Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane are talking to Brian Zabierek and Arek Zabierek about how they started their FBA Amazon Business and developed a winning product.
As two passionate young entrepreneurs, our mission is to inspire the next generation to realize their full potential in the entrepreneurial world.
The Zab Twins are 7 figure sellers with businesses across multiple e-commerce channels.
They have worked with over 100 start-up brands as well as consulted on direct-to-consumer, manufacturing, and distribution companies on implementing amazon into their channels.
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How To Start An FBA Amazon Business And Develop A Winning Product
Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode 97 of Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone, which today we might have to change the name to Four Amazon Sellers and a Microphone which is a lot of fun. This podcast is brought to you by Sellozo. And today, Kris and I have the privilege of speaking with Brian and Arek, also known as The Zab Twins who are everywhere on social media right now if you guys are looking up anything related to starting a business on Amazon, you see these guys. So we’re excited to talk to you both. Welcome to the show both of you. How are ya?
– Thanks, Dustin. Yeah. What you’ll notice first off is we’re gonna talk over each other quite a bit and a lot of times probably say the exact same thing at the same time. But me Arek, I’m doing absolutely fantastic. Appreciate you guys having us on. Yeah, beautiful here in Vancouver, BC. So I can’t complain to say the least.
– Vancouver is like a nice, nice up there. Nice seasonal weather.
– Yeah. Regardless of the rain, it’s still a beautiful place. You’re surrounded by mountains. You’re surrounded by bodies of water. There’s things to do front, left and center. You can’t complain at all.
– I love it. And I’ll tell you, we’ve we’ve been following you guys since you started and you guys have a ton of energy. Love what you’re doing. You’re creating this big community. You’re inspiring people to start their Amazon journeys. So we just wanna talk about everything. We wanna get to know you, let our listeners get to know a little bit about you guys, what you’re doing, your inspiration and everything that’s going on. And we also wanna talk about just in general what it takes to build a sustainable business through a winning product line on Amazon. And I think that’s the holy grail. That’s what everyone’s looking to try to do.
– You guys have done it and you’re helping coach others do it. So we wanna to pick your brains a little bit, but before we get cranked up, either one of you can start first, but, or you can go together. I mean, you guys may have the same .
– But tell us how you got into the Amazon space in the first place. What got you there? Let’s have Brian. You go first.
– Yeah. I was gonna the mic to him.
– Yeah. So we actually heard about Amazon back I think it was in 2017. A gentleman named Tom Wang. You guys have probably heard of him. He’s also local to the Vancouver area. He used to work. So we actually went to the same post-secondary school essentially and we studied the same thing. And he actually came in to chat with one of our classes. It was a sales class. He was doing extremely well in the sales industry at the time, but he made a quick little plug on Amazon and how he’s building passive income but barely doing any work essentially. And it intrigued us. At the time, Arek and I were looking into drop shipping actually. So different e-commerce models something a little bit more hands-on but less capital required for it. Hence why we were not necessarily making money. our education was extremely demanding. We were doing like an eight course workload at the time. It was pretty crazy. But all of a sudden that, it intrigued us to the point that we actually left the class to go talk to Tom in the hallway and then we just strike their interest. And then we ended up joining his beta program and that’s how we kind of got our feet wet. Now with that said, post-secondary technically we are doing our corporate jobs. And we kinda got caught up in that a little bit of a rat race, unfortunately. And we didn’t actually start getting into Amazon till towards the end of 2018. That’s when we finally fully committed after we kind of felt that, you know, working that nine to five. We were actually working more so like a seven to six, like 10 to 14, 15, 16 hour days. It’s took a toll on us at the end of the day. We we’re making great money. We were developing great skills and it allowed us to gain the capital that we needed to start our business. And once we had that, we dove straight in and we launched our first product in May of 2019. So were literally just coming up on our two month mark.
– Years. Two years.
– Two years. Two year mark. Things have been going extremely well. We’ve been able to quit our jobs now leaving a comfortable salary. We left in about August of last year to focus on Amazon full-time. We automated the business pretty quickly after that by building a team. So that’s where we, you know, we had a lot more time on our hands. With COVID, we started to get exposed to the coaching space and that’s what we’re doing now, putting a lot of emphasis on there, but also building not only our main business, which we plan to exit out of this year, but also building a couple more on the side with different partners, which, you know, Amazon is a beautiful thing. It’s a very repeatable process and once you understand the framework, you can easily duplicate it into more and more businesses which is gonna be the goal for the next five, 10 years here.
– Man. Love . Yeah. You guys just went with it. I mean.
– That’s fantastic. Just real quick. I’m curious. You started this together. You’re twins. I’m sure you know each other very, very well.
– Do you guys do different aspects of the business? Do one of you have a strength over the other in certain areas and how does that look? How do you guys co-manage this business together?
– Yeah, I’ll jump in there, Brian. I mean the way that Brian and I describe ourselves as I’m the analytical one and he’s the creative one. So anything on the creative side, when it comes to branding, setting up all the listings, getting all the infographics, liaising with our designers and our videographers and all that kind of stuff, Brian handles. He also is really good with managing employees. I’m not bad at it by any means but I like being into the trenches. I like looking at data. I like doing product research. I like, I love PPC. Like I learned through bulk files and I love looking at data through that. So anything in regards to that or anything in regards to a process. So, for example, like logistics and managing freight from point A to point B, I handle that as well. Whereas Brian does, again, like team management and then he also does all the creative side of things. So that’s kind of the two buckets that we split into and yeah, that’s, as you can imagine, a lot of different roles come up. I would say that that’s like PPC, data, logistics is like my strong, strong suit. I can do definitely. Like I liaise with Brian and work with him in regards to all the branding and I approve everything with him. And I can do all that stuff but, you know, one thing or the benefit of having a partner especially a twin brother as a partner, is that we don’t need to be experts at every single thing. We can become experts and really good at, you know, the things that we enjoy doing, have a good pulse on everything else, of course, but we just, we’re big on efficiency. So that’s where we’ve split our time and now that we’ve, you know, hired on a team to do a lot of these core tasks as well, we’ve been able to spend more time doing other things like higher level stuff, finding more products, getting more capital to scale the business even more. And yeah, it’s been a really fun ride to say the least.
