85. 7-Figure Amazon Strategies Working Right Now w/ Owais Amin

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The Brand Builder Show
85. 7-Figure Amazon Strategies Working Right Now w/ Owais Amin
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In this week’s episode of the Brand Builder Show, we’re joined by Owais Amin.

Owais is the founder of Upscale Valley, a successful Amazon agency working with 50+ clients. 

In the episode, he shares the latest strategies that are working for his top-performing clients…

Including a super-smart launch strategy you’ve probably never considered!

Enjoy!

Episode Links

Additional Resources

Talking Points

  • 00:00 – Introduction to Guest: Owais Amin
  • 00:56 – Owais Amin’s Background
  • 05:21 – Exploring Product Research and Launch Strategies
  • 11:49 – Levels of Product Differentiation
  • 17:16 – Product Launch Strategy
  • 23:29 – Maximizing Ranking Through Keyword Optimization
  • 26:45 – Navigating Pricing Strategies
  • 34:26 – Changes in Amazon Review
  • 36:05 – Insights into Product Design and Development
  • 42:47 – Predictions for the Next 12 to 24 Months in the Amazon Industry and How to Prepare for Success
  • 48:20 – Connect with Owais Amin and Upscale Valley
Ben Donovan  00:00
Hi, folks, welcome back to another episode of The Brand Builder Show. And today we’re going to be talking about how to succeed on Amazon. It’s going to be a great episode full of great information for you. So do check it out to the end. To talk through these topics, we’ve got a new guest on the show. Owais, thank you for coming on the show today. Appreciate you taking time out.

Owais Amin  00:18
Thank you for having me, man. Thank you so much.

Ben Donovan  00:20
Now, I’m excited to dive into it. I’ve had a little look at your background. And it looks like you’re doing some some fun, exciting things. And I know that our audience is going to get a lot out of the conversation today. So we’re going to talk about product research, we’re going to talk about launching products, Amazon SEO, PPC, all that good stuff that people want to know about succeeding on Amazon platform in a changing environment that we are facing today. So yeah, looking forward to that, but to before we do that, give us a bit of information about yourself, tell the audience who you are, what you do, and then we’ll dive into some questions.

Owais Amin  00:56
So yes, starting with the name, I’m Owais Amin. I’m CEO of Upscale Valley, a full service Amazon agency. So I jumped into the Amazon world in 2018. There was a lot of hype here in Pakistan regarding Amazon. And that was the time when I jumped in. So before that, if we talk about the background, I’ve done MBBS, which is you can see equivalent to MD In the USA, like doctor. So after that, I was more into the E-commerce, the online world, checking out the startup side and all those things. And somehow, the Amazon world was easy to understand, it intrigued me. And once I started looking towards it, I could not look back again. So started Amazon in 2018, then founded my own agency at that time I launched two of my products. Then in the end of 2019. I founded Upscale Valley, the full service agency, and up till now, I have been managing around you can say like right now I’m managing around more than 50 clients. And we are not a PPC specific agency. When it comes to our service, it includes while you can say brand expansion, the launching part the catalog issues, the PPC and all that thing, what it takes to become a full service Amazon agency. So that’s what it is.

Ben Donovan  02:12
Yeah, nice, man. Nice. There’s a big and growing and strong Amazon Seller community and Pakistan isn’t a very strong restaurant. What do you think? What is it about Amazon selling on Amazon that’s made that happen? Because you I mean, is one of the locations where you hear all the time about such a growing strength of Amazon sellers? And what is it about Pakistan? What is it about the culture? About the opportunities? Is there anything there or it just became popular because lots of people were doing it?

Owais Amin  02:40
No, there is contribution of culture. Somehow, we don’t experience it in any other field. But in Amazon, it was a culture. If someone is doing Amazon, he would probably invite other people to share what he’s doing, how he’s earning money and all that what, and then again, with the Amazon, it’s kind of the local marketplace there are there is not as big as Amazon is. So we cracked down the methods like you can make the company by shooting it in Pakistan or USA LLC. You can do that for UK, the ease of doing business and all that part. And then again, the dollar is, what the economy is in USD, which is the gold standard kind of stuff. And then again, the market size is pretty big, almost if everyone is jumping into the business skill, they are going to make a good amount of money. The E-commerce world, like it gives you the remote option facility and not a job stuff like you can start with the service and and then you can always turn into a business owner and entrepreneur. Well, if you’re doing remote job in the software world, you have to either go big to open your software house, otherwise you’re doing job. So these were kind of stuff which interested people. And then again, there was some like a good part in Pakistan, you can say around 60 to 70% population is less than 35 years of age. So there’s a pretty much good decent number of youngsters in Pakistan. So people were looking some options and this online wave kind of hit us very good manner. And yeah, everyone is kind of jumping into not only Amazon but then again Amazon is a decent chunk of where the youth is becoming industry towards.

