The Top Amazon Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Fahim Naim is a former Senior Category Manager at Amazon and founder of eShopportunity. Over the course of his time at Amazon, Fahim did P&L management for a multi-hundred million dollar category, managed relationships with vendors, and negotiated terms and costs with vendors and his team.

We take a deep dive into the ways to make your Amazon listings fully optimized, as well as the common mistakes sellers make using Amazon’s platform. If you are an Amazon seller, you definitely don’t want to miss the vendor advice that Fahim has to offer.

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Fahim Naim of eShopportunity)

Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.

Hey guys. It’s Andrew here and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today on the show I’m joined by Fahim Naim who is the cofounder of eShopportunity.com and a previous category manager at Amazon. So Fahim’s got a ton of experience in this space with Amazon. We will talk about Amazon mistakes which was originally the intended focus of this discussion but we branched out a lot more. Particularly of interest to myself was the difference between FBA, Vendor Central, Vendor Express, how to negotiate with Amazon if they’re buying product directly from you, which model, selling to third party or first party makes the most sense in different circumstances. So interesting discussion. I hope you enjoy it.

But first, before we dive in, I want to do something I haven’t done in quite a while and that is do a first sale shout out.

I’m really excited to do this one for Laura Serino who…if the name sounds familiar it’s because she’s our community manager, she’s the podcast producer here. I’m sure you’ve heard her or one of her episodes she’s produced here on the show. So Laura, congrats on the first sale and her business is nhislandapothecary.com. Laura’s been into the natural skin care space for quite a while and she’s created her own proprietary line of skin care products with a little bit of island flare mixed in there. She lives on an island in Maine. So help Laura ramp up her business enough to where she can quit her job with eCommerceFuel. Check out nhislandapothecary.com. If that ever happens I’ll be very sad to lose such an incredibly team member but thrilled for her and her business but yeah. So regardless, check it out, congrats to Laura and with that being said, let’s go ahead and get in to today’s episode with Fahim.

So Fahim, before eShopportunity you actually worked at Amazon. What was your role there?

Fahim’s Amazon Background

Fahim: I was a category manager. Managed one of the largest categories on the retail side of Amazon.

Andrew: And what does that mean, to be a category manager?

Fahim: Manage the first party so the direct part of the business. Anything that you would sell wholesale to Amazon. I was in the consumer electronics world under the PC components and peripherals part of Amazon. So essentially, manage all relationships with vendors, pricing, marketing, P&L ownership, forecasting, etc.

Andrew: Do you miss it and why did you leave?

Fahim: I do miss it although my consulting role and agency helps us stay in the game. The major reason I left was to move to San Francisco because of my wife who had to transfer for her work. At the same time, while everything was going well and could’ve happily stayed at Amazon, wanted to get out and do my own thing and get my skin in the game a little bit. So found a perfect balance with coming down to Bay Area, staying in the ecommerce space and still talking about going on Amazon as well as overall ecommerce.

Andrew: Yeah, I think it was the last…I don’t know. Maybe six, seven months ago there was a big piece in New York Times came out and made a huge splash. I’m sure you’ve read it. It was a pretty scathing review of Amazon and their corporate culture talking about just how brutally competitive it was to work hours in some senses really cutthroat. Your thoughts on that? Is that how it was? Was it a fairly accurate piece? Was it a hit piece? Somewhere in between?

Working at Amazon

Fahim: Great question. Probably somewhere in between. Is it an aggressive and intense place to work? Absolutely, but I think you know that going in. Amazon doesn’t put up a facade saying that it’s all about the perks and work life balance and some of those other things as other tech companies do. For Amazon, it’s more about gaining accountability, responsibility. So I managed over a half billion-dollar category by myself. Not only was I CEO of it, I was junior analyst of it. I did things from accounts receivable to strategic pricing and P&L ownership. So I think you have a good feel for how crazy and how busy it could be so maybe not like it is at some other tech companies again but for me it was worth the balance. I’d rather maximize my time and get the most impact out of it and some of the alternatives. So I didn’t mind it as much as maybe some others may have.

