June 22, 2022

Building an Amazon Brand

Building an Amazon Brand

Thank you for listening,

Zahra Cruzan

Founder, The Brand Collaborative And Brand Author

The Brand Collaborative      Brand Author

Transcript

Zahra  

Thank you so much for joining me today Amy. I'm so excited to have you today. I have been dying to get you on the show since forever and for all kinds of reasons, but specifically to talk about Amazon so welcome. 

 

Amy  

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be on your show. 

 

Zahra  

Yes. So Amy is the CEO of Amazing at Home Ecommerce Consulting. It's a world renowned company that has helped 1000s of brands launch private label products on Amazon and beyond. Amy's knowledge and product development, sourcing, marketing and sales have enabled her to help countless entrepreneurs develop their own successful business, Amy's course and consulting are ranked among the best in the world in Amazon Seller poll, she shares her skills teaching classes at business organizations locally in San Antonio, Texas. Coaching entrepreneurs around the world through virtual coaching sessions and in person events at amazing@home.com. She also covers these concepts in her ecommerce tips and tricks podcast called The Seller Roundtable. Okay, so now, that's amazing, but I'm gonna give you my gosh, about Amy. So I first met Amy, when we were teaching classes together at Launch USA. And here's what I loved about her at the time, I did not know she was a crazy strategic planner for the military. But I loved how the curriculum that she teaches. I mean, there's topical conversation, and you can give kind of like the generic blurb about anything. So I come from a family of teachers, my parents, my grandparents, and there is a science and an art to teaching. And a lot of that has to do with organization and syntax, right how you introduce topics. And Amy does such an incredible job, I remember hearing her speak and teach them like man, she makes it seem so much easier than it really is. And I just fell in love with the way that you teach. I think that it you know, takes really complicated topics. Because you know, ecommerce isn't quite so easy for a lot of people. It's, you know, a brand new platform, you've got to learn the techie stuff, and you know, and it's always changing. And so it can get a little overwhelming, and they love how you're able to simplify things. And it's really good information without diluting the content. You know, and I just think that that was, you know, so we became quick friends, and we geek out on all things brand together. But the other thing that I love about her maybe this is why one of the reasons that you're able to do this so effortlessly is because you started with your own private label brand. And so you know, you don't just know your business, but you know, your clients, you know them in and out, because you've been them, and you know what kind of things they're facing and the challenges that they're facing. And I think that just makes you so uniquely qualified to help entrepreneurs through this journey. So that's my gush about Amy. So tell us a little bit about Amazing at Home, and what you do and the kind of services that you provide just for those people who are listening and maybe haven't interacted with you before. 

 

Amy  

Yeah, so thank you for all of those lovely things you just said about me. That was very, very nice. I often so the thing about me is I was in the military for 18 years, and I worked as an instructor and an evaluator, and in the military, they make you go through a ton of teaching type of training, and you must be able to teach very advanced concepts at a third grade level. So that's the reason I've been through a rigorous amount. I've developed courses for the military stuff like that took kind of just naturally carried over into my business ventures, everything that I learned, I learned to the level that I can teach it, I've kind of learned how to learn things by teaching them. So I've always been that way. And a lot of people say that about me like, man, you make it sound so easy. And it's not easy, but you make it sound easy so I love that. Thank you so much for that compliment about Amazing at Home. Well, as you mentioned there, I started my own private label brand, I solved the problem for cat people, I didn't like cleaning the litter box. So I invented a better way to do that. And in my journey of inventing a product. Yeah, I'm a highly educated woman but I had no idea how to take my rickety prototype that I built out of supplies at Home Depot and turn that into an actual branded product on the market. And I also ran into a lot of roadblocks along the way from my concept all the way from to launch and beyond. Such as you know, trying to get someone to help me develop the product. I mean, she is how do you you're gonna charge me $30,000 to take my drawing and turn it into another drawing. What is that like, how is anyone launching a brand? Nonetheless, the millions of brands that are on Amazon, specifically micro brands that maybe have two or three products right that started from nothing. How is anyone succeeding if that's your journey from concept to launch? And so I just started if I was like, well, well, I can teach things. I know that there's advanced things involved here. But I know that I can figure them out. And I know that I can help other people who are stuck like me who have an idea, and you have no idea how to bring it to market. So that kind of became my mission. And it wasn't really about starting amazing at home, Amazing at Home kind of just happened. So I just started sharing everything that I learned, I started cold calling manufacturers, I built a 3d printer, whoever I could talk to, I started going to classes at the Small Business Development Center, and then graduated those classes and started teaching them I did so much to try and figure this out and share along the way that people started asking to consult with me and sort of asking for help, and wanted to give me money that helped them and I was like, no, no, you don't understand. I don't do that. I'm not a consultant. I don't do that. I have my own brand. I'm doing my thing. I'm just trying to share information with you. When people kept asking and kept asking, kept asking, and I was like, okay, fine 50 bucks, let's sit down. I'll help you with what I can help you with and let's move on, right? Well, those people had massive success. And they started telling their friends, and then their friends were calling me and I was like, okay, still working my full time job for the Air Force on coaching calls, every moment that I get home 5pm 6pm 7pm 8pm 9pm, all weekend long, I would take two weeks off of work, and I still wouldn't be caught up. And before I knew it, I had a consulting and marketing firm, because I was doing copywriting I was doing SEO, I was helping them with every aspect of their business. And oh, by the way, I've been selling on Amazon since 2007, which is longer than most people in this industry. So I know a little something about speaking Amazon, which is no joke because Amazon is a hot mess. It's a wonderful opportunity, but it's a hot mess so that's Amazing at Home. Amazing at Home is a community, it's a community of people who have dreams, who want to build their own something, whatever that is, whether it's a product or a service, whatever it is, we're putting it together, we're figuring it out, we're getting the marketing done, we get branding done from help with folks like you guys at brand offer. But either way, we're making it happen and we're all about courses, copywriting and consulting and events to help you build the best possible brand that you can build. 

