Episode 102: Launching LidPal on Amazon by Meridith Moore
LidPal is a customizable cup lid, originally designed as a glass cover to keep drinks from contaminants such as bugs, hookah, debris, and even roofies (date rape drugs)!
It can also be used as a promotional product for companies, bars, and restaurants. It is your safety pal, and it is now on Amazon!
In this episode, Nick sits with Meredith Moore, the Vice President of Restbar LLC to discuss some of the challenges that come from becoming an Amazon seller. Tune in and learn the importance of brand registry, how you can get past the Amazon Sign-Up Page (which is a little tricky and frustrating by the way), get the hang of Amazon’s algorithm to increase your visibility on searches, and master listings keywords and analytics. Understand the ins and outs of Amazon selling; be the kind of seller that provides the best customer experience!
“It definitely is not an overnight success. It is going to take a little while before you can get up and running. Spend the time to do all your research before you dip your foot in the water.” -Meredith Moore
- 02:45 Product Development Amidst Covid
- 06:27 The Challenge: Signing Up for Amazon Seller Accounts
- 09:26 The Challenge: Keywords and Analytic
- 11:42 Amazon’s Philosophy Every Seller Needs to Adhere To
- 18:20 The Challenge: Getting Visibility on Searches
- 22:31 The Challenge: Third-Party Sellers
07:16 “Our product is our own brand.” -Meredith Moore
13:20 “Your orders are the indicators of your success.” -Nick Uresin
18:30 “Nothing that works today is going to work forever.” -Nick Uresin
24:29 “It definitely is not an overnight success. It is going to take a little while before you can get up and running. Spend the time to do all your research before you dip your foot in the water.” -Meredith Moore
Meet Your Guest!
Meredith Moore, Vice President, brings to the organization over 30 years of experience in the Food Service Industry. Her past experience was helpful in knowing how to create successful products. This experience is exactly what was needed in developing and designing unique products for RESTBAR, LLC.
Connect with Restbar LLC:
Nick Uresin: Welcome everyone. This is Amazon Legends, and I’m your host, Nick Uresin, and also CEO of ArgoMetrix. We work with Amazon sellers all the time, and I’ve been an Amazon seller myself. I have suffered through the experience for over nine years. And I really feel for anybody who’s selling on Amazon. So we have Meredith Moore. Meredith Moore is Vice President of RESTBAR, and I believe she just started selling, but she’s gone through the process. And she’s still going through the process. So we want to learn all about her experience and her real life stories.
And without further ado, Meredith, welcome to the show. Before we jump into the Amazon story, tell us about yourself and your personal background, where you’re coming from? How did you end up in RESTBAR, and what RESBAR does. Anything that would be useful to give us your Amazon story.
Meredith Moore: Thank you, Nick. I am the Vice President of Operations for RESTBAR LLC. We are a small company that manufactures and sells products for restaurants and bars, and that can also be used in your home or office. So my background is I’m a chef by trade. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for over 25 years, and we designed and developed our first new product called the Lid Pal. It’s actually a soft grip rubber glass lid that can be put over most cups and glasses. And you can either buy a standard lid that we have printed, or if you’re a company, you can actually design your own lid.
Nick Uresin: So your customers are restaurants, is that right?
Meredith Moore: Some of our customers are restaurants, yes.
Nick Uresin: This is having just gone through the pandemic, this must have been a pretty trying time for you guys and also your customers.
Meredith Moore: Yeah. When we originally developed the product, we developed the product with bars and restaurants in mind. And then COVID hit so we sort of needed to think outside of the box. It’s a great product to advertise for any company to use as a giveaway, so they can use it for advertisement. It’s great for the everyday consumer because you can buy one or two of them. We do have four different standard lids. So on Amazon, that’s what we’re trying to market towards the everyday consumer who wants to buy it for their home.
Nick Uresin: Okay. Tell me a little bit about how you came up with this product. Was that because of COVID? Or was that something on the back burner? And then when COVID hit, you said, okay, let’s get into this, and let’s build it up. How did that work out?
Meredith Moore: So actually, the product was designed because I actually had something put into my drink two different times in a bar. So we developed the product with the idea that it would help to keep that from happening to people, as well as if you’re sitting outside on the patio enjoying a cocktail or a glass of wine. It also will keep out the bugs and anything else flying around in the air.