Andrew: Did you have any chances to interact with Jeff himself while you were there?

Fahim: So I’m 90% sure that he almost ran me over in the parking lot one time. Yeah, he was peeling out. I don’t know. It was probably 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening after work on a weekday. I was in the building that he was based out of for a meeting, I had parked there and somebody was driving like a maniac getting out of there. It looked like Bezos. He had the hipster jeans on and the bald head, so I’m going with Bezos whether it was him or not.

Andrew: I love it. What was the biggest thing you took away from your experience there or skill that you may be acquired when you were working there?

Fahim: Negotiations. Not only are you negotiating and I’ve had tons of experience in a variety types of negotiations but not only are you negotiating with external parties, in my case vendors or manufacturers, but also within Amazon. You’re negotiating with people on your team. You have to be able to convince other teams to prioritize what you’re working on. You have to be able to convince people on your team to drop what they’re doing and prioritize something that you want to get done. So every single thing that you get done, it feels like it has to be negotiation or takes some level of convincing to make it happen.

The 4 Business Models for Selling on Amazon

Andrew: So I want to move a little bit into some of the mistakes, the biggest mistakes people make on Amazon. Obviously, you have a ton of insights into this both from your consulting side and having worked there. You mentioned as we were talking before the episode one of the biggest things you see is people picking the wrong business model and going down that route. So could you maybe give us an overview of the four different business models that you can pick when you’re deciding to sell with or to Amazon?

Fahim: To start off, there is a third party model and by third party, that means Amazon doesn’t own the inventory. You still own the inventory. You have more direct control on pricing and inventory management. There’s two different types of third party models. One is FBA, Fulfilled by Amazon. That’s the scenario where you’re sending inventory to Amazon to do fulfillment but it almost works like consignment. Amazon doesn’t actually take title until…or ever through that process. It’s ultimately your control until that customer receives it.

The other kind of third party is MFN or Manufactured Fulfilled Network. That’s where you do the fulfillment in house. So you get an order from a customer and you actually directly fulfill to that customer and then on the other side is first party and first party…basically break it down to two different types of business models. One is vendor central. That’s the invite only program. That’s likely the scenario if you’re working with a vendor manager. You have access to a variety of different category initiatives and enhanced tools that are not available through a third party platform, lightning deals, best deals, merchandising opportunities like A plus content, gift guides and other marketing kinds of placements, etc. And then a new platform. It’s about a year old called Vendor Express. It’s also a first party platform where you sell inventory to Amazon. However, it’s meant to be more self-service so you don’t have access to a category manager. It’s still somewhat primitive compared to Vendor Central in terms of being robust and having the set of tools needed to really scale your business but it’s getting there and they’re actively building that out.

Andrew: The Vendor Central and Vendor Express, when you say first party, you mean you actually…you can sell in bulk to Amazon and they buy from you and then they resale the products on their own. So really, you collect all the money at the moment that you sell it to Amazon. You’re selling wholesale to Amazon more or less.

Fahim: Correct. Selling…by first party you mean selling wholesale to Amazon. Amazon technically has a right to price and do whatever they want with that inventory. However, it’s best practices that you’re working alongside a vendor manager if you’re down the Vendor Central route or in Vendor Express, the guidelines that are set in terms of how pricing would work and…it’s not totally “I give my inventory to Amazon. You wipe your hands clean and it’s done.” You’re still working until that gets sold to customer ultimately.

Amazon’s Map Pricing

Andrew: I have a little bit of a rabbit show here. We just have to ask. When you’re selling wholesale to Amazon, as a manufacturer let’s say you’ve got map pricing, you’ve got pricing controls in place. What’s Amazon’s policy for honoring those? Is Amazon willing to actually maintain some map pricing and keep a certain price level for a manufacturer once they buy wholesale? I’ve heard from a lot of people that sometimes Amazon will say they will but then in theory…in actual practice, somebody will…a manufacturer will sell a lot to Amazon only to find the price just being cut significantly. What’s your experience there?

