E206: A Rundown of the Best Amazon ToolsDecember 17, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
Dave and I have been part of this industry long enough to have tried a number of strategies to grow our respective ecommerce businesses. Of course, this meant we had to use tools that are compatible with Amazon to develop new products, monitor reviews, and ultimately hit key business metrics.
That being said, we wanted to go through a handful of these and comment on them (or at least on the ones that we do use).
To make things easier, here are some of the ones we both personally use or have tested – organized into specific categories.
Related Reading: The Top 28 Best Amazon Tools
Product and Keyword Research
- AMZ Scout
- Jungle Scout
- Unicorn Smasher
Landing Page Generators
- Zipify Pages
- Zon Pages
Pricing and Repricing
- Repricer Express
We also have an article going out in conjunction with this podcast episode. There you’ll find more specific information for each of the Amazon tools that we mentioned, including pricing and freebies.
Registration to EcomCrew Premium is now closed. But, you can still learn from us through our suite of free courses. You’ll find a total of 20 videos covering ecommerce topics like Importing from China and Building a 7-Figure Business.
We’re also launching giveaway during the holidays so like and follow our Facebook page for the latest updates.
Finally, if you enjoyed listening and think this episode has been useful to you, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Intro: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 206 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/206 to get to the show notes for this episode. Today my trusty partner in crime Dave Bryant is back with me for another episode here. We’re going to be going over some tools for Amazon. We have 25 tools that we rounded up. It’s a blog post you can find at EcomCrew.com/tools and comment there or on EcomCrew.com/206 if you want to comment on the podcast show notes.
And we’re just going through category by category talking about the different apps whether or not Dave and I have used them before or the things that we’ve heard about them, how they integrate into our business and things like that. There is actually a pretty good list of stuff here. It is more than I thought of before going into it. There’s definitely tons of tools out there and you can get sucked into too many of these things if you aren’t careful. So go through our list here with us and let us know what you think again, by going to EcomCrew.com/206. All right, let’s hop into this episode with Dave and I talking about Amazon tools.
Mike: Hey Dave, how is the going man?
Dave: Going is well, how about you?
Mike: Pretty good, we’re going through a proverbial I can’t get the microphone or headphones thing to work again today.
Dave: Yeah, but I was waiting around for you for half an hour. So it’s okay to have some IT issues.
Mike: I feel bad because you just did a solo podcast and let me off the hook for one of the episodes so now it’s like double guilt.
Dave: I know but you’re going to do up a nice big blog article. So, I’ll give it…
Mike: It’s going to be like one sentence, here is my blog article.
Dave: Hey, something, some words on paper. That’s all that matters.
Mike: Yeah. Speaking of blog articles, we are actually doing a podcast today that’s kind of a conjunction with a blog article. And actually Abby and Muffins back in the Philippines office will put this together. So we want to thank them for their efforts. And we’re getting started to do a lot more of these podcasts that coincide with a blog article just to kind of get the content just more in line with what we’re doing. So if you go to EcomCrew.com/tools, you can get to the article for this, which is going to be about 25 Amazon tools you may or may not know about. So we’ve broken this up into sections and we have 25 tools to talk about. I guess we can just kind of go back and forth and one by one here.
So the first category is product and keyword research. And the first one we have here is Amazon Scout. And we can kind of — I think that both talk about whether we use them or not. For me, I use the free version of this. I like their little plug-in that goes in Google Chrome that quickly will tell you the profitability of your listing but they have a premium version that does more. So are you using this one Dave?
Dave: Yeah. I think I enlightened you to the free plug-in that they have. They seem to have changed it around a little bit where it doesn’t seem to be as effective the free version as it used to be but it’s still good. Like you, I use it simply to see what the FBA fees are for an item, so it’ll pull all the dimensions from an item and it’ll tell you what the estimated FBA fees are for that because sometimes you don’t know looking at an item and all you can do is ballpark what the FBA fees are. So it’s nice to see how much that item is actually going to cost you with FBA. And it also gives you a sales estimate number. I’m not sure how reliable that number is but I think it’s good enough and that’s probably what I’m looking for. I just want a ballpark of how many items it’s selling, so one item a day or is it selling 100 items a day.
Mike: Yeah. I think this is probably one of the only plug-ins I use like every day or pretty darn close to it. So it’s pretty good so definitely check out AMZScout.com and get that free version there. They also have a premium version as we mentioned. The next one here we had to have on the list, but I think everybody probably uses which is Jungle Scout. I definitely use this all the time as well especially the Chrome extension. I assume you do as well Dave.
Dave: Yep. I actually, I stopped using the paid version a while back just because the free Scout normally is good enough for me and my product development stage right now is not that intensive. So I don’t really get as much value from it as compared to when I’m developing 20 products at a time. So I hate to kind of not help Greg Mercer out here because I think he is really strapped for cash, Jungle Scout…
Dave: But yeah, when I’m going through a big product development stage, I’ll probably fork over the 40 bucks a month or whatever it is for Jungle Scout, but during times like this, no.
