Rachel Johnson Greer | Amazon Insider Reveals Her Secrets

Rachel Johnson Greer, the founder of Cascadia Seller Solutions, is the perfect guide. She has helped more than 700 Amazon sellers boost their visibility and get more income. She is an Amazon seller herself – she even worked at Amazon for 12 years.

She talks about strategies you must adopt to draw people to your product lists… and make the sale. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, says Rachel, that are sabotaging businesses – and the owners have no idea. 

Another issue with many Amazon sellers is that they forget the fundamentals… and waste the time of marketing as a result. We dig deep into that, and also talk about…

  • The three most important metrics to watch with your Amazon business
  • Unexpected keyword tips that get you ranked highly – and it’s affordable
  • How to make sure you attract only the “right” customers
  • The habits she learned at Amazon – beyond the technical stuff – that she still uses today
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:


Episode Transcript:

Joris Bryon: Hey, this is your host of the eCommerce excellence podcast. And today I’m really excited to talk to Rachel Johnson Greer. Rachel, She’s the founder and principal consultant at Cascadia Sellers Solutions. And she started Cascadia back in 2015. And in those four years now, she’s helped over 700, Amazon sellers in more than a dozen countries to solve their Amazon problems. And she has a ton of experience on Amazon. She used to work there as a consultant, of course now as well. And as an Amazon seller herself, the company’s mission is to help brands gain visibility on Amazon, acquire new customers on the channel and increase the income from the Amazon channel and also to teach the sellers or virtual assistants to do it for themselves. Rachel, welcome to the podcast. I’m super happy to have you here.

Rachel Johnson Greer: Thank you so much for having me.

Joris Bryon: Maybe just to get started. I mean, I already introduced you a bit. But can you tell us a bit more about your background? Where’d you come from in your career so that our listeners can understand a bit more about you? And how did you get started in eCommerce? And how did you end up doing what you do right out?

Rachel Johnson Greer: Yeah, absolutely. I started working at Amazon back in 2007, I had been travelling and working all over the world, taught English in Europe, did some work in Singapore travelled in Southeast Asia. And I was like, it’s time for me to go home, I grew up in this area and came back and this was when Amazon was still quite a bit smaller. And the job that I applied for was actually a German-speaking role because I had been teaching English in Austria. And everyone had told me when I got my master’s degree in history, they’re like, this is not a good use of your money. This is not a good use of your time. And then I got a job at Amazon, using my German skills.

So, I was pretty happy about that. And after about eight years, I ended up leaving Amazon and I did a ton of stuff while I was there working in the fraud department answering law enforcement inquiries, mostly in the European platform, the first couple of years, and then focusing on the North America platform. For the last five years that I was there and I did product compliance, did quality for private brands working on enabling new country launches, they’re working on the Mexico country launch India country launch, and then working on imports in various locations. And then my last job at Amazon was completely different because we’re not as working on AWS hardware for website availability.

So I like doing lots of different things and learning different things. And and, you know, Amazon is one of those places where, you know, you’re encouraged to do lots of things and move quickly. And, and the culture of the company is is really fun for someone who has like an entrepreneurial back background, or entrepreneurial bent, if you will know, I definitely enjoyed that part of it. And I realized recently that I just spent basically the last 12 years of my working life either working at or, in some way connected to Amazon.

That’s quite a bit of time but dedicated.

Joris: Yeah. And how did you… Why did you decide to leave Amazon?

Leaving Amazon

Rachel: You know, it got to where it just got to be too much. Amazon really demands a lot from an employee. And one of the things that I like to say is, if I can’t do it, well, I don’t want to do it. You know, I always try to do my best at whatever I’m doing. And I was realizing that I just couldn’t keep up with the pace anymore, in terms of my own dedication to it. And I feel like that’s part of the reason why I decided to start my own businesses because I needed to care. And I have gotten to the point where I just didn’t care anymore. I feel like a lot of us get to that point in our jobs or something else, where you’re just like, you know what, I just I want to stop doing this for somebody else. In 2014, I worked on a project that enables over a billion dollars in sales at Amazon. And it was one of those things where, you know, I’m really proud and I thought I did a really good job. And then they were like, yeah, so we’re gonna hold off on promoting you. And it was like, you know, I’m tired of you guys being in charge of my future. I don’t want that anymore.

