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Sales Have Slowed Down + Future Plans – Update 18

It has been 4 month since the last update on my Amazon FBA journey and I am excited to share what has been going on. I apologize for the long delay between updates but, I will explain the reason behind this in a minute.

My mindset on Amazon FBA has changed a bit since the last update and I will get into what those changes are and why. I will also give you all an update on my sales since the last update and the current state of my business.

First, make sure you are caught up on the previous updates first!

  1. PART 1 – Intro to Case Study
  2. PART 2 – The Game Plan
  3. PART 3 – How to Find Profitable Products to Sell on Amazon
  4. PART 4 – How to Find Suppliers on Amazon
  5. PART 5 – Info About my First Order + Calculating Profit Margins
  6. PART 6 – How to Utilize your Samples
  7. PART 7 – FNSKU Labels and UPC Barcodes
  8. PART 8 – I Placed my First Order + a Minor Setback
  9. PART 9 – How to Brand your Amazon FBA Business
  10. PART 10 – How to Setup your Amazon Sellers Account
  11. PART 11 – My Product has Shipped + Updates
  12. PART 12 – The Definitive Guide to Getting your Product Pictures Taken
  13. PART 13 – My Product has Arrived + My Initial Launch Strategy
  14. PART 14 – Results from my First Month of Selling on Amazon
  15. PART 15 – Increased Rankings and Sales + Ordered a New Shipment
  16. PART 16 – Details of my First 90 Days of Selling on Amazon
  17. PART 17 – The Plan for my Amazon FBA Business in 2016 and Beyond

If you are all caught up let’s get into the update.

Reason for the Delay Between Updates

Like I said, it has been 4 months since the last update and I have never had this long of a wait between updates. I always try to give an update at least once a month and sometimes even more, so why the delay?

Time is valuable

Let me explain what I mean. I only have 24 hours in every day and I can only do so much in that time period so I have to choose the best ROI for my time. These past few months I have been very busy with school because I recently declared my major and I am now in classes that require a lot more of my time. These classes have been a huge time suck and there isn’t much I can do about that.

Along with that, I have been spending a lot of my time working on various other business ventures where I have been seeing a lot of success and future potential potential. One of those areas being website investing, which I have talked about quite a bit recently here on PiP.

I love writing here on PiP and helping others start their own online businesses but, I realized I have been spending a TON of time writing and producing content which has taken away from me actually building my own businesses. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be posting anything new here on PiP because I will still be regularly posting here. I will still be posting quite a bit but I need to spend my time on things that will allow me to create my own career and not have to get a 9-5 job when I graduate from college.

I hope you all understand and can see where I am coming from! However, please know that I will still be active here on PiP and will continue to share updates on my various business ventures and all that good stuff 🙂

Another reason for the long delay between updates is because I haven not been seeing the best results from my Amazon FBA business and I have been seeing more success in my other businesses. So my time and effort has been pointed towards those other businesses which means there isn’t a whole lot talk about in this update.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the results since the last update!

Sales Stats Since the Last Update

The last sales update I gave was through the month of December 2015 so, the sales below are from the months of January 2016 – March 2016.

Sales Stats from January 2016 – March 2016

sales-update

Sub par results to say the least and it’s even worse when you consider that 100 of these sales were from a giveaway that I did around the end of February!

So if you take 100 units away that means I sold a total of 214 units in 3 months. Let’s run some quick calculations:

Average Monthly Sales: 71 sales

Average Daily Sales: 2.4 sales

As you can see, my Amazon business has slowed down quite a bit compared to the first 3-4 months. I will get into why I think this is in a minute, first, I want to take a look to see how much money the business made during this time period.

Did The Business Make any Profit?

Here is a look at the summary report within Amazon that shows all of the revenue and expenses:

summary-report

This report accounts for all of the revenue and the expenses from Amazon but, it does not show the expenses from manufacturing and shipping. It also does not keep track of ad spend. So to get an accurate look at the profit we need to take those numbers into account.

