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This post is part one in a series of posts I will be making. It will cover my process of sourcing and selling my first product on Amazon.
I have some e-commerce experience, but none on Amazon.
The purpose of this series is twofold:
- Build a profitable business for myself
- Document it so others can do the same
Please sign up for my newsletter and I will send you updates on this project.
Also, be sure to comment below what you think about this whole thing.
Selling on Amazon
Building a business online is all the rage nowadays. Especially if you can make it passive.
If you’ve been looking around, then you have likely come across the idea of selling on Amazon.
For me, I don’t care how passive it is, I just want to be successful. And make some money. Or a bunch of money.
If its passive then I guess even better.
That has led me to investigating deeper into selling on Amazon. I like the idea of building my own product and putting it on the market.
Perhaps I can create a brand and sell it later on when its real successful.
But first, I need to talk about getting into the Amazon game.
How can I do it
This can take on many different forms, such as retail arbitrage or private label selling. When I started looking into it the first thing that I thought of was selling my own stuff.
Of course, this can be difficult if you do not currently have a brand or any kind of product to sell. I don’t right now.
This is the going to be the first post tracking my progress.
Retail arbitrage consists of finding products in store or online at discounted prices. Then you compare the prices with what’s on Amazon. If the margin is good you buy these products to resell.
I’ve never done this, and I don’t know a whole lot about the process. But I think a lot of people make a decent living with this strategy.
I will not be doing this for a few reasons:
1. I’m not sure that it is scalable
I’ve watched some YouTube videos and other blogs about this process. It requires searching for wholesale and discounted sales. It helps if you have a place where you can always get products at nice discounts or wholesale prices. I will not be scrounging down the aisles of Walmart, no matter how much money I may be able to make.
2. It is not independent
Neither PL (Private Label) or RA (Retail Arbitrage) is passive. But I do think that RA its more stressful and requires more work throughout.
With PL you are creating your own brand and your own unique products. This gives you much more control over your success. Also you should be able to sell these products elsewhere like your own website.
Going forward, I will talk about PL only. There are some points about PL that I want to explain. And I will tell you about my project that you can follow along with. I have goals that I will outline and keep track with.
What is Private Label Exactly?
Private Label means: taking some kind of product and putting your own brand name on it. This can take a few different forms:
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This product may look identical to several others already on the market. I still consider it private label if you are getting it manufactured for yourself. At this point why not put your name on it.
(More on finding Manufacturers later, i.e. Alibaba)
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This is what I will be doing with this project. I will take a generic listing from a manufacturer. Then I will customize some things about it.
This will make it stand out. And I want to make it better so that it is a premium product. This will allow me to ask a higher price.
Doing it this way means that what you are selling will not be super special or anything. This is because most of the time you will only make a few small changes and then get it manufactured. Its a good way to start off because it can be cost prohibitive to design and produce a proprietary product. Which leads me to the third way to sell PL.
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Now your product is not just a different color with some small tweaks. It is actually a unique good with certain proprietary features that aren’t anywhere else.
This is the ideal situation, but it is quite hard to do.
For example, with option #2 you can use Jungle Scout (or similar software) to gauge demand on Amazon. After finding a good category, you can then sell a customized product. Done right, you will be able to sell as well as the others in your category.
Go to Jungle Scout and find profitable products to sell. (Affiliate Link)
With a unique product, however, it can be hard to tell if your idea is worth a crap. This issue magnifies by the fact that it is quite expensive to develop an original design.
I have found that manufacturers in China want to just force you to take their existing design. They don’t care about you having a premium product or better design for something.
Some do, but what they think is high quality I have found to be junk.
This makes it more difficult because it can be harder to find a manufacturer that will produce what you want.
All these issues can be overcome through trial and error. I’m hoping through experience with option #2 I will be able to transition to option #3.
My Reason for Trying PL on Amazon
I have sold products on Etsy that I have made myself, but it was tedious work. I enjoyed making the items, but after a while I felt like I was doing way too much work compared to what I was making.
You could say maybe I wasn’t charging enough, but I felt like it was too high already.
I still like the idea of having my own products or even my own brand. So that is why I have looked into Amazon.
Now seems like the best time to get into the e-commerce game. Plus, who would have thought that the barrier is so low to manufacture and sell your own products?
Other people are finding this out too, but maybe Amazon is big enough to sustain a more crowded market for a while.
My Goals with Amazon Selling
I have a few goals that I will lay out today, and more in coming articles.
1. Build a sustainable process
I won’t say I’m building a ‘business’ because starting out I will only have one product. I want that one product to be able to sustain itself. What do I mean by this?
It needs to sell well enough so that I am able to invest in reorders and keep it moving off the shelf. I hope there is also a profit that I can glean off of the top.
2. Document the Whole process
The process of getting stuff to Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) and selling is a long and arduous one, but (from what I see) well worth it. I want to document this process so that others can see a beginner’s journey.
When I learn about something new I like to learn from the experts. They have the knowledge and experience to guide you down the right path.
But sometimes it is helpful to see someone in a similar position to yourself. I can see their own struggles and successes. This is helpful because when I look at the experts it feels like an impossible mountain to climb. How am I ever going to get where they are?
I want this series of posts to be that beginner information for you.
With my experiences I hope you can follow along and we can be successful together.
Isn’t it everyone’s goal to expand a business? By expand I mean, in the short term, add another product.
Most Amazon sellers that I read about have several products. This is because you usually can’t be dependent on just one.
I’m hoping that my first product can make me $1000 in profit a month. Ask around and you will find that this is quite a modest goal. Maybe it will do better that that, but either way I can then add 4 or 5 products each at that level. Now were talking 4 or 5 thousand per month.
4. Add more goals
Yes I am ambitious. But I want to keep you interested and for the most part keep myself interested. So stay tuned and I will walk you through my journey to the first product.
Where I am Right Now
Currently I am in research phase. There is so much to learn about the whole manufacturing process. Not only do I need to learn about suppliers and how to get a product built, but I need to figure out what I even want to sell.
In my next post I will talk about my product research. There are a few tools you can use to do this. I will talk about these and go through a sample search for some products to sell.
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