• Sat. Jul 31st, 2021

[PREMIUM] Matt Loberstein – Zero To Brand

ByCourse Master

Aug 15, 2020

COURSE

OUTLINE

INTRO & MINDSET

INTRO & MINDSET

  • Think like a 7-figure seller

BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS

Legal setup

Tax setup

BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS

AMAZON FUNDAMENTALS

  • Anatomy of an Amazon listing
  • Why Private Label
  • Amazon account creation
  • Intro to Amazon fees

Product Selection

  • Get in my head – my criteria for choosing winning products
  • How to build long-term product line/brand vision into your selection
  • Pitfalls to avoid to minimize risk

Sourcing

  • Dealing with suppliers
  • Placing your first order

Sourcing

Shipping

  • Air shipping
  • Sea shipping
  • Ground/pallets
  • Setting up shipments on Amazon

Build Your Foundation

  • Getting ready as your product is in production
  • Building and optimizing your listing
  • Introduce advanced pre-launch techniques

Build Your Foundation

Day 1 Launch

  • Sponsored Products (ads) – PPC
  • Email sequence for your first reviews
  • Best practices for customer service

Day 1 Launch

TRACTION

  • Walkthrus of day-to-day procedures once selling
  • Reports, replacements/refunds, coupons, cashflow/replenishment

SCALING

  • Leveraging your existing listings to launch new products
  • Copy yourself for new product ideas
  • Lightning Deals
  • Handling major holidays
  • Retargeting past customers off Amazon

INTRO + MINDSET

Biggest Problem: Never Starting

BE A PRODUCT COMPANY

  • Brand/product line > PL seller
  • Think 6-12 months ahead, or more
  • Build to sell
  • Bring an actual value proposition to the world – serve people

BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS

LLC?

  • Is an LLC necessary?
  • Pros/cons, costs
  • Registering an EIN

INSURANCE?

  • General liability insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Ashlin Hadden – ahadden@voldico.com

INSURANCE?

INCOME TAXES

  • Based on your home state/country
  • Make sure you are setting aside money for taxes
  • S-Corp taxation

SALES TAX

  • Controversial, laws made pre-eCommerce
  • Collect in your home state
  • ex. California: seller’s permit, BOE
  • You are responsible to collect/remit

SALES TAX

INTERNATIONAL SELLERS

  • Can use foreign credit card, phone number, and bank account for registration
  • Your local income tax applies
  • USA LLC?

AMAZON FUNDAMENTALS

CREATING YOUR ACCOUNT

  • Pro Merchant account ($39.99/mo)
  • Legal name/business name, credit card, phone number, bank account
  • Can change info later (warning)
  • Choosing your display name
  • One account vs. multiple accounts

ANATOMY OF A PRODUCT DETAIL PAGE

  • ASIN
  • BSR
  • Categories/subcategories
  • Title, bullets, description
  • Buy box

WHY PRIVATE LABEL

  • Own buy box, your own real estate

WHY PRIVATE LABEL

INTRO TO FEES

  • Pro Account – $39.99/mo
  • FBA fees
  • Fee calculator tool
  • Referral fee
  • Fulfillment fee
  • Storage fees
  • Long-term storage fees
  • Inbound shipping
  • Misc. – Lightning Deals, removals

PRODUCT

SELECTION

Part 1

…the hard part!

PRODUCT SELECTION OVERVIEW

Ideas

Evaluation

Winners

THE AMAZON BLACK HOLE

– How to dig for ideas (from any entry point)

THE AMAZON BLACK HOLE

HOW TO EVALUATE PRODUCTS

1. Existing sales volume

2. Competition vs. market size

3. Can I stand out in some way?

4. Can I build a brand/product line?

5. Profit margin

1. EXISTING SALES VOLUME

– Understand BSR – Best Seller Rank

– BSR vs. 999 method

– Know what’s already selling (avoid dead markets)

– How to determine sales volume (with free tools)

– AMZ Seller Browser, Keepa/CamelCamelCamel, JungleScout estimator

– JungleScout extension (save time)

2. COMPETITION

VS. MARKET SIZE

– Why (some) competition is a good thing

– “Can I break into this market?”

