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Amazon Keyword Tracking How-To

December 28th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

This is a guest post by Valentina Podmazina at www.SellerNexus.com

It is not a secret that search optimization is crucial throughout the whole Internet. This is true for Amazon too, as they have one of the biggest search engines in the world of eCommerce and shoppers are already focused on purchases. Your chances grow when your listings include keywords or phrases and customers find your products easier. As a result, you receive more organic traffic and don’t need to invest funds in paid ads, as search algorithm helps people find your brand for free.

From our Seller Nexus experience, we can say that keyword research and tracking is obligatory for each Amazon seller.

  1. Find Your Best Keywords

Many sellers don’t ever think about adding top keywords, though this affects ranking greatly. Finding them is simple:

  • Use Google Keyword Planner (GKP) – it is free. This tool shows an estimated search volume for a phrase or a word, and shows similar keywords. You can also segment words by geography and use different keywords for each marketplace.

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For using Keyword Planner, you need an AdWords account; still, you can register it for free anytime.

  • Keywordtool.io is an alternative to Google’s planner. Its free version can generate up to 750 keywords for each search query. The most important difference between GKP and Keywordtool is that the last one displays the list of keywords specifically for Amazon. See this option on the screenshot. Though the free version of this tool doesn’t give us any information on the search volume, you can go to GKP and check it there.

click for larger image

  • Amazon PPC tool may be useful as well. If you use automatic targeting, Amazon will show top queries for which they display your product. This is not the #1 method but a great way of finding more words and phrases of which you haven’t even thought before.
  1. Add Top Keywords to Your Listing

Here is where you should put them:

  • Title. Your keywords will be visible to both shoppers and Amazon search algorithm.
  • Description. Here you can use long tail words but keep the text readable. Don’t also duplicate keywords from your title in other places, use different ones.
  • Bullet points. Both short and long tail keywords work well here.
  • Promos. Of course, you should use keywords when starting your PPC campaign or a giveaway promo.

Once all the keywords are added to your listing, you can track their performance to take your Amazon business to a higher level.

  1. Track Your Keywords

The more top-ranking keywords you use, the more customers will find your listings and make purchases from you!


Add all your keywords to a tracking tool of your choice and keep those words which perform the best while deleting underperforming ones. You can also research popular words in your niche. Experiments and adjustments are key elements of sellers’ success on Amazon. You may use special A/B testing platforms for that or track keywords with ordinary tracking tools.

Here is an example – Seller Nexus keyword tracking tool.

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Firstly, add your keywords to the tool.

Secondly, once the software tracks them, you can see the keywords’ performance:

  • The number of the search page on which a word was shown.
  • Position changes for the last 1/7/30 days.
  • The overall amount of searches.
  • Search history which tells you about customers’ activities.

With this data in mind, you can decide whether you need to replace an under performing keyword with a more powerful one or maybe add underestimated words to your listing.

click for larger image

All in all, these are the keywords which help shoppers find your products. Optimized keywords are very important for Amazon sellers, so don’t hesitate to start doing this work right away and see the impact in the nearest future.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers

December 24th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. And Happy Holidays to my non-Christian friends and readers,

I hope all of you get to spend some quality time with your families.


Understanding Margins and Markups, for Online Sellers

December 16th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Understanding Margins and Markups, for Online Sellers

Before I dive into this, the first thing I want to disclose is that math was one of my worst subjects throughout school.  So I ran this article by my bookkeeper to get her input and any suggested corrections.  Nevertheless, I am sure a few of my readers are accountants or math wizards and may find fault with it.  Don’t hesitate to email me if you do.  I also want to caution you that I am no expert on taxes, so any tax issues you have I suggest you run them by a licensed and competent professional.

These subjects can be very complicated but what I have tried to do is simplify them and bring them down to a level where any seller can use them.  Having said that. I want to emphasize the importance of understanding at least the concepts, to help run your business.