Mike: Yeah, it makes sense. Right and next one list here is Unicorn Smasher. This is one I have used in the past, tested out but I personally don’t use anymore. It’s a fine software, just it gets to the point where you have tomatoes doing the same thing. So I haven’t been using this on an ongoing basis as of recently.
Dave: Yeah and I’m the same way. A lot of these kind of repeats of one another in terms of keyword research tools and Amazon volume research tools, so if you have one you kind of have them all. So I’m the same way, I’ve tried in the past; currently I don’t use it though.
Mike: Okay, perfect. All right, so moving on to the next category, we have landing page generators. And I think this is an important thing in having your Amazon tool kit arsenal because if you follow anything that we’ve been doing here, one of the things that we’ve been working really hard is sending off Amazon traffic to Amazon and most of that happens via landing page of some marketing gimmick whether it’s a discount code or a giveaway or whatever it might be. We’re using landing pages to pull this off. The first one on our list is Zipify Pages by my friend Ezra Firestone. You probably also know [inaudible 00:06:00] podcast for a time that I’m a fan boy of this software.
We’ve put together hundreds if not over 1,000 landing pages at this point for all kinds of stuff on our business. And our general rule of thumb is we use Zipify Pages if our brand has a Shopify store already. So, if it’s one of our brand new brands, and we’re just getting started, we typically don’t have that yet, but pretty quickly in the process we’ll launch a Shopify store, and then we stick with Zipify so everything is in one platform. It’s pretty cohesive to have a Zipify landing page, not only for off Amazon stuff, but also for your Shopify stuff, or any type of lead magnet, or whatever you’re doing. It’s completely customizable. And then you can integrate Shopify products directly into the landing page. So, enough about that, but we obviously use it, and you can find that at Zipify. And I’m curious Dave, have you tried Zipify yet? I don’t know.
Dave: Yes, I’ve used Zipify. I’m trying to transition more now. Zipify is great because it integrates well with Shopify that ClickFunnels does not really integrate all that well, so Zipify is great for that. I’m trying to transition now for better or worse to more Amazon specific landing page creators which seemed to be all the rage now, the cool kid is up. So that’s where I’m trying to transition actually just because some of these Amazon specific landing page generators which we’ll talk about here in a sec, they allow you to do some more funky things like easily integrating coupons and all that fun stuff.
Mike: Yep. And also just so you know, Zipify Pages does that as well. I think if I remember correctly, they have two different levels and their more expensive plan has that built in as well.
Mike: Yeah, something I think that they added a few months after launching.
Dave: I had no idea. There we go.
Mike: But if you’re looking for something that’s simple and just does exactly what Dave is talking about, Zon Pages does this as well. Z-O-N-P-A-G-E-S.com. I have not used this one, but I think that you might have.
Dave: Yes, I’ve played around with it, I haven’t kind of pulled the trigger and committed to a long term relationship with them yet, but we’re still in the wooing stage, and looking to some point here in the future, not just for Zon Pages, but also I believe Zon Pages also has a couple of the nice little features that go with it.
Mike: Yeah, and we’ve used some of those things. So, definitely worth checking out. It’s got like an Amazon toolkit besides just the landing page stuff.
Dave: Yeah, I think that’s a big advantage I guess with Zon Pages is that they have a few different things, email append service, whether you want to do that or you don’t want to do that, it’s there, email management, all those types of good things.
Mike: Yep. Okay. The next one here is LandingCube, very much like Zon Pages as far as a page builder. But I think it has a little bit more flexibility and customization options. I have not used it but I’m almost 100% sure you have, right?
Dave: No, I haven’t but [overlapping 00:08:55]. Our good buddy Dave has who’s a premium member and also did our Facebook webinar a couple of months back. It’s a good friend of his in Vietnam running this. So anything that he recommends, I think we can concretely recommend as well. And from all accounts, we do have a couple of Premium members using it and it does seem to be a great piece of software.
Mike: Okay. That’s why I thought that you had used it because I guess I had seen it in the Premium community and so I…
Dave: You’re getting your Dave’s mixed up here Mike.
Mike: Yeah, well, I mean, there’s like so many Daves in my life, it’s kind of crazy. Mike used to be the most common name, but now it’s like, just everyone is called Dave. It’s kind of crazy.
Dave: Yeah, super Dave
Mike: The last one in this category is ClickFunnels is another software that I’ve been a fan boy of in some ways. And it’s one of these things I love to hate ClickFunnels or hate whatever the heck of that saying is. It does a great job for certain things. I find that if again, if you’re earlier in the process, and you don’t have a Shopify store yet, it’s really good because it has full checkout functionality built into it. So you can sell something to directly through here, which is something that we’re a pretty big fan of when we’re testing new ideas and products, we’ll do that at that time through ClickFunnels. But once you have a Shopify store, I definitely don’t use ClickFunnels much.
