Private Label Product: Competition on Amazon

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Selling private label on Amazon has its rewards. But what if you could build a scalable PL sales model with only a couple of software tools and a few tweaks? Learn how to outsmart your competition on Amazon today.
Last week, we started talking about selling private label on Amazon. More specifically, we discussed sourcing for PL sellers. We also briefly talked about ways to defend your brand on Amazon. This week, let’s see what it takes to find and outsmart your competition on Amazon.

The PL Seller’s Competitors

1. Amazon PL Brands and Exclusives

Type “Amazon Brand” into your Amazon.com search box. Or click here to see the dedicated Amazon UK Private Label page. TJI research claims there are 135 such PL brands and 330 Amazon Exclusives or Own Brands. And the number keeps rising suddenly every Q1 and Q3, so right after the sales season.

As it streams shopping data from sales, Amazon can spot “unmet market needs” better than any seller. And what better time to learn about market trends than Prime Day or the winter holidays? And all the while, it’s promoting its existing PL Brands in the Top Rated section of a query result.

Top rated Amazon PL

Example of Top Rated Amazon PL offers

Analyst Keith Anderson of Profitero claims Amazon’s own PL strategy focuses on big market trends like sustainability and eco-friendliness. Being able to tap into these market needs led to last year’s PL sales. They were estimated at $7.5 billion. And analysts believe this figure will more than triple by 2022.

2. Top Search Results

But PL sellers don’t compete with Amazon only. They also face off with Amazon’s recommendations. The most eye-catching products are the ones with badges, such as Best Sellers, Amazon’s Choice, and BOGOF items. And some BOGOF badges are very similar to the ones Amazon uses.

Best Seller, Amazon Choice

Top query result featuring Best Seller, Amazon’s Choice, and BOGOF item

3. Other PL Sellers

Aside from Amazon’s own offers and other top search results, you should keep an eye out for paid ads. Headline Search Ads and Sponsored Products feature not only on the search result page, but also on your product page, and all over a buyer’s home page. Of course, it’s always a good idea to use the tools in our competitive analysis post to pin-point your main competitors too.

How To Stay Competitive on Amazon

Now that you have a pretty good idea of how to find and sort your competition on Amazon, how do you set yourself apart and keep your edge? You can promote your products using social media, paid Amazon ads, and the Amazon Vine Program. But only after you tick these boxes:

1. Optimize Your Listing

To outrank other PL sellers, you also need perfect listings. It all starts with finding good keywords for your SEO strategy and writing high-converting copy. You’ll find plenty of listing optimization tips and best practices on our blog.

You should also have engaging photos. The Amazon Imaging or Product Photography may be of help. If you’d also like to upload a compelling video, first check the Video Shorts page for inspiration.

Before anything goes live, you should carry out some A/B or Split testing first using special software. This enables you to run two tests for similar listings simultaneously and see which changes are the most effective.

2. Price it Right

You need smart tools to keep an eye on your sales and other PL sellers. With Sellery, you can keep tabs on the competition, designate the products you want to compete with, and reprice in tandem.

It’s a customizable “set it and forget it” kind of tool, and the only one that reprices in real-time. It can spot market changes and counteract their effect, so that sales and profits stay up. Simply look up some keywords and let Sellery know what product or PL seller you’d like to compete with.

Sellery competition

Designating and monitoring competitors with Sellery

One thing to keep in mind is that the higher your search rank, the more you sell on Amazon. But your search rank depends on your sales velocity. If you’re new to Amazon, you may need to bid more on PPC campaigns and sell at a loss for a while, just to build up that sales volume.

3. Keep Metrics Up

If you’ve registered your own brand, you’re probably not that bothered about the Buy Box. But the same performance metrics that increase Buy Box percentage for third-party sellers will drive sales for you, raise your IPI, and reduce your storage fees. So, take a few minutes to read up on them.

4. Rehash and Rewind

Amazon likes to mix it up and see what catches on. Take its Happy Belly trail mixes, for example. But two can play at that game. Repromote your product with new variations, product bundles, or with frustration-free packaging.

You may not compete with Amazon or other PL sellers for these new ASINS; at least not at first. But you can still use Amazon’s price as reference. Or check the top selected products page to find new potential competitors.

5. Build a Website

If you don’t already have a website of your own to help sell your product, don’t waste any time building one. Whether you’ve registered your brand on Amazon or not, there’s no reason to sell exclusively on Amazon. Unless you signed up for Own Brands, of course.

As more and more people sign up to Own Brands, Amazon’s brand family grows. So, more PL sellers will go toe-to-toe with Amazon. To outlast your competitors, you need a strategy for scalable sales. But you can’t have it if Amazon is your only sales channel and source of income.

In the meantime, make sure your customer service can cope with a rise in queries as sales pick up, without compromising on quality of service. Luckily, the Voice of the Customer dashboard can help pinpoint buyer issues in a flash.

