Interview with Jungle Scout Founder Greg Mercer – The Million-Dollar Amazon Seller Tool

So you’ve built your website and traffic is pouring to your pages daily.

And then you find yourself thinking, “It’s probably time to monetize!”

Or, if you’ve monetized your property already, you’d be thinking, “Maybe I should diversify my income now.”

Let’s say you’re looking at launching a physical product and building a brand. But you don’t want to handle product fulfillment or you want to have more exposure for your brand from day zero.

Welcome to Amazon!

Monetizing Your Site with Amazon

Image Credit: FeedbackExpress

Launching your physical products on Amazon FBA can be lucrative. But, only if you know what you’re doing.

The numbers are staggering. Almost 20 percent of Amazon professional sellers earned over $1 million in 2018 alone.

Think about it. Amazon has hundreds of thousands of professional sellers. So you can begin to put that number in perspective.

In the US, Amazon owns 49 percent of all eCommerce sales—that’s more than its top three competitors combined! Apple, eBay, and Walmart.

It’s tempting to inundate you with stats, but I won’t. Bottom line is that serious Amazon sellers are making serious money. Even if you’re selling a modest product, an extra $3,000 monthly profit won’t make you sad.

Image Credit: Jungle Scout

But you don’t want to jump in blindly.

You want to make sure your product has high demand, low competition, and juicy profit margins. So, you need a reliable research tool.

That’s where Jungle Scout comes in.

The tool helps you find products that sell, how well they sell, and who sells them. Heck, you can even find where your competition and big brands source their products from.

My Conversation with Greg Mercer of Jungle Scout

I got the founder of Jungle Scout on a call and we talked for 45 minutes. He shared some incredible insights you’d find instantly useful.

Here’s our conversion.

1. Hello, please introduce yourself

I’m Greg Mercer, the founder of Jungle Scout. I went to college to be a civil engineer. I graduated and got a job doing that.

What I found out was that I didn’t get fulfillment from the corporate world. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit my whole life. And I always liked doing little projects and building things.

2. What does “Jungle Scout” the name, stand for?

The goal of Jungle Scout was to help you find products to sell on Amazon. So I thought of Amazon as a jungle where you scout out new products to sell. And that was how Jungle Scout was born.

3. What personal experiences or realizations inspired Jungle Scout? Please give us a brief history of Jungle Scout.

The kind of job I was doing in the corporate world didn’t satisfy me. And I wasn’t happy with the impact I was making either.

I wanted the ability to have more financial upside than what I got as a salary from work. So I started selling physical products on Amazon as a side hustle. I found out that I was able to replace my salary as an engineer, which was cool.

As I continued to grow that business, one thing led to another. And I eventually quit my job as an engineer to take up my eCommerce business full time.

The hardest part for me in growing and scaling the business was the ability to find new products to sell on Amazon. Some of the products I launched did very well while others didn’t. And this was because of how much demands those products had on Amazon.

So that ultimately led to the creation of Jungle Scout.

4. Why did you make it your top priority to solve the problem of searching for products? That is, of all the problems you encountered on Amazon

Well, that was the largest problem I had. I struggled with finding new products to sell. Especially products that I thought were going to sell well.

So, since that was my biggest problem at the time, I pushed it to the top of the list of things I wanted to solve.

5. Are you saying you couldn’t find existing software that could solve this problem?

That’s correct.

I had to solve that problem. So, I created algorithms that estimated how well products sold on Amazon. So it shows you approximately how many units per month any product on Amazon sells.

That’s a viable data to have because you know what’s already selling. You also understand what customers are purchasing on Amazon.

When I developed the algorithms, there were no competitors in this space doing that at the time. Fast forward to today, you know there are lots of copycat companies that try to do that. But back then it was only Jungle Scout that could show you demands for products on Amazon.

6. It’s impossible to have created something this big and not encounter problems. What challenges did you face in developing Jungle Scout? How did you manage those challenges?

Image Credit: Jungle Scout

The list of problems I’ve had as an entrepreneur can fill a million-page book (Laughs). You know, back in the early days the one problem I had was how to get the word out. So I built this Chrome extension.

Image Credit: Jungle Scout

The first 10 to 50 users that I had were giving me positive feedback. But then we had to think of how to get it out to more people.

I read all kinds of materials for advertisement. I looked up different channels to advertise my products. I was reading about Facebook ads, how to create a blog, and about other things.

The trouble with that was, I didn’t know what to do. I’ll work on one thing for a few weeks, then work on another idea for a few weeks. This one kind of worked, the other didn’t work.

And I wasn’t focused and I was very unsure about how to go about them.

So I did a few webinars where I’ll download the product and show how it works with a sales pitch. And when I looked at all my different marketing channels, that was the most effective in the early days. And it clicked with me better than the others.

The day I realized that, I was like “Oh wow! I’ve done about four or five of this now. And this accounts for 75 percent of my sales. Why don’t I focus on this one sales channel at least for the next six months and see where it leads me.”

This decision turned out to be a turning point for me. And yeah, that was when I started to make enough sales. I made enough money to hire a few people, starting with my first marketing person.

