#531 – Project X: Strategies For Winning Price Wars On Amazon

Video of the episode at the bottom

Listen in as Bradley shares the latest on Project X and how we’re shaking up the game with our coffin shelf product. He tackles the challenge of fierce competition and relentless price wars not by slashing our prices, but by creatively enhancing our product’s value. With the inclusion of quirky accessories like mini skulls and pumpkins, we’ve managed to not only raise our price by $10 but also to give our product a unique edge that customers love. Bradley also opens up about our strategy for listing optimization using Helium 10’s tools, which could revolutionize the way you manage your Amazon listings.

This episode also takes you behind the scenes of our coffin shelf launch, revealing the thought process behind our unique packaging solution that has both charmed and intrigued our customers. Drawing inspiration from the concept of heart-shaped gift boxes, we introduced coffin-shaped gift boxes that serve a dual purpose, adding an innovative flair to the traditional storage functionality. As we unpack the hurdles of custom packaging and marketing tactics, you’ll gain insights into how these elements contribute to our premium pricing model. Plus, don’t miss out on the invaluable product validation and research techniques that could be the difference between success and failure in your Amazon ventures. Join us for a blend of practical advice, personal experiences, and strategic approaches to Amazon product differentiation and market success.

In episode 531 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley talks about:

  • 00:00 – Revitalizing Project X With Product Differentiation
  • 03:16 – Selling Out and Replacing Products
  • 09:51 – Coffin Shelf Launch With Unique Packaging
  • 10:54 – Two-in-One Coffin Product and Packaging Idea
  • 17:47 – Watch Out For Future Episodes
  • 20:43 – Recommendations for Beginners on Helium 10
  • 21:42 – Product Validation and Research Techniques

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’ve got an update to our Project X series where we show you step by step how, with our coffin shelf product, I’m trying to tackle the problem of having price wars and increased competition, and I found a way where, instead of lowering the price, I could actually raise my price by over $10. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think. Do you want to see how your listing or maybe competitors listing rates as to best practices for listing optimization? Or maybe you want to compare a group of ASINs or Amazon products to see how they compare to each other? Maybe you want to see within seconds the top keywords for a single listing or a group of listings? You can do that and more with the Helium 10 tool listing analyzer. For more information, go to h10.me/listinganalyzer.

Bradley Sutton:

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the series sellers podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that is our monthly ask me anything training. This is something that we do every week for our series sellers club and elite members, and then, once a month, we open it up to everybody out there. Go ahead and have an opportunity to come on and ask questions, and I’m also going to give some cool training tips that will help you this time, especially with your product research, and I’m actually going to be going deep into Project X. That’s why I’m wearing my Project X hat here. I’m going to show you some updates on what is going on with Project X and, like my thought process, on how I am revitalizing the original product. How many people don’t know what Project X is Basically? Project X is a series that we did on YouTube a few years ago, where we found some products and then we basically took it from zero to here. As a matter of fact, it’s here in my background.

Bradley Sutton:

Let me go pull this product. So this was one of the products that we had. It’s a shelf shape like a coffin. So this was a product that we found using helium 10 techniques. We launched it and now we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of this product. And now I was like, hey, I need to let me explain what happened. My sales had gone way down on this coffin shelf and there’s a couple of things I noticed. Has that ever happened to you guys, where maybe your keyword rank starts going down on your main keyword and now you’re unable to make the sales that you used to be making before. Well, that was what was happening with our product. One of the reasons was that everybody started lowering their price. We used to sell this coffin shelf for over $30. Over $30, and people started coming at $26, $25, $23, even, like now, $20. They were selling a similar coffin shelf and so we were like all right, this something has got to go. Now, if we maintained our keyword rank, we still would have been doing okay, but our keyword rank just wouldn’t go up above like 10 or 15 anymore.

Bradley Sutton:

So what I’ve been doing is I’ve been trying to sell out. We actually had run out of stock, but then Amazon miraculously found 25 units of our coffin shelf somewhere, and so the listing went live again. But I’ve been trying to sell out of this product over the last couple of weeks, and then a few months ago, I started development on something that would kind of replace this product. But let me explain my thought process here, and this is something that maybe one of you guys could do to one of your products. All right, so let me show you my thought process. All right, so you guys should be able to see our coffin shelf. This is our real product. It was out of stock for like a month and again, like I said, amazon just found it again, and so that’s why you see a little bit of sales here.

