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#387 – Award-Winning Amazon Selling Hacks, Hiring, & Business Practices

In this episode, we talk to Josh Hadley to share his story, from making custom wedding invitations to selling $10 million a year on Amazon.
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40 minutes read

Today, we listen to Josh Hadley’s story. Josh and his wife started their custom wedding invitations business and soon discovered the opportunity to sell products on Amazon. They had massive success from the start selling over $1 million in their first year and launching 1,000 SKUs in the process. In 2022, they are estimated to cross the 8-figure mark in gross sales. In this episode, he shares his top Amazon selling hacks that won as the best strategy in both the Billion Dollar Seller Summit and the Sell and Scale Summit. Plus he also shared some valuable tips on how to start building your team and the advantages of the Amazon SAS Core program. Listen to the very end. This episode will be a good one!

In episode 387 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Josh discuss:

  • 02:40 – Josh’s Backstory And How He Got Started In Business
  • 05:30 – Starting The Custom Wedding Invitation Business
  • 07:45 – Crossing The 8-Figure Mark In 2022
  • 08:30 – Facebook Ads And Facebook Group Marketing
  • 10:30 – Getting Started In Amazon FBA
  • 12:45 – Making $1 Million In Their First Year And Launching 1,000 SKUs
  • 13:30 – How The Pandemic Decimated Their Business
  • 19:30  – What Is Josh’s Team Comprised Off?
  • 22:15 – Talking About Josh’s Podcast – EcomBreakthrough
  • 25:00 – How To Start Building A Team
  • 30:30 – Talking About His Outlook For Walmart
  • 34:15 – Josh Shares His Award-Winning Hack From BDSS & S3
  • 38:50 – How To Get Started In The Amazon SAS Core Program
  • 40:20 – What Is Josh’s Favorite Helium 10 Tool?
  • 41:10 – How To Get In Touch With Josh Hadley

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’ve got a seller who in the last few years has gone from making custom wedding invitations to selling over 10 million a year on Amazon. Plus he’s gonna share with us his strategy that won the best hack at the Billion Dollar Seller Summit and the Sell and Scale summit. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

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Josh:

That’s right.

Bradley Sutton:

What part of Dallas?

Josh:

Dallas, Texas.

Bradley Sutton:

Dallas, Texas. Is that where you were born and raised?

Josh:

No, actually from Utah. A small town called Kaysville. If any of the listeners are from the area-

Bradley Sutton:

How far from Salt Lake is that?

Josh:

So, 20 minutes north of Salt Lake.

Bradley Sutton:

20 minutes north of Salt Lake. Okay. So whenever I talk to people from Salt Lake, the one shocking thing about Salt Lake for me, it’s the most random thing is that it has probably Mexican food that’s top five for me in the world, for Mexican food, I live in Southern California.

Josh:

Is it really?

Bradley Sutton:

I go to Mexico all the time. I live in Southern California. I know what Mexican food is. There are some people are like who don’t have real knowledge. This place is called Red Iguana and, like guys, you don’t think of Salt Lake City and Mexican food but trust me guys, it’s good stuff. Now, what brought you to Texas?

Josh:

So I graduated from the University of Utah in 2014. I graduated with my undergrad there in 2012 in finance, and then I pursued my MBA immediately following that. So kind of the non-traditional route for an MBA, but immediately jumped into my MBA. Did that there, and between the first and second year of my MBA program, I did an internship with American Airlines. And so I did that internship. I received a full-time job offer to come back after I finished my MBA. So once we graduated, my wife and I decided to move to Texas, and we’ve been here ever since. And we’ve loved the people, we’ve loved the culture, and we’ve enjoyed our time here, even though I don’t currently work for American Airlines anymore, we decide to stick around here.

Bradley Sutton:

How did the shift from American Airlines to e-commerce happen? Like, when and how in the world does that happen? That’s not exactly a normal trajectory or career trajectory there.