Ben Donovan  04:17
Yeah, definitely. Awesome, man. Well, congrats on your success so far. And I’m sure that will only continue and grow. Managing 50 clients on Amazon, 50 plus clients, and I’m sure lots more in the past as well, then you would have definitely picked up a lot of best practices, mistakes people are making. So it would be good to talk about what’s what’s working right now because it’s easy for someone who had success a few years ago to give insight on what, you know, general principles that work for someone who’s on the cutting edge of operations right now, obviously has a lot of insight to what’s working right now. And selling on Amazon, of course has changed over recent years. But it is something that’s still has a lot of opportunity if you do it in the right way. And as we’ve talked about that, that starts with product research, doesn’t it? So can you talk to us a bit about your process your methodology, when working with clients that want to expand their product range, or even brand new clients? They want to launch new products? What is your thought process methodology for that research phase?

Owais Amin  05:21
Yeah, sure. So when we get to the product research part, we all have seen that you can see the ever changing time. Apologies for that you can see the time in which things or methodologies of launch have been updated. Like in 2017 18, that was the time of coupon jumps and zon jump, such kind of thing. Then there were giveaways time era, like many chat, and you’re giving coupons etc, crazy. Then in 2020s, in the COVID, time period, there was a PPC time Amazon was giving more reward if you’re utilizing PPC at its full capacity. And then after that, this is kind of post COVID era where in some products, PPC is super competitive. And you can’t imagine that you are in the USA market in a big depth product. You are playing with PPC for a low price product and just going to work. So things have changed in this latest thing. In the last you can say one and a half year, the change has not been regarding the launching perspective, the change has been regarding the product selection. And it’s the design development perspective, that is something unique, like if you check out from 2018, they were, the product, what you’re supposed to do is check out the design of bestseller. Find that on Alibaba, make a replica and launch it on Amazon. But then again, the launching methodologies were changing from coupons from full giveaways to PPC. Right now, people like everyone is using the mixture of all these launching strategies. But what has changed is not the launch strategy. But the product research criteria, the product selection criteria, which design you want to go with, and what should be the value addition. So in this one and a half, last one and a half years, the importance of selecting a product has become significantly higher as compared to the earlier years. Right now, if you see all of the people in their masterminds, like what they are teaching is how you can differentiate your product. And what used to be considered as a risky approach before like coming up with a new design and all is becoming a mainstream right now. So having set up this kind of background, let’s talk about what is like this is kind of a glimpse of what has been changed or what has been the pattern of changing. So having this and the background, let’s discuss about the other product research methodologies. Usually what we do is if you see, YouTube, the stuff from a many people is kind of all over the YouTube that you should find a product with a box size, the price should be somewhere between 15 to 25, something like that. So what usually works for me is some against all these guidelines, against all these instructions. 

Owais Amin  08:11
So what I usually do is like for some of our clients, we do hunt the products like if someone has come with come to us, and they are doing maybe 20 or 30 products, and they want to set up their brand expansion like they want to plan around 10 to 15 to 20 launches per year. So we plan that out for them, we suggest them products, which support their brand values and all that. So in this approach, what we do is we set up the price point, like something above $50 works awesome. The minimum minimum criteria is $30. The reason is the competitiveness of PPC. You may find some products with lower price on which you’re going to get a one click in for five or maybe $6. So one thing at the point. Second thing is we try to find products either in which we can do improvement, like any kind of design development opportunity. For example, let me give you two examples, letter envelope or you can see craft back papers. All over the page, you’re going to see same thing, like the only difference is going to be pack of 20, pack of 50, pack of 80 there, that’s going to be the only difference. There’s no value addition component. On the other hand, maybe some kind of the mats for dogs or maybe anything related to pets, maybe anything related to gym, any such kind of stuff. There is an opportunity for design development, there are multiple designs selling for the same keyword. So you have the margin to come up with the with the improved design. And now with the help of AI, the ease of crafting new design, it’s becoming easier day by day. So this is the second thing. The third thing which we’ll pick up is the market depth should be pretty good because things do fluctuate time over time. Another thing which which I usually observe of what new sellers do mistake is, products do have a fluctuating revenue, they don’t have a consistent revenue all over the year. If I kind of rephrase this part it is, let’s say your product picks up some hype in Q4, and in first, second and third quarter of the year it’s making, let’s say, on average around 15 to 20,000. And in Q4, it makes 50,000. So what people do is they are doing research in the Q4, they assume this 50,000 revenue is going to stay there. And they planned the inventory and all that part accordingly. And once they land into Q1 or Q2, they get you realize, “Oh, man, it was 50% of the revenue, which is on Q4”, so that that kind of jeopardize all of their calculation. So we tried to find out some products in which there is resistance or there is a gap. Or maybe it’s not easier to launch for anyone. Because if it’s easier, then what’s happening in the Amazon market is the Chinese sellers are going to come up with cheaper, cheaper or more competitive price. And it would be very hard for you to compete them only on the basis of price. So you need to come up with some kind of design development, you need to come up. We also do check out the conversion from the Amazon Seller Central part. And then we check out the suggested bids and figure out what’s going to be my cost per order acquisition through PPC. And then after all this, working all this, the depth of the keyword and all that what, this is, I believe, what makes a reliable recipe for launching the product in this time, country, industry. It’s not same, what’s being commonly spread on the YouTube right now.

