The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (Ongoing)

OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
@biophase I can’t thank you enough for the amount of info and insights you’ve given throughout this epic thread.

I would like to know your opinion regarding a product I’ve been thinking of selling. And that is Books. Physical books to begin with.

From what I could research books are and will remain to be in demand throughout the world, you can store them for an indefinite period of time if you need to, meaning you don’t have to worry about selling them before certain period of time. I’d say books are kind of a “safe” product. But I could be entirely wrong.

I wouldn’t manufacture anything, but buy them from wholesalers in my country or other countries.

Provided that I have USPs that outweigh those of big bookstores, do you see this as a viable option?
I will be selling exclusively through my own website.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Cheers.
What would be your USP for a book that other bookstores have?
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Demian

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 22, 2018
38
55
112
What would be your USP for a book that other bookstores have?
-The main thing would be faster (much faster) shipping. Something like same-day delivery with free shipping. Most shipments in my country take over a week to reach your house, and that is if they even arrive at all. I haven´t figured out all the details yet, but if I were to buy a book I´ve been eager to read I would love to have it in my hands as soon as possible.
-Another aspect I could highly improve is packaging. In my country, most deliveries come in a simple bag with the address written with black marker on it. There´s signficant room for improvement there. I was thinking that by sealing the product in a somewhat resistant box with my logo on it would put me ahead of the curve.
-Better customer service. I would be the one answering all the calls and messages from customers, guiding them through the entire process and being frank and transparent with them. Customer service is (VERY) neglected here.

These are the ones I can come up with now, I´m sure there are more but I dont want to make this longer than it needs to be. I hope this answers your question.

Would love any and all feedback you can give me.
Cheers.
 

ideasunlimited1

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Mar 21, 2019
73
67
55
Houston
Apart from the ethics, reliance on the extreme difficulty of pursuing any case in Chinese courts does give IP thieves some protection, but that is not the whole story.

The legitimate IP owner will easily succeed in having the copyist's sites and other listings taken down. This overnight destroys their illegitimate business.

The IP owner will often sue the thief for damages, with the result likely to be bankruptcy.

Law enforcement authorities get involved if the offense is deemed serious, and heavy fines and sometimes prison time result.

These things happen quite often, but get relatively little press, because there is so much more exciting stuff with which to entertain the public.

Walter
This is really fantastic advice, Walter. It gave me a nitty gritty view of international e-commerce procedure.

For you and any others in the thread, how do we make hiring e-commerce contractors from the US more attractive to US clients over other international markets?
 

fmob007

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 3, 2018
21
13
28
23
Great thread, lots of value added. Thanks Biophase. I'd like to make three questions:
1. Do you send any follow up emails? If yes, at which point?
2. You have mentioned here that you run your PPC campaigns at break-even. So, do you think that the only purpose of your campaign is to rank higher?
3. About product launching. You've also mentioned selling at a lower price to rank higher. Should that price be discounted or my regular one and raise it afterwards? And finally what's your opinion about the early reviewers program?
 

gunhol

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 6, 2019
12
3
17
Hi guys!

I am looking for a specific version of a product that is not available on Amazon. The product is quite normal on Amazon, but the version I am looking for is not there.
I have not been able to find a manufacturer that offers it on Alibaba, only traders.
Would you recommend going with a trader in this case? Or search on a different platform - what platform in that case?

All the best.
 

Longinus

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 28, 2014
1,034
4,228
1,006
33
Flanders, Belgium
Hi guys!

I am looking for a specific version of a product that is not available on Amazon. The product is quite normal on Amazon, but the version I am looking for is not there.
I have not been able to find a manufacturer that offers it on Alibaba, only traders.
Would you recommend going with a trader in this case? Or search on a different platform - what platform in that case?

All the best.
1688.com

Good luck!

