E101: Introducing the Amazon Legends Podcast by Nick Uresin!
Welcome to Amazon Legends! This podcast will bring real-life stories from Amazon sellers. You will hear from CEOs of large companies and entrepreneurs, who became power sellers. Experts specializing in helping sellers AND both former and current Amazon employees will give us an insight from behind the scenes.
We will share the knowledge you can take and apply to your Amazon operation right after the podcast. Whether you are just planning to sell on Amazon, or you are already a current seller, this podcast will deliver the value you can monetize.
You will learn the required skills and mindset of how to deal with different challenges from our guests. We will share information, give you ideas on how to maximize your potential, and scale your operation by avoiding the learning curve.
Whether you are the CEO of a large company, or an entrepreneur, who wants to build an empire, the path to success on Amazon is the same. It is ok, advantageous, and preferable to seek advice from those who are already doing what you want to do and the kind of sales you dream to generate.
No matter any setbacks you may have experienced, or how overwhelmed you feel to get going, Amazon Legends will give you the roadmap to follow for success.
“Amazon advocates for best customer experience, so you need to be able to translate that into what it means for you, your products, and your services” -Nick Uresin
- 00:35 Amazon Legends:
- 02:25 What Makes “Legends”
- 05:03 Amazon’s Secret
- 09:10 How to be an Amazon Seller
- 12:37 Crisis Handling
- 22:38 Keep Pushin’!
01:11 “Those who have been on Amazon know that rules change pretty frequently. so having access to current information is key.” -Nick Uresin
03:15 “The nature of challenges grows or changes, but it never ends.” -Nick Uresin
05:03 “The best way to be the leader is to create something that only you know about. And then the others will take time to catch up.” -Nick Uresin
10:27 “Amazon advocates for best customer experience, so you need to be able to translate that into what it means for you, your products, and your services” -Nick Uresin
20:29 “The last thing Amazon wants when something bad happens, it happens, but they don’t want it happening again and again.” -Nick Uresin
23:04 “You cannot wing it on Amazon. You have to know what you’re doing.” -Nick Uresin
Meet Your Host!
Nick Uresin is an Entrepreneur, Computer Science Engineer and a Data Architect, who has a passion for problem solving with technology. He has spent the past 20 years in technology as an e-commerce provider and online retailer following several years of managing conventional wholesale and retail companies. He has expertise in technology and big data solutions. Nick has co-founded Online Fragrance Retailer and built it to $10 million in sales, where he has developed the vision to organize the data and provide it as a service (Seller Concierge Service).
Previously, Nick founded Amazia, a top ranking e-commerce provider for small to mid-size retailers and List 2000, one of the Internet’s first multi-lingual directories prepared in seven languages. Nick also developed software applications for the shipping industry earlier in his career as well as holding a directorship position in the London operations of Turkey’s largest conglomerates. His career included positions with London-based fashion manufacturing/import firms. Nick has a degree in Computer Science and Telecommunication from Istanbul Technical University, a leading technical university in his native Istanbul, Turkey
- Website: https://www.argometrix.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/argometrix
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/argometrix
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickuresin/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGL6F-xFZWa9-GoMKH556aA
Nick Uresin: Welcome to Amazon Legends everyone. I’m the host of the Amazon Legends Podcast, Nick Uresin.
I want to tell you what this is about and why I created it. I want you to become successful on Amazon, whether you’re just starting, or have been an Amazon seller but you hit a plateau. We all go through these phases, and you may be somewhere along the line in this process. By listening to this podcast, you will gain knowledge that is actionable and current. Those who have been on Amazon know that rules change pretty frequently. So having access to current information is key. Every week, you will have someone with whom we can dig deep and learn from their experience. Our guests will be sellers who started from scratch exclusively selling on Amazon, or sellers who just wanted to add Amazon as another sales channel to grow their distribution and revenue base. We will bring experts who specialize in different aspects of managing and growing an Amazon operation. They will tell you what you really should be looking out for. Finally, you will hear from Amazon employees, both current and former, you will hear the inside scoop of what Amazon expects from third party sellers. In other words, you will hear straight from the horse’s mouth without any theory. Anything that has worked is currently working that will get you the results that you’re looking for.
