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0VO

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Before I post, I just wanted to take a second to say Thank You for the thread! I went through the entire thread and there's some real golden nuggets in there!

So I saw a thread here the other day where a dude went from $0 to 30K monthly selling his own home made Tea. So it got me thinking... why can't I do that? (I've been wanting to do e-commerce since I was in my teens but was not able to figure it out in the earlier years, and didn't want to "drop ship" someone else's product.) I'm in my mid-20s now.

Now I'm not looking at tea, but I have been mixing and making my own product (for personal use) for the last couple years. I've given it to my cousins and they also take it regularly.

(During a really bad time in my life, where I suffered a bad back injury I spent many, many, many hours laying in bed figuring out this recipe and why each ingredient in this recipe is used.)

...The bad - It's in the Supplement Industry. Amazon is crazy competitive.. like 100review products, even on page 2..3... And I do not have a very large budget. (I'll get into numbers soon.)

The differentiator, most of these products only incorporate two of the ingredients from my mix, and they add maybe one other generic ingredient that I'd argue isn't the best (So a 3-4 ingredient product). There are maybe two or three other products that actually are sort of similar - however they're extremely niche and not on Amazon. They also do not do any budgeted ads.. My product is 10 ingredients and every ingredient has beneficially points. It can also replace multiple different cheaper products, so you just need my one product.(Plus it's gluten free, vegan/keto friendly, all natural, etc.)

I would like to Drive traffic through Organic Social at first, and instagram/fb ads. (And when budget allows to scale up, YouTube ads) My main focus would be direct sales through Shopify, and then FBA as a secondary (as FBA is much more competitive).

Eventually as I scale, I'd like to wholesale to specialty shops as well (shoppers drug mart, gnc, holistic stores, etc).

I'm looking at around $1580 for my first lot of 80units. Where $550 would go to marketing and $1030 product cost (where half is the actual raw materials, and the other half is product packaging/labels/etc.)
- I believe there would be room in the future to reduce product packaging costs with larger MOQ or Off-Shore production. (Same with raw materials for my actual product).
- at least 50 units of the first lot would be at a loss to help drive awareness / traffic.

I would retail at $60 which seems to be the upper price point of quality supplements in this area. Most of the quality products seem to be at that price point. (A lot of cheaper products in the $20-30 range, and few are also listed above $60.)
...so basically I'm looking at $13 (Without marketing costs)/ $20 including marketing costs per unit, that would then retail at $60. (And eventually also wholesale at $30.)
- The cost numbers are all with the lowest possible MOQ so there may be room to improve in the future.


So I guess my question would be...

Do I sound crazy for attempting to step into the supplement market despite multiple warning not to? Or is there potential to make this work?

I believe that once a customer tries the product they will feel the benefits. Like no mid-day burn out... but even more energy than they had! (just one of the many benefits of the product.)

Sorry if that's long, but I've been turning this over in my mind for a little while now, and I'd really love some advice from those who actually have their feet in the mud. :)
 
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biophase

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So I guess my question would be...

Do I sound crazy for attempting to step into the supplement market despite multiple warning not to? Or is there potential to make this work?

I believe that once a customer tries the product they will feel the benefits. Like no mid-day burn out... but even more energy than they had! (just one of the many benefits of the product.)

Short answer is Yes. A budget of $1500 is not much. But it looks like you are trying to sell on your own website vs. Amazon. Because on Amazon, you don't have a chance with that budget.

So you are going to purchase 80 units and give away 50 of them? Then you only have 30 to sell at retail? 30 x $60 = $1800. So this is your attempt at a break even first order.

I don't know if that would work. But it does sound like an uphill battle on $1500 budget.
 

0VO

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I figured if I gave away 50 (leveraged influencers and other niche pages with larger audiences) I could create a bit of awareness for somewhat of a soft launch. And at the same time begin to build an audience for my brand page. That way I'd still have 30 units that I could actually sell. (So people don't show up to the site and there's no stock.)

It would also give me a little idea of what the market actually thinks of the product and whether or not I have a chance of competing in this area. And potentially some social proof that I could use to drive sales of the second batch.

I could potentially double the initial order, giving away 100 units and selling 60. I thought starting with the smaller batch would allow me to gauge how the market would react to my product. (But I also don't have the biggest budget.)
 
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Walter Hay

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@0VO I agree that launching a supplement on such a low budget will be difficult, and the amount you have to spend would likely get you nowhere on Amazon.

At first look I think that if you can find the right influencers that could give you the best chance of selling outside Amazon. Amazon is getting harder to use successfully, and you would be competing with many manufacturers, (mostly Chinese) and many unscrupulous competitors who are not only still buying positive reviews, but are now paying stooges to post bad reviews to wreck their competitors' businesses.

