Hold on tight! April 29 2014



I live in a tiny little town called Santa Claus, Indiana – home of Holiday World and some of the top rated roller coasters in the nation. I've been on all of them many times, but I will tell you that those coasters are nothing in comparison to the roller coaster ride of owning my own business. 

Last year I made some changes to my website to better accommodate my business. The vast majority of my sales were happening on amazon, so I cancelled my online shopping cart and imbedded my amazon store on my site to direct all traffic there. This saves me money each month and also boosts my amazon sales and traffic. Win, win!

I have discovered however that there are a few glitches when it comes to selling on amazon. For example, my product is not very searchable – meaning that most people don't pop onto amazon and search for a portable pizza cutter, and they don't necessarily even know that it exists. It's such a new and unique item that people aren't naturally looking for it; I have to try and figure out what they are searching for that might lead them to my product, and then include those search terms in my keywords. This does not make it impossible to sell on amazon, but it definitely slows my growth rate in comparison to someone selling a product like a diaper bag or an iPhone case – millions of people are searching for those products every day.

And then you occasionally run into someone else selling your product on amazon who you didn't even sell to. Over the past year I've seen listings for my product with a higher price than mine; those companies/people increase the price a bit so that if they get an order, they can order from me but then ship to their customer and make a little money in the process. I have also seen people who win a big giveaway (you've all seen those facebook contests, and I've participated in them by giving away free product!) – sometimes those winners turn around and list the products they've won on amazon... they are allowed to do this, but it can hurt my brand if they provide bad customer service or represent my product in a way that I wouldn't.

Despite all of the issues I face selling on amazon, let's face it – they are the retail giant right now. No where else could I possibly get the kind of exposure that I get with them. I have been selling on amazon since October 2012, so this year is the first year that I can compare sales month to month with the previous year, and it's turning out to truly be a roller coaster ride.

In the first four months of this year, my sales have ranged from 77% - 555% higher than those same months in 2013. I have had days when I sell up to a dozen Quick Splits a day, and then there are days when I don't sell a single one. Some weeks I get a few new product reviews (this helps boost sales too) and other times weeks go by without a single new review being posted. April has been my slowest month so far this year with only a 77% increase over April 2013. I will admit it's a downer – in comparison to a 555% increase, 77% feels like failure! But then it hit me – it's all about comparison, right? I did a little research, and found this average almost everywhere I looked: industry overall grows about the same rate as the economy, which is 2-3% in a good year. All of a sudden my 77% makes me feel like I'm killin'  it! Maybe May will outdo my 555% (fingers crossed!) or maybe it will sink even lower than my 77%. Either way, as long as I see growth, I'm calling it a win.

I have no idea where this amazon roller coaster is taking me, but I know I need to hold on tight and be prepared for just about anything!