26: Life After Crowdfunding: Amazon & Jungle Scout
In this episode, we have a wonderful guest—Greg Mercer, who is the founder of Jungle Scout. We’re going to discuss how tools like Jungle Scout can give you an edge over your competition on Amazon.
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1. Pursue your passions for work, as long as you can earn a living from them—and, after you’ve achieved financial stability, you can focus more on working for fun than for profit.
2. Entrepreneurship requires persistence despite failure, and benefits from a mentality of both abundance and generosity.
3. Amazon is poised to continue leading its industry for the foreseeable future, and has increasingly favored third-party sellers.
4. Jungle Scout aids Amazon sellers with tools like referrals to experts, comparisons of how well specific products are selling, intelligence on foreign manufacturers, and research about listing keywords.
5. Offering new products is the best way to keep your Amazon business growing, as optimizing Amazon listings boosts sales but also yields diminishing returns.
[01:26] Thomas introduces Greg Mercer, who transitioned from civil engineering to Amazon selling, offering a growing range of products for which he optimized their listings, then developed tools through Jungle Scout for fellow Amazon sellers, and now earns over $10 million per year.
[04:30] Greg notes that the best way to grow one’s business by launching new products, since listing optimization brings diminishing returns.
[04:57] Thomas notes that it’s challenging to evaluate products, and Greg states that about 80% of his products succeed.
[07:04] Greg elaborates his fears about transitioning away from profitable Amazon selling to start Jungle Scout, which fears were overcome by his desire to regain what he initially enjoyed about Amazon selling, which was to learn new skills and to face new challenges.
[10:56] Thomas and Greg observe that it’s normal for entrepreneurs to focus initial business activity on maximizing revenue and, after financial stability comes, increasingly work for fun.
[12:17] Thomas and Greg agree about maintaining an abundance mentality over a scarcity mentality, and Greg adds that generosity is generally good for business.
[13:44] Greg explains how his Jungle Scout web browser extension estimates how well some Amazon products are selling relative to others.
[16:23] Greg overviews his Keyword Scout tool to assist Amazon sellers with keyword research.
[16:43] Greg previews his supplier database that helps to identify foreign manufacturers, although some big manufacturers hide behind shell companies.
[22:03] Greg asserts that successful entrepreneurship requires a great ability to persist despite enduring failures that might discourage others.
[25:14] Greg observes that Amazon’s competitors are not poised to overtake Amazon anytime soon, especially due to Amazon’s fulfillment network, and that Amazon has increasingly favored third-party sellers over time.
[30:31] Greg remarks that Jungle Scout is guided by what would be most helpful to Amazon sellers, even if certain services like connecting sellers with experts is mildly unprofitable, believing that his customers’ success will result in his success.
[34:07] Greg promotes Jungle Scout’s free educational content on YouTube, its blog, and elsewhere, which Thomas endorses.
Thomas Alvord: (00:00) Funded Today nation welcome back to the Funded Today podcast. Last time we spoke about “How to make big money on Amazon”. We covered some of the most important fundamentals to being successful on Amazon. If you’re doing anything on Amazon or are thinking about going to Amazon make sure to check that one out. Today we have a wonderful guest Greg Mercer who is the Founder of Jungle Scout. We’re going to discuss how tools like Jungle Scout can give you an edge over your competition on Amazon.
Announcer: (00:31) The Funded Today podcast is hosted by World Renowned Entrepreneurs and Business Experts Thomas Alvord and Zach Smith. To get a help of your next big business idea or to take your business to the next level go to fundedtoday.com.
Thomas Alvord: (00:45) Welcome back I’m Thomas Alvord. Today I have Greg Mercer from Jungle Scout with me, welcome Greg.
Greg Mercer: (00:52) Thomas thank you very much for having me on, I’m excited to chat with you.
Thomas Alvord: (00:57) And I’m excited to chat with you as well. As a brief recap in our last episode we discussed some of the most important aspects to optimize, to really get your Amazon Listing off the ground and generating revenue. Give it a listing because understanding the fundamentals of Amazon are critical, now let’s get into today’s show. Greg you have a very fascinating background, how long have you been working with Amazon, Amazon Listings 10 years?
