Kevin King’s Tips for Avoiding the Most Expensive Mistakes on Amazon

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00:00 In this episode
01:15 Intro
01:27 Hi Kevin
02:56 How did you start your journey?
04:35 How did you start selling on Amazon?
07:05 New podcast host AM/PM
10:17 Who can visit BDSS?
14:00 New seller mistakes
20:49 What should a man do before launching your product?
24:12 About keywords
28:59 PPC campaign
30:34 Price strategy from Kevin
33:41 How to set the right price and not lose your Buy Box
35:20 What product is considered a failure?
36:21 ACoS&TACoS
39:31 How many products do you need to start your journey to Amazon?
44:18 Summarize
47:27 Outro

Who’s THE King?

When it comes to Original Gangsters (OGs) of Amazon, Kevin King fits the criteria perfectly. Kevin started his Amazon journey in 2001 by using it like eBay for selling his used stuff, as well products from his calendar company. But it wasn’t until 2015 that he started using the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) model of today, racking up millions in the process.

Kevin was an avid listener of the AM/PM podcast at the time hosted by none other than Manny Coats, founder of Helium10, and later by Tim Jordan, owner of Private Label Legion. Although clearly an expert in his field, Kevin was hesitant to go on the podcast at first because he was so focused on building his business…and thank goodness for the rest of us that he followed through. Kevin went on the podcast, and true to Kevin’s style, he skipped the bull****, told it like it was, gave real-world tactical advice, and it became the most popular episode for years.

That’s when Kevin began sharing his hard-won knowledge, and it that light, he has a HUGE announcement:

Not only will even more new and rising sellers be able to learn from Kevin as the new host, but 7-figure and 8-figure sellers can attend his Billion Dollar Seller Summit to spend 5 days fully immersed in networking, and with speakers sharing the most advanced strategies in the industry. And just like Kevin, they will deliver real-world tactical advice, without the bull****.

It is with all that background that Kevin talks us through the major mistakes he sees new and experienced sellers make on Amazon, and his tactical steps for avoiding them.


Avoiding the Most Expensive Mistakes

Kevin shares that in his experience, not understanding costs and margin in detail is the root problem for both new and experienced sellers. Avoiding expensive mistakes and understanding ALL the costs (to name a few…production, shipping to US, shipping from port to warehouse, storage fees, fulfillment fees related to dimensions and weight, import duties, taxes, marketing fees, etc.) of the product go together, hand-in-glove. Just as we do for our clients here at Ritz Momentum, starting with a detailed strategy and budget avoids a lot of the perfectly preventable “surprises” down the product development road. Without the numbers, the only one making money is Amazon, not you.

Plans are great , but execution is what matters, and in that we have to avoid these three major mistakes:

  1. Do NOT run out of inventory.
    • Do not throw away your hard work with bad shipment forecasting. You need to keep your money making machine fed, because Amazon has no problem starving you out.
    • If you run out of inventory, your sales stop, which means the algorithm starts to ignore you. If you let this go on, it’s as if you had never launched the product, and you will need to start over with a relaunch.
    • The honeymoon phase of a product is REAL. Amazon’s algorithm tends to favor new products because it needs to know if the market is going to like it. This is not some altruistic, entrepreneur-loving thing. Amazon wants to make money off of your products. The sooner it can find out the success of your product, the better for them. If your product rocks sales, they make more. If your product sucks, they don’t waste their time on you. It may sound Machiavellian, but you don’t build a trillion dollar company by paying attention to winning and losing products equally.
  2. Counting on Funds from your Amazon Sales is Wishful Thinking
    • Will you be able to use the revenue generated from sales to reinvest into your account? Of course. The question is not IF but WHEN? Amazon holds on to your funds for three and sometimes four weeks. If you rely on the revenue to pay for inventory, or other expenses, you put your operations into someone else’s hands. This puts your product launch in huge danger because you risk losing out on the honeymoon phase we talked about. Show up with enough ammunition to fight for your product.
  3. Budget for Ad Spend and Software on the Front End
    • a) Although proper budgeting includes taking into account ad spend and software tools, Kevin specifically highlights these two because he sees sellers forge to take these into account when calculating the numbers. Trying to separate your production costs from your launch and monitoring costs is an illusion. It’s all tied together, and good sellers calculate their numbers with the whole picture in mind.