Many sellers work hard to find inventory, sell it and all seems to be going well, yet at the end of the month they have more bills than cash.  Not understanding these concepts is a sure path to a failed business.  Lets look at each one of these one at a time –and when you understand each of them individually, you will quickly see how they come together and you will be on the path to understanding your business better, and avoiding mistakes that can really hurt your income.

  • Markup
  • Margin
  • ROI (Return on Investment)

Let’s start with markup.

Markup is the difference between the cost of a good (product) and its selling price.  The total cost reflects the total amount of both fixed and variable expenses (such as inbound shipping or shipping to Amazon FBA) to distribute and sell a product. Markup can be expressed either as a fixed amount, or as a percentage of the total cost or selling price. Retail markup is commonly calculated as the difference between wholesale price and retail price, as a percentage of wholesale.

Lets look at an example of markup.

You buy a product for $12 and sell it for $22.95.  The difference is $10.95.  If you divide your $10.95 net by your $12 cost then your markup is 91.25%.

There is another way to express this.  Let’s use very simple numbers.  You buy something for $10 and Sell it for $20.  That is a 100% markup.  If you sold it for $30, that would be a 200% markup.  (Each $10 represents 100% so adding $20 is 2 x or, 200%).


First of all there are several types of margins – Gross margin, net margin and profit margin.  Let me define these, but they are all essentially calculated the same way.

Gross margin – If an item costs $22 (including inbound shipping costs) and you sell it on Amazon for $44.95.  The difference is (44.95 – 22) =  $22.95.  That is your gross margin.  We are going to ignore shipping costs to the customer in these examples just to keep it simple, but know that the cost of packaging material and shipping is often an added cost you should consider.

Net Margin – So your gross margin is $22.95.  However, we all know that  Amazon charges fees.  Say your fees come to $5.35; you subtract those from your gross margin to get your net margin of $17.60.  To express this as a percentage you divide your net profit by your selling price (17.60 / 44.95) = 39.1%.  So your net margin on that sale is 39.1%

Profit Margin – Profit margin can refer to one sale.  If you are doing that you already know that it’s your net margin –or 39.1%.  But when business owners think of profit margin they are typically referring to their business in total – not one, or a few sales.  What you really want to know is:  What is your total net profit margin at the end of month, quarter or year?  The margin at the end of the year is critical to know, because that is what you will pay income tax on.

Lets just do one month to keep it simple, but the same method works to calculate your profit margin for a quarter or the entire year.

Profit margin is the total of the margin on all of your sales for the month less your cost of goods sold (again including inbound shipping), all fees to get at your net margin, then subtract all the expenses of running your business.  Here is an example:

Sales for the month $80000.00[1]
Total Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)  36000[2]
Gross margin $44000
Less eBay and/or Amazon fees – 12000
Net margin $32,000

Now let’s list our other business expenses for the month.  In business these expenses are called overhead.  Normally one of the big overhead items is labor, but lets leave that out and assume you are doing this all working from home.  But if you did have any hired help you would have to add that to the list as well. (We will assume for this example that all of your furniture, computers and so on are all paid for.  There is an accounting factor on these types of items, called depreciation, but I am going to ignore that in this example to keep it simple.

However, at tax time, you want to let your tax guy know how much you have invested in an automobile or computer during the year so he or she can calculate depreciation.

ISP, DSL Fees $62.00
Telephone 146.00
Office Supplies 145.50
Car expense related to business 98.75
Travel and meals related to business 738.55
Any advertising or promotions 125.55
Storage or mailbox rental 200.00
Interest expense 36.00
Insurance 185.00
Legal expenses & Bookkeeping 120.00
Professional dues and subscriptions 110.00]
Total $1,857.35

Subtract the $1,857.35 from your net margin and you will get your net profit which is what you will pay taxes on.

This is a very partial list of expenses.  Again to keep this simple, I have ignored things such as taxes collected and paid, depreciation, and other expenses you may run into.  To get an accurate idea of expenses, take a list of all your expenses to your tax preparer and ask him or her which ones you should be considering.

