Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast today’s guest is Scott Voelker and his from The Amazing salad. We are going to be talking about selling on Amazon. We’re going to be talking about how to Market some products how to even do research and finding products welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast Scott.
How you doing. I’m doing really good. Thanks for having me Robert. So if you can just give us a quick introduction about yourself. How you ended up selling on Amazon and what you do at the amazing salad. Yeah, absolutely. I mean I won’t go back too far. I’m a 43 year old man. I’m married. I’ve got a family three children.
But married for 21 years actually going to be 22 here in a month, so I’m pretty happy about that, but yeah, I’m just a regular guy that you know started when I was 18 years old right out of high school just going into my father’s business and learning about business in the contracting business that was but then at that age.
You know really not having you know I didn’t go to college or anything like that, so I didn’t really have a ton of background in business, but I learned a lot by being in my father’s business. I also learned that I didn’t want to be in Partnerships, and I also learned that I didn’t really want employees and that type of stuff, but it taught me a lot and from there my wife, and I after I was working for my father for probably a good eight to 10 years somewhere around there for getting out been so long.
I was just getting kind of burnout. You know I mean those working 60 + hours a week, and I wasn’t seeing seeing my new daughter at the time. I only had one child. It’s time and we decided to go with a hobby that she had which was photography and we turned that into a kind of fast forward here. We turned that into a business.
Not after about 18 months of deciding to start that again knowing nothing about photography. We ended up starting a little local business in our own photography studio, built that into a six-figure business and a relatively quick time and then from there about six seven years later and decided to start teaching people online about photography and about.
How we started without really having any formal education and that really introduced me to the online space and it’s just always been uh you know part of me. That’s always been entrepreneurial. I’ve always wanted to kind of find other revenue streams and stuff, and that’s where Amazon really peaked my interest.
I mean I had other things. That I had also dabbled in but Amazon is the most recent one in the one that I’ve really kind of drill down into recently. Uh, but yeah, so I just started testing this whole Amazon thing. I was starting to hear how people were making some money at it selling physical products, and then I gave it a shot.
I figured you know what I’d give it. Maybe 3-4 months, and I’d see what would happen and long story short is the first 90 days. I was able to generate about 40,000 in Revenue, so it was uh it was definitely proving the concept and from there. I just decided to to go all in and. On this and and then that’s brings us up to kind of the podcast and I started that really uh to kind of help myself because I wanted to reach out to other people that were more successful than I was and that we’re a little bit further along be able to interview them, but then also you know share my experiences share my journey with other people that might want to get started and that really morphed into this really really amazing thing as we call it the amazing seller, so that’s where we are today.
Okay, thanks for the overview and congratulations on the 22 years of marriage. I thank you so I used to are you and your wife Partners in the business, or did you actually commit to not working with Partners? No, I mean my wife is my partner in life, and she’s also a partner in business always you know she’s always been a really a good partner in a sense that keeps me on track.
She also has one of my biggest cheerleaders, so. Yeah, I don’t even think if if I didn’t have her. I don’t even know if I would have really continued to look into Amazon. She kind of gave me a nudge and said hey if it’s looking like it’s peaking your interest you’re probably on to something so you might want to give it a try, so now she definitely.
Helps me out in the business and in any business that we do. She’s always there to help so yeah, definitely a big part of of My Success, okay, so now let’s get into Amazon, so how does somebody research and even choose that fast product and decided, okay? I want to sell this. Mamas and how can somebody get started the whole process?
What was a few different ways you can get started and there was one way that I always seeing that a lot of people were doing and they still do and it’s called Retail Arbitrage, and it’s where you go into a big box store or even around your house if you have stuff that that you want to get rid of it’s kind of like eBay in a sense, but yet if you have something still sealed that’s even better because it says new but with Retail Arbitrage if you go into a local big-box store.
You know Walmart Lowes Staples any of those you can go ahead and see that they have. Prints items you know they’re clearing you know off the shelves because they’re going into a new season or whatever, and they usually dig deeply discount those if you find them for 75% off eighty percent off, and then you can go and resell them on Amazon the problem with that that I didn’t really like was and I come from again the physical side and also see the digital side what really turned me off with that is having to go out and find more products all the time, so I had to go out there if I found 10.
