Motivation Monday: When to Hire an Expert

Motivation Monday: When to Hire an Expert

We hear from budget-strapped Amazon sellers every day, who feel like they are hemorrhaging money. They are desperate to get their sales up, and they don’t know how to do so on their own. They would love an Amazon Fairy to come and sprinkle some magic fairy dust on their listings and make their products sell! But they don’t have the time or experience with Amazon necessary to make that happen on their own. Sound familiar? 

 

The thing that many of these sellers don’t realize is that there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, behind every success story you’ve ever heard about, is a team of people supporting that successful person’s vision! The key is to recognize that you don’t know what you don’t know and seek out people who can help fill in the gaps on the road to success.

 

TurnKey’s founder, Jeff Lieber, saw the need in the market to offer sellers more support in growing their sales. He started by consulting for his friends who were struggling on Amazon, and sure enough… after a few months of his tips and tricks, sales started to turn around for them. In fact, those earliest consulting clients (William Painter and EcoQube) are STILL with Turnkey today. 

 

So, if you already feel like you aren’t making enough money, when do you bring in an expert to help? Well, just like anything in business, you have to be willing to invest in the long-term vision of a product. If you know your competitors are doing $100k+/month on Amazon and you’re at $10k/month, you can feel pretty confident that if you have a good product and you’re willing to do the work, there’s room for significant sales growth and it’s worth trying to make room in the budget to hire an expert to help you to become a key player in the niche.  

 

Hiring an expert will cost you money, but it will SAVE you in three areas:

  1. Time: The only thing we cannot buy more of is time and an expert can make your path to excellence so much more efficient by showing you exactly how things should be done the right way, versus you trying to figure things out the hard way. 
  2. Optimization: If you were to hop on a call with one of our TurnKey team members, we could probably suggest 3-5 things right off the bat that we would improve about your listing, and that’s without even going into the backend. When you hire an expert they will bring things to your attention you may never have even thought of, and those details can make the difference in thousands of dollars in sales per month. 
  3. Potential: You may not really know how your product will do on Amazon. The truth is some products crush it on Amazon while others fall flat.  You could waste years trying to get your product to the top of the leaderboard not knowing that you were already close to the ceiling in your niche. When you bring in an expert, we can help manage your expectations and understand your product’s full potential on Amazon in a much shorter time frame. This will help you decide how much you should invest in developing this platform. 

 

Now that you recognize you need an expert in your corner, the key is to be sure you are getting the level of involvement you need from that expert. At TurnKey, we offer options ranging from full-service Amazon management to one-on-one coaching, to accelerator courses, all the way down to monthly group coaching to ensure that we can meet any business where they are. We even offer PPC Management and done-for-you services.

 

If you’ll remember, earlier in the article I mentioned EcoQube, founded by Kevin Liang. Kevin was originally a full-service client who really valued the insights and growth we provided for his business. It allowed him to reach heights on Amazon that he always hoped were possible. Over time his needs changed, and when it made sense for him to launch an in-house Amazon management team he became a one-on-one coaching client. TurnKey is here to support sellers all along their journey. If you want to hear more about Kevin’s story and experience working with TurnKey in all our different services, tune into the Playbook for Amazon Podcast Episode 3

 

If you’re considering hiring an expert, I urge you to take the plunge. Don’t sit around wishing you knew how to crack the Amazon success code when there are people who have already cracked it for you! Want to know what level of Amazon support you need? Apply today and we’ll analyze your business and come up with a plan that will meet your needs. There’s no risk and you might just get the Amazon fairy you’ve been dreaming of!

The Pros and Cons of Using Amazon to Sell Internationally

The Pros and Cons of Using Amazon to Sell Internationally

If you’re doing pretty well on Amazon or if you’ve come across the services Amazon offers to encourage sellers to reach beyond their borders, you might be tempted to venture out into other international Amazon platforms. However, while these options can make entering the global marketplace easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon’s international platforms are right for you.

Obstacles to International Selling

Fees and Regulations – These can be hard enough to manage in your home market but every country you export to will have its own rules. Using the FBA Export option on your Fulfillment by Amazon account takes this problem off your plate. Amazon takes responsibility for the export paperwork and an international customer purchasing your product through Amazon.com pays any additional fees associated with the transaction. But keep in mind, not all products are eligible for export. you can log into your Seller Central inventory and click “Exportable Inventory” to find out which of your items are allowed. 