PS: find a Chinese sourcer on Upwork that will help you out in case your Chinese isn't on point.
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
Great thread, lots of value added. Thanks Biophase. I'd like to make three questions:
1. Do you send any follow up emails? If yes, at which point?
2. You have mentioned here that you run your PPC campaigns at break-even. So, do you think that the only purpose of your campaign is to rank higher?
3. About product launching. You've also mentioned selling at a lower price to rank higher. Should that price be discounted or my regular one and raise it afterwards? And finally what's your opinion about the early reviewers program?
1) Yes, about 1 week later asking for a review on Amazon. For our website, we don't send any follow ups. But they are on our mailing list now.

2) Yes.

3) It's just a lower price. I don't think anyone realizes if it's discounted or a regular price. I don't use the early reviewers program at all.
 

fmob007

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 3, 2018
21
13
28
23
Thanks for the reply. I mention the discount because of amazon's review policy. It doesn't count as a verified purchase review if the discount is more than 20%. What would your PPC budget per month be, for launching, for an average cost of main keywords at 0,60$?( search volume being less or equal to 5000)
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
Thanks for the reply. I mention the discount because of amazon's review policy. It doesn't count as a verified purchase review if the discount is more than 20%. What would your PPC budget per month be, for launching, for an average cost of main keywords at 0,60$?( search volume being less or equal to 5000)
Do you mean giving people a coupon code as a discount? Or just pricing it lower on sale? Or just making your price the lower price?

If you are trying to make a profit, your PPC would be limited by clicks, not by budget. If you are profitable your PPC budget should be unlimited.
 

DeepScripted

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 27, 2018
35
43
115
Denver, Colorado
@biophase thank you so much for keeping this AMA live for a such a long time. The wealth of information here is amazing, and I'm truly grateful to learning the ropes from you.

Quick question. I am working with an Asian manufacturer who wants to launch their product in the US market. The niche is very competitive (high PPC). But, this product is game changer with the technology they are using to create it.

1. My plan is to get buy a few units to test the product and packaging, not sell it. If all looks good, get the packaging redone here in the US, and then pick the best variation to launch using Amazon.

2. Can you refer any good packaging company who would cater to small test orders? I just started talking with YesPackaging.

3. Do you prefer using Viral Launch, or other companies to boost initial sales?

Thank you for your help :)
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

gunhol

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 6, 2019
12
3
17
@biophase , I am in the process of finding a Chinese manufacturer for a product in the bedroom category.
I have so far only found one trading company on Alibaba that can manufacture the type of product I want. They have never done the product in the exact way that I am requesting, but they have told me that they can do it. They want to go ahead and make a sample for $95 included shipping. They have been on Alibaba for only 1 year, offer trade insurance and is a gold supplier.
Should I just go ahead and trust that they can do this?
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
@biophase thank you so much for keeping this AMA live for a such a long time. The wealth of information here is amazing, and I'm truly grateful to learning the ropes from you.

Quick question. I am working with an Asian manufacturer who wants to launch their product in the US market. The niche is very competitive (high PPC). But, this product is game changer with the technology they are using to create it.

1. My plan is to get buy a few units to test the product and packaging, not sell it. If all looks good, get the packaging redone here in the US, and then pick the best variation to launch using Amazon.

2. Can you refer any good packaging company who would cater to small test orders? I just started talking with YesPackaging.

3. Do you prefer using Viral Launch, or other companies to boost initial sales?

Thank you for your help :)
Why is it a game changer? Is it different than the others on Amazon?

1) Ok
2) No, I don't use any packaging companies here
3) I don't use any, but that goes back to my first question, if it's a game changer, you don't need to do any of those to launch. Can't you just talk about it on FB or IG and get others to talk about it?
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
@biophase , I am in the process of finding a Chinese manufacturer for a product in the bedroom category.
I have so far only found one trading company on Alibaba that can manufacture the type of product I want. They have never done the product in the exact way that I am requesting, but they have told me that they can do it. They want to go ahead and make a sample for $95 included shipping. They have been on Alibaba for only 1 year, offer trade insurance and is a gold supplier.

Should I just go ahead and trust that they can do this?
I would. But this is because I view it as a $95 risk vs. unlimited rewards. Your downside is $95 and upside is unlimited. It depends on how you view your $95. If it's stolen, will you spend money to get another factory to do it?
 