You don’t want to miss any because remember, the profit margin at the end of the year is what you are going to pay taxes on. If you are selling in this volume on Amazon, I am sure your expenses are going to be much higher than this.  For one thing to sell at that level you will probably have some help so you may have a few thousand in labor costs.

So our net margin  at the end of the month was $28,800.  When we subtract our monthly business expenses from that we get ($28,800 – 2207.35) = 26,592.65; Not bad !!!  If you want to know your profit margin for the month as a percentage just divide 26,592.65 by your gross sales of 80,000 and you get 33.24%.  If you could really do that, you are a brilliant businessperson.  But as I said, my expense list is very basic and your real expenses are most likely going to be somewhat higher.

Return on investment (ROI)

To find you ROI, first pick a period such as a quarter.  Now add up your Cost of Goods sold for that period (your investment)  and divide by the total net profit for the same period.  The resulting number is your return on Investment

[1] Sales would include money you collected for shipping to customers if any

[2] COGS would include the costs for shipping and packing materials and outbound shipping costs.


Learn How to Sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System on sale until midnight the

last day of December 2018

Understanding ROI (Return on Investment) for Online Sellers

December 14th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Understanding ROI (Return on Investment) for Online Sellers

According to Investopedia, ROI is “a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment, or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.”

The return on investment formula is:

ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100

In its simplest form, ROI is the percentage profit you make on your sales.  Look at a very simple example.  You buy an item for $10 and sell it on Amazon for 29.99.  The Amazon and FBA fees come $7.05 so your gross profit is $22.94.  Subtract your cost and you get a met profit of $12.94 on an item that costs you $10.  To get your ROI you would divide the $12.94 profit by your cost of $10 (and times 100) and it gives you an ROI of 129.4%.

If you were investing in a stock that you bought for $100 and sold six months later for $120, your ROI would be 20% (less commissions).  It’s the same with a product.  The example above is somewhat uncommon, although I have seen higher ROIs.

I recently bought a book at a garage sale for $1 that I sold for $14.  That is a 1400% ROI before fees.  But in the normal world, you have selling fees and storage fees.  When you are selling on Amazon you always want to calculate your fees The fees on that book were $4.12 – so that gives me a net profit of $9.88 and true ROI of 988%

I have over 200 products that I buy wholesale. Due to competition, I can only double the price, or sometimes not even that.  Let’s look at just one.

I have a product where my product cost is $60 and the most I can sell it for is $113.00, if I want to win the buy box.  The Amazon and FBA fees on that product are $29, so my net after fees is $84; less my product cost that gives me a profit of $24.00.  When we do the math on that one, my ROI is 48%.  That is a more normal experience for most sellers.

So far we have looked at ROI as an individual transaction, but ROI is normally measured over a year.   So looking at that last example, if I ignore things like inventory carrying costs and storage fees, and I sell one of those products a month, then my annualized ROI is 12 x 48 = 576%.  Not bad!

But there is a real world to consider.  Its fine to look at the ROI of a single product to compare it to other products –that helps you determine what your winners are.  If you focus selling your higher ROI products and eliminate the lower ones, the theory is you will make more money.

But there is another factor you need to consider.  How often do you sell that item?  If you have to purchase those by the case of 12 –and you sell one per month, it will take an entire year to get your investment back.

Now let’s look at your ROI in this context.  Your landed cost on the case is $720.  In the real world you do have interest carrying costs.  Let’s say these are 8% for the whole year. Add that to your cost and you are at 777.60.  Now let’s look at ROI over the whole year.  Your profit on the whole case is $288.00.  Dividing your cost and you get an actual ROI of 37% for the whole year.  That is still not a bad ROI.  There are not that many investments where you can make 23% a year.

But we are still looking at only one product.  Let’s look at our whole business.  To keep it simple we will assume this is our first year in business and we had no starting inventory.  Starting in January we purchase $10,000 per month in product and send it into FBA. (I am going to ignore the interest carrying cost in this example as it would just get too complex, but remember in the real world, money tied up in inventory has a real cost).

