Amazon Businesses AMA With Kristin Ostrander

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today, we have Kristen Ostrander. Kristen, welcome.

Thank you so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure. How are you?

I am fabulous, thank you very much. How are you?

Yeah, marvellous. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Certainly. So I am Kristen Ostrander, I am the owner and founder of and I teach others to start and grow businesses in the e-commerce space specifically with Amazon. Well, that’s a good segue because that’s what we’re going to talk about today, Amazon, and essentially, I mean, I’d like to just ask sort of what’s the baseline of what you teach them? What’s the categories that you go through when you’re teaching a business on Amazon? Well, firstly, I mean it has to do with where they start and where they begin, if they have no e-commerce experience whatsoever. Um, I have a training course called Start FDA Today, it’s just kind of learning the processes, but mostly I love to teach my own signature series which is wholesale bundles.

Um, I’ve tried every business model on Amazon that has been available, I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2000 and eight, so it’s just a bit of an early adopter and as going through the different business models and competition levels and things. I’ve tried and failed and tried and failed at many different things and tried and succeeded at other great things and so kind of come to what I feel like is a hybrid business model and Amazon that has really been the essence of all of my growth and success since I started that business model. Okay and you said the first one was F. B. A. So that’s fulfilment by Amazon where you send your stock off and they post it on your behalf. Is that right? Yes, that is absolutely correct. And that was really what set Amazon apart in the very beginning of what they started to offer you know prior to that there was a lot of e-commerce stores people would have their own individual stores. They would have to ship products things like eBay, which was obviously big and still a really big market place today.

Um But the downside to some of those things is you would have to create all of your own listings. You’d have to take all the photographs you’d have to ship to customers and deal with customer service all in one. And that became as scalability a a stumbling block for scalability when you’re doing all those things yourself. It’s really difficult to keep all the balls in the air without dropping any of them. And so when Amazon FB A kind of bursting onto the scene early on I want I want to say I started that in 9 4000 and 8 2009 They created a whole different system that made it so simple to just sell things on Amazon that already existed. So anything with a barcode to UPC code. International standard book number. Any of those ISPN type things that you could literally put out there without having to do all the other work. And on top of that Amazon said ship it all to us and we’ll ship it to the customers on your behalf and deal with them and collect payment. And it was kind of a lot of sunshine and rainbows at the time. And it was very lucrative.

Things were selling so quickly the moment they got to the Amazon warehouse that it was it was difficult to do anything else at the moment, so it was very successful. But as they started to grow and move and change and more and more people came aboard more rules, more policies, more trouble, so to speak with some of the other business models and of course increased competition made things a little bit more difficult to keep up. You mentioned that you’ve tried a lot of the quote unquote money making systems or on Amazon can you share what they are certainly. So I began with just books of course, like Amazon began with just books and they were the largest book bookseller out there. And so, of course, they started with that and that was very lucrative but also time-consuming to go to different flea markets and thrift stores and garage sales and just things where you could pick up books to sell. The profit margins were outstanding but what you traded for that was your freedom and driving and pounding the pavement here and there to collect all these big heavy books to lug around and then sent to Amazon.

So I quickly realised that that wasn’t going to be something I wanted to do long term. But then retail arbitrage was introduced to me, I had no idea that at on Amazon you can sell more than books at this time. This was very early 2000 and nine or so when I was like wow you can sell other things other than books, let’s look into that. And so that also with a very limited budget that we were on a single just we had a small Children and I wanted to be able to stay at home with them and so with my husband working we had a very small budget to kind of invest into a business. So you know I would say even $20 a week at some point I was investing in inventory, so I had to be very careful about it and going to stores with two small Children and picking retail arbitrage items off the shelf to sell on Amazon, there was great profit margin again, but the scalability was very difficult even though it was very profitable. Going singly by yourself to store from store to store to store to try to collect inventory for your digital self.

Kind of madness. Yeah, totally understand retail albatross. Do you mean finding, for example, sale items on like in a clearance isle or something in a supermarket and then selling it for normal price on Amazon? Is that what you mean? Yes, sir. So retail arbitrage and it can be sale items or even regular price items. It’s simply going to a retail establishment of any sort. And finding the mark, finding the margins oftentimes people will pay a premium to buy it on Amazon because they can get it for, get it in two days with prime and they don’t have to go out and buy it and they can get exactly what they want. And so most people will pay an additional price for something that they know they could go down to a regular store and buy. but they don’t have time or energy or they don’t feel like it. And so there’s definitely a lot of margin opportunities there, especially in years past as opposed to now that’s becoming a lot more competitive. Have you ever seen any of those apps where you sort of scan – I don’t know the barcode or find, find the item on the app and it tells you what is likely to sell for on Amazon?