And at this point, we’re using Click Funnels almost zero in our business because all of our brands have a Shopify store at this point; they’ve all kind of progressed to that stage. And we’ve also, we actually originally run EcomCrew off of ClickFunnels at one point, and I think that the reality is, is that ClickFunnels has some limitations. It’s great to get started quick and dirty. But once you start advancing past any point, you’ll probably get frustrated with it.
Dave: Yeah, I mean, we had to switch off ClickFunnels when we had a riot of EcomCrew Premium members outside our doors demanding that we switch teaching platforms, so that’s what we had to do. ClickFunnels kind of falls into the trap I think that Microsoft falls into where they’re trying to do a lot of different things. And what’s happened is that they do a lot of things kind of okay, but they don’t really do anything all that great. And the same thing with ClickFunnels decent landing page creator, decent shopping cart, decent email management, but nothing really awesome.
Mike: Yep. All right so moving on to the next category, we have pricing and re-pricing. And depending on the type of products you’re selling, if your selling gets competitors, re-pricing is something that we have done in the past. We haven’t really been doing it as of late. I’m not sure, are you doing re-pricing stuff Dave? I wouldn’t imagine that you are.
Dave: No. I’ve played with Splitly doing AB testing for basically trying to optimize profit, but in terms of re-pricing, no. I think re-pricing — this is a bigger thing if you’re kind of like a retail arbitrage guy selling somebody else’s products. If you’re doing private labeling, you’re going to own the buy box 99.9% of the times so you don’t really need to play these re-pricing games. But if you are not doing private labeling, you’re selling somebody else’s product, then yeah, this is more important.
Mike: Yeah. All right so we should still go through these tools because there are probably a lot of people who listen to the podcast that do this and might not even be aware of it. So basically what re-pricing will do is if you have a competitor whose price is lower than you and they win the buy box because of that, you can have this software automatically price below them. Now the danger is that if both of you have re-pricing turned on, what ends up happening is a race to the bottom pretty quickly. And Amazon loves this because it lowers the price for the customer so they advocate and allow this to happen. It’s frustrating. I’ve been in that situation myself personally, that’s why I know what can happen.
But luckily you can set up a floor threshold of what these re-prices, but pretty typically that’s where you end up at. And then it just becomes who’s really willing to sell it for the lowest price. But anyway, let’s kind of go through some of these. The first we have on the list is Seller Snap, and this is Sellersnap.io. And I know you haven’t used this one Dave, so I’ll go on to the next one. I haven’t used this as either.
Dave: But I’m looking at the summary here of Sellers Snap and I want to use it, a game theory repricer.
Mike: It’s a good marketing for sure. It’s expensive by the way the price of $500 a month.
Dave: It’s crazy.
Mike: The next one I have used. It’s BQool which is the letter B, the letter Q-O-O-L. And it’s BQool.com. I’ve used them for re-pricing back in the early days of when we were selling on Amazon. And they also have other tools. They have, if I remember correctly, they have like email service and feedback, or post purchase feedback request or whatever you want to call those emails. They do that and some other things as well. And it’s relatively cost effective. I think that we have here 25 to 100 bucks a month. So if you’re looking for re-pricing along with some other functionality, BQool might be something for you to look at.
The next one here is like I would say more of an enterprise level version of this, which is Feedvisor. In fact, we have on the website here on this article pricing is available upon request, which usually means if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. I’ve heard some pretty big numbers thrown around with these guys. But if you’re at the point where you have thousands of skews and you’re doing millions of dollars in business and you’re spending tons of time dealing with this stuff, Feedvisor will help not only re-price things but also deal with listing on tons of other channels like eBay or Wal-Mart or Rakuten or all these different things that are out there.
So it’s a pretty all encompassing software, but it is definitely very expensive. I had actually inquired to them one time and it was thousands if not 10,000 a month. It was something astronomical. I forget exactly what the price was. It was years ago, but I’m sure the price has not gone down since then.
Dave: Yeah, and they’re similar to I guess the ChannelAdvisor in the fact that they’ll manage all your different feeds. So if you’re a multi channel seller, then you want to have some kind of multi channel listing management software. ChannelAdvisor I think they charge a revenue share of about two to 3% and it seems like Feedvisor is just astronomic fixed monthly charge.
Mike: Yep. Okay next one on the list Repricer Express, just www.repriserexpress.com. I believe that I used these guys back in the early days. I remember BQool for sure. I think I used Repricer Express for a minute there before we stopped selling against other people. I realized that wasn’t for me. That wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for business but again, I know lots of other people that are very successful doing this. I’m not condemning that business model, just like cutting out my own turf and not having competitors. But Repricer Express is definitely software that I’ve heard good things about and I do believe that I used them and I was happy with them years ago but I can’t be 100% for sure actually.
Dave: Yeah. And Repricer Express, I think their big niche that they carved out a while back was eBay re-pricing. And so back in the day when people actually sold on eBay, this was actually a thing. So Repricer Express still has that as a carry over. They have Amazon integration now, but eBay is kind of where I guess they got their original footing.