Josh:

No, no, for sure. So, yeah, it’s quite a fascinating story. So for myself, I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I was the kid with the candy stand on the corner of the street all the time and always thinking of ways to make money and, you know, but I didn’t necessarily pursue that necessarily going through high school or even into my early years of college, I was trying to figure out like, what is my real career going to be? I never thought like, Oh, I gotta go start a business. That’s exactly who I am. And so through college, that’s why I studied finance and then did my MBA. I was looking for more of a maybe management leadership-type position, which is what my initial approach was. But while I was pursuing my education at the University of Utah, I actually became the co-chairman for the Utah Entrepreneur Series. It’s one of the nation’s largest student-run business plan competitions. And so I ran that program for two years, and that’s where it’s kind of like a shark tank style thing, but for student entrepreneurs throughout the state of Utah. So they’d come pitch to like a panel of judges and at the end, they would be awarded $40,000 to the winner and things like that. So it was a really, really cool experience. So I was surrounded by entrepreneurship.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, interesting. So, but you were like, Hey, maybe this isn’t exactly, you know, paying the bills right now, so like, this American airline thing is pretty good and start working for the man, but then I guess that itch was always there, I’m assuming.

Josh:

Yeah, it certainly was always there immediate. So I started American Airlines in the fall of 2014, and my wife and I started our own business in March of 2015. So not much time for the grass to grow under my feet end. Within six months we were starting our own business. And so my wife and I graduated at the exact same time. And so she graduated in early childhood education, but what her real passion was, is from her early childhood, she loved art, she loved being creative, and so she was like, “Hey, I wanna explore graphic design.” And I was like, “Hey, yeah, go ahead and start experimenting with it.” And she did, as soon as we moved down here, she didn’t go look for a full-time job. She started designing like wedding invitations for her friends.

Josh:

And so from there, all of a sudden this kind of like turned into a bigger business where she’s like, “Hey, like, this friend keeps me referring me to these people, and then these people keep reaching out.” So that’s when in March of 2015 we’re like, “Hey, let’s make this the real deal.” And I started working with her, like in the evening. So as soon as I would come home from work, my wife and I would literally stay up till midnight, 1:00 or 2:00 AM just working together o on this business starting custom wedding invitations. So that’s where it all kind of started. And then here we are seven years later and it’s grown into a much bigger business than we could have imagined.

Bradley Sutton:

Did you have to like, have, in those days, like, machinery and stuff, are you just doing this by hand and printers, or what?

Josh:

Yeah, great question. So, no, we didn’t have any of the equipment or anything like that. We’ve always outsourced the printing side of the business. So both of us just with a laptop, and my wife would do all of the customers you know, graphic design work for the clients. And then I focused on the advertising marketing side of things. That’s where I first cut my teeth in Facebook ads. And at the time, Facebook ads were fairly easy and straightforward and we hit the nail on the head really quick with one of those tests. And the rest was history really.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Interesting. Now I’m gonna fill in the gaps in a couple of seconds here, but let’s just skip to the end. This is 2022. You know, we’re barely getting into Q4 here. What would you expect your 2022 sales to end up, understanding that we still gotta a couple of months left here?

Josh:

Yeah, so this year we’re crossing the eight-figure mark in our business, which we’re excited for. So we’ll end at about 10.5 million this year.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. All right. So started from working until two in the morning with your spouse on custom invitations and fast forward a few years, over 10 million. So now let’s fill in some of the gaps there. So you were doing Facebook ads, Did you have, like, were you sending them to a website?

Josh:

Yeah, so we were doing Facebook ads just to like a lead form. That was it, it was just kind of like a lead form where we would qualify people to say, “Hey, you know, when is your date?” “What type of style are you looking for and what’s your budget?” Because obviously with custom design work, that ain’t cheap. And so we had to qualify people there. And then the other thing that I was doing, the reason why I was working so late is that I probably joined about a thousand different Facebook groups for like brides that are getting married or wedding resell Facebook groups. And so I was just in there all day long and anytime somebody would be like the phrase at the time was like, “ISO” in search of wedding invitations.

