#277 – TikTok for E-Comm, Brand Logos, TACoS, and Signing Up to Sell on Walmart
As life gets busier, it’s understandable that you might miss a few of our podcasts, blog posts, and videos. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton brings you the best way to catch up on all the most popular e-commerce content, our “Best of Everything” episode.
In it, we combine our top, trending content from the previous month. Want to know why so many e-commerce sellers are talking about TikTok? We have that. How about looking at Walmart’s selling ecosystem? In this podcast, we investigate what’s involved in getting signed up. Have you ever been tempted to try to contact an Amazon buyer after a bad review? Believe it or not, if certain conditions are met, that’s now ok with Amazon. You’ll hear all about it right here.
Make sure to take advantage of this e-commerce audio cheat sheet. You might not have the time to watch, read, or listen to all the content that Helium 10 puts out every month, but following along with this episode is the next best thing!
In episode 277 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley presents the latest “Best of Everything”
- 02:45 – Using Flat Files on Amazon
- 07:30 – Is Your Logo Really Important?
- 11:45 – How to Determine Why Your Amazon Sales are Down
- 15:30 – What’s Involved in Signing Up to Sell on Walmart?
- 18:00 – Walmart Favors Experienced, Quality Sellers
- 21:00 – Bradley’s Recent Amazon Experiments
- 25:45 – TACoS Tuesday PPC Questions
- 30:00 – Should I Start My PPC If My Stock Isn’t Showing?
- 32:30 – Why Should Amazon Sellers Try TikTok?
- 35:15 – Choosing the Right Product
- 39:00 – Improve an Existing Product or Start from Scratch?
- 40:15 – Contact Amazon Customers that Left You a Bad Review? Now it’s OK
- 46:00 – Helium 10 is Looking for Your 30-Second Amazon and Walmart Tips
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 Podcast 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: In today’s episode, we’ve got some helpful value pack clips on strategies that range from how to do flat-files, re-ranking keywords that have fallen off, how to contact customers who have left you bad reviews, and more. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, guys. You know we’ve had a few guests here on the podcast that worked for Thrasio. Now, what Thrasio is. It’s a company that acquires leading FBA brands from small business owners, just like you. They’ve got the experience of acquiring over 125 Amazon businesses. So, they’ve seen it all when it comes to managing and growing an Amazon brand. So, if you are thinking about selling your FBA business, visit thrasio.com/helium10 to connect with Thrasio’s deal team. That’s thrasio.com/helium10 for more information on if your brand is a good fit for Thrasio.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that is our kind of a semi-monthly “Best Of” episode, where we give you some clips of the best strategies and tips from some of our guests that we’ve had on this show. Also, the guests that have been on the AM/PM Podcast, our written blogs, what else? TACoS Tuesday with Vince, with our PPC strategies, and more. We’re going to get right into it with our first clip. This is actually from the Serious Sellers Podcast episode 259 if you want to go back and listen to it. Our guest on the show was Vanessa Hung. She is an expert in all of the unsexy things of Amazon, like we talk here on Helium 10, and also on the podcast about Maldives Honeymoon Strategy and keyword research and how to find that winning product. These are kind of like the sexy parts of Amazon, right? But there’s a lot of unsexy parts of Amazon that are equally, if not, sometimes even more important. This clip here is something that has been asked for by a lot of people out there. It’s about downloading templates for flat files and how to use them. So, let’s go ahead and listen to this clip and see if you can perhaps use some of these flat files for your own Amazon business.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s say I’m a seller out there right now. I’m getting a little bit interested. I want to go ahead and test out, check some of these extra fields that we have, and do this. I’ve already got a listing on Amazon. What’s the step-like, where do I download the template from, for my product? And then, what’s the best way to upload it?
Vanessa: Okay. So, you’re going to go to seller central and you’re going to tap the inventory, and then inventory reports. On inventory reports, you may see in the dropdown menu, you may see something that’s called the category listing report. If you don’t see it, you need to call seller support or open a case, just email them. It’s really fast, really quick, just call them or email them and tell them like, Hey, I need the category listing report. And they will allow you to download that report. They will make it available in your seller central, and you will be able to download that. What is the category listing report? It’s a flat-file with all the information for your whole catalog. So, you will see there all your listings and all information that you have input into those listings. So there, you even see fields that are not applicable to your specific category and you will see them in gray. So, if they don’t apply, you just see them in gray and you don’t need to change anything there, but if you want to change something or see what you have there, what you have in the backend, because sometimes, and that’s another thing that can happen. You are testing a new product and you’re launching a new strategy and you change the keywords, right? So, in the keywords, in other attributes, or in the subject matter, when you create a listing, you put ABC, but now you already gathered some data and you want to change that ABC to X, Y, and Z. So when you don’t allow the flat file or the category listing report, that will tell you what is exactly there. So, what is in the back end of the Amazon catalog? So, you may see that ABC is still there, when it happened, that you already changed it to X, Y, and Z.