There are possibly ways to reduce the cost of product and packaging, and I will PM you with my suggestion in that respect.

Walter
 

salva101

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Im thinking about creating a Plugin/SaaS based on Shopify and I have a few questions:

1. Is it a good platform to start my software business around? I really like their docs and how modern they are but I’m not sure if it’s the most used ecommerce platform.
2. Looking into their communities for pain points seems like a good idea? Or perhaps, would you have some on the top of your head to suggest?
3. Any other ecommerce platforms that you would like to suggest me?
 

fridge

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Biophase,
I'm trying to break into e-commerce as a side hustle to my existing business and full-time job. I found a product that I'd like to sell, and bought 144 units of it for about $4 per unit. The units are pretty good quality and I've been able to sell 30 or so of them for between $12-$20 on eBay. To be pretty up front, it's a home/garden decoration product. My problem here is that I've had 0 luck selling on Amazon, the listing just hasn't gained traction at all. I'm wondering how I can drive traffic to this listing and get my first few sales? Also, would you consider this an OK niche to begin e-commerce in (the home and garden decoration/accessories niche)? I'm not sure how the long run looks for this since seemingly the customer would only buy one of each product, not a re-occuring thing like supplements/skin care/etc.

Thank you!
 

23Infinity

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A question for all the e-commerce sellers/importers here - how are you guys dealing with the increased freight costs? Raising prices & passing it to the consumers?

Wondering if it should make one pause and re-evaluate potential new product launches (i.e. if consumers will accept the higher prices)
 

biophase

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Biophase,
I'm trying to break into e-commerce as a side hustle to my existing business and full-time job. I found a product that I'd like to sell, and bought 144 units of it for about $4 per unit. The units are pretty good quality and I've been able to sell 30 or so of them for between $12-$20 on eBay. To be pretty up front, it's a home/garden decoration product. My problem here is that I've had 0 luck selling on Amazon, the listing just hasn't gained traction at all. I'm wondering how I can drive traffic to this listing and get my first few sales? Also, would you consider this an OK niche to begin e-commerce in (the home and garden decoration/accessories niche)? I'm not sure how the long run looks for this since seemingly the customer would only buy one of each product, not a re-occuring thing like supplements/skin care/etc.

Thank you!

It's going to be hard to get traction on Amazon. I'd just keep selling them on ebay for now. All niches on Amazon are pretty tough now. Can you get another decoration product that is similar that your current customers might buy?
 

biophase

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A question for all the e-commerce sellers/importers here - how are you guys dealing with the increased freight costs? Raising prices & passing it to the consumers?

Wondering if it should make one pause and re-evaluate potential new product launches (i.e. if consumers will accept the higher prices)
I would raise prices. I think consumers will get used to it. But it will depend on what your competitors do.
 

david1024

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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.
Isn't is against Amazon's TOS to do giveaways?
 

fridge

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It's going to be hard to get traction on Amazon. I'd just keep selling them on ebay for now. All niches on Amazon are pretty tough now. Can you get another decoration product that is similar that your current customers might buy?
For sure, I want to expand the business to have multiple products in the home decoration/garden decoration niche. Would it be reasonable to acquire 2 or 3 more good selling products then start on shopify and try to start building the business from there? The eBay thing is nice but I really want to establish a brand and think that would be the best place to start.
 

biophase

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For sure, I want to expand the business to have multiple products in the home decoration/garden decoration niche. Would it be reasonable to acquire 2 or 3 more good selling products then start on shopify and try to start building the business from there? The eBay thing is nice but I really want to establish a brand and think that would be the best place to start.

I think you need to have multiple products in any business to get traction. These days, you need to be able to retarget your customers after their first purchase because acquiring new customers is so costly.
 

jkf786

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Hey Biophase,
Thanks again for doing this thread.
I am looking for a mentorship/apprenticeship for any successful eCommerce people on this thread. I have a background in mechanical engineering, enough degrees to paper a house, and product design exp. In exchange, I would just like to learn and build relationships. Please feel free to PM me and I can send you my resume if that at all interests you.
Just an honest guy trying to get out of the 9-5 and start a business himself. I will even give you my best product ideas just to learn the ropes. Thanks again.
 

JAJT

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I have a background in mechanical engineering, enough degrees to paper a house, and product design exp.

While mentorship is a great idea - have you read all 63 pages of this thread? Have you considered buying an insider subscription to gain access to some of the better threads on this forum? Have you read all the various gold threads on here?

