Welcome to this episode of the Ask Scott version of the Amazing Seller Podcast. This is where you can get your Amazon private label questions answered by Scott Voelker, an experienced Amazon seller. He’s had all kinds of successes and failures from which he is able to draw answers to the questions that come his way each week. If you’d like to submit a question for Scott to answer about your private label efforts on Amazon, you can submit your question by going to www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask – and let Scott know what you’re having trouble with.
My manufacturer asked me a strange question about “shipping marks.”
A listener to the podcast was working with her supplier to get the products shipped and the supplier asked her what “shipping marks” she could supply for the packaging. She’s not sure what that really means so she turned to Scott to get his input. You’re going to be surprised at the simple advice Scott has for this listener and how easy it might be for her to get this issue resolved, so be sure you listen to this episode in case you ever run into this issue with your supplier.
Amazon assigns products their own barcode, so why do I need a UPC number for each product?
The issue of UPCs and Amazon assigned barcodes can be one of the most confusing things for new private label sellers. Why do you need a UPC if Amazon assigns its own? The simple answer is that Amazon requires you to have a unique UPC code for each of your products before you’re able to create a listing for the product on the Amazon platform. So you’ve got to do it. Period. Beyond that, Amazon does use its own barcode for internal and sales purposes. You can hear why this is the case and how it impacts your product selection and bundling of products on this episode.
I understand why it’s important for me to capture my customer’s emails, but I’m not sure how to do it.
Once you have people buying your products on Amazon you want to create a way to capture their email address. Why? So that you can market to them the next time you have a new or related product to sell. Those people who have already purchased from you are most likely to buy your new product. But how do you get those emails? What’s the best system to follow in order to make it easy, and to do it within Amazon’s terms of service? Scott’s got an in depth answer for you on this episode of The Amazing Seller.
I’m ready to decide on my first product. Should I select a product that has variations like size, color, or style?
There are so many options when it comes to selling products on Amazon through private label sales. How do you go about picking the right one with the right features. A listener to the podcast asks Scott if she should steer clear of products that have variations like size and color – and Scott recommends that she DOES steer clear of them for her first product. Do you know why he’d say that? You can find out on this episode of The Amazing Seller podcast.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
- [0:20] How you can submit your own question for these Q&A episodes.
- [1:15] A post from the TAS Facebook group that you can join!
- [3:49] QUESTION ONE: My manufacturer has asked me for “shipping marks” – what is that?
- [7:30] QUESTION TWO: Do I have to use my own UPC labels since Amazon has their own type that they use?
- [11:50] QUESTION THREE: I’m a bit stuck when it comes to capturing emails from my customers. How can I do it?
- [20:55] QUESTION FOUR: I’m setting up a new product and I’m curious if I should start with a product that has multiple sizes and/or colors? (variations)
TRANSCRIPT TAS 169
TAS 169 : Ask Scott Session #48 – Amazon FBA Questions
[00:00:03] SV: Hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller podcast, this is episode number 169 and session number 48 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your questions that you submit via voicemail and you guys know I look forward to doing this each and every week. Now, if you guys want to submit your own question, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can record your
[read more=”Read full transcript – TAS 169…” less=”Read less”]
…own voicemail. Just leave your first name and your question and I’ll do my best to answer it here on an upcoming Ask Scott session on the podcast.
Like I said guys, you guys know I look forward to this every single week and I listen to these questions and I can also hear you guys explain what the podcast has meant to you and how long you’ve been listening and just a little bit more about you. I love being able to hear more about your story and your journey. It really makes me feel more connected so definitely keep that stuff going and ask your question there and I would love to hear it and air it here on an upcoming podcast.
Now, before I do jump into the questions for today’s session, what I did want to do is I want to pull up a Facebook post that someone had posted here. this way here I can share it with you. I think it’s really important and also to let people know about the Facebook group. If you don’t already know, we have a TAS Facebook group with over 23,000 current members in there and just a huge support network for anyone that wants to start this business. Now this one here was an image that Zaheer had posted and he wrote this, he says, “Hi all. Just saw this and thought of this group. Have an amazing day, #takeaction.” I love that.
We have another hash tag now by the way, #juststart and I’ll just give you … I’ll paint the picture for you. What it is, it’s iceberg that’s inside of a body of water and you just see the top of it, it’s like a cut away. you can see the top of it but then down below you can see the water and you can see the iceberg down below the water and how much bigger the iceberg is below the surface than it is above the surface. What it says is ‘What people see’ and then you can see the top of the iceberg but then down below the water it shows hard work … First it says what people see in the iceberg is representing success, so I should say that. That the iceberg is at the top is success but then down below the water that‘s what really happens and that has a list of different things that go into the success. It is hard work, risk, late nights, struggles, failures, persistence, clinicals, discipline, exhaustion, doubts, code blue, criticism, disappointments, sleep deprivation, rejections, sacrifices, all of that goes into success. You’re going to have some of these things come into the mix and it doesn’t just happen overnight.