Josh:

So I had like a, you know, all I would do is I’d pull up my computer, go through the feed, and then I would hit search, find, Control F, and then immediately go find all of the, you know, people looking for wedding invitations, message ’em, tell ’em about our business and then try to convert ’em. So I had built a really streamlined sales process for the business, and we had, we had booked ourselves so much so that it was a six-month waiting list just to work with my wife about two years in. And so that’s where we were just like, we were busting at the seams, and we were trying to decide like, “Alright, do we keep going down this route of custom wedding invitations? Because at this point, like you’re just working all day long.” Literally, we had had our first child, my wife was just working every moment she had free spare time is like work, work, work, work, work. It’s like, I don’t know how sustainable this is gonna be as we grow a family.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So, you know, I’m assuming that you are not doing 10 million a year of custom wedding invitations. So at what point did this evolve and at what point did you like, you know start on Amazon and merge these businesses here?

Josh:

Yeah, yeah, Great question. So it was the, like, let’s say November, December of 2016. And as an entrepreneur, I’m always, you know, listening for, “Hey, what’s the latest and greatest businesses?” “How do I create a scalable business?” And one of the ideas that was obviously being taught and pitched a lot during that time was, you know, create your own FBA business. It’s passive income and all of that stuff. And so I purchased one of the courses I for the life of me, can’t even remember who it was that I purchased a course from. So I purchased the course and went through it, and then I was like, “Hey, I wonder if there’s, you know, an opportunity for us to launch some products in the stationary niche.” And so we tested out three products. They quickly took off.

Josh:

And then I was like, Oh, wow. Like there are people that wanna buy stationary and it was all design based, right? There were thousands and thousands of listings. There still are today, but my secret weapon is my wife, right? And that was the case when we were doing custom wedding invitations. Like, sure, I had a good sales pitch, but at the end of the day, I would argue my wife is one of the best graphic designers in the world. And so we can go into very competitive spaces now on Amazon and we’ll dominate.

Bradley Sutton:

Hey guys, first of all, a side note, happy wife, happy life. So if you’re hyping up your wife like this, you know, like you got a happy home life here, make sure she listens to this, Josh. Alright, continue, please.

Josh:

That’s right. Well, this is what this was all for Bradley, right? This is like a birthday present for my wife, this is just gonna be centered on her. So anyway, we were able to test out a few products and it quickly started taking off. And so in 2017, we’re like, “Hey, let’s go all in on this Amazon side of the business instead.” So we stopped booking custom brides and wedding clients, and then we pivoted and started creating products there on Amazon. So the first year, 2017, we did over a million dollars in sales and we’re like, this is it. Like we’re going. And so here we are since 2017 we’ve launched over, you know, 1000 SKUs on Amazon, and we just continue to grow

Bradley Sutton:

I mean, obviously not customized wedding invitations, but a similar niche, right? We talking about what’s an example of something because it’s not like you completely pivoted from what you were doing. You know, I think it’s important what you said, it’s like, Hey, I’ve got somebody who’s super talented and who’s really good in this niche. Like, we gotta double down on this because the competition might be just, you know, outsourcing some of this. There are millions of graphic designers out there, but if you have somebody with a special talent, you gotta double down on that.

Josh:

Yep. So our very first product was, were recipe cards, and the reason why we did recipe cards is that we would have brides that would reach back out to us and they would say, “Hey, you know, I need some recipe cards for my bridal shower.” And it’s like, Okay, well, there’s not a whole lot different than creating from creating a recipe card to creating a wedding invitation, but people aren’t expecting to pay a thousand dollars for a recipe card to be designed, right? So that’s where the idea initially came from. Like, well, let’s serve our audience by saying, hey, well, we’ve got some recipe cards on Amazon that you can find. So it helped because we were obviously able to bring external traffic to those listings, but again, the design was on point. And so then we continued to go down into like the, you know, the wedding space and different, like, people would need like reserved table cards for their wedding.

Josh:

So we really tried, initially stayed within the wedding space, and we stayed within like kind of parties and weddings for a while, and then Covid hit, and then like literally decimated our business, right? We went overnight from doing a thousand units a day to, we were lucky if we got a hundred units in the day, or a hundred sales in the day. So it was, that was like looking down the barrel, like, “Oh my gosh, everything we’ve just built is about to like to fall apart.” And fortunately, it started slowly coming back, as we all know. It wasn’t quick overnight, like, Oh, here it is, our business is back. But it required us to pivot even more and launch into new product categories that we never even would’ve imagined. And so, really today what we do is any product that you can throw a design on, we’re getting into that space and that’s why we have–

Bradley Sutton:

And now it’s more pandemic proof I guess where like if something–, knock on wood, happens again where parties are not allowed, your business is not gonna go down by 90% again.

