Selling on Amazon. Which Categories Are Best?

As a new seller on Amazon, you may be feeling a bit uncertain about which categories to start selling in. When I started selling back in 2013, I had no idea which categories were the most popular or which were the most competitive, and I know from my student’s feedback that choice of category can be a sticking point.

With that in mind, I’ve sectioned out some of the main categories on Amazon.com into high, average and low volume:

Updated February 1st 2017

High Volume:

Health & Personal Care*
Sports and outdoors
Toys & Games*
Beauty*
Cellphones & Accessories

Medium Volume:

Kitchen & Dining
Home Improvement
Office Products
Home & Kitchen
Pet Supplies
Patio Lawn and Garden
Baby

Low Volume:

Art Craft & Sewing
Musical Instruments
Camera & Photo
Computer & Accessories

* Categories that require approval from Amazon (restricted categories). Note that Toys & Games only requires approval to sell over the Christmas shopping period. The rest of the year Toys and Games does not require approval.

So what does this mean that selling in low volume categories is a waste of time?

No, not at all! However, you should expect to sell less in these lower volume categories and if you plan to use FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) to store and ship your items to customers, then you should definitely consider selling in a category with a higher turnover.

Generally, when starting out, it’s simpler to sell in a ‘medium volume’ category. There are literally 10’s of 1000’s of suitable products to sell in these categories and you won’t face the same fierce competition associated with the highest volume categories.

However, even the high volume categories have sub-categories with less volume and less competition. So it’s a good idea to ‘drill down’ a bit and uncover some of these potentially very profitable sub-categories.

Amazon offers endless possibilities, but that’s part of the problem! Don’t let too much choice hold you back. Choose a category and stick to it until you have your first product listed and selling on Amazon. Action is the key!

Beginner Drop Shipping Questions

Earlier today I got some really interesting drop shipping questions from one of my new students and decided to post them here for the benefit of anyone considering drop shipping. I’ve not named the student for privacy reasons because these questions were posted inside the course Q & A area, but here are his exact questions, along with my answers:

1) Which e-commerce websites rely on the dropshipping model?( I’m asking because I’d like to see some online stores best practices which I can use as a model)

“Lots of them!  Even big online stores like Zappos, but you would never know simply by looking at the website.  Here’s another autoanything.com. I LOVE the look of that store!  Blinds.com was built entirely on drop shipping and made the owners very, very wealthy. In fact, they sold the store for something like $50 million.”

2) What are some failure points for beginning dropshippers? What are some reasons that people getting into dropshipping give up?

“Good question.  Cutting corners is one reason.  You can’t succeed if you don’t put in the effort to create a store that visitors would want to buy from.  Tenacity is another reason, but this is no different to any kind of business. You’ve got to stick with it. Resourcefulness is another.  That’s not to be confused with ‘resources’ because you could have two different people, one with $10,000 to start his business and the other with $100.  The person with $100 could easily be the one to succeed, while the person with $10,000 fails.  Resourcefulness is more about using what’s available to you in order to overcome challenges and find solutions to problems. We all have the Internet and we all have a brain. We can use these things to solve problems and move forward.”

3) What are some reasons that online stores which uses dropshipping fail?

“There are many and some are listed above. Other reasons would apply to any online store, not just drop shipping. Not enough traffic is one, and in which case you just need to work on getting traffic.  Poor quality products, poor customer service. Again, these things apply to any online store.  I suppose the one thing that’s really different is that we are not in control of the orders being shipped out. This means that whenever you start with a new supplier, you need to be watchful. If you start getting multiple inquiries from customers about orders being late, that sort of thing, then you need to try and fix this with the supplier and if you can’t, ditch the supplier and find a replacement.”

Is it Still Possible for the Little Guy to Compete with a New Online Store?

This is a really valid question. I can almost guarantee that if you are thinking about setting up an online store, then you have at very least some niggling doubts about whether or not it’s possible to compete.

For most people, Amazon is the big beast and the one they feel most ‘afraid’ of. After all, Amazon have huge resources.  They can launch in a new market and afford to run at a loss in that market for years if they want to.

How can you, as a new small business with limited financial resources, even hope to compete with giants like Amazon?

You can, but not in the way that usually springs to mind first. Price.

In fact, you should never even attempt to compete on price with stores like Amazon because you will lose almost every time.

However, you can compete in other ways, and these other ways are generating billions of dollars in e-commerce revenue for the ‘little guy’.

Think about it this way; If it were impossible for a new e-commerce store to succeed, then why are there still many, many new stores going from zero to $10’s of $1000’s in revenue a month within a relatively short space of time?

You can succeed, but only by choosing a specific niche and making your mark on that niche.