Joris: Cool, yeah. Yeah. And that’s when you decided to, to venture out on your own and create a consultancy, right?

Rachel: Yeah, exactly.

Joris: Okay. I know, it’s a difficult question, because there’s probably a lot of factors to it. But what is the key to success on Amazon?

The Key To Success On Amazon

Rachel: So it’s actually really simple in theory, not so simple in execution, but in theory, it’s very simple, which is basically traffic, so how many people are going to your page conversion, which is how we were actually buying stuff on your page from minus defects. A lot of people forget about the defect, know, your return rate, or the number of customers who complain and so on, equals growth. It’s that simple. So, you know, you may, you may think, Oh, I have to do this to actually do that. And I saw people talking about how what’s my rank for these keywords? And all of that is great. But only as long as you’re thinking about how is this going to help me increase traffic to my listing? How is it going to convince someone to buy and convince the right person to buy?

I think that’s something that a lot of people miss too, is the idea that you actually want to turn off the wrong customer, to the wrong customer will return the product. And returns are far more expensive than not buying, right? So you don’t buy you to fail. But if you have something that is a sale, and then a return, you’re paying outbound shipping, plus potentially the item is damaged, you can lose the cost of the item. So you want to not just convert everyone who comes to your page, you want to convert only the ones who are like, yes, this is it. This is what I need.

Joris: Yeah, I actually love this formula. I love it. When something really complex gets summarized in like a simple formula like this. I mean, everybody can wrap his head around traffic plus conversion minus defects equals growth. But let’s maybe let’s break it down. Traffic. Yeah, how do you get traffic?

Rachel: There are a few ways to get traffic on Amazon, the most obvious and easy one is to pay for it. Amazon is really good at monetizing their stuff. And so the simplest way to get traffic especially to something new is to advertise. So you can advertise automatically, which means Amazon chooses your keywords, or you can bid on specific keywords. The kind of weird thing about bidding on specific keywords is that keyword has to be on your listing or part of the keyword has to be on your listing.

So if you have a keyword that includes, you know, instruction manual, as an example, as long as manual or instruction is on your page, it should be able to run, but it’s neither instruction nor manual or on your page, usually, the ad won’t run with that keyword. So it’s kind of interesting thing that you need to have the content on the page, or Amazon thinks that you’re doing something weird. And then once you actually get clicks from the ad, that’s the point at which you are what’s called indexed. So on Google, if you’re trying to index on Google, you can tell Google to index you or Google will do it automatically over a certain period of time.

Amazon doesn’t really if you don’t get clicks, if you don’t get traffic, you don’t get indexed at all. So generally speaking, what we try to do with with our clients is we just pay for advertising for at least about a month after launch and try to get that traffic, you can also get more linking traffic by sending off Amazon traffic like influencers or other things to launch products. And then once you’re starting to get clicks, and you’re starting to get traffic from those keywords, then you can start doing what’s called the ranking. And ranking isn’t just that you can be found for that keyword it where you’re found for that keyword. So when you first start out, you might be on like page 10 or 20, for a curious way in the back. 

And then as you get more clicks and more sales and more traffic for your product, you’ll move higher and higher and higher. And of course, the goal is to get to page one, because most customers don’t keep going. I forget the exact numbers, but it’s somewhere between half to two thirds of customers don’t go to page two, with a huge proportion of customers who don’t even go to page two. And by page four, you only have 10% of the original customers on page one left. So your product is on page four for a particular product, you have only 10% chance that even getting an impression much like that’s why people are so obsessed with getting on to page one.

Joris: Yeah. And how do you get on page one?

Getting Onto Page One

Rachel: So it’s kind of an interesting thing, there’s a few ways that you can do it in a cheaty way. And the cheater way is basically to pay for it. So there are people who will pay for clicks. You know, when you have a particular URL, you can put the search information into the URL. So like, if I were to search for a tea kettle, like plus tea kettle would be in the URL. So you can actually trick Amazon into thinking that you had a particular search, and then click on that, and it’ll artificially increase their link based on the clicks. So obviously, we don’t recommend that, first of all, it’s artificial. And so it’s really easy for it to go away if you don’t keep paying. So it’s kind of a, you know, not not a long term strategy. But also it’s not allowed. 