Josh:

Correct. Yeah. And, and parties were a very seasonal business too, right? So there’s a lot of peaks and valleys in, you know, the wedding season, peaks and valleys, even with kids parties, Q4 is actually really bad four parties. So everybody is always like, excited for Q4. Q4 was actually one of our lowest, like selling quarters of the entire year. So it was interesting. And so it’s great to have a more diversified portfolio now.

Bradley Sutton:

Have you always–, I know from the beginning you said you’ve outsourced, but has this outsourcing always been local as in, you know, made in the USA have you ever gone overseas for it? I mean, I can imagine in the early years, wedding invitations, you can’t like take three months to go ahead and produce something that, you know, somebody has a wedding in three weeks or four weeks or something like that. So how has the manufacturing side gone for you?

Josh:

Yeah, great question. So that’s one thing that we’re proud to say. We’ve been able to keep all of the manufacturing here in the US and so we love that aspect. Sure. Do we pay? Is our cost of goods a little bit higher? Of course, it is. But not having to deal with overseas suppliers, not having to deal with the logistics nightmares that happen during Covid, and That’s still unraveling all of that. And bringing jobs to the US, that’s one thing I love being able to put on our listings. This is made in the US because genuinely, 90% of our competitors are overseas. And so it’s a differentiator for our listing for sure.

Bradley Sutton:

How does that work? Do you have your own warehouse and then, you know, you get it made, and then it comes back to your warehouse and that’s where you like, put your FNSKU stickers on and everything and, and send it and, you know, do your bundles and things, or you have this outside an outside company who’s handling this stuff?

Josh:

Yeah, so it’s this one supplier that we’ve been with literally since day one when we started doing wedding invitations. As soon as we pivoted and we’re like, “Hey, let’s create these, the mass-produced products, and we’re gonna send them into Amazon fulfillment centers.” They kind of retooled their packaging and the way that they would do things for us. And then they gave us a whole warehouse that they allow us to use. Free of charge is kind of like part of our relationship. And so it’s a seven-year relationship in the making, right? And they’re a huge partner of ours, right? I don’t see them as like, Oh, they’re just our supplier. It’s like, no, they’re a partner in our business, right? And so we value their relationship and we love working with them. And so, yeah, they, they produce everything. They warehouse it, and then they trip it into Amazon for us. So, I mean, we have a really, really good setup with them and we’re grateful for their partnership. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Now, you know, you said over 10 million of sales and it’s not like you’ve got these million dollar products that like, you know, hero products necessarily, but I think you told me before, but how many active SKUs at any one time do you have?

Josh:

We have over 1300.

Bradley Sutton:

Over 1300. So, so I’m just curious, is your wife still for every one of these 1300? Is she the designer on it, or have you started to build out your design team at all? Maybe she’s more like a creative director, or is she still by herself coming up with all these things

Josh:

By herself coming up with all of ’em, because that’s what she enjoys, you know? Yeah. She, she thrives on that, and she’s, she also works really, really quick. But we have a good work-life balance. I mean she raises, we have three children and she raises our kids and takes ’em to school and spends time with them in the morning. And literally, she’s jumping on to work from about one to 5:00 PM and then a few hours in the evening. So it’s not like all she does is just work, work, work. Like, this has been a great work-life balance for us, and she just loves designing new products.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then I think you had told me, you know, one of the reasons I’m assuming that you were able to have this work-life balance is don’t you have a staff of like 20, at least 20 people on your team?

Josh:

We do.

Bradley Sutton:

So what kind of things are they doing? They’re not designing things.

Josh:

Yeah, so we have a supply chain manager, and they’re the ones that obviously work with our supplier to make sure we’re ordering the right number of units, you know, telling them when to ship in different SKUs into Amazon. Then we have a project manager, and then she manages all of, you know, from the very beginning of like the idea of like, “Hey, let’s produce this product all the way to, this is launched on Amazon.” She’s managing that whole flow and process flow. So that’s been huge for us. We have an Amazon PPC manager. We had previously outsourced our PPC management, and then literally it was last week that we let go of the PPC agency that we had been with. And so, we’re doing all of that internally now and getting better results, which is, which is great.

