October FBA monthly update at $202K

The numbers and information I share in these monthly updates are selective and for educational purposes.


Let’s kick it off with some October highlights.

  • Ended October with $202,400 in revenue.
  • 20% growth from last year
  • Conversion rate of 20.5%
  • Met with our EU manufacturer to finalized new products
  • Initiated contact with new suppliers and products outside of China
  • Continuing to execute liquidation strategy

These are the lowlights for October.

  • Gross profit down to 23% – due to liquidating losers
  • Several new products not meeting expectations
  • Amazon EU continuing to lose money
  • Still a lot to learn with Facebook ads

October FBA results

October is the calm before the storm.

Q4 is here and consumer confidence is still high, despite what the media says about the economy.

November, December, and January are always our best months. For whatever reason, our sales are strong throughout Q1. It all depends on the product mix, and before the factories in China go on holidays, we’ll have to submit new PO’s to take us through to Q2.

Revenue is up 20% consistently. The growth rate hasn’t fluctuated over the past few months I’ve been reporting these numbers. Despite not having any winning launches this year, the steady growth is welcome.

A lot of it is a result of continually updating images, creating videos, adding EBC content and other strategies to improve conversions. I wrote a lot about what we were trying to do related to conversions last month.

If you look at this screenshot for October, you’ll notice a few things.

  1. Units ordered only increased by 7%
  2. The average order value increased by 12%
  3. Which results in sales growth of 20%

Small improvements make big changes so it’s always important to continually tweak and optimize.

Never stop optimizing.

Throughout the year, we’ve updated nearly every image for products that sell decently and is profitable. Despite having photos and listings that have performed admirably in the mid to high 20% range, overhauling the images has bumped the conversions for some of our best sellers. On some products, I hadn’t updated the images in 5 years, so it was time.

Gross margins took a hit this month because we sold off a good chunk of inventory at big discounts. It’s certainly better than getting nothing for it or losing money off it.

If you have products you are trying to liquidate, look into utilizing Facebook ads and groups. You can do big discounts and still come out ahead vs selling to liquidators.

Our best seller is continuing to do better and we are working to make it do even better. The conversion rate for this single product was 51.5% in October.

The number 2 product is 17.2% and the number 3 product is 29.2%.

Product #2 needs improvement for sure.

Moving more manufacturing outside of China

From when we first started on Amazon, there have been 2 product families that we designed and introduced to the market in the home and kitchen category. These two products (and the variants) have been copied like the plague.

Copycat. Get it?

Unfortunately, we’ve lost our first to market advantage and sales have plummeted from when we first started selling.

Then throw in sabotages by other sellers and it’s a pain in the neck.

After having experienced these copies and attacks, it’s so important to go through the extra effort of creating products that China can’t copy. and also try to get trademarks and patents in China and utility patents in the US.

With that in mind, my wife and I visited our European manufacturer in October to finalize the details of a new product for our oral care line.

If you’ve done business with EU timezones, you know how hard it is. Literally 10-12hr difference.

So far we have spent the last 10 months via email, video calls and shipping samples back and forth. Finally, we couldn’t take it and added an extra leg to our holiday plans to visit the manufacturer first.

If you do volume or develop your own products, you can’t go wrong with visiting and hashing the details in person.

Over 2 days, we managed to finish what would have taken another 6-12 months of back and forth via the internet.

Another reason why I enjoy visiting manufacturers is because I get to see the showroom, get ideas, and learn about new trends. Manufacturers are always the first to witness new trends based on what customers are selling the marketplace.

This is something you don’t know about until you visit in person.

From this visit, we’ve identified a couple of products with great potential, on a growing trend, that China can never compete with. More research is needed for sure, but it checks off a lot of boxes.

This brings me to the next topic.

Execution focused

I finished a book titled Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. It’s a classic.

There are truckloads of books on sales and marketing and the same fluff gets tossed around from one book to another. For all the sales and marketing books out there, there isn’t much on execution.

Especially one written by a former CEO and chairman of a fortune 500 company.

What good are sales and marketing if people don’t understand how to execute it?

That’s what this book is about, and although the examples are outdated, the framework remains true, the questions and the way scenarios are analyzed feels like I’m going through an elite MBA.

I naturally lean on the operational side and I got a ton out of it. I know if the operations are not set up properly or lagging the growth, employees are overworked and stressed and it prevents the business from scaling.

I strongly believe that too many FBA sellers and small businesses in general, fail or can’t get beyond 5 or 6 figures because they don’t understand the importance of operations and execution.

If you are serious about your business or your role in your company, get the book and act on it.

Basic explanation of Facebook liquidation

If you find yourself needing to liquidate, here’s a basic idea of how we are doing it with Facebook.

First, calculate the price. Here are some simple calculations.

Let’s say your product landed cost is $2. It retails for $10.

Liquidators will offer you $0.05 per unit.

The concept to remember is that $2 should be your max loss. This means at $2, it is a 100% loss.

Your landed is $2. If you donate it or dump it, you lose $2 per unit.

If a liquidator offers you $0.05, you are losing $1.95. Better than losing $2, but not worth the effort to orchestrate the liquidation for only 5c per unit. Likely more cost-effective to donate it.

What we’ve been doing is running a 75% discount code and then running ads on Facebook.

By the time the product gets to Amazon, let’s say the total is now $6 after shipping and FBA fees. It doesn’t make sense to sell it at $10 with a 75% discount. I’ll lose more than $2, which is worse and more stupid.

So now, we jack up the price to $20. With a 75% discount, the final sales price the buyer pays is $5.

Since the cost of the product to get it to Amazon and after fees is $6, the math is now simply $5-$6 = $1.

Instead of losing $2, I now lose $1.

Since I’m trying to liquidate, I don’t care if codes are shared with others. In fact, it’s better if it does.

But as I alluded to last month, using this tactic pushed one of the lesser competitive products to be on the first page of the search results and creating organic sales.

What turned out to be a liquidation, ended up being a discounted launch. If it keeps selling and sales increase, looks like I’ll have to order more and flip the strategy on its head.

2019 Q4 Plans

Since it’s November already, if you have products that can also be targeted as gifts or something holiday-related, it is a good idea to create a separate “holiday” PPC campaign. Target keywords related to the holidays that your product can capitalize on.

If I were selling plates, I could target keywords for things like Thanksgiving Dinner Plates or party plates. You get the idea.

Update packaging to liven it up for the season or bundle it with something festive. Easy low hanging fruit.

This is how you can get more eyeballs to your listing and double up revenue. Non-US sellers won’t know about such terms and the proper cultural terms. Use it to your advantage.

Check reviews consistently

If you use another software to check reviews, you can do it easily with Gorilla ROI as well.

We’ve updated the GORILLA_REVIEW function so that it will list the latest reviews from latest to oldest.

Before you had to define the ASIN which meant you only got the reviews for a single product at a time.

Now you can list it all using:

=GORILLA_REVIEW()

If you want to load more than the default 30, use a formula like below to list the latest 50.

=GORILLA_REVIEW(, , , 50)

We’ve also made changes in the algorithm to get reviews matching your child SKU.

If you have variations, reviews are not tied to your parent ASIN. This way you can check the real reviews of your child products.

Wholesale and our online store

Wholesale revenue is up again. On a nice roll this year. Based on the number of accounts signing up and having success with the product, 2020 for wholesale looks bright.

We’ve been experiencing challenges different to FBA as we are account representatives for the wholesale customers.

Margins are great and really help to offset the thinner margins from Amazon sales.

None of our wholesale accounts sell on Amazon. I had an FBA buyer contact me claiming they had a storefront.

Looking at their address, I could tell it was just a basic office address. But I wanted to check their website and I got a good laugh.

That’s the “storefront”.

There are “gurus” who sell the idea that having a storefront will make it easier to get products at wholesale.

True to some extent, but it shows what people are trying to do to fake it till they make it.

A quick analysis of their website reveals zero history. Must have recently started.

Since we handle all Amazon sales directly, resellers do not offer any value for us unless they sell through another channel.

Keeping up with what guru’s try to sell people is a good way of zigging when others are zagging.

New Gorilla tutorials

To provide better information on how to better use the Gorilla functions, we have been writing tutorials and examples in more detail.

Check out the ones below that have been published. More are coming.

