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SeanyHang

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@SeanyHang I don't think 982 results is that competitive. What is not competitive for you?
My niche has 2k listings in the "all categories" search. However, the top 3 guys are doing 1k+ sales a month. When I was entering this niche, I told myself "I just need 10% of their combined sales and I'll be happy". Turns out, I get about 30% of their combined sales.

So my key determinant in entering a niche or not is that the top 3 listings (PL listings) are selling 3k+ units combined monthly.
Hmmm. You know what? If i'm going to be honest about it, I don't actually have a number for what the right amount of competition is. Less is better. More is worse - but that's obviously completely relative and I now realize that I need to come up with something more quantifiable. I probably got that type of mindset after I read @Ecom man 's thread (and many other ebooks/programs on importing) and would see a lot of what he did (after reading that thread is when I took the jump into importing).

The thing about competitors is all it takes is one stupid one to kill your profit margin. Obviously the less compitition the better margins will be. 5 competitors isn't bad as long as the margins are in the 100%+ range. If 5 of them haven't dropped prices where there is no money to be made you should be ok.
That's talking about only having five competitors - but I'm sure @Ecom man has his own way of doing things completely different than the rest of us... it'd be awesome if we could create a separate thread (I don't want to hijack @biophase 's ) and have all of the guys who are successfully importing and selling on Amazon/ebay/ecommerce talk about their individual processes.. I'm sure there's a bunch of similarities but the differences in philosophies and processes would be fascinating.
 

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biophase

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Biophase - do you not even bother with this research? Would you look at something like back seat organizers and just check the guys listings to see if you can make a better listing? 987 sellers is a LOT of sellers - but some of those listing on the first page are absolutely garbage and you can undoubtedly do better. My suspicions are that you wouldn't do this product for a variety of reasons - but I'm curious to know why.
You know I look at your research and I'm thinking I would do this product. First of all, I don't believe Jungle Scout's numbers. Someone sent me some research that they did. Number 8 is one of my products. I sell maybe 1-2 a month. It's got 1, 3 star review. I don't know why JS thinks I sell 28 a month. I can't even give it away at $13 now! lol

11421617_393551954165534_1448702080_n.jpg
This is how I look at those products. They look pretty easy to make. They are definitely easy to modify and improve. I would take on the #1 and #2 competitor. They don't even have different colors to match my car. Why isn't there a gray, beige and black colors. Those 3 colors are the most popular interior car colors. You can do so many things to this product to make yours different and better.

You don't even know how much one of these costs to make and you are tossing the idea away? What if each one costs $2 to make? Why did you decide not to do this product?
 
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After you get a manufacturer to customize a product for you is there any protection from a competitor going to that same manufacturer and ordering your new product? Is copy-catting something to even worry about or do you just keep customizing and moving on?
I don't worry about this. But if your manufacturer sells to someone else, then it's time to find a different one.
 
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I have been looking at setting up Stitchlabs for my inventory control as I am going into other markets. It seems that it is the most recommended.

I saw that you are using FBA to fill item sales from your website. Is there any issues with Stitch updating the inventory twice as it sees the sale from your website and again after Amazon ships the item?

Also, for sales outside of Amazon are you having Amazon use non-descript boxes and tape for packages? (IE. no normal Amazon logos on boxes/tape)
I don't use FBA to fulfill my ecommerce store orders. I fulfill those myself.

Stitch labs bases their inventory on Amazon's inventory numbers not the sales. So if you did use FBA to fulfill a store order, it would get reflected by a lower FBA inventory. I think you can tell it that it was shipped by FBA so it does not lower your warehouse inventory, but I'm not sure about that.
 
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Hmmm. You know what? If i'm going to be honest about it, I don't actually have a number for what the right amount of competition is. Less is better. More is worse - but that's obviously completely relative and I now realize that I need to come up with something more quantifiable. I probably got that type of mindset after I read @Ecom man 's thread (and many other ebooks/programs on importing) and would see a lot of what he did (after reading that thread is when I took the jump into importing).

