Success on Amazon for Shopify brands is the topic of discussion on this episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast, featuring Jenna Lieber, the Director of Client Services at turnkeyproductmanagement.com.
On the Show Today, You’ll Learn:
- What are the most common struggles merchants have when they get started with Amazon
- What are the next steps to get an Amazon product ready for sale - How to generate traffic for Amazon’s product listing
- What kind of products and pricing make sense for selling on Amazon
- What are the timelines to be on Amazon Prime Day or ready for Q4
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Jenna Lieber
Jenna, Client Services Director at TurnKey Product Management, drives success for brands on Amazon. With 6+ years of experience, she has helped numerous brands achieve 8-figure growth. Her expertise and commitment make her a trusted resource in the ever-changing e-commerce landscape.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we're wanna talk about Amazon. We're actually not talking enough about Amazon on this podcast because we're focusing on Shopify. But obviously Amazon is a big platform, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms out there.
A lot of merchants are using Amazon. The ones who don't should actually have a look at it. There's a lot of synergy effects with using Shopify and Amazon, and we wanna dive a little bit more about deeper into Amazon. I don't know much about Amazon, which is a good thing. So probably I will be the dumbest person on the call today.
And I have Jenna Liber with me. She's the client services director at. Key product management.com. That's an Amazon agency that provides a variety of services to solve all brands needs on the Amazon marketplace. She has been working with turnkey for over six years now and has worked with a variety of different brands on Amazon, helping them to grow to eight figures and more, so definitely the right person to talk to.
Let's welcome Jana. Hi Jana. How are you today? I
Jenna Lieber: am good. Thank you so much for having me on.
Claus Lauter: Amazon is a big beast, so it's not that easy to dive into shop into Amazon when you're coming from Shopify. Completely different universe there. What do you see are the biggest struggles that merchants have when they get started with Amazon?
Jenna Lieber: That's a great question. So. Generally one of the biggest hurdles is getting brand registered. Um, that's something that is honestly at this point, a requirement to sell on Amazon. Without brand registry, you do not have access to even the basic tools like updating your listing or things like that. Amazon has complete control over it, so.
To get brand registry, it's actually pretty simple. You need to have a registered trademark, with the us. And if you do not have a registered trademark, you're actually able to go to what is called the Amazon IP Accelerator. Now the reason we suggest doing the Amazon IP Accelerator rather than going maybe through your own intellectual property attorney, is because the Amazon IP Accelerator speeds up the process.
So if you were to go through your own intellectual property attorney, the process could take anywhere between six months to a year. To get registered and get all that stuff. it's crazy and it's not doable, right? So we always say do the Amazon IP Accelerator because these are intellectual property attorneys that are approved by Amazon.
So they're able to speed up the process and get you brand registry generally in less than a month. I've seen some can take a little bit longer, but more times than not, it's less than a month. that's generally a frustrating point at the start just because it is that important and you almost can't go forward until you have that.
Claus Lauter: Now, once you have this first hurdle done, you can connect your Shopify store with the Amazon sale channel there, but it's not plug and play. There's far more things to it. So once I'm in my Amazon and I have my first product, What's happening then? What do I need to look at to get my product really ready for sale?
Jenna Lieber: Obviously you want to utilize what you guys have. So for those of you guys that have Shopify websites and everything like that, you can use your sales copy that has been successful there and transfer it over to Amazon. You just want to be careful. Amazon is in theory, a third party marketplace, right?
So when they are connecting you to customers, Yes, it's you that's selling it, but Amazon's liable, right? So because of that, they're very particular about what? About what you can and can't say. For example, some of you guys might say, if you're in the kitchen space, you might say, oh, my product is BPA free.
Where that's actually a term that isn't allowed. On Amazon, it's actually considered a pesticide claim, even though it's definitely not a pesticides claim. So things like that, things you can say on your website, you actually have to be a lot more conservative on Amazon and find different ways to explain the same thing you would be saying on your, on your website.
So it's annoying. It's a little frustrating, but it is definitely a hurdle that we see a lot of brands. Deal with just because they're used to saying what they can say on their website. So that's one hurdle for sure. And then additionally, obviously when you're brand new to Amazon, you're battling brands that have been on there very, very long time.
So it's really important to make sure that not only do you have the listing ready to go, and it's looking as strong as possible from the start. You also wanna have strategies in place. So that means you need to have, how are we gonna get reviews? What is that going to look? Like, how are we going to get our brand out there?
So it's really important that it's not as simple as, okay, set up the Amazon listing and let's move on with our day. We need have strategies in place to make sure we're getting that exposure.
Claus Lauter: Now, obviously Amazon has a big advantage. Somebody who goes to Amazon already has a buyer's intent. They go there, they wanna buy something.
