#184 – Amazon Success Story Based on the Basics – Karina Molostova
Every Amazon selling journey is different. Still, there are guideposts along the way that keep us on the path. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes back Karina Molostova, an Amazon seller that has followed one of those well-worn paths.
There are a lot of different ways to make money on Amazon. It seems like every week there’s a new PPC strategy. How about chat-flows and off-Amazon channels? Of course, there’s also arbitrage, Amazon Handmade and Merch by Amazon.
Karina is all about keeping things simple.
Karina has made herself successful by hitting the ball right down the middle of the e-commerce fairway. A year ago, we wrote about how she was focusing on the basics, listing (and image) optimization, solid keyword and product research techniques, and a strong PPC program all contributed to make her last year a successful one.
Listen in to hear how “doing all the little things right,” can be a great recipe for Amazon success. In episode 184 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Karina Discuss:
In episode 184 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Karina Discuss:
- 02:55 – Managing Amazon’s Limits as a Seller
- 05:05 – Working with Truly Niche Markets
- 07:40 – Should We Search for Products or Keywords? Why Not Both?
- 09:10 – What is Karina Looking for in an Amazon Product?
- 10:50 – Strong Sales + Bad Images = Good Opportunities
- 15:30 – Helping Sellers with Lifestyle and Instructional Images
- 17:30 – What’s a Small Budget Way to Optimize Your Product Images?
- 20:40 – Learning from (Low Drama) Amazon Problems
- 25:00 – Karina’s PPC Strategies
- 29:30 – Keeping it Simple at Launch
- 30:15 – Dealing with High Sales and Low Inventory
- 34:15 – Karina’s Seasonal PPC Tactics
- 38:10 – Focusing on Community
- 39:40 – How to Contact Karina
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Last year, we had today’s guest on talking about how she had left medical school and her professional modeling career to take up Amazon. Now, she’s back to talk about what she’s been up to and some cool strategies for Amazon images and more. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody. And welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And we’ve got a serious seller here who has been on the show about a year and a half ago or so. Karina, welcome back. How’s it going?
Karina Molostovova: Hi, Bradley. I am very excited to be back. I can’t believe it’s already been that long.
Bradley Sutton: It’s crazy. It’s crazy. It’s been forever. You were, I think one of the first ones who did the podcast when we moved into our brand new Helium 10 office, I think you might have been the first person to come in to do a podcast there. And so, how the world has changed since that time, huh?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah, exactly.
Bradley Sutton: If you guys want to hear more of her story, we’re not going to go and redo her entire backstory, but it’s pretty interesting guys. She went from being in medical school, aspiring to be a doctor and just be a professional model and then she kind of pivoted to Amazon. So, it’s a really interesting story. Make sure to go to the helium10.com/podcast, and just type in Karina with a K, and then you’ll see her original podcast episode and you can catch up, but that’s kind of like, what we wanted to do is we kind of wanted to catch up with you. Last year we talked a lot about your transition from those other professions into Amazon and how you had scaled up until that point. And you were just starting off with some new endeavors with social media, but let’s just first talk about Amazon by itself. So, how have your sales been? What did you end up 2019 with? How did you do?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah, definitely a lot has changed. That was like a lot of talking about my background, everything. I just feel like I don’t even know where to start because it’s been so long since we even last had a conversation, but Amazon is amazing and I’ve been launching products in the low risk market. I don’t know if you’ve heard that before. That’s kind of what I like to teach my students and kind of the philosophy that I follow. And maybe I can touch more about that.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I don’t think we talked about that last time. What do you consider like low-risk market?
