Dustin breaks down his story on how he took his own product and rebranded it for a completely different niche on Amazon.
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– Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 46 of Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone. I’m Dustin Kane, and with me as always, Kris Gramlich. What’s up, Kris?
– Not much, I’m excited about this one. This is gonna be your bread and butter here.
– Yeah, we’ll pencil in every once in a while some stories just about things that we’ve done in the past and today is gonna be one of those, just ’cause it’s a really interesting case study in ways to find new products on Amazon. So yeah, I’ll walk through the whole story. I’ll try not to talk the entire time. I’ll let you jump in a little bit. It’s a dreary, rainy day here in Kansas City. So it’s a good day for storytelling, I feel like.
– It’s storytime. Turn the fireplace on, go get your coffee.
– It is storytime. Let’s dive into the story. ‘Cause I know, one of the things that people always talk about is there, how do you find new products? And we’ve had podcasts on this where we’ve outlaid our criteria for what constitutes a good new product for us, but there’s other ways to find this. I stumbled upon this myself. I didn’t invent this. It just kind of fell into my lap, but there’s lots of products out there that people are using not in the way that it’s intended to be used. And nobody’s branding it that way or nobody’s focusing on those different search terms. So this is how I found, this was really early on, this happened with the first product that I launched, which was one of my best selling products ever. I’ll just dive in and tell you how this happened to me. My first product that I launched was resistance bands for working out. They were the resistance bands that, they’re in a loop so you can wrap them around your legs and just do just some sort of at-home workouts with these resistance bands. It was really insanity and a bunch of different beach body workouts were using these. So they were super popular when it launched. So anyway, I launched that. That became one of my best sellers. Was selling them like crazy. That’s great. Probably a year-and-a-half into that, I got an email through Amazon from some teacher in California who asked me if I was willing to donate these workout bands for her classroom. And so I immediately wrote back. I was like, yes, I’d be happy to, but what are you doing? Are you running a fitness class? And she said, no, they put them around the chairs. So they wrap them around the legs of their chairs so kids can move, they can bounce their feet off of these in their chair to expend energy. I said, well that’s fascinating. I said, is that something that you came up with? She’s like, no teachers everywhere are doing this. She’s like, I found this on Pinterest or some blog or something like that that she said where she saw, where she said, people are doing this. So I thought, well, okay, that’s interesting. So I sent them out to her. She sent me some pictures of the kids using them in the class. Then I researched that actually. I went to Amazon and I looked it up and I was like, I wonder, let me see if the product exists for this need. And it didn’t. So I typed in chair bands, school chair bands anything like that. Couldn’t find it. Didn’t see anything. And I said, well, I went into either Jungle Scout or Helium 10 and I wanted to see what the search volume was. And people were searching for that. They were searching those words, chair bands for school kids, and there was no products there for them. So I immediately went to my supplier and said, hey, can you put these in a different package? I made a different design. I made a different name, a totally different brand. and it was all about chair bands for school. Launched them. Did no PPC, nothing. They immediately started selling. So I was like, this is crazy. I mean, these are selling. And now if you go onto Amazon. So I launched that about probably two years ago. If you go search chair bands for school kids or school chair bands, there’s gotta be 200 different sellers selling these different kinds, and there was not one when it’s crazy. There’s all kinds of opportunities out there.
– And in what year did you start doing the resistance bands?
– 2013 or ’14.
– And then you got an email from just a random customer on Amazon. She said I need to order dozens of these probably? Yeah, she was looking for a donation. She was wondering if my company would be willing to donate to her classroom.
– Gotcha, gotcha.
– So that prompted me to ask her what she’s doing with them. And then come to find out, I did actually research around on the internet after that. And I was looking at Pinterest and they were, all of these teachers were talking about how they would go and buy these resistance bands that were intended for working out, and they were putting them around the legs of the chairs so that kids could bounce their feet off of them and stretch them out and basically get their energy out without disrupting the class. So they’re able to sit in the chair and move around like crazy. They’re moving their legs like crazy on these resistance bands and it’s not interfering with the classroom. So they were all over it. And I said, well let’s, I rebranded it. It’s a brand new SKU. Totally different product. It says nothing about workout bands on them at all. It says these are for teachers, for the chairs for their kids. And it was the only product I’ve ever where I just put it on there and they immediately started selling. It was great.
– And you just used the same supplier. So, I mean, that’s just proof that like, when you have your product launch and you’re looking at your product, we all kind of get tunnel vision, right? Your focused, okay, this is only gonna be resistance band for sports. And you’re only focused on that. And in the background, there’s a completely different niche that you could have got into. Basically, you did, like you basically started this whole niche, I would say it. Now there’s people doing it.
