Arjun Narayan of SalesDuo: “First things first”

First things first — like all businesses immaterial of what the distribution channel is — there has to be a product market fit. There has to be a gap in the market and there has to be a market in the gap and your product has to fit in beautifully out there. As intuitive as this sounds, I see […]

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First things first — like all businesses immaterial of what the distribution channel is — there has to be a product market fit. There has to be a gap in the market and there has to be a market in the gap and your product has to fit in beautifully out there. As intuitive as this sounds, I see most of them just missing it out here.


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 Arjun Narayan.

Arjun Narayan is currently the CEO at SalesDuo, the leading omnichannel solution helping brands grow on Amazon through its Business Intelligence dashboard. Arjun is an Ex-Amazon business leader with 17 years of experience, 10 of which have been as an Entrepreneur and CEO. Arjun has successfully built and exited two companies, further demonstrating his proven track record as an executive and expert within business development, growth optimization, logistics, and retail technology.


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 was with Amazon managing their Vendor Program for brands, and have been an Entrepreneur for the past 15 years. It is a confluence of these two that led to SalesDuo happening.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about selling on Amazon.com?

During my tenure at Amazon, my team and I oversaw the progress of close to 100,000 brands and understanding their growth patterns and what made their products tick over the years. And, after founding SalesDuo — we again spent a lot of time decoding the success mantra.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

When the pandemic hit in 2020, there was a bit of a lull period where people were finding it hard to decipher or predict how things would swing. But, once that ambiguous period was over there was this sudden realisation of how gigantic this could be to the eCommerce industry. It was literally a case of what Lenin had called out “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. The following first and second order effects of this event are still unfolding — but what is apparent is the shot in the arm that eCommerce has received because of this. I don’t think there is any going back from here.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting out in your career? What did this teach you?

This was at the very beginning of when we were setting up the Vendor Program at Amazon and most of the team was new, and we used to get worked up about Vendors losing buy box only to realise a few weeks later that they were losing buy box to their own Seller Central accounts.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, our Business Intelligence Dashboard — the road map for it is to evolve to be a fully automated dashboard that leverages AI and ML to handle all aspects of the eCommerce business for brands providing them significant savings in terms of effort and time in the form of the teams they set up to manage all of this, and more importantly getting superior results.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our discussion. As 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.

First things first — like all businesses immaterial of what the distribution channel is — there has to be a product market fit. There has to be a gap in the market and there has to be a market in the gap and your product has to fit in beautifully out there. As intuitive as this sounds, I see most of them just missing it out here.

On Amazon — your entire success story runs between 3 parameters — your pricing, the quality and number of your reviews and ratings. I call it the Bermuda Triangle, just that no ship sinks here — but brands just thrive if they can focus on these 3 parameters and get it absolutely right.

Don’t drink all the kool-aid that Amazon sends you. You are better off evaluating every ask rationally to see what is in it for you.

You need Amazon more than Amazon needs you. So, figure out ways to get things done and don’t sit assuming that they will do things for you.

Amazon is very quick in changing plans and sun-setting programs that don’t make sense any more. Don’t get too hinged to any program of theirs OR don’t develop your model to have too much dependency on any one given program of theirs.

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?

There are cost effective ways of promoting cross-selling via A+ Pages, Brand Pages and by using coupons very smartly that most do not leverage on. Other third party channels like a Facebook, Instagram or Google could offer better return on investment for driving traffic to your products on Amazon. What concerns me about the legacy companies is that they are still thinking Amazon will do everything for them.

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.

You are an average of the five people that you hang out with — choose wisely. You can achieve whatever you want in life by just controlling this one parameter.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” — John Maynard Keynes

OR, to put it another way …

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” — Alvin Toffler

How relevant you remain will eventually boil down to how adaptive you stay with the changing times.

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?

Kanye West. In the end, only an Artist, Coder and an Entrepreneur will survive. Kanye is an absolutely brilliant package of an artist and a marketer. Whatever I get to soak from him during the breakfast meeting will serve in good stead for the foreseeable future.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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