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GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (Ongoing)

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biophase

biophase

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Can you get suspended for this?

And is it that they really used my Wifi, or that we shared the same Wifi once?
If you've logged into your seller account on the same wifi as they did with their buyer account, I wouldn't use them.
 

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AllenCrawley

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Which E-Mail Messanger do you use?
If you're talking about what service to send emails out requesting reviews I suggest researching and choosing which is best for you.

Here are a few options to get you started:
  1. Feedbackz (owned by a Fastlane Forum member)
  2. Merchbee
  3. Feedback Genius
 

23Infinity

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Hi biophase, thanks for the great thread. I don't post much on the forum as I've been a lurker but have definitely benefited some nuggets of advice on this thread as well as @Walter Hay 's book (Proven China Sourcing 3.0). Launched my first Amazon product, in a low competition niche, modest sales around $3-4k/mo. average, not amazing but I'm happy with it as its the first product.

I'm working on my second Amazon FBA product and was a bit stuck on deciding whether to go for my 2nd one.

1) Supplier: The supplier (found via Alibaba) seems to be legit, passes the common thread test (lots of products in the same category), has the "Verified" badge and I've seen some Panjiva records that show a shipment from the supplier's company to a relatively well known home supplies store in the States. So everything on this end seems to indicate they are the factory (including the Chinese representative's somewhat slower and to-the-point replies, unlike the fluffed up replies from trading companies).

However the supplier indicated that he would not take payment via Alibaba or PayPal, even for just the first order due to some weird regulatory issue with Alibaba not being able to export the product. (I checked import rules around this product, and found it was importable, other North American based brands are selling a similar version of this product in home retail stores so I don't think there is a problem here). Also his MOQ (talked him down initially from 5000 units) is 2040, for a total value of around $1800 + mold fees ($200). This obviously doesn't include the cost of shipping it in.

Wondering if I should go ahead with this transaction, on 30% deposit, 70% after inspection terms - given that it's a direct bank payment and not an Alibaba trade assurance transaction?
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hi biophase, thanks for the great thread. I don't post much on the forum as I've been a lurker but have definitely benefited some nuggets of advice on this thread as well as @Walter Hay 's book (Proven China Sourcing 3.0). Launched my first Amazon product, in a low competition niche, modest sales around $3-4k/mo. average, not amazing but I'm happy with it as its the first product.

I'm working on my second Amazon FBA product and was a bit stuck on deciding whether to go for my 2nd one.

1) Supplier: The supplier (found via Alibaba) seems to be legit, passes the common thread test (lots of products in the same category), has the "Verified" badge and I've seen some Panjiva records that show a shipment from the supplier's company to a relatively well known home supplies store in the States. So everything on this end seems to indicate they are the factory (including the Chinese representative's somewhat slower and to-the-point replies, unlike the fluffed up replies from trading companies).

However the supplier indicated that he would not take payment via Alibaba or PayPal, even for just the first order due to some weird regulatory issue with Alibaba not being able to export the product. (I checked import rules around this product, and found it was importable, other North American based brands are selling a similar version of this product in home retail stores so I don't think there is a problem here). Also his MOQ (talked him down initially from 5000 units) is 2040, for a total value of around $1800 + mold fees ($200). This obviously doesn't include the cost of shipping it in.

Wondering if I should go ahead with this transaction, on 30% deposit, 70% after inspection terms - given that it's a direct bank payment and not an Alibaba trade assurance transaction?
Did you get a sample from them already?

Many suppliers don't take Alibaba or Paypal for a production order.
 

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Wondering if I should go ahead with this transaction, on 30% deposit, 70% after inspection terms - given that it's a direct bank payment and not an Alibaba trade assurance transaction?
Trade Assurance only provides a warm feeling but rarely does it deliver on the promises. Provided you use a good inspection service and get a good report direct payment is reasonably safe.

Don't forget to allow for the duty.

Walter
 

23Infinity

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Did you get a sample from them already?

Many suppliers don't take Alibaba or Paypal for a production order.
Yes, sample seems pretty good, had their factory name (same as Alibaba) name and all. My concern is that the demand for this product is somewhat lower in the winter months, and that by the time it finishes production and is launch ready, it'll already be September its going to be a lower demand season, although demand still exists as it can be used indoors. However the margins on this are great (4-5x), and I'm seeing a competitor in the UK market do quite well with a 99% similar product.

I should add the supplier rejected my request to cut down from 2040 units to around 1300. Last quoted 2040 units at $0.94 each, he typically always increased my per unit price every time I negotiated him down from 5000 @ $0.78, but I think I may have hit the wall here since he just said the "qty too small". Wondering if it's worth a shot offering him around $1.05 for 1300.