Greg Mercer: (01:24) I think I started in 2011 or 2012 so seven, eight years.
Thomas Alvord: (01:29) Okay almost there at the 10 year mark. So how did you get into Amazon?
Greg Mercer: (01:33) Great question. So if we rewind I went to college to be a Civil Engineer didn’t know what I want to do with my life, got a job as a Civil Engineer and quickly found out I wasn’t very happy with it, I wasn’t very fulfilled, my whole life had this strong entrepreneurial spirit and sitting in my cubicle writing engineering reports I found jerks weren’t for me. So I was literally I think was just Googling like how to make money online, how to start a business, what to sell etcetera, etcetera and through that found out about selling on Amazon, FBA was starting to take off and as a result now Amazon would store and ship your goods for you and that’s really how all started I started off by launching a couple of products on Amazon and kind of the rest is history.
Thomas Alvord: (02:20) Interesting I don’t know if you know my background I was in Law School and my brothers had a company and they were making money in their sleep just with Google AdWords running and so in Law School I started learning online marketing because I thought “Man this is amazing” and so I wasn’t planning on getting into internet marketing either but it’s kind of just what has happened to me I guess it’s kind of the route I’ve taken so it's kind of fun to hear somebody else. And I kind of look back and think “Man I should have went and studied marketing in school” but at the same time seems like a lot of that’s theory whereas a lot of what really matters is the hands on and I imagine that’s what you got experience doing, if I understand correctly you do over $10 million with your different listings and products that you’ve launched on Amazon?
Greg Mercer: (03:08) Last year so 2018 was right around that number, over the years I kind of like continued to grow it and say up until last year now the majority of my focus is on Jungle Scout the software produce as supposed to my Amazon business so I still do run my Amazon business, it still kind of like keeps me in the game, it kind of like what’s happening and what’s working but there is a team to kind of like help and do all the majority of the day-to-day type stuff there so yes if I were to give you a little bit more of an intro about name for those of you who aren’t familiar after I launched a few products on Amazon started to pick up a little bit of success with it, I then quit my job as a Civil Engineer, my wife and I actually sold all of her belongings including her house and her cars and all her stuff and we started traveling around the world and we actually were like full-time just nomads for three years, we had no home, we had no possessions and I was just running this business remotely from different countries all around the world working on this and through that time I was able to continue to grow the business, reinvest in it that led me to what is Jungle Scout today because I the hardest part for me to grow the business was finding new products to launch on Amazon so it’s really like the best way to grow your Amazon business is to just launch more products what I found it was kind of like there gets to be a little bit of a diminishing return with listing optimizations once you get it to a certain point so after that some listeners might listen to this and think like “Man like how do you get to $10 million in a year in sales” or what have you or what they may think of us as a large number and it’s ultimately just repeating the same process of continuing to launch more products.
Thomas Alvord: (04:46) That’s really interesting as we have been analyzing and working with some of the different listings internally in our company we’ve discussed and I’m curious your thought or input is sometimes we will have a product that we think will do really well and it simply doesn’t work and then you have some obscure product right and we’re not coming and creating our own products right these are clients that are coming to us we’re doing the listing optimization, the photography right the whole works. But sometimes you can’t really tell, you don’t really know until you bring it to the market, you can have an idea right especially with some of your tools to see okay how much search volume, how much revenue the competitors are getting but sometimes we get these products that it kind of out of left field it catches us by surprise and we’re like “Man we never thought this product would do so well but it’s doing bookoo bucks” have you found that with your products?
Greg Mercer: (05:42) In general yes I would say I would still new launch new products that’s in the past like year or two I probably have a around like an 80% success rate choosing new products and launching it, the other 20% I end up not reordering because I found that either they are getting better views or the sales work is what I expected where there is too much like kind of like a price we’re going on and the margins just aren’t there so yes even though I have like lot of data to really help me make these decisions about what’s going to do well or what’s not going to do well 20% of the time they still kind of turn into failures.
