How We Lost $25,000: My Worst Product Launch Mistake

Shane Catchpole

In the world of e-commerce, where adaptability and continual improvement are the cornerstones of success, I have learned firsthand that the Amazon landscape is ever-evolving. I am Shane Catchpole, and today, I will recount a costly error we encountered a few months ago that set us back a hefty $25,000 in our Amazon FBA venture. This mishap, despite my over six years of experience in the e-commerce business, served as a stark reminder that even experienced sellers can not escape the occasional problems. Watch more in the video as I will walk you through our mistakes and provide insights to help you steer clear of a similar setback in your Amazon business.

The Importance of a Validation Stage:

In the initial phase of our product launch, we started with a modest order of just 50 units. This approach was rooted in the concept of the "validation stage." It is like dipping your toes in the water before taking a full plunge. This crucial step has been our secret key for success when it comes to introducing new products in the market. It involves placing a small initial order to test the market and see whether customers will actually buy the product and whether it would be worthwhile to invest more money in the next batch.

Why Profitability Matters:

Now, why is profitability such a significant factor during a product launch? Consider it the lifeline that sustains your business’ growth. If you do not witness those profits flowing in during the critical first weeks or months, you are laying the groundwork for a challenging journey ahead. Sustainability becomes absolutely crucial, enabling you to reinvest your profits in acquiring more inventory or developing new products, ensuring the continued success and growth of your business.

Our Costly Mistake:

But here's where we tripped up. We had a successful validation stage for a particular product. The initial 50 units flew off the shelves, and we were riding high on good margins. However, we didn't have the cash on hand to reorder immediately since we had investments in other product lines. So, we decided to hit the pause button on reordering our validated product.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. When we eventually circled back to reorder the validated product, we placed a massive order with a new supplier, thinking it would be a smooth transition since the product had already been validated. Big mistake. After the launch, we soon realized that the product from supplier B did not quite match up to the quality of supplier A's product. This quality gap was reflected in our customer reviews and products, resulting in a slow start for our offering.

Bottom Line:

We missed a crucial step in the process, which was validating the product with the new supplier. We wrongly assumed that it would be as good as the previous one. The lesson here is simple: Always validate with a smaller order before diving in headfirst with a new supplier. This little step can make a world of difference and save you from both financial setbacks and time-consuming headaches. We've learned our lesson, and we hope this story can help you sidestep similar pitfalls in your Amazon business.

To get the full story and more insights, click here to watch the full story unfold.