Fahim: So we can do a separate podcast entirely on map pricing. The quick and dirty is map pricing typically isn’t the solution in the first place and what I mean by that is when we’re talking about online, map pricing is just a treatment of how the price is shown. So when you go onto Amazon or other platforms, oftentimes you’ll see it says something like “Add to cart to see the final price.” That’s the treatment of map pricing. So it actually doesn’t prohibit Amazon from selling under a specific price. It just prohibits you advertising and advertising has a couple of different meanings. For the sake of brevity, it doesn’t actually control, in most cases, Amazon being able to sell under a preferred threshold. Usually, 99% of the time, the issue is channel management. So Amazon is not typically lowering their price because they want to get out of inventory by themselves.

Let’s give a quick example. If you’re selling a product a $100 across all channels and one person, one large manufacturer or a large retailer decides to go down to $75 well, Amazon has the right to price independently. You better…it’s very likely that Amazon would follow that price whether it is map pricing or controls set in place, you’re not…if nobody in the channel is causing disruption then map pricing doesn’t become an issue typically.

Andrew: So what I’m hearing is Amazon is not going to necessarily stick to any recommended or requested pricing. That being said, they’re not going to get the price just to get it. If they’re getting it, there’s a good chance there’s someone else in your distribution chain who you need to keep a little bit on a short leash.

Fahim: Absolutely. That’s correct and the reason of that is Amazon’s goal is to be the ultimate shopping destination for its customer whether you’re buying cereal or clothes. They want you to be able to come on Amazon and know that it’s the lowest price in the channel that you can find and if they followed map pricing and other third parties from other websites who are going below that, that would create a situation where a customer getting charged more on Amazon than other platforms and that’s ultimately the goal. If you start off with that mindset, then Amazon’s treatment of map pricing and pricing overall makes a lot more sense.

Andrew: Interesting. All right. Apologies for that. We’ll get back to the mistakes of the business models but so you gave us a good overview of those four business models. What are the mistakes people make when picking versus…those four and specifically I guess between FBA, merchant fulfilled and then subtype of wholesale sales to Amazon?

Amazon Vendor Express vs Vendor Central

Fahim: Great question. The first one is, oftentimes I hear “I’m not going to sell to Amazon directly because it’s too much of a pain, it’s too expensive and I don’t see a benefit.” While it probably makes sense if you’re larger and larger can vary by category. If you’re doing essentially several hundred thousand dollars or a few million dollars it may make sense to go through the hassle. What do I mean? The hassle is Vendor Central, Vendor Express have slower payment terms, you get weekly POs that you need to commit rather than you managing the inventory yourself. Pricing, you have a little less direct control etc. That said, there’s a lot more robust tools available and it’s not always much more expensive. If you do it the right way, you approach the negotiation on Vendor Central correctly or you structure the right way through Vendor Express, oftentimes it’s not that much more expensive than through FBA for most categories. So you, while managing through some of those difficulties, you have way more available tools at hand to be able to scale your business.

That said, if you are a part of the first party relationship and you’re not taking advantage of all these tools, it can be way more of a hassle. Then maybe FBA or MFN makes more sense in your scenario.

Andrew: And what specifically are those tools that you get and you can use to promote your product better, to sell more product through Vendor Central or Vendor Express?

Fahim: So I actually, at IRC, just gave this exact presentation. The highlights of it are merchandising things so A plus content, ability to do video, have Vine reviews, even simply the conversion when it says it’s sold by Amazon.com converts better in most categories than when it’s FBA. Then we get to promotional tools, things like lighting deals and best deals are self-service, while they are sometimes available through Seller Central, it’s not easy and it’s only available for select larger sellers on the account.

And then probably the finally piece are other resources. Talking to a category manager, being able to engage in something like an electronic gift guide or being included on a corporate email or even on the ad platform. AMS ad platform has a lot more tools available than simply sponsored products which is available through your Seller Central.