Bradley Sutton:

Not paying an outside agency

Josh:

Not paying an outside agency, right? We’re getting more detailed with our optimizations, so love it. I love it a lot. And then let’s see, we have an Amazon, kind of like an account health person, that she manages are Amazon relationship. So she’s working with our–, we have a SAS core representative. She’s dealing with all of, like the support cases that come up, and then we have customer service. So then each of those, you know, different departments have their own team. We have a whole RND department too, that’s actually our biggest, that is going out looking for new products, vetting new products, running keyword research, and trying to vet like, “Hey, this is a good opportunity, this is a bad opportunity.” “Here are opportunities where there’s not a lot of design competition. Kinda looks like everything’s the same that we could easily tap into.” And so that, that’s kind of my favorite team. That’s the one I I lead up the most is the ideas, creating new products

Bradley Sutton:

Now, just like, you know, you didn’t scale overnight from zero to 10 million. You didn’t go from zero to 20 employees or 25, whatever it is in one night. What’s the process out there? There might be people out there who are just starting. There might be people who are like, Oh man, I’m completely stressed out. I need to start thinking about hiring. How do you know when to make these hires?

Josh:

Yep. It’s funny you asked that question. I just recorded a podcast yesterday for my own podcast that was talking about that

Bradley Sutton:

What’s our podcast called?

Josh:

Yeah, it’s called Ecomm Breakthrough. So it’s meant to help take seven-figure sellers to eight-figures and beyond.

Bradley Sutton:

No wonder why you have such a nice microphone. I’ll say that he must do a podcast or something. Nice.

Josh:

So yeah. Anyways, I was talking about the process of, of building out a team. And so I believe that one of my biggest mistakes and the episode I was recording is like, here are my top five biggest mistakes that I made in my journey to eight figures. And one of those mistakes was hiring the wrong people at the wrong time. Okay? So back in 2018 or 2019, we had this idea of like, “Hey, we wanted to create a Shopify site” and we wanted to diversify our Amazon business and kind of run away from Amazon, which is a story in and of itself, right? so many people talk about, Oh, you know, don’t be so dependent on Amazon because they could just turn off your account any given day. Yeah. So we had literally spent as I told you in 2017, we had hit a million dollars in sales, and then I kind of like got scared.

Josh:

So many people were, Oh, don’t, don’t put all your eggs in one basket because Amazon can shut down your account. So then all of a sudden I’m like, “Oh, I gotta create a Shopify site.” I need to start building that up because if Amazon ever suspends me, that’s gonna be disastrous. Instead of doubling down on Amazon and just keep feeding the Amazon beast, we started to go down this route of, Hey, I’m going to create this Shopify site. I’m gonna bring all the customers, not even realizing how difficult that challenge is. So one of the issues we ran into, it’s like, obviously we need traffic for this Shopify site. Well, I needed to figure that out. I needed help figuring that out cuz I’m trying to support this Amazon business now. I’m trying to support this Shopify business.

Josh:

I don’t know how, I’m not gonna to spend the time figuring out marketing for Shopify, so let’s just go hire it. So we go and hire this person nearly making six figures. And that relationship only lasts nine months. But that’s because like, I just tried to hire a problem away. I didn’t have, here are my specific KPIs, Here’s exactly what this role needs to be doing. Here’s what success looks like. Then we hired a bunch of other graphic designers, and their job was to create designs only for Shopify, not Amazon. And, those didn’t pan out anyways. We were dumping more than six figures in terms of work and time and effort and salaries into this website. That’s not even making like a hundred dollars a day, which is just a mistake. But that was my first like, error in learning. Like, you don’t just hire a problem away, right?

Josh:

So going back to your first question, I know that was a tangent. Going back to your first question of, you know, how do you start building out your team? Well, it was finally after that point of, we had hired those people, we let ’em go. Now we realized, hey, one of the first things we need to do is identify where is our biggest, like time restraint in the business right now. If we are going to continue to grow, what do I need to spend my time doing? What does my wife need to spend her time doing? My wife, she needs to produce more designs. For me, I need to go find more products for her to go design. But so that meant I needed to let go of managing that process, of going from idea all the way until we’re launching on Amazon.

