Purpose of this exercise:
The idea of this exercise is to test 10-12 items a month for selling on Amazon FBA by purchasing similar ones to what you want to sell from Aliexpress to test. I then rely on the 80 20 rule which 80% of my income will be able to be produced from 20% of the products I test. Therefor by testing 10-12 products a month I should be able to find at least 2 winners on average. This exercise is to test these claims and help you learn about the process I currently use and am refining to do so.
My hypothesis is that by finding 2 to 3 new successful products a month I will be able to keep supplying my product streams based on demand to Amazon enabling me to eliminate products that have a higher demand and a less competitive market.
Based off my preliminary marketing research I have determined that each product is currently being sold on a regular basis by tracking the sales with AMZ Shark. I was also able to determine that there is a 1500+ searches being performed per month on each product. If my research proves correct I should be able to increase the odds of picking profitable and more favorable items.
Resources & Links:
SOS Product Testing Worksheet – Where I will be keeping track of my test product data so you can follow along.
AMZ Shark – For product sales research and tracking.
AliExpress – Buy similar products here that your interested in selling to test on Amazon FBA.
For this follow along we will call these products Product 1, Product 2, and so on and we will be tracking their numbers in my spreadsheet from this episode so you can see the progress as I test them.
Our Test Products from Aliexpress for Amazon FBA
These are the first three products that came in from Aliexpress to test. I have marked the cost to get them shipped and the amount I plan on selling them at.
As well I have started getting 2 new private label products setup we will call them product A and Product B which we will track as well on the same spreadsheet.
Since I have ordered my 10 products I have received 3 of the shipments from Aliexpress.
They all came in poly bags except for 1 which I will have to order some bags off amazon to put them in.
I have also ordered a nice high quality product stage to take better pictures then those I am seeing online. It can be found here.
What I will be using to take photos of my products I private label for Amazon FBA
MyStudio PS5 PortaStudio Tabletop Photo Studio Bonus Kit
For taking high quality photos for Amazon product listings.
If you want to create your own lightbox to take pictures of your products because you want to save money or are on a budget I recommend this tutorial here.
Here is a picture of my actual setup once it arrived after I set it up for taking pictures of my first test products for Amazon FBA.
While I wait for the rest of the products to come in I will start to work with the ones I have.
In order to start creating my listings so I can send my products to Amazon I will require purchasing barcodes which I usually buy from Barcodestalk.com. I know some people use Ebay but I like working with a reputable company that I can seem to count on if I have questions.
Before even using any barcodes I will make sure all of my products are listed on my spreadsheet so I can keep track of them as I process each one. Eventually we will be working with many products to diversify our channels of income so we can better decrease the risk of our investments if products sell slow or markets become more competitive over time.
I will normally track expenses, planned selling prices and a few other things which can be seen as I track my own products on the spreadsheet.
Test Product #1
Product #1 I was fortunate to find some other people selling the same model of my product on Amazon so I made a folder on my computer and saved the high quality photos used which where over 1000px by 1000px.
It is important to use pictures of at least 1000px because it allows amazon to use the zoom feature which will increase your sales conversions. I originally found this item selling for around $9 to $15 and decided to price myself right in between while I test the product at $12.
When I originally tracked it on AMZ Shark I saw that the few products I tested had around 6-18 sales.
Here is a screenshot of one of the graphs so you can get an idea of what I saw. I am testing this product even though it does not get a massive amount of sales each day hoping to pick up some consistent sales and add another channel of passive income to my Amazon FBA portfolio.
Test Product #2
Test product #2 was a great product find because it was very compact and made with premium materials.
I found similar products like this one selling for around $12 on amazon with products on the first page selling 15 to 20 a day on AMZ shark.
Here is a screenshot of what I saw when I tracked it. Pretty cool! The goal with this product and the others is to try to sell them for 3x to 4x if not more the amount of money we are buying the test products shipped to us. I will go more into the marketing details later. Right now it is just important for me to get our test products and prepare to ship them to Amazon.
On both of my first two test products they came in polly bags which makes it very easy to place Amazon’s barcode on and get them prepared to ship.
Test Product #3
Test product #3 I purchased for 99 cents and plan on selling for $8.99. I was able to pick up 20 units to test selling with.
The key exercise here is to see which products can pick up sales easily so while we are working on our private label product that is our big money maker we can still be testing products on the side. Over time this will help me and anyone else following along find potential product market channels to make extra passive income from. If we find a really successful product we will then private label it (which can be as simple as putting a product tag or company logo on with a sticker if you wanted).
Tracking the sales from product #3 using AMZ Shark I was able to indicate the product receives 12-18 sales a day. If we could re-produce similar results with our product that could equate to over $100 a day in possible profit per day and $3,000 profit per month if we sell consistently. However we ordered a small quantity to just get an idea of how the product performs on the market.