Mike: Yep. Okay. These next two I have definitely not used, Keepa K-E-E-P-A at Keepa.com. Same thing, it’s a repricer; there’s tons of these out there. So, we try to put as many of these as we could in this round up. But I don’t know a lot about this company or this particular software.
Dave: Nope and neither do I.
Mike: But if you’re into re-pricing then one you can check out. The next one on the list here is CamelCamelCamel, CamelCamelCamel.com. I have heard of these guys, never used them. I’ve heard decent things about them and it’s free. So I’m not really sure if it’s one of these things you get what you pay for. But if you have just a couple of skews that you’re trying to do this with, it might be something to download and keep an eye on.
Dave: Yeah, I’m not sure what the deal with CamelCamelCamel is. I know I have at least a friend or two using them. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just that free thing. And maybe I have some friends who are like me who are cheap, and that’s simply why they use them. But yeah, no firsthand experience with them.
Mike: Okay, the next category we have here is review monitoring. So this would be a way for if you got like a negative review that you would get notified right away that it would give you opportunity to contact the customer and try to try to fix that, because obviously if you aren’t paying attention of all of your listings, you’ll get reviews and not even realize it. And the quicker you can nip in the bud the better. So for us for review monitoring, we are using Sellics for this because of just integrating with some of the other things that we’re doing, but we’ll talk about some of the others that are here as well.
The first one in our list here is Feedback Genius. They were kind of the originals on the scene. They do other things as well which we’ll talk about for the down here, but they will monitor your reviews and give you an alert if you get let’s say a three star review or below.
Dave: Yep, and that’s what we use actually just because it’s fairly cheap. Probably Sellics is I think grandfathered into one of the cheaper plans. Right now if you’re a new customer to Sellics, I think you’re looking at hundreds of dollars a month. And if you just need something like feedback monitoring, then Feedback Genius is going to be cheaper than Sellics.
Mike: Yes I agree, Sellics price has gone up significantly is probably the best way to put it. Okay, the next one on the list here is Feedback Express, same type of idea as Feedback Genius. They will monitor your listings and let you know if something that happens.
Dave: Yep. Just kind of an off note too, what are you doing, what’s your kind of feedback review monitoring process look like?
Mike: So again, we’re using Sellics. So it has the ability to email you but I think we have that turned off because we just as a part of our daily routine go in and look at it.
Dave: Well also, to take care of a really bad day when you get an email come in that you got a two star review, so to look at those on your discretion.
Mike: I mean it’s so funny you brought this topic up because I do my best not to look at the reviews because I get personally just like really spun up with that. I mean, like it’s bad. Like you say like, it’s a bad day when you get the negative. I mean I really take it personally and like at least half of the reviews are just complete BS. It’s just like the person is a complete imbecile, they didn’t read the instructions properly. We had someone the other day that was like, oh, I was comparing two different items, and I ordered the wrong one by mistake. I shouldn’t have ordered this. I was trying to get the other one and one star.
I was like, literally like the review, I was just like, oh my god, like people will just like, just uh. So I do my best not to read it because again, I get personal, take it personally. I want to lash out and do all the wrong things in response to it, even though I know what the right procedure is. And luckily, we have an amazing team in the Philippines and they just handle it. They’re in there every day. Sellics allows you to just filter by 1, 2, 3 star reviews and you can put notes and work on them. So we basically, first thing we always try to do is reach out to the customer if we can.
So we try to match up their name to the product that they bought and search through our Amazon account or Skubana and do everything we can from an inquisitive investigative point of view to figure out who the heck they are. And if 30% of the time, maybe 40% of time, we can do that and then we reach out to them via email and try to rectify the situation. We don’t ever talk to them necessarily about the review because you’re not supposed to mention reviews or definitely never ask them to update the review. But we have a pretty good success rate getting them to change because we fix the problem.
And usually once we fix the problem and once you have a personal interaction with somebody, they’re pretty apt to go make a change. And if we can’t get it resolved, we can’t reach the customer, after a few days, we leave a comment on the review and just basically say, sorry, like you could have returned this or we could have helped you if you contacted us or whatever our standard language is that’s written as nicely as possible and that’s kind of our procedure.
Dave: Yeah, it’s kind of funny, Amazon has kind of taken away the power of effective review monitoring and reaching out to your customer proactively and trying to make them happy because now like you mentioned, you can’t do anything about asking them to change a review or even update it or anything along those — anything involving the word review. So, it almost discourages you now from being proactive and trying to make a customer happy. I know Amazon is all touchy about reviews nowadays. But that’s one where I don’t know, it’s all a bit counterproductive.
Mike: It’s probably in the top three like the most frustrating things for me selling on Amazon because for me, like I can hold, okay, look, I have a dog in the flight. I want positive reviews because I know it’s good for our business. So it’s not just about the personal level part. But like, honestly, I mean, my personality is I want people to be happy. If someone has given me money, we want to provide a good service to them. And if there’s anything we can do to fix it, I want to fix it. And most of the things that people leave negative reviews about are things that we could easily fix.