Thomas Alvord: (06:16) Yes and that’s actually an amazing batting average if you’re talking about business 80% right?
Greg Mercer: (06:21) Yes that is true.
Thomas Alvord: (06:23) I mean most businesses are going to fail that’s the reality right most businesses are going to fail and the problem I think with entrepreneurs is we always love our idea, our product and so we don’t think it’s going to fail right, we don’t see that otherwise we wouldn’t even be pursuing it in the first place. And obviously right you have the process and that’s what you teach at Jungle Scout and a lot of the stuff you have for free on YouTube videos and podcast.
Greg Mercer: (06:50) Yes we do, we have tons of free educational consent around it.
Thomas Alvord: (06:53) I want to dive a little bit into how you launch Jungle Scout or why you made that transition right, because it seems like people listening might wonder or even myself if you’re doing almost $10 million or so in gross revenue a year on Amazon I would think “Man that’s an amazing business, I’m just going to stick with that growth” the team keep doing this but you pivoted in a way right, it’s kind of a natural extension of what you were doing already it’s in the same niche in the same market but I’m just curious why Jungle Scout and why not simply continue to pursue what you were doing before.
Greg Mercer: (07:36) Great question, I’m glad you asked it because that’s something I battled with for a long time. I launched Jungle Scout in February of 2015 so about four years ago now and really for the first six to 12 months that was kind of like the constant battle I was having in my head, I was thinking like I’m pretty good at this Amazon thing like there is no real ceiling inside what I’m doing is kind of like repeatable and scalable I can continue to launch more products cash flow was an issue but I knew I would be able to take out like loans to purchase more inventory if I needed to do so, I was confident I will be able to grow the team so I was like this Jungle Scout thing I launched this Chrome Extension it’s starting to pick up a little bit of traction but what if it’s just like a distraction, what if this is something that doesn’t really paying off to be anything and then a few years I was looking back and this will be like “Dude you should have just focused on your Amazon business” you know you are doing that you already had a business that was working. During that time though the little bit of the mental shift that I had was I realized that I kind of was earning enough money from this business that no longer was I making decisions purely of financial motives, so if I’m being honest with myself my first few years in business pretty much all the decisions I was making were just purely financial at the time I was worried that this business would fail the next day and I was going back go back to get the job and that was like always the thing scaring me or I was worried about this or that or the other thing and or how long this Amazon thing is going to last I didn’t know so as a rule I was just kind of trying to make as much money as I could from it in like a short period of time. And then once I kind of like got to a certain level I don’t know where is that but I kind of stopped having those fears I was like okay we’re like even if it all disappeared tomorrow which I think all entrepreneurs always think it will even though it never does.
Thomas Alvord: (09:26) That is so true because.
Greg Mercer: (09:29) Yes that is true isn’t it.
Thomas Alvord: (09:29) Well and it seems like you might be in a market that decline but it’s not just going to end the next day right I think overnight --.
Greg Mercer: (09:36) Exactly they never disappear overnight right, so I think once I made that mental shift then I started to think about like okay like how do I really want to spend my days what is the most fun way for me to spend the days what about like hop out of bed and being most excited about and at that point the selling on Amazon wasn’t quite as exciting to me anymore I had launched dozens and dozens of products it was a repeatable thing like I had built out SOPs and I can give them to someone else and they kind of repeat the same thing so like the challenge wasn’t there and I’m wasn’t really learning very much anymore and what I started to realize is like those are some of the things that really brings me a lot of joy having like new challenges and learning new skill sets I wasn’t familiar with before and I think once I made that mental shift that’s when I started to think like okay like the whole I have never created a software company like that sounds pretty fun, that sounds pretty challenging, I don’t know how to code I at least going to have to probably learn the basics in order to talk to developers, I’m not familiar with Internet marketing, I’m going to have to learn a lot of that to drive traffic to my site so it was all these skill sets that seemed kind of like new and exciting to me and that’s ultimately how I chose to make the transition.