Karina Molostovova: And why it’s so important too, for right now is because with everything going on in the world and the Amazon limits, this might be actually a really good strategy for me time sellers, because their accounts have a lot of limits and even sellers with the IPI limit under 500. That was a good time for everyone, spook everyone a little bit. It’s still going on now. But essentially it’s finding products that are not doing crazy sales. So they’re not selling, let’s say a hundred thousand dollars a month or even $50,000 a month. Perhaps they’re more conservative anywhere from 5,000. That’s the minimum I say anywhere up to 30,000. But the good thing about it is that you don’t need to do any crazy intense launch strategies, any giveaways, you don’t need to be hustling for reviews because those markets by nature are a little bit slower moving, less reviews, but also with that comes a lot less risk. So to actually get into the market, you don’t have to purchase as many units. You don’t have to invest in kind of the reviews and the PPC and launches as much. So, it’s a very conservative method for sellers who are kind of on the fence about entering Amazon or have any type of restrictions and they don’t have to place large MOQ.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I mean, I think I agree with that. A lot of people are familiar with the Project X case study that we did. And it was a very similar technique that we use where we didn’t go after something that had like 25,000 searches per month, or where the top sellers are doing 50,000. We went to something small and we just crushed it and we grew that one stronger. So, without telling us the exact product, can you maybe give us an example from 2019 or 2020 where you personally did that method and how it turned out?
Karina Molostovova: Pretty much all the products that I do are in those markets. So, I do like the slow scaling process, but also to really minimize the risk because a lot of people get discouraged if they fail. So I guess a good example is to get really niche into something. And I know that’s kind of overstated, but you would be surprised how many messages and product validation, which is something I do for my students. I still get. And these really hyped up products, maybe they’re really trendy. And for some reason, people still think that they can get into markets like that, but that is really crushing. Right. I had somebody who– she told me she was doing this really common Tupperware and it had thousands and thousands of reviews and she spent over 10 grand on inventory and shipping. And all her competitors had thousands of reviews. So that was just complete no-go, but something, maybe it’s very hard to give her like a very example, but let’s say you are in like a cooking niche and it’s something that is maybe very specific to Mexican food. Maybe it’s used in like Mexican cuisine, right. Something to make something that’s just like a really random example. When somebody looks at the numbers, maybe they don’t look at it as exciting, maybe the top sellers doing 10,000 a month. And you think, okay, what’s the big deal here, right? Because everyone wants those winning products. But if you go niche and kind of, I wouldn’t even say thinking outside of the box, because some products I– one got into my Amazon inventory about two days ago. So, I’m working on launching down one up for that one. It was definitely something that was completely innovative. I had to think of the idea. I had to hire a graphics artist. I had to hire a person who designed it all and that took weeks and weeks. And that’s something unique and in a low risk market. And conversely, I have something that is literally your plain old commodity, no effort, not no effort, but it’s no innovation that had to be done from my side, just to make sure that the product is of quality and has a good bundle and looks good. Right. So, just two completely different things, but both are in low risk markets. So, it’s not necessarily that it’s kind of like a cookie cutter formula, but numbers wise, it has to make sense, not to be difficult to get into the market, but it honestly could be any product.
Bradley Sutton: So, when you look for products like this, let’s say are using like Helium 10 black box or, do you use the one where you’re searching for the product out there? Or do you search for keywords where you can find the opportunity? Which one do you start with? Are you searching for products or keywords?
Karina Molostovova: Both. Actually we did a video on my YouTube channel and you were very good at the keyword method. Do you remember that? Yeah, that was great. I think my audience really, really enjoyed listening to that. I think both ways work. Lot of the times, you just kind of go down the rabbit hole. You can start from any method and you click in and it leads you to interesting places, but any way would work. Sometimes I really suggest switching it up because I know it can get frustrating doing the same method. So it’s great that Helium 10 has different methods that you can do the keyword way. You can do the product way, the brands, anything. Right. But the point is to switch it up. So you don’t feel hopeless if it’s, if you’re kind of hitting that roadblock.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. That’s good to know. Good to know. Now, do you have any particular metrics or characteristics that you indicate opportunity because everybody can find, can pull up something in black box. For Helium 10, they can pull up something that they just find in Amazon. But, what are some of the characteristics that to you kind of like say, you know what, this is something that could be possibility. I’m assuming maybe sometimes you look at search volume, or you’re looking at like a minimum number of sales at all, or maximum number of reviews or what are some of those things that to you indicate opportunity?