How to Start Selling on Amazon with Matt Clark

eCommerce business owners often get caught in the trap of considering Amazon to be one of their biggest competitors. They spend too much time and money fighting against the tide of loyal and secure Amazon customers. Yet many business owners don’t realize that Amazon is an incredible resource for getting your brand and products known.

Instead of fighting the powerhouse that Amazon is, entrepreneurs everywhere are learning to harness the name and reputation of the billion dollar company with the help of Amazon selling expert Matt Clark. We discuss everything you need to know about how to start selling on Amazon, from finding a product to sell to creating a loyal customer base.

Here’s What You’ll Learn

  • Fast and easy tips to set your products apart on Amazon
  • The equation to determine a perfect product model
  • How to generate sketchy-free reviews on Amazon

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The Full Conversation

(With your hosts Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Matt Clark of Amazing.com.)

Andrew: Today on the show, I’ve got Matt Clark who’s the co-founder of Amazing.com. And Matt is a guy who’s pretty well-known online for his expertise with Amazon. He’s done really well selling on the platform and has a popular course about how to do the same. We dived into a lot of things, his back story. We dived into what makes a great Amazon product? What kinds of things you should be looking for? How do you market a product on Amazon? Tips for going over and sourcing stuff in China if you’re going to go on that route. They’re really kind of diving into high level and nuts and bolts of how that all works. So this one’s a little bit longer than most interviews I do here at the episodes at least. So let me go ahead and get right in to it today. So let’s dive in to our conversation with Matt Clark.

Matt, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you, man.

Matt: Yeah, thanks Andrew. Thanks a lot.

Andrew: So it’s funny we used to be a mastermind back in the day like three or four years ago, and I was trying to remember as I put notes together for this, how do we get connected? Who was that introduced us? Do you remember?

Matt: You know it’s kind of funny I was trying to think of that myself and I could have sworn, I could be wrong but I could have sworn that this is back in my eCommerce days and I was poking around on Practical eCommerce. It may have been from a written article or a comment on an article that I may just reach out to you cold at that point but I could be wrong. I’m not completely sure.

Andrew: Actually that’s does strike a chord, do you remember that? Crazy. And you were at a time, you were doing Amazon. You kind of do nutritional supplements eCommerce business. Were you selling on Amazon much of that part or was it more just strict eCommerce?

Matt: Yeah, so I was right to that point. I mean started off running my eCommerce store which expanded into about 30 stores and sort of reconsolidated everything in to a one store. But I found out to that point starting expanding on the Amazon because of a lot of things going on and opportunities I saw there. So right to that point, I was probably just getting started on Amazon.

Andrew: So take me on the journey man, we were doing masterminds. And you’re doing eCommerce and I’m doing eCommerce then here we are, three to four years later and you are running events with thousands people, wears your brands and all that stuff. So what happened between then and now? How did you go from where you were to really building up an entire very good size Amazon business and launch on ASM which we will talk about a little bit?

Getting Involved With Amazon

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s been long journey. So like I said, started of selling products, health supplements on known eCommerce stores and very high quality, hypo-allergenic, niche supplements. And then expanded from there on to Amazon. So I was running eCommerce at the time about 11,000 different products. I just had some different distributors who had access to thousands of products so I just kept uploading them all. And then at the time I had the brilliant idea knowing nothing about Amazon. I was like, “Wait a minute, are you kidding me?” I was with Amazon, you add some products and the only time you really have to pay Amazon anything is when something sells. And I was so used to doing PPC or you’re paying per click whether you sell anything or not.

So I was like, “Holy crap.” It was all the products I’ve ever accessed on Amazon. If they sell, great. If they don’t, then I don’t lose anything. So in theory, it was a good idea. But then what happened was started getting sales for a lot of these products without even really trying. But then this supplier, this one happens to be out of sack and the other one happens out to be out of stock. That’s happening to Amazon. You get in trouble really fast because you can’t just start canceling orders left and right. It’s just they didn’t like that sort of thing.

So we went down to a limited number of products and started having a few that just to absolutely started taking off. What I can consider is relatively early on the Amazon selling game is started figure out how you rank products and how you really build a business around has been one of the largest growing eCommerce platforms in U.S. anyways. With that, I started thinking, “Well, I’m only selling at this point because I can’t really sell a whole bunch of different products. I’m only selling. I don’t think 10 to 12 different products and I only really want market.” I started thinking there are hundreds of other markets and thousands of other products and I’d like to do presentations, speaking, teaching, and all the stuff. I was, “Okay. I see that these other people creating courses on topics so I bet can probably create one on Amazon.”

At that time, through another mastermind, I met a guy who have been creating software and training courses for about five years to that point. He’s still my business partner to stay. He’s name is Jason. After meeting him, he and I kind of partner up together on this course idea that I had. I would be the content expert, creating a course, teaching people how to sell products on Amazon, and he would be the person to have the list and the affiliate contacts and everything else. The rest was history. We did about million dollars or so the first time we ever released the course because there are so much demand for this topic. We just kept growing from there. Really improving and honing the course and what it takes to get people results to build this business and we eventually turn the course in to what’s now Amazing Selling Machine, it just keeps growing like crazy. I mean, I think we have people from over hundreds of different countries getting results and really building great businesses when a lot of things hadn’t really worked but I mean that is I guess the kind of the very abridge version of the story.