So there’s a variety of different types of tools that are available on both VC and VE but not yet on Seller Central.

Andrew: When you, if you’re selling, to Amazon first party, who controls the listing? I mean, you were mentioning…based on what you just said that you have all these tools like the A plus content, it makes me…I’m thinking that “Okay. Even though I don’t own the inventory, I can still create the listing page, control that. It’s just Amazon that manages…they take ownership and title and they actually deal with the fulfillment.” Is that true? Do you create your own listing page even if you’re selling directly to Amazon?

Fahim: Whether you sell to Amazon or not, the goal is to sell more ultimately to customers. So that’s where talking about detailed pages…you are still responsible, especially if you’re a manufacturer or you’re an exclusive distributor, you’re still responsible for making sure that the page is clear. You have the right types of titles, bullet points, pictures, Q&A that’s frequently being responded to, reading through customer reviews etc.

Amazon’s category manager is not going to go through hundreds of thousands of skews to answer somebody’s questions. If you’re a larger brand, would that category manager potentially give you some advice on things that you can do to increase conversion? Absolutely. But ultimately, that’s still something that you control, probably have more control over that than you would through Seller Central.

Negotiating as a First Party to Amazon

Andrew: Interesting. What is…you talked about negotiating when you start selling. What terms are negotiable when you go to strike a contract to sell first party to Amazon and what’s not negotiable?

Fahim: So good question. It depends if you’re going through Vendor Central versus Vendor Express. Vendor Express, again, since it’s a self-service tool, the goal is not…to limit the amount of negotiations back and forth so a lot less although it’s not zero. On the Vendor Central side, if you’re working with a category manager, everything from what kind of marketing coop allowance, what you want payment terms to be, who’s paying for shipping from your warehouses to Amazon, what kind of marketing investments do you want to invest within the platform, what kind of gross margin you think should be a part of that, operational metrics, while they’re not a part of a specific negotiation, that’s something that your category manager in the category will manage very closely. So things like you’re out of stock, you lost Buy Box, etc.

So there’s a variety of different things that you should be negotiating with that vendor manager or at least keeping in mind what some of the benchmarks within the categories are.

Andrew: So maybe you can help us get inside the mind of a category manager. Let’s say somebody’s getting ready to sell first party to Amazon. I mean, because you were one. You managed a category. As a category manager, what is most important to you? If I’m a merchant, I’m trying to negotiate favorable terms. Obviously, I want to be able to empathize with your position. So what can I do to be able to make myself as attractive as possible to you as a category manager to be able to negotiate the best terms?

Amazon Wants Products That Customers Want

Fahim: So Amazon wants products that customers want. So if you can pitch it in a way where you show data that this is a very desirable product on other platforms, this is the number one bestseller at a specific retailer or this is the amount of success that you have had in a variety of different channels. That makes your case a lot stronger because ultimately, as a category manager, my goal is to grow the entire category, grow the number of customers, grow their spend, grow their engagement. So how do you fit as part of that process?

The second part is, are you very needy potentially where you’re going to be calling the category manager every time you have a question because you can’t go through some of the available tools or some of those kinds of things. Well, that’s not the major factor. The more you can pitch yourself as understanding the rules of the game and being able to use the self-service tools that are available and only reaching out to the category manager when it’s actually necessary, that’ll probably further your case as part of that negotiation.

Andrew: This doesn’t relate to Amazon per se but given…I mean, you mentioned negotiation skills was something that you really took away from your time at Amazon. Any…and again, we could probably do an entire series of podcasts just on negotiation but was there any resources, either books or anything that…big concepts…maybe things that you could just leave quickly with the audience if they’re interested in diving down that rabbit hole to become a better negotiator?

Fahim: Have you ever seen those Snickers commercials where if you don’t know an answer you just bite into a Snicker?

Andrew: Yep.