I guess if I went ahead I could build some reviews and try and lay the foundation for stronger spring sales, but not sure if it's the best use of my capital given that I could launch a different product as well, although I have enough capital for two.

Trade Assurance only provides a warm feeling but rarely does it deliver on the promises. Provided you use a good inspection service and get a good report direct payment is reasonably safe.

Don't forget to allow for the duty.

Walter
Got it, thanks Walter, I guess paying 30% deposit and using a good inspection service would be the safer way to proceed if i did. I was considering Bureau Veritas (common to see on Alibaba)
 
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Walter Hay

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Got it, thanks Walter, I guess paying 30% deposit and using a good inspection service would be the safer way to proceed if i did. I was considering Bureau Veritas (common to see on Alibaba)
Bureau Veritas is one of the inspection services that I am happy to recommend.

Your idea about offering a small unit price premium for the smaller order is a good one. I would be surprised if they don't accept. If you told them that you could accept a longer delivery time could help also.

Walter
 

Silverballz

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Another question.
How do I find Amazon Meet Ups, or other amazon seller.
I want to change my Environment with other E-Commerce people.
Do you have platforms or other ideas how to connect?

Thank you very very much for giving me this value.
 

Champion

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Hey guys, this question is for all the Shopify users out there:

Has anyone had experience with Fake Bots/Spam registration to your email newsletters?

Im currently on the 14 day free trial for my shopify store, which means the store is password protected.

When you get on the site however, you are able to sign up for the email newsletter, if you dont have the password to "Stay in the loop".

I just realised that 12 "people" have already signed up for my newsletter, even though I didnt even advertise or mention the site to anyone!

I guess the registrations must be fakes/bots right?

Or was my Domain name so good that people randomly found it and are interested in the email list lol?

Best
Champion
 

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JasonR

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Hey guys, this question is for all the Shopify users out there:

Has anyone had experience with Fake Bots/Spam registration to your email newsletters?

Im currently on the 14 day free trial for my shopify store, which means the store is password protected.

When you get on the site however, you are able to sign up for the email newsletter, if you dont have the password to "Stay in the loop".

I just realised that 12 "people" have already signed up for my newsletter, even though I didnt even advertise or mention the site to anyone!

I guess the registrations must be fakes/bots right?

Or was my Domain name so good that people randomly found it and are interested in the email list lol?

Best
Champion
I wouldn't even worry about this. Any site that gets any traffic will get spam and crawlers of some sort.

Focus on selling/getting your business up and ignore all the other noise, like this.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hey guys, this question is for all the Shopify users out there:

Has anyone had experience with Fake Bots/Spam registration to your email newsletters?

Im currently on the 14 day free trial for my shopify store, which means the store is password protected.

When you get on the site however, you are able to sign up for the email newsletter, if you dont have the password to "Stay in the loop".

I just realised that 12 "people" have already signed up for my newsletter, even though I didnt even advertise or mention the site to anyone!

I guess the registrations must be fakes/bots right?

Or was my Domain name so good that people randomly found it and are interested in the email list lol?

Best
Champion
It's just a bot looking for the shopify newsletter code and then auto signing up.
 

ApparentHorizon

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How do you setup your shipping on the customer side? Like the rates and timeframes.

I talked with a shipstation rep and he said people don't usually show the live rates. Instead they have set params depending on box size/weight, and work off of that. Sometimes getting break even and even profit on the shipping.
 
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biophase

biophase

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How do you setup your shipping on the customer side? Like the rates and timeframes.

I talked with a shipstation rep and he said people don't usually show the live rates. Instead they have set params depending on box size/weight, and work off of that. Sometimes getting break even and even profit on the shipping.
In the past I've always done a flat rate like $5.95 and free shipping above a certain amount. Right now, I do $3.95 shipping up to $25 and free shipping on all orders above it. All these ship ground, Fedex or USPS first or priority.

If they want next day or two day, the site auto calculates live rates what it would cost based on the weight of their order.
 

ApparentHorizon

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In the past I've always done a flat rate like $5.95 and free shipping above a certain amount. Right now, I do $3.95 shipping up to $25 and free shipping on all orders above it. All these ship ground, Fedex or USPS first or priority.

If they want next day or two day, the site auto calculates live rates what it would cost based on the weight of their order.
Interesting. We have a combo of light and heavy skus (3oz - 50lb), so we'll go with a combo of what you suggested plus weight based levels. (based on what some of our competitors are doing)

Also...

How do you handle carrier pickup notification?

We're trying to automate everything at the warehouse, and would rather not have anyone there log into our WooComm, Shipstation or the carrier sites. (shipping direct to customer)

However, it seems we still have to manually, either request a pickup or schedule specific dates.