Andrew: It’s a question that I think people probably asked. People are asking me, I’ve done products in the past and I think people always wonder for courses. Some might have answers. Well, the kind of the aged question if the model works really well, if the Amazon model works so well, why share the secret formula? Why not just you and Jason go out and make an absolute killing in the market as oppose to teaching other people on how to do it?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean it’s a personal preference. Some people like to run businesses and the what I call it… I don’t mean this as a negative way but the dark corners of the internet is staying in to your house, making good money, doing your own thing. Like I said even back in college and probably before then, like doing public speaking, like being in front of people, like sharing things with people. So I think of it’s just psychologically, it’s just something that I felt very comfortable doing. But at first, the reason is to evolve over time.

At first, I wasn’t really too worried about competition because competition on Amazon at that time was very minimal. It was my way of kind of meeting a lot of other people. Because of creating that course, I started meeting a lot of other very successful entrepreneurs. I kind of knew that would happen because there’s a lot of thing you can do business wise together whenever you started off getting that situation. It’s a good way to meet other people but having done this for a few years now, really the reason now is that I finally been able to see the really the impact that it’s having on other people’s lives.

I mean I could tell you so many different stories. I can tell you about a guy, he was a police officer for 11 years with five kids and I think three cats or something. That was sort of had another business that went down to two. We started this and everything changed his life. Another guy was living on government subsidies housing and him and his wife, pay cash for house, and now they have a multi-million dollar business and people from Costa Rica, from Brazil, people from everywhere else in the world you can imagine that are all building business for the first time and being successful. A lot of them may have tried before but they just didn’t put the pieces together. So I think I don’t know if it’s a unique skill or just a lot of hard work.

But we figured out how to really get somebody who’s never been able to build a successful business before. It may take a while to ever do it without this training to be able to do it successfully. So now, it’s for us that’s really about the people. But in the beginning, it’s kind of wasn’t too worried about the competition. That was a great way to meet a lot of entrepreneurs.

Andrew: Does that happen to some specifics in terms of the actual nuts and bolts behind making this work on Amazon?

Matt: Sure.

Anatomy of the Perfect Product

Andrew: Let’s say, starting out from scratch. They want to get started, have no idea what to sell. What’s the anatomy of the perfect product on Amazon? I thought through things for drop shipping for different variables and for different aspects, different channels. For Amazon, makes that perfect product will you looking for?

Matt: Right, so one of the biggest distinctions, I mean especially for people like you and I that came from businesses, selling other people’s products. It’s one of the things that really changed everything. And it is wasn’t as quiet as much of a factor back in the day, because back in the day, I was selling product that were other people’s brands. But at the time, there’s nobody else selling on my Amazon. You have a heck of a time finding a supplier that allows you to sell products on Amazon but they’re products are hard to being sold to Amazon. When that happens, when you start selling products that other people are selling on Amazon, other people’s brands, say for example, you wanted to go sell I don’t know, iPhones. You are going to be competing against tens if not hundreds of other people who really are the only way because you’re all listing on the same exact product listing. The only way that you could really compete with the other sellers is either just staying at it for a really long time and building up seller history but almost most importantly is just by lowering your price.

So what happens is you’re buying the product for one price. You may have good margin starting out but you start competing against other people for the same exact product listing. If you want to get rid of inventory, you actually want to try making sales, everyone keeps dropping their price and dropping their price until you’re not making any money. You shouldn’t on there anyways.

One of the biggest distinctions is you want to be selling your own brand of products. For me back on the day, when I started in health supplements instead of selling somebody else’s brand on, I went out and create my own brand of them which nowadays is not really that difficult even if you’re getting products from China or anywhere else around the world. So that first thing is you’re going to eventually you want to be selling your own product.

Second off, is that especially on Amazon, you want to be selling a product that is already selling well. You don’t want to be the first person to try and vent some product even if it is your own brand and added to Amazon and try to get going that way. It’s just really not a good way to get going because you have to figure out, you have to basically build a brand that doesn’t already exist. But if you sell a product that’s already selling well, for example iPhone 6 came out not that long ago. So if you started selling iPhone 6 cases, it meets this criteria. There’s already a lot of demand there. There were already products in the market that are selling well so you don’t to worry whether or not the product can sell well because it’s started, it’s proven, it’s sitting there.

So we typically looked at products that are about on the top 1,000 of their top level category. So say for example, you’ll go look on Amazon, you look at the sports and outdoors category. There are lots of sub-categories. There’s exercising fitness and all those sort of things. But you’re really looking even if products fitness other sub-categories, you’re really looking for product that have been top 1,000 of sports and outdoors or top 1,000 of health and personal care. Top 1,000 of any of those top level categories because that will let you know that the product is selling well. So if it’s selling well then you’re ready to create your own brand. You’re off to a good start.