Vanessa: Those things, that information is what makes the category listing report so valuable because you can see what you have input. And if the changes went through Amazon’s catalog, and in case it didn’t change. You can just upload it again, as a full update. A flat file, you can– once you do it, and this is when we pretend that the seller already has this ASIN in their catalog. So, they have a bunch of ASINs. They can download the category listing report and see the whole catalog, and they want to change something. They change it there and upload it, and you upload it in the inventory section, add products, via upload. And there, there are three tabs. The second tab is uploading the file, and you just got to select your file and use category templates that from the drop-down menu and just upload it there. After you upload it, the system will automatically send you to the status report where you see if your flat file went through or not. So, the system will tell you like, Hey, your flat file got some errors and these are the errors. You can download their report with all the errors that you have, or it will tell you success. And if it says success, that means that you’re good to go. And the changes were made and it can take up to 24 hours to reflect on amazon.com. With flat files, I saw that is super fast. If you use a flat-file and you don’t see the changes in five hours, there is something there. There’s something wrong because they did take that long, versus in seller central, a change in seller central can actually take more than 24 hours.
Bradley Sutton: Now, one question that Amazon business owners sometimes have is how important is the logo, right? The logo of my brand. I’m a private label seller. I’m making a brand. I don’t plan on making a fancy package or should I make a fancy package? And if I do, should I pay a professional designer to make a logo? Or should I just get one on Fiverr? What’s the deal? All right. Well, Tim Jordan asked that very question in episode 251 of the AM/PM Podcast. Let’s see how his guest answered in this episode.
Tim Jordan: Does this more thought out, detailed, establish more professionally done, visual brand, does it actually increase consumer confidence? Does it help us make more sales? Does it help us increase the price of our product? Like, explain the benefits of actually going through this slightly more complicated process that you’re talking about, or maybe more in-depth investment, right. Like, tell us why it matters and what difference it actually makes.
Ian: Yeah. So in 2017, Adobe published a study called the Adobe state of creating the report. And in that study, they demonstrated, and I don’t remember the numbers, so I’m not even going to attempt to quote them, but the big takeaway was that most consumers prefer to spend money with brands that look professional, that take design seriously, and that present themselves as a serious company. And so, there’s a couple of things. There is from a practical perspective, the value of having your logo design professionally. And look, I’m a business owner. I, as I said, have gone to Fiverr and got a logo. There are still projects where we’re like, let’s just mock up a logo real quick and slap it out there, right. And that’s completely fine. You need to determine for yourself your level of commitment and whether or not you want to get this stuff done right away. But one of the practical things, and this as an example, I recently spoke to a brand, and they had a logo created with an internal designer. And the actual logo was pretty much useless as a logo. There was a lot of like gradients and shading and layered stuff in there that– imagine that that logo one inch big on a hangtag or something like that, it was actually just not possible to do it. So, it was not functional as a logo, right. Just practically speaking. And so, like a professional designer or a professional logo designer would have caught that, like for instance, in our business, when we do a logo, we don’t design it in color. It’s only black to start, right. Because it has to function as a logo to start right before you do anything else. And so like that kind of functionality was missed, but then, more importantly, you’re in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And there are brands that launch very quickly and like you said, you’re running up against brands with really big budgets and you can afford to have to reconsider your– and the other thing about that brand as they had already printed all their packaging, right.
Ian: And so, now they had to redo all of their packagings because that logo is not good. So things like that, spending the money up front to have the stuff professional design will save you money down the road because you won’t have to redo it, right. And like if you’re just kicking the tires, don’t bother, take that advice and go get a cheap logo done and kick the tires. But if you have determined that this is a business that you want to continue to pursue, I really recommend taking the plunge and straightening out your visual identity so that you save money on your website and having to redesign your website and you save money on your packaging and having to redesign your packaging and so on and so forth so that it’s all thought of ahead of time.
