Selling To Amazon Aggregators: One Year On

The gloriously long hot summer of 2021 provided a much-needed antidote to the world’s post-Covid blues.

For most people, it was a time to kick back, relax and enjoy the delights of the great outdoors again.

Sadly, this wasn’t exactly the case for me.

Or Richard.

In fact, that same summer was right up there as one of the most intense periods in our lives.

Most of which was spent indoors, with our faces super-glued to the computer screen.


Because having been contacted by various Amazon Aggregators at the beginning of July 2021, we were both knee-deep in due diligence throughout the proceeding period.

And we were not alone, either.

You see:

Countless other Amazon FBA sellers were also navigating the sale of their own business during the summer of 2021.

In what has now been described as the peek of acquisition activity, following the prior 24-month boom in all things e-commerce.

One year after selling

And so, here we are.

A full 12 months have passed since Richard closed the deal on his Amazon FBA business.

I still have a few more weeks to wait before celebrating the same anniversary.

This inevitably got us thinking about our respective FBA brands this week.


What we have learnt since handing over the day-to-day operations, the things we would have done differently and, of course, what a new Amazon business might look like in 2022.

It was an emotional, sometimes painful, and yet highly productive session to say the least.

Want to know the best part?

After a few hours of reminiscing between ourselves, we decided to open up the conversation with our large network of other post-exit FBA sellers.

To really ‘dig into the weeds’ of what it’s like to run an Amazon business and how life had changed, following their recent sale.

This is where things got really interesting.

The 2021 post-exiteers

With informal sessions set up with more than 30 participants at the beginning of July this year, we set ourselves the challenge of competing all ‘interviews’ within a week.

Five short and sweet questions were posed.

The results of which are summarised below.

I’ll probably write up a more detailed post on the findings of our somewhat impulsive survey.

But for now, it might be nice to picture how YOU will feel without the burden of running your current business and a tidy (large) deposit in your bank account.

Start here, today.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your overall health and wellbeing*:

1.1 Whilst running your Amazon business: Scored 4 (on average)
1.2 Six months after selling your Amazon business: Scored 7.5 (on average)

2. On a scale of 1-10, how often have you checked in on the progress of your sold brand?*

2.1 Within the first six months of selling: Scored 8 (on average)
2.2 Between six and twelve months of selling: Scored 2.5 (on average)

3. On a scale of 1-10, what do you miss about running an Amazon business?*:

3.1 Regular (passive) income: Scored 9.0 (on average)
3.2 The FBA community: Scored 3.5 (on average)
3.3 Launching a product: Scored 7.0 (on average)
3.4 Creating the brand: Scored 8.5 (on average)
3.5 Happy customers: Scored 2.0 (on average)

4. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to start a new Amazon or Shopify business?*:

Scored 8.5 (on average)

5. On a scale of 1-10, what would your new Amazon business look like?*:

5.1 Amazon USA marketplace: Scored 9.5 (on average)
5.2 Other Amazon marketplaces: Scored 4.5 (on average)
5.3 Five or fewer ASINs: Scored 7.0 (on average)
5.4 More than Five ASINs: Scored 5.5 (on average)
5.5 Small, lightweight products: Scored 8.5 (on average)
5.6 Oversized products: Scored 1.5 (on average)
5.7 Local suppliers only: Scored 7.5 (on average)
5.8 Overseas suppliers only: Scored 5.5 (on average)
5.9 Higher than market price point: Scored 8.5 (on average)
5.10 Lower than market price point: Scored 6.0 (on average)

* Scale rating based on 1 (low), 10 (high).

How To Sell Your Amazon Business, With Confidence

Over the past couple of weeks, Richard and I have spent time at the sharp end of some of the biggest transactions we have seen to date.

It’s been fascinating to observe the due diligence on these deals which, unsurprisingly, has been more involved than usual.

This leads me to the purpose of today’s blog post.

You see:

Whilst the vast majority of sellers obsess over their bottom-line exit valuation, very few focus on the legal and compliance side of selling their Amazon business.

The latter, we would argue, is infinitely more important.

And so, after six months of in-house blogs and industry updates from yours truly, we decided to mix things up this week.

Step forward, Paul Rafelson.

Paul’s practice, Rafelson Law PLLC, has facilitated the sale of more than 60 Amazon businesses. He is also well-known in the FBA community for his sterling work on Sales Tax, IP disputes, and suspensions.

In other words:

It’s fair to say that Mr Rafelson knows a thing or two about the legal side of selling your Amazon businesses.

So if you are considering an exit in 2022, I would strongly encourage you to read on.

Take it away, Paul.

The Anatomy of A Business Sale

By Paul Rafelson

So you’ve made the monumental decision as an Amazon FBA seller to sell your private label brand. Congratulations are in order because the blood, sweat, and tears that went into scaling your ecom empire were no small feat.

Unfortunately, too many Amazon sellers don’t understand the magnitude of what a sale actually entails. Often the exit of an Amazon FBA business can be riddled with confusion, entail arduous contracts, and result in bad deals that have long-term consequences.

Selling your private label business comes with a heavy assignment. Understand the process, understand the requirements, and understand the legal hygiene required to make your sale as smooth as possible to live out your dreams successfully with far less headache.

In this article, I’ll outline some examples of the challenges that come along with selling your business. And some examples of the key legal hygiene required to sell your Amazon business with confidence.

What Does the Asset Purchase Agreement Have to Do with the Sale of Your Amazon FBA Business?

In a nutshell? Everything. Selling your FBA business is not like selling your car.