Absolutely, as a matter of fact in my retail arbitrage days and just for the record, I did a retail arbitrage from 2000 and nine until about 2014. it was very lucrative and very hard to get away from because you would buy things in stores for. And I use the app like that. As a matter of fact, I use inventory lab which came with Spotify and you simply take your phone to any store, scan the barcodes and the program there will show you the exact amount of profit you will make based on the going rate on Amazon versus what you’re paying for it. So you enter the by cost and it basically tells you you’re going to make $10.12 on this item if you sell it on Amazon. So they made it very, very easy to make those decisions quickly. The downside is that it’s kind of a one and done if you go into a store and you clear out the clearance isle or you get some sale items or you get some things that are kind of on trend and then there are seasonal or something, you can’t go back and repeat that and so you’re constantly chasing down the next treasure, which for some of us is very exciting, but at the same time when you look at long-term sustainability of a business that’s just not going to work.

And so I reached a point where my profit and my hours were starting to work 60 70 hours a week and making really decent money, but at the same time I was building myself this prison of constantly having to go out and shopping all day to try to find these different pieces of inventory and started to look into different and better and more scalable opportunities to find profitable inventory. Yeah, you mentioned scalable a couple of times and I can imagine that business being, um, it’s quite good from a hustle perspective, so if you really want to have no in a bit of extra money or something, then it is possible, but at the same time if you want to repeat it, slight challenges there. When did you decide to get out of it? And what was that decision like the decision to start moving away from it was the fact that it was the hours and the time I was putting in and although it was very profitable, I was just exhausted and I had three Children and a husband to take care of these different things and I thought I don’t want to spend 60 hours a week out shopping and trying to find these different things and kind of chasing down the next deal.

It’s a little bit tired of the hustle and was a little bit more looking into, if I want this long term and I would like to keep this sort of income that we’re enjoying at this moment, something needs to give. And so we were finding and when I say we, my mom joined my business and right around 2014 she kind of said you’re shopping for a living and I love shopping, so can I go with you on one of these shopping trips and show me what you do. I was like well, sure she had been working at a restaurant, a very fine dining restaurant for many, many years and she was sort of worn out and tired of that. And so she kind of came along with some of the shopping trips and realised, wow, this is amazing and fun and she absolutely loved to do it. I said great, I need some help because I am running ragged here doing all this stuff. So as we were doing that together than growing, we kind of stumbled upon some really great products and they were limited access and they weren’t on clearance, they weren’t on sale, they were just regular price items that we could go and get often, but we would constantly have to go and clear the shelves at each store and asked the manager if they had any more.

So he said, well let’s see if we can do some wholesale and see if we can get an account with them. And that was fairly easy to do. What was very disappointing was the expectation of profit margin on wholesale items. So maybe like some listeners out there who think, oh, wholesale is, you know, this great thing, I bet I can get it at least half price of what it is at a retail store. And you know, I’m just going to be this time we’re going to make our millions because you know, this thing that sells for $10 I’ll probably get it for five or $4 from the wholesaler and you know, well I’ll just be raking in the money. Unfortunately, that is not how it goes. You get a wholesale price list and you realise that that $10 item at a retail store is more like $7 at wholesale cost. And with Amazon fees and all the different things that there is, we were going to lose money on that very same thing that we were making money buying retail arbitrage. So we’re very discouraged by that. And it was over all across the board, um, different wholesale companies, it felt like that because wholesale companies early, you know, for years and years, they’ve been around and they haven’t built that into a business model or in a price, they sell something to retail, brick and mortar store.

And those people have their own overhead, and what they do with it and what price they charge. But in an e-commerce marketplace, it’s such a different beast because there’s so many different things involved, like shipping costs, packaging costs, um, fees on different platforms. And so the traditional wholesale prices are just not going to work on most platforms, some of them are, and you have to play the volume game like you want to be Walmart or if you want to be maybe an Amazon type where it’s a volume thing where if you sell 10 million products 10 times a day, you’re going for a penny profit, that’s great for, you know, the general collective of some big giant company. But as a small business, volume is a very difficult thing to regulate. And so we decided we wanted to be more margin based instead of volume based. So we had to really decide what we were going to do, whether it was wholesale or not. So we started looking for other ways to incorporate wholesale in a way that brought value to the customer, but also brought more money to our pockets because otherwise we were going back to retail arbitrage because that was what was working.

And we discovered that if we added multiple items together, that made sense that people bought together on a regular basis, think of your shampoo and your conditioner, most people by the same brand, they buy every single week all the time and you know, it would just make it a lot easier if you could just go and buy it in one fell swoop and that really works on Amazon because people value their time sometimes more than their money and they would rather just add it to the card and swipe it and be done and just have it one cliff rather than shopping around and price shopping or going to a store and things. So that was essentially the creation of the wholesale bundle. We started bundling things together and, and gift baskets, accessory kits, packs of different, different items together and that really, really took off for us. Well, congratulations, thank you. So is that what your business looks like today? Basically, you’ve done the wholesale prices and then you’ve combined products in order to essentially make it worth doing.

