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Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

Good afternoon. I’m exited to tell you Yoonla Phase Two also known as Yoonla Evolve will be launching in the next five hours. Read this post to get more details… you can join this program for FREE. In a previous post we talked about Merch By Amazon and how you could earn royalties from selling T-Shirts printed on demand with your uploaded designs. Today I want to bring to your attention yet another income stream that has generated freedom of locality, freedom of choice and financial independence for many Amazon sellers. We are talking about Fulfillment by Amazon.

NOTE: Fulfillment by Amazon is a business model in which you would add a listing for a product(s) using Amazon Seller Central account and Amazon will take care of sharing your product with their customers. In order to be part of the FBA program you need to pay a monthly membership (last time I checked it was $39.95) so that your account gets upgraded to Amazon Professional Seller. As part of this program, Amazon will take care of shipping and handling, packaging, returns, and amending lost shipments using their customer support. Often times they also advertise your products to some degree as well by using the “similar section” or by suggesting “customers also bought…” and showing pictures of products that in one way or another lead to your listing. Similar to Facebook and Google, Amazon also sells advertising slots. If you have ever received emails from Amazon showing products you looked at… or you see other related Amazon products as you surf the web is because your browser has a tracking cookie that displays advertisements specific to customer behavior and purchase history. If you pick good products is common to see 10x returns on your investment when you use Amazon ads. Your role in this program is to find profitable products that you can buy at WHOLESALE PRICES and have them shipped directly to the Fulfillment by Amazon Program.

So how do you become successful with FBA? The reality is most products you would list won’t give you a good return on investment because there is too much competition. This is why some apps have been developed which allow you to see the kind of profits a product generates. One of the most popular ones is Jungle Scout.

NOTE: There are some apps for your phone you can download that come loaded with a UPC tracker. An strategy to make money online (not just on Amazon but also on E-Bay) is to use these apps to scan what an item sells for in any of the already mentioned platforms. What some people do these days is to capitalize on yard sales by pulling out their apps and scanning UPC codes of product items. Whenever they find hot deals they flip those products for a profit. Some people also turn to Craigslist or similar services to do all their buying and selling. One of the most used apps these days for flipping purposes locally is called 5 miles app which you can download from the Google Play Store. Some developers have also made applications (sold for thousands of dollars) which retrieve product data from Amazon and uses information from Jungle Scout and other sources to quickly help you find hundreds or thousands of products which would give good returns on your investment.

Now that you have an idea of how you could find products which are worth trying to sell using FBA business model, the next step is to get them at Wholesale prices. Wholesale prices refers to the idea that you would negotiate directly with the manufacturer of the product, an approved distributor or an entity which has been approved by the Federal Trade Association in order to purchase a big quantity of a product at a deep discount. Stick to using suppliers approved by the Trade Association if you want to do business in your country (in this case I’m thinking you are in the United States). Done this way you can find a supplier which is close to the Amazon Fulfillment Center you want to send your products to, making it possible to negotiate lower shipping prices when re-stoking your listing and also instead of taking months to resupply it will likely take a week at most when you do it this way. Available to you is also AliExpress and Alibaba which are two of the biggest Online Retailers that will connect you with suppliers and manufacturers which will sell you products in bulk at massive discounts. Since these suppliers are overseas it will take months for shipments to arrive. An advantage to using AliExpress and Alibaba is that you can re-brand a generic product (like a watch)… and automatically increase the overall value of an item just because you added a logo to it or your brand identity. The disadvantages… include shipping taking months as already stated. You don’t want to have an empty listing on Amazon as it will very likely get you banned from selling on the platform.

NOTE: When you buy products in bulk and try to sell them using FBA make sure your sale price is AT LEAST 5xs your initial cost. Some sellers even go as high as 10-12 times (or more) the value of the product. You want to do it this way because it will allow you to cover FBA expenses, and it will protect you from fraud. Some customers who use FBA lie to Amazon regarding shipment status (“I never got the product. It never arrived.”) or the condition in which an item arrived in order to get a free item. Some even return empty boxes or a box containing an item which is not the original item that was shipped to them. Amazon has a reputation of being VERY NICE to their customers often times screwing over the sellers… but the way you should think of this is if it cost me $1 to buy an item and I sell it for $5… and then I take into account FBA expenses and fraud by some Amazon customers and it amounts to say $4… You are still making $1 per sale. Focus on selling as much as you can and it won’t be long until you can generate enough income to quit your job.

