My Amazon 101 Ebook – The State of Amazon FBA 2018 & Niche Research 101
Amazon 101 Ebook! Updated 2018 Edition
Yoo guys! So I spend a good amount of time on this – writing more than I ever have about my thoughts on the overall state of the Amazon Game in 2018, and what it takes to have a successful product on Amazon nowadays.
Sure most of this info is out there on the blogs, organized in one place, written in brutally honest language, and from someone who has done it and is STILL doing it.
(If you already ARE ready to go full speed ahead into FBA and are SERIOUS about starting a big business, and looking for the best course possible - Amazing Selling Machine is open til May 3rd - https://livinthatlife.com/asm )
Cheers! I hope this helps you get closer to where you want to be!
Riley, in Southern Thailand 🌴
link to the form: https://livinthatlife.activehosted.com/f/5
A preview is below, but you can download the full e-book by entering your email above.
“Pay acute attention to what is already working, and adapt it.”
– Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
If you don’t already know me through my YouTube channel (youtube.com/livinthatlife), my name is Riley, and I’m a ‘fourth-year' digital nomad. I quit my job October 2014 and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand (the digital nomad capital of the world) to attend an e-commerce conference with my best friend Parker, on a mission to replace our 9-5 jobs with an online-based income, and continue our dream of traveling the world.
It all started when some buddies and I took a 2-week (aka 'too weak') trip to Thailand in 2013 as recent grads, to visit Parker on his semester abroad in Thailand with the WSU Hospitality Program. Long story short, we both realized that that wasn't enough time, and we wanted more of the Tropical Life. So we decided that our mission for the next year would be to $ave Dat Money and figure out a way to 'work abroad' for a year back in Thailand or other tropical place.
So to save money, we decided to share a 1-bedroom studio apartment for $950/mo (yes, I slept on the couch for a year). I was doing door-to-door sales, and Parker was working at a hotel. We were just bored, sick and tired, and ready to, as we liked to say, 'Get the F*ck Out of Here'.
The major key that put us onto the 'digital nomad life' was by NOT hooking up Cable TV, and ONLY watching YouTube on our TV. From there, we started seeing videos about 'living in Thailand', 'working in Thailand' etc., and long story short, found Johnny FD's channel/blog/podcast about the location independent entrepreneur life.
After following him and buying the DropShip Lifestyle course, they announced they were having a retreat / conference in Chiang Mai in October 2014 – so we decided that would be our deadline to Quit our job and jump in with both feet. So we put that on the calendar early 2014 and saved up about 10k each – and when the time came, we went!
After the first few months in Chiang Mai, we noticed that the ‘Amazon Method’ was the most common thing that digital nomads were SUCCESSFULLY doing out here to make money – e.g. ACTUALLY making money online. So we began researching for our first product in January 2015, placed a test order by March, and launched with our first 1000-unit order in July 2015.
In our first 12 months of sales, our product did over $200,000 in sales revenue, selling at $39.99 on Amazon. That’s over 5,000 units sold in our first year. An average of 16 units sold per day! Not bad. That’s definitely a successful product.
In 2016, we did over $250,000 in sales, and in 2017 we did over $500,000 from a handful of products, including our main product in Europe.
This eBook is my way of showing my friends and anyone interested, EXACTLY what we did to find successful products to sell on Amazon. We hope this helps you kick off your journey to FINALLY making passive income online.
– Riley Bennett
The State of Amazon FBA in 2018
So what is the state of Amazon Selling in 2018? Is it still a good opportunity to make good money, e.g. a full-time income, or has the ship sailed?
What is Private Labeling?
In a nutshell, private labeling is buying an existing generic product wholesale, and putting your own brand logo, or label, on it.
In general, these products are typically small (because you want cheap shipping price), retail for $50 or under (because you want the wholesale price cheap enough to buy at least a couple hundred in bulk), and usually sourced in China via Alibaba.com.
Why not source more expensive products? Some people do, as the competition can be less crowded – but that also means that the wholesale price will likely be higher, so it will be a larger startup-cost to buy a wholesale test order. But don't rule out the $60 and up opportunities completely – I've heard of some people doing well doing after the more higher ticket PL niches on Amazon.