I really, really love this, I love it that Zaheer had posted this and he got a ton of comments and people liking this and I think it’s great that the Facebook group does it but I also wanted to bring this to the surface for the podcast. If you’re not already in the group you can just hear what this means as far as what people see, you see success, you don’t see all of the hard work that went into getting that success and if anyone out there is thinking that it’s easy, it’s not. It does take work, it takes being able to fail, dust yourself off and pick yourself back up. In anything in life I think that’s really important and a very important message.
With that being said, let’s get to work, what do you say? Let’s get cracking. Let’s go ahead and listen to the first question and I’ll go ahead and give you my answer.
[00:03:56] Gina: Hi Scott, my name is Gina and love your podcast. I have decided that really you should have named it the amazing teacher because your energy is truly infectious. Since I’ve been listening I have followed your advice, I’ve been taking action every day and I’m about to buy my very first product. Now, the manufacturer has asked me for shipping marks and I’ve been all over your website, I’ve been all over the Facebook pages and it’s not clear to me how I am supposed to be providing shipping marks and what needs to be given to the manufacturer so they know what to put on the box. If you could just provide a little information on that it would be awesome. Thanks very much and keep doing what you’re doing. Bye.
[00:04:43] SV: Hey Gina, thank you so much for the question and thanks for the compliments and I’m so glad that you are getting value from the podcast. Hearing someone say that I should be listed as the amazing teacher, it feels great and all but I would never, ever in a million years think that I would be classified as the amazing teacher. Just because I was never that good of a student and I give up credit to a lot of teachers out there especially in the classroom, it’s a tough job. But in my case, if I’m teaching stuff that know about and that I’m passionate about it comes easy but I’m not really book smart to be honest with you. I don’t even really like to read but I like to listen and I guess everyone is different in how they consume. Anyway, I’m starting to ramble, aren’t I?
I just wanted to say thank you for that and I appreciate it and it’s a really nice compliment. To answer your question, first off I would ask, I would say to the manufacturer say, what did you need? What are you requesting? I have not heard anyone asking me for what I wanted as far as the markings go on the package, I’ve never heard that. If you have something that’s hazardous or something like that then yeah, you would need those certain things but I wouldn’t recommend going down that road anyway. I think the basic stuff like weight, measurements, that type of stuff would be there, your invoice would need to be on there but as far as a graphics or artwork or any of that stuff, I don’t really need … I don’t think any of that stuff has to be on the outer box.
If we’re talking about the outer box and then there’s like a hundred or a thousand pieces inside of this one box, then yeah you might want to have quantity on there, stuff like that. For the most part, the manufacturer usually does that for you and they understand what need to go into that. As far as markings go, I would ask them. I would ask the manufacturer what do you need on the outside of that box and they may come back to you and say, “No, I’m asking you what you need because we’ll leave it black.” Then you can just be like, “I just want the size and the weight on there, that’s all I really need.” And maybe just you can even have your name printed on there as far as your business name on there.
Only thing I want on my boxes are dimensions of the box, the current box and then also of the weight and that’s really it and that just helps, I believe, in the process going from there to here so that way there the service that’s picking it up and stuff that they want to cross reference they can or in customs. But yeah, I would maybe just ask them about that. Hopefully that’s helped you, sorry I couldn’t have given you a direct answer, I wish there was something I was like, “Oh, yeah, they want this,” but I’ve never has that question asked by the manufacturer. All I have on my boxes, like I said, is dimensions and weight and my business name, that’s it. Hopefully that helps, and thanks a lot for the compliments and for being a listener, I appreciate it.
All right, let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:07:35] Patrick: Hey Scott, this is Patrick from Miltonia, Ohio. I am getting ready to ship my first product, my question is in regards to UPC labels. I recently purchased a few UPC numbers to use on my products. However as I’m reading the Amazon FBA quick start guide, Amazon seems to use their own type of UPC numbers and labels. So do I not have to use my own UPC numbers? I haven’t labeled my product yet, it’s a bundle of multiple items that I’m putting into one package and I’ll be personally applying labels for these first few product runs. If you can give us a breakdown on how label our private label products in preparation for shipment to Amazon that’d be great. Thanks again.
