Nick Shucet (00:01)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers Podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet. Today we have Ian Page on the call. Ian Page is co-founder of Sellico and founder and CEO at Bullseye Sellers. Stoked to have you on today, Ian. 

Thanks for spending some time with us, man.

Ian Page (00:20)

Just as stoked to be here, Nick.

Nick Shucet (00:23)

We're going to talk a little bit about launching today, right

Ian Page (00:28)

Yeah, man, launching is a big subject. It's hard to put that in. It's hard to put that in 30 minutes, but I'll give the highlights for sure.

Nick Shucet (00:28)

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Nick Shucet (00:36)

Obviously, MDS members have a good bit of knowledge when it comes to launching, but we're also going to have some fresh Amazon sellers listening to this or some considering Amazon. Why don't you start by what a launch means to you? 

How do you define a launch? How long should it last? What comes next?

Ian Page (01:07)

I define a launch as a product that goes from zero to six months. What you do from day zero to that 60, 180-day is everything for the trajectory and life cycle of that product going forward. Is that product going to do okay if the launch is messed up? 

Maybe, but will it do great if the launch is crushed? Much more likely.

Nick Shucet (01:36)

I think that's a great way to put it. The more effort and energy you put into planning your launch, you're just increasing the chances of it going well. One thing that always comes to mind for me with launching is my background as a reseller. 

All the terrible listings you would see just crushing it. For me, I always explain that as it's a branded search. Amazon knows people want these products, so they're just gonna show it to them. 

It doesn't matter if there is only one image and no bullet points. What does that mean to you and how should an Amazon seller navigate that? Maybe they have a reseller background and they know there are all these terrible listings out there crushing it. 

How do they juggle all that when looking at their competitive landscape?

Ian Page (02:36)

I’d say that gives people false expectations because it's that's not the majority. The majority of the top sellers have good listings, not it's the minority. Let me put it this way. There are three aspects to a launch. 

There are three aspects to any product, actually, there's price, value, and quality. You have to play one of those three or all three. We know a lot of sellers in the last seven years have really played the price game. 

I don't think for your MDS listeners, that's a game they wanna play. I don't think the value is a game they want to play. I think the game they want to play right now in 2023 is quality. I think that’s the game to play. 

Your product is just superior. Outside of that, what do you do? How do you compete with other listings that appear to be crushing it that have a terrible listing or have three images, one bullet point, or titles that have 50 characters and you're like, how in the hell are they selling? 

That should never be an expectation that you should have for yourself. I think the expectation you should have for yourself is the customer that you want to attract. 

Create a listing that talks to your customer, and your ideal customer, and just sells them on every aspect of the value proposition. They're almost looking in the mirror. That's how your listing needs to be. 

That customer feels so identified with your listing. Then we can talk about what we do after that. I feel having that listing so dialed in with the psychology of your ideal customer is step zero and the foundation of a good launch.

Nick Shucet (04:40)

I really do like that because you get to hone in on the things that you mentioned, those focus points of the launch, like price, and quality, the third one you mentioned is the value I think.

You only really have so much real estate to play with and so much stuff to think about. If you think about the search result page of an Amazon page. You see the image, you see the stars, you see the rating, you see the price. 

Maybe you can get a red discount badge, one of those things but dude, that's only five, six, seven things. You really have to think about dialing in on that first step of the funnel. That search result page. Do you guys help or coach with any of that stuff?

Ian Page (05:42)

It's become more of a thing for Sellico. We launched a launch coaching program because so many people are like, man, I've launched 12 products this year and one of them did well. 11 of them are struggling. 

I don't have enough bandwidth to actually look at my launches every single day and make sure they're actually hitting their milestones. That is something we're offering now as launch coaching, but for the most part, no. 

Most of our clients are jumping on the dashboard and they're just setting up campaigns. When they're MDS members, nine out of 10 times, they're pretty freaking smart and their listings are really good.

