How to start a private label Amazon business (step by step)
What to expect when you want to select a product and place your first order.
Selecting your first product to manufacture and sell on Amazon is one of the most difficult parts of launching an Amazon business.
But it’s not as intimidating as it appears to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be intimidating at all! Really, it should be thought of as more as a fun challenge. That’s how I like to think of it, anyway. It’s pretty amazing how, when you think of real-life challenges as a game, you tend to want to perform better.
In my previous blog, I touched on some things to keep in mind when trying to start an Amazon business, particularly a Private Label (PL) business.
In this blog, I want to expand on the topic of selecting and dealing with offshore manufacturers once you’re ready to place that first, exciting order of product inventory!
First and foremost, I have a secret to share with you…
It’s a pretty exciting secret, especially because it’s a big part of what gave me the confidence to take the leap and stake my future on selling on Amazon.
… and the secret is this: you don’t need to know how to make a product.
In fact, you don’t even need to know how to invent a product. You don’t need to be some kind of product-creating genius to set yourself up for success here! If that’s not an initial boost in confidence, I don’t know what is.
Selecting and manufacturing products for a PL business doesn’t require some fancy degree or even any kind of relevant experience!
All it takes to get started is understanding two things: leverage and replication.
The advantage of selling in PL is that you get to leverage the efforts of experts, aka people who do this kind of stuff all the time. These experts I’m talking about, are the manufacturers. They are the ones who are going to handle everything that has to do with getting the actual product made. So you can leverage their skills and free your head space for something more important…
Which is the replication of an already existing product.
This, of course, will require you to do some homework. Rather than coming up with your own product, you get to observe the market firsthand and find the product niches that are profitable.
And that’s the beautiful part about all this, all you need to do is find listings that perform well, and replicate them!
Amazon as an online marketplace gets bigger every day. There is almost always room for more sellers to enter in and offer similar products to what’s already out there.
Most importantly, there is almost always the potential to do well, even if a market “appears” saturated. (Except fidget spinners, you’re pretty much out of luck there 😜)
The point is, you can consider current successful listings as a guide in selecting your own product to sell. Pretty cool, right?
Here’s a tip to keep in mind, especially when selecting your very FIRST product to sell: make sure it’s simple.
You want to select a product that is simple to build, doesn’t have too many moving parts or complex machinery, and isn’t easily broken so it ships well.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and selected your product, you’re ready to get in touch with the experts who will fulfill your mass order.
Almost always the way to go with manufacturing for PL is through Alibaba. You will want to submit an RFQ (Request For Quote) on their website, then all of the qualifying manufacturers who can fulfill your particular order will be notified and will contact you with their pricing.
When the moment comes that you’ve opened the gates of communication to the manufacturers, you need to consider these tips:
- Be specific. It’s very important to be as detailed as possible about your product and the nature of your order. I can’t stress that enough! This is especially important because the last thing you want to do is expect the manufacturers to have ANY intuition at all about what you want. They will follow your order to the ‘T’, but anything you give them that they are unclear on will just cause unnecessary delays and communication gridlock with them. You don’t want that.
- Represent yourself well. Even if you have ZERO experience here, you can’t act like it when dealing with manufacturers. This is a part of the business where the game gets interesting. Act like you’ve done this plenty of times before and they will have a higher likelihood of respecting you. If they don’t respect you, they can easily take advantage of you by inflating their prices if they think you don’t know any better. Which leads me to my next tip…
- Always negotiate price. Don’t take that first quote as Gospel. There is always room for negotiation and if you do your homework and approach the conversation prepared, having run the numbers and understanding industry standard costs, you can always try to pitch for cheaper. Since you’re dealing with making products that have already been made before, there is plenty of information you can dig up as far as what the costs are to make them. You should also research as much as you can about the offshore manufacturing space so you can predict accurate costs before they are quoted to you.
- Keep your options open. It’s okay to play hard to get sometimes. That’s especially true in this case. You’re getting generic products for PL made, which means there will be a TON of manufacturers who are qualified to fulfill your order. So bide your time, and let the offers come to you. Be sure to vet each manufacturer you’re considering doing business with. It’s important to develop a relationship with them that is built on mutual respect and trust.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what to expect, you can approach this process confidently and with the desire to overcome the challenge!
I love talking about this stuff because it’s real, applicable, and actionable advice that you can put to work by the time you’re done reading about it. If you know me well enough by now, you would know that I’m all about taking action!