While some of you reading this article are shaking your heads in agreement, the truth is most sellers either don’t know what to expect. Or mistakenly believe this process is similar to other personal transactions.

Hence why we say an Amazon FBA exit is not like the ease of selling your vehicle, or just a little more stressful, the sale of your house.

The truth is, the sale of an Amazon business is extensive. The process of selling your Amazon business entails a series of (legal) documents. Including the bible of all documents in most deals called the asset purchase agreement.

The asset purchase agreement is essentially the roadmap of the deal and lays out the terms of the deal, establishes the level of risk each party will maintain and determines how the assets of the business will be transferred to the buyer.

Typically the asset purchase agreement begins with a recital of the parties involved, the buyer, seller and sometimes the owner of the company. The agreement serves as a roadmap for the mechanics of the sale transaction.

From there, the asset purchase agreement dives into a series of sections outlining the terms of the deal, including what’s being sold, what’s being excluded, how much is being paid, and what the process for closing will be.

What Are Representations & Warranties And Why Are They Important?

After laying out the basics, as described above, the asset purchase agreement will typically move into what is known as the representations and warranties.

Representations are warranties is a fancy term for promises that both parties make to the other party. The Buyer’s list of representations and warranties is usually much shorter and isn’t as risky as the Seller’s list. The Seller’s list of “promises” relates to the actual business being sold, and more often than not, the Seller doesn’t know if what they’re “promising” is true.

For example, you might rep and warrant that you are the true owner of the business and have all authorization required to enter into the transaction.

See how that is essentially a promise?

If your promise turns out not to be true, you have a problem, you are in breach of contract, and the buyer can sue to recover damages, losses, etc.

By now, you can see why this is important. Imagine, for example, if you were buying your neighbor’s house.

This person has been your neighbor for 10 years, they are moving to Puerto Rico to save on taxes, and you want to buy it. You presume that because your neighbor has been living there that they have the right to sell the house to you.

But what if, on closing day, your neighbor was unwilling to promise that she actually had title to the house that you were going to buy?

Would you feel comfortable buying it knowing that your neighbor could have been a squatter all this time? Of course not; that’s why each party’s ability to make these promises are important.

Now, while a fundamental promise like that is apparent, what other promises are you being asked to make when you exit your FBA business?

Well, pretty common ones include a promise that you comply with all laws.

Now you might be thinking, “I run a tight ship,” “I’m a law-abiding person, always following the rules,” and “I have no problem making that promise.”

But what if you don’t actually know all of the laws?

What is Compliance, and Why Is it Vital to The Exit of Your FBA Business?

Maintaining compliance with laws applicable to the business is essential to the exit of your Amazon business, and ensuring that you meet these requirements from the time you start selling to when you exit is paramount. It’s almost impossible for any seller (or lawyer for that matter) to know if their business has been 100% compliant with every law applicable to them. For example, how would a seller know if they complied with every environmental law of every city, state, or country that they have conducted business in?.

You’d be surprised just how many sellers don’t meet regulatory compliance and the sticky situations that can ensue mid-deal from not maintaining compliance from conception.

Many product categories like supplements and electronics operate with stringent regulatory compliances to ensure the health and safety of customers. But, compliance with all laws in the context of an international e-commerce business is a very different concept than compliance with all laws when you run a local pizzeria.

Like we said, if not careful can turn a sale upside down.

When it comes to selling an e-commerce business, we need to consider all laws, federal, state, local, international; basically, anywhere you operate as an e-commerce business.

That’s pretty overwhelming, but fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the risk by looking at the products you sell and the requirements applicable to your business ahead of time and ensuring compliance with those requirements before going to market to sell your business.

For example, if you sell products marketed to kids, you may have specific Consumer Product Safety testing requirements; make sure you are compliant before going to market.

Certain products that go in or on the body may have to be made to specific Food and Drug Administration standards or requirements that the products are made in certified labs; same know your compliance before going to market. Knowing your product, market, and core compliance obligations is crucial.

What Other Types Of Compliance Are Crucial To Your Sale?

The first that comes to mind here is compliance with all of Amazon’s terms of service. Did you use a review service that was a violation of TOS? Are there other things you did that may have unknowingly been a violation? These are examples of the types of Amazon compliance that will play an essential role in making your sale smooth.

Here are a few examples of compliances sellers often overlook:

UPC Barcodes

For sellers who chose not to use GS1 barcodes at the outset and went with cheap alternative barcodes instead, their accounts can face suspension after closing, even if it relates to something they did pre-closing.

Title to IP

The title to your IP (Intellectual Property) is as valuable as the title to your house. A trademark co-owned by you and your former best friend, who you don’t talk to anymore, is not a good title.

Creative Assets

Creatives such as photos and images that sellers mistakenly get from stock photo websites or ‘borrow’ from Google images often can’t be transferred.

If you hired a photographer, you might not have known that most photographers do not give ownership to the photos. Instead, you have to have a license to use their images for the intended purposes, often without the right to assign them, which is crucial when selling your Amazon business.

Maybe you hired someone on Fiverr to put a bunch of content and images together. Do you own the rights to that content and images, or does the Fiver freelancer own the rights? Where did the Fiver freelance get their images from?

Creative compliances are very significant and tend to come up in almost every deal. It’s frustrating for us as lawyers and unnecessarily stressful and confusing for you, the seller.