Bradley Sutton:

But the first thing I thought about, like, regardless, if I relaunch this product or start a new one, I wanted to like do something to differentiate my product. Okay, and one of the things was I was like, can I add some accessories into this product? Like, is there something that won’t add too much cost for me? But if I add it, it’s going to differentiate my product. Okay, let’s take a look here. Let me show you what I did. I went and I clicked on our reviews and I was like what are people using in this coffin shelf? Okay, so I hit the reviews and then I went to the reviews with images, all right. And then I hit see all photos. And then I started looking at what are people who are taking pictures of this product putting into the images that they’re leaving with the reviews, right, and look how many a lot of people are using these pumpkins and looks like there’s some light up pumpkins. And then I saw a bunch of people putting crystals and then I see tons of people putting these like miniature skulls. I don’t know if you guys can see that here in the images more pumpkins, more skulls and so I’m like, okay, this is, this is something that, like, people are buying extra and then they’re putting it in into this coffin shelf Right, what? If so that I thought you know, here’s another one that’s pumpkins and other things. I was like, what, what could I possibly do in order to maybe take advantage of this knowledge? I was like, okay, that’s my product. What about some of my competitor products? All right, so here is a competitor product. All right, let’s take a look at their images. All right, this is one of the guys who’s just been been selling a lot of, you know, trying to sell super cheap, and I looked at what. What are his customers doing? And again, people with coffin shelves. I see, look at this, tons of miniature skulls everywhere. There’s a miniature candle that shaped like a pumpkin. All right, so I’m like, okay, this is definitely what people are doing with these coffin shelves.

Bradley Sutton:

So the first thing that I started thinking about was I was like is there something I can buy that I could put in here that cost me maybe pennies, like less than 25 cents, and I could include it in my package without adding any size. So let me just show you guys. I’m going to open up a new window here and let’s go to Alibaba, and I forgot what I typed in. I might have said mini, let’s see mini LED pumpkin candle. I’m not sure if this is what I searched, but it’s just going to give you guys a vibe of what I search for. And this is not it, because I don’t see mini pumpkin. Did I type in mini pumpkin? All right, let me try mini LED pumpkin, let’s see what happens there. Here we go. Okay, perfect, this is what I started seeing. All right, I was like, nah, $1 for a lot of these, no, that’s too expensive $2. But basically I kept looking and then I found this kind of thing here. I was like, look at this, here are some little mini miniature pumpkins I can get for like 10 cents. So basically what I did was like all right, let me see if I can find a miniature pumpkin for about 10, 15 cents. And that’s exactly what I did.

Bradley Sutton:

The other thing was I wanted to get like a mini skull, mini decorative skull, all right, and I was like can I get another skull for like 10 cents, or something like that. And sure enough there was a bunch of these that were super expensive, like $4. I’m like I’m not going to pay $4 for this miniature skull. So what I ended up doing was I actually found a miniature skull that was a candle, it had a wick right and it was only like 20 cents. But then I was like wait a minute, I am not going to have this candle like a real candle with a wick, and people put that in their coffin shelf and they’re dumb enough to light it and then it burns their house down with the coffin shelf. Like that’s not the kind of publicity I need. So I went to that factory and I was like all right, I want to buy this miniature skull that you have for like 15 cents, but I want to make it not a candle. So can you produce this to me, for me, for like 20 cents and have it? Not have a wick, candle, wick right. And they’re like sure, no problem. So I’m like there’s two things. But like, is this enough to really set me apart from the competition? And I was like no, it’s not.

