Private Label Masters - Tim Sanders
MODULE 2 - Overview
Detailed Review of Module 2 of Tim Sanders' "Private Label Masters" online course that teaches entrepreneurs how to become successful sellers on Amazon.
If you're looking for a different detailed to the max, up-to-date review of Tim's PLM, then stop clicking and start scrolling because you have arrived.
MODULE 2 - Product Research
Video 01 - Introducing Excellence into Your Product Research
|Tim gives an overview of the module, explaining that in this module you will learn how Tim does product research, employing different tools. Additionally, he states that he will go through three products in depth, so we can see the process in action.|
Video 02 - Product Research: The Process
|Tim introduces the topic by saying that there are two kinds of people, the first get stuck in the looking process, paralyzed by analysis. The other extreme is the person that simply jumps in and does superficial research and ends up with a dud product. Tim claims that his product research process, the one that he is about to reveal, provides a very balanced approach. (and as a heads up, it does)|
Video 03 - Looking for Singles, Not Homeruns
|At the beginning, Tim stresses the need for possessing realistic expectations, as he has seen too many people expect too much from their first product. |
Five reasons (I'll share the first three):
1. The people who attempt to hit the most home runs also strike out the most.
2. Most first-time sellers can't afford the strike-outs. Selling home run products take a lot of upfront capital.
3. Banking on homerun products make you put all your eggs in one basket, which is not a good investment strategy.
Tim uses a renting analogy to explain the downfall of building your business on a single super-selling product.
After going over the cons of homerun products, Tim lists five of the benefits of singles, of products that sell small amounts daily.
Then Tim reveals the characteristics of singles:
Video 04 - Which Products are Bad Apples?
|In this lesson, Tim talks about what products that beginning sellers need to stay away from items that are seasonal to products that have a high liability. Additionally, Tim recommends staying away from products that are in Amazon's gated categories, which he also shows how to find out whether or not the product is restricted to qualified sellers.|
Video 05 - Maximizing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Your Research
1. The first tool Tim walks through assists you not only in finding products that sell, but also help you avoid patent infringement, making sure that you aren't violating another company's trademark by selling that product.
2. He also demonstrates a special chrome extension that enable you to clearly see whether or not that product sells consistently. This tool is similar to Jungle Scout, but according to Tim, this product discovery tool offers a lot more features.
3. The third tool Tim describes is another Chrome extension that shows the BSR of products that come up after certain keywords. Tim also notes that he typically shys away from selling products that are sold by the Amazonbasics brand, but he doesn't mention why here.
4. A third chrome extension displays a listing's history when a certain product listing is selected. This tool is important because it shows reasons why a product's sales rank is what it is, answering the question: does this product consistently sell at its current rate?
Video 06 - Discovering Products thru Market Intelliegence
|Tim uses the first tool he showed in video 5 to go through his product discovery process. Simply put, he goes through lists of products that he has filtered so that he knows that each item's sales is within a certain range each month. One caution, it is not clear how the product research tool gets its data, whether it is from actual sales or estimated sales predicated on sets of other criteria. By the end of the video, Tim has assembled a long list (80 products) that he will put through the next step of his selection/vetting process.|
Video 07 - A Recommended Option: Jungle Scout
|In this video, Tim showcases a feature that his first tool doesn't have that Jungle Scout does. He goes through a brief explanation of the 999 trick that is written on junglescount.com/accusales. First, he introduces the filter, then highlights the product tracking feature. Tim stresses that Jungle Scout is a recommended tool, but not completely necessary. Additionally, Jungle Scout shows more information from all the products on the page, as opposed to the other tool which only shows the product listing's numbers. Tim believes that two tools are better than one, so he has bought into both so he has more data sources to base his decisions on.|
Video 08 - Bundling & Quantity Changes