If you’re promising that you own 100% of the rights to your creative content, but it turns out you did not (e.g., if you used images from Google or hired a freelancer from sites such as Fiverr), you’re in breach of contract. These kinds of breaches can cost you your earn-out payment and allow the buyer to claim the money they paid you for your business. Especially if they are exposed to claims from the content creator, or worse, depending on how your deal is negotiated.

Compliance doesn’t have to be daunting, and it doesn’t have to thwart your sale. All it takes is a little prevention and legal hygiene. Thankfully, there are ways to try and mitigate that risk in a deal if you haven’t done your homework, but it’s still always better to know these things before you go to market so they don’t become an issue during the sale transaction.


To have absolute confidence in the sale of your FBA business before you go to market, it is advised that you have a lawyer look over your business. The more hygienic your business is at the outset, the more valuable your FBA business will be. And the less risk you’ll assume if some of those promises you made turn out not to be true.

Ensuring compliance and appropriate legal hygiene means a smoother selling process and closing. But even if it’s past that point, and you are already at the offer stage or even in the purchase agreement, you should always have a lawyer represent you, so that at the very least you understand the risks related to your deal, including your potential personal liability.

So, if a broker or a buyer ever tells you that all you need to do is sign, it’s just boilerplate, no need to get the lawyers involved (and this happens), trust me you should run away. In an M&A transaction that is almost never going to be the case.

Questions about the sale of your Amazon FBA business? Initial consultations regarding the sale of your business are always complimentary. As a law firm that understands the market, Amazon businesses and the law, we are excited to help you through this complicated but exciting process. Contact us at any time to set up an introduction call.

A Discharged Israeli Soldier’s $20M Amazon FBA Success Story

When Y, an Israeli soldier, had to retire from the army due to injury, there was only one thing he wanted to do: establish himself on Amazon. This is Y’s success story, which goes beyond the storefront that consumers see.

Not only did an Amazon aggregator play a part, but the process also included specialist bankers and a remote network of workers.

That said, you’ll be surprised at how few hands it took to get Y to the point of making his FBA business the perfect vehicle for investment. But it will prove inspirational for any other seller looking to sell their Amazon FBA business for profit.

Humble beginnings

Admittedly, Y wasn’t new to online advertising. Even before he was a teenager, he’d earned his first shekel using Google Ads. You’d struggle to compare that ‘influx’ of capital with the FBA business he eventually sold to Thrasio, though.

At the age of just 26, with just two local employees and a remote logistics contractor in the Philippines, Y sold his business for $20M.

Finding the value in failure

Y’s journey wasn’t always a bed of roses. In fact, his first Amazon adventure, when he was aged 21, was a categoric failure. And, when you see why, I bet you can all relate to some degree with the process and outcome.

To his mind, he’d done everything right. He’d sourced the product from China, listed it for sale on Amazon, he even sold all the units. Despite this, his naivety ended up making him zero profit from that first venture.

But it did teach him a valuable lesson.

The true entrepreneurial spirit

Using what he’d learned, Y decided to look under the hood of what made a successful Amazon FBA business tick. This began with research, not only into the product and its market but into the potential competition, too.

Thereafter, he made informed decisions about what to buy. He procured three further products (household category), which sold as well as his first failed venture. Only this time, he’d done his homework.

Every ounce of profit he made he reinvested, adding to his inventory, then rinsing and repeating. He recognises how much hard work was involved, but knows it was worth it.

How COVID actually helped

Prior to the pandemic, Y was on the verge of selling his business to a fellow Israeli. Then COVID hit and the buyer reconsidered, before finally pulling out of the deal. More fool him, eh?

As was the case for many online business owners, the boom in online spending during the pandemic skyrocketed Y’s sales. At the same time, a new type of business was emerging: the eCommerce aggregator.

Y already had support from Fortunet, a lender that specialises in end-to-end fulfilment for online merchants. This, along with Y’s attitude, due diligence and high presence in Amazon listings made the perfect storm for the new type of aggregator or roll-up investor.

Happy ever after?

Thrasio was that investor. And, concerned about long-term security in the face of the pandemic, Y accepted their offer to buy his business for $20M. When you think of Y’s humble beginnings, you realise just what can be achieved with the right product, environment and work ethic.

Now that Y’s settled, he’s not been complacent. The injection of capital from Thrasio has enabled Y to operate at a much higher level with new brands. Managing four Amazon businesses and employing 22 people across those services, Y’s on target to hit $100M per annum turnover in 2025.

There’s a moral here, I guess. It doesn’t matter how small your acorn is, if you nurture it correctly, there’s no telling how mighty your oak may become.

How closely can you relate your own journey to Y’s story? If you can and are interested in finding out what an Amazon aggregator might think of your business, why not start that process today?.

Thrasio is purported to have bought businesses now netting them $1.5M profit per day! If you’re a good match for them, there’s no reason ‘Y’ your business can’t add to that pot.

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Pay-to-Play FBA: How Amazon Became an Inorganic Jungle

I’ve read two stand-out reports this month; neither would give me any confidence as a current FBA seller. In fact, the prognosis makes it clear why so many of you are swotting up on Amazon aggregators.

Here are the key findings that have me — and (probably) you — so worried about Amazon’s profitability in the mid- to long term.

Why confidence is key to sales

First of February, 1988. My first job: a sales trainee at a brick ‘n’ mortar business. Quite literally; it was at a builders’ merchant, and a successful one.

What made it a success? Many elements, but two of the cornerstones were its supply chain and reputation.

Those factors subconsciously gave me confidence in what I was selling. As I’d find out later, confidence is everything when it comes to sales.