Thomas Alvord: (10:46) That’s really interesting so you started with a financial motive right which makes sense you are not doing it just for pleasure or for fun or for charity you’re doing it because this is your job but then once you kind of had yourself grounded it was stable, it was bringing in the revenue doing it again and again and again it was just monotonous, it was boring so you wanted to go on to bigger and greener pastures you could say learn have new experiences for learning and so Jungle Scout was the avenue to do that.
Greg Mercer: (11:22) Yes that’s exactly right and after talking to a lot of entrepreneurs just like I know you have Thomas I think this is actually something that happens quite often with entrepreneurs like I’ll sometime see people like write in the comment section like for our YouTube videos like why would you be giving out all these information for free, why you’re going to teach people these are your secrets like whatever else and when you’re kind of like just getting started like just trying to make those first few dollars or whatever amount of money makes you feel like kind of secure and comfortable with it it’s hard for you to think that people choose to do things that are kind of like work related because that’s what brings them the most amount of joy I mean there are still I kind of have like this like limited thinking about just how could you make the most amount of money essentially.
Thomas Alvord: (12:07) And what’s interesting too right there is people who talk about the disruptive innovation where you actually give up your own market and Amazon so big right you teaching this isn’t like really going to hurt what you’re doing because the market is just so massive.
Greg Mercer: (12:26) Right.
Thomas Alvord: (12:27) But it’s also seeing I think well because other people might look at why are you giving this up but I think that’s also having a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance mentality right and so.
Greg Mercer: (12:40) That’s exactly right.
Thomas Alvord: (12:41) And that’s another thing I think with a lot of success for entrepreneurs they have a mentality of abundance right and I think from the outset that’s why they go and they pursue new businesses because they believe there is an abundance and that they will be able to tap into that and reap rewards from that whereas people who have a scarcity mindset I don’t know if they have a go to launch a business so and that’s really interesting.
Greg Mercer: (13:07) One of the kind of funny things about that Thomas so to add to that is and then it kind of turns out having more like an abundance mindset more of like a giving mindset usually ends up being better for business as well you know what I mean so then it’s like once you kind of have that mindset like your thinking is like to give, give, give like give to the community give that free training all these different types of things that it’s actually usually a good business play too but people without that abundance mindset it’s really hard for them to do.
Thomas Alvord: (13:35) Yes so what was the first tool that you went and built with Jungle Scout and why?
Greg Mercer: (13:44) The first tool is the Jungle Scout Extension so those listeners to the podcast who aren’t familiar with Jungle Scout what the Jungle Scout Extension is it’s a -- like a Chrome Plugin and you can visit Amazon once you’ve installed it you click this little Chrome Extension you see like a little pop-up and in that pop-up it gives you a whole bunch of information that lets you know a better idea about different factors kind of like of that opportunity of that niche including how many units each of the listings are selling on the say like a monthly basis. So this was pretty, it was very innovative at the time in February of 2015 when I launched this thing because prior to that no one had any idea how well any product on Amazon was selling, so all of a sudden I release this Chrome Extension I’m exposing how well all the products on Amazon are selling and now instead of people just kind of guessing what selling will they can actually see the hard numbers so that was the first product and it took off pretty quickly because of that.
Thomas Alvord: (14:50) And you are using different data points that Amazon Best Seller rank to estimate right, these aren’t the exact numbers but estimates about what they’re selling or what a listing or product is selling?
Greg Mercer: (15:04) That’s correct we here at Jungle Scout have a Data Science Team and that’s actually their sole job is to figure out how to build the algorithms to estimate how well these products are selling on Amazon we just finished a case study about this comparing like Jungle Scout’s estimates versus a lot of the new entries like the Jungle Scout Copycats our median air percentage was 15%, so that’s a good way to kind of think about it so these are exact sales numbers but if we are estimating at selling a 100 units per month it’s really somewhere between like 85% to 115% kind of like on an average so it gets you in the pretty close ballpark, these aren’t going to be exact numbers by any means but that’s close enough that you can make well educated decisions about kind of what’s selling well and gets you think about what types of products you do also.