Fahim: That typically works. Outside of that, think about the long term impact and this is something that…there’s tons of content out there on negotiations and different ways to do it. I think ultimately if you think about this as a long term relationship and understand the goals of whatever that other platform are and put yourself in those shoes, that makes it a lot easier.

And what I mean by that is you want to kick and scream about half a point of margin right now and complain about stuff that would help you this quarter but probably won’t help your business one year from now. I would pick my battles and understand that if your goal is to grow this business in the long term, and that’s also the goal of the person sitting across the table from you, what are the ways that you can get that done? And focus there and then you can get into the nitty-gritty, some of the details but if you can portray yourself as somebody who’s willing to do whatever it takes to grow the business and make sure it’s mutually beneficial, that’s somebody that I want to sit across of the table with.

Out of Stock Issues

Andrew: Let’s move onto managing out of stock issues. This is another big mistake that people run into. It’s something actually I’m facing right now. I’m going to run out of stock before I’m able to fulfill on my product. What advice would you have? Maybe if you could…you may actually start with what are the implications of running out of stock and then how do you…how should you be thinking through things so that this doesn’t happen?

Fahim: So if you’re doing this through Seller Central, so FBA or MFN, you should never run out of stock and I know there’s exceptions to the rule. If you have some constraints on your supply side etc. but what I say that is think about Amazon as driving a car. You’re hitting the accelerator, you’re driving up your rankings. The more customers are going to your page and purchase, the more reviews you get, the higher you show up in results etc. When you go out of stock it’s like literally slamming your brakes. You’ll lose your…a lot of that momentum that you just gained. A lot of the algorithms…and I can’t get into specifics obviously for confidentiality purposes but it’s very clear on the website…even Amazon bestsellers it says that it’s uploaded hourly. There’s a reason for that. So you can take that to potentially mean that there’s a lot of emphasis on recent sales history and page views and some of those things. When you go out of stock, you lose a lot of that. So as best as possible…I know there’s long term storage cost if your inventory’s there for longer than six months or if you’re FBA etc. Do what you can, be very conservative and do not go out of stock on the FBA side.

On the first party side, easier said than done because it’s not necessarily only up to you. it’s relying on a forecast and a system generating that forecast. If you have the ear of that category manager, talk about increasing the forecast, do what you can to bridge that. With several of my clients, we’ve had them also create a third party account to fill in the gaps when they are out of stock. There’s a variety of different things that you can do to make sure that you’re responding in time to POs, you’re confirming them within 24 hours, there’s no issues when you’re sending them out etc., but do what you can to minimize that although it’s easier said than done I’m sure.

Andrew: If you were going to run out of stock, does it make any sense to jack your price up to slow down your volume so that you still have some momentum but you’re slowing down volume and hopefully you can keep that inventory until you’re able to restock or does that effectively just slow your volume down to the point where the same thing happens. You’re losing momentum. Albeit, you might not lose all your momentum before you resupply. Is there any strategy people should consider or not at all?

Fahim: The easy answer is it depends. So I’ll start off with that. It depends how long you’re going to be out of stock and what your competitors are doing. If you’re doing it for an extended period of time, it may piss of customers. That customer may not know that you’re almost out of stock and they see that you’re 20% more than the rest of the competitive landscape so even if they don’t buy it from you that one time, in their mindset they may think you’re a more expensive brand so they may not want to come to you later on. That’s one viewpoint. If it’s a couple of days, I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do but customers are very sophisticated on tracking prices. So I would be cautious with doing that on a regular basis. Here or there, you could probably get by but I’d do what I can.

Also, if you’re part of the first party relationship, they can take back orders if the configuration is set up so I would…if I were me, I would probably keep the price where it is and take back orders and do whatever I can to get that product up as quickly as possible rather than having to jack the prices up and forgetting about it or being a lot higher than what the industry is and that kind of strategy.

Optimizing Your Product Pages

Andrew: What about optimized product pages? I think people…some people might’ve heard a little bit about you need to do X, Y or Z but what are some of the biggest mistakes people make when putting their product page out there?