If our test products perform well on the market we will reorder more of the same product until we get our own product private labeled or just keep the stream of passive income coming in from our test product listing. It all depends on what your priorities are.
My priorities are to test new products and keep building streams of passive income over time no matter how fast or slow items sell. Eventually I plan on finding products that are in higher demand through implementing this testing process and setting goals to order 5-10 new products to test each month until a strong foundation is build on Amazon.
Preparing & Shipping Our Test Products To Amazon FBA
A few weeks before ordering a ton of products I ordered a few items to help me with shipping to Amazon FBA. Below are the exact products I purchase and use personally.
American Weigh Scales SE-50 Ship Elite Black Low Profile Shipping Scale with Backlit LCD and 110-Pound Capacity
For weighing packages to ship to Amazon FBA! This is a must have for weighing boxes. I like the fact it is not a very large scale but has a big enough platform to weigh most of the medium sized boxes I ship. It has a 100LB limit and tells the time when not being used to weigh packages.
DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Thermal Label Printer (1752265)Sold by: Amazing Store (No Tax)
For printing barcodes like a machine! It will help you print your product barcodes, Amazon barcode stickers for your product. The nice thing about it is it does not use ink because it is a thermal printer. That enables it to print using heat. The only additional cost are the labels you print them on, but they are very affordable.
DYMO 1755120 LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer
For printing shipping labels I use this bad boy. Its quick efficient and it gets the job done well.
Scotch® Tape Dispenser With 2 Rolls Of Heavy-Duty Shipping Tape, Clear Model # 3850-2ST
For Sealing boxes like a pro. I use this to help me get my products boxes sealed tight before shipping them to Amazon FBA. It has a blade and a roller which allows you to easily apply and clip the tape when getting your packages ready.
Dymo Compatible 30334
Gadd Other Labels
Dymo Compatible 30252 – 1-1/8″ x 3-1/2″ Address Labels (004 Rolls – 350 Labels Per Roll)
I use these labels for printing barcodes on including the ones Amazon wants on the package over your barcode. So I use a little trick to help me make it easier saving me time. I will get a quote on having the manufacture put the amazon barcodes on the package for me. That means all you have to do then is create a listing in amazon using a barcode that you have purchased and then generate a FBA label. This only works for PL and not test products off of Aliexpress however so this round I will be creating my own.
Komelon 4912IM The Professional 12-Foot Inch/Metric Scale Power Tape, Yellow
Amazing for measuring packages when shipping. I also use this this measuring tape for helping me visualize samples sizes when talking to product manufacturers.
Preparing The Amazon Listings For My FBA Test Products
I will be documenting these steps as I load my first test product with some placeholder information. This way we can generate some product barcodes for our FBA items to be sent to Amazon. Later I will come back and optimize these product listings. I am only doing it this way because these products need to be processed. Normally I would create the listings while I wait for them to come in.
1. Making sure we have barcodes if they are needed for our category
First I will make sure I have some barcodes to make some listings with. When you order barcodes they usually come in a spreadsheet. They are basically just numbers so don’t be surprised when you get a list of numbers instead of pictures of barcodes. The barcodes you see in images are the number coded into a barcode so a machine can read it and it can be processed by scanning. this makes it easier for quick processing of products and packaging for many companies. I use barcode talk however some people use Ebay like I have said previously. I do not endorse either but use barcode talk out of personally preference. Now some categories like art do not have barcodes even though most do.
2. Add a Product on Amazon by clicking add a new product.
2. On the next screen click “create a product” this will set us up to create our own product and not use someone else’s listing to sell on Amazon with.
3. Select the category your product best fits under. If you are unsure search for the same product on Amazon and see which category that product is under. For example I chose bras just for giggles in this demonstration even though thats not what one of my mystery products is.
4. You will then be asked to fill out information about the product you are adding to Amazon. During this process you will also be required to put your barcode or EAN to create a product listing. After your done click next and go to the next tab
5. On the offer tab enter your pricing info and don’t forget to designate under shipping method that “I want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for my items if they sell.” After your done filling out the information on this page click the next button at the bottom.
6. On the Images tab which is the next screen that will load you will be able to upload your product images. In my case for the first one I am using photos I took from the listing on Aliexpress since they are clean and do not have any text on them. They are also over 1000 pixels which means Amazon will be able to use the zoom feature when customers are browsing my products. If I did not have these pictures I would normally want to take photos of the products using a small photo studio like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this episode. Add at least 3 images on white backgrounds over 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels. then click next.
7. On the description tab which will load next we will put our product key features in and a product description. It is wise to use keywords related to how people search your products while doing this. If your unsure what to type look at your competitors product descriptions and get ideas to write your own. Use as many key product features as you can and make sure your description includes key things a customer would want to know about your product.