Ian Page (06:40)

Here's the thing. Amazon's become more and more of a social media platform and they're more and more trying to get virality. They're more and more interested in virality than anything else. 

I think it's confirmed by their latest update showing the sales volume right on the first page so that everyone can see 2,000, 5,000 sold, and 10,000 sold. 

What that does is it actually keeps those big players big and the small players small because that gives buyers more confidence knowing that 10,000 other people made that same decision. That psychology is freaking enormous for conversion rate. 

It's just more confirming my theory that you need to come out as a viral product from day one.

Nick Shucet (07:24)

Amazon seems to be making it more of a pay-to-play in the sense that they want people who are going to come on their platform with confidence that the product's gonna sell, not maybe this Amazon thing will work, I'll send in a hundred units and see what happens. 

With the new fee rollout that's coming next year, you have to have four weeks of inventory or you're gonna get charged a low inventory fee. It's changing man. You really have to have your stuff together, and your supply chain dialed in, and that's not easy.

Ian Page (08:07)

No, it's not easy, man. I do tell, Nick, I do tell a lot of people that are launching products, I do tell them you need to commit, I do tell them that, you gotta commit, you gotta make the jump, you gotta go in the cold water. 

You can't just put your toe in and test a product. That's the worst way to launch a product is just to put your toe in.

Nick Shucet (08:26)

What do you guys recommend if someone asks you how many units I should send in? Do you guys have a recommendation that you offer? 

I know one-day and two-day shipping time is becoming a big deal for conversion rates these days and a lot of people are just sending in a lot more inventory than they usually would.

Ian Page (08:54.518)

I would say for a US-based product sourced in the US, I'd like to see 1,000 units. If it's sourced in China, I'd like to see 2,000 to 3,000 units.

Nick Shucet (09:05)

Okay, nice. All right. That's some solid inventory to send in to get launched. From what I hear what's making a big difference for people doing launches recently is getting that inventory into Amazon. 

In brand analytics, you can see that first-day and two-day availability in there.

Ian Page (09:33)

That's right. Also the FC transfers. You have to have products across multiple states. If you send in 200 units, how the hell are you going to get products in all these different locations? It's not going to happen.

Nick Shucet (10:01)

What are some other characteristics of a successful launch that you guys see over at Sellico, besides sending in a lot of inventory, and having a good listing, is there anything that comes to mind?

Ian Page (10:15)

Number one is the price outside of that.

Nick Shucet (10:17)

Let's dig into that pricing a little bit. What pricing strategies are you guys seeing working well?

Ian Page (10:30)

You have to consider that you should probably be 25 to 40% lower than your peer. I like to tell every client that comes aboard that I talk to that they need to have a North Star listing. What that means is they have to have the guy they're chasing. 

You can't launch a product without having someone in front of you in the race that you want to catch up to and beat. You have to have one person. I don't want multiple. 

I just want one North Star for every launch because that's the guy you're gonna compare price to and that's the guy you're gonna basically compare your entire sales velocity all the way up to the end. 

If he's at $25, you wanna be 25 to 40% lower than him until your reviews are adequate.

Nick Shucet (11:17)

What about running PPC? Are you guys suggesting that people start with PPC right out of the gate? No reviews? It's better to have some reviews. What are you guys seeing working, or not working on that front when it comes to launches?

Ian Page (11:44)

We don't see successful launches without PPC, unfortunately. That first 60 to 90 days, Amazon doesn't even know what the hell your product is. Indexing and keyword ranking are kickstarted by ads. 

I don't see any way around that. We keep ads simple. We keep them exact targeting campaigns. We just keep them in sponsored products. We're not messing around with sponsored brands or anything fancy.

We're just doing single keyword campaigns, maybe four or five, six of your main keywords, and do a daily budget, $20, $30 a day and just keep it simple for the first 30 days.

Nick Shucet (12:27)

What about some things that will wreck a launch? Is there anything like you could have a great listing, you're doing a lot of things right, but maybe there's just this one thing that someone does wrong, throws the whole thing off. 

