This episode of the Amazing Seller podcast is where Scott Voelker answers questions about Amazon private label sales and ecommerce. On this episode he’s addressing some pretty interesting questions. Should you try to compete directly with Amazon when it is the only seller of a particular product? How can you go about coming up with a brand name? When would it be better to merge two identical products that only have one small variation? Those are just some of the things you’ll hear on these Ask Scott episodes, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.
Should you launch a product that is in direct competition with Amazon?
There are many products on Amazon that only Amazon sells – and it may be intimidating to think of going up against the mighty Amazon. But Scott thinks that if you approach it the right way and keep your head on straight. You can do it. On this episode Scott is asked about that issue and he gives a very clear answer to whether it’s a good idea to compete directly with Amazon, what questions you should be asking, and what you should look out for if you’re going to take it upon yourself to challenge Amazon’s sales.
My products are duplicates except for their color. Should I merge them?
When you list a product for sale on Amazon you have two options. You can set up every product you bring to the platform in its own listing, or if they are similar and only differ by variations such as color or size, you can place them under the same listing, but as variations of the same product. Which is better? It depends on a number of things that can sometimes be confusing. So on this episode Scott tackles the question and gives you his ideas on how to make the decision.
I really want to find the brand name for my products that is just right. Do you have any tips?
In many ways naming your brand is just like naming your first child – you really want to get it right. But Scott doesn’t think it’s all that important at first. Instead he recommends that you get a trial run of your product on the way and experiment with its sales first to ensure that all your energy to name it is well founded. But he doesn’t stop there – Scott does have some good ideas for how you can brainstorm brand name ideas, so be sure to listen to this episode.
If you are new to Amazon Private Label, here’s a free resource for you!
It can be very confusing trying to figure out all the rules and steps involved in listing a product for sale on Amazon. That’s why Scott Voelker has simplified things into 5 steps and put it into a free course. You can learn everything from researching product ideas, to choosing the product, to finding a supplier, to getting your first shipment and listing it on Amazon. You won’t find a better resource to teach you how to get started so make sure you listen to this episode of the podcast to see how you can get started with Amazon Private Label.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to the podcast!
- [3:57] QUESTION ONE: I’m curious if I should try to launch products that Amazon itself sells?
- [13:08] QUESTION TWO: I’m trying to come up with a brand name. Any tips?
- [19:29] QUESTION THREE: I have some products that are duplicate except for their colors. Should I merge their AISNs?
- [25:35] How you can ask your own question for a future episode.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 232
TAS 232 : Ask Scott Session #69 – Your FBA Questions
[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey, what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 232 and session number 69 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your questions that you submit via voicemail and I do my best to answer them here on an episode like this one. That’s what I'm going to do today, once again for the 69th time. I can't believe that we’ve recorded that many weeks worth…
[read more=”Read full transcript…” less=”Read less”]
…of the Ask Scott Session. It’s pretty awesome. If you guys want to ask your own question, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can do that. You can ask a question there.
I will warn you that there’s a lot of questions that get submitted and I don’t want to discourage you from doing that, but it could take three, four, maybe even five weeks before I get to those questions, so just hang tight. I definitely want to hear from you. Just go over there, record a message. Even if you just want to tell me an update, go over there and do that too. I did want to remind anyone that is brand new, first off, I just want to say congratulations on making it here and thank you so much, because you took action and here you are. You're going to learn very quickly that, we’re big, big fans of taking action here on The Amazing Seller Podcast.
I did want to give you guys a free resource, if you're just getting started. I get a lot of people say, “Scott, how do I get started?” I created this free 10 day course where you can actually go through the entire process start to finish and you can find that by heading over to freeprivatelabelcourse.com. Again that’s freeprivatelabelcourse.com or if you want to attend one of my live workshops, you can do that as well by heading over to theamazingseller.com/workshop. I just threw a bunch of links at you there but you can always find them. I'm going to give you one more link, where you can actually pick this up over in the show notes of this episode.