What is Amazon FBA?
FBA Stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. So we send our all our inventory in bulk to one of Amazon’s dozens of humongous warehouses all over the United States, and they fulfill, or deliver, the individual orders from Amazon.com to the customers.
These products in Amazon’s warehouses are the ones available for Prime Shipping, which is 2-day delivery or faster for Prime members.
The beauty of having your products Fulfilled by Amazon is they handle all orders AND returns – it what makes this business relatively passive. When a customer orders your product, you don’t have to do ANYTHING. Amazon handles it all.
This is why Parker and I can go on ‘vacation’ for weeks and everything will be fine. Just make sure you have someone handing your daily customer messages - we have a VA handling our few per day - but for the first 2 years we did this daily ourselves. Takes 15 mins a day answering messages.
How much work does this take?
To get started - it takes a lot of work. Like any startup or side-hustle, it takes ‘full time’ effort to start. When we were in research mode for our first product in early 2015, we were each working 8 hours a day on research. But obviously you can work on product research part time, nights and weekends, on the side of your job.
How much profit do you make?
In 2017 my business did just over $500,000 in sales volume, and about 30% of that is pre-tax profit. But the month of December alone can be double or triple other months so, in the ballpark of $10-15k profit per month, with December being more. And of course I’m not the only owner of my business, it’s a partnership.
What does Product Research Look Like?
“Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is easier. Find a market – then find or develop a product for them.” – Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
Finding what to sell is the hardest and longest part of the Amazon selling process. It can (and should) take weeks of combing through different sources to make a long list of potential Private-Label ideas.
What’s considered ‘in-demand’?
Getting Down & Dirty with Research
A good place to start is with the Viral Launch’s Product Discovery software. It allows you to put in the criteria you’re looking for, e.g. # of reviews, # of monthly revenue, category, and even size, and just hit SEARCH.
The software will search Amazon for you, and deliver results. Play with the filters for a while,
Step 2: track the numbers
The main numbers we are looking to track basically have to do with the sales demand and the competition.
Differentiation: Major Key nowadays.
After you have 30-50 good niche ideas, start to go thru again and think of how you could potentially make this type of product, better, more useful, or unique in some way that will make shoppers think, “I DEFINITELY want THAT one’.
Things to Keep in Mind
List of Categories that are Gated (and ones that don’t make sense for Private Labeling.
What about Electronics?
What about Clothing, Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses? I
What is BSR: Best Seller Ranking
10 Other Ways to Find Product Ideas
Bonus new May 2018: check out the Amazon giveaways page for new cool product ideas https://www.amazon.com/ga/giveaways/
Viral Launch Example
Using a product research tool is the most important thing for finding great products to sell on Amazon. We recommend Viral Launch, which in our opinion is the most comprehensive software with the most accurate data available. This software provides two tools you will want to use:
Next, I would try searching this keyword in the VL Keyword Research tool to see if there are any niches within the Foam Roller niche, such as ‘collapsible foam roller’ or ‘bamboo foam roller’ … I made those up but you get the idea!
For more on Viral Launch and product research, check out these YouTube videos:
That’s it for now.
Be diligent throughout this process and don’t get too excited too soon. Picking the right product can be the difference between success and failure so front load your work and make sure you do it the right way. And if your
Finding a product to sell is just a small piece of the overall selling process of selling on Amazon and making actual cash flow.
So if you’re ready and you want a step by step breakdown on the ENTIRE process, I make a video course on all of that.
- Finding your product on Alibaba
- How to get your Alibaba product differentiated
- Negotiating Test Order prices with suppliers
- Getting the best Shipping quotes
- Importing to the FBA warehouses correctly
- Getting the FBA barcodes correct
- Setting up your Seller Central Account
- How to take the best product Photos for Amazon
- Optimizing your Listing
- Optimizing your customer follow-up auto-emails
- Getting Reviews Fast
- Building a Brand on Facebook & Instagram
I get asked about all these things, so I did a video on all of this and more at http://theamazonmethod.com/
Start by connecting with like-minded people in the LivinThatLife Facebook Group and post your questions!
Cheers! Chat soon!
Riley, in Southern Thailand.