Winning on Amazon over the long term is about providing the most value for the lowest cost possible. Amazon’s ranking algorithm promotes products with high review ratings and good feedback. You can’t just sell a product and hope to win. It has to be better quality then the customer is expecting to receive in order to get reviews and rank over the long term.
Good products get more good reviews leading to more sales and even more reviews. It is a positive cycle.
So how do you make sure you produce a good quality product?
Tip 1 Sourcing
Quality control starts during the sourcing stage. Contact as many factories as possible because you are more likely to find a good quality factory and a reasonable price if you have a list of 20 to choose from.
It’s more work to contact every single factory available, but each one will teach you something more about the product and you can then be certain that you have the best possible supplier.
If you contact 3 factories – maybe you can get a good price. But the seller who puts in the extra effort to contact 100 + is guaranteed to get the best price and quality available.
Tip 2 Samples
Request samples from the top five factories you are considering. Review the quality of the samples, the workmanship, and write down a list of things that could possibly go wrong with the product.
Ask the factory to tell you what potential problems the product may have. Use the product for a week and see what goes wrong with it.
Tip 3 Golden Sample
Before placing your order with the factory, make sure you get samples of the exact product you plan to order. Sometimes the first samples are not the same as the final product. Get 3 sets, one you’ll keep, one you’ll sign and send back to the factory, and one you’ll send to your inspector to check the goods.
Tip 4 During Production Inspection
For any new order, new product or new factory you should definitely check the goods early in production. When about 10 to 15% of the product is ready, arrange to check a sample of the product to make sure it matches your requirement.
Sometimes a factory can give you a really nice sample but the production quality is much lower. Checking early in the production cycle lets you catch problems sooner.
Tip 5 Pre-Shipment Inspection
When all the goods are ready, you should arrange an AQL inspection at the factory before shipment. Air and sea freight are expensive, so you want to catch any problems before the goods ship. There are several inspection companies you can use to do this, such as SGS and Intertek.
Tip 6 Check Every Shipment
Even though a supplier may have no quality problems for four or five shipments, you should still check every shipment before it leaves the factory.
The workers in the factory are constantly changing, an average of 10% quit and leave each month. So the same factory you used before might have a totally new set of workers when you reorder six months later.
That’s why you need to check every shipment.
Tip 7 Visit the Factory
Visiting your supplier will teach you a lot about the production process and give you a chance to see how they monitor the quality of your product.
You should really go and visit every factory before ever placing an order. You can check how they make products for other customers and catch any issues well before they start production on yours.
It seems like a lot but you really need to do all of these steps for every product.
Before ever placing your order, you should read all the negative reviews of the top 5 competitors for that product. That will show you the bad points about the existing products – and you can work with your supplier to overcome them. For example, if you plan on selling a hammock and a lot of people complain that the rope breaks – then it is worth spending 20 cents extra to get the factory to use a thicker & tougher rope.
It is the details that help you create a better product.