“Those who have been on Amazon know that rules change pretty frequently. so having access to current information is key.” -Nick Uresin
So first, let me tell you why I picked the word LEGENDS. We all started an operation, we have an idea one day and we think, oh, I can create a business out of this. And you start exploring the idea. You make contacts, you buy products, whatever the case may be. And you succeed, you get results. And you think, well, this could be a business. And before you know it, you have people around you and you’re growing the business. However, as we all know, it’s not as simple as that because you will hit all kinds of obstacles from naysayers to straightforward failures, something you tested doesn’t work. And this is a struggle that will be an ongoing process. It never ends. The nature of the challenges grow or change, but it never ends. We run into these trying months where we question, we question everything. Question the idea, question ourselves, question if we are good enough, we question if we had the right people, we question everything. And these are experiences that can shatter somebody’s dreams. It really tests your character. But we just keep going. We don’t stop. And this is not a story for regular people who are just looking for a job and paycheck. This is a story for people who will go the extra length to do whatever they are planning to do to make their dreams come true. And this is a legendary story. So any entrepreneur, any leader who is pursuing their dreams. And my book is a legend, because they get tested and they prepare.
“The nature of challenges grows or changes, but it never ends.” -Nick Uresin
Now, you extend that story to Amazon. Well, anybody who’s been on Amazon will tell you, Amazon will test you all the time. There is no figuring out and saying, okay, this is it. I’m done. I figured it out. And this is what I’m going to do, and the sales keep coming. No, they keep changing the rules because they want to lead, they want to be the leader out there. And the best way to be the leader is to create something that only you know about. And then the others will take time to catch up. And by the time they catch up with you, you change the rules again. And that’s exactly what Amazon does, whether it’s the search to find your listings to growing your number of orders, you name it, they will always be changing the rules. This is something that will keep going. And in addition to getting tested as an entrepreneur and a business leader, you will also be tested on specifics of how you take action by Amazon. So that’s why I figured, why not call this Amazon Legends because everybody is really doing legendary work. And therefore, they deserve to be called Amazon.
“The best way to be the leader is to create something that only you know about. And then the others will take time to catch up.” -Nick Uresin
I want to tell you about my story of why I am doing in terms of getting into the Amazon operations, because I used to be an Amazon seller myself. And when I went into selling on Amazon, this was in year 2004, Amazon was really not that big, with third party sellers. It was certainly there, but it was not like it was today. So I figured, okay, it’s a marketplace. I don’t know anything about selling on Amazon. I figured that I wanted to create another channel in addition to my website so I created an account. Now, incidentally, this was a startup that I had created and raised money for. And it was time to grow my operation. Start with the website sales, and then go from there. So I started the website, which took about six months to build, one disappointing one after the other. I hired a company to help me with channels, whether it’s marketing the website on through SEO or anything else. And this particular agency actually brought me the idea to use channels and they suggested Amazon. And as it happens, the founders of the company were actually former Amazon employees.
Now, all this time, I’m thinking that Amazon is just the place where you go to list your products, and they’ll get ranked just like SEO. And there is really not much you can do for your listings to gain the kind of visibility that you need and get orders. So I know nothing about it. I have no idea about the significance of a listing or how to go about it, and let alone actually drive sales. I have no idea about any of this size startup. I signed up with the agency, they got me all set up, and we are struggling. Because at the time, I had about 2000 individual items that I wanted to sell, and they were telling me to stay focused. Let’s pick some items. So I asked them, okay, I understand starting with a smaller number of items, but what is that going to do in the end other than just market one at a time? How are we actually going to drive sales on Amazon? This is not like the website where you can run PPC ads. And at the time, there were no sponsored ads, no, nothing like it is today. So they said: “No, no, no. If you actually know what you’re doing, you can absolutely drive sales on Amazon, almost on an hourly basis.” So I stopped paying attention. And sure enough, fast forward about six months, I ended up generating a significant number of orders on a daily basis in a sustainable manner. We went from 10, 15 orders a day to 50, 60 orders a day. Then it went up 200, 200 orders a day, then went up to 300. And by the time, I sold the company. In about three years time, we were doing about 2000 orders a day. So this was a journey that took me about three years.