Service and Logistics – If you don’t want to use FBA Export or want to move beyond the universe of Amazon.com (e.g. Amazon.uk, Amazon.jp, etc.), Amazon Global Selling allows you to create seller accounts on many of Amazon’s global marketplaces. This gives you more control over the export process but increases your responsibility. Global sellers are subject to additional fees and are required to maintain bank accounts in the marketplaces they sell to. Moreover, you will be responsible for handling the customer service process in the local language. Failing to do this effectively, can lead to negative reviews –especially if inexperienced customers don’t account for delayed shipping times– which may tank your ratings in the market. 

With pitfalls like that, what’s the upside of going global?

More Profitable Markets – If the increased fees and shipping times don’t discourage buyers it’s probably because you’re selling something they can’t get at home and they’re willing to pay a premium which could boost your profits. With a little research, you can determine if there’s a strong market for your product and if you have many competitors. If not, there’s definitely a huge opportunity to meet a need in the market that doesn’t currently exist!

Cultivating a New Customer Base – Like we mentioned above, if you’ve got the right product, going global gives you the opportunity to be the first in the marketplace to win over your new customers. You’ll be starting at square one in every market you enter but once you’re established, everyone that follows you will be competing with the reputation you’ve already built. Having the opportunity to become the gold standard in the markets you choose can take your business to levels you might never have reached staying at home.

So, should you go global? 

At TurnKey, we’ve discovered that our clients experience the most success internationally when we’ve developed a strong presence in their local market and establish proof of concept first. If you’re seeing a lot of success in Amazon’s largest market, it is worth considering if expanding is right for you. Next, you’ll want to do your research about your product’s viability in that specific country, the potential barriers you may face, and what fees come with that new market, you can determine if it’s worth the extra effort to expand internationally. 

Just because you have a hot product in your market does not mean it’ll be a slam dunk in other places, and it’s better to keep pouring your resources into a location that is already serving you well versus going through a lot of additional leg work for a much smaller return. 

At TurnKey, we offer coaching to help you to not only grow your sales on Amazon in your region, but also expand into international markets if that’s part of your vision for your products. We’d love to help you through the process to do it the right way. Head over to TurnKey to apply.

Is Seller Fulfilled Prime Right For You?

Is Seller Fulfilled Prime Right For You?

One of the greatest things about Amazon is how convenient it is. Who wants to drive to a store, find a parking spot, search for the correct aisle, only to discover that the item you’re looking for is not available in the size, color, or quantity they want? Amazon solves all of that. Not only do you have a world of items at your fingertips, for Amazon Prime members you can get those items today! This is why Amazon shoppers are always on the lookout for products that have that little sticker of goodness. You know what I’m talking about. The Prime sticker. And that sticker is worth its weight in gold! Statistics show that seller-fulfilled listings who gain Prime status show an average of 50% growth in sales!

As a consumer, if something isn’t Prime I am much less likely to purchase said item. But as part of an Amazon consulting firm, I recognize that going Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) just isn’t the best fit for every company. If you prefer to do your own shipping Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) is a fine option, but you won’t get the Prime sticker and for some, that’s a deal-breaker. The solution? Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) may be the answer you’ve been looking for. It gives you both the ability to ship your own inventory AND get the precious Prime sticker! 

So, how do you decide between FBA and SFP? In this age of oversaturation on Amazon, if you want to compete, Prime is often an important element to your listing’s ability to convert! In most circumstances, FBA is amazing, but there are some situations that make keeping your shipping in-house a better option. Some of the reasons you might want shy away from FBA are: 

  • Your product is large, oddly shaped, or heavy,
  • You already have an efficient shipping operation in your own warehouse,
  • Your current shipping rates are better than what Amazon offers,
  • You want to have more control over your inventory or do not want to designate certain allotments of product to Amazon warehouses.

That’s where Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) comes in! This fulfillment option allows you to ship products like FBM, but you also get the benefits of having a Prime listing. Amazon is LOVING this option for its sellers because it cuts down on the need to build even more warehouses, thereby saving money. However, that doesn’t mean they are making the opportunity easy to qualify for. So if this is a route you want to pursue, be sure you are clear on the current requirements. 