So very different than having a Shopify or any other kind of e-commerce website where you are the one who's basically trying to get traffic in. The traffic is already an Amazon. So that's by far the biggest advantage of being on Amazon. As I said, there is Amazon ads. There's a complete different way on how to generate traffic to your product listing.
How does that work?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, so ads are very important. Everyone should be running P P C ads on their Amazon without question. So what we always say again is reviews are definitely the most crucial part to get started with. Because if you run a ton of money and advertising funds behind it and you have no reviews, your ads are not going to convert.
Because basically what ads are able to do is they're able to get you to the top of the page, right, of the search results. So if you guys are ever on Amazon, one thing you'll notice is the top. Three spots, three to five spots actually are all sponsored. So even if you are the number one seller for the term collagen, for example, you are not always gonna be that number one slot because someone could be paying more money to take it.
So that's why it is really important to do your research, right? Like for example, those that may be selling collagen, that might be harder to get into than someone. That maybe is selling like a different kitchen accessory that they patented on their own and like they have all the rights to, they might have an easier time than someone that's selling something that is in a more competitive space.
Ads are definitely really important. Our team over at Turnkey, we actually offer additional advertisement support. It's called dsp and that stands for demand side platform. That is something that is done. Through Amazon, but we actually have clearance. To do it, you have to get registered and things like that.
So sellers cannot do this on their own. And what we're able to do with it is we are able to re-target customers that have purchased from us in the past, those that have gone to our listing, but maybe they didn't pull the trigger and purchase. And then also like we're able to steal like competitors' traffic and things like that.
There's a variety of things that can be done, but I guess what I'm getting at is Amazon is definitely a pay to play platform. You need to definitely be putting into your margins enough room for advertisement. No doubt.
Claus Lauter: Let's look about in the financials. Amazon is known as a very expensive platform.
They're taking a fair share of the sales price. And where does it make sense when you talk about a product pricing? Obviously if you have a Dr, a cheap drop shipping product from China, maybe I'm wrong, tell me if I'm wrong. It does not really make sense because there is no money in it.
So gimme a bit of an idea what kind of products. Volume or product pricing. Do you need to have that? That really makes sense.
Jenna Lieber: So for anybody that is new to selling or they're considering selling, I always recommend, finding the FBA calculator. So that's something everyone can search right now. Everyone has access to that.
You do not need to have a selling account. Everyone should be looking into that, and what that is able to do is you're able to plug in your cost of goods into that as well as the price you plan to sell at, and it's going to tell you your fees. What's interesting about Amazon is obviously you have to pay them a referral fee, which is basically their fee saying that they referred that customer to you.
Additionally, if you are selling using the FBA warehouses, you have to pay a fulfillment fee and different things like that. And then obviously we're, we were also talking about advertising, right? So you have to budget in advertising and things like that. So it really is a cha a challenging question
for FBA specifically, there are programs like the small and light program where if your product is less than, I believe $10 is their new limit. Now with inflation, they've increased it I think twice. So it used to be $8, now it's $10. And then it also has to be a certain weight and a certain size.
So brands that have, that, they actually can cut their FBA fees and their referrals down quite a bit, which is positive, but what I would say is generally we want to see products that are $20 to probably like one 50 in terms of sales price, just because a lot of the times in that situation there is that comfort level of you probably have room for ads.
The fees with Amazon. Also room for to run promotions and things like that. Cause you do need to leave room for that as well. Now obviously, like that's a very general statement, 20 to $150. That's just more what we've seen be successful. Because also something to keep in mind is if you have a product that's like $500.
Generally we don't see that do as well on Amazon because that's not normally what people are used to spending on Amazon. Amazon, I wouldn't say is like a discount platform. I don't do it like that at all. But I would argue that a lot of people go to Amazon looking for the deal. They're looking for something to save.
So that is something to keep in mind, where if you go and you do competitor research, Maybe you see, oh, no one is offering their product at the price of mine. I'm not saying it should completely deter you because there also is a cost of value, right? Like there's a reason why you go to Whole Foods, there's a different price than if you go to your regular grocery store.
Like there is a value behind prices. But it's just something to consider. If my competitors are not priced at that, is there a reason? Does it mean that people are not spending in that category for that product?
Claus Lauter: That makes total sense. I think there's another part to it.
There's this trust, people trust buy-in on Amazon. I saw a lot of merchants, and I have ex the same experience in my own shop years ago, that when you offer Amazon as a additional sales channel, as an additional option to buy from your store, there is a certain percentage of customers, or not necessarily they do comparison shopping because the price might be the same or it might be even more expensive on Amazon than in your store.
But they still go through Amazon because they trust Amazon. They have their one click checkout, they have their prime account and all of that. So keeping that in mind, Amazon definitely a good option for Shopify Immersions as an additional sales channel. Talking about Prime, that's coming up soon. And we are going then already in the planning for q4.
