Amazon FBA eCommerce Sales Figures – May to July
Considering selling on Amazon UK using FBA? Hopefully this update will shed a little light on what is possible.
We have just reached the end of July and it is time to find out how I progressed with selling on Amazon.
First of all, I haven’t done quite as well as I wanted but at the same time I haven’t done badly at all.
In my last post I showed you the Amazon sales figures at the end of April so let’s take a look at the sales figures for May and then we will continue though to July.
You can see from the image above I managed to sell 248 items which was broken down into 237 individual orders. Now personally I don’t care about these statistics; what I want to know about is what is the value of the sales and we can see this was £4,915 (about $8,355) which isn’t too shabby.
If you focus on the bottom part of the image you can see a breakdown between the different categories I was selling in and the majority of items came from the toys category. You will see as I go further in this article my focus on toys changed but for May toys were the main items that I was selling.
Compared to April (which didn’t contain a full months worth of sales) the sales figures have increased quite well and I think this goes to show that with a bit of effort it’s actually quite obtainable to start seeing good-sized increases in product sales. The Amazon FBA program is a wonderful thing.
Let’s have a look at June’s sales figures.
You can see from the chart and the sales figures that June performed worse than May.
The chart shows a decline on June 6th to June 11th. This was a period of nearly 6 days where I didn’t sell anything at all on Amazon. In fact it was only a few hours away from being 7 days.
Oh bollocks! What’s going on?
On June 6th Amazon in their wisdom decided to put my whole account into review which meant all the items that I had shipped to Amazon and I was selling as merchant fulfilled were sat in limbo. No Amazon customers could buy them and I have had no other sales channels to help move my stock.
So what happened? Well like I said Amazon put my account review and they sent me some e-mails telling me I needed to provide proof of identity for myself (not my company). Now this sounds pretty simple, all I would need to do is send them proof of ID such as a copy of your passport, a drivers license and utility bills etc… But as I am learning nothing is quite as simple as it seems when it comes to Amazon.
You have got to remember that Amazon is a massive company and I am a tiny tiny … tiny cog in their flywheel of operations. In order for them to keep their flywheel turning and delivering the best customer experience possible they have to ensure their selling partners, such as myself, do not in any way upset their own operations. So with this in mind I fully agree that they have to do with their due diligence and ensure that I cannot damage Amazon’s reputation no matter how minor my own actions would affect their business.
So, they wanted to make sure I am who I say I am and I live where I live. I had already sent them this information when I first set up the account so I have absolutely no idea of why they wanted this information again as they must already have proof of ID on file. Anyway, I sent them the information again and every piece of information, every document seemed to be scrutinised to minute detail.
I ended up sending around six individual documents – a mix of photo ID and utility bill documents just to make sure they were happy. Even though the whole process took almost 7 full days in total this was 7 days I couldn’t sell anything.
Why so long?
Every time I sent a document they responded with an e-mail around 12-20 hours later asking for more info. Now because of this not only could I not sell any items I felt I could not send any more items to Amazon because I had no certainty they would allow me to keep selling. What if they thought… this guy is dodgy.. seeya.
Anyway, long story short I had a period of time in June where I couldn’t sell anything and I couldn’t restock any items.
Once the account was active again I got back onto the bandwagon starting to find more items to send to Amazon. The result was a measly £3,250 (about $5,500) in sales.
Again you will see that Toys made up a large percentage of the monthly orders.
Oh, one thing before I forget… During this period of ‘Limbo’ it was good to hear a voice of reassurance from a friend across the pond in the US…. Bob Willey. I spoke with him about this whole adventure and it was good to hear he’s seen it all before and it was just a case of bending over when Amazon asks and taking it like a pro. Bob didn’t quite use those words but that’s how the US to UK translation went in my mind 😀
Check out Bob’s site if you want to know more about him. Did you know he runs the biggest online FBA forum?
Let’s Move Onto July
So I am nearly up to date. After the minor scare in June things picked up for July. Take a look at the sales figures and chart below for a breakdown.
Things picked up! AND… take a look at the product category figures. Toys came in 3rd. Grocery products jumped to the top spot. I managed 467 order totalling sales of £7,360 (about $12,500).
In June I had started analyzing grocery products and found a few popular products I could source from local shops and one direct manufacturer.
I’m pretty happy with the results considering the items being sold are actually lower value items (see the average sales per order £15.75 … about $26.75). Now normally, a lower value item means a larger percentage of the sale goes to Amazon – and this is true. But, these grocery items are actually making me more money because of the mark-up I add.
Most of the items I can get very cheap but the prices stay high on Amazon …. and …. there is less competition. Bonus!
Moving into August
I am sourcing more grocery products. Although I don’t want to be reliant on one category, it offers a good return for me right now and I’d be silly to not to. I’m trialing some new products, ordering from different suppliers and finding backup suppliers to strengthen my own little supply chain.
Creating my own Seller Tools – A bit of technical fun
If there is one thing that I find a real pain in the arse it’s the mundane task of searching for new products to sell.
The actual task of searching for new products to sell can take a long time and it bores me to tears. No sooner do I start analyzing product costs, a new shiny-object website appears on my screen and within no time an hour has past…. I’ve read about something totally unrelated to the task in hand and more than likely watch a stupid video on YouTube (even though they are entertaining). Does this sound familiar? 🙂 May be right now!!! Stick around to the end, please 🙂
So… because I have a techie background I figured I’d use my knowledge to help with product sourcing.
I’ve started creating a few stand-alone applications that help me analyze product profitability:
- App Number 1:
- An App to download a websites product catalogue into a CSV file. This give me the item name, Price and UPC code.
- App Number 2:
- An App to compare a product CSV file from App #1 or a file from a wholesale supplier against the matching products on Amazon. This gives me the Amazon ASIN and price (including shipping) for each product.
- App Number 3:
- An App to get the Amazon FBA costs for each product using the ASIN.
- App Number 4:
- Well there isn’t a #4 yet but … more in the pipeline … like an Amazon Flip App.
These apps are ‘work in progress‘ but at their current state they are working pretty well and saving me days of manual product price analysis. One of the cool things with these apps is that I can run them on the same store whenever I like so I don’t miss any price changes that occur.
The aim is to get the apps stable and at to the point where they are set-and-forget – working day-in day-out whilst I watch funny YouTube videos… or do something a little more productive.
So there we have it. The May/June/July update is complete and a little peek into August – What do you think?