 

Zahra  

Yeah, I love that and I have to say one of the things and we work together on several different brands. And so I just don't know of you, I know how you work. And one of the things that I think is so critical and why it's so important to get help from a professional, right, because I'm all about the DIY with some stuff. But there's some things you just, you know, to do yourself or to get help with, you can't just do yourself. And one of the things that I find so valuable about and I've seen you do for your clients over and over again, and I really want to talk about that is if you're thinking about launching an Amazon product, you know, and you're kind of like, well, I'm just kind of kind of like I'm bootstrap, I'm gonna kind of DIY, there's a lot of things you can DIY. But there are some things that you really need to get the help because it makes a difference. And one of the things that I've seen Amy do over and over again, is she is excellent at timing. The big challenge for entrepreneurs and people who are launching a brand, we kind of have this, like, I got to do it all right, now I have to have all the things for my brand, I have to do all the things for my marketing, I need to have this and that and the other and it's overwhelming, and it's too much. And so you just kind of implode on yourself, and it never really lifts off the ground. And so knowing what to implement first, second, third, in what order and the timing in which to do it knowing Alright, this is my all in budget, I got 18 months, I got this much of a budget, you know, having someone who knows, okay, well, based on the costing of your prototypes and sourcing, and I know how long it takes to get from first draft to last draft of your prototype. You know, having somebody with that kind of experience really does make a difference. And I've seen you time and time again, navigate and guide your client to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, we're not there yet. Or, Hey, this is the cart, this is the horse. This is how we're going to do it. And I think that that's so critical. And that's something that you only know through experience. It's one of those things that you can't just, there's not a 123 Everybody works this way, you know, it's going having the experience knowing what's happening and what's happening right now what's happening right now in the industry to be able to do that. And so I just really, you know, it's one of the reasons that we've seen your clients you know, even from our end take off the way they have is that they've got somebody to guide them on the proper timing knowing what to put in front of the other and so I just love that you do that. So today we are going to talk about what is happening on Amazon because you are the Amazon Queen you know everything there is to know about what's going on Amazon and Amazon is going through a very interesting time right now. It is looking different than it has in years past and I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you think COVID had to do with that and all kinds of goodies but tell me how you think the brand experience has evolved for product based sellers on Amazon over the past several years. 

 

Amy  

Well, Amazon itself has just become an absolute monster, of course, COVID accelerated that even more than I think Amazon went from being 8% of all of retail to 13% of all retail it, which is a significant percentage of multi billions of dollars, you know, they just grew exponentially. And I think that was because of COVID, you know, and a lot of the brick and mortars ended up making sure that their online channels were strengthened during this time as well. It was like a contingency plan for all of us. And the thing about Amazon's massive growth is, its accelerated by third parties. A lot of people who shop on Amazon don't realize that like 85 to 90% of the stuff that they buy on Amazon is not actually might be coming in an Amazon box, but it's not Amazon selling it. It's a third party brand, a third party micro brand like me, and these micro brands are people from all over the world, you might be buying from somebody who lives in China, somebody who lives in Australia, somebody who lives in Jesus, Pakistan has a huge seller presence, like all over Europe, like you could be buying from someone who started their business from a hut somewhere in the world and is now a top seller, Amazon who started from nothing. So that's what's the beauty of Amazon. But at the same time, because of the massive growth in the amount of sellers, I think it's something like 5%, or something have sold over a million dollars on Amazon so that's very rare. And it's just like in regular business, you know how most businesses fail. It's the same thing on Amazon and that's why I focus so much on the steps to success, like this is what we do for success. This is what matters, this is what we invest in, this is what we wait on, you know, this is what we do here. And then the thing that has happened on Amazon specifically, is as they have evolved, they wanted to push out some of those smaller sellers that are not as professional that might be selling someone else another brands products that they bought at a retailer on sale, and now they're pricing them up and putting them on Amazon. So Amazon's putting price restrictions now they're cutting out the reseller and they're focusing on they're giving benefits to people who are trademarked. If you have a trademark brand on Amazon, you get something called brand registry, and that allows you to build out a web page on your product listing. If that makes it looks super professional, you can build out your own Amazon store, you can start your own Amazon live shopping channel, you can do so much if you are a registered brand on Amazon. If you're just a regular third party seller who opened up an account you pay for the Pro Plan of $50 a month, right? You can't do any of that your descriptions have to all be text base. They don't look very professional. You can't have a store but you don't get additional advertising placements. brands get sponsored brand placement, which is like top of the page headline search ads, they get video ads, all kinds of things that non registered brands do not get. And that's because Amazon is trying to create a boutique shopping experience online. They are competing, they know Facebook is becoming the metaverse, right. It's going to be this virtual shopping experience. TikTok is getting into shopping, the WhatsApp platform, all of these things are adding on shopping and Amazon knows they got to stay ahead of that curve people like that social media connected shopping experience. And so what does that mean for brands? What does that mean, if you're planning to start a brand on Amazon, it means you better take it seriously, you better care about connecting with the customer through your branding, and through the way that you communicate the benefits and experience of your product all the way to the unboxing of your product, every single step in that order matters because it's going to pay off and lead to reorders. It's going to lead to your success, it's going to lead to your ranking, it's going to lead to more conversions. And the thing is a lot of times I'll see I'll have brands that will come to me that are primarily brick and mortar brands. And they don't have great images because they're just you know they might have decent packaging for being on the shelf right but they don't have great images. They don't know anything about search engine optimization or their keywords or how to get in front of the customer online and Amazon private label brands that are successful will smash them they will crush them like a little cockroach like it's insane the amount of graphic design and great branding and customer follow up and the unboxing experience that happens with Amazon brands versus other brands. And so unless you're comparing it to like Nike, right, where they've got years and years of getting into the funnel, right, like getting in front of people, so that's the difference on Amazon in 2015, you could throw any product on Amazon, you'll see these YouTube ads that still said, I can find a product on Alibaba, and I can throw it on Amazon, and I'm a millionaire today. Yeah, back then that was possible. Now, you can't just buy a product and slap your label on it anymore. You really have to pay attention to how you're serving the customer, how you're blue ocean, and how you're following up with them and the customer experience the whole way and is going to pay dividends. If I had a hashtag preach sound thing I would.

