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.

How to pull lowest price and offerings from your Amazon listing

What you’ll learn:

  • How to pull your lowest price
  • How to get the lowest price offered on your SKU’s
  • How to see the lowest offerings any of your products

Getting the lowest listed price on your product

This works the best if you are reselling items and competing with other sellers for the buy box.

Without leaving Google Sheets, you can pull the price being offered on the listing using 2 methods we provide at Gorilla ROI.

=GORILLA_MYPRICE( SKU )
=GORILLA_LOWESTOFFER( SKU )

GORILLA_MYPRICE will display your price only.

GORILLA_LOWESTOFFER also includes prices from other sellers.

If you did something like:

=GORILLA_MYPRICE("839-JDK-93K")

where the SKU (839-JDK-93K) has 5 other sellers, then it would show the price that you are selling for. If you have a sale price set up, this function will display your current sale price that will show up in the buy box.

=GORILLA_LOWESTOFFER("839-JDK-93K")

This function will return the lowest price that is currently being offered. This is not the buy box price. Another offer could be lower but not be in the buy box based on Amazon’s algorithm.

To view all the sellers listed on this SKU, enter more variables to define what you want to see.

=GORILLA_LOWESTOFFER("839-JDK-93K", "default", "fullwithheader")

This is the easiest example to display all sellers where;

  • the SKU “839-JDK-93K”
  • default marketplace (US, UK or whatever your main marketplace is)
  • will display all the headings in a table format

gorilla lowest offer

If there are multiple sellers for the SKU, this formula will create a row for each seller and display the full stats of each seller.

“Default” refers to your main marketplace.

“Fullwithheader” creates another row before the results with the table headers to make it easy to identify.

Combine MYPRICE and LOWESTOFFER

A good tip is to use both MYPRICE and LOWESTOFFER together in a spreadsheet side by side.

Let’s say you load myprice for all your SKU’s in column A.

You then load the lowestoffer for all your SKU’s in column B.

If you can see and compare the price from column A and B, you know:

  • you are not the cheapest
  • or your private label listing may have been hijacked
  • who the other sellers are and how many you are competing against

Spreadsheet Template Available for Members

free template for MyPrice and Lowest Offer
free template for MyPrice and Lowest Offer

Click the image above to see a preview of how it looks.

This spreadsheet is available to all Gorilla ROI members.

It’s available at Your Account > Basic Spreadsheets > BASIC] AMZN Reviews and Prices.

How I created this spreadsheet

The spreadsheet uses a mix of:

  • GORILLA_MYPRICE
  • GORILLA_LOWESTPRICE
  • GORILLA_REVIEWS
  • GORILLA_RATINGS
  • GORILLA_SALESCOUNT
  • GORILLA_CATEGORY

GORILLA_MYPRICE is used to bring in my price that I am selling for.

GORILLA_LOWESTPRICE pulls in the lowest price from the listing.

GORILLA_REVIEWS gets the user reviews for the product.

GORILLA_RATINGS displays the average review rating.

GORILLA_SALESCOUNT is used to get the last 30 days of units sold for a better dashboard.

GORILLA_CATEGORY grabs the product category for easier filtering.

All the data is then loaded automatically to create an all round dashboard that provides more context than the standard pages that you see on Amazon’s backend.

Short video explainer of the spreadsheet

To get a quick idea of how the spreadsheet is set up and work, watch the video below.

Someone is selling their FBA business and I analyze the numbers

What you’ll learn

  • How to analyze an FBA business
  • What the numbers say about this business
  • Whether it’s a buy or not

Once in a while, I browse through a marketplace like Flippa to see if there are FBA businesses, products or listings potentially worth buying.

The interesting thing with Flippa is that the seller uploads financials for anyone to see.

No account sign up, no deposit required.

In today’s post, I’ll share the FBA business that I found, the financials and what I think after breaking down the numbers.

But first, a story of why I do this and how it helps.

Before and after

During my twenties, I went to the gym regularly to try and bulk up my skinny frame.

There were signs of life during that year where I went to the gym religiously and ate as much as I could.

But what helped the most was keeping track of progress. I’m sure you’ve seen those nerds at the gym with a pen and paper and writing things down.

That was me.

It was good while it lasted. I didn’t bulk up a lot, but I got enough meat on my bones to upgrade from pushover anchovy status to normal skinny guy on the street status.

Being a numbers and stats person, I like to keep track and count of what I’m doing, and where I stand. Not for the purpose of comparing, but to make sure I’m not falling behind.

It goes the same for business.

I’ve been going through my numbers and I share my thoughts on margins and what levels we are trying to shoot for. In the post about how to price products properly, I showed how we try to model ourselves after Proctor and Gamble on the financials.

This is the equivalent to having a before photo of my skinny bod and an after photo of a lean and strong “after” photo shot.

Our current state is the before, and P&G’s is the after.

By keeping track of our financials like this, it helps us keep a healthy balance sheet and forces us to focus on making decisions that will make positive impacts to our financials.

FBA business on sale for $265k

Back to the Flippa listing.

The FBA business being sold is BluePeak USA.

Asking price is $265,000.

From the listing description:

Here’s a look at their products from their storefront. Using my tips on analyzing FBA storefronts, their #1 seller at the moment are double wall stainless steel tumblers, followed by protein shake bottles at #2 and #3. #4 is a Nespresso capsule holder.

See it for yourself while the listing is up.

BluePeak USA storefront top 3 products
BluePeak USA storefront top 3 products

They claim the business generated $1.12M in the last year with a net profit margin of 12.9%.

The pros I see:

  • Sales have been increasing.
  • There are only 6 13 sku’s. Some are high performing. Room to grow quickly.

The cons I see immediately:

  • I don’t trust the numbers. It looks very overstated.
  • The company is young so there isn’t much history to work with.
  • Very competitive product and niche.
  • Products reviews are going down on best selling items.

I want to say that if the numbers were 100% accurate and not massaged in any way, then this looks to be a no brainer deal.

$265k for a business that can churn a $140k of annual profit is literally a 1.9x multiple.

But that sounds too good to be true.

Let’s see if it is.

Let’s dig into the numbers

The seller uploaded financials going back from June 2017 to May 2019.

The excel file has serious errors with the total value where the seller is adding up 20 months rather than the last 12 months. They could have just left it empty which would have been better.

There are other issues where the number of columns being added are inconsistent with each other and line items are assigned in the wrong place.

Allocating a COG as an expense will only make the gross profit look much better than it really is.

Warning flag: if a seller can’t organize and upload accurate financial statements when selling their business, what else could they be hiding or missing hiding?

After cleaning up the financial statement and rearranging the line items properly, here’s a better representation.

Bluepeak financials corrected TTM
Bluepeak financials after correction TTM

None of these numbers are audited and my calculations are just based off what the spreadsheet says. I’m sure if I really wanted to buy this business and dug into the reports and transactions, I will discover a lot of discrepancies judging by the initial financials.

Original VS Corrected

  • $1.5M revenue vs $1.13M revenue (overstated by 25%)
  • $605K gross profit vs $245K gross profit (overstated by 60%)
  • $119K net profit vs $144K net profit (understated by 22%)

If you look at the numbers as a percentage, the original statements make it look like the business is operating at:

  • Gross margin of 40%
  • COGS of 19%
  • Amazon expenses of 59%
  • Net margin of 7.9%

After correction, the numbers really reflect:

  • Gross margin of 21.8%
  • COGS of 78%
  • Expenses of 17%
  • Net income Operating income of 13% (net income is after tax)

The before and after paints a drastically different picture.

Originally, what looked like a high profit margin product turns out to be a low profit margin product in a competitive niche, with bad reviews.