Are you guys seeing anything like that can squash a launch?

Ian Page (12:56)

I'd put it in three buckets. Number one is inventory, running at inventory is, I don't even have to say that at this point, I think anybody who's been selling on Amazon for longer than six months knows never run at inventory. 

Number two is starting off at the right price, or the wrong price for that matter is very similar to selling your house on real estate and putting your house up on Zillow or the MLS and overcharging for your house and no one comes and sees it. 

Then now you're backpedaling and trying to backpedal the whole time. I think coming in at the wrong price is number two. I'm going to say there are four things. I'm adding another one. Number three is not there. 

They're like, Oh, there's only 10 reviews. I'm not going to run any ads there. I'm like, you know what, it's pay to play guys. I'm sorry. Even if you're ACOS sucks, you got to put the ads there. 

Number four is one, two-star reviews.

Nick Shucet (13:59)

Gotcha. Man, that's some solid, you know, just solid info, mainly because it's not complicated. It's just not complicated. If I'm checking all the boxes and I'm doing everything Ian Page suggested I do, not meeting my North Star though, I'm not gaining that traction that I thought I would. 

What are some troubleshooting steps that you would go through? What are some other things that might be going on with that other listing that keeps him ahead?

Ian Page (14:42)

Good question, man. Again, when you're looking at your listing, the reason why the North Star is so important to have all the time is that now you can compare. Data is only as valuable as it's comparable to other data. 

If I told you that Apple stock was at a hundred dollars right now, but you had no other data to compare that to you'd go, what does that mean? You have to have data to compare it to data. North Star's right here, he's selling 5,000 units a month at $39.99. 

Your product's right here, you're catching up. You're at 800 units a month. You know you have less reviews, he's got a shit ton more reviews. There's always gonna be a delta until your review count goes up. 

You can't just, you can't think you're not doing well. If you're slowly getting market share, you are doing well. You're not gonna beat this guy right away.

Ian Page (15:40)

However, if you're stuck at 510 sales a day and you have a stagnant product launch, the first area you should check, outside of continuing to look at him, the first area you should check would be your hero image. 

That'd be the number zero, right when you get out of bed in the morning, is what the hell can I do about my hero image? Why isn't it winning?

Ian Page (16:08)

Assuming your price is right and you know, you've done all the other stuff.

Nick Shucet (16:13)

That's a solid advice there. What if I feel good about my main image? Maybe I've even gotten a third party to look at things. Could there be something going on with a competitor that I don't know about? 

Maybe it's against terms of service and they're doing things I'm simply not willing to do or maybe I just don't even know about. Is there a way that we can identify that information in the competitive landscape?

Ian Page (16:52)

It’s not hard to find. I’m sure you guys have all looked and got the Helium 10 review. There’s a great feature on Helium 10 X-ray where you can look at the reviews and filter them. That’s a lot better than just filtering on the listing. 

The first place to look is international. That’s where you want to look. I’d tell people if you want to see if people are cheating, look at their international. 

Ian Page (17:23)

This is a big scam. This is the big scam right now. Guys are buying listings that are from other marketplaces. It's like a DE listing or a Spain listing. They're baunching the same product in the US but it's not the same product.

Nick Shucet (17:43)

Smart. Man, if you can come in with a lot of reviews.

Ian Page (17:49)

I know it's always smart. You gotta respect the game. You gotta respect the game, it's smart.

Nick Shucet (17:55)

You gotta respect the game for sure. What would you do at that point, man? Do you decide to play that game too? Do you give up? You report them to Amazon, and nothing happens. 

We want to play by the rules, but when you put a lot of money into something, you want to get that back.

Ian Page (18:36)

If you've already sourced a product and you're at that point where you're up to bat and you're in the game, obviously you got to win. 

If you're looking at product research, it's probably a good idea before you go into that market to see how many guys have international reviews that don't match. 

If you see all the top guys have the same problem, you should probably stay out of that particular category or whatever that subcategory is.