Now… just like we want to rank a website on Google to capitalize on tons of free traffic which results in more business opportunity… we can also have a similar effect by RANKING AMAZON listings. It is the sellers that master the art of ranking their listings that sell the most products and become most succesful. Juts like in Google… if I make a search query for a product in Amazon, it is those results which appear on the first page that get almost every sale.

NOTE: If you read the ranking guide I linked to you will see there are multiple ranking factors. Amazon has put in place algorithms which process customer activity. These algorithms track what items a user watched. For how long. Which items they have placed on their wish list or on their shopping cart which maybe they went on to buy or did not. They also look at seller feedback and customer reviews. These are some of the activities taken into account when ranking a listing… customer reviews being one of the biggest signals which leads to sales. As a result, Amazon has seeing an increase in fake reviews submitted on the platform. Some Amazon sellers these days employ teams who focus on providing free products in exchange for the customer opinion of the product by means of posting a review. As a customer, any affiliation with any seller breaches the Amazon terms of service and it can result in both (customers and sellers) losing the ability to use the platform. Most commonly Amazon will suppress customers from being able to post reviews and sellers will be banned from the platform meaning they won’t be able to sell products anymore. Lawsuits over this activity has also occurred as well… although is not common. Right now Amazon has bots (programmed algorithms) which crawl reviews and user accounts in order to eliminate reviews which are deemed to be fake. If you are a seller and your account got banned contact amazon support and let them know you will improve your service and prevent any problems from happening in the future. You can also email [email protected] to have an Executive Manager look into your case.

If you want to prevent your account from being suspended I recommend you to review these links:
Community Guidelines
Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews
About Promotional Content

IF YOU ARE AN AMAZON SELLER: I can help share my opinions about your products IN THIS BLOG I’m currently working on.

IF YOU ARE A CUSTOMER WHO WANTS TO DO REVIEWS:
– Don’t add any links to social media accounts on your Amazon profile. For example if your account is investigated and you are a friend of an amazon seller you will be banned no questions asked.
– Pick only the products you really would like to review. The more products you review in any week the more suspicious you become.
– Use the product for at least 5 days to a week before posting a review.
– Be honest and ethical. Let other customers know what you think about the product that was shipped to you.
– If you say you are testing, got a discount or got the product for free in your review you will likely be banned from being able to post reviews. You could also be blacklisted and become unable to use Amazon.
– Keep reviews short and concise. If your reviews are too long and too detailed you will likely be banned. Some people who made it to under 100 rank as Amazon reviewer have had all their Amazon reviews suppressed (deleted) and their ability to post new reviews taken away because they wrote very descriptive reviews. Be detailed enough to receive helpful votes without writing too much… I would say stick to 4 lines of text maximum.
– Keep a copy of all your reviews specially if you do Video reviews. Some sellers will ship you products for free when you post unboxing videos on YouTube. Items are not really free… as you have to write, take pictures or post a video but this is one way to be resourceful. You can flip some of these items for cash and reinvest the money into your business (as long as you are dealing with a third party seller and not directly with Amazon Vine)…
– Always add the positives and the negatives to the product you received. You can talk about your experience with similar products. Be ethical. If a product is bad or doesn’t work as intended… SAY IT. Or work it out with the seller. Maybe you are using it the wrong way or the product you received was defective.
– DO NOT EVER CONTACT AN AMAZON SELLER TO ASK THEM ABOUT MAKING PRODUCT REVIEWS FOR FREE OR DISCOUNTED PRICES using the Amazon marketplace website. Amazon keeps all your correspondence and will ban you if they see this. If you have a blog… Like I do this could work out if you post your thoughts on the blog.
– Stay low profile. Have some information about who you are and what you do but don’t say you like to do product reviews or anything like that in your Amazon profile. It will get you banned. Don’t put nice pictures either… I would recommend no pictures at all because other reviewers or seller competitors can report your account and this is one way to lose the ability to post new reviews.
– NEVER ACCEPT GIFT CARDS FROM SELLERS. Is one of the easiest ways to get banned. Instead buy the product using your credit card and negotiate with them a REFUND via PayPal. Note PayPal has some fees which change depending on the location where the transaction took place. To be safe… you should ask for 5% PayPal fee if you want to recover all your money. A seller sending you the refund from China will have to pay different fees than a seller in Europe or United States. Some sellers could potentially avoid paying PayPal fees if the reviewer is listed as family member (not that I would recommend you to do this if this is not true)…