Andrew: So reasonably when I looked at the niches and then coming completely different background from Amazon though I kind of tried the look for the middle ground because you don’t want to come out on Google. If you’re trying to rank with Google, you trying to rank for coffee machine. It’s getting up host. Especially it’s a smaller merchant. And on the flip side, if you’re trying to do something so obscure, you make easily for it but there’s not a lot of money there. So why not take the middle approach with Amazon in terms of getting stuff?

Maybe we’re get into this in terms of how difficult to rank for it. But why not take more on a middle ground where there’s decent amount of profit potential but it’s not quite so competitive?

Matt: Sure, yeah. That’s a great question. So for us, honestly, the top 1,000 is kind of a middle ground. Because we used to tell people, “You should go after the products that are within the top 100.” And there’s bunch of different categories. So it’s not only a hundred products. There’s probably I don’t know thousand plus good solid opportunities there. I wish that people would just go top 100. Then we have people that were going after these products and they were doing extremely well.

But then you get to the point where there are so many sellers selling all those products that it’s just like what you would’ve imagined. It’s harder for people to sell and compete. So we expanded it on top 200, top 500, top thousand. This doesn’t necessarily mean that people are selling a lot less though. Because what’s happened on Amazon if anybody been watching is that they’re growing for multi-billion dollar company.

One of the biggest companies in the world are growing about 20% a year. So I know first-hand just from seeing the rankings and being involved in selling products on Amazon, that being on the top say hundred for example for category now on Amazon, your sales are so much larger than when I first started four to five years go on Amazon and being on a top 100 then. It just means a lot more in terms of actual sales now. You could probably be on top 1,000 if I could X number of years ago. So we typically recommend still top 1,000.

We don’t like to go too much below that because the ancient thing about Amazon is that we know a lot. We’ve thought to people a lot of stuff but sometimes, honestly, you add products that happens more than you imagine. You add products and there’s as long as you have a good solid competitive market, you can start getting sales almost by accident because Amazon’s featuring your product in so many different places for different categories, different keywords. Keywords you wouldn’t even think ever typed in but if you’re not selling a product that’s even ever going to sale well then it doesn’t really matter because you couldn’t get at the top of food chain for that product but the ultimate sales make it really not worth the effort. So we still like people to go after semi more competitive markets but we’re comfortable going to the really top 1,000. Some people may argue top 3,000 but we like people to be in competitive markets because we know there’s good solid sales volume there.

Andrew: So I’m guessing for everything that you’re doing, you’re using FBA, right, for buying on Amazon?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean unless you have an existing operation and you really have a solid recent to be running your own warehouse or using a third party fulfillment system or fulfillment company then we highly recommend everyone use FBA. I mean especially for people that are international. They’re really for anybody. I mean there’s no reason if you get a wrapped and mess around with touching inventory. I mean that stuff.

Andrew: And just for people to understand mechanics on pricing for FBA, you’re probably looking a commission fee structure anywhere from 10 to 15% roughly based on the category and then a probably pick a couple fees for picking it on boxing and put the FBA. But the shipping for whatever you’re selling, the prime members at least are free, right?

Matt: Yep, exactly perfect.

Optimizing Your Amazon Listing Page

Andrew: So let’s say I’ve got a product. It’s my own brand. I white labeled it and it’s selling well on Amazon. I mean you mention that Amazon is going to be maybe selling a couple of your products which probably I’m sure happens but to do really well, you’re probably going to have to optimize to do some marketing. Once you’ve got it online on Amazon, what parts of the page are we arriving on the page where opt page stuff do you do to get it to show off well in Amazon’s search algorithm?

Matt: Sure, so like building houses, we recommend before you start putting anything on top such as traffic, you really get your foundation down. So when it comes to Amazon, you know, Andrew, from the eCommerce game, there’s a lot of people, when they list products for sale on their own side or even on Amazon, a lot of them just like take manufactures descriptions loaded up there. Maybe take a couple of manufactures pictures and they’re done with it on the next product.

You can get a lot of ranking boost and conversion boost by spending a little time crafting good product images, good nice custom product images creative which don’t have to be too expensive. You can literally get a photographer off of Craigslist or designer off of oDesk. I had to go create really nice product images for you so those really helped people shopping on Amazon. See every aspect of the product that other vendors on there may not be showing them. They may just have one picture but then the person’s like, “Well, can it actually fit for this? Or does it actually look like this? Or what’s on the back side of it?” So that’s going to help increase your conversion rate.

The other thing is including keywords in your product titles. There are a lot of people on Amazon who don’t do that sort of thing. Do some good solid keyword research. Figure out some keywords that are relevant for your market and make sure to include those in your title. Still provides a god solid ranking boost that’s on right. The other thing is other major component is your product description. A lot of people still just right write very blunt, unformative product descriptions. You can do a lot better and get more of the conversion boost if you go out and you actually spend some time crafting a product description for your product that makes people want to buy it.

All those basics stuff explaining the major benefits of your product, the major features, who your product is for. All those good stuff that’s not that complicated just most people take the time to do it. So once you’ve done all that and you have solid images, good title, good description, there’s some other bullet points on what not that you can add. By then you’re ready to actually start getting people to see your product.