Research 1: ‘Buried’ organic search results

On any search engine, the absolute majority of consumer activity happens on the first page’s results.

Of that activity, most is attributed to the highest-displayed products, of which the majority are paid positions. So much so that, for organic results, you may as well place position 5 as 25*.

The reason this is such a concern with Amazon is that sponsored “brands” often occupy that first place. The subsequent product results hierarchy was found to be thus:

  • 4 × sponsored;
  • 4 × organic;
  • 4 × sponsored (based on reviews);
  • 1 × sponsored video advertisement.

To infinity, and beyond

Beyond these first products, Amazon search results display a host of offers, including editorials and Amazon Choices.

In short, if you don’t appear in those first four organic results, conversions won’t come easy. FBA sellers adopting pay-to-play strategies are almost certain to do better than you if you’re not paying to advertise.

*To get to the fifth organic result, the researchers had to swipe three browser windows (mobile).

Research 2: The value of advertising to Amazon

To many longstanding Amazon FBA sellers, those organic results won’t shock you. They may surprise you, but they’re nothing you didn’t already suspect.

What you may not know is the extent to which Amazon Retail relies on that advertising to keep it out of the red.

Amazon advertising clouding the picture

Back in 2015, Amazon’s retail business was still in the black. Just. Since then, profit from its retail outlets has eroded year on year.

Both the Amazon Cloud (AWS) and advertising have offset those losses by billions! Looking into the most recent figures, 2021, shows you by just how much.

Overall, Amazon advertising in 2021 brought in just north of $31bn. The company then registered its final retail operations income at just over $6bn.

The difference is a staggering (almost) $25bn loss, most of which came from product sales.

It’s a Prime time to sell your FBA business

Prime membership income is also included in those operational figures. In 2019, Tamebay research showed that the UK had 15,000,000 Amazon Prime members. At the current rate of £7.99/mo (UK), that’s another chunk of money we can also factor into the true loss of Amazon Retail.

And it’s not getting any better. The most recent quarter showed Amazon Retail losing $1.8bn; even advertising couldn’t pull it into the black.

Then, consider the broader taxes Amazon FBA sellers have to pay, and the huge potential for supply chain disruption. We’ve already covered imminent external barriers to global shipping, too.

All of these factors bring me back around to my initial ‘confidence’ argument. Based on these reports, how confident are you that Amazon has your back? I’ll just leave that there for you to think about.

In the meantime, remember there are plenty of Amazon aggregators still actively looking for good quality FBA businesses to acquire.

If you think your brand fits the profile, why not start the process today?

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon FBA sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Is Thrasio Eyeing UK-Based £1M+ Amazon FBA Sellers?

What type of products produce £1M/year small businesses on Amazon, do you think? Funny you should ask, because Thrasio, one of the top Amazon aggregators, seems to be thinking along the same lines.

Looking deeper into the UK Amazon Marketplace, their research turned up some surprising numbers. From the mundane to the unexpected, a broad spectrum of categories produces £1M+ sellers.

The results could also give us insight into why that old adage “Mad dogs and Englishmen…” still rings true today.

The top, bottom and just plain odd

Distilling Thrasio’s results, this table shows the most and least likely product categories to pull in the £83k+ a month to produce £1M annual sales. And then there are others that some might say exhibit worrying insights into British consumers’ motivation:

Probability Product Category # of UK Amazon Sellers
Highest Grocery 667
Highest Beauty 533
Highest Home & Kitchen 370
Highest Pet Supplies 279
Highest Electronics & Photography 256
Yes, really Dog Biscuits & Snacks (outside Pet Supplies) 31
Yes, really Chocolate >> Chocolate Boxes & Gifts 20
Yes, really Day Creams >> Face Serums 18
Least Lighting 3
Least Shoes & Bags 3
Least Watches 2
Least Jewellery 1
Least PC & Video Games 1

“Fulfilled By Amazon”‘s role for top UK Amazon sellers

Thrasio’s research suggests that there are currently 2,795 individual small businesses pulling in £1M/year. Those numbers in the table above hint at where the bulk of the potential lies.

Consider the business aspect, too. Those categories boasting the most sellers will also be the most competitive.

And according to the research, most are traditional brick and mortar businesses. But almost a third (32%) are Amazon FBA sellers. This means Amazon handle storage and logistics on their behalf.

The research’s findings are no surprise to Jim Mann, Thrasio’s acquisitions’ director.

A Nation of Online Shopkeepers (as well as pet lovers)

Business owners no longer need years of experience and oodles of cash to launch an Amazon small business or private label enterprise. With astute research, Internet marketing nous and one or two decent supply chains, anyone can embark on an entrepreneurial journey.

Thrasio knows this, as they do it all (and more) at scale. But these traits also explain the key elements to Thrasio’s appeal.

Have we lost that lovin’ feeling?

In comparatively no time, an individual can grow their Amazon business online. If they build using the right metrics, they can easily blip onto amazon aggregator companies’ radars.

In days gone by, business owners weren’t so readily tempted to sell. Their years of blood, sweat and tears meant something. The brick and mortar that housed the business was part of that success, too.

You can almost hear Arkwright, now, “G-Ger-G-Granville, I’ll s-sell this ser-shop over my d-der-d-der-dead b-b-b-body.” But that’s not always the case with today’s entrepreneurs.

Launching with an Exit in mind

What’s also true is that young(ish) upwardly mobile folk are thinking differently. Their sole intention is to sell their Amazon FBA business from the start. Global ecommerce aggregators’ increasingly tempting valuations have made this business model a viable option.