If the gross margins of the business is 21.8%, it’s on thin ice. Things could go downhill quickly because as you grow, operating expenses add up quickly.

The financials only include Amazon related expenses and Amazon PPC in the expenses line. There is nothing for payroll, social security tax, overhead, insurance, auto, R&D, customer support, fees and other expenses that come up with running a real business.

By the time all these expenses are subtracted from the gross profit of 21.8%, you have negative operating profit and negative net profit.

Deal or no deal?

If you have extremely lean operations and can operate with 21.8% margins, this isn’t a bad deal if you just take it at face value.

Most likely you cannot have any employees, operate out of your garage, and you definitely cannot pay yourself anything.

Long way of saying – NO DEAL.

But I can see the motivation for wanting to sell.

  • Reviews continue to trend down.
  • Some products are close to dead.
  • Seller wanting to get something out of a tough FBA product.

As I mentioned at the beginning, if I hold this company next to my requirements and benchmarks, it fails most of my boxes.

I’m aiming for 40% gross margins because I know my operating expenses will be around 20-25% and after any interest payments and taxes, my goal is to stay above 10% net profit.

You can try to analyze the business yourself. I’ve uploaded the original and corrected.

It also brings up the important point that there is going to be a reason for why the seller is selling. It’s up to the buyer to uncover the truth because the seller is always going to sugarcoat it or leave out the details.

However, considering that I already have suppliers that make capsule holders, there’s no reason for me to pay $265k + inventory for something that we could get done for $10k.

Summary

You can learn a lot by analyzing somebody else’s financials.

From this company alone, I can tell that the owner doesn’t know their numbers, costs are high, products are dying, margins are thin and the niche is competitive.

The business generated $1.12M in the past 12 months, but the owner is willing to sell for $265K. Not a horrible deal, but only if that person is brand new and doesn’t have the time to learn and do it from scratch.

Software and tools we use to grow our FBA business

What you’ll learn

  • How we optimize our operations
  • Which tools that are a must have for us
  • How our team uses these tools for Amazon

This is going to be interesting.

I know people are always interested in knowing how others run their business, so I’m going to share the software and tools we use to run our Amazon business.

It’s not just limited to how we run the Amazon side of things, but other things like customer service, project management, internal operations and aspects outside of Amazon.

I originally sent this out in an email, but I’ve added more examples and explanations to help you out.

This list is not complete or the proper way of doing things. It’s just what works for us. If you have some cool implementations on how you do it, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Tools used to run Amazon

Surprisingly we don’t use many tools for Amazon.

Scouting and research tools – AMZ SCOUT, Amazon Storefront, Retail stores

If you’ve been reading my newsletters for a while, you know how I feel about scouting software.

I’m not a fan and I only use it to get rough numbers on potential products and ideas that I have in my head.

I never use it for sourcing actual products.

The main issue is that anytime you run the tool on a product, it gets stored on a database for a million other sellers to look up.

I do not run the tool on any of our products for the same reason. No need to share our product and data with the masses.

However, I do use AMZ Scout over Jungle Scout. Purely for the reason that more sellers use Jungle Scout vs AMZ Scout.

To get accurate ideas and data on what is working and what isn’t, using the Amazon Storefront strategy is one of the best options. Amazon lists in order of best to worst selling items in your storefront.

All you have to do is look up competitor storefronts and you can immediately know which one is their top seller.

This way, it’s easy to expand your own product line and you have the most accurate data right in front of you.

The other option is to visit a big box retail store. Our top sellers have come like this. If a big retailer like Target, Walmart, Bed Bath Beyond, Home Depot or Lowes is carrying it, it means the market is big.

From there, we narrow it down a little and find a specific product that looks to be doing well. We then find ways of improving it and putting a unique spin on it.

Knowing that China sellers are copycats, they just want to private label something. i.e. ODM products.

Since we want to be unique and sell it for the long run, we create our own version to own the mold and prevent China sellers from selling the same thing. The more expensive and harder it is for a seller to copy our product, the bigger the barrier to entry.

One of our best selling products used to sell 100 units a day. That has now dropped to 20-30 because of so many copy cats. It was an easy product to copy and they got away with it.

Since then, we’ve decided that if a product is too easy to copy, we don’t want to sell it.

Listing software – NONE

We still use CSV files or manually create listings from seller central as we don’t deal with hundreds of SKU’s.

Customer follow ups – FeedbackWhiz

I used to use FeedbackFive, but ditched them because FeedbackWhiz offered the same features for email follow ups at half the price.

So far so good. They have other features like sales numbers and order information, but these numbers are inaccurate.

I’m looking at my dashboard on FeedbackWhiz and it’s telling me I have sales of $42k for the 2nd week of May. It should be $49k which is what Amazon and GorillaROI shows.

Promotion, launches, product reviews – NONE

Used to do promotions back in the day, but stopped and no longer use any services.

Product launches are a waste of time for us. Amazon is cracking down anyways and I’d rather let the shady China sellers get banned. Same with giveaways.

There are proper ways of doing it, but for what we sell, I’ve found that I can get the same results or more by spending more on PPC or reducing the price initially and then ramping it slowly up.

Keyword generators – KWFinder, Storybase, keywordshitter

Lots of free and good tools out there. The one that we pay for is storybase as we use it a lot for SEO and other content.

Keywordshitter is awesome. Check it out if you haven’t heard of it or used it before.

Data and analytics – Google Sheets, Gorilla ROI

Yes it’s a plug for our tool, but only because it does everything that we need.

  • Reviews
  • Inventory planning and forecasting
  • Hijacking
  • Sales reports
  • Team sharing
  • Custom reports

The latest spreadsheet we created internally is a PPC spend analyzer and optimizer. Not the typical style that you see with other software.

This spreadsheet is specific to our internal KPI. By being able to pull sales totals over various periods and combining it with the PPC spend, it has already become a very powerful tool in understanding our current performance and where we need improvements.

We used to use InventoryLab to get the fees and charges, but their numbers are off and Gorilla ROI pulls in all the fees and charges, much more accurately and is customizable.

By creating custom spreadsheets with Google, it’s become like an “internal app” that we can create and edit on the fly without having to know any code.

There are different spreadsheets for specific employees and departments so that everyone understands what their roles and KPI’s are.

Designs

We have our own designer that creates all the marketing images, packaging, mockups and digital stuff.

No software or expensive agencies.

Just a quality designer that we found proactively using upwork and dribbble.com

Rather than posting a job and waiting for somebody to come by, we have found our best designers and a team we work with by manually going through hundreds of portfolios and contacting the designer directly if we felt they matched our design style.

I used to do it all myself and I’m capable, but not great.

Since we started outsourcing this area I can focus on doing the things that scale and to do tasks that bring in revenue – not tasks that save money.

All in all, we keep things simple on the Amazon side.

Ecommerce outside of Amazon


This is where things get different.

Shopping cart – Prestashop moving to WooCommerce

I have used Shopify in the past. We used to sell high end ceramics so we spent a good deal of time and money on the Shopify site. The pro is that it’s easy to set up and get running, but if you do any decent amount of sales, it becomes expensive fast and severely handcuffing.

Shopify makes you pay for every-single-little-thing.

So for our current store, I chose Prestashop.

It’s free, all the things you pay for in Shopify are included. It works out of the box. Plenty of templates you can purchase and customize.

It’s great and functions very well, but I’ve changed my strategy of converting our site towards content heavy, landing style pages, and I need something very flexible and more of a CMS than a shopping cart.

Hence the move to wordpress and woocommerce.

I’ve already applied it to one other site and it fits what I’m trying to do, so I’m in the process of moving our main money site to this new format.