So over the course of the year we purchased $120,000 worth of inventory.  We will assume our sales are pretty good and as of December 31st we only have $20,000 worth of inventory left.  So what is our ROI?

If our total sales on the $100,000 worth of inventory that sold for a total of $212,000, and the Amazon and FBA fees (and returns) came to $59,360, that means our net was $152,640.

Even though we sold $100,000 worth of the inventory, remember we still have $20,000 left at the end of the year, so we have to account for that also.  Let’s do the math.  Our profit was $152,640 minus our cost of 120,000.  That gives us a net margin of $32,640. Divide that by our cost of $120,000 and our ROI for the year was 127% which is  quite good.  Most brick and mortar retail stores are thrilled to earn a 20% profit at the end of the year.

As you can see, even though you are making insanely high ROIs on a few products, you have to look at your overall business.

Slow Growth Ahead for eBay?

December 13th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

This from Ina Steiner’s  eCommercebytes blog – Click the link at the end to get the full story:

A Wall Street analyst sees more stagnant growth ahead for eBay. CNBC reports that Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak downgraded the stock over concerns of low growth in the coming year.
But it isn’t shareholders’ teeth-gnashing that concerns us – rather, how this will impact readers. Low growth in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) means the pie isn’t growing for eBay sellers.
Nowak said he now expects eBay to grow “low to mid single digits in 2019,” according to the CNBC report. Read Full Story

New Wholesale Sources for eBay, Amazon and Online Sellers

December 7th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Wholesale Sources

Remember – many of these websites do not carry wholesale information.  When you see that, simply use the Contact Us section of the website to request wholesale information

Alice’s Cottage carries an extensive line of fabric home accessories, gifts, kitchen textiles and lavender scented products, as well as a paper line of note pads, cocktail napkins.

Global Metal Company supplies antique reproduction and restoration hardware in brass and iron for doors, windows and furniture.

Raine & Humble is a wholesaler of pillows, throws, candles, aprons, kitchen textiles with operations in Australia, UK, USA, France, Ireland and New Zealand.

Dorothy Fagan Collection  consists of inspirational French and Italian collectible art prints, books & journals.

International Durus offers a line of very nice handcrafted jewelry consisting of natural indigenous materials such as coconut wood, shell, metal, seed beads, silk, resin, horn, feather, leather, etc.

Wissman Raumobjekte offers a nice line of tasteful and stylish furniture. The furniture is all made in Germany, and thus meet the high quality demands. Although made in Germany they carry stock in the United States

Mettle Filtration specializes in plain steel extruder screens, hard to find meshes, and extra heavy wire cloths

Knit Denise sells a complete line of knitting and crochet products

Messermeister sells a large line of fine kitchen knives and other tools.

Felco is a line of Swiss-made pruning shears and other tools.

Superior Glove sells cut-resistant gloves in all sizes

Lee-Mar Pet Supplies is a large distributor for all kinds of pet supplies and they offer a drop shipping service.




Proven Amazon Course Goes on Holiday Sale – Only 4 Days Left

December 6th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Jim Cockrum announced that his New Proven Amazon Course (PAC – 2.0) is on his only sale of 2018 until December 10th.

“Are you ready for a business that can be run from anywhere in the world, that doesn’t involve you shipping anything to customers, and that’s virtually competition-proof? Amazon is exploding with activity, and we can show you how to get in NOW!”

“Make this course your road map to an incredible business!”

Attendees pay thousands to attend our live events. The full videos from his live events are captured and included as part of PAC.

There are only 4-days left at this incredible sale price.  Sale ends December 10th.

If you are looking for an alternative to my own Complete Amazon Marketing System – this is the only other course I recommend

Keep Sending Inventory to Amazon Right Through Christmas

December 5th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Remember to keep sending inventory to FBA right through Christmas and even right after.


Because Amazon will sell over $2 Billion worth of Gift cards this holiday season and people will be spending that money mostly during January. Also remember that a lot of folks return unwanted gifts and then use the money to buy something they want.

