Today, we’re bringing Sarah Baumann on the show to break down how to sell on Amazon as a creative business owner. She’s covering everything from the shipping process to SEO best practices. Hint: The SEO game on Amazon is a bit different from Etsy! So, grab your notebook and listen to get all of the tips you need to set up shop and start reaching new customers on Amazon!
Let’s be friends! Find us on Instagram http://instagram.com/bizbirthdaybash @bizbirthdaybash. For all show notes please visit http://www.bizbirthdaybash.com/podcast
What is the difference between selling on Amazon prime vs. regular Amazon?
So amazon prime, I don’t fulfill. I basically just pack and barcode and ship all of that to an Amazon fulfillment center. And they take all of that in, and then they send it to all their other distribution centers. But they’re handling all the shipping and fulfillment.
For Non prime I have way more products, but we fulfill them and ship them so it doesn’t have the prime you know, two day guarantee or whatever.
Okay, but I can like on when I log into the Amazon back end, it gives me like right now I have like, two sellers fulfilled open orders and nine Amazon fulfilled open orders. So you can have both of those. And it just kind of is like two different systems.
What was it like when you started selling on Amazon Prime?
Yeah, it’s been a big learning curve. But it is so interesting. It’s why I read somewhere that there’s like, a 20% increase in sales if you’re just selling a product like regular Amazon versus amazon prime, which I’m like, I bet it’s like a 70,000% increase, because I feel like when you see the little prime thing on there, you’re like, Oh, very interested. So,I was just really interested in how the process worked. And there is a way that you can do seller fulfilled prime, but I think it’s kind of complicated. You have to qualify and ship all of your things super, super fast. And like, usually, our things probably get to you in like three to four days, but not usually, they’re like, well ship it out in two days, for sure. But getting doing due days is like that’s a high bar to clear.
Yeah. So I just kind of started looking at the process, like I guess it was March or April. So basically, it’s the same process that I’m using for all my other products. So you do art prints, you know, but it’s like the art print in the cellophane sleeve with the backing board. And then for Amazon, they need all of their products bar coded, which I was really nervous about because it can be super expensive to get like the like UPC Universal Product Code our thing. So I was kind of like, we’re not sure I want to do that. But then I found out that if you’re just selling it, like shipping it directly to Amazon, just using Amazon, you can just like as you’re prepping your shipment to ship out, you can just click like print off all my barcodes and then you can buy on Amazon Prime, like oh my gosh, size. It’s like perfect for Amazon fulfillment. It’s just a big cycle of buying Amazon things. So I literally just like put them in my printer, print off all of those barcodes specific to the product. And I just barcode the product. And that’s the only difference in like, how I prep Amazon products versus how I prep regular products.
When you’re sending products to the Amazon fulfillment center, is there a minimum amount you have to send over?
Weirdly, it’s kind of the opposite, where like, sometimes they’ll be like, you can’t ship more than 30 I think they’re dealing with a lot of like incoming product. And so they try to kind of like bottleneck, the number that can come in. Like, oh, I have 100 ready to ship and they’re like, you can only ship 65 and I’m like. So it’s funny, like I and I really started out by shipping them like 12 of like my Charlson print, which is my most popular one. And then that like sold out, so I was like, Okay, great. How many do you want? So, yeah, there’s really no minimum.
How do you go about getting the barcodes from Amazon? Or do you just print them off at home?
So when you have your like Amazon back and when you want to ship new products you just do there’s like a little button that’s like preparing a new shipment. And then you select like the product and then you type in the quantity. And then you’re like okay, go next screen and then there’s literally just a button at the bottom that’s like print your barcode, I guess you have to choose providing the barcodes kind of like they totally produce them and like good put it on like an eight and a half by 11 sheet that’s like ready to be printed. And there are also some options within that that I haven’t personally explored. But you can do either the merchant preps the product or Amazon preps the product. And I always do merchant prep for the product so like when I’m shipping it to them it is like ready to ship out immediately. Which makes it cheaper and faster. But like if you’re shipping glass you can have Amazon wrap it up or if you’re shipping a T shirt you can on Amazon folded or if you’re shipping whatever like batteries with metal in them then they have to do funky stuff. But I’m not doing any of that and my stuff is already going prepackaged. So that makes it Yeah, just cheaper and easier and faster. But so then when I say like merchant preps it I’m literally prepping it completely with the barcode and so you can have them barcode it, but I don’t know how much it costs. I know it costs something per price.
What are the costs involved for you to be selling through Amazon Prime fulfillment rather than just like you fulfilling the product yourself?
Okay, so baseline any product that I’m selling on Amazon for which is like, it varies depending on the categories. So like, I don’t know what the percentage is for women’s clothing or tech products, wherever, wherever my stuff like art home gift products, there’s a 15% referral fee on any product. So if I’m selling it and shipping it myself, where it’s not FBA, FBA just means Fulfillment by Amazon. So if it’s not FBA, so not prime or if it is FBA and prime, there’s regardless going to be that 15% baseline fee. And then there’s like a, basically generally a $2 50 cent FBA Fulfillment by Amazon fee. So that’s like them, storing it, picking it, packing it, shipping it, all of that stuff. So like, if I’m selling a $20 art print, if I’m shipping it myself, there’s gonna be a $3 fee, because that’s 15%. Or if I’m selling it, like prime, there’ll be 550. And the fee is because it’s the $3 referral fee, same as the other one and also the 250 on top of that.