It should supercharge conversions and boost our SEO as we get content heavy and keyword rich.

With this new format, I’m also able to create single Amazon niche sites on the fly. I can literally go from nothing to a working and functioning woocommerce site in less than a week with a 100% custom design.

Email marketing – Sendinblue

I used to use Drip. Now I use Sendinblue as it’s simple, affordable and has all the tools you find in more expensive software like automation, but targeted for smaller sized businesses.

If the ecommerce site grows substantially, I’ll need to switch back to Drip or something more powerful, but for now Sendinblue works perfect for us.

It was a hassle getting things set up, but now that it’s running, no need to fix what’s working.

Customer service – Hotjar, Continual.ly, Freshdesk

Hotjar has a free plan and is just awesome. Can save videos of how visitors interact with your website. Gives you a lot of insight into which parts of your site needs to change.

Recently I got a no brainer lifetime deal for Continual.ly through Appsumo.com

It is the little round chat widgets you see in the bottom corner of sites nowadays which helps to capture leads.

Appsumo is one of my go to places for best deals. Especially for software as it is all lifetime one time payment based.

Freshdesk is our help desk and ticketing system.

People send emails, it gets registered into the system for someone in our team to answer. Rather than sending contact forms, questions and emails to a person’s inbox, it is better to centralize such communication into a single location.

Payment Processor and Gateway – Stripe

No introduction needed.

Gone are the days where you had to use old services that stopped innovating and helping sellers like Authorize.net.

Stripe is just easy. No contractual obligations. Fees are decent. If you do volume, you get a discount. They really changed the landscape for online selling.

Integrates very nicely with woocommerce.

If you have multiple stores, you can connect them all to one Stripe account which makes things so easy.

Webhosting – Ramnode VPS, Cloudflare

I’ve tried a LOT of different webhosting over the past decade of running online businesses.

From supercheap ($2/mo), to cheap like bluehost and godaddy (from $5/mo), to better and more expensive dedicated VPS solutions ($50-200/mo), cloud servers (several hundred) and so on.

At the moment, I’ve found the best webhost for our ecommerce needs. That’s Ramnode.

I pay $10 for some awesome specs.

Very reliable, very affordable, very good speeds and each of my sites are set up separately.

The downside is that for most people who don’t have developers, you have to pay extra for CPanel. A lot of people nowadays want a WordPress managed server, which I find to be a waste of money.

Then again, I have my own team of devs, so it’s a no brainer for us to custom set up servers based on our needs.

Communication and Operations

This is where the heart of our operations lie. It’s a simple and cost effective system we have set up.

We mostly use 3-5 tools that handle everything. But the heart and soul is Zapier.

Zapier, Trello, Slack, Gmail, Google Docs

If you don’t know zapier, the software allows you to relay data from one software or tool to another.

It’s the same as how Gorilla ROI operates. We connect Amazon seller central with Google Sheets.

Although we only support 1 integration (Amazon to Google Sheets), with Zapier, it supports hundreds of different software that you can hook up to send data back and forth.

All without code.

Here’s an example of how we use it.

  • I have a customer that likes to text me his wholesale orders
  • From my phone, I forward the text to a specific gmail like “[email protected]
  • Zapier recognizes this email based on the subject and from address.
  • Zapier is triggered to forward the message to our Trello board for wholesale orders.
  • Somebody in the orders team will see the Trello card that is created and fulfill the order.

Another example related to Amazon is:

  • Anytime a customer messages us directly, it is directed to a a single email account.
  • We have this email set up with Google suite.
  • Zapier recognizes the from address and subject.
  • Zapier forwards it to a slack channel which somebody monitors to follow up.
  • This way, every message is answered or handled within 24 hours.

An implementation method with Gorilla ROI is:

  • When a Google spreadsheet using Gorilla ROI is updated
  • Zapier is triggered that a change was made on this spreadsheet
  • Zapier can then forward the spreadsheet to team members, or alert somebody or do hundreds of other things.

You can create multiple levels of different tasks too.

After the spreadsheet is updated, I could have it automatically forwarded it to gmail, and then uploaded to Trello, send a notification to slack and so on.

It’s all based on the idea of “If This happens, Then do This”.

Can’t live without it.

Has automated so many of the little manual tasks that needlessly eats up time. We use it in ways that you haven’t even thought of that I can’t share. If you start using it, you’ll discover ways to optimize your workflow with the software.

For now, hope you got some insight and ideas of improving your own operations.

If you have some cool implementations, please share!

May FBA monthly update at $192K

May 2019 FBA Revenue
May 2019 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. Also need to keep trade secrets and sensitive information under wraps of course.

The purpose of starting 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.

May FBA results

Sales is slowing down for the summer months. We don’t sell seasonal products, but when the sun comes out, people tend to go out and delay their purchases.

You can see it from the chart above as well. Last year, we were flat from Feb to June.

This year is an improvement though.

Our slow month kicked in starting April this year. Our best month ever was March which was a major surprise.

For the month of May, FBA revenue was flat coming in at $192k. Same as April.

If we can keep things steady for the next couple of months, instead of experiencing any big drops during the summer months, that’s a win for us. With some major expenses coming up, I’ll need all the cash coming in.

Summer slow downs have a positive aspect though. It’s a great time to improve our operations like:

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

Once July comes around and sales picks up again, the goal is to be prepped with inventory ready to go and have the improved processes implemented and ready to go.

Our office relocation in September isn’t going to make things easier. More furniture, more office updates and more improvements are going to be needed.

If it was still me, I’d be working out of a cardboard box, but with a team to take care of and making sure each person operate effectively, efficiently and safely, I don’t skimp on expenses required for such operations.

Also, getting enough product ready so that we can have a full 1-2 week blackout period is going to be crucial.

Area of weakness year to date

One aspect of the business lacking is our product development and getting new products into the pipeline.

The pipeline is thin at the moment as some projects just continue to get delayed again and again. Other projects were also pushed back for a later date as we try and make smarter product development decisions.

There are products that I thought would be super easy to make and push to market. My initial goal was to get it finished and launched within 2 months.

  • Found a supplier
  • Made sure they were legit
  • Specs delivered and confirmed
  • Samples received
  • Samples failed testing
  • More back and forth to clearly define requirements
  • New samples received
  • New samples failed testing

Since we do OEM stuff and never rely on reselling existing products, the process takes longer. In this new case, I find out after testing that the supplier is trying to use cheaper raw materials in order to maximize their own margins.

Usual sneaky stuff. Rightfully called – quality fade.

If this is something you want to know more about, you have to read Poorly Made in China. One of the best books that I’ve come across on doing business in China.

 

Thankfully, I do have some new products arriving this month. We’ve created different variations of a good selling product to expand our reach on Amazon. Also makes it easier if we can reuse raw materials to achieve scale and lower cost – every penny counts.

Now, let’s get into the numbers.

Margins for May

Last month, I mentioned that our gross was 45% and not to get excited because it’s just a single month.

Not to be expected as the norm.

May proved that case to be true. Our gross was just under 38%. I haven’t finished cleaning up the numbers, but it’s close.

38% gross is just ok.

Not great.

But again, the same argument holds. It’s just one month.

I was looking up the financials for Proctor and Gamble which is a great template for us to follow. I try to model our company performance based on Proctor & Gamble as well as Helen of Troy.

Check out the financials for PG though.

Proctor & Gamble Financial Statements 2013 to TTM
Proctor & Gamble Financial Statements 2013 to TTM – click to enlarge

To make it easy, I highlighted 4 main line items.

  • Gross profit of 50%
  • Operating profit of 20%
  • Income after taxes around 15%
  • Net income around 15%

Knowing these types of numbers and having a model company to base your company and where you want to be is very important.