How to get Amazon ASIN, SKU or FNSKU 

How to load FBA inventory data into Google Sheets 

Free FBA spreadsheets for all

If you have messy sheets and need something refined to help you run your numbers, get the free Amazon spreadsheets.

pro spreadsheets fba pricing

You can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

If you want to get updated data straight into your own Google sheets, you can use Gorilla ROI. It makes work so much easier when you don’t have to manually update data or log into accounts constantly and wasting time.

I hope you enjoyed the monthly update and got some ideas that you can take with you.

How to load FBA inventory data into Google Sheets

Gorilla ROI helps you eliminate most of the manual csv and xlsx downloading, formatting and sorting that you go through with Amazon inventory reports.

One of the core functions with Gorilla ROI is that you can connect and load FBA inventory data into Google Sheets.

First, read the getting started guide to familiarize yourself with the setup and installation.

I know you want to jump in headfirst and wing it, but there are important aspects if you don’t want Google limiting your account or seeing errors in your sheets.

Once the plugin is installed and you’ve entered your correct credentials then you can move on to preparing your spreadsheet.

The methods described in this article assumes you have:

  1. already installed the Gorilla Sheets addon
  2. connected to your Amazon seller account
  3. data has fully loaded (1-6hours depending on your size)

The basics

First thing is to load your ASIN or SKU’s in bulk to make the work easier.

Follow this complete guide on how to get Amazon ASIN, SKU or FNSKU. This way, you can load data in bulk without having to manually enter every SKU or ASIN you need data for. A single formula will list your entire FBA inventory of SKUs or ASINs.

Here’s a summary of what you can do with ASINs, SKUs and FNSKUs using Gorilla ROI.

Bulk load ASIN:

=GORILLA_ASINLIST

Bulk get Amazon SKUs:

=GORILLA_SKULIST()

Convert SKU to ASIN or ASIN to SKU

=GORILLA_SKUASIN()

How to use Gorilla ROI to load FBA inventory data

The beauty with Google sheets is that it opens up a world of flexibility when you gain direct access to your FBA data.

The function we’ll be looking at today is:

=GORILLA_INVENTORY()

How to get FBA InStock inventory data

Keeping items in stock is a no brainer. You can get this data from the inventory in stock report, but it becomes a chore when all you need is a quick way to look at the numbers.

The Inventory In Stock report provides inventory metrics on your active listings with two or more sales in the past 60 days. This report provides information on various inventory metrics, including Estimated Lost Sales, Estimated Days of Cover, and Average Unit Sales per Week. You can personalize and interact with your report by sorting columns and applying filters, and you can also replenish your inventory directly from the report.
Source (Amazon Seller Central Forum)

With Gorilla ROI added and activated, you can check your FBA inventory in stock report, by using a formula like this:

=GORILLA_INVENTORY("ASIN123123","US","instock")

In this example I’m using Gorilla ROI to pull inventory data from Amazon using these parameters:

  1. “ASIN123123” – the ASIN I want to review. You can use closed ranges like A1:A1000 to bulk load data.
  2. “US” – limit the data to the US marketplace
  3. “instock” – show only the inventory with status “in stock”
Example of how to use the INVENTORY formula
Example of how to use the INVENTORY formula

Using my sample ASIN, the instock number results in 124 units.

This in-stock number is coming directly come from the Amazon account. We seamlessly provide you with your account data.

In the next example, I’ll use a specific range to pull FBA instock data. Using ranges is important if you have thousands of SKUs to call the data in one go. This makes it fast and does not overload Google Sheets.

Google will temporarily block your sheets if you hammer their servers with too many data requests in a short time.

=GORILLA_INVENTORY(A:A5,"US","instock")
Use closed ranges to list FBA data in bulk
Use closed ranges to list FBA data in bulk

I used A2:A5 which is the specific range of ASINs in column A. Gorilla ROI will then pull the data in bulk.

Do NOT do the following

  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A2,”US”,”all”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A3,”US”,”all”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A4,”US”,”all”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A1000,”US”,”all”)

Do not use a single cell reference and then copy the formula down 1000 times.

Use closed ranges like A2:A1000. This allows you to get 1000 data points with 1 call. Not 1000 individual data calls.

If you use formulas like the ones above by referencing one at a time, Google will block your sheets for 24 hours as you will go over their data request limit.

How to Load Inbound FBA Inventory Data

Inbound means that your shipment has been recognized by Amazon as still being delivered. It can also mean your shipment has not been processed.

To get FBA Inbound data, use a formula like this:

=GORILLA_INVENTORY(A2:A5, "ALL", "inbound")
Loading FBA inbound inventory data to Sheets
Loading FBA inbound inventory data to Sheets

In cell C6, I typed the formula above to get the inbound data for the ASINs listed from A2 to A5.

Currently, these ASINs have no inventory inbound as it is a test account.

Note that you can also use this to pull the data from a single ASIN if you want. However, it is always better to use closed ranges.

Below I typed ASIN911CC to check inbound data for cell A5 only.

=GORILLA_INVENTORY("ASIN911CC", "ALL", "inbound")
Getting inbound inventory for a single ASIN
Getting inbound inventory for a single ASIN

How to pull Transfer FBA inventory data

What’s an FBA inventory if the status is transfer?

Transfer status means your shipment is being transferred from one fulfillment center to another. This is done to place your products in the fulfillment center closest to where the customer is.

To get your FBA inventory transfer numbers, use this formula:

=GORILLA_INVENTORY("ASIN123123", "US", "transfer")
Formula to load inventory transfer numbers
Formula to load inventory transfer numbers

You can use a range of ASINs to pull bulk inventory data.

=GORILLA_INVENTORY(A2:A5, "US", "transfer")

inventory transfer range

Do NOT do the following. Use closed ranges instead.

  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A2,”US”,”transfer”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A3,”US”,”transfer”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A4,”US”,”transfer”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORY(A1000,”US”,”transfer”)

Track Your FBA Inventory History to Detect Peak sales Periods

Another inventory function of Gorilla ROI is loading historical inventory data. You can pull and display your inventory history using granular, custom dates.

Here’s a screenshot of what the function looks like as you type in =GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST

Note that Gorilla ROI can only pull the data from the point when you sign up.

Amazon does not provide historical data. We only start tracking and storing inventory history once you become a paying Gorilla member.

Here’s an example of this formula:

=GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST("last 14 days", A2, "US", "instock")

The formula is similar to =gorilla_inventory() where you can check status like instock, inbound, transfer.

This time you can check inventory history by starting with:

  1. time period
  2. ASIN (or range)
  3. marketplace
  4. status

Here’s the time periods you can use for quick reference.

Today This month Last 12 Months
Yesterday This quarter Last 7 Days Week Ago
Same day last week This year Last 7 Days Year Ago
Same day last month This Year-to-Last-Month Last 30 Days Month Ago
Same day last year Last Week Last 30 Days Year Ago
my Last 7 Days Last Month Last Week Year Ago
Last 14 Days Last Quarter Last Month Year Ago
Last 30 Days Last Year YYYY-MM (change format to text)

Say I want to check inbound status and inventory history of ASIN123123 for this year.

The formula is:

=GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST("this year", "ASIN123123", "US", "inbound")

inventory history error The result is an error because this test account does not have any historical data.

Here’s another look using our real seller account with sensitive information blurred out.

Click to enlarge.

Using INVENTORYHISTORY() to get historical inventory data
Using INVENTORYHISTORY() to get historical inventory data
  1. I pulled the inventory history of A10 to A15 only
  2. Data for inventory with the status “transfer” only
  3. For the time period – “this week”
  4. In the “us” marketplace

Do NOT do this with INVENTORYHIST()

Same thing again. Use closed ranges. Do not use a single cell reference and copy it thousands of times.

  • =GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(“last 30 days”A2,”US”,”inbound”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(“last 30 days”A3,”US”,”inbound”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(“last 30 days”A4,”US”,”inbound”)
  • =GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(“last 30 days”A1000,”US”,”inbound”)

Summing Up

With Gorilla ROI you can pull your FBA inventory data directly into Google Sheets without having to go through the manual chore of exporting, opening files and getting the data.

Use =GORILLA_INVENTORY() to get direct access to your FBA data and experience the flexibility and openness you gain to run your business.

References

How to get Amazon ASIN, SKU or FNSKU

If you sell hundreds or thousands of products on Amazon, keeping track and getting the correct ASIN to SKU or FNSKU is a big hassle and monster to track.