Josh:

So I had to create a system and process that mapped out. First, we do this, then this, then this, then this. We do the keyword research, we create the copy based on that. Here’s how we create the product images. So once we created that, we then hired a project manager, and that project manager stepped in. She’s PMP certified. She previously worked for IBM but she’s overseas. She lives in the Philippines. I mean, very experienced gal. And she’s been fantastic to us. But she helped document all of the processes that I had originally created. I told her what success looks like. I had laid out our roadmap, and she was able to then go take my initial ideas, make them better, and then streamline that process. Well, that allowed me to take off relieve from my plate all of the operations of the business, so to speak, right?

Josh:

And then I could focus on, all right, let’s go find new products. Well, as soon as all of my time was spent finding new products, I was like, you know what? I need to spend more time and attention on leading my team and external marketing for driving external traffic to Amazon. So that’s when I was like, I need to document my processes for how I go find products, and let’s go hire an RND team. So we did that, but first, you know, it required creating a role profile, which specifies here are the KPIs you have to be hitting, here’s what your day-to-day activities look like. And I didn’t just hire somebody and be like, I just need you to go here, watch this video from some seller that tells you how to go find products.

Josh:

It’s like, no, we have a very unique way that we do it. And it’s like, here are my processes, follow these and then even improve them, which they’ve done a fantastic job at improving what I initially laid out. But that’s how it went. It was one step after another, a very methodical approach. And then as soon as that relieved something else off my plate, I was able to go work on another side of the business. Once I figure that side of the business out, I then hire that out. So it’s me going in very methodical.

Bradley Sutton:

Don’t necessarily, “Oh, let me go hire something where I don’t even know how to do it because I don’t wanna learn it.” And then you have no way of knowing even if they’re doing it right or wrong, but hey, learn it first, now hire it out. Now, one unique thing I think you told me, and this is it’s not necessarily, Oh, this is the only right way to do it, but, but it’s definitely different than others, is I know a lot of people out there they love seeing on the resume, Oh I worked for this Amazon company, or I have, you know, three years of seller central experience and this and that. But unless I’m mistaken, you actually said you specifically want to hire people that have not worked kind of in the Amazon space so that they don’t come with like, bad habits. Did I understand that correctly?

Josh:

Yeah. You do remember that conversation perfectly. So as we have gone out and hired, you know, a research and development team that does all of our keyword research that helps create and prep all the keywords for how we’re going to put them into our listing and create the copy for them. One of the things that I learned, and this was from trial and error of hiring certain team members and then having to let ’em go. What I found is the people that came with previous Amazon experience, they’re like, “Oh, I know PCC, I know keyword research.” They would look at our processes and they’d be like, “Oh, that’s one way to do it, but I’m gonna do it my other way.” And for us it’s like, no, there’s a very particular way why we do what we’re doing.

Josh:

I’m in a few mastermind groups, and so the knowledge we have is, you know, some of the best in the industry, and it’s proven success after success for us. So it’s like, I know what we’re doing here. There’s, there’s a reason we got to where we are today. And it’s like if you’re not gonna be willing to follow this because what you’re doing is not producing the results that need to be happening. So we’ve been able to successfully find a lot of other people that are eager to learn Amazon, and they dive in and they love the process, they love the training that we give them, and then they don’t come with any bad habits.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool. Cool. Now, you’ve talked about, Shopify, obviously you have success on Amazon. What other marketplaces are you active in both inside of Amazon, you know, as far as like, Canada or Japan or Europe, And then also what other marketplaces are you selling on now? You know, be it like Etsy or something like that?