The carriers have APIs for pickup requests, but no one seems to want to touch any automatic processing here.

For example:
Customer orders -> Label prints -> Packages ready at pickup desk -> Midnight, carrier gets request for pickup next day, for the previous day's orders. Or something similar.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Interesting. We have a combo of light and heavy skus (3oz - 50lb), so we'll go with a combo of what you suggested plus weight based levels. (based on what some of our competitors are doing)

Also...

How do you handle carrier pickup notification?

We're trying to automate everything at the warehouse, and would rather not have anyone there log into our WooComm, Shipstation or the carrier sites. (shipping direct to customer)

However, it seems we still have to manually, either request a pickup or schedule specific dates.

The carriers have APIs for pickup requests, but no one seems to want to touch any automatic processing here.

For example:
Customer orders -> Label prints -> Packages ready at pickup desk -> Midnight, carrier gets request for pickup next day, for the previous day's orders. Or something similar.
Fedex comes to my office everyday and picks up. USPS usually comes every day, but sometimes they skip if they don't have anything to deliver to us.

You should just pay for daily pickups, problem solved.
 

Shri Kanase

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I've gotten myself banned on Amazon due to stupid reasons so I started Shopify about 1.5 years back. I've done roughly $700k with it so far but what I always struggled with is consistency. Do you have any recommendations for this?

Also, I've always heard people say to be monogamous with your business and because of this, I've stuck to 1 single Shopify store only to realize it's somewhat seasonal. What are your thoughts on this and basically getting into a proper mindset for the business?
 

fmob007

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Would you pursue wholesaling in brick and mortar stores with a new brand with just a single product?
Or wait till you cover a wider range of products in your niche?
 

Busch_Jager

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Hey Biophase,

I have read page after page of this thread and have found an incredible amount of value. I want to thank you for this and everything you do for this forum.

I'm looking for a little advice here . . .

I found a great product that I know I can create the best version of. I went through 1000's of reviews and came up with 10 things that need to be fixed to perfect this product. My question is on a modest budget of $5,000 am I trying to make too many changes within my budget? The product is non-electronic and made out of plastic and rubber and about the size of a brick. I expect to make no more than $6 profit, after all is said and done on a $13 product. Should I sacrifice the quality of my product in order to keep it within my budget or find a new product? I am just worried if I only am able to fix a few issues with the product it will won't be as good as it could be. . . Do you think it is possible to start making only the essential fixes and then further improve the product as time goes on?

Thanks again.

EDIT: When I really think about it can much customization at all besides cosmetics be done within my budget?
 
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alekssiht

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Hey hey!

When should I consider my amazon product launch to be a failure? I mean giving up after a month of inconsistent and low sales volume seems like an early call. For how long should I optimize my listing, PPC etc and how to evaluate that this launch went sideways. (It is my first product launch)


Peace
 

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23Infinity

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Bureau Veritas is one of the inspection services that I am happy to recommend.

Your idea about offering a small unit price premium for the smaller order is a good one. I would be surprised if they don't accept. If you told them that you could accept a longer delivery time could help also.

Walter
Thanks Walter, I believe I had read it in your book! And yes the supplier did accept.


I believe this product has wholesale potential (i.e.to home goods store such as Home Hardware, etc.). I was wondering if you think it would be a good idea to invest in a GS1 barcode or if I could get away with using a cheaper Speedybarcodes UPC ($10). However since the product will be launched initially on Amazon and possibly it's own Shopify site, should I just wait until I'm closer to actually reaching a wholesaling deal and get the packaging changed then and use a fully legit GS1 barcode at that time? Rather than unnecessarily wasting capital on it now?
 
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Walter Hay

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Thanks Walter, I believe I had read it in your book! And yes the supplier did accept.
I believe this product has wholesale potential (i.e.to home goods store such as Home Hardware, etc.). I was wondering if you think it would be a good idea to invest in a GS1 barcode or if I could get away with using a cheaper Speedybarcodes UPC ($10). However since the product will be launched initially on Amazon and possibly it's own Shopify site, should I just wait until I'm closer to actually reaching a wholesaling deal and get the packaging changed then and use a fully legit GS1 barcode at that time? Rather than unnecessarily wasting capital on it now?
I suggest that before making a decision on barcodes it would be worth having a good look through this thread:
Be aware of this before buying from Cheap-UPC-Barcode.com

Walter
 
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biophase

biophase

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Yes, sample seems pretty good, had their factory name (same as Alibaba) name and all. My concern is that the demand for this product is somewhat lower in the winter months, and that by the time it finishes production and is launch ready, it'll already be September its going to be a lower demand season, although demand still exists as it can be used indoors. However the margins on this are great (4-5x), and I'm seeing a competitor in the UK market do quite well with a 99% similar product.