[00:08:23] SV: Hey Patrick, thank you so much for the question and as far as the UPC code goes, you need a UPC code to create the Amazon listing. Okay. That’s what you need it for. Do you need it for anything else? No, not really. The only thing you need it for is if you want to go into retail, you’ll need that. The other thing is it will act as an identifier so if you have a box, let’s say that you have a box that you’re having printed, it’s a good idea to have that bar code printed on the box as part of the artwork because then it also will identify that that’s your product and if someone was to hijack you they’d have to copy that exact artwork and then it would be one more thing that you could show to prove that you’re the owner but that’s a whole other conversation but that would be good practice to do that.
Amazon has their own code called the FNSQ number and what that is is that’s their own UPC code but they will only give you that once you create your listing. You have to create your listing with a UPC code and then they’ll give you their identifier. That identifier, they can print on the package for you which they’ll go over your UPC code with that or you can have your manufacturer print labels and then stick on there so that way there you can save that cost. They charge you 20 cents, Amazon charges you 20 cents per unit to print on the package with their labels, 20 cents.
In the beginning, I think it’s the easiest way to do it is just to have them do it, that way you know it’s right, they’re printing it, it’s there’s one last thing that can go wrong because if they print it wrong at the manufacturer and they do a thousand units it’s going to come through wrong and then you’re going to have them all relabeled, anyway, you’ll pay twice. In the beginning, I like to simplify things and I think it’s probably best if you just have Amazon do it in the beginning and you can always save that cost later if you can have the manufacturer do it.
If you’re doing a bundle, let’s say that you’re doing a bundle with five products inside of one package and that package is one product so it’s a bundle that you’re selling, that will require one UPC code for the listing to be created and then it will also require an FSNQ number that will be given to you once you create that listing. If you have a listing that has one variation of a bundle and then it has another variation of a different bundle, each of those are going to require its own UPC code. Any time you do a new variation even if it’s underneath the same listing, you will need to have a new UPC code in order to create that variation.
You need to think of a variation as a whole another product that’s just sharing the same listing, so they call that the parent child. The parent is the one above and then the child is all of the different variations that will go underneath that particular listing and that’s why I also recommend anyone that’s setting up a brand new listing you want to make sure that you set it up as a variation, even if you don’t think that you’ll use a variation you may in the future and it’s a lot easier to do it now than it is to do it later.
Hopefully that’s answered your question on the UPCs. It’s not that complicated, just understand that you will need the UPC code to create the listing. That’s really all you’ll need it for, if you ever going to retail you’ll need it for that as well. If anyone is interested, I do have some UPC companies on the resources page that you can check out. The resources page is theamazingseller.com/resources and you can check that out and you can purchase some bar codes there, they’re pretty reasonable. Go check them out if you need UPC codes. All right, let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:11:56] Erick: Hi Scott, this is Eric from Texas. I just want to say thank you for all the information you put out, you help me take action every single day and I appreciate that. My question is, I’m bringing in my third product to Amazon FBA. I have yet to start capturing emails so I went to GoDaddy, bought a domain name and honestly from there I’m kind of stuck. I know what I’m going to do is put some kind of insert in my poly bag, try to send them to my lead page and offer them a warranty of some kind or something like that and if you any information on what to do there I’d appreciate that.
Let’s say my domain name that I bought, I’m selling garlic presses, is garlicpress.com. Do I want to send my customers to garlicpress.com and try to capture emails there or in the future I want to try to make garlicpress.com my ecommerce store? I’m a little confused there because I know I had to get some mail service like MailChimp or Aweber I believe but I’m kind of stuck where and how to go about this. I’m not very familiar in this area and any information you can give me would be awesome so I can start capturing emails and go about that. Anything else you could add to that would be even better but thank you for everything you do, I really appreciate it. Cheers!
[00:13:25] SV: Hey, what’s up Eric from Texas, how’re you doing man? Thank you so much for the question and I could talk for days on this stuff. I absolutely love the whole building an email list and insert cards and landing pages and all that fun stuff. I love it because it is the life blood of a business and it can really give you a huge advantage and it can build an asset that you can have forever. I’m going to … Number one, I’m going to talk a little bit about this but I’m going to direct you or anyone else that’s interested in seeing even like a flowchart that I created all the way back on episode 24 guys. All the way back on episode 24 I did a complete podcast and I wrote some show notes and I showed some screenshots of how this would look but I basically was showing how I plan to collect customer email addresses using insert cards.
