I’ll start by saying that the Amazon FBA program has changed my life. I no longer look at the world the same way, and more than ever I see opportunity to generate a profit than I ever had before. Having said that, I want to also say that while I love Amazon, I also hate Amazon, but more on that later.
Let’s get into the good stuff first, I think this image of my US seller account is probably the best place to start (I also sell in the UK and Canada, but they are much smaller).
Don’t be fooled by the big numbers, that’s just the revenue, there is a whole heap of expenses that need to get deducted from that total to give you any type of if there was any profit in there. As an example, I spent $20,000 on advertising on Amazon alone, add in the cost of the products, the fees that Amazon charges and the shipping costs and overall I get about 30% of that.
Well, I would, but I’ve also had to bin an entire product line really early on due to some poor workmanship by the supplier. Total lost was about $15,000 in one big hit – so there have been some pretty big learning experiences along the way.
Amazon is amazing when it comes to traffic and converting people into customers. It’s hard to believe, but since November I have made more money while I have been sleeping than what I did at my day job. Now obviously the 4th quarter is the biggest time of the year, but i’ve also now got 6 products selling, whereas for most of the year it was 1 or 2.
Not all products are winners – Looking at the products I have currently for sale, I think I will only continue with 3 of them as the other 3 will be lucky to break even.
I hate Amazon – I know, I said Amazon is amazing and that I love it, but I also hate Amazon. They are the definition of a big corporation and they don’t give a hoot about me as a 3rd party seller. I’ve had way too many dealings with seller support where they couldn’t actually be more unhelpful if they tried. Other times they just don’t respond and best of all – they shoot first, ask questions later and I have seen so many people get kicked off the platform for the most minor of faults.
It’s cutthroat – The amount of new sellers on Amazon every day is insane. Products that made massive profit only a month ago are now saturated. If you are not already in the market, I honestly don’t think I would be entering now. As an example, one of my best selling products now has an exact copy as of last week, which they are trying to undercut me on price, however, when you are just starting out you often don’t have the capital to compete with an established seller. What’s now happening is that I am upping my bids on advertising and cutting prices to see this person out of the market, as there just isn’t enough room for the two of us and it’s not just me, but I am seeing this across so many different niches.
Diversify – Amazon is huge, but it’s also dangerous. Lot’s of competition, fear of being banished and stupid fees are all telling me to get off Amazon and onto other platforms ASAP. Make no mistake, this is a gold rush, some players will make it out the other end, but the majority will lose money in the coming years. If you plan on entering now, be prepared to play hard, or go home – there is no room for weak hands anymore.