– I didn’t invent the product, but I certainly invented the use case or I was the first to brand towards that use case. And this shows also the power of how many people are researching different products that are selling and then they are doing themselves because that wasn’t that long ago, a couple of years ago, and there are hundreds of sellers and different brands that are all doing this. In fact, I just went and ran the numbers on it today. On the first page of results for chair bands, they’re all the exact same product. And the first page of results was doing $350,000 this month in revenue on Amazon in the US. And I was like, jeez.
– That’s with schools closed pretty much, right?
– Yeah, exactly. That’s with everybody during the middle of a pandemic when no one’s in school. So it’s crazy. It got me thinking in a different way. It got me thinking, how many products are there that, how many products do I use? What do I use that’s I’m not using it for its intended use potentially? And because if people are doing that, then people are searching that way for it. And if there’s nothing there, then you could, I mean at least for a while, you could own all of that traffic to your product and be the one that’s doing it. I have a feeling there’s a lot of products like that that can have different uses. I mean, it’s like, when you think about all the little toys and stuff like rubber bands. The rubber band, but then you have people that make bracelets out of them and do all these different things that, I mean, there’s all kinds of products that you can target to a different market.
– Yeah, and I mean, you found it out just by accident. Hopefully, somebody, look at your product, look at it differently. You can always look at your search terms. So if you see somebody buying your product with a different search term, this is where PPC comes into play. Especially if you’re running an auto campaign and somebody buys your product with a completely different keyword than you would target, you may want to dig a little bit deeper in that area. And maybe they would’ve found a different, completely different niche that they can just rebrand it, keep the same product, just put a different label on it. And now you got two different SKUs in two different niches.
– The beauty of it is at that point, there was really no additional cost. I mean, I was dealing with the same supplier, had already negotiated the price. All I did was I sent him a different label for the pack, a different design for the package. And I told him, make half of them with this label and the other half with my other label. And so I didn’t really have to do anything. There was no dealing with suppliers or going out and trying to find new ones and getting samples or any of the other stuff you have to do. It was the easiest launch that there was. And so it was great.
– And what are you finding now? Now that the competition is out there? What are you seeing now that people are doing to your own listing?
– Yeah, so again, it depends. So I was the first one there, and now there’s tons and tons. So over the last year or so, I’ve started to get some negative reviews on my product which has to be probably coming from competitors because it wasn’t getting negative reviews before. And my sales have slowed down. I mean, there’s so much competition now. They’re coming in. There’s low prices. And just like anything, once there gets to be tons and tons and tons of sellers and it becomes, the product is, there’s no one innovating. They’re all the exact same. It’s the same. So it’s like a commodity, almost. The product becomes commoditized. Now you’ve got people running deals and coupons and everything all the time. So somebody is always cheaper. So I’ve kind of fading off that product now. I mean, I’m selling through my inventory. I’ll keep it going if it continues to stay profitable, but it’s so competitive now, I’m getting attacked by other people. And I’m the one who got it started.
– Gosh darn it, I started this thing.
– I know, that’s why I was, it was mildly depressing to see the 350,000 in revenue, when I, for a while, was the only one. But that’s actually just, I mean, it motivates me to now think about other products that I’m selling and how I can maybe rebrand those. I mean, it’s kind of cool to have one that’s the exact same product and you’re going after two completely different niches. I mean, at-home workout equipment is about as far away from educational supplies as you can get. And it’s the same product going to both. That’s why I encourage everybody, there’s opportunities all over the place. And I would have never known about it, that was one of the best emails I’ve ever gotten from a customer, that looking for. And they’re asking for a donation, but it turned out to be the best donation I’ve ever made too because it launched a new product. But yeah, you should read all of your reviews. I mean, if somebody says, hey, this is great. I use this product for this. You might learn something and then just go investigate, find out if there’s anybody selling it or branding that particular product like that. And then look up the keyword search volume and you could be onto something.
– If you had to do it all over again, what would you do?
– That scenario?
