Amazon is a fantastic selling machine. They accounted for almost half of the entire online spend in the US in 2018 and you may be forgiven for thinking that it’s a gold mine waiting to be tapped… and it may well be for the right business. However there is an ever growing number of people who want to learn to sell on Amazon and they’re being fleeced of thousands of dollars on courses which fail to deliver.
Here at Tamebay we often get asked if a new wannabe Amazon merchant should pay for a particular course. Generally the ante for a course is several thousands of dollars (or pounds in the UK) but what those considering the courses fail to realise is that this is just the buy in and they’ll soon be digging into their savings or ramping up credit card debt to finance further ‘training’ or ‘introductions’.
There have been many highly publicised cases of ‘training’ companies being sued or even investigated by the authorities and as fast as they shut down a new training company offering everything you need to learn to sell on Amazon.
How to tell if a learn to sell on Amazon course is a scam?
The way to recognise the signs of a scam course is that they promise minimal effort, minimal investment and amazing results with a six figure turnover and it’ll only cost you several thousand pounds for them to reveal the ‘secret’. What they don’t tell you is that the few, often anonymous, case studies they offer are the exception rather than the rule. For every story of a successful pupil there are likely to be thousands more who, having coughed up their life savings, fail.
There are several reasons why complaints are few and far between – one financial and the second human nature.
For those who pay by credit card, you might wonder why they don’t recoup their investment when they realise a course fails to deliver on it’s promise. The courses often promise limited time money back guarantees, but by the very nature of what they promise time runs out before a claim can be made. They will generally offer to hook you up with a Chinese manufacturer and may well do so, but by the time you’ve chosen a product, placed an order, received shipment into Amazon FBA and realised that your product isn’t selling several months will have passed. The time to do a credit card chargeback has passed and the money back promise expired and you’ll be left with unsaleable stock in Amazon FBA and could even be charged for retrieving your stock or even worse get billed to have it destroyed.
The other reason people fail to complain is the very natural tendency for embarrassment and being reluctant to admit in public that they’ve been scammed. Having lost money and possibly thrown more good money after bad, going public and denouncing the scammer that ripped you off looses the last shreds of dignity you have left.
The normal response from those running such courses when challenged is that their victims failed to follow instructions and didn’t put in the hours required to be successful. It may at times be a vaguely fair defence, but in reality when they promise you can put your Amazon business on autopilot and sit back earning a six figure income if the courses worked the idea is that it only takes a couple of hours a week to run an Amazon business… that’s just not true – ask anyone that runs an FBA business how many hours they work and you’ll discover it’s a full time job.
Where do you go to learn to sell on Amazon?
The first and most obvious step to learning to sell on Amazon is to use Amazon’s own resources. Amazon run free courses themselves in partnership with Enterprise Nation that recommend once the 2019 schedule is released.
There is also a ton of information online and on YouTube that can help for free. For instance this resource is US based but mirrors the UK. For the UK everything you need to know is on the sell on Amazon pages.
Once you get started on Amazon there are plenty of resources where you can find assistance such as Amazon’s own forums, Tamebay, Facebook groups and Internet chat groups. If you do get stuck and want to pay for advice there are consultants who will charge transparent fees by the hour or by the day – you’ll find some reputable consultants in the Tamebay Guide.
Ultimately the first thing you need before you worry about training courses is a product and preferably one with minimal competition and high margins. You’ll need to take into account Amazon selling fees, FBA fees or your own storage, packaging and shipping costs, VAT and taxes and possibly further investment in Amazon sponsored products to boost sales. Unless you can source a product with an absolute minimum markup of 50% (preferably higher) it’s unlikely you’ll find success on Amazon and anyone who promises to teach you all you need to know to learn to sell on Amazon won’t be able to help you.
Is Amazon a real opportunity?
You might think from reading this that we don’t advise anyone to learn to sell on Amazon but we do. We suggest you start with a product and self help as that’s how thousands of sellers started out on Amazon and run successful businesses. Spending thousands on a learn to sell on Amazon training course is simply wasting money that you should be investing in stock.