[00:02:00] Scott: That can be found at theamazingseller.com/232 and that particular link will bring you to the page that has all these links and it’s going to have the show notes will all the links to those things I just mentioned but also the transcripts and any other notes that we have over there for you. Quick little funny story I wanted to share with you guys. That’s what I get to do here on these sessions. I feel like it’s just us sitting in that room telling stories and answering questions. It’s our place to be able to connect. I've been connecting on Periscope for a while now, and it’s been really awesome. If you guys are not following me on Periscope, you probably want to go do that. It’s a place for where I can actually interact with you, like this but more on a live atmosphere.
Just search for me on Periscope by @ScottVoelker and you will find me. It was funny though, the other night I was doing a Periscope, I was in my new office and my wife was out. I think she was putting together a chair or something. One of those chairs or lawn bar stools that goes at an island or something, and we just purchased that for our new kitchen. All of a sudden I heard the little, [whistle sound]. That’s what happens when you join a Periscope session or someone else has started one. She obviously has subscribed to follow me on Periscope, so I hear that go off and I hear her say, “What? Scott Voelker is live on Periscope, and I'm here in the other room.”
It was just kind of funny, that I heard it and that I heard her say, “What? Scott Voelker is live on Periscope,” kind of like well he’s right here. How can he be doing that, and I was in the other room. It was kind of funny. That’s enough rumbling here in the pre-show. You guys are probably here also because you want to hear some questions, and maybe even your own questions get answered. What do you say? Let’s go ahead and dive into this week’s questions. What do you say? Let’s do that.
[00:03:59] Rex: Scott, this is Rex. First off, thanks for all the great information you’ve given us. I have a question about launching a product that competes directly with a product that Amazon sells. I would like your opinion on this. I'm going to try to give an example that is clear and concise, so here it goes. Let’s take the garlic press for example. Let’s say that Amazon is the only seller selling a garlic press, and I know that that’s obviously not the case. Let’s just pretend here, and they sell over 100 garlic presses per day.
They also sell a garlic bag that is the only garlic bag for this garlic press and a lot of people that buy the garlic press also buy the garlic bag. That particular garlic bag sells over 80 per day. The product I am looking at would be comparable to the garlic bag. The reviews for this garlic bag that is also sold by Amazon are very poor, under three star reviews. But the garlic bags still sells a lot because it complements the garlic press that is sold by Amazon. My product is to create a better garlic bag that would complement the garlic press that is sold by Amazon. My thought process is that the garlic press already sells over a 100 units per day with no competition and the garlic bag sells close to 80 and has a lot of poor reviews.
[00:06:01] Rex: If I can make a better garlic bag that would complement this Amazon garlic press, I could sell quite a few units per day by marketing it as a garlic bag that would complement the Amazon sold garlic press. I hope that’s clear. The overarching question as well is what are your thoughts in general if the main competitor in a product category is Amazon? If the volume is high enough, would it not make sense to go after a portion of units sold, even though Amazon is the main seller? Thanks, I look forward to hearing the answer.
[00:07:01] Scott: Hey, Rex. Thanks so much for the question and there’s a lot to that question. You did a good job at breaking it down without revealing the product. I totally understand and I hope everyone listening understands but I'm going to try and make this very, very clear. Like you said the overarching question is really, “Should I compete with Amazon if they're the only ones selling?” If I'm understanding you correctly, there’s no other listings really coming up that are that exact same thing. There may be related products but not that exact same one. My first question would be, and I would want to make sure that something that they're selling isn’t patented, why isn’t anyone else selling it? That would be my first question.
Is it too hard to manufacture or is it patented or… Why is no one else selling that thing? That would be my first question and a little red flag for me. The other thing I do like to see a lot of times is some depth. I like to see that there’s a proven market in this area but you’re telling me that there’s a hundred sales being generated on the one product and then another 80 on the complementary product, that’s good thing. Obviously the 100 sales per day one the main product, it is also helping to sell the 80 units per day.
Again, I'm just kind of flushing out my thought process here, so everyone listening as well you can hear how I'm talking myself through this. It think it’s helpful to do that. I like those numbers. They're great because if they are the only ones selling this type of products and accessory, and you come in and you create an off-brand of it or even just a better brand, especially by listening to those reviews and you have a lot of different things that you could position it as being a better product, I think that’s great. Even if you only get 20 sales per day from each of those, I like that.