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah, of course I have a whole entire metric how I deem products personally. Right. So, I think the search volume is a very key component too, because you don’t want it to be too high. Right. So, if it’s like a hundred thousand or even 50,000, that means there’s too many searches sometimes. And that can mean competition is high, but I’ve seen products with 5,000 searches, 7,000 that do really well. So, I think it’s a balance of making sure the search volume is reasonable, but not too high and obviously not too low because you want sales, but also cross-referencing that with the revenue it’s making and for me, the revenue on average should be at least 5,000. I’m not saying that’s kind of what I’m going for. Obviously, if it’s closer to 10,000 a month, that’s great. But at least 5,000 and otherwise it wouldn’t really make sense to go into the market and not really make much profit. Right. And then of course, there’s the review comparison and kind of setting the market to make sure it’s not something that is the same. If you’re going into market slightly more competitive, it’s kind of hard to penetrate those because everyone has the same exact product. But in terms of reviews, I don’t like being unrealistic and saying that you need to have– everyone has to be below a hundred or everyone has to be 30 reviews, because you can outperform sellers based on the whole package deal. Maybe you bundled your product. Maybe your pictures are better. You’d be surprised how many listings you probably, you’re not surprised because you’re obviously in this world too. And you’ve worked with so many listings and brands that you know how important quality a listing is, especially with pictures, but people really downplay that they don’t do enough infographics. They don’t do enough lifestyles. Their pictures have absolutely no annotations. And sometimes I see sellers performing well in a market with really bad pictures. And that signals to me that if you were to enter it and even differentiate, not necessarily in the product, but in the listing and the images, you can have a really huge advantage and making sure that especially your first images have rendered really well. So, I think that’s a huge opportunity too, that I look for is obviously everything as a whole. But if the pictures, I’m not saying they have to be terrible because people are smarter these days, they know the importance of that. But if you know that you can render something and make it look more appealing, that really can give you a huge advantage when you’re first launching.
Bradley Sutton: So, what kind of– let’s talk about the negative, what kind of bad characteristics do you look for in the competition images? One thing I’ve shown is how to search for, with black box just listings that have only like one or two or three or four images, because regardless of the quality of image, that’s just a no go, like, it looks unprofessional. It’s unprofessional seller usually when you find somebody with only two or three images, but other than the no brainer such as a noncompliant TOS image, like I love to see that in the main image where the person doesn’t even have a white background and they could probably be suspended at any time. To me, that’s great. But as far as the secondary images, what other things do you look for that tell you, Ooh, this seller doesn’t know what they’re doing. I know I could do better than this.
Karina Molostovova: One of the biggest one is like iPhone photos. People still do that. Of course, those aren’t really big time sellers because people who are serious know that that’s not going to fly, but it’s very common to see those, especially in obviously again, if you’re selling this for big markets, let’s say computers or something that has thousands of reviews. I don’t see these mistakes there because they’re big brands and they know it. But if you’re going for like private label markets that are smaller, people will do normal photography. For example, they won’t spend the time to edit the photos to make them look more high resolution and more sharper. And it’s just a picture. Sometimes it is what it is. Right. I believe that rendering does much more service to a product than actually a picture. I think people are so advanced and rendering and Photoshop that it can actually look so much more professional if you do it that way. So like, clear, crisp, perfect. People don’t have annotations in their pictures. They don’t put the benefits of the product on the picture. And I think that pictures should be the one selling your product before someone even has to go and read all the bullets. Because when I purchase things on Amazon, I want to say, I can’t remember the last time I read bullets. Again, that’s me other people know, but you want to cover all your bases. Obviously your bullets and description has to be perfect, but annotating and short phrases, not long paragraphs because nobody reads those either. People don’t do compare and contrast charts. That’s what I really like to do is comparing you versus another brand without obviously saying what brand they are.
Bradley Sutton: In the images you’re saying?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. I the images. So, kind of like a visual. People also don’t highlight the most important function of the product. They assume that the customer knows which for the most time is true, but you also can have an edge if you can nudge someone over and really emphasize the reason they’re purchasing it. I don’t see lifestyle images that often too, in some markets, which I think also helps enhance the listing.
Bradley Sutton: Let me ask you this about that. This is a question I have, and to me, this is annoying, but I don’t like seeing the Amazon listings that have the lifestyle image where it’s obviously like a stock photography. And then they kind of like photo-shopped into the person’s hand or something, the product, like in your opinion, if you don’t have the ability to pay for photography and yeah. You know what, sometimes lifestyle photography sessions. And if you do it professionally, it costs like five, six, seven, $800. A lot of sellers might not have that, but what’s your opinion. Should they still try and do a lifestyle image with stock photography and like good Photoshopping or it’s better not to come off cheesy at all and just skip it for now?