Ben Donovan  11:41
Yeah, yeah, there’s lots of information you give there. And obviously, a lot of research you’re doing by the sounds of it. One of the things I think we all agreed on is the you need to differentiate. If you don’t stand out, then you won’t make sales, right? But the question I often get from our community is, well, how much is too much differentiation, right? Because I always say the you don’t want to invent a product, you want to improve a product. You don’t want to try and manufacture demand, you want to capture that existing demand with a new and improved product. But it’s a common question is, well, how much is too much differentiation? Because you might be worried that you’re going to completely change the product and then not satisfy the search intent of the user. Do you have any feelings on that? Is that a non issue? How do you feel about it?

Owais Amin  12:31
Yeah, that’s, that’s something pretty important. But I usually great that element of differentiation is into, into three levels. The first level is, some people consider differentiation is let’s say, a market is selling pack of 20 balloon, so they come up with a pack of 50 pack of 10. And they believe it’s the differentiation, it’s not. Some people consider that, okay, the whole market is doing pack of 20, let me come up with pack of 10. So I’ll be better offering in terms of price. And that’s not a differentiation. So anything, which your competitors can replicate in less than six months, I don’t consider that actually as a differentiation because you know, you have just launched and people are observing, okay, this guy is picking up traction, but they need to do is they need to contact back their supplier and ask them, okay, from this time, give me a variation as well. Like, right now, if I’m purchasing pack of 20, give me a pack of 10 variation as well. So it’s pretty easy to conquer that part. And then again, on the second level, there are some differentiations, which may require time, like you can say more than six to eight months to replicate from your competitor site. For example, we see stress ball in the form of train, maybe. And it’s being sold on Amazon in a valuable manner. But then again, if you come up with a new mold, let’s say in the shape of car, or maybe in the shape of plane, and that is again, the same stress ball, and we check it from PickFu and people are appreciating this design then okay, this is something, you’re coming up with a different design. It’s serving the purpose, but the design is different. Or the other point is you combine the trends in the market with your product, for example. Then again, I can give you all these examples in a spy staying in the within the stress ball sphere. So in 2017, or 2018, people used to sell simple stress ball, like stress ball is for if you’re stressed or your office worker or something like that, or lead what now stress ball is also used for the fidgeting activities. So if someone has the habit of scribbling or maybe fidgeting, or maybe moving their finger, tapping their finger to the table, so it can also be used for that car. So a smart play, which a seller did was he combined the fidget spinner or you can say sorry, not the fidget spinner with the puppet You, you must have observed the sensation of the puppet on Amazon. So he combined the puppet part with the stress ball. Now it’s again serving the purpose. But then again, with an additional benefit, like, okay, it’s also you can say supporting that same fidgeting habit, that same value, like people are popping the stress bowl, and they can also squeeze it. So it’s serving the both kind of purpose. So these are some kind of changes, which require more than five to six months to copy or to replicate. This is something I believe then the third stage, which you are telling is like people all together change a product, and you are not able to, like they forget that whatever differentiation they do, that should support or that should help people to cater their pain point in a better way, like people buy the product, either for the purpose of, to cater their pain, or for pleasure. So that differentiation should support people to cater their pain point or to gain the player in a better way. If it’s not serving the purpose. That is a wastage. So I got a client when there was a product, I’m not completely sure about the name, but it was something like tobacco crush or something like that anything like there was a round box. And they used to put something in this and you could not run PPC on that product. So the usual market price was a $40. He came up with a product of $300. And the main image was saying well, and I asked him, he said, “Okay, Owais, it’s not selling, I want you to find a solution for me”. I said, “Okay, what is your differentiation?” He said, I have a patented machinery, ABCD, etc, such kind of stuff inside the box. But people were not able to observe or to appreciate that differentiation through the main image, and it could not sell well. So in the world of E-commerce, it’s not only you need a differentiation, your differentiation must also have that feature, that it can be understood very clearly through the main image. If it’s not happening, then you’re not going to get the desired result. You may get the desired result in retail world. People can feel and touch and have a detailed look of the product. But in the E-commerce, if you cannot explain your differentiation through your main image, it’s not going to work. So yeah.