Yes. The wholesale, the hotel bundle system is kind of how I created that process, that product. And we also for a time with the wholesale in between that we tried private label because everyone thought, well everyone at the time was, you know, private label was the holy grail, that the top of the Amazon food chain, you can vent your own product and put your own brand on and put it on Amazon. And of course, that was the trail to the multimillion dollar business, right? And unfortunately, that was very wrong as well because if you’re a big company with deep pockets, that’s a great opportunity for you to create brands and things. But as a small business owner, it’s really difficult to even remind, you know, five years of outsourcing something, researching a product, testing it, manufacturing and having all the things and tying up your capital for almost 12 months. What we realise is the average private label product, even at that time bringing it from idea to actual sale, is over 12 months long and cost the average of 15 to $25,000.

And so because of that, we thought we cannot tie up that much money that long. And just to try to see if if one product is actually going to work. So the wholesale bundle model is also, what I call, poor man’s private label or the kind of the hybrid between wholesale not being enough margin and private label being too expensive and too timely. We needed the money now. And so we kind of married the two together and we have a couple of very small private label products that we put within our wholesale bundles to kind of make them unique. It keeps the competition away, it sets us apart. So we’re essentially creating a whole brand new product without the expense and lead time of private label, yet without the really low margins of wholesale. So just for people who are unaware what, what is private label, if you could summarise it. Sure. So a private label brand would be just a brand of something that you could either recreate, reinvent, um, improve upon. So you could go to any manufacturer in the world, a lot of people go to China or India or things like that to have a manufacturer make something that you’re going to customise.

So instead of just having your regular kitchen utensils, maybe you’re going to have them made out of bamboo or something that’s the more economically sustainable or you want them all in bright purple because that’s what matches your kitchen or so you would have them go to the manufacturer’s already manufacturers certain things and say, I would like to make this my own custom type item and I’d like to have it in these colours or these styles. Most clothing brands are private label because you’ve got your own label on it and whether you make a black T-shirt or, you know, button down polo or something that you can put your own brand on it and it’s your own thing. As opposed to white label items. White label would be more of go back to the shampoo. Example, for example, there’re manufacturers that make certain shampoos, certain chemical, whatever um, formula that they have, but they also sell to a Pantene or something like that, but they will also sell it private label to, or if you wanted to create your own brand, I could call it Kristen’s curly hair shampoo and I can put my own brand, my own label on it, but it’s still a product that they’re already manufacturing.

So you’re basically just branding it in a different way and selling it to the masses as if it was your own product and so you have a little bit of a leg up on private label where you’re starting more from scratch versus your own label, but essentially still you have to keep doing the marketing, you have to still show everybody and show the world and introduced the world to your brand products. So that’s what makes wholesale bundle so much easier to start and continue on is because essentially you’re not reinventing the wheel, you’re not reinventing a brand or a product that someone has to get to know like and trust they say, oh I’ve got, you know, I’m going to sell Nintendo switch accessories and although they’re not made by Nintendo, there are all these different accessories that you can sell with this little gaming system and you put the bundle together, people recognise what it is and you know, they purchase it, that’s cool, you enjoy what you do, I do, I really do. I love the creative process of getting inside the customer’s head because bundles or any product really has to solve a problem or meet a need and somewhat better ways than maybe competitors out there.

So you know, my greatest thing about selling on Amazon is that you don’t have to sell name brand, big brand items for your items to be purchased, I mean most of us probably can’t name the brand of the last HTM I chord that we bought yet we need these products right, we need these things for everyday life for your mop or your, you know certain things that you use every single day. So it doesn’t have to be some sexy big brand name that you’re trying to be a household name people by ordinary everyday things on Amazon. And if you can solve that problem with the product or meet the need of a customer with speed and convenience and variety that really translates to profit. Okay, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about because especially if you’ve been on Amazon since was it 2000 and eight listing products in that time, I’d imagine you’ve got a lot of knowledge on best practices around, you know, if a business is either on Amazon or intends to be what are some of the best practices that you share with them around listing an item.

You need to if you’re creating list product listings. The biggest thing that you need to be aware of is that you’re speaking to two people at the same time. Number one is the Amazon algorithm. You are speaking to the Amazon algorithm when you’re building your listing and keywords are very, very important. So doing proper keyword research and I don’t care if you have a product that you’ve had for 30 years and you think it’s the very best thing in the whole world Amazon’s algorithm does not care they care about keywords that customers are searching and they want to put the most relevant product in front of the most relevant searches at any given time. So, describing your product in a very clear, concise way, that is going to bring the proper customers to your listing. And the second thing is that you are still speaking to customers. So although you have to meet in the middle somewhere, speaking to algorithms versus your actual customer, they can’t purchase your product if they can’t find it. So that’s part of the keyword strategy there. And then the second strategy would be really making sure that you’re hitting the pain points.