– Finding the right balance of risk/reward for you

3. STAND OUT

– You must do SOMETHING to stand out

– Ask yourself: “Would you choose your own product?”

– Product differentiations: colors, sizes, different or upgraded materials, colored logos vs. lasered logos, bundled accessories, different # of items in a set, etc.

– Branding/Listing differentiations: packaging, photography, copywriting, price, colors, added bonuses, etc.

– “Be a product company” – reinvest into bigger changes later

DIFFERENTIATION

4. BRAND / PRODUCT LINE

– Have future products in mind before choosing your first

– This is PART of the evaluation

– What are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th products around this single opportunity?

– Product line will become brand

5. PROFIT MARGIN

– Intro to costing (will be covered in sourcing section)

– ~30-50% margin preferable

– Leave yourself extra room for shipping

5. PROFIT MARGIN

PRODUCT SELECTION

PART 2

– Major Obstacles to Avoid

– Brand Name and Vision

PRODUCT SELECTION

PART 2

MAJOR OBSTACLES TO AVOID

1. Amazon restricted products

2. Dangerous/high liability products

3. Patented products

1. AMAZON RESTRICTED PRODUCTS

– Some products not allowed at all

– Additional obstacles for some

– Categories needing approval

1. AMAZON RESTRICTED PRODUCTS

2. DANGEROUS / HIGH LIABILITY PRODUCTS

– Avoid common sense risks

ie. major choking hazards, etc.

3. PATENTED PRODUCTS

– Copyright vs. Trademark vs. Patent

– uspto.gov

– Google Patents

– Intellectual Property attorney

3. PATENTED PRODUCTS

BRAND VISION AND NAME

1. Longterm trend vs. fads

2. Picking a name that fits your vision

3. Checking for trademarks

1. LONGTERM TREND VS. FAD

– Why I like longterm trends but hate fads

– Using Google Trends

1. LONGTERM TREND VS. FAD

2. PICKING A NAME

– Develop your longterm vision (first)

– What does your brand look like with 10 products?

– Who does your brand serve?

– Not too broad…not too specific…

– Do not pigeonhole yourself, but also don’t appeal to everybody

– The intangible “magic” of a brand

2. PICKING A NAME

3. CHECK FOR TRADEMARKS

1. Overview of name trademarks

– different areas of business

2. uspto.gov

3. Google and Amazon

PRODUCT SELECTION

PART 3

– Overview of JungleScout Web App

– Let’s go digging!

PRODUCT SELECTION

PART 3

JUNGLESCOUT

Web App – top of funnel (ideas)

– Monthly (can cancel)

Extension – the rest of the funnel (evaluation)

– One time fee (or other alternatives exist)

– Criteria to use (and tweak!)

JUNGLESCOUT

LET’S DIVE IN TOGETHER!

OVER THE SHOULDER:

– Top of the funnel – JS web app, your ideas

– Evaluation process

Applying my guidelines:

1. Existing sales volume

2. Competition vs. market size

3. Can I stand out in some way?

4. Can I build a brand/product line?

5. Profit margin (or go back to start)

SOURCING

– Discovering suppliers

– Evaluating and choosing

– Communicating your vision

– Ordering samples

– Placing your first order

– UPC, FNSKU, GS1, & more acronyms!

– Product box/packaging – what’s needed?

– Case packing requirements and tips

SOURCING

ALIBABA INTRO

FINDING YOUR SUPPLIER

– Cast a wide net, discovering suppliers to potentially reach out to (will be narrowed down thru the process)

Do they have what I’m looking for?

Gold Supplier, transaction level, TradeAssurance, overall professionalism

COMMUNICATION

– Initial questions to the suppliers

Purpose: to further narrow the list

COMMUNICATION

Hello,

My name is NAME and I represent BRAND NAME – we own a product line of YOUR ITEM CATEGORY, and we want to expand into THIS ITEM.

I have a few questions about your ITEM YOU ARE INQUIRING ABOUT:

1. Are you the manufacturer of this item, or trading?

2. Are we able to make minor modifications? (Different colors, changing designs a little, small upgrades/features, adding our logo. We want to be the YOUR GOAL in this space.