Thomas Alvord: (15:56) And we use Jungle Scout internally as well with some other tools and it really is a powerful tool to help you gauge what your revenue might look like as well as some of the other tools you have to gauge some of the competition and see where you will need to rank now you also have a keyword tool right.
Greg Mercer: (16:16) Yes we do, so inside of the other Jungle Scout product or Web Application there is a tool called Keyword Scout that is very powerful for doing keyword research as well as having an understanding about exact or broad matched search volumes for all those respective keywords.
Thomas Alvord: (16:33) Now what would you say in terms of what people are wanting or what you’re currently working on, what are some of the things down the road that you’re currently working on or that you’re thinking “Oh maybe a year or two down the road we’re going to have this tool or those kind of the core tools” and that’s just a.
Greg Mercer: (16:52) Alright good question. So we actually have a lot of other tools as well as lot of the things that we’re working on. One of the things that I’m most excited about and I think actually when this podcast is going to be released we will just launch this feature but it is the Supplier Database and that’s going to be inside of the Jungle Scout Web App and let me tell you a little bit more about it and why it’s innovative and very exciting. Really for anyone in e-commerce not just Amazon sellers but what we have done is we’ve taken import trade records okay so whenever you import something into the US you have to fill some paperwork you give it to the government and then through The Freedom of Information Act we can actually get those different documents from the Government and we’ve structured those inside of our database in such a way that they’re easy to search and filter through and those are useful for a number of reasons one you could just search for your type of product and see what factories around the world not just in China but all around the world are making that type of product but my favorite way to use it is actually to figure out what factories your either competitors or say like the best sellers are using. So I can go on Amazon I can find let’s use I saw Marshmello 6.0 as an example I can find the highest rated Marshmallow Sticks, I can find that company’s legal name and then I can search through the import records to see what supplier or factory they’re using to manufacture those Marshmallow Sticks, so it’s super cool and a great way to find high quality factories.
Thomas Alvord: (18:23) That’s awesome just maybe three or four years ago I was talking with a friend of mine and his background is doing imports I think he is been in the business for 20, 30 years and I wasn’t familiar with and he was explaining what you’re sharing with me and all the listeners right now which is incredibly valuable information because you can then figure out how it’s a source product from manufacturers that are more likely to be reliable now is that always going to have the data let’s say somebody manufactures domestically in the United States.
Greg Mercer: (19:00) Great question no, these are import records, these are only going to be goods that are manufactured in another country and imported into the US and to your point Thomas I have met some people without work let’s say like at Walmart and for Amazon Basics and a few of these other big companies and I quickly realize I was like these guys aren’t using like Alibaba or Global Sources or whatever else right this is like the primary way that they find factories as using like this trade data and then of course the big companies also have some agents kind of like on the ground in these different countries as well but yes like really up until now it’s kind of been a little bit restricted to the Big Boys, if you’re buying the data or if you’re getting the data directly from the Government they charge tens of thousands of dollars there are some other services out there that provided however they’re kind of like built for these big companies right, so the one that I was using I was paying $800 a month which is pretty expensive for average Amazon seller whereas we’ve taken all these, we’ve organized it much better and then even with your (inaudible 0:20:01) month subscription for JungleScout you can access it so I think it’s kind of be like a game changer in the Amazon Space.
Thomas Alvord: (20:08) That’s absolutely incredible and if anyone doesn’t understand how significant it is well its not significant that’s incredible, that is a game changer, a huge game changer. Now I heard that some large companies they have a way to hide or not disclose or have a different name for who the manufacture is or something so you can’t get that data.