So some of the easy ways to do that is first off, Amazon has an advertising platform that I don’t know a couple years ago or so but it’s called Amazon Sponsored Ads which is different than Amazon Product Ads. So Amazon sponsored ads is an internal advertising system that you access from within your Amazon seller essential account that allows you to start sending traffic from within Amazon to the products you’re selling on Amazon. So if you let it run with some pretty general keyword, you’ll start getting data back on what keywords or what keywords aren’t working. Then at that point, it’s pretty basic advertising. Cut off the stuff that’s not working. You keep running or increase budgets on stuff that is working and that’s a decent way to get sales.

The traffic volume is never going to be huge and massive just because the placements currently Amazon has are kind of hidden a little bit. They’re not very prominent but if done right, it’s almost, always profitable for the sales that you degenerate. So that’s typically how we recommend people to get started anyways.

Andrew: And that with those ads, where are those showing up? Are these going to be things? At times on Amazon you can see commonly purchased with or recommended products. Are these ads actually big in to the what looks like the organic interface of Amazon or these ads on the right hand side that looked much more ad like?

Matt: No, they don’t look much like ads unless you kind of looking closely familiar with them. One of the main places they’re showing is if you search for a keyword, say for example I want to sell an iPhone 6 case. So I have a new product that maybe ranks on the, who knows tenth page or something like that for iPhone 6 case keyword. But I’m sitting there running Amazon Sponsored Ads, somebody searches for iPhone 6 case, they scrolled down ten or so listings before they flip over the next page. At the bottom of those ten listings is generally going to be at chunk with probably one to two of these Amazon’s sponsored ads. So at the bottom of the search of result listings and it’s also on some other pages sometimes on product pages, on category pages, and few other places.

Andrew: God, yeah and you mentioned that getting keywords in the title and I’ve seen a lot of Amazon listings where it kind of reminiscing of the early days of Google were just keywords stuff to the gills. You got to a title that six lines long and it terribly used ability, terribly used experience but obviously it got tons of keywords on there. Does that actually still work or it seemed like it would be something that Amazon would be able to filter out?

Matt: Yeah, the funny thing is that I don’t want to take too much credit but I think that almost single handedly came for us because we figured out few years ago that I was. I did some PPC but on the point I was doing quite a bit of SCO from eCommerce stores. So I understand how all that worked. It was before my time of doing that stuff but I heard from the days where you could just stuffed keywords and your meta-tags and actually worked. So I understood the concept but then it did work on Amazon because Amazon, like your descriptions doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot from keywords but your title still does. Before the last year and a half or so, I’m stuffing all the keywords you could possibly imagine that got you ranking from more keywords as long as these keywords are in your title.

On the other hand, it’s one of the biggest factors with Amazon is your product pages conversion rate. So if by stuffing all that stuff in there, people can’t even tell what your product is. Your conversion rate is probably going to suffer but also Amazon has made some updates that appeared that stuffing all the stuff in your keyword is not necessarily a good thing. You want to tighten up a little bit. You want to make sure that you’re including your most important, most relevant keywords at the beginning. Things are still being tested there. There’s no definite answer but it’ll definitely doesn’t work as well as it did just stuffing and everything in there. So I would definitely think ultimately that stuff is not going to last or never. If you focused on giving the user a good solid user experience, that’s going to be your best bet. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be still selling them with your title.

Marketing Outside of Amazon

Andrew: In terms of marketing off the Amazon, I’m guessing here that once you have a great Amazon page, you’re obviously can get a lot of, hopefully, you get a lot of sales from within Amazon, people going Amazon searching, or just browsing from within Amazon’s ego system.

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: What kind of marketing if any of your guys are doing to, outside of Amazon’s ego system, building links maybe directly to Amazon pages or writing PPC directly to Amazon’s sales pages? Are you guys doing that just to be the leverage of fact that people trust Amazon and their conversion rates for any page are probably going to be higher than the average? And if so, what were the specific methods are working really well to pair up with kind of promoting Amazon pages from outside the ego system?

Matt: Sure, I mean with the advertising from outside of Amazon, it’s like I’ve heard you and I have discussions. You end up gravitating towards where you feel most comfortable. Does that mean that one thing is necessarily better than the other? If you really like SCO stuff, you can make it work for Amazon. We have people that make it work for Amazon. If doing Google PPC is really your thing, then you can make it work with Amazon. I am partial towards Facebook advertising.

We’ve done Facebook advertising promotions where you were doing a discounted product offer that we’ve sold thousand units in 12 hours or so with brand new products to give the customers, to turn into reviews which are a whole another story. But we still like Facebook advertising because it’s just so easy to reach the exact target market that you actually want to and you can. People love physical products stuff so I suppose to try to get them to you to buy some information product, if you’re telling them, they can get X product on Amazon with whatever offer you make them. There’s no trust fall off. Because they’re like, “Well, it’s all on Amazon. I don’t have to worry about giving this person my credit card or I’m actually going to get my product.” Because they trust Amazon so it makes the process pretty easy.

So I’m kind of partial towards using Facebook but we have people that used deal sites such as Slickdeals.net which is an evolving process. We’ve had people on the past but I’ve done Google search PPC. I believe for them there is only one person that could have a list in running at a time so when it gets kind of competitive it’s time that it becomes not an option. We have other people to do a lot of SCO. You kind of name it but yeah, it’s a little bit of run down anyways.