3. Do you currently produce this in different SIZES/COLORS/YOUR IDEA? Such as IDEA, IDEA, ETC.

4. What is the MOQ for this product? Total MOQ, and MOQ per VARIATION (for example, if we order 3 sizes, total MOQ and MOQ per size).

5. What is the estimated FOB price at MOQ? What is the price including DHL Express to US ZIP CODE?

6. What is your production lead time? If we place the order now, how many days until shipment?

7. What are your packaging options for this product?

8. Do you have samples available?

9. Are you aware of any patent issues with this design?

Thank you, hope to hear back soon

and begin cooperation. Thanks!

NAME

COMMUNICATION CONTINUED

– The intro email is really intended to open up discussion. Move to Skype (or more emails) to get into the details.

– Questions that I ask after the initial contact:

– Sample cost, lowering MOQ, price at different quantities, further item specific details (materials, sizing, etc.)

– Have an open conversation. Tell them your plans to grow alongside them. You want them to think longterm with you and not just how they can give you the highest price and lowest quality.

BE AWARE OF HOLIDAYS

– Communication is my #1 key factor in choosing

– Be aware that all suppliers lack communication sometimes (Spring Festival, etc.)

BE AWARE OF HOLIDAYS

WHAT QUANTITY?

Truly a balance of risk/reward. Factor in lead times (production + ship). Can get away with less qty if lead times are short. Need to risk more at once if long lead times, as going out of stock should be avoided.

WHAT QUANTITY?

How to choose the right # of units to order

without risking getting stuck with inventory

WHY NOT TO NEGOTIATE AGGRESSIVELY

– Quality over price. I never go for the cheapest. Be premium, not cheapest (in most cases)

– Ties in with differentiation and providing an actual value – something you yourself would choose.

– Builds brand, longterm happy customers, better reviews

– Ensure supplier understands quality is key

AVOID GETTING SCAMMED

PAYMENT TYPES:

– TradeAssurance, PayPal, wire transfer

– Deposit payment/balance payment

– Pre-shipment Inspection

BARCODES & BASICS

– Overview of barcodes/logistics (labels, labels, and more labels)

– UPC to create listing, then you will have an FNSKU

– The UPC Controversy

– Why I recommend FNSKU on product (pros vs. cons)

PRODUCT PACKAGE

– Amazon specific requirements

– Suffocation warnings

– Requirements: Country of origin, importer, contents

– Designing your box (die lines, artwork)

– Insert cards

PRODUCT PACKAGE

CASE PACKING

– Make sure your supplier knows up front (ex. if 24pcs/case, order 1008pcs (42 cases), not 1000pcs)

– Cases have 150pcs maximum

– No longer than 25″ on any one side

– Less than 50lbs

SHIPPING

– Shipping terms – EXW, FOB, CIF, D2D, etc.

– Air vs. Sea

– Inbound shipping (Ground vs. LTL)

SHIPPING TERMS

INCOTERMS

– EXW: ExWorks

– FOB: Free on Board

– CIF: Cost, Insurance, Freight

– DDP: Delivered Duty Paid

– “Air express”: DHL, FedEx, UPS

– D2D: Door-to-door

AIR vs. SEA

– Should you ship to yourself, or direct to Amazon?

– DDP

– Air express: DHL, UPS, FedEx (great to start quickly)

– Use a Freight Forwarder that knows FBA

– Entry bonds for sea shipments

– FOB for sea shipments (highly recommended)

– Why I recommend your own FF over supplier’s FF

– Customs, duties, less confusion

– Unexpected sea shipping costs

INBOUND SHIPPING

– Ground: UPS and FedEx partnered rates

– 100% if you are shipping to yourself first

– Pallet (LTL) – massive savings at scale

– Specific requirements – this is why you want a forwarder experienced with FBA

– ALL boxes need FBA label (Ground or LTL)

BUILDING

FOUNDATION

– Creating a new Amazon listing

– UPC, FNSKU, subcategory choice

– Product listing attributes

– Title, images, bullet points, description, search terms, & more

LISTING CREATION

BASICS

– Creating the “ghost” of your listing (to be optimized later)

– Needed to set up barcodes, etc.

– Choosing a subcategory

IMAGES

– The most important factor

– Follow guidelines 100%!

TITLE, BULLETS,

& DESCRIPTION

– Copy that sells (emotional, benefits not features, descriptive, etc.)