I’ll kind of just walk you through it here again and talk a little bit about the components that go into it. A lot of people say, “Scott, can you use an insert card to collect email addresses?” The answer is well, kind of. If you’re going to do it to be on the up and up, you can do it, you’re just wondering, if Amazon sees this are they going to frown upon that? The answer is I don’t really know but what I can say is that most businesses that are on there, even big commercial businesses like big brands like Sony and Apple computer, any of this stuff, you’re getting insert material and it’s directing you to go to a website to do whatever.
I just got a ring light for my camera that I wanted. A big 18 inch ring light, it’s called a diva light. I got it and the first thing I got in there was an insert card that gave me the URL so I can go over and see how to use the product. As a I’m there I can look at other products, I can sign up for their email list, I can do all different things but they’re not directing me to a product technically, they’re giving me information. They also had in there where I could register the product for a warranty and all that stuff. My thought process is, number one, give them something of value so you can collect their email address and then deliver value immediately after that with whatever you promised and do this in an ethical way. All right.
A warranty card, if you have a product that you feel is going to require them to register for your warranty, now your warranty is your warranty, it’s not necessarily the manufacturer’s warranty especially if you’re sourcing something from China. You would go ahead and create your own warranty. If your warranty is a six month warranty, you can have on there, “Register for your six month warranty by going to X, Y, Z warranty.com”, whatever. Right. You want to create that URL, now you were saying, “I want to godaddy I want to get my domain name for garlic press.” It wouldn’t be garlicpress.com is where you would want to send those people, you would want to send those people to a URL that’s specific to that offer or to that page that’s going to capture the email address.
For example, if you were going to register the garlic press you can do it one of two ways, you can create a brand new URL in GoDaddy. If you go to GoDaddy you would search for garlicpresswarranty.com, that would be your URL. People could go garlicpresswarranty.com, they would go there, you would point that link, you would direct that link to go to your landing page that you would create inside of Lead Pages or just your own website that you have a designated page for that. I use Lead Pages, super simple, I love it. That’s what I would do. Okay.
The other way you could do it and this would work just the same, you wouldn’t have to go buy a domain name, is you can use something called Pretty Link and Pretty Link is used in word press, word press blogs, and you can create a link that’s short. It could be garlicpress.com/warranty or garlicpress.com/recipes or garlicpress.com/whatever. Right. You can put whatever you want at the end of that and then redirect them to whatever page you want whether that page is on your website or not you can redirect that link anywhere you want, so in this case let’s say it’s a lead page. That’s the way that you want to do it because that way there is not this big long link and it’s more direct and it tells them what they’re doing. All right. That would be my recommendation there.
Again, I would have an insert card, this is what I do, I have an insert card and then it offers to give them, number one, resources for using their product, like a quick start guide and then also a link to register the product for the warranty. Now I direct them to that landing page, on that landing page it reiterates what they’re signing up for, enter your name and email address to register your product and receive the quick start guide. Then from there, instantly, they’re put on your email list which then also automatically will send them an email, that you pre write by the way, and send them to a thank you page that will give them the download or give them the resources that you promised. All right.
Again, the tools that I use for this is the insert card obviously I have some printed, then I use GoDaddy for the URL if I’m creating a special URL or I use Pretty Link and then from there I’ll connect that with Lead pages and in Lead pages I’ll connect that to my Aweber account. Okay. Now I know if this sounds a little confusing and all that stuff, I’m going to send you guys to that post, if you guys are interested, and that is theamazingseller.com/24 or just go to the show notes to this episode and you’ll get that there as well. This gives you a really good look at the flow for the insert card to the landing page to the resource page and then adding it to the email list and then all the components that go through that.
Now, again, this is something that can talk for for hours but what I might do in the future guys, I might actually create a video or maybe even a podcast that goes really deep into this and kind of lays it out step by step, I’m sure you guys would want that. I’ll go ahead, I’ll put that on my to do list, I’ll try to get on that as soon as possible and maybe even do a special podcast for that and show you exactly how to connect everything together and all that stuff.
That's what I would do though. That's exactly what I would do and it's what I'm currently doing myself and I'm going to be doing more of it. I'm going to be even using the same process for building the audience through Facebook ads and those types of things as well for people that are interested in the market that I'm serving. Then from there start to show some of my products in some of the content that I provide by emailing these people that are on this list that are interested in these products. Again, that's another strategy and it's also another topic for another day.
All right. Hopefully that's been helpful, I know it's kind of confusing. If you go to that blog post that I just said in that episode, Episode 24 that is, that will really lay it out really well for you but I'll try to do another one in the future that will lay it out in a little bit more details. Specifically going through all the different components and connecting everything together.
All right. Let's go ahead and listen to one more question and I'll give you my answer.