If you have enough degrees to paper a house, surely you're smart enough to spend a few days reading, taking notes, spending a bit of money on a subscription, and learning what you can from what's available before jumping right into soliciting for mentorship, right?
 

jkf786

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While mentorship is a great idea - have you read all 63 pages of this thread? Have you considered buying an insider subscription to gain access to some of the better threads on this forum? Have you read all the various gold threads on here?

If you have enough degrees to paper a house, surely you're smart enough to spend a few days reading, taking notes, spending a bit of money on a subscription, and learning what you can from what's available before jumping right into soliciting for mentorship, right?
Hey JAJT,
Thanks for your feedback. I have read slightly over half of this thread before I decided to comment.
Your reply comes off a bit condescending to me but I hope that isn't intentional.
I certainly can read more. I wasn't even aware there was great content hidden behind that higher tier subscription and if you think that is where I should be, I trust you and will hopefully have upgraded by tonight or tomorrow morning.
If you feel I commented before doing my due diligence reading, I apologize, and I am happy to read and learn more before talking about mentorship.
If I walked over your toes, I apologize, that was not at all my intent.
I have been a lurker here for a while and am drowning my not working, waking hours in all things Amazon FBA, marketing, and Chinese manufacturing. Drinking from a firehose so to speak.
 

Matt Sun

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What is your E-mail marketing strategy ? Some useful tool to do this ? I'm also on the CBD space , with lots of limitations for running ads. Thanks ! I hope is a good question.
 

DonJulio

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Alot has changed since my Ask me about Ecommerce AMA from 2012, so I thought I'd do an updated AMA as some of the answers in the previous thread are now outdated. The online marketplace has shifted greatly in the past couple years. Some examples of what has changed:
  • Google Shopping is now at the top of your search results, so ranking #1 for a specific term is not as valuable as before. I don't do anymore SEO.
  • Big box stores like Amazon, Walmart and Target now dominate the results whereas before smaller niche stores did.
  • Amazon is now the place to be in Ecommerce.
  • A huge shift has happened from dropshipping to importing and branding.
So go ahead and ask away!
Biophase what are your top commandments for finding a winning product and putting it on Amazon.

Cheers to your success mate.
 

Vasili27

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I don't think that Amazon takes a huge chunk from profits. But this may depend largely on your product. If you have a product that is either large or fairly heavy, then Amazon's FBA program may actually be a wash for you.

For example, I have a $90 product that is 6lbs and 16x12x8 to ship. In 2015 Fedex and UPS went to dimensional shipping for ground shipments, so this shipment normally costs me about $14 to ship to a customer in the United States. So after 2.5% CC fees and shipping and a box, my net cost on a $90 order is $72.75.

When this product sells on Amazon, Amazon will take 15% of the sales price plus about $4.50 for fulfillment. That comes out to $19.50. An added cost for me is to ship this product to Amazon's warehouse, so let's say that is about $3. So in an Amazon sale, I net $67.50.

The difference is $5.25 for this particular product for me.

But if I am doing PPC on my products and it costs about $.35 for a click and I have a 5% conversion rate, I am spending $7 for every sale. If this is the case, the Amazon sale is actually more profitable for me. I would need a 6.6% conversion rate for Amazon and my Ecommerce store to be even.

Now couple this with the fact that I do not need to do any customer service or spend any employee on this sale, and you can see how Amazon's FBA channel may be a better sale for you.

Again, this all depends on the type of products that you sell.

Personally, I only use my Ecommerce stores and Amazon. I've found that Ebay is filled with people who want cheap stuff. I use Ebay to get rid of my open box stuff and products that I am having trouble selling. I price everything on Ebay at clearance prices. It's a good way to move shitty inventory without making your brand you cheap in your store or on Amazon
im a 17 year old who's hungry to succeed, I have done drop shipping before and I can say with confidence its no longer the way. I have a passion for Ecommerce and have had been recommended to use amazon by someone who is successful in the Ecommerce space. My only problem is what exactly I want to find and sell, do you have any advice on how to find this?
 

Vasili27

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Alot has changed since my Ask me about Ecommerce AMA from 2012, so I thought I'd do an updated AMA as some of the answers in the previous thread are now outdated. The online marketplace has shifted greatly in the past couple years. Some examples of what has changed:
  • Google Shopping is now at the top of your search results, so ranking #1 for a specific term is not as valuable as before. I don't do anymore SEO.
  • Big box stores like Amazon, Walmart and Target now dominate the results whereas before smaller niche stores did.
  • Amazon is now the place to be in Ecommerce.
  • A huge shift has happened from dropshipping to importing and branding.
So go ahead and ask away!
 
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claudek

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Hey guys, quick question.

It seems you need a credit card to sell on Amazon do you agree (no debit card or ore-paid)?