8. On the next page enter your keywords for your product under search terms. Don’t worry about the Platinum keywords. This is for only really large selling Amazon accounts and once you have a history built up with Amazon. After you enter your keywords then click next.
9. On the more details tab fill out as much information as you can. If there are things you are unsure of then do not fill them out and just move on. We can come back to them later if we want to optimize the listing, which we will eventually do. Then click next.
10. Since we selected to ship our product to Amazon from Step 5. We will go to the prepare a shipment plan screen. Make sure your product is selected and you enter the number of units your shipping in. then click continue.
11. Amazon will then ask if there is prep required, Since I have everything I need I will click continue.
12. On the next screen we will be at the Label Products page which will enable us to get Amazon’s barcodes to put on product #1 so we can be one step closer to sending it in. I will select the desired size of labels I want to work with and click “print labels for this page”. This will give me a downloadable file I can use on a regular printer to print my labels using special paper or will allow me to use the images to bring them into my own software for my label writer machine.
13. Since I use a DYMO label writer it came with a program called DYMO Label. I will be using this program to print my barcodes by taking the number and data from your barcode and going to create a barcode using my LabelWriter.
14. I will then create my barcode by entering the number from the menu by double clicking the barcode on the DYMO software where I enter Amazons barcode data.
15. I will also add a text box below the barcode and paste the other information in for amazon from the PDF with the barcode details.
16. Then we will print as many as needed to place on our products.
17. Place them on your products covering up the old barcode and make sure they are on a flat surface so they can easily be scanned. If the product your putting them on is too odd shaped you will probably want to place it in a poly bag which you can put the barcode on.
18. Once I am done with labeling my products I will click the next button in Amazon from the “Label Products screen” taking me to the “View Shipments screen”.
19. While looking at the screen from step 18 I will click the view shipment contents links and start separating the products into boxes for the locations amazon wants me to ship them to. On the box too I will mark it with a pen with the states abbreviation to help me keep track of which box is for which shipment. This also helps when we print our shipping labels to know which ones go on which boxes. Once the boxes are packed like below I will click the “Approve Shipments” button.
20. From the View Shipment screen I will click on the “work on shipment” button to start preparing my shipping labels.
21. I will then take my box and measure the dimensions with my trusty measuring tape and get the dimensions Length, Width and Height. Toss it on a scale and fill out the shipping details.
22. Once I have our measurements and weight entered on the prepare shipment screen for the package I will then click the calculate button.
23. Once Amazon calculates the amount to ship the package I will then click I agree and accept the charges to get my label so I can print it. Once I click the print box label button my computer will download a pdf file with the shipping labels.
24. I will then open photoshop (you can use any other photo editing software). Then create a new a 300 DPI canvas that is the size of a printing label which is 4 inches in width and 6 inches in height for me. Once the document loads I will decrease the size so I can edit it at 25% its normal size.
25. I will then drag the file to the canvas which brings up a box asking how I want to place the image.
26. Spin the barcode around to fit the canvas and save the first one in a jpg file. Then move over the barcode and save the second so you have two files like below.
27. I will then open up my DYMO software select the “Extra Large Shipping Label” template.
28. Then I will insert a image on my canvas then when selecting the options I will choose “File” as my image source then browse to my first saved file from photoshop to load my shipping label. (there are probably easier ways to do this but this is the way I do this for now).
29. Once I have the shipping label loaded I will scale it to cover the other information on the template then I will click “print” to print my shipping label. If it comes out blurry the most likely reason is because you did not save your image using a 300dpi setting.
30. I will then print out the other label amazon requests I place on my box by double clicking on the current image on the screen then selecting file and selecting my other image. Once it loads I will make sure everything is lined up, then I will print my 2nd label.
31. Then I place my labels on my box and drop off my packages at a post office or pickup location twice a week. Now I will give you a tip for finding boxes.. I live in a tall condo and grab boxes from our recycling to package my items in and save money on having to buy them. Always ask for permission first though.
As I continue to bring in more items I will be adding them to my spreadsheet so you can follow along with me and see the results from testing items to find ripe markets to private label in.
The whole point however of this exercise is to use the 80 20 rule to find 20% of your test products that are successful and produce 80% of your profit. Over time I will eliminate the slow movers and keep updating my product testing profiles. This will also increase my streams of income and just because the packaging is not branded with my companies name does not mean I can’t sell them or people won’t buy them.
After I complete these steps I will check off in my spreadsheet the products have listings and have been shipped.
In the next episode I will talk either more about how I improve my product listings while I wait for amazon to process my shipments or I will discuss my private label product that is coming in and tell you where I am at with it.
Thanks again for listening and following. Please leave an iTunes review with your honest opinion if you want to show your support for all the hard work I put in to making these episodes.