Using Gorilla ROI, I’ll show you how to bulk load and convert ASINs, SKU’s or FNSKU’s easily in Google Sheets.

Rather than fighting your way through spreadsheets, you can reprioritize your time on other areas of your business, or maybe extra time to breathe.

The methods described in this article assumes you:

  1. already installed the Gorilla Sheets addon
  2. have it connected to your Amazon seller account
  3. data has fully loaded (1-6hours depending on your size)

Laying the Framework

WIth Gorilla ROI, you can convert

  • ASIN to SKU
  • SKU to ASIN
  • SKU to FNSKU

But first, you need to know how to load your ASIN or SKU’s in bulk to make the work easier.

How to Bulk Load ASIN

After you connect your seller account, you can bulk load your entire list of Amazon ASINs directly into Google Sheets with a simple command.

=GORILLA_ASINLIST()

As you type the formula, it will autocomplete and look like this.

=GORILLA_ASINLIST() to bulk list your ASIN
=GORILLA_ASINLIST() to bulk list your ASIN

This formula will load your entire list of Amazon ASINs associated with your seller account. If you have 100 ASINs , it will load all 100 into the spreadsheet.

If you have 3000 ASINs, it will list all 3000.

What if you only want to find ASINs matching certain criteria?

Easy.

You can add extra parameters to your formula. This way you can pinpoint specific data such as by marketplace or by a search string.

Let’s say you sell iPhone in UK and want to only find the ASINs that start with the letters “ABC”. You can use a formula like this.

=GORILLA_ASINLIST("UK", "ABC")

Unlike before, where your entire Amazon ASIN is loaded, this formula will only display the ASINs in the UK marketplace that starts with “ABC”.

Bulk loading SKU’s work the same way.

Bulk Get Amazon SKU’s into Google Sheets

The method is the same as for ASIN above.

In any cell, enter the formula:

=GORILLA_SKULIST()
=GORILLA_SKULIST to bulk get Amazon SKU's
=GORILLA_SKULIST to bulk get Amazon SKU’s

This formula will list all the SKU’s that are currently in your seller account. If a SKU (or ASIN) has been deleted, it will not show up. Only non-deleted ASINs and SKU’s will be displayed.

If you sell thousands of SKU’s and want to find a particular one, you can also apply filters to narrow the list down.

=GORILLA_SKULIST("DE", "IPHONE")

This will list all SKU’s from German marketplace that start with “IPHONE”.

Now we get to converting the ASIN or SKU.

How to Convert ASIN to SKU

This is where you can bulk convert or retrieve the matching SKU based on the list of ASINs.

Easiest is to load all your ASINs into a cell using the formula

=GORILLA_ASINLIST()

In this example, I entered the formula in cell A2.

Amazon asin to sku step 1
Amazon asin to sku – step 1

In cell B2, enter the following formula for the matching SKU’s to show up next to the ASIN.

=GORILLA_SKUASIN(A2:A5,"asin2sku")

Amazon asin to sku - step 2
Amazon asin to sku – step 2

Rather than having the formula point to just A2, a closed range is used (A2:A5) to do it in one go.

This way, if you have 1000 ASINs that you want the get the SKU for, use A2:A1000 to load all the SKU’s in one go.

Do NOT do

  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A2,“asin2sku”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A3,“asin2sku”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A4,“asin2sku”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A1000,“asin2sku”)

This will cause Google to block your access for 24 hours as you will go over their limit.

Using a single formula with a closed range of A2:A1000 allows you to get 1000 data points with 1 call. Not 1000 individual data calls.

How to Convert SKU to ASIN

In the case where you have a bunch of SKUs and want to find the equivalent ASIN values, the process is the same as above.

Just in reverse.

Process is to:

  1. list all the SKUs in bulk
  2. retrieve the equivalent ASINs
=GORILLA_SKULIST()
sku to asin - list all SKUs
sku to asin – list all SKUs

In this test account I only have 4 SKUs.

With this list of SKUs, use the following formula to list all the matching ASINs.

=GORILLA_SKUASIN(A2:A5,"sku2asin")
sku to Amazon ASIN - Step 2
sku to Amazon ASIN – Step 2

Note that the direction is changed to SKU2ASIN. Previously, it was ASIN2SKU.

You can see how flexible this is. Use the variable according to whether you want to get the SKU or ASIN.

Again, it’s very important that you use closed ranges like A2:A2000. Do not enter a formula referencing a single cell and then dragging it down a thousand times.

Do NOT do

  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A2,“sku2asin”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A3,“sku2asin”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A4,“sku2asin”)
  • =GORILLA_SKUASIN(A1000,“sku2asin”)

How to Convert SKU to FNSKU

FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network SKU which Amazon calls “Amazon SKU”. If you see the mention of “Amazon SKU” in your settings or account, it is referring to the unique FNSKU of your product.

As this is a unique value, it is a good way to track your inventory and to label your products.

You can also use the same method to get the matching FNSKU based on the SKU.

  1. list all the SKUs in bulk
  2. retrieve the equivalent FNSKUs
=GORILLA_SKUFNSKU(A2:A5,"sku2fnsku")

The formula uses the function GORILLA_SKUFNSKU(). The variable to use is “sku2fnsku”. See below.

get sku to fnsku

We don’t support converting an ASIN to FNSKU because your ASIN is not unique. The same ASIN could be listed in different marketplaces, different conditions, with different SKU’s.

E.g. a red shirt’s ASIN could be B0AUEND, but have multiple skus for each condition it is sold.

The same ASIN could be listed in different marketplaces with a different SKU also.

Remember that a SKU and FNSKU is always unique in your inventory system, but ASIN is not.

References

September FBA monthly update at $210K

The numbers and information I share in these monthly updates are selective and for educational purposes.


Lots of action in September, so let’s not waste any time and get straight into it.

It also marks the end of Q3.

Here are the September highlights to start.

  • Ended September with $209,820 in revenue.
  • 20.8% increase vs last year
  • Gross profit 40%
  • Conversion rate of 21.4%
  • Diversifying away from China
  • Finally found a liquidation strategy that worked

There are lowlights as usual, but not as bad compared to earlier in the year.

  • Newest product hit with 25% tariff
  • Amazon UK losing money and Brexit looming
  • Increase in fixed costs
  • More SKUs = more work

September FBA results

We are well short of the $300k/mo goal and ended at a little under $210K. However, we are putting into place new strategies that should get us close, if not meet the goal by the end of December.

I explain the overall strategy in the “liquidation” section below. Same concept.

Revenue is up 20% compared to last year, but what I like more is how our gross profit margin is holding up strong.

Our net profit needs more work as we continue to cut out fat in operations and automate more of our workflow so that more profit drops to the bottom line.

Our best seller continues to chug along and in September, this product alone had a conversion rate of 50%.

This brings me to the next point.

Re-prioritizing conversion

Overall, our account as a whole achieved a 21.4% conversion rate.

Conversion rate for September
Conversion rate for September

If you have good private label products, then the conversion rate is around 15-30%.

Don’t quote me on that, but that’s the range I believe it should be in, and the range from talking with other sellers.

I do have lower converting products than the 20% cutoff that needs more attention and love.

If you are a reseller of branded products, then your conversion rate can easily be in the 30-70% range depending on the strength of the brand.

E.g. if you were authorized to sell Apple Airpods, then your conversion rate hovers close to 70%.

This is straight from Amazon’s brand analytics page. #2 in the search result for “airpods” gets a measly 5% conversion.

That’s why conversion is the name of the game and the area that we are re-prioritizing in Q4 and the plan for next year.

Focusing on marketing

For much of last year and early this year, we were slammed with creating new products. The bad thing is that none of them did as well as I hoped.

No big winners as you can see from my monthly updates. No big jumps.

Because we got scattered, our marketing flailed and fizzled out. Then the passion behind the products died as the ROI didn’t materialize.

Consider that we could have spent some of that energy and resource into better marketing, advertising existing products and re-launching existing products.

It would have been a whole different story.

I prefer to sell more of a single product than spread myself thin. Prefer going deep into smaller product lines vs selling thousands of SKU’s with only a couple of units moving per month.

Conversion optimization is a long topic and most of it is straight forward. It just takes a lot of time and effort to figure out, implement, test and verify.

