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GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (Ongoing)

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

  1. Dicky Dee
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    Dicky Dee Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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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"
     
  2. lnBetween
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    lnBetween New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks Biophase for another great thread!

    What eCommerce platform do you use? And is there any specific reason why?
     
  3. Dicky Dee
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    Dicky Dee Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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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?
     
  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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    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.
     
    Sheens, Exonyte, kijes and 8 others like this.
  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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    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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  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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    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.
     
  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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    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.
     
  8. Kak
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    Kak Capitalist Swine Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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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!
     
    Xeon likes this.
  9. exclusives88
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    exclusives88 Silver Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    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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  10. AllenCrawley
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    AllenCrawley Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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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.
     
  11. AllenCrawley
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    AllenCrawley Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I use instagram, Facebook and my email list to launch new products. Works very well.
     
  12. Carnage
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    Carnage Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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?
     
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  13. m500
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    m500 Contributor

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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?
     
    Xeon and ThinkDifferent like this.
  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'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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  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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    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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  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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    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.
     
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  17. Jake
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    Jake Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    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.
     
    AllenCrawley likes this.
  18. Carnage
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    Carnage Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    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?
     
    Fathazard and Ross Morgan like this.
  19. wolfie
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    wolfie Contributor

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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
     
  20. SeanyHang
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    SeanyHang Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    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.
     
    NickB, BSK, Ross Morgan and 13 others like this.
  21. zapcity
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    zapcity God is in the details FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Biophase,
    Thanks for your amazing contributions! I'm curious if you add any type of enclosure or wording in your packaging that encourages product feedback via a review?
    I have also looked at using feedbackfive as an option to encourage reviews, but haven't pulled the trigger. By what % have you seen FB5 increasing reviews compared to not using the service?
     
  22. TKDTyler
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    TKDTyler Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    It's pretty simple to get a sample order. In your initial emails you can say you are representing company X, and see an emerging/strong need in your market for their product and are interested in building a strong relationship with the factory.

    When it gets to the subject of the initial order, I usually say that due to company policy, I can only place an order amount for Y units to test for quality, shipping times, packaging, and demand.

    Usually this will do the trick. Careful to verify that you are working with an actual factory.

    I would highly recommend reading the entirety of this thread. It may take a couple of days, but literally all of the answers you need in terms of working with suppliers, getting past MoQ's, shipping, etc are handled multiple times in this thread.

    https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/co...porting-wholesaling-for-resale-on-ebay.51843/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2018
  23. BEBOLD
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    BEBOLD Disregard Females, Acquire Currency Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hey Bio, amazing thread.

    Just recently I came back from an Asia trip feeling refreshed and ready to buckle down.

    Heres the rub: Being an all-over-the-place kind of person I decided to dive into Amazon FBA. Too many people are making steady profits after just a few months starting. I got 5 months to set it all up before I'm back in Europe/Asia for a complete Expat experience. That's the deadline.

    This is a two fold question:

    PRIMARY: What do you look for when qualifying a product or a niche? Is there a method of research you follow?
    What I have so far:
    - First product less than 500 Bestseller Rank, 2nd & 3rd less than 1500, 4th - 6th less than 5000
    - Reviews on the top 6 are less than 500
    - $15-$60 range
    - No more than 5 lbs. Ideally less than 2 lbs

    SECONDARY: Any good resources/threads that I have not found that you can point me to on the similar topic. I have already checked out "Ask me anything about e-commerce 2015" and "Sharing my lifetime experience in import/export". Both were invaluable and had amazing knowledge.

    Looking forward to hearing back from everyone and thank you for any feedback/advice. Will report how it all goes after I validate and start selling.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2018
  24. mws87
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    mws87 talk less, listen more. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    @biophase Not sure if this was asked, but what are some big things not to do? I'm not in eCommerce, but always find these answers can apply to a wide range of niche's.
     
    Xeon likes this.
  25. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Hi Biophase, I hope you will excuse me adding my 2c to your brilliant thread, but I couldn't resist commenting on these 2 posts.
    As one whose role is to advise mostly newbies, I always tell them to avoid Alibaba. I know it's the biggest and I know there are some good suppliers there, but for a newbie it is fraught with risks and difficulties.

    The risks primarily relate to the huge number of professional scammers who find it a rich source of easy pickings.

    The difficulties primarily relate to the hard work in sorting the wheat from the chaff. I refer first to the extremely common practice of traders claiming to be manufacturers but also higher prices - bigger MOQs - less negotiable on MOQs - less flexibility in making product modifications etc.
    Every sourcing agent has their horror story. It helps to sell their services. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for them. I know Darren at Woodland, and occasionally I have referred someone in the UK to him. The story he recounts is of a buyer who became concerned at the last minute and arranged a quality inspection that discovered that the £20,000 order consisted of worthless fakes.

    What the story teaches is not that you need an expensive sourcing agent, but a much lower cost inspection service. On an order that size (about US$30,000) the cost of an inspection would probably be between 1% and 2%. Sourcing agents charge a lot more than that, and charge to do the work that you can easily do yourself if you understand safe sourcing.

    A big concern about sourcing agents (not including Woodland who I know to be safe) is that you don't know if they are looking out for your interests or theirs. It is common for them to act like tour guides who take tourists only to those shops where they get a commission. It is worse than that, because sourcing agents charge you a commission, while also receiving a secret commission.

    I know of some sourcing agents who are in fact traders and who buy the goods and resell them to you under a different business name. It will be the "great manufacturer" they have found for you.

    I have posted about inspection services on my AMA. I would only recommend one that originates in China. The others I recommend are very old established European companies with offices worldwide and one US company. There are thousands of keen young Chinese offering their services to gullible Western buyers, but who polices the policeman? Even westerners based in China need to prove their trustworthiness before anyone should consider using them as sourcing agents.

    The question still remains, why pay someone to do for you what you can easily do for yourself while maintaining control of the process?

    Walter
     
    JJMac, Dreamer1, Joe2013 and 16 others like this.

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