Because honestly, on Amazon my experience has been that brands don’t necessarily sell products. Of course, if you’re looking for Nike shoes, you know, you’re going to be typing in a specific Nike shoe and that’s exactly what you’re looking for. But if you’re just looking for beach towels for your holiday, then that you’re looking for a beach towels, pack of five or blue beach towel or something like that, you’re not looking for a brand, it’s attributes that sell your items. So making sure that when you’re creating your listing your clear and concise about what the thing is, what it’s used for, What are the actual, what’s it made out of? What, what those are the things that people want to know, what colour is it with style is it? What materials that made out of those types of things. And I think people tend to overthink that on a regular basis and want to get sexy or fancy with all these words when really people are searching for products, they’re typing specific things like 10 ft HTM I cord, there’s really not a whole lot of words that you need aside from those things, that’s really what someone’s looking for. So don’t get super fancy.

But making sure that you use a proper keywords to bring your item to the customer. Well how do you do your keyword research? The keyword research is a whole process. So that’s part of my wholesale bundle system. Actually, you know like I know your listeners can’t see this but you can, this is my little 12 step framework that created to be able to start from any product at all, any catalogue, any product you can think of. You start with that and you walk through these 12 steps, you can end up with a proper profitable bundle at the end. So whether you’re bundling or doing even regular keyword research, it walks you through the different steps of what it takes. So I definitely use some software for that. One of my favourite things as merchant words. Merchant words has been around since I want to say 2014, maybe 2013. And there are some other competitors out there too, which I actually use multiple different things. Different software for different things. But merchant words, it’s one of my favourites because they work only with Amazon to with their own algorithms to pull out the top searched keywords for any given product in any category on Amazon across the board and they have all these different data points that kind of show you the demand of such keywords.

So let’s go back to HD my cords for just a minute just because that was the example I’ve been using. So you go to Merchant words and you type in H. D. M. I. Cord and then it brings up all the relative keywords, all the different things that you can look at within that how many people per month are searching for HD my chords, is it on the upswing or the downswing and then it gives you all these different ways that you can analyse that versus what’s on page one of Amazon search for HD my chords and what is frequently purchased with these types of things. You can start mining the data at that point in deciding is there. And then that’s when you know one of the steps of my wholesale bundle system is taking that data and looking at Amazon yourself something about, can’t do something a software can’t do is kind of put common sense and supply and demand together to decide what makes the most sense profitable profitability wise. So you know they can tell me that 30,000 people a month or 300,000 people a month search for HDMI cords but what they can’t tell me is going to Amazon looking at the competition there and looking at other things that people are buying alongside HD my chords and whether or not that’s going to make a decent bundle that someone would want to purchase.

So that’s kind of the human element within the data. And so walking through the different steps, there are different research processes in a couple of tools that you use in order to formulate what’s going to be the best keywords, what’s going to actually sell this item this bundle and then using that those keywords to build your listing sounds like you’ve got a very cool course just out of interest because of something that you mentioned earlier, um, have you done a load of course is yourself, I have been teaching since 2014 on Amazon I have several flagship courses and I also have a membership group where I do trainings every single month to continue on the path because as if anybody knows anything about Amazon, they’re kind of a shoot first, ask questions later type of company. They bring rules and policies kind of outside of their hat all of a sudden and there’s always different changes and different things and I also believe that the rising tide raises all ships and so if we can help each other along, we can all collectively succeed in a way than we would if we weren’t alone.

So I have created and taught many online digital courses and I do have my two flagship ones that I that I have done basically out of necessity, out of everyone, you know, I used to do personal coaching, which I do use a small amount of, but as I was speaking with clients, I realised that they were all asking the same questions over and over again and it was not an effective use of my time to repeat myself hour after hour from different clients, a different client. And so I saw that it was a necessity to create a course material prerequisite, if you will, of some of these different things so that I wouldn’t waste their time or mine repeating over and over the same information. So I I built a course that kind of answered all these questions collectively so that people could have a head start before they needed additional help. I’m kind of hoping I don’t ask one of those questions now, although I think I probably have, haven’t I. Oh no, it’s totally fine. It’s actually my joy to be able to answer these questions for people that are trying to understand Amazon a little bit better because it is this big giant beast that if you’re new to selling or if you’re just interested, there’s so many moving parts and pieces and it’s like a like a friend of me sometimes they’re like your friend and they bring a lot of a lot of income into our family and we’re very grateful for that.