Greg Mercer: (20:34) Yes that’s right. The -- some of the really big companies they know that you can’t get this data through The Freedom of Information Act so what they do is they essentially just bill, they just create like a Shell company in Hong Kong or wherever else and they make their shell company the like exporter on record and set up the supplier the factory themselves so it’s not a perfect system by any means but just in my experience it seems like probably for 90% or more of the time I can find the actual supplier that are using and I noticed you can have been playing with it for the past few weeks you’ve been testing it and I mean there are still tons and tons of records for a lot of these big companies that I know do have their shell companies also if you just do like Amazon and Walmart and whoever else right like Patagonia, North Face you can start -- a lot of those you can still see other factories so it’s pretty cool and then your normal Amazon seller if you’re just trying to take their factory I doubt there’s like any Amazon seller with their small businesses that go through the hassle of creating a.
Thomas Alvord: (21:37) High they’re manufacturing yes.
Greg Mercer: (21:37) Right exactly.
Thomas Alvord: (21:43) And when is that coming out, end of Q1 of 2019 or.
Greg Mercer: (21:47) March 26 is going to be released.
Thomas Alvord: (21:51) Yes it’s -- live that’s awesome. Now I want to talk just in terms of entrepreneurship and starting a business some what would you say are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in launching a business, inhibiting and building a team, motivating employees etcetera.
Greg Mercer: (22:15) I’ve learned, I’ve made a lot of, lot of mistakes learned a lot of lessons I’m trying to think of those which I kind of most valuable for those of you who listen to this podcast right now. And in the early days some of the best advice I have and a lot of people who listen to this are probably kind of like thinking about starting their business are kind of like young entrepreneurs is getting start up and I would hear or read or whatever else like entrepreneurialships like primarily like a mental game when I was just getting started I was like Oh man that’s BS like I just want to know like ordering this product on Amazon or how did you do this or like I was just looking for like purely tactics and over the years I realized that the people told me that we’re right and the fact that you’re going to hit a lot of challenges and road bombs along the way and you’re going to get really discouraged and that’s going to happen often and when I meet successful entrepreneurs I think one thing that they all have in common is that they’re all able to kind of like power through those things and the people that usually end up failing or giving up or whatever else they’re just not quite able to really just kind of like the mental stamina, it’s a kind of like power through those because it just feels like you’re getting knocked down like every other week like “Oh this guy is a hijacker on my listing, oh Amazon lost my inventory, oh you know like this happened whatever other thing happened in the business” and it’s really important to just continue to power through these things and just understand that a lot of these challenges will -- I mean this is part of being an entrepreneur is not that easy otherwise everyone will do it but if you are able to power through that it’s very rewarding I would highly recommend everyone tries.
Thomas Alvord: (23:57) So what’s the mental stamina.
Greg Mercer: (23:59) I think so, I think that’s the biggest mindset or I think it’s like the biggest step I can give for everyone listening to this I can give you a lot more tactical step too but that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
Thomas Alvord: (24:10) Yes I know that that’s great. One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford where he says and the listeners have heard this before “Whether you think you can or you can’t you’re probably right” and so I’ve also had other people that I’ve consulted with who for literally for 10 years they’ve been thinking about launching their business and they don’t do anything they’re like no I’m not ready I need this, I need that it’s like “Dude you need to just go out to five businesses tomorrow and pitch him” I don’t care if you don’t have anything just get going because you’re never going to know how the market is going to respond, you never going to know if it’s going to work or not you just have to go it’s the hard-knock life but it’s also the life where you can have substantial success too and so I really like that “it’s that mental fortitude that mental stamina”.
Greg Mercer: (25:03) Yes I like that quote a lot.
Thomas Alvord: (25:06) Now where do you see you’ve been with Amazon kind of in the nitty-gritty for seven, eight years it sounds like. How do you see the Amazon Ecosystem continuing to develop as well as Amazon continuing to develop, where do you see things being in five to 10 years from now both from Amazon as well as like the Ecosystem.