But the twists and turns, I cannot tell you the kind of testing that I had to go through as an entrepreneur, as an individual, as an Amazon seller. I had to learn, first of all, of course, how to do it. And it wasn’t just putting up a listing, there were so many things about the listing. And then I had to learn Amazon’s policies and procedures, because this is a platform that has specific policies and procedures. And we are going to talk about it during the show, where Amazon advocates for best customer experience. You really need to be able to translate that into what it means for you to do with your products, with your service and with your systems. So the best customer experience meant that I had, they kept adding new ones, but they had about 15 plus metrics at the time, seller metrics that I had to satisfy. Each one was tracking what I was doing. And these are things, folks, keep in mind, I know nothing about. I know nothing. I just wanted to add another champ. So of course, if you know, then you know. But if you don’t know, suddenly you are getting hit with all kinds of requirements. Or you’re getting hit with warnings and policy violations, you name it, because you didn’t pay attention to some of the metrics. So I had to go through that learning curve, and it took me over a year.
“Amazon advocates for best customer experience, so you need to be able to translate that into what it means for you, your products, and your services” -Nick Uresin
So now, I’m gonna tell you my most favorite story of what happened in the process. We are about to launch just before the shopping season, and my provider who was going to build the system was late. So therefore, we were not ready, fully, in order to take orders and then receive those orders flow directly into our order management system. We were not ready, but we had to launch because we had commitments, we had inventory, and we had to launch. So I figured, okay, until the systems are ready, which we were promised it will be in a couple of weeks, we can just keep things going manual. So we launched the channel. And about a week or so later, we had certain goals to hit in terms of revenue, and we decided to run a promotion. This promotion was to offer free shipping on every product. Offer free shipping. So it’s easy enough. We create a coupon code on Amazon seller central, and that simply says that use this code and get free shipping. We did not apply any rules to how to claim it. We did not require a minimum spend. We did not restrict it to X number of items or only specific items. We did not put any rules about how many pieces somebody could purchase in order to claim. These are all things that are available, but we didn’t know anything.
So I create this coupon code, and then we put it out there and off we go. Now, that was a Friday. So at the time, I was actually creating the purchase orders every day. But if we were heading into a weekend, I would simply let the weekend sales come in. And then on a Sunday night, I will sit down, download all the orders and look at what I purchase from home. And the same thing happens, not typically those who have a seller central account. Know that when you go to your orders screen, there is only X number of orders listed. You can change the number of orders, mine was set to maximum, which is I think 50 orders. So I would log in and look at how many pages it’s showing for the last three days. So if I’m getting 50 orders a day, of course, the last three days will be 150 orders. So that will be three pages. So therefore, I will get an idea, okay, how many orders if it’s four pages, five pages, two pages, then I will know how many orders.
So what happens that Sunday, immediately after my weekend, I log in, it’s like 11:00 o’clock at night, and I go to the order screen. I see pages and pages and pages. It’s like, it shows all the way up to page number 10, and then it puts the data. And then it says, NEXT. I’m thinking something must be wrong. Because it’s impossible, you can’t have so many orders, it must be showing more than the last three days. Of course, I look at it, and I don’t see any different setting. It’s still three days. I’m thinking, okay, let’s go to the last page, and let’s see the date. So I’ll go to the last page. And the last page, I can’t get to the last page because I have to keep clicking in order to see more numbers. So what happens is, I get to the last page, finally, and we had about thousands plus orders hit our seller central account since we launched the promotion on Friday. And what happened was because we created a free shipping coupon code that was picked up by affiliates in affiliate networks and it got circulated, driving everybody to our listing to purchase one single item, which was $5. And of course, without the shipping, it was a very good deal. And people were placing orders. The limit that we put on how many we could sell on their item? It was an arbitrary limit of a thousand pieces. Because I figured, we’ll never sell a thousand pieces in a day. I can always adjust it by hand.