Andrew: Interesting about SCOs, so have you seen much benefit from doing SCO for specific pages on Amazon linking, deep linking to your product page? It’s a little inside based on problem like Amazon has so much domain authority already that they rank well even without the whole lot of list. Do you see that helps out a lot? I guess, maybe what I’m really asking here. Does Google looked at Amazon? And does it say, “Hey, Amazon is ranking these pages. This specific product really well on their algorithm. So we’re going to also lose it well.” Are you getting mostly SCO benefit if you do it well from within Amazon to good a rank well? Or is there a lot of side benefit that can be headed by doing external SCO as well?

Matt: Yeah, it’s a good question because with SCO changes frequently now but it’s been probably years or so since I looked at much SCO for Amazon assuming it still works the same. What we’ve seen was it logically… we would expect but if a product was ranking very well for keyword for example on Amazon, why would Google be ranking it for the same exact keyword?

But that wasn’t always the case. A lot of times it wasn’t a case. It was all the other SCO factors that had been around for a while. How many links does the page have the authority links and all there are good stuff and the content on the actual Amazon product page? So you could actually get your product ranking higher than others even though they may rank higher per say keywords inside of Amazon.

You could get your page as ranking higher outside of Amazon or Google for example and you could also do the same thing with your reviews pages. For every product on Amazon, if you could the product reviews, there’s a dedicated page that list or at least have access to all the different reviews for that product. As you know, if you’re looking for any product especially physical product, a lot of people typed in that product name then reviews so you could literally get your reviews page ranking with the same SCO stuff for reviews related keywords and Google as well so assuming that it works the same. Yes, that was definitely the case but it wasn’t always that direct correlation between Amazon ranking and Google ranking.

How to Generate Reviews (Without Being Sketchy)

Andrew: You’ve put a prompt in my memory about reviews in there’s a lot of ways to generate reviews on Amazon and a lot of barely above board maybe below way zero cost reviews, review clubs where people just swap reviews. That may work now but maybe in the future there’s probably a chance. A lot of those are get dinged. Can you recommend for a legitimately building up solid reviews? You’re not going to have to worry about kind of kindle black at SCO is going to come back and bite you in the future.

Matt: Yeah, I mean the thing is as cheesy as it sounds but it’s ultimately the solutions were the best for a lot about more successful customers, for us includes is that you sell a darn good product especially if you’re sourcing a product from… actually it doesn’t matter. You’re really sourcing a domestically or you’re sourcing it overseas. You really want to make sure that you have a very good product. The cool thing is that Amazon, before you get into a new product, go look at the negative reviews to your competitor’s product, for your future competitor’s products because you’ll see exactly the stuff people then like.

So when you start ordering samples or you start formulating a new product, make sure that those objections are addressed in your new product. Once you do and you sure you have a darn good product, if there’s any reason that you can’t address something and somebody buys it you know you are going to have a bad experience then at least address that in your product description, product packaging.

You pre-empt getting a negative review so you have a really good product then you provide really good customer service. So you don’t just say, “That’s happen on Amazon.” You follow up the customers. Ask them if they got their order? Or did they like the product? Do they have any questions? And all that daily work if you will that really has allowed people to really kind of hold their businesses on Amazon because it all adds up eventually.

Really part of the game on Amazon is not so much getting tons of positive reviews but it’s really preventing the negative reviews because we’ve seen it and you can have lots of positive reviews. But you get one negative review and it tell you fix that issue, you’re sales are dropped by 50%. I mean it’s crazy so you really have to be just as diligent at preventing negative reviews at not more so than you are getting more positive reviews. But a lot of it comes down to having a good product and really good customer service.

Andrew: It can be a little selfish here and just in my new experience from my own personal game, head it over to China a couple of months to Hong Kong and Shin Chan to source some products primarily just because I’ve done a lot eCommerce but never done importing, never source products before. I want to get my feet well with that and Amazon as well so can I ask couple of questions for you? One, would you go over and see what kind of cool things you could find and based on that trying to fix something important to sell? Or would you go with a very specific idea first of what you wanted to buy based on all the criteria we’re talking about? I think I know the answer to this. Second part of that is any of just general suggestions or tips for someone who’s going over to do their first importing of brand and bring it over for Amazon sales?

Sourcing & White Labeling from China

Matt: Yeah, great question. So first, because I mean you go to China. We’ve been to China. We visited factories. We’ve done that whole thing and… but you go to China and you’ll see that every product on the planet is made in China. Man, I think that’s… what if somebody told me the other day? It’s like a… I don’t remember the quote. I’m not going to butcher it but everything on the planet is made in China so you go over there and start opening your eyes like I can sell that. It’s cool that make sure that you have at least some idea. You don’t have to have one product that you’d pick out and you find that you don’t want to sell anything but have a general idea or at least have criteria that for whatever product you’ll sell, you’re sure that there is a market for already.