Doing this correctly takes A LOT of analysis, and thankfully Kevin’s extensive experience provides us with some of his planning pro tips:


Kevin’s Pro Tips 🚀

  1. Your investment budget should be AT LEAST 2.5x the total production cost. Used inversely, you can take your total investment budget, divide it by 2.5, and that’s your planning factor for your product development: from factory to FBA warehouse.
  2. If you cannot sell the product for at least 4-5x your production cost, pick something else. Managing a product takes a lot of work, and you are better off putting your energy into the opportunities that will make you the most money.


Even perfectly launched products sometimes fail (cough…CNN+ subscription…cough). Do not bash Amazon just because it didn’t work for you this time. If NOBODY was making money and Amazon didn’t work, it would not be the ecommerce behemoth it is today. Take the lessons you learned, and do it better for your next product.


What should I do if I found a product a long time ago?

We are all prone to taking our time with starting new things. It happens. If you did your product research more than 90 days ago, Kevin says you have to redo ALL of it. The market moves fast, and not redoing the numbers to ensure they still make sense is almost as bad as going in blind. When it comes to doing your launch after your research, Speed is King (No pun intended, Kevin).


Got it. I’m ready to move FAST. How do I find an opportunity and make a strategy?

In two words: KEYWORD. RESEARCH.

  1. Assess the opportunity.
    • Using tools like Helium10, Data Dive (created by Brandon Young and sits on top of other software), Amazon Brand Analytics, SmartScout, and others, we can dive deep and determine demand for a product by looking at search volume, and asses how well our competitors rank for the keywords we are trying to target. What may look like a high-demand, low-competition niche may not turn out like a good opportunity simply because the competitors are rockstars at ranking with the main keyword.
      You can find discount codes for all these tools at the end of the article.
    • The main niche competitors live on page one and two of your main keyword; all others may be indexing, but they are not relevant. Most products make their sales from 5-10 keywords, so by narrowing it down to the top 10 niche competitors, and the keywords they focus on, we can develop a plan that gets the most out of our investment.
  2. Devise a winning strategy.
    • More search volume does not always mean more sales. Because some keywords target very specific niches, lower search keywords can actually produce more sales than their related, higher volume parent keywords. Kevin shares that when he goes after products, he starts by targeting lower keywords that have more sales, and by using root keywords, he works his way up to the keywords with more search volume.
    • When you combine this strategy with a well-researched and targeted PPC campaign, and a competitive price that’s tied to your review count, you provide the customer with a godfather-like “offer they can’t refuse”, and then you run PPC to it.
  3. Manage Expectations, but believe in yourself.
    • If you are new, start with launching ONE product. Most people fail on the first product. Count the first one as a learning experience, and use what you learn to improve on the next one.
    • Kevin King, who by all is considered an EXPERT, has a 20% product failure rate, and lost over $1 million in 2020 alone. Just because the product you launched didn’t work doesn’t mean that a) you can’t do it, or b) that selling on Amazon is a scam.


Knowing When to Call It Quits on a Product

Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your product listing. We can all become victims of the instant-gratification-monkey that wants profits on day one. That’s not how it works. To advertise literally means “to make known”, so it will take time for your product to “become known” to the algorithm and your target customers.

Kevin explains that sometimes you know from the start; if the first 7 reviews you get are all 1-star, that’s pretty straight forward. For all others, he recommends giving it 6 months, and by that time you should see:

  • Around 10% Total Advertising Cost of Sales, or TACoS (this is ALL your sales, not just the ones you advertised).
  • Unless it is making at least $3,000 in profit, get rid of it.
    • ***Note: the profit margin obviously depends on your niche and your business financial situation. You have to figure out what makes sense for you, while keeping in mind your opportunity cost: if managing a product is going to take time and effort, are you in a position to focus your energy into a product that can make you more money for the same amount of effort? Make your choice.


Amazon is still one of the BEST places to make money in ecommerce. Agencies like Ritz Momentum and legends like Kevin King all want to see you succeed. The freedom and independence is there for your taking.


If you are ready to move into Amazon, you can connect with us here.


If you want to explore the software mentioned in this podcast, you can get them at a discount with with the links below.

  • Helium10 – One of the industry’s leading analytic software for both Amazon and Walmart. Sign for a lifetime discount here.
  • SmartScout – Click here and use BELLA50 at checkout to get a 7-day free trial AND $50 off your first month’s subscription.


Get out there and make it happen! Happy Amazoning!