That's talking about only having five competitors - but I'm sure @Ecom man has his own way of doing things completely different than the rest of us... it'd be awesome if we could create a separate thread (I don't want to hijack @biophase 's ) and have all of the guys who are successfully importing and selling on Amazon/ebay/ecommerce talk about their individual processes.. I'm sure there's a bunch of similarities but the differences in philosophies and processes would be fascinating.
I think you need to just do it. Like I said, if your backseat organizer is 100% better than the current #1 on Amazon, why would you give a shit about the number of competitors? Why would you care if your product only does $8000 a month, profiting you $2500 a month? Is this number too low for you? I launch stuff that does $250 a month. That's a measly $5000 a month. I don't care that it does $250, I just launch 20 more. If you never launch you will never get anywhere.
 

Lukebrisbane

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what % profit are you aiming for? I've gone on and looked up 1 star reviews of products and started writing down what I can improve on, I'm guessing you do that for the positive reviews too. So what your saying is to just don't worry too much about making everything perfect, just get launching and testing.
 
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what % profit are you aiming for? I've gone on and looked up 1 star reviews of products and started writing down what I can improve on, I'm guessing you do that for the positive reviews too. So what your saying is to just don't worry too much about making everything perfect, just get launching and testing.
I don't have a particular % profit. I really do not concentrate too much on all that stuff. I just make a good product and sell it. You have to be comfortable with whatever profit you make per sale or per dollar you spend.
 

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Do you feel it's at all detrimental to price low and work your way higher? Instead of the common wisdom where you can lower your price but not raise it? You've stated in this thread that you'll price low then go higher on amazon so I think I know where you stand but what about on a luxury product?

I'll be offering a luxury product soon but it isn't as perfect as I'd like it to be. I'll have to wait up to 2 months+ to get the pieces in to make it exactly how I want it. I'm thinking about running with what I got and price it lower than I'd like and then raise prices once I get the other piece in that sets a higher standard of luxury. I guess I can make it a different offering but then I'd risk people dropping down to the lower priced offer.

I'll mainly be selling this from my own site but will have some products under the same brand on amazon.
 
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Do you feel it's at all detrimental to price low and work your way higher? Instead of the common wisdom or you can lower your price but not raise it? You've stated in this thread that you'll price low then go higher on amazon so I think I know where you stand but what about on a luxury product?
From my experience it is the opposite of this. You can price lower initially and raise it without complaining from past buyers since they got it cheaper. If you lower the price you open yourself up to past buyers contacting you wanting a refund for the price difference since they paid more.
 

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From my experience it is the opposite of this. You can price lower initially and raise it without complaining from past buyers since they got it cheaper. If you lower the price you open yourself up to past buyers contacting you wanting a refund for the price difference since they paid more.
Cheers. You're probably right. I'm just thinking if I want to compete in the luxury arena I need to stick with a luxury pricing model. My products still won't be cheap by any means so I guess there isn't much risk of starting on the slightly lower end and tweaking my products.

I just don't want to appear "cheap" which will put off my target audience.
 

Dicky Dee

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I do use Amazon PPC, but it is a supplement to organic growth. The current Amazon formula that most people are using right now is:
1) Use giveaways to get reviews
2) get 25+ reviews
3) Amazon PPC to get sales and boost search rankings
4) Sell organically

I just saw this company giveaway at least 200 products because they went from zero to reviews to 70 to 150 to 220 in the span of 4 days. Now they are at 320 reviews. So they had to have given away at least $2000 in product. Personally I think it was too fast, but now they are sitting at #6, so it works.

I know some people running Google PPC direct to their Amazon listings and they say it converts well.
Since the new TOS change a couple weeks ago, besides doing the giveaways that most sellers were doing, how else can we launch a product successfully?

Amazon has said you can still do giveaway but not in "excess"
 

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Dicky Dee

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I run totally different companies with different addresses, different bank accounts, different everything. Nothing is intermingled with them.
May i ask why you would separate each niche in that way? Is it more for being organized and seeing clear numbers for each niche or something else?
 
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Do you feel it's at all detrimental to price low and work your way higher? Instead of the common wisdom where you can lower your price but not raise it? You've stated in this thread that you'll price low then go higher on amazon so I think I know where you stand but what about on a luxury product?

I'll be offering a luxury product soon but it isn't as perfect as I'd like it to be. I'll have to wait up to 2 months+ to get the pieces in to make it exactly how I want it. I'm thinking about running with what I got and price it lower than I'd like and then raise prices once I get the other piece in that sets a higher standard of luxury. I guess I can make it a different offering but then I'd risk people dropping down to the lower priced offer.