– Something that I wanna hit on is the space. You guys make it sound easy, but this space is there’s a whole bunch of like punches being. You’re getting punched in the gut a lot. Like some day. like Amazon will send me an email and just the subject line makes my heart drop. Like I don’t wanna read it. I’m like, “Oh my gosh. Quit sending me emails.”
– But let’s go back to like, when you first started. What are some things that you guys had to like figure out on your own, or figure out with Tom’s help? Or what are some, like picking a product like not every product is gonna be roses, right? So what are some things that you guys went through that you can now tell you’re coaching with? You’re saying like, “Watch out for this ’cause we’ve been through that.” What are some of those?
– Yeah. I can touch on one thing, but, you know, when it comes to product research. Yes, we had Tom to kind of lean on, but Tom is a very busy guy. So, and to be honest, back in the day when we started our Amazon business, we weren’t too resourceful. And one tip that I’d give to a lot of new sellers is to be resourceful and lean on people that have seen success in the industry ’cause a lot of people are willing to share the nuggets, the gold, all those things. And one thing that we were hung up on was product research quite transparently. It’s something that can make or break your business and finding the right product. And something that we did, we did like three months of product research, literally like an hour a day ’cause that’s all we could do with our job at the time. An hour a day and we ended up committing to a product that we actually found within our first week. And I think the fault that we saw was there was no one really there to verify and validate our information. It would have been our first risky investment. It was our first business and we didn’t necessarily have anyone to lean on in that capacity but eventually as soon as we start to be resourceful, we did it. We leaned on Tom. We obviously, and then also David who was a partner with Tom at the time. Arek, anything to add there in regards to? I know that we had this one massive issue with shipping and logistics.
– Yeah, I’ll jump in. Well, first off with product research, it like, just like you said, Kris, there’s no such thing as a perfect product. And I think what people, or what we got caught up on was like, you know, we went and found 200 products and the first one we picked was that first product we found, right? And a lot of people get stuck in that trap. And the issue is that people look for a perfect product. They wanna hit that home run. But we’re big believers now that I’d rather find five products that make me five grand a month, instead of one product that does 25 grand a month. Just logistically-wise, it’s better to have the diversification. It’s better to have less competition. Take the small wins, especially when you’re first getting into it. Like the lower maintenance it is, get your feet wet, understand the process, understand what is required to get that listing set up. What it actually looks like to ship something from, you know, China to the United States, getting comfortable with that process before you really dive into it. I’m a big believer of that. Now the issue that we had with logistics was we partnered up with a freight forwarding company that was recommended to us in the United States called the Worldcraft Logistics, I believe. Number one, their prices were extremely, extremely high compared to what I’m getting now with my current freight forwarder. But the thing, the issue that we had was we printed our ASIN on our boxes instead of a reference SKU. So we had 3,000 units ’cause we picked a product that was, it was pretty high volume, right? It wasn’t necessarily very competitive at the time especially ’cause we had a really good differentiation point. We were basically the first person to market for that particular model. And it’s paying off now but it was a struggle at the beginning. But regardless, we had 3,000 units and because we had to get everything relabeled in the United States. It was a couple of grand to get relabeled. So super painful. It hurt at the beginning, but it was a lesson learned. And I still see that issue happening ’cause we’ve mentored hundreds of students while we were working. ‘Cause we worked and actually consulted for EcomHub, which was the coaching course that we did and we saw tens of students come up with that issue. And I attribute to having that failure and that mistake to being able to actually help people get out of that issue because it took me a while to figure it out.
– That’s why it’s like super important. And we talk to people now and you guys talked to sellers. Dustin and I talk to sellers all the time. But when we started, there was really no one to, like, Dustin and I, we had no one. We didn’t bouncing ideas off anybody. We just went. Whatever was on YouTube, we were like, “Okay, we’ll try that out.”
– Like, we failed. I reacted to that ’cause I know that’s a bad feeling when your product is done, you’ve got everything ready, you’re ready to launch and then you come to find out the ASIN is on the packaging. That just like sits you back even further. You gotta… Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine. So it’s nice now to be able to like join masterminds and do things like this, talk to people and have a coaching option where you can just help someone and be like, “Look, don’t put the ASIN on there. You want to definitely make sure you have the SKU number ’cause I’ve been through it before.”
– Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And yeah, one thing we made a lot of mistakes, you know, throughout the process. And again, it’s in business or into entrepreneurship as a whole, I think you have two choices. It’s either you get knocked down, you don’t get back up or you get back up and you take it as an area or an opportunity to learn. And I think a lot of people, a lot of people get into the Amazon space thinking it’s like a get rich quick thing and it’s gonna be all fun and rainbow and daisies. But again, just like you mentioned, you know, we get scared of those Amazon emails too. Oh, like all of these little things. You don’t know what’s gonna happen. So, you know, trust the process, but also make sure you’re learning from your mistakes so you don’t make them again.
– 100%. Yeah. I’m sitting here watching you guys and I’m thinking, especially what you talked about earlier. I was like, “I wish I had a twin.”
– I need somebody to do the analytical stuff.