I’d sell them and I’d have to sell another go find another 10 and then sell them so I didn’t really like that. Also, that kind of turned me off, and I honestly I started looking into that and I kind of said I don’t think I want to do that but for a lot of people. They get started that way and it’s a great way to get started without a lot of investment because you don’t have to spend a lot to get started, but we’re talking really now.
It really intrigued me was FBA which is fulfilled by Amazon for anyone. That’s listening that doesn’t know that’s really where Amazon does all the heavy lifting you take your product. You ship it in and then they’ll do the Fulfillment for you. They’ll do the refunds will do you no like to customer support all that stuff, so, that’s.
Really really excited me about doing you know the Amazon thing okay so from there if you want to just start. I would say Retail Arbitrage the great way to kind of get your feet wet secondly if you don’t want to retailers you want to go in the private labeling space and that’s what I’m doing now is where you take your own product and brand it, and then you manufacture it and now you don’t have to worry.
You know you don’t have to worry about finding more product because you’re you’re the manufacturer you can control that inventory so one of the biggest things. I always tell people when they’re getting started. Is you want to look at a market? Not just that a products you want to see what Market?
Are you serving and what products do they buy and that’s really where you get started then from there you can go into Amazon and just see what Amazon is putting in front of you so for example if you go to Amazon and you’re searching for a garlic press. Let’s say you’re going to go there, and it’s going to give you related products around the garlic press and a garlic press would be in the in the cooking Mitch right so so because of that now I can go there and start getting all these ideas coming at me because Amazon.
Is giving me suggestions and if Amazon has given me suggestions that must mean that people are buying that because they have a lot of data from a lot of years, so does that make sense yeah, so but one quick question but came up for me is how did you transition from the Retail Arbitrage to manufacturing your own product so do fast to get started you doing the Retail Arbitrage, but using those same products.
Do you just start to manufacture those same products yourself or. Add up developing a product that you think is going to fit a stock market. Yeah, you can do that what I like to do is I like to test with a product. That’s already currently selling, so I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel but one thing that you would do is if you see something.
That’s selling really well right now what you can. Do is look at all their negative reviews. They have negative. A lot of them are going to still have negative reviews. I mean they might not have a ton, but if it even if it’s a good product. You’re going to have people that just complained about something.
You know like it was it didn’t have a long enough handle. It didn’t have a long enough strap, or it was slippery or whatever right so once you hear these different feedback from you know the reviewers you can then enhance your product and make it better to answer those problems right and then when you do that now you’ve taken a product that you already know is selling well, and then you just modified it and made it better and now you’re going to Market that product you know.
In that same category okay, and so that brings you to manufacturing, so how do you start manufacturing that product and I know you work with like some people work with manufacturers from China, but what’s the whole process about finding a manufacturer? Yeah, I mean the easiest way is to go to China.
I mean you know you can go to AliExpress, Alibaba. Those are two of the main sites, and I always tell people you’re not going there necessarily to find the product you’re going there to find. Your manufacturer or your agent because what you want to do. There is you’re really just want to find a product.
That’s similar to what you’re looking for and then start start engaging in a conversation and creating that relationship with this agent because on the front end it looks like it’s just a big giant website that you can deal with as far as sourcing products, but what it really is. It’s all of these agents behind this website, and then when you go and you put a contact you know support ticket in kind of thing then you’re contacting an agent, and then you can start.
Are acting with that agent and you can start building at report, and then you can say to them? Hey what else do you have that’s not on Alibaba? Do you have something in your catalog they can you send me a catalog and then they can send that to you, and then you can get more ideas and then from there take those products and then go over to Amazon and see if any of those are selling okay, and then that’s really how you can tap into finding a manufacturer without really going after the one that everyone else has found okay, and once you already have your product, so how do you stop the selling process and selling on Amazon?
Yeah, well the basic process is this and people need to understand that Amazon is based all office sales alright. Everything. You know all they care about is sales. That’s it right sales is going to move the needle and what I mean by that is if you have a product you put it up. Then you have no sales.
You’re just going to go to the bottom of the page or the bottom of the barrel. Okay, you’re not going to be found so what you what you want to do right away is get sales so one of the strategies that we use is we go ahead. We give away, and we usually figure this in to our budget. Marketing plan is we want to give away a hundred maybe 150 units and we can give them away in exchange.
You know for not just a review, but just in exchange for them buying it, so that way there. We can get a boost in our ranking OK, and what people need to understand is that Amazon is a search engine for buyers. We want to rank in there. Just as though you would want to rank a website or your eCommerce store on Google.
