Through the article, you will learn about the Amazon platform and the basics of selling on Amazon.
We spoke with Amazon sales expert Nejc Volarič, who explained how to start and later succeed on Amazon.
Today, Nejc is actively involved with Amazon and is advising companies. He got familiar with Amazon back in 2015, connecting with mentors in America who were very successful on Amazon at the time. Over time, he began to develop and realize his formula for success on Amazon.
Nejc’s guideline, which he came to know through his time creating on Amazon, is that if everyone is doing one thing and talking about it, then it’s definitely not true. He found that the vast majority use a system taught by many, all make the same products and are competitors to each other. So he connected with people who have inside information, who have experience, and who think differently. He can now share this information, and many are surprised by his results.
M: Nejc, I kindly invite you to tell us a little more about your life path so that we can get to know you better.
I read that you were a football player, that you like numbers, that you are a statistician, that you traveled a lot of the world when you were a professional photographer?
N: Yeah, I was basically did several things back then. Maybe quite briefly. I studied psychotherapy, I wanted to become a therapist. But then somehow I didn’t decide for that because the path was too long and I simply switched to entrepreneurial waters. I founded a website (statistik.si) and this company or this brand still works today. It deals with statistical things. During that time I was also a professional photographer. I photographed weddings, both in Slovenia and abroad. Then a couple of years ago, I basically sold that website to the team and devoted myself to Amazon. Today, I am actively involved with Amazon, advising companies. In addition, I have been developing a new business since six months ago. I basically run personal growth workshops. Energy management, removal of subconscious blockages, etc. Briefly.
M: Very interesting, very. You are interested in many things. Nejc, how did it come about that you started investing your time into Amazon in early 2017?
N: I actually started it a little earlier. Basically, in 2015 and how did that come about? Interestingly, I was looking for one business opportunity at the time. I knew that this statistics website, that I was working on at the time, was one micro-niche, and that this was the Slovenian market, and that was very little. I wanted to set up a whole business system at the time, but I found out that the market just wasn’t big enough to go into a big “business” and I wanted to work …. I wanted to do something on the internet and I wanted to work on something international. And then I became interested in the Amazon Kindle or I just wanted to do something on the internet. And then came Amazon. I saw one video on the internet, on Youtube. I saw that a lot could be done and I actually practically handed over the old business overnight. I hired one person to lead all of this for me. I, on the other hand, started on Amazon at 80% full time and at the beginning, of course, made mistakes, but then I came to quite nice achievements.
M: Where did you first got to know Amazon?
N: I got the first sources of information, basically – a bit on the internet, when various interviews at the time were from people who did something on Amazon. So then I later connected with mentors who worked with very large numbers in America. That’s why I then said that if anyone knows from point A to point B, it’s these mentors and then I also connected with various Slovenian mentors and started working according to some of my own formulas.
Sales on Amazon haven’t changed drastically – what worked 10 years ago still works today!
M: Can you tell us the names of these mentors and what results they have?
N: My two mentors from US were two brothers – Andrew Turnlund and William Turnlund. Then I was in contact with Chadd Rubin for a while too. That’s all.
Everyone works somewhere around … My mentor worked somewhere around 10 million a year. Now I think he’s already at 30 million traffic on Amazon. There are also mentors in Slovenia, for example, who work somewhere between 2 million and up to 5 million in turnover. We are still basically friends today. We help each other with various tips.
M: Is selling on Amazon changing fast? What worked last year still works this year?
N: Basically, it’s like that. We have two aspects here. It’s the same as Google. Now certain things that have worked on Google for 10 years back, they still work today. With Google, the same thing always works. Quality content.
Amazon also has the same thing, not quality content but a quality product, quality reviews, and constant sales. And when we have all these qualities guaranteed, it can also work today, it worked five years ago and it will work in 10 years. And that’s exactly what my mentor always said.
Without hacks, but in a legitimate way with constant growth and in the long run it just works. We know how the curve goes, even with stocks and everywhere, if it goes up fast, it goes down fast. And as much as we play with some hacks, some things like that that a lot of these courses promote, it can be very short term, right? That the algorithm is somehow being played out and also my mentor did not advocate it, and I also identified with it. So I’m also going to say things that 100% work today and will also work in a couple of years.
M: Is there only one Amazon or there are actually more Amazons – separated into big markets. Amazon USA, Amazon Germany, etc. What is the difference between them?
N: Yes, Amazon.com was first – this is the US market. That’s where it all started. And then they started in Europe. We have Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, Amazon Spain and Amazon France. These European Amazons are managed basically through one Seller center – through one platform and when we have an account for the UK we also have an account for other markets. Then, in addition to the American .com account, we can also access Canada and Mexico. Then we have Australia, Japan, as well as China and India, and other markets are opening up too. Poland will open soon and the Netherlands. The Netherlands is already a site, but you can’t yet sell there. There, Amazon sells itself. So there are more Amazons, the markets are divided. The difference between them, however, is this.