Is there anything specific to look at to avoid getting bad deals when you request one?

Thank you
 

biophase

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What is your E-mail marketing strategy ? Some useful tool to do this ? I'm also on the CBD space , with lots of limitations for running ads. Thanks ! I hope is a good question.

I don't use email that much. I just send out 1-2 emails a month. I use mailchimp. Honestly, I concentrate on brand building over any direct forms of marketing. To me brand building means creating a brand or something that people will love so much that they will tell others about it. It's much more effective than trying to grab new customers through traditional marketing.
 

biophase

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Biophase what are your top commandments for finding a winning product and putting it on Amazon.

Cheers to your success mate.

I don't think you can just put a product on Amazon anymore and expect it to sell. You need to rephrase that into "top commandments for finding a winning brand". It's more brand competition than product competition.
 

biophase

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im a 17 year old who's hungry to succeed, I have done drop shipping before and I can say with confidence its no longer the way. I have a passion for Ecommerce and have had been recommended to use amazon by someone who is successful in the Ecommerce space. My only problem is what exactly I want to find and sell, do you have any advice on how to find this?

Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe that trying to find a "product" works anymore. You need to build a brand and leverage multiple products. Launching one product is probably not going to work. It just won't be profitable. I would concentrate on launching a line of products in close succession and then marketing your brand as best that you can.
 

biophase

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Hey guys, quick question.

It seems you need a credit card to sell on Amazon do you agree (no debit card or ore-paid)?

Is there anything specific to look at to avoid getting bad deals when you request one?

Thank you

Nothing wrong with getting a credit card. Just get one with no annual fees and pay it off every month.
 

Vasili27

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Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe that trying to find a "product" works anymore. You need to build a brand and leverage multiple products. Launching one product is probably not going to work. It just won't be profitable. I would concentrate on launching a line of products in close succession and then marketing your brand as best that you can.
understood, my problem wasn't really to find a product my problem is that I'm still looking for a niche to get into but I fully understand what your saying and appreciate the feed back
 

Jeannen

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Hi !

Thanks for all the insights.
What you just said about "it's not aout product anymore" & brand kinda resonate with me

I currently have a "brand" making around $1000 of sales per day (drop), but I hardly make a profit from it.
I use a free + shipping offer, so people just come for the promotion (5% returning customers by using email etc).

I want to start making actual money with eCommerce, and lots of people around me test products, and if they see traction, they create a brand from it, so I decided to try it.

I spent the last month working 100h/week to search and test products, and I feel like I wasted my time. Everything I did produce no effort so far. I don't know what's the deal, I feel lost and depressed, to be honest.

Idk if I should keep going with my "brand" (20k+ customers, no real profit) or start something new

What's your opinion on this?
 

Vasili27

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Hi !

Thanks for all the insights.
What you just said about "it's not aout product anymore" & brand kinda resonate with me

I currently have a "brand" making around $1000 of sales per day (drop), but I hardly make a profit from it.
I use a free + shipping offer, so people just come for the promotion (5% returning customers by using email etc).

I want to start making actual money with eCommerce, and lots of people around me test products, and if they see traction, they create a brand from it, so I decided to try it.

I spent the last month working 100h/week to search and test products, and I feel like I wasted my time. Everything I did produce no effort so far. I don't know what's the deal, I feel lost and depressed, to be honest.

Idk if I should keep going with my "brand" (20k+ customers, no real profit) or start something new

What's your opinion on this?
I wouldn't give up your obviously not going to figure it out on the first try I feel like Ecommerce is a trial by fire kinda of thing. remember it only takes one to work and change everything so I wouldn't give up. also I feel like maybe it has to do with what market your products are in that you are testing./selling , I feel like some markets are more hot than others
 

Vasili27

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Hi !

Thanks for all the insights.
What you just said about "it's not aout product anymore" & brand kinda resonate with me

I currently have a "brand" making around $1000 of sales per day (drop), but I hardly make a profit from it.
I use a free + shipping offer, so people just come for the promotion (5% returning customers by using email etc).

I want to start making actual money with eCommerce, and lots of people around me test products, and if they see traction, they create a brand from it, so I decided to try it.

I spent the last month working 100h/week to search and test products, and I feel like I wasted my time. Everything I did produce no effort so far. I don't know what's the deal, I feel lost and depressed, to be honest.

Idk if I should keep going with my "brand" (20k+ customers, no real profit) or start something new

What's your opinion on this?
also you said your making $1000 a day in sales and making no profit as well saying you give free shipping. If you don't mind me asking is the product you're selling your own design or is it someones else's and if it is someone else's design but your selling it could it be that the product might cost a lot to buy and your not selling at a high enough price to pull a profit ???
 

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