I admitted publicly (just last night) that I did fold (blink) on some of my Amazon FBA inventory this week. I made this admission in the fbafinds.com forum where I’m usually pretty active.
I’ve been on a “silent” binge for a while – here on this blog and on my regular forums. My concentration has been totally focused on Amazon.
I’ll get to the “blink” down below.
Sourcing, Shipping and Watching My Inventory
I have loved my time sourcing… I have been locked to my computer for so many years, that it’s been a breath of fresh air to get out and be among the real world people.
I built up a notebook for sourcing – with tabs for every store I haunt and started making a list of products that I am on the look out for… and what kinds of products I would like to become familiar with. This notebook is in the shopping cart at every store.
I’ve started to scout in stores that I wasn’t visiting a few months ago… drug stores, dollar stores, hardware stores etc.
Of course, I came home with my van loaded (brimming over) of products to ship. This required that I buckle down and get everything labeled correctly and my own frankensteined MSKU that I am using for inventory control. Then my hubby would jigsaw puzzle the products into the fewest boxes possible… and get them shipped off ASAP.
Then it was time to watch – analyze and try to control my inventory.
I learned to check my inventory prices before they were checked into Amazon warehouses. I got caught with 4 products priced at what I paid for them… not what I wanted to sell them for. Yikes! Of course they all sold within minutes of going live on Amazon.com. Not a huge tragedy but certainly put me in a foul mood for most of the day.
I also repriced a product with the decimal point in the wrong place. So instead of something like 12.97 the product sold for .13 cents. Again…not a tragedy as these were not high priced products… but I’ve learned to be extra careful.
I’m getting to the part where I “blinked” now.
How To Know When To Hold and When To Fold
I sing that silly Kenny Rogers country/western song in my head every day. I try to have conviction in my buying/pricing decisions – but I did Fold (or as I call it – “I blinked”).
You all know this is my first year selling on Amazon. I have sold (long ago past) on eBay – I’m not totally green to selling products online. I also have a long retail history in my previous “J.O.B.” life (and I have owned several stores of my own)… retail is not totally new to me.
I had a ton of inventory – and of course I think I sourced pretty good “stuff”. Right? Well… I made some mistakes and other obstacles were cropping up as well.
First… in the whirlwind of chatter – I got myself ramped up on the hype of “what stuff will sell for on Amazon during the holiday’s”. I followed a few of my own shiny objects right onto the wrong path.
Second… some products just don’t look as if Amazon will “Ever” sell out and I can’t compete with the low price.
Third… sometimes a product would end up with hundreds of sellers, or sellers with 999 of a product in qty, or both!
Fourth… I found myself sucked into pricing wars. I swore I wouldn’t – but I caught the “I have to sell now” fever.
Fifth… I wanted to clear out some inventory I’ve had listed on Amazon since August.
Yep… five different ways to convince me to “Fold” on products. None of them logical. I’m not talking about logic here – or the voice of reason.
I folded up shop on some of my inventory on pure emotion. I was unhappy as all get out doing it. LOL
I’m now in profitable territory again. It feels great! I have inventory on Amazon that is all paid for now. It’s a nice feeling to be able to sit back and wait for others to sell out of their inventory so I can sell with my intended ROI. (Return on Investment)
I’ve read all kinds of advice about when to hold and when to give up and sell out. None of that advice is consistent… as every business model is different.
- Some sellers clear out inventory if it’s been on the “shelf” for 3 months. Turn it so you can have some cash to spend on new inventory.
- Other sellers hold on to their inventory for nearly a year before considering clearing out.
- A few sellers have a specific model of lowering the price by a specific $ amount or % amount within a given time period.
Some advice is a combination of “if their are a ton of sellers and/or the competition has a ton of product… sell of yours and move on.
Then you get to the ones that tell you “The prices on Amazon will level out to normal after the holiday’s“. Okay… what’s normal?
The point is this… even though others who have been doing this “selling on Amazon” gig much longer than I are the voice of reason… they don’t know what each of us has invested time/money wise. The more experienced sellers will probably admit to a time when they felt the “emotional roller coaster” and tell how they remember how it felt. (If they are honest).
The old timers can blast out comments all day long – “Don’t play the race to the bottom game” – “Don’t get sucked into selling out too soon” – Don’t Don’t Don’t…
Well – I want to remind everyone that the other side of the coin… The wait for your price side of the coin – can be very stressful as well. It can make you blink!
I know exactly what my stress point was. I knew what to do to take care of it. I feel better now. It’s not the best solution I’m sure – but for my business it certainly was.
All in All… this selling on Amazon FBA is a dream JOB. I love it now that I’m over my own emotional roller coaster.
I now know that selling on Amazon can be profitable and I also have learned so much over these last 6 months. I’ll be a much smarter “buyer” of inventory… and much less emotional. (Well.. one can hope for less emotions in business).