– They had complimentary skills. What a nice dynamic duo that you guys have going on. But I do like what you are talking about. I mean, I think, the way I like to think about is, I mean, none of us are experts in everything Amazon. That’s, I mean, it changes every day. I mean, whatever, you know yesterday might not be true tomorrow. But we are very familiar with all the mistakes you made and ways that we would do things differently. And I think that’s what I like about you guys also is that you’re contributing to the community. This is a unique community. It’s very different than corporate world. People are willing to share advice. And if you’re willing to receive it then you can really jumpstart your business I feel like. And so on that note, what made you guys want to jump into sort of the next phase where you’re now mentoring and coaching people? What was the impetus for that?
– Yeah, I can speak around that. I think so again, we kind of took on coaching and consulting with EcomHub almost as a little side gig just to kind of get our feet wet, to see how people would react to us. We almost took it as a stepping stone and it is the way that I like to explain it. And then we got a lot of great feedback, like phenomenal feedback. We had a lot of success stories of well, of successful launches, people already doing 25, 30K within their first couple of months. And it just gave us a lot of like realization that, hey, one, we know what we’re talking about. Two, we can collaborate well with people and we can build some good commonality with them. And then we actually had our students telling us, like, “Why are you doing it for EcomHub?” Not to talk anything bad about EcomHub. We love David. Everything is great there and we left on great terms, but we started getting a lot of feedback, even just building an audience through our social channels, just getting like asking for help. “Go do your own thing. Provide to your own audience.” Things like that. So we dropped the customer recognition. I think that’s what finally gave us the faith to take that that jump and it’s been paying off since. It’s great to just be able to impact people in your own business and to build your own, I guess, empire of other Amazon sellers and a little army behind you of people in your protege. So it’s, it’s awesome. It’s an awesome feeling. It’s a great sense of fulfillment is what I’d say is what we get from it mainly.
– Yeah, giving back. And just like you said like the Amazon community, it’s crazy how tight it is and how willing people are to share information and how resourceful you can actually get if you’re willing to go and ask a question, right? People are willing to give that information or you can find the information on the power of the internet. There’s so much out there these days that, you know, you can get started with YouTube for all we know. Now I’m not a big believer of that personally anymore because when we first got started, we went on YouTube, we learnt how to do product research from 10 different people. And I think that’s also what stifled the lack of confidence because everybody teaches a different way. So it’s like you find somebody that you’re willing to work with and stick with that person because if they’ve seen the success, they can get you to that area. But if you start mixing in all this stuff especially, I mean, when you first get started, of course, it’s better to stick with one person. That’s my opinion. But my opinion from my experience, I should say.
– I agree. I agree totally with you. There’s so much noise now out there in this space and so much… You can get burned fast if you follow the wrong crowd. Dustin and I talk to sellers and they’ll say, “Oh, I’m taking a course from so-and-so.” Or, “I’m doing a course from here.” And we’ll be honest, like, “Yeah, yeah. Go with that guy.” Or, “Go with that girl. That’s a good course to go with.” Because if you do by yourself, like we did, like, it takes forever. It takes forever. Like.
– Yeah. ROI.
– We look at products for six months and we finally place the order 10 months later. And then by that time, it’s saturated. Like, that’s my biggest regret is not joining some type of mastermind or not getting involved with some type of coaching and just go with it. I was listening to too many podcasts, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, and I just missed out on a whole year worth of sales. If you guys had to go back and do something differently, what would that be? What would be something that you would change now looking back? What would be something that you would change and do differently?
– I would definitely say hire a mentor, someone that you can work with on more of a one-on-one level, whether that be from a group setting or whether that be on a one-on-one level. But just having someone that you can bounce questions off of and be resourceful with. Because again, like if you follow a proven framework, you know it’s bound to work in some capacity, obviously depending on the niche, depending on the products, you’re gonna have to pivot, of course. But the framework and the development of getting your first product up is generally similar across the board, right? So if you can follow that, it’s gonna not only yield, you’re probably gonna save money and mistakes. You’re gonna also save a ton of time. And like you said, speed to market is becoming more and more apparent in the modern age of Amazon. So it’s super imperative to do that and I think the best way to do it in order to minimize your risk is to have someone that you can lean on.
– Yeah, I would also say like surrounding yourself with people that are going through the same thing you’re going through. And there’s tons of people out there. There’s tons of groups that you can make a post and be like, “Hey, I’m about to launch. I’m just getting into the Amazon space. I’m looking to surround myself with two or three people that are also doing the same.” Right? Having that support system because we all know it. Being an entrepreneur or specifically in the e-commerce Amazon space, especially when you’re doing it full time and you’re not talking to anybody, you’re stuck to your computer all day long, it can get pretty lonely. So having a support system that you can bounce ideas around there’s a good chance that because these people are going through the same thing as you, you guys can come up with a resolution or an answer to your problem pretty damn quickly in my opinion.
– Another thing.
– Yeah, go ahead.
– Yeah. Sorry .
– Yeah, yeah. Another thing to add on there. Like Arek and I, as soon as we wanna learn something new, we will hire some form of mentor or coaching to do. And we do that now because the way that we look, even though let’s say it’s a $5,000 cost upfront, we look at it as an investment. If you’re able to get to market three months faster and you’re able to accumulate $5,000 in profit, let’s say, or $5,000, you’re able to pay that off at a sooner rate and it just accelerates your growth. So it’s kind of that risk reward balance that you will need, but I’m a big fan of it. We’ve seen a lot of success. We’ve been able to accelerate our growth, both on a personal and a business level by just doing exactly that.