Ben Donovan  17:16
Yeah, this is good. Now that’s good. And that brings us on to the next sort of phase really, which is launching that product. You talked about the importance of having the right imagery, getting your listing down, what are the strategies that you’re using? So let’s take a typical client of yours, they’ve got a range of products, they’re about to launch a new one, what are what are the things that are working for you right now to get that ranked well in search results. 

Owais Amin  17:42
So what we usually do is, once we approve a product, that this is something which we want to sell, we make a plan for this product. And when I say plan, it means we note down the risk register and the gaps or opportunities, like these are the risks for this product, for example, the CPC is going to be competitive, or maybe this product has this feature. So the return rate may be going to be higher. And we can check out this from customer insight data and the seller central what. And then again, maybe this product has inclination like the that the customers are going to fall more for the high review sellers. So these are some kinds of rules. And we also tried to identify gaps for the gap. I really appreciate the definition which Mike Beckham, the co owner or co founder of simply modern, he had given that in a podcast and I really appreciate that he was saying every brand has some of their strength. So try to figure out what are the strength and strength cannot let let’s say, if there are five features to play, or there are five areas to play, no one can have the strength in all five areas. So they’re going to super specify themselves, or they’re going to have the strength in one to feature. So check out what are the features they are missing. And that is going to be your strength power. So I find that very valuable. And I guess he labeled these as the white patches. So we identify these parts as well. And then again, there is as well. So at the time of approving a product, we have the clarity what is going to be the launch strategy. So first thing which I want to communicate to the audience is there is no one simple strategy. Surely people do share the blueprint, like okay, I’m going to target exact measurement, tail keyword and then low title density and all that. But the launch strategy starts right from the time when you are approving a product, because the first stage for launch is how you’re going to differentiate your product in terms of design product offer, because that replicates in the form of conversion. And a higher conversion means lower cost, product position and higher rank, some more organic orders and more probability to get ranked. So starting from that part, we do check out and then again, we also do practice how we can play with the [inaudible] here, like playing with the weight, or maybe any such kind of dimensional part if there is a margin in this product, so we can come up with a better pricing. So after that once we go to the launch date, let me share with you an interesting thing, which I do is, if we check out the Amazon research papers, where Amazon, like the data scientist at the Amazon, what they share, they usually highlight that there are three factors – clicks, add to cart, and orders, this is what define the ranking. So these are the only factors then again, the conversion, the click through rate do contribute. But those are derivatives of these three factors, like the conversion is derivative of click and then again accordingly. So, according to Amazon research paper, which is published with the said, there are three, these three factors. Now, we both know that no one gets order beyond first page, like all the orders are on the first page, you don’t get order on second, third, fourth page for the majority of the products. But then again, there must be a mechanism to define why a product is ranked on the top of second page. And while the product is on maybe 10th page, 12th page, there must be a factor. If out of these three factors, add to cart order click, orders is excluded, then what is left, clicks definitely at the first point and only after click, it’s possible to entertain the metric of add to cart. So the clicks do define your ranking from 10th, 20th at the time of launch, or maybe whatsoever, page till the top of second page. And then once you get to that position, the order factor starts playing into. So a smart thing which we do is in the very beginning, you know the clicks of Amazon PPC are expensive. And the clicks of Google are cheaper. But then again, in Amazon, maybe you’re getting one click in $3. And you’re getting one order after every five clicks. But in Google, maybe you’re getting one click and 40 cents, and you’re getting order and maybe 5060 clicks because the conversion or the audience is a bit broader level not high intent conversion and all that quad. Conversion does not matter regarding the in the initial stage till the top of second page. So what we do is we go aggressive like we do start exact match, PPC in the mid tail keyword and all that part of the main keyword for the indexing purposes, but at a limited budget. And at the same time in the first 70 days, we go aggressive with the Google PPC like search ads, Google search ads with this logic, which I’ve just shared with you. So we keep an eye on the keyword ranking and those clicks are pretty cheaper. So if you are going to achieve your rank or 10 second page with Google PPC, maybe in $3,000, you can achieve that in 33 or 40% of the same budget if you go with the Google ads. So we go with the Google ad and just check out if our key keyword is not getting click, then we increase the bid. If it’s getting click and the budget is consumed and we keep on increasing the budget. So that is something which easily pushes our product to the bottom of first page or maybe top of second page. Once it gets that done, we stop the Google ads and then we shift towards the PPC part. And in PPC, then again all that strategy, like I what I usually do is we figured out the design specific keyword. 