Ocean Man

Asia's trailblazer
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Sep 26, 2018
147
172
145
@biophase , I am in the process of finding a Chinese manufacturer for a product in the bedroom category.
I have so far only found one trading company on Alibaba that can manufacture the type of product I want. They have never done the product in the exact way that I am requesting, but they have told me that they can do it. They want to go ahead and make a sample for $95 included shipping. They have been on Alibaba for only 1 year, offer trade insurance and is a gold supplier.
Should I just go ahead and trust that they can do this?
I want to add here, reading some of @Walter Hay's book, just because they're a gold supplier, that doesn't mean anything.
 

gunhol

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 6, 2019
12
3
17
I would. But this is because I view it as a $95 risk vs. unlimited rewards. Your downside is $95 and upside is unlimited. It depends on how you view your $95. If it's stolen, will you spend money to get another factory to do it?
Thanks for the reply!
I mean, I am on a tight budget but I will continue searching for a supplier no matter what.
But if I do the sample with trade assurance, will I get refunded if its stolen? Or is that just for bigger shipments?
 

DeepScripted

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 27, 2018
35
43
115
Denver, Colorado
Why is it a game changer? Is it different than the others on Amazon?

1) Ok
2) No, I don't use any packaging companies here
3) I don't use any, but that goes back to my first question, if it's a game changer, you don't need to do any of those to launch. Can't you just talk about it on FB or IG and get others to talk about it?
This market is very competitive (North of $1 Million sales distributed among the top 30 products) this is for just one keyword. The are all solving the same problem but are bulky products. The product is around 1.5 - 4 lbs selling at $15 to $30.

My variation solves the same problem but is super light ( 5- 10 grams), and small (7x14 cm). The reason is that it fundamentally changes the way the product is made and functions. Because of the smaller size, this can address all the things which these products are doing, and more (as can be used for places where big and heavy items can't be used).

I'll be receiving the samples soon from the manufacturer, and will review the packaging but it doesn't look great from pictures. So, I might have to redesign it here to create higher perceived value.

This is my first private label product, so I'm fairly nervous and want to do this right. I have though about FB and IG as well, but not sure what would be the best path... I'll likely think about this once I have the product in hand and have tested it myself.

I'm also thinking if I should try reaching out to potential clients directly along with Amazon. The product overlaps with category of Kitchen, Household, Health, Beauty and Sports.... so the market is fairly big.
 

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
2,217
8,962
1,953
World citizen
Thanks for the reply!
I mean, I am on a tight budget but I will continue searching for a supplier no matter what.
But if I do the sample with trade assurance, will I get refunded if its stolen? Or is that just for bigger shipments?
Samples are never covered by Trade Assurance. That scheme also provides very little real protection for larger shipments.

I have posted frequently about the almost total lack of protection provided by Trade Assurance. I suggest you search my AMA
GOLD! Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist.
for that subject.

As for the supplier being verified, the fact that they are verified means nothing unless there is a reasonable amount of information provided by TUV or SGS, but recent changes to Alibaba's system has resulted in those reports now being very sketchy, and they often look as though they were written by the supplier's marketing department. The various status badges do not give you much certainty.

My instructions on assessing suppliers take up quite a few pages in my book, but for a quick assessment, do a Google search for the company, with the word Review added.

Walter
 

gunhol

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 6, 2019
12
3
17
Samples are never covered by Trade Assurance. That scheme also provides very little real protection for larger shipments.

I have posted frequently about the almost total lack of protection provided by Trade Assurance. I suggest you search my AMA
GOLD! Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist.
for that subject.

As for the supplier being verified, the fact that they are verified means nothing unless there is a reasonable amount of information provided by TUV or SGS, but recent changes to Alibaba's system has resulted in those reports now being very sketchy, and they often look as though they were written by the supplier's marketing department. The various status badges do not give you much certainty.

My instructions on assessing suppliers take up quite a few pages in my book, but for a quick assessment, do a Google search for the company, with the word Review added.