Ian Page (19:04)

If it's too late, fuck them, dude. We gotta win. I wouldn't play their game. What I would do is I would just count on the fact that they're gonna be a foregone conclusion at some point because their reviews are gonna go down. 

They're probably selling a crappy product. I would just sell a superior product with much, much higher quality and rust to make an incredibly good listing.

Nick Shucet (19:32)

I like that man. I was going to come back to where you just ended if you have that good product, you know your market. You just have to be patient. Now, maybe there are some other things you could do. 

Maybe you throw some money into a TikTok campaign or a Google ad campaign where you can get some external traffic that's going to convert well also and you can beat them that way.

As you said, your reviews are going to stick and his eventually are going to go away. 

Amazon usually catches up at some point to what people are doing. They're usually on to doing something else by then, but Amazon's always catching up. I think that's good news that the listeners need to hear. 

It's like, hey, just be patient, man. Trust the process. I think this is all a lot of good info. Mainly for resellers. Resellers that come into private labels don't understand the concept of a launch. 

They don't understand how to price competitively. They don't understand the importance of a main image. They don't understand the importance of staying in stock because they're not worried. 

In the wholesale world it's more about do you're just finding different products and hopefully, you find a couple of replies but there are not a lot of good ones out there.

I think this has been a great episode. 

If you're a reseller, thinking about getting into private label, all this stuff that Ian just mentioned, yes, it's simple, but you have to have confidence. You've gotta have the money to put into it. 

You've gotta have the grit to stick with it because it's a different type of fight as a private-label seller. Do you encounter that? Have you worked with them?

Ian Page (21:37)

It doesn't translate at all.

Ian Page (21:43)

All the time. Honestly, for wholesalers coming into FBA, it's tough to get these guys' old dogs new tricks because they're so into just buying box games and they're just bidding on products. 

There's no Amazon skill set. I'm not saying they're not skilled. Their skill set is finding products at the right price. That's the skill.

Ian Page (22:10)

Private Label is not finding products at the right price. Private label is, you have to understand the psychology of customer marketing. You have to understand the algorithm of ranking. 

You have to understand paid ads. You have to understand imagery. You have to understand all the different keyword components that go into ranking. 

It's a much bigger book of understanding, like a tome versus, hey, get the product at the right price, put the ASIN in, and win the buy box.

Nick Shucet (22:40)

If you're a reseller thinking about making that switch or just getting into it, you definitely wanna make sure you're prepared for the battle. I don't know, Ian, if you guys have any tools or offer any consulting on that front. 

I think Brandon Young does a really good job of showing you how to prepare for launch, how much money it's going to cost, and stuff like that.

Ian Page (23:14)

Brandon's good at that. That's not my lane Bullseye Sellers, which is my agency. We want people to come in who already have products. We already have a store. We want to take their million-dollar store to 10. 

That's where we can feel like we can add the most value. Those guys are starting from zero. I do understand how to help them, but not an area that I'm offering services for at the moment.

Nick Shucet (23:38)

Before we wrap up, man, is there any more high-level information you could maybe give the MDS listeners? 

Some things you're seeing work well for ranking right now, or maybe some things that people know have worked in the past that's not working anymore, or any other info like that.

Ian Page (24:10)

I can drop some hacks, I can drop some bombs. I'm finding success with re-ranking old ASINs by...

Nick Shucet (24:13)

Let's get hacky.

Ian Page (24:25)

Figuring out what the TACOS is on the paid ads and then turning off all the paid ads or minimally the top of search ads and reducing the price by the same percentage of the TACOS savings. 

Let's say you're spending 12% on your ads and let's say we go, okay, we're gonna turn off ads tomorrow. We're gonna reduce the price by that 12%.

Ian Page (24:55)

Running a little Sellico external traffic, okay, instead of the paid ads has proven to be very effective because now every person, including the organic sales and the external traffic are only clicking on an organic placement. 

There's no more cannibalization. Worst word ever. Cannibalization. Finally figured it out.