Revenue (minus giveaway fees): $4,308.13

Amazon Fees: $2,883.02

Ad Spend: $498.60

Manufacturing and Shipping Costs: $1,318.80 (314 units * $4.2 cost per unit)

Total Expenses: $4,700.42

Total Profit: -$392.29

I actually ended up losing close to $400 during these 3 months. The combo of ad spend and the 100 unit giveaway was the reason why I lost money but, it isn’t like I would have made that much money anyways.

You can see why I have been putting less time and effort into this business, it just hasn’t been worth my time as of late.

What’s Wrong?

There are a couple of reasons why I think the sales have slowed down and why I am not seeing the success I did early on. I want to speak on these reasons and why they are affecting my Amazon FBA business:

Generic Product

This is the biggest reason behind my sales slowing down. When I first started selling on Amazon 7+ months ago there was a lot less competition and the product that I chose was superior to the other products in the marketplace due to some minor modifications that I had done.

However, since then my product has lost it’s competitive edge because the market that I am in has been flooded with almost identical products to mine and that has really hurt my sales. When you have an almost identical product to everyone else the only difference between you and them is price, which is not a good thing. This means that to have an advantage over them you need a lower price. This only leads to a race to the lowest price and this kills profit margins and makes it really hard to make a profit.

I will talk about this more in a minute but, I feel like to have long term success on Amazon you NEED to have a product that is unique to the marketplace that allows you to separate yourself from the competition.

Product Giveaways (possibly) Don’t Work Anymore

I did a 100 unit giveaway in February and I saw ZERO increases in sales or keyword rankings. It literally did nothing besides waste money and lose 100 units. Not to mention that I did this giveaway exactly like my first giveaway where I saw awesome results.

Amazon is obviously cracking down on giveaways and making them less effective, which is smart by them because sellers shouldn’t be able to game the rankings by giving away a ton of units. However, this sucks for us Amazon sellers.

With that being said, I am sure people are still having success with giveaways and there is more than likely a way around this. It is just not as effective as it once was to launch a product. The future of launching a product I believe will require PPC and utilizing your own source of traffic to drive sales.

What I mean by “your own source of traffic” is having an email list that you can leverage to generate a large amount of sales in a short period of time BUT, at the full price of the product and not for $.99 or for free. Amazon is not dumb and can recognize what is going on when 100 units are sold for $.99. However, if you sell 100 units in one day at full price Amazon will have to take notice and increase your keyword rankings.

The Amazon Market is Saturated

There are so many people selling on Amazon right now and it is making it a lot harder to have success. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% believe you can still start right now and have success but, it is harder than it was 6-12 months ago.

You can’t just find a generic product from China and slap your brand on it and have success anymore. You now need to actually have a good product that people want to buy and then build a brand that people can trust.

What Does this All Mean?

For everyone still looking to start or for the people who have just started, don’t freak out. There is still a ton of money to make as a FBA seller but, the game has changed. In my opinion, I think that you need a superior and/or unique product to truly have long term success on Amazon. Without one you will have no advantage over everyone else in the market. I also believe that you need to build up your brand both on and off of Amazon. I have been saying this for a while not but, it will become even more important as time goes on.

What I am saying is that the Amazon FBA business model is still a great way to build a business and make money but, just like everything else, times change and you have to adapt to continue to have success.

My Future Plans

My plan of attack moving forward is simple: create a unique product that solves a problem within my market. This is simple however, it isn’t easy to do.

The current product that I am selling has just about ran it’s time and I won’t be ordering any more shipments. My new focus is on finding a problem within my current market and creating a superior product to everything else that will help people solve that problem.

This is not going to be easy to do because this will require me to actually dive deep into my target market and fully understand what their problems are. 99% of the current Amazon sellers DO NOT do this and only look at the Jungle Scout stats to find a product. I think this is a reason why a lot of people fail. They are basing their product off of other products that are already in the marketplace.

To truly create a superior product and become a market leader you need to create something new that solves the customer’s problem better. If you can do this then you will have a ton of success naturally because your product is better, plain and simple.