Karina Molostovova: I think it’s about training the eye. So, there are a lot of products I’ve seen where it looks very, very obvious that it’s Photoshop. For example, it’s a kitchen and you can see a pot, and the pots kind of melting into the counter. Something really obvious that this was photo-shopped on. Or for example, the lifestyle images very crisp and professional, and then their product photo is not of the same quality. So, it looks a little bit more pixelated edited on. And I think that looks very bad. However, I have seen some where I know that this is lifestyle because I searched it for example. And there are actually some products that do appear already pre-photographed in some sites that you can buy licenses to. So from that case, like, why not, if no one else is doing it, if you’re the first one to get that picture and it’s already has the object, maybe you just need to change the color or add your logo. You can send that in, of course, I think that will turn out really beautifully. And if you have a talented person, and if you pick a picture of very high quality that is easy to Photoshop, then I think it could pass. But you really, you have to be honest with yourself about it. If you have the slight inclination that it looks Photoshop, then you better not do it because everybody else will know as well. But if you are confident and you’re honest with yourself that this does look really well, then I don’t think buyers will know.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, then what if somebody doesn’t have the full amount to invest in product photography, like super, super high quality, what’s a low budget way that maybe you’re, I mean, obviously I’m sure you do it the full way, cause you’re a big baller now, Karina. But for your newer students who might, who barely can just get by with getting enough money for their inventory. What’s a way how somebody can ball on a budget as far as photography goes? What’s the bare minimum, like at the bare minimum, should they still get white background photography or is it possible to just somehow take amazing iPhone pictures of a product and then have go to Upwork and have somebody do really good Photoshopping that doesn’t look like Photoshopping. So, what do you suggest your students who are on a low budget for photography?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. So for those on a low budget, I think product images is not something you should not invest into because it can make or break your image or your whole, I mean, your whole listing your whole product because people won’t click on it and PPC campaigns, people won’t see it on the first page. It just won’t be up to par with everybody else. So, if you have that, I need more money for this. Then I think you’re better off of waiting until you can get, I’m going to comment on the– on a budget way in a second, but you should invest into that for sure. But that’s why the whole low ordering lower MOQ, ordering less product may help you kind of disperse your budget so you can have more for pictures. But I definitely think I am a huge supporter of finding and rendering pictures. I think a lot of the products are already photographs, or on a kind of a stock image. This is not always the case, but you can send it to a Photoshop artists. You can have it rendered. There’s a lot of options. But as far as iPhone photography, I’m actually really against that. I don’t teach my students that. I’ve never tried it because it just seems too complicated. I think there’s too many settings and there’s no way an iPhone picture can look that good. I would recommend finding someone who can render it from maybe like $30 a picture, $60 a picture. I don’t know the rates, but they can do that. I mean, the huge companies do it all the time. The products they have, it’s a lot of the times, it is made in 3D form online, not just photography, like on photography. I really think that’s less expensive too.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, good to know. Now, let’s just switch gears. We’ve been talking about listing optimization and some things that can help sellers by having good copy, good images. And we talked a little bit about how to find products, but let’s go to the negative side. Is there anything that’s happened to you in the last year and a half since we’ve talked that was bad, like a failure, or Amazon just out of the blue, shut down your account or shut down a listing or you had a Hijacker, or you lost money on something. Is there anything that you’re willing to share with us that maybe some can help people out there that could be something they could run into?
Karina Molostovova: For sure. We just really switch gear to very negative, very fast, but that’s, this is good. It helps.
Bradley Sutton: I go all over the place here. I like going up and down, up and down. I used to teach Zumba as most people know, and the way you teach them, guys, you’re like do a really, really fast song, and then you like, bring your heart rate down by doing this little song and you do a really fast song again. So, we had some really positive, I’m like, there’s too much good vibes here. We’ve got to get some negative vibes because Hey, people need to understand that Amazon is not all unicorns and rainbows things happen, and how people deal with it. And bounce back, I think is really important. And so it’s good to hear like real life experiences from somebody like you, who obviously hasn’t given up on Amazon, but I’m sure something bad has happened, has had to have happened to you.