In our case, we kind of use the Amazon as the lead miss test. We would check, okay is this product sell well on Amazon? Looks like it. Are there at least a few products selling well on Amazon, at least a few products than the top 1,000 if there are good enough? That’s the first criteria. The second one is that you’re asking some general advice for somebody going over the source product from China for the first time. One thing that I’ll highly recommend especially for your case, Andrew going over there is a dedicated packaging manufacturer so you’ll visit suppliers. I mean we’ve visited suppliers that made everything from silicone. You name it silicone spatula, silicone baking matte, silicone everything else. We visited suppliers everywhere from there to electronics stuff to one factory made, giant jumping houses for kids’ parties.

That was all they produced but one of the most exciting things for me was visiting the packaging manufacturer because as we know you buy an iPhone and the packaging is absolutely amazing. It’s nice thick box that fits perfectly. It’s got a nice design, very clean looking. You can get a box like that the highest quality box in the planet. If you buy a little, tiny, small one like for I-phone for example, you can get a box like that for about a dollar. You buy a big one that can probably fit in the entire MacBook air price that can cost you about $2 so we visited that manufacturer and I believe those… literally the next day or maybe two days later we visited the silicone manufacturers.

I was looking at kitchen products there and they were selling products or making products for massive companies. They are making them for bed bath and beyond. They were making them for a home shopping that work on a bunch of others and you look at their packaging. They would just have for example a silicone baking matte with a tiny little piece of plastic wrap around it and that was their entire packaging.

I was putting two and two together because if you buy the silicone baking matte for them, you got a really high quality packaging and it will only cost you a dollar extra which is really nothing when it comes to your margins. You could be out selling at least have perceive better product just about anybody else just like putting those two things together. That’s thing with the physical product world.

It is that something physical products have been around for thousands of years. Humans can exist without it but people still don’t think about those kinds of things in most cases and you kind of get an easy win in almost any market just by putting some nicer packaging around the product so that was a very definitely cool experience and highly recommended.

Andrew: That’s really helpful so Matt just to clarify are you saying going and make sure that you source your products that they have great in house packaging abilities?

Matt: No.

Andrew: Or you’re saying that most cases finding an external packager that can work with your product the primary goal?

Matt: Yeah, so the Chinese mentality when it comes to products, a lot of times, a little bit different than ours. So the Chinese will think that you want a product that’s not as good or packaging that’s not nearly as good just so you can save a few pennies whereas us, we prefer to spend some extra dollar, $2 per unit which maybe crazy then to have the world’s greatest packaging or product that’s ten times better. Because the loo-, The incremental cost, the quality boost if far out ways you know little incremental cost.

So a lot of times, the manufacturers themselves they don’t necessarily specialized in packaging. They specialize in whatever kind of product it is that you want to source. A lot of them either buying third party packaging or they have a way of producing the packaging but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best on the planet. Sometimes they’re able to do packaging that’s compatible to other companies but a lot of times you’re better off using a separate packaging manufacturer if you really want to take this thing to the highest quality using a separate packaging manufacturer and having them ordering extra number units of packaging, having them to shift that over to your supplier and instead of your supplier putting in and owning an in house packaging, putting in a nice packaging. Have that be in his units.

Andrew: Where’s your jump off point for China if you’re let’s say you’re really just going to an exploratory trip? Is it Hong Kong and the kind of Hong Kong district do you go over to Shin Chan? Where do you jump off and really just start exploring from?

Matt: Yeah, the thing is I don’t know if I was spoiled but I definitely recommend going with or at least meeting somebody there that has been there and done it before. So for example, I had a friend of mine who even sourcing products from China for I don’t know maybe six, seven years. So you’ve visit a lot of suppliers. You knew how that whole thing worked. I wanted to go with him so I went with him and lot of other people have done the same thing as you decide walking around the same street trying to find suppliers and hopes to go with somebody who’s been there done that and also have translator.

So if there’s somebody that you want to go visit, they can just call them up. You could see if they can go visit but as far as location it really depends on the kind of products you want to source. I mean the Shin Chan area a lot of it is focused on electronics stuff but if you want to get kitchenware you might have to go to other parts of China, Beijing for example but it really kind of depends on the kind of product you want to source.

That has become a good point though. There’s a specific market you want to go into. Start looking where those manufacturers are building. Look them up on Alibaba for example just start getting an idea where most of the manufacturers for that kind of product are. That’s a decent place to start.

Andrew: Talking about white labeling so you don’t have to compete against tons of people on Amazon. Not lot of talk but more talk recently about manufacturer’s going direct to Amazon and many features in China selling direct on Amazon so do you have any worries of price that you are selling with the amount of law that kind of have a long term implications of a few or just buying something and put your sticker on it that exist ultimately. You know that manufacturer or Amazon is going to go and really cover the market on that versus having something that’s a hundred percent completely you own.

Matt: Sure, yeah. I mean China’s a very entrepreneurial place. I remember riding in a car with the lady, one of the manufacturers so she just kind of asked me what we did. We told her about course and businesses and what not and said, “Yeah, I should sign up for that.” So a lot of them they kind of have that idea but they’ve no clue how to actually sell in the Westerner or you asked market and plus it’s not really their specialty maybe long term in the future, maybe five years, ten years down the road or maybe a much easier thing for them to do but now it’s just a such a foreign thing to them that it’s not something they can do easily no more.

