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GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (Ongoing)

Discussion in 'Business Models, Niches, Industries' started by biophase, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. JasonR
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    JasonR Maverick Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Right, and I agree. I didn't mean to say they were a horrible idea. If you have an advantage and can get ranked better and quicker than the next guy, do it. What I'm saying is don't expect it the ranking method last. Businesses like Zonblast need to pivot or will simply just go away.

    Look at how @biophase has pivoted with the same products. His products are good, so he doesn't have to rely on any one sales channel. He went from SEO to PPC to PPC and Amazon (@biophase I think I got that right).

    If you have an advantage or can get ranked, do it!
     
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  2. Cembo
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    Cembo Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In my opinion "I ordered the product at a discount in exchange of my honest review" is just a different way of saying "This is a fake review". I really don't support this because I think it doesn't add any value. I want REAL reviews from REAL customers, so I know how to improve and make this a real business.
    I understand that you also get more organic sales from a boost but I think it can also be a real risk for your business. I really don't want to get suspended again... :D
     
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  3. SeanyHang
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    SeanyHang Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    With the new TOS you're 100% right - it IS a real risk for the business. You're definitely better off at the moment just growing organically / with PPC until amazon specifies what they mean by an "excessive" number of free or discounted items. Does giving away 5 products for honest reviews put you in the same "excessive" category as 50 or 500? ..Probably not - but who knows?
     
    Ross Morgan, Eskil and Cembo like this.
  4. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    When I say I make my own product, I just mean that I import my own product. I don't physically make anything. I choose new products to import, I don't just import a product that a factory current makes, I make changes to it.
     
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  5. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Unless Amazon just basically discounts the value of any order of any product ordered using a discount coupon. What I mean is that discounted ordered become invisible to any algorithm, just like they never happened.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  6. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    This is the process that many people follow. But I don't follow this process at all because you are not adding any value. As an example, say that you found that kitchen knife sets sell for $50 on amazon and that you can get them for $15 in China. You look on amazon and there are 15 people selling these kitchen knives at $50. You find the supplier making their kitchen knives and you put a red handle with your logo on them and sell them for $50 on Amazon. So what did you really do? Nothing. You created another kitchen knife set on Amazon that looks like 15 other ones except with a different color handle.

    What I would do is see what I can change about the kitchen knife set. Here are things that you can do to improve the kitchen knife set:
    1) Use a better quality blade
    2) Use a better quality handle
    3) Improve the knife block
    4) Use a different combination of knives
    5) Add more knives
    6) Add a butcher block cutting board
    7) Add a money back guarantee
    8) Change the blade shapes

    Imagine if you did 2-5 of these things. How do you think your listing will stack up compared to the original 15 listings? What if your cost ballooned to $25 and you still listed your knife set at $50. Do you think that you would sell more units? Do you think that you need to giveaway sets for free reviews? No, in this case, people will find your knife set and buy it because it is better when compared to the other sets out there.
     
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  7. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I have never used any review service in my main niche. I get them to #1 by selling at cost until they get to #1. Put it this way, if my product is already better than a competing product and we are both priced at $40. What happens when I drop the price of it to $25? You guessed it, it sells like crazy. A few weeks at $25 and I'm at #1. All the sales and reviews are organic. Then I move the price back to $40. Now I stay there.

    I have used a review service once, I got 25 reviews for a product. This was in a competitive niche, the same one where a competitor got 320 reviews within a month. He is on the front page, I'm on the 6th page right now. But, my product is better than his. In fact, I had requested 50 reviews, but cancelled at 25 because I didn't them any more. The 25 sales got my product in the search results and that's all I needed. Once in the search results, it will sell itself. I sell 1-3 of these a day now.
     
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  8. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    If you are giving away 5 products, just ask your friends. You only really need a service when you want to do 25+.

    The big worry here is not if it will work, it is if you will get penalized in the future. Let's say you launch today and you get 100 free reviews, you shoot to #1 and everything is fine. You build a nice business this way. Then in 2017 Amazon decides to penalize people who did this. All your listings go from #1 to [HASHTAG]#800[/HASHTAG] in a day. All the income that you were used to is now gone. Your listings are now tainted. So you need to start a new listing, but now you are starting from scratch at 2 years behind your competitors.

    This is basically what Google did with its Panda updates.
     
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  9. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Ouch. And you might have built a bigger infrastructure based off this steady revenue, so could be in a bigger hole than if you had just done it right from the start.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  10. Lukebrisbane
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    Lukebrisbane Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Am i able to get into this if I live overseas, like in Australia? Like could i use the fulfilment in america and sell to them? Also, say you wanted to start selling on amazon. You were on a budget, you say wanted to invest the smallest amount possible to start and build up, what resources would you go about looking up to read, what niches would you look in? I'm not per say looking for the most profitable, i'm looking just to get started then build up.

    Finally, so assuming I do all this, i could run the business entirely remotely and never have to see/pack the product myself?

    Kind regards,
    Luke.
     