 

Zahra  

Because that is so true and you know, I'll tell you, I just heard a study about that. And they were talking about how, you know, Amazon, there's so many options. And the price differentials are you know, two $3. But if I see a brand that I recognize, or that just seems more legit, right, I'm more willing, I'll spend the extra $3. So if you spent another, you know, seven, eight cents on packaging, but you're able to price your product, you know, $3 Higher, not only does that improve your margin, but it'll actually increase your volume, because more people are like, Oh, it was only $3 more, but they look like they have their stuff together. Like they look legit, they've got the brand name, they've got the packaging, it's got the right photography, I can see either the nutrition facts or the ounces, or, you know, the actual size, you know, some things, you know, because, again, when you're shopping online, that experience is everything. And you know, we talk about this a lot when we do you know, brand experience mapping is, especially for our clients who are in retail that want to go as a you don't have the benefit of having a sales associate, and being able to go and ask somebody, Hey, can I try this on? Hey, does this you can ask questions. And so this buyer has to self select themselves as your ideal client every step of the way. And in order to do that, you've got to give them the tools and resources that they need in the order that they need it to be able to make those purchase decisions. Otherwise, they're left on their own, and you make it too hard for them. And they'll just go to someone else who does have it figured out. And so you know, that is to me, you know, the beauty and the investment of the brand and the marketing and having the listing done properly and getting that photography done, because it's those little things that make all the difference, you know, and we've all been in that we've all been scrolling through Amazon and we're like, oh, I don't know, I don't know. And products look pretty similar these days. Some of them are even the exact same product, just a different seller, but one is got their shop set up. And then the upsells you know, I've done that, like I don't What did i Oh, I gotta work. I gotta work satchel the other day? Uh, you know, and I saw that they have a store. So it's like, oh, let me see what else they have. So I click on their store. And before you know it, I have the satchel, I had the what did they call it the cross cross body cross body, I had the little travel wallet, you know, because they got to go to their store. And so you know, what they spent to put up their store and get their actual brand classification for one individual led to a $78 upsell off of $100. You know, it's almost double what they would have gotten, because I was able to now to go shop and because that's what we all want. We want things simple and Amazon can be overwhelming. And sometimes we don't even know what we're looking for. But if you can get your brand together and have that sight now you're providing a bespoke custom buying experience for somebody who's already naturally attracted to one of your products, right? So why not show them what else you've got. So I love that you said that. I think that that is one of the things that people don't talk about enough. So I wanted to ask you, where do you see Amazon products going in the next few years? Like where do you see the trends heading? What do you think Amazon sellers really need to dial into if they want to be the competition? 

 