Every seller who wants to qualify for SFP must first go through a trial period. This is a chance to prove to Amazon that they can consistently meet the standards of Prime shipping (including the ability to ship orders out same day). To start the trial, you’ll need a Professional Seller account that is eligible for Amazon Premium Shipping. If you meet these criteria, visit the Seller Fulfilled Prime page and sign up to start your trial. Don’t forget to enable Prime delivery in your settings and enroll the items you’d like to be Prime eligible in SFP. During the 200 order trial period, you must have the following stats on all SFP enabled product listings: 

  • An on-time delivery rate of at least 99% 
  • A Buy Shipping Services usage rate of at least 98.5%
  • A cancellation rate of less than .5%

There are also a few other specifics that Amazon requires for staying compliant with SFP, like buying Amazon’s shipping labels and adhering to Amazon’s return policy.

Any well-oiled fulfillment operation should be able to achieve the first two bullets with relative ease. Most sellers find that keeping the order cancellation rate low is the biggest challenge when attempting to qualify for SFP. If you do not meet the requirements the first time, don’t panic! You can always reset the trial period and try again.

While it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, when you consider the money you can save by eliminating the shipping, handling, and storage fees associated with FBA or the increased revenue you’ll receive compared to FBM, the pros typically far outweigh the cons. Still not sure which option is best for your Amazon business? Let us at TurnKey help you optimize your fulfillment process today!

Resolving a Seller Central Account Suspension FAST!

Resolving a Seller Central Account Suspension FAST!

You put your blood sweat and tears into crafting the perfect Amazon listing. Sales are on the rise and you’re feeling great. Selling on Amazon is the best! Then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue your listing gets suspended! Every minute that you’re unable to sell feels critical to your brand’s credibility and your business’ bottom line. You need to get back selling FAST!

While suspension is a major stressor for Amazon sellers, we want you to know that the world isn’t going to come to an end and there are things you can do to help resolve the issue. So take some deep breaths, clear your mind of all of those “what-if” scenarios that are floating around and let’s get to work!

The first step in resolving a suspension is to determine why you got suspended in the first place. Amazon will notify you of your suspension in the “Performance Notifications” section of your Seller Central account. The top three reasons for suspensions are: 

  1. A major increase of returns or bad reviews: If your product’s performance has shown a downward trend, Amazon will try to protect itself and its customers by putting a hold on your ability to sell on the platform. 
  2. A violation of Amazon’s terms of service: Amazon’s ever-changing set of rules and regulations can make it especially difficult to ensure that you are compliant. Staying on top of Amazon’s TOS is critical to maintaining your selling status. 
  3. Selling a restricted product: There are limitations to what you can sell on Amazon, and you must be very careful not to misrepresent your product, sell anything in violation of Amazon policies, and maintain the various approvals needed to sell your product. This is especially true of ingestible or topical products. For example, recently some CBD products have been riding the line of complying with Amazon’s restriction policies. They are having to constantly verify that they are not mislabeling their products or misleading their customers. 

So now that you’ve determined the why behind your suspension, you need to create a plan of action to resolve the issue. If your returns and bad reviews have increased, you may need to revamp your customer service or put some better systems in place to ensure customer complaints are handled more effectively. If the issue was violating policies, you may need to change your listing. If your product is restricted, you may need to alter your packaging or get the proper approvals from Amazon.   

The best way to resolve any suspension is to own your mistake and reaffirm to Amazon your desire to make things right. They want to see you are trustworthy and committed to being a legitimate seller, and not someone who simply wants to take advantage of the platform. Amazon is a well-oiled machine, and they don’t want a disruption to their system. Suspensions are their way of quickly and efficiently eliminating a product they deem to be problematic to their platform for one reason or another. It may not always make sense to you, but just understand that if you want to be a successful seller on Amazon, you need to play by their rules. If you can make it as easy as possible on them to reinstate you, by making an action plan and coming to them with that plan already in place, you’re going to be much more likely to have your suspension lifted quickly. 

Once you have a plan to address the reason for the suspension, you can start the process of getting your listing reinstated. Go back to the “Performance Notification” section in Seller Central, and click “Appeal” next to the suspension notice. This is where you’ll let Amazon know your plan to resolve the reason for the suspension.  Be very clear that you understand the issue and that you have a detailed strategy to address the problem. Even better, explain how you’ve already started executing that plan.