So if you ever get caught, so what we recommend is basically choosing which keywords make sense for you to go after. And it’s kind of a numbers game in a way. And so if you are looking at something that has taken 2 million searches in a month on .com You know, there’s plenty of things that are like two to 5 million searches a month. If you’re looking at code at the UK or you’re in Germany, a lot of times the searches are less than like four or $500. In a lot of cases just because the platform is smaller. But what you’re looking for is a space that isn’t super crowded. When you’re looking at the top one, it’s very attractive to be like I want to be the number one teakettle. But if there’s, you know, a million searches for tea kettles, it’s almost impossible to compete on teakettle.

So what you want to do instead is find one of those searches with a lot lower, like maybe 10,000 searches per month, maybe even less, and try to get number one on one of these really, really wide open keywords have not got very many searches. But if you can get day, you know, 10% of the searches out of 5000 searches a month, then you’re getting quite a lot of sales during that month. And so the way that we recommend that people do this is kind of a keyword bootstrap approach, you find the lower the lower hanging fruit, and you get to the page number one on these ones that have a small number of searches. Then once you get to page number one on that you’re getting some good sales, then you can start this on the higher level, and then you keep growing the product and trying to get on the page one for more and more keywords. And that’s how you end up getting more traffic over time. So I find that a lot of times people make the mistake of going to the top keywords right away.

Joris: Yeah.

Rachel: That’s a good way of spending all your money.

Joris: I think it’s the same with SEO. I think there’s a lot of people that just go after the highest volume keywords, but that’s going to be hard. And it’s going to take a long time before you get there and so often a lot smarter to go for decent volume keywords and try to rank for those. So I guess on Amazon or Google, it’s a pretty similar philosophy behind it.

Rachel: There’s a lot of keyword search engines right now.

Joris: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So let’s move on maybe to the conversion part. What’s important for if you want an Amazon buyer to convert?

From Browsing to Buying: How To Convert

Rachel: Yeah, so it’s just a few different things that go into the conversion formula. The first one is, have you convinced them that this is the right product, or whatever their problem is, whatever that problem in their life that they’re facing, they need the product for. And it could be something as simple as I’m feeling lousy today, I want to buy something cute, make me feel better, like in a fashion sense, or you know, fashion jewellery, or clothing or a handbag or shoes. Or it could be that it’s a functional issue, it’s fall, and you’re trying to get clothing for a family member or, you know, rain boots or something. Or it could be that they’re trying to make dinner and they’re looking for a product, whatever their problem is they’re trying to solve, you want to explain to them that you solve that problem.

And I think that that sounds really simple, but the execution is the hard part. And the second thing is the price. So those two things are the most important. And then the third one, which is really close behind but not quite as important as the other two is your shipping methods. So Amazon, especially in com, they just rolled out one day prime. This is an amazing, I can order it today. Like if I were early enough in the morning, I will have products delivered by the evening where I live. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. Yeah, yeah. So so you know, when you’re trying to compete with that on your own website, it’s really hard.

Joris: Yeah. 

Rachel: Yeah you may as well just not like, you may as well try to focus on having a better, you know, product experience, because it’s certainly not going to ship faster. So in terms of the conversion part, where you’re talking about, like, is this the thing that will solve my problem, press plus the price, lowest price is not necessarily the place that you want to go. It’s more for the price that you’re offering it at? Do they feel comfortable with what you’re asking, Is that enough to solve the problem, we have products that we’re working on with clients where, you know, it’s 90 hundred hundred and $20. And people will buy it, because the language around it is okay, this will solve my problem, I’m spending more to achieve this goal. If you have a higher value product, you’ve got to put in all the buzzwords that why of course it otherwise they’re going to go with a cheap item, you know? Yeah, so then that’s that’s like the price piece, I never say like you have to be the lowest price.