Josh:

Yeah, yeah. Great question. So we’re in that NARF program, right? So a few sales happen in Canada and Mexico. I would like to expand into the actual Canadian market. But that’s a whole other logistical thing we’ve gotta iron out. So, like I said, methodical approach one step at a time and we’ll build that up. But we are also on Walmart now on Walmart. The sales are, are relatively low. We honestly have not focused on the SEO and the ranking strategies and even PPC strategies on Walmart. However, after attending the Sell and Scale summit where Walmart had a very big presence there. I do think that I would like to make Walmart more of a priority. I genuinely hope that they become a great alternative to Amazon in terms of providing competition. Cuz I believe competition’s very healthy. So I would love to see that. And I think that there’s more room to grow. Granted, we’re making one maybe 5% of our sales come from Walmart. So it’s not significant. But I know if we actually paid attention to it and did all of the keyword research and listing optimizations and PPC tactics that we’re doing on Amazon, I’m sure we could grow that at least double or triple.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Cool. Cool. Alright. Now for the last few minutes here, I just wanna kind of like make this a strategy session and maybe culminate in whatever strategy that won the number one strategy of the whole conference at Sell and Scale Summit. But, but before that, like, what are some just some quick hitting ones, or it could be a long convolute one, doesn’t matter, but things that you think you’re doing that’s unique that, you know, know, like at least 90, 95% of sellers aren’t doing and maybe has contributed to some of your great success.

Josh:

Yeah. I would say keyword optimization and the way that we go and look at our keywords even before we determine that we’re going to launch into a product. I think that–, and this was honestly one of the biggest mistakes I made when we first were launching new products. Just because a product is on Amazon and it’s getting a ton of sales does not mean that you can launch a me-too product and expect the same results. For example, there’s like a ums, like a wedding sign or something that was just killing it. It was like thousands of units a month, but none of the competitors, like all the other competitors were like maybe a hundred units a month. I was like, well, maybe it’s just the design. Like, let’s just create a better design, Right?

Josh:

And we go into that market and we don’t really do well, like, don’t generate many sales. What I learned from that experience though is that this competitor was just ranked on the broadest terms that you could ever imagine, right? Wedding decor, right? Like, that’s a very broad term when people search for wedding decor. It’s like, I have no idea what style you’re looking for, what specific products you’re looking for. If you can get ranked there, that’s amazing. But that is much easier said than done, right? Getting ranked for those broad keywords is extremely challenging. So, a quick hack would be to make sure you understand where all of your competitor sales are coming from, And there are a lot of software tools on the market now that allow you to see where the sales are coming from and from what keywords are potentially driving those sales. So that’s, that’s one quick hack, and then you want me to dive into the hack?

Bradley Sutton:

Sure. Let’s hop into that. Was this the one that also won at Billion Dollar Seller Summit? Didn’t you win at Billion Dollar Seller Summit too? Or this is a different one.

Josh:

Yeah, it’s the same hack.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So, Guys, this is this regardless of the top strategy conferences out there, this thing is a banger and it keeps winning as far, and this wasn’t voted by Helium 10, this is voted by or voted by Kevin King. This is voted by everybody who’s been in attendance at these conferences, and I already forgot what it was. SoI need, I, I need to refresher here. So go ahead. What, what was that hack?

Josh:

Alright. Alright. So it’s anything in the Buy Box, right? So hopefully that jogs your memory.

Bradley Sutton:

It’s jogging my memory. Yep, yep,

Josh:

Yep, yep. So anything in the Buy Box. Now, this is my favorite hack because it is all White Hat, right? And that’s one thing that allows me to sleep at night, is everything we do is white hat. Absolutely. So it’s all White Hat. That’s the best part. It’s able to, and I’ll give a little pitch to it’s going to be able to increase your average order value. It’s going to be able to influence the Frequently Purchase Together section is going to be able to take up more real estate on your Amazon listings, and then it’s going to be able to help you launch new products faster. Right. That’s a pretty sweet hack. So what this hack is, is essentially, and one of the best examples is going to like any of the MacBook listings on Amazon. What you’ll notice is below the add to cart button, there is this whole section on the right-hand side that says Add an accessory.

Josh:

And then there are little tick boxes. And right now there are four different accessories that you can add to a MacBook purchase. So there are little tick boxes. All a customer has to do is just hit the tick box and it automatically goes into the cart. So what this does though, is you would initially think, “Oh, well, I don’t want to divert traffic away from somebody that’s about to buy my product.” What’s cool is that Amazon, if you click on any of those accessories and you’re trying to figure out like, what is this? Do I need this? It just brings up a popup. You don’t leave. That page brings up a popup where you get to see the product photos, the description, and the bullets, but in a much more condensed way. It’s one of my favorite things on Amazon. And then you’re able to click out of it, add it to your cart, and then what we’ve seen, because we’ve tested this, you don’t have to say, or it doesn’t have to be in like, the same like product category per se, right?