Mann concludes his explanation of the research along those lines. He knows that selling an Amazon FBA business to Thrasio is incentive enough to launch or grow a storefront.

He expects to see ‘retail titan[s]’ all over the UK, integral to local economies. Moreover, “hundreds or thousands of new millionaires” being created in the process.

The circle of shelf life

We know many people are already looking to sell their Amazon businesses, and for many reasons. Competition, reduced profits, and new eco-barriers are just some.

But as Gen Z comes to the fore, it’s important to remember the entrepreneurial circle is likely to repeat itself.

Will they build their Amazon stores for the same reasons as the preceding generations? Definitely not.

Many more will leverage FBA, creating businesses from their bedrooms, never getting their hands dirty. And, when they achieve the metrics they need, they’ll begin the exit process. Perhaps even selling to Thrasio.

Do ecommerce aggregators care? Not really. They’re looking to buy small brands, roll them up and sell a more complete package to investors. And who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

A New Dawn: How 3 Eastern Shopping Apps Have Eclipsed Amazon

Ask anyone what the top global shopping app is and they’d say ‘Amazon, d’uh!’, right? Well, prior to 2021, they’d have been right (D’uh-huh!).

The story’s a tad different based on new 2021 figures, though, especially in Asia. Three apps have come to prominence, shunting Amazon down to 4th in the global take-up of shopping apps.

In the U.S., Amazon remains in the top spot. But even there, downloads of its shopping app have dropped 2.4% year-on-year. So, what is this new dawn, and should Amazon sellers, and Amazon aggregators, be worried?

Shopee, Shein and Meesho: are they a threat to Amazon in the West?

I know what you’re thinking. How do I know? Because I thought it, too…
…until I looked at the figures.

You’re thinking, ‘Yeah, but that’s, like India and China. That’s not going to affect my business!’

Hold that thought, will you? Here’s why one should never assume:

Shopee, Singapore (launched 2015)

Shopee and Shein appealed to consumers more than other shopping apps in 2021 by some margin. More on Shein in a second; let’s look at Shopee, first.

203 million buyers downloaded Shopee in 2021, an annual rise of 46%. Like Amazon, it’s home to mom-and-pop stores, SMEs and larger interests. It also sells clothing, white goods and electronics. More recently, it’s moved into food and drink, including delivery/on demand.

So, yes: it’s a direct competitor to Amazon, but that’s not the big story.

Leveraging its digital gaming roots (yes, really) it appeals to current and future generations on a different level. Through gamification, customers can earn rewards and discounts to claim against purchases on its platform. Clever, right?

And it works! South-East Asia and Brazil are already in Shopee’s thrall. Poland, India and Argentina are its next targets, so expect growth to continue.

Shein, China (launched 2008)

Here’s an odd one for you. Rather than try to cover all bases, Shein concentrates on the disposable fashion market. And despite being a Chinese interest, it doesn’t sell to its domestic market. Told you it was different, right?

What Shein does really well is connect the Chinese workforce to the western world. Gen-Z can’t get enough of it, their influencers often defining new trends overnight.

Recognising that gap in the market earned them a 70% rise in global downloads (190 million) in 2021. It’s a prominent platform in over 200 countries, and doesn’t look like slowing any time soon.

Meesho, India (launched 2015)

The rise in take up of Meesho in 2021 can only be described in one word: astronomical! Downloads of the shopping app rose an incredible 744% to 153 million. And most of that was in its native India.

Meesho’s deployed another innovative strategy. First, it allows manufacturers and resellers to sell through social channels. Instagram, Facebook Marketplace and WhatsApp are the most popular.

Even with just those, customer insight data and reach are enviable. But the other reason it’s popular with sellers is that there’s no set up fee. Anyone can create an account and start selling through their social reach immediately.

The potential once it goes global? Mind: Blown!

OK, what about the Amazon shopping app, then?

Overall, Amazon’s global reach over the same period dropped by 12%. Of the top ten global shopping app downloads in 2021, only Wish and Pinduoduo performed worse.

Don’t get me wrong, Amazon isn’t going away. But here’s the thing: in 2020, only 50% of its income came from its online stores. (figures for 2021 not yet available).

AWS, Prime/subscriptions, third party vendors and physical stores made up the other half. So, does Amazon now need to innovate its online shopping experience to compete? I’d say: definitely!

What form that will take, and what it might mean for Amazon sellers one can only guess. What we know for sure is that 2021 saw it surrender its #1 spot for the first time in years.

Is it the start of a trend? Does Amazon marketplace have the flexibility to adapt? And are its vendors, especially Amazon FBA sellers, willing to change with it?

Only you can answer that, in time. If you’re even remotely interested in getting out while the going’s good, here’s our step-by-step guide to selling your Amazon business. Good luck!

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

EPR Compliance Set to Make Amazon Business More Taxing

By now, we all accept that we have to live greener lifestyles. We do our bit at home; we may even profess our support of Net Carbon on social media.

But how amenable are we when going greener affects the bottom line of our businesses? Are we as open to ecological initiatives then?

EPR compliance is a way to make sure that businesses are responsible to the planet, too. That includes FBA businesses and Amazon aggregators.

If you’re an Amazon seller — FBA or Self-Ship — and sell into Germany or France, EPR is about to take any eco choice from you. EPR, or Extended Producer Responsibility, is now in place to enforce ecological responsibility.

And whether you’re a manufacturer, ‘Producer*’ or seller, it will impact you at some point down the line.