You might be wondering, “How will I know if there is demand for my product if it is brand new to the market?”

Here’s why:

You should not look at the demand for a product. You should look at the demand for the solution to their problem.

This is a small change in how you look at things but makes all the difference.

Every single product helps solve a problem that the customer has. If you dive deep into why people buy a certain product it is because they have a certain problem that they need solved and you need to create a product that solves that problem better than everyone else.

Let’s look at an example, you are a brand that sells products in the cooking niche and you are looking for a product to sell. You do your market research and discover that people that bake pies have a problem with their crust sticking to the bottom of pan and ruining there whole pie. This is the problem that you are going to solve.

You do some more research and find that there are a lot of people that have this problem and there is demand for the solution to this problem. You see that there are other non-stick pans selling well on Amazon but none of them are specifically geared towards cooking pies. This is where you have the chance to create a superior product.

You found this product because you first understood their problem and created a better way to solve it.

This is the same type of mindset that I am going to use to find my next product. I had a handful of other product picked out to be my next product but I realized that all I was doing was tweaking an already successful product and this wasn’t going to help solve the problem any better.

Here are some requirements that I need to meet before I can create a second product:

  1. The product needs to solve a problem better than any other product on the market
  2. The product has to be unique from the rest of the competition in terms of the design of the product
  3. The product has to bring something new and fresh to the market and not just build upon an already established product

My next product needs to match these 3 requirements first and foremost. If I can create a product that passes those 3 requirements I can then run it against the criteria that I laid out in my How to Find a Product to Sell on Amazon Guide. From there, I can start going through the normal process of finding a supplier, ordering samples and shipping my goods to Amazon.

So that is my plan moving forward, I will be looking for a problem in my current market and I will create a product to solve that problem. That will be the framework for which I will choose what products I will sell. I will no longer be basing my next products off of the sales, reviews and other stats found from Amazon.

The Future of this Case Study

Even though I am planning on putting less time and effort into my Amazon FBA business I will still try to regularly update the case study with reports on how I am doing in terms of sales and I will also be writing posts around tactics and strategies to use as an Amazon seller.

Over the next few weeks I want to put together a new update that really dives into the proper way (in my opinion) to do product research and how to go about finding a product to sell. The times have changed and it is not as easy as throwing up any old product and making sales, it now takes a high quality product that solves customer’s problems. I think this is really important and something that any new or old Amazon seller should think about. So in the next couple of weeks be on the lookout for a full post dedicated to this topic.

Wrapping Things Up

I have been getting a lot of emails from people asking when the next update was going to come out and I want to apologize one more time for the long delay between the updates. However, I hope that you enjoyed this update even though I didn’t have the best results from the past couple of months. Thank you all for reading and I truly appreciate every single one of you that reads my posts, leaves a comment, emails me, etc. The fact that you take time out of your busy day to interact with me and read my stuff is awesome, so thank you.

Comments

65 Comments

miz

Hi Josh Thank you for the update….. I was wondering where in seller central can you access the summary report?

Denis

Yes, I would like to find that report also. Where do you go to get that report?

Josh
Josh

Hi Denis, see my reply above!

Josh

Josh
Josh

Thanks for the comment! You can find this report by going to your Seller Central account homepage then to “Reports” then choose “Payments” from the drop down menu. Once you get to that page you want to choose the “Date Range Reports” tab and then click “Generate Report”. Choose “Summary” report and then pick the dates you want the report for.

Hope that helps

Josh

Jen

Hey Josh,

Sorry to hear things have slowed down for you on Amazon. I love your positive outlook though and I really appreciate the continued updates.

Very good advice about building a brand with quality products that solve a problem. I haven’t yet started my Amazon journey, but I hope to start sometime this summer and I really appreciate the insight.

Good luck in all your biz endeavors!
Jen

Josh
Josh

Thank you Jen, I appreciate it!