America, because it was the first market, the market is also most developed. It also has the most products to offer. There is more competition than, say, in other markets. Let’s say Europe. The youngest is Australia. This is basically the biggest opportunity from my point of view. It is the youngest market, Australia doesn’t have that many people, but given that there’s no competition there and that theit is just getting started it’s, I think, a great opportunity. And you can also sell normally from anywhere in the world.
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M: How did you choose a product from an industry you are going to sell?
N: Yes, that is very interesting. Now if I think back, I don’t even know how I chose exactly this from this industry. In fact, we “tried” everything possible in the beginning: from toys to food supplements, to knives I had at the beginning. Then I saw what worked and what didn’t. We did a lot of testing, we tried everything. We basically went quite against the logic that is promoted by these online courses. Because online courses promote you to buy 500 pieces from China and only god knows if you’re going to sell them or not? I did that in the beginning with my kitchen knives. And then I couldn’t get rid of them because they were basically too high quality and the price was so high that I couldn’t sell them at a competitive price. Then I started testing, testing and testing with small amounts. Maybe the 5th one sold well or say 4th, and then I devoted more time to those. However, I did not invest much energy before, and this is, by the way the logic, test a lot, a lot of products, and then the product that sticks. Start perfecting that one. Also don’t do marketing from scratch without some tests. And that’s just one of the key things I’m advocating that I don’t hear anywhere else. That it needs to be tested at the beginning anyway. We cannot purchase 500 pieces for 10,000 euros from China. I mean, it’s a lot of money. Especially if you start and then find that it is not selling. That the price has dropped, that new competitors have arrived. In the beginning, it is necessary to test the matter somehow.
M: What were your expectations, goals? Did you have the number you wanted to earn in your head?
N: Yeah, yeah, of course, of course I had. The goal, yes. I mean, the target was 100,000 euros a month. We then quickly achieved this. I had a goal, but it went very slowly at the beginning, but then with all the knowledge I gained, it grew very quickly. But there is a lot to be done.
So if you have the right knowledge, and if you are persistent you can do a lot.
But there are also dangers that I will also reveal because I don’t want to just talk about the benefits – just how nice it is and how great it is, right? But there are also dangers that almost none of these online courses tell you, and I will tell you about them so that you are prepared in advance so that you can protect yourself from any dangers that may befall you on Amazon.
M: Did you tackle the whole project on your own?
N: Yes, of course. I was alone at first, but then I slowly built a team. In the beginning, I had some money to invest easily and it went into products. In the beginning, I actually did everything myself. Then I hired the first, second, third and fourth person and we were a team.
M: So you can sell on Amazon in addition to your regular job, and can something can come out of that?
N: Yes it can. I know a lot of people who work that way. I approached it differently. I started full time or 80% full time, I worked on it for about 5 hours a day. Since I had another previous job, I still had to pay some attention there, to transition it to a new team or a new person.
Otherwise, yes, I know a lot of people who do it part time. Now, you won’t be millionaires from this. If you want to do a job very successfully, you have to work full time. 1×1. You can earn an additional one thousand, two or three a month. I emphasise once again. You need to have the right information. As my colleague says, hiring a mentor is the cheapest way to learn. And I paid $ 200 an hour for mentors, say in America, but I knew how much information someone with ten years of experience could give me in one hour. He tried 10 different things and can tell me if it works, so I saved myself a month of searching on Youtube. Then again, I still wouldn’t be sure if I’m right or not. That is why it is the key thing.
M: Did you open a company abroad for sale on Amazon or did you manage the sale through a company in Slovenia?
N: At the beginning, it was from a company in Slovenia for the European market, where Slovenia is a bit problematic, but I opened a company abroad – in Great Britain. Which is basically very easy. Open up a business in Ireland. Otherwise, I don’t know how it works in Ireland. No problem, you can also get a bank account. So, up North – UK, Ireland, they are very open.
M: What do you need to pay attention to when researching products?
N: What to look for when researching products? Yes. The one and only thing is that there is not too much competition. This is a key thing, because many people get stuck in a product that sells crazy at the beginning and he sees those numbers there and already calculates on the calculator that in a year he will be a millionaire in Hawaii and will work from the beach via laptop … Sounds good, doesn’t it? And even that is achievable, but you have to have the right product, don’t you? And, if we tackle a product where there’s really a lot of sales but there’s really a lot of competition, it’s very, very difficult. On the other hand, you have products that have no competition and come to the front page relatively easily. Advertising is cheap, no new competitors are coming in. There is no downward pressure on the price. And that’s one of the key things I, say, learned from mentors, right? Because everyone on these courses were saying 20, 30, 40 sales a day, but no.
My mentor, however, said a couple of sales per week is great. But when you have a range of products. When you have a little more. Then it’s actually one nice, big number, but you’re much more protected when it comes to competition, when it comes to products, your risk is diffuse and new competitors don’t come to you either. And that’s just one of those things I’ve learned.