Your strategy is going to determine your margins.

Are you operating a dollar store concept? Reality is your margins will be lower with more volume. Think 3-4% operating margins.

Are you more of a reseller? Then follow the footprint of Target’s margins.

  • Gross margin of 30%
  • Operating profit of 5-6%
  • Net profit of 4%

You can’t expect to get 40-50% gross margins when you run a Target business model.

For us as OEM sellers and brand builders, we work towards the 40-50% gross range.

The hardest part?

The discipline and objective decisions required to execute on those margins every quarter.

Biggest expense item

  • Amazon fees eat up 40% of expenses.
  • PPC came in at 12% of revenue. Ugh.
  • COGS is what it is.
  • Payroll – nothing I can do

These make up the bulk of the expenses, but as you know, there’s no way around any of these.

The best option is to increase ROI on the PPC ad spend. Our account ACoS for May was 28.4% which has improved from 31%. I really need to get it down to 25% in order to stay within the allocated budget.

Staying at around 25% ACoS means that PPC will be 10% of total revenue. If we go above 10%, then that spells trouble. Last month, it was 12% because we are still optimizing as well as experimenting with some new PPC strategies.

Exploring new ideas in PPC always equates to higher spending and pain in the short term.

I’m also starting to get into Facebook ads to drive external traffic. ACoS needs to be optimized and improved further so that there is more buffer to explore and experiment with other platforms.

Wholesale and our online store

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

Free spreadsheets for all

The free FBA spreadsheet resource page is now up and available to download for free.

These are spreadsheets I’ve been sharing via email but now you can download it immediately without having to sign up for anything.

Just copy straight to your account.

Some are simple, manually updating spreadsheets that analyze your data. Others can be used with the free addon from the Chrome store to auto load your Amazon data into Google Sheets

You can use it for free for any 3 FBA sku’s. FBM is not supported.

Bookmark, share and download it as I’ll be updating the page with more free spreadsheets to make it a destination for your one stop free FBA templates resource page.

Gorilla ROI now saves historical inventory levels

You can now extract your historical inventory data by dates and using the preset time periods we offer. The purpose of this function is to know when you went out of stock.

When you are planning and forecasting for inventory purchase, you can exclude the days you were out of stock from the equation for a more accurate picture.

Documentation and the functions page will be updated soon.

Here’s how it works if you happened to come across it while working with your spreadsheets.

It works exactly like GORILLA_SALESCOUNT() and SALESTOTAL()

=GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(periodskumarketplacestatusstart_dateend_date)
=GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST("Custom""US", A1:A500, "INSTOCK", "2018-01-01", "2019-01-31")

this example will dump your historical “instock” levels from Jan 1 to Jan 31.

For Agency users, the formula includes the seller ID as the first variable.

GORILLA_INVENTORYHIST(sellerIdperiodskumarketplacestatusstart_dateend_date)

This ends the May update.

Come back for the June figures as it will be the halfway point of 2019 and I’ll have a better picture of our progress as we work towards our mid term goal of $5M in revenue.

How to price products for profit and growth (case study)

Before getting started, note that there are many strategies on how to price products based on your Amazon selling strategy.

  • Fast turnover, low profit
  • Slow turnover, high profit
  • Loss leaders
  • Promotions
  • Distribution pricing

But the focus of this article is to look at product pricing for fast to mid turnover items while maximizing profit.

One tool that has helped our business growth tremendously is knowing how to price products properly based on the channel. Now, our focus is to always prioritize profitability AND cash flow without sacrificing (too much on) turnover.

I see a lot of articles and videos talking about margins and “net profit”, but note that profit is not cash flow.

Actually, from an accounting standpoint, calling your Amazon profit “net profit” is very wrong and will give a false reality of your bottom line. The “net profitability” definition on Amazon’s calculator is really gross profitability.

Very dangerous to confuse the two.

So when people say they get a profit of 40%, they really mean gross profit and after operating expenses, it could range from 0% to 25% net profit depending on how much they are spending on advertising like PPC, tradeshows, Facebook, giveaways, R&D and so on.

These are all operating expenses. Not cost of goods sold.

How to price products for Amazon

To successfully price your products on Amazon, these are rules of thumb you can apply.

Our goal is to aim for 40% gross margin products as a starting point and rule of thumb.

This kind of margin gives us plenty of breathing space to compensate for failed products (which happen regularly) and also provides us with enough cushion to continue product development, spend on PPC and other businesses expenses as mentioned above.

But why does it have to be 40%?

While all businesses are different, here’s a better breakdown of what you have to pay for to keep running your business and generate sales.

  • product cost – COGS
  • freight cost – COGS
  • shipping to amazon cost – COGS
  • labor cost – operating expense
  • advertising cost – operating expense
  • payroll – operating expense
  • utilities – operating expense
  • rent/lease – operating expense
  • legal – operating expense
  • other fees and interest – operating expense
  • marketing – operating expense
  • taxes – other expenses
  • travel – other expenses
  • (there’s more I didn’t mention)

E.g. wholesale sellers that operate with 10-20% gross margins walk a tight rope. One wrong move and they fall in the red.

Looking for products that can achieve 40% margins gives you breathing room.

Take a look at the financials for Proctor and Gamble. Click to enlarge.

Proctor & Gamble Financial Statements 2013 to TTM
Proctor & Gamble Financial Statements 2013 to TTM

They work with 50% gross margins which should be the baseline for any wholesale business. When we sell to our wholesale customers, we make sure that our margins are also at 50%.

As you go down the financials, note that operating margins comes in at 20%. This means that 30% of the revenue go into operating the business.

This is close to what we have going on and it’s the max level for an Amazon business. We range from 25% to 30%.

If operating expenses exceed 30% of revenue, then there is too much fat and waste in the business.

Keep going down and taxes are real. They should be included in your calculation. Finally you get to net profit where PG shows 16.4% TTM.

Very strong and healthy business.

If you sell outside the US, where taxes are included into the price, you have to factor that in to your pricing as well.

If you don’t include business expenses like the above points into your calculation, you could end up cash flow negative, despite having a profitable product.

Introducing the Gorilla ROI Amazon pricing calculator

Here’s an example of BBQ gloves you see all over Amazon.

bbq gloves

This one is priced at $16.95.

Reverse engineer the product pricing

In our pricing calculator included in the PRO Spreadsheet Package, I’ve entered the

  • selling price as $16.95
  • target margin of 40%
  • 25% overhead expenses (my rule of thumb)

Example of our PRO Spreadsheets

I don’t know the exact cost breakdown of what is included in the product, but based on experience, I’ve jotted down what I would potentially pay.

It’s also easy to go on Alibaba and get prices of each. Doesn’t have to be accurate.

Don’t forget the other COGS.

Once that is done, you see the product cost is not $3.42.

It’s really $4.17 once it reaches the Amazon warehouse. This is the “landed Amazon price“.

What’s should I price it at?

Now the important question is what price you should sell this product.

  • One way is to enter different prices and calculate the margin each time.
  • The other is to work backwards for the margin you want and find out the price.

The quickest way to do both is to use a sensitivity matrix.

Sensitivity matrix

The above table is a simplified P&L statement with varying price points.

At $16.95, the gross margin ends up being 32.3%. I am confident this is close to what the seller is actually getting. Probably between 30-35%.

Question is, is this price profitable and is it a good price?

Let’s see.

GROI calculation details

If my goal is to achieve 40% gross margins, I’d have to sell it at $20.

$16.95 is a 32% gross margin product, and although I would make $5.48, the TRUE cost to replenish inventory to Amazon’s warehouse will be $4.17. This means I’m left with $1.31 in my pocket.

