Guest post by Amanda O’Brien, Amazon and eBay Expert
It all sounds very simple – research and source a viable, in-demand product, create your product title and description, upload to Amazon, sell hundreds and make a profit!
Unfortunately, whilst building a super successful business on Amazon is absolutely, perfectly do-able, it’s not quite as straight-forward as it sounds.
Amazon is a platform intended for you to build a successful business upon, selling premium products – preferably your own brands – with exceptional standards of customer service, and getting all those things right requires quite a steep learning curve.
With this in mind, these are the top seven mistakes almost every new Amazon seller makes and how you can avoid them!
Stick to these rules and you will not only save yourself time, money and heartache but you will also achieve your goals much faster.
1. Don’t Try to Run Before You Can Walk
Of course, you want to get started! I get that. Your enthusiasm and motivation are at its peak when you’re getting a new business off the ground, but you simply must be realistic about what you can and can’t do. There’s no point in getting ahead of yourself and trying to create an empire when you haven’t listed a single product yet.
By all means dream – dreams are what motivates us – but in reality, every business must start small and grow. This is particularly true if your budget is tight. Know what you’re capable of, how far your knowledge and buying power goes, and start by taking baby steps.
Get your first product researched, sourced and listed – and most importantly actually start making sales before you start adding multiple products and trying to rival long established companies!
2. Don’t Be Unwilling to Invest the Money!
I’m not sure why, but for some reason, many people hold the belief that starting and building an online business takes absolutely no money and all they need is an internet connection to access great riches!
This is simply not the case for Amazon (or eBay) businesses or indeed any eCommerce venture. This type of business – just like any other – requires an investment if you want to build a real, successful business.
There will be costs such as Amazon fees and there will also be variable costs, like marketing and so on. Most obviously you will need to invest in stock, and whilst it’s possible to do so with less than £1000, I always recommend an initial investment of around £1500.
You’ll then need to reinvest your profits for as long as possible before you even contemplate taking any profit for yourself!
3. Don’t Pick the Wrong Product!
This sounds obvious of course but you would be surprised at the number of newbie sellers who totally underestimate their buying power. The issue happens because you make the mistake in choosing a product that you think is perfect, based only on its selling price of, let’s say £100 for example. That’s a decent amount and you want some of that action, so you’re feeling confident because you’ve got £1000 to spend on the stock…
Unfortunately, even though £1000 is a good investment, it’s not going to allow you to invest in a product that retails for £100. Depending on the product, you may be able to purchase a few units but that isn’t enough to be able to get the best deal from the manufacturer. It’s essential that you choose the right product for YOUR buying power. This is crucial and is vital to your success!
4. Don’t Try and Compete with the Lowest Price!
This is a recipe for disaster! The simple truth is that your buying power and sales volume won’t support this strategy! And anyway, why would you want to cheapen yourself and sell low priced products?
There will always be sellers on Amazon with rock-bottom prices who are simply turning money or using the product as a ‘loss-leader’. These businesses will have the buying power to purchase container loads of stock at a time giving them the best wholesale prices and lower shipping costs. There is no way you can compete with that – so don’t even try.
Instead, price for a decent profit, offer a free gift or incentive, provide fast dispatch and shipping and second to none customer service along with a quality product. Take a look and you’ll see that prices vary wildly on Amazon for the exact same products, so you do not have to be the cheapest seller!
5. Don’t Expect Results Overnight
Building an online business takes time, effort and patience so don’t expect results like magic. Slow and steady is the way forward and whilst that may seem frustrating, persistence will pay off as long as you ensure you stay motivated, set goals, celebrate achievements and milestones – however small, and make progress every day.
The temptation to quit after a month – or even a year – will sometimes be great, particularly if you hit a hurdle or make a mistake, but actually, your biggest mistake – and ultimately your biggest regret – will be to throw in the towel.
It’s important that you understand you are in it for the long haul and quitting is the easy option, which leads nicely into mistake number six…
6. Don’t Take (Uninformed) Shortcuts!
We are all lazy! No really – it’s in us all whether we like to think so or not. For most of us, in our everyday lives, if there’s a shortcut, we’ll always consider it – if not take it!
But when building an eCommerce business, shortcuts should most definitely not be considered. If you think for example that you can throw together an Amazon product title, bullet points and description for your product in 20 minutes flat then running an online business is not for you – seriously. If you think you can watch a few tutorials and then take stunning photographs David Bailey style, then please don’t even try. Those types of shortcuts will be detrimental to your success.
If on the other hand, you accept that sometimes you simply can’t do as good a job on a specific task as you’d like to, it’s ok to take a ‘professional’ shortcut. By this, I mean outsourcing tasks such as product description writing, product photography, design and so on.
Don’t try to become a writer or a photographer when you can let a professional do a much better job for you. Your business will grow faster – trust me.
7. Don’t Procrastinate
If you want to do it – just do it! Don’t over-think it, take action. And when I say action, I mean take action that will actually help you make progress in your business.
Answering emails, packing and posting orders and counting stock is not taking progressive action. That’s just keeping on top of administrative tasks. For you, taking action might mean researching and sourcing a second product. It might mean creating a red-hot product description. Or it might mean working on your marketing strategy. All of these things lead to business gains. General administration does not!
Even if you do make mistakes, remember to learn from them. Don’t think you’re so smart that you don’t have to keep learning! The world of ecommerce is constantly evolving and by keeping up, you will have a far higher chance of success.