[00:08:59] Scott: We never talked about price, we never talked about profit margin, we never talked about any of that stuff. The other thing I would want to know is, is this a product that would sell well off of Amazon because if you guys have been hearing me talk a lot in the most recent episodes and stuff, it’s really about going externally outside of Amazon eventually. I would always want to know that too. Am I just selling something in a trend or am I selling something that I could potentially scale outside of Amazon? Could I create my own sales channel?
Is there a market that wants more information about this? That’s the other things that I would be thinking about. The one thing I like about this and actually Chris Schaffer and I just did a hot seat session on this and I'm not quite sure… It’s funny I'm recording this, I'm not sure if that one aired yet or not. It might have, it might not have. We did a hot seat session that was very similar to this where actually that wasn’t the scenario, but someone was selling a product that was doing okay but the price was low. We said, “Well what you might want to do is add a secondary product to that or even a variation. Now, what you're going to do is you're going to get two search key words for each product that could lead people to buying one or the other or both.”
[00:10:17] Scott: In your case I'd be thinking about, “Okay, I can start by selling that complementary product and then I could possibly even sell the main product, the garlic press; the garlic bag and then the garlic press. If I could do that that would be great. Then I'd be thinking, “Okay, what else could I sell and add to this. What are other people buying with this product?” That’s what I would be thinking but when people ask, “Would you directly compete with Amazon?” The answer is generally, yes because generally Amazon doesn’t do a great job marketing their product. They just put it up there and it does what it does. They don’t do a lot of advertising or anything like that. You can usually rank pretty decently.
That’s why I like to see more than just one seller in there because then I can say, “Okay, well Amazon is taking a hundred sales but position two, three, four, or five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten are all grabbing 10, 15 sales a day themselves, so I'll just go after one of them.” You really won't know until you can actually test this. That would be my next question. It would be, “Okay Rex, can you test this thing by getting 100 units or 500 units without it being a $50 product of course? Can you test the market? Can you test this theory? Then if you can, then I would go down that route. I don’t know if this has been 100% under direct answer, I don’t think it has, because I would need more information but hopefully you can see the process that I'd be going through to decide if this is something that I would want to test. There is a lot of different variables in anything. It ultimately comes down to taking a little bit of a risk and testing that market. Hopefully this has been helpful to you or anyone else out there asking themselves, “Can I compete with Amazon?”
[00:12:06] Scott: The answer is pretty much yes but again I would think a little bit further. I would think like, “Okay can I also market this outside of Amazon?” If I can, then I'm really not risking that much because I know that I could always go out there and start selling this to my customer list or my prospect list, talking about some of those other things that I've mentioned in the past. Hopefully, I know that was a long winded answer, but you kind of had a long winded question there Rex, but I understand you had to explain it and you did a very good job at doing that. I hope that this helped you.
I hope that this has helped anyone else but again you really have to dig into some more of the details there. Is it patented, is it something that is risky that way? For example if you're selling hover boards which I don’t recommend and I don’t think anyone even can anymore, but if you were selling a hover board bag, that’s kind of the same idea. You have the main product and then you have a product that complements that popular product. Hopefully, that helps. Let’s go ahead and listen to the next question, and I'll give you my answer.
[00:13:13] Sahid: Hi Scott, this is Sahid. Thank you for the amazing work you do. It’s really, really helpful. I listen to your podcast every day during my commute and I absolutely love it. Here’s my question. I've been trying to come up with a brand name which will go onto my products. I don’t know how other people did it. Maybe they hired somebody to suggest a name or maybe they're creative enough to come up on their own. Since I feel I'm not that creative enough, do you have any tips or suggestions for people like us to come up with a brand name? I feel like my soon to be born baby will get his name faster than my business would. Thank you again, appreciate your help and keep up the good work. Thanks.
[00:14:05] Scott: Hey Sahid, what’s up men. Thank you so much for the question and actually this is a great question. I never really answered this on an Ask Scott session. I haven’t really talked much about it in depth anyway. One of the main reasons is because I don’t believe that the brand name should need to be really, really that important in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important, but I don’t think that you have to stress too much about the brand name especially when you're first getting started. Now, with that all being said, yes you want to spend some time, you want to actually reach out to other people to help you with this.