Amy  

Well, you mentioned you know, you can spend a little bit more on branding and make yourself look good. And you can you might even be able to price your product a little bit higher. But what is really going to have to happen is product choice is so important, right? Because you have to look at who your competition is on Amazon. I hate to say it, but a lot of the people that come to me, they're stuck. They're losing money, they don't understand why their products aren't selling. And I'll pull up the main keyword for that product on Amazon. And I'll see a ton of products that look exactly the same. And today with all the tools that Amazon gives you, the competition of people who have good branding is really tough. It's not like you can just have good branding and do well if you have a very competitive product because it doesn't matter if you're competing with the other 40 brands that are on page one and paying for placement that also have good branding. And guess what that means if you're competing on price and reviews, so that's important, and it's always been important, but yet people are still not paying attention to it. So that's like a fundamental that everyone needs to pay attention to, if you can explain why someone will buy from you and not the competition in a very succinct way, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Okay, so that's like the fundamentals that everyone should be focused on. But where's Amazon going? Where do I think Amazon going? As I mentioned, it's going to be a much more boutique shopping experience, they're doubling down on video, they're doubling down on kind of the social media shopping experience, I believe they'll do some acquisitions of some major acquisitions, right? We're already seeing that their devices are very popular across people's homes, right? So they're gonna keep doing the internet of things, right. But it's really going to become more of an immersive experience. Amazon is going to be everywhere, not just in your home, in your car, on your phone. Right. And so what does that mean for Amazon brands, that means that we brands, we got to stay on top of it, that we need to be looking every time I visit Seller Central, which is our kind of vendor platform, something new is there, right? The other day, I looked underneath my brand tab, and I saw marketplace opportunities. And I was like, Oh, what's this, this is new. And I click there. And they gave me an opportunity as for expanding around the world, apparently, there's a huge demand for my products in Germany and the UK, where Amazon has a big presence. So Amazon gave me all the resources that I needed to expand to those countries. And so you know, think of you know, what does it looked like when your brand is now being featured on people's televisions because they have an Amazon live TV, like I have Amazon TV, in every room in my house, just about I've got an Amazon Fire TV and on there that's like them being able to communicate with people, right? So really, it's going to expand for those brands that are on Amazon, they're going to have so many more advertising opportunities, it's going to be really, you know, the competition is going to continue to grow. But those brands that stay on top of the latest and greatest and go Ooh, can I start advertising there? It's just like the brands that first stepped on tick tock, anyone who gets the customer service or the service providers that started on clubhouse and grew like overnight when clubhouse was a thing, right? So that's the thing is like, we're rapidly expanding into the metaverse, like everything is going to change, a whole shopping experience is going to change. So that's what it's going to look like. It's not going to be traditional shopping anymore. And so we just got to stay on top of it. It's going to be cool. I can't wait. It changes every day. And so yeah, I think it's gonna be awesome. 

 

Zahra  

Yeah, I 100% agree with you, our creative director, you know, we so we do like internal learning. And his new thing is like the metaverse and getting into that, and we were talking about it in terms of our clients and talking to them about their basic website, you know, and just saying UX design is like minimum, people who don't have a very well converting UX design are just going to be left in the dust where that used to be a you know, fancy upgrade. Now it's just the minimum expectation. Same thing with brandy, you know, like, that's just a minimum exit, like you have to have that. Or you can even play like, you're not even equipped to play the game, because what's coming is even more, and they just oh, I just pulled the stat it was reading an article the other day. And it was like 78% of consumers it was somewhere between 70 and 80. I want to say 78 That might be off, but that they expect and they will choose a brand. And they will choose to shop with a brand that gives them a custom buying experience than one that does not you know, and so this metaphors isn't like something that's being forced was what clients are wanting, so customers are wanting. And I think it's because we live in a global market where there is so much thrown at us. There are so many options you can't get on Etsy, Amazon, whatever platform you're on to shop Walmart, you know, and you're inundated and everything feels overwhelming. And there's so much responsibility that's stuffed on the shopper to find what it is that they're looking for. And it's too much right and so what do we do we revert back to these like who keeps it simple Apple simple, like think about the brands that we buy and trust over and over again, it's these ones that like they just keep it simple, man, they don't have 13,000 You know, when I go shopping on their website, it doesn't look like I'm at a clearance rack. It doesn't feel like I'm sorting through someone's junk drawer, right? It's a very clean, easy simplified experience. That's pleasant, right because we all love to shop for the things that we're shopping for we want to love to shop and we don't want it to be oppressive and overwhelming. You know it's very much going in that way and so being able to create those and knowing your ideal customer and and that's what I love one of the things that I see that you do incredibly well is you really get at the heart of the audience. Who are we talking to? What do we need to say to them? And how do we need to present ourselves so that they understand that they're the best fit for us, and that we've got what they need, and like really taking the time to drill down and have that conversation first, before we put all the fancy things on it before we you know, add in 67 pictures, you know, and all of that, but really coming from a listing with that intentionality, you know, really sets your listings apart. Can you talk about that a little bit? And how you approach that and why that's such a key piece of the experience. 

 

