Business endeavors wouldn’t be real endeavors without a few frustrations. If you’ve ever sold on Amazon, you know the platform is sometimes rife with issues, bugs, and headaches. However, the trick to success anywhere is overcoming those frustrations. In this episode of Amazon Seller School, Todd answers listener questions about buy box headaches and ungating strategies with tips for moving through hurdles quickly. Stay tuned.
Beating The Buy Box
A question asked over and over again has to do with our friend the buy box. If you’ve sold anything on Amazon this year, you’ve likely noticed changes to the buy box. While previously a small drop in price would land you in the buy box, Amazon seems to have changed the algorithm to favor different factors like stock levels and seller feedback. Although frustrating for many sellers, here are a few tips for overcoming the buy box “bug.”
Boost Your Stock
To save money on shipping, Amazon favors products that take less time to reach the buyer. To maximize your chances of being closer to buyers, increase your inventory. The more inventory you send in, the more likely Amazon is to distribute that inventory throughout the country.
While this may be difficult to accomplish quickly as a new seller, Amazon favors sellers with higher reviews and feedback. In short, make sure you’re requesting feedback. To do so, simply go into your orders on Amazon’s Order Page and click a button labeled “Request Review and Feedback.” When selected, Amazon will send an email to buyers requesting feedback on your behalf.
Now, this is just an educated guess, but to solve the issue of overloaded warehouses, Amazon may be giving the buy box to sellers with inventory in warehouses most overloaded. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can control in circumstances like these.
So what can you do? Lower your price (more than just pennies, think 50 cents to $1) and order more products to try and jumpstart your sales momentum.
Listeners – Do you have a solution to the buy box breakdown? Let us know in the comments or contact Todd!
Are you waiting to dive into Amazon until you’ve got loads of funding? While Todd recommends aiming for $5,000 in capital, don’t wait to start selling. You can begin today with less, it may just take longer to launch.
When it comes to LLCs (limited liability companies) and websites, these are optional entities. But what’s not optional is creating a business bank account, or at least having an account that’s separate from all personal transactions. Also consider getting a separate credit card, ideally with points or cash back.
Finally, as far as the top distributors for sending legit invoices, the best are those found through the reverse sourcing method, legitimately and legally. If you do things the right way, 95% of the time you won’t have any issues snagging invoices and getting ungated.
Hopefully the answers to these listener questions helped clarify some of your Amazon hangups. Do you have a question for Todd? Ask away! And check out his latest webinar all about adding inventory with a 75-100% ROI.
Happy selling everybody.
Resources From This Episode
- Check out Todd’s latest webinar – Learn the Amazon wholesale mine & refine method!
- Todd’s reverse sourcing webinar
- Contact Todd
- Ask your question!
- Get approved to sell pesticides
Outline Of This Episode
[00:38] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:53] Beating the buy box
[13:50] Getting started on Amazon the “right way”
[22:40] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
It’ s one that I’ve been getting a lot. And I’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, but I think it’s worth diving into it again, because it is a big issue. And it’s unfortunately an issue that Amazon has not really clarified, other than to say that it’s not a bug
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast, where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an e-commerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host, Todd Welch,
What’s going on everybody. Welcome to episode 47 of the Amazon Seller School podcast. I’m your host Todd Welch. And today we are diving into some listener questions and we have some really good ones today. You’re going to definitely want to stay tuned, pay attention to this one. And if you want the show notes or anything, amazonseller.school/47, you can check that out. And before we dive into that, make sure if you are interested in adding products to your wholesale business at 75 to a hundred percent ROI, you check out amazonseller.school/mine. M I N E. We did a masterclass teaching you how I am adding products at seventy-five to a hundred percent ROI. And having those sales all to myself for quite a while, it can really help boost your ROI in your wholesale business and increase your profits overall.
So definitely check that out. amazonseller.school/Mine. You can check that out there. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into some listener questions.
Hey, Todd Cody here in Oregon, I appreciate everything you’ve been doing with the podcast and YouTube videos learned a lot so far. I had a question in regards to how the buy box is going to working. I’ve been selling for about seven months, and it seems like the only items that are selling fairly well for me are items that I have higher stock and other FBA sellers. I’ve got a few dozen items. Many of them have buy box. I rarely get sales on those because most of the time, other FBA sellers at higher inventory and all all though Im a new seller, I don’t think this is a big factor because item that isn’t selling well lately, there’s others with less inventory, but higher ratings. So anyhow, I would appreciate if you can help me out on that because I’m getting pretty frustrated lately because I’ve been sharing the buy box and I can see things that are selling, keepa graph. All right. So that’s the first part. And there’s the second part here. Hey Todd, this is Cody here in Oregon. Again, left a message yesterday and wanted to clarify something. I went back and looked at my buy a box percentage on my items where I’m the lowest price of all at the sellers. I shared lowest price.