Fahim: I’d say 90% of the consulting engagements that we’ve taken on the first step has been optimizing product pages and the reason that’s important is before you’re spending tons of money to drive traffic and tons of effort both on Amazon as well as off Amazon to send people to your page, make sure that a customer wants to buy your product and understands what it is and your pictures are clear on what that is. Your titles aren’t seven lines long or three words long but have a good balance of enough detail but not overwhelming where I don’t want to read it. Your bullet points have the right kind of content that…think about what are our customers’ first five questions when they look at that product and are you answering that above the fold when you’re looking at desktop or even on your mobile phone and if you can’t answer the majority of that, your chances are going to be a lot lower that a customer’s going to want to engage and go below the fold and look at your A plus content if you have it or your reviews or the Q&A.

So I’d say think like a customer. What are the most important things? So oftentimes, an example is people leave off warranty information. I’m going to buy a $300 product. I have no idea if it’s covered through warranty. That’s probably going to be a question that customers will have depending on what the category is. So that should probably justify a bullet point.

And there is a specific science I guess behind what kinds of bullets works better, what kinds of titles and pictures but at the end of the day if you don’t spend time on your page, I wouldn’t spend money sending people to your page.

Hierarchy of a Product Page

Andrew: If you had to rank the most important things to focus on. Title, bullets, pictures, descriptions, reviews. How would you put that order?

Fahim: Tough because I think they all really matter. Title is important. Pictures are probably as important I would say because oftentimes our eyes will first glance at what a product is to see that this is aesthetically appealing so you’re…make you want to click on it. The number of reviews are probably more important than even price. So I can’t give you a clear answer. I’d say that they all work hand in hand. Bullet points, the same way. If I had to choose three I’d say probably reviews, titles and pictures.

Andrew: Okay, great. And any other really common mistakes you see people making on Amazon?

Never Trust a Third Party To Do It All For You

Fahim: Trusting a distributor or another third party, whether it’s an agency or whatever model, to manage your business entirely. So oftentimes, I’ve talked to brands that are starting off on Amazon. They say they’ve sent all their inventory to manufacturer and that person’s managing the listing. They’re managing pricing and those kinds of things. I think that’s a horrible mistake because not only is Amazon a great sales channel, it’s probably going to be one of your best marketing outlets. Whether that customer is buying your product on Amazon or they’re buying it at Best Buy, better believe that that customer is going to search Amazon for reviews, pricing, product information etc. So if I’m a brand, I want to have full control and I want to make sure that I understand exactly what customers’ issues are and that I’m looking at this regularly and I live and breathe what my customers are seeing on my Amazon page.

So I’d say trusting another party to manage that process entirely is a mistake. Working with somebody, absolutely great but at the end of the day it’s your business and it’s as important as customer service when you’re starting out. If you don’t know what a customer’s questions, concerns, pain points are then you’re probably in the wrong business.

Lightning Round!

Andrew: Fahim, I think I mentioned to you this discussion’s part of a series on Amazon I’m doing on the podcast and there’s a lightening round of questions. I’ve asked the same questions to all of the Amazon experts that have been on. So if you don’t mind, I’d love to just go through and ask you and feel free to give short punching answers that can be just a word or a sentence but yeah. You up for that?

Fahim: All right, perfect.

Andrew: Cool. Are you a Bezos guy or Bizos guy? How do you say that?

Fahim: I do say Bezos but I…I’ve never heard of Bizos but I think I may go that route now that you mentioned it.

Andrew: How many products have you launched on Amazon?

Fahim: None directly but I’ve worked with brands in thousands, hundreds of thousands probably.

Andrew: Where do you see the most opportunity on Amazon right now? It could be anything from foreign countries to paid product ads to a certain category.

Fahim: Browsability. Number one opportunity. Amazon’s a great place to go if you know exactly what you need. If you want to browse for that and you don’t know exactly what that is, it’s a very poor experience currently.