Bradley Sutton: How many of you Amazon sellers out there have like days or even long periods of time where sales might be down, maybe on a particular product? Well, that happened to me on one of my Project 5k accounts. And I’m going to go through in this next clip, the process of what you can do to maybe determine why your sales are down and how I took some action on it that was pretty easy. And because of that action, I was able not only to increase my sales back to what they were but actually sell out of my product. So, this one is in episode 260, and let’s go ahead and listen to this clip.
Bradley Sutton: I noticed that at the beginning of Q2, I was sold on this product, like 7, 8, 9 units a day, nothing great, but it was pretty good. And then there was like, sometimes two, three days I didn’t get one sale. And in a week, I would only get five sales. And I was like, what is going on here? So what I did, this is Bradley’s 30-second tip, the BTS of the week. If you have a brand registry and you have a product that was selling well, and then for a while, you’re getting consistent, not good sales. All right. There are definitely ways in Helium 10 to go find that. Okay. But I know there are people out there who maybe don’t have Helium 10, they don’t have Keyword Tracker. All right. So, you might not be able to do this. Here’s a way you can do it with a brand registry if you don’t have Helium 10. And obviously, if you guys have Helium 10, you can do this with Keyword Tracker, or you can still do the brand registry by using brand analytics. So, I went to brand analytics and I went to the days and the weeks where I was crushing it at the beginning of Q2. And I put in the ASIN of this product and I wanted to see, all right, where was I? Like one of the top three clicked and was getting conversions for. Brand analytics will tell you that. And I saw those keywords. And then I looked, and then, sure enough, like I wasn’t showing up in sponsored ads anymore for that keyword. And I wasn’t organically ranking at all for that keyword, for whatever reason, I was still indexed. I don’t know what the heck happened. It might have happened during the Amazon search glitch, the ASG, we talked– there’s a big blog I wrote about the Amazon search glitch, so you guys should check that out. But anyway, I was like, wait a minute.
Bradley Sutton: I’m not showing up in sponsored ads. I’m not organically ranking for this, but I am index. So what I did, I only had about 75 units left in stock because again, stupid shipment from China is taking months to get here. So, I’m like, well, I’m about to run out anyway, let me figure out how can I increase the sales or I did was I added a targeted keyword on my Adtomic performance campaign. That’s our Helium 10’s PPC tool. And what I did was I made a high bid or those two keywords there are one or two keywords that I showed that I was converting for with brand analytics a couple of months ago, but just wasn’t now. And sure enough, that got me on the map. Boom. Within one week I sold out of the rest of the units. What one tiny tweak by upping the bids. I was able to go ahead and sell out of their products because of looking at brand analytics. Guys, if your sales are down, that there is a great step for you. Take a look at Brand analytics, take a look at the Keyword tracker. During those peak days of sales look where you were ranking for really highly on look where you were one of the top three to get clicks in brand analytics, and you’ll get some insights there.
Bradley Sutton: Now, this next clip is actually from one of our written blogs. As you guys heard a few weeks ago, we have now launched tools for walmart.com. So the first question, usually when people hear about walmart.com is, wait a minute, how do I even apply? Like, is it super easy? Like it is on amazon.com. I heard horror stories like back in the day, it takes a year to get approved, to sell on walmart.com. What do they require? What kind of documents do I need to get ready? Well, Carrie, this blog is going to talk all about everything that you need to get ready to apply, to sell on walmart.com. Here’s this blog.
Carrie: How to apply and get approved to sell on walmart.com. Are you an Amazon seller? If so, you might be perfectly positioned to take advantage of another huge marketplace, walmart.com. The walmart.com marketplace has been historically cautious about who they allow selling on their platform. Their difficult application process and strict requirements have been a roadblock for many e-commerce sellers. This has prevented a large number of sellers from taking advantage of a great opportunity. However, if you’re an established Amazon seller, expanding to walmart.com is now easier than it has ever been. Being an established e-commerce seller, we’ll give you an advantage with your walmart.com acceptance process, because it proves that you have all the qualifications necessary to sell to Walmart customers as well. Applying to become a seller on walmart.com only takes a few minutes. Here are the items that you need to have ready for your seller application.