I mean it’ll be like my package got damaged in shipping and one star review because like we have especially for our ColorIt products, a lot of the packaging is stuff that we intend people to keep and use as a storage box and stuff, and people get pissed when the thing gets damaged in shipping. That’s something we could easily do is send them another box. Or you will have a situation sometimes where people will buy one of our products and they’re unscrupulous, they take part of the product out and then return it, and not returning the whole thing. Amazon will accept it and put it back on the shelf, and then someone else buys it and leaves us a one star review because their product wasn’t complete.
Again, that’s something that first of all we wish Amazon would fix on their own and not take back a half item or not a full return or whatever, but that’s not going to get fixed. But we can certainly at our expense make the customer happy, but Amazon will not remove the review and they will not help us help the customer in these situations. We’ve had product didn’t arrive, product arrived late, these types of things. These are not things that are in our control that we get negative reviews for that I wish I could easily contact the customer and make it right even though it wasn’t our fault. We’re willing to go even that extra mile but we can’t. And so, without getting off on too much of a tangent here, it’s unfortunate. I do wish they would allow us to contact customers there.
Dave: I opened up a can of worms.
Mike: You did, you did.
Dave: You do know Mike though, you can reach out to some of those Chinese resellers and actually buy email addresses of your customers, five bucks an email.
Dave: Two bucks if you buy 100 at a time.
Mike: Oh well, I’d like to see what could possibly go wrong. Okay, so the next category in the ‘I don’t see what could possibly go wrong’ category is email auto responders. And these are very similar companies as to monitoring. So, Feedback Genius for instance, does this. Jump Send is one I think that didn’t make our list, but there’s other ones out there that’d be cool I think as well. But there’s several softwares out there that that do this. Seller Labs is the one that I’ve used since day one. It does a good job. Unfortunately, a lot of these emails aren’t getting through anymore. Amazon’s allowed customers to opt out of them.
So, a large portion of these emails aren’t going through. And Amazon has been emailing people warning them if they continue to do this, that their account could be closed. And we can’t figure out exactly what the criteria, so we know lots of people are still doing this. But certainly the rules are, as of recording this podcast and this stuff, this is a moving target. But you definitely can’t send more than one email, you definitely cannot have any condition in the email about if you’re happy leave a review, if you aren’t contact us to get it rectified.
And I just worry because this is fluid and can use the change. Like for me, we’ve just stopped doing it. I mean, unfortunately our review rate has gone way the heck down. We used to get tons of reviews when we sent out emails but unfortunately we just get fewer reviews which does have bad consequences to our business but not as bad as that they close our account, so that’s kind of where we’ve landed.
Dave: Yeah, I mean you’re kind of stuck in that trap where you have a significant obviously investment in your company right now, we have a newer account so I’m able to take more risks than maybe you are. So the email autoresponder I don’t — I haven’t really touched a thing in two years since we turned it on and I’m not that worried. I think Amazon for the most part you get at least one strike before you’re out. So I’m not that paranoid about it. But if I was in your case where you have a bunch of employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory, then yeah, I’d be a little more sensitive of it. But yeah, it’s one area where I probably push the envelope a little bit more than you do.
Mike: Yeah, and this is actually a podcast we’ll do in the future but we are looking to break up our single Amazon account situation that we have what you just talked about and do it by brand just to have some diversity and not have to have the stress of everything is in one account. And maybe we’ll feel differently about it when we get to that point.
Dave: Yeah, I could — we used to run two accounts so I can give you some pros and cons about that too either on the podcast or privately.
Mike: Yeah, I think that would be a great episode because it’s something that I’ve struggled with and you could give some insights as well. That’s something we can do hopefully at the beginning of the year because it’s something [overlapping 00:27:04] with you right now.
Dave: We just filled out our podcast skull.
Dave: One more topic on it.
Mike: Excellent. Okay, the next category here that we have is listing management, and the first one on this group is I think something that already came up in this conversation or at least in the pre recording of the podcast which is Sentry Kit, S-E-N-T-R-Y-K-I-T.com. This is one that we do use. What Sentry Kit does is allows you to monitor your listings, not only for reviews, so like, we could have had this up in that category as well. So if you want to monitor your negative reviews, it can do that. But again, we use Sellics. This is one of these unfortunate things where you have like, all these different SaaS, the software’s that you’re paying for and some of them do some of the same things.
So Sentry Kit and Sellics do that component the same, but what Sentry Kit does that has saved us a ton of time is it will alert you if your images, your title, your description, your price, I mean, basically anything changes on your listing. And as a private label seller, we shouldn’t have to worry about this. But all the time, I don’t know what the hell it is, but all the time like stuff constantly changing, especially for the two brands that we sell exclusively for this is a constant hassle. We used to have a full time person on staff doing nothing but monitoring our listings that we have now gone down to 15 to 30 minutes a day.