– Bullets

– Description <b></b> <br> <p>

– EBC (Enhanced Brand Content) – don’t worry about this now (requires Brand Registry)

TITLE, BULLETS,

& DESCRIPTION

SEARCH TERMS

– Now limited to 250 characters MAX total!

– Focus on relevance

– No commas, no repeating

SEARCH TERMS

PRICING

– Flexible, don’t be afraid to test

– Starting low can be beneficial, but not TOO low

– If your product is premium, ask for it!

– Price suffixes

PRICING

EMAIL FOLLOWUP SEQUENCE

– Key way to engage customers, build brand, and gain reviews

– FeedbackGenius or similar

– 1-2 emails (don’t go overboard)

– Be creative (but also VERY careful!)

PREVIEW OF SCALING SECTION

– Same tactics for scaling can be additional fuel for initial launch (optional)

– FaceBook ads

– ClickFunnels

– Community building

DAY 1 LAUNCH

– Recap of what must be ready

– Making your listing LIVE and available for purchase

– My thoughts on “launch services”, soft launching, and alternatives

– What is PPC? What to do on Day 1

RECAP: THESE

MUST BE READY!

– Title

– Photos

– Bullets

– Description

– Keywords and details

– Email followup review sequence

– Pricing

WE’RE LIVE!

– FBA shipment is being received

– “In stock on _______”

– Listing is not suppressed for any reason

LAUNCH SERVICES

– The outdated launch methods and why they are a risk now

– Understand Amazon’s Terms of Service

– BSR manipulation vs. Review manipulation

– Why discounts and marketing are different from these services

LAUNCH SERVICES

INTRO TO PPC

– Sponsored Products, pay-per-click

– Auction/bid system

– Why it is so important to start PPC day 1

– Automatic vs. manual

– Broad, Phrase, Exact

– Simple starter campaigns

– Begin gathering data, will be refined and tuned over time

TRACTION

Part 1

Running Your Business Day-to-Day

– Reports

– Sales reports, inventory/tax prep reports, conversion rate

– Customer service

– Messages, returns & replacements, feedback & reviews

– Promotions & coupons

– Cashflow and reordering

REPORTS

– Order list

– Business Reports

– PPC spend report

– Tax related reports

– Inventory reconciliation report

– Monthly summary reports

– Payments

CUSTOMER

SERVICE

– 24hr policy

– No linking or diverting Amazon customers

– When and how to refund/replace

– Amazon’s fault?

– Review and Seller Feedback management

“it broke and

i hate you”

CREATING

COUPONS

– Single use vs. group codes

– The new “coupon” option

CREATING

COUPONS

CASHFLOW

– The balancing act – too much vs. too little

– Factor in lead times for production/shipping

– Avoid going out of stock

– Consider lending (when profitable)

TRACTION

Part 2

Running Your Business Day-to-Day

TRACTION

Part 2

– PPC

– Understanding ACoS and “true ROI”

– Interpretting the Search Term Report

– New campaigns

– Negative keywords

– Tuning your PPC up/down

– Hijackers

– What it is and how to fix it

PPC OVERVIEW

– What is ACoS? Advertising Cost of Sales

– Be aware of reporting delays

– The TRUE ROI of PPC

Tip: Make sure to use a credit card!

SEARCH TERM

REPORT

– What it is, why it’s important, & where to find it

– How to use this to create new campaigns

– Find potential “negative keywords”

– Add additional keywords to test

ALWAYS BE TUNING

– Key part of day-to-day traction

– Essence: Do more of what works, cut what doesn’t work

– Monitor last month, last week, month to date, etc. – all are useful

– Tune bids, budgets, keywords on/off

– Negative keywords

HIJACKERS

– What is a hijacker?

– How to catch it when it happens (2 ways)

– What to do?! (Don’t panic!)

– Prime or FBM?

– Email the seller

– Price (buy box)

– Test Buy

– Chat Support (before official reports)

Hi [HIJACKER SELLER NAME],

I am [NAME], the owner of [BRAND]. I have noticed that you have listed your [GENERAL PRODUCT NAME] as our brand by mistake. Our listings are for our own product that we produce, not a generic product. It is impossible that your product is the exactly our product with our specifications, branding, and packaging, as customers of [YOUR BRAND] will expect.