Owais Amin  23:29
So I basically categorize the keywords into four levels. First is the main keywords like for example stress ball for stressball. And the second layer keyword is your design specific you but if your product is squishy stress ball, then you’re only like the keyword squishy that is super specific to your product. And for stress ball which is for the office workers and which is not squishy, which has some motivational quotation on that, that that product is not going to rank for your for your keyword. So for squishy keyword, you limit the competition, because you are only going to be competed with the with the products which have the squishy element in them. So we specify those kinds of keywords, we figured out their search volume specifically. And we go aggressive in the beginning with these keywords and then again, one keyword per campaign exact match all that strategy among these keywords we try to figure out if we can find any keyword with low title density, with low with any proof of less review, people are getting ranked on the top and through that we keep on expanding with that. Like for me, ranking is the best optimization tool. And that’s the reason I start from the design level. So if with all the effort of design, etc. And all these strategies if you get ranked your your advertising cost is really going to get slashed down into half once you achieve the 50% Organic quarter. And then after that I go aggressive into the into the net of auto campaign and broad campaign and the responsive brand sponsor display. But before that, I keep super focus on the ranking part. Because if this is happening, then only then I’m going to utilize the full potential of Amazon platform. So somehow this is something which I do usually.

Ben Donovan  25:19
Yeah, no, that’s good. I mean, it sounds pretty much identical to a launch the product sort of six, eight weeks ago and did very similar to that and had really good results with it. And I think that, that’s pretty much the playbook right now, isn’t it? So that’s, that’s good, you keep coming back to the idea of that initial product development, making sure the product design stands out is something that’s got some unique features. And I just Yeah, I want to just echo that for our audience. Because a lot of new sellers that I talked to, they will be worried about spending and investing in a product, whether that’s investing in their listing, investing in a mold to create a new type of products, investing in like a really good packaging design that can make demand and main image stand out, you know, they will hesitate about investing in a product upfront, because they want to see some sales first, there are still some people that say, well test a product on Amazon, and if it does, well then invest in it. Um, the other way, I think, do your research, understand the data, invest in it upfront, because as you said, the result of that is a better launch, more organic placement, lower cost per acquisition, you know, all of the benefits stacks when you are willing to invest upfront. So I think that I’m glad that you’ve highlighted that, because I think it’s important.

Owais Amin  26:36
Yeah, exactly. So we can talk more on the design part, if you want to like.

Ben Donovan  26:42
Yeah, I mean, if you’ve got any other kind of tips, I think the one thing I did want to just ask you about the launch strategy is just the pricing aspects, how aggressive you are going with that? Is it based on the product and the market? Or are you just saying, Well, we’re just going to launch at 50% of our target price every time? Do you have a strategy there.

Owais Amin  27:01
So let me share two smart strategies. First, for the price point and second, for the review. So what we do is usually we love the products with variations. We love those, like all those products, which have variation, that those are my favorite preferential products. So what we do is, for example, for example, you can say set of balloon or the balloon backs, panco balloon, that can mean blue color, yellow, green, white, and assorted in which there are a mixture of colors. So what I usually do is I test the quality, because we go with the design development part and all that factor, test the quality of the product in dollars. I push my supplier to arrange a small batch of inventory earlier, around 50 units of each variation. And I asked them to make a parcel, get it ready. And if it is possible to ship it through air, I ship it through air, otherwise by ocean. So once those variations get available on Amazon, I don’t run the launching strategy on those variations. I enroll them into the Vine program separately. And in the Vine program, if the quality is good, I’m going to get around 30 reviews, like in a good rating like more than 4.3 4.4 is kind of fine with us. And then again, it’s going to validate the quality of the product, it’s going to validate if the FBA, if I’ve done the product development. Is there any mistake in the product weight, which is pushing it towards the next FBA feet here, or maybe in that dimensions of this product, any kind of issue, so that kind of checks out this part. And then again, I get around 30 reviews, if everything goes fine, otherwise, if product has not that much good demand, then maybe 20, 25 reviews. Then I combine all those variations, and it makes around 120, 30, or maybe 150 reviews all together. So I keep these listings as such, and once my main load of bulk inventory is ready. I know I sent those to Amazon and put all these as a variation. Now I get the the views of the old auto stock variations and the honeymoon period of the new variation. And I’m starting with the you can say the number of good number of reviews. So the early effort it takes to build up the traction I kind of catered that part. And then with this part we go, definitely the launch to the pricing strategy with majority people follow. I keep the pricing same or maybe a bit higher. But then again, I have that 20 ,30% discount coupon so I try for doing two things. Because this is something which have an impact on your CTR. And CTR is the king, like CTR has a good impact if you if you have asserted your CTR which is better than competitors then you are directing more traffic towards your listing So, I try to do to two things. First is the strike through price, like try to keep it higher, and then after maybe 20, 30 orders, and then I try to decrease the price and try to get the strike through price. And then after that, once I settled down the strike through price, which is equal to what the main players in the market are doing, then because definitely our product is in the initial stages, we need to offer some better pricing and all that part on that strike through, I tried to put the discount coupon like for 20, 30%. And then gradually, once my product starts ranking, I keep on decreasing the discount coupon and eventually making it to zero. And getting back to my full price. It usually like my observation is, these days, if you’re doing a good competitive product from which you’re expecting to generate maybe 10 to 20,000 profit once it gets stable. My observation is, usually it’s it’s getting profitable, in four to six months after you launch it. Like first three months, I believe, if you’re going purely with PPC and no giveaway strategy or any doors, why a Blackhat stuff, if you’re avoiding all this part, then the usual parameter, which I have observed is it’s going to take four to six months. So it till the fourth month, you can say I go with the price or discount coupon part. And from the four to six months, I go for optimization stuff, like once the product is rank, Let’s optimize the pricing, get back to normal, optimize the average order value, if possible. And then again, like tried to do optimize your PPC and all that part and check and try to achieve the profitability in the last two months. So this is how usually I’m doing right now.