  • Review keywords and update titles as needed to rank better for stronger and bigger keywords
  • Test prices
  • Spice up images that trigger emotions
  • Create Enhanced Brand Content
  • Create videos for added trust
  • Get reviews

These are basic stuff but there are so many steps before you get to do it. That’s why many sellers overlook analytics and conversion optimization.

  1. You can’t automate it
  2. It’s a lot of work
  3. Takes a long time to do properly

It’s exciting and sexy to source new products, as opposed to polishing an existing item over and over again.

That’s why we are looking to build a better internal system for marketing and improving our conversion optimization process. All products must be consistently marketed, optimized and reviewed.

Never settle.

Diversifying away from China

Our products were safe from the tariff hikes as it was outside the targeted categories. Come December, it changes for everyone, but we felt the first hit in September when our newest product was pummelled with a 25% classification.

Bye-bye profit.

I still believe that this particular product will do well because of how unique it is, and our patents will protect it for years to come. However, it isn’t easy adding another 25% on top of the COGS.

It leaves less room for error, advertising, operations, experimentation. Sales volume has to be big in order for us to come out on top.

Luckily for us, we’ve always diversified our manufacturing. In hindsight, my wife is the genius because she knew that every country is a leader for something.

She figured out early to find the best country for the product we wanted to make, rather than doing everything in China.

  • Our main home category products are made in China
  • Our cleaning products are made in USA
  • Our skincare comes from Korea
  • Our newest foray into oral care is manufactured within Europe

With the different manufacturers already set up, it’s a matter of dialing up the sales from the non-China suppliers. Easier said than done though.

Liquidation strategy that works

Ever bought a container load of stuff that didn’t sell?

I have.

The annoying part is that I have to see my mistake e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y and remind myself of the bonehead mistake.

Oh, can’t ignore that it takes up a huge amount of space making it costly to keep on hand.

I’ve tried to liquidate in many ways over the years.

  • Give crazy deals to wholesalers (they couldn’t sell it too)
  • Give it away for free as promotional items
  • Combine it as part of a bundle
  • Sell it on eBay
  • Contact liquidators

So far, none of them worked out for one reason or another.

Liquidators literally offer you 2-4% of the retail price, which is the same as an insult. It’s more work to get it ready for them than the money they pay.

As a last resort, I tried putting it up on Facebook.

Instead of just posting randomly on Facebook and hoping somebody found the post, we created a campaign to offer huge discounts for people to buy straight off Amazon.

It looks something like this.

  1. Create a huge discount coupon from Amazon
  2. Set up a storefront or a landing page showing the discount along with the products
  3. Create the ad images
  4. Set up the automated Facebook messenger marketing sequence
  5. Create and publish the ad

The objective was to liquidate product so it didn’t matter if a code was shared in other Facebook groups.

But that’s exactly what happened and the entire FBA inventory we had was wiped out by the time I woke up.

There wasn’t much inventory at Amazon to begin with as it sold so slow. Hundreds were fulfilled by us via FBM and then we decided to shut it down temporarily until we could prepare better.

If we run more liquidation sales, you’ll see a jump in the reports, but at the same time, the gross profit won’t keep up.

However, knowing this method works means that I’ll finally be able to clear up space in the warehouse and get something back from the dead inventory.

The math is simple.

If my landed cost is $2, my goal of liquidation is to lose less than $2.

If I lose more than $2 using this method, it’s cheaper to throw or give away. The max I should be losing is 100% at $2. Not more.

So far, I was able to make $0.90 per item after all COGS and expenses. So the math tells me I lost $1.10 which is 10x better than what liquidators were offering.

But wait, there’s more.

The side-effect of the huge boost in sales velocity, even though we offered it at 75% off, was that organic ranking increased for some of the products.

Discounted giveaways seem to work. It doesn’t have to be 100% full-priced.

My team will be running more tests to verify this, but if this is true, I may end up having to reorder if I start to rank and sell organically.

It’s going to be exciting and will make product launches easier and faster.

Those were our highlights. Now the lowlights.

Amazon UK sales

This is the part that pains me as I want to melt away into the corner.

Oh well. Picking at scabs is fun sometimes.

Last month I went over our Amazon UK story.

The plot thickens now.

We applied the same liquidation strategy via Facebook for the UK product. Because the listing has one 1-star review, even the liquidation doesn’t work.

No one wants to get it for 75% off. The English and Europeans are much pickier than US shoppers I’ve found.

Then Facebook users started to suddenly mass “unsubscribe” to the messenger bot which triggered Facebook to unpublish our brand page which shut down the ads.

Amazon UK is becoming the bane of my existence.

Now throw in the looming Brexit with thousands of dead inventory.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the air and the worst-case scenario is that everything out of UK will be considered an export. This means higher costs for everyone.

It’s a lose-lose at this point and I can’t wait to get out. At least I can say I’ve tried.

Increase in fixed cost

One of the big deals for us in September was finally moving into a much bigger space.

Our new office is 3x the size of our previous place.

This means:

  • expensive lease
  • more insurance required for everything
  • more utilities
  • big “corporate” property management companies to deal with
  • more expenses that add up

Fixed costs alone related to property, plants and equipment (PP&E) has increased 2x.

Seeing how revenue didn’t increase 2x, it’s motivation to focus hard on generating more sales to offset the added increase.

This is the first time in 7 years that we’ve had everything under one roof so I’ll be able to make some of that back via improved efficiency. Soft and hidden costs should always be factored into your ROI too.

New SKU’s for the end of the year

Don’t mix up SKU’s with an actual product.

Above I said we have stopped the development of new products. Instead, we are making new bundles and combinations of existing products to target new keywords.

Many of our products can easily be applied to different markets. By repackaging it and making a tiny change, we can create new SKU’s from the same product. By doing this along with various new bundles, we can market horizontally and vertically.

That’s still a lot of work to get up and running.

Preparing for Q4

With the added tariffs coming up, it’s time to put in orders to try and get as much in before the December cutoff. China factories are getting backed up, so if you haven’t planned, be sure to stay on top of your numbers.

inventory sheet screen
Inventory tracking and monitoring stats

From our Amazon Business Spreadsheet package, an inventory monitoring spreadsheet will help you keep an eye on velocity and the seasonal forecast calculator helps to know what to expect with upcoming months.

Seasonal sales and inventory forecast calculator
Seasonal sales and inventory forecast calculator

I have some PPC campaigns that will be re-activated soon, made specifically to target holiday shopping intent. It does very well during Q4.

We’ll also be rotating campaigns to target the different occasions that occur from now until Valentine’s day next year.

Overall, with our team and systems put into place, it’s mainly housekeeping from now until next year and to focus on maximizing sales and keeping inventory in stock.

The worst way to lose money is by going out of stock during the best shopping season of the year.

Wholesale and our online store

Thanks in large part to our growing wholesale business our margins are fattening up.

This side continues to grow and I’m working to come up with ways to help our wholesalers sell more. Hopefully, we can grow this side of the business to offset the Amazon side of things.

The beautiful thing with wholesale orders is that orders are large, business is sticky, it’s efficient and much easier to manage.

Finding the right distributors and partners to expand to other territories is the difficult part to set up.

Free FBA spreadsheets for all

If you have messy sheets and need something refined to help you run your numbers, get the free Amazon spreadsheets.

pro spreadsheets fba pricing

You can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

If you want to get updated data straight into your own Google sheets, you can use Gorilla ROI. Makes work so much easier when you don’t have to manually update data or log into accounts constantly and wasting time.

Hope you enjoyed the monthly update and got some tips that you can take with you.

August FBA monthly update at $216K

2019 August amazon fba revenue

The numbers and information I share in these monthly updates are selective and for educational purposes as there are people I know personally who read this. Also to keep trade secrets and sensitive information under wraps.


It’s over.

Slow summer sales.

August Amazon revenue closed at $216K compared to $200K in July and I’m seeing an uptick in sales already.

I’ll share what went right and wrong in August and a look at our Q4 preparations as the calendar races towards the end of the year.

Without further ado~

August FBA results

For all the talks of the economy slowing and an upcoming recession, we aren’t seeing the effects yet. People continue to shop and our sales are coming in at a steady pace.

  • Compared to last month, sales are up 8%.
  • Compared to last year, sales are up 17%.

17% is low compared to our previous growth of 75-100% range the past 3 years.

But I like it.