7. I noticed that you talk about some other product. And I don’t know if you own them or are in a partnership with other people. Can you talk about this?

Yeah, over the years we’ve built a couple of other products as well as acquired companies. They’re all subtle tools for Amazon sellers. The ones we have as an addition to Jungle Scout are Splitly, Fetcher and Forecastly.

Splitly is an AB testing and optimization tool. Forecastly is for inventory management. And Fetcher is a profit analytics tool and accounting platform.

8. Okay, were these products designed as responses to challenges that sellers were having?

Yeah, that’s exactly right. They were responses to challenges that I and other Amazon sellers were having.

9. Why did you create them as separate products? Why didn’t you bundle them all as packages on Jungle Scout?

Great question. If I were to do it all over again, instead of building other products, I’d build it in Jungle Scout. At the time, I believed that they addressed different pain points that people were experiencing.

Fetcher is an accounting platform. So I thought it wouldn’t be useful to someone who’s looking for the first or 100th thing to sell on Amazon.

But again, if I were to do it again, I’ll put them together. Every Amazon seller has all the pain points that they all address.

10. It took me a long time to realize that Jungle Scout had other products. How are you making it easy for people who want to use Jungle Scout but know nothing about your other products? And apart from making them aware, is there a way to make them buy everything at once?

There’s no way to buy all at once. Our goal is that by the beginning of next year, we’ll have them built into one platform. So if you were to interview me again a year from now, I’d tell you that we’re no longer doing multiple products.

We aim to make it easy for Amazon sellers to access all its functionalities.

11. I know you recently started a sort of search engine for sellers who want to find suppliers. (Greg: yeah), please can you tell us about that?

It’s called the supplier database. When you import goods from anywhere into the US, you fill out some paper works. A government agency is in charge of keeping these records.

The US has a freedom of information act. This act gives you access to a lot of documentation from the government. What we did was take all the import trade records, then built it into a user-friendly database for Amazon sellers to search through.

My favorite part of this is that you can see what factory your competitor or their supplier is using.

My preferred way is to search on Amazon for the company with the best reviews on a particular product. And I reverse engineer it by finding the company’s name in the supplier database, which will show me who they use for their factory.

Sometimes it doesn’t work, but 80 percent of the time it does.

12. Are you making this for US sellers alone, or are you considering other markets, such as the UK, Europe?

Some countries don’t make this information accessible to individuals. So it’ll be difficult to gather such data for those markets.

But most of our customers selling outside the US still use this data. Some countries sell similar products to the US. For instance, The EU sells similar products to the US.

Once you find out the sellers you like, you can still get them to sell to you. And your geographical location won’t affect that.

13. What improvements are you making at the moment for Jungle Scout users?

All we’re doing now is to incorporate all the functions of our other products into Jungle Scout. So you know like the profit analytics, optimization tools, and inventory forecasting; that is like our biggest focus in that area.

And we’re having a lot of releases coming this year.

14. What’s the big picture—where would Jungle Scout be in the next five to ten years?

Yeah, it’s a great question. But it’s hard to predict five years down the road since the company is only four years old at this point.

Our mission is to empower Amazon entrepreneurs. So, we build tools and resources that they need to be successful. That’s what drives our decision making.

I don’t know what our tools would look like five years from now. And I don’t know what functionalities we’ll have in mind by then. But we’ll continue to work with Amazon sellers.

We’ll keep figuring out what their most significant pain point is at every given time.

That changes every time.

15. I got to know about Jungle Scout through ASM. They help their members with research and provide a community to succeed on Amazon. Does Jungle Scout guide its users on how to maximize Jungle Scout for success?

I’m familiar with ASM. And Sure! Inside of Jungle Scout, we have something called the Academy. It’s a set of videos that helps people better use our products.

We also give out high-quality resources, and my favorite is the “Million Dollar Case Study.” In this case study, we publicly choose a product to sell. We then source it from a factory and sell it on Amazon.

We do the full study for free, and the whole process is transparent. I’ll show you every little step along the way, and publish it on our website for free as well as our Youtube channel.

16. What’s the best thing anyone ever said of your service?

Oh, men! I’ve got a lot of compliments on it. We have over 200,000 customers, and most of them are very happy with it. I’ve heard some crazy stories.

Some users say Jungle Scout’s educational content has been a pivotal point in their lives. Others say Jungle Scout has acted as a catalyst that turned them into entrepreneurs. Some even say that they’ve been able to improve the quality of their lives with Jungle Scout.

17. For someone who’s never sold on Amazon, but has heard that you can make money on the platform. If such a person got curious and read this interview, what would be your best advice?

My best advice would be to consume some educational content—something like the million Dollar Case Study or like the ASM course.

Where so many people get stuck is when they experience analysis paralysis. They’re a little bit intimidated by it. As a result, they don’t take actions that lead them to get started.

You have to consume the content, make sure you at least understand the basics, then get started.

18. We all know that every product receives negative comments. What’s the worst you’ve received?

(Greg laughs) You know from time to time we all get negative comments. In some cases, customers got something a bit different from their expectations. Some customers complain of a billing mistake.