This is one of many subjects that I get asked about by my Next Level Coaching Group members and although I go into much more detail and follow their steps with them, I wanted to share some of that useful knowledge with you as well.
Now get ready to put in some work and arm yourself with the information you need to make your first Amazon product order a smooth and successful one!
You’ve got your product, now give people a reason to buy it.
Congratulations! You’ve taken that difficult first step and selected the product niche you want to get into as an Amazon seller.
Now I’ve talked about building your brand before, and it’s pretty obvious how important that is.
But to drive the point even FURTHER, consider this…
If you’re selling private or white label products on Amazon, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not the only one selling you particular products.
In fact, there are probably a number of other sellers out there that sell the exact same thing…
So what are the odds that you’ll be the store they buy from?
Well… that depends on how well your brand yourself.
The game is won by coupling superior quality of your products along with developing a premium brand.
That being said, I’m going to share with you 3 essential factors that contribute to building a lasting business through branding.
It’s very important that you prioritize these if you want to create a lasting business on Amazon.
Consider these your “3 rules of engagement” 😉
Rule #1: Think Long-Term
Don’t be short-sighted. The moves that you make in the short term should be done in the interest of succeeding in the long term.
The first part in this is making sure that the quality of your products are the best they can be.
Consumers are smarter now, and they pay very close attention to the quality of what they buy. Don’t ever forget about that.
Even though Amazon is a vast, global marketplace, you gotta think about your business like you’re selling in a small town and you personally know everyone who buys from you.
This way of thinking should indicate two things:
- That you care about your customers, and
- Your customers all talk to each other.
The second part of that is especially important to remember because customers today have a bigger voice than they’ve ever had before.
You want to do everything you can to ensure that they are saying good things about your business and products.
Amazon considers themselves to be a customer-centric business, and so should you.
The foundation of a successful and long-lasting Amazon business (or any business really) is built on happy customer experiences.
Remember that consumers have the power of choice. They can choose to buy from anyone or anywhere. Respect that power and they will be loyal to you.
Rule #2: Dare To Be Different
Make sure your product is unique. If you’re selling something that’s not exactly proprietary, you can still customize it to make it stand out.
If you haven’t guessed already, your brand is a big part of what makes your product unique.
But more on that in a bit. Another important thing is not being afraid to apply your creativity to the look of your products.
This could be anything from a slight variation on the product design itself, or even how your logo looks!
For example, there isn’t much you can change in the design of something like, say, a phone charger cable. BUT you can definitely put a unique logo on there.
Sometimes how aesthetically pleasing a logo is can influence a purchasing decision. The human mind is an interesting thing, isn’t it? 😁
Now, when talking about your brand being what makes your product unique; make sure it’s something that isn’t easily duplicated.
It’s important to trademark your awesome brand design, once you develop it.
Also, you should work to get your brand verified on Amazon. This will prevent other people from being able to sell their products on your listing as well.
Building the uniqueness of your brand should always be a priority of yours. This is the kind of thing that is going to build a community of loyal fans, get your products their own dedicated website, and even get them sold in brick and mortar stores.
Rule #3: Always Focus on Problem Solving
The third and final rule of engagement. Put yourself on a journey of never-ending improvement.
Keep your customers happy, keep great relationships with your manufacturers, and most importantly, keep yourself a step ahead and predict possible problems that can arise.
Whether it’s dealing with refunds or returns, or with manufacturing delays, these kinds of things happen and you want to be ready for them.
It’s also super important to get problems fixed before you continue to sell. If you’re practicing rule #1, aka focused on making long-term moves, that means that you are keeping the overall integrity and quality of your brand intact.
That means perfecting the branding of your first product before you start to sell different ones.
You want people to associate your brand with quality. That is what’s going to drive them to continue buying from you if you decide to diversify your product portfolio. They will be familiar with your brand being of a premium quality that they can trust.
If you are wanting to switch to selling different products to try and get a short-term money grab, you might risk ruining your whole business long term if your customers don’t already love and trust your brand.
The longevity of your business is important. That’s why it’s best not to make compromises and instead continue to focus on building and perfecting the brand.
There are your 3 rules of engagement for how you should build your brand on Amazon and beyond.
Make sure to create and sell high-quality products. Make sure they’re unique in both the design and branding.
Practice good ethics and integrity.
Follow through on your products and support your customers.
These are the building blocks of a lasting and successful business. And it all boils down to the mindset of the people running that business, aka YOU.
Make these priorities as an entrepreneur, and they will reward you. Let your brand be the mark that you wish to leave on the world!
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