Even though I may not be having the best results right now I am going to keep working and Im sure things will turn around

Josh

kevin

I am really sorry to hear that the amazon market is getting competitive and you have to shift your interest to find some other ways, I also found this, the default bid of my product used to less than a dollar, now I have to spend 5+ dollars to be the first in the ads. that eats my whole profit. I don’t know if I should keep doing this or move on like you.

Josh
Josh

Hi Kevin,

It’s all good man, when one business slows down another one picks up! And yup, I have been seeing the same thing with my own PPC campaigns. I would probably stop running it until you can turn a profit. No point in wasting money

Josh

Julian

Hi Josh

I have read all of your FBA updates and im glad i found them as you have taught me so much, thankyou. Sorry to hear your recent sales havent been great but keep your chin up, you can push through this 🙂 I hope you find success in the new product you launch.

I have a question for you, I have recently launched my first product, and i only have a couple reviews at the moment, i want to start using PPC to help to boost sales but im not sure if thats a good idea considering i have only a couple reviews, should i wait until i get more reviews, or should i go ahead with the PPC now, whats your thoughts on this?

Best Regards
Julian

Shawn

Turn on PPC now as soon as you get 5-10 reviews. Use Review Kick or search for Facebook review groups to get a boost. Then run an automatic PPC campaign for a week. After this you can pick the good keywords and do a manual campaign.

Do a discounted giveaway every few weeks to give your product a bsr boost while ppc is running. Magic!

Bret

So don’t do the Review Kick until after you get 5-10 reviews? Thanks!

Pipou

If your product brings something new to the customer, i think you can do it without review. If your product is 99% identical to others… Why people will be interested at on your product? May be the number of reviews can help? probably the price if you are offering is low? Or the main photo is outstanding. I think Josh gives us a good point, selling a 99% identical product is not a solution, while having a NEW product costs much in term of money and time. cheers

kevin

some people started the PPC even without reviews.

Josh
Josh

Thanks Julian!

As for your question, it seems like Shawn and other have answered it well

Josh

Marco Benson

Yeah as FBA’s time passes day by day, month by month, more and more people are jumping in and as u mentioned, the big piece of cake can only be shared by “x” amount of people before it doesn’t make any sense to do it anymore.

I see some of the sellers are going into shopify, creating their own online stores and branding. Maybe you can touch on this in the future 🙂

Well take care yourself and have an awesome school term!

Josh
Josh

You are 100% correct Marco! I have been testing some shopify and other physical product monetization methods on a couple of my sites that I own. I will probably do a post here in the future about this

I appreciate the comment and thanks for reading

Josh

Brant

Arrggh! My FBA dreams just got crushed! I was so looking forward to this update and was expecting a completely different outcome.

I would like to say thank you for all the hard work you have put into this case study. You could have made it a simple review of what you did and the results. Instead you dove deep into the details of how to do it. “Part 3 – how to find profitable products on Amazon” was in and of itself an amazing piece of work. I could never have the focus to produce something like that when all I really wanted to do was focus on my product.

This is too much to ask but I’m going to ask anyway. If your product is truly dead to you and you will not pursue it any further… could you tell us what it is? II think it would add a lot for the reader. I would love to even see a update in which you compare the results of putting the product through your parameters for choosing a product now as compared to what you saw last year.

Thank you again for this case study. There is such a concentration of good content that I think you could sell it as a how to if you wanted, but I’m glad you did not before I got the chance to read it.

Josh
Josh

Just because the sales have slowed down for now doesn’t mean that things won’t pick back up, so don’t count me out just yet 🙂

I wouldn’t consider my product dead so I won’t be sharing it, hope you understand. Even if it was dead I still wouldn’t share because then people would still be able to see my next products.

I appreciate the comment and thanks for reading

Josh

Brant

I just found your post “Product profile #1 – Dog Harness”. This is just the kind of write up I was looking for when I asked you to let us know what your product was and go through the parameters you use. Very nice to see a real product researched with the results you found on Junglescout and other websites.

Daniel KASSA

Josh

Its Nice to hear from you.

Josh
Josh

It’s even better to hear from you 🙂

Thanks for reading

Josh

Gary VanSickle

A great post and update, very informative and interesting. I do still believe product promotions work. I do these on occasion, and they always increase my BSR (sometimes dramatically) such that I get on page 1 without PPC and get organic sales with no PPC cost.

This must be a grey area for Amazon, if they do not credit promos to BSR or rank then they could potentially loose a ton of FBA sellers. How else can you launch a product with PPC only and no reviews? I do 10-20 only at a time and with the right review group I can cover at least half my FBA fees. I think the key is to get into higher priced items (as I am about to launch).

Investment is very high which means there are very few FBA sellers as entry into the market is costly and this eliminates a lot of competition. Many many FBA sellers are in that $10-$15 price range because it is easier to buy in and get started. I have tweaked my product searches to a minimum retail price of $35 with low reviews, it is amazing what the results show. There are definitely some very viable products with low competition.

However – COSTLY to enter the market.

The real drag is running out of stock as I recently did on a product. Cost me big time in BSR rank.

kevin

Hi Gary,

I’ve been running PPC for couple days, and I didn’t see my BSR increase, on the opposite, it dropped significantly, should I wait a little longer? Also, when you start a ads, how much do you put for the bid? do you put a high amount to make your product be in the first place of all ads or just 1 or 2 dollors?

Josh
Josh

I couldn’t agree more about moving into higher priced items! Less competition and better profit margins but the initial investment is much higher as well, just like you said.

Thanks for the comment and for reading Gary

Josh

yossi

Great article
Yes, there are hundreds of course, with huge amount of new sellers students.
It become battle field that only Amazon win. All AMZ sellers reaching top BSR while FBA’s bleeding money to get “only visual” good results.
Unique product might cost more (design, mold, tests, certification, big 1st order QTT….) but more profitable.
Another suggestion is being sole Amazon contracted agent of existing producers.

Josh
Josh

Thanks Yossi for the comment and I agree with what you said

Josh

Larisa

Hi Josh,
thank you for your awesome work for us!!! pray for your mother, she gave us such a wonderful son… I am learning step by step , and I believe that I will also
Merchant by Amazon invited me to create the t-shirts with my design. I’d like to know how I can give more visitors to my shirt’s links.
Hane a nice day dear!
FunnyLara

Josh
Josh

Hi there – Thank you for the comment!

As for your question, how are you selling tshirts? teespring? Your own website? Give me some more info and I will help you out

Josh

Pipou

Hello Josh,
Thank you for your honest and true review! I hope you are doing well in other areas!! Work hard for your study to get good result is also important as the certificate gives your protection at least. You have more options with good grade even though you don’t choose 9-5 work, or you can get better 9-5 work.

I have 2 questions and hope you could share with us when you are free.
1. If you did not do the giveaway, you would still make a profit? though the sales is not appealing
2. Do you think your supplier would also sell on amazon that hurt your sales as you said there were generic product after few months? They know what is your brand, what is your price, where you sell, how much profit you could potentially make,,, etc.

Josh
Josh

Thanks for your comment and I agree with you, getting a degree is a great backup plan in case I am not able to support myself with my own businesses.

1. Without the giveaway I would have made a profit of around $800-$1000, which isn’t fantastic but still isn’t too bad

2. This could be a huge risk for both myself and other FBA sellers. It is a very real possibility that the Chinese suppliers cut out us, the middle men, and take all of the profit for themselves.

Thanks for your comment

Josh

Steve

Josh,

Thanks for the update. Kind of depressing for new FBA people like me. I’m trying to go over your data a little bit. Seems like the holiday sales might have skewed expectations a bit since sales tend to be 4x or more during that period? Do you have any idea how your profits would have been had you not done the giveaway, maintained a minimal PPC campaign, and rely on organic sales? If you were able to maintain 2-3 sales/day at a profit margin of $5, that’s $300-450/month. At that rate, you would have to expand to other products but also have a steady passive stream of income.

What are your thoughts on this?

Josh
Josh

Yup, you are correct Steve! Without the giveaway I would have turned a decent profit. $400/month isn’t terrible when compared to other online assets but I would obviously like to see it higher. This product is in no way a failure but I need to evolve and move into different products to continue to have success

Thanks for the comment

Josh

Sergei

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the honest post. I didn’t expect this result after reading your last post “The Plan for my Amazon FBA Business in 2016 and Beyond – Update 17” but I’m glad I follow your blog because it sort of keeps me grounded unlike many other FBA blogs and podcasts.

In this post you specified the three requirements you’ll be basing your future products on:

“1. The product needs to solve a problem better than any other product on the market
2. The product has to be unique from the rest of the competition in terms of the design of the product
3. The product has to bring something new and fresh to the market and not just build upon an already established product”

But aren’t these requirements similar to the ones you specified in Part 3 of your case study? i.e. requirement no. 8 “Room for Improvement and Optimization of Current Listings” and requirement no. 14 “Can Make a Superior Product over Similar Products in the Market”

Now that you will be discontinuing your product, could you disclose it and explain what your initial strategy was and why exactly do you think it is not working now? That’s an idea for a next post which I think many people would love to read!

Even if your product is not successful anymore, I hope you’ll be able to keep doing PL to achieve your initial goals.

Take care
Sergei

Josh
Josh

I am 100% transparent and honest here on my site and I will not hide the rough times, I am glad that you enjoy it.

And yes, the requirements that I laid out here are similar to the ones in the 3rd update but I am putting a lot more emphasis on creating a new product that truly solves a problem better than the rest of the competition.

I still have over 700 units of my product to sell so it is going to be a few months before I truly run out so I will not be sharing my product at this point. If at some point I shut down my entire FBA brand I will for sure do a huge write up explaining everything

Josh

Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets

Hey Josh,

Thanks for the honest update, I think this is what sets your blog apart from so many others. I believe you had mentioned your product was low priced, going forward do you think you will search for a more expensive product in addition to your other listed requirements?

I am awaiting for my product to arrive, it is currently being manufactured. But I hit some big stumbling blocks along the way, one of them being my original product idea failing inspection. I wrote a post update on my blog, hope some of your readers will find it helpful as well.

Josh
Josh

Thanks for the comment!

I think going after higher ticket items is the way to go moving forward. I wish you the best of luck with your own product and I will check out your site!

Josh

Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries

I recently started my own Amazon FBA journey and am in the early processes of it. I just paid 30% payment to start production and will hopefully have the product selling on amazon in a few months.

i have read a lot about the market saturation on amazon and is definitely a concern. When I chose my product I made sure to differentiate it enough as well as make it better which I did so I am hoping it works out well for me. I never considered doing this as a long term profiting business but really just to try and generate additional income this year so I can use that money to buy more rental properties.

I appreciate the honesty man! Hope the situation turns for the better for you.

Josh
Josh

Congrats on starting on your own journey!

And I agree that selling on Amazon is not a long term business, however, I think that Amazon can help kickstart a brand that you can start selling on other marketplaces as well as your own website which could be long term.

How many rental properties do you have? I have been thinking about getting into real estate and would love to hear what you have to say!

Thanks for the comment Alexander

Josh

Pipou

Hello,

You have sold on amazon by FBA for few months, how’s the return case? How many return cases did you have? And how do you handle the returned item?

Thank you.

Matt

Thanks for this update Josh. As a fellow entrepreneur I respect all the time you have dedicated to informing all of us of your journey. Can’t wait to see what becomes of it!

Josh
Josh

I appreciate the comment Matt! I am glad that you have enjoyed my journey so far and thanks for following along

Josh

Karen

Hello from Mexico,

I really admire that you like helping people so young and starting bussiness so young , congratulations! .
It helps a lot to see your experience, I want to sell something too and Im searching for the special thing…but havent found yet, my brother already started doing this and he found a good product its just that its out of my budget.
Keep being possitive in life and you will have a lot of success!

Josh
Josh

Good to hear from you Karen! Thanks for commenting and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask

Josh

Steve N.

Josh,

Thank you for your time, energy, and commitment to supporting the Amazon FBA community. Your transparency and wisdom are very much appreciated.

I am a brand new FBA Seller, have read-through all 18 of your Case Study Updates, and have been utilizing most of the tools you’ve recommended (JungleScout, MerchantWords, Google AdWords, etc.). I just ordered product samples, and assuming everything checks-out, expect to place my initial order by next week.

I do have few questions for you. Please feel free to respond either based on the results of your Case Study Product, or your overall experience with Amazon FBA.

1) By creating a Private Label product, does that allow you to have an exclusive product listing? In other words, does it automatically place you as the Buy Box seller? And, since it is a Private Label product, does that prevent or at least discourage competitors from hijacking your listing?

2) Does Private Labeling mean that both the product and packaging need the Private Label’s Company Name? If only one can be done (product vs. package), which one is preferable, or does it not really matter as long the label appears somewhere?

3) Once a Private Label product listing is launched, if Amazon were to begin selling a generic version of the same product directly, does that negatively impact the original listing or maintaining the Buy Box status? Does Amazon have the ability to hijack a Private Label listing, and have you ever seen this done before? Other than the obvious impact on the selling price and overall sales, what other issues or concerns develop when potentially competing with Amazon directly?

Thank you for all of your help, and the benefit of your insights.

Steve N.

Josh
Josh

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the comment and I am glad that my case study has been useful to you! I will try my best to answer all of your questions:

1. Yes, both of your statements are correct

2. You don’t need either to have you brand on it, however, it is best if you can have it on both your product and packaging. If you could only have one of those then I would go with branding your product

3. Amazon will not hijack your listing or take the buy box from you. However, if Amazon starts competing with you then you will be going up against a very strong competitor.

Hope that helps

Josh

Steve N.

Josh – thanks, that really helps.

By any chance, have you had any experience with products requiring Pre-Approval? Despite your advice not to go this route, I’ve found a great product that I’m moving forward with, that needs Pre-Approval.

The requirements don’t look that challenging, but it is alot of information to wade through. If you happen to know of a good resource on this, I would really appreciate a recommendation.

Thanks for all of your help!

Steve N.

matt

Hey Josh, sorry that sales have slowed down but I think this is a good wake up call for a lot of people to realize that you can’t just slap a logo on something and expect it to sell like magic. You need to build a brand, differentiate yourself, use social media to promote your product, etc etc, which is not always the easiest thing to do. Also Amazon is extremely competitive so having multiple sales channels is definitely something to look into, I look forward to reading your future posts on this. Good luck man and don’t give up

Jeff

Hey Josh, I totally agree that the future of making money on Amazon is to find a unique, quality product, but what is to stop others from copying? Even if you build a whole brand and following around your product others are going to copy and then you will have the same situation we see today.

I have already seen this happen with multiple products on Amazon already trying this approach today.

Josh
Josh

Hi Jeff,

Great point and I am not sure what the answer to that is. However, if you are truly the first seller you will gain the first mover advantage and that will hopefully translate to people recognizing you are the market leader and the original seller of the product.

Good question and I think this is a major problem with the Amazon marketplace currently

Josh

Pedro

Wait, you mean you actually need a superior product to succeed on Amazon, not just a knockoff of a similar product?

Wait, you mean You can’t just order a generic product and slap on a logo and sell it for 10x more than you paid?

Wait, to achieve success you mean you actually need to do research As to what people might actually need that’s not currently being met by any products currently on the marketplace, in order to INNOVATE and give them something unique and not just copy what everyone else is doing?

***GASP ***

Josh
Josh

The funny thing is a year ago you didn’t need to do any of those things to have success. However, that is not the case now.

Also, I did a ton of market/product research and made my product better than the rest of the competition but over time people just copied my exact product and made it hard for me to compete. My point was that you need to truly create a new unique product to have sustained success on Amazon.

DaveL

Josh – thanks for the great series on your FBA journey, I have to say that it’s hard to reconcile the absolute “sea change” in your outlook during the last 3 months…..

basically a move from “World Domination” to “hey folks this doesn’t actually work very well”.

January 4 2016

“I know you are probably thinking that the goal of reaching the $10 million valuation in 5 years for my business is ridiculous and I can 100% understand where you are coming from…….

I was able to accomplish a lot in 2015, one of those accomplishments being starting my Amazon FBA business. 2016 is going to be a big year for my business and it will be the time that I hopefully take the business to the next level.
I know I have only been selling live on Amazon for 4 months and the business is still very young, however, I see a ton of potential to really grow this into something big.
How big?

I think that in 5 years this business could be valued at $10+ million”

April 14 2016:

“When you have an almost identical product to everyone else the only difference between you and them is price, which is not a good thing. This means that to have an advantage over them you need a lower price. This only leads to a race to the lowest price and this kills profit margins and makes it really hard to make a profit.”

Josh
Josh

Hey Dave,

Yes, I did have mindset shift between the updates and I have shifted my focus towards other business ventures at the moment. Also, the competition on Amazon has really upticked the past few months and I am not as bullish on this business model as I once was. My plan was to expand my product line but doing so takes a good chunk of initial investment and I decided that the money I would use to expand my product line would be better used in other ways.

I can understand your point here and I will make sure to cover this topic in more depth in future posts. Thanks for your comment

Josh

joe

Thing is Josh, if you create a new product, your manufacturer will sell the new design to anyone who wants it. So anyone could buy it and compete against you. Unless you had a patent.

Joel

Hi Josh,
So you used a Super URL with your 100 unit give away and found it had little to no effect?

Josh
Josh

I didn’t see much effect at all from the giveaway. Whether that be from the super URL not working, not giving away enough units, or whatever else. The 100 unit giveaway just didn’t do anything for my product

Josh

san

Hey josh, do you mind sharing in which category is your product in and whats the current BSR?

Josh
Josh

Hi San,

If I did that you would be able to find it 🙂

However, it is in the pet niche

Josh

Scott

Josh,
Could you send out Amazon Gift cards to friends and family to cover the cost of your item and ask them to leave a positive review? That way you would have Amazon Verified purchases along with full priced sales. If you could get 25 reviews that way, in your opinion, would it be more beneficial than a “give away?” Please respond via email if you would, please. I really have enjoyed learning from your experiences.

Josh
Josh

Good question Scott, I am not sure if Amazon gift cards would work. It seems like it would and that would also be a good way to do it so your family/friends don’t have to use their own money.

Josh

Galina St George

Thank you for such an honest account of your case study Josh!

I have come across a lot of blogs and training programs which really hype things up about selling on Amazon, and how fantastically successful people are going to be. Just a week ago I listened to a webinar where a former IM marketer (a very well-known name) was selling a training program for almost $4,000 – to teach newbies how to sell successfully on Amazon. Part of the deal was that if the trainee bought the stock and could not sell it, they would buy it back for twice the amount from the unfortunate seller. I don’t know whether they were committed to fulfilling the promise, and what the ‘hooks’. And even if they were committed to keeping their promise, what kind of content justifies this kind of price in our days, especially considering that it is a business requiring a big investment from the start, and the market is getting over-saturated?

When I come across this kind of stuff, I see people like you as a ray of sunshine in the dark world of online commerce. Thank you for your honesty, and good luck with your future ventures and studies!

Warm wishes,

Galina 🙂

Josh
Josh

Wow, thank you for the kind words! What you explained is exactly why I wanted to do this all for free and share my knowledge with people. I am glad you have enjoyed it, thanks for commenting

Josh

Andre

Hi Josh,

Great article and very nice words. Do you have any update on this case study?

Best of wishes

Josh
Josh

Thanks Andre! I’m planning to have a new update out sometime soon

Thanks for the comment

javier perez

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your article, just wondering when the next update is coming out………thanks again


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Josh

Hello and welcome to my site! My name is Josh Shogren and I am 21 years old. Follow along as I try to turn my passion into paychecks.

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