Amy  

Yeah, sure. It's the core of everything that we do you know why because nothing else matters. You can spend a billion dollars to get a state of the art website built with all the things, you know, cool, you can get graphics that are just incredible, incredible infographics and videos made. But if the message is wrong, you just wasted your money. It's like spending a whole bunch of money on Facebook ads, basics, happy to take your money. So is Amazon, by the way, on ads that don't convert? Yeah, none of that matters. So I base everything I do. And maybe this is the worst planner in me, I was in the militaries of war planner. And my job was to look at the target and study it from every single aspect and fill in the blanks. And I do the same thing with customers, right? Because if you're trying to sell to someone, and you're going to pay to get your product in front of them, which in the beginning, you're gonna have to pay for ads, because on Amazon, it's not like you're just immediately organically on page one in front of them, you know, you're gonna have to pay for that spot. And my favorite image to put in my courses on this is show me the money with Jerry Maguire, right? I want conversions, I don't want to just spend on clicks, right, show me the money. And in order to show me the money, I need to have something that a customer is willing to buy. So why spend all that time and effort, sell, sell, sell, sell sell, when you haven't spent the initial foundational work of connecting with the customer. So I have broken it down. Amazon has five bullet points. And I've broken it down into five bullet points into the five questions that a customer asks when they buy just about every single product. So you can use these five bullet points, my template for your website, whatever. Anytime you're describing your product, I want you to think about these things. And what we do is we write these five bullet points. And then we use them as our graphic design layouts. Because guess what customers shop with their eyes. So all of your photos should represent what you've written. I can't tell you how many times I've reviewed a listing a product listing, and they say all these great things in the text that nobody reads by the way, all these great things about the product, it answers all my questions, it totally sells me and I look at their photos and they're like so dry. It's like the worst photos like no infographics, no text, no information, and people come back, the biggest thing I hear is, Well, Amy, I heard that it's better to have lifestyle than to use text and photos that you shouldn't use text and photos.  Well, you shouldn't write a book in your photo, you should be able to look, you should be able to look at that photo and process it in under five seconds, right? You should be able to look at it and go, Okay, read a heading. And then if you want to, you can read a subheading, whatever. But the bottom line is your graphic should represent the text and the text should be focused on these five things. Okay, so here's my five. First is your unique selling point. And how you should get your unique selling point is by what the customer cares about. So I don't care if you're selling this double walled stainless steel water bottle, right? Everybody's selling these, okay, everybody's selling these, if you're in the market for these, you're going to be inundated with a whole bunch of product listings. But guess what, if I, as the seller of this water bottle, do a better job of explaining how this bottle shape has been especially designed to be easy to clean? Because these get gross, easy to clean, easy to fill and leak proof. I'm going to do a better job than my competitors. And oh, by the way, not only did we design the shape to make it just right for you. We have specially designed this to keep your drink cold for eight hours, or hot for six hours. Yeah, everybody else says, Teach your drink cold. Great. Give me details. I want to know that you made this just for me. Right? So I don't care if you're selling basic stainless steel water bottle, you got to do a better job of connecting with what I care about when I'm in the market for a new water bottle because I have a lot of choices. So your unique selling point even if it's no different even if there's 100 More of these water bottles, right? Your unique selling point needs to focus on what the customer cares about. And you need to focus on communicating that like how do you communicate that better than your competitors? Because when you do that you create doubt in the customers mind when they go to your competitors listing. So your competitors, so they go through your listing. They see your photos and they're like, Okay, it's well, it's specially designed the shape. Oh, that shape is easy to clean. Oh, it's leakproof. Okay, they go to your competitors listing, IBM guarantee your competitors not doing that they're using the same photos everybody else is using. It's like they've hired some guy on Fiverr to make them for them. There's no thought behind it, right? And so immediately you're going through this photos, you're like, Oh, I liked the color. It's nice. Okay, I'm going through the photos and you're like, okay, but that other things said that it was specifically designed to keep it cool for eight hours. I'm going back, I don't care. I'll be the $3 Extra, it's fine. Whatever. Just so USP, that's your first bullet point. And it's always your second photo beyond your main photo. The next question the customer asks, after they know is this for me? They ask, they want to know what's included? If you're going to buy a new car, your first you want to know is this the car for me? And you look at the outside, you walk around the outside of the car you get in you look at it. And then you want to know okay, well what does it come with? Like what it does when I'm buying have these cupholders? Does it have this thrust? Is it going to deliver? Like, what does it come with? So that's always the question what's in the box right? So break it down for them and explain what's in the box is special just for them right? So that's always our second bullet point and it's always the photo that we shops, people want to know, does it come with it? How big is that thing? How long is it? 

 

Zahra  

Yeah, and I think like talking about how helpful that is for reviews. Because sometimes when you take like lifestyle photos, you have other things that you're there stage with that maybe don't come in it. And so that kind of creates a point of clarification. So people don't feel like when they get it? Well, it came with a giant stuffed teddy bear in the background and the pictures. Where's my giant teddy bear?

 

Amy  

Yeah, and you know, I can't tell you how many times I've looked through a listing. And I've wondered like, does that come with it? Does it come with true those like, I don't know, make it clear, call it out, give them what they want. So what's included bullet point number two, and it should be your next photo. And then the next question that they have. So now they know it's for them, they know what's included, they're pretty much sold. But this is when the first point in the sales cycle, this is when the first point of objection comes in and go, it's probably gonna break, the minute I did it, it's gonna break. So this is where we assure them on our quality or our warranty, talk to them about how you've taken the extra time to build this thing out of stainless steel that's been double tested and inspected. And you know, and that you have a lifetime warranty on this bottle, whatever it is, you know, but take the time to actually tell them about the quality and the warranty and the care that went into it. And most importantly, how you care about the customer experience how you're going to take care of them, that's important to them. That's the reason people buy on Amazon because they know they can return. But either way, like make them feel good about it. Because remember, you've got competition. And if I'm selling this stainless steel water bottle, then I do a better job of making that customer feel safe. And making them know that this actually is stainless steel, and we've taken the time and this coating on this bottle. It's double coated. It's not going anywhere. It's not going to appeal in the dishwasher. it's dishwasher safe. It's awesome. Blah, blah, blah, right? This is your quality or your warranty. Tell them that and oh, by the way, have a photo. I can't tell you how many people have like a lifetime warranty. And they don't even have a photo that shows that they have a lifetime warranty. 

 

Zahra  

You're killing me. Come on, you gotta... 