Carrie: Number one, your US business tax ID. Your social security number is not accepted. Number two, your W-9 or W-8 and EIN verification letter from the department of treasury that verifies your US business address or place of physical operations. Number three, United States business address or place of physical operations. Number four, your primary product categories, catalog size, and related information. Number five, a list of marketplaces where you currently sell along with direct links to your products in stores. Number six, an explanation of why you are a good fit for the walmart.com marketplace. You must completely fill in every line and upload all required documents before being allowed to go to the next step in the application. That’s why you will want to make sure that you have everything ready before you get started because you can’t skip ahead or save it as a draft. Once you submit your application, the verification process normally takes only a few weeks to check your application status, go to marketplace.walmart.com, click on resources, and then click on get application status. You’re going to want to fill in the information to get an update. You’ll get an immediate response regarding the status of your application. You can check it as many times as you would like to. While you’re waiting to hear back from walmart.com. When you’re approved, you’ll see, receive an email. So, constantly checking on your status is not absolutely necessary. The walmart.com marketplace wants all customers to receive a quality positive experience each time they shop on the site, the best way for walmart.com to ensure that all customers receive the highest quality customer service is to only approve established e-commerce sellers with verifiable performance metrics on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, that prove that they are already the first-class seller.
Carrie: According to the guidelines outlined on walmart.com seller center, walmart.com looks for reputable sellers and brands that provide the following. Number one, first-class customer service, number two, a unique product assortment. Number three, competitive pricing. Number four, fast and reliable fulfillment. In general, Amazon sellers are already aware of the importance of this level of customer service and meet these qualifications that make it much easier to get accepted, to sell on walmart.com. What happens if I don’t hear back from walmart.com, in some rare cases, you might not hear back from walmart.com for a few weeks or even months about your application. For example, if walmart.com rejects a seller on a first application, they may not respond to a second application. When you reapply, after being rejected, your application status is marked as a duplicate in the system, and you will not get a response. If this happens to you, go to sellerhelp.walmart.com, click Support, then click password or other access issues, then click another access issue. And at this point, you can open a ticket via email. Once you open up your ticket, you will want to give as much detailed information about your issue so that support can best assist you. Be very clear on what you’re trying to accomplish and provide as much specific information that would allow support to connect your current application to any past applications. In your message, you will want to give your name, business name, address, and clearly explain that the specific goal of your communication with them. Let them know that you’ve applied in the past and were rejected, but have fulfilled all requirements and want to make sure that your new application is reviewed. The more information you can provide them, the better chance you’ll have of getting your application to the proper department to review your eligibility to sell on walmart.com.
Carrie: Can international sellers apply to sell on walmart.com? Currently, with one exception, international sellers are not being accepted on walmart.com. The only way an international seller can become a seller on walmart.com is if they are a multinational seller. What this means to walmart.com is that the business has a physical entity in the US from which they’re able to provide customer service, shipping, and return services to customers. The business must also have a W-9 form and pay taxes in the United States. If you’re a current Amazon seller that meets all of the above criteria now is the best time to start selling on walmart.com because there is so much opportunity. So if you’re ready to expand your business and you have a base in the US, walmart.com should be your roadmap to expansion.
Bradley Sutton: In this next episode, a clip from episode 261 of the Serious Sellers Podcast. I talk about some of the experiments I’ve been doing. You guys know about Project X, about Project 5k, but I’m going to give a couple of learnings from some of the experiments I was doing on Project 5k. Now, one of them, I was actually trying to index and get to page one on a listing that was older, like maybe eight months old by changing something in the title and running search find buy. I was just curious, can I get an older listing to page one on something that previously it wasn’t even indexed for? And then the second thing is a lesson I learned where I actually kind of failed at a test that I was trying to do. And so there’s something that you guys can hopefully learn from that one as well. Here’s that clip.
Bradley Sutton: Another test I did. And this was on that product that I discontinued. So, this product was not a bagel cutter, but what I did was bagel cutter, all right. Was a word that was not in the listing. All right. Bagel cutter was a word that was not in that listing at all. So, what I did was I was like, okay, let me see, I’m going to put this keyword in the title, even though it has nothing to do with this product, really. And let me get it, is it going to get indexed? All right. So sure enough, I put it in the title. It got indexed. It wasn’t ranking though at all. So, I was having to use sponsored ads in order to do search find to buy. And I was just curious, can I take like an eight-month-old listing or a six-month-old listing, stick a brand new keyword in the title that it was never even index for and get some traction. And at first, I thought it was a complete failure. This was super, super weird. I started this campaign on May 3rd and it went for four-five days, from May 3rd to May 8th, nothing didn’t get ranked on the top seven pages at all. And then all of a sudden on May 20th, I think it was– or May 22nd. Boom. It goes to page one, position two. So, that’s just some, I don’t know what the heck happened there, but I was just like, Hey, let me do an experiment in my laboratory hereof, can I take a keyword that I wasn’t even indexed for, stick it to the title we’re outside of the honeymoon period and still get to page one for that keyword. And even though it took like a week longer or two weeks longer than it normally does, the answer was yes. So. There’s another experiment that I tried.