– Well, Kris and I, we’re really open about this, is this is a mistake that we made early on. I mean, there’s just no question about it. We could have really accelerated things if there were mentors. Now I wanna touch on one thing real quick that you brought up before as you’re talking about now you guys are preparing for an exit of your business that you started, at some point in the future. Was that something that you guys had in your mind from the beginning when you started it? Because we talk to aggregators all the time. In fact, we just had Thras.io on the podcast earlier today. So we are doing two today. We had him on earlier. And we were brought up that. This was, Kris and I had no idea that this kind of thing existed when we started. It didn’t exist.
– Nobody would touch that business. They’re like, “What is that business even mean?” So when you guys started, did you have an exit in mind from the beginning? Or is that something you came to you later on?
– No. In all honesty, no. Didn’t even think it was possible. And then we had a few friends exit over the past year or so. Three friends exited in the past six months. And we were like, “Holy crap! There’s opportunity here.” We heard about Thras.io when they first became big. And then, you know, we’ve had like five, six seven aggregators reach out to us, different aggregators. I think there’s tons coming out in this space right now because the opportunity with Amazon is apparent. Now to put things into perspective here, Dustin, like in all honesty when we first started and got into the Amazon space, like our plan was 10 years, we’ll quit our job. But what we quickly realized was like, holy crap, there’s some serious opportunity here and instead of me spending 60 hours at my job, if I spent the same 60 hours which is virtually almost impossible to do on an Amazon business, in my opinion. But if you spend that, if I spent spend that time there instead of like in my Amazon business instead of my corporate job, I was just like, “I could blow this thing the hell up,” basically. So we saw the opportunity really quickly because we were making good money. We were like, “You know what? Let’s take the risk. Entrepreneurship is all about risks. Let’s take the risk, let’s do something for ourselves and let’s see what we can do with it.” So in shorts, definitely didn’t think of doing an exit and also didn’t know, and didn’t realize the opportunity that Amazon can provide to, you know, regular people. So it’s been crazy.
– Well, another question, Brian, I’ll let you answer this one. Is that first initial product that you guys selected, is that your main driver right now? Is that the, did you create your brand around that product or did you have to pivot? Was that first one the hero?
– The first one is the hero product. It’s still does about 50% of our revenue. And we’ve actually like built, when we’re talking, going back to the point of building sustainable business, the product works so well. We launched five variations to it. Working with the same supplier, brought our cogs down, brought our profits up. It was just a very strategic move and it worked extremely well, but quite frankly not a lot of people’s first product works out. And the reason why I think our first product worked out was we truly tried to listen to the customers. We looked at all of the customer feedback through negative reviews. We came in with first of all, the variation. The main key word, their main variation was plastic and the product that we sold ended up being stainless steel. So that was already a risk that we were willing to take, right? ‘Cause we were just better believe is is a more professional looking, cleaner product but when it came to customer feedback, like Arek said, we were the first to market with our differentiation point. I think that’s super, super important to not go ahead and launch would be called me too products where you’re just like, “Hey, this product is doing well. I’m literally just gonna take this exact product and launch it on Amazon.” But finding some form of differentiation, something that adds additional value to the customer so that you can stand out against the competitors because, you know, the conversation now, it’s all about, “Oh, Amazon is oversaturated.” But quite frankly, if you can figure out what to do with the product, how you can market it, have a bad-ass optimized listing, you can compete with anyone at the end of the day. It just all comes to knowledge with another reason why mentorship is gonna be phenomenal in that aspect, ’cause you can lean on people that have seen success specific in niches or even just your mentor that has success in Amazon. So the product still is our best product. We’ve launched five variations and knock on wood but we’ve been doing pretty good with our product launches and we have built a great brand around home improvement is the niche that we’re in. And even more so specifically, we’ve actually honed in specifically into organizational and storage-based products. So we’re very niche focused. That I think that’s what aggregators have been reaching out to us about is just like the fact that we’ve been really able to build a brand and be very, very focused and understand our ideal target market.
– The second question to that is so this initial product hit, but you did it, you came in differentiated, which we completely agree with. I mean, that’s gonna make a a whole lot easier, less competitive. Kris’ dogs bark when the Amazon guy comes.
– The UPS guy comes to this house. So, but so now you’ve got traction with this product and now you’ve got a brand. Does that allow you to then launch some me too type products because you’ve got a brand or did you stick with the differentiator on every new product launch?
– Yeah, I would say once you start building brand awareness. So what we started doing before… We have. We have two products that were me too products. Now, the reason why we did a me-too product was we were about to fork out six grand for a mold for this product because we knew what we wanted to make different but we tested the market with it. It was very low competition. Like it was only doing like $5,000 per month. That product does like six, seven for us now. We hardly spend anything on advertising on it and everything like that. But I would say that for more competitive products, you need a really, really unique product offering. Something where, you know, you think you can get knocked down from other sellers or Chinese sellers on, you need a unique product offering. That’s gonna become more and more competitive. I’ve seen people get into competitive markets like ones where you’re competing with people that have thousands and thousands of reviews, but they have such a unique offering that they’re able to compete with them. I’ve also seen people get into non-competitive products and do nothing to it, there’s no uniqueness to it at all, and sometimes they’re gonna fail. So when you build brand awareness and you build partnerships in the industry, like we work with a handful of influencers, everything like that, it becomes easier to start launching products because you’ve built out that brand awareness. You can target people, you can build lookalike audiences based off of customers to drive external traffic, different things like that. But when you first get started, I would suggest against it personally. Having that differentiation point was definitely one of the best decisions that we made and keeping consistent with how we can stand out, you know, amongst all the other hundreds and hundreds of listings for every product that you see on Amazon.
– No doubt about it. Now, I think this’ll be a good transition and just to sort of talk about building a winning product line on Amazon and just, I think we can outline just a few steps for the people that are listening. I mean, what do you feel like are, I think one, I think we already talked about it. It’s gonna be a differentiator of some sort. But just give us the main things that a seller can do to help them initially on the road to building a full winning product line.