[00:20:58] Megan: Hi Scott. I found a product I really want to sell first time trying this out. The only issue is that it comes in several sizes and I am worried is that going to make things really complicated if I have two different sizes of this product that I'm sending out. Hoping to get some advice on that. Thank you.
[00:21:16] SV: Hey Megan. Thank you so much for the question and I know your name because you actually submitted it with the voice mail. You didn't leave it on there. That's okay. I'm still going to answer the question but I do appreciate the question and anyone else that is submitting a question please try to leave your first name. I want to be able to hear from you and also know who I'm speaking with. Sometimes it's not in the email as well. Definitely just leave your first name up. Megan thank you for the question and I appreciate it.
Here is what would recommend. If you're just starting, just starting I would probably lean away from having a product that has multiple sizes and multiple colors right out of the gate. Okay. The reason is it's because it's like launching individual products for these different sizes. If you have four different sizes: small, medium, large, extra large, now you get four different products just four different SKUs which then you have to fill separately. You have to get UPC codes for all those. You have to create all those listings for all those then you also have to do the FNSQ for all those and you have to maintain the inventory for all of those and … I know there are a lot of ands here, right. The other thing is is when people are buying things that are in sizes even if you make it really easy for them to choose a size by giving them dimensions and stuff kind of like if your list is this big, then this is the size you would be you're still going to get a lot more refunds than you would if you didn't have something that was something in size.
That's a little bit of a recommendation I would have for you here especially just starting out. As far as the colors go, again you can have red, blue, yellow, green whatever and the thing is until you launch those products, you might not know what is the best seller. What I would do is if there was a bunch of different colors I would try to do my research and look at my competitors and I would do a search for that product and I would try to see which one is coming up on first page. The one that is showing up the most, that image that is, is going to be the most popular in color. Now, what some people do is they have one main image that might be black but then if you want you get into that listing you'll see that they have all different colors and those pictures won't change with the main image because the parent is the parent and they haven't changed that. They just keep that as the default.
I would rather see it where each variation had it's own picture and that it would come up. I think that depends on the category, I'm not 100% sure on that but again when you get into colors now, you might have colors that you think are popular but they are not. Then you're going to run into a problem that you have inventory, you're not able to sell that quickly and you're going to be sitting on some money. I would say anyone just starting out I would try to stay away from products that have sizes number one. Then two, many colors. If you want to start with one that has two or three different colors and you have the budget for that, then go for it but I would definitely try to at least start with one color that you think is the most popular and then go from there.
The other way to do that too guys is to go through reviews and see what people are talking about. They maybe mentioning colors and that maybe a sign that you want to start adding another color. Again you can always add the colors as you move forward but I would definitely look at my competitors and see what ones I feel are selling more by looking at the data inside of there. Some categories are also depending on the category you can … Once you click on the variation the BSR will change. All right. If you click on the red one, look at the BSR that might be a thousand, if you click on the yellow one that might be 4000 so you know that one is selling less. You might click on the blue one and that one might be 10,000 so you know that one's selling that much.
The one that's got the best BSR that's the one that's selling the most. That would be a clear indicator. Now, like I said not all categories do that. All right. Not all categories will allow you to see the different BSRs. A lot of times it's the BSR is the overall. I know in home and Kitchen it will show you the different BSR for your different variations. Depending on the category you're going to be limited on what you can see. The ones that you can look at and see definitely take advantage of looking at the BSR per variation of the colors or of the sizes. All right.
Guys, that is going to wrap up this session of Ask Scott. You guys l love this interaction that we're able to have in the virtual room as we're sitting right now. Having our coffee or our tea or our beverage of choice. I love doing this, keep them coming. If you have questions, head over to theamazinseller.com/ask and do just that. Ask your question and leave your first name, leave your question and I'll do my best to answer it. Before we do go though, let me remind you guys if you're brand new or even if you're not and you need a little reminder I do a live free workshop walking you through the entire process from start to finish for launching a product on Amazon.
If you want to register for an upcoming one, head over to theamazinseller.com/workshop. Once again that's theamazingseller.com/workshop and you can register for an upcoming event. The other thing is I answer live QnA there as well. If you have questions, you can show up there, we can hang out live and I'll answer your questions there.
All right guys. That is going to wrap it up. Once again remember I'm here for you, I believe in you, I'm rooting for you but you have to, you have to … Come on say it with me, say it loud say it proud, you know what's happening, take action. Have an awesome amazing day and I'll see you in the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask – Ask your own question!
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/24 – How Scott gets email addresses and creates insert cards.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/FB – Join the TAS Facebook group.
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