Josh:

Okay. So like, if you wanted to, let’s go with the MacBook example. If you wanted to add your mug? If you got a tumbler or something, you want to add as an accessory to the MacBook, you can, like Amazon’s not preventing that. They’re not going through and be like, “Ah, this is an accessory, this is not an accessory.” So it has allowed us, whenever we launch a new product, we can throw that on all of our 1300 listings and be like, Hey, check out this product. So it increases eyeballs going there, and then when people add it to the cart. Then they’ll even purchase it together, whether they’re related or not, it influences that Frequently Purchased Together session down below. Because you can add up to four different, you know, accessories. It pushes down the competitors that are able to target you on your product listing.

Josh:

So you’re pushing people down further so they can’t see competitor ads on top of that, it’s increasing your average order value. And your new products are actually getting more visibility all at the same time. So the best way to go about this is, from my understanding, you have to be part of the SAS Core program. I have told different sellers at the events, “Hey, you can definitely try submitting this to Seller Support to see what they say.” But there is a simple spreadsheet that literally it’s I think five columns. That’s it. And it’s just like, what’s the ASIN? And then what are the other ASINs that you want to be added as accessories? Like literally that is all the spreadsheet is, and you send that over to your SAS Core rep.

Bradley Sutton:

How do you get into that program?

Josh:

So SAS Core, I mean, if you just Google, you know, Amazon SAS Core, I think they have a whole landing page we got in back in I think 2018, but it’s their strategic account services, right? For Amazon, they help you create a business plan and tell you about things that are coming up. It’s okay from that standpoint. Obviously, this hack came out of it. So I appreciate the program from that perspective. But outside of that, the other benefit is that you get kind of better customer support. So they say, they have a SAS Core, you know, support where if you’re not getting things resolved with Seller Support, you can kind of escalate it through the SAS Core program. Okay. And get things taken care of more easily, so to speak. And so anyways, that’s, that’s what we’ve been using. I think you do have to apply, I think you have to apply number one. And then you get assigned an account rep. And anyway, I like it, it gives me added protection too with our Amazon account because they know what we’re doing and we’re following their terms of service, and our account score we’re at 1000, right? They just came out with the account score, and account health metrics. So we’re at 1000. So that’s great. It’s been working for us.

Bradley Sutton:

Sweet. Sweet. Now the last thing, I know one of the strategies used for Helium 10 is actually some part of your training program for these newer employees. You stick them in Freedom Ticket or Helium 10 Academy if they’re gonna be learning a certain one of the tools. But as far as the actual tools of Helium 10 what’s your favorite for your team or for yourself?

Josh:

Cerebro is what we use. That’s where we are able to do all of that keyword research that I talked about. That’s so important.

Bradley Sutton:

And what’s something like a function or a problem that we could solve that maybe we’re not solving right now? Like, man, it would be great if Helium 10 did this or something like that. Anything,

Josh:

Yeah. Tracking how about a hundred keywords for each of the 1300 different ASINs, right? We’re capped out. We’re capped out. Yes. At the number of keywords, we can track. If there were an easier way to track keywords and have higher keyword limits, that would be helpful for us.

Bradley Sutton:

I’ll look into that. How can people again, mention your podcast or how can people find you on the interwebs if they wanna reach out to you at all?

Josh:

Yeah, so you can find me on LinkedIn, Josh Hadley, but also check out the podcast. That’s definitely where I’m more active, obviously, it’s ecommbreakthrough.com. the podcast will be launching, I’ve recorded a lot of episodes. Got Kevin King on there, Roland Frasier, we’ve got some really awesome sellers that have been on there. And yeah, come check it out. It’s gonna be launching here in October.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. It was great to see you at Sell and Scale and awesome that you won again with this strategy. Guys, even though you might have missed Sell and Scale, you just got the strategy that’s been winning at conferences across the country. But thanks a lot and we’ll be seeing you soon.

Josh:

Thanks, Bradley.


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