M: When choosing a supplier – what do you need to pay attention to in order to choose the right, reliable supplier?
N: The most important thing is to make a price calculation. On Amazon, the prices are usually lower than the prices in stores, so you have to carefully calculate at the beginning at what price you can sell it on Amazon and at what price you can then buy it from the supplier. The most important thing when choosing a supplier is that he can provide you a smart price and that the product is of fine quality, so that the prices on Amazon are ok. I think that’s mostly the only thing you need to pay attention to when choosing a supplier.
M: Can you explain the differences between different forms of sales on Amazon: there are terms like affiliate partner, seller central, vendor central. What are the differences?
N: Affiliate partner – you promote products that are already on Amazon and you get a percentage of that. We never did that. I don’t know how much is that, say, 5%.
Seller central – is that you are actually using Amazon’s capacity. You sell through Amazon’s capacity like, say, selling through Ebay.
Vendor central – that you sell to Amazon directly as its supplier and then resell to Amazon.
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M: And which of these options is especially interesting for those who would like to get started?
N: The easiest way is to get a seller central account, so maybe this option. You have more control, you can quickly put products up, because at vendor central Amazon has to approve many things for you. At the seller center you have more control.
M: Do you have to meet any special conditions to register as an Amazon partner?
N: Yes, for vendor central you need an invitation, but it can be bypassed. Then, as far as seller central is concerned, not really.
Then there is the next matter, where it is in certain cases for food supplements, where you really have to get approval for a particular category and you have to send certain documents, but it can all be solved.
M: Which 7 points are most important for a good presentation of your product on Amazon?
N: Keywords that have to be set, then in the listing itself. Then photos. Now I don’t know if I will find exactly 7 of them. Then the actual description of the product, then what can also be done is the html code can also be added in the description and it is displayed a more clearly. Then the next thing that matters is Amazon’s ads and, of course, the keyword research on which the listing itself and the paid ad are based. Because if we don’t do this research well, we can also fail.
M: What are the rules of SEO optimization on Amazon?
N: Yes, this is a slightly more complex question now, but if I answer briefly similar to Google. Keywords are important. Then the conversion. Conversion is when 100 people come to the webpage through the ad and 19 of them buy something. That means a 10% conversion.
The situation between those people who come to the ad or come to the listing and who buy, it’s a conversion.
The more reviews there are, the better the prices, the more people will buy. The better the pictures, the more people will buy. The better the description, the more people will buy. Thus, the conversion rate is higher. And higher than the conversion rate, is the fact that your product is actually important and people actually buy it. Therefore, it also rises, according to the algorithm, and brings you to the first page and ideally to the first position. And that’s actually a couple of these key points – reviews and sales with good conversion. And of course the price. Price is also very important.
M: What are the three most important tools to help you find more people on Amazon?
N: The three most important tools: the keyword research tool, that’s one thing. Then in the market analysis itself the tool Jungle Scout. With which you can research how much is sold in a particular market or with a particular keyword. And then the next tool, where it is possible to monitor the sales themselves, i.e. the profit you have on Amazon. These could be three such tools that would be important.
M: What determines if the person watching your product on Amazon actually buys it?
N: Much of it is the price. Price and reviews. Or the whole package is: price is very important, reviews are very important. These are the two most important things, and then of course a good presentation with pictures and a good description.
M: How long did it take you to achieve sales from 0 to 10,000 € per month?
N: Ugh, I have to think back. But that was, if I am quite honest, after about 5 months since I started learning. I would do a lot of things very differently today. I would have hired a mentor right at the start, but that’s how it was then.
M: Could you identify a couple of key steps to achieve such high sales?
N: Good product. The mentor was not the decisive one.
Maybe not yet in this traffic. But I would say one more thing. The Mastermind group was decisive. I organized it. Then, after I started this Mastermind group, I knew a couple of people who also sold on Amazon and I said, let’s get together, let’s share our knowledge. It’s free. You know something, I know something, and together we know more, don’t we? And that’s how we actually started to help each other. In this group that still exists today. This may have been one of the key factors.
Otherwise, the key thing is a good product. At a good price. Basically, the matter is very simple, but in order to get a good product at a good price, you have to test and experiment a little. And learn and sooner or later you get to the key or to real success. Now, if someone who also went through this helps you and guides you a little, I think then this path is much faster.
M: Is 2020 still the right time to start selling on Amazon or is it too late for that?
N: Basically, it’s always the right time. Also, if you start on Google today is the right time. Why not? It depends on the product. It depends on the category. It depends on many conditions. So it’s always the right time, as toys are already selling, and after decades there are probably still new entrants entering the toy market at this point, right? And it’s always the right time if you’re working the right way, if you’re persistent, if you’re experiment, if you’re not giving up, and if you have access to the right knowledge, to the right information.
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