You don’t even have to be like the second-lowest price or close to it, you want to make sure that the price matches the proposition you’re making with the customer. And then for the proposition, I find that a lot of people make the mistake of describing their product, they, you know, do a great job of describing what the product is they describe what it does. They describe how awesome it’s been made, and how much testing they did on it. And they don’t tell the person why it solves their problem. And one of the things that are really cool about doing product research on Amazon, whether you’re doing it on one of the European marketplaces, or you’re using the.com marketplace for research, is you can figure out what customers are confused by using the q&a.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this on Amazon page, but right between the description and the reviews, this whole section of customer q&a, we’re out questions or they get answers to it, and so on. So what we actually do is we will actually go through a bunch of that q&a, like like through about, you know, 30-40 q&a. And as much as that sounds a little bit less depending on how repetitive it is. And we’ll actually sort through how many questions and answers there are four different things, what specific words people are using annual report how many times certain things come up. And then based on that will resort the bullet or create the bullet in the order of what customers had questions on. So if there’s something in say automotive number one, by far what making models, if you’re not a motive, your very first goal should always be the making model. And just, you know, watching what customers are confused about, you can see how people kind of missed the mark on what customers care about and why they care about it. And you know, some of it is stuff that you really love what customers care about. That’s weird. That’s what they care about? Cool. That’s where I’m going to put it because obviously they care.

Joris: Yeah, that’s actually yeah. A great tip here. I think in terms of the condition, you mentioned earlier, about the tuning of the wrong customer. First of all, how do you determine who that wrong customer is? And second of all, how do you turn them off?

Turning Off The Wrong Customers

Rachel: So it can be something as simple as you don’t want someone who’s looking for the Jeep 2004 to buy a Jeep 2009 product, right? Then you make it really obvious that it’s for 2004, you want the 2009 person to stay away, not not not for you go away. That’s one way to do it. Like you know what it fits with any kind of compatibility concerns when you’re thinking about the clothing, clothing is really obvious one because it has such high return rate, you want to do something that really makes it clear how it looks on a body. So one of the things that we do for a parallel is we’ll actually try to get models of different sizes and as many actual size models as possible.

So it’s not about you know, the five-foot-eleven. But you know, a night one of those really tall, thin models to make clothes look amazing. That’s great, but most of them are quite a few inches shorter than that, and a little bit more round in places. And so the clothes will look different on someone who looks different. And so what we try to do, especially in the bigger sizes, because every woman puts on weight in different spots, as they get older as they gain weight. The shapes are different. So like the waist, certain shapes are different, or the legs certain shapes are different. So we try to have shorter women, taller women and bigger women modeling each of the clothes. And so someone can find someone that looks like them. Oh, no, I would not look good in that and then make them go away. or someone’s like, Oh, well, I’m sure and it looks good on her a little bit longer. But I think it looks nice. And then hopefully they would buy it. The idea being to give them enough information to or someone who maybe is on the fence is like No, I just don’t feel comfortable with that.

Because you’d rather have that then have them buy it and then return it. Yeah, you want to reduce returns, if at all possible. I worked on another situation with a client where the product that the folks kept complaining, but it was the wrong size. Because they didn’t realize it was for men’s It was a shoe accessory product. And we have men like in the first six words like it’s right there, it’s in the title. We even have pictures of men in all the pictures like it’s nowhere near anywhere. And so people were just looking at the wrong sizing charts, because women’s sizes are different than men sizes. I’m not sure if that’s the case. In Europe, I never looked at women’s sizes in Europe. 

In the US at least they’re different sizes. People were buying them for, like women sizes when they’re actually size on one side. So what we did is we made a graphic and and placed them next to like some very obvious like men’s dress shoes, like you know, whatever, but like nice Italian shoes kind of thing. And really made it in big letters like men’s dress sizes.

And just tried to make it super, super obvious to try to reduce the number of people who are complaining, but they were the wrong size because they thought it was women. So that’s what you’re trying to repel, you know is the wrong customer. It’s not even someone who’s like, oh, you’re a bad customer and you go away, it’s just the wrong customer for that product. Right.

Joris: Right. So I guess that automatically leads us to the last part of the formula, the defects. That’s one of the defects, right if you get too many returns because it’s not the right match and the other defects that you usually work on reducing?