How?

By making yourself an ‘authority’ in that niche. By providing value on your website – over and above the products you sell. This means you need to create content such as blog posts, articles, and anything else that will give value to your store visitors.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say your store sells golfing equipment. Instead of just selling golf supplies, you could also provide a wealth of information on your store. Such as tips and guides on how to improve your golf, tips for complete golfing novices, best places to learn how to golf…

You could also have a live chat app running on your store. Even if you only have it running for a couple of hours a day, you will convert a lot of visitors into buyers that way.

There are tons of different ways to make your store stand out.

The main point here is that price is not everything and it’s certainly not the only factor in a customer’s buying decision. If it was the only factor, there would be no retail industry. It would be a constant ‘race to the bottom’ to sell at the lowest price and the whole thing would just collapse!

So yes, there is still plenty of opportunity out there for anyone with the motivation and determination to succeed with a new online store 🙂

Why You Don’t Want it to be Easy!

We’ve all the heard the saying ‘keep it simple stupid’, KISS for short. There’s a lot of merit in that saying because the simplest way is often the best way. The more we over-complicate a task, the less likely we are to ever complete or even start it.  But, simple is not the same as easy. We shouldn’t expect easy. We shouldn’t ask for easy, and the short video below shows you exactly why you don’t want it to be easy!

 

 

Ebay V Amazon for New Sellers – Which is Best?

light-bulb-1002783_640It’s a great question and the first answer is going to depend on what you plan to sell. If you want to sell your used/new unwanted items just to get them out of the way or raise some extra cash, then Ebay is the best place for this.

However, if you plan to make a regular income selling new items that you source and then sell to make profits, Amazon is without question your best bet.

Here’s why:

Amazon has twice as many shoppers as Ebay. So more potential customers to tap into. 300 million to be precise!

Amazon customers buy and spend more than Ebay shoppers do. Figures show that Amazon buyers are spending at least double on average per annum, than Ebay buyers.

The average Amazon shopper has a higher annual income than the average Ebay shopper and is willing to spend more on an item.

On top of this, Amazon has it’s own loyalty scheme called ‘Prime’ membership where customers pay an annual fee in order to gain certain benefits such as free shipping. This brings Prime customers back to shop on the platform over and over again because they naturally want to get the most bang for their membership buck. According to recent reports, the number of Prime members in the US is more than 60 million!

Why is this good for sellers? Because these Prime customers are frequent shoppers and will often purchase several items in one session. AND, because of their above average annual household income, they will readily pay more for an item than the average Ebay shopper. This means that you, the seller, don’t need to sacrifice your profits by selling at ridiculously low prices in order to make enough sales.

In order to fully benefit from this as a seller, you should be selling via FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This is where Amazon warehouses your items and ships your orders to your customers. In any case, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of FBA because it cuts your workload down and takes away the headaches of packaging and shipping orders to customers.

So providing you sell through FBA, all those Prime customers will see a little icon beside your item listings, letting them know that your item qualifies as a Prime purchase. Many Prime customers will ONLY buy items that qualify, putting you at an advantage over other non-FBA sellers.

There one really BIG advantage of choosing Amazon over Ebay if you plan to sell items regularly…

It’s less work!

When you list an item on Amazon, you don’t need to keep re-listing it. Nor do you need to take the payments for customer orders. Amazon do that on your behalf. FBA sellers don’t need to deal with refunds either, because once again, Amazon does this.

In summary, if you are in thinking about selling on one of the big online marketplaces, Ebay or Amazon, the only time that Ebay would be your best bet, is when you want to sell some unwanted personal items or perhaps a one-off lot of stock. Otherwise, Amazon is a much better option over all.

The Top 6 Reasons Why Everyone Who Strives to Earn a Living Online Should Have a Blog

chalkboard-620316_640Want to turn your passion into a part or full-time income? There is no better way for the ‘average’ person to do this than blogging.

Imagine that your work is also your passion. Most people only ever dream about earning a living from doing something they love. But some have used blogging to realize that dream, so why not you?

Aside from the potential of earning an ongoing income, a blog is actually an asset. Blogs can sell for 4, 5, even 6 figures.

Let’s take a look at the top 6 reasons why everyone who strives to earn a living online should have a blog.

  1. Blogging is an ideal way to get free traffic from Google and the other search engines
  2. Blogging can be used to market almost anything at all from affiliate products, to e-commerce, to Amazon listings, and more.
  3. User-friendly technology available today makes blogging simple, even for non-techies!
  4. We can use blogging to turn our interests into profit. Almost any subject can be monetized.
  5. It’s virtually free! You can build and run a successful blog on less than $5 per month.
  6. A blog is an asset and can be sold it in the future for a healthy sum.