But at the same time, they can be some of our worst enemies on different days, depending on the policy that they decided to create tomorrow. You know. Have you got any thoughts on reviews? Oh boy. Yes, of course. I Amazon has gone back and forth about the importance of reviews on products. They’ve also gone back and forth about in which ways you can collect such reviews. And there’s a lot of black hat methods out there for people trying to constantly create new reviews. But I will tell you this, I don’t mind for or ask for reviews on my Amazon products and I do just find selling all of the products that I have for sale without major reviews. The reality is if you’re selling a product that customers want to buy that, I mean, the more expensive product is, the more important reviews are for the simple fact that if you’re investing $250 in a product, you’re going to want to read reviews to see if it’s junk to see what other people say about it, to make sure that you are putting your money out there in a way that’s going to have a decent return.

But the hidden gem that most people know at least subconsciously about Amazon is that they’re protected if they buy something that turns junk or is not good or is broken or is defective in some way, Amazon has number one customer service in the universe and they will be mostly take back any single thing that you are dissatisfied with for any reason whatsoever. So by your confidence is so high on Amazon that reviews are not as necessary as people think they are and certain categories there most extremely relevant and then some categories they’re not, but I can tell you out of the products that we have been creating, I would say most of them are than the 30 to $60 range, so they’re not super expensive, but they’re not super low end where you’re going to wonder the quality. So there’s in this mid-range and we don’t have many reviews on our products yet, we’re selling a lot. I mean, we do over a million dollars in sales every single year and we’re growing from that as a small, you know, small company.

Um, we don’t really worry too much about reviews because they’re not as relevant or important in the category we sell in and honestly, I would say not as relevant and important as most people make them out to be. Yeah, okay, so it’s sort of like a cause and effect type way of thinking, which I really like, which is if you provide a cause, which is a good product, the effect will be good reviews. Well, it’s essentially um, when you, there’s people that go mining for their reviews, they send out those emails that you get with follow up and hey, if you like the product leave a review, leave a review and that’s mostly a seller trying to get on Amazon’s good algorithm because they reward you as far as where your listing is placed based on hot top reviews and sales. This, this whole conglomerate of different, um, you know, data points that will kind of help boost your sales, boost your visibility without paying for it like with PPC ads and things. But at the same time, people who are buying those products, if you go mining for those reviews, you have to take the good with the bad because as collecting reviews, we tried this for a period of time and every time we would consistently or persistently ask for review with these follow up emails that are allowed within the Amazon system, A lot of times one out of five will be the one person that’s dissatisfied and they leave a review which cannot be deleted.

So now you’ve got one bad review and zero good reviews because most of time when people are satisfied and, and they don’t always have time, A lot of people don’t care about leaving a review there. Like I want my product, it’s great. Let’s move on. Um, so in a time starved society, people don’t love leaving reviews and unless they’re extremely unhappy and of course those are the ones that are always there the most is when people are like I hate this product or extremely satisfied with something. So you get a lot of the extremes and what you really want as a collective of the middle ground where people are like, yeah, this is pretty good. It met my needs. It’s great. So I gotta be careful what you wish for when you’re asking for reviews because you might get, you have to take the good with the bad. You mentioned the ads, Do you use ads for your business? Oh, this is my favourite question of all time. The PPC ad, the dreaded PPC questions. So pay per click on Amazon has been more up and coming in the past, you know, two or three years than it ever has been before.

It didn’t really exist much. and so it’s becoming a little bit more of a pay to play game on Amazon with the exception of excellent keyword research because we do not use PPC, we use organic search, we use it’s all about product selection to be honest. I mean if you’re trying to sell iPhone cases on Amazon, you’re going to probably spend more in PPC ads than anything else because the competition is fierce and in order to, if you’re trying to compete on very top level products like major big brand PPC is going to be everything for you. You’re going to need ads in order to even compete. Otherwise people will never see your products because it’s buried in oblivion among, you know, 10,000 other competitors. So the key to not using PPC ads and not having to pay for a lot of paid traffic on Amazon is to simply provide products that people are looking for on a regular basis, in those what I would consider underlying or unsexy type categories.

Everybody wants to think that I’m gonna sell iPhone cases because everybody in the world has an iPhone and they, you know, yeah, you and you know, 20,000 other people selling the same thing. So you’ve got to kind of go and look and do a little bit of research on some of these um, niche products that people are constantly buying yet they’re not um, you know, they’re under the trend radar of things regular people are buying on a regular basis. Um, I have one client that sells nothing but socks and underwear and it’s because it’s so something that people need on a regular basis. It’s not sexy. It’s not, you know, the thing in the world, but it’s something that sells daily hourly every single week without fail because it’s just something that people at that every human needs at some point. So, um, those things like that, I think people try to chase trends and then they have to spend money on PPC ads where if you’re going through our research process, I really pride myself on teaching my students and practising it myself that if you do really good research and bring quality products to the table, that really solve problems for your customers.