Bradley Sutton:

So then, all of a sudden, I just started doing some just general product research, and now this was around the time of you know, October, November, so giftable things started getting popular. So I’m like, all right, how can I take advantage of this maybe giftable theme and what I saw, some of the top selling products? They had these really kind of expensive looking gift boxes. Okay, let me see if I can actually find one that I was. That I’m talking about. That really inspired me. Hold on, let me show you. It was a heart shaped one, perfect, all right, this is. This is similar to what I found, all right. So I searched and I found these heart shaped gift boxes. I’m like these gift boxes don’t even have anything in it, all right, they’re just shaped like a heart, whatever. These are literally empty gift boxes and people are paying $20, $15, $25 for these things. And then I started looking at some of them and I noticed that they were advertising this as something that people could not only use as a gift box but then also kind of like for some, like trinket storage, like take a look at some of these images, like look at this, people were putting like roses in these gift boxes. So it’s kind of like an evergreen product. This wasn’t this gift box, wasn’t just a product that you know is meant to put the real gift inside. But the gift box is almost the gift product in itself, because the person you’re giving it to can use it for storage, for things like chocolates. They could use it for macaroons, like we see.

Bradley Sutton:

So then, now, all of a sudden, that got my creative juices working and I’m like all right, what if I launch this same exact coffin shelf? And not only did I now have this LED light, pumpkin light and a miniature skull figurine, but I also made a gift box with it. But then I thought what of what good use is like a shoebox shaped gift, you know, like that really doesn’t go with the vibe. So then I started looking at packaging factories. I’m like, hey, who can make me a gift box that is kind of like with the vibe of those heart shaped gift boxes that I saw back in October. But check this, I want to make it in the shape of a. What do you guys think I did? In the shape of a coffin. So that means the coffin itself, which is again this product that you see right behind me here, is going to be inside of a coffin gift box that people could then use later for storing their socks or storing their chocolates or whatever. So it’s kind of like people are buying two in one.

Bradley Sutton:

Now my cost it’s expensive to make a custom box, guys. Let me just tell you, all right, this is not for the, the, the, the weary here. All right, this is not something that is easy to do. This box ended up costing me like two bucks, like almost as much as the coffin shelf itself, which costs like about three, four dollars or so. But I’m like, hey, this is worth it. So I’ve got my coffin shelf. That’s normally like four bucks. I’m going to go ahead and pay $2 for this coffin bookshelf. I’m going to pay 40, 50 cents for these two miniature figurines and instead of having to sell my coffin shelf at $23, I’m going to go back in the market at like 33 or more dollars. So I’m adding $10 to my retail price. But I’m only adding like $2 and 50 cents. And in zero I’m adding to shipping because, remember, if anything, this box is smaller than the box I was having it in, okay, and since there’s a hollow area of my coffin shelf that allows me to go ahead and put those little trinkets in there, so I’m adding zero to my shipping, zero to my transportation costs, very, very little to my taxes, you know, because it’s these. This stuff only costs like $2, right. And now, all of a sudden, instead of playing this price war, I am going to go ahead and sell this product at a premium because nobody else who’s selling coffin shelves is going to have this, and I’m not ready to launch it yet. I have it all here in my warehouse. It already delivered to me a couple of weeks ago.

Bradley Sutton:

Let me show you the images that AMZ one step did for me. Take a look at this. This is just from Google Drive. Right here, here is going to be the new listing product. All right, there’s a. This is the exact little mini miniature skull that I put a LED pumpkin like light little candle here. All right, that’s one of my infographics. Let’s see what else we got here. Here’s some new images I got that show the products that are coming with it. There’s another one that shows the size of the product. Here’s one example of a main image I could use, but hold on, you guys haven’t seen the cool part. And then look at this box. This box is epic, guys. It’s shaped exactly like my coffin shelf. And look, people are going to see this and be like oh wow, I can use this box as like another coffin shaped storage. It’s literally like having two products in one Now where they can put like dead roses and things they can put a ribbon on it. Let me show you some other images I have here. There’s my infographic of the size here. This is super cool, guys. Here is my new coffin shaped box, and then the coffin fits right in there. These are the images I’m going to be using for my new listing.

Bradley Sutton:

And again, now, all of a sudden, somebody types in coffin shelf into Amazon and sure, they’re going to see a bunch of $23, $22 coffin shelves, but don’t you think mine is going to stick out with a main image? You know, maybe that looks like this, where it shows I’ve got a coffin shelf, I’ve got a coffin storage box, I’ve got a miniature skull, I’ve got a miniature pumpkin LED light. It’s going to be no competition. I’m going to be priced $10 or more than the other coffin shelves, but my click through rate is going to be pretty darn good, I think. All right. So this is something that I think is beneficial for anybody out there who are selling products in niches that get a little bit saturated. Okay, they get a little bit saturated and you’re like I don’t want to play the price war. And, guys, let me tell you I don’t think you should play the price war. So this is again.