Rachel: So we see a lot of return to wrong size. And so that’s an obvious one, I think a lot of people are familiar with that particular concept and one of the joys of the track of being in apparel or shoes. But it’s not just that kind of defect. If you have a lot of returns outside of apparel or shoes, like in shoes and apparel you’re aiming from 10 to 15% returns, which sounds like a lot and it is kind of a lot. But you just have to you have to build that into the rest of your pricing. So basically, if you would have gotten a good margin and say 19 or $20, then you would want to sell it for 20 or 21. Instead, to cover the 10 to 15% return rate. When thinking about something in a different category, Amazon default, when we were working with vendors, they defaulted to 2% damage alone. So again, hard lines, you kind of expect around 2% is pretty typical. If you’re over 2%, you need to do something about it. Obviously, there’s something that’s confusing or something that’s not working. And the biggest problem with a defect is if it’s over a certain amount on Amazon, at least they’ll turn off your listing.

Okay, so you spent all this time, you know, getting indexed, getting a higher rank, and then now you’ve turned it off and you start losing rank, it basically starts free-falling after two days. You can’t be down for more than two days without losing your rank. Yeah, that’s why effects are so important. Because especially on Amazon, because once you lose your spot, it’s just it’s absolutely terrible. We had a client who got shut down for return rate. And it was just because actually Amazon’s fault, they had mislabeled the product when it came in one of the first labels of apparently unreadable, and so Amazon restricted everything to make all the barcodes readable. And they put the wrong sticker on. And so the product that shipped out was actually not the correct product. And so customers started complaining because they were getting around the version and not the square room. And so actually, the listing that it was supposed to be sold through, there was no stock because the replenishment went to the wrong listing. And the listing that was not included in this at all had products actually associated with it. And so it had to be shut down and everything removed and sent back.

So actually two listings basically went down for this mistake. So it was just because they didn’t double-check that the barcode is readable before it shipped in. There are lots of little things that can cause defects in Amazon. And it’s not just the facts on your listing, like if you know you upload something incorrectly, we had that happen, where, you know, one of my team members uploaded something incorrect and broke a variation. Well, now the listing is not, you know, searchable, great. So that had to be fixed before anything could happen. You know, there are lots of little things that can go wrong. I think that’s the part that a lot of people just, you know, end up either giving up or just like hating their life when they work on Amazon, because it’s just such a big system. And it’s kind of complex, complicated. And if you’re not used to dealing with it, it can be just a real giant pain, because it was built by engineers. And I find a lot of times, you’re like, Okay, well, this makes the most sense.

And I’ll tackle it that way. And it works. And I’ll talk to the client about it. And it doesn’t make any sense. Why would that work? No. It’s like, Oh, well, I mean, you know, when you work with engineers long enough, you start thinking a little bit like them. Yeah, and you know, on the front end on amazon.com, and all the websites, they actually have user experience like demos with customers. So bring them into a lab, they’ll watch where their eye goes to like, figure out how does your mouse move when you do these things, and they’ll change the website to reflect customer experience. My understanding is they don’t have anything like that. And Seller Central is no effort, but into user experience at all. And so there’s a lot of kind of weird, random stuff that happens. That’s kind of hard to follow along with. really frustrating to put all this time into having a great rank, great traffic, super high converting listing with great images and video and great pricing and you’re an FBA, and then boom, something shuts it down.

Joris: So I speak to a lot of eCommerce entrepreneurs, and some of them are hesitating if they should sell on Amazon or not. Because they think like, okay, Amazon will cannibalize my brand sales on my own side. Is that the case? What’s your experience with that? Can it can be the other way around, and Amazon needs to help build a brand?

Rachel: Yeah, so I actually am really positive on Amazon’s ability to help build a brand. Like there is a certain portion of the population that really likes buying things on Amazon that they trust Amazon, more than they trust websites, not because they think Amazon is so great. But because Amazon has a really lacks return policy. So it’s really easy to return things, it’s really efficient to return things. So a lot of people will prefer to buy something on Amazon rather than on a website because they don’t want to think about having to argue with a shop owner or trying to figure out what this shop owner return policy is like, I don’t know. So they, they’d rather just deal with Amazon. So that absolutely happens. We’ve had clients who launched on Amazon and a certain portion of their traffic on their website went to Amazon. And that absolutely happens.