Well, sure enough, what happens is a thousand orders hit the system, and the Amazon system cuts out. Of course, the following dates and other thousands. So it kept coming, it kept coming. And by the time I realized this, I thought, how we’re going to do this, I don’t even know if we have a thousand pieces in stock. And finally, I figured it out. I create my purchase orders. I sent the order to my supplier. And Monday morning, the supplier calls me back and says: “You just gave me an order for like 1,500 pieces, we only have 48 in stock. I can’t ship this to you.” And I think to myself, what are we going to do with the rest of? He said: “Well, there is not much I can do. We got 48, I’m shipping that to you today. And that’s all I can do.” And we ended up canceling 950 orders or whatever the number is. And because we could not really cancel as a batch process, all 950, it took us forever. Some of them, we ended up not canceling. And of course, that aggravated the customers, folks, our negative rating went over 30%, and Amazon shut us down. And this was the end of my selling experience on Amazon, but we had been on Amazon for a while.
So an Amazon Category Manager reached out to us and said: “Guys, what’s going on? What happened? You are doing well, and you’re growing slowly, steadily. We liked the products you’re selling, what happened?” And we explained to the person who reached out. And bottom line, it took us six weeks to get our negatives reduced down to like 10%. And they had to put us through all kinds of tests to see whether we are now able to do the work properly. If the same kind of incident will repeat again, because the last thing Amazon wants is something bad happens, it happens. But they don’t want it happening again, and again, and again. So they wanted to make sure that we had all the systems in place, and that we know how to handle a situation like that.
“The last thing Amazon wants when something bad happens, it happens, but they don’t want it happening again and again.” -Nick Uresin
So bottom line, here is what we didn’t have, we didn’t know how to handle a crisis. We didn’t have the systems, the batch process things. We had no idea how to track the metrics that were important, because it would have told us already. And by the time we learned all this and put everything in place, six weeks went by, and Amazon called us several times during those six weeks, giving us targets week over week, this is where we want to see you by the end of this week. If we hadn’t done that, they would have thrown us out completely. And that would have been the end of our selling dreams on Amazon. Because once you get thrown out, you are done. They are not going to let you come back in. You can change company name, you can change email addresses, it just doesn’t work. They have all the information, they track which computers are accessing, which IPS are being used. So once they tell you, you’re done, that’s the end of your Amazon plants. So we had to fix this, and we needed to get things right in place so that we could do this. So the good news is, we told them point blank right at the beginning, we will fix the problem, and we’ll be one of the top sellers on Amazon. We delivered exactly on that prompt. And in the end, I ended up building a relationship with the category managers. I ended up learning the ropes, of course, how to do this. And it actually turned out to be one of the best things that I’ve done in my life as an entrepreneur, where I didn’t give up and I just kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing.
“You cannot wing it on Amazon. You have to know what you’re doing.” -Nick Uresin
So this is really a good story about why I want this podcast. I want you guys to learn the things to do and things not to do. You cannot wing it on Amazon, you really have to know what you’re doing. And if you run into problems, which you will, you will get shut down, you will get suspended, there are ways to deal with it. And you are going to learn all about this during this podcast. I want you to be successful. I want you to hear straight from the people who have done it, who have done it well, or people who have helped sellers do it well. So hopefully, you’ll join me in this journey, and you’ll benefit from it. Thank you for listening.
About the Author:
Leng Inque is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who started Leng & Company Podcast and Virtual Assistance Group in January 2018. She is on a mission to support business experts with a wide range of technology services to make the client look and sound great as their business reaches out and grows into new corners of the world. Her primary goal is to connect their technology genius with their client’s genius to introduce systems that will advance the client’s success. She started working as a virtual assistant with a couple of clients, primarily as an audio editor. Word quickly spread about her attention to detail and quality services, which led to adding two new clients within a few months.As the business grew, Leng hired trusworthy people to the team. With Leng’s leadership, focusing on providing top-rated customer service and quality results, combined with quick turnaround time, her business has grown quickly.