This is money I can use to pay taxes, develop new products, increase spend on marketing etc.

Now compare that to the $20 recommended price to get 40% margins.
For each sale, I’d gross $8.36.

$4.17 will go towards inventory which leaves $4.19 per unit in my pocket.
The rest can be used for your marketing and other operating expenses.

The real difference is in the operating margins.

Both prices are profitable and will be cash flow positive. But the $20 price point gives you 16% operating margins while the $16.95 price point leaves you at 7.3% operating margins.

If you go back to the top and look at Proctor and Gamble’s financials, you can confirm their operating margins at 20%. So you want to make sure your operating margins will come to at least 15% as a minimum.

Because Amazon takes such a big cut of your sales price, our goal is for at least 10% to 15% operating margins based on the product. Overall, we are looking for 15% at the end of the year.

Anything less, and it leaves less room for error. Also, if a certain product demand spikes, the extra percentage points helps to have a strong cash balance ready to double down on inventory and expand when necessary.

With 7% operating margins, investing in double the inventory quantity will strain your business – especially if another product requires 2x inventory.

Never join the race to the bottom

As a last example, if I was to price this item at $15, you can see what a difference it will make.

Price for cash flow & not just profits

It may look profitable at $15 with a 25.5% margin, but after business overhead, you are left with 0.5%.

Razor thin margins.

After taxes, your net margin is negative. You lose money for every unit sold.

Don’t just price products for profits, price it for cash flow too, and find that balance.

Alternative FBA Calculators

Another alternative you can use are online calculators that go beyond what Amazon provides.

Here’s one example of an Amazon FBA calculator you should check out.

amazon fba calculator
amazon fba calculator

Love the clean and easy to follow presentation.

If you follow my screenshot, you can take it form steps 1-4.

Enter the ASIN of interest, the costs associated with the product like I did in my spreadsheet calculator, and the potential profit is calculated for you.

The difference in figuring out how to price products with my spreadsheet vs other online tools is that it’s easier to break down the details via spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is also focused on determining your best selling price based on your margin requirements.

Online tools are great for scouting and quick analysis as you can see above.

If you need a better handle of your pricing, check out the pricing calculator in the PRO business package along with other operational docs that will help you get a better handle on your business.

Free Amazon FBA Spreadsheet Template for Google Sheets and Excel

What you’ll learn

  • Free Amazon FBA spreadsheets to download and use
  • How to organize and use these Amazon seller spreadsheet templates
  • The difference between each of the free Amazon FBA spreadsheets

download amazon spreadsheet

This is a growing list of free FBA spreadsheets. As more are created, I will continue to update and add to this page.

Make sure to bookmark and share for other sellers to benefit from the free FBA spreadsheets.

Use the table of contents above to quickly jump to the spreadsheet you are looking for.

Free Amazon FBA spreadsheet list and growing

So far, the list of template spreadsheets include:

  • Detail child item sales analysis
  • Amazon PPC Customer Search keyword analysis dashboard
  • Amazon PPC Targeting Keyword analysis dashboard
  • Seller sales performance stats
  • Product listings information template
  • Sale & traffic analysis dashboard

If you have a request for a spreadsheet, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can make it and then add it to this list.

Or if you have a spreadsheet of high quality that you want to add to this list, comment below also.

How to copy the free spreadsheets to your account

These spreadsheets are based on Google spreadsheets. Not excel templates.

They can be converted to an Excel based spreadsheet, but some formulas will have to be updated. If you don’t have the skills with spreadsheets, best stick to Google Sheets.

To copy any spreadsheet to your account:

  • Click the link to the Google sheet that you want
  • Click on File > Make a copy
  • (do not select any “Request edit access”)
how to copy spreadsheets to your account
How to copy over the free Amazon FBA spreadsheets to your account

Now onto the spreadsheets.

Analysis Spreadsheet for Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item

free amazon spreadsheet child sales stats traffic
free Amazon spreadsheet child sales stats traffic

What is it?

Amazon is continuing to make it harder to find and understand data.

With this Amazon spreadsheet, it will automatically sort, reorganize and provide a dashboard to help you understand your data.

It takes your report and displays:

  • Best selling product and associated stats
  • Best converting product and associated stats
  • Top 7 sellers, how much each generated in sales, the conversion rate
  • Worst selling product
  • Lowest converting product
  • Bottom 7 sellers with at least 1 sale. Products with zero sales are ignored.

How it works

Instructions for this FBA spreadsheet is included in the spreadsheet, but here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Export your csv report from Reports > Business Reports > Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item
  2. Copy the data from the csv file
  3. Paste it into the Free FBA spreadsheet where the tab says “data” or “copydatahere”. Make sure the column positioning matches the example.

That’s it.

Just copy and paste and the spreadsheet will take care of the rest. Let the spreadsheet become your Amazon sales analysis tool along with the rest of the seller spreadsheets here.

Sales and Traffic Report Dashboard

free fba sales traffic analysis
free fba sales traffic analysis

What is it?

Next on this list of free sales analysis tools is a Sales & Traffic Report analysis dashboard. It works very similar to the Child Items Detail report above.

This template takes a higher level approach of analyzing and deciphering  your overall business performance based on the Sales and Traffic report.

Once you copy this spreadsheet over to your account, you can copy and paste your data in it to quickly see:

  • best performing month and stats for that month
  • best converting month and stats
  • slowest month and stats
  • lowest converting month and stats

How it works

Instructions for this FBA spreadsheet is included in the spreadsheet, but here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Export your csv report from Reports > Business Reports > Sales and Traffic
  2. Change the settings to display your data in months, and then expand it to a 2 year view. A screenshot is included in the instructions inside the spreadsheet.
  3. Copy the data from the csv file
  4. Paste it into the FBA template where the tab says “data” or “copydatahere”. Make sure the column positioning matches the example.

Advertising report – customer search term analyzer

Advertising report analyzer for customer search term
Advertising report analyzer for customer search term

What is it?

This is the first of two advertising report analysis spreadsheets you can download.

This spreadsheet is built for “search term” reports from your advertising reports page.

The two main exports are for “targeting” and “search term”. Search term are the terms that customers type in and find your products. And because the columns and exports are slightly different, I’ve created two separate versions so you don’t get confused.

I’ve found that ROAS is the best indicator to use when filtering and analyzing your search terms.

ACoS breaks down if you don’t have any sales. You could end up spending $1,000 on a particular keyword, but if there are no sales, it will be blank and you’ll be left in the dark.

Note that this is a manual spreadsheet. So you have to copy and paste the data in from your CSV file. Automation will come later via the addon for Gorilla ROI.

With this seller advertising spreadsheet, you can:

  • see key stats related to what customers are looking for
  • see best revenue generating keyword
  • see lowest and highest ACoS keyword
  • see top 10 best and worst keywords
  • see highest spend keyword

This type of analysis should help you figure out where you need to improve, or where your current campaigns are strong so that you can make it even stronger and box out competitors.

How it works

Instructions for this FBA spreadsheet is included in the spreadsheet, but here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Go to Reports > Advertising Reports
  2. Select “Sponsored Products”
  3. Select “Search term”
  4. Select your report period
  5. Create the report and then download the csv
  6. Copy the data from the csv file
  7. Paste it into the FBA template where the tab says “data” or “copydatahere”.
    Make sure the column positioning matches the example.

Advertising report – targeting keyword analyzer

Advertising report spreadsheet analyzer fba
advertising report spreadsheet analyzer fba

What is it?

This is the second of the two advertising report analyzer spreadsheets. While the customer search term spreadsheet above looks up the stats for the search terms your customer types in to the search bar, this one looks up the stats related to the keywords you currently have in your campaign.