Nick Uresin: I see. That’s great. Now, the product is obviously out for sales. Are you sending that through your channels? And now, Amazon. So tell me about how you decided to sell on Amazon because, yes, you did say consumers can buy one or two. But really, I’m assuming this is best for businesses.
Meredith Moore: Oh, well, I think it’s a little bit of both. It’s great for consumers. On Amazon, we are marketing it to sell it in a package of four. So it’s great for people on their patios, like I said before, to keep bugs out. Or if they’re at a picnic and outdoor event, it’s a great little lead to just stick on top. It’s colorful, and it’s a lot of fun.
Nick Uresin: It’s true. So it’s not for businesses. You can make any kind of play here B2B or B2C. So how did you end up deciding? What was the process? Was somebody telling you why not Amazon? Or is that something that you figured out or you always wanted?
Meredith Moore: No. So when we decided to want to hit the everyday consumer, we decided that would be a great avenue to be able to get our product out and to have a lot of people see and view the product.
Nick Uresin: How did you go about it? Did you reach out to Amazon? Or did you just go on their website? How did you end up creating your account?
Meredith Moore: I just went on to Amazon, and I created a seller’s account. And what I can tell you from my end is that it’s very, very frustrating. They say there’s resources available 24/7, and I have not been able to tap into a resource that can give me a direct answer to any of my questions.
Nick Uresin: So give us some examples of reasons for frustration.
“Our product is our own brand.” -Meredith Moore
Meredith Moore: So the first thing that they don’t really tell you about is when you sign up for a seller’s account, you cannot get started right away. They do a lot of verifications, which is understandable, but takes a few weeks before you can actually even get started. They want to do an address verification, and then they want to have a Zoom call with you so you can prove that you are who you are, which that’s understandable because I do understand that they want to make sure that you’re legitimate, and you’re really going to be selling to their customers. But then after that, setting up the product itself is not very easy. So our product is our own brand. You have to fill out a lot of forms and get a lot of permission to even put your product on the website. And then once you figure out how to do all of that, you get on the website, and you fill out the form to put your product on. And it’s really just guessing, there’s not a lot of things to tell you what to do. So for example, in our listing, it comes in many different colors. And that’s something that you’re not allowed to do on Amazon on your listing, which doesn’t really make sense to me. I don’t know why they wouldn’t want you to put that in your thing, in your listing. But if you haven’t read that before, then it sort of hits or miss that. And so when they reject your listing, they don’t tell you why you sort of have to guess.
Nick Uresin: Yeah, it’s all automated. Unfortunately, to handle millions and millions of sellers and millions and millions of billions of listings, it’s all automated. So there isn’t a human being to explain really what’s going on.
Meredith Moore: Right. But it can be very frustrating, especially if this is the first time that you’re doing it. Another thing is that we wanted to advertise our lids as to protect you from germs such as COVID-19, and that’s another thing you can’t say.
Nick Uresin: That’s the real red flag the moment that you say anything like that. Now, all kinds of red flags go up in terms of regulation, what are your claims? And are you who you say you are? Can the product really do it? Yeah, I can see that happening. Have you ever done any research into keywords, and keyword analytics and things like that before you created your listing?
Meredith Moore: I did a little bit of research with keywords and keywords and listings. And one of the things that’s very frustrating is in the ad itself, one of the tabs is keywords. So you add these keywords to your listing. And what I thought it would do is if someone put those words in the search that your product would come up, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Now, I’ve spoken to a few people, may have said to me, you may need to wait a few days. So I’m just not sure.
Nick Uresin: Yeah So many that this is something that I always see. A lot of companies go through the signup process, and then they are very eager to put their listings up. And then once the listing goes up, they want to start seeing some kind of results, but the results never come. If you build it, they will come. It doesn’t really work that way. And because there is a whole process that you need to follow, Amazon is all about numbers, analytics and things like that. So I heard you mentioned that it’s your own brand. So tell me about your brand. How did you go about getting that on Amazon brands? Or what they call brand registry. Are you familiar with that? Have you gone through that process?
Meredith Moore: I haven’t gone through the process. But just this morning, I did a little bit of research on it. My brand is trademarked so I don’t think it will be a problem for me to go through the brand registry. But my only question is that, is there an extra charge for brand registry once I go through the process? How is it going to help me? Is it going to automatically help me because I went through the brand registry just by filling out a few things I sort of see the benefit? I’m not sure exactly how it works.