I'll mainly be selling this from my own site but will have some products under the same brand on amazon.
I don't think this is a problem at all. Nobody knows what past prices are on Amazon. The prices for all products change all the time.

Now, I'm not talking about drastic pricing changes. I'm talking about raising prices $1-$2 per week. I mean, I even do that now based on stock. When my stock gets low, my pricing goes up.
 
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Since the new TOS change a couple weeks ago, besides doing the giveaways that most sellers were doing, how else can we launch a product successfully?

Amazon has said you can still do giveaway but not in "excess"
You can launch by using a facebook page and gathering likes ahead of time and then announcing the launch. Also, you can just lower the price so everyone gets the low price and just limit the number of units for sale.
 
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biophase

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Thanks Biophase for another great thread!

What eCommerce platform do you use? And is there any specific reason why?
I use Bigcommerce. I think Bigcommerce and Shopify are pretty equal in terms of shopping carts. I think Shopify might be slightly ahead of BC, but not enough for me to switch over.
 
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biophase

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May i ask why you would separate each niche in that way? Is it more for being organized and seeing clear numbers for each niche or something else?
They are separate businesses, so there's no reason to intermingle them. All of my businesses stand on their own.

Even with my current launch, I'm using that business's credit cards to fund the initial order even though I could pay for it out of another account if I wanted.
 

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What are you're go to ways to bump up sales of existing products? Do you mess with second tier selling platforms like rakuten, sears and maybe eBay these days? If you do, how do you keep your inventory reconciled between the different platforms?

Thanks Bio!
 

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I don't think this is a problem at all. Nobody knows what past prices are on Amazon. The prices for all products change all the time.

Now, I'm not talking about drastic pricing changes. I'm talking about raising prices $1-$2 per week. I mean, I even do that now based on stock. When my stock gets low, my pricing goes up.
Junglescout just released a function to display price history. I haven't used it yet but it is something to look into :)
 

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Do you feel it's at all detrimental to price low and work your way higher? Instead of the common wisdom where you can lower your price but not raise it? You've stated in this thread that you'll price low then go higher on amazon so I think I know where you stand but what about on a luxury product?

I'll be offering a luxury product soon but it isn't as perfect as I'd like it to be. I'll have to wait up to 2 months+ to get the pieces in to make it exactly how I want it. I'm thinking about running with what I got and price it lower than I'd like and then raise prices once I get the other piece in that sets a higher standard of luxury. I guess I can make it a different offering but then I'd risk people dropping down to the lower priced offer.

I'll mainly be selling this from my own site but will have some products under the same brand on amazon.
I've raised the prices on all my products since I launched on amazon. As you know, my products are more luxury. However, even from the beginning I was priced higher than most competitors. I just started raising the price until I got resistance in the form of lower sales.
 

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You can launch by using a facebook page and gathering likes ahead of time and then announcing the launch. Also, you can just lower the price so everyone gets the low price and just limit the number of units for sale.
I use instagram, Facebook and my email list to launch new products. Works very well.
 

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Carnage

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Hi Biophase.
Thanks for doing this thread.
You said you make improvements to existing products. Does this mean you have to do a patent search or file for a patent if the product/idea is a new one?
If not, why?
 

m500

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Great thread, thanks Biophase.

I have a question about sourcing:

Do you always just deal direct with factories in China or do you ever go through an agent?

I looked into this a while ago and heard some horror stories e.g. https://thewoodlandgroup.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/how-to-lose-20000-in-one-day/ and this scared me.

This lead me to this guy http://www.youngmoneychina.com who is someone 'on the ground' in China. He seems like a decent guy and his blog is fairly interesting.

Is using someone like him worth considering, or just a scare story?
 
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biophase

biophase

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What are you're go to ways to bump up sales of existing products? Do you mess with second tier selling platforms like rakuten, sears and maybe eBay these days? If you do, how do you keep your inventory reconciled between the different platforms?

Thanks Bio!
I've tried Sears, but not Rakuten. I just did not get any sales from Sears. Ebay we use to get rid of returned or bad selling items. But right now, the main channels are Amazon and my own stores.