Karina Molostovova: Of course, it happens, honestly, all the time, not anything dramatic, like things getting shut down because I do everything kind of white hat, right? I don’t do anything that would break terms of service or anything suspicious that would get a flag because I think that’s better long term, but of course I’ve had failed products and I share them on my YouTube channel. I’ve made several videos about that. They’re in my course everywhere, right? Because I want people to learn from my mistakes. And that’s why the whole point of me educating people. And a lot of the time, it’s not even the dramatic things that get people to stop such as a failed product. It’s the little things that don’t even get people to the point of launching their first product, because I can see how easy it can be if you don’t have your goal in mind. Because from the day to day of me doing it, I do have moments of frustration. For example, like even something as silly as your images, not updating, right? You’ve got this graphic designer and he made you these amazing pictures. You can’t wait to split, test them. And then Amazon doesn’t upload them for like over a day. And now you have to call them and you’re on the phone with them for 45 minutes. And you feel like you’re wasting your time because of why can’t it just be so easy to click a button and have them upload right. Just silly things like that, or a Hijacker. I had one the other day, and in the retrospect, it’s such little things because they had seven of my inventory. I’m pretty sure it was fake, but I just bought it all because I didn’t want to get bad reviews. And I knew it was a fake.
Karina Molostovova: So, I sent them to my own house. But at that moment in time, it’s just, if you get this kind of emotional reaction to this, how can someone do this? It’s so annoying. I’m losing sales. I didn’t even notice this. And I lost like 10 sales from this product because it’s been up for like half a day. Right. But then you buy it and the next day it’s gone and you think, how silly was it of me to waste my energy, even being slightly agitated in something so silly because you realize that these little things will come up. They came up when I first started, they came up the past year, the past two years, they’re going to keep coming up, not just in Amazon, but anywhere in life. It’s like, sometimes things don’t work out as you plan them, but you have to be persistent and know that everything is just kind of a stepping stone. And even if your listing does get shut down, and if you had a failed product, of course, I’ve had failed products, thousands of dollars just down the drain, or now you have all this inventory, but you learn to adapt and you learn to not repeat mistakes. And for me personally, I pass them onto my students. It’s like, this is why I favor these low risk markets because yeah. I bounce back. But what if somebody sees that as a discouragement and they never want to pick up another Amazon product again, but it’s not, it’s really not a big deal. It’s I forgot about those products so long ago. Right? So, it’s all about not letting those tiny little things get in the way of your big vision.
Bradley Sutton: Good points, good points. So, I mean, yeah, it can happen to anybody. The Project X account guys, the coffin shelf was like suppressed listing for like three days because they didn’t like one word that was in the listing. And they said it’s confusing to customers. And it was like, I fixed it in like five seconds. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. The way I had it was in compliance, but just whatever algorithm tripped it. And I was just like, you know what, I’m not going to fight them. I’m just going to fix it, take it out that word. And five seconds I had done it. Still took like 48 hours to, to come back. So, these little things happen every now and then, and then sometimes big things happen, like you can get suspended or something on Amazon, but you just got to know how to deal with this. Almost anything as long as you’ve done the right things, guys, most problems can be taken care of on Amazon. Let’s up switch gears a little bit. I don’t think in the past time that we had you on and we talked about PPC strategy. So, I’m just curious as far as your PPC strategy, we talk, or the thing that we did talk about last time is how you pretty much just use it for– or you just use PPC for launch as opposed to like other tactics or promotions. So, my first question is, do you still use PPC only for launch and then what is some of your general tips and strategies you can give us on what you found successful in the last year with running your PPC campaigns?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah, in the markets that I advocate for the low risk ones. The only real way to launch is with PPC, because how else are you going to do it? I know in the past this heavy discounted sales, right? That doesn’t fly so much with Amazon for quite some time now. So, it’s hard to kind of trick the algorithm in that way, but I’ve actually never launched my product that way with those types of giveaways, but PPC is quite a powerful tool. And if you were in those markets, you’re more easily noticeable, because like I’ve said, you know how to get the best photography or pictures. I talk all about that in more detail on all of my other content, but once you have that squared away, then your PPC impressions and clicks are going to be higher, right? The click through rate people will be interested. And that’s a huge, huge, huge advantage. Obviously PPC is very complex and there’s a lot of moving parts. And there’s so many different approaches, but I think one of the biggest things that– aside from launching it, that I can share is how to not burn money on it. And that comes from really optimizing it. And it’s not even as hard as not anything crazy, just I’m thinking podcast wise, try to give the most actionable step is to filter your campaigns by spend, when you get, create your report and then see what words are actually burning through your budget without getting any sales. You’d be surprised how many people leave them on without checking them for weeks, months and they’ve see an ACoS. And it’s like, okay, that’s good enough for me. But if they were to trim down on those words that are burning through their budget, they could use that for other maybe longer tail keywords, right. And get sales there. But there’s no reason to be burning your budgets on words that are just getting so many impressions and no sales, or even like so many clicks and not as much.