It’s good for our current objective as we try to scale down the number of products to focus on higher conversion, improving margins, streamlining operations and diversifying to other channels.

This is similar to what happened for us from 2014 to 2018. We built the foundation to support the massive growth that followed. From all the projects and ideas we are trying to execute, I believe it’s laying the foundation for another strong platform of big growth.

PPC spend over the past couple months has hovered at 11%. My benchmark is to keep it to 10%. Every percentage point plays a big role to the bottom line when it comes to Amazon selling.

august 2019 PPC spend
July and August 2019 PPC spend

I’ve had questions whether I use an automated PPC software that you see everywhere lately.

This is something I’ve tried, tested, pondered and decided against.

I see the benefit and the beauty of automating PPC, but there’s a limit to how much a software understands the logic and objective of a seller and is able to keep up.

If you have products that don’t need refinement, and no adjustments other than bid tweaks, automated PPC can work great. But if you are applying advanced techniques and strategies, it can worsen your results.

I’ve used Sellics in the past and found that it was making bids and adjustments that were wrong. Had to go in and manually fix those again. Defeated the purpose of what I was trying to do.

The numbers and methods I use to analyze my numbers are also different to what software provides, so I end up having to do it manually again.

Gorilla ROI does not support PPC data, but with the PRO Amazon business templates

  • I copy over my PPC report
  • combine it with the Gorilla Sales function for any period I want
  • get and easy to understand, actionable table of results.

Streamlining operations

We try to run a lean operation. Anything that can be automated, I want to automate.

During the early years, my biggest failure and hurdle was getting over my “save cost” mentality.

I grew up with frugal parents and my nature is to save where I can. I would go 20 minutes out of my way just to save $1. Whether it be for milk or coffee. Even though I could buy it directly next door to where I lived.

In areas of business, I preferred to spend 1 hour a day to manually fulfill orders. Spending $60 to automate, simplify and streamline operations was a ghastly idea. Not when I could spend 1 hour doing it myself.

Here’s some math to show what I mean.

  • 1 hour a day = 5 hours a week (assuming M-F) = 20 hours a month
  • 1 hour = $15/hr = $300 value of labor per month (see how little I valued my time?)

Cost of multi-channel fulfillment for my size at the time = $60/mo.

I was so proud of “saving” $300, but in reality, I was losing 20 hours a month + $240 + opportunity cost of new growth.

That’s the secret way of losing money in business. Wasting your time on tasks that don’t add value.

This summer, we’ve created more systems and processes in addition to the software and tools I wrote about before.

  • Replaced laser printers with thermal printers. One thermal printer for each purpose. No need to waste time switching labels or rolls.
  • Rearranged layouts to improve picking, packing and shipping.
  • Integrating Zapier into as many processes as possible. All emails, tickets, orders, notifications, messages, invoices that come in to our system get filtered through Zapier first and then sent to the correct place. No longer dependent on a person to forward information to the correct person.
  • Automated accounts receivables follow ups. Turns out Quicken has implemented this feature which I didn’t know about. Payment and overdue reminders are sent at appropriate intervals to customers. No more chasing people on the phone until it hits the 30/60 day overdue threshold.

These are just some of the areas we’ve streamlined and I’m looking to do more.

Amazon UK sales

We started selling on Amazon UK in Q1 of this year, and it looks like we’ll have to pull out.

Whether international Amazon marketplaces work for you will depend on the product you are selling. I realize for international markets, having higher priced items is key. Despite having grown the account to 5 figures a month, it’s eating up money and racking up losses so far.

The majority of our products are supposed to be priced between £10 – £15 but had to mark them down to try and get it moving.

Then consider, the pricing includes VAT, so after factoring the following, margins are super tight at best and negative throughout.

  • VAT and compliance
  • Freight
  • Product cost
  • Amazon fees
  • Marketing
  • Returns

The problems with our UK account is that a single 1 star review has nuked the one of our flagship products. It’s the same product that sells fast in the US, and we sent in large pallets assuming it would do just as good.

That one start review has annihilated the listing.

1,500 units of dead inventory. Ouch.

Even slashing prices does not work as people only look at that single review.

Unless you have mega fat margins to begin with, if your product depends on volume it’s a tough nut to crack.

Fattening margins

There are 4 ways that work to fatten margins on existing products.

  1. decrease cost
  2. increase prices
  3. improve conversions
  4. bundles

Decrease Cost

We’ve decreased our packaging cost, working on optimizing carton sizing and the way products are put inside the carton.

This all adds up and brings in large savings.

Increase Prices

For products affected by tariffs, we have to pass it to the customer. As Amazon is a convenience platform, there has been no push back so far.

Improve Conversions

Our peak conversion rate was in 2017 where it was in the low 30% range.

Competition has lowered it to the low 20% range.

amazon conversion rate
Our Amazon conversion rate

The higher the conversion rate, the faster the cash flow, the better the prices from suppliers. All leads to fatter margins.

Bundles

As we slow down development of new products, we’ll be shifting towards creating different bundle variations with our best selling products.

As our products are based on families, it’s easy for us to mix and match to create an assortment of bundles. The margins are bigger and I sell more of the same product. Win, win.

Sales vs profit

A mini rant. Feel free to skip.

There’s so much bad advice on the internet. Especially on the topic of sales vs profit.

If you are looking for a quick buck because you heard FBA is the next gold rush, then you deserve to lose your money.

If you are serious about selling as a real business, define what your goals are and don’t expect to take a salary for a while. There are no excess profit as your grow.

Newbies and small sellers who stay small, focus on how much they can take out of the business before they have even scaled.

In the beginning, I was so focused on saving pennies that I missed opportunities.

The gorilla size sellers do something that’s unheard of for small sellers: reinvest, scale and build equity to reap the rewards later rather than now.

They plow money back into the business to:

  • try different products
  • implement new strategies
  • go to networking events
  • spend on self improvement
  • break through plateaus
  • hire
  • scale
  • upgrade equipment, services, training
  • acquire new leads and penetrate different channels

Next time you read a comment on the internet asking “but what about your profits?” ignore them because they have already lost the forest for the tree.

I’m currently running on low margins, but if taking out as much money from my business was the goal, I could literally fire everyone, stop selling at trade shows, cut out excess fat and start coasting on cruise control to take out 30% in cash every month.

Don’t fall for the same small minded thinking that plagues most small sellers and beginners.

Preparing for Q4

I talked about improving conversions above but the added benefit is the increase in sales velocity. Amazon gives you better visibility in the results and pushes your product.

We’ve seen our best selling product increase in sales by 20% over the past month and to anticipate the Q4 sales, keeping track of inventory is pivotal.

Last year, we went out of stock for certain sku’s and missed a lot of sales. These are all hidden costs.

It may not seem like a big deal, but if I spent an extra $200 on improving our systems, we would have been able to capture anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in additional sales for this single item.

With our new improved inventory spreadsheet and ability to load FBA data into spreadsheets with Gorilla ROI, everyone on the team knows the inventory level that needs to be maintained.

This has made ordering and keeping stock levels much easier. No sudden surprises. We can track of multiple data points to make sure we are ready for sudden spikes.

If you have issues with not knowing your data and numbers, Gorilla ROI gives you full access to your data via spreadsheets. So easy and convenient.

Wholesale and our Online Store

I’m not including our direct or wholesale sales in these numbers. Amazon makes up the majority percentage.

Wholesale continues to increase YoY for us. One of the benefits of having a unique product line that we can sell at trade shows. Our best accounts continue to increase their volume helping us to diversify away from Amazon.

We want to expand to east coast cities, which means travel and shows that we don’t have the time for at this time.

Free FBA spreadsheets for all

download amazon spreadsheet

If you’re looking for free FBA spreadsheetsto help you run your numbers, you can get the templates for free.

You can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

If you want to get updated data straight into your own Google sheets, you can use Gorilla ROI. Makes work so much easier when you don’t have to manually update data or log into accounts constantly and wasting time.

Gorilla ROI Review: Load FBA Data into Spreadsheets

If you sell on Amazon and ever wished you could get your sales, inventory and product data without having to log on and download CSV or Excel reports, then Gorilla ROI will solve your needs.