– Whoever wants to go first.
– The first thing that I’d say is to be niche focused and, you know, there’s people out there that have that general store but I think allowing yourself to be niche focused, it allows yourself to pigeonhole yourself into a specific niche. So all your product research is done within it. So you can look at your competitors, you can look at your manufacturer’s catalogs, things along those lines to find supporting products. So one, be niche focused, two, for every single product that you launch that does well, launch variations to it. We call it horizontal scaling. So adding variations, putting them on your main listing and driving traffic through your main listing but then eventually branching them off as they accumulate reviews. Because the benefit of having multiple variations is you can have more real estate across the platform in their own listings, right? So super, super powerful to do. And then I think the next thing that I’d say, and Arek, you can jump in afterwards, is to focus on small wins. Not necessarily products that are gonna need and an inject a ton of capital into, but if you can focus on products do between the five to 10K with low competition, if you’re looking at a product that’s ideally increasing over time, you know, eventually that product is gonna be able to do 10, 15, 20K, and then they’ll start to build up a very sustainable business model. I always look at a product line very similar to an investment portfolio. You’re looking at a diverse amount of investments. We’re talking about products here as opposed to real estate, stocks and bonds. For any reason, let’s say we have 10 products, with one product because Amazon is a myth sometime. There’s always random stuff that’s happening. Policies change. You potentially could lose a product but if you have multiple products in your product line, one flunks, you still have nine that are collectively bringing you revenue so that you can still and feel confident to leave your job, for example, or just be more free. You’re not just relying on one winning products in that scenario.
– Yeah. Yeah, and I would say like the biggest thing especially to grow a brand initially is definitely the horizontal scaling aspect of it. Because especially if it’s a product that’s similar, maybe you’re doing like a one pack and a two pack. Obviously you wanna validate that. So the way that we would always want to put things into the respective, our second variation was a two pack. Now how we validated that was actually something that was gonna work in the market was we looked at units ordered versus actual sales on the listing and we figured out like, you know, like 20% of people are actually ordering two instead of one. So for us, that was enough data to be like, “Okay, you know, that’s an easy plug and play.” When we did that, we actually, like the margin on that product is about 35% before advertising. And then for the two pack, it was about 44%. So it was an easy plug and play for us. And then we started seeing more and more variations come into the market so we started mimicking it. I mean, figuring out what we can do to stand out and like what Brian said, it’s a great strategy to launch test the variation. What we do is we launch test the variation on a current listing. Naturally, what happens is you adopt reviews on that. Now, if you wanna take up more real estate, you can pull it off. I would say always test that. We’ve had some variations that we’ve pulled off. We’ve ranked. It just didn’t do as good as it did while it was on the parent listing. So we put it back on, right? I think business is all about testing, having a hypothesis, figuring out what’s gonna work best for your business. And yeah, it’s all about finding that one product and then scaling horizontally as much as you possibly can and focusing 80% of your time on the 20% that does the majority of your revenue. It’s just the Pareto principle. We live and breathe that essentially.
– Well, I’ll tell you, I like that strategy. I like a couple of things that you said. Number one, your willingness to test things. Like just pulling them off listings, putting them on… I can tell you from personal experience. That kind of stuff would scare the heck out of me early on in my business.
– I was like, “Oh my God. if I take this variation off and make it, it could disappear into the ether of Amazon and I’ll never recover.” But if you’re unwilling to test. This is something I learned. If you’re unwilling to test like that, you could be missing out on huge goldmines, huge opportunity. So I really liked that. The other thing that I liked that you guys were talking about is because Kris and I we talk to sellers all the time. The toughest person… ‘Cause we talk to them from the perspective of advertising. They’re coming to us to help with their advertising. And when they come to you and they’re new and they are in the most saturated niche possible. Like they come and say, “Oh, I’ve launched supplements. I’ve launched a new iPhone case and I’m having trouble with advertising.” And you’re like, “Well, do you have $100,000 laying around? ‘Cause it’s gonna take you a ton to rank these kinds of products.”
– So I think that’s, that right there can save people right from the get go is if they just say, “I’m going for a product that I can efficiently launch with a reasonable budget,” and then go off of that. Yeah. Is that a core of your coaching principle?
– 100%. We always work back from the budget. I never encourage people to launch something that doesn’t make sense. Competition’s always gonna drive how big of pockets you’re gonna need to launch the product which is where like where we spend a lot of time with our students is number one in that product validation stage. We wanna make sure, ’cause again, like, this is where we struggled. It was like, you know what? Like we don’t have the confidence. So our goal is to instill that confidence and help build that skill set with people. Now, the second portion where we spend a lot of, you know, one-on-one time as well is actually the area where people are building a ranking strategy. I’m a big believer that not every ranking strategy… And there’s different methods out there. We’ve tested four or five ourselves and depending on the product and depending on the different factors of the product, one ranking method may not work as well than the other one, essentially, right? So there’s different things to consider and if it doesn’t meet budget and you can’t allocate X amount of dollars to do a product launch, then maybe we go for something a little bit less competitive or something that does 500 units a month instead of 1,000 units a month, right? And we always obviously look at the cogs and what that investment is gonna look like but very important to work back from for sure.