Bradley Sutton: What are your numbers as far as what you decide? I mean, it sounds like I need to get you using ads by Helium 10. Because it’s so easy to see what you just said without even having to download reports, but just you personally, like how many clicks do you see without a sale where you’re like, you know what I need to like negative match this keyword. Are you looking at the number of clicks or how much you’re actually spending on that keyword before you decide to say, we better stop this keyword?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. Obviously you do want clicks. It’s all within reason. So some words you give them a chance. So, 10 clicks has been is a good number, but there are words that will just never get clicks and how you can– that’s also not a good thing to do. Or they get maybe two clicks, a lot of impressions. And it’s been, let’s say the impressions outweigh. So, okay. This is kind of difficult to explain, say the impressions and the click ratio to one word is significantly higher, the impressions to another word, but that other word has more clicks and less impressions. So that tells you, okay. So why is that other word getting thousands of impressions more and no clicks. And every time there’s a click, it’s a very expensive click. So over time, if you’re waiting and waiting and waiting, that’s going to really add up.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So about 10 clicks or sometimes if you have a lot of impressions, even though you might have not spend, but if nobody’s clicking on it, I mean, that’s an indication. Yeah. I guess in that sense that it might not even be a relevant term. Now, are you utilizing any non-traditional campaigns? Like when I say traditional, we’re talking just the product, sponsored product keyword targeting. So are you doing sponsored product for, or actually product targeting? I should say ads or the headline ads now called sponsored brands or sponsored display or videos you do in any of those other kinds yet?
Karina Molostovova: I think when you’re starting out the most important one is kind of just the general ones and then the product targeting. Those can really help out a lot ang some products are really, really good on that. And you don’t know until you try it, but I’ve had some products where if the ACoS is so much stronger than any other traditional ads. So it’s quite powerful.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Now, how do you set your budget when you’re launching for PPC compared to what it’s going to be normally like? Is it higher during launch or is it the same as you have it at all times?
Karina Molostovova: No, it’s kind of lower. I would say actually. So, I don’t go too aggressive on the launches because usually in the beginning I don’t have that many reviews to start with and I know that eventually it’s going to cash out more. So, I just do like, honestly a conservative way. And I suggest for my students, so you can start on $10 auto and then maybe 20 or $30 on manual on each group, and then see how it goes after a couple of days. See how the traction is and then optimize. And it will show you that obviously you need to up some campaigns that are doing really well. So, I think that’s a good starting point.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Excellent. Excellent. Now what about, have you ever run out of stock of a product in the last year?
Karina Molostovova: Yes.
Bradley Sutton: And so like, how do you bounce back from that?
Karina Molostovova: People over-dramatized running out of sock. I actually ran out of stock for one product. So, I underestimated the market. And I don’t like doing it because obviously you’re missing out on sales. But sometimes you just don’t have a choice, right? This specific product had a first off, it had a 30 day lead time on a 30 day sea freight time. So, that’s already two months of right. That’s very long. And thankfully I found a supplier that already had it in stock, with a few modifications. So, I got that down for 30 days and I could see it coming. Right. I could see it coming immediately three days after launch, then this was going to run out of stock like ASAP. So, I immediately place a reorder and I was selling a lot, a lot. It was like nonstop. I was not expecting without any reviews with very low PPC and just started ranking intensely. Ran out of stock probably three weeks faster than I thought minimum. I did not know it was going to sell that much.