It’s the same thing we want to rank on page one for our keywords. Okay, and it could be garlic press stainless steel. Has whatever it is we want to rank for those keywords because that’s where you’re gonna get the most traffic right so if you don’t get sales you can’t rank so here’s how it works if you have if you start getting sales through stainless steel garlic press your gonna start ranking for garlic for the stainless steel garlic press OK on now.
There’s a couple different things that I do in the very first thing is I do a giveaway where I’ll give away my product even at a hundred percent discount. I’ll give out these codes that they allow you to generate an Amazon’s okay with this, and then you give them away to either a review. Group or people.
You know maybe you have an email list and then from there. They’re gonna buy through your through your listing and through that coupon code. It’s going to trigger inside of Amazon’s algorithm that you’ve you’re getting sales right so that’s gonna help get you kind of noticed. It’s going to help you get on the scene now the second part of that what I do is I turn on Amazon pay-per-click.
They have their own pay per click. You know platform inside of Amazon, and then you can show up on page one for your keywords if you want a bid enough just like. You’re doing Google, or if you’re doing Bing or any of those ads you can rank on page one day one if you want to spend enough and a lot of times.
It’s okay to even break even or lose money on that ad spend because all you’re trying to do is get sales through that keyword so if you want to rank for stainless steel garlic press Start bidding on that keyword start getting traffic to your listing from that keyword and then once you start getting sales you’re going to start ranking for that keyword does that make sense yeah, and what are some other method of promoting your.
And Amazon honestly, those are the two main ones those are the two main ones that you’re going to want to do a lot of people start talking about driving outside traffic. I wouldn’t drive outside traffic until I’ve maximize my pay per click because pay per click you can you can drill down for days and still not have all the keywords that you could potentially ranked 4 in the beautiful thing with Amazon is they they give you a lot of the data, so if I run an auto campaign they they allow you to run an auto campaign a manual campaign.
I always start with an auto campaign and that. Amazon to take your product and position it in front of different keywords that they think would make buyers or that would create buyers, so now what I do is after seven days that I’ve been running that then I’ll pull that report and it’ll tell me what keywords that they’re targeting for me, then I can take those keywords and ship them out of those campaigns or that campaign and I can put them in my own manual campaign.
And then start bidding at like a phrase match instead of it being maybe a broad match, so those are just a couple of different things, but I see people a lot of times wanting to go outside of Amazon like right away, and I don’t see it because the traffic is going to convert a lot lower when you go outside of Amazon then if you’re in that platform when people go to Amazon.
They’re there to buy if people are on Facebook or through on Google. They’re not necessarily there to buy their they’re doing something else and you’re just kind of interrupting them. I would say. You want to do the launch process as far as the giveaway? That’s the very first thing because that’s going to help you get reviews if you don’t have reviews and your competition has 500 reviews.
You’re not going to convert that well. It’s the social proof right it’s like people trust what other people have said about a product. Okay, so if you don’t have reviews. It’s going to be hard to convert. You can get all the people to come to your page, but if you don’t have those reviews. You’re not going to convert, so I always tell people try to get your first set of 25 or 50 reviews before you really start pushing pay-per-click because.
And once you start pushing pay-per-click even though you might get the traffic you might not convert, but if you can convert and then get on page one and have some reviews. You’re going to convert even higher. It’s really good that Amazon actually allows sellers to Discount product you know 100%.
Yep, and the Dow it’s going to help you drive the cells and get the reviews so you have done them. I’ve done them Robert to wear. I’ll give it away for a dollar or I’ll give it away for two dollars. You know you can still do that. I just found that the free the hundred percent off definitely gets more people to take you up on that offer, but I’ve done both welcome both and throughout your whole experience Southern on Amazon.
What’s what’s your worst failure that you had just a numbers on well on Amazon I mean. I’ve had a few odd to be honest with you, and you know it’s it’s part of business. I think and everyone should realize that there’s no easy ticket right. There’s always gonna be ups and downs on my second product.
I think I missed the mark on I didn’t understand the depth of the market as much as I should have and I learned a lot about that and with that basically means is that I found a product that I thought was going to sell well, and it was selling well by maybe three different sellers, but the problem is after those first three there wasn’t a lot of other sellers.
There wasn’t a lot of other demands. So the first three were eating up all of the demand for that product so because of that I needed to get in the first second or third position in order to get a lot of sales, so that was a failure I still a failure. It’s still you know doing a couple sales a day, so it’s not completely a failure.
