end of a quarter you will be notified of your potential storage limits. If your score is still less than 350 on the final day of the quarter, the limits will apply for the next quarter. This means that your score of less than 350 for six consecutive weeks before the current quarter ends and at the end of the current quarter will have a limited storage.

In order for your FBA Inventory Storage Limits to be unlimited, you may need to maintain your score of 350 or greater than for standard-size, oversize, apparel, and footwear items. You will only have storage limits if your Inventory Performance Index score is less than 350 six weeks before the end of the current quarter and on the last day of the current quarter. In this example, you would not have storage limits if your score is more than 350 first score check which is six weeks before the quarter ended or the final score check.

Quarterly storage limits are based on 1) your sales volume, 2) your historical Inventory Performance Index scores, and 3) available fulfillment center capacity. Sellers with consistently higher scores will receive higher storage limits, adjusted for sales volume and available capacity. When setting limits for an upcoming quarter, both your recent sales volume and seasonal volume from the last year are considered.

Seller Central Help File: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/GXLRKWL8L5BMSHWB?referral=A3TI3F8839JJFF_A2VMNEEYCY3YGZ

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Amazon 2018 Prediction of Massive Seller Acquisition & Mergers MyAmazonGuy + Seller Accountant

Steven Pope (MyAmazonGuy) teams up with Tyler Jefcoat (Seller Accountant) to discuss their prediction that here will be a massive amount of acquisitions and mergers in the Amazon Seller world in 2018 and in the next 3 years. Investors are starting to gobble up brands selling on Amazon, typically brands that are 80-90% of their sales specifically on Amazon.

Amazon is entering the maturity phase.

Image result for maturity phase cycle

Amazon is entering the maturity phase.  Amazon has grown grown grown and now it’s maturing. What happens when a company like Amazon matures is they make it harder for sellers to participate as a seller on Amazon. Barriers and additional rules like Hazmat reviews, gating, higher threshold metrics that accounts have to adhere to, and increasing fees. It’s now ripe for sophisticated sellers to gobble up competition and bring additional resources into the same house. Investors can bring 5-20 different Seller Central accounts into the same company and have on person to run the following areas just like a single company:

  1. Marketing & Sales
  2. Accounting & Finance
  3. Merchandising & Product Growth
  4. Customer Service

By bringing multiple brands together, you can have deeper expertise focused in these areas. You can have a rockstar (who you pay exceptionally well) run all the accounts in any of those specific job function. As a single account you wouldn’t be able to afford that expertise. But as a group, you have one person over each of those areas.

So watch our discussion so you can learn what it means for you as an potential investor, or a seller (regardless of whether you are selling your business):

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How to look up a trademark with United States Patent and Trademark Office

Getting a trademark is more important to your business than ever. A trademark protects your products and your brand. Without it, you have no recourse to another person or company ripping off your stuff.

Today it’s never been easier to order something off Alibaba Express and start selling an item. We live in the Amazon private label age. If you spend time and money investing in a new idea and don’t get a trademark or patent in place, someone can start selling your exact product and piggy back off your success.

Sometimes even on your own Amazon listings they’ll show up with knockoffs. That not only damages your brand and product, but it could put pressure on your pricing and hurt your margins.

Trademark leads to Brand Registry on Amazon

Having a trademark allows you to get brand registry on Amazon, and you can report products and the sellers of those products for infringing on your trademark. The Amazon brand registry also allows you to build enhanced content, advertise headline ads, open a storefront with a vanity url of www.amazon.com/(your_brand_name_here), and better control your data.

It’s easier to get a trademark than a patent, so at bare minimum get a trademark in place for your brand. Trademarks currently heavily impact success on Amazon. In the near future they could impact other marketplaces and websites as well.

This video walks through how to look up a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Which is a starting point for figuring out whether a trademark is in place for your brand name.

  1. Go to https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database
  2. Click “Search Trademarks” (lands you at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:tt6qdr.1.1)
  3. Click “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)”
  4. Type the name of the brand or trademark in, it is case sensitive.
  5. Find the live trademark in question to find the needed information.

You will need to do this if you’re trying to figure out if a brand has a trademark, whether you want to create a trademark, of if you have an Amazon account and want to file for Brand Registry but are unsure if a trademark exists.

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Amazon Accounting – Interview with Tyler Jefcoat CEO of Seller Accountant – Profit, Taxes, Books

I sit down with Tyler Jefcoat, CEO of Seller Accountant, which does ecommerce bookkeeping. As both an Amazon business owner and Amazon consultant I ask Tyler about several important areas that impact Amazon sellers and business owners.

1. How to calculate profit
2. When you should you start paying yourself, take profits?
a. Is it pie in the sky? Can you do both?
3. Importance of quality books
4. What is the best way to manage cash?
5. How to make investment decisions? Weather storms vs investing in growth and automation efficiency and profitability of business.
6. Sales tax properly

Important accounting questions to ask yourself: Will it increase my sales/save me time?/speed velocity to collect money/improve quality of life?

Measure every quarter with every expense for each of those questions.

https://www.taxjar.com/ – automatically file tax quarterly/monthly. Where are the states you have nexus in?

You can reach Tyler for a free ecommerce accounting consultation at http://selleraccountant.com/

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Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Amazon Account vs Leveraging Another’s

It recently dawned on me after setting up a couple dozen seller central accounts that not every seller really needs their own account. And while there are pros and cons to both options, starting your own account, vs leveraging another seller central account, many first time sellers may want to consider using someone else’s. What I mean by using someone else’s seller account is – sell your products at wholesale to another retailer on Amazon. Or give them a rev share. They handle keeping stuff in stock, all the customer service messages, reviews, marketing etc.

You can open a Seller Central account here.

If you are a manufacturer or wholeseller and have never sold on Amazon before, you should at the very least hire a consultant (such as myself…). Whether you launch your own account, or leverage another seller’s depends on your mission and resolve.

 

 

 

 

Pros of using your own seller account:

  1. Visibility into daily sales
  2. Control
  3. Everything is tied to single tax id
  4. You can spend more marketing dollars out of your own pocket

Pros of leveraging another’s account:

  1. Save $40 per month in Amazon seller account fee
  2. Less time required and far less setup
  3. Customer service messages, shipments, and other items are more easily handled for me as a consultant (less $ you have to pay me)
  4. Faster sales velocity due to prior account history
  5. Marketer likely knows how to better spend dollars to get sales

How many skus do you have?

  1. If you have 10 or less skus and sales under 50k a year – you should use someone else’s account.
  2. If you have 10+ skus and sales over 50k a year – you should be on your own seller central account.

Distribution control and MAP can also impact which direction makes the most sense.

Problems that can come up when you open a Seller Central Account:

  1. Identity documents Amazon requests don’t match and you can’t finish setup
  2. Multiple accounts. If your email or phone number are attached to another seller account you may get flagged and unable to sell.
  3. Bad bank account information
  4. Tax ID issues

If you run into any of these issues I can help you sort them out steven@myamazonguy.com

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