Tell me a little bit of the timelines that you need to have to be on Prime Day or to be ready for q4.
Jenna Lieber: Absolutely. So Prime Day, it has not been announced as of this recording, but that could change as we talked about. We anticipate that Prime Day would be probably around mid July. They always avoid the week of 4th of July, obviously, just because people aren't buying as much that week.
We anticipate that would probably be about mid-July. Now, that being said Amazon preps this way in advance, so for reference we booked lightning deals for Prime Day, probably back in March. Maybe even sooner. I'm not a hundred percent on it. And then also we just got an email from our Amazon reps that you can now book Lightning Deals for Black Friday, cyber Monday.
And then also Amazon is gonna come back with a fall prime event, which we. Last year, it fell in October. This would be their second one. So I don't wanna speculate on when it is, but last was, last one was October. So in terms of prepping for these events, you always want to stay on the forefront of these announcements because it is crazy, right?
Like the fact that we're talking about Black Friday, cyber Monday and June is wild, but. If you don't book these lightning deals now, they're going to be gone probably by the end of this month or maybe even mid July, right? So what I always recommend doing for those that maybe you don't keep up on Amazon News or things like that, you should always be checking your deals tab.
That's gonna be located under advertising. In Seller Central and when you're in the deals tab, if there's something like a prime day deal or Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal, it's actually gonna show it under the date. It's not gonna give you a specific date, it's just gonna say Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal.
So that's one like quicker way to like check and see what's available for these bigger events. For those of you guys listening now, like I said, black Friday, cyber Monday and Prime Fall event deals. Did get unveiled, I believe, last week. So there's lots of time, I think, to do it. I wouldn't hesitate, like check it today if you're listening and just see if you have it available.
Now that being said, if you do not have a lightning deal available, don't panic. There are so many other options available that will come into play probably around like September or things like that. Our specific favorite is Prime exclusive discounts. Again, I don't know what Prime Day. With the timelines of Prime Day, it's quite possible when you guys listen back to this it could be closed.
It just depends on what Amazon does. But our favorite deal to run during all of these holidays, prime Day, black Friday, cyber Monday, is what's called a prime exclusive discount. Now this is also gonna be located under the advertising tab within Seller Central. And with this. Promotional type.
It actually offers what's called a strike through pricing, and it looks really, really good. Generally, Amazon's rule of thumb is for these large events, you must do at least 20% off or higher. And what it'll do is it'll give you an additional box. And it's gonna say prime day deal. So the ones we're gonna see in July will be a bright blue box that says prime day deal.
And then when Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, they will also have that box. So that's generally why we lean towards prime exclusive discounts for those large events. Just because we've seen Statistically they do a lot better and conversions are higher when running those as opposed to other promotional types.
And then obviously something to keep in mind is obviously inventory. So with inventory we always recommend that specifically for Prime Day, leaving room for probably about 10 to 20% more for inventory. And then Black Q4 is a different beast. For example, if you are in the supplement space, you probably do not need to increase your inventory between 10 to 20%.
You hopefully will see an uptick, but it's important to keep in mind that. Q4 is usually a time when people are not as focused on their health. So we see supplements not do as during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So if you're a product like that, then you really don't have to focus on that. You more focus on January.
But then if you are like a gifting product, we generally like to see the same numbers, 10 to 20% increase in inventory for those specific times.
Claus Lauter: Okay, before we go in, where you help sellers with, give me an idea. You're doing this for more than six years, so obviously an absolutely expert in Amazon.
Somebody coming new to the topic. Shopify immersion was looking into Amazon. There is a very steeped learning curve. How does that look like? how long does it take before you get the basics? Weeks, months. Give me an idea.
Jenna Lieber: It takes a long time. For a couple reasons.
Like one, the platform itself is always changing. So you could be watching something on YouTube and then a month later it doesn't even matter because it's changed that much. Or you could be in a situation where Amazon has completely gotten rid of a program and added a new program that replaced that.
So what I'll say right now is I learned something new. Every month about Amazon. And it's not just because, oh, like I've just never done it. It's because Amazon is always coming out with new material, new tools and everything like that. I would say that with the proper training you could say in a couple months you're comfortable on the platform, to be an expert.
I would say it takes a couple years only because Amazon is always creating new tools, so it's hard to keep what up with that. For example they just came out with a couple new tools that we're able to use for prime Day. They have this new tool that connects influencers to brands, something they haven't had before, but it could be a big tool for Prime Day, right?
To have you connected to influencers going into the biggest shopping day of the year. So because of all that stuff the new tools and everything, I would say a couple years to be a true expert and be com super comfortable on the platform.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I reckon our average listener doesn't have the time for that.