First Europe; next, the world

EPR is, in effect, a product register. Moreover, it’s a register that helps provide an ecological audit trail for products, and, if applicable, some of their components.

Right now, eco-regulations stop with Germany and France. But we should expect continent-wide adoption in Europe, whose willingness to go green seems to eclipse the rest of the world.

Eventually, the globe will catch up. When they do, all Amazon FBA sellers will have to monitor products, their lifecycles and the impact that the whole journey has on the planet.

For many Amazon business owners, this may just be the straw breaking their camel’s back. Let’s have a look at the details in more depth.

Will EPR affect my business?

I know Amazon sellers. I was one. So the first thing you’re going to ask is: what products fall under EPR?

To date, France and Germany have produced quite different EPR lists to monitor. Both include packaging, electric and electronic equipment (EEE) and batteries. The French have included a whole host more.

Amazon France will even suspend non-compliant listings, and recover the cost of your eco-contributions. The full list of items you can view on Amazon’s EPR guidance page.

You might take a look at that list and go, ‘Phew!’ if your product isn’t there. But even if your product contains an EEE battery you have to register it. Even worse, if you’re the producer, you have to register the product and battery separately.

Should I just exclude shipping to EPR countries?

Knowing most sellers, they won’t want to restrict their market by simply cutting off France and Germany. They are, even post-Brexit, two of the UK’s single largest export markets.

Truncating options is an impractical and most unbusiness-like solution. Where would you stop with the wider roll out imminent?

So, it might be worth getting used to the process whilst countries’ lists contain so few limitations. That means getting into bed with these processes from the outset.

*Am I a producer?

Many bigger Amazon sellers will be subject to the ‘producer’ liability. Amongst other definitions, ‘producer’ means you’re first to supply an import product into that country’s marketplace.

That’s what’s going to aggravate innovative Amazon FBA business the most. Isn’t identifying gap-in-the-market opportunities what set you apart from other Amazon businesses?

Now, there’s a whole process to go through if you are the first to list a product in a country running an EPR policy. And, depending on volumes and profit trajectory, it might make you think twice before being that initial supplier.

EPR Producers and Manufacturers aren’t the same thing

Just because you’re the manufacturer doesn’t mean you avoid the EPR process. Likewise, just because you’re not the manufacturer means you escape the policy, either.

You can be considered as a ‘Producer’ if, in an EPR-required country, any of these apply to you:

  • you make a product, and/or
  • you import a product, and/or
  • you sell an EPR product where you are not yet established.

There’s even a separate list, depending on the country, for packaging requirements.

Take it all back

The last, and perhaps most obstructive, barrier to selling to EPR countries is the ‘take back’ service you must offer. In short, if you’re selling an EPR categorised product, you must offer to collect the old ‘like’ product from the customer.

UK-to-UK collection (when it comes in) shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Carriers are on every High Street, and accessible through Post Offices and convenience stores. But, you’ve still got to build in potential collection fees into your margin.

Now, think about the process of take-back on the continent. Some of the larger products, you may even have to employ a haulier to collect goods from customers’ houses.

My gut tells me that integrating EPR take back fees will make you so uncompetitive, you won’t consciously have to withdraw from a country to kill your sales there.

Green is for stop?

Is EPR also an indirect attempt to cut down on travel emissions for a greener planet? Absolutely it is. You can see it will have a direct impact on willingness to sell to other countries.

But, you have a choice. If you’re already an EPR registered supplier, good on you. You should be displaying that on your storefront so that European buyers can buy in confidence from you. And your margins should accommodate pricey returns costs.

If you’re not registered, you may want to think twice. Prepare your business to write off potential sales in countries upholding EPR compliance.

But how far do you want to extend cutting down your markets? If (when) this policy is adopted worldwide, this tactic may leave you with only the domestic market. Is that enough to support your business?

If now’s the time to bow out of the Amazon Marketplace gracefully, we can help you take the first steps to selling your FBA business.

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Double Bubble: The Growth of Amazon FBA Business Valuations

So, this is Christmas. And what have you done?

Well, if you’re like many other Amazon FBA business owners, you’ve run yourself ragged for a month. Or, more like, you’ve not stopped since COVID hit.

Some will look back on their income and say it’s all been worth it. Fair play; some owners love being constantly connected to their customers.

Others — up to as many as 80%, according to one report — don’t own a pair of those rose-tinted glasses. Checking their store over Christmas Day dinner? No thank you.

But, what options do you have when you’ve put so much into building an Amazon store, but now want rid? It’s not like you can sell your Amazon FBA business as a going concern, is it?

Actually, you can. And it’s easier and perhaps more profitable than you might think.

Why now might be the time to sell your Amazon private label business

Prior to 2020, selling Amazon businesses appealed to a tiny market. Hidden behind private equity dealers, few merchants even knew it was an option. That’s changed, and some.

Amazon aggregators have forcibly moved buying FBA businesses into the ecommerce mainstream. By doing so, they’ve increased the competition.

This new visibility has tempted investors, who’ve since funded Amazon aggregators to the tune of billions. Now, across the globe, there are getting on for 100 active such businesses.

At the beginning of the curve

Experts, based on history, suggest that there’s a natural arc for this type of investment. They’re probably right. But, right now, it’s early days. We’re still at the beginning of that forecast trajectory.

The expectation, therefore, is for the number of aggregators to double in 2022. So, good news; there are no signs of slowing just yet.