“Your orders are the indicators of your success.” -Nick Uresin
Nick Uresin: Let me give you this because this is like one of the most popular things about creating your own brand that everybody seems to be doing. Backing up a little bit, Amazon has a business philosophy that every seller needs to adhere to. But this business philosophy is really something that lays down the path to everything that you need to do. They call it, Amazon is here to provide the best customer experience. If you think about the best customer experience, that means that in Amazon’s books, before somebody places the order, it needs to be the best kind of information to provide on your listing. So therefore, your pictures, your descriptions, your videos become very important and you get rewarded if it’s up to their standard. If not, you get penalized. Penalizing is not charging you money, it’s basically showing up anyway. So another thing is ratings are very important. When your listings go up, obviously, people buy and then they leave feedback on the seller, as well as rate the product. They want the best rated products to come up first. So price is a big deal. Your price has to be competitive enough. And if you think about it, your price is good, your product is good, and people are saying, I’m really happy about it, you’re going to get many, many orders. So your orders are the indicators of your success. So these are all things that come together.
And after you make the sale, if somebody is not happy with it, it’s easy to return it to them, to get their refund, and what kind of feedback they leave for you as a seller. This is in addition to the product. These are all factors that play into making you the kind of seller that provides the best customer experience. And these are all metrics. And of course, someone who has a vested interest in the success of the product is the brandor. Therefore, Amazon loves brand owners to become sellers because you take everything seriously. How do they know you are a brand? If your seller account is associated with the brand owner on the brand registry, there is no charge for it. They don’t charge, so this is free. But what you need to know is you need to connect your seller account with your brand registry account. So therefore, they know that this seller is selling their own brand. Otherwise, they have no visibility to whose practices. So these are little things So tell me about your experience in figuring out this brand. I’ve given you some information right now, but how did you go about finding that? Did you go to Amazon? Or did you go to another resource, ask her out? How did you figure that out?
Meredith Moore: Well, actually I got an email from Amazon, they sent me an email to register my brand. And I think it’s because when I first put up my listing, I did not have an ASIN Number, so I wanted to be exempt from that. So in order to be exempt from that, you have to send in pictures of your product, and they have to have the name of the product somewhere on there. The first time I filled out the paperwork, they denied me, which I was a little confused that I recent in the pictures with an explanation saying, I don’t understand how I was denied. This is my brand. We have a trademark on the brand. We also have a pending on the brand. I don’t know if somebody else reviewed it, or I’m not exactly sure, but then they put it through. So I think they realize somewhere in there somehow that they were the brand owner. So I got an email about it this morning. I was actually doing some research on it today.
Nick Uresin: You said the word a few times, and I can see now that this is a description of total frustration. I guess trying to figure out a way here to run a business or deal with all this sounds like a lot more red tape than it’s worth.
Meredith Moore: Well, it’s very frustrating not really knowing much about selling on Amazon, you would think. They make it sound like it’s very simple. Any research that you do, they make it sound like it is very simple. And all you have to do is put your information up and your products are gonna come up right away after it’s up. I finally did get our four products up and approved. So they’re up. But I’m sure if you were to go just on Amazon, like on an account that you’re buying from and try to find it, unless I gave you the brand name, you wouldn’t be able to.
“Nothing that works today is going to work forever.” -Nick Uresin
Nick Uresin: Yeah, that’s the $6 million question. How do you get your product to come up when somebody searches for it? So it says science. And by the way, nothing that works today doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever. Because Amazon is constantly changing the rules, primarily because people are figuring it out. And when they figure it out, they start to really abuse it. And then it’s no longer Amazon. So therefore, they are constantly changing, tweaking their algorithm for all kinds of reasons. Not just for this, but they want to improve. And again, it goes back to the best customer experience. The best customer experience means to them, when somebody comes to Amazon, they search for something. Whatever they end up with is easy for them to find pertaining to the search, and that it’s the best potential product that will make the customer happy with everything. So those are all the reasons, it’s a process, it’s learning. That’s what it is. So tell me about your goals. So what is it as a business? How much of your revenue are you looking to generate on Amazon if you set any goals, you’ve got a shopping season coming up and things like that, have you given any thought?