You don’t need to pay for advertising because Amazon will bring back. Amazon has already brought 150 million people to their platform and those people are just hungry to buy whatever you’re offering. And so they’ve already provided the traffic, you just have to provide the listing that to put in front of them. Yeah, I’m coming back on what you highlighted. I did hear that there was a, I don’t know where there was shark tank. I’m a watcher of shark tank you see, and there has been many businesses on that show where they say, you know where do you get your sales? And there’s been like seven figure candle businesses for example, just because people like to buy candles and you know, they put it on Amazon and their business exploded essentially. So I’m not really too sure why I said that. I just like shark tank, but I love, I love shark tank for so many reasons to I watched that and all I want to do is call up those founders and be like, let me help me help me help you get your product on Amazon because I know we know the power of it and let’s be honest, I actually did a research study um, on the number one app used by millennials or even the gen X, which I have 20-year-old children.

So that, that sort of generation where they grew up with smartphones in their cribs, right? So they said, what’s the number one app that you could not live without? And I was expecting them to say TikTok or, you know, Snapchat or, you know, some sort of social media something. And I asked 10 of the age group, they’re between 18 and 25 what’s the number one app you wouldn’t want to live without? They all said Amazon without even talking to each other, Amazon. Like I buy everything on Amazon, everything. They have everything and there’s, there’s variety and there’s anything I need. I can’t go down to the local supermarket or to a mall or to anywhere and get that kind of selection and that kind of, you know, I’m looking for these sandals and a size seven and this colour and you can search all that on Amazon. But if you were at the mall, you would have to shop all day to find those exact things you’re looking for. So they have all said Amazon. And so it’s really changing the way that people shop and so if you’re not there, you’re really missing out on worldwide customers.

Well, this is kind of a speculation one for you. But how long do you think it will be until same day delivery occurs? Not long, especially in the European countries. Well, I know that there’s, I know that there are some barriers as far as, um, you know, crossing borders and things like that, that might propose an issue. But here it’s as close as the next state away, right to where you guys are closer to different, um, you know, closer in conjunction to proximity. But I have a feeling that it won’t be long, probably within the next year or two, it will be a lot more possible than people think as a matter of fact. Um, and I also, just to put this out there, speculation wise, Walmart is going to be Amazon’s number one competitor within the decade, if I dare not say within five years, um, what, what Walmart has going for them, where there’s, you know, advantages and disadvantages, which there’s also a third party selling on, on Walmart, so say you heard it here first and go start selling on Walmart and Amazon because um, you’re gonna, they’re both are lucrative opportunities.

And with Walmart, the advantage that they have over Amazon, once they get their processes together, as far as logistics and delivery and things like that, once they catch up to Amazon in that way, they have far more power to reach far more people because um, there’s a, there’s a Walmart store on every corner and every city and every town in every, every, pretty much through the entire United States? And so they have what you would consider these many warehouses everywhere. So they have more potential to do same day delivery than Amazon does because Amazon still building their warehouses and their infrastructure but Walmart already has that. So if they can tap into the massive opportunity of providing same day delivery, using the facilities, they already have, they have an advantage over Amazon, it’s just a matter of they need some of those executives to come and work for them to help teach them the infrastructure of what that looks like, but that they’re definitely going to be one of the top Amazon competitors that will ever see, but they’re a little behind the eight ball, you just need to have a word with them, right?

I would like to have a word with them, we can change the whole business. So, I mean you mentioned well, I spoke to you about reviews and I think you have a great answer there, have you got any thoughts on fake reviews? Yes and no, yes, in a sense that Amazon’s bots are smarter than people sometimes and people think that they can get away from and hide from Amazon and figure out these backdoor ways to get these fake reviews on things and they will catch up to you, they will find you and then they will end you and the best way is always the honest way, I mean, if you need fake reviews, you really need to question whether or not you have a decent product because if you have, if you don’t have a decent product then what difference does it make? You’re going to get bad reviews eventually Anyway. The reason people try to buy reviews in the beginning is because Amazon does at the, when you’re launching a product, Amazon revere’s high sales volume and high hi review a review numbers.

You know, if you’ve got five star reviews from you know, 100 people in the 1st 30 to 60 days, they are going to give you the attention that you want. But again, going back to the fact that if you’re providing a product that people already want in a less than competitive space, that’s usually the problem. People that are paying for fake reviews are usually in a highly competitive space and they’re just basically trying to buy their positioning and unfortunately that can lead to disaster in Amazon blacklists. People, if they find you and suspend you, they will cut you and your household off from Amazon ever. And they have ways they trace I. P addresses, they even trace addresses where you send things to, so say you’ve sent a gift to your mom, but then you launched a product on Amazon and then you wanted your mom to review it. They would strike her review because they said it’s related products, you’re related to them somehow and that’s not even relation blood wise it’s they’ve traced your address to you once, sending her something from Amazon and now they have the addresses linked.