Ben Donovan  31:42
Yeah, yeah, that was gonna be my next question for you is how long do you normally tell clients, you know, it will be until there’s profit, because there’s lots of advertising and discounts and that kind of thing that we’ve talked about. But that’s good and healthy to know, again, similar to what we talked about in that sort of four to six month range, to get the profitability, but worth it. Because once you get to that point, then you’ve got all of that organic ranking that then is gonna be, you know, obviously, you have to maintain and keep an eye on things. But that’s a really good sort of base to work from there. So it’s good. Exactly. Yeah, no, that’s really good. And then in terms of the once you have launched, you start to establish how many products are you trying to launch at the same time? Is it just a budget question? Or are you just trying to get a by the way, before you do so that that little tip there in case anybody did miss it, I just wanted to reiterate, I forgot, because that’s a genius tip that is to use variations to get your reviews, but then don’t use them for the launch? Yeah, that’s smart. Because you, obviously you don’t get the honeymoon period, if you just send a few of them over, and then run out of stock. But if you send a new variation, that wouldn’t have had any reviews. But it can use the reviews of the other variations. That’s really smart. So like an example of that would be your stress ball, you send like a normal, you send a plane, a car and a train stress ball, get 30 reviews on each of them. You’ve got 90 reviews on that listing, but then you send a football stressful as part of the same listing is a variation of that same listing, it’s got no history itself. So it’s got a honeymoon period. But it starts right out of the gate with 90 reviews because of those other variations as a smart man. Exactly. Exactly. I mean, you only my only worry with that would be what if Amazon changed the variations set up, but it doesn’t affect you using it right now. And if it did, then you’d have to change strategy. But yeah,

Owais Amin  33:44
We do our checkout, if in the category in which we are going to jump in are all variations showing same number of reviews, or variations or showing different number of reviews, because if they’re going to show same, then most likely our review number is going to get combined as well. But there are some categories where it does not work. And each of your variation will show their own reviews, it won’t combine. So in those cases, definitely we won’t be able to entertain. But then again, you can’t apply everything on anything. So yeah. So that’s how it is. But it really helps to shrink your launch budget, that Google Ad strategy and this Vine review strategy.

Ben Donovan  34:26
Yeah, that’s very clever. What do you suggest for our sorry, what do you make of the review changes that Amazon have made, you know, the display of the review count, and they seem to have changed a few times, showing the review count and then not showing it and then showing it in a simplified form. 

Owais Amin  34:45
Amazon is testing it, I guess. You see in some categories that’s showing only rating, and then reviews are shown on the PDB and then in some categories, you see reviews outside so I’m just kind of, for me are definitely it looks like an advantage for the newcomers. If it’s only, if Amazon finally take the decision, like right now it’s shuffling and it’s testing. It’s not confirmed, I believe. But then again, if Amazon confirmed regarding the rating part only, then if I see from the perspective of a new seller, I would definitely see it as an advantage. But if I, if I see from from the status, like my listing is stable and top ranked in the category, then I see kind of a little threat as well, because review mode is is one of the coolest thing. Like you have higher number of reviews, you settle down, only a person with better design can outcompete you. Otherwise, if someone is going to replicate your design in price, he’s going to be the second worst best. He’s never going to be the top player in your particular design category. So I see I have a mixed feeling Honestly speaking, depending upon from which position I’m observing this part. Yes, and that’s how it’s working. Regarding. So sorry, for interrupting. 