In fact, with this addon alone, we’ve been able to:

  • Eliminate over 10 hours of manual data entry per week
  • Share data between departments without having to send spreadsheets back and forth
  • People in the shipping department know exactly what to pack and send
  • Increase profit by not going out of stock like we used to

Today, I’ll share how to use the Gorilla ROI addon to load your FBA data, stay on top of your numbers and eliminate a lot of the work that doesn’t add value to your business or operations. Think of this as a detailed Gorilla ROI review.

Here’s a quick look at what you can do.

Gorilla ROI Review

Our Gorilla ROI Review

Gorilla ROI is a Google Sheets addon for Amazon sellers to automatically load their stats into Google Sheets.

search for Gorilla ROI in any Google Sheet > menu > add-ons > get add-ons
search for Gorilla ROI in any Google Sheet > menu > add-ons > get add-ons

Think of it like a Chrome browser extension, but for Google Sheets. You can take Google Sheets beyond the normal capabilities thanks to Google’s continuous improvement of Google Docs.

Gorilla ROI was created as we were exporting reports far too often and relying on people to update data manually.

This was time-consuming, contained errors and always out of date the next day. It had to be updated constantly.

With the addon, you can eliminate a lot of the manual process to focus on making decisions that will grow the business, instead of feeling like you are chasing and trying to keep afloat.

This is a screenshot of the addon once it is installed and enabled. You can use it just like any spreadsheet formula or feature within Google Sheets.

Gorilla ROI google sheets add on menu and options

Features

There is only one main feature of Gorilla ROI.

To pull in your seller data directly into Google Sheets automatically:

  • without having to know any code
  • without having to log in to any website
  • without any restrictions to your data

Everything is based on using regular spreadsheet formulas and function.

If you have used a formula like =AVERAGE(A1:A100), then you have the skills to use Gorilla ROI to load your data into your spreadsheets.

We have many functions that you can use for specific or general needs.

With Gorilla ROI, start typing =GORILLA_ and the formula will start to autocomplete.

call gorilla roi function autocomplete

If I want to pull up historical BSR (Best Seller Rank), it would look like this:

gorilla roi functions to get Amazon BSR Best Selling Rank

This means you’re requesting Gorilla ROI to do the work in the spreadsheet so you can use the additional functions you need. And if the plugin is setup correctly, Gorilla ROI will autosuggest/autocomplete functions for you as you can see in the image above.

Pull in Sales Data

Our most used function is pulling FBA sales data, like how many you’ve sold and how much you made.

gorilla roi sales perfromance sheet

This is our FBA spreadsheet template that is provided for free. But if you want to create something like this, you would type into any cell:

=GORILLA_SALESTOTAL(period, [marketplace], [sku], [status], [start_date], [end_date])

Anything inside [ ] is optional.

Here’s a real example.

=GORILLA_SALESTOTAL(“last 30 days”, “US”, A2:A244, “all”)
    • “Last 30 days” is the time period you want to check
    • “US” is to pull data from the USA marketplace
    • A2:A244 is the range that has my list of ASIN’s or SKU’s
    • “ALL” is the status of the sales like shipped, pending, canceled

Here is another example.

=GORILLA_SALESTOTAL(“This Month”, “ALL”, “IPHN3724”, “Canceled”)

This formula will pull the data for:

      • “This month” sales
      • Across “All” marketplaces I am selling in
      • For the product “IPHN3724”
      • That was “canceled”

See how much control you gain over the type of data you want?

You eliminate the troubles of downloading a big messy file, cleaning it up and then copying over what you need.

You can pull sales stats over custom periods, for bulk ASIN’s or individual ASIN’s. If you need to report sales for tax purposes, it’s so easy to enter a formula and get your data immediately without having to:

  • Log in
  • Click 3-4 times to go to the proper page
  • More clicking to get the right settings
  • Generate report
  • Wait
  • Export
  • Wait
  • Download
  • Open up the file
  • Clean up and create pivot table
  • Get the data you need
  • Copy the data
  • phew

You’ve already saved 30 minutes from a single process.

Pull FBA Inventory Data

One of our biggest improvements to our own FBA business operations came from having up to date inventory numbers and then sharing it with our shipping team.

Inside Amazon’s manage inventory screen, you can see your inventory numbers. You can also get more detailed stats by downloading an inventory fulfillment report. This becomes a big hassle when you must download and copy over numbers multiple times a day.

gorilla roi will import relevant Amazon data

With Gorilla ROI, you can load your FBA inventory stats by using the formula:

GORILLA_INVENTORY(sku, [marketplace], [status])

=GORILLA_INVENTORY(“B00YD545CC”, “FR”, “instock”)

The ASIN is B00YD545CC, being sold in France and shows the total in stock inventory.

Have 2,000 products and want to see the transfer status?

No problem.

=GORILLA_INVENTORY(A2:A2000, “ALL”, “transfer”)

This will pull up the number of units being transferred across “all” marketplaces for ASIN’s listed in cells A2 to A2000.

With this type of inventory data, you can create custom tables and dashboards to show when you are going of stock, how much to send and what to send.

Amazon FBA inventory days left spreadsheet
Amazon FBA inventory days left spreadsheet

gorilla roi pulling Amazon in stock data

These FBA spreadsheets template is also included with Gorilla ROI and we also have free FBA excel/sheets template that you can download and use without signing up or paying for anything.

And because this is a Google spreadsheet, our shipping department has this data open all the time to know exactly what needs to be shipped and ordered.

All without having to ask people for access to Amazon accounts, reports and needless emails.

Get Product Details

The last example is how you can grab product details to track within your spreadsheet.

gorilla roi review price pro spreadsheet templates

You can get FBA product information such as prices, rating, reviews, title, category, images and more.

With this type of data, you can create your own product monitoring database. I use this to make sure hijackers do not change any of my images or product information.

Hijackers will always change the title and image and I have been able to detect it within 10 minutes when the thumbnail and title to my listing changed suddenly.

=GORILLA_PRODUCT(A2:A10, “Title”)

This pulls in the title for the products SKU or ASIN listed in A2 to A10.

=GORILLA_REVIEW(“B00YD545CC”, “US”, 5)

This pulls in the latest 5 reviews from the US marketplace for ASIN B00YD545CC.

=GORILLA_LOWESTOFFER(A2:C10)

This formula lists the lowest offered prices and information for a list of products in cells A2 to C10.

Yes, our formulas also support horizontal and 2D directions.

Who this is suited for

The type of seller who finds success with Gorilla ROI are those who:

  • Are focused on optimization, automation, efficiency
  • Are data-driven and want FBA data loaded directly
  • Are using Google Sheets already and know how to use formulas
  • Want easier ways to share data across people and teams
  • Value time as the most important resource

Who this is NOT for

No tool is perfect and we aren’t either.

Gorilla ROI is not for you if you are:

  • A small seller (less than 5 SKU’s and less than monthly revenue of $5,000)
  • Doing FBM (We do not support FBM. Only FBA.)
  • Bad with spreadsheets
  • Saving money is more important than time
  • Looking for accounting tools
  • Only want PPC data (we do not support PPC at this time)

Gorilla ROI (Pros)

  • Security
  • Data accuracy
  • No bloat
  • 100% customizable
  • Automate your systems and speed

The big upside to Gorilla ROI is convenience to your data without sacrificing security or accuracy.

We pull data from Amazon and relay it straight to you. There is no UI to deal with, no clicking around. Your data is only accessible to you, and you alone. No other party can search for your product data or information.

You can imagine how convenient it is to just type a function to let Gorilla ROI populate your Google Sheet. Type it, let it do its work & then share it with your team.

Automatic and updated Amazon data in a format that makes sense. If the format doesn’t make sense to you, you can change the format like any other old spreadsheet.

You can make whatever look or layout that you want in order to make your data easy to understand, easy to sort & easy to search. It’s Amazon data formatted using the whole functionality of Google Sheets.

Gorilla ROI (Cons)

  • Not for beginners
  • 10 minute set up involved
  • Reliance on Google
  • Spreadsheet only (no UI)
  • Too much data

Setup time can be confusing if you are non-technical or new to Google Sheets. We’ve solved this with our turn-key “done-for-you” installation service.

If you don’t like spreadsheets with little exposure to it, you will find the concepts and execution difficult.

Because it uses Google Sheets, it is dependent on the service. If you don’t have a Google account, you cannot use it.

As you have access to data directly, too much data and not knowing the best way to display it in an easy way can be a challenge. This is why we provide a free suite of templates so you can get up and running without having to create separate spreadsheets. All the screenshots you see above are available for download immediately.