Greg Mercer: (25:30) Yes so looking into my crystal ball of course it’s only my opinion but I have recognized a number of trends let’s start biggest picture here like Amazon the market players as a whole, I just don’t see any other market players catching up with them anytime soon, I just read this very in depth data driven case study our white paper a couple of weeks ago essentially about like the success of Walmart and Jet and Target and Google Shopping and lot of the other marketplaces that are trying to gun for Amazon or should I say lack of success because in 2018 Jet went from like something crazy like 40 million visitors a month by the end of the last year down to like 15 million or something like that so just in one year like they really died a lot like after the Walmart acquisition, Walmart doesn’t seem to be doing very well, it doesn’t seem like Google is able to capture that so one of the things that Amazon was really smart of doing is just like really focusing on this Fulfillment Network throughout the US because that builds like a really nice mode around their business and I just can’t, I just don’t see anyone catching up to that like in the next five years or it’s just kind of like no one even really close right now. So I think Amazon is definitely going to continue to seed for the foreseeable future. One of the other things that I found pretty fascinating is we follow lot of like the market trend data because it kind of helps us drive our overall strategy and Amazon is also shifting more towards a marketplace and selling through their 3 P sellers versus like vendors themselves on the 1 P side so a few years ago I was actually kind of worried about like “Oh man like is Amazon they started to release their private label product, so oh man is Amazon just going to turn into are they at some point going to try to kick all these third-party sellers off their platform” a few years ago I would have been worried about that and now it’s really fascinating to see that they’ve decided to do the other thing, they’ve decided to stop selling a lot of these products themselves you might have seen the news in the past couple of months that they have stopped placing purchase orders for a lot of their vendors that they have through Vendor Central and Vendor Express I think they actually killed the Vendor Express Program but they stopped placing all the purchase orders and they made a number of other moves that has indicated to us that they are more focused on the third-party sellers and if you think about it actually does make sense they’re guaranteed a 15% commission roughly depending on the category, they don’t have to put in any capital front or take out any risk of what might sell or what might not sell well and their third-party ecosystem is strong enough that they can still have or it’s even better for them to even create like a bigger catalog for their end user, so that’s kind of a fascinating trend that they’re trending more towards a just as a pure marketplace versus selling the goods themselves sounds pretty interesting.
Thomas Alvord: (28:38) And to clarify for those who might not be familiar Greg the Vendor Central is one of their platform where businesses sell their product wholesale to Amazon and then Amazon is doing everything else. They’re running the ad, they’re selling the product, they’re handling the customer support everything whereas the Seller Central is this third-party seller where you can just logon, you can list your product and you can sell it and then you’re just selling it and to the consumer and Amazon is not buying it wholesale from you right.
Greg Mercer: (29:16) Right thanks for clarifying that Thomas. Yes I was actually kind of surprised to learn that a lot of actually just shoppers on Amazon don’t even realize it’s a marketplace, they think that they’re just buying all these products directly from Amazon where more often they’re not I think it was like 55% of the time right now they’re actually coming from third-party sellers.
Thomas Alvord: (29:35)` And to clarify too and you mentioned this earlier and these acronyms are familiar to us but others who might not be familiar FBA Fulfillment By Amazon a lot of these third-party sellers aren’t Seller Central will send their product to Amazon they’re not selling it to Amazon they’re just sending it to Amazon’s warehouse and then Amazon is doing the shipping and fulfillment and that’s where you get the Amazon Prime and so in that sense it might look like Amazon is the one doing it all but it’s more just Amazon saying hey we’ll handle the shipping and handling for you and store the product in our warehouse and then they take some extra points or revenue on top of that as well but it still is just the Seller Central.
Greg Mercer: (30:21) Yes great clarification.
Thomas Alvord: (30:23) Where do you see Jungle Scout going in five or 10 years.