That’s it for today, but please follow our blog for our next post in the series, where we’ll go into a bit more detail about pricing and advertising for private label on Amazon. Until then, stay tuned for our Prime Day Prep post with last-minute tips to boost your PL sales.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Private Label Product: Sourcing

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Private label is big business on Amazon. If sourcing for Amazon isn’t your forte, but you’d like to sell PL products, give this a quick read. Our new series takes you through the basics of private label, starting with Amazon inventory sourcing.

Over a million new merchants signed up to sell on Amazon in the past year alone. With competition growing, many e-tailers – including Amazon – are turning to private label. And with all the advantages of Brand Registry, it should come as no surprise.

There’s been a shift from conventional to own-brand business on Amazon. But the scale of it is anyone’s guess. While we wait for Deloitte’s new private label report, there are a few trends to take away from the latest survey:

  • Vendor selection – quality assurance is raising standards for retailers, as well as buyers.
  • Sourcing tech – retailers invest more in advanced technology for PL sourcing.
  • Vendor consolidation – they partner up with only the most resourceful manufacturers.
  • Reshoring – retailers try to reduce the sourcing footprint to strengthen their brand.

So, private label sellers are focusing on ways to improve sourcing. The goal? To change quality perception. They’re no longer interested in cheap, generic, white label goods. They’re taking a long-term approach to selling on Amazon.

White label and private label are two different things. A private label product is exclusive to the retailer. It may be changed and enhanced at any time. A white label product is generic and sold to a variety of retailers. They simply rebrand it and pass it on to the end-user.

Sellers on Amazon often mistake one for the other. And they try to claim a generic item is a PL product. But private labelling on Amazon can only really work if the product is new, unique, innovative, and yours alone.

An item can be eligible to become a PL product on Amazon if it doesn’t have a UPC. If the manufacturer already gave it one, then it’s their brand. You can still sell it on Amazon by assigning it a FNSKU code. But you’d need to use the manufacturer’s branding.

If it’s never been branded or assigned a UPC, then it can be listed on Amazon. And the brand can be registered on the Brand Registry. But not before you register your trademark, which takes time. Even standard text trademarks, without graphics, can take up to a year for the USPTO to acknowledge.

Once you’re accepted, you can weed out unwanted competitors. But the wording on the packaging and the claims made on the listing need to be lawful. And your patent, QC, and advertising must comply with trading regulations. If you’re not sure they do, ask a private label lawyer for advice.

Ultimately, registering your brand can help protect it on Amazon, as seen above. But it won’t stop copy-cats from selling fakes on other websites. Registering your trademark and your brand is a necessity, not a magic bullet.

You don’t need us telling you what you should or shouldn’t sell on Amazon. But a good PL product should have low sales rank, high-ranking keywords, few reviews, and a reasonable asking price. And to be worth sourcing for Amazon, it should also be light, durable, and non-seasonal.

Software tools can help you find good PL products and narrow down your shortlist. Start with Profit Bandit and work your way through our list of tools for analyzing your competition. You can also find Amazon inventory sourcing tips on seller forums and online directories like WebRetailer.

Now that you know what to sell on Amazon, there’s still the small matter of the supplier. Quality, factory direct price, and defect rate are important. But if you’re sourcing for Amazon, you should also be able to count on raw material availability and prompt deliveries.

Finding the right manufacturer isn’t without its share of difficulties. If you’re thinking of offshoring, there are a few things to bear in mind. It’s not unusual to come across these challenges when you’re sourcing for Amazon from abroad:

  • Price fluctuations due to raw material shortages.
  • Inadequate intellectual property and payment protection.
  • Lengthy customs clearances and unexpected shipping costs.
  • The language barrier and time-zone difference.
  • Subpar manufacturing and labor standards.

It may take weeks to find a supplier that’s right for you. When you’re ready to put some time and effort into your research, start checking things off this to-do list:

  • Scout. Buy similar products locally. Check the packaging to find out who manufactured them. Carry out some basic research about these companies and the countries they operate in.
  • Network. Check B2B social sites like LinkedIn and join PL groups.
  • Market. Attend trade shows and speak to manufacturers directly. Only give your business card to people you’re really interested in working with.
  • Websurf. Browse e-commerce guides (e.g. ecommerceCEO’s). Check manufacturing directories (ThomasNet, Maker’s Row, Alibaba, and IndiaMart) for specialized PL suppliers.
  • RfQ. Find websites like Global Sources that allow you to submit a request for quotes and then select the best candidates.
  • Check FB. Look up their customer reviews and how they handle disputes.
  • Outsource. If you don’t think you can find reliable suppliers by yourself, look for companies that can do it for you. Some procurement outsourcing companies can also handle contracts, transactions, tracking, and compliance issues on your behalf.
  • Contact. Draw the supplier shortlist and start contacting them to check bulk shipping costs and turnaround time. If you’re satisfied with the reply, request samples.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we have one more thing to add before we sign off. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Multi-channel fulfillment is the golden rule of online retail. Your PL product should be available for sale on multiple websites and venues.

That’s our cue, folks. Don’t forget to follow our blog for more private label tips on budgeting, pricing, and promoting PL products on Amazon. And while you’re here, check out our Prime Day Prep series for insight into sourcing for Amazon sales.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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