And on many of those items, I simply have a buy box percentage last 30 days of no, there’s just a dash there. So I’m not getting the buy box at all, even though being the lowest price for seems like weeks on end now. Like I mentioned yesterday, I do have a pretty good selling product where I’m getting about 35% of buy box. And I’m just wondering if that’s dues, since I have the highest FBA inventory of all the other sellers or there’s other factors. But it just seems like I’m simply just not even really getting the buy box and many items that I clearly should be. And those other items, I’m getting very, very little Christina’s rotation and there’s not like 50 other sellers, just, you know, a handful or two. So according to keepa graph things isn’t selling well in the past and they continue selling well here recently to , I just wonder what’s going on. If Amazon changed something again or what, so I appreciate your input. thanks for everything you do Todd.
All right, Cody, thank you so much for that question. And it’s one that I’ve been getting a lot and I’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, but I think it’s worth diving into it again because it is a big issue. And it’s unfortunately an issue that Amazon has not really clarified, other than to say that it’s not a bug. So basically that means the buy box is operating the way that they want the buy box to operate. It’s probably not the way that we necessarily want it to operate unless we’re the ones getting the buy box, but there’s definitely has been some changes and little to no clarification from Amazon. It’s really becoming one of those things, kind of like Google search algorithm. We know a little bit about how Google indexes and lists websites and in the first page, but we don’t know everything about how exactly it’s working.
And Amazon is really making the buy box that way as well. Previously, if you were the lowest price or equal lowest price, you would normally get a rotation into that buy box. But it has really changed quite a bit since COVID hit all of their warehouses really overflowed and they started having lots of storage space issues and things like that. Some of the things that it seems like it’s taking into account is number one, as you talked about the stock levels and the location of your stock. So Amazon has the free two day shipping, right? So if you have stock in New York warehouse and someone buys it from California and Amazon has to ship it all the way from New York to California, that’s going to cost them a lot more money versus if they had it in a warehouse in California and they can just ship it from California to the customers.
So the stock level is definitely a very big factor and it was before the buy box change. But now it seems to be even more, as you pointed out in your message, the item that you have, the highest stock you are getting that buy box the most more than other people. And that is definitely going to be the case. And it’s also going to depend on having it spread throughout the country. And the more stock you have, the more Amazon is going to spread that around the country. So let’s say you send in a hundred units of a product and you send it into the Los Vegas warehouse since that’s where I’ve been sending a lot of my stuff that a hundred units, probably all of it is going to stay in Las Vegas. A lot of that is going to be loaded onto our trucks and shipped out to other warehouses throughout the country that Amazon thinks where they are going to sell the most.
So Amazon has a lot of data on that product. So they’re going to ship it to wherever they think it’s going to sell the best. When you make that initial shipment in, if you’re not sending in like a full case or something, or your multiple cases, Amazon might have you send some of that product around yourself. And if not, then they’re going to do that for you as well. It’s called F C transfer fulfillment center transfer. So when you send a product in and you see next to the product, it says zero available. And then you click that little dropdown and it says that maybe you have 50 reserved or something like that, or 50 and FC transfer. That’s usually what is going on. They’re moving your product around throughout the network. So having a lot of stock is definitely going to be a big factor in the buy box because Amazon wants to save money.
So if all of your stock is in New York, and there’s another seller who has stock in California and the buyers in California, if you guys are the same or close to the same price, they’re going to give that person in California, the buy box, because it’s going to cost Amazon less to ship it. So the more inventory you have, the more Amazon can diversify it around the country. And the more likely you are to get that buy box. So those products that you’re having less buy box rotation, as you said, you noticed you have less stock than other people on there. So that definitely could be a factor. So that is definitely a big factor. It’s not the only factor though. Another factor that seems to be going into play is the seller rating, your seller feedback, which I’ve talked about in the past. You want to make sure you keep that seller feedback high and make sure you are requesting seller feedback.
Now, if you’re not doing that currently, every order that is on the order pages in Amazon, you want to go in there, click in there and click the button that says request, review and feedback. And Amazon will send an email on your behalf requesting that feedback and the review. And that’s how you can get your seller feedback up. Now, it’s not something you can do very quick as a brand new seller. So it’s not going to be something that you’re going to be able to do quickly, but you want to make sure you’re doing that because Amazon uses that as how trustworthy you are. So that definitely plays a factor in getting the buy box. Another factor that we believe may be playing in or could have a factor is if Amazon is overloaded in certain warehouses, and they’re trying to lower the stock in those warehouses to make room for other inventory.