So it’s saved us literally seven hours a day or something crazy, but it just alerts us. So like as soon as something changes and it’s almost instant, we get an email and then we have someone on our Philippines team, open a case with Amazon, and or call Amazon to get it fixed. So I’ve been pretty happy with Sentry Kit.
Dave: Yeah, and I think this is probably one of the newer product categories at least for 2018. And unfortunately, it’s a necessity that shouldn’t be there. But like Mike mentioned, listings are being changed either simply Amazon is changing them and they’re adding retail contributions or this is a real sick one that’s going on right now is that competitors are changing your products, screwing around the images, the listing, title, bullets, all those things and basically sabotaging your listing.
And there’s a good example that went around I think about two weeks ago, and basically all the exercise bands, somebody presumably a Chinese hijacker had gone in and changed all the images for every product pretty much on the first page of the exercise bands category, and changed them all to a picture of like a broken PlayStation. So, all those listings were absolutely sabotaged. It took all those sellers days to get it rectified, and it shouldn’t be a problem that exists there in the first place. And so, this is necessitating the need now can monitor your listings because those people yeah, they probably figure out pretty quick that something went wrong, but if it’s a more subtle change to one of your products, you want to know right away. That’s where something like Sentry Kit is really effective.
The one that we’re using is called Sellerise. And the great thing about it is because I’m cheap, Sellerise right now is free for the next six months. And me and Mike were joking that they haven’t revealed what the pricing will be in six months, so I don’t know if it’s going to be $4,000 a month after that, or maybe something more reasonable like $20 a month. Bur right now it’s free and it basically does what Sentry Kit does. It’ll monitor your listings and let you know anytime anything is updated.
Mike: Yep. And I would switch but I feel like by the time you take the effort of switching, they’ll then be probably charging about the same as Sentry Kit, so we just kind of probably leave it alone. But what is the URL for the one you just mentioned?
Dave: It’s sellerise.com but only one R, so S-E-L-L-E-R-I-S-E.com.
Mike: Perfect. Okay, cool. Thank you. All right, the next one on the list here is Splitly. This is one that we’ve talked about a lot on the podcast. You guys all know that we use this. It’s one of my favorite Amazon tools, SPLITLY.com, another tool by my buddy Greg Mercer. He has a lot of Amazon tools in his arsenal. This one is amazing because it does a couple of different things. It does AB testing for your titles, your images, your description, your bullet points, whatever it is that you want to AB test. And it allows you in a very definitive way, using black and white data to say, okay, this title gets me more click throughs, these images get me a better conversion rate, whatever it might be.
And the reality is, is that if you can improve your conversion rate by even, let’s just say 1%, the long term effect of that can be dramatic, because it’s the whole Amazon flywheel effect thing. So you might not notice a bunch of additional sales the moment that you get done with the test, but two to three months later as the flywheel continues to spin and you slowly get higher rankings which like get more sales and so they get you higher rankings and on and on, it can have a pretty profound effect. So something that we are trying to do even more, we haven’t done enough of this stuff but we are constantly doing Splitly test on all sorts of stuff.
And it also has something called Profit Peak, which I’m still trying to figure out exactly how the whole secret sauce with this works. I wish it was a little bit more transparent. But we run Profit Peak on a lot of items trying to figure out the ideal pricing. And again, taking the emotion out of it, because a lot of times you’ll be like, oh, like, we can’t sell it that cheap or we can’t sell it that high or whatever, and it’s just like it’s a total gut feel that is probably wrong.
But by putting Profit Peak on, the end result for the most part has been that we’ve ended up selling things way higher. Especially right now as we’re recording this during the holiday season, a couple of the items we have running Profit Peak are like our best selling items that normally throughout the year we were selling let’s say for 29.99 and we have Profit Peak turn on for now 29.99 and 39.99 and we’re up to like 36 something or whatever now. So we’ve almost raised the price 20% or has raised the price 20% which is just tons of money to the bottom line. So yeah, highly recommend Profit Peak.
Dave: Yeah, the only thing, I used Profit Peak for quite a while. It does worry me a little bit that they’re more short term focused and okay, they figured out jacking your price up to 100 bucks from 50 bucks is going to increase your profit in the short term. What are the effects so long term over a period of months? Does it negatively affect your velocity at such a rate that all of a sudden you’re losing a lot of organic sales in the long term? So that’s the only thing that makes me a little bit nervous about any of those tools that basically take control of your pricing. But like you, using it normally does, in the short term, encounter a lot more incremental profit.
Mike: Yep, yep. Okay. The next one on here is Forecastly, it’s F-O-R-E-C-A-S-T.ly not dot com but dot ly. And Forecastly helps people with reordering and some accounting stuff. I think — I’m not even sure about it. I don’t want to — for some reason I think that Jungle Scout bought them or merged with them.
Dave: They did.