Then we can be like, “Oh, let’s go to China and built our own manufacture facility and go start selling wholesale people.” It’s just completely different kind of business that takes some understanding that they just don’t have at this point ear-, in general. A lot of them may have an idea but it’s not something that really has worried about the whole bunch. It’s just very slow process and try to figure all that stuff out and I think you’re five, ten years out if ever that they’re able to actually do that just as well as people over here are sitting on the ground selling to a marketer you’re familiar with.

Matt’s Amazon Training Course

Andrew: Matt, you can really open amazing selling machine again something you open up a number of times in the past. Can you just talk quickly about course?

Matt: Sure.

Andrew: Talk about what’s included and why it’s unique?

Matt: Sure, absolutely so our courses like Andrew said called amazing selling machines. This is the fifth time we’ve released it. Each time we released it, it’s been available for about eight days for new members then it’s closed down for six months. We’re doing the same thing again next or this month actually April. It will open for about eight days and we don’t know when if ever we’ll re-open it. We literally… I’m telling you in all honesty we have no plans right now scheduled to re-open it because we like to focus on getting the new member’s result which was what everything based often for us.

If you will sign up then I get results. We’ve done people this service so the course walks you through how to build a physical product’s business from beginning to end. We had people that had never built a business before. We’ve had people that sold out on Amazon and eBay. We had a lady I was talking to the other way sold eBay for 18 years so she signed up for the course because she felt like she was doing Amazon or physical products business all wrong.

A lot of people don’t understand how to really maximize proper margins. How to build long job to your business so if you’re already selling your own products on the eCommerce store or third party platform, then this is still extremely valuable to you and honestly I think you’re probably the person that can most easily benefit from it. So regardless of where you at your business or if you have no business, we walk people through the entire monologue sourcing products of finding the high quality suppliers and getting margins of creating well optimize Amazon product listens of getting good packaging done, getting images, and everything else that goes along to your product listing. The rubber hits the road is in the marketing side. We walk people through. I think now we just completely rebuilding the entire training course to refresh and make it updated better than ever. I believe now it’s about three modules that are almost exclusively dedicated to generating sales. We have a system you used before your product even goes live. A system you used once your product is live and the system you use one you’ve already built attraction to your business you want to expand.

Then we cover how you can hire outsourcers to run the majority of this business, how we run this business from anywhere in the world whether you’re from another country or you want to travel to another country. That’s what the eight week web class is all about all hundred percent online. You can watch it whatever you want but it’s released module by module one week at a time. Then we have seven believe different software tools that are built specifically for this business. We have one on the only e-mail auto respondent tools for selling on Amazon. It’s called active loop so this is a custom piece of software we’ve built to allow people to send auto respond messages to their customers to get more reviews, increase sales, and all that good stuff. Then we have a bunch of other software tools on generating traffic and making sure you’re listing is protected and all that good stuff. Then we have some of the super exciting news, we have the brand new community that we just sold out.

In the past, we’ve had roads that we typical for them and we’ve also had a Facebook group but we’ve just over the past I don’t know five months or so are completely from scratch built a brand new custom community to allow people to find the most relevant cutting edge content as quickly as possible. I mean, Andrew I think I can remember if you’ve been inside in there or not but the ASM community information selling machine members are incredibly active. People will post things and they’ll get hundreds of comments and likes and interactions and a little.

If there’s any question you ever have in this business, you post it on the community almost instantly getting replies at least within the next 10 minutes or so. It’s absolutely incredible so all that is being improved and rolled out with this new class of amazing selling machine units then also the entire thing it’s back by 30 day money back guarantee.

So if you feel like we didn’t deliver on our promises. You feel like it’s not for you. It’s not what you’ve expected. You can always get out. There’s no problem there. I mean I think Andrew knows we were on a very reputable operation and there’s nothing to hide really so basically the entire course walks you to the entire business. The tool’s helped you automated good chunk of business and do the marketing and the community helps you stay up to date and gives you support group in building this business a long the way. But that enough shows what it’s all about.

Andrew: That is one part of question that I want to ask you.

Matt: Sure.

Thoughts on Amazon’s Stock Valuation

Andrew: I don’t know how to be honest. It’s not related to the course but I know you are an ex-finance guy, right?

Matt: Yup.

Andrew: You work as a trader in Houston and for my geeky perspective I’ve got some bets out there on how Amazon is going to do in the next couple of years on stock market wise. What do you think looking at their evaluations I mean you were in the market you were a value guy who knows how it works. Do you think there’s any chance that you are going to be able to stay at the crazy evaluations they are for the next five, ten years? Or do you think they have some kind of massive return or incoming?

Matt: Yeah, the interesting is that I attended a business insider higher end conference in New York City. It was three months ago or so and Jeff Bezos owns Business Insider that publication. So he was there speaking, key noting the event why not and listening to him talk you really start getting some insight as to as to how the company really runs. His entire business sure they don’t like profit.

