11 Amazon FBA Mistakes That You’re Probably Making

 

In the second it took you to click on this article, Amazon shipped 35 items. So there’s no doubt that this site has huge potential for people who want to make money selling online. But there’s also no doubt that it is incredibly competitive. According to an article published in Entrepreneur last year, there are at least five million marketplace sellers on Amazon, two million or more of which are on Amazon.com alone.  

With all that competition out there, you can’t afford to make mistakes. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most common Amazon FBA mistakes (and a bonus mistake for those who make it to the end!), and also tips on how to solve them, so you can keep growing your business and fighting off the competition.

  1. Being seduced by a product as opposed to the numbers and forgetting about your ideal customers

Setting up an Amazon business is exciting. Especially when you start visiting factories, testing products, and generally “getting the ball rolling”. But because of this initial excitement, it is very easy to get side-lined by how great you think a product is, and forget about what your ideal customers want.

If you treat your products like your “babies”, you’re leading yourself away from the mindset needed for success. Products are there to facilitate your brand in making money – that’s all. If one is not working, you need to change it, or scrap it, and move on.

Solve the problem:

Amazon is saturated with generic products that you can put your own branding on to fit your ideal client, and this alone can be a huge differentiation from your competition. When searching for products to sell, always keep differentiation at the top of your mind, and focus on the numbers.

Do your research to find out what’s hot, what’s not, and what can bring you the most profit. Product research apps, like Jungle Scout, can help you with this. Jungle Scout allows you to filter products across multiple categories to help you pinpoint the best products in your niche for increasing profit and customer satisfaction.

  1. Feeling overwhelmed by choice

Just as it seems there are an unlimited number of products to choose from, there’s also an unlimited number of suppliers making them. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by choice and simply select the first factory that responds to your product inquiry, but it is important to compare multiple factories, and, if it is ever possible, even visit your factory or factories. That way you can speak to the factory representatives and owner, and you will know you are getting the best products for the best prices.

Even after you have your products up for sale on Amazon, you need to continuously review costs of goods sold (COGS) to ensure that you are achieving the maximum amount of profit. If you’re receiving less profit than you would like, you need to re-negotiate pricing with your supplier.

Solve the problem:

Find a handful of factories that make your selected product(s) and, if you’re able to, make plans to visit all of them before deciding on a supplier. However, there is also a cheaper option. If you can’t make the trip to China yourself, hire a qualified sourcing agent to find all of the best factories for you and negotiate on your behalf.

If you are visiting the factory and negotiating prices yourself, it is important to have confidence and know what you are doing. Check out these supplier negotiating tips from 13 successful entrepreneurs to inspire you: 13 Tips for Negotiating With Suppliers.

  1. Not having a SMART goal for your Amazon business

When you first set up your Amazon business and you get a few sales, it can be easy to think that all of the hard work is over. But if you really want to make a living out of this, then you need to have a plan for sustainable business growth. You need a SMART goal. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Based

Solve the problem:

So how do you build a SMART goal?

First, write down your goal or a big milestone that you want to achieve. Something like:

“I want to achieve $50,000 in sales so I can finally PAY MYSELF from my Amazon business, and FEEL that the business is working for me, and I want to accomplish this in the next 9 months.”

Once you have your initial statement, flesh it out so that it meets all of the requirements of a SMART goal. Make it specific, measurable etc.

Building a SMART goal gives you more control over the future of your Amazon business and helps you to plan the best direction to head in.

  1. Focussing on topline revenue vs. bottom line profits and ROI

Managing inventory and cash flow is a balancing act, and if you don’t know what to focus on, you’re going to end up dropping the ball somewhere. It’s easy to get carried away by topline revenue, but the bottom line (your profits after all expenses are taken into account) is what really matters.

To ensure your business is as profitable as it can be, you need to make sure that cash flows in as quickly as it flows out. The same applies to stock. You don’t want to tie up all of your cash in stock that you can’t shift, and at the same time, you don’t want to run out of stock. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help you toe this fine line…

Solve the problem:

First things first, you need to understand your cash to cash sales cycle. This is the time period between cash leaving your business when you pay suppliers for goods, to cash entering your business when customers buy your products.

Another way to better manage your revenue is to implement “just in time” inventory. This is a strategy that helps you to improve cash flow and efficiency by receiving goods only as and when you need them. Find out more about that here: How to Implement a Just-in-Time Inventory System.

  1. Understanding Listing Optimisation: Amazon’s eye vs Customer eye

When listing your products, you need to please both the customer and Amazon. This means finding the correct balance between a listing that appeals to customers (real human-beings) and one that ticks all of Amazon’s optimisation boxes (an unforgiving bot).

Solve the problem:

This is a problem that needs to be tackled one step at a time. Let’s start with Amazon. You need to include the correct amount of keywords to appeal to Amazon’s algorithm and enable your product to be searched for by customers. BUT, if you stuff too many keywords into your listing, you will be penalised. Read this Amazon help page for a full rundown of what they expect from you: Creating Great Detail Page Content.