I have a decent sized email list but I don't send anything out regularly. I am really bad at email marketing. I think my niche is so narrow that I can't come up with good email topics or I keep thinking I need to stay on point. I need to work on this.

I really don't bump my sales at all. I do have black friday specials every year, but they don't generate alot of sales in my stores. Amazon on the other hand is huge on black friday.

I use Stitchlabs for inventory control right now.
 
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biophase

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Hi Biophase.
Thanks for doing this thread.
You said you make improvements to existing products. Does this mean you have to do a patent search or file for a patent if the product/idea is a new one?
If not, why?
I do not do patent searches. None of my products are patented. They are very general products that anyone can sell. For example, if you wanted to make a different spoon, it is highly unlikely that a spoon is patented and even more unlikely that the specific change you are making is patented.
 
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biophase

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Great thread, thanks Biophase.

I have a question about sourcing:

Do you always just deal direct with factories in China or do you ever go through an agent?

I looked into this a while ago and heard some horror stories e.g. https://thewoodlandgroup.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/how-to-lose-20000-in-one-day/ and this scared me.

This lead me to this guy http://www.youngmoneychina.com who is someone 'on the ground' in China. He seems like a decent guy and his blog is fairly interesting.

Is using someone like him worth considering, or just a scare story?
I deal direct with factories in China, or as close as possible. I don't see a need to go through an agent. The factories that I use I have been using for 5 years now. So we have a good relationship. They are actual factories that make the product from raw material.

A few products I'm ordering I know I am not directly dealing with the people who make it. But this is the best that I can do right now. As long as my price is good I will stick with them. But if the price starts creeping up, I will look deeper in to find the actual factory.

I'm always careful with newer factories and I place smaller orders ($10-$15k) with them for a few years. But even with my old factories I still get nervous when my order amount goes over $50k. You never know when they might just run. I try to keep smaller orders flowing in constantly, so I only have $25k orders out at each factory at a time.
 

Jake

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I've raised the prices on all my products since I launched on amazon. As you know, my products are more luxury. However, even from the beginning I was priced higher than most competitors. I just started raising the price until I got resistance in the form of lower sales.
Thanks, Allen. I'm entering a market where there's a extremely high-end product and some cheap imitations priced 80-90% lower.

I'm looking to maintain luxury pricing (being well above the cheapish competition) while still being a lot cheaper than the dominant player.

If I put it on amazon it loses a bit of the personal touch (think custom orders) so I'll be offering additional products that fit well on amazon to increase brand recognition and catch the traffic. I'll probably just increase product variety to allow myself to hit on more price points.
 

Carnage

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I do not do patent searches. None of my products are patented. They are very general products that anyone can sell. For example, if you wanted to make a different spoon, it is highly unlikely that a spoon is patented and even more unlikely that the specific change you are making is patented.
Okay, thanks so much. I have a lot of ideas for improvements and want to take the next step.
I saw a lot of manufactirers on Alibaba have minimum orders of 500+ units. If I wanted to do a market test and just try to sell a small sample, what is the best way of going about this?
 

wolfie

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Hey bio thanks for all the info! Another family member wants to start an Amazon biz account as well. Should we get separate accounts or should we stay on the same account?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

SeanyHang

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You don't even know how much one of these costs to make and you are tossing the idea away? What if each one costs $2 to make? Why did you decide not to do this product?
Haha, yea honestly as I was writing the post about the organizer I was thinking about deleting it so that I could keep the product idea. But I decided to "throw it away" because I figured it might add some value to other members browsing the tread who wanted an actual idea of what type of products they may want to look for.

Also - frankly I didn't realize it was actually a "good" product and thought at best it was "kinda ok" for the reasons I gave in my last post about thinking there were too many sellers, amazon being a major seller, etc. As mater of a fact, I'm glad that I posted that because I seriously had no idea that you and several other members here would consider it any good.. I'm always looking for products that have <500 competitors OR new products that I can ride a wave of demand for.

At the end of the day I have several dozen other product ideas with good margin that I'm looking at now (and now that I realize products like the backseat organizer are good too.. I'll have even more!!) This has honestly been a ridiculously eye-opening and educational thread in just the first 5 pages.

Loving it.
 

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