Mike: Okay so I was right about that. I thought I saw that recently. And Jungle Scout has their own tool that is called Fetcher I believe that does the same thing. It did not end up on this list, I don’t know why but it’s a great software. So between those two, they help with Amazon accounting and reordering. There’s another one called RestockPro. Again that one for some reason didn’t end up on our list here. But RestockPro helps with some of this as well. It’s a software, that’s one that we did use in the past until we upgraded to some more enterprise level software. But those are ones you could definitely check out to help with the accounting aspect and or making sure that you keep your inventory up to date.
Dave: And maybe just quickly kind of summarizing. How do you do your reordering process? Are you doing that through spreadsheets? Are you actually using software, honest here Mike?
Mike: I don’t know that I’ve not been honest.
Dave: Nobody likes to admit that they’re still doing all their forecasting with a pen and paper and a spreadsheet.
Mike: It is a spreadsheet, we use a spreadsheet. The reality is that we use Skubana; it’s supposed to handle this. It doesn’t, it’s frustrating. What ends up happening is the forecasting gets very complicated. And I can understand why software has trouble with this, because you end up with inventory in Amazon and a 3PL, maybe in your own warehouse and like the way that Skubana wants to do it is to have you issue POs based on like an individual warehouse, but we need to have insight into our complete supply chain to get the right ordering.
So Jacqueline our CEO has done an amazing job of that. She put together this ridiculous excel sheet with like pivot tables and it has a bunch of formulas and turns red, green, and blue and has all of our sales she inputs every month, and it spots trends and a whole bunch of other stuff that we’re getting way better at. And then we end up placing our purchase orders through that. And we actually issued a purchase order through Skubana so that when the inventory comes in, it keeps all of our inventory in line, but the forecasting and the actual ordering based on our complicated mess of the business, we’ve had a revert back to an Excel spreadsheet.
So it’s kind of funny how we’ve come full circle Dave. We started with the spreadsheet, I was at a Google doc, and then I was like, I need some software to help me with this. I got RestockPro. It worked amazing but then our business got more complicated, we added a 3PL, we added our own warehouse, we have multiple brands, all these different things. So then we had to switch to back to a spreadsheet.
Dave: Yeah, I mean, it’s the same thing for us too in our 10 years of doing e-commerce. Same thing, started with the spreadsheet, then tried to use our order management software, learnt how to do it and then you realize, crap, there’s a lot of variables that are so company dependent, that no software is sweet can really account for that. At some point, you need to be designing some type of company specific algorithm, whether it’s a spreadsheet or some actual code that you’re doing, because just trying to have a one size fits all approach with these software tools, it seems really hard to get right. So yeah, just like you we’re spreadsheets.
Mike: Okay, so we move on to the last category here. And I apologize to everybody for this episode being a little bit longer than normal but this is obviously a big topic to digest. And again, you can go to EcomCrew.com/tools, if you want to just go over to the blog post and referencing the stuff that we’re talking about here, that again, that’s EcomCrew.com/tools. So, last category marketing and optimization. The first one on the list here is one that we’ve talked about a lot already, and also a ton on different episodes of the podcast, which is Sellics.
I like this tool because it integrates a bunch of things, keyword ranking, automatic PPC bidding, it’ll bid automatic or manual, exact, phrase, or broad campaigns. It does review management; it shows you profitability of listings. This is something that I literally log into every single day, probably too many times a day. I’m pretty OCD and ADD about looking at data and things of this nature. But it gives me a pretty good insight into our Amazon business at least and it also has an app on the phone, which I again log into too many times a day, looking at our sales per item on a daily basis. So, it has its shortcomings. Like it’s definitely not the perfect all encompassing software by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something that we’ve become pretty comfortable with using and use it on daily basis.
Dave: Yeah. And the great thing about Sellics is that they keep things almost — I don’t know if basic is the right word, but it’s very readable. You can log into your dashboard, it’s clear immediately what’s going on. It’s like Google Analytics. You immediately know what’s going on. You don’t have to have a PhD to figure it out. And that’s the nice thing about Sellics if for nothing else is for a dashboard to see an overview of your sales, how it’s doing per each product is doing, an overview of your advertising. So I think that’s kind of the nicest thing about Sellics is that they apply the kiss rule and do it perfectly, keeping it simple.
Mike: Yeah. And I love how it helps with visuals as well. Like also we talked about, like, it’ll create, let’s just say you want to go into your sales volume for a particular skew, it plots it out on a graph, like day by day. So you can have like that visual aha moment, oh, my sales are going up, or my sales are going down or my sales are steady, whatever it might be. That’s the whole like a picture is worth 1,000 words thing, rather than looking at it in a spreadsheet.
Dave: Yep, totally agree.
Mike: Okay, the next one on the list here is called River Cleaner. And that’s Rivercleaner.com. This is one I had not even heard of until reading this article today. So I’m curious if you’ve heard much about these guys.