So turnkey product management. Where do you help with?
Jenna Lieber: So you know, in terms of what we do, we offer basically three main services. We offer coaching, which this is perfect for somebody that they want to learn, they wanna be involved with it, they want to be able to grow it on their own. Basically what we'll do is, let's say you're brand new to Amazon.
We're gonna start from the top with you. How do you list a product? How do you variate it? How do you set up this promotion? How do you set up this PPC campaign? We go through all of those motions and then you also have access to our team to ask questions, to us. That's coaching. We also offer just p P C management.
So there are some people that might have a virtual assistant in place that maybe they manage all the promotions, their inventory and things like that for people that have someone like that. But maybe they're not P P C experts. Our team can be that p PC expert where we will run. P P C advertisement as well as DSP advertisement.
So you get that advantage of not only getting to use P PC to the best of your ability, but then also you get access to dsp, which is something you wouldn't have access to without an agency's connection. And then finally there is full service. That's our biggest service available.
That's where we do everything for you. So we set up the listings for you. We watch those listings to make sure they don't go down. We write all the listing copy, we do all the marketing and planning and promotions, and then obviously we, as we do the advertisement as well. There is a variety in there for all sizes.
And then not only all sizes, I've seen massive brands where they just really wanna be involved. They really want to be involved with it, or maybe they already have the team and it's definitely we have something for everybody is what we always try to say and what we try to do and we just wanna spread that knowledge.
That's what we do and how we step in.
Claus Lauter: Okay, now you're helping people or you're helping brands and scaling. Who's your perfect customer?
Jenna Lieber: Yeah, so the goal, really we will work with we will work with brands that maybe they're already kicking butt on Amazon, right? Like maybe they're already doing six figures per month but maybe they've stalled, maybe they've plateaued.
We've worked with brands to get them to that next level, get them out of kind of that rut, get them going with new strategies. So we've worked with those kinds of brands. We also work with brands that. They're brand new. Maybe they're really successful on Amazon, or sorry, not Amazon, Shopify. And they're like, we wanna start with Amazon.
We can work with those guys too. So really, it's all about. Scaling at the end of the day, right? That's what we wanna do. We wanna scale everybody. So I would say like we're a good fit for those that are brand new to Amazon. We can provide support for them, but then we're also a really good fit for those that they might already do, be doing really well, but maybe they don't have time.
Maybe they're starting a new business. I know some we that we work with, they're working on their exit strategy, really we can provide that support based on where you're at in your business. That's really why we have the three core services, just to make sure we can help as many people as possible.
Claus Lauter: Makes total sense. If a merchant approaches you, is there any kind of homework or thinking process they need to do before they get in contact with you guys?
Jenna Lieber: Brand registry. Please have that trademark going. Like that's the only hiccup I've seen as of late is just the brand registry.
And additionally I would say in terms of timeline and everything like that, having an idea of. When your inventory is coming in, I think is really important. just because a lot of the times we wanna hit the ground running, right? Like realistically we wanna get listings and everything created and hopefully you're selling within the 30 day mark is always our goal.
So I always say like, you can always start conversations with us prematurely. Like if you're six months out and you're like, you know what I'm interested in this. We might do this. There is no harm in reaching out to us. But the trademark and the inventory is definitely, A big part of building that successful relationship, I would say.
Claus Lauter: Lemme know what's the pricing structure, what kind of pricing is behind that from your side.
Jenna Lieber: Sure. So the pricing is always custom. I'm sure. That's an annoying answer that you guys hear a lot. And basically what it's based off of is how many SKUs you have, and then also the type of service, right?
So it's all completely custom pricing, so I wouldn't be able to put a number on it right here on this call, but it's based off of like, we have some brands that we're managing like over a hundred SKUs while others were managing. Less than five. So those brands are obviously paying very different prices.
So it's all based off of that. And then also the service. So full service is going to be more expensive than a coaching situation or a PC and DS P only situation. So it is going to vary based off of that.
Claus Lauter: Okay, as we're coming to the end of our coffee break today, I learned a lot. As said, I'm the dumbest person on the call.
I've really learned a lot there and it shows me that it's rather a good decision to outsource this as a small and medium enterprise than try to do it on their own. Where can people find out more about John Key?
Jenna Lieber: Sure. So you're able to reach out to us by going to turnkey product management.com/talk.
From there, you're able to reach out to one of our experts who can talk through your listing, your business, where you guys are currently at and we can go from there.
Claus Lauter: Excellent. I will put the links in the show notes as always. Then you just one click away. Jenna, thanks so much for these golden nuggets today on Amazon and it was a pleasure to talk about it and I hope that a lot of merchants will reach out to you guys.
Jenna Lieber: Amazing. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks.
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