Last year, January was not as big as December n—but it was still one of our best months during the rest of the year. So, keep sending that inventory in.

New Way to Sell Books on Amazon – On Autopilot

December 4th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Zen Arbitrage is a complete “business in a box” (without the box).

Best of all, they offer a free trial period so you can actually see how it works and make some money before you sign up.

  1. Totally integrated system: get started in seconds
  2. 100% web-based: nothing to download – works with Mac or PC
  3. No Amazon experience required: full training included
  4. Total freedom: run from anywhere in the world
  5. Full video training, live webinars, and personalized support.
  6. Total simplicity: everything in one simple dashboard

If sourcing inventory from your pajamas has appeal, Zen Arbitrage makes it possible.

Watch the demo video (very short & quick) then start your free trial and start making money right away.

Need Help Sourcing from China?

December 4th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

I recently discovered a new way to get some help sourcing from China.

Leelinesourcing is a Chinese company that provides complete sourcing service. They have already served more than 2000 users.  Leelinesourcing covers consumer electronics, outdoor products, kitchenware and general merchandise of all types.  Their sourcing service include product sourcing, quality inspection, FBA prep service and FBA shipping service. They have a lot of experience working with Amazon (and eBay) sellers.

They will help you find products, negotiate the price & terms, check the goods for quality and quantity, and in general make sure you get what you paid for.

Some products are rare or hard to find, or the order quantity too small, so it’s difficult to find the right suppliers. They can help can help solve that problem.

Essentially they are professional purchasing agents who source products according to your needs.

They have deals with several shipping companies to save you money on shipping costs and they have offered to provide a discount of their service fee to my readers, so be sure and mention my name when you contact them.

Easiest way to contact them is with Skype.  I recommend you work with Sharline.  Here is her Skype number: sharline1983.  Or you can email her at sharline@leelinesourcing.com.  It will not cost you any money to request a quote.

Amazon to provide More visibility into policy violations that may affect your account health

December 2nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Amazon recently added product condition complaints to the Account Health section of Seller Central. View your Account Health to see any actions we’ve taken that may affect your ability to sell, the reasons for those actions, and next steps to resume selling.

You can view your Account Health in Seller Central by clicking on the Performance tab

In other news about Amazon

Amazon has increased their unplanned service fees.

When you follow Fulfillment by Amazon’s shipping guidelines and ensure that your suppliers and carriers also follow them, Amazon can efficiently and accurately unload, receive, and store your inventory at the fulfillment center.

When there are problems receiving inventory, we may perform unplanned services to accurately process products, at your cost.

Starting today, Amazon will provide a fee preview mode for six additional safety-related unplanned services.

The fee preview for unplanned services only displays if there have been problems with your inventory shipments.

Amazon will soon begin charging fees for these additional unplanned services. We will notify you at least one month before the fees go into effect.

To see specific shipment issues and the new unplanned service fees that may apply in the future, go to your Shipping Queue or see the Fee Type column in the Inbound Performance report.

For more information, see Inbound performance summary and Unplanned services.

Annual 40%-off Holiday Sale Starts Today

December 1st, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Winter Sale

Every year about this time my book selling business  slows down because of holiday selling, so I have my annual Christmas sale.  This starts today, December 1st, and runs through the end of the month.

Just use the coupon code – 2018SAVE40 when you check out of the shopping cart.

Don’t forget to hit the APPLY button, or the code will not take.

Here are the books covered by the sale:

The Complete Amazon Marketing System.

How to Make Money Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay and The Internet.

How to Make Money with The Amazon Affiliate Program

The Wholesale Buying System shows sellers how, what and where to buy goods to sell on eBay, Amazon and the Internet.  Includes access to my private list of wholesale sources that will work with small sellers. Remember, if you are buying, or have, the Complete Amazon Marketing System – do not buy this book because you already have the information

The Amazon Profit Booster is a 3-book set that teaches advanced techniques to sell on Amazon.

eBay to Amazon talks about how to transition from selling on eBay to selling on Amazon.  My course tells you how to get started, what to sell, discusses packing and shipping and much more.

