How to Build an Amazon Brand in Less Than a Year

Build a brand on Amazon

Amazon has made countless millionaires throughout the years and will continue to be the number 1 eCommerce platform for years to come.

Amazon’s success is a combination of Bezos’ customer-centric model of pooling retailers into one easily searchable database and the site’s ability to steamroll the competition and drive the prices of consumer goods towards new lows, eliminating competitors in the process. And then of course you have Amazon Redshift and AWS which proved Amazon’s clout in emerging technology industries.

The most recent developments in Amazon such as FBA have created an entire generation of 6-figure earners and thousands of millionaires, many of which didn’t even plan or expect to become millionaires – some even expected their businesses to fail!

If you’re learning how to build a brand on Amazon then you’re in good company and there are stacks of resources online, but this article aims to pass along some tips and tricks that you might not find everywhere you look.

The Typical Roadmap for Selling on Amazon

Selling on Amazon is fairly easy, especially since Amazon FBA allows businesses to utilize their world-class distribution network in return for a small fee and cut on their margins.

The basic process is:

  1. Choose a product niche.
  2. Find a product(s) within that niche, stick to just one product at the start.
  3. Source manufacturers via sites like Alibaba, Aliexpress, or other wholesalers, either online or brick-and-mortar.
  4. Sort out product branding, this is really important as it’s quite likely someone else will be selling a very similar product to yours (if not the same one). The packaging and branding need to be spot on.
  5. Send the product to Amazon via the FBA program. It’s relatively simple but there are some hoops to jump through, e.g. you’ll need to package products with the appropriate barcodes and ensure they’re compliant with jurisdictional regulations where relevant (particularly important for electronics which are best avoided for first-time Amazon sellers)
  6. Market your product and build your audience

The sticking points for many prospective Amazon sellers are finding unique (or near-unique) products that they can back and marketing that product.

Here are some tips for making it work:

1: Never Rush Product Research

Product research is critical – there are thousands of practically useless products sitting on Amazon that people won’t buy. The good news is, this sort of situation is easily avoided. Many of these sellers probably hopped onto the back of a dying trend that was already monopolized by experienced longer-term sellers.

There are many methods to finding products to sell on Amazon and tools like Jungle Scout are built for it. However, whilst tools make finding product gaps easier, there’s more to consider than just immediate demand. To build a brand on Amazon without spending lots of money on paid traffic, you’ll need to find a way to re-appropriate a high-selling product niche.

One tip here is to think about what sort of products are in-trend, but have high purchase demand right now, and will also stick around for the long term. A burgeoning industry here is sustainable and plastic-free products, or recycled versions of everyday products, such as these plant-based scrubbers.

This is a near-perfect example of a simple product that people need combined with a unique angle that brings some originality to the table. It’s an example of re-appropriating a well-known product to a new niche via its recycling, eco-friendly USP. The reasonably cheap price makes it a straightforward impulse buy too and likely allows for a high markup.

2: Focus on Branding

There are a few key ingredients to product branding for selling on Amazon:

  • Finding a contemporary and original style and aesthetic for your packaging and branding, anything that looks dated or cheap is dead in the water.
  • Branding color theory, which is fundamental to branding a product.
  • Messaging, what do your buyers need to hear from you? What are you doing differently to others? Does your product appeal to its likely buyer demographics?
  • Continuity, your branding has to unite across all products, social channels, and any company website. There can’t be any missing pieces or confusion between channels that represent your product.

When you build a brand on Amazon, branding is worth spending considerable time on. Don’t be afraid of starting afresh if you feel that you’re not really hitting the right notes. It’s easier to change things during the ideation and creation stage rather than when you’ve actually purchased and added your products to Amazon.

3: Push For Early Reviews

Amazon incentivizes early reviews using their Early Review Program but the more early reviews you can rack up, the better. The first thing to do is invoke your network, including friends, families, colleagues, etc, who can buy your product and get some early reviews on the board.

Use social media to advertise your product to people who trust you despite your product having no reviews – they will understand that you need some backing for your product.

Amazon is cracking down on paid reviews and review exchanges, but there are still plenty of people doing it. It’s not exactly black hat from a legal perspective but it still contravenes Amazon’s T&Cs, so the recommendation is to avoid it. Once you’ve successfully listed a product and sent them into Amazon FBA, sabotaging that with paid reviews and dodgy tactics would be catastrophic.

My mother in law loves to sew.

A few years ago she asked me how to set up an online store.

She wanted to sell fancy throw pillows she was making.

I gave her very basic steps. Enough to get started (I don't know much about ecom).

A few weeks later she showed me her site. It

Everyone wants “yes.”

But they don’t wanna pay the price.

100 Nos is the price of one yes.

You can get as many as yeses as you damn well please as long as you’re willing to pay the price.

I was sad to learn that Charlie Munger died today at age 99.

What a life.

He would likely roll his eyes and argue that none of us should be too surprised, based on the actuarial tables, but we’ve lost one of the 20th century’s greatest investors and businessmen.

Chris and I

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