How the price of Amazon FBA businesses has grown

Marketplace Pulse has researched the market now that there’s enough data to make data meaningful. If you sold your Amazon business in the early days, you might want to look away now.

Two years ago, you’d have typically realised 2.5-to-3 times your Seller’s Discretionary Earnings (SDE) in a buy-out. So, if you earned $500k a year, you could expect an offer between $1.25-$1.5m.

Back then, your FBA earnings were pretty much the sole yardstick by which buyers valued your business. Sundries like add-backs and expenses did contribute, but marginally.

Digging deeper into your proposition

Today, buyers look at many other factors about your business before making an offer. In an extension of a basic SWOT analysis, they will take into account:

  • the type of merchandise you sell;
  • your total profit;
  • trend: the trajectory that both your profit and product categories are on;
  • opportunities to add to your brand and grow your position;
  • benefits of adding your brand to others to make a portfolio to attract higher investment;
  • how much competition you have, and your position against them.

There are more factors investors will look at. But, if you tick enough boxes, you could receive 4-to-8 times your SDE. The same business that sold for $1.25-$1.5m two years ago could, potentially, be worth $2-$4m today.

Make 2022 about you

Only you know how you feel about your Amazon business today. Are you looking forward to 2022, or does it fill you with dread?

There’s no harm in finding out what your FBA business might be worth. Do you value your time or the money? It’s a pretty straightforward choice.

We know that half of the big active aggregators have just finished their own rounds of funding. They have money to spend. Their investors have even deeper pockets.

If you fancy some of that action, you’d do a lot worse than starting with our explanatory video. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a very happy holiday and prosperous new year!

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Options market: roll-up diversification with Opontia

Opontia raised $20M when it launched in June 2021. After buying several selective brands since, the ecommerce group has just raised a further $42M.

From this recent round of funding, Opontia plans to use $30M to buy more brands. Even then, compared with other aggregators, these sums are modest.

On that basis, the likes of Thrasio and SellerX will hardly be quaking in their boots. But then, the co-CEOs of Opontia wouldn’t expect them to be. Their target markets are, after all, quite different and diverse.

Not another e-commerce aggregator?

In the last two years, ecommerce aggregators have dominated tech- and fin-tech headlines. By all accounts, 2022 will be no different.

So, yes: there’s much noise, ample coverage, and a lot more competition. You might, then, wonder why two men from different backgrounds would dip their toes into these hostile waters.

Well, the key to any successful business is having a USP. If you’re an FBA seller, you already know that pain. You’ve experienced first hand how difficult creating a unique voice is in a wholly product-led market.

But Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer, Opontia’s co-CEOs and founders, knew their USP before launching. Or rather, USPs (plural), listed here:

The Opontia difference: location

Where do most traditional e-commerce aggregators invest? The West. North America, Western Europe and, more recently, South America.

That said, the Far East has the biggest single ecommerce market on the planet. So, as you’d expect, we’ve seen recent growth in ecommerce aggregators there, too.

But what about the middle bit?

“The Middle Bit” was precisely what intrigued Johnston and Meyer. The former had spent time in venture capital and investments in South Africa. The latter had been CEO of end-to-end e-commerce facilitator, Next Commerce (UAE).

This combined experience was the springboard for Opontia. They had knowledge of an untargeted market primed for ‘roll ups’. The pair shared both the vision and contacts to secure the funding.

Thus, they launched in March 2021. And, by June 2021, had a $20M platform to target The Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The Opontia difference: target market

Many existing ecommerce and Amazon aggregators focus solely on owners looking to sell their Amazon FBA business or brand. And why not? There are millions to go at in The West alone.

But FBA businesses, whilst present, aren’t as developed in The Middle East as in China and The West. But there are two other established markets that fit a similar model.

Shopify and social e-commerce is well established there. Also, many individual businesses trade through their own websites, and have done for years.

So, rather than just focus on Amazon FBA businesses, Opontia have adopted an ‘omnipresent’ buying strategy. Well, “buying” strategy isn’t quite the right term. Here’s why…

The Opontia difference: business model

When Opontia launched, the business benefited from several Angel investors. In a way, the Opontia business model pays that sentiment forward.

The business looks for e-commerce businesses across all channels who’ve reached their initial growth potential. The team then digs a little deeper.

How do we define ‘potential’? For Opontia, it typically means ecommerce businesses with a minimum spreadsheet balance of $10k monthly revenue versus $5k monthly net profit. A 365-days-a-year demand for that business’ product is another crucial criterion.

Those criteria on their own are, perhaps, not so unique. But it’s how Opontia involve the existing business owner that sets these new boys apart.

Going beyond the golden handshake

They don’t just fill out a cheque and say, “Thanks a bunch, bud; see ya later.”

No, they invite the business owner to stay on after they’ve sold their Amazon store, website or social commerce entity. Why would Opontia do that?

Well, this way, the business owner doesn’t feel like they’ve had a much-loved toe amputated. Rather, they can watch the brand grow and realise a potential they never would have on their own.

In return, Opontia get the acumen that enabled the business to reach the figures that interested them in the first place. You can’t put a price on tha…
…okay, maybe you can. Maybe that’s the point!

Opontia growth takes a diversion

Since launching, the market has dragged Opontia more towards Eastern Europe than The Middle East. It kinda makes sense. The e-commerce market — in Poland, for example — is well established and buoyant.

But with $30M from their latest funding round pledged to rolling up more businesses, that could well change. The UAE and Africa are primed for Amazon aggregators, and the like. Opontia, so far, are unique in their positioning there.