Bradley Sutton: All right. What else experiments did I do here? All right. Another product, I looked at a competitor, right? This is for one of my Project 5k brands. And it was very to me, but they were just crushing it on this one, a keyword like I can look at brand analytics. I can look at Keyword Tracker, Cerebro is one keyword. They were just crushing it on. And it’s something to do with crystals. Kind of like people put crystals and coffin shelves, this is a similar product. And I was like, why am I always on pages two and three? And so I did a search to find to buy on this, using the CPR method. Sure enough, got to page one position one, but I just dropped off. And that just tells you sometimes guys, all right, what do we learn from this one? Well, you can have a competitor. And sometimes people really like a certain keyword, a certain product. And you think your product is better than this other one, but it just, for whatever reason is not right. And you’re not going to get the conversions that your competitor is. And at that point, you’ve got to figure out why. So, what I’m going to do next because this is just a recent study is I’m going to go and use Helium 10 audience, right? Helium 10 Audience is our split testing tool inside of Helium 10, where I can pull 50 users of a certain demographic. And I’m going to ask them all right, Hey, if you search this keyword, crystal holder display, or whatever the keyword is, which of these products would you pick and why? And I’m pretty sure I’m going to figure out why in the world, people are picking this other product when I think my product is way better, might be price. I’m not sure what it is.
Bradley Sutton: But there’s another lesson that can be learned from my experiments that are guys, don’t be so hottie that you think that your product is always best and it should be selling more on certain keywords and others, everybody out there, buyers out there have their own set of standards and their own likes and dislikes. And they might not be on the same wavelength as you. So, don’t just assume guys, all right. Do the research to figure out why you’re not doing as well as you thought you should be. Every couple of Tuesdays, our PPC product marketing manager, Vince Montero goes live on our LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook channels to pretty much answer all of the questions that you guys have really to PPC. We call that show the TACoS Tuesday show. Now, these next two clips are actually from questions that viewers, submit to Vince that have to do with PPC. One is about, Hey, like if I have our product on the way to Amazon, should I start my PPC from like day one already or delay it. And then somebody else had also asked another question about PPC that’s some of you guys might find interesting. So, let’s listen to how Vince answered these questions.
Vince: Someone once told me never to use phrase match, but didn’t go into detail as to why not, could you shed some light on why phrase match is problematic or not? So, this is an interesting question because here at Helium 10 and even in our Atomic tool, we really actually don’t have phrase matching set up in any of our automatic rules. So for example, for our keyword matching campaigns, we have a research campaign, which has broad match keywords in it. And then we have kind of our performance campaign, which is the keywords that hopefully you’ve tested and you’ve gotten some proven data on that they’ve worked, either before putting them in a campaign or through using our rules. And those are an exact match. So, phrase match is sometimes overlooked, and actually my personal preference. And maybe some of you guys can chime in, if you guys use phrase match keywords in some of your campaigns, let us know what you guys think. But I personally liked to use phrase match keywords for the sponsored brands. So, I kind of reserve phrase matching literally just for the sponsored brands. So, if you think about it and we’ll go into Amazon when you use broad match keywords for a sponsored brand, and now again, and we’ll go into this, the sponsored brand is that very top position ad space, typically there are three different products in that space. So, when you use broad match for that. Sometimes you can get results that aren’t really as specific. When you’re using that, that’s using that space for your products. You want to be more specific than not. So, for sponsored brands specifically, I personally like to use phrases, you can use exactly too, of course, but phrase match does allow you a little bit more wiggle room, so to speak, for search terms, that this customer might type in, or the shopper might type in either before or behind that phrase.
Vince: If that doesn’t make sense, if you guys need me to go into detail, what phrase matching is, let me know. But again, if you’re going to be using phrase match at all, if you want to test it out, of course, you can test it out in your sponsored product campaigns, where it comes up in the search results. But my personal preference actually really again, is to use it for sponsored brand specifically for that placement at the top. And it works quite well. So, I don’t know who told you never to use phrase match. But there’s probably a reason why they didn’t go into detail about why not to use it. It was probably just maybe a preference. Maybe they had a bad experience with a phrase match campaign and it blew through their budget. But you really, at the end of the day, want to test every product is different. Every category is different, every niche is different. So, there might be some match types that work better than others for your particular product without getting into detail or sorry, without getting more detailed from this user about what his product was, what his category was. It’s kind of really hard to tell, but in general, my preference is to reserve and use that for that sponsored brand placement, which will go over into the top.