None jumps straight to mind of “something that hurt me deeply.” But you know, just like any other company from time to time there’s going to be one or two unhappy customers. We try to cut those as much as we can.

We always reach out to our unsatisfied customers and apologize a lot. We do everything we can to make it right. But as every entrepreneur knows, no businesses have zero percent of unhappy customers.

19. I know recently you changed from lifetime to yearly subscription. Why did you do that?

Lifetime was fine in the early days when the company was trying to survive. Now, we have to think of scalability and the cost of supporting Jungle Scout’s license.

Lifetime subscription wasn’t financially practical any longer. So that’s why we switched to a yearly billing model for our extension. It makes more business sense.

20. So how have your customers responded to it?

You know, I thought it’ll hurt or decrease sales. But we found out that it didn’t affect our conversion rate at all.

Most customers purchasing our products are entrepreneurs. And they realize that we have to maintain and support the load on our servers. So the response has been okay.

The only people who got upset were those who read or heard of the lifetime subscription. When they found out that it’s no longer available, they felt bad. But even those people tend to be pretty understanding about it.

21. You said earlier that you were the first to enter this space, but a lot of people have joined you. What makes Jungle Scout stand out from its competitors and why?

Jungle Scout for many reasons stands out. It’s easy to use, feature-rich, and robust as far as the functionality goes. We’ve done several case studies, and our customers say the data that we provide are the most accurate.

Most customers find that our features are the best for their particular needs. And they get the best value for their money.

So there’s a whole list of reasons, but it comes down to which one you’re comparing. Those are some of the things we hear from our customers most often.

22. Some people I know think that your revenue estimates are not entirely accurate. And Amazon doesn’t release that data at least to the best of my knowledge. So how do you make those revenue estimates?

Yeah, you’re right, the estimates aren’t entirely accurate. But we recently did a case study where we compared Jungle Scout’s sales estimates to our top 10 competitors.

And we used real sales data from about 500 products from people who offered up their sales data. Jungle Scout was by far the most accurate but only about plus or minus 15 percent based on units sold on a monthly bases.

So if it’s estimating 100 products sold, it’ll be between 85 and 115 products. So it’s not 100 percent accurate by any means, but most customers think it’s pretty darn close.

And to get these estimates, we have a full-time database team. The team supports people and work on creating these estimates day in and day out.

We used to use the best seller rank, but now they use a host of other factors that they’ve found to improve the accuracy. So yeah, we use data that are available on the Amazon pages.

We stick them into different modules and algorithms we have. And the output on the other end is the real estimated sales.

23. I know Amazon is the biggest online store. But are you working on getting into other platforms apart from Amazon?

No, we’re not working on that right now. I don’t want to spread the company too thin by trying to do a whole bunch of things and doing them poorly. Instead, we decided to be 100 percent focused on Amazon and be the absolute best in the business.

So no plans right now to expand or enter any other platforms.

24. How do you determine how competitive a product is?

My favorite ways to determine competition are:

  1. How many other sellers are selling the same product?
  2. How many reviews they have.

The number of reviews is an excellent indicator of the competitiveness of a particular niche.

25. Do you think the revenue would also be a factor?

That’s not one of the primary methods I use to determine competition. I found a lot of niches where there’s a lot of sales or demand, and they’re not that competitive.

26. I know competition can be stiff sometimes. Would you advise someone who doesn’t have so much money to get started?

Yeah, if you have a limited budget and you want to test it out, I’ll recommend you go for something less competitive.

27. What’s one fascinating thing about your product you’ve never talked about to anyone?

Let’s see. There’s one thing that whenever I show someone or people see, it seems to fascinate them. To me, it’s simple. When you’re in the Jungle Scout extension, and you click on the Sales, it shows you historical monthly sales.

And I’m always surprised to see that few people know that that feature exists. And they’re like “Oh my gosh! This is so valuable! I can’t believe this has been here.”

I guess when you do a better job of educating your users on how to use it and where to find it. That’s one thing that’s “little-known” in Jungle Scout.

28. Our audience either want to start or monetize their website. Most want to sell physical products on Amazon. You’ve succeeded in this field for years and even helped people achieve success. What do you want to say to them?

Everyone is always worried, thinking, “Is it too competitive now?” That’s like a fear everyone has. And I’ll say it’s still a great opportunity selling physical products on Amazon.

You know, the competition’s grown. The number of sellers on Amazon are growing, but so is the demand on Amazon. Year over year, it’s crazy how many more sales happen on the platform.

And I don’t foresee Walmart or any of these other companies catching up with Amazon anytime soon. So it’s the place to be as far as online marketing goes right now. It’s still a very great opportunity.

If you’re not selling on Amazon and want to learn about it, you should check out the Million Dollar Case Study. It’s action-packed with everything you need to know to get started.

So, yeah. The best time to start was ten years ago, and the second-best time to start is now.

To find out more about Jungle Scout and how it can help you with your Amazon FBA business, head over to JungleScout.com

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Jamie

My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.

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