 

Amy  

Exactly. So that's huge, right. So that's bullet point number three. That's photo number four and then we only got two more bullet points. So after that there's sold at this point, right but the next question that always comes into a customer mind is they go, ah, you know, this is a really great water bottle. It's built just for me. It's awesome. It's quality, but I just don't know if I need another water bottle. Now we started looking into our wallets we got I don't know $25 I don't know, maybe I don't need another one boss, keep using that one I've been using for 10 years. It's gross. It's probably gonna give me some kind of disease, but I'm gonna keep using it right that's what happens. We don't just always buy things we have objections. So now we need to address all the ways it's going to fit into their life.

 

Zahra  

Desire point. 

 

Amy  

Yes. So this is where you tell them this is my multiple uses bullet point and I love it. And I love a good quad photo that shows all the different ways it fits in your life and so I'll give you an example. I was working with a client the other day that does brand management and they were doing they're managing a brand on Amazon that sells kneepads and they've really been focusing on targeting construction workers and like people who do welding and stuff but they really want to start selling their knee pads to those people that like are DIY-ers that home that kind of thing like painters that kind of stuff, I want to kind of expand their market so they're you know, lightening up the colors and the branding that making everything so dark and you know, industrial right and they're just kind of lightening up make it more on home. And so for multiple uses and for their quad photo, I was like, I want you to show a woman painting on her knees, you know, doing the painting of the house at home nice and bright. I want you to show these kneepads being used here, they're, you know.

 

Zahra  

Gardening like..

 

Amy  

Yeah exactly, all the places so really helped them understand, like, they're not just going to use this when they weld, they're not just going to use these knee pads when they weld in case they're wondering, molarity have a pair that I've been using for a couple of years, no, these are going to be your go to, and oh, by the way, they're flexible. They're awesome, right? So they're going to be great for all of your uses and you're going to use these in your life. And then also you're bringing to mind the other people that might need them to, they're thinking about their grandfather, who still likes to work out in his shed, you know, and might be able to use these kneepads, too. So they're like, Wow, I could borrow them to my grandfather, I could buy a pair for my grandfather, okay, this is great. So multiple uses, and then your photo there. And then my bullet point number five, is always gift for authority. So gift stability is important. Because again, you're showing this is not just for you, this is for others to and think of others. So even if I'm not gonna buy it for myself and my by them for my grandfather, right. But if it's not really a giftable product, if you're selling a headlamp, you know, for a car, you're not going to get that right. So you're you can talk about your authority in this space, like we've been in this business for 25 years, we're certified by the following auto manufacturers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then show a photo of that, right. So those are our five bullet points and it just really, we use it as our template. It guides the way it helps you focus on the customer and helps you answer those customer oriented questions. And then we add in the search engine optimization, those keywords, we always draft our listings first, and we add in the keywords and then we use that as our photo lance as well.

 

Zahra  

Well I love that and I don't know for those of you guys who follow, you know, me and the podcasts and everything that we do, what she just described is branding on an Amazon listing, right? So she started off with that brand, right? The USP, your brand positioning, understanding who you are, what you do, and who you do it for that's key, right? And then she went into the marketing piece, which is the second piece, right? So first, you have your brand identity, you know, your advertising, then you go into marketing, then we talk about features, and we talked about functionality, what specifically distinguishes you, what does it come with. What are the nuts and bolts, and then when we get to sales, we're just overcoming objections, right? And then at that point, we reintroduce the desire because there's very seldom things in this world that we actually need, right? It's mostly desire based so that we reintroduce the desire and we remove the fears, the objections one by one. And so that is a strategic approach and so you can see that how that brand name fits perfectly within a model like Amazon listings and how that really moves the customer from I don't know, I was at a birthday party today and I saw, you know, Mary's mom with this cool little insulated water jug, I think I might want to get what she said she got on Amazon, let me see what they have on Amazon. And you're just kind of casually browsing to oh, I've got one. And then I've got one for the office and then I've got one for mom for Mother's Day. And you know how we take them on that journey. And that is our role as brand leaders as brand owners and brand makers. Okay, so if you are an inventor, a maker, do you recommend Amazon as a starting place or is Amazon more for people who are sorcerers or people who have already gotten traction in a regional market. Who is Amazon for what does that look like?

 