You are welcome to make your own product listing to sell your own type of [PRODUCT], but you cannot list yours pretending to be ours. I understand if this was a mistake so I would first like to just ask peacefully for you to remove it. Your listing has stolen our brand name of [NAME], which is a Brand Registered name with Amazon.com. You can also see our website which is owned by [COMPANY]. All of this information including photos is owned by [COMPANY].

Product listings:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/YOURASIN

Thanks for your understanding. We will take further actions if it is not taken down. Please read the following as it is most important: Amazon takes counterfeit products extremely seriously, and this would be viewed as a counterfeit product as it is not the true [BRAND] brand product. Our product is not generic and it is impossible that your product is a [BRAND] brand product, so it will be a major issue for Amazon. It will be very obvious to them that customers are buying your item thinking it is our product. Please remove them immediately. Your immediate attention and response is needed. I do see you have sent inventory to FBA, so you will need to create a removal order. We do not wish to seek damages for the sales that have already been made. Thank you for your kind understanding!

[YOUR NAME]

[COMPANY]

SCALING

Part 1

Growing your Business to 6 and 7 Figures

– The #1 way I have grown my business

– Leveraging your existing successful listings

– Lightning Deals

– How to capitalize on major holidays

– Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas

– Brand Registry

– Hiring virtual assistants to free up your time

KEY TO GROWTH

– Build a portfolio of products

– When to add more products

– Preferably within same product line/brand

– Many advantages

– Unrelated products (potential 2nd brand?)

– Don’t say no to a great opportunity

– Finding your next product(s)

– Copy yourself! Compete with yourself

– My favorite use of the JS Web App

– Similar to the “digging” research method

CROSS-PROMOTING

RELATED PRODUCTS

– Goal: Leverage your successful listing to boost new listing

– Piggyback with Frequently Bought Together, etc.

– Set up internal Amazon promotions to help this

LIGHTNING DEALS

– What is a Lightning Deal?

– Profitability vs. Exposure

– Eligibility

– Tips for scheduling your Lightning Deals

LIGHTNING DEALS

KEY HOLIDAYS

– Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas

– Special PPC tuning for these days

– Heightened traffic, heightened conversion

– Lightning Deal + Holiday synergy

BRAND REGISTRY

– What is Brand Registry?

– Requirements:

– Finalized trademark (long process)

– Website (Shopify recommended)

– Additional benefits of Brand Registry

HIRING VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

– Free up your time to focus on GROWTH

– Common things to outsource

– Benefits of hiring from the Philippines

– Where to find great VA’s

– Impacts your business valuation

SCALING

Part 2

Growing your Business to 6 and 7 Figures

– How to create your OWN “Viral Launch”

– How to target your past customers with Facebook ads

– How to find people that are most similar to your past customers and likely to buy

– Creating a FUNNEL to build your brand and grow your business

– How I use Instagram influencers to get free lifestyle photos and to spread my brand

– Tying your channels together (physical package, website, social media)

SIMPLE NO-WEBSITE

FLASH DEAL ADS

– Create your own “Viral Launch”

– Can be applied to new product launches or old existing listings!

– Use for deep discounts (single-use coupon codes)

EXPORT YOUR AMAZON

CUSTOMER DATA

– ManageByStats software to export customer list

– How to create a custom Facebook audience

– Who is my customer?

– How to find new people who are most similar to your past customers

FUNNELS

– What is a funnel?

– Funnels vs. Shopify (…both?)

– Note: drive traffic to Amazon (build foundation for later)

– Followup funnels (drive from insert card)

– Deal/sale funnels (sharable discount, group code)

– Advantages: collect customer data

– Great for less aggressive discounts, shareable

IG INFLUENCERS

– Facebook/Instagram are the core platforms to focus on

– Leveraging Instagrammers to PRODUCE content for you

– Use on your own social media, website, Amazon listing, etc.

– Help spread your brand

CROSS-CHANNELS

– Revise your insert card as you grow your brand

– Ex. “Follow us on IG for ______”

– Link to Followup Funnel

– Link to Shopify main store

– Stay focused on Amazon as you build out

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