Meredith Moore: We would like to see about 30 to 40% of our sales come from Amazon. We also have a website. So if you don’t want four lids and you only want one individual lid, you can come to our website and get just one lid. If you’re a business, you can design your own lid there, or we can help you design one as well.
Nick Uresin: You’re planning 30 to 40% of your sales to come from Amazon. If that data didn’t happen, what would be the impact? And how would it make you feel? And what would you do about it?
Meredith Moore: Oh, well, I would be a little frustrated just because I have put a lot of time, effort and energy into Amazon. But if we weren’t able to generate sales that way, we would just need to, again, think outside the box and come up with another way.
Nick Uresin: As far as your products are, you just listed them so you haven’t given any thought to who will do the fulfillment for your orders yourself, in house, or you’re gonna let Amazon do?
Meredith Moore: No. Right now, we’re going to start in house. We’re going to fulfill in house. And then once things get rolling and start to get, and we have a bigger operation than we’ll let Amazon fulfill.
Nick Uresin: Okay. So as far as your short term and long term goals, I know you said 30 to 40%, is that for this year? Or in general? What are your plans?
Meredith Moore: Right now, I would say that the long term goal for Amazon is to keep our product on Amazon, and to have it to be 30 to 40% of our sales.
Nick Uresin: Okay. I heard you mentioned so many things that kind of frustrated you. So if you could snap your fingers and have one thing, what would that be in terms of what Amazon could do for you?
Meredith Moore: The one thing Amazon could do for me right now is show me how to get my product noticed.
Nick Uresin: Okay. Well, that is obviously something that they expect the sellers to figure that out. But there is also another concern. Have you heard about the pressure that Amazon is getting from the Congress about how they treat third party sellers?
Meredith Moore: No, I haven’t.
Nick Uresin: So there is a concern that they, for example, let’s say you come along and you are the brand owner, you create your listing, and you figure out how to do this, and then you’re generating a significant amount of revenue. And the next thing that Amazon does is they have all the information about what you are selling, and how much you’re selling it for and things like that, then they’ll simply go create their own version of it. And then of course, it’s their own marketplace. They’ll put it up, and the next thing is right next to your item. They have their rights. And guess whose item is gonna do very well. So they’re basically using third party sellers to figure out what is a successful product only to create their own version of it. So that’s why the Congress is putting some pressure on Amazon currently saying that, we want you to treat these third party sellers fairly, is that something that would be a concern to you?
Meredith Moore: I have heard a little bit about that. It is a little bit of a concern to me, although we do, like I said, have a patent pending on our product. So they would need to make it different enough that it wouldn’t violate our patent.
Nick Uresin: I see. Okay. So you basically trust your intellectual property, and you take the steps to protect it. And therefore, this is not much of a concern for you, correct? Okay. All right. Well, this has been very useful. You are really fresh in this so you just went through the process without your listing. And what kind of recommendation would you make for the others that are looking to sell on Amazon?
“It definitely is not an overnight success. It is going to take a little while before you can get up and running. Spend the time to do all your research before you dip your foot in the water.” -Meredith Moore
Meredith Moore: Well, what I would say is that it definitely is not an overnight success that you really need to do your research. And it is going to take a little while before you really get up and running unless you have done your research. Unless you spend the time prior to doing all your research before you dip your foot in the water.
Nick Uresin: Yeah, yeah. Okay Meredith, thank you very much for your time and sharing your story with us. I’m sure that you know you will go very far because you are a legitimate company and you’ve got a product that you worked on that came out of innovation, and the restaurant and bar business, and hospitality business in general are bouncing back big time. So this is something that will do very well. I wish you a lot of luck, and I’m here anytime you need help. We’ll continue our conversation, and thanks again.
Meredith Moore: Thank you. Thank you very much. Great day. Bye bye.
About the Author:
Leng Inque is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who started Leng & Company Podcast and Virtual Assistance Group in January 2018. She is on a mission to support business experts with a wide range of technology services to make the client look and sound great as their business reaches out and grows into new corners of the world. Her primary goal is to connect their technology genius with their client’s genius to introduce systems that will advance the client’s success.She started working as a virtual assistant with a couple of clients, primarily as an audio editor. Word quickly spread about her attention to detail and quality services, which led to adding two new clients within a few months.As the business grew, Leng hired trusworthy people to the team. With Leng’s leadership, focusing on providing top-rated customer service and quality results, combined with quick turnaround time, her business has grown quickly.