BI 201: The Art & Science of Choosing Your First Product to Sell on Amazon

If you are planning to sell private label products on Amazon, the first (and most important) step is to select a product to sell.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, not exactly. In fact, selecting a product is the #1 obstacle that prevents new sellers from getting their business off the ground.

If you make a good selection for your first product by choosing something with the correct balance of demand vs competition, your sales will take off and all sorts of amazing things will start to happen!

Make the wrong selection though…and you are in for a rough ride.

If you choose a product with too little demand or too much competition, sales will be low or non-existent. If you select the wrong size of product, your FBA fees will be much higher. If you choose a product in the wrong category, you could be faced with some nasty attacks from your competition.

Product selection is the key to succeeding on Amazon, so make sure you listen to this episode and learn the method that I and many other successful sellers use to avoid choosing the wrong product.

Listen to the Audio

Questions I Answer In This Episode

  • Why I chose to start an eCommerce business
  • Why I am focusing on Amazon before attempting to build my own store
  • What are the top categories that new sellers should focus on and why?
  • What are my rules of thumb for product attributes?
  • How to brainstorm for ideas
  • What tools do I use to help me speed up the product selection process?

Links Mentioned in This Episode

If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy:
Adventures in eCommerce: The Future of the Bright Ideas Blog & Podcast

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Bright Ideas for eCommerce Entrepreneurs

For the last few years, and in countless episodes of my podcast, I have focused on teaching people how to grow a marketing consulting business; primarily because that was the kind of business that I was focused on building for myself.

My agency has been a steady cash flow generator for a few years now and that is all well and good….but to be honest, it’s not a business that I want to grow that much bigger. Primarily because its a service business and the larger it gets, the more staff I will have to hire, train, and manage.

As a result, staring today, the Bright Ideas blog is making a major pivot. Going forward all the content on this blog & podcast is going to be focused on the ins and outs of building an eCommerce business.

Listen to the Audio

Why eCommerce?

There are a number of reasons why I have decided to make this pivot.

Reason #1: It’s the business I’m getting into

For my entire career as an entrepreneur, I have been involved with B2B service businesses; and while service businesses have served me well so far, one of the major challenges is that they don’t scale very well.

Plus, clients can be a challenge to work with! (one of the major reasons we have been uber choosy about the clients we accept)

With a product business, on the other hand, I don’t ever have to talk to my customer to make the sale. They either come to my site, or go to Amazon, and “add to cart”. Soooo pleasantly simple.

Approximately two months ago, I reconnected with a friend that I hadn’t spoken with in a while and he told me about some mutual acquaintances and how well they were doing with eCommerce.

As a result, I decided to started conducting some tests to see if I could replicate what they were doing. My initial test results were positive so I decided to take a few more baby steps and “leaked” some of what I was up to on my Facebook page.

If you missed out, don’t worry, I will be publishing detailed accounts of these tests and their results in the coming weeks. If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure and subscribe.

Reason #2: Anyone can start an eCommerce business

There are a LOT of information marketers out there who are all trying to convince aspiring entrepreneurs that they can all get rich selling information products. Sadly, the reality is that the vast majority of these guru’s only make money online by teaching other people how to make money online. It’s kind of a pyramid…and that’s not something that I have ever wanted to be a part of.

Whereas with eCommerce, you don’t need to be a guru and you don’t have to create your own products. ANYONE can log onto Alibaba, find products, import them, and sell them on Amazon and/or their own website…and thousands of people are already doing it.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, replacing your job by starting an eCommerce business in your spare time is totally doable (though it will likely take you a year or so). In the months ahead, via my podcast, I will share with you the stories of many people (including myself) who have done just that.

Reason #3: eCommerce is growing

According to Engadget, Amazon just announced its financial results for Q4 of 2015, and one of the big trends the company highlighted was the continuing strength of Amazon Prime, a service that has its roots in free two-day shipping but is now becoming a catch-all for a host of free media the company provides for subscribers. Amidst the many highlights are some notes on pretty major Prime growth: Amazon says that worldwide Prime memberships increased 51 percent in 2015 compared to the year before. Growth in the US came in at 47 percent, which means things picked up even faster internationally.

But you probably didn’t need me to link you to a news story for you to agree that in the coming years, more products are going to be purchased online than they are today, right?

It’s kind of a no-brainer.

So now that you know my top 3 reasons for pivoting my own business (and this blog)…you are probably wondering….

What Can You Expect From Me In the Future?

My goal is to have this blog become your #1 trusted source for eCommerce strategies that actually work.

In the weeks and months ahead, you can expect me to:

  • Share details about how I’m growing my own eCommerce business (good and bad)
  • Publish interviews with other eCommerce entrepreneurs
  • Provide answers to your questions about eCommerce

How Can You Help?

There are two things that you can do to help me achieve my goal is making this blog a #1 trusted source for eCommerce strategies that work:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Share my posts on your social media

That’s all that I ask. Thanks in advance for helping~

~Trent

Have a Comment?

In an effort to make discussion more social, I’ve moved comments onto Facebook. If you have a comment or question, please click the button below to be taken directly to the Facebook post.