What does that SEO look like on Amazon? Do you have tips on that?
I mean, it kind of looks the same as Etsy, there’s a higher limit, like I think on Etsy, you can only use what is like 15 keywords or whatever. And on Amazon quite a few more. But there’s just like, when you’re building a listing, there’s like a space for keywords. And there’s Platinum keywords that you can pay for. Ooh, which I haven’t done yet. But I’m also interested in just like, Amazon advertising is a really big thing that I don’t know enough about, but want to that’s a goal. But yeah, you just kind of type in keywords the same way. What’s really interesting is Jungle Scout. Have you heard about Jungle Scout?
No, but it sounds fun.
Okay, so it is like, kind of an Amazon analytics, like software program, there’s a website version and like a plug in version that like literally will just like go through Amazon like you can google something on Amazon and it’ll pull up like a bunch of stats for every single product you’re looking at. But it’s like a lot of information and very crazy. But you can do a lot of keyword research there. And so it was super interesting. Like I have always used art print as like one of my like, you know, in my product listing like Charleston art print or Charleston, whatever. And when I looked into the like back end of that it was like 40,000 people have searched for the Word Art print in the last 30 days and then it was like 400,000 people have searched for room decor it was just like they’re kind of different words that I feel like non art general public people are using a little bit more than like we are in like the artist community kind of Yeah, and so they’ll like kind of tie those together and like I don’t know you can just look for certain keywords and I’ll show you a lot of related keywords and then like how successful those are. So that has been super super helpful for me.
Now I think I screwed up then on my Amazon listing because I was like oh, I need to keep it nice and neat because you know like your website and keep your titles nice and clean and easy. It’s kind of like a free for all like you said but Amazon seems even more like a free for all because Etsy characters max out really quick like you couldn’t type in Bachelorette wedding Charleston and like every keyword in the world.
Do you find that customers who find you through Amazon end up coming and connecting with you on Instagram or on your website? Do they tend to become lifelong customers?
So the tough thing is that if I get a customer on Amazon I get like almost no information about them like I have your first name and that’s literally it I don’t get an email I don’t get like anything and they have all of these things about like how I get their phone number like for shipping but like we’re not allowed to use their phone number for anything else. So like as far as my marketing stuff, I don’t get to put them into my email list or anything like that which is definitely a bummer. But then also like I’ll do little inserts and stuff like that on the orders that we’re shipping and putting always put like a business card in the products that like I’m packaging up to ship to Amazon so like I feel like I’m doing what I can but it’s definitely a different kind of thing and like I don’t know if I’ve really felt like you know, I’m like people are like reaching out and Instagram like I found you an Amazon like and that’s like the expected like, if you buy a thing on Amazon I don’t know people really connect it with like a human person.
It’s definitely not like getting like fan friend Instagram besties forever like in the same way that other things that I do are but it’s also just the foot traffic on there the trap like it’s just so powerful. It’s like I don’t know this point. I’m like I’m in. I’m on Team Amazon.
I was talking to my mom the other day and I was just like,I love this like stream of sales and like books and everything else but like I’m not able to convert them into like, Bachelor Instagram best friend, good news calendar type people because they’re, like, totally siphoned off on this, like Amazon stream. And also I was thinking that I didn’t really have a way to incentivize these customers to leave a review on Amazon which is so important.
And so my mom was like, why don’t you put a page in the front of your, like Amazon shipped coloring books that says like, hey, if you leave me a review, and DM me about it all, you know, do whatever. And like, also follow me. That’s true. And also I’m Sarah and like this just the whole thing and like the very front when they open it. And I was like, that’s
What are your biggest tips for someone who is just getting started with Amazon?
I would honestly make a Jungle Scout account. It’s like a pay per month thing and they have a few different pricing tiers if you want the plugin or whatever. But like I don’t even know if you would need it forever. But I would just get on there and do your research. Maybe make a spreadsheet of like what you’re learning and finding and just keep that in mind because it’s just like so. Like those numbers that I sent you, I mean, it’s just so mind boggling to understand what people are searching for.
And like, just the sheer volume of people that are shopping on Amazon is so wild that it really makes sense to put in the work and figure out what they’re searching for and what they’re wanting, I would probably look into prime first, I feel like that you can’t go wrong. And it’s like, it’s a little more like front end work with like the barcoding, but then it’s really hands off.
And I would say if you’re shipping yourself, just like be super sure that you’re shipping everything in the timeframe that you promised. Because Amazon is very much like, okay, you have 47 hours left to ship this, like they’re just not messing around. And a couple times, like I’ve had like one or two orders ship late,it’s like 14% of your last orders have shipped late and like that you have to be under them they will allow 4% of your orders to ship late for the last like 30 day period. But if you’re over that they can like deactivate your account. So I would say take shipping seriously. ship and use it in it and get Jungle Scout.