And so they literally have this spider system of linking people in such a way that they can track fake reviews as quickly as a hound dog and track the bird that has been shot down. So those are types of things that people think that they can get away with and eventually you will be found out. Okay, this is a more of a general one. I’ve always expected to see more video on Amazon. Is that happening? Or I just missed it. Yes, absolutely. Is happening. As a matter of fact, um, Amazon’s launching several different things. They’ve launched Amazon live, which is kind of in a beta type of position right now where they’re getting and hiring and vetting influencers to basically be live selling products like you would see at a Q V C or, you know, the home shopping network or something where they’re doing this sort of live demonstration of different products and they’ve got some sort of influencer there that people maybe know and love or respect or at least know somewhat and they’re selling these products and people are buying in the moment.

So it’s kind of like this hybrid of live streaming product demonstration and sales like you would see on a QBC. But it’s cooler because Amazon is doing it right. So there’s that, but there’s also the introduction of a plus content and videos that you can add when you are brand registered. So if you have a trademarked brand and I have a trademark brand even though nobody knows about it or really even cares about it. I have a trademark brand for the simple fact that Amazon gives you more benefits when you have a government trademark and that can be overseas or us or whatever country you can trademark in. Amazon usually honours that government paperwork of registering that. So they have a lengthy process for that, but once you have it they reward you with these different benefits. And one of those is being able to add video to your listing. So of course I like to try out all the new things and see if Amazon is blowing smoke or it’s actually a great opportunity. And so just recently we launched a we launched a bundle that also has one of our has a full blown private label product and it was one of our first attempts to be able to create something that was all our own but it was also have some wholesale products in there, so it’s wholesale bundles but it’s still our flagship product.

And so as we launched this in a soft launch we realised we had an opportunity to put some video in there and so we I created a couple of different videos, it was more of how to instruction um, type of things and then a little bit of best practices of where, how, when these can be used. And I launched that Amazon has to approve the videos and then once they approve the videos, they appear on the listing page. So you still see an image, but if you click to the listing, you see an image and then you can see the different content that you’re able to put in there as far as video form. And what we realized that as the people that clicked on the listing, 92% of people clicked on the listening watched the video. That is a huge indicator that our customers want to know more about our products. Now, some products we really don’t need videos for because let’s be honest, we don’t need to demonstrate how to wear a flip flop sandal, like that’s just going to go with the HDMI cable, I’m disappointed. Um, so sorry, actually was going to go with that, but then my thought process was like, well some people might really need to know where that plugs it.

So, but seriously, like some people, like, again, the HD my cables, we don’t really need to know if this plugs in here. This plugs in there. There’s not a whole lot to say about them, but there’s other products that we’ve all seen that we thought, gosh, I really wish I could see this in action or I love this product, but I don’t know how to fold it up and get it back into the case or you know there’s just some user error that you want to prevent. Right? And so our product had a similar thing and it folds and it folds in a very funky way. And so I just did a 42nd demo on Zach step by steps of how you fold this up and put it back in the case. And it’s viewed 92% of the time when people come to the listing and look at this, they view that video and they have by your confidence because they realise that they’re not going to get at home and figure out how well I love this product within it doesn’t fit back in a case the right way or it doesn’t, you know this part doesn’t fold down the right way, I need a demo and it really enhances the user customer experience in Amazon will always put their customer first.

And unfortunately there sellers aren’t their customers, they are worried about the end user 100% of the time and they allow you to sell on Amazon but you are not the priority. Their customers the priority. And so anything that can enhance a customer experience and have satisfied customers that come back from Amazon is all about that. So video is is highly recommended if it’s if it’s appropriate? Yeah. Product Imo can be very powerful. So I’m not surprised that it really works. Have you got anything that you feel that would be valuable to mention that we haven’t discussed so far. Do you have like four hours now? Okay, great. So thank you for the breakdown for sure. I love to be able to help people and inspire people to, if they have that entrepreneurial spirit, if they need a side hustle if they’re just curious or maybe you have brick and mortar listeners who say, well I’ve got these great products and they sell well locally, but I would like to go more global with that. How do I get started? Um, slow and I would say I would suggest that if anyone’s interested in starting on Amazon that you do a little bit of research of course YouTube and podcasts are very, you know, just a free way to start gathering some information.

But what I would caution you is to just not, not try and listen to too many people and too many different things to focus in on someone who resonates with you or sounds like they have a business model that would be right for you and kind of lean into just a few people because there are lots and lots of people talking about how to make money on Amazon and there’s all kinds of different avenues to approach. Um, I will say that if people get started and are interested in that, that if you start hearing people saying you can make $20,000 in your first month and this and that, and just all you have to do with, you know, these get rich quick or these very fast paced kind of profit type models run in the opposite direction because it’s, it can be simple, but it’s not always easy and I hope that that makes sense in a way that there’s a lot of steps, there’s a lot of rules, there’s a lot of processes that you should have in place. It’s not just jumping in, going to Alibaba, buying the next biggest trend, throwing it on Amazon and making your millions.

