This is a short, simple list of the resources I have come across while doing FBA that have been the most helpful to me.
/r/fulfillmentbyamazon – This is the biggest subreddit I’ve discovered that’s related to selling on Amazon. There is a decent chunk, maybe 40%, of the subreddit that makes their money via retail arbitrage and online arbitrage. There are also a lot of great private label sellers on there who are making some good money and know their way around FBA.
The Amazing Seller – There are a couple FBA podcasts out there but Scott’s podcast is definitely one of the best. He keeps his podcasts short and to the point and his schedule is pretty reliable with at least 2 podcasts per week. Some of the best content is what he puts out every Friday in the ‘ask Scott’ segment where he takes listener questions and answers them on the podcast.
When you are first starting out, this podcast is absolute gold. Go back to his very first podcast and soak up every word he says. Once you start to get more advanced and learn your way around Amazon you may find that Scott seems to repeat a lot of the same advice, but that’s mostly because what he pushes works (PPC, reviews, etc) and because a lot of people have the same questions as the ones that came before them.
Salesbacker – One of the most important factors for your conversion rate is your product review section. It is possible to manually send out emails to every one of your customers and get them to create reviews but there are several services out there that can automate this for you. The best part is that most of them start out with a free tier but as your business grows and you’re selling more products and sending more emails, the services scale with you. So when you first start out you will probably be selling less than 100 units per month which would fall under the free tier if you just send out 1 follow up per order. As you grow and get up to thousands of emails per month, the service is still very cheap and affordable.
In the past I have used Feedbackgenius for collecting reviews but Salesbacker’s presentation is much more clean and it also has a nice feature where it shows you the ranking of each of your products over time as well as your review conversion rate so you can test different campaigns and see how they are doing. I have had better results with Salesbacker than I did with Feedbackgenius and I think the way the campaigns are worded makes a difference in getting better results from the customer.
Here is a snapshot of my results with Salesbacker through roughly mid July to mid August. This is all completely automated and required no intervention on my part other than to handle negative feedback by contacting the customer. These reviews are worth their weight in gold and are an absolute BARGAIN for the price you get.
One of the issues with finding a new product is figuring out how much volume is taking place in the category you are researching. I have tried a lot of different tools that aim to scratch this itch but so far there are only 2 that I keep coming back to.
JungleScout – JungleScout automates the data collection part of the process where you are checking out the competition and their best sellers ranks, reviews, price, etc to estimate how many units you can expect to sell if you are able to make it onto the first page. I’m not 100% sure how accurate the numbers are that you see in JungleScout, but it definitely gives you a good indicator of the overall depth of a market and gives you a rough idea of the potential you could find if you hit the first page. It’s a little on the pricey side at just under $100 but it will definitely pay for itself if you are going to be doing any continuing product research.
FBAToolkit – This website is CRIMINALLY underutilized by people. This is by far my favorite way of getting sales volume data and tracking my competitors to see how much they are selling. The main homepage is a good resource to get a quick idea of what sales volume a certain BSR correlates to in a category. However, the real value in this website is the individual product tracking. FBAToolkit allows you to track 10 different items to see day by day sales volume. Again, this is something you can do manually by going to your competitors page and trying to order 999 of the item and recording how many units Amazon tells you are in stock. But FBAToolkit is completely free and can automate this for you. This data is 100% accurate UNLESS the product you are tracking has something weird going on like a product giveaway or if the seller is creating hold orders to reserve inventory. However, 99% of the time there is nothing weird going on and in my experience the data here is dead on accurate. FBAToolkit is hands down the easiest and most reliable way to figure out sales volume of your competitors.
Wave – Keeping track of your accounting sucks but you absolutely have to do it and the longer you put it off the worst it will be to get fixed. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Quicken and Freshbooks, but I personally use Wave. It can link up with my business credit card and automatically import all of my purchases I make with my supplier as well as PPC costs that Amazon charges me. All I have to do is go in once a week and categorize these and add descriptions. Wave also keeps track of the deposits Amazons makes to my account and creates a cool little dashboard showing your cashflow. This thing is a full on accounting system and I really only use about 10% of it which is more than enough for my purposes. It’s completely free and cloud based which makes it nice since you can access it anywhere without having to mess with downloading any software. Very easy to use and that’s coming from someone with no accounting or financial background.
If you’d like to read a more in depth review on Wave, check out this article by Fergus from Cloudwards. It does a nice job of touching on the features of Wave and breaking down what type of people would get the most use out of Wave instead of other options like Freshbooks or Quickbooks.
These are a few of the tools I have tried but can’t really recommend 100% for a couple of different reasons.
MerchantWords – This service claims to get keyword data and search volume to help give you keyword ideas for PPC, listing optimization, and for future products to source. I’ve found the search volume to be pretty erratic at times and definitely inflated from what I actually see based on my sales history. It is useful to discover new products related to your keyword but overall it is just too unreliable. The upside is that it only costs $9 per month so it’s not too expensive to hold on to for those times when you need a little inspiration in coming up with keywords.
InventoryLab– This software is very nice at creating pretty dashboards to show your sales and profit. That’s about it and it costs $50/month. If it was $10 per month I could probably justify the cost just because it’s so damn convenient. However, at $50 each month it just doesn’t justify the cost. If you have a lot of products it may be a little better since you can track cost of goods at an item level and view your ROI and profit margins based on supplier or category. Again, these are relatively minor things that can’t justify such a high price. It does have a 30 day free trial though with no credit card required so give it a shot and see if it works for you.