Selling online is fast becoming a necessity, yet many small and medium businesses (SMBs) aren’t quite sure what they need to do. For new entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture and carve a niche for your products, Protego Covers' story of joining offers invaluable insights.

Ahead of Amazon Smbhav 2023, Mohit Yadav talks about customer obsession, transparency in product packaging and avoiding common pitfalls that can derail MSMEs.

The young Mumbai-based brand was just four years old when it made its debut in March 2023, after founder Santosh Kakade got inspired by a friend’s success on the platform. He entered the car covers category after observing that while there are around 1,000 car models in India, the big brands were only selling covers for about 20 of these, leaving the owners of other cars with unmet needs. After due diligence, Protego began developing and manufacturing its own designs for each of them, expanding the brand’s reach beyond that of mainstream competitors to the tune of ₹50 lakhs in monthly revenue on—all within a year.

Here are his insights and practical tips:

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Why there’s never been a better time to start an online business

“In recent years, the online business landscape has shifted from domination of big brands to a more even distribution of small-scale manufacturers and traders. Success depends on product quality, pricing, reviews, and promotion strategy, making it relatively easier for bootstrapped startups like ours to generate revenue, even within the first three months. All you need is the right sourcing, right keywords, a skilled photographer or a photo studio to kickstart your venture.”

‘I have no time’ is not an excuse

“Selling on Amazon or launching online business doesn't require much time. Even if you work full-time and only have a few free hours a week, you can use that time to build something of your own. Amazon's huge customer base and the trust factor make it a great opportunity”.

Keywords and images matter

Of course you must have a great product and pricing especially because there are so many selling similar products. But make sure to - 1. use quality images—you can do this with Photoshop or by hiring an affordable local studio to help. And 2. Incorporate keywords from top-selling listings within the category into your title, bullet points, description, and search terms.

Discoverability is the challenge

“In March 2023 I opened a seller account and started selling on Amazon. And few weeks later, we began experimenting with sponsored ads with a minimum budget of ₹200 per day. That gave us a push and we began getting about 20 orders per week. We then tried multiple sponsored ads and increased our budget to 500 a day. That boosted orders to 50 a week. So that’s important – being discovered by customers is one of the biggest challenges online but as little as Rs 200 or Rs 500 a week can make a difference!

Grab the growth opportunity

“Our big growth opportunity with Prime Day, three months after we launched."

We’d stocked up a bit more on our inventory and invested ₹ 5,000 in advertising. To our surprise, our stock sold out in 12 hours—a growth of 400% over our average business day.

"I don't believe in regrets since one has to try new things to figure out what works best, which could be different for different brands and products. But in hindsight, I would have stocked up more during Amazon’s sales periods like Prime Day to take advantage of the substantially higher traffic.”

Protego Covers Amazon

Today, we have grown from 500 sqft warehouse in 2019 to a 5,000sqft one, with a team of 10, and we sell about 3,000 covers monthly, which translates to about ₹ 50 lakhs in revenue. For 2024, we have an ambitious goal: 60,000 covers and ₹ 10 crores in revenue. Thanks to the possibilities offered by Amazon, we believe we can do it.”

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Leverage these 3 useful tools for new sellers on Amazon

  1. Advertising: Use ads to boost traffic to your products. Choose Auto Targeting for best results, monitor Return on Ad Spend for Manual campaigns, and consider smaller bid amounts for Category ads. 
  2. Coupons: Offer additional incentives for conversions using coupons. Any amount, even as low as 1%, can make a difference.
  3. Reviews: Make sure to maintain a rating above 3.5 stars for your product to attract sales. To remind customers to review your product, use the Request a Review feature.

Final words of advice to all budding entrepreneurs

“I launched my Amazon business on the day my daughter was born and have always treated the business like my child. As with my daughter, I constantly aim to be a better person and stay honest. We focus on providing quality products, understanding consumer needs, reading every review, and maintaining competitive pricing. Staying true to these has unfolded magic for us.”