Bradley Sutton: You ran out of stock in three weeks of a product?
Karina Molostovova: I ran out of stock. Well, I ordered, so I thought that it would sell more conservatively. I was expecting it to maybe do, I don’t know, like five to 10,000 a month. And I thought, since I’m launching and I have no reviews, it’s going to take more traction. So, that was that. And then without running any ads, I got four sales for no reason. And then once I turned the ads on, it was like just taking off right. Nonstop. So yeah, I ran out of stock, but I’m back up now in ranking. So, it’s all fine.
Bradley Sutton: Did you have to do anything special though? That was what I was mainly looking for. Were you out of stock for X amount of time and then like, did you close your listings at all? Or you just kept it open? Did you try and go harder on PPC once you came back or you were able to get your sales like right back from, as soon as you went back into stock?
Karina Molostovova: It was definitely a transition. So, it wasn’t immediately. I was starting to get sales. It probably took me a week to a week and a half to start getting back my traction. And I did have to rank back to the first page, but again, it was all done with PPC. So, obviously I was on the first page when the first batch came in with sales in a few days. And my philosophy, not philosophy, but my reasoning, my guess for this situation isn’t necessarily because of the algorithm. I think that the market got more competitive since I was off of it. That’s what I’m thinking, because I always say check the sellers. There was more people, so it doesn’t really have to do with not being able to get back. It just has to do more with now there’s more competition for the same amount of searches.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right, cool. Yeah, similar thing with us, we ran out of the coffin shelf for Project X, like two or three times. And it took a few days to get the momentum back. It’s really– shows you that it is important to try and keep your inventory in stock and to forecast it. And that’s why we came out with the inventory management in Helium 10, because so many people are telling us like it was brutal for them to run out of stock and they can never get– some could never get the momentum back. But that’s good to hear that, that wasn’t the case with you. Now, we’re coming up into we’re here now and Q4, and Christmas season is going to be starting. What’s some of your strategies that you can tell people, like what should they start doing with their existing listings? Maybe it’s not necessarily a Christmas product. It’s not like a Christmas ornament or something specific to Christmas, but it’s something that sales probably might go up because people might like to gift it. So like, do you suggest changing the listing at all to like, have a picture in there that shows a gift or like to get people’s mindset more towards the gift, or do they do different things for PPC or anything because you’re expecting like a big increase in sales during November and December, or what’s your suggestion there?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. I think that’s a fantastic idea and why not? Right. People gift everything during Christmas stocking, stuffers, big presents, and anything can really be a gift. So yeah, maybe put a Christmas tree in there, like a nice, lifestyle image. I know for PPC, you can try running it for kind of those giftable items. Maybe if it’s, if you’re selling a toy, like kids’ Christmas presents, something like that. I also think that really depends on the type of product and the budget, because that might get really competitive with other sellers doing the same thing. So, that might be very expensive, but I do think hopefully some products I’ve actually had some products that didn’t really change their Q4 because they were very kind of like in the beauty, there were personal to the human using it. It’s not, wasn’t really giftable, but I’ve the one that I got installed two days ago. I’m actually– definitely a great gifting items. So, I think that’s going to do quite well during Q4, but yeah, if it’s a giftable, make sure, maybe put it a Christmas present to in the listing and kind of highlight that it’s gift wrap available. Cause Amazon does that too. I think people love that component of saving time and make it known on the listing that they can gift wrap it for you and put it in the bullet or something.
Bradley Sutton: That’s a great reminder. I forgot about that. I haven’t mentioned that in a while, but if you guys are using FBA, every single listing that you have, you guys need to go into the edit listing and put gift wrap available. It’s just a simple check mark. You will never be charged for it. The customer is going to be charged for it, but they pay Amazon for it. But that could be the difference of you getting a sale and not like if somebody is wanting to gift the product and they’re looking for that gifting where they can wrap it and your item doesn’t have that, but your competitor does, well they might get the sale instead of you, but that could very well be vice versa, your competitors don’t have it, you have it. So, that’s a great thing to do. And then that’s an interesting point that you bring up. You can even call that out in the listing. I think that’s totally within terms of service should be fine where you can just say, Hey, gift wrap is available and then just let them know that it is. So, that’s a great tip.