Vince: So, I’m going to answer the second question. And then, I see there are some questions coming in, which is great. So I’ll go into those as well. This is a great question. My stock doesn’t show available yet, but I know it’s on the way. Should I go ahead and start my PPC campaigns, even though there’s no stock checked in? So the answer is, yes. You want to start your PPC campaigns. If this is a brand new product, I’m assuming the initial campaigns are just going to be sponsored product campaigns. So, sponsored product campaigns will automatically go off when you’re out of stock. So, they’ll also go on automatically when you are in stock. So, you definitely want to have the PPC campaigns active and enabled so that as soon as Amazon on their end, whatever it is that they have to do to get your product into all the different FBA warehouses that it wants to send them to, and that gets them all checked in. Then as soon as that happens, then the campaigns will go alive. Otherwise, the alternative is you’re just going to have to be checking all the time. Is it light? Is the stock available yet? Is it in there yet? Is it in there? And then turning it on? Like, so why would you waste your time doing that? So, the other reason that you would want to launch your PPC campaigns ahead of time is that– and again, this is for brand new products and specifically for the honeymoon phase, which Bradley does talk about a lot. I think he’s done it twice now talking in the Maldives is where he kind of did this experiment for the honeymoon period. And there’s definitely something to be said for having listings active, well ahead of when the stock has arrived, as well as having the PPC campaigns active head, Amazon is an efficient machine. So, they’re constantly checking whose product is in which listing is new. They index things ahead of time, right? PPC campaigns might index the keywords that are being used in that campaign ahead of time as well. We don’t know the exact details of the honeymoon period, but we do know that having your listing set up as soon as possible, and then even having PPC campaigns created and active ahead of time, does potentially help boost that honeymoon period performance. So yes, the long answer to this particular question is, yes, you’d want to still have your PPC campaigns enabled, even though your stock isn’t yet checked in.
Bradley Sutton: Next up, we’ve got a clip from the Serious Sellers Podcast episode 266. And this has somebody, Maayan Gordon who actually has millions of followers on TikTok. So me not knowing much about TikTok, I was asking her about like, well, how do TikTok posts go viral? Where should Amazon sellers start on the platform? Like, should they be making dance videos? Should they be trying to contact influencers? Let’s see what this TikTok expert said.
Maayan: Think about it this way. On any given day before I even look at social media, before anything happens, my focus and attention will be geared towards specific things. A great example of that is around holidays, right? So, leading up to Christmas, I am thinking about Christmas and so are billions of other people. So, if I create content that is about Christmas, people are going to be interested to see that because they’re thinking about Christmas, so that that’s more or less how it works is really understanding. Okay, what are some things that the world is thinking about and interested to see content around and can I create good engaging content within that category?
Bradley Sutton: Okay, excellent. Excellent. Now, let’s kind of take it closer to home. As far as– we have about 80,000 listeners per month on this podcast, I’d probably say 90% of them are Amazon sellers. So, I think one question might be like, TikTok, that they can probably see the potential there, but then it’s like, okay, am I looking for influencers on TikTok? Am I making a TikTok for my brand? Or am I doing paid ads on TikTok that lead people to my Amazon store? Or is it a mixture of the three or all of the above? Or what’s the path here?
Maayan: Yeah. So, I think it’s going to be different for each person based on really what it is they want out of their business. And one of the interesting things I’ve seen just in the past six months that I hadn’t seen in the past previous 10 years is that a lot of Amazon sellers are finally starting to think about themselves as a real business that sells on Amazon instead of an Amazon business. And so what I mean by that is if you are someone, especially who has a private label product, that is your product, that is your brand, and Amazon is just a sales channel. So, TikTok can be a sales channel. TikTok can be a brand awareness channel. It can be a place where you can really grow your overall business if that is how you think. And if that is what you are looking for. Now, to kind of, on the other side of that, there still are a huge number of Amazon sellers who only care about Amazon. In that case, they’re going to have a completely different strategy than someone who’s really looking to leverage the platform to grow their entire brand and their entire business.
Bradley Sutton: This next clip is from the AM/PM Podcast episode 252. And in this clip here, Tim is asking Zack, Hey, like if I have a more complicated product, does that have a higher barrier of entry? Like if I go really complicated on something, is that going to like to price me out? Or is that going to give me a leg up on the competition? It’s very interesting to note Zack’s reply. And then Tim has a follow-up question about, Hey, like, should I be improving on an existing product or start from scratch? So, if you’re wondering about these things in the Amazon world, take a listen to this next quick clip.