Return on Ad Spend (RoAS) is the key filtering metric here. Focus on getting a higher RoAS number as it means your return is higher compared to the spend.

The way this spreadsheet has been designed is to make the data easy to understand and without having to click the same filter button so-many-times to do the same thing over and over again.

In order to automate this spreadsheet, it’s built with a lot of complex INDEX() and MATCH() functions. If you don’t know what you are doing, try playing around a little bit and undoing the changes to return it back to normal.

Once you figure out how this spreadsheet and the formulas work, you can create more “widgets” based on criteria you need to look up.

How it works

Instructions for this targeting keyword spreadsheet is included in the spreadsheet, but here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Go to Reports > Advertising Reports
  2. Select “Sponsored Products”
  3. Select Targeting
  4. Select your report period
  5. Create the report and then download the csv
  6. Copy the data from the csv file
  7. Paste it into the FBA template where the tab says “data” or “copydatahere”.
    Make sure the column positioning matches the example.

Product attributes and details listing

Product listing seller spreadsheet
Product listing seller spreadsheet

What is it?

This is one of the basic spreadsheets I offer for all users of Gorilla ROI.

It’s a spreadsheet to track your listing information, category, URL’s review links and so on.

Think of it as a log to track your listing performance and how it does over time. You can update the numbers of this spreadsheet weekly, monthly or however often you want.

The real benefit of this is to combine it with Gorilla ROI addon to automatically pull all of your data into the spreadsheet.

You can use this seller template, but the real power and time saving benefit comes from the automation. The addon is free to use for any 3 FBA sku’s. It will not work for FBM. Only FBA.

How it works

If you manually update the spreadsheet, it’s very easy to figure out. Enter the info into the tab “LISTINGS” as often as you want.

If you use Gorilla ROI addon to pull your data into the spreadsheet, follow the instructions on how to install and add any 3 of your SKU’s.

Allow the addon to start collecting your Amazon seller data for a few hours and then it will start populating the spreadsheet.

Detailed instructions are here.

Amazon detailed sales performance spreadsheet

Amazon sales performance spreadsheet
Amazon sales performance spreadsheet

What is it?

Don’t judge this spreadsheet by the image above.

Because it’s one of the most sought after and requested spreadsheets. This sales spreadsheet automatically pulls, loads your data and displays it over 25 preset periods.

If you want to get a granular breakdown of your sales performance, look no more.

Just look at the different preset time periods you can pull for your seller sales.

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • Same day last week
  • Same day last month
  • Same day last year
  • Last 7 Days
  • Last 14 Days
  • Last 30 Days
  • This week
  • Max
  • This month
  • This quarter
  • This year
  • This Year-to-Last-Month
  • Last Week
  • Last Month
  • Last Quarter
  • Last Year
  • Last 60 Days
  • Last 12 Months
  • Last 7 Days Week Ago
  • Last 7 Days Year Ago
  • Last 30 Days Month Ago
  • Last 30 Days Year Ago
  • Last Week Year Ago
  • Last Month Year Ago
  • YYYY-MM (set format as text)
  • YYYYQ1… YYYYQ4

Trying to get this manually to understand and dig into your data will be a nightmare.

The spreadsheet includes the formulas required to get this information from your seller central account data. All you have to do is install the Gorilla ROI addon, activate it and away you go.

With this type of breakdown, it helps you see how your business is doing. Rather than procrastinating or wasting time (which is money) to do it manually or not doing it at all, you can keep track of sales and jump on things that need attention.

If you want to see how deep and granular you can go, check out the preview above. It’s a version that all Gorilla ROI members get along with other special spreadsheets and dashboards to make life easier as an FBA seller.

How it works

This one is not a manual spreadsheet.

There is simply no way you can update this manually. And that’s the point. Data like this should be automated.

Follow the instructions on how to install and add any 3 of your FBA SKU’s. FBM is not supported.

Allow the addon to start collecting your Amazon seller data for a few hours and then it will start populating the spreadsheet.

Detailed instructions are here.

Why Amazon sellers should be using spreadsheets

Many software tools for FBA are popping up, but I believe that spreadsheets are necessary to give flexibility to the user.

Subscribing to software is great and there are many tools out there, but seeing how you can customize a car, home and pretty much most products, you should have the flexibility to use your own data in a way that makes sense to you.

You and I have different KPI’s and the point of using spreadsheet tools is to create basic templates that you or your team members can use without interrupting your workflow.

As Google continues to enhance their Google Sheets product, the power of Sheets continues to increase. Few years back, G Sheets could barely do the basics, but today, you have a full blown spreadsheet application online.

Combine with Google Data Studio, Zapier, Slack and other apps and you have the tools and power to create internal apps and software processes for pennies.

How the spreadsheets are designed

I wrote about how I do spreadsheets here. This article will help as you can see and understand the architecture of the spreadsheets allowing you to extend it and create bigger, better versions of it.

Just remember to separate the data and the display tabs.

In all the free templates I’ve shared with you, there is a tab for entering the raw data, one that processes the data and one that displays the data.

Keep it like that and you’ll see how easy and quick it is to manage and use a spreadsheet, rather than the messy monsters you are likely used to.

What other spreadsheets do you want?

I love creating free Amazon FBA spreadsheet around here. Whether it be for Google Sheets or for Excel, spreadsheets are not going away anytime soon.

Rather than just creating spreadsheet templates that are nothing but some titles, I want to create functional tools for FBA that you can use.

If you have ideas or a request, leave a comment below.

I will continue to make spreadsheets and add them to this free spreadsheets resource page.

Make sure you bookmark it or share it with others. The more demand, the more FBA templates I’ll offer.

Frequently asked questions

Does this work for Excel?

  • All the Amazon spreadsheets you find here are created for Google Sheets. You can save them as excel format, but there will be formulas that needs to be converted to MS excel format. Functions like QUERY() are not supported in excel and you’ll have to whip out advanced techniques like power queries to run the same thing. Or a lot of VLOOKUPS, INDEX, MATCH functions.

What other spreadsheets and tools do you offer?

  • We offer a suite of ready to go Business Pro Spreadsheets and documents to improve your FBA operations. Things like forecasting calculators, inventory analysis sheets, manufacturing agreements in Chinese and English and so on. The suite of spreadsheets and docs continue to grow and it is a lifetime access for a single payment.

Do you provide support for these spreadsheets?

  • I’ve created these spreadsheets so that people of any level can use them. I take software engineering approach to create very easy to use spreadsheets and you will see how easy it is once you open them up. I’ll continue updating these spreadsheets if Amazon changes their reports or formatting.

Do I need the Gorilla ROI addon for these spreadsheets to work?

  • Not for all. The spreadsheet for product listings and detailed sales performance is best with the addon. The addon is free for any 3 of your FBA sku’s and if you can automate the process, what have you got to lose? Takes a minute to install and if you don’t like it, just uninstall it.

Can I share these spreadsheets with others?

  • Yes you can share it with your team, family, friends and whoever else may benefit from having a free Amazon FBA spreadsheet. Please don’t remove the attribution as I have spent a lot of time making these spreadsheets and would hate to take it down if people are found to be claiming they made the spreadsheets.

Do you make custom spreadsheets for Amazon sellers?

  • No. I do not offer custom services. My team does offer support and custom integration into your existing spreadsheets if you sign up to use Gorilla ROI and purchase the Support and Warranty package found in your account.

Weekly Amazon news you may have missed

Weekly curated Amazon related news and information.

Storage fee discounts starting June 1

Click for news link

amazon storage fee
Amazon storage fee being reduced for special promotion

This is the biggest news for me.

