Manufacturing a best selling product that delivers year after year, is gratifying, lucrative and exactly what every Amazon seller wants to do to break away from the uncertainty of reselling or wholesaling. These rare gems are the end result of careful effort to design, test and manufacture a product that customers will cherish. This is how brand trust and loyalty take shape, and this is what you strive for as an Amazon seller.
Selling a product that you’ve made for Amazon can be a lengthy, complicated process. It’s difficult to know how to do everything the right way straight out of the gate. But just as getting everything right can set you up for success, making the wrong mistakes can lead to suspension, or worse.
This is why you should always take product testing seriously.
Not only do you want to make your customers happy, but you also need to meet the highest quality standards while adhering to the rules and regulations set by Amazon and the relevant government agencies. It’s a tall order, which is why some sellers will fail, but taking a proactive approach to quality and safety testing will help you find success.
Find Your Benchmark
If you want your product to stand above the competition, you need to do your research. Find existing products that are performing well and look at the reviews. What are people saying about this item? Are there any questions or complaints you can use to make the product you’re developing even better?
Don’t just rely on what others have to say, of course. You’ll want to actually buy several different products and have them tested. Look for things that represent the higher and lower end of the quality standards you’ve adopted, as well as something that is very similar to what you want to produce. The insights you gain will serve as a benchmark for your own product.
Work On a Prototype
Before putting your product on the market, you will definitely want to develop a testing protocol. Review the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) list of accredited laboratories to ensure you’re working with partners who have met a stringent set of policy and procedural standards. They can help ensure that your products meet the required quality standards, but make sure you also research the standards with the relevant government bodies as well.
Then, refer to the notes you made while reading customer reviews about similar products. What were the main complaints? Carefully compile these comments and come up with the top five issues that you’ll want to focus on and discuss these with your laboratory partners. This will guide you through the testing of the benchmark items you purchased.
With the points of failure identified, you’ll need to develop a sample of your own product. The first one will let you know whether the factory you’ve chosen is capable of making a sample similar to the product you’ve designed.
Once this has been accomplished, you can then send this sample to your laboratory partners for testing. By now, they’ll be familiar with the failure points you’re trying to avoid. Do not skip this important step because this is your best indicator of how your product will perform with your customers.
Do a Production Run
Even if you were completely thrilled with how a factory produced a sample, put all of your attention on the full production run. They may have a completely different set of parameters for these two processes. Don’t rely on photos to gauge the quality of your item — be directly involved in the testing process. Remember your brand’s reputation is on the line and it’s best to not take chances.
Perform a product inspection during that first production run and have inspectors choose the units themselves. While factory employees may offer to be part of this step, it’s best to have someone impartial choosing the random samples to inspect. You want a true representation of the range of quality the factory is producing.
Be rigorous during your first production run to identify any potential issues that need fixing. It’s much better (and less expensive) to address them at this stage than to find out there are problems from your customers. You want to give them the best experience possible, and the way to do that is by ensuring you’re delivering a product that meets or exceeds the testing and quality control standards set by the relevant government bodies as well as Amazon.
As important as it is to feel confident about the items your produce, you also have to provide the proper safety documentation Amazon requires. If you get suspended or have an ASIN removed by Amazon because of safety complaints, you’ll need laboratory safety testing and inspections for your products, as required in Amazon’s product safety requirements. If you sell a product that has safety and compliance requirements, it’s crucial to have that documentation in place before you sell your first product. Many products and categories have safety and compliance requirements. Make sure you carefully examine Amazon’s guidelines to make sure you’re in compliance.
Importance of Packaging
If you’re sure your product is safe because you have the right documentation in place and you’re ready to sell, think again. Product packaging is of utmost importance. Amazon has a full list of packaging and prep requirements in Seller Central. It’s different depending on your category and the type of product you’re planning to sell. There are instructions on how to package products containing liquids, products with batteries, plus units, sharp units, jewelry, fabric and apparel and pretty much any product you can think of. So familiarize yourself with the type of packaging your product requires (and will keep your product safe and intact) so that you don’t face refusal, return or repackaging by Amazon.
If in doubt, make sure your product can withstand the 3 foot drop test. Can you drop the product from 3 feet in the air, without damaging it? If not, you need better packaging.
Monitor Customer Reviews Closely
Once your product is on the Marketplace, pay very close attention to customer reviews. After putting your heart and soul into developing an item, the last thing you want is to hear complaints, but it’s important that you take them seriously. It’s easy to assume negative reviews come from unscrupulous competitors or customers just looking to get free return shipping. But unless you have proof that that is the case, you need to consider negative reviews to be genuine and act accordingly.
Rather than viewing negative reviews as something to dread, shift your thinking and see them as a goldmine of information. The insight you gain from reading real-life experiences can help you make your product even better for future customers. Be sure to respond to these reviews and thank them for the feedback. Let them know that you are sorry for what happened and do your best to make it right.
Proactively Conduct Quality Testing
You’ve got your product, your safety documentation, proper packaging, and all the other things you need to sell your product on Amazon. You can’t, however, depend on negative product reviews to tell you if something goes wrong with a product or a particular batch of a product. By proactively conducting quality testing, you can experience your product first hand so that you know, before anyone, if something is wrong with your item.
Knowing Amazon’s rules, using common sense and following these guidelines will help you create and test products so that you remain compliant, and successful, on the Amazon Marketplace.