What I think the Amazon channel is good for, is basically net new customers. So not necessarily the cannibalization customers, because that that will happen, you know, you’ll have, I think the most that we saw with a client was around 40% of their customers went from their website to Amazon. And their sales just kind of dropped significantly. And what we try to have happen for Amazon, for customers is for our clients and their customers is to provide in third-hand information on the brand, cross-selling up selling, basically putting stuff in the packaging to help them learn more about the brand. Now, what you can’t do, you can’t explicitly invite them to your page. You’re not supposed to do that. And you can’t say you can buy it cheaper at our website, because that’s considered diverting, and of course, Amazon gets mad about that.

But if you’re including cross-sell, and upsell and saying sign up here for our newsletter to learn more, you’re not telling them to come to your website, you’re not explicitly giving them a discount to leave Amazon, you’re just telling them about new products, and if they happen to come to your website, and awesome, but the number of new customers that you can reach on Amazon is just incredible. I don’t remember how much it was at Christmas last year in the US, but I think it was somewhere close to 27 million customers in one day. Like it is. And while you know the UK and Germany are the biggest in Europe. And they’re there, gosh, I between the two of them, you know, they’re close to two thirds of 75% of the volume that hits.com.

So there’s a ton of traffic that happens on Amazon and a lot of customers who otherwise would never see, you know, I personally really like using Amazon for that purpose. But you do have to have a strategy if you’re trying to grow a brand off of Amazon. I know a lot of folks who have done a great job on Amazon and are terrified, because they never know if something might happen where if they change the bank account, now they’ve got to prove to Amazon that it’s really them and they’re down for a couple weeks how much that can impact their business. Or if you know, a competitor tries to take an after them and shut down one of their top listings, what’s going to happen to their business? Like it’s pretty scary if you don’t have a solid off Amazon presence. But yeah, the reason they do it is because you know Amazon’s to make money.

Joris: Absolutely. And there’s there are 27 million people out there on one day, and they’re all in a buying mindset. That’s Yeah… So you already mentioned it. So there are sellers who also who started maybe on Amazon, and then, later on, maybe they get it gets Gary and they start also building an online store somewhere else while out of the Amazon channel. So basically, because you depend a lot on Amazon and you can go in nature change the rules, it could be very hurtful for your business. What what is the likelihood that Amazon is going to shut off your account? And yeah, they cannot really continue afterwards?

Rachel: Yeah, it depends on the reason they shut down your account. So what we see most often in Europe is actually verification issues, so verification is when they can’t verify you’re a real person in a real company. So something didn’t match on your documentation, it’s a really big problem where you know, someone, especially for those who aren’t domiciled in one of the main countries, it’s really common for Eastern European companies, for American companies to then create companies in Europe or try to operate as a foreigner, you know, it’s really difficult for Amazon to verify who they are. And if they can’t verify who you are, they just won’t let you so many rules around verification of identities. And a lot of it comes out of like money laundering and international terrorism and stuff like that.

So we want to make sure that that anyone who’s selling on Amazon isn’t violating any international laws or stuff like that. So the number one thing that I’ve seen to what people just can’t get back on, is when they change their bank account, or they changed their credit card, and the name on the credit card does not match the name on the account. So what we found is that if your business license says Ltd, and no period and it’s Ltd, and all caps, and you need to make sure that your bank account and your credit card are set up exactly like that. And if they’re not, you’ve got to call your bank and call your credit card before you update it on Amazon. Because often call and if it doesn’t match exactly, then they’ll be like, nope, no soup for you, it’s not going to happen.

So that that I think is the biggest thing that I’ve seen in Europe, it’s different, difficult to overcome because once you appeal twice, and you try to send them the updates, and it still doesn’t match, they won’t talk to you anymore. You’re trying to trick them or lie or something, as we just won’t talk to you anymore. So you have to get all your paperwork in order. And then the second thing I would say that people get worried about when things can get taken down without any kind of warning is when you have some sort of threat of counterfeit or fake items.