Tim Jordan: So, is this something that as a type of process that most people get into, like this more heavily weighted, industrially designed, engineered processes, just something that’s going to take more money to get into, and maybe a little bit more mature business owner, just because there is some added level of complexity?
Zack: Not necessarily. Again, I think we can really think about this in the construct of what’s already out there. So, I’m sure everyone listening has access to tools like Helium 10, and you can see the trends and you see a product out there that’s doing really well. Or maybe you found that category that might not be doing so or is doing really well. But that maybe there’s not a lot of competition. If there are already products out there that have tons of upside potential, and there may be a lot of players, how are you going to differentiate from the players that are out there in the market? So again, that’s the research component that makes it so– that is so important to this process that people maybe not overlook, but maybe they don’t spend enough time in that process to make sure that they can find something that is viable. Once you do that, go look at the products and see how to differentiate them. Again, there are thousands upon thousands of reviews on all of these products and the qualitative feedback of what people are looking for to iterate on those products is there. They’re literally telling you every single day what they don’t and do like about the product. If you can take that data, extrapolate it, and then actually make it actionable to an engineer or designer. It doesn’t have to be so challenging. You don’t have to go out for the big and bulky items. You can go after a small item if you want. Again, that does not take a lot of time, energy, and money. It just takes a lot of diligence on learning about the product. And if you’re not passionate about the product, you don’t want to sell the product. And I would say, stop looking into that product. If you’re looking for something to make a buck. There are better ways to do that and less risky ways to do that. But there’s something that you really, really want to solve and a product category or product that you know really well. That’s a great starting place for you to go and start looking at what’s out there, look where you can innovate. Hope you can make it better, even something like re-engineering it to make the packaging better, or re-engineering it to make something more usable. That is something so valuable to the customer. And it may not cost a ton of money because you can go to the factory.
Zack: You can go to the designers, engineers. Tell them to make one slight tweak on the places like Amazon. Like you can get a design patent on those types of things, have a defensible product on Amazon, and then go sell a crapload of it because you’ve made that slight tweak that everyone’s telling you to make. And so, in theory, it sounds daunting, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be if you have the right tools, right processes, right research in place. And then again, if you’re not an expert in engineering, designing, or manufacturing, go hire someone to do that, stick to your strengths. If you’re great at marketing, you’re great at selling. You’re great at analyzing data. Do that. Go outsource the rest of it. I mean, that’s, again, the entrepreneur side of everyone probably listening or who wants to get into this, or who is already attempting to do it. Like you’re an entrepreneur go get after it, right?
Tim Jordan: Do you think that more people are likely to succeed by finding an existing product and making an improved version or going just off the wall and creating something that doesn’t exist from scratch? Or is there not necessarily a right or wrong answer to that?
Zack: That’s a great question. I think there’s a lot. I’d answer that there’s a lot less risk involved in creating and taking something that already exists and iterating because you already have the sense of the cost, the manufacturing, social proof, you have the manufacturing supply chain already set up, but if you go for something that’s completely custom, there’s inherently more risk because it hasn’t been done before. So, you don’t know the manufacturing costs necessarily. You don’t know the social proof, as you said. So, it’s just a little bit riskier, but that doesn’t mean yes or no. It’s going to be more successful. It just means that you might have some more hurdles along the way to prove out that it can be successful.
Bradley Sutton: Now in this last clip today, this is from a blog actually wrote a few months ago, but it’s still very relevant right now. And it was actually probably one of the most shared blogs. It was shared over 2000 times. The most shared blogs I’ve written in the last couple of years. And it was entitled: “How to Contact Customers Who Left You a Bad Amazon Review.” A lot of people out there for years have been wondering like, Hey, how do I find who left me this bad review? Or how can I contact them? Because I want to try and make it right. Until now, the answer to that question is you don’t know, you shouldn’t be trying to look for who left you a bad review nor trying to contact them. Because that’s something that Amazon absolutely does not like. People were sometimes coming out with hacks on how to backtrace these bad reviews via review profiles and things like that. But that is really not recommended. Now, there was a message back in June and July, where Amazon sent this out, it said, we listened to your feedback. We’ve been tracking feedback from brands related to the customer views, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then they said, we’re now offering a brand-only benefit that allows you to reach out to buyers who purchase your branded product directly from you and who left you a critical one to three-star review via templated emails that allow you to communicate with buyers via buyer-seller messaging. We believe this will build brand trust and help establish stronger relationships between you and your customer. So everybody was shocked that Amazon did this because, for the longest time, they were very adamant. No, do not contact your customers who– or find, try and figure out who they are who left you bad reviews.