Andrew: Interesting. So is that an opportunity for Amazon to up their game or for merchants to take advantage of it?

Fahim: Probably both. If you’re looking for a SanDisk memory card, you can type that in and you’ll probably get 45 different listings with different pricing and different reviews. You may not know exactly which model you want and it’s a lot more difficult than it needs to be. So I think Amazon ultimately needs to get better at being able to browse and understand what a product you may be looking for and as a merchant that obviously creates opportunities until that happens.

Andrew: What was the last thing that you personally ordered from Amazon that showed up on your doorstep?

Fahim: Baby diapers. The funny thing is, right before that, it was toilet paper for me so you can see a trend.

Andrew: What about the strangest thing you’ve ever ordered from Amazon?

Fahim: Strangest thing. Good question. Hot sauce. There is a hot sauce called Valentina Hot Sauce, Mexican Hot Sauce. Couldn’t find it anywhere and I ordered…it felt like a 2 liter of hot sauce from Amazon.

Andrew: Do you own Amazon stock?

Fahim: I do. Not as much as I wish I had. I would have had more if stayed there full five years but I do have some.

Andrew: Are there any strategies that you’ve never shared publicly…you don’t have to share your entire secret toolkit. Any strategies you’ve never shared publicly before? Maybe just one that you could disclose on the podcast right now?

Fahim: Don’t play the keyword game. When you’re on product pages I think there’s a lot of information out there saying “You need to have these exact keywords and these are the best.” Think about it from a customer perspective. If I were a customer clicking on this product, what do I want to see in my titles, my bullet points, pictures and if you start up that way I think you’re going to have much more success than trying to keyword stuff, titles, bullets, product descriptions, etc.

Andrew: How many times, if any, has your own, personal Amazon account or the Amazon account of one of your clients been suspended?

Fahim: Too often on the Seller Central side when they’ve…none to me for…on the Seller Central side, more often than I would like for a variety of reasons. The Vendor Central side, it hasn’t happened yet.

Andrew: If you could only describe Amazon in one word in terms of what they are like today, what would that be?

Fahim: Fragmented.

Andrew: In one word, if you had to, how would you describe where you think Amazon will be in five years?

Fahim: Massive.

eShopportunity: Fahim’s Consulting Firm

Andrew: You’re the second person to say that. Fahim, this has been awesome and you obviously…you run eShopportunity. Can you talk just a little bit about that? What is it, how can you help people and who are you great fit for?

Fahim: eShopportunity is an ecommerce consulting firm. We work with brands ranging from large household brand names, Fortune 100 companies to startups and we help them think about going to business online. There’s a lot of focus on Amazon. What are the right business models, how should I think about pricing, how can I increase traffic on my page, how do I go through some of these negotiations that I was speaking about earlier in effective manner etc., and we also work with other platforms and we do our best to help products get listed on other platforms both within the US as well as internationally.

And in terms of who are the best fit, brands that have already had some level of success whether on Amazon or other platforms and there’s some level of customer demand. So probably not somebody who’s a reseller and doesn’t have direct control of their products and product listing pages or somebody who is so early on that they won’t have enough resources at hand to start scaling their business through ads, promotions, other paid opportunities both on Amazon as well as off Amazon.

So I’d say in terms of revenue, it’s tough to say but probably at least a few hundred thousand dollars annually on Amazon or large business elsewhere with the opportunity to migrate that business to Amazon.

Andrew: Perfect. Sounds like you connect with Fahim at eShopportunity.com. Fahim, fantastic discussion. I love getting into your mind especially given your experience. Thanks so much for coming on.

Fahim: I appreciate it. Thanks Andrew.

Andrew: You want to connect with and learn from other proven eCommerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight knit, vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at eCommerceFuel.com.

Thanks so much to our podcast producer Laura Serino for all of her hard work in making this show possible and to you for tuning in. Thank you for listening. That’ll do it for this week but looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

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Photo: Flickr/Nic McPhee

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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