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Can this Pet E-commerce brand work? or is it Doomed for Failure From the Start?

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door123

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Is this reality check or am I facing the dessert of desertion?

Here's the Back story:

The product: pet consumable, customer would replenish about every 2 months.

I saw found this pet product in Asia last month, thought it solved a real need. I only found a 3 sellers selling this product on Amazon US, no where else. I ordered all 3 Competitor's product and discovered their Ingredients are horrible, branding is weak, pretty bad packaging. Competitor's Price Range $11 - $17

My Value Skews
- Much much better ingredients (think Beet Juice vs Red Dye 40 lol)
- Improve Branding & package design. ( I'm following RX Bar & Angry Orange Cleaner branding)

My idea was to start on Amazon with this product, then build a web store and use other private label pet products to increase the web store's AOV so I can afford to run ads on other platforms.

What I'v Done This Week
I already sunk about $1,850 total so far into this product
- Hired US Manufacturer just to help me redevelop this product $1,650
- Hired Designer $200 off Upwork for Labels & Marketing Materials $200

UNFORTUNATELY, I didn't calculate my margins before investing into this :facepalm:

Proposed Selling Price: $17 Per Unit
Manufacturing & Shipping Cost: $3.50 Per Unit
Amazon Fees & Fulfillment : $6.03 Per Unit
Amazon Ads Cost (based on Average ACOS 30% I googled): $5.10 Per Unit
Profit Margin: $2.37 Per Unit on 1st time purchase

I only set aside $10,000 to fund this business with $2.37 margins, I have no room to breath.

I think I am going insane. I end at the same spot for every product I evaluate. Low margins or High startup costs. What am I a missing here?
 
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Vadim26

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What's stopping you from charging a premium price for your product?

Are you worried that you won't be able to compete with 3 other sellers in the beginning without having any reviews on your listing?

Going against what I said above: you could offer your product at a much lower price in the beginning, and run at 40-50% ACOS to get the ball rolling (this will leave you at a loss), then slowly raise your selling price when sales start to pick up. It'd be nice, but don't expect to make any profit in the beginning when your listing is brand new with 0 social proof.

I only set aside $10,000 to fund this business

You are doomed to fail (from the start) if you have a certain number you are willing to spend on the business since you will be acting from a place of scarcity and will be afraid to lose money (this is a huge deal especially when buying online ads).

Are you going to quit if you spend 10k on your product and break even? I'm not saying to go and waste 10k, but rather setting the real expectations. Having a cash flow on the side (job) really helps.

More advice: look around on Reddit for any pet-related sub-niches. Create a thread and casually mention the product you found and the fact that you didn't like the ingredients (Red Dye 40). Ask people's recommendations. See if they engage...

I think I am going insane. I end at the same spot for every product I evaluate. Low margins or High startup costs. What am I a missing here?

Probably some self-reliance.

Hope it helps.
 
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sparechange

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lol amazon

Go talk to potential customers and see if they want the product, hand out free samples and get some feedback.

It really is that simple, you don't need to blow a bunch of money upfront. Dance with the marketplace first and see if its what they need or want.

Do a free sample run with your own website explaining the benefits and value skew of your new product, wait and see if people care about it. (shopify is hella easy and only costs $40 bucks a month) goodluck .

Don't make Boner Bozo Bezos to much richer with those amazon ads... :rofl:
 

Simon Angel

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So it usually goes like this:

1. Product idea
2. Validation from the market i.e other people and not just what YOU think about it
3. Calculating margins
4. Creating a marketing strategy
5. Manufacturing
6. Launch

What you did:

1. Product idea
2. Skipped validating your product
3. Skipped calculating margins
4. Invested in the product anyway
5. Went to Amazon for some reason
6. Died

That's what you're missing..

Like the guys above said, I'd increase the price and go to Shopify. And that's only after I've validated the product. Give some samples to friends with pets, interview them later about it and ask if they would pay X amount every 2 months to have access to this.
 
Last edited:

door123

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Apr 4, 2020
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Sacramento, CA
What's stopping you from charging a premium price for your product?

Are you worried that you won't be able to compete with 3 other sellers in the beginning without having any reviews on your listing?

Going against what I said above: you could offer your product at a much lower price in the beginning, and run at 40-50% ACOS to get the ball rolling (this will leave you at a loss), then slowly raise your selling price when sales start to pick up. It'd be nice, but don't expect to make any profit in the beginning when your listing is brand new with 0 social proof.
What's stopping you from charging a premium price for your product?