That’s not the goal. They just want to keep re-investing to grow their businesses as big as possible but they focused on customers like you wouldn’t believe. They focused on giving customers good prices on giving all kinds of other assets and resources and everything else all kinds of other value to customers on beyond on everybody else is even trying to do, especially on that space. It’s like I think about it. How do you lose with that strategy? You’re giving people more value than they’re getting from anywhere else and you’re focusing on growth and you know he seems fairly reasonable. He’s not blowing it on money. They’re pretty frugal as a company when it comes to wasted expenditures anyways.

I just don’t think that there’s any way that their company can lose anytime soon with those set of values. I mean I’m definitely thinking that… I mean you never know what the general stock market but relative to the general stock market I think that Amazon is a very strong position. There’s no reason why they won’t be for a long time in the future.

Andrew: Yeah, interesting maybe next time you’re on that would’ve to strictly for bet. I’ll double down on this.

Matt: Right, I mean that’s relative to the general stock market because I don’t know where the general stock markets are going.

Andrew: Hey, it’s all right. My betting history already is say it’s not looking too good with Amazon. I mean I now bet Amazon versus Alibaba. I wonder on that one for the year. That’s that. Matt, it’s tons of good stuff that you were able to share, love digging into your brain for all the stuff. Best of luck with the course launch. Best of luck going forward with Amazon and thanks so much for coming on.

Matt: Yeah, thank you Andrew. It was a pleasure and I look forward to talking to you.

Andrew: That’s going to do it in this week. But if you’re interested in launching your own eCommerce store, download my free 55-page eBook on niche selection and get it started. And if you’re a bit more experienced, look into the eCommerceFuel private forum. It’s a vetted community for store owners with at least 4,000 in monthly sales or industry professionals with at least a year of more experience in the eCommerce space. You can learn more about both the eBook and the forum at ecommercefuel.com. Thanks so much for listening and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

What Was Mentioned

Listen to our episode on common mistakes you could make selling on Amazon.

Post tagged in: Operations, Podcast

9 Comments

  1. Hello! Great podcast!
    I have a question about this episode =)

    How do you find the top 1 000 products in a specific category on amazon? I hear Matt Clark talking a lot about it, but i cant figure out how to find it.

    Keep it up!

    Best regards

    Björn Wahlman

  2. Matt is a great salesman, so for him getting a product to be successful and profitable starting from scratch it’s likely not that difficult. I’ve been in the Amazing Selling Machine for almost 2 years now and I’d like to briefly tell the other side of the story.

    So far I’ve spent about $11,000 on two products and advertising them, using all of the steps laid out nice and neat in the Amazing Selling Machine and in Social Secrets. After all of that I’ve generated about 12 total organic sales.

    The only time my products sell at all is when I give my products away for $1, which is one of the key points that Matt teaches to generate reviews. I can get the reviews but my products never make it to any organic search results.

    I’m happy that Matt has been successful, but he makes it sound super simple and it absolutely is not. I’ve become despondent at times during these past 2 years, and each time I buckle down, try harder and stick with it. So far each time I’ve tried harder has resulted in me digging myself further in the hole.

    Entrepreneurship is not supposed to be easy. I know that I will keep at it, and I know that I will find success somehow, someway. I did learn a lot about Amazon and Facebook in the process, but getting the pieces of the puzzle to line up into something profitable has eluded me so far.

    At this point I don’t believe Matt’s path to Amazon success is possible for me. I don’t have any personal evidence to contradict that thought.

    1. Hey Will, thanks a ton for sharing your experience and sorry to hear things have ramped up more slowly than expected. Anything in particular that didn’t work out for you in the process that you’d differently next time? Again, thanks for being so open with your experience.

      1. Hey there Andrew,
        The first and biggest thing is that I would concentrate on developing a product that is different enough from the competition. The importance of that is not stressed enough in the Amazing Selling Machine — they may have added emphasis since I watched the videos in 2013.

        The pitfall path I’ve encountered twice is:
        – Do a ton of product research as laid out in the program, decide on the product.
        – Do a ton of work finding a supplier and designing the packaging.
        – Do a ton of work marketing to get the word out and get your product into eager hands.
        – Everybody loves the product because you worked so hard in the first three steps and did everything right, they leave honest reviews that are glowing.
        – No matter how many products I give away, no matter how many products I sell for $1, no matter how many coupon codes I throw onto Facebook, my products do not ever rank for their target organic Amazon search terms. I end up getting a smattering of organic sales from the “People who bought also bought” section, and that’s it.

        In my mind the trick is finding that differentiating factor — what sets your product apart from your competition? I mean truly shows that your product is the one to buy, a new color choice or a prettier box is not enough. Through the training in their program that I went through you end up having a dozen new generic brands for the same product and there’s nothing to separate you from the herd.

  3. Great podcast. I’ve been wanting to try selling on Amazon for quite a while now but haven’t actually taken the plunge… The competition is just so thick on there that it seems impossible to compete.

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Great podcast! I’ve gone the private label route selling on Amazon and last month being my 2nd month at it I was able to generate almost $9,000 from a single product along with around 50% profit margins. Now I’m in the process of launching my 2nd and 3rd products for my brand. I was always tempted to join Matt’s ASM but found it hard to justify the cost so I just dug in and figured it out on my own.

    1. Whoa, well done Brent. That’s fantastic! Inspiration for me as I’m getting my own feet wet in the space.

      Thanks for listening!