Walter
Much appreciated!! Thank you!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
Thanks for the reply!
I mean, I am on a tight budget but I will continue searching for a supplier no matter what.
But if I do the sample with trade assurance, will I get refunded if its stolen? Or is that just for bigger shipments?
I don't know about that, I've never used trade assurance. The risk isn't that it is stolen or they never send it. It's usually that they send you a crappy sample. You can't get your money back for bad quality.
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
This market is very competitive (North of $1 Million sales distributed among the top 30 products) this is for just one keyword. The are all solving the same problem but are bulky products. The product is around 1.5 - 4 lbs selling at $15 to $30.

My variation solves the same problem but is super light ( 5- 10 grams), and small (7x14 cm). The reason is that it fundamentally changes the way the product is made and functions. Because of the smaller size, this can address all the things which these products are doing, and more (as can be used for places where big and heavy items can't be used).

I'll be receiving the samples soon from the manufacturer, and will review the packaging but it doesn't look great from pictures. So, I might have to redesign it here to create higher perceived value.

This is my first private label product, so I'm fairly nervous and want to do this right. I have though about FB and IG as well, but not sure what would be the best path... I'll likely think about this once I have the product in hand and have tested it myself.

I'm also thinking if I should try reaching out to potential clients directly along with Amazon. The product overlaps with category of Kitchen, Household, Health, Beauty and Sports.... so the market is fairly big.
$1M over 30 products is kind of small, unless you mean $1M per month. That's $30,000 per product? At $30 per product, they are moving 1,000 a day? Did you get this data from Jungle Scout?

So if your variation solves the problem so dramatically, it will be only months before your competitors start selling the same thing.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

DeepScripted

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 27, 2018
35
43
115
Denver, Colorado
$1M over 30 products is kind of small, unless you mean $1M per month. That's $30,000 per product? At $30 per product, they are moving 1,000 a day? Did you get this data from Jungle Scout?
You're right, I did mean per month. More of the product is priced between $15- $20, so the quantity is even more. I used Jungle Scout and Helium 10.

So if your variation solves the problem so dramatically, it will be only months before your competitors start selling the same thing.
That's one of my concern... my manufacturer is saying that the product and quality is very unique but I did find a few people selling it. Not the same thing, but similar concept. Would you suggest I hold off Amazon, market in a different way?

Thank you for your response. I really appreciate your input :)
 
OP
OP
biophase

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
6,513
29,147
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
That's one of my concern... my manufacturer is saying that the product and quality is very unique but I did find a few people selling it. Not the same thing, but similar concept. Would you suggest I hold off Amazon, market in a different way?
Are you sure that only a few people sell it. The last guy that said this on the forum only searched one keyword. When I looked it up, there were 5 pages of the same product he said was very "unique".
 

DeepScripted

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 27, 2018
35
43
115
Denver, Colorado
Are you sure that only a few people sell it. The last guy that said this on the forum only searched one keyword. When I looked it up, there were 5 pages of the same product he said was very "unique".
Absolutely positive. I have checked at least 10 different keywords. Most are high PPC, but was able to find a few niches where the PPC is low as it’s catered to specific audience. I will be getting the samples soon, they are on the way through EMS. But, I’m sure this is particular variation isn’t selling. There is a couple who are kinda close but nothing comparable. I’m planning to order from them and compare once I receive samples.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

VIVEKSINGHJADONS

VSJ
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 18, 2018
47
83
123
India
A lot of thanks Biophase for running this thread for such a long time, it provides a great value for all of us.

My question is I have found a product on Amazon, it's BSR is 14, avg sales per month are 1109, it has 39% 1-star reviews and 24% 5-star reviews it has total 2716 reviews and there are 3 sellers. What do you think about this product if I can modify it a little bit and solve the problem what customers are facing, but it will definitely increase its price, right now it is the cheapest and best-selling item in its category. Do you think such a high selling product does have any potential at an increased price?
 