Be aware that Gorilla ROI is built to automatically get and load FBA data into Google sheets for you to make sense of the data. We made with the goal of eliminating the inconvenience of manually downloading, sorting and updating spreadsheets.

Gorilla ROI is not a sourcing app or product research. It’s not a feedback management app.

The service currently supports FBA only. Not FBM.

Restrictions

As with most web services these days, Gorilla ROI has geographical restrictions as it doesn’t support certain countries.

Countries where Amazon does not exist or countries where Amazon is blocked. Also, countries where Google services are blocked.

For countries like China that block Google services, a VPN is needed to access Google.

Did this Gorilla ROI review help? Give it a try.

If you ever asked wished you could get your FBA data automatically insdie Google Sheets, then give Gorilla ROI a try.

You’ll save countless hours, get better numbers, stay on top of your business.

You’ve got nothing to lose, but a whole lot to gain.

The free Gorilla ROI plugin is fully functional but limited only to 3 ASINs. It’s perfect if you just want to try it out or if they only have less than 3 ASIN’s.

Try Gorilla ROI today and see how you can free up your time to grow your business.

July FBA monthly update at $200K

2019 july amazon fba revenue

The numbers and information I share in these monthly updates are selective and for educational purposes as there are people I know personally who reads this. Keeping trade secrets and sensitive information under wraps of course.

The purpose of this monthly review is to organize my thoughts on the Amazon FBA side of things and reflect on the past month.

July FBA results

Prime day has come and gone and I’m sure everyone’s July has a bump thanks to it.

For the month, we ended up higher than last month at $200k. Last year in 2018 July, we did $165k. A 21% increase. Nice little jump but nothing huge.

On top of that, Amazon continues to get more competitive and expensive each year. The increase in competition means we have to spend more on ads and the higher tariffs cut into our bottom line.

Top line at 20% is nice, but the bottom line didn’t increase at the same rate.

Always something to work on right?

I didn’t list any products on Prime day actually. There were a couple of products that we were hoping to have listed and showed up on the list of eligible products, but for whatever reason, when I went to activate it the following week, the Prime day time frame disappeared.

The week following Prime day drops off, so no point in running any lightning deals during the summer.

In 2017 we were heavily doing lightning deals and was able to grow our organic rankings. Every week we were listing 5-6 different items. There was no limit on how many products you could run simultaneously.

But the new lightning deal only allows you to run one of your products at a single time.

No point in doing it now.

ACoS in June was 27.98%. This comes out to 11.2% of ad spend as a percentage of revenue.

I did a short interview last month on the topic of why I don’t focus on ACoS and why it’s not a good measure.

To summarize my points:

  • don’t focus on ACoS as it doesn’t give you a complete picture
  • High ACoS could be a result of low visibility and low conversions. More visibility and higher conversion could bring it down.
  • Low ACoS could mean you have a door open for the competition to walk through.
  • Track your sku’s as a percentage of total sales (ppc sales + organic sales).
  • Adjust your spend to get it to your desired range. For us, we want to keep it at 10% of total revenue. Just a tad above our mark, but it’s a big improvement compared to our Q1 where we were spending 13% of sales.
ppc acos sales amazon tips optimization
ppc acos sales amazon tips optimization

July Happenings

In this section, I can talk more small business related stuff other than Amazon.

July was stressful it’s rolling over to August.

We changed insurance companies to increase our liability coverage, but shortly after signing and getting our new policy, we received a letter stating they were going to cancel our policy because they didn’t want to insure anything related to personal care products that are applied to the skin.

We don’t do any in house manufacturing. We do contract manufacturing and all the products are under our name. But we are still classified as manufacturers instead of distributors or wholesalers. That puts us on a different risk category with insurers and they don’t want to bother with a company our size.

We have to be doing at least $10M for them to even consider it.

That’s been the struggle at the moment.

I have one of the best brokers working for us and she has been knocking on every insurer, but no one is interested.

With our move coming up in a couple of months, it’s getting down to the wire. The new landlord is a REIT firm so they don’t care who you are. The management company is a fortune 500 company, so again, they don’t care.

Some struggles of operating as a small business.

It’s why I wrote that it’s better to stay small or go big. If you are small,  you can contain operations and keep it lean to maximize margins.

If you get bigger, you get more leverage in other areas and can stand your ground.

If you are in the middle, you are in no man’s land.

Hiring and Firing

As our sales increase and more work and tasks need to be completed, looks like we need to keep outsourcing where possible and planning to hire.

We just fired our social media manager.

The results weren’t there based on the how much we were paying. Doing a post-mortem analysis, I realize it’s hard to expect much results from an external person or agency that is handling too many accounts.

There’s no way they can handle work involved, let alone put in the time required to carve a strategy and implement it.

We were paying excessively for someone to just post a few times a week.

I’ll be hiring somebody or training an internal employee to do this inhouse which will be more effective and controllable.

This brings me to expanding the team. With our thin margins, there isn’t much room to hire aggressively. To stay lean, we have to outsource or hire VA’s to do the easier tasks.

The goal is to track all the work our main team does that is repetitive and easy to train. Then to outsource it so that we can focus on ROI generating and strategic projects.

Margins for July

Summer sales is slow, but can’t forget that Q4 is around the corner. Product planning and ordering is required.

We have people who sell our products in different states so keeping inventory on hand is important.

New products arrived finally so we had some big bills to pay. The worst was two of our products being tagged for intensive exams at customs.

Argh…

On a cash based accounting, gross came in at 16%.

Each time I write these reports, I realize how off we are as accrual accounting shows a different picture. But cash is the life cycle of the business and good to track.

Nevertheless, if we want to sell our business one day, accrual will make everything easier and smoother.

As mentioned above, the account ACoS for July was 27.9%. We jacked up the PPC for prime day, but the increased sales make it even out.

Wholesale and our online store

I’m not including our direct or wholesale sales in these numbers. Amazon makes up the majority percentage.

Free FBA spreadsheets for all

If you’re looking for free FBA spreadsheetsto help you run your numbers, you can get the templates for free.

You can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

If you want to get updated data straight into your own Google sheets, you can use Gorilla ROI. Makes work so much easier when you don’t have to manually update data or log into accounts constantly and wasting time.

This is why you shouldn’t use scouting tools on your listing

The two biggest research tools for Amazon sellers are:

  1. Jungle Scout
  2. Amz Scout

Research tools have changed the way we source and get data, but there comes a risk with using the tool.

What I’m going to show you is when and when not to use these scouting tools.

Not how or how not to use. There are plenty of tutorials and people wanting to make affiliate sales that will go over how to use it and why you should.

None of the negatives associated with it. No affiliate links here. Just straight truth of when and when not to use it.

Let’s go.

How scouting tools work

One area I find sellers to be overzealous is in the area of data protection and fear that a software company will steal their product idea.

I have found this to be far from the truth.

The real fear shouldn’t be whether the software company is going to use your data. But whether they use your data as part of their service to other users.

Scouting and research related tools work like this:

  • You give access to the tool and enter your seller ID and authorization token.
  • The software will start to download your data via the Amazon API.
  • Free chrome addons or paid extensions require you to feed them data manually.
  • The software will clean up and arrange the data.

Next comes the biggest difference between software tools.

  • Any tool that offers research functionality like inventory lab or paid web app tools will make your data searchable and viewable. It’s open for anyone paying for access to find and analyze. This is called “one to many” access.
Basic idea of how Amazon research tools collect and provide data
Basic idea of how Amazon research tools collect and provide data
  • Software like Gorilla ROI and accounting tools (think Quickbooks) do not share your data with anyone. It is siloed to your account. Meaning we provide 1-1 connection access only. No one outside of you can see or find your data. Our service is not dependent on being fed data from other users for the rest of the user base to see and use.
Gorilla ROI Silo connection to prevent outside access
Gorilla ROI Silo connection to prevent outside access

If you sell yoyo’s, another seller will not be able to check your sales data on yoyo’s. Each seller can only access their own data. Everyone is walled off from each other.

Knowing this important if you are worried about other sellers finding your product.

When to use scouting software

The best time to use Amazon scouting software is to perform research on a product or to find a category or idea.

Think of it as a filter.

Scouting tools help you when you are at the top of the funnel with thousands of different products and categories to choose from.