  11. smithsta
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    smithsta Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Biophase, I'm just curious, do you run multiple eCommerce stores and multiple brands on Amazon?

    Btw, I'm personally glad Amazon changed their TOS regarding the discounts/giveaways for reviews.

    Anyone with a bit of cash can get hundreds of 'honest' reviews, but where's the creativity in that.
     
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  12. PureA
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    PureA Winners never quit Speedway Pass

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    B, regarding custom requests with the manufacturer e.g. a different knife block (to use your earlier example) in your experience, are manufacturers happy to make some changes? What kind of premium can you expect to pay for a change in product?
     
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  13. NYCGoblin
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    NYCGoblin Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Summit Attendee

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    You said there was a small product that you were importing that margins were low but it helped your brand so you did it. How did you go about brand expansion and the selection of said brand to dominate whichever niche you are in?
    When you make changes to products how do you communicate that with the manufacture and if they say they cannot do what you are asking what is your course of action?
    How many products are you currently selling?
    What does your day to day operations consist of?
     
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  14. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I know a few people in Australia who sell FBA on Amazon US so yes it is easily doable.

    I think the whole start small, choose a profitable niche is the wrong way to go. By picking a niche based on your funds and what everyone else is doing, you are basically guaranteeing an unsustainable business. You have to find something that works for you. If I told you kitchen knives was a good niche, would you start there and jump into a crowded space with no value add?

    You're almost guaranteed to lose your small investment because you can't compete against someone willing to give away their first $2000 order.
     
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  15. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Yes, I run multiple ecommerce stores and am in multiple niches.
     
  16. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Yes, they will be happy to make changes. This will increase your price and MOQ and you may have to pay some tooling or mold costs upfront. The premium all depends on the product. You just need to ask.
     
  17. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I look for products that work within my company. So if I sold kitchen knife sets, it would be natural for me to go into butcher blocks, cutting boards, kitchen drawer organizers or anything kitchen utensil related. Once you are in all those products, you can move outward to plates, cups, place mats or pot holders. You could even go further out and do home related products. Once you are in these niches you will see what is missing and needs to be sold.

    I don't know how many products I'm selling right now. It's probably between 50-100.

    My day to day is fairly simple now because I have an employee running it. All I work on is new product development and the occasional box unloading.

    11866369_10206879002989478_5535274423193910586_n.jpg
     
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  18. funkj25
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    funkj25 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Bio,

    Re: different brands on Amazon. Do you petition Amazon to have separate accounts for your different brands or run them all under the same login info/bank account? I've heard it's better to get separate accounts, just curious of your experience with it.
     
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  19. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I run totally different companies with different addresses, different bank accounts, different everything. Nothing is intermingled with them.
     
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  20. The Grind
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    The Grind Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    That was a really good explanation, thank you.
     
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  21. marklov
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    marklov It is a Tiger That Devours Me but I am The Tiger Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Is the low margin high volume model worth it?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
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  22. Lukebrisbane
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    Lukebrisbane Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the response, so you'd recommend minimum $2000 saved, and forget about the cheapest niche to start in, just look for demand?
    Okay, so say you had to start your own journey all over again from 2015, instead of when your started yourself, what mistakes try your hardest to avoid? What areas would you of focused on in your business instead? I'm not just talking marketing, everything. Branding, product development/sourcing ect.
    Do you recommend another forum thread to get started learning?

    Thank you.
     
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  23. P3HSB
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    P3HSB Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    In regards to asking the manufacture to make changes, would I need to know specifics like the raw materials used to build the product, size/shapes, design, colors etc. Or is it just as simple as asking them, is there anyway you can increase the quality of the blades by any chance? and go from there? Because how am I suppose to know what a better quality blade is? Is this something I should be researching constantly trying to figure out the best materials?

    Whats is your process like when trying to change a product? Do you send your manufacture a 3D CAD model, or a PDF sketch of the product? Or is it as simple as just asking and letting them handle the rest. As long as the change is made and you see the difference in quality after receiving them and your good to go?

    Are all your 50-100 of your products custom made in some way? Or are there some where you just see the margins and it matches in your store and you sell it?
     
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  24. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    This is worth it now because of Amazon FBA. If you were fulfilling items yourself I don't think it would be worth it.
     
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  25. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    It is up to you to do the research. Sometimes the manufacturer has no idea why they are building what they are making. If you are trying to sell knives and don't know the difference between a good quality blade and a poor one, you should not be selling knives. Because someone like me is eventually going to come along and blow your product out of the water and sell it for cheaper. Then watch your sales decline.

    This all depends on the product. It can range from CAD drawings to a simple email or hand drawn diagram. There's no hand holding here, you just do and and learn as you go. I have no idea what they need to do to make my improvements. If they tell me they need CAD drawings then I get CAD drawings, if they tell me they need only a drawing, then I make a drawing.

    They are all custom. If I found a normal product that sold well on Amazon, why would you NOT try to improve it? If my knives are selling well, why would I sit back and be happy with that? I would want to improve them on each shipment. That's only way to stay ahead of the game.
     
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