Follow along with me as we build a successful blog from scratch using all the latest techniques and strategies. Learn from somebody with 20 years experience of building blogs and websites.

Build a Successful Blog: The Complete Blueprint Level 1

Enroll Today With a Special Blog Readers 60% Off Discount Code

Aimed at beginners or those who want to create a new blog from scratch

By the end of this course you will have a fully-fledged blog. Even if you don’t yet know what to blog about! You will also know more than 95% of people who already have a blog on the Internet.

Throughout the course I demonstrate every step in detail with ‘over the shoulder’ lectures. You will also learn how to create posts and which types of post work best. You will learn where and how to get content and ideas for your posts. And how to optimize your posts for the search engines – the simple way – and much, much more.

What are the Fees for Selling on Amazon?

calculator-iconAmazon selling fees are quite low when you take into account the fact that as sellers we use their platform, leverage their trust and credibility, and make use of their registered customer base of close to 3 million shoppers.

Shoppers on Amazon tend to be prepared to pay a little more for items than they would on say, Ebay for example. Therefore we can set our prices that little bit higher, which helps to offset some of the fees.

That being said, we still need to know what these fees are so that we can work out whether or not it’s possible to make a profit on an item we want to sell.  Sometimes new sellers simply look at the wholesale cost of an item, compare it to the selling price on Amazon, and think they can make a great profit. They completely overlook the fact that Amazon needs to make money too!

Amazon Referral Fee

This is a percentage of the selling price of each item sold on Amazon and it’s usually 15%, although there are some categories where this percentage is a little higher or a little lower. Generally though, you can expect your referral fee to be 15%.

For example. If you were selling a dog lead for $22.99, Amazon would take $3.45 (15%) from each sale.

FBA Fees

This only applies if you are using ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’,. This is where Amazon stores your items at their warehouse and then ships them out to customers as your orders come in. It’s a great service because it takes away the headache of packing and shipping out orders.

For most items this fee is around $2.60  If the item is large and bulky, it will be a little more than this and if your item is classed as ‘small and light’, it will be less.

If you are not using FBA, this fee does not apply.

Both the Referral Fees and the FBA fees are taken from your earnings. You don’t need to pay either of these fees from your own pocket.

FBA Long-Term Storage Fees

Again, this only applies if you are using Fulfillment by Amazon and these fees don’t kick in unless you have stock at the FBA warehouses for longer than 6 months. Meaning, your stock is slow selling. There are ways to avoid this happening, but if it does happen, then you need to factor in around  $0.55 per item per month

Professional Seller Account Fee

As an seller, you can either open an ‘Individual Account’ or a ‘Professional Account’

There is no monthly fee for an Individual Account, but you will pay Amazon $0.99 per item sold in addition to the costs listed above

The Professional Account has a monthly fee of $39.99 (first month is free), but you do not pay the $0.99 per item sold.

Generally, if you intend to sell more than 40 items a month – which hopefully you do – then the Professional Account is the one to go for.

Conclusion

Even when factoring in the fees, there’s good money to made as a seller on Amazon providing you do your calculations first. Of course there’s more to it than just making sure you can turn a profit. You also need to know how to choose the right items to sell, where to get them, how to create listings that convert to sales and more.  Even so, Amazon is still a great place to sell. New sellers can still make their mark and it doesn’t require a big start up budget either 😉

Get More Sales by Adding a Simple Video to Your Website

moving-clip-art-moving-clip-art-10Want to know a quick and easy way to turn more of your store visitors into buyers?

Add a simple animated video to one of your pages.

You could do this on any page, but it’s really effective on the ‘About Us’ page or the ‘Delivery Information’ page.

So what should your video be about?

If it’s on the ‘About Us’page, you could create a short video to inform visitors about your company/product line/customer service.  If it’s on the ‘Delivery Info’ page, you could create one that explains your delivery times/policies, along with information about returns and refunds.

Here are some ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’t’s’ for your video:

Do:

  • Make it an animated video because these have a lot of appeal and can be created for less than $20 on Fiverr.
  • Make it under 90 seconds.  30 seconds is often long enough.
  • Add upbeat music to the video
  • Use fun and interesting characters in the video

Don’t:

  • Make ‘whiteboard’ videos.  Whiteboard videos have their place but can often end up looking ‘cheap’.
  • Use ‘text-to-speech’. There is no ‘text-to-speech’ software on the market that doesn’t sound like a robot. In any case, voice may not even be necessary. Many short animated videos do a great job with just the animation and music.
  • Make the videos longer than 90 seconds (unless you are making a product demonstration video).
  • Spend days or weeks trying to make the video yourself. Instead outsource it for a few dollars by going to Fiverr.com
  • Overdo it by adding too many animated videos to your website.  One or two will add a touch of professionalism to your site and help to engage visitors. More than that and it get’s boring!

