Today’s post will be the 12th month in an ongoing series of guest financial results posts from selling on Amazon. If you missed any of the first ones, you can find them HERE.
Hello again – it’s that time where I share my monthly results from my Amazon business with you guys. If you’ve been following along you know that I’ve really struggled these past three months. I’ve really not done much on my business since January and my inventory levels have really dwindled – as have my profits. I’m surprised that I grossed as much as I did as I honestly didn’t think I had any inventor
y left to sell. But as spring brings new life - I'm hoping it does the same for my business. I've scraped together some capital and will start replenishing my inventory this month. So if you continue to follow along with the series, I'm hoping you'll be reading about a re-birth so to speak.
I spent March getting my books back in order after several weeks of neglect, gathering stuff for my accountant (which proved to be no small feat since most of my papers are scattered around in stacks) and attending a trade show. I went to the Dallas Market mainly focused on a new venture I'm starting with a friend, but came away with some solid Amazon leads.
Usually when I hear of Amazon sellers going to trade shows I hear about ASD and to be honest I've actually never read of anyone talking about the Dallas Market. I'm not sure why - but since it's closer to me I decided to start there. I thought it would be intimidating to start talking to vendors, but it wasn't. It was actually pretty easy. No one yelled at me and no one called me stupid - so I consider it a success. Everyone was eager to help and give suggestions and in one showroom I met my Area Account Manager who just happens to be from the same small town I just moved to. And when I say small I mean less than 1800 people - it really is a small world. I came home with lots of business cards, and a few accounts opened but with lots of prospects for other accounts to open. Within 30 minutes of looking at some of their online catalogs I already found a list of 5 potential products to sell on Amazon with pretty awesome margins. So I know people talk about going to the big show in Vegas, but if you're intimidated by something that large or don't have the means to head all the way to Vegas, I highly encourage you to look closer to home and more local markets. While The Dallas Market certainly isn't small, there are other smaller shows around the country that could be just as profitable.
So on to my March Amazon results.
Gross sales were a bit above last month's so can't complain there. I haven't really looked at my inventory levels lately but I know they are dwindling. And I'm sure many of the items that are still there are just not going to sell so I'll be recalling all of that soon. I'm hoping for another free removal offer coming up to take advantage of. Our profit margin remains what I would consider in a healthy zone as well.
Here is the sales snapshot directly from Amazon comparing to last year (click to enlarge):
Here is a look at the total picture, with expenses. You see the gold line of net profit it heading in the wrong direction. My expenses were slightly higher this month - which I attribute to the increase in FBA selling fees. The first thing I did this month was go back over all my subscription expenses and start slashing those. I had a few that I never used and some that I didn't really need. So the March net profit is a result of what happens when you don't know your numbers and don't actively manage your expenses. With Amazon there are things you can't control - so you have to be extra vigilant about the ones you can. Clearly I haven't been.
The services that are used that show up in the subscription fees section are OAXray for help with online arbitrage, InventoryLab for listing and accounting, TaxJar for managing sales taxes, and JoeLister for selling products on eBay that are currently listed on Amazon.
And for kicks - here is a comparison of 2017 to 2016. Last year at this time I was brand new having only been selling for 3 months. This tells me I need to go back to what I was doing last year because it was certainly working better :)
So looking forward for April here is what I have planned:
- Get rid of as much unsold inventory as possible. I've already created removal orders for a lot of unsellable inventory and will be having a garage sale mid-April to move what I haven't been able to unload via eBay. I have a garage full of stuff that needs to be turned into cash, even if it's a small amount. I absolutely hate garage sales, but it's an easy quick way to get some cash - which I need.
- Focus on getting some inventory. Since I don't have much cash in reserves I'm trying to be cautious about spending on inventory. This is making finding stuff to sell a bit more difficult, but it will be my main focus the later part of April. I've already prepped my first shipment in over 2 months this week - so slowly heading in the right direction. Focus will be on finding some quick wins in terms of low rankings and decent profits to get the cash flowing again.
- Controlling expenses is key on my focus list this month. I've cut some subscriptions but will be going back through my expenses and reducing as much as possible.
So there you have it. March was uglier than February and I'm expecting April's results to be similar since it takes a bit to turn the ship around. But we're not giving up and looking forward to reviving this thing in the coming months.
Would love to hear how things are going for you guys - so shoot me a message in the comments. Has anyone else seen a significant impact to their business with the higher fees?
Till next month - happy selling!
Thanks Dana for putting this post together! Please leave any questions or share any comments in the comments section below.