|Bundling is an excellent way to stand apart from your competition. Tim uses the example of a tumbler by itself versus a tumbler that includes a straw, a handle and an extra lid. When you think about bundling, Tim says that there are two things to consider: the add-ons need to be low in cost as well as small, so they don't make the package larger (which means more expensive shipping). The added items need to have value and have a purpose. Here Tim elaborates on the value of a steel straw when it is added to the aforementioned travel coffee mug. Next, he goes over three different ways to legitimize the bundle, from asking if the bundle makes the product more attractive to me to soliciting surveys from a few honest friends who don't mind hurting your feelings. Tim advises to stay away from "me-too" items, but that doesn't mean you can't sell them period. Encouraging creative thinking, Tim implores us to ask ourselves, "how do I differentiate among this competition? What could I bundle this with? Finally, Tim goes over the do's and don't's of quantity changes.|
Video 09 - Product Improvements & Adaptations
|In this lesson, Tim goes over the different kinds of ways you can creatively make your products more valuable and stand out from your competition. He starts by comparing two extremes of product adaptations: large changes and little changes (the smaller the change the lower the cost of the change). To actually make the change, Tim wisely states, weigh the extreme of the change against the depth of your budget. The main way that Tim suggests coming up with ideas of how the product can be better is by asking the supplier and then developing clever improvements that are inexpensive, but dramatically increase useability. Additionally, Tim talks about soliciting feedback from the product's target demographic.|
Video 10 - Merchant Words Method
|Merchant Words, functionally speaking, mirrors Google Ad words, but rather than counting the searches on google.com, it tracks the different queries on Amazon and forecasts the future using its algorithm. BTW, normally Merchant Words costs 30 dollars a month, but Tim negotiated a discount for PLM members so it's down to a mere 9 dollars a month. After showing how to sign up to use the tool, Tim goes into how to use it to find low competition products on Amazon. Tim's perfect product process uses multiple tools, like he will start his query with merchant words, then check out the details on the product's listing with his first tool to see what potential the item has.|
Video 11 - Deal Site Method
|In this lesson, Tim uses two different amazon deal sites to find items that are easy prey to a trained FBA seller. Starting with Jumpsend, Tim shows how to work the filter and prospect for interesting products and more specifically, see what low-competition niches might be easy to break into. He employs a combination of Amazon's search tool and Jumpsend's free deal catalogue to make his discoveries. The second deal site that Tim explores is Vipon.com, which he works similarly to Jumpsend.com, though he does use his first tool to dig deeper into the listing.|
Video 12 - Vetting Your Product
|In this video, Tim shows the specific product portfolio criteria, the characteristics of items that will bring in some major dough over time. First, he explains the important role of the age of the listing plays in the perfect product search process. He emphasizes the need for a product to have been on Amazon for at least 60 days because then it has collected a significant amount of market data that can be pulled with the first of Tim's tools. Second, Tim elaborates on the significance of the BSR, the "Best Seller Ranking," and how the bsr can be tricky and even deceiving at times (he gives examples here and then shows the solution that opens the veil of the BSR). Third, Tim mentions the market demand, but this point is more in passing. Fourth, he mandates that the competitors' listings must be thoroughly examined, from the quality of their photographs to the keywords in their bulletpoints. Fifth, Tim urges that the pricing consistency be checked, see if the cost has been either raised or lowered recently, which often offers a skewed perspective of its potential sales. Sixth, he describes the need to inspect the product using Google Trends to see if the sales are consistent as well as suggests that products without a consistent sales history, but an increasing number of sales could be a new emerging market. Seventh, any product examine wouldn't be complete without a thorough check through of its reviews. These reviews can also offer hints of ways you can fix/improve the use or quality of the product. Eighth, check to see if there's anything you can bundle the product with. Ninth and lastly, make sure that the product is not one of a dominating major competitor. For a new seller, Tim explains, it's much easier to take on another private label seller, rather than a huge brand, because brand loyalty is likely not a large factor in customers' decision-making.|
Video 13 - Product Deep Dive 1
|In this video, Tim walksthrough a completed examination form of a 10 liter dry bag. Then he goes through the process of examining a product using a message center bulletin board, looking at its age, then BSR, the competing listings, what Google Trends has to say and more.|