Owais Amin  36:04
Regarding the design part, you had a very smart discussion, like when you said, for the new sellers, they have a concern, like how to check out the design part. So I also do a smart, smart thing here. People do analysis of the whole product, like let’s say, let’s again, take the example of stress balll when when it says ball, what to do is the checkout all of the market depth and how people are like, what revenue they’re making against what number of reviews and all that part. And I believe if you make a poll and ask the new sellers, what was the common mistake they did in their first three to five launches, everyone would definitely mention wrong design selection part it is that common. But then again, it is that much unheard of people don’t talk about that much. So like I usually get queries from any any, any anyone from the audience or maybe anyone from the LinkedIn connection or maybe YouTube follower. So they do discuss their case majority of the time, the major issue is wrong price point or wrong design. So what I usually do is I break down the market on the basis of designs, for example, there is a stress ball for carpal tunnel syndrome, like people use that stress ball if they had a surgery or maybe an injury. And they had to, you know, nowadays their muscles are weakened and they want to strengthen it. So this is one there’s a stress ball with motivational courts for office workers who get under stress and they want a motivational quotation like you can make it and all this kind of stuff. There’s a stress ball of squishy like you must have seen on the YouTube or Tik Tok or Instagram. So, that is squishy once you squeeze it, the little bubbles burst out. So then again there are four on the fourth number there are stress balls with with the puppet feature, then again on the sixth number there are stress balls with with the with the you can say different designs like train, car, etc. So the new seller, if we are talking from the perspective of someone who had just started on Amazon, they take this category as something complex. And they try to go to offer a product which is pretty simple. Like everyone on the page is selling same design, for example, lemon squeezer, for example. Anything anything like like any stick maybe or any any kind such kind of stuff, which is plain like craft paper again, but they don’t realize that this thing is pretty hardware because the market purchase behavior starts getting inclined, or starts becoming more dependent on the number of reviews because there’s no variation in the form of design. So people would only be attracted, okay, if everyone is selling the same thing, then let’s go with the person with more credibility and then make it tougher for themselves like it becomes more tough. If they see towards this side where there are multiple designs and they segregate the market based upon design and when we say segregate the parameter should be what is the revenue of one design. Let’s say in design, there are 12 sellers, and everyone has this number of reviews and this much revenue and the total revenue is this. Then again same for Design B same for design C same for design D and you analyze if there is any design in let’s see if any there’s any seller in design a who is doing good with less number of reviews. Okay, or if there’s any design who’s less dominated by Amazon or maybe any other brand. So among those four designs you segregate those based upon review revenue and number of sellers and total depth of design. And you will surely find some unique opportunities because people don’t step down to this level of depth. And once you check out okay, this is a design there are seven, eight sellers, there’s a good number, they’re making decent money. And even there is a precedent that even people with less number of reviews or, like, let’s say, people with 3, 400 reviews are making good money. Because what new sellers don’t realize is if some, if you see that only sellers with 1000 Plus Reviews are making money then to make to achieve 1000 views with 2%. If you’ve lost three, you may need to sell 50,000 units. So it makes pretty damn harder. And you may start getting traction or organic odor after maybe two years or one year. So that’s a longer time period. You need to find some examples where low reviews sellers are making money because that would shorter your time to achieve the organic quarters or ranking or all that part. So once you cater and there is no design development needed for this part, it’s only smart number breaking nothing else. And that especially for the for the new sellers. So once they break down, they are going to find the opportunity tab that opportunity. And once you get stable in that design, let’s say you want to increase your revenue. If you have launched one product of same design, what you would do is add on the second product, the third product, the fourth product, in this case, usually your supplier is going to have the manufacturing of other designs as well. So what you need to do is you need to start adding more variations, design variations in the market and your start, you’re going to start earning further revenue. Like let’s say, you had launched the Squeezy one, now you’re launching the motivational quotation one, now you’re launching for carpal tunnel syndrome, now you’re launching for maybe puppet. So it’s very easier. And you can increase your revenue by every quarter. If you’re profitable. It’s that easy. Yeah, same supplier, you don’t need to find the supply chain, you don’t need to understand the market numbers, the conversion, the return rate, etc, all these points. So it becomes pretty simple and easier to expand accordingly. So this is something someone who don’t want to invest maybe five, six or $10,000 for the mold. Maybe they can at least do this thing afford their design selection part, I would say that may help them to take a better decision. 

Ben Donovan  42:02
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah, we call that the law of least effort. James clear in the atomic habits book, he talks about how agriculture grew, you know, laterally across the world because of the climate. And it was easier to do that then go north to south. And we try and apply those principles to growing in E-commerce as well do what’s easiest for growth first. And that, like you say, is adding variations, adding, you know, more marketplaces for the same product, because then you get more revenue for less effort and, you know, maximize all those opportunities first, right. Last question for you before we look to close, because coming up on time, is just we’ve talked about a lot of the changes that have and are taking place on Amazon. What do you predict for the next 12 months? 24 months? How does someone just coming into this industry or growing in this industry? How do they prepare to be at the forefront of what’s going to be successful in the next period of time? With Amazon?

Owais Amin  43:02
I believe two things. First thing, what my observation is, I’ve never observed like, definitely, my observation time bet is only like for last five, six years. But that makes a good time period.