– Go ahead.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. What I’d say is like, you know, a lot of people this is a brand new business to them or not. A lot of people don’t even, they haven’t experienced any kind of entrepreneurial route before entering the Amazon world. So we always like to say start somewhat smaller. So it’s less of a risky investment for you at the end of the day. And in order to start small, you ideally get into a product that’s less competitive, that isn’t doing a crazy amount of revenue but it’s increasing over time because you know that it will increase with you as long as you’re adapting to the market. But starting small like that, people like to prove the concept themselves. They wanna see that opportunity work for them before they start putting more money into it and that’s exactly how Arek and I approached it. We started off with one product. I think our first year really ended with two products. It would’ve been about eight months of selling and we only ended with two products. But after that, we’re like, “Damn. This works. We know that this is gonna work.” The next year we launched nine. So we accelerated pretty quick this year already on two and in the works for our third. So it was just proof of concept injecting back in, reinvesting your profits back into your business to build up that sustainable point. And now that the exit opportunity is so apparent for every single Amazon seller, it just drives us even more to just keep putting money back in and keep growing and growing.
– Let’s touch on some ranking strategies. This is where it gets kind of fun, right? This is where we kind of learn what everybody’s doing and we kind of test it out. Arek, you mentioned like four or five of them. There’s a bunch of strategies out there. There’s different ways to do stuff. What are you guys doing? What is something you look at? You bring a product to market, what’s the first thing you do to launch that product?
– Yeah, totally. Well, the first thing we do is we always look at the attributes of the product. Now, the way that I break down, you know, I talk about not every single rank strategy is gonna work with every single product. So one of the biggest things we look at is, okay, does this product have a mass appeal or does it appeal to everybody? And if it does, then there’s an opportunity to potentially run external traffic to the listing. There’s an opportunity to run Facebook ads to a ManyChat flow to do search, find, buy or giveaways as a whole. But if your product is not something that everybody wants, everybody needs to have then it can be hard. It can be costly or ineffective to run Facebook ads unless you get hyper, hyper-targeted and get really, really good at Facebook ads and can confidently say that you can sell anything through paid advertising. But I’ll talk about like my PPC launch method and strategy. So when we do a PPC launch, we look at a few different things. We look at competition obviously. We also look at again that that mass appeal thing. So one of our products, for example, it has a unique attachment that gets installed into a wall. Now, the reason why we did a PPC launch specifically for this product is simply because if we were to run external ads and I looked at the interests through Facebook, there was no interest that we can get targeted where we would only attract the customers that were looking for this particular product. So what I always talk about when it comes to Amazon versus doing something through paid traffic externally is you sell on Facebook, you sell through paid advertising. You’re tapping into the emotional based market, right? You can sell based off of emotion by solving a problem for somebody, right? You can entice people to purchase a product or take your rebate without them knowing that they actually needed the product, right? Because you’re trying to solve a problem. Now with Amazon, I title that as an intent-based market, right? You go on Amazon, you type up, “Okay, I’m looking for a garlic press. I have the intention to buy it.” We just need to get that person to our listing, right? So that’s why in a scenario like that, we use a PPC launch strategy. We target like hyper-targeted to figure out, okay, how can we entice people that are already looking for this product but make sure they’re coming to our listing. So the way that I structure a PPC launch is a few different things that we look at first. Number one, for us, it’s all about indexation and getting relevancy with Amazon first before we start, you know, launching discovery campaigns to figure out what other keywords we can go for. So we’ll always launch product targeting campaigns off of our top competitors. The goal there is not to make money. It’s to gain indexation and relevancy to Amazon. We also launch an exact match campaign. I call it a push campaign. That push campaign targets anywhere between five to 15 of our top highest volume keywords that are also extremely relevant. Again, the goal there in the first seven days or so is to let Amazon know like, hey, I’m selling a garlic press. Only show me for products or only show me for keywords that are relevant to a garlic press. Now, after we gain that, at that point and hopefully we have one, two reviews, then we can start exploring and getting to discovery phrase. So launching those auto campaigns, launching broad and phrase match, and then also some more exact match ones. But this time for lower volume keywords, ones where we can pick up rank initially on that aren’t gonna be too, too expensive. And just trying to touch points and get rank on as many possible keywords as we can as fast as we can. Now with that said, obviously there’s planning for budget, how much we wanna spend and all that kind of stuff. But that’s kind of what I look at when it comes to which method is gonna work with our products. PPC can be pretty expensive. But again, I look at the opportunity costs with it. I think I’d rather spend a little bit more on PPC knowing that it’s gonna work instead of hoping, praying and spraying to run a Facebook ad and hopefully get people to opt into my ManyChat flow. That was a lot of info.
– Yeah. I was gonna say, I think the goal with any kind of rank strategy is really to mimic the buying process, right? Because especially for running things like rebates, for example, where we’re doing search, find, buys or running super URLs to specific products, the goal with it is to mimic some form of sales velocity compared to our top competitors ’cause our goal is to get to the first page. I think people look, people go on Amazon and they have lower attention spans. They are looking for ease of sale, right? So they look at a couple of different things. They look at rank, right? A lot of people don’t purchase past the second page quite transparently there. And they look at price. And they also look at differentiation, right? They’re looking for some additional value. And at the end, you know, launching your products with a lower price point is always gonna give you that competitive advantage. Even if you have a differentiation point, it’s hard to essentially display that without the social proof. And everyone knows it’s hard to get reviews nowadays. So one, making sure that you’re getting reviews, you’re requesting reviews, ideally potentially lining up reviews on the front end is always gonna help. But, you know, if we’re looking at the buying process, searching up a specific keyword and adding it to cart. All of those are steps towards the buying process. Very similar to a sales process, but on Amazon. And if we can mimic that in some form, whether that be rebates, whether that be external ads, whether that be PPC, Amazon will favor us within the honeymoon phase. So we take a look into all those different things. But I think the biggest thing is there isn’t a perfect launch strategy for every single product but it is important to look at those components that Arek was mentioning to help you understand what you can pivot. It also comes down to the technical skills, I’d say. Like, there’s no point of running external ads if you don’t know how to run Facebook ads. So rebates is always a safe method. It’s very, very common, but we’ve seen a lot of… A lot of things happen in the industry whether those be taking reviews or getting your reviews taken down, your Facebook ad account getting banned due to all the policy changes that are changing. So just testing different things. We’ve also been testing add to carts which again is mimicking the buying process. It’s one step away from actually purchasing the product. And that helps in some scenarios especially for lower volume keywords.