Amy  

Yeah, so I think the most important thing, and I do work with inventors, I'm here and I'm on the board in here in Texas for the inventors group. And so I do meet with inventors all the time and and I also you know, at Amazing at Home, we work with a lot of people who are really great at sourcing and really good at finding a supplier and sourcing kind of a common product and even to people who develop products and all of that. So, you know, the thing is, Amazon can be for anyone, but the most important thing to remember is that customer and where are they? So again, I'm gonna go back to that foundational question I brought up at the beginning of the show. Can you tell me why on Amazon somebody's going to buy your product and not the competition? And so many times inventors the pitfall that they fall into is I don't have any competition. I have no competition. I invented this thing. No one else has this, it's perfect. Well guess what? You have something called a reasonable alternative. I invented a new category in the litterbox arena, right like I literally my product fits into a category that has never been invented before that doesn't exist litter box cleaners, so I'm the only one of the litter box cleaner on the market rght? Does that mean I have no competition? No, I've got litter boxes, because they're self cleaning litter boxes, right? You don't have to use a cleaner and I've got scoops scripture like $2, like if you want to manually do the labor, like that's my competition. So I can't just ignore the prices of scoops, I can't just ignore the prices of self cleaning litter boxes, I can't ignore the positioning of those, I can't ignore the reasons why people buy one over the other. And the reason why people would consider mine and most importantly, I can't ignore where those customers shop and where they trust to buy those things. So Amazon can be for anyone, but you should be asking is Amazon for your customer in your product. So if I'm selling these stainless steel water bottles, and I have no idea how to do Amazon, and I pull up the market on Amazon for stainless steel water bottles, and it's mostly you know, Amazon did this huge push where they went to direct to factories, and they said here factories, put your products on Amazon. So am I going to compete with a factory who has no idea how to sell anything other than at wholesale prices, and doesn't know how to price or position themselves in the market. And they're selling this thing for $10 and probably taking a loss after Amazon fees hack? No, I'm not gonna make money on Amazon doing that I'm better off like selling it to local sports functions with their logos on it, right? Whatever but we really have to focus on is Amazon right for your customer and your product. So that's what you should be asking anyone. There's no barriers to entry to Amazon, which is great. Like other than you signing up and paying a monthly fee and figuring out SEO and all of that, right you figuring out a platform, you can basically be in what's considered a major channel, a major shopping channel, very highly trusted. People love Amazon, it's one of the highest search words on Google, right you can be part of that. It's something like 87% of Americans are Amazon Prime members. Yeah, like you can be part of that you will get a prime badge on all of your products, you can show up in the search, right? So there's no reason not to do Amazon, except if your product doesn't fit, like you can't explain why someone would buy your product over the competition on Amazon because like I said, those private label brands that are really good, they will crush you. They know what they're doing and they're really good at, they've got the formula figured out. And number two, if your customer would rather buy that somewhere else, like often I have foreign customers like clients of mine, that'll come to me maybe they live in Australia where retail is very different than in America where there's a Walmart every five miles, there's a target every five miles, there's a Home Depot, there's a Lowe's. So you know, I had somebody come to me with reusable grocery bags, and they're like, Yeah, I'm gonna just throw this thing to here. I'm gonna make millions of dollars on Amazon, and they were from outside of America. And I said, Hey, we buy this at the grocery store. They're one of those checkout point of purchase things and like we buy them for $1. So you selling this custom reusable grocery bag for $30 on Amazon, it's not gonna work.

 

Zahra  

Anybody else have like, 40 of those in their trunk because you get to the odd to bring them from the trunk? Let me just send you. That's the worst, so really quickly tell us about Mexico because some of our listeners here they're either makers, inventors, or they just want to learn like, how do I get in this game like is it for me, they hear these stories about, you know, digital nomads, and like, you know, ruling the world from the comfort of their sweat pants, and they really want to get this online, this E commerce brand going. So tell us about Mexico and tell us what that is and how we get in touch with you. And don't worry, guys, if she says any links or anything and you don't quite catch it, we're gonna have everything in the show notes page, everything's going to be clickable links so it's super easy for you guys to get registered and set up.

 

Amy  

Well, I started a few years ago, I think in 2018, I took my first group of people to China. So I took my first group of people to China to teach them how to actually source properly. So many people are just finding products on Alibaba, and they're paying way too much for them. Their margins are terrible it's shrinking their business. So I started many, many years ago teaching people how to communicate with manufacturers how to vet suppliers how to source properly in person and then when they can't be in person how to professionally do that via video chat, whatever. But anyway, COVID obviously has put a little chink in my China trips. And so you know, we haven't been going to China as much but we've also had a lot of logistics,logistics nightmares, right? The ports have been really backed up everything like that so that is brought a demand for sourcing from the Americas people have been looking in North America, they've been looking in South America, they've been looking in America, you know, whatever. But either way, I started really researching how to source from Mexico, because not only source from Mexico, but they have prepping type of things to do packaging, printing lots of resources in Mexico for you to take advantage of. So we are actually doing a sourcing trip and a trade show in Mexico in June, you can get information about that at the Mexicotrip.com. And the thing is about anywhere outside of China is anytime you're sourcing from anywhere outside of China, guess what? It's not China, you can't just show them a picture of the product and be like, can you make this for me, that's not how you source anywhere else in the world. So not only are you going to learn how to source from Mexico, you're basically this information that we're giving you on this four day sourcing trip, which includes trade show and factory tours in Mexico, we're telling you how to do business in the rest of the world that isn't China. Took China 30 years to get where they are whether you can show them a picture, and they can take care of you cradle to grave packaging, and all it's not like that anywhere else. So if you want to get ahead, by the way, your lead time in Mexico is like so much shorter, you can get products here within two days shipping and importing super easy. You save money on tariffs, even if you're taking your raw materials from China and then bringing them to Mexico, and then importing them to the United States, you're still saving more money on tariffs. So it's such an incredible opportunity to whether you're sourcing from Mexico or utilizing resources in Mexico or just trying to learn how to source anywhere outside of China, the what you're going to learn coming on this trip is going to make a lasting difference in your business. So that's what Mexico is all about. I'm so excited to be part of this Alibaba is actually sponsoring us. They can't wait to be part of this it's really groundbreaking. And it's so exciting. And you can learn more at the Mexico trip.com.