Short version is if you sell more than 60 units the last 30 days, you are likely eligible to get a big discount on storage fees.

Between January – September

  • $0.69 per cubic foot
  • goes down to $0.17 per cubic foot

Between October – December

  • $2.40 per cubic foot
  • goes down to $1.20 per cubic foot

50% or 75% discount on storage fees for popular items. No mention of FBA fees increasing so this is a great deal.

This is due to Amazon wanting to invest in 1 day Prime. They need inventory on hand and this is one of those rare opportunities as a seller.

But double check your status by downloading your restocking report at:

  • Seller Central > Reports > Fulfillment > Restock Inventory

Since we maintain 30 days of inventory anyways, sending an extra week’s worth of stuff and getting the discount is a big win.

Amazon buying into investment stakes

Click for news link

Although Amazon.com makes up the biggest bulk of the company’s revenue, I find it helpful to look into what trends they are getting into and seeing if there’s a way to ride along or capitalize on any opportunities.

Amazon has exceeded the billion dollar mark for acquisitions as shown in their financials, and my take is that it’s only going to increase.

Although we are sellers, having such detailed insight into Amazon can lead to some other great investment opportunities – outside of seller central.

Amazon is the whale and I don’t mind being the whalesucker.

Tagging along and getting and early bird view of most of the stuff going on. I also invest in stocks and other areas so it’s always a great way to diversify income by utilizing our existing Amazon intelligence.

Walmart e-commerce growth is strong

Click for news link

We’ve seen our own sales on Walmart pick up steadily over the past year.

Walmart’s system still sucks and there are a lot of quirks to the platform. But for the minimal amount of time we put into it, it’s generating sales that I welcome.

Our revenue on Walmart is literally 1-1.5% of what we make on Amazon, but it’s slowly ticking up. I’ll be working on getting the rest of our products listed on Walmart and review how it went at the end of the year.

The benefit with Walmart is that it’s still very early. Think of Amazon 10 years ago.

  • SEO is useless
  • No PPC
  • Hard to get things done
  • Constant unpublishing of products
  • Support is super slow
  • Barely any Chinese sellers
  • All sellers are vetted

Because it’s so small relative to Amazon, there aren’t as many toxic fake sellers, manipulators or review groups going around.

Something to look into if you have the capacity.

Stay tuned for next week’s curated links.

4 ways to conquer Amazon with Gorilla ROI

What you’ll learn:

  • How to detect hijackers
  • How to send daily reports automatically
  • How to monitor reviews and save $$$
  • How to forecast 3 months of inventory

Tip #1: Hijacker detection system

Normally, we don’t get hijackers on our listings.

If we do, it’s usually the weak kind. The type of seller who folds their card as soon as we send them a message to get off.

This week is different.

This is the type of seller you don’t want to deal with directly.

You’re probably aware that China sellers have a network of people and services they can use to attack and damage your business.

This seller isn’t attaching himself to directly to our product and selling fakes – which is a relief. Instead, he is creating variations under our listing and trying to leech off our stellar reviews.

Luckily, I was able to detect something was strange within a couple of hours and went into action.

Here’s a basic spreadsheet I have set up for this exact reason.

basic spreadsheet to detect hijackers
basic spreadsheet to detect hijackers

The only thing this spreadsheet does is to let me know whether my title and image has changed without my consent.

When malicious hijackers targets your listing, they will always

  1. change your image or
  2. change your title

Since we don’t have thousands of SKU’s to deal with, I scroll down and found that some of our images have changed. In the example above, if my helmet image suddenly changed into an electric dog collar, I immediately know something has been changed.

Next I quickly check if the title is different or not.

I set up a simple conditional formatting where I manually entered my original title in column C. Then in column D, I have Gorilla ROI load my titles as it appears on Amazon.

Column E is a simple formula to check if it is the same or not.

=C2=D2

If it is the same, the value returned is “true”. If it returns “false” the cell changes to red for immediate attention.

How to create this spreadsheet yourself

Load the product thumbnail with

=image(GORILLA_PRODUCT("SKUorASIN", "smallimage_url"))

Enter the correct title manually into column C.

Then in column D, use the formula:

=GORILLA_PRODUCT("SKUorASIN", "title")

Column E is a simple formula to check whether the titles match each other.

=C2=D2

Add some conditional formatting and you’ve got yourself a simple, flexible and customizable hijacker monitoring system.

Tip #2: Send yourself daily reports

If you create a spreadsheet like the one above but don’t want to open it every hour, there’s a feature in the addon where you can send yourself a PDF export of the spreadsheet to your Google email.

Go to menu > Add-ons > Gorilla Sheets > Send Spreadsheet as PDF

send spreadsheet as PDF
send spreadsheet as PDF

Make sure to enter your Google email used to install the add-on.

It will NOT send to any other email than yourself to prevent the function being used in a spammy way.

Save the settings, and get your daily report automatically and stay on top of your business.

Another automation tip is to create a filter in your gmail so that this daily email is then forwarded to your team.

Tip #3: Monitor reviews and save $$$

I don’t know anyone who enjoys 1-star reviews.

And let’s face it.

Amazon customers are a different breed in terms of pickiness and entitlement. So staying on top of reviews and being proactive to rectify situations and to please customers can go a long way.

We’ve found that even commenting on negative reviews with a helpful response does wonders to inspire confidence for other buyers. The great thing with leaving responses to reviews is that you get the last word.

Customers don’t come back to their reviews and Amazon does not notify them of a response.

Use the simple formula below to create a basic review monitoring spreadsheet.

=GORILLA_REVIEW("SKUorASIN" ,"US", 3)

This formula is telling GorillaROI to pull the Amazon review for your SKU or ASIN, in the US marketplace and then display the latest 3. You can enter whatever number you want at the end. Change it to 10 and it will display the last 10 to your spreadsheet.

Apply some basic conditional formatting for instant magic.

pull and monitor Amazon reviews
pull and monitor Amazon reviews

If cost-cutting and saving money is your thing, this spreadsheet means you can probably cancel the review pulling service that costs at least $100/mo.

Tip #4: Forecast inventory and prevent stock out

Going out of stock is another way of losing money that sellers don’t think about.

If a product goes out stock:

  • it loses sales velocity and a competing product will take its place
  • you have to increase your PPC bid in order to regain your original sales rank and position
  • you may have to spend more to get it delivered quicker
  • you lose revenue

If it’s one of your best sellers, it quickly becomes a lose-lose-lose situation.

To forecast your future inventory requirements and sales, you can look up your sales figures from the same time last month, or last quarter or last year and then project it forward.

Here are two basic methods of a 3 month simple Amazon inventory forecasting.

Method 1.

Get the total units sold throughout the last 3 months.

=GORILLA_SALESCOUNT("LAST 3 MONTHS", "US", "SKU", "ALL")

Multiply the number by 3 to get a linear forecast based on the past 3 months. Compare with your current numbers and order as needed.

Method 2.

  1. Get the last 7 days of units sold and divide by 7 to get the average daily units sold.
    =GORILLA_SALESCOUNT("LAST 7 DAYS", "US", "SKU", "ALL") / 7
  2. Get the last 30 days of units sold and divide by 30 to get the average daily units sold.
    =GORILLA_SALESCOUNT("LAST 30 DAYS", "US", "SKU", "ALL") / 30
  3. Get the last 90 days of units sold and divide by 90 to get the average daily units sold.
    =GORILLA_SALESCOUNT("LAST 3 MONTHS", "US", "SKU", "ALL") / 90
  4. Calculate the average of steps 1, 2 and 3 to get a smooth daily number of units sold.
    =AVERAGE( numbers from 1,2,3)
  5. Multiply the number from step 4 by 90 to get a forecasted 3 month projection.
    = number from step 4 x 90

There is so much more you can do with your seller data once you import it into Google Sheets.

