An Amazon expert weighs in on developing and selling your own white label gifts, novelties, and fashion accessories on the world’s largest retail site — in less time than you think!
When it comes to online shopping, Amazon still reigns supreme; 44%(!) of U.S. consumers begin their online shopping and searching processes on Amazon — even before using Google, which stands at 34% (source: BloomReach).
So it’s time to explore and master Amazon selling. In this case, we’ll start with your own branded, private label product!
“This is so me!”
Whenever a customer utters those four magical words of retail, a sale is pretty much guaranteed. These days no one wants to feel like just another mass-market consumer. Customers are looking for unique products — whether they want to stand out at the latest music festival or are searching for the perfect gift for a friend.
Get Inspired: Create Your Own Unique Product
The ability to create special products is now more attainable than ever before. Products that formerly required bulk orders, overseas shipments, or lengthy periods of prototype testing can now be ordered and shipped within a few weeks — thanks to the growing power, speed, and affordability of new technologies like 3D or dye-sublimation printing.
In return, many manufacturers are gearing up to meet high demand by producing quality “blank” versions of their products that are ready to be branded, customized, and rush-delivered to your door within days. Whether it’s a cute jar of candy or a bottle of shampoo, retailers can create a personalized product that appeals to their customers and reinforces their brand message.
Own Your Niche, But Do Your (Keyword) Homework First
In the e-commerce world, finding your niche is essential. Type in “Tie for Dad” on Amazon, for instance, and you’ll see thousands of search results. This means shoppers who are trying to find a particular Father’s Day tie will feel as though they’re looking for a needle in a haystack. There are simply too many listings to sift through!
After a bit of clever keyword research, we find that “Golf Tie for Dad” is a popular phrase search on several online marketplaces, yet very few relevant ties are actually available — or attractively marketed. In other words, the demand for golf-themed Father’s Day ties probably exceeds the supply. So this is an area in which to capitalize!
Within days of dreaming up the initial concept, your copyrighted, one-of-a-kind product could be on Amazon’s bestseller list. And there’s no need to worry about the competition!
Insider Tip: Read the in-depth ASD Insider post, “Retailers’ Guide to Developing Private Label,” for even more professional advice!
A Case Study: The Step-by-Step Process
Last Christmas, I released a double pack of branded gourmet coffees: “Naughty” was a spicy cinnamon and hazelnut blend, while “Nice” was flavored with peppermint candy canes. The former had whimsical packaging that depicted a horned Krampus stealing away badly behaved children; the latter showed St. Nicholas delivering gifts inside a glowing drawing room.
Step 1: Place Your Order With Your Private Label Supplier
I placed my coffee order with the supplier in early November, which would normally have beeen considered “cutting it too close” for Christmas. In the fast-moving world of white label e-commerce, however, I was confident that my items would be available on Amazon’s marketplace well before Thanksgiving — just in time for the Cyber Monday rush.
Are you an Amazon Seller looking for affordable wholesale products and private label partners? Find both at ASD Market Week. Get your free ticket here.
Step 2: Your Private “Blank” or “White” Label Shipment Comes In
The process goes like this: my U.S. supplier delivers the chosen blends in plain, metallic red and gold bags, my partner designs the artwork, and we order labels printed with his art. This process takes ten days or less. The bags are then labelled and the packaging is finished.
Insider Tip: You can also work closely with your manufacturer or vendor to develop custom packaging.
Step 3: FBA to the Rescue
We shipped the complete package to the FBA (“Fulfilled by Amazon”) warehouse using their discounted UPS shipping partnership, set our price, added them to our Shopify webstore, and our part was done. The orders arrived through both Amazon’s and Shopify’s platforms, and Amazon shipped the coffee to the customers. Now that Amazon and Shopify are e-commerce partners, this is easier than ever before.
Before you get started, we highly recommend browsing this quick guide to FBA.
Packaging and Design Options | Customization
Customization and personalization is no longer limited to cheap corporate gifts like paperweights or Post-It notes. A recent search for “wholesale custom products” reveals a wealth of white label options — from candles to gourmet dog treats. Printcandies.com will even print your image or text directly onto candy or doggy cookies. For the finishing touches, you can buy jars, tins, bottles, or even beautiful custom gift boxes online. One of my favorite sources for retail packaging is bagsandbowsonline.com. Simply gorgeous!
Even retailers like Walgreens and Zazzle are offering ties custom-printed with personal photographs — and if you don’t have a suitable image, there is a world of artists, photographers, and designers available for hire online! For starters, try 99 Designs.
Final Tip: (Re)define Your Audience
As white label products become easier to create, sometimes a little extra creativity can help you stand out from the increasing competition. One of the most commonly produced private labeled products on Amazon is a garlic press — it’s sort of a joke in the community because there are so many options. So how would I make a garlic press that would actually sell and not be lost on page 370 of the search results? The answer is to do something very different. What else does garlic do? It keeps vampires away! So call it ‘The Vampire Crusher,’ and sell it in a coffin-shaped holder. Now it’s a unique Halloween product and a gift for a huge niche of people who like spooky things. Even better, it becomes the kind of thing people will talk about and share in social media. The same thing can be done with wooden spoons (or magic wands?), bathroom scales (or fortune tellers?), and pretty much any other product you can think of. Get creative, and think outside the typical use (and audience) for that product.
The Key to Mastering White Label
Whether you’re a small seller or a large company, the key to white label lies in identifying a niche market, sourcing a product, and tying it all together with great artwork and packaging. Thanks to a new boom in customization tools, you can create, order, and distribute one-of-a-kind products easily, affordably, and — most importantly — quickly. All you need is a computer.
Looking to gain more knowledge like this and fill your Amazon shop with the right high-margin inventory? Get your free ticket here to the next ASD Market Week in Las Vegas. ASD is a merchandise trade show and retail education conference in one. Sit in on free online selling strategy sessions every day!
By Katharyne Shelton
Katharyne Shelton is a leading expert in e-commerce marketing and creativity. More than 500 sellers have taken her White Label and Product Bundling Masterclasses, learning to create successful product listings on Amazon.com. She also heads the popular private label and product creation group Blue Sky and the 7,000+ member reseller group, “Treasure Hunting with Katharyne.” Meet Katharyne in person at the next ASD Market Week!