Do gated products remain a mystery to you? Do you want to ship products directly to Amazon? What if no products on a product list look profitable? Today we’re answering all of your questions in a special Q & A episode. If you’re searching for answers to your own Amazon questions, submit your question and be featured on the next Q & A episode. Remember, answers to your pressing entrepreneurial questions are out there – all you have to do is ask!
There are some products that Amazon deems risky. Maybe they’re too difficult to sell or maybe Amazon has seen one too many knockoffs. As a result, Amazon gates products such as watches, DVDs, and groceries. So how do you open the gates? To begin with, prove yourself a strong seller. Also consider testing a small unit of products and sending Amazon a paid invoice from the reputable brand or distributor that sells that product.
Shipping Straight to Amazon
While it’s always great to ship test orders directly to your house to inspect them and ensure everything is in order for shipment, shipping directly to Amazon is certainly more convenient once you’re farther down the line. Unfortunately, some brands won’t allow this. But if you build strong relationships and position your ask as a request to print the shipping labels yourself, you’ll be surprised at the number of brands willing to change their standard shipping practices for you.
Where’s The Profit?
Are you plugging product after product into an analyzer and seeing dismal ROIs? Welcome to Amazon Wholesale! While this may feel discouraging, it’s important to remember that your relationships with brands will unlock key discounts and these discounts are the basis of your profitability. And remember, it’s a numbers game. You should be opening 50 accounts per week to find enough products to generate a profit. Yet another reason to outsource parts of the account opening process with VAs! For more tips on finding profitable products, check out a recent video that breaks down everything you need to know about staying profitable.
In sum, keep asking questions and remember the importance of building strong relationships with brands – that’s one aspect of your business you may never feel is worthy to outsource.
Seeking more guidance? Todd will be taking 8-10 dedicated students through a coaching program designed to help you grow your Amazon business. Make sure you’re on the email list for first dibs! Sign up here.
As that wraps up another episode, remember to like, subscribe, ask your question, and leave reviews wherever you’re listening. Happy selling!
Outline Of This Episode
[00:18] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:54] How to get ungated on Amazon
[06:45] How to ship products directly to Amazon
[13:30] The key to product profitability
[22:10] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
Resources From This Episode
- EA13: How To Systematize Your Amazon Wholesale Business with Trent Dyrsmid
- How To Find Profitable Wholesale Products with AMZ Analyzer
- Join our email list: Bottom of any page
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host, Todd Welch.
Todd Welch (00:18):
What’s up everybody? Welcome to episode number 14 of the entrepreneur venture podcast. And in this episode we’re going to be talking about getting ungated on Amazon. We’re answering questions from viewers like you today, getting ungated on Amazon, getting approved to sell different products, how to ship directly from your distributors to Amazon. And then also if you’re not finding any profitable products, what can you do? You found the list, you got a list from a distributor, but nothing is profitable, what is going on. So make sure you listen to this episode for answers to all of those questions and check out the show notes over at amazonseller.school/14 for this episode for anything that we talk about here as well as the transcript and show notes. So let’s go ahead and dive right into the first question.
All right. Todd, this is Avery from Southern California. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to your audience and share your knowledge with us. My question is in regards to the step by step process on getting products approved to sell on Amazon and how the prep labeling and shipping details work straight from the distributor to Amazon’s warehouse. Is there anything we need to work out with the distributors and voicing regarding the bill to and ship to information? Thanks Todd and God bless you.
Todd Welch (01:54):
Hey, what’s up Avery? Thank you so much for this question and I appreciate you leaving in. If I’m hearing you correctly, it sounds like there is a couple different questions in there. The first one is getting approved to sell a product on Amazon or also what we call ungating and to get ungated or you might run into a gated category or a gated product and basically what that means is that you cannot sell that product without jumping through some hoops. Perhaps you can get auto ungated if you’ve been selling for a while and your seller rating is high, Amazon will potentially auto ungate because they see you as a good seller because usually they gate these categories because of problems that they’ve had, either fake products or knockoffs, or maybe it’s a little bit more of a risky category and they want to make sure that the people selling in there know what they’re doing.
Todd Welch (02:54):
So you’re going to run into this from time to time and you’ll have to get on ungated. So one area that ungated for example, is grocery watches is another area. Dvds is another area. So you have to get ungated in all these categories. And then you also might run into product gating. So specific products or specific brands, and pretty much all of these to get ungated, you have to have an invoice of at least 10 units within the last six months or something like that. I believe it is of whatever product or category you’re trying to get ungated from. And it needs to be from a reputable brand or reputable distributor. Remember in past episodes we’ve talked about not starting out, working with wholesalers who do not have a direct relationship with the brands because Amazon is not going to take their invoices.