So people who have inventory in those warehouses are going to get the buy box because Amazon is trying to clear inventory out of those warehouses. Now, in that case, there’s not much you can do about that because they’re not going to let you send more inventory into those warehouses that are overloaded more than likely until they get that stock levels down to an area where it’s more manageable. Now that one’s kind of just a guess kind of an educated guess as to what could be going on. As far as the buy box and people getting the buy box versus not getting the buy box. So what can you do about not getting the buy box? If you find yourself in that position, obviously it can be super frustrating. So you can lower your price a little bit. If it’s a product that you want to clearance out, sometimes you’re going to have to go significantly lower to get that buy box.
What we found normally like a penny or two pennies, you’d get the buy box, but now we’re talking potentially up to 50 cents to a dollar lower than the current price actually steal that buy box away. So it really stinks if that’s the case, alternately, if you’re going to continue ordering this product and you’re looking on the Keepa graph and you can see that it’s selling really well. Maybe if you want to look at other people’s stock, watch their stock levels, see how fast they’re going down. You know, that it’s selling well, you know, that you should be selling. You could potentially order another case, another couple of cases of this product and send it in and see if that can get you over the hump to get you the buy box and get it selling a little bit better. And that may get you more sales on that product.
Now it’s not ideal, obviously, if you’re not selling anything, you’re like, I really don’t want to order more of a product that I’m not selling, but it may be worthwhile. If you can start getting that buy box, see that you’re going to get some sales on it and you can just keep reordering it, keeping your stock levels higher says definitely not ideal, but it’s something you can do. Try it out. You don’t have to go crazy, but order another case or two. And see if that moves, the needle starts getting you some sales there. Another thing I’ve noticed is that the slower selling products, the slower, the selling or the slower moving the product is the more likely you are to get buy box rotation as well. I have not seen this issue really at all on my slower moving products, especially some of the mine and refine ones where I’ve fixed up the listing.
And I am one of the few sellers FBA sellers on there, those slower moving products, they seem to rotate the buy box more. It seems to be the faster moving ones that the buy box is just getting stuck with a seller and other sellers are not getting that rotation. So that’s kind of what is going on. I wish I had a better answer for you as to a solution, but there really hasn’t been anything that I have seen. If anybody knows of a solution that I’ve not mentioned, please make sure you post it in the comments. If you’re listening to this on YouTube, if you’re listening to it on the podcast, go to amazonseller.school, click contact, and send me a message. Let me know. And I can let people know on an upcoming podcast on other solutions that may be out there to help people who are having issues with this, because it’s definitely can be frustrating, especially for new sellers that are ordering lower quantities of our product and just trying to get going.
All right, Cody. So I hope that answered that question. If I get any more information on that, I will definitely make sure to let you guys know on an upcoming podcast. So stay tuned for that. All right. So this next question is from a comment from Jay and Jay says good day to you, Todd, first off your videos are extremely helpful, man. Thank you so much for you have a time information, patience, dedication, and most importantly, pure honesty I’ve been watching almost your entire YouTube channel. Please continue the awesome work, man. So thank you very much, Jay, for that first off, I appreciate the support and thank you so much for listening and I’m glad to get a lot of good information out of it. I will definitely keep it coming. He had two questions. The first question is more something that I will answer directly to him, but the second question I wanted to answer on the podcast here.
So he says before moving to the wholesale phase, what would you recommend or what would you require to be kept in mind as far as number one, initial investment capital two besides an LLC and a website? What else should be created? Three best distributors to get in touch with in order to get legit invoices, to have some Gates removed. Thank you, Todd Jay. So thank you Jay, for that question. A three-part question there. So let’s touch on number one, their initial investment capital. So how much should you have available? It’s really the answer to question and that is however much you can come up with the more capital, the faster you’re going to be able to build the less capital. The more you’re just going to have to keep flipping that and adding it up, putting the money back in and ordering more.
Now with that said something around $5,000 would probably be ideal so that you can make some good sized buys in the beginning and really get that ball moving. If you’re starting smaller than that, it can get frustrating, but you can definitely do that. So do not be discouraged if you don’t have $5,000 or you can’t come up with $5,000, you know, start putting money aside, build up that little nest egg to start your business start one way or another. So whether you have $5,000 or not, don’t let that be a barrier. But having that, you know, if I had to throw out a number 5,000 bucks would really be nice and you can get moving. But like I said, the more you have the faster you can go, the less you have, the more, you just have to keep flipping it and take your time and to grow your capital and keep going up and up and up.