It’s hard to fight against that if a customer is like this looks fake or this looks on the face, I’m using to make sure you got all your paperwork in order. So I don’t think there’s anything really bad about that, you just need to prepare for it in advance. So we always make sure that for any of our clients to have, you know adjustable or topical items or things that could expire in SD or things that are like toys. For children, we make sure that we have a like pre-prepared appeal. We put everything together well in advance, we make sure that we have all the paperwork in one place, make sure that we have it all written out. And then all you gotta do is make any adjustments, whatever the complaint means, then we just make a few adjustments, and we can submit it to Amazon like the same day. So that that’s the most important thing is it’s not that it’s it’s not that Amazon is is a black box, it’s just that a lot of people don’t know what exactly what they’re looking for. I want to text a customer and they want to protect themselves. So that means they want to make sure that you’re not fraudulent. They want to make sure that you’re not some sort of, you know, a cheating money trafficker.

Want to make sure that, you know you’re not selling counterfeit goods or unsafe goods, they want to make sure that you’re not selling expired products. There’s always a reason behind what they’re doing. But sometimes they’re really bad at communicating that, like it’s really hard for a seller to be like, Oh, that’s what you’re concerned about. That part seems a little bit hard for some people, they certainly wouldn’t say like, oh, Amazon, so scary, you shouldn’t be on it, it’s just that they tend to not have a sense of humor. And because they’re so big, they’re not really worried about you, I am definitely gotten way better responses. Like, I’ve had a dispute with PayPal a couple times with things and had to do verification to our payment processor. And there’s so much nicer, they actually answer emails, they explain what they need from you. Like they’re really helpful. Whereas Amazon is just so big, they just send you like go to these things. And if you don’t do it exactly the way they needed to be done, they don’t tell you what’s missing. So that’s the part that’s really confusing is it’s not as though it’s different than any other company or, you know, there’s is not like others, like disputes that you have to handle or payment processors who need validation that you’re a real business like I’ve had to deal with that with other companies. It’s Amazon, like customer service. As far as that goes. It’s absolutely terrible. That’s the challenge.

Joris: Yeah. So a question I always love to ask, what’s the biggest mistake you made on Amazon?

Rachel: I think the biggest mistake that I made on Amazon was assuming that things that I would want to buy were things that customers would also want to buy. 

My first, my first product, I made a food product. And I made something that I wanted and couldn’t find anywhere and realized very quickly that the reason why I couldn’t find it is that it didn’t have a big market. Market. It was Yeah, we sold, we sold through both of the POS, but they sold quite a bit slower than I had expected. And it was just a flavour issue. Like I didn’t want to have another chocolate product on the market. And I’ve since learned that you need to add chocolate, you just need to just bite the bullet, make your chocolate product if you want to. And then add the flavours that you like later. But everyone seems to like chocolate. So that was the kind of first and most important lesson that I learned, which is to do the customer research ahead of time. It doesn’t matter what you want if your customers aren’t as excited about it as you are and then it doesn’t matter. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re not into the money. Cool and join me whenever you want. But if you’re actually trying to sell something, then you need to figure out what your customers want. And then make sure that the customers are happy with what they’re getting. You know, the product that was used that we got was Oh, yeah, works is exactly what it was supposed to do. It did exactly what it promised to do. I just don’t like the taste.

Joris: Yeah, no, I think that’s excellent advice to end this interview with. It’s been absolutely great. And I learned a bunch and could probably go on for hours here. But we’re running out of time. And I just want to make sure that people know how they can find you and learn more about you and connect with you. Where we work. What’s the best place for people to connect with you?

Rachel: Yeah, so there are two ways. The first is just to email directly. And our email is [email protected] So it’s think and then Cascadia. Cascadia is where we were founded. Cascadia is the region around here, the Cascade Mountains. And the second way is we do have a Facebook group and I can provide that URL to you. But the Facebook group is the former Amazonian’s guide to design. And in that group, I do a weekly asked me anything, you can literally ask me anything. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll go find it and come back with you. Usually I know the answer, but sometimes I don’t know 100 down and I give my response. And then we also do occasional free training and challenges and madness as well.

Joris: Okay, cool. Yeah, we’ll make sure to put those links in the in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. Rachel. It’s been absolutely great.

Rachel: Well, thank you so much for having me!