It’s just not what I set out to in my my strategy really is to get a product to do 10 sales a day really and in about ten dollar profit. That’s really what I look for in a good product now that doesn’t mean that if I can find something. That’s easy to you know attached to my brand that I won’t.
What if I can make a seven dollar profit? I would still do that, but I usually shoot for $10 profit on each product that I launch but that that’s one of the I would say I don’t really call a failure because I learned from it right. I learned about depth of demand and all that stuff the other one is I recently had my manufacturer and they’ve been doing this for quite a while.
They’ve been packaging a bundle for me. Well recently that bundle was missing a piece and because of that I was getting a lot of. And because of the refunds Amazon suspended that listing so now I’m out of commission until I get that fixed and there was a whole I can’t really get into it, but there’s a whole bunch of different things that I had to do and kind of work around to get my listing back live again, and then it really did take my ranking and bring it down so my sales head had slowed because of that.
So I’m still working to get that back as we speak, but that was something that I learned a lesson. I need to have those inspected better than I’ve had them inspected before especially when you’re doing something with multiple pieces, so let’s those are a couple. I would say okay. Thank Scott for being on the podcast and just sharing and giving us a quick overview on just some debate the vast world of selling on Amazon if people wanted to reach you how can they get you?
They can just reach out to the blog which is the amazing seller, and there’s just about 190 episodes there now the podcast there’s a hundred and probably almost 200 posts there, and we’ve got a lot of great resources. I also do a live Workshop. Generally I do it once a week, but you can register for an upcoming free Workshop where I walk you through the five phases we spend about an hour and a half to two hours on that workshop, and that could be you can register at the amazing http://seller.com Ford workshop, and you can register their For an upcoming one of that.
That would be the two best places to get old me uh any final thoughts. Final thoughts is get started a lot of people what they do is they really start analyzing and trying to think if this is gonna work, and if it doesn’t work. What happens and ok now. I got to do this, but then I know in three weeks from now.
I’m going to have to do this don’t think about all that stuff simplify it. You know I’ve got people right now. I’ve interviewed on my own podcast that started really small. I got one guy that took a Craigslist listing of another guy that was he was taking a bunch of product that he had created. He was basically selling it out because he didn’t want it anymore.
It was like I don’t know was like a thousand of something so he went ahead and he bought him for 65 bucks long story short. He turned that into a little package a little bundle, and he’s be made $1100 profit on that right so because of that now he took that 1100. He reinvested it into his first private label product, so just start a lot of people they think to themselves.
They got to have a certain amount of money or they gotta have a certain amount of knowledge. Just start if maybe its Retail Arbitrage start selling. College books from college kids that want to trade their books in and they want to get money quick. There’s a lot of different ways you can do it, but my big thing is always take action.
You got to do something, or you won’t get any results. That’s it well and now final question last question. What is the one thing an e-commerce business can do right now to to grow get traffic again sale. Well if we’re talking about Amazon. It’s going to be really honing in on your reviews and your sales because that drives everything e-commerce side of things.
I’m just starting to enter into that world. We’re going to start building some outside funnels and some email lists and stuff like that, but I would say is soon as you can as soon as you can start building the email list of your customers or of prospect that right there will be the ticket for you in the future to do whatever you want with if you build if you have an e-commerce store right now.
You’re not selling on Amazon. That’s. First Step because you should be capitalizing on that traffic inside of their and the other thing is if you already have an email list that you’ve built or if you haven’t gotten one yet your steer you have an e-commerce store, you’re getting sales you should be collecting.
Those. You should do them like immediately, but what you can do with that now you can have your own internal email list and if you have a new product you’re going to launch you can give away 25 or 50 codes to your email list to help you promote it on Amazon and to boost that you know the the algorithm there so the very first thing I would say for anybody outside of Amazon is.
And even on Amazon this start building that customer list. Thanks for being at the podcast God. I appreciate Robert. Thanks for having me and hopefully everyone got some value, and yeah like I said if anybody wants to get touched me just head over to the amazing seller. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing Partners join the e-commerce marketing podcast Facebook group to learn connect collaborate and grow with other e-commerce marketers at e-commerce marketing podcast Ford FB e-commerce marketing podcast for FB subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for e-commerce marketing podcast and please.
Leave a rating and review. Thank you for listening. See you next time.