A more advance version is to forecast by seasonality. That is something our forecasting calculator (free preview) does for you if own the Business PRO Package.

sales forecast dashboard
seasonally adjusted forecasting calculator – click to enlarge

If you know spreadsheets, let your creativity roam.

  • Use the data to create beautiful dashboards
  • Create automatic sales report generation
  • Monitor and track sales by month and see your growth
  • Utilize advanced spreadsheet formulas to perform spreadsheet magic everywhere you go.

Best practices when creating spreadsheets (for the non-techie)

What you’ll learn:

  • What you should do to create organized spreadsheets
  • The architecture of building an organized spreadsheet
  • The different functions you can use to eliminate work
  • Where you can get free spreadsheets for FBA

When was the last time you went to a restaurant and was seated in the middle of the kitchen?

Never.

The same concept should be applied when creating spreadsheets and organizing data, yet the most common thing people do is “eat in the kitchen” at a restaurant.

Anyone can do spreadsheets, but not many people can do them right.

And I’m going to share a simple way to organize and create spreadsheets that will make it easier to manage, update, scale and share.

The old way of having all the data, calculations, results and everything else jumbled up in the same sheet should be a thing of the past.

Let’s get right into it.

The restaurant technique to creating spreadsheets

Setting up a spreadsheet is no different than how a restaurant is set up.

A restaurant can be simply divided into two sections.

    1. The kitchen (back end or data side)
    2. The dining area (front end or display/user side)

All the magic happens in the kitchen (back end), and it’s either a hot mess or a well-oiled machine. In any case, it’s hectic back there – but that’s ok because it’s where all the raw data and calculations come to life. Not for people to see.

The dining area (front end) is what people see. It should be clean, well laid out and easy to navigate. No one likes cluttered, dirty, dusty tables, plates and menus.

Keep this concept in mind when creating your spreadsheets to analyze data – especially Amazon FBA data as there is a ton of information in there.

Why separation is vital

Take a look at the screenshot below of a basic spreadsheet included with Gorilla Sheets Addon.

You’ll see multiple sheets (or tabs) to separate the backend and frontend.
spreadsheet backend frontend

In the inputs tab, information used to plug into formulas are entered here. In our case, things like the number of products, our seller ID and today’s date are stored in a central location.

The formulas then reference the required data point from this tab. Now I don’t have to manually enter the data point into every formula.

Imagine the mess and headache if you enter the product ASIN into 20 different formulas and then have to update it later.

Here’s another example.

spreadsheet frontend backend 1

In this spreadsheet, I have a total of 4 sheets within the spreadsheet.

  • DASHBOARD – front end
  • INVENTORY – front end
  • product_details – back end
  • Inputs – back end

For this spreadsheet, I enter our Amazon FBA product details like SKU, ASIN, UPC, dimensions, weight, units per case and other data. No product information is ever entered outside of this tab.

Inputs sheet is the same as mentioned above where it holds generic but important data like today’s date, seller ID, marketplace ID, counts the number of SKU’s entered into product_details.

The front end dashboard and inventory sheet then pull information from the back end sheets to create a simple and nice looking dashboard.

Something like this Amazon FBA sales dashboard.

dashboard sales fba spreadsheet
dashboard sales fba spreadsheet

Or how about this Amazon fees and services dashboard that organizes what Amazon charges us.

Amazon fees and charges of services
Amazon fees and charges of services

The last thing I want to do is update the formulas every time I import new data.

As you can see, this simple practice will 10x your productivity and make your life easier.

  1. It separates the raw data with the rest of the spreadsheet. Changing the raw data will auto update the rest of the spreadsheet. Not in 10 different places scattered throughout the spreadsheet.
  2. It makes it easy to manage and scale a growing spreadsheet. The data is stored in a consistent and centralized place in your and not scattered everywhere.
  3. Other people will be able to work on the spreadsheet without messing things up.
  4. Advanced tip: you can break up the data even further if you have multiple data sources. Feed it into its own tab, and then combine a “master” data sheet by combining the data from the other tabs. You can use QUERY() or VLOOKUP() or FILTER() to consolidate the data into a master tab.

Another example of how it works

To take it one step further, I like to organize my spreadsheets like I’m running a restaurant with multiple line cooks. Each line cook does one part of the big picture. One person does meat, one person does fish, one person does appetizers and so on.

In this way, I set up my spreadsheet where each tab specializes in one area and I split it up into a back end and front end.

If I have a spreadsheet where I have information related to:

  • sales
  • inventory
  • reviews
  • product info

I create backend sheets called:

  • sales_data
  • inventory_data
  • reviews_data
  • productinfo_data

In my old inventory spreadsheet, I used to house all the inventory data, formulas and final information into the single “inventory” sheet. As more information was added, it became a nightmare to fix and change.

Simple maintenance went from a few minutes to 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then I stopped using it because it was too much of a headache. If I changed something or added more data, it either broke everything or I lost track of all the different cells that needed updating.

Spreadsheets are supposed to help, not to become a hindrance.

Now, I separate inventory by loading all the raw inventory data into inventory_data. This data sheet normally has thousands of data points like

  • units in stock
  • units in transit
  • units sold last 7, 14, 30 days
  • units sold 1 year ago, same day last week, same day last year etc

Then on the “inventory” sheet, I can pick and pull what data I need to display by using vlookups, index, or ther forumulas and loading them into the frontend sheet to make it look clean and nice.

Here’s a screenshot of the “inventory_data”.

inventory data screen
inventory_data housing the raw data – click to enlarge

And this data sheet is then used to create my nice and clean “inventory” sheet to track the important data and stats for myself and our team.

You can see what a difference it makes.

inventory sheet screen
clean and simplified inventory snapshot for our team

By separating and organizing how data is stored and referenced, you can now focus on analyzing the data.

To update the data, all it takes is for us to either bulk copy and paste in one go, or to use GorillaROI addon to auto load and update the data.

How to get data into the “Front end” sheet?

You can pull the data from your raw data section by using plain ol’ Google spreadsheet formulas.

Vlookup() is a classic staple, which I won’t go into here as there are literally thousands of examples on how to use it.

Index() and Match() are under-rated options but very powerful methods. Good examples and explanations in this link.

Importrange() is one of my favorites because it’s so easy and loads quickly.

You can load entire sheets from a different file into your current spreadsheet. If I’m working with a monster spreadsheet, I import multiple different spreadsheets into a single sheet. Here’s the page from Google on how to use it.

Query() is an advanced function that I use to pull and display data directly.

If you look at any of the dashboards for the spreadsheets included with GorillaROI, it’s what I use to quickly build nice looking tables without having to mess with too many vlookups.

There’s nothing complicated about these formulas or this method of creating spreadsheets.

But it does require more “prep” and thought and that’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to making spreadsheets. It’s so easy to start plugging data and calculations anywhere rather than taking 15 minutes to understand what you are trying to do.

Once done right, you’ll be asking why you’ve been doing it any other way.

Free spreadsheets for Amazon sellers

If you don’t want to deal with all the stuff I’m talking about here and just want some templates to edit and work off, I have put a list of free fba Amazon spreadsheet templates for you already.

Follow the link above and you can download spreadsheets for:

  • Detail child item sales analysis
  • Amazon PPC Customer Search keyword analysis dashboard
  • Amazon PPC Targeting Keyword analysis dashboard
  • Seller sales performance stats
  • Product listings information template
  • Sale & traffic analysis dashboard

Combine it with the free Addon to see how powerful it can be.