It helps you narrow the list down.

The lower you get in the funnel, the less you need scouting software.

I won’t get into the details of how to use the tool because there are so many tutorials out there.

When not to use Amazon scouting software

I’ve used Jungle Scout before but canceled and ultimately chose AMZ Scout as my chrome extension.

With the majority of Amazon sellers using Jungle Scout, every time the tool is run on a particular product, the data gets entered into the Jungle scout servers.

You guessed it.

The more people there are using it, the more likely people will find it.

With AMZ Scout, it’s lesser to some extent.

The key is once you have identified your niche and product, stop using the scouting software. There is no need to continually feed the latest data into a database for tens of thousands of other people to find.

One day when AMZ Scout made an update to their tool called “saturation”, it really opened my eyes to the data they are seeing.

AMZ SCOUT saturation score shows data on how many people found it
AMZ SCOUT saturation score shows data on how many people found it

This is for a random skin routine product I came across. Looks like 4 other people found the exact same product and brand.

Here’s a look at bbq gloves. One of the most copied and private labeled products on Amazon.

Other tools have the same thing, but AMZ Scout now shows you how many other people are searching for it.

I assume the numbers are calculated based on a monthly tally or something. 39 people in the last 30 days looking for bbq gloves. Not a product I want to be in.

For this very reason, once you know your product, it is better to try and keep it under wraps by not using scouting tools.

You have the experience and judgement to figure out how much something sells based on the BSR.

The best way to use scouting software

Using these tools to keep tabs on your competitor is a good strategy.

BUT

If you are searching in such a way that will expose your product, then it’s not good.

The better way is to use the research tool on your competitors Amazon storefront.

  • Not the search results after typing a keyword
  • Not the listing page

The Amazon Storefont – because it will only list the products in their storefront in the tools.

This way, you can hide your product while giving AMZ Scout or whoever, the data of your competitors.

Sure.

People can still trace it back to your product, but at least you aren’t updating your product and data for all to see.

Use scouting tools on competitor Amazon Storefront
Use scouting tools on competitor Amazon Storefront

Summary

  • Scouting and research tools are great and have made work so much easier.
  • Once you get past the initial stages of finding your niche and product, stop using the tool.
  • Publicly available tools require data to be loaded onto the servers allowing for others to use it.
  • Use the tools to look up competitor storefronts.
  • Use your internal data to keep track of your sales like with Gorilla ROI.

Looking to get data from Amazon into Google Sheets?

If you are looking to connect Amazon with Google Sheets, then you’ve come to the right place.

We are the only software that allows you to take full control of your data.

Rather than locking down what you can and can’t do, you get the flexibility to use your data how you want it. Get direct and flexible access to your Amazon data without having to know code.

Gorilla ROI is a Google Sheets Add-on that allows you to connect and import data directly from your Amazon Seller Central account into Google Sheets.

Do things like bulk convert your ASIN’s to SKU’s or FNSKU, breakdown the fees and charges per sku, pull historical inventory level for projections, load the number of units sold by month, week, last year, last month and more.

Here’s a demo that I did where you can see it in action and how it works.

Full transcript and timeline is available at https://orangeklik.com/demo-gorilla-roi/

FBA spreadsheets are available for new users.

Free Amazon templates are also available. No sign ups, no emails. Just copy to your account and away you go.

June FBA monthly update at $182K

2019 june fba revenue
Upfront disclosure.

The numbers and information I share in these monthly updates are selective and for educational purposes as there are people I know personally who reads this. Keeping trade secrets and sensitive information under wraps of course.

The purpose of this monthly review is to organize my thoughts on the Amazon FBA side of things and reflect on the past month.

We’ll see how these posts evolve based on how you find it, and what information is helpful or not.

June FBA results

I’m writing this during Prime Day. Amazon created their own sale event to fight against slow sales right in the middle of summer.

Brilliant.

I’m going to leave out what we did to prepare for Prime day for next month’s update. Don’t want to spoil the fun.

We ended the month at $182k. A 5% drop from last month. 10k sounds like a lot, but when you look at the percentage difference, it’s not as bad as it sounds or looks.

We were around 125k last year so a 45% growth in sales is great for us considering we haven’t launched any new products so far this year. Growth has come through optimizing existing products, creating different bundles, improving listings, photos and PPC.

For the second half of 2019, we have a good lineup of new products on the way with the first to arrive in July. Our product development always takes a long time because we are investing for the long term.

We don’t private label anything. Everything is OEM, meaning:

  • Custom designed
  • Mold investment
  • Patented in China and US
  • Then we launch

It starts slow, the momentum takes longer to build up, margins get compressed.

Yes it’s expensive.

But once we sell through our initial order and get the “snowball” past the tipping point and rolling down the hill, for us the hill turns out to be a very long one.

Happenings in June

(That’s not me by the way)

In last month’s update, I went over some of the things we do during the slower summer months.

Things like:

  • plan and develop future products
  • update processes
  • re-train staff
  • upgrade assets
  • and improve other areas we can identify

In the past month, we’ve already executed and started most of the 5 points above.

  • We took some time to update documentation
  • Brainstorm product ideas and improvements to current products
  • New packaging ideas
  • Upgraded simple equipment to make work easier

The biggest in June was our 2 week trip to Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

We were exhibiting at an event in Hong Kong (nothing related to the Hong Kong fair or Canton fair). Once the show was over, we visited our suppliers throughout China and Taiwan.

I never look forward to China trips. It’s rough because we are traveling from city to city every few days, in factories from early morning to evening where the temperatures easily get over 104F (40C).

Not much to look around and do when you are in the industrial zones of China.

But one thing is for sure.

Every visit we make is a good move in hindsight.

There’s only so much you know when doing business over a keyboard. But when you visit in person and see the full scope, capacity and capabilities of what a factory can and cannot do, you can:

  • identify new products you didn’t think about
  • find ways to improve your current product without increasing costs
  • speed up the conversation and finish in 2 days what would have taken 2 weeks over emails
  • find out how incapable your supplier is and look for a new factory

If you are on the fence about visiting suppliers in China, I highly recommend you to.

2 years ago, we found our best supplier from a factory scouting tour. Rather than just doing it through Alibaba, this was an important product that we needed to replace with a new supplier. We set up dates with 4 factories over a 2 week period. Took trains from city to city and came away with a partner that has served us and protected our products with utmost integrity.

Having seen their facility and capabilities, we’ve scaled our production and line up with this factory.

Win-win.

On the flip side, during this same trip, we discovered how incapable one of our current suppliers were and stopped dealing with them immediately.

This is only possible when you visit and see in person.

Margins for June

Margins were hit hard again in June as we made a large container purchase. Gross (using cash accounting) ended at 26%. At the end of 2019 Q2, our gross is at 29%.

Far below the 40% I am seeking. So there is a LOT of work to improve that.

The double edge sword is that as we try to gain international accounts and also create a distribution business, the margins are going to get squeezed further as we go for volume.

With Q2 finished, I’m not rating our business too highly this year.

I’d give it a 6 or a 7 out of 10 so far.

  • Top line growth of 45% – pass
  • Gross margin of 26% – fail
  • New products introduced – fail
  • PPC goal – improving
  • Cash flow management – pass
  • R&D – pass

Our account ACoS for June was 26.7% which is a good improvement over the 28.4% from May. It was previously 31% in the earlier months.

Still working to get it down to 25% without affecting sales.

Overall as a percentage of sales, PPC spend was 13% by the end of Q2.

3% away from our goal which is a big task to improve.

Wholesale and our online store

I’m not including our direct or wholesale sales in these numbers. Amazon makes up the majority percentage.

Free FBA spreadsheets for all

If you’re looking for free FBA spreadsheetsto help you run your numbers, you can get the templates for free.

You can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

If you want to get updated data straight into your own Google sheets, you can use Gorilla ROI. Makes work so much easier when you don’t have to manually update data or log into accounts constantly and wasting time.

Gorilla ROI huge performance increase

We’ve invested a lot of time and resources into supercharging the data import.

Now you can load up to 2,000 data points in a few seconds straight into Google Sheets.

Try getting that much data manually or using pivot tables and you’ll be dizzy with the amount of data you need to pull.

Enter a formula, set your parameters and boom – you are done.

This ends the June update.

Come back for the July figures to find out what we did for Prime day and how the start to the second half went.