I'm sure that there’s companies out there that can help you with this as well. You can probably even go on upwork.com and hire someone there that is a brand expert or anything like that. What I would probably do is I would, and it’s funny because I'm kind of going through this right now. I've got another partnership that I'm working in right now that we’re actually going through this process and we aren’t even at the stage of throwing out a bunch of ideas yet because we’re not past the sourcing side of things right now. We’re going through the sourcing side. Before we even need to think about that, we need to number one figure out the sourcing, figure out all of this stuff to get it here and then we can start to think about the brand.
In the meantime, I'm going to be jotting down ideas, I'm going to be asking my wife, I'm going to be asking a fellow friend, I'm going to be asking people that are in my circle. People that I just want their opinions on. Like, “Hey, I'm going to be launching a garlic press and I want to do something around cooking. Can you help me come up with the cool cooking name for my brand? What would you like or what are some cool ideas?” You also have to understand that you can do it a couple of different ways. You can be very obvious like garlic press king, that could be one but then you're kind of like strapped into and locked into garlic press.
[00:16:16] Scott: Something else could be you're mama’s cooking, something like that. Then it could be everything about garlic press or kitchen tools or cooking knives. Any of that stuff, anything that a chef would use. You can call it something chef, right? You also got to think about what other products would you be launching against this brand, so this way here, you don’t corner yourself to where you can only talk about or sell one thing or one type of thing. Don’t let that confuse you though. I'm not saying that you should launch something so generic that you could offer a brand that has a very generic background. This way here you can launch yard rakes and garlic presses.
I don’t think that’s a good idea either. It should be pretty tight as far as the branding goes. I would say reach out to people you know. That would be my first step. You mentioned your first born child… It’s going to take you longer to just name your brand here than your first born child but you're going to name your first born child. I'm assuming so. You probably have a way of doing that so it’s going to be very similar.
It’s just that you're going to be reaching out getting names, jotting as many down as you can come up with right off the bat and then just jot them down. I don’t think that you can just sit down in one pass and say, “Okay, I think I figured it out.” I've never done it that way but you do want something that’s cool, easy to remember. I would say I'd probably try to keep it to at least no more than two or three words. I like two words but if it has to be three, that’s fine. I wouldn’t make it really, really long.
[00:18:03] Scott: The other thing that I would want to do is once your narrow it down is I would want to make sure that that domain name on Go Daddy is available or Blue Host or wherever you are grabbing your domain name. That’s pretty important. I'd also want to do a trademark search to make sure that you're not infringing on anything like that. That comes after you’ve got your top five and then you can do that. I hope that this has helped you. I know it’s not an easy thing and like I said right now I'm currently going through that same thing.
It was kind of like me going through naming The Amazing Seller as well. I didn’t know what I wanted to name it but I did know that I wanted to name it something that wasn’t necessarily going to have to always be talking about Amazon, even though that’s where we started the podcast from. If you realize The Amazing Seller that could be anything from marketing, to that could be how to sell more of your product online, that could be E-commerce, that could be anything like that has to do with selling your own product, just to give you an idea of how that all works. Hopefully this has been helpful. Go out there and just start brain storming, asking people, ask strangers if you're waiting in the doctor’s office. Have fun with it too. Hopefully this has been helpful. Let’s go ahead and listen to one more question and I'll give you my answer.
[00:19:33] Chris: Hey, hey, hey Scottie V. Chris out of La Verne, California. How’s it going? First off, thanks for everything that you're doing, you’ve been super helpful to me. I'm a new seller on the Amazon platform. I'm 60 days in. I've had some excellent short term success and my question for you is I started with one product, I went to four. They're extremely close knit related products. They all work with each other. Two out of the four are exact duplicates except for their color. I initially went with two different SKUs for these products, just so I can have the real estate out there. Now, after doing double work on the listings and all the keywords and honing in on the keywords, I feel like I'm doing double duty and I think it can be much better for myself if I merged the ASINs. Would you recommend merging it or would you recommend keeping them separate? Thanks for everything and I hope to hear your answer. Thank you so much.