NOTE: Right now there are sellers who grow their very own email list using some of the tools I have already shared with you (like Aweber autoresponder, Clickfunnels, and Online Sales Pro) and they send emails every time they are going to list a new product on Amazon in order to maximize their chances of increasing customer feedback such as product reviews and seller feedback. Often times these emails contain product discount codes which are worth up to 85% of the product listing value. At those prices I don’t think the sellers make any money at all. But you have to recall they can get the products much cheaper when bought in bulk so when sells start coming in they quickly start to recuperate the money invested. The key is to pick good products which sell… because not all inventory will sell. I find it interesting that you could even create your very own affiliate program capable of sustaining and tracking a whole organization of affiliates who sale your product by using ClickFunnels. Join this program to see what I mean as is the best example I have found yet. I like to note sellers also advertise free and discounted products on FACEBOOK GROUPS. So if you want to be part you should research the top Facebook groups where they are advertising.

You have to understand that top reviewers on Amazon have a chance to being added to the Amazon Vine program. As part of this program amazon shoppers receive listings of products (sometimes worth thousands of dollars) that they can review virtually for free. I say virtually for free because now there are taxes that need to be paid. Sellers participating in the Vine Program would refund the cost of a product but not the taxes it would cost to buy it. So a $3,000 computer would cost about $210 in Taxes if you take into account 7% rate. I also want to note that anything you receive from this program can’t be given away as a gift or sold. Amazon actually has the right to reclaim the items… (not that they do it but is something to keep in mind) You can also receive smartphones, last generation TVs, refrigerators, headsets, sex toys… you name it… Is like the dream come true of one of those hoarders you see on TV shows. They have like a landfill of crap in their house and can’t even more around… Pretty much, any new product which comes to the market and is listed on Amazon will be first shipped to Amazon Vine reviewers so they can voice their opinion about the product. Legend has it the number one reviewer on Amazon wakes up to a pile of boxes bigger than his front door every day. He has probably claimed tens of thousands of free products by now. Last thing I want to say about Vine voice is sometimes new tech products in the range of 100-300 samples are shipped to some of these professional reviewers in order to find manufacturing flaws and problems that can be fixed just before mass producing. Good reviewers have saved some corporations from screwing up big time…

So anyway… by now you have an idea how to find profitable products to sell on Amazon. You know that you can use wholesale organizations approved by the Trade Association or (AliExpress and AliBaba) in order to buy products at heavily discounted prices for resell purposes. You can also arrange with them to ship all your products directly to an Amazon Fulfillment Center in which Amazon takes care of everything else for you including shipping and handling, returns and some of the advertising. You know you will need a professional seller account which has a monthly membership fee in order to qualify for FBA (check your Amazon Seller Central). You also know that to be successful on Amazon you need to sell high quality products with positive customer reviews and it is important as a seller to receive positive feedback from the community. It is also important to keep your listings accurate and with a supply of products at all times to prevent being banned. You also now know what you could do (as a seller) should you get banned in order to improve your chances of being able to use Amazon again. As a reviewer if your account gets suppressed you could make a new account… but it will likely get banned again especially if you use the same billing information. My advice… just stay away and do your reviews on YouTube or your blog.

That’s it for this post. This is a good business model for those people who have some money to invest because buying in bulk requires you to buy hundreds and even thousands of units of a product. If you tell the supplier you are a small business just starting out and you could only afford to buy so many units… sometimes they are willing to sell you those units at discounted wholesale pricing but is not the norm. I could not do this business model right now… but is something I would probably consider doing in the future. Amazon is expected to do 170 BILLION in sales for 2018 (the company shipped over 5 BILLION items with Prime shipping service in 2017). Their platform keeps adding more ways to make money. Right now you could purchase products that need to be installed (like a water pipe) and Amazon would even refer to you a professional plummer near your location. Amazon is just at another level and they will only continue to grow from here forward. Stay ethical! I talk to you next time.

PS:
Are you neither a seller or a reviewer? You could use this tool to know if the reviews you see on a product in Amazon are real or not. The tool can accurately detect fake reviews. You can also check this old post to learn how you can score big savings when you purchase products from Amazon.

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