Bradley Sutton:

This is Project X, this is our product that you guys know and love from Project X, and it’s been selling for like almost four years now. And on Amazon, you can’t just keep things status quo. Sure, we were successful with this product a couple of years ago and it’s still been successful, but it’s fallen off because of the competition. That’s what happens on Amazon. Does it mean I need to give up right away? No, if this doesn’t work, should I close this product? If I’m not profitable, yeah, I probably should close it, but don’t just give up just because there’s a lot of competition or there’s price wars. There’s different steps you guys can take in order to try and get your market share back and where you don’t have to play these price games. All right, do not do a race to the bottom, because that’s where all your profit is going to go. So this will be. You know, this is going to be live on Amazon, like probably in a couple of weeks or so.

Bradley Sutton:

The other test I’m going to do on here, guys, is I’m going to test this as a separate product with a honeymoon period, or launching as a new variation on this existing listing, taking advantage of those 1800 reviews I have, and doing a test on what works better getting that new honeymoon period and launching on a brand new ASIN or launch or taking advantage of all the reviews. But there could be something weird going on on the Amazon algorithm. That kind of like shadow blocks me from getting past position 10. So that’s. I just wanted to give you guys a little mini tutorial on a real life experience that I’m doing here for Project X and what I’m doing to relaunch this coffin shelf product. Another thing I’m going to be doing I’m going to talk about in a future episode is the egg trace. That was the other product that I was selling for Project X. It’s so funny. We got a brand new shipment in and the factory confused my product with another customer, so they gave me egg trays. That’s the wrong shape and the wrong finish. It’s like a shiny finish and I’m going to get some money back from the factory, but I’m like I don’t want to throw these products away. I don’t want to go without selling coffin or without selling egg trays for months, while I have to get the right product in. When I launched this product as like a new variation, a new product for me, I’m going to show you guys how I’m going to do that. You know, next month, in next month’s episode. And that was the other Project X product.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, now, guys, this is now your show, 100% of the rest of the time I want you guys to put in your questions. Violet says how do you find the supplier for the coffin box? So for me, I actually have a sourcing agent. Okay, so I think this is super important. My sourcing agent is boots on the ground in China. I just give her the parameters of what I’m looking for and she goes out and finds it herself for me. Rhonda says does the manufacturer design the new coffin shape box for you? No, I designed it. So I, I guess I just told my my sourcing agent. I was like hey, I want something that fits the exact shape of my coffin so that it doesn’t add to my shipping dimensions, and make it happen. So she did. Oh, great question by Jonathan.

Bradley Sutton:

Once you find items to create differentiation, do you ship these to the main supplier who boxes it all together. Yes, so this is another way to kind of like foolproof yourself against. You know, like manufacturers doing shady things. So you can have, you can just send the products directly there, or you could send it to a third party. Like maybe you have a separate place that packages everything for you. Like maybe I can send everything to the where I get the package. Actually, I think that’s what I did. Instead of having the coffin shelves packaged at the coffin shelf factory, I think I send it to the packaging company that has the coffin shaped box and that’s where they put in the coffin shelf and they put in those little trinkets that come from. Now, three different factories, making it that much less likely that you know, somebody’s just going to copy exactly what I’m doing, because I’m making it too difficult for them to copy me.

Bradley Sutton:

And David says do you have any reference for an agency that does a plus content? I’ve used a few myself. So the two I’ve used are both in hubhelium10.com. All right, go to hubhelium10.com. One of them is AMZ one step is has done it. And then the other one I’ve used is, uh, marketing by Emma. All right, marketing by Emma. So go into hubhealym10.com, look for both of those companies and you’ll see how to contact them. Brenda says what videos do you recommend for beginners on HealyM10? If you’re brand new on HealyM10, I recommend going through our Freedom Ticket Program. It’s in the Learning Hub right there on your HealyM10 dashboard. That would be probably the best thing to do and then you know you could find the Project X videos in there as well, and the Project X videos are also on YouTube. Sergio says just launch what would you say is a good amount of sales per day to aim for. All depends on your keyword. All right, basically, if you want to get to page one of a keyword, you got to be selling probably through PPC for that keyword X number of products over 8 to 10 days in order to be able to get a good chance to get to page one. And if you’re wondering how to find that number, that’s inside of HealyM10. Just look at the CPR. So add your product to keyword tracker, your exact ASIN, and then look at the CPR number for your main keywords and that’s kind of like how many units you need to sell over 8 days to give you the best chance to get to page one.