ChrisGav

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Feb 15, 2019
60
104
123
Just so I can fully understand what this all about. From the sound of things, you find products and find a way to innovate them or design a product similar but does a better job, find a manufacturer in China have him make it and you sell them on Amazon?
 

ideasunlimited1

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Mar 21, 2019
73
67
55
Houston
I don't think it is that easy. The biggest issue with selling on platforms like Amazon and eBay recently has been the profit margin. Amazon for one has increased its' cut for third party sellers on the site, earlier this year in the effort of promoting its' own products/sellers. Second you need to have a large enough sales volume consistently (large production, investment, sales) to sustain interest in doing this. My take on this is that most of the current success stories on Amazon are those that either established themselves early on or have invested a lot of family effort into it (multiple family members working to reduce the OH cost).

Having said the above, if you can find your "niche", create a good plan and provide a consistent service, there is surely room for more sellers on Amazon.

Hope it helped - thank you

Just so I can fully understand what this all about. From the sound of things, you find products and find a way to innovate them or design a product similar but does a better job, find a manufacturer in China have him make it and you sell them on Amazon?
 

Blackman

New Contributor
Dec 28, 2018
15
7
14
London, UK
Just so I can fully understand what this all about. From the sound of things, you find products and find a way to innovate them or design a product similar but does a better job, find a manufacturer in China have him make it and you sell them on Amazon?
What you describe is essentially how any new business comes along...

Yes, you take a product or a service that already works, think of how you can improve it/make it better, establish your supply and then find a platform to sell, whether your own or someone else's.

Of course, all the difficulty is in the details and tons of small things that you come across when you start digging deeper.
 

GeorgeRichards

New Contributor
Jun 5, 2018
2
5
13
I just wanted to touch on a few things regarding Amazon and the people doubting what they are about to sell or plan to sell in the future. I definitely came into this as blind as anyone and had no idea where to start, I had no idea what to sell and didn’t have a clue about anything to do with import/export (why are there so many different codes and numbers I need to remember).

I can definitely say there are a fair amount of helpful videos on YouTube which do actually help with the general process of messaging factories and how to list your product/how to prepare your product to be listed (taking photos and editing the photos etc).

As well as Youtube if you do actually read this whole thread you should get most of the information you need if you’re looking for a general idea of how to build a brand and what you should be looking for when it comes to scaling a product to be your ‘mantle piece’ or ‘go to product’ which really reflects what you want your brand to be.

Biophase is definitely right when he said that you need to be releasing more than one product If you want to be successful in really voicing your brand and standing out above the rest.

From my very little experience on Amazon (have only released one product) I can only say to be the people who are on the same boat as me and are looking to release a single product (wether it is down to funds or not wanting to take the risk). As long as you have done your research, seen that the product is profitable, found a reliable and trustworthy factory, can build a brand around your opening product and can see that it would stand out above the rest then definitely go for it.

I definitely had doubts before and after I placed my order but the risk is definitely worth taking as long as you haven’t dived into the pool ridiculously hastily. You definitely learn as you go along and I can honestly say I learned a hell of a lot more doing it rather than sitting back and waiting and waiting and waiting. You will fall into problems here and there but that is what the power of the internet is for and most problems can be sorted through information on websites or on this whole forum.

That’s just my general thought after reading a lot of questions from this thread, many apologies for the length.
 

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
2,217
8,962
1,953
World citizen
I had no idea what to sell and didn’t have a clue about anything to do with import/export (why are there so many different codes and numbers I need to remember).
If you are trying to remember all the codes and numbers for importing, you are doing things the hard way.

For a small fee you can pay experts to handle all that for you. They don't always know those numbers but they do know how to find them easily.

If you think you that you can learn on the internet all you need to know about product sourcing and importing you are riding for a fall.

Misinformation is a wealth hazard, and the internet abounds in misinformation.

In my sourcing and importing specialty, "gurus" publish free blogs, and the information on many of them is so false, outdated, and misleading that I feel sorry for people who prefer free misinformation rather than pay a small $ cost for true, accurate, and up to date information that can save them a huge amount.
"If you think education is expensive - consider the cost of ignorance."

Walter
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.



Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe to become an INSIDER.

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom