Most sellers do not put in the time and effort it takes to succeed. It’s hard. More often than not, sellers quit as soon as they come across their first hurdle. This is good news. It means the market is less saturated with sellers who are there to make a quick buck rather than build a sustainable business.
If you are motivated, prepared with actionable knowledge, and can learn to fall down and get back up, you can succeed on Amazon.
Today, I want to give you so much discouragement that when you do build your store, you will be ready to face the reality that is selling on Amazon.
Do not sell on Amazon unless you are prepared to face these challenges:
Selling on Amazon Is Not Easy.
As more people look to get in on Amazon’s massive revenue ($683.85 billion in 2021), the process to build a successful Amazon store has become accordingly complex.
Selling copycat products is no longer a viable method. Once upon a time, Amazon sellers could find a product with high demand, quickly get their hands on an exact replica, list it for sale, and bing, bang, boom: they made easy money.
Today, the reality is more complicated. And this is where a lot of would-be sellers bow out.
To succeed on Amazon, you have to be willing to go through the process of creating your own product. This means conducting research, communicating with suppliers, testing samples, manufacturing and shipping products, advertising products, and so much more.
If you just want to slap your sticker on the same essential oil diffuser that hundreds of sellers already sell, think again.
You must understand your market niche and customer to stand out from the competition. Before you even begin to think about your future product, you must: scope out market niches, watch product trends, and evaluate potential competitors’ products to see how you can make a better version.
Once you’ve selected a product and market niche, it’s time to get to know your customer. And by that I don’t mean to conduct surveys from random passersby. Instead, figure out who your ideal consumer is and what they want in a product.
If you are an expert in your market niche, this might not be overly difficult. If, however, you’ve selected a market niche that is more foreign to you, you’ve got your research cut out for you.
Regardless, you must be prepared for the longer process that’s in store. Selling on Amazon is a marathon, not a sprint: there are no shortcuts (well, there are, but they’re frowned upon).
Black hat and gray hat tactics are riskier and less effective.
With all eyes on their platform, Amazon has taken to monitoring the activities of independent sellers more than in the past. This means it’s much more difficult to get away with black and gray hat tactics that hurt both shoppers and sellers.
Black hat tactics are any practices by sellers and/or fraudulent actors that directly violate the law or Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS). Gray hat tactics are legal but tread the line between violating and not violating Amazon’s TOS. Basically, there’s some gray area around the permissibility of gray hat tactics.
Gone are the days of incentivizing customers to leave you 5 star reviews, leaving nasty reviews on your competitors’ listings, or hijacking a competitor’s listing with faulty products.
The good news is that you are likely to face less of these unsavory tactics on your listing. Or, if you do, you will have more resources from Amazon to help combat them.
Step-by-step Amazon training can help you navigate this process. If you’re looking for extra direction, we can help. Between our coaches, we have 50+ years combined experience selling on Amazon, making 6 or 7 figures a year each.
Selling on Amazon Is NOT a Guaranteed Success.
You can find great success on Amazon, however it is not a guaranteed success, just like anything else worth having. You have to put in the work to make your business work for you.
After one year, approximately 5% of top Amazon sellers will no longer sell on Amazon. Most run into a snafu or two and call it quits rather than working through trouble. And several of these defunct sellers try one of the many “get rich quick on Amazon” schemes floating around the internet.
Do not fall prey to the dozens of self-proclaimed “gurus” who promise successful stores overnight. Many of them operate for show instead of presenting a true opportunity. Either way, for the most part these “gurus” spew recycled content from other courses and flaunt their wealth that may or may not have come from an Amazon store.
In the case of one guru I know of, he sells Amazon FBA training while secretly advising his staff not to sell on Amazon and that he would never sell on Amazon.
If anyone tells you they can help you build a successful Amazon store and move to profitability within 30 days, run. Run far and run fast.
The reality is that it can take months to build your store and move to profitability. If you’d like us to show you how, click here.
Regardless, keep in mind selling on Amazon involves many moving pieces from around the globe. When it comes to building your store, there are a lot more factors to consider than there were even just one year ago.
Shipping Costs From China to the US Went Up.
Taboo topic alert – global supply-demand issues have caused transport costs to skyrocket, in part due to the virus-who-shall-not-be-named. It has become harder for freight forwarders to move products across the globe, which means they can charge a pretty—or beautiful—penny for their services.
I recently sat down with three of our Just One Dime Store Builders. All of them own and operate successful Amazon stores. And all of them have felt the pain of spiked shipping costs.
For example, in 2020 where it cost $6,000-$12,000 to ship a full, 40 ft freight container on a boat from mainland China to the US, that same 40 ft container might now run anywhere from $18,000-$60,000 in 2022.
Part of the reason for this is that complications from the virus have created a backlog of freight ships and on-land storage space. Companies ordered extra stock, which created landside warehouse and trucking shortages, while exponentially increasing the number of cargo vessels at sea. The port of Los Angeles faced a massive parking lot of ships waiting to be unloaded. To combat the issue, the port recently imposed restrictions as to how many ships can come in each day. This just happens to be one of the busiest ports on the planet that handles almost $300 billion in cargo value each year.
The good news is that you will not be alone in facing these astronomical shipping costs. Every other seller on the platform is feeling, or will feel, this pain. And this pressure equally applies to your competition.
Every seller who does not abandon their store in the face of adverse shipping costs will at some point have to reorder their supply. And when they do, they too will encounter these exact issues.
As a new seller, you’re actually better positioned than sellers with existing inventory. Any seller who reorders their product already has a price point on it. They’ve already tested the market and know exactly how much they can charge consumers. This could hurt them as shipping costs drastically encroach on their previous profit margins.
You, instead, can prepare for increased shipping costs by creating a product with a higher price point. You just have to research. You can often find products with a high profit margin when you pick a market niche with a higher overall price tag. Then create an even better product than what currently exists. You can create a product to sell for enough money that you still profit after all is said and done.
And if shipping costs ever go back down—which we hope they will 🤞—you will only be in a position to profit even more. Plus, you can rest easier knowing that if shipping costs bounce off the charts again, you’re priced high enough that your pain will be more of a graze rather than a deep cut.
These same supply-demand issues have also increased product manufacturing timelines.
Building an Amazon Business Can Take Over a Year.
Each stage of creating your product can take months. Remember when I told you to run the next time someone told you they could make you rich on Amazon in 30 days?
Here’s the general process of building a store:
- Create an Amazon Seller Central account
- Product research
- Supplier research
- Supplier communications
- Test sample products
- Manufacture your own products
- Product inspections
- Ship your products
- Create your Amazon listing
- Run pay per click advertising to make your product visible
- Become profitable
The first few steps alone can take even the best, most seasoned sellers several months, each.
The great news is that you can use this time to really dig deep into your product and market niche. So that you can differentiate your product to make it 10x better than your competitors’. So that you can gain a deeper understanding of your ideal customer and create the best possible experience for your shoppers.
Still, keep in mind: after your product is available to shoppers, you may not make your investment back for several months.
When you first list your product, the listing will not be visible on the first page of search results. You will not have any sales, any reviews, or any ranking (how high up in search results your listing appears).
In our Amazon FBA membership we teach you how to run pay per click (PPC) advertising so that your product accrues rank, which will lead to visibility and sales. However, just like any good thing, our PPC strategy takes time. Just running your initial reports takes at least 14 days to collect good intel!
Do not let the timeline scare you away. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) about other sellers creating products similar to yours and dominating the market before you do, consider this: most will not do their research, they will not create products that are differentiated in the way we teach. If they beat you to market all you can do is shrug your shoulders and trust that you will have a better product once you launch.
If you have this fear, know that step-by-step Amazon training can help save you time throughout this process.
Myself and the coaches at Just One Dime have made so many mistakes when it comes to building our own Amazon stores. We learned how to solve them. And we will gladly help you to not make those same mistakes and solve them if you do.
Hijackers Will Try to Leech Off of Your Success.
Anytime you succeed on Amazon, you will run into hijackers.
The truth is if you create a product identical to every other sellers’ product, it will be easy for hijackers to copy you. All they have to do is find yet another iteration of that same product and add it to your listing like an arbitrageur (someone who buys products and resells them elsewhere for profit). In fact, Amazon will assume they are acting as an arbitrageur and turn a blind eye.
In doing this, hijackers can damage your listing by selling low quality knock-offs to your customers. This can lead to unwarranted critical reviews on your product and hurt your brand’s reputation.
These actors can also hijack your listing’s buy box. Local Chinese hijackers often get lower prices on products than you can. If they add their item to your listing for a lower price than your product’s, they can win the buy box. This means that if a customer clicks “buy now” or “add to cart”, the hijacker’s product goes in their cart. Meanwhile, your product is stuck in the “New and Used (#) from $x” button underneath the buy box.
This can detract from your sales and hurt your seller account’s health.
However, you can combat the ever looming threat of hijackers. You can dissuade hijackers from counterfeiting your brand. One of the best defenses is a product that is tough to replicate. You can keep counterfeit products off your listing by differentiating your product to make it so difficult to copy, it’s not worth the hijackers' time.
You can also remove hijackers selling counterfeit products. You can report these fraudulent actors to Amazon and expose them for what they are. Amazon wants the customer to have the best experience possible, so it’s in their best interest to remove any unwanted products and sellers from their system.
When you trademark your brand, you get to put that special ® next to your brand name. On its own, this is a deterrent to hijackers.
Having a trademark also means having access to a slew of legal resources to take action against infringers. Plus, when you are trademarked, you can become Brand Registered on Amazon. With brand registry, you get additional resources to combat hijackers. It also means Amazon will be more likely to back you and take action against hijackers so they have their account suspended.
It Is Easy to Get Suspended When You Set Up Your Amazon Seller Account.
You run the greatest risk of having your Amazon seller account suspended as you set it up. But that’s actually great news!
Amazon has made account creation a vetting process to filter out hijackers.
This added hassle is actually a benefit: it makes it easy to catch hijackers before they can even open a seller account. It also makes it harder for hijackers who have been previously suspended to open another account.
When you set up your account, make sure that everything matches. Let’s say, for example, your primary contact person is Bobby McGee. If his driver’s license reads “Bobby L. McGee” (L. with a period), you need to enter his name with that same punctuation every time. You can become suspended for something as small as writing “Bobby L McGee” (L sans period) or “Bobby Long McGee”.
Now, getting your account suspended is a hassle. It can sometimes take months to work out the kinks. However, if you have truly done nothing wrong, you can get your account back.
If you get suspended, Amazon will inform you via email. As you communicate with them to get unsuspended, do exactly as they say: no more, no less.
If you get confused and don’t get it right the first time, do not give up. You can call Amazon, talk to an actual human being, and figure out exactly what you need to do to become unsuspended.
Of course, step-by-step Amazon training can help you circumvent these issues. We can support you as you set up your seller central account and beyond.
If you are in this for the long haul, if you are looking for real help, steps, and intel to guide you as you build your business, that is where we come in.
Our membership is a multi-step process that takes months. But we cover everything. You will get one-on-one coaching, group coaching, access to a community of sellers, product ideas, access to sourcing agents in China, and more. We will guide you through every step of the way to help you succeed.
If you are dead serious about changing your future, apply here.
One more thing: what’s the scariest part to you about starting an Amazon store? Let me know in the comments.