Todd Welch (03:57):
So to get ungated for a category or a brand, you’re going to have to have an invoice of at least 10 units from a reputable brand or distributor that you can provide to Amazon. Now you asked what kind of information we need on the invoice. Amazon wants to see the information on the invoice to match the information that you have in Amazon. So if you have a phone number, you want the phone number to match that’s on the invoice. Would you have an Amazon? The email address should match and especially the address needs to match what you have in Amazon. If those three things match up, then most likely they’re going to accept the invoice and allow you to get ungated. Assuming it’s from a reputable brand and distributor that they can verify has a relationship with whatever product or category you’re trying to sell.
Todd Welch (05:00):
So you want to make sure the information on the invoice matches what you’re putting in Amazon, including like the business name as well. So once that information is correct on the invoice, you have it from the distributor or brand and it has to be a paid invoice. Don’t be trying to send an invoice that you haven’t paid for yet. They’re not going to probably accept that they’re not going to accept purchase orders or things like that either. So submit that invoice. When you go to try to add a product that’s in a gated category or the product or brand is gated, it’s going to take you to the screen that you have to submit that invoice. You submit it. Sometimes it’s pretty quick. Sometimes you’re gonna have to wait a few days to get ungated. If they don’t accept it, they’re going to come back and they’ve gotten a little bit better with telling you what the problem is.
Todd Welch (05:55):
So they may or may not tell you what problem is. They may just leave a generic that they couldn’t accept your invoice and then you’re going to have to just go through the invoice, make sure everything is matching up to what is in Amazon and resubmit it. So that’s why I mentioned you always want to make a very small test order at least that 10 that you need. And that way if something goes wrong and for some reason they will not accept your invoices, you’re not out a big quantity and you can try getting product from another distributor, another brand and get ungated in that area and then send in those remaining units that you were trying to send in before. So that’s, that’s the benefit of doing those small test orders that I’ve talked about in the past as well. Now the second part of your question is shipping from a distributor or a brand would be fine as well.
Todd Welch (06:51):
Direct to Amazon. Some distributors and brands are going to allow you to do this. Some are not. Now, I usually recommend that the first initial order you have it shipped to yourself so you can inspect the product, make sure everything is actually what it’s supposed to be, and you’ll have a better idea then of what you’re actually sending into Amazon. And if you need to do anything special before sending it. So getting your eyes on it is really helpful for that small test order that were initially making. But after that maybe you want to try direct sending it right into Amazon and some distributors and some brands will do that. So what I usually do in the beginning, like I said, ship it to myself, inspect that small order, make sure everything’s good, maybe I’ll be taking new pictures and stuff of the product. You really want to try and take pictures of the front back in each side of it and just store that in a folder.
Todd Welch (07:52):
Because if you ever tried to make changes or something to a product on Amazon, they’re usually gonna request photos. So having those photos are really good. A lot of times the listing is really bad. I want to get it so I can take really nice photos of it and potentially update that listing in the future as well. But then after that I will start maybe sending it to my prep center for a little while, make sure everything is going good. Once I’ve kind of developed that relationship with the brand or the distributor, then I’ll bring it up to them like, Hey, would you mind if I provided shipping labels for these products? And that way you guys don’t have to deal with the shipping because sometimes you’ll get free shipping, sometimes you won’t. If you’re getting free shipping and now you’re going to pay for shipping.
Todd Welch (08:40):
Instead you are really helping out that distributor or brand because now they’re saving, you know, $100 $200 depending on what shipping is for them. So they may be interested in that. Especially if you dress it, you want to provide shipping versus will you send an Amazon for me by saying it, will you send an Amazon for me? It’s just sounds like they’re going to have to do work, but if you say, do you mind if I provide shipping labels for these products and go at it that way? It sounds like you are doing a service for them, right? You’re saving them some work that they have to do. Now I really don’t try to push it to have them label my products and do any special packaging and stuff like that because I don’t want to push that relationship. Not upfront. Once you build that relationship you can maybe test those boundaries a little bit depending on the brand and how you feel them out, but in the beginning especially, I just try to get them to slap the labels on the box so I’m always ordering in case pack quantities when I do that.
Todd Welch (09:51):
So if a case pack is 24 I always order in multiples of 24 because that way it makes it easier for them as well. They don’t have to do any boxing or anything. I just send over the labels. They slapped the labels on the case pack, give it to UPS, FedEx or whatever the case may be and send it into Amazon for me. So with that, then if there’s any prepping that’s needed, I have Amazon do that if at all possible. Like labeling is 20 cents. Bagging I think is 50 cents. Bubble wrapping is like 50 cents. So that’s stuff I just pay Amazon to do because I’m just trying to baby step us into this. I don’t want to throw everything on them. Like okay, you need to put labels and you need to put them in bags and you need to put these extra labels on the box on the outside and they ship them out.
