There are many delusions that I see tossed around as advice in the infinitum of an echo chamber that is the Amazon seller space. Most days I just shake my head and continue to sip my tea, doing what I can as a counter voice to a lot of the bullshit.
Then there are the other days where I see something so pervasive that I feel like I need to be the lifeguard in the pool to keep people from drowning themselves – THIS is one of “those days”. Someone needs to intervene or you are going to swallow so much of the bullshit flavored Kool-Aid that you are going to black out and wake up on the sidelines with a bad taste in your mouth from the whole experience.
You see, it is very easy to fall into the private label trap as pitched on YT and the various groups and invest thousands of dollars into a single product based purely on speculation and with ZERO business experience. What usually happens is that most sellers end up with the icy shower of reality that well-meaning speculation won’t work for shit in the real world.
The Private Label Dream Delusion
It usually goes something like this:
You don’t like the life you wake into each morning and seek an escape. You have reached an impasse on the inside and hear about this “opportunity” on Amazon from YT or somewhere else and start listening. The gimmick is that the people talking about it make it seem so easy, and that is where you develop a liking for eating bullshit.
As humans, whenever we reach an impasse we are vulnerable to being persuaded by anyone that can offer that greatest of all gifts we can bestow upon our fellow man…HOPE. Your brain follows the logic that a few of the voices talk about but you listen only to feed your confirmation bias because in reality once you’ve gotten to your second or third video on the subject, you’ve already decided that you ARE going to do this.
So you go for it. You invest in buying inventory. You ship it to an FBA fulfillment center, and you begin shipping it out to your customers with a label on it. The dream of telling your boss to shove it flashes as a dopamine tidal wave in your mind’s eye as you feed your self delusion that with the notion of “it can’t be that hard”. In reality you are talking of trading one job for one that is much harder – and without a real plan at that.
Then the silence sets in. You burn cash in an attempt at blind advertising and then resort to that commonality of desperation – giveaway gimmicks. What’s even worse is that for a great majority of you, this is the plan from the beginning, which is both tragic and predictable.
“If only I can drop my pants and do whatever is necessary to get to page one!!!” What you missed is that while you can certainly make money being on the front page of America’s largest flea market of untested wares, you followed the same cow path that everyone else is taking. That leaves you competing only on the premise of who has the biggest wallet and the pain tolerance to absorb buying traction for keywords on the Amazon platform. You’ll do that for what – maybe 10 keywords if you can absorb it. Whereas a brand with a proper website can rank for THOUSANDS and get paid to to it.
And for some reason, you all seem to do it.
You think that all you have to do to create a brand is design a fancy logo and come up with a cool name that you’ll imprint on your products.
In reality, you don’t “own” shit. You are a dropshipper – with stickers. There is nothing wrong with that if it is what you are going for…but you sure as hell don’t have a brand.
The Three Essentials to a Brand
For a brand, at a minimum, you need the “three C’s”.
1. Content: You need to have content that has a personality, or specific message. This message needs to be consistent throughout all of your marketing material. Consider a company like HiSmile, Aston Martin, Lulemon Athletica, etc. to emulate. They all draw a certain type of customer because they post content about that type of lifestyle. You can’t attract your fellow freaks if they don’t know you’re freaky.
2. Community: Your customers should be a raving community of advocates that will recommend your product to their mother, father, and dog. Use FB groups or other social channels where customers share their results with their products, and support each other. People need inclusion and if you can give your weirdos a place to talk to their fellow weirdos you’ve done huge things for your bottom line.
3. Customer Experience: You must deliver an incredible experience, right from clicking on that first ad, to receiving and unpacking the product, to the support that comes well after the sale. Think Apple.
In other words, “owning a brand” has a feeling that is cultivated to associate with the name and company as well as a base of people that can be repeatedly sold without having to advertise for new business.
Branding = building a backend and completely obsessing over customer retention, not putting your sticker from Fiver on a box and having a generic website.
Sell the lifestyle, build a tribe, treat them better than their families do, and they will not only buy your shit over and over again but they will help you sell it too.