The business may yet redefine the term ‘Pyramid Scheme’ with investments in Egypt, and beyond. Only the sands of time will tell. If time’s running out on your Amazon business and you’re thinking of selling, take a lookee here: Which aggregators give the best valuations?

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Amazon FBA aggregators amass $13bn in 2 years

Amazon FBA aggregators, buyers of individual online brands, had a decent first year in 2020. Together, they raised $1bn in funding to help them ‘roll up’ online sellers, predominantly Amazon FBA businesses, into saleable portfolios of like brands.

That was 2020. Turn the clock forward another 12 months and that investment figure has rocketed. During 2021, and following a recent funding round by some of the arena’s bigger fish, investors have ploughed a further $12bn into this new style of business.

On average, that means aggregators have realised the same investment every month in 2021 that they did in the whole of 2020. They know that Amazon sellers want to sell up. Their investors know it. And, between them, they offer distraught (or opportunistic) Amazon FBA business owners a way out.

The Big Five drum up >half of all announced investments

Of the 45 aggregators who’ve completed their 2021 funding rounds, almost two-thirds raised over $100M each., the shark in the pond, raised close to $3.5bn themselves. The other four aggregators who make up ‘the big five’ raised a similar combined figure.

The remaining 40 aggregators combined raised the other $5bn, meaning the big five netted more than half of all investments.

Beyond this clutch of activity, there are at least another forty firms drumming up investment. We can’t wait to see how much they add to this year’s tally.

Here’s how much our favourite five Amazon aggregators have raised in the latest funding rounds:

Recent funding rounds: our top 5 Amazon FBA aggregators
Thrasio Massachusetts, U.S. $3,400,000,000
Perch Massachusetts, U.S. $908,000,000
SellerX Berlin, Germany $767,000,000
Heroes London, United Kingdom $265,000,000
Branded Paris, France $150,000,000
Total $5,490,000,000.00

Flourishing global business in the face of COVID-19

Using recent history as a yardstick, much of the investment will find its way to North American online businesses. But that doesn’t mean all the aggregator action is happening Stateside.

Affluent European countries have become a hotbed of activity. German, British, Dutch and southern European cities have aggregators who know how to sell your Amazon FBA business as part of a portfolio.

Further afield, the Far East is now well-represented on the map with its own Amazon aggregators, as is its Asian neighbour, India. Also, Mexico is showing for South America, and Canada pitching in to the north of the U.S.

So, despite much of the investment destined for the U.S., it’s clear that aggregation is in no way a local business. That said, there are aggregators looking to buck the trend. In Europe and Asia,  local investment, rather than heaping cash into the American market, is catching on.

Amazon FBA business values have more than doubled!

Knowing their raison d’etre, and given the size of investment, you’d be forgiven for thinking that investment comes at the cost of the individual business owner. However, the opposite is true.

These aggregators are run by people and teams from sound financial backgrounds. As proof, the values attributed to the individual businesses have more than doubled over these last two terrific years.

It shows no sign of stopping, either. In 2021, aggregators bought several hundred FBA and other businesses. This market’s moving fast. The prediction for 2022 is that these same investors will buy thousands of existing businesses. They have capital on tap and are looking to spend it.

Will your FBA business be next? We can help you take your first steps to freedom.

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.

Amazon Aggregators Accumulate Over $12 billion in Just a Year

If you weren’t already aware, Amazon Aggregators are killing it right now.

When you consider this industry barely existed at the beginning of 2020, to say Amazon Aggregators are doing well would be an understatement. In fact, we’re talking a minimum of a whopping $1billion raised each month this year, consecutively.

And that’s including equity, as well as debt financing.

What’s the difference between 2020 and 2021?

If you’re after scale, let’s compare.

In 2020, there weren’t many aggregators around at all. But they still managed to raise around $1 billion-ish.

And this year? Approximately $1 billion is being secured each month.

So why is there so much interest in companies wanting me to sell my Amazon business, I hear you say?

Of course, it’s easy to make the assumption that the ongoing pandemic contributed to an acceleration in Amazon spending. Consumers were ordering anything and everything online, whilst they were unable to go down the road to get their usual items from the high street.

If there was someone out there who didn’t consider Amazon as a major contender in the retail god wars, they’re probably eating their words right now.

If you’ve had a booming time making Amazon sales since the start of the pandemic, you’re not alone. And that’s precisely why Amazon Aggregators are looking for FBA brands to acquire, streamline, and scale.

In this year alone, there were 45 Amazon Aggregators declaring rounds of funding. And of those 45, there were a whopping 29 companies raising over $10 million. There are quite a few other Amazon aggregators that are still active but have yet to declare numbers.

Should I sell my Amazon seller account?

You can only just imagine how much dollar is out there buying smaller Amazon stores out right now. If you’ve been looking to sell your Amazon FBA business, there is certainly no shortage of aggregators on the lookout.

However, as always, and with most things in life, it’s better to shop around. That’s why we have over 150 potential buyers for you to sift through, right here. Sound like a lot of work? It isn’t. In fact, it actually takes less than 2 minutes.

Further reading:

This website was created by ex-Amazon sellers, Martin Smith and Richard Turnbull.

To learn about our story, our private label FBA brands, and our first-hand experience selling to Amazon aggregators, click here.

You may also wish to check out our 2022 Definitive Guide to Amazon Aggregators.

Written for FBA sellers, this simple, easy to follow document takes less than 5 minutes to read and represents the culmination of over 100 hours of research into the Amazon aggregator space. To access the guide today, click this link.


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