Amazon FBA and Coronavirus: How to Stay in Control?

April 6, 2020

The current Coronavirus situation is strongly affecting businesses and has left many Amazon sellers out of control of their own. Obviously, there are much more extraordinary challenges to deal with than ever before. With the countries shutting down their borders and new restrictions coming into action, many of Amazon experts and sellers happened to be in Prague where the European Seller Conference took place. In order to respond to the situation, Amazon experts Danny McMillan, Seth Kniep and Chris Rawlings shared some tips on how to stay calm and control your business during this time.


List of topics covered in the video:

00:50 Negative and positive sides of the situation
03:14 Opportunity to take action, contribute to the world, building deeper relationships with your suppliers
06:44 Will we see more restrictions on goods arriving from countries that are now perceived as dangerous?
08:46 If somebody puts the price too high or actually puts below, does Amazon actually have any policy on the pricing?
10:17 How many days do you have a buffer before your product runs out? And what strategies would you do in case if the product is running out?
11:44 How do you actually handle the panic right now with what's happening? How do you stay calm?


There's always a positive side

Chris Rawlings starts the discussion by telling there are two sides to this whole situation. There's the negative side the negative impact on sellers from the manufacturer side. But then there are a lot of sellers who do even better in this situation. Chris gives an example - a seller who sells sanitation products. Because of the instantly increased demand, the sales of sanitation products have grown accordingly. This particular seller had to increase his prices to keep from running out of stock, however, the sales didn't change at all. 

The thing is - you don't need to feel guilty for people buying your product for a need that they have, whether perceived or real. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing morally wrong with you selling products that people are buying (we're not talking about price gouging - that's a different story). As long as you're not totally screwing people over, there's nothing wrong with responding to a market demand. So as as entrepreneurs, we should view the situation from a point of how can you spin this as positive, not as a negative.

Also, there is an opportunity to build deeper relationships with your supplier. Write them and ask them how they are doing - remember, they are also in the same situation as you and keeping human contact is now more important than ever.

Will there be more restrictions on goods that are now perceived as dangerous?

Seth explains that there are two reasons if a product doesn't get in: One is because it wasn't approved or two - it just will never be approved. If you have a product that you want to sell that may be hazmat, what Seth recommends is creating the listing first, before even investing any money. Put in all the keywords that could possibly flag Amazon and they will tell you very quickly if there's an issue. Second, once you do that, make sure that the supplier gives you an MSDS sheet. Because if they don't, they're probably a trading company, very likely any legitimate factory will have a material safety data sheet. And the way Amazon works is they have all these fulfillment centers and only a percentage of each fulfillment center can hold a hazmat product. So once it fills up, it will force them to ship it to a different fulfillment center.

How do you deal with pricing policy in Amazon?

Amazon put like specific restrictions on pricing for products relating to this whole situation. It started to ban sellers for price gouging. Basically, if you do like a gigantic price increase, you can lose the buy box or get caught by Amazon. So you want to do price testing, either split testing or just testing on your own when it comes to pricing.

Another thing that helps too is if you know the price range of your top competitors. Since  Amazon often use sales to validate price, if your competitors are selling high, then you already have a range which you can operate within. That's why whenever Seth launches a product, he likes it to be under the most expensive one. Then people feel like they're getting a deal.

What strategies would you do if the product is running out?

In such situation, Seth recommends to shut down the listing right away or reduce the price to sell as fast as you can. That means your BSR (Best-seller rank) is dropping, that means your keywords are ranking faster and faster. And when you close the listing, which means even though the BSR is going way up, you've now frozen your sales history and Amazon keeps very good track record of your sales history. Therefore you now have to spend less time and money and PPC to get it ranking at the same.

How to handle the business and stay calm?

Chris thinks there's two elements to the situation that we're in right now. One is a viral infection and one is like a psychological infection of fear. Actually, the most impactful infection is the the infection of fear and that is a very viral emotion. However,  you have control over that - your thoughts control your actions. Danny adds that times like these for entrepreneurs is an opportunity to build character. Talking from his experience, he's got in the position he's in right now by constant failures over time. If you've never experienced failure, the level of fear may be a bit higher under such circumstances. The problem is - we don't talk about fighting and don't talk about failed products, failed businesses and stuff. That needs to change.

About the speakers:

Danny McMillan

Danny is the host of Seller Sessions, the largest podcast for advanced Amazon sellers. A world-renowned public speaker and veteran Amazon Seller, Danny is also the co-founder of DATAbrill. Working alongside respected algorithm expert Dr. Ellis Whitehead, DATAbrill manages PPC and advertising automation for 6, 7 & 8 figure Amazon brands.

He also works with Amazon HQ in the UK, he was head hunted to provide webinar content for the 3rd party sellers on the platform. He is the host of Seller Sessions Live the summer conference for Amazon Sellers and brands. He is the founder of SellerPoll the annual awards for the Amazon FBA community.

Danny is on the road speaking on a regular basis, in September and October (2019) alone he covered London, Brighton, Lithuania, back to London. Then Romania, Birmingham and Amsterdam, all in the same week. Finishing October off with Manchester, China and Hong Kong. In November Danny was a headline Keynote speaker at the White Label Expo at the Excel in London.

2020 is already looking busy with London, Prague, Estonia, Bulgaria and Vegas in the diary.

Seth Kniep

CEO and Co-founder of Just One Dime

Hopeless, frustrated, $24,000 in debt, and working for the richest company on the planet, Seth decided to change his life. So he set out to double a dime 20 times. On a single dime, he built multiple multi-million $$$ eCommerce companies, selling on Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and investing in real estate.

With a team of coaches and 20+ staff, headquartered in Austin, and a community of hundreds of thousands of eCommerce entrepreneurs in over 100 countries, Seth and his team teach students how to start, build and scale eCommerce companies that turn into passive income machines on Amazon and beyond.

Today, Just One Dime has trained multiple students into millionaires and countless students into over 6 figures a year. Seth and the Just One Dime team teach others how to make their money go to work for them so they can do the things they love with the people they love, wherever in the world they love.

Chris Rawlings

Founder & CEO Sophie Society

Chris Rawlings first stepped into the eCommerce realm after a spinal injury inspired him to create a brand of spinal health products. Coming from a technical background, Chris designed his own products & built his personal care brand into an international success on Amazon.

With brands reaching out to him for help in figuring out the highly competitive Amazon landscape, Chris facilitated over 1,500 product launches and listing optimizations while helping over 400 companies dominate Amazon’s US, EU, and Japan markets, which lead to the founding of Sophie Society in 2019. Sophie is an Amazon service provider unlike any other, built on scientific principles and truth-finding via a constant feedback loop.

The event was moderated by Alex Chernenko:

Alex Chernenko

Company Formation Agent, Owner of Chern & Co Ltd.

Alex helps to start new and growing existing businesses easy, accessible and affordable. He manages own Amazon Private Label account understanding the pains and requirements of e-commerce sellers. His company Chern & Co provides business registration, tax advice and accounting services to European and non-European residents who require an Irish based company.

About the author 

Augustas Kligys

Augustas Kligys is the founder of Orange Klik and has been delivering in-person and virtual events for Amazon sellers since 2016, including European Seller Conference, Seller Fest and PPC Congress.

Known in the business as the "Amazon Summits Guy", Augustas helps Amazon sellers achieve success through delivering expert sessions and online guides.

Focused on helping Amazon sellers build and scale their business, Augustas has spent the last years developing an industry-leading knowledge base, with over 500 sessions featuring Amazon industry leaders, experts, speakers and tools.

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