The second part of your question there, besides an LLC and a website, what else should be created now, in fact, an LLC and a website, both of those technically would be optional. An LLC is a really good idea of limited liability company is what that stands for. That is definitely ideal to help take some liability off of yourself. But in reality, you can just start doing Amazon. Once you start doing a business, you become what’s called a sole proprietor automatically, and you are basically then doing business in your name and you would file your taxes. Everything would go under your name for the business. And then eventually you’d probably want to get an LLC to have some separation, but regardless, and the website as well is definitely totally optional. It’s a nice to have, but totally optional. What is definitely 100% required is a business bank account, or at least a separate bank account, a bank account that you do not use any personal transactions through it.
You want everything completely separate, whether you set up a separate personal bank account, if you don’t have a business set up or a business bank account, but it doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s a completely separate bank account and then probably separate credit card. Something that you only used for business purchases, preferably maybe something with points like capital one venture card, which gets 2% for every transaction. That way you’re kind of getting free money, air quotes. If you’re listening on the podcast, nothing is free, right? We’re paying it somewhere along the line in transaction fees and stuff like that. But you get those points and that can add up over time. So those two things would be 100%. a bank account separate from everything else and a separate credit card from everything else. If you can’t get a credit card, if you don’t have great credit, don’t even worry about that.
But a bank account separate. So everything that’s going t hrough that bank account is only for the business for accounting purposes. Other than that, just get started, start selling on Amazon and keep growing from there. And number three, the best distributors to get in touch with in order to get legit invoices, to have some Gates removed. So the best distributors are really ones that you find by doing the reverse sourcing method that I’ve talked about. If you haven’t watched that video, we will put links to that in the show notes. And you can check that out so that you can learn the reverse sourcing method to find products that you can sell on Amazon and use those products to find distributors, open accounts and get those products selling on Amazon. That is really the best way to find a product that you actually want to sell.
Buy that product, get the invoice from that distributor and use that to open or ungate yourself in those categories. If you’re doing this straight up legit, you are not going to have a problem getting ungated once you get that invoice and you’re ordering small quantities, right? A case, or maybe a couple of cases to get started, you’re not going crazy. So if something does happen, then you can maybe clear out that inventory on eBay or Facebook marketplace or something like that. But odds are, if you’re buying from a legit distributor or brand, you’re not going to have any problem getting ungated. So the best way is to do that. There’s places out there that you can pay to get ungated and things like that pay to get invoices, but I would stay away from that. That’s a gray area. Amazon has cracked down on that some in the past, and I’m sure they will in the future.
So you don’t want to be on that list if something was to happen. So just find products, open accounts, make an order, get those invoices and use those invoices. Get on gated before you send the product in 95% of the time. You’re not going to have any issues. If you go that route and you know, you’re not going to be in any kind of area, you’re doing everything straight up legit, we’re running a legit business. We’re doing everything the right way. That’s the way that I prefer to do it. That’s the way I recommend you do it. And that’s the only way I have ever done it. I’ve never opened accounts with distributors just to get on gated. I’ve never paid to get ungated anything. And I highly recommend you do the same thing. So Jay, I really hope that answers your questions helps to get going.
Awesome that you’re starting to sell on Amazon. You have a PS here. I’m just going to read it for everyone because it’s definitely a gold nugget. PS I remember late last year I was roaming around Amazon universe and came across a small golden nugget. If you go into seller central and click on seller university required training for selling pesticides and or products with pesticide claims. After getting the certification, I believe Amazon will allow you to sell in this category. It took me roughly two hours, very easy hope this info helps. And yes, you are absolutely correct. Jay, in the seller university and seller central, there is a course for pesticides. And if you go through that course, it will get you ungated to sell pesticide products. So if that was something that you would want to do, sell pesticide products, even if you’re not going to sell a pesticide products, you’re probably going to want to do it because sometimes products that have nothing to do with pesticides will get labeled pesticides.
And then Amazon will want you to go through that course anyways. So it’s something good to go through. So you have a completed it’ll help you get auto ungated in different categories and things like that. So appreciate the golden nugget there, Jay, or I hope my answers to your questions really helped you out. And so if you want to leave a question out there for me to answer in an upcoming episode, make sure you head on over to amazonseller.school/ask, ask. You can leave a question or record your question there, and I will answer it on an upcoming episode. I really appreciate everybody out there for listening. Keep up the great work, building your Amazon businesses and share this episode to anyone who you think might get some value out of it. amazonseller.school/ 47 for the show notes and remember Amazon Seller School.com/mine. M I N E. If you are interested in the wholesale mine and refined method, how you can get 75 to a hundred percent ROI products and have them all to yourself for quite a long while with that, this is Todd Welch 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.