The Amazon FBA Secret Recipe for Success in 2021
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes 30 seconds.
Every year, the Amazon marketplace grows and morphs into something new.
What was once an obscure online bookstore has come to dominate online retail throughout much of the world, so it’s no wonder that new sellers are flocking to get a piece of the pie all the time.
In this article, we look at the ecommerce landscape for Amazon sellers, how to get started, and what they need to succeed.
In this article, we cover:
- The Amazon ecommerce landscape.
- The steps to getting started on Amazon.
- Integrate, automate and outsource.
- General pointers to keep top of mind while growing your FBA business.
- Your free trial of A2X for Amazon FBA accounting.
The Amazon Ecommerce Landscape
Here’s some interesting facts and figures:
- Amazon’s share of the ecommerce market is 45% and expected to rise (source).
- Amazon is the most popular shopping app in the US (source).
- 89% of buyers agree that they are more likely to buy products from Amazon than other ecommerce sites (source).
- Amazon brought in $75.5 billion in sales revenue in the first quarter of 2020 (source).
- Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, taking their stores onto the streets (source).
- Amazon records approx $4,722 revenue each second, $283,000 each minute and on average $17 million each hour (source).
It’s clear that Amazon is here to stay.
The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to build a successful Amazon FBA business. By using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), it is possible to establish your operation from anywhere in the world and tap into Amazon’s economies of scale to produce a highly efficient organization.
So, what are new sellers up against in 2021?
- There is more competition than ever before - with almost no barriers to entry, practically anyone can sell their products on Amazon.
- An advanced and established ecosystem of service providers, automations, research tools and integrations have emerged over the past few years that make it much easier to identify product opportunities and efficiently run your business.
- State and federal authorities are cracking down on tax collection - no more grey areas where income and sales taxes are concerned.
- Consumers are becoming increasingly willing to try out new brands. As a result, we have seen the emergence of private label products in almost every niche imaginable.
With these points in mind, it is important to note that there is no silver bullet or single top secret for succeeding on Amazon in 2021 or beyond.
The real Amazon FBA recipe for success lies in continuous learning, adding tonnes of value, making the most of technology, prioritizing and most importantly - taking action.
We could write a book on this topic (if you want the full story, check out this 15,000+ word guide by our friends at MuseMinded). Instead, we are going to use this blog to take a look at the 3 key areas to focus on when building your Amazon FBA business this year.
Steps to Getting Started
1. Create an Amazon seller account, get yourself set up and verified
Check out this guide for a full tutorial on how open an account.
Or alternatively, go to services.amazon.com and follow the prompts.
2. Find the best products to sell
Before you can know what you’re going to sell, you will need to decide what type of seller you want to be:
- Resellers - buy existing products at wholesale and sell them at retail. Traditional retail, but on Amazon.
- Retail arbitrage - find good deals in retail stores, liquidation sales and other opportunities. When there is money to be made, purchase the stock and resell it on Amazon at a profit.
- Private label - find opportunities to improve on existing items, arrange supply from contract manufacturers and develop products under your own brand.
Note: own brand/proprietary product in this image refers to brands and innovators. Companies that create new products rather than simply adding their label to existing ranges.
Set a product sourcing criteria and stick to it.
As an example, here are the criteria that the team at StartupBros recommend looking for when selecting private label product opportunities to pursue:
During the idea generation phase, it is easy to get sidetracked by ‘shiny things’ and viewing opportunities through the lens of your own preferences. Avoid this at all costs - you want products that sell - not necessarily ones that you would buy.
Setting product sourcing criteria ensures that opportunities are weighed up based on their merits rather than personal taste. Consider taking a data-driven approach as a way to select products that are worth pursuing.
3. Find a quality supplier
If you’re developing a private label product, Alibaba is a great place to start.
For resellers, it is often best to approach the manufacturer directly and ask if they would be willing to supply your business. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to sourcing products for sale - for example, why not ask the potential competition if they would be happy to white label their existing products?
The worst anyone can do is say no.
For a more detailed tutorial on selecting suppliers through Alibaba, and things to look out for, check out the MuseMinded guide on how to start an Amazon FBA business that we previously mentioned.
Before committing to stock, always remember to order samples first - unless you’re dealing with an established, highly reputable supplier as a reseller.
4. Listing and/or launch
If you decide to become a reseller, the process of listing your products for sale is relatively easy - just add the product, send it to FBA and set your price.