Video 14 - Product Deep Dive 2
|In this video, Tim does a complete walkthrough of his product search procedure using a child's teepee as his potential product opportunity. He elaborates on his thoughts about what he sees, explaining what he likes and doesn't like about the kid's tent. Pointing out which pics are photoshopped and which ones are high quality. After watching this video, I had a solid sense of his research methodology.|
Video 15 - Product Deep Dive 3
|In his final product deep dive, Tim selects a sensory blanket as his subject of choice. As he looks into how this item is fulfilled, Tim notes that an FBA seller has an automatic leg up on this specific item, as most of the sellers are fulfilling their own products, which means that their shipping is slower and less attractive to a buyer than Amazon's super quick 2-day shipping. He also provides guidance to his course members on how to navigate items that have multiple variations, specifically how to uncover the highest selling variety.|
Video 16 - Expanding Your Biz into a Brand
|In this video, Tim provides a high level perspective on what you are really beginning to build when you launch a product into Amazon's marketplaces. Furthermore, he goes into certain considerations you must navigate when evaluating the brand potential of an item. Then he takes a turn that I didn't expect: the subjectivity of the course member's learning style. He describes a few different mentalities that characterize course participants and then explains what might be right in each person's case. To conclude the video, Tim explains what brand buyers are looking for in the case that you eventually decide to sell your brand.|
Video 17 - **Important Reminder**
|Tim urges members to be patient with themselves as they learn and familiarize themselves with the product selection process. Using the analogy of learning to drive, he elaborates on the overwhelmed exasperation a student driver feels and relates it to the frustration experienced by the FBA novice.|
Video 18 - Respecting Intellectual Property
|Tim goes into detail on trademarks and patents and how to see if products you are contemplating selling have either one. Tim shares three different resources that give you information on brand names being covered by a trademark, one of which is a website called Trademarkia. Before offering the disclaimer that he is not a lawyer and that members should seek professional legal assistance, Tim explains two different types of patents, both their similarities and differences: design patent (aesthetics) and utility patent (function). Bottom line: Tim's advice for the new seller is to stay away from anything that has a patent. At the end of the video, he does a walkthrough of trademarkia and the other two trademark discovery tools.|
Video 19 - Seeing Your Next Step
|In this video, Tim offers encouragement if you haven't found a product yet as well as introduces the next step if you have: using the price of a close competitor to estimate your product price and then to get price quotes from suppliers.|
Video 20 - Product Research Debrief
|Tim leaves us with some conclusory remarks about product research as well as reminders that building the researching skill takes more than a couple hours.|
Module 2 - My Takeaways
Tim does an excellent job laying out his product research process, clearly emphasizing what product characteristics are vital versus what is merely a matter of opinion.
By far the most helpful for me were Tim's walkthroughs, where he shows his product research procedure in action, providing live commentary throughout, explaining why he is choosing what he is and what his experience has taught him over his 5 years on Amazon. (I am a sucker for a good story)
One slight critique would be that he could have defined in better context what a home run product is versus a product that only hit singles. He did well contrasting them, giving the example of renting a single door or a multi-family complex and the security that it provides, but in my opinion he could have explained them better by saying that he prefers to build a business built on a lot of products that hit singles (have consistent sales) rather than having all of his revenue gushing forth from one home-run product (massive level of sales).
Overall, he illustrated his chosen repertoire of research tools in a succinct, yet complete manner.
Video Quality: 8/10
Most of the videos were slightly blurry, but still readable.
The audio was always there, but goes up and down in a lot of the lessons, so be prepared to adjust your computer's volume often.
Tim is great at explaining every tool and program in a short but sweet way, giving solid introductions to the features and benefits of each.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF MODULE 02
This module conveys a high quality and proven product research process in a clear and concise manner. While some of the technical aspects of the section could be improved, the caliber of Tim's content still shines through.