Building a successful Amazon business overnight is not going to happen. You need to slug away at getting reviews. It can take 3–6 months of collecting them before your product starts getting noticed and bumped up the Amazon pages by it’s algorithm.
As a part of my interview series about “Five non-intuitive things you need to know to run a very successful Amazon business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Watson.
Sam Watson is the founder and Chairman of Breathe International Ltd, a biomedical wellness company that distributes cannabis products under the Dr Watson™️ brand.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
I got into the Cannabis space in early 2018 after seeing the potential for growth in the area. In hindsight, it should have happened even earlier, but I always wanted to get into an area where I genuinely thought a product could make a difference to people’s way of living. There is still a long way to go with legislation and regulation in the industry, but it’s slowly getting there.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about selling on Amazon.com?
Amazon has grown exponentially over the past decade. But it really only hit me how much people use it in 2018. My friend reported getting 30K revenue a month from Amazon alone. But it doesn’t come easily! It takes time, effort and grinding to see that your Amazon is actually getting you good numbers.
After learning of the possibilities of what can be achieved on Amazon, I set out to do the same. After dedicating my effort and focus to it, within 3–4 months my business was generating roughly 3K per month in revenue. Our team learned the tricks of the trade and have been increasing that revenue ever since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
That would definitely be meeting our Japanese partners. Going into that, the outcome was something I couldn’t have predicted would ever happen. We were at a trade show in London when a Japanese buyer approached us and wanted to take our products to Japan. Within months I was over in Japan setting up not just a distribution agreement, but an entire Japanese company with our brand.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if I found it funny at the time, but it was certainly an expensive mistake! It was trying to mix some new CBD vape liquids by myself; I used some rather expensive isolate and completely botched it!
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are expanding into more general health and wellness now. While we are doing very well with our CBD brand Dr WatsonTM, We are working on another brand that does vegan-friendly vitamins, minerals, and skincare. In a year where personal health has really been a prevalent concern, these natural alternatives are sure to help people achieve their health goals in 2021.
Ok. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. You are a seasoned Amazon expert. Can you share with our readers five, non-intuitive, insider tips, in order to be as successful as possible on Amazon? Please share a story or example for each.
1) Reviews — The number one thing you need to get is reviews on your products (and this can be done a number of ways). This is the number one driver of conversion on Amazon.
No reviews = No sales. The moment we started getting 6–10 reviews on each product; the natural sales started coming in.
2) Be Patient — Building a successful Amazon business overnight is not going to happen. You need to slug away at getting reviews. It can take 3–6 months of collecting them before your product starts getting noticed and bumped up the Amazon pages by it’s algorithm.
We nearly gave up — we thought it was to no avail, but slowly the buyers started coming with the reviews.
3) Pictures and Descriptions — Sell the product with great images. The first thing that catches the consumer’s eye is the product image. If you have a bold product image along with a great product description and USPs, you’ll help yourself stand out from the crowd. To begin with we had poor quality product shots — these need to be good to ensure sales.
4) FBA/Seller Fulfilled Prime — Ensuring you’re selling on Amazon Prime is key to selling. If you’re using Seller Fulfilled Prime you are expected to give free shipping on nearly everything at your cost.
Using FBA can save greatly on shipping costs, just ensure you don’t overstock their warehouse as they charge for storage fees too! We initially sent them too much stock when we weren’t making enough sales and it does add up.
5) Be competitive — It’s an already crowded marketplace. If you don’t have a unique product with its own IP, it can be tough. If you can sell your item cheaper than the next person… that helps to.
Amazon sellers have a reputation for being great guerilla marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
What you can do is do your best to collect reviews. You have to stay within Amazon policy though as they don’t like unfair practices. That means no tactics like rewarding for reviews. The best way to do it is to really ‘pamper your parcel’.
Make it seem like they are getting an experience. Think thank you slips etc. and make sure it’s well packaged. This is the best way to push reviews: remember reviews = sales!
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Reform the practice of industrial animal farming for meat. The effect of it is colossal!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’ — Wayne Gretsky (or some may say Michael scott!). It’s a powerful statement because it’s simple and so true. I don’t want to spend half my life wondering ‘what ifs’.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Mathew Mcconaughey — that’d be ‘alright, alright, alright’ by me.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!