It’s way more complicated than that, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated step by steps and very slow approaching it is the best way to go about it. So if you’re interested following people that have been around the block a while and that have business models that you feel comfortable with and then just following a select few people to get the best information. Have you been burned by course creators making extraordinary claims then, is that why you say that? I have not, but I have many clients who have come to me after spending their life savings with swindlers saying, okay, if you buy into the system and you get this private label products will do everything for you and then they end up with $25,000 of paperweight products in their garage that they can’t sell on Amazon because so many things were left out. There are too many holes in the story and people demand just more and more money to continue to help you move along when it can be a very self-directed which is just a handful of people teaching really valuable things and there’s lots of people teaching really valuable things.

But what happens is a lot of people want to do, they get the shiny object syndrome right there like, okay, I’m gonna do merch by Amazon, I’m going to create t shirts and sell this at a royalty level. So I don’t have to hold inventory or drop. Shipping has got to be the way to go because people are attracted to the things that seem easier, right? But the things that make the most money and are most sustainable are not the easy things and that’s why there’s only a handful of people that will succeed and select those things because the successful road is not the straight and narrow road, it’s not the easy road, It’s the rocky, bumpy up and down road that will eventually get you to the top of the mountain rather than some, it’s not an elevator. And so a lot of people are looking for that elevator and I would just caution people that take time and energy to focus on it because it’s a very lucrative, long term sustainable business if you do it correctly. Well, like your approach because you’re essentially saying there is a demand, you do your research and then you go and supply that demand, which has always been well I wouldn’t say always, but it’s a business principle that normally works right, So, and also I have listed on Amazon previously and having a guide would be very helpful for anyone who hasn’t done it yet.

Um I found that anyway. Yeah, I totally agree. There’s just like you don’t know what you don’t know and you know, to have some honest, respectable people that you can ask questions about. I mean that’s why I built my community because even with the course, even with several courses, people still have questions or you know when you’re a beginner, you’re a beginner, you don’t know what you don’t know and you need to kind of ask a few questions even if they seem silly or irrelevant. and because we are able to help each other, we have other really great smart sellers that can answer questions for you and help you along the path. And you know, that’s really important in any sort of business is to have some sort of mentor some sort of group of people that you can kind of collectively share information and help each other succeed and what your goals for your business, huh? I want to add to that. Do you have an exit strategy in mind or not? That’s yes, absolutely. And that’s actually what’s gonna say, my goal is to for the next couple of years we are building and we are kind of sustaining and cleaning up loose ends here and there.

We have really dialled in and focused on what we’re doing and then the next three years I’d like to sell the business and my mom is my business partner and she’s at a retirement age and she would, she loves to work and she loves working. She’s like, I want to still be involved in some way. and so she’s, and when I say that I, I no discredit to her, she is 50% partner and she is 50% of the company. She is a workhorse and she’s creative and you know, we work really, really well together. But I’ve discovered my love for writing. I wrote my first book a year and a half ago and I love writing and teaching and speaking. And so I’d like to dedicate more time to that. And so because of that, I love to sell my Amazon business in order to focus more on teaching and training and writing and the things that I just love doing. So I’m looking to maintain what we have and just kind of make sure that it’s all set up for the buyer and you say that’s three years, that’s kind of the goal, I would like it to be sooner.

But it just really kind of, it really just depends on the marketplace right now we’ve actually had our business evaluated. And of course, 2020 was kind of a nightmare for all kinds of reasons. I mean, we did well, but not as well as we did in previous years. Just pandemic and all kinds of things. And so the evaluation of the business, I probably would have sold it then if the advisors were like, hey, if you could just give it through 2021 or maybe even another 18 months, um, this would be in a position where you would want it to be. So, um, there’s a lot of buyers out there for, for FDA businesses because once you have a model like mine, um, that they, I’ve had it evaluated by two different brokers and they have said that this is very unique and very lucrative for a buyer of such a business because it’s so unique in a way that it already has built in competition proof stuff. We have very solid vendors we work with and it’s really in a great position. We just are boosting the numbers a little bit more so that we can get a little squeeze a little bit more out of it before we let it go.

So that is the exit strategy. Wow. Well, I’d like to hear about it when it does happen. So thanks for sharing it. Kristen, where is the best place for people to find you? Best place for everyone to find me and on all social and everywhere is That is the name of my company and no, you don’t have to be a mommy to connect with me. That was just, I’m the mommy making the income, so that’s kind of how the name came about. I’m also the host of the Amazon Files podcast. So you can find me wherever you find podcasts on the Amazon Files podcast and all socials are at mommy income, so love to connect.

Well, thank you for all the information. I think it’s been great and very valuable for anyone considering going on Amazon. So thank you very much, awesome.

Thanks so much for having me.