Ben Donovan  43:15
It’s a long time on Amazon Yeah.

Owais Amin  43:20
That speed in which new designs are coming into the market that is that has never been observed before. Like usually before. One design used to have a life cycle or or you can see the shelf life or maybe two and a half or three years. But right now, with the ease of product development or maybe with the competitiveness of the advertising part you can take it either way. People are become like this is not something which we are suggesting the audience to do, like come up with a better design. That sounds cool. I believe that has become a necessity. Because if you even if you get stable, your stability is not guaranteed if you don’t keep an eye on what’s coming up the new thing. Like if you’re not having an eye on the new thing, if you’re not having an eye on what’s the new design, which is better than your ones and you’re not timely phasing out you’re like, when recently for around two to three of our clients, what we did is there was a design, which was making a good revenue or decent profit and all that part, but we gradually phased out that design and shifted the same listing towards a new design. Because this was happening the market was getting attracted towards the new design. And we took a timely decision and even if you say you are taking a time to decision and you are a you are making good revenue, it requires you around four to six months to do the transition. You can’t go suddenly out of stock and set up the new inventory so you need a six month time period. So in my observation is the pace with which new designs or new products or new values you can save a new values like that Same but Chinese are providing the same service or the suppliers of anywhere in the world, maybe India, maybe Vietnam, maybe Pakistan, they are providing the same delivery in a cost effective way the same value in a cost effective way, I observed that in the case of booty band, the same product was sold in $28, the same product is now being sold in $9. But the quality it like it works smoothly for four to six months, it does not have an issue. So they are cracking out the code back at the manufacturing level may. And second, maybe getting the pain points in a better way at the third level, maybe coming up with a different design. So the pace of this is getting higher. So you can’t rely on it. Okay, if you have, if you are only the advertising guy, and you are not keeping an eye on what’s coming up New, then maybe it is quite possible. And you may hear many, many top sellers on Amazon saying this part that a product was performing good. And suddenly after three, four years it, it’s stopped performing better, because a new or better design took up the place. And you did not notice that and you didn’t change it accordingly. So this is something you need to not only come up with a new design, but you need to update it like your update your PPC is becoming that much essential. And for the for the advertising part, I believe in the next 12 months, social commerce is going to have a big impact. Like with the recent update where your sponsor product is going to be shown on the Pinterest, I believe social commerce is going to play a big role. So the branding activities, which we usually use to think that once my product will achieve our brand will achieve a certain revenue, only then I will proceed with the content creation or the social media marketing or all that part, I believe we may, we may need to do it earlier. So it may require more effort focusing or working on the design and more skills. Like you can’t only rely on PPC maybe in the next 12 To 14 to 24 months, you may need to understand the art of content creation, taking upon both the TikTok influencers and all that but at the same time, it’s becoming more like a like a mainstream business like businesses are, it may require more time, but then again, it will also offer more stability and more predictability of what you’re going to do. So yeah, this is what I see.

Ben Donovan  47:24
A bigger potential reward as well. Yeah, you know, when I started selling on Amazon, the talk of selling a business on Amazon, you know, it was almost non existent. And you could maybe get one or two times annual profits. So I was gonna sneeze. Now it’s gone, of course. And the whereas now, of course, it’s maybe not the same as it was in the 2021 craze of aggregator gold rush. But it’s still really good multiples. There’s lots of people out there that will buy a business. So with a maturing market, yes comes more time needed. It’s not quite as passive, as you know, maybe get suggested. But there there are bigger awards for sure. So yeah, it’s been really good away. So that really, really insightful. And, you know, it’s really obvious that you’ve got your feet on the ground, making some great moves on Amazon. If people do want to find out more about you about the agency, that kind of thing, where’s the best place to send them.

Owais Amin  48:19
So the agency name is Upscale Valley, you can check out my website. I have a YouTube channel where I upload content consistently and very valuable. It’s with my own name, Owais Amin, then I’m pretty active on LinkedIn as well. Then recently, I’m active on Tiktok as well on all three social media platforms. It’s on with my own name, Owais Amin. So you can Yeah, you can already outreach to me through these platforms.

Ben Donovan  48:48
Perfect Yeah, we’ll get links to those in the show notes and the description as well. So people can get in contact with you. I really appreciate you taking the time out. This has been a super valuable episode.

Owais Amin  48:58
Yeah, I really liked talking to you and yeah, it was it was pretty insightful and a good talk I really liked that.

Ben Donovan  49:06
Definitely, definitely. Good man. Very good. Awesome. Well thanks everyone who’s listened as well I hope you have enjoyed that episode. Lots of gold nuggets in there some great tips for the year you know, launches and variations and loads of things in there to be looking at so take some notes, take it away, take some action and and we’ll see it in the next episode. Same time next week. Take care

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