Bradley Sutton: Now, the question of course is how to use this new feature, right? So, as that one statement said, this is only available to those with Amazon brand registry. So, if you have Amazon brand registry, go to your seller central account, go to the brands menu, and select customer reviews, you’re then going to be brought to a page where it clearly says that, Hey, you can now send direct messages to customers who left you a one to three-star rating. Now, there are things that there are glitches, like actually a lot of people now are getting something where the order numbers are redacted out, but you’re still able to contact them. And then sometimes there’ll be a message that says, Hey, this is not– you weren’t the seller on here, even though, you know you were the seller on all your products, but I’m sure Amazon will get these glitches out. So, what happens if everything though is working well, I did a test, you know, that I’ve talked about in this blog for a bad review I got on Manny’s mysterious oddities coffin shelf. So, there was a contact buyer button on that order and this little platform here in the brand registry. And I hit that button and then it gives me two different options. It asked me what my contact reason is, and the options were courtesy refund offering a full courtesy refund or replacement item, or B, check with your buyer to clarify any product issues based on the review. Now, depending on which one I pick, there’s a template that I have to abide by. It’s not like I can go and make my own custom message to this customer. I have to choose the template, but what actually shows up on these templates, like, let’s say, if I hit the courtesy refund button, it comes up with a message and it says, Hey, this is from sellers Manny’s mysterious oddities. If you would like us to ship a replacement item, free of charge, please reply with a replacement item and confirm that the item description above is correct. Or if you’d like a full refund, please reply full refund. So that’s what the template comes up with. So that’s what you’re locked into.
Bradley Sutton: If you choose that option, you have to send this message. All right. Now, what happens if you hit the other button that checks with your buyer option, another message template comes up, and then it says, thank you for purchasing from our brand on amazon.com. On this date, you left the following review of our product. We’d like to address any issues or concerns you have. Your business is important to us. So, please contact us and we will work to resolve your issues. Guys, this is like the exact thing that people were doing back in the day and getting like review, not review bands, but like a buyer-seller messaging 30-day bands and things like that. But now, not only is it okay, but Amazon is actually facilitating you to have language like this. So this is a very, very interesting move in the case of Amazon. And personally, I never really tried or cared too much to contact buyers left the bad review. Because I wasn’t sure what the rate was like, what was my success. But if you think about it, let’s just say you get, you know, you’ve got hundreds of reviews on your products and you can get 10% of your one, two, and three-star reviews change, that’s a big deal. Only one out of 10, if only one at a 10 reply. And you get a change that, you know, that can be huge for you. That could be the difference of you going from like a 4.3 to a 4.5 or something like that, depending on how many reviews you have. So, this is not to be just completely overlooked. Keep in mind too, that this isn’t for the bad ratings, right? Like this is for the bad reviews and there are very few reviews relative to ratings. So, the impact of one negative review is a lot more than it used to be in the past. All right, because there are very few actually written reviews out there. So, if you can even get one or two of them removed, this is going to be a good thing for you. So again, Amazon continues to give great exclusive benefits to brand registered sellers, and this new feature allowing Amazon sellers to contact customers who have left negative reviews has a lot of sellers I know jumping for joy. So make sure guys, if you don’t have a brand registry yet start the application process ASAP if you want to take advantage of this feature.
Bradley Sutton: Well, that’s it guys for this best-of episode. One quick thing though. The important thing we announced that earlier this week is I’m trying to make a compilation episode for you guys. That is all of you guys giving your 30-second tips. Your TSTs. I want to get your 30-second tips out there. So again, prepare it, have it be from like 20 to 45 seconds tops. What is your best Amazon tactic? All right, or strategy. Can’t be a Black hat. Can’t be shady, right? Got to be completely legit. What’s your best strategy for Amazon or Walmart? I’m going to pick the best ones and put them in one episode. So, how you can submit your voice here. You got to record your voice here, is go to h.10/sspsubmit. No spaces. Again, h10.me/sspsubmit. Submit your TST, your 30-second tip right there. And you might be on this podcast listened to by over 80,000 people per month. All right guys, hope you enjoy this episode. We’ll see you at the next one.
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