 

 

Ask Me a Question

If you have a question, comment, thought or concern, you can share it by clicking here. We’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to the Bright Ideas Podcast

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I’ve Just Launched an eCommerce Business

On Feb 3rd, 2016 at 3:15pm MT, my new eCommerce venture went live. Less than an hour later, we’d made our first sale. A whopping $5.75.

By the time I woke up this morning, we’d made another sale of $15.75.

Going from launch to revenue in such a short period of time was really fun, and quite exciting.

If you think having your own eCommerce business would be terrific, read on and I’ll share some more of the back story on what led me to this.

How I Got Started Online

Way back in 2004, my first attempt at building an online business saw me importing fashion jewelry from China and selling it on eBay.

Back then, I could buy a product for $1 and sell it for $10. The business was launched in August (while I was still CEO of Dyrand) and every month we doubled our sales. In December, we sold about $3-4K worth of product. Suffice to say, I thought I’d found the perfect business!

Then in January, sales dropped off a cliff so I shuttered the business to focus all my energy on growing Dyrand, which, at the time, was only 3 years old and not yet profitable. In 2008, I sold Dyrand for $1.2M, so focusing on it was, in hindsight, a good idea. (Though, had I shuttered Dyrand and focused on my eCommerce business, I might have done even better!)

What Are You Going To Sell?

When creating your online business, you need to decide what kind of business you are going to be in.

Are you going to offer a service of some kind (I own Groove Digital Marketing), sell information products, sell physical products, or build a software company?

In my case, I have thus far had success with services (Groove) and information products (Bright Ideas) because neither one of them requires a lot of start up capital. They do, however, require a high level of expertise, which makes these kind of businesses hard to start for people that don’t (yet) have a specialty of some kind.

In the table below is a very brief summary of what I feel are some of the main pros and cons that you should consider when selecting your business model. (I’ve purposely left software out because it’s so out of reach for most new entrepreneurs.)

Pros and Cons by Business Model
Service BusinesseCommerce StoreInformation Products
Scalable?NoYesYes
Profit MarginsLowVariesHigh
Requires specialized skills / experienceYesNoYes
Inventory NoYesNo
Requires product or service creationYesNoYes

My eCommerce Venture

One of the keys with any business is being able to acquire customers profitably. If you choose to sell on Amazon, you don’t have to spend money directly on customer acquisition. Instead, it comes out of the proceeds of the sale. Plus, Amazon will do the fulfillment for you.

A friend of mine, Spencer Haws is selling on Amazon and his business is growing very quickly. In his latest blog post, Spencer wrote how he sold over $60,000 worth of his products on Amazon in December 2015.

My venture doesn’t (yet) sell on Amazon. Instead, I’m using a very specific Facebook marketing strategy that I learned from Mike Cooch.

Mike is a very bright guy and he actually offers a course and a mastermind group that I am a part of, and it’s worth every penny. You can learn more about his course here (not an affiliate link). Unlike most gurus, Mike is walking his talk. His eCommerce venture is doing millions a year.

The Appeal of eCommerce in 2016

Since my days of selling fashion jewelry back in 2004, there have been some pretty significant changes in the landscape.

  1. Facebook has become the #1 B2C direct marketing platform in the world
  2. Thanks to the web, sourcing products from China has never been easier (in ’04 I had to fly there to find products)
  3. Amazon has become a huge marketplace for anyone to sell almost anything, without ever having to touch the product (Amazon warehouses, packs, and ships for you)
  4. Building an online store has never been easier (Shopify, and the like…)
  5. People are now very comfortable shopping online

In aggregate, these changes have made it insanely easy for anyone to launch their own online business.

In my case, I did some research on Amazon to find a product that met my checklist. I then purchased Click Funnels (affiliate link) to make it insanely easy to create a marketing funnel for the product(s) I’m testing.

As soon as the funnel was ready (Mike’s course will teach you EXACTLY how to do this), I used Ad Espresso (not affiliate link) to create my Facebook ad campaign. (Mike’s course will also teach you how to advertise on Facebook).

Less than an hour later, I’d made my first sale. From here on, it’s all about testing product offers, then optimizing my funnels and Facebook advertising campaigns.

And, as you’d guess, I have plenty of things to learn!

By the way, in my opinion, for most new entrepreneurs, selling physical products makes a LOT more sense than trying to selling information products, largely because anyone can source a physical product, whereas very few new entrepreneurs have the skills to create an information product. Plus, physical products are exponentially easier to sell because people can see exactly what they are buying.

What’s Next?

You probably aren’t going to see me writing a ton of blog posts here on BI about my eCommerce business in the near future, nor do I offer a training course of any kind. In fact, I may never offer one (hence my pointing you to Mike’s course).

Like Mike, I plan to grow this into a multi-million dollar business and suspect that I will have a blast doing it.

Along the way, you can expect me to share short updates on my Facebook page, so if keeping tabs on what I’m doing is of interest to you, you might want to go and like the Bright Ideas page if you haven’t done so already. If you have questions, please post them to the comments on my Facebook post.

I will likely share some additional insights with my subscriber list, so if you want that, just opt in using the link below.

Have a Comment or Question?

In an effort to make discussion about this post more social, I’ve moved comments onto Facebook. If you have a comment or question, please click the button below to be taken directly to the Facebook post.

 

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