– For those of you listening, as soon as I asked this question, they both grabbed their mics and they both sit up in the chair like they’re ready to go. Like this is like a favorite topic. I can tell they were really excited for this topic. They both like stood up in their chair, they adjust their mics and they’re ready to roll with this question. Arek, to you, we get this question a lot. ACoS. “My ACoS is too high.” ACoS, whatever you wanna call it. But when you’re in launch phase, what are you looking at? Are you just looking at conversions? Are you looking at ACoS? What’s your strategy there?
– Yeah. My goal with the product launch is 100% ACoS. I don’t plan to make money, right? It’s a long-term game, man. It’s always a longterm game. You’re gonna lose money when you’re doing a product launch but if you can get organic rank and start, you know, getting organic purchases, that’s where that’s really gonna benefit you at the end of the day. ACoS is an interesting thing because a lot of people look at that but I like TACoS in my opinion. Much better. It’s much cleaner because what people don’t realize and me as a consumer and I noticed this after I really dove deep into actually learning advertising. Advertising makes an impact on organic sales too, right? So, which is why you need to look at what is advertising doing not just per advertised sales but also for sales as a whole, right? Because me as a consumer, again, what I mentioned was I used to scroll on Amazon and I used to see these sponsored ads. This was before I knew about FBA or anything like that. And I used to think that that stuff was like clickbait stuff. So I would see it and then instead of purchasing that, I would go and I’d find the organic listing, right? So it’s all about seeing like, “Okay. How can I be in front of the customer and not just one time, but two times?” But yeah, like I go 100% ACoS. That’s my goal. A lot of the times we actually go under that but don’t be afraid to lose the money at the beginning to get that organic rank ’cause it’s gonna benefit you and PPC can be optimized. And, you know, as you continue to grow, target more profitable keywords. I’m a big believer of testing keywords again, figuring out what works, putting them into other campaigns, investing back into those, seeing if that works again. And if it does work, you know, increasing budget to ensure that we capitalize on what is currently working. With that being said, Amazon PPC is becoming more and more competitive. Clicks are becoming more expensive especially depending on what niche you’re actually in. So having different strategies and making sure that you’re keeping organic rank is crucial because PPC can definitely bleed the profits as well if you’re not on top of it.
– Are you guys doing anything with the Vine program or are you doing anything with Amazon Post? I know those are a couple of different things. Are those two areas that you guys touch on a little?
– Yeah, for sure. Amazon Vine, we do with every single product. You can do five at once. So we do with every single product. We do 30 units. There’s some products that we’ve noticed that don’t get the 30 units and I think that also plays into does it appeal to everybody? Because not every Vine reviewer is gonna want the product at the end of the day. I would say that if you know your product is extremely, extremely high quality use that program for sure because you’ll get very detailed reviews which customers love to see. Now, if your product has any quality flaws or anything that you’re iffy on, I wouldn’t use it because you’ll get a really long negative review. You don’t want that. Especially when you’re first started. And then Amazon Posts. Absolutely. We do a lot of partnerships with influencers. So we have a lot of user generated content. Now the downfall to Amazon Posts right now is that you can’t attribute sales to it but you can see the clicks and the visibility and everything like that. So I did a convert. I did some backend math and I was like, “Okay, based off of all of the.” We do two Posts per week. Based off of all the clicks we’re getting, the beautiful thing about it is that it’s free traffic, right? You don’t have to pay for it. You can show up on your competitors listing so on and so forth. So we were like, you know, based off of all the clicks, if we’re conservative we have about a 25 to 30% conversion rate across the majority of our products. But I was like, conservatively speaking if we had a 15% conversion rate or even a 10% conversion rate based off of the clicks and visits we were getting from the Posts, we were actually doing an extra, like two three grand a month, which is again, free traffic. Why the hell not take it? So, it’s powerful. I’m a big believer of if Amazon releases something, go ahead in and test it out, figure out whether or not it works for your brand, and then go from there. One thing that we wanna dive a little bit more deeper into is Amazon Lives as well. I’m interested to see how that’s gonna go, but yeah, I’m a big believer of testing everything that Amazon comes out with and being an early adopter is really what it comes down to to figure out whether or not, again, I’m always talking about testing, but figure out whether or not it’s gonna work with your brand.
– Yeah. And I think like every single new thing that Amazon comes out with, they’re still in testing phase on the front end too. So there’s things to be optimized. And if we’re willing to give the data, and you kind of be a guinea pig for them, I think they favor. And that might just be a bias thing that I’m thinking of myself or an assumption that I’m making. But if they’re laying something out, it’s most likely gonna work in some capacity whether that be now we’re down the road. So take advantage of those opportunities for sure.
– Yeah. I totally agree. There’s no question that if you’re an early adopter, you’re gonna get some benefit even if the program doesn’t exist down the road. But yeah, like you said, we’re testing it. So, you know, they’re gonna test different placements for whatever their new rollout is. You’re gonna get in front of eyeballs that you wouldn’t have got in front of. I mean, that’s what I really think the essence of this whole business model is, is it’s a game. It’s fun. It’s.
– Yeah, exactly.
– You’ve got competitors and you’ve got this playing. It’s kind of like being in a game where the rules kind of evolve as the game goes on and you gotta figure out the best way to see. So I think if you come at it that way, it’s a pretty fun, invigorating experience. It can also be a little depressing when it goes a little South on you, but.
