As an experienced Amazon seller, I‘ve seen many new sellers make preventable mistakes that end up costing them time and money. Based on my expertise helping FBA sellers optimize their businesses, these are the top 5 errors to avoid as a newbie:
- Using the Wrong Account Type
- Incorrect Pricing
- Violating Amazon‘s Terms
- Overordering Inventory
- Neglecting Listing Optimization
In this comprehensive 2300+ word guide, I‘ll explain these key mistakes in detail and provide tips to help you successfully avoid them. By learning from the common pitfalls, you can set your Amazon FBA business up for long-term success.
Leveraging Amazon FBA for Business Growth
Before diving into the mistakes, let‘s quickly go over the core benefits of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This will help us understand why it‘s an attractive option for new ecommerce entrepreneurs.
As an experienced Amazon seller myself, I always recommend new sellers consider FBA for their business. Amazon handles the storage, packing, and shipping of your products when customers place orders.
This makes the fulfillment process seamless so you can focus on other vital parts of your business like product research, branding, and content marketing.
According to Amazon, FBA can help sellers reach 300 million global customers, scale quickly during peak seasons, and qualify for Prime free shipping.
Their 2021 annual report found almost 60% of units sold on Amazon worldwide were FBA products.
Other key advantages include:
- Expanded audience – Instant access to Amazon‘s millions of loyal customers.
- Better customer experience – Faster shipping drives more sales and satisfaction.
- Hands-off returns – Amazon manages all customer returns and refunds.
- Growth opportunities – Eligibility for branded shipping programs like Amazon Prime.
Clearly, FBA provides immense opportunity for new ecommerce businesses to scale successfully with Amazon‘s built-in perks.
However, to fully capitalize on FBA, you must avoid these common mistakes from the start.
Mistake #1 – Using the Wrong Account Type
When first setting up your seller account, one of the initial decisions you‘ll make is selecting either a Professional or Individual account. This choice can impact your future business growth.
Many new sellers default to an Individual account because it‘s quicker and easier to open. You provide some personal info and tax details and you‘re good to go.
However, Individual accounts have a major limitation – you can only sell 40 items per month. This arbitrary cap will quickly constrain your inventory expansion.
Here are some other key drawbacks of using an Individual account:
- Requires personal info like Social Security Number
- Lower monthly fees but caps on revenue potential
- No access to special selling partner programs or perks
- Difficult to transition to a Professional account later
Meanwhile, Professional accounts allow unlimited product listings and provide more features to grow a serious business.
- Better suits officially registered businesses
- Higher monthly fees but unlimited earning potential
- Access to exclusive tools, discounts, and support
According to Jungle Scout, over 70% of Amazon sellers use a Professional account. As you can see, it‘s much more suited for sellers planning to grow large inventories long-term.
Tip: Carefully consider your business‘ projected size and product catalog before selecting a seller account type. Opting for a Professional account from the start allows endless growth on Amazon.
Mistake #2 – Incorrect Pricing
Finding the optimal price point is part art, part science. Pricing errors are some of the most common mistakes new FBA sellers make.
There are two key pitfalls to avoid:
Pricing Too Low
When launching a new product, it‘s tempting to undercut competitors with the lowest price. However, this reduces your margins and limits profitability.
As a rule of thumb, make sure to price your items at 2-3X the manufacturing cost. This covers your other expenses like:
- Amazon seller fees – referral, shipping, storage, etc. These average 30% of the sale price.
- Shipping costs – What you pay to get products to Amazon.
- Taxes, software, marketing expenses.
Price competitively but leave room for healthy margins. Otherwise, you leave money on the table.
Pricing Too High
On the flip side, don‘t get overly greedy with pricing. If customers can find a substantially lower price from other sellers, they will buy elsewhere.
Regularly research competitor prices using tools like Jungle Scout‘s Product Tracker. Identify the median price range for items in your niche.
Price within this sweet spot between maximizing profit and remaining competitive. Periodically reassess and adjust.
Tip: Budget time to thoroughly calculate your expenses and research competitor pricing when launching a new product. Find the optimal balance between margins and competition.
Mistake #3 – Violating Amazon‘s Terms
As an experienced seller, I can‘t stress enough how vitally important it is to fully understand and comply with Amazon‘s policies. Even minor violations can get your account suspended.