If you just purchased a book and missed the sale, I am sorry, but I am not set up to give refunds.

New Wholesale Sources for eBay & Amazon Sellers

December 1st, 2018 by Skip McGrath


Wholesale Sources

The Indiri Collection supplies quality artisan crafted .925 sterling silver jewelry from the island of Bali.

AREA STARS supplies lifestyle brands featuring resort wear, handbags and jewelry.

The Exotic Bean sells USDA certified organic, shade grown roasted coffee from Thailand. Their coffees are trademarked as The Worlds most Sustainable coffee.

The  Fezz-a Hipstore  supplies Turkish towels, cotton scarves, cotton throw blankets, bathrobes, terry towels, decorative pillows, wool socks and wool hats & gloves.

Wrapped in A Cloud sells a nice line of blankets and robes both plain and monogrammed

Parade Street Products offers fashion accessories, gift, resort, and impulse items that are fun, functional, fresh and affordable.

Maria’s Style offers offers a unique line of pasta sauces, jams, soups and more. They specialize in gourmet all-natural foods, with low minimums and private labeling!

Price King Inc. (est. 1970) is a leading wholesaler selling mainly to C-stores, $1 stores, variety stores, drug stores and others.  They carry lots of low-priced items suitable for bundling.

Mister Snacks Inc. sells exotic snacks and snacks mixes under the names of Sunbird Snacks and Stone Mountain Snacks, nationally and internationally.

Marukai Wholesale Mart specializes in the importing of Japanese products, such as groceries, goods, furniture, health products and electronic appliances. The Marukai Wholesale Mart continues sells over 20,000 specialty products at discounted prices.

Scripture Candy provides wholesale and retail candy with scripture verses.

Bella Cucina Artful Food is a premier specialty food manufacturer in America. They are an artisan producer of highest quality Mediterranean-inspired foods.

Peacock Imports offers a line of gourmet all natural Preserves and Spreads, Mango Spread, Mixed Tropical Fruit Spread, Pineapple Preserve, Strawberry Preserve, Orange Marmalade. Their products are 100% Natural with no artificial flavors or colors.

Unilution Inc is a direct importer and wholesaler for electronic gadgets including; digital cameras, electronic Sudoku games, Bluetooth headsets, sexy lingerie and more.


November 30th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

If you prefer learning from a printed instruction book, then take a look at my product

The Complete Amazon Marketing System.  It is a 2-volume printed complete course that teaches you how to sell on Amazon.  I start with the basics and take from there through.

One of the best courses on the market is The Proven Amazon Course from Jim Cockrum.  It also starts with the basics but quickly gets you into advanced areas such as product research, bundling and private labeling.   The wholesale sourcing segment is excellent.  The The Proven Amazon Course contains essentially the same information as my course but is video-based, whereas mine is a printed product.

The third course is fairly new but has been getting rave reviews.  It is called The FBA Stars course.  It is also video based but the videos are all pretty short and very well organized.  Best of all, he is offering one-on-one support and guidance.

All three of these courses have a money-back guarantee program

Buy and Re-sell Books on Amazon for Nice profits

November 29th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Retail Arbitrage

If you have been following me for a while, you know I am not a fan of retail arbitrage.  Although it can be very profitable, I just don’t have the time to go from store to store looking for deals.   But there is one exception.

Did you know you can buy books cheaply on Amazon and turn around and sell them quickly for a nice profit?  The system is Zen Arbitrage.

Best of all, Zen Arbitrage is a completely automated system that does all the searching for you.  This means very little work on your part.

1.   Zen Arbitrage finds cheap books with low (or no) FBA competition.  Resell via FBA

2.  Relist at your higher Fulfillment by Amazon price.

3.  Profit the difference

When you visit Zen Arbitrage, be sure and watch the short Demo Video that shows both how easy this is and how you can make over $100 with just a few minutes work.

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