Listen to this interview with Amanda Wittenborn as she shares how to sell products on Amazon and kill it!
I used to think that selling products on platforms like Amazon was all about competing with others on price.
Amanda has taught me that I was wrong.
She started out selling printables, but she was struggling to really grow her business.
So she began selling invitations on Amazon that she had created and printed, and she has now grown this into a 7-figure business.
I can’t wait for you to hear Amanda’s story of how she went from struggling blogger to finding what worked for her. But first…
I’m excited to announce that my husband, business partner, and tech genius, David, and I have started our first blogger coaching group. I’ve been mentioning this for a few weeks and I am so excited that it’s off the ground!
This is a 6-week program that help online entrepreneurs understand all the things they need to know as they start to build their blogs into a profitable businesses.
We’re talking about all the tech stuff for sure, but we’re also covering how to create content, how to find your audience, what products to sell, how to monetize, and how to understand SEO.
We also talk about social media platforms, email marketing, and all the other pieces of building an online business you need to know today.
There are live Q&A’s, teaching sessions, a private Facebook group, and we are there with you every step of the way.
If you’re ready to get your business off the ground, email me at jillian@ milotree.com so I can reserve your spot for our next session starting in late May.
Table of Contents
Creating Products Fit for Amazon
One of the first lessons Amanda had to learn was that not all products are going to work on Amazon. She had to figure out the types of products that would work and focus on creating those.
Prior to Amazon, Amanda created personalized invitations, with all the pertinent information already on them. She sold files that a customer could print, or a customer could purchase pre-printed items.
Once she began selling on Amazon, she switched to creating fill-in invitations. Amanda actually doubted that anybody would want invitations they had to fill in manually, but people loved them.
When someone purchases invitations from Amanda, they can also purchase Thank You cards, stickers, and water bottle wrappers, and all of these items match the theme of the invitations.
Will Your Business Work on Amazon?
There are 2 sides to Amazon that are possibilities for selling your products. There is the regular Amazon, where most of us shop on a regular basis. And then there is Handmade by Amazon, which is like the Amazon version of Etsy.
So, how do you know if your business will work on Amazon? Amanda gave us a tip to figure out which Amazon platform you need to be on:
- If your product is quick to create and you can keep a lot in stock, use the regular Amazon platform.
- If you create personalized products that require time to complete, you may want to sell your product on Handmade by Amazon.
Isn’t Amazon Too Competitive to Sell On?
Oh my goodness, I don’t know about you guys/gals, but when I think about selling on Amazon, I picture a young dude trying to beat the Amazon algorithm to show up in the Buy Box.
And actually, Amanda says that is truthfully how the system works… unless you have a completely unique product.
If you come in with something unlike anything else that’s on the platform, you won’t be fighting for the Buy Box because there isn’t a comparable item to compete.
Yes, there are other invitations on the platform. However, the competition isn’t the same as if you have people ordering generic items from China to sell.
Amanda takes advantage of sponsored ads and keyword placement to get her products in front of more eyeballs, but the cut-throat competition just isn’t a thing when you have a unique product.
Hitting Income Goals on Amazon
Amanda’s first year selling on Amazon resulted in $250K in sales. So, the next year she set a goal to double it.
And that following year, she did $650K in sales. (Wow, right?!)
Her third year, she decided to go for a million in sales. I’m sure it’s no surprise that she hit that goal, too.
And Amanda says that it didn’t take long at all to hit the $20K sales mark. She recommends being prolific in your creation and testing things along the way. When something works, she adds more like it.
Merchant Fulfilled vs. Amazon Fulfilled
For the first 6 months of her business, Amanda printed all the invitations she sold and shipped then to her customers herself. This is known as “merchant fulfilled, “meaning the seller is the one fulfilling the orders.
At first, it was easy to do. With 2-3 sales per week, Amanda had no trouble keeping up with fulfilling the orders. But when it got to be 10-15 sales per week, and then continued growing from there, it became very difficult to keep up.
Keep in mind, she had to do all the printing, cutting, packaging and shipping. And her orders were ramping up quickly. It was then that she began having her invitations preprinted and she started building up stock.
She had 40 designs, so she had 10 packs of each printed. She paid $750 for that first order and she was terrified at the outlay. What if they didn’t sell?
But they did sell, and because Amanda switched to Amazon Fulfillment, she no longer had to worry about the packaging and the shipping. Amazon held her stock and when orders came through, Amazon packaged them up and shipped them.
The other amazing thing about using Fulfilled by Amazon is that your customers can take advantage of the 2-day Prime shipping.
Selling on Etsy vs. Amazon and Pricing Products
Amanda no longer has her Etsy shop since she started using Fulfilled by Amazon, simply because of all the extra work Etsy requires.
Amanda also shared with me that she is not the cheapest price for her product on Amazon, but she sees that as a good thing. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we think we have to price our products super low so people will buy.
That’s wrong thinking, according to Amanda. If you price too low, people will think your products are cheap and will expect everything you sell to be priced low. The lower your prices, the more complaints you get.
Amanda found that pricing her products in a higher price range led to better sales; not as many sales but more income. Whereas another seller might have to sell 100 packs of invitations to make a certain amount, Amanda only has to sell 50 packs to make the same amount.
Learning to Sell on Amazon
Just like any platform, Amazon has a learning curve when it comes to using the platform for selling your own products. But unlike most other platforms, Amazon provides all of the education for anyone wanting to use the platform to sell.
Amanda found everything she needed right there on Amazon. Their help center provides videos and articles for every step of the process.
Anything you need to know, Amazon provides the answer. If you don’t see your issue addressed, you can call them and get help.
Buying Ads on Amazon
Amanda mentioned that she purchases ads on Amazon, so I asked her to dive into a bit more of what that means and how it works.
Amazon has a sponsored ad campaign system that allows you to set up ad campaigns for your products. You can set the daily amount you want to spend and you can also bid for your products.
For example, Amanda may have a pirate-themed invitation. She can bid $0.20 for her product to show up when someone searches for a “pirate invitation” on Amazon.
Amanda no longer runs her own ad campaigns on Amazon. She recently hired a third-party agency to manage them for her.
The Flexibility of Owning Your Own Business
One of the great things about Amanda’s business is how flexible it is. She can be there for her kids after school, on school holidays, and when they are sick.
And she has grown a team of women who work for her who also appreciate that same flexibility.
Amanda reaches out to stay-at-home moms she knows when she needs to hire something out because their lifestyle matches hers. She likes knowing that the women who work for her can be there for their families.
And because of the growth of the business, Amanda can take a lot of time off over her kids’ school holidays to be with them without worrying about the business suffering. She and the other women work around 20 hours per week and for Amanda, that feels just right.
I think that’s the part I love the most about Amanda’s story; she set a goal to reach a certain lifestyle, and she not only accomplished it for herself, but she also provides the same opportunity for other women who want the same thing.
And I want you to listen in because Amanda shared a lot about how her blog’s lack of success is what drove her to start selling on Amazon.
She is a perfect example of what I always tell clients and bloggers—if you have an idea, test it.
If you want to see Amanda’s products, you can go right to Amazon and see all the amazing things she offers.
And if you would like to chat with her about any questions you have, she’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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