Amazon has a extensive and evolving list of Terms of Service and Seller Code of Conduct rules. Read through them in detail and keep up to date on changes.
Some common terms sellers unknowingly break include:
- Manipulating reviews – Never offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews. This can lead to irreversible account suspension.
- Misrepresenting products – Listing details must be 100% accurate. No exaggerated claims or fake branding.
- Poor performance metrics – Amazon enforces standards for order defect rate, on-time shipments, and more.
I recommend contacting an account specialist to review your listings and processes to catch any policy violations. An expert second set of eyes provides peace of mind.
The bottom line – Amazon‘s policies protect customers and uphold standards. View compliance as an essential part of running an ethical business.
Tip: Thoroughly educate yourself on Amazon‘s terms and find a specialist to help audit your account. Proactively staying compliant will save you headaches down the road.
Mistake #4 – Overordering Inventory
Another common error new sellers make is letting enthusiasm drive inventory decisions. It‘s tempting to order aggressive quantities of a hot new product. However, restraint early on helps avoid potential losses.
When first launching a product, order small test batches of 100-500 units. As you gauge sales velocity, you can gradually increase future stock. But starting conservative reduces risk.
Oversupplying inventory leads to profit-draining issues like:
- Excess storage fees – Amazon charges monthly inventory storage fees that add up quickly.
- Cash flow problems – Having too much capital tied up in unsold stock can hurt cash flow.
- Markdown losses – If items don‘t sell, you may have to liquidate stock at a loss.
According to Jungle Scout, ~20% of FBA sellers stock more than needed to meet demand. Avoid tying up capital in excess inventory.
Tip: Carefully monitor sales data and increase inventory incrementally. Patience early on helps avoid overstocking losses.
Mistake #5 – Neglecting Listing Optimization
Creating a quick product listing is easy. But optimizing listings is one of the most crucial activities for sales success.
Listings serve as your digital salespeople. You want them to put your products‘ best foot forward.
Make sure to:
- Pick targeted keywords – Research keywords with high search volume and low competition. Include them strategically in your listing title, bullets, and description.
- Write compelling copy – Focus on benefits, details, and what makes your product unique. Strong copy instills buyer confidence.
- Use high-quality photos – Show your product from multiple angles. Invest in professional product photography if possible.
- Include enhanced content – Features like demonstration videos and comparison charts boost conversion rates.
Optimizing listings definitely takes time upfront. But it‘s one of the highest ROI activities you can do. Well-crafted listings drive more clicks and sales over the lifetime of a product.
Tip: Don‘t take shortcuts with product listings. Optimization helps you stand out against the competition. Use tools and professional help if needed.
Additional Tips from an Amazon Pro
Beyond just avoiding common mistakes, success on Amazon also requires diligently working on your business.
Here are some additional tips based on my experience managing 7-figure Amazon brands:
- Reply to customers quickly – Set up alerts and respond to questions within 12-24 hours to provide excellent service. This builds your brand and gets reviews.
- Analyze data religiously – Use reports to gain insights about peak sales times, opportunities to improve listings, etc. Data should drive your decisions.
- Promote strategically – Use advertising like Amazon DSP, coupons, giveaways and early reviewer programs to profitably scale.
- Continuously optimize – Treat optimization as an ongoing process. Continually test and refine listings, prices, promotions etc.
The overarching keys are persistence, savvy use of tools, and leveraging Amazon‘s built-in audiences. By avoiding common mistakes and running your business intelligently, FBA success can be yours.
The Key Ingredient is Proper Preparation
As a new seller, the sheer size and complexity of Amazon can be daunting. But like any business endeavor, proper preparation prevents poor performance.
The key is laying the right groundwork early. Carefully plan your account setup, product selection, inventory volumes, processes, and marketing. Learn from those who have gone before you.
Patience and persistence will also serve you well in avoiding missteps on your journey. Rome wasn‘t built in a day and neither is an Amazon FBA business. But with the right information and mindset now, you can build something with lasting value.
I hope this guide provided you a detailed overview of mistakes new sellers often make, and how to sidestep them from the start. Please reach out if you need any assistance getting your FBA business off the ground correctly. I‘m always happy to help new sellers set themselves up for success.