Be respectful, professional, and decisive when it comes to explaining your plan of action. Be concise and direct (bullet points are fine) when addressing the reason for the suspension and the solution to the issue, and don’t get off track with extra information unrelated to the rectification of the issue that caused the suspension. No matter how upset you are about the suspension, do not use this appeal as a platform to express your frustration. The last thing Amazon wants to see is a message from a disgruntled seller arguing about the suspension and complaining about the injustice of it all. This tactic will not motivate them to move things along for you.

In the event the suspension is more complicated, and the appeal is not effective in getting the suspension lifted, we would recommend using the services of Thompson and Holt. They are experts at suspensions on Amazon and they would love to help you troubleshoot the issue so you can get back to growing your product sales. 

Above all, don’t let a suspension get you down. You now have the knowledge to get the issue resolved, so you can get back to selling. If you’re in need of an Amazon expert to help you through issues like suspensions, effectively managing your listings, growing the number of customer reviews your product has, etc… we would love to chat with you about the services we offer at TurnKey Product Management.  Come check us out and let us show you how you can take you Amazon sales to the next level!

Systematize Your Business with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Systematize Your Business with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

In any business, there are tasks which must be performed on a regular basis. Generally, these tasks are assigned to a member of the team who has been trained to perform them. But what happens when that team member is unavailable, or it is necessary to train additional employees on how to perform the task? Creating and maintaining standard operating procedures or SOPs are a great way to ensure that tasks can be performed and understood by any of your team members.

At TurnKey, we follow a simple six-step process when creating SOPs:

  1. Record a video of you completing the process (a screen share) explaining it as you go.
  2. Once you’ve recorded the video, write step-by-step directions based on the video.
  3. When the SOP has been created, have a separate team member proofread the SOP. It is helpful to have them walk through the SOP step-by-step to ensure you’ve captured all of the necessary points. 
  4. Send the SOP to a designer to polish it up and make it look professional.
  5. After the designer has formatted it, have your team double-check the SOP to ensure the designer didn’t make any mistakes.
  6. Create a task checklist in a project management system for your
    team to follow based on the SOP that was created.

Creating SOPs may seem like an unnecessary step in your business process, but having clear step-by-step instructions for all of the processes and tasks within your company will save time in the long run. It is the first step in ensuring that your business becomes as streamlined and automated as possible!

Want more in-depth instructions on creating SOPs and other topics that will help your business to function well and your sales to skyrocket? Apply now and find out what services you qualify for that can help you systematize your business!

Sales Copy Magic: Using Words to Transform Your Listing

Sales Copy Magic: Using Words to Transform Your Listing

Selling online can be tough because you don’t always get to touch and see the product in person, which means that capturing your audience can be a bit trickier. When it comes to selling on Amazon, the foundation of converting views to sales is your listing copy. Potential buyers will not only base their decision on the visual elements of your listing but also what they learn about your product in your bullet points and product description. Thus, it is important to use words that will both make your product relatable to your target market and entice your customers to buy. 

Effective sales copy is a crucial component of your listing and can help you properly position your products on Amazon. It can, in fact, mean the difference between making a single sale or creating a lifelong customer. Any sales copy worth its salt will answer a crucial question: Why? If you can explain to your customers why they need your product, you have won most of the sales battle. Your product’s “why” should paint a picture of how your product will fit into the consumer’s lifestyle. 

Brands like Apple and Nike have done a phenomenal job of defining their “why”, and as a result have amassed cult followings among consumers. They lead with clear, succinct missions statements that define their core values, and follow up with the logistics of what their products do. These companies have been successful because consumers understand their why, and purchase their product to be part of a vision not necessarily for their products themselves. 

When working on your sales copy and defining your “why”, here are five places we recommend looking for inspiration: 

  1. Check Out Reviews and Comments – Whether they belong to your product or a competitor’s, people who have previously purchased the product will give you insight into the reasons why consumers are buying products in your niche. 
  2. Review Customer Questions – These could help you understand what potential customers are looking for prior to purchasing products.
  3. Talk with people in your niche – Going straight to the horse’s mouth can give you insight into your target customer’s motivations.
  4. Find fitting affirmation statements – These should inspire your customer and encourage them to reach their goals in life.
  5. Use Famous or Inspirational Quotes – Either directly use the quotes or paraphrase them to enhance your product

Once you’ve defined your why, creating dynamic sales copy will be much easier.

Want more support in creating the type of sales copy that converts prospects into customers? Apply now to see which of our services you qualify for.