Ian Page (25:24)

There's no more of that because what happens with people are trying to rank is that they're paid ads or putting so much money into paid that the ranking is stulted because most people still click on the paid and that's ailling the ranking. 

It's funny. It's counterintuitive. I'm working with a few higher sellers of like, Hey if you're going to do some Sellico and you're going to do some external traffic, let's try turning those ads off and passing that value onto your customer. 

Then running little drips on those keywords. The organic ranking is faster and it sticks longer.

Nick Shucet (26:08)

Is that something you suggest doing? You've already got a little bit of traction with your listing here, you're running ads already, you're identifying your tacos, so maybe this is you know what, maybe four weeks in or something Ian, that you're considering something like this, or what? 

What's the timeline? Way after...

Ian Page (26:28)

Oh, way after. No, way later. Yeah, this is a seasoned listing, Nick. This is a year, two-year, three-year listing.

Nick Shucet (26:36)

Oh, you said re-ranking, didn't you? You mentioned you're doing this to re-rank. I missed that. All right. Just to clarify, that's a good one for trying to re-rank something. I'll give that a shot, man.

Ian Page (26:41)

I did.

Ian Page (26:48)

That's a nice hot tip. The biggest tip I have outside of that is that you don't have to be breaking TOS or going gray hat or not a black hat to do a launch. It's this weird connection with launch equals rank equals black hat. 

It's just not true. The common denominator of what a launch is supposed to do for you is actually to have controlled external traffic that improves the SEO of the product.

Does that have to be against TOS? 

No, you can accomplish that through Google ads. You can accomplish it through influencers. You can accomplish it through an email list. You can accomplish it also through Sellico. 

We have a very cool TOS-compliant program called Go Find It, where we create a viral launch for you and offer the product at a discount using promo codes. There are no rebates. 

There's nothing shady and it works great. I just want people to know they don't have to be like, Oh shit, launch equals rebate equals TOS. I'm not going to do anything. I'm just going to run PPC.

Nick Shucet (28:21)

I think that's a good point, man. There's a way to fight back, so to say if your competitors are doing something that seems out of line. There are plenty of things you can do in terms of service. 

As you said, Sellico has that program they're offering, but just talking to people, and building a little campaign. Maybe if you're selling a nutritional supplement, go to your local gym. Hey, can I set up a booth? 

My company just rolled out a new product, we want to give out some free samples, offer your customers here a deal if they want to buy something. Bam. How many people go to a gym every day? 

Hundreds. Now you've got the opportunity to capture that foot traffic, get them looking for your product on Amazon, and you've done nothing against Terms of Service.

I think those types of old-school strategies work very well. 

It's harder to scale, but the impact of that can be pretty significant as well because now you're building relationships, you're building brand awareness, and you're still getting that benefit of that search on Amazon that you want.

That's what I've always thought about doing when I was into supplements more and I had some bad launches. I was like, man, I should just post up at the gym with a little booth and show off what I got or something. 

I think there's a lot of opportunity if e-commerce sellers leverage retail a little bit in these kinds of unique ways.

Ian Page (30:08)

100% man. I think at the end of the day, you're a business owner and you have to be scrappy and you got to be willing to do whatever it's going to take. 

Just because you're trying to look for a quick buck on e-commerce doesn't change the fact that you still have to hustle. There's no difference, man.

Nick Shucet (30:24)

Well, Ian, thanks for coming on, man, and sharing a little bit about launches, and sharing information that's good for both MDS sellers, but also some people looking to get into private label. 

Maybe you're a reseller, maybe you're just looking to start up something new. Now you've got a pretty good idea of what it takes to get something off the ground. If you need some help, reach out to Sellico. 

Sounds like they've got some great programs to get things off the ground pretty easily.

Ian Page (31:03)

Very easily, a lot easier than trying to call your auntie and your grandma. It's not as scalable. We have programs where we have real Amazon Prime buyers who want to purchase your product in exchange for a discount. 