Todd Welch (10:42):
It just sounds like too much work and you’re going to get more nos. But if you baby step them into it, build that relationship down the line, maybe you can say, Hey, would you mind slapping labels on each product? Would that be possible? And just step them into it to send in Amazon. So that’s how I work at to get more of my brands and distributors sending an Amazon for me. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, so you have to kind of work through that and see what happens. It all depends on the distributors and the brands. Usually the smaller ones you have better luck with doing. The bigger ones are a little less likely to break out of their normal cycle of how they handle stuff, but a lot of the big older, bigger ones are having those processes in place for sending into Amazon as well.
Todd Welch (11:32):
So it’s worth at least asking about it and finding out if they say no, then you’re just out of luck and you’ve got to use a prep center or send it to yourself, your warehouse, wherever you are doing the prepping for the Amazon products. All right Avery, so I really appreciate the question. I hope that answered what you were looking for. If not, let me know. Record me another question and we can answer that further on an upcoming episode, but I really appreciate it. If you want to get your questions answered just like this on the podcast, make sure you head over to amazonseller.school/ask and you can record a message there and I will answer it on an upcoming episode. All right. And so the second question that I want to answer is from Mary. So let’s go ahead and listen to Mary’s question.
Hi. Todd. And answer your question. I, I have found some suppliers to email using the AMZ analyzer and have gotten some good responses. However, once I download their inventory, the products don’t leave any room for any profit. And a lot of the times, and most of the times the analyzer matches the UPC with packs of maybe three, four, five, six and a pack. And the supplier only prices one per pack. So it’s showing in the analyzer a profit. But in fact, once you multiply by the packs, it’s really a loss. I have found, I have not found even one product to sell that would have the sales to warrant a purchase. It’s very frustrating. At this point. I have at least four suppliers, but no products worthwhile and the products that are worthwhile. Amazon is selling, so that’s where I stand right now and I really don’t know what else to do with this point but would appreciate anything or any advice you could give me. Thank you.
Todd Welch (13:30):
All right, Mary, thank you so much for that question. In the future, if you leave a question, make sure you leave where you’re from. I always like to hear where people are coming from, but Mary, this is a great, great question and I say this with all love. Welcome to the world of selling wholesale on Amazon. This is the biggest frustration that everyone runs into, right? You open accounts, you go through all that hassle, you get the price list and they suck. There’s nothing good, no profitable products. The ones that are profitable, Amazon is selling or the ones that sell, well, Amazon selling or there’s a hundred people selling. This is just part of what we have to deal with in selling on Amazon, especially us as small to medium sized sellers because we are not looking to spend $10 million and have a 5% margin, right, or 5% ROI.
Todd Welch (14:36):
We’re looking to have that 30% ROI, 16 17% margins so that we can be profitable and not have to have millions of dollars in the bank to buy the products and one little thing goes wrong. Then it’s all out the window. So you mentioned AMZ analyzer, which is now called analyzer tools. If you guys out there are not familiar with that tool, I have a website or I have a video I should say over on YouTube and I’ll put that link in the show notes. You can check that out. And it’s a review of how to use, analyze their tools, which is a software that takes the spreadsheet that you get from a supplier, analyzes all their products, matches them up to Amazon, shows you the profit and ROI and all the good stuff that you need to know. But as Mary is finding out, a lot of times nothing will be profitable.
Todd Welch (15:34):
Now before I dive into the profitable part, you mentioned that it is matching single products to multi-packs, which is awesome. Really awesome. That analyzer tools is grabbing that information, so that is a good thing. Don’t see that as a bad thing. What you need to do is it’s just not seeing that it’s a multi-pack. Sometimes it gets it, sometimes it doesn’t, and in the software way over on the right, if you scroll to the right, there is a column that’s called package quantity where you can update a number. If it’s a four pack, change it to a four pack, hit enter, and it recalculates all of the margins and ROI and profit and everything for you. So if you see that, just update that and then you’re going to get the right numbers. So that will help you understand which ones are profitable and not profitable.
Todd Welch (16:30):
So definitely when you analyze your lists, don’t get super excited when you see something that looks really good because there’s a lot of factors that could turn that what looked really good into not-so-good. Even after you change that package quantity to the proper amount, you’re not seeing anything that’s profitable and or it’s being sold by Amazon and that is par for the course because what wholesale is all about is getting discounts on top of the numbers they give you. I can almost guarantee you that the initial numbers that 99% of brands and distributors give you the initial pricing, it’s not going to be profitable because in wholesale discounting is the name of the game. You have to ask for discounts and you have to earn discounts and you have to build trust to find out about on advertised discounts as well. So number one, when you get that list, run it through your software.