Are you worried that you won't be able to compete with 3 other sellers in the beginning without having any reviews on your listing?

Going against what I said above: you could offer your product at a much lower price in the beginning, and run at 40-50% ACOS to get the ball rolling (this will leave you at a loss), then slowly raise your selling price when sales start to pick up. It'd be nice, but don't expect to make any profit in the beginning when your listing is brand new with 0 social proof.



You are doomed to fail (from the start) if you have a certain number you are willing to spend on the business since you will be acting from a place of scarcity and will be afraid to lose money (this is a huge deal especially when buying online ads).

Are you going to quit if you spend 10k on your product and break even? I'm not saying to go and waste 10k, but rather setting the real expectations. Having a cash flow on the side (job) really helps.

More advice: look around on Reddit for any pet-related sub-niches. Create a thread and casually mention the product you found and the fact that you didn't like the ingredients (Red Dye 40). Ask people's recommendations. See if they engage...



Probably some self-reliance.

Hope it helps.
To be honest, I just have limiting beliefs about premium pricing that no one will buy the product. After doing more research I realized I could increase unit price price to $22 or more, but I will have to position the brand and product correctly. (ie plastic free packaging or super healthy ingredient(s) or selling with refills and or bundling with closely related products etc.)

Not too worried about the initial social proof as its pretty easy to get using friends and family.

The reason I mention 10K budget, I was wondering if this budget is realistic for this low margin pet product. Ofcourse, I can spend more than $10k as I do have a job. For example, if you were competing with method soaps or Myers, you would need way more $10K or even $100k. As these brands are operating at economies of scale ( per unit cost prolly below $2) when it comes to manufacturing.
 

door123

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Apr 4, 2020
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Sacramento, CA
So it usually goes like this:

1. Product idea
2. Validation from the market i.e other people and not just what YOU think about it
3. Calculating margins
4. Creating a marketing strategy
5. Manufacturing
6. Launch

What you did:

1. Product idea
2. Skipped validating your product
3. Skipped calculating margins
4. Invested in the product anyway
5. Went to Amazon for some reason
6. Died

That's what you're missing..

Like the guys above said, I'd increase the price and go to Shopify. And that's only after I've validated the product. Give some samples to friends with pets, interview them later about it and ask if they would pay X amount every 2 months to have access to this.
lol amazon

Go talk to potential customers and see if they want the product, hand out free samples and get some feedback.

It really is that simple, you don't need to blow a bunch of money upfront. Dance with the marketplace first and see if its what they need or want.

Do a free sample run with your own website explaining the benefits and value skew of your new product, wait and see if people care about it. (shopify is hella easy and only costs $40 bucks a month) goodluck .

Don't make Boner Bozo Bezos to much richer with those amazon ads... :rofl:
I think the validation step is unnecessary in this case, as my competitors already have raving reviews. Additionally, 1 or 2 of my competitor's customers were demanding better ingredients in the product review. I am just creating the same product with better ingredients, packaging, branding, thats all.

This is my first product venture, I might be proven wrong, we'll see.
 
Last edited:

Simon Angel

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Well, you can think and do whatever you want.

But perhaps if you're the type of guy to launch a product before even calculating the margins, you should listen to what we have to say instead of trying to argue every single suggestion we've had for you.
 

sparechange

Platinum Contributor
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man some people are just stupid good luck kiddo
 

Kid

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Since you mentioned you're following RX Bar - do you have any clue as for if pet owners buy such labels for pet foods? (informative text vs some flashy images?).

Those design success might be not transferable.
 

sparechange

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Is your product from Alibaba to? :rofl: :rofl:
 

door123

Contributor
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Sacramento, CA
Since you mentioned you're following RX Bar - do you have any clue as for if pet owners buy such labels for pet foods? (informative text vs some flashy images?).

Those design success might be not transferable.
I have seen numerous times where customers ask the company what their pet product ingredients were in the Q/A section bc they are listed in a generic way or not even listed at all. Also, from talking with manufacturers, I learned that brands (in the pet space) put very shady things in their products as they are not required by law to list their ingredients on the product.

Additionally, 1 or 2 of my competitor's customers were demanding better ingredients in the product review.

Extrapolating from that, I am betting that customers would appreciate a company that is transparent with their product.
 
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