Karina Molostovova: And also, sorry Brad. You can also maybe mention that you can put whatever message you want. Amazon lets you put a little note too. So, if they want it to be something special or ship it to somebody without any of that, that’s a good thing for them to know as well. Some customers might not know that they can put a note.
Bradley Sutton: Yes, yes, absolutely. Now off of Amazon, you’ve been one of those who goes and likes helping people as well. You’ve mentioned here, you have students. So, how’s that going? You started a big YouTube channel I think. And unless I’m mistaken, you’ve got podcast and different things. How has your experience been in the educational side of Amazon since that was something semi new. I don’t think you were too much into that when we talk, but you’ve really scaled up as far as that goes in the last year.
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. So when we last talked, I had my YouTube channel, I was posting videos. That was amazing, but I also have a full, I call it intoamilli, because that’s my handle everywhere. So, it’s my full A to Z program. So, it’s your standard how to take your product from knowing nothing about Amazon to obviously launching it and getting sales and scaling. Right. But I also more recently created something that’s a little bit unique in the FBA community and the private label one, should I say it’s called the PL club. So, like the private label club, the PL club and essentially they’re– it’s students and it’s constantly updating content. So, we have case studies in there. We have videos you were in it Bradley. Remember we did a video for it a couple of months ago. So, it’s just essentially really focusing on product research and any new Amazon updates. And it’s pretty much a community of sellers. We have a private chat, we have product validation, which is something new that I put on the platform. So, people can be very confident about their products and it’s essentially more focused on support and community so that sellers can interact with one another. They can ask questions to another. I’m always there monitoring and supporting 24 email support, things like that. But, it’s– the reason I invented it is because going with the entire low risk approach, not only to finding products, but in education because some courses can be pricey, but this– I made it really affordable. So, it’s $7 for anyone who joins as a trial and then they could be subscribed for a small monthly fee to get all the content, all the updates. And with that, if they are just looking to start or try out or need more product research methods, that whole platform is just going to help them be masters of finding products. So, then once they are confident in that they can really go over the moon and, you know, finish up the rest with any other supplemental education if they wish to carry on.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So, before we get into your 30-second tip, how can people find you on social media and find out more about your coaching and education that you provide?
Karina Molostovova: Yeah. So, my handle is intoamilli. My club is the PLclub.com, and my YouTube channel is Karina intoamilli. So, I’m everywhere. Pretty much.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Cool. Cool. Now, you’ve been giving us lots of tips and strategies. I don’t remember if we had this last year when you came on, but we have this part of the show we called the TST, or the T S T, 30-second tip. So, you’ve been giving us lots of tips, but what’s something that maybe you can say in 30 seconds or less, that is highly actionable and you think very valuable for our listeners to implement in their Amazon business.
Karina Molostovova: I can just tell you one. It’s not going to be anything like revolutionary, but I think it is important. The whole like low risk thing, just order a small MOQ, if you’re on the fence, just do it. It’s not going to kill you financially. It’s going to push you forward. And you never know, if you have doubts about a product, it could actually be the one that takes off and does really well. And you will feel so encouraged. Even if you get a few sales, just a few sales with that actionable step, you will want to do more. It’s a psychological thing, foot in the door to get one sale. You have hope that you will get other ones, but if you don’t order it all, if you’re scared by investing so much money, you’re never going to succeed in this. So, start small. Don’t be worried about ordering a small amount, just do it. And you can potentially be very pleasantly surprised with the results.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I like it. I like it. All right. Well, thank you very much for coming back on the show and we’d love to see how you scale up for the rest of 2020, and then maybe even bring you back in 2021, and see what level of tycoon status you’re on by then.
Karina Molostovova: How time flies, huh? Wow.
Bradley Sutton: Time flies even when we’re having fun. Or even when the world is not having fun. I mean, time flies, because with Amazon, if you’re a seller on Amazon, I guess like it’s you keep so busy that time does fly no matter what else is happening in the world.
Karina Molostovova: That is true. Well, thank you for having me on Bradley. It’s always a good time.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Thanks a lot, Karina. We’ll see you next time.
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