[00:20:41] Scott: Hey Chris, that’s a great question and I don’t really have an exact answer but let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about why like you said there are some pros and there are some cons. If the product on the variation is so close that we’re talking about just a color, I would keep them under one listing. That’s just my personal preference. Like you said, it’s like rental property. It’s easier to maintain one property than 10. I understand that once you get more real estate out there, you have more potential for people to see your product which totally makes sense, but you also have more work to maintain them, to get reviews, to do giveaways, to do pay-per-click, all of that stuff.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can't run your pay-per-click separately, do different ASINs that are inside of that listing. You can do that as well but I would probably say my favorite way is to launch the one parent child and then the variations underneath that child. Again, let’s just say that it’s a garlic press and you have one that has a rubber handle and then the next one has, in the variation has a non-rubber handle and then the next one has half and half. Half a rubber handle and half non. You're talking about handle styles in the sense. That could go on its own listing separately. Each of those could, they could do a variation as well but I would think in that situation that would probably be better to put them separately because they are pretty distinctly different.
Especially if people are looking for certain handle style, they would be typing in that key word or if it’s just people going into the listing and then seeing the different ones and going, “Hmm, which one do I like?”
[00:22:45] Scott: The variation is good for multipacks. I think it’s good for colors, obviously sizes but if you're talking about something completely different than what’s on the main, I don’t know if it lends itself well to that. You would be better off doing them separately. It can be confusing as well sometimes. Hopefully that helps. You definitely get some really great advantages of doing the variations under one listing because like I said you can use the reviews from all of those on one listing and as you have these different variations you're able to use those search terms to help bring more traffic to… You get all of those search terms in the back end of each variation, each variation is treated like its own listing.
It’s just housed underneath the main parent item. I think you were thinking that as well. You were thinking to yourself, “Maybe we should merge that into one and then that way there we only have to maintain the one and we can start to use the leverage from the other variations to help get more exposure among those.” Again, as I said, if you're trying to rank three different items that are almost identical, you're going to be working to get all three of those ranked when on the other side of things, if you get the one, maybe the popular one, maybe the red one that’s really selling but you have the other two, someone might come in as the red and go, “Oh, I want the black one too,” then that can help you. Hopefully this has been helpful. I know it wasn’t again a direct answer but it’s us flushing out and discussing how I would be talking with you right now across the table with that cup of coffee that we’re having together right now.
[00:24:41] Scott: Again, hopefully that helps, hopefully anyone else out there listening that is either thinking about doing that or is in the same situation, hopefully that helped you. I would say anyone that is creating a brand new listing, and this is something that I've said before, definitely set it up as a variation because you want to make sure that if you want to add a variation later you can. If you don’t, you can still do it. The problem is it’s going to require you to either update the flat file, which isn’t that easy or secondly, contact seller support and have them do it for you, which is kind of scary because sometimes what happens there is you’ll lose all your reviews for a little while.
Maybe a day or so and then they come back, hopefully fingers crossed. Always set up your listing as a parent child and if you never put a variation on that it’s still okay. It’s not going to matter. That’s it, there’s my answer to that question and all those questions this week. Again, I want to remind you that if you want to ask your own question, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can do that. I would love to hear from you. Please state your first name and hey, maybe even where you're tuning in from and a short question and I'll do my best to answer it.
Also want to remind you guys that the show notes and the transcripts to this episode and all the ones in the past can be found, well this particular episode is episode 232, so that will be theamazingseller.com/232. Also, let me just remind you guys that if you guys want to be part of the TAS Facebook community which is totally free, there’s a lot of great resources there, a lot of great people. If you have a question and you want it answered immediately just about, you can go over there and just type in the search field and it might have already been asked and answered. You can do that. Then if it’s not there, just ask it there and I'm sure that you'll get a response. You can join that group totally free by heading over to theamazingseller.com/fb.
[00:26:42] Scott: All right guys that all I got. This has been awesome. Really enjoying recording these Ask Scott sessions in the new home office here, which is really, really starting to feel like home. Just want to remind you guys, as always, 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, say it excited, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I'll see you right back here on the next episode. Keep taking action guys.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask – how you can ask your question!
- www.FreePrivateLabelCourse.com – free PL course.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/workshop – Scott’s free workshop
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