– it’s good. But. Well, okay. So for you guys, what’s next for The Zab Twins? What’s coming down the road? I mean, you’ve got… If you exit, what are you gonna do? Are you going to start a new line? Are you going to start from scratch with a bigger bank roll? What’s down the road with your coaching program? Where is that gonna go? tell us what’s happening.
– Yeah, so in regards to like, after we exit. Like I said, we’re actually already building a business right now. We’re actually more so wanting to get into the consumable space because I think we see a lot of value in, you know, acquiring the customer once and re-targeting them, right? Especially when products run out or they can be used the second time, massive opportunity there for scaling. So we have one business that’s being built specifically on Amazon actually with my dad and my brother, funny enough. We’re doing a family little business here that’s gonna be a consumable supplies company which it’s gonna be cool. We’re in the process of sampling right now. And then another business that we’re building right now with another partner is actually a different approach. It’s more competitive on Amazon and we’re gonna be launching through Shopify. So one of our mentors, David, he did exactly this. Competitive on Amazon, launched through Shopify, did the digital ads, accumulated a massive email list, built raving fans through external traffic, had a good social presence, started to realize that there was search volume for their specific brand on Amazon and then launched onto Amazon after that. And was already doing six figure months within the first two months of selling on Amazon. So different approach and the reason why we’re doing it through external first is just because it’s purely too competitive to start on the front end. We could definitely do it, I’d say, after we exit, but we’re starting this now so that we can build it up so that we can put main focus on this when we do exit. Now in regards to the coaching business, we’re, you know, transparently, we’re not looking to bring on every single person. We’re very selective in who we bring on. We wanna bring the right people in, people that are willing to collaborate with each other. And it’s all about building that community, leaning on people, being resourceful. Again, it’s essentially combating all of the challenges that we face. And what you’ll notice in our course in our program as well. Every single question that we have had to ask ourselves or any single challenge that we have gone through, there’s a video on it ’cause sellers are most likely going to have to go through those same challenges. But, yeah, just slowly seeing that up, doing a lot of testing there as well, building a sustainable foundation and then after that, we’ll scale up once everything’s proven.
– So the last question I have is when do you guys sleep?
– Yeah. You know what? I’m a six-hour sleeper. So I’m lucky for that. Yes, I work quite a bit to say the least, but, you know, with what I do, because I love to do it, it’s, you know, I’m happy doing what I’m doing now and spending the amount of time that I spend every single week versus what I was doing in the corporate world. So I’ve never been beat down. I’ve never… I love what I do. I love being able to bring brands to fruition and going through that process in the testing phase. ‘Cause again, I love data. I think one thing Brian didn’t mention about the program as well is we she ran a beta program for three months and all that beta program was was like to figure out data and to figure what people wanna see, what they don’t wanna see, how we can really hone in on that process. And now that we’ve done a hard launch for the actual program, we’re still taking it nice and slow, making sure that we have all the processes and client delivery steps in place to make sure that, you know, people are going to be successful. And there’s always going to be an opportunity that people fall off and everything like that. But we need to make sure that we have that foundation built. So, yeah. Sleep’s for the weak.
– Well, you hit the nail on the head. It’s fun. I mean, if you like what you’re doing. Like, this doesn’t feel like work. I would be doing this anyway. If I wasn’t on the podcast with you guys, Kris and I would be talking about Amazon anyway. We would be talking about businesses. So it’s fun. It’s a good time. And kudos to you for all that you guys are doing and putting back out into the community as well. Thank you.
– Sleep’s for the weak. Yes.
– Sleep’s for the weak. Get that tattooed on my back.
– Yeah, that will be the quote of the day. But we will have to get you guys back on for sure. We’ll make you a recurring guest on here.
– Oh, yeah.
– The landscape changes. It’s always fun to talk about what’s going on, what you’ve learned, mistakes you’ve made as it goes. So we’ll get you guys back on for sure. And we really, really appreciate the time you spent with us today. But the last thing is, before we leave, how do people get in contact with you? If anybody’s listening, they love your energy. They want your coaching. How do they get in touch with you?
– Just log into Instagram. You’ll find them.
– Type in Amazon FBA in the search bar and then we’ll probably be the first 10 people.
– But no, our social channels. It’s basically at @thezabtwins on, you can find us on Facebook, you can find us on Instagram. Our website is www.thezabtwins.com. And we got a link tree in the bio of our Instagram. So if you wanna book a call with me or Brian, you can do that as well to see whether or not you’d be a fit to work with us. And yeah, that’s gonna be the easiest. I think we’re most active on Instagram for sure.
– Good stuff.
– Well, I encourage everyone to do that. Go follow these guys on social media. They put out great content, reach out to them if you’d like to get involved in their coaching. We’ll have them back on for sure. Before we go though, if you like this kind of content, if you’re listening on the podcast, make sure you subscribe to our podcast. Leave us a review. Tell us how we’re doing. Tell us things that we could do better. We’d love to hear from you. We also livestream this on Facebook and on YouTube on both on Sellozo’s channels there. So make sure you like those pages. Turn on notifications so that you get these videos when they go live for all this great content like we’re doing right now with The Zab Twins. And also if you’re looking to automate your advertising, reach out to Kris or I at Sellozo. You can go to sellozo.com. You can book a demo with either myself or Kris. We’ll walk you through all of Sellozo and how we can fully automate the optimization process. Whatever strategy you use to optimize your advertising, we can automate it for you. So please do that. Reach out to sellozo.com and we will be back at this again tomorrow with another guest. Guys, thanks again for joining us. Have a great day.