Category Archives: My Failures

How I Screwed Up (& Began to Fix) My Refund Rate

Save your return rate & more money, all while increasing customer satisfaction in 4 easy steps:

1. First and foremost don’t be a dummy  like me and not verify your variations are accurate, which I’m sure you already practice (insert huge smile).

2. Encourage buyers via follow up emails and product literature (like flyer inserts or business cards or even hand written letter) that if there is an issue with size, color, etc. to not hesitate to reach out via Amazon’s message center (you can briefly describe how to access this – if you have a follow up sequence just ask they reply to the email if set up in that manner, FBG users have this ability) to expedite resolving the issue.

3. Well maybe this should be #1, always have goods on hand at your home/office/local or personal warehouse. Sometimes shipping rates are not competitive when fulfilling orders manually through Amazon…this of course will vary, so know your cost vs theirs.

4. LET THEM KNOW no other action is needed on their end and to keep, destroy, or donate the item sent in error IF it’s something you can afford to let go. Don’t let them assume they need to get their replacement via Amazon, thus messing up your stats. Obviously some items will cost more to have shipped back, resend to Amazon, etc. A high refund rate in relation to like products WILL GET YOUR LISTING CLOSED!! How do I know? It happened to me, but I’m grateful because it made me realize the issue with my variations.

BONUS TIP: You can use this on any kind of item you sell, not just variations. This could be regarding a defective product, doesn’t matter, same rules to being proactive apply. NOW with variations be sure to state in several places how they should be ordering and what they should expect. In the images via an info-graph, in bullets, in the variation’s title, and in the description. With this in place, your product’s included literature, and follow-up sequences you should see a significant opportunity to get ahead of resolving issues before Amazon catches wind. 😀

Ouch…That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (Most Recent Fail)

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a fail. Not to say I haven’t had hiccups, just nothing worth sharing I guess.  Today, however ends that glorious streak, because (drumroll please) I have a new failure to share!

I bundled 3 products. A banana case, a banana storage bag, and a banana slicer. When I sent in inventory I noticed a small yellow circle with a line by listing and the status, “inactive.” When calling to learn more I was told that product was under review by the seller performance team and I’d have to contact them (only via email) to see what was going on.

A few days later and a very untelling response, I was told I was restricted from selling the product. No explanation or nuffin (nothing).

I was heartbroken. I had 150 units at Amazon and another 250 or so sitting in my living room.

Now what? 🙁

Well I’m still waiting on Amazon for an explanation, but for now I plan to liquidate via eBay and Craigslist.

What MAY have happened?

One of the products may have a patent that I overlooked. Amazon may think my slicer consist of blades and has some sort of policy pertaining to sharp objects. Amazon may be going through “the change of life.” All I know is that I will not be selling the product via Amazon and I’ll do my best to get a much of my $2K invest back as possible.

I’m Out of Stock

Well, IT happened. I am officially out of stock. I had 75 units launched December 16 (2 weeks before my birthday) and even though I nearly doubled the price to slow sales, I’m wiped clean and won’t be back in stock until January 24.

So what now?

I wait. I forgive myself, I learn, I note my mistakes and I share them with you. I’m not upset or even disappointed, I’m learning. I believe that it may happen once again, BUT I’m working hard to prevent it.

The Chinese have a week long holiday in February, but some will take a longer break. My factory’s workers live across the country and this is their opportunity to go home. I won’t have access to them for a full month! What’s even worse is I don’t have the cash to place an order I KNOW (or at least I think I know) will cover me until they return.

I have 400 units coming January 24 and 225 units coming mid-February. I just may be okay until they return, BUT with my growth skyrocketing the way it did. I just can’t be sure.

The good news is, I set up a simple site using my brand name in the domain name. A potential customer reached out to me and asked about additional sizing and ordering. This lets me know, people REALLY want my product. Heck the guy went OFF Amazon to find it, cha-ching!

Inventory Struggle

So the first week I went live I noticed that I took off a bit faster than I anticipated. A big part of that was a major mistake with a promo I did (see Promo Boo Boo post). My sale count was high, my ranking got a boost, and my organic sales started to pour in. I did a 12 unit day when it hit me, “Ryan, you’re going to freakin’ run out of stock.”

Now running out of stock will do a few things. 1.) Well, the obvious, you have no stock, you sell no goods, you make no moolah and that’s never good. 2.) Your seller ranking and product rank goes down. 3.) It’s possible, with enough negative actions to your seller account that you lose your ability to be prime eligible, meaning people don’t get their 2 day free shipping anymore, ouch!

So I increased my price by almost double to slow sales. It was a great idea right? Well sales still came in, slowly but surely and even more surprisingly it too snuck up to now 8 units a day!

I have more stock on the way, but Amazon’s warehouse likely won’t receive it until the end of January. I am pretty sure that without yanking the price up yet again, I will run out of stock.

I’m okay with running out though. I plan to be back in stock and lower the price slightly. Once I get another payout, I’ll make my order large enough to cover 2 months worth of sales. It’ll be a little tricky estimated the sales, but I’m confident I can get close.

Promo Boo Boo

When making your promo code be sure to do two things.

1.) Check the box that says “one redemption per customer”
2.) UNCHECK the box that allows your promo to show on your product page for all to see

I forgot to do both and just like that, a little over a dozen of my products were gone to people I didn’t intend to share my promo code with.

The upside? I got a huge boost in ranking and the organic sales rolled in the same day. I refreshed my computer several times and consulted with other successful sellers thinking it was a fluke…it wasn’t. I was official getting organic sales!

Jumped The Gun on Samples

Always, always, (did I already mention always) order samples before doing a small or large bulk order. I trusted Aliexpress to be more of a “quick fix” to bypass this and quickly got burned.

The 200 units I ordered were nothing like the images on the product page and boy did I pay. I tried to return it but the shipping was about a third of the cost of the goods themselves.

Eventually me and the seller agreed to have me be refunded half the initial cost and me keep the goods. I sold the products in bulk and made MOST of my money back. I lost some money, some time, but I learned a valuable lesson. Never, ever, bypass getting samples from your potential supplier.