I should add the supplier rejected my request to cut down from 2040 units to around 1300. Last quoted 2040 units at $0.94 each, he typically always increased my per unit price every time I negotiated him down from 5000 @ $0.78, but I think I may have hit the wall here since he just said the "qty too small". Wondering if it's worth a shot offering him around $1.05 for 1300.

I guess if I went ahead I could build some reviews and try and lay the foundation for stronger spring sales, but not sure if it's the best use of my capital given that I could launch a different product as well, although I have enough capital for two.



Got it, thanks Walter, I guess paying 30% deposit and using a good inspection service would be the safer way to proceed if i did. I was considering Bureau Veritas (common to see on Alibaba)
The fact that your product is $.78 or $.94 makes me worry. You say that margins are 4-5x meaning a $7-$10 product?

This is not going to be easy for you. If you sell at $10. Amazon fees will take $5-$6, leaving you with $4 gross and a profit of $2? Add in the storage fees and you'll probably be making $1 a sale when everything is said at done.

You have no room for any PPC, 1-2 clicks and you are unprofitable in your sale.

I hope that you can rank your product fairly easily, if not, it's not going to be profitable for you.
 
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biophase

biophase

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I've gotten myself banned on Amazon due to stupid reasons so I started Shopify about 1.5 years back. I've done roughly $700k with it so far but what I always struggled with is consistency. Do you have any recommendations for this?

Also, I've always heard people say to be monogamous with your business and because of this, I've stuck to 1 single Shopify store only to realize it's somewhat seasonal. What are your thoughts on this and basically getting into a proper mindset for the business?
What do you mean you struggle with consistency? I think you mean seasonality? I think it's ok, you just have to plan for it. Or add in a complimentary product that is used during the other time of the year.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Would you pursue wholesaling in brick and mortar stores with a new brand with just a single product?
Or wait till you cover a wider range of products in your niche?
If it's a product with good demand, why not? It really depends on what it is, if it's a clothing line then probably no. If it's a paint brush cover, then yes.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hey Biophase,

I have read page after page of this thread and have found an incredible amount of value. I want to thank you for this and everything you do for this forum.

I'm looking for a little advice here . . .

I found a great product that I know I can create the best version of. I went through 1000's of reviews and came up with 10 things that need to be fixed to perfect this product. My question is on a modest budget of $5,000 am I trying to make too many changes within my budget? The product is non-electronic and made out of plastic and rubber and about the size of a brick. I expect to make no more than $6 profit, after all is said and done on a $13 product. Should I sacrifice the quality of my product in order to keep it within my budget or find a new product? I am just worried if I only am able to fix a few issues with the product it will won't be as good as it could be. . . Do you think it is possible to start making only the essential fixes and then further improve the product as time goes on?

Thanks again.

EDIT: When I really think about it can much customization at all besides cosmetics be done within my budget?
You really won't know until you price it out. I'd go for as many as possible within by target price. If your retail price is $13, then you have to improve it as much as you can keeping the price at $3-$4.

Let's say an improvement is going to cost $2, making your product $5 cost. But the improvement won't raise your retail price. Then is it worth it? You lose $2 profit, but how valuable is the improvement? What if it can make the retail price $15? Then it's a wash.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hey hey!

When should I consider my amazon product launch to be a failure? I mean giving up after a month of inconsistent and low sales volume seems like an early call. For how long should I optimize my listing, PPC etc and how to evaluate that this launch went sideways. (It is my first product launch)
One month is definitely too soon. What's the problem with your product? PPC costs too high? No reviews? Can't rank? How else are you driving traffic to your listing?
 

MoneyHacker

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Hi biophase, Thank you so much for this thread, this is awesome but i feel a bit overwhelmed because i don't have enough knowledge to fully understand everything in this thread. So could you recommend me some basic and advanced sources that i can use to learn about starting a real and long-term Brand with Shopify, maybe a dropshipping brand because i live in an asian country. I search google very hard but all the articles is about dropshipping cheap and bad stuffs and focusing on trends rather than building a strong brand.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Thanks Walter, I believe I had read it in your book! And yes the supplier did accept.


I believe this product has wholesale potential (i.e.to home goods store such as Home Hardware, etc.). I was wondering if you think it would be a good idea to invest in a GS1 barcode or if I could get away with using a cheaper Speedybarcodes UPC ($10). However since the product will be launched initially on Amazon and possibly it's own Shopify site, should I just wait until I'm closer to actually reaching a wholesaling deal and get the packaging changed then and use a fully legit GS1 barcode at that time? Rather than unnecessarily wasting capital on it now?
I would go with a cheap barcode since the GS1 code would cost you pretty much 1/2 of your product order.
 

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