Bradley Sutton:

Ollie says let’s go, bradley, these two sessions really lifted my spirits up in the process of launching my product was in doubts. How do you deal with the thought of whether the product will work or not? Well, I validate, validate, validate, all right, super important. We’ve been talking in the last. You know, you might have been in our Sellers Edge webinar where we’re talking about how to find the product opportunity. But that’s only half the journey. The next step is how to validate it. All right, you see something that looks good, but you just you don’t just blindly say, all right, let’s go with this, all right and let’s make a million dollars. No, you’ve got to validate it All right. Now there’s different steps that you have to do. So I take a look at you know, how strong are they on keywords? How strong are their listings? Is there enough demand for this product? Is there a must sales? Is there enough search for this? What’s the seasonality? There are so many things that I look at to validate it. And then in Project X we talk about before, you might want to do a test listing. If there’s not enough data, maybe you came up with some new idea that there’s that doesn’t have enough validation points on Amazon for you to make a rational decision. You might need to make a test listing to try and get those data points All right. So who knows, maybe that’ll be the next Sellers Edge workshop that we do next month to talk about that.

Bradley Sutton:

Jacob says I’ve been using Opportunity Explorer on Sellers Central. Is there a good minimum for number of top clicks products? Excellent question. So for me this is how it can go either way. So for those who don’t know in Product Opportunity Explorer the number of clicked products, it’s the number of products that it takes in a niche to equal 90% of the clicks. So if there’s only 10 products, that means that those 10 products have 90% of the clicks of that whole niche. If it’s 1000 products, that means it takes 1000 products just to get to 90% of the clicks. Whether one is good and one is bad, you can go both ways on that, but that’s how you look at that information. There’s different circumstances where you might want to see different things. You might want to go into a niche where it’s wide open, where there’s no 10 products that are dominating, or on the flip side, you’re like no, the 10 products that are dominating, they kind of suck. So I don’t want to compete with 1000 products, I want to compete with only 10 products who suck. So that’s another way you can look at it too.

Bradley Sutton:

Constance says what role does the first ASIN that I select play? When I select ASINs on X-ray to run them on Cerebro, you always say the first ASIN should be a random ASIN, not the top seller. Yes, so that sets the baseline product, the way that Cerebro is set up it’s supposed to be. You have your product as the first one and then five or 10 other products that you’re comparing it against. So then when you look at the competitor rank average, it’s excluding that first one because that’s the one that you’re comparing to. But if you’re just doing general product research, like on X-ray, you maybe don’t have your product on there. So you don’t want to select all the just top 10 good ones because, remember, it’s going to exclude that first product. So you need to click on the first one something from the bottom of the page that’s maybe irrelevant to your product, and that’s the one that it isolates. And then the competitor rank average and the sponsored rank average of the competitors. It’s going to be all of those subsequent nine 10 products you choose.

Bradley Sutton:

Good question, Constance Jonathan says when validating, do you order a smaller quantity than build up, or do you validate mostly with online data points? I validate mostly with online data points, but if I don’t have enough, that’s when I do a Tesla scene and I’ll have like five or 10 units only for that. All right, guys, that’s about it for all the time that we have today. So I hope you guys enjoyed this episode where we went over some Project X updates that you guys will actually see live on the website on Amazon, probably in two weeks, if you guys are watching this on YouTube or another place. This is what we do once a month, but every week anybody who is in our Serious Sellers Club or Helium 10 Elite actually gets this call. All right, every single week I’m on here answering every single question, but once a month we open it up to everybody. So make sure you sign up next month to take advantage of this episode, or sign up for Helium 10 Elite. Get on the waitlist h 10.me/elite and you can take advantage of getting asking me questions every single week. Thank you guys for joining us. We’ll see you guys later. Have a great day, bye, bye now.


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author-photo
Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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