 

How to Take Your Share of the Booming E-commerce Industry

 

shopping-745840_640Starting your own e-commerce store has never been easier – and more difficult – than it is today.
So what does that mean? How can be it be easy AND difficult at the same time?

Okay, let me explain . . .

It’s easy because you no longer need technical know how. Low cost, user-friendly and purpose built online store platforms have taken care of all that, and now almost anyone can set up a half decent store without too many headaches.

It’s easy because online shopping is a fast growing industry and the more money that consumers spend online, the more opportunity for new online store owners to make their mark.

It’s easy because many wholesalers are now willing to drop ship for online retailers. This means you can start and operate without ever investing any money in stock. In fact it’s more than possible to get going with as little as $100 – $200 in your pocket.

Sounds amazing right?

Yes it does and that’s the problem.  Because it sounds SO easy, it attracts hoards of wannabees who are under the misconception that all they need to do is throw up a website, list a bunch of products and hey presto, cash in the bank!

NO.

If it really were THAT easy, almost every new online store would succeed. But they don’t. In fact 90% of them fail miserably.

But it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Most failed online stores, failed for very specific reasons. The two biggest causes of failure are:

  1. Not enough traffic (visitors) to the store
  2. Not enough sales (visitors not converting to buyers)

To succeed, you need to master the art of getting traffic to your store and then converting that traffic into sales.  One without the other is useless, you need both.moneybox-158346_640

Fortunately you don’t need deep pockets in order to promote and market your new store online. Most of your marketing can be done without spending any money at all. Getting your visitors to buy from your website requires some ‘know-how’.  Some new online sellers think it’s all about pricing their products as low as possible.

Wrong.

In fact you could charge higher prices than your competitors, but get more sales than they do. Pricing is only one small part of the equation and it’s way down the list as far as ‘what makes people want to buy from you’.

Want to learn more?

Master Class is a complete course containing over 100 video lessons. It will teach you everything you need to know. From choosing profitable products to sell on your store, to setting up your store the right way, to promoting your store online using free and low cost methods, and much more.

Find out more about Master Class

 

 

Are You Suffering from a Fatal Flaw?

fatal flaw


What exactly is a fatal flaw you may be asking!

The best way to explain is by relating it to works of fiction. Novels. Every novel has a hero/heroine and almost without exception, that hero or heroine has a character flaw. The flaw (whatever it is) prevents the character from getting what he wants (succeeding). But by the end of the novel, the hero has recognised his flaw, overcome it and ultimately succeeded.

Whether you realise it or not, this is the backbone of most novels. Whether that be mystery, crime, romance or whatever. Because people like happy endings. They like a good result.

Occasionally though, the flaw is what’s known as a ‘fatal flaw’. A fatal flaw doesn’t have to mean the hero dies – although he may do. It just means the hero never managed to overcome his flaw by the end of the novel and as a result, he failed in his quest… solve the crime, get the girl, kill the monster, whatever! In fiction writing this called a ‘tragedy’ and in fiction, they don’t happen too often.

In real life though, they happen all the time…

What are the potentially fatal flaws that prevent us from succeeding online;

  • Fear of Failure
  • Lack of Belief in Yourself
  • Procrastination
  • Cutting Corners
  • Easily Distracted
  • Shiny Object Syndrome

Fear of failure prevents us from taking action and without action, nothing can happen. This can be cured by…guess what…taking action!

Lack of belief in yourself can be cured by gaining the right knowledge and then acting on that knowledge. Even if you don’t get it right the first time, you will gain confidence.

Procrastination is a tough one and we all suffer from it from time to time. Yes even me 🙂 It’s all down to discipline and setting yourself a regime that you can stick to.

Cutting corners. This is a big one and I see it frequently with some of the students of my courses. It’s natural to be in a hurry to see results, but cutting corners is one sure way NOT to get the results you want.

Easily distracted. So easy these days with social media, YouTube, mobile phones. Switch everything off (if possible) while you are working and definitely close down all social media sites!

Shiny object syndrome is a real success killer. I suffered from it myself for a short while several years back. Decide on the method you want to use as your vehicle to start making money online and stick with it. Forget everything else and focus on ONE thing. If you’ve ended up on a ton of email lists, unsubscribe from them. Clear your inbox, clear your mind and focus!

Okay I know this is a not a complete list, but if you’ve been attempting to make money online for more than a few months and you’ve still not seen any success, grab a pen and be totally truthful with yourself. How many potentially fatal flaws do you have ? 🙂