After playing to all of Amazon’s optimisation rules, you need to humanize your listings to encourage people to buy your products. This includes the text description and the images. It is very important that your main image truthfully represents the product you are selling. If you ever receive negative reviews from customers that state that the image does not represent the product, make sure you pay attention to these and make changes accordingly.

  1. Failing to outsource recurring daily/weekly tasks that you shouldn’t be doing

If your business is taking off, you might find yourself wishing for more hours in the day. Instead of working yourself to the bone with mundane daily and weekly tasks that sap your time and energy, outsource these tasks to trained professionals and focus your time on growing the business and increasing revenue.

Solve the problem:

It can be difficult to relinquish control of the business that you’ve built all by yourself. However, sharing and overseeing duties is not the same as relinquishing control. It is simply freeing up your time so you can better focus on the important stuff.

There are a couple of different ways to outsource business tasks. You can go through an agency or hire a couple of freelance workers. Either way, make sure you train workers thoroughly from the get-go to avoid any mistakes being made; using something like Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is a great way to write step-by-step instructions so the training time is minimized

  1. Prioritising information over implementation

Conferences make you feel like you’re doing something productive. You meet up with lots of similar people and hear success stories that get you pumped for your own journey…but that’s about all.

If you aren’t getting anything tangible from a conference that will directly improve your business, then it is a waste of time and money – time and money that you could spend in other places to actually improve your business!

Solve the problem:

Just stop going! Put all of that time, money, and energy into your business instead of into conferences. It’s all about implementation, not information.

If you DO go to conferences, the best use of your time is to connect with other sellers, because at the end of the day, you might need another person to bounce ideas off of and stay accountable with for those times when you need a sounding board.

  1. Not understanding the role of PPC

PPC (pay-per-click) is not as simple as you pay, they click. To make it work for you, you need to fully understand the role of Amazon ads in your business.

When you create a PPC campaign, your product listing will appear above organic (unpaid) listings for your chosen keywords. Here are a couple of examples:

 

If you’re not being specific with your PPC keywords, you could lose out to your competitors. It’s important to get into the mind of your customers and optimise for keywords that they will search for.

Solve the problem:

In order to get the most out of your PPC ads, you need to pay close attention to your keywords. If a specific keyword isn’t generating profit, then lower your bid for that one to see if you get a better return from it. To understand which keywords to use, you need to get into the psyche of your potential customers – what will they be searching for when they come to Amazon?

Top Tip: Long-tail keywords (a string of three or more words) are up to 2.5x more effective as up to 70% of searches are for long-tail terms.

  1. Ignoring critical business pitfalls

Understanding Amazon’s FBA Terms of Service is crucial if you want to build a successful business on the platform. Simple mistakes such as including promotional information in your URL or opening another seller account without contacting Amazon first could lead to your account being closed.

Solve the problem:

You need to do your homework here to make sure that you don’t do anything that could put your business in jeopardy and cause you to lose everything you’ve worked for so far. Here are a couple of links to help you get started:

  1. Ignoring key business metrics

Ignoring key business metrics is another mistake that could jeopardise your Amazon page. If you fail to measure metrics such as traffic, conversions, and keyword ranking, you will never know how well (or not) your page is performing.

Solve the problem:

Pay attention to your business metrics! Use the customer metrics tool through your Amazon seller account to monitor your performance every single day. If you see a dip in your performance, then tweak your strategies to see if you can improve.

  1. Buying every “shiny object” that hits the market without it clearly enabling your PLAN

When you’re so heavily invested in your business and really, really hope that it does well, it can be easy to fall for the latest “shiny object” on the market that promises you crazy results in next to no time and with little effort. However, usually, these “shiny objects” are nothing but that. They won’t help to improve your business, instead they will distract you from your focus and the SMART plan that you have built.

For example, if you know that your next step is to launch your product into the UK and send inventory over there, but then you see a Facebook ad for a “new ninja Facebook trick to get more Amazon sales”, and then you go off and buy that…well, now you have just stopped your forward progress, and you will probably spend the next 2 years trying to see if that Facebook Ad training ever pans out, and usually it doesn’t.

Solve the problem:

Stick to your plan! Don’t let yourself be tempted by internet marketers trying to sell you the next “ninja trick”. More often than not, those tools and training only work when you are at a high-level and can afford to have a team of people working on implementation. Even then, Amazon can spot manipulation of the system pretty quickly and this can result in serious repercussions for you and your business.

*Bonus!*

  1. Focussing on what other people are doing vs what you need to be doing

This is where you can really mess up. When you focus on competitors and what is working for them, it is easy to lose patience with your own product launch and this could lead to you making decisions that impact your sales growth later down the line.

Solve the problem:

ALWAYS think accurately and objectively, and build yourself a 90 Day Action Plan to stay focused on just what you need to do. When in doubt, refer back to your SMART goal.

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