Starting a Private Label Amazon Business, Part 1: Manufacturing
What to expect when you want to select a product and place your first order.
Selecting your first product to manufacture and sell on Amazon is one of the most difficult parts of launching an Amazon business.
But it’s not as intimidating as it appears to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be intimidating at all! Really, it should be thought of as more as a fun challenge. That’s how I like to think of it, anyway. It’s pretty amazing how, when you think of real-life challenges as a game, you tend to want to perform better.
In my previous blog, I touched on some things to keep in mind when trying to start an Amazon business, particularly a Private Label (PL) business.
In this blog, I want to expand on the topic of selecting and dealing with offshore manufacturers once you’re ready to place that first, exciting order of product inventory!
First and foremost, I have a secret to share with you…
It’s a pretty exciting secret, especially because it’s a big part of what gave me the confidence to take the leap and stake my future on selling on Amazon.
… and the secret is this: you don’t need to know how to make a product.
In fact, you don’t even need to know how to invent a product. You don’t need to be some kind of product-creating genius to set yourself up for success here! If that’s not an initial boost in confidence, I don’t know what is.
Selecting and manufacturing products for a PL business doesn’t require some fancy degree or even any kind of relevant experience!
All it takes to get started is understanding two things: leverage and replication.
The advantage of selling in PL is that you get to leverage the efforts of experts, aka people who do this kind of stuff all the time. These experts I’m talking about, are the manufacturers. They are the ones who are going to handle everything that has to do with getting the actual product made. So you can leverage their skills and free your head space for something more important…
Which is the replication of an already existing product.
This, of course, will require you to do some homework. Rather than coming up with your own product, you get to observe the market firsthand and find the product niches that are profitable.
And that’s the beautiful part about all this, all you need to do is find listings that perform well, and replicate them!
Amazon as an online marketplace gets bigger every day. There is almost always room for more sellers to enter in and offer similar products to what’s already out there.
Most importantly, there is almost always the potential to do well, even if a market “appears” saturated. (Except fidget spinners, you’re pretty much out of luck there 😜)
The point is, you can consider current successful listings as a guide in selecting your own product to sell. Pretty cool, right?
Here’s a tip to keep in mind, especially when selecting your very FIRST product to sell: make sure it’s simple.
You want to select a product that is simple to build, doesn’t have too many moving parts or complex machinery, and isn’t easily broken so it ships well.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and selected your product, you’re ready to get in touch with the experts who will fulfill your mass order.
Almost always the way to go with manufacturing for PL is through Alibaba. You will want to submit an RFQ (Request For Quote) on their website, then all of the qualifying manufacturers who can fulfill your particular order will be notified and will contact you with their pricing.
When the moment comes that you’ve opened the gates of communication to the manufacturers, you need to consider these tips:
- Be specific. It’s very important to be as detailed as possible about your product and the nature of your order. I can’t stress that enough! This is especially important because the last thing you want to do is expect the manufacturers to have ANY intuition at all about what you want. They will follow your order to the ‘T’, but anything you give them that they are unclear on will just cause unnecessary delays and communication gridlock with them. You don’t want that.
- Represent yourself well. Even if you have ZERO experience here, you can’t act like it when dealing with manufacturers. This is a part of the business where the game gets interesting. Act like you’ve done this plenty of times before and they will have a higher likelihood of respecting you. If they don’t respect you, they can easily take advantage of you by inflating their prices if they think you don’t know any better. Which leads me to my next tip…
- Always negotiate price. Don’t take that first quote as Gospel. There is always room for negotiation and if you do your homework and approach the conversation prepared, having run the numbers and understanding industry standard costs, you can always try to pitch for cheaper. Since you’re dealing with making products that have already been made before, there is plenty of information you can dig up as far as what the costs are to make them. You should also research as much as you can about the offshore manufacturing space so you can predict accurate costs before they are quoted to you.
- Keep your options open. It’s okay to play hard to get sometimes. That’s especially true in this case. You’re getting generic products for PL made, which means there will be a TON of manufacturers who are qualified to fulfill your order. So bide your time, and let the offers come to you. Be sure to vet each manufacturer you’re considering doing business with. It’s important to develop a relationship with them that is built on mutual respect and trust.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what to expect, you can approach this process confidently and with the desire to overcome the challenge!
I love talking about this stuff because it’s real, applicable, and actionable advice that you can put to work by the time you’re done reading about it. If you know me well enough by now, you would know that I’m all about taking action!
This is one of many subjects that I get asked about by my Next Level Coaching Group members and although I go into much more detail and follow their steps with them, I wanted to share some of that useful knowledge with you as well.
Now get ready to put in some work and arm yourself with the information you need to make your first Amazon product order a smooth and successful one!