The 7 Most Common Mistakes Every Beginner Amazon Seller Makes
Selling your first product on Amazon is a long journey and it takes time to learn how to be successful. There are going to be bumps along the way, but our hope is that by providing you with as much information as possible we’ll help you avoid some common pitfalls.
To achieve this goal we interviewed Trevor, a new Amazon seller. He told us his story and outlined seven Amazon FBA mistakes he made that he’d like to help other sellers avoid.
Let’s dive in to discover some common problems selling on Amazon and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Blindly Following Generic Advice
There are a lot of FBA “gurus” these days that try to teach Amazon for beginners. You can find them all over Google and YouTube. Unfortunately, not all of them know what they’re talking about. While there are a lot of successful sellers who are sharing their knowledge, other people just promote generic advice to make a quick buck.
When Trevor first started his journey, he admitted that he followed some not-so-good advice that led to some difficulties later on. Looking back, he wishes he followed a more proven plan.
“Run with a tested sales process,” says Trevor. “Check the reviews and go with a program with a successful track record where you have access to actual sellers.”
Here are a few tips when looking for a strategy to follow:
- Make sure it’s taught by a real Amazon seller.
- Look up the teacher. Do they have a history of success on Amazon?
- Review their advice. Does it make sense to you?
- Read testimonials from previous students.
Mistake #2: Not Assessing Competition Levels
This is one of the most common Amazon seller problems. You can find a great product with lots of sales, but if there are hundreds of other sellers who are also offering it then it’s going to be really hard for your item to get noticed.
This is the situation Trevor found himself in after he started selling his product.
“I quickly realized that my search for a good niche omitted the successful sellers in that category,” says Trevor. “I suddenly found myself competing with over 400 sellers.”
Luckily, there are tools to help you measure competition levels. The AMZScout PRO Extension’s Visibility Score tells you how many other sellers have analyzed a niche. You can also click on the Niche Score to get a complete breakdown of the level of competition.
The AMZScout PRO Extension’s Visibility Score
The number of reviews a product has is another indicator of competition. Look for an item that has less than 100 reviews.
Here’s some additional advice from Trevor:
“When researching a niche, start by looking at the top sellers in that niche, look at the main keywords and who are the dominant players on page one. Then work out if this is still an attractive niche.”
Mistake #3: Not Calculating PPC Expenses
When determining your profit margins you need to include all of your expenses. These are things like the cost to buy the product, shipping, and FBA fees. It also includes PPC costs.
Amazon ad campaigns can be a great way to promote your product, but they cost money. And if you don’t factor this into your sales margins you could be left with less profit than you think. This is what Trevor discovered when he started to run his ads.
“PPC was a lot more expensive in my category,” says Trevor. “It was killing me and it ended costing me about $10-15 per sale (on top of shipping/product price) to sell a $10.”
Mistake #4: Looking at Too Many Suppliers
There are thousands of suppliers for any given product, so looking at all of them is extremely time-consuming and overwhelming. You’ll end up wasting a lot of time speaking with dozens of suppliers when you should be developing your product.
Here’s Trevor’s advice when it comes to this Amazon selling mistake:
“Choose the best of the best by parameters such as delivery time, minimum quantity, check reviews, and ask for references.”
Most sellers find their suppliers on Alibaba, and luckily there are a number of ways to find the very best companies on there. Each supplier has a star rating and any certifications they have are listed.
Finding the best suppliers through AMZScout’s platform
Narrow your search to two to three suppliers and have them send you samples. Then choose the best one and get your product into production.
Mistake #5: Not Factoring in Shipping Time
In most cases, your products are going to be coming from overseas. Even if you’re shipping by air it might take a while and you need to prepare yourself for potential delays. This is what Trevor discovered when it came time to ship his inventory.
“I didn’t take into account how Covid-19 affected shipping time,” says Trevor. “Shipping in the new Covid world is going to take a lot longer than you think. Plan for three weeks for air and at least two months for sea.”
Hopefully, as things return to normal shipping times will decrease. But it’s a good idea to use the above time frames as guidelines. That way, if there are Amazon delivery problems and shipping delays you won’t be caught off guard.
While you’re waiting for your products to arrive, use this time to do keyword research, create your listing, and develop PPC strategies. By using this time wisely you’ll be ready to start selling as soon as your inventory arrives.
Mistake #6: Not Setting Yourself Apart
The saying “if you build it they will come” just doesn’t apply to Amazon. There are millions of products on the site, and if you don’t differentiate yourself in some way it’s hard to get noticed. This is especially true if you’re selling in a more competitive niche.
“Be different, be unique, and stand-out, or you will not get any clicks,” says Trevor.
You can do this in a number of different ways. Attract shoppers visually by offering different colors and variations than your competitors, or having unique branding. Or you can set yourself apart by offering better quality and adding additional features.
Whatever way you plan to stand out, just make sure you have a plan before you start selling.
Mistake #7: Competing on Price
When you’re a brand new seller it can be tempting to outdo other sellers by offering the lowest price. Sure, you’ll get sales and you may see your rankings improve, but you won’t be making much money. In fact, you might end up losing money.
Simply having the lowest price isn’t a great strategy, and it’s one of the biggest Amazon pricing mistakes. Eventually, you’re going to have to raise your prices to start making money, and if there isn’t anything else that makes your product stand out your sales will dwindle pretty fast.
Instead, follow Trevor’s advice:
“Choose another way to attract customers, for example great service, fast shipping, or excellent design. Competing on price should never be an option, unless you have plenty of money to burn, and you want to buy your way onto page one.”
Amazon selling for beginners isn’t easy and you’re going to make mistakes. But if you look at every setback as a learning experience you’ll be better for it. Stick with it and don’t give up, and eventually you’ll start making a profit on Amazon.
This post was written by the AMZScout Amazon Expert Team. AMZScout is one of the top Amazon research tools for online sellers that helps increase their profits, by providing them with accurate market data for investment decisions