Todd Welch (17:36):
And when I look within the software, I am looking for anything with 0% ROI or better. And then I’m making a list of all those products that meet my other criteria, right? They are not sold by Amazon. They have enough sales per month. There’s not a million people selling it already. I’d get enough sales per month and you guys can look at some of my other videos and previous podcast episodes to find more about that, which I can link down below to analyzing those numbers more, but we want to weed out all the ones that don’t meet the other criteria and make a list of the ones that do put a number by it of an estimation of what we think we can sell per month. Take all those products, email the brand or distributor and say, Hey, these are the ones that I think I can sell.
Todd Welch (18:28):
This is the quantity that I estimate I can sell per month. Now my initial order is not going to be this size. I want to make sure you know and understand that because we take small orders, get our own numbers and get our own profitability to make sure everything’s good, but at an order of this size, what kind of discounts are you able to give us because we want to see if these are going to make sense at scale for us. Even if you can’t give us those discounts with the small test orders, they’ll come back and let you know what their initial discounts are. A lot of times that is not even the bottom line. As you build that relationship, you can get additional discounts. If you’re dealing with a distributor or a sales person usually has a variance that they can play with that.
Todd Welch (19:18):
If they give you a bigger discount, their commission is going to be lower if they give you more of a discount, but as you build that relationship up and gain their trust and they know that you’re going to be ordering lots of products from them, they’re more likely to give you those discounts. There’s different trade discounts that you can get for some distributors as well. So you have to find those things out by building the relationship, but you always have to be asking for the discount. So once they give me the discount, then I’m basically going through that whole profit analyzation again on Amazon, seeing if the discounted numbers make sense. If they do, awesome, I’m ordering a small test amount and if they don’t, then you need to figure out how to give bigger discounts from them. Or maybe it’s just a bad distributor.
Todd Welch (20:12):
Not all distributors are created equal. Some of them have bad pricing, others have good pricing. So if that distributor is not having good pricing with that product, search on Google for that brand and distributor and find other distributors of that product to see if you can get distributors that are more profitable, have better pricing, just like in business, right? Walmart’s better pricing then maybe some target for example. Right. Walmart’s usually a better pricing than target. Target’s a little cleaner than Walmart, but they’re selling some of the same things. But the pricing is different and it’s the same thing in distributors. Some are, well I should say none are created equal. They’re not all equal. Everything’s going to be different. So basically what I’m trying to say is ask for the discounts and once you’re getting those discounts you’re going to start finding more profitable products.
Todd Welch (21:11):
Don’t get discouraged even if you don’t after asking for discounts, cause like I said, they’re not all created equal. So find something else and it’s just a numbers game. You’ve got to keep opening, opening, opening. If you’re only opening five accounts a week, you’re going to get frustrated. You need to be opening 50 accounts per week and finding a lot of products. So the more you can go through, the more you’re going to find. That’s why this is one of the things that you outsource sooner rather than later of finding those distributors and brands and having a VA open those accounts with, by filling out the applications and stuff like that, you’re going to want to be the one building those relationships and stuff. But you can easily have a virtual assistant doing all the Googling, filling out all the paperwork and that’s going to save you a lot of time.
Todd Welch (22:03):
So Mary, I hope that answered your question. I really appreciate the question. It was another great one and yeah, again, amazonseller.school forward/ask your question. I want to hear your question no matter what it is so I can answer it on upcoming podcasts here. All right, so with that please, if you haven’t already subscribed to the show on whatever platform you’re listening to this on and then leave us a review, whatever you think we got. Hopefully it’s a five star review and I will read those on upcoming episodes. I would really appreciate it. Share this with a friend, one friend, share it to them, let them know about it. Help us grow the show because the more listeners we have, the more it encourages me to keep helping you guys and keep doing these videos. I have to know that you guys are getting benefits from them.
Todd Welch (22:59):
Helps motivate me. Keep me going. I’ve talked about that entrepreneurial roller coaster in the past happens to everybody so please give me some motivation. Give me a subscribe a like a comment and share this with your friends. I would really appreciate it and head over to amazonseller.school/14 for the show notes as well and one other thing I wanted to mention here is I am currently working on a small group coaching program that I am going to be taking eight to 10 students who proved to me that they are dedicated to this. I’m not just going to take anyone into this when it’s ready, but you have to prove to me that you are dedicated and willing to put into work and I am going to help walk this group through getting their business started, finding profitable products to sell on Amazon and moving their business forward. It’s going to be over the course of three months. I’m still working on all the details, but if you’re interested in something like that and make sure you’re on our email list, you can sign up for that over at amazonseller.school and if you’re on there, you’re going to hear about this first once I release it. So if that interests you at all, make sure you’re on the email list. So with that, this is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.
This has been another episode of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur, and always remember success is yours if you take it.