– I mean, I did everything I feel. I mean, I came in. I trademarked it. One thing that I probably didn’t pay enough attention to was as the competitors were coming on to just kind of continue to stay ahead of them. Like, I didn’t update, I didn’t change my listing very much. I never really changed my pictures and people were coming on and then they were able to just kinda go. And then what ended up happening is a lot of them, I think we suspect a lot of times you have the manufacturers themselves are putting that on there. Of course, they can offer it at a low price and then they can do some weird tactics. I had one competitor that went from zero to like 400 reviews in about two weeks. So something fishy was going on there. But I dunno, that’s a really good question about what I would do differently. That product was a great ride for about a year-and-a-half, two years, for sure. But yes, I mean, I trademarked it. I did everything right off the bat, but if there was a way to have patented it or something for that use, that might have been a good way to do it, but I don’t think that was possible in this case. But yeah, great question. I don’t know. It’s the nature Of Amazon. What was fascinating to me was you always wonder, there’s a lot of people out there that are trying to start selling on Amazon and this product happened to be lower cost. So it even gets more competitive. It’s ease and there’s fewer barriers to entry because it’s so easy to get from a supplier. But what was amazing to me was how quickly I got copied. I mean, it’s like all these people that are using these tools like Jungle Scout and Helium 10 to find products that are selling where there’s not a lot of competitors. I was a product that was selling that had zero competitors. And that didn’t last very long.
– Yeah, and this goes to product research. Like, a lot of us are looking for really high-volume search terms. I don’t think chair bands is that high. Like, it’s not ridiculous, but it’s probably more than 1,000. And there wasn’t a lot of competition at the time. So you can find products to sell that have decent search volume that no one’s at. A lot of people I think are just focusing on the tens of thousands of search volume where there’s not a lot of competition. And this just goes to prove that you can find products in less volume of searches that you can still kind of dominate and be first to market with.
– Another point I want to make on this I didn’t bring up yet was when you rebrand the exact same product to a different niche, you can sell it for more. The price equivalency between my workout bands and the bands I was selling to schools, it was a premium for the ones going to schools even though it was the same product. I was putting more in the package, but per band price was significantly higher. But since it was marketed and directed towards that niche, they were buying those. So I was selling that for a while until the competition came in. But for a while, I was selling them for a premium over that. So that’s another thing that you can do because I mean, it looks like you’ve created a product for this specific need, and they’ll go after it. So it was really, really interesting. Also, another thing that came up with that was a lot of my sales were business customers ’cause they were the schools ordering them and they were ordering them in bulk. So I had a lot of orders that were like 20 packs, 30 packs at a time which I never really got very much with the resistance bands. So it’s interesting. Just doing that, thinking outside the box, or in my case, not thinking at all, having someone send you and, which was nice, that got me thinking outside the box. But yeah, that’s something that I do now with every product I get. I just sort of brainstorm and look if there’s other uses for it that aren’t being promoted. It’s a cool way to launch a new product for sure.
– So I think the lesson learned is to pay attention to the niches. See if your product can go into other niches. See if you can rebrand it, ’cause there might be other use cases where your existing product, you could just sell it in a different niche with a new brand. Also, pay attention to your PPC. Your PPC is gonna show you search terms that customers are typing into Amazon. And if maybe you could get ahold of that faster, you could have pivoted a little bit sooner or something. I don’t know. I’m just throwing that out there, but pay attention to your PPC because that’s gonna show you what customers are searching for in that keyword search. And then the last one is to check your email, right? Use your email.
– Yes, check that email. Find out what your customers are saying and using your product for. You’d be shocked and surprised at the different use cases each product has. So yeah, it’s a cool story and it’s just another way to be thinking about products that you sell. So anyway, well, I hope that was helpful. I hope that was helpful. We’ll be sharing stories like this more often too. I’m also in the process right now of trying to, and Kris and I were talking about this, launching another low-priced product that I’m seeing if I can launch it without doing hardly any giveaways or any asking for reviews or any of that. So far I’m getting sales, so we’ll talk about that. If that continues, that could be worthy of a story. We’ll talk about that as well. Anyway, that’s storytime for today. So hopefully that helps everybody think about things a little differently. If you are selling and you’re advertising right now and you’re looking to maybe automate that or have a tool do it for you, Kris and I would love to talk with you about Sellozo and how we help Amazon sellers automate and optimize their ads. You can go to sellozo.com. You can book a time with either Kris or myself. We will walk through a demo. We’ll talk anything Amazon. We’ll show you the Sellozo tool. If you’ve got a story you want to tell us, we’ll tell a story. We’ll trade stories. We do it every day. So anyway, please go to sellozo.com and book a time with us. Also, if you want to watch these podcasts live stream, you can watch us on Facebook, on the Sellozo page on Facebook, on the Sellozo page on LinkedIn, on our YouTube channel for Sellozo that we have. So please go and subscribe or like those pages so you can get notifications, and please like and subscribe to our podcast. All right, everybody. That’s it for today. We’ll be back at it on Monday. And I think we might have a guest on Monday. I’m not sure yet, Kris?
– We’ll see, we’ll see. Suspense.
– Everybody have a great day.