Dave: No, I haven’t. I think they’re kind of new on the block. And it’s basically a tool for I guess optimizing your listing, so helping you find profitable long tail keywords, and that type of thing. I haven’t actually checked them out individually. I think it’s probably a good time to kind of give a shout out to Volume Metrics and our buddy Tran who developed Volume Metrics. And Volume Metrics and there’s couple of other keyword tools like this out there that can get pretty much real time keyword data from Amazon. And really you can pinpoint the most traffic keywords on Amazon, again, like real stats for it. So, Volume Metrics, another great tool to kind of accompany River Cleaner, and it’s free as well as opposed to River Cleaner which I think looks to be around 25 to $100 a month.
Mike: Yeah. So again, Rivercleaner.com if you want to check them out. It’s always a good time to check this stuff out if you’re at the point where you’re ready to get one of these pieces of software. That’s usually when I evaluate all the ones out there. And if there’s this every time I need to switch, I go back and reevaluate all them again. So this might be one add to your list to look at.
Dave: Well, the good thing is too, it’s end of the year, so any software purchases you make now, you get to write off for your taxes.
Mike: Yes, if you prepay for the year yeah.
Mike: The next one on the list is one that I do intend to check out here in 2019. It’s done by my buddy Bernie who is also part of Online Merchants Guild. If you are looking to help us with the sales tax fight and other things to help out online sellers, go over to onlinemerchantsguild.org to sign up for that and help us with that fight. But Bernie is another eight figure Amazon seller that has been doing this for long enough that he started before a lot of these tools existed. So he started making them on his own and realized that he had something he could sell, pretty much the same story that Skubana has with Chad when he was doing the vacuum stuff and a lot of the tools didn’t exist yet.
So a lot of things come out of that mold, and that’s certainly Efficient Era. They do — it’s a lot of the same thing that we’ve talked about. They have alerts and they do analytics, automation, also PPC automation, email automation, data management, things of that nature. So it’s Efficientera.com, E-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-T-E-R-A.com, and again it’s done by my good buddy Bernie. So, if you’re in the process of looking at these things, I encourage you to check them out. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about them. But I’m probably a little bit biased because Bernie is the one telling me how good his software is, but I have also heard other people say it’s good as well.
Dave: Yeah well, he bought me a beer over in Hong Kong too, so excellent software.
Mike: Nice, perfect so that’s a beer get you guys, all you got to do is be nice to somebody once and you never know what can happen. All right, and the last one that is on our list is called DataHawk. This is another one that I had not heard of. But it’s D-A-T-A-H-A-W-K.co so this is not a dot com, dot co. So this one’s I’m not a.com dot CEO. And our little description here is a cloud based Amazon analytics tool that tracks keyword rankings, product metrics, and best sellers rank. It also calculates monthly sales estimates, provides keyword search volume, runs product research, and does market analysis based on keywords. So it does a lot of these things that some of these always software packages do. So, again, if you’re at the moment where you’re looking to get one of these types of things, that might be another one to look at.
Dave: Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: Cool. That was a long one Dave. I appreciate you sticking with me and getting through all this. And any last thoughts on tools?
Dave: No, I think Amazon is becoming just a marketplace where you need to have at least a couple of tools in your tool belt so to speak. So hopefully, everyone found at least one or two tools that they didn’t know about that you can add to your business and keep popping up your revenue and your profits.
Mike: I have one last thing to say about these, and I think you’re going to probably agree, be careful about a couple of things here. Number one, from jumping from tool to tool to tool all the time trying to squeeze out like that last little bit out of the lemon as you always talk about Dave. I mean the next tool you go to might be a little bit better but it’s probably only incrementally better and is it worth your time constantly flipping between tools. And also, you can end up spending way too much money like signing up for too many tools as we were going through a P&L exercise. And this is not the first time that we’ve been through this. But you end up with a lot of tools that you don’t even log into anymore that you’re still paying for. So just be careful what that stuff means.
I’m not advocating not to get SaaS software, because we have lots of these things that have made a material impact in a very positive way on our business. But then again, we end up falling in that trap sometimes of things that we log into very rarely or we think about canceling them, but we don’t because we’re convinced that next month we will log into it. So just something you can probably clean up in your business and fix that leak.
Dave: Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: Cool. All right, everyone. Well, we appreciate you listening to this episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. And until next time, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
And that’s a wrap folks. Thank you for listening to the 206th edition of the EcomCrew Podcast. I want to thank you as always, for supporting EcomCrew and everything we do here as we round out 2018 is almost here. It’s amazing. It’s kind of crazy. We have a couple more episodes left this year. But the next thing you know, it’ll be 2019 another whole year. We’ll be doing 2019 goals and a whole bunch of other things here soon, which is pretty cool. So if you want to support the EcomCrew Podcast or follow along with us, you can go to Facebook.com/EcomCrew, hit the like button, see some behind the scenes [inaudible 00:45:28] and videos and things we put up there that we can’t share obviously on the podcast or the blog. That again is facebook.com/EcomCew. All right, guys, that’s going to do it for today’s episode. As always, the way we sign off is happy selling, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.