For private label products, it is important to consider a launch strategy that gets your new goods in front of people.
Some of the most common methods to market a brand new product include:
- Large discounts on a set quantity of inventory or giveaways - Jump Send is a good tool for this.
- Pay per click advertising.
- Inbound marketing through the Amazon Associates programme.
5. Treat your customers well and always look for ways to improve
Continuous improvement is the name of the game. Be the person you would want to buy from.
Always look for ways to learn, new product opportunities and tools to improve your business.
Integrate, Automate and Outsource
“At a certain point in your business you will realize that you can’t do it all yourself. In the beginning, you may want to roll up your sleeves and do everything – but you don’t want to do that forever. Eventually, as the owner of the business, you will discover that you don’t want to do the $10/hour tasks – you want to focus on the tasks that will pay off at $100/500/1000 an hour.”
As your Amazon FBA business grows, trying to do everything on your own becomes detrimental to growth.
Why do it yourself when there are freelancers and service providers that can help? In most cases, these service providers will do a better job anyway - after all, this is what they do best!
Examples of items that you should consider outsourcing as your FBA business grows include:
- Product inspection, preparation and shipping to FBA - prep warehouses are well suited to helping here.
- Uploading images to Amazon and monitoring reviews.
- Product photography.
- Packaging design.
- Writing sales copy.
Automations and integrations: the digital highways of tomorrow’s business world
By automating tasks where possible, you are removing the potential for human error within your business.
Not only does this reduce the workload associated with management, but it also makes your operation more attractive to potential buyers.
Examples of popular automations for Amazon sellers:
- A2X - connect your Seller Central financials with Xero or QuickBooks accounting systems.
- TaxJar - automated sales tax reporting and filing.
- Forecast.ly - predictive analysis and demand forecasting to ensure that you have enough stock in FBA and know when to reorder.
- Salesbacker - automated customer follow-up for encouraging people to place reviews and feedback.
- Cin7 - cloud-based inventory management software.
- HelloProfit - analytics software for Amazon sellers.
For more ideas check out our blog Intelligent Automation for the Amazon Seller.
Begin with the end in mind
If you build your business in a way that makes it scalable and reduces the workload through intelligent use of software and contractors, not only will it make your life as an owner easier, but it will also make your business much more attractive to potential buyers when it comes time to sell.
What to Bear in Mind as You Build Your FBA Business
This point is more applicable to private label products.
As a general rule of thumb, if your business isn’t adding lots of value, then you probably won’t be around for very long.
Think about the most successful companies today - they have earned their place in the market by adding more value than their competitors.
Digital commerce, and business in general is evolving at breakneck pace. What is relevant now may be old news tomorrow.
It is often those who seek out knowledge that uncover new opportunities first. It is a good idea to set aside some time every day or week to actively learn about new things related to your business.
Another great way to stay on top of the game as an Amazon merchant is to attend networking meet-ups and get to know other sellers. It is through these relationships that you can learn and grow really fast.
As an entrepreneur, there’s almost always going to be more things that need doing than time allows.
Oftentimes, most of these tasks are not important or urgent. By focussing on the few things that actually matter, you can be more effective with your time.
Apply Pareto’s law (80/20 principle) and really hone in on which actions are going to provide the best results.
“Fortune favours the bold”
- Latin proverb
People often want to find that ‘silver bullet' - the secret trick to becoming a millionaire overnight.
In reality, you’re better off buying a lottery ticket. Don’t try to look for shortcuts - most of the time, those perceived shortcuts are just shortcutting yourself.
We hope these tips and tricks have helped you. If you know someone who might find this information useful, please feel free to share it with them.
And, last but not least… Good luck!
Anyone can succeed as an Amazon seller with a little bit of cash, an open mind towards learning and a strong resolve to make it happen. So, what are you waiting for?
Smart Amazon Accounting with A2X
As we have seen above, it makes good business sense to automate the parts of your business that don’t really need hours of your attention. You can free up your time to focus on growing your FBA business knowing that your accounts are covered.
Also on the blog:
- 5 Growth Opportunities for Amazon FBA Sellers
- Buyers’ Guide to Amazon FBA Automation
- 6 Common Accounting Mistakes that FBA Sellers Make
- Amazon Pay Accounting and Reconciliation with A2X
- When to Hire an Accountant for Your Amazon Business
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