 

Zahra  

That's exciting, guys. If you don't have your tickets go, I need to talk to Amy about how I can get in on this trip, because I'm very excited about it. All right, so I know we're running rapidly out of time. So I just want to do this rapid fire questions with you because I love doing it. And I want to hear what you have to say the thing you may not know about Amy is she's not just amazing at what she does but she's also an amazing entrepreneur. She is a mom of two, she is killing it, you know, on all the facets and she is somebody who personally, you know, I look up to as far as being able to create that I don't even want to say work life balance, but that synergy between, you know, business professional and all the other facets of who she is. And so I've tailored some of these questions because anything she has to give us about her entrepreneurial journey take that too, because it's amazing. Okay, so are you ready are we doing this?

 

Amy  

I'm ready let's do it.

 

Zahra  

Okay, so your favorite Amazon product, your brand that you buy?

 

Amy  

Oh, that's a good question. Okay, we can do that. I love a company called Amazing greens. They make a little green super powder. It's like a superfood powder and you just put a little scoop up a little scoop in my coffee or in water or in my protein shake in the morning and it gives you like all of those greens. I'm a total supplement junkie, I take so many vitamins and supplements and I'm just like, probably where half of my energy and enthusiasm comes from is from pills and powders. In a very positive and healthy way people but yeah, so I like amazing greens I buy from them a lot. I have them on my Subscribe and Save. So yeah, that's who I'm gonna talk about today.

 

Zahra  

Awesome. What book are you reading right now?

 

Amy  

Right now the Untethered Soul. Yes, the Untethered Soul. It's really about how you are not your thoughts and he takes you on this journey of just understanding like he kind of walks you through different scenarios of like, okay, this just happened. This is the thought that went through your head do you realize that that thought was influenced you at some point in your life and you're like taking it way too seriously, and you're deciding to be negative or you're deciding to be positive. So yeah, he was amazing book. I have to listen to it like 45 more times, but it's really really good.

 

Zahra  

Awesome. I love it, I want to read that one too. So what habit or routine do you have as an entrepreneur that just like you swear by it, you would recommend it to anybody? 

 

Amy  

Planning. I'm a planner. I do annual planning quarterly planning, monthly planning, weekly planning and daily planning and it might sound insane but I throw out all the crap about like smart goals and all that stuff like, who cares about that, have a plan, implement the plan, execute the plan, outsource the plan, do whatever you need to do with the plan, but plan because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So I teach planning in my mastermind group, I plan with my mastermind group, I plan with my people, I teach my team how to plan. If you're in my community, you are planning.

 

Zahra  

We are Twinkies, we are planners together. My husband makes this joke like, are you planning to make a plan like yes, I am. That's exactly what's happening that's my method. But Amy, I loved having you on today. I am so glad that you came on, I think our listeners are gonna get so much value from what they heard today. I think that ecommerce is a great space, it is an evolving space. And it is one of those things that if you want to get in on it, like getting on it now and get in on it with Amy, because she will walk you through the steps she is a pleasure to work with. She is an expert in her field and I have seen personally so many of her brands take off from scratch from concept and idea. You know, I've been there when she you know has had people come over and they're drawing on napkins to, you know, successful brands. And I think it's a tremendous way to get things done, you know, really having that support that you need because it is you know, a very complicated world that's changing very quickly. And so to have somebody who knows the ins and outs of it is incredibly valuable. And please visit our show notes page to get in touch with Amy really quickly Amy, do you want to give us just shout out with your Instagram handle and you know, an email that we can email you with but we'll also have it linked up in the show notes page for sure.

 

Amy  

Yeah, sure. My handle everywhere is @amazingathome so that's pretty easy to remember. You can find me on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, all the places, yeah, we're there. If you would just need information and support that's completely free. If you want my free content, you can visit stellarroundtable.com. That's my podcast, that's every Tuesday we record that if you want free content, and you want to be able to ask questions, and you're like just trying to get into this, we have a Facebook group called guess what Amazing at Home. So find that Facebook group because we're there for you. We're you know, just a really great group, we keep everybody we've declined more people than we let in that group, we really want to know that you're there because you want to be there. So it's just a great valuable place to be and it's free why not? And then yeah, if you'd like me to look at your listing, if you have a listing a product listing, whether it's on Shopify, or Amazon or Walmart, or Etsy or eBay or whatever, and you want Amy to go through it and just like rip it apart, just with no, and you don't want to pay me for that either because I do it for free, you just go to amazing@home.com and you head underneath the Services menu, and there's this little thing that says free listing review. And you can just hit me up with a link and I will return a Loom video to you of me tearing it apart and saying really nice things and also things that you should improve for free because I love it. I love doing that stuff. You guys can tell I just speak this language. I like it so thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that. And if you need to reach me, you can go to amazing@home.com/contact and just send me an email.

 

Zahra  

Awesome. Well definitely take her up on that guys. I've seen her you know, completely shift businesses, even with something as simple as that review and really change the trajectory. I will get that word out. So thank you again, Amy. I've had a blast talking with you today. I can't wait to get you back on for the next show because I'm sure I'm gonna be getting a ton of emails as because I get her back and for more time, so we'll definitely have to reach back out.

 

Amy  

Thank you for having me. Thanks, everyone for listening.

Amy WeesProfile Photo

Amy Wees

Founder, Amazing at Home E-Commerce Consulting

Amy Wees is the CEO of Amazing at Home E-Commerce Consulting, a world-renowned company that has helped thousands of brands launch private label products on Amazon and beyond! Amy's knowledge in product development, sourcing, marketing, and sales have enabled her to help countless entrepreneurs develop their own successful businesses.