They will go and purchase it on a controlled schedule. We could create private drip campaigns of 60-day purchases right to your listing.

Ian Page (31:33)

That's what Amazon wants to see. They want to see traffic and purchases. We can create that traffic in those purchases. They're real, they're not against TOS. We have some awesome programs. 

Before I leave, I have to give two things. I got to give a shout-out to MDS, which I'm going to do really in a second, just to show my love. Then number two, I want to let you guys in on a new thing that we're working on at Sellico. 

I'll start with the new Sellico feature that we're working on. That's coming out in Q1 because I just want to create some buzz. Basically what we're doing is we're going to be starting to work with brand owners before launch. 

We want to be involved in your product research process and we want to help you avoid launching a dud or a product that has enough flaws to it that would kill the product, no matter how good of a launch you do.

The way we're doing that is we're gonna have the first ever product focus group service where you can send the product before buying a lot of inventory to as little as five people or as many as 100 people. 

They will be required to rigorously test your product under your direction, what you want them to do, whether it's take it every morning, put it on their face, feed it to their dog, or kill the rats. 

Whatever the purpose of the product is, they're gonna test it vigorously for two, three, four weeks, and then they're gonna report back with a very thorough survey on your product, including your packaging, durability, price point, and quality. 

Then they're gonna also be able to compare your new product with existing competitors and give you their feedback, and then follow that up with a Google Meet call if you want to have a conversation with your product tester.

Nick Shucet (33:34)

Nice. Man, I like that a lot. What a great way to supplement using Intellivy or PickFu. That's just such a great thing to add on.

Ian Page (33:51)

It's the product itself. We're not giving you feedback on the images. We're doing it before it even goes to market.

Nick Shucet (33:59)

Nice. When you said that's coming out next year, Q1?

Ian Page (34:05)

That's one thing that's coming out in Q1 and yeah, it's coming out in Q1. We're building it now and MDS is going to hopefully get the first invites into using it. We'll probably give a fat MDS discount to get you guys all hooked. 

Then I also just wanted to give a shout-out to MDS. It's the best mastermind group in the world. I know of a lot of mastermind groups and no one does it better than MDS. No one's got better quality people in my opinion than MDS in the Amazon community. 

No one puts on a better event than the MDS. I love you guys and I'm just happy to be part of this community.

Nick Shucet (34:46)

We're glad to have you. Are we going to see you at any events here coming up?

Ian Page (34:56)

I got my bathing suit packed up. I'm coming to the yacht day in Miami.

Nick Shucet (34:59)

Amazing. Nice, man. I'll see you there. I'll be there. Then we've got Inspire coming up in March, man. That was a great event last year. I think we saw you there because you were at Prosper. Maybe we'll see you out at Inspire again. 

Cool. All right. Awesome, man. We're looking forward to it. Looking forward to the yacht day.

Ian Page (35:15)

Yeah, but this year we're going to be much more there.

Ian Page (35:22)

I think we're gonna do our official launch for our focus group service at Inspire. I think that's where we're gonna kick off and make this new thing live. I'm pushing to get that done by Inspire.

Nick Shucet (35:38)

Nice. All right, man. Well, I'll be looking forward to that. That sounds like a great thing. That sounds like a really good event to kick it off at just because of how a lot of networking goes on at that one. 

I see a lot of people chatting about that and leveraging it, honestly. That's a good one. It's not out there. Kudos to you for coming up with a good service, man. That's gonna be a great add-on.

Ian Page (36:07)

Well, now I gotta put my money where my mouth is, but I'll make it great.

Nick Shucet (36:10)

We'll be ready for it, man. Well, Ian, again, thank you for coming on, man. Looking forward to seeing you in Miami and getting you back on the podcast again soon.

Ian Page (36:23)

All right, brother, thank you.

Listen to Weekly Conversations Featuring Top eCommerce Experts

Catch Every Episode First

Get every new episode straight to your inbox before anyone else does.
Yes, I Want to be First