Greg Mercer: (30:26) Fantastic question. This crystal ball is not quite as clear to me our mission is to “empower and inspire” by our Amazon sellers and who is like be their business partner and everything that they are doing and that’s what drives a lot of our decision making here at Jungle Scout so we are solely focused on the Amazon Channel so I don’t foresee us going multichannel or focusing on any other channel really ever but at least for the foreseeable future then beyond that like the only kind of like the no store that’s guiding our decision making is what can we do that’s most helpful for Amazon sellers so we set company metrics and those are the things that everyone’s kind of like rallying around and that we’re all pushing every day to improve on and there is two company metrics that we’re managing is the number of sellers who launched their first product on Amazon that’s one of them and then the other metric is increasing the amount of revenue that’s kind of like managed in our systems and the way we look at that is the more we can do to help our customers do better on Amazon and build more successful businesses on Amazon the more that like will be successful as well so those are the things that we are like we are constantly measuring and that helps drive all our decision making so that means improvements to our tools, that means better education we like about a year ago we launched a marketplace so that our customers could find prevented Amazon experts to help them with their business that part of the business operates like a small loss, someone asked me why don’t we just kill us since we’re losing money on it I said you have to keep in mind like our broader mission is to help these Amazon sellers so even they were losing a little bit of money in this marketplace this is where our customers are going or even people who are in our customers but just our audience this is what they are going to hire service providers are likely to help them with their business as well.
Thomas Alvord: (32:23) And how is that because you take a percentage of all those transactions?
Greg Mercer: (32:27) Yes.
Thomas Alvord: (32:28) Or just in terms of the development cost and maintaining it and continuing to develop it based of where it’s out right now because that’s where you are sending.
Greg Mercer: (32:36) Yes that’s exactly right when you factor in you know we have a small team of developers that work on it, the product manager we’re driving pay traffic to the side all those different types of things it still loses pretty significant amount of money even compared to just like the commission we take off those sales.
Thomas Alvord: (32:52) Interesting you said something I really like and we have said this internally at Funded Today often is that focus on how we can get better results for our clients in our business we charge typically a percentage in terms of a Crowdfunding campaign a percentage of how much the overall campaign raises right if you’re running the marketing and so in that case doesn’t really matter what we are invoicing our focus has to be how can we generate greater results for our clients because they’re naturally by extension it means our invoice is going to be bigger and we’ll make more money and the pie is bigger and everybody wins. So I really like that those two metrics that you share are really focused on how are we helping other people and in kind of going back to what we talked about at the beginning of “Hey why are you giving away all these content for free” right it’s about how can you provide value to other people and if you do that then you don’t need to worry about the money, the money is going to come, you just need to figure out how you’re going to charge people but it will come because you’re providing that value.
Greg Mercer: (33:57) Yes I love it.
Thomas Alvord: (33:58) So any last comments Greg before we sign off here.
Greg Mercer: (34:04) My little last comment is I guess if you’re listening to this and you are interested in selling on Amazon or want to find out more about it like we mentioned a little bit earlier we have tons of free educational resources around it Jungle Scout’s really good YouTube channel we’re releasing a few videos per week and also if you just head over our site you will find the all the free resources section a few blog posts every week and whatever else so if you’re looking to either start your Amazon business or to continue to grow your Amazon business hopefully you can find a lot of our free educational content useful in doing so.
Thomas Alvord: (34:34) Wonderful and your content really is great.
Greg Mercer: (34:36) Thanks Thomas.
Thomas Alvord: (34:37) And so I can vouch for Jungle Scout content for Greg’s YouTube videos it is a great content and if it wasn’t we wouldn’t have had Greg with us so thanks so much for being with us Greg.
Greg Mercer: (34:49) Thank you for having me on.
Thomas Alvord: (34:51) Well that’s our show we talked about how you can use third-party tools like Jungle Scout to increase your revenue on Amazon and how to have an edge over your competition on Amazon. And next week we are going to talk about SLCRR it’s an acronym that we created internally at Funded Today and each letter obviously being an acronym represents a paradigm or a question where you can go and analyze your business and see how can you grow your business, I’ll give you a hint one of them we already talked about one of the R’s is how can you generate additional Revenue for the clients you are working with, because as you answer that question you will be able to grow your business and invoice more so SLCRR we have blog post about it and we’re super excited to really dive in, to really discuss this so that will be on our show next week you won’t want to miss it and remember don’t wait until tomorrow get Funded Today.
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References and Resources
- Wikipedia: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
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