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GOLD! Do you want to do it the EASY way, or the HARD way?

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Walter Hay

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Hi Walter,

I ended going with 3 different factories and they just couldn't get things right. Not big things, but tiny little things like I'd spec 150cm and the samples would come back 148cm. They'd agree to fix it in production and I'd tell them no, I want another correct sample, then it would be 149cm. The problem with textiles, is that when I ask for 150cm, they'd cut 150cm, but on the edges they need to fold it over and hemmed the edges making it shorter.

They either couldn't grasp that they needed to cut 152cm, or I suspect that they quoted based on 150cm of material and were trying to skimp out on the material, after all, 2cm x 142cm x 1000 pcs equals alot of extra material.

I never did get the 150cm, I just agreed to 149cm. I needed to get this out and if it sells well, I'm going to get my 150cm on the second order! LOL
This is valuable educational material regarding dealing with the realities.

Walter
 

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biophase

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So yesterday I finally shipped 1000 units of this product to Amazon. I made this post on Dec 26 2015, it is Sep 1 2016 and I FINALLY got this product delivered and on its way to FBA. This is an example of how long it can take to make your own product vs. a slapping a logo on off the shelf product.

Just checked the competitor and a few more have arrived since then. So now I have 7 competitors to deal with, but my product is different. I don't even worry about them. My product is not really competing against 7 competitors, its competing against 1 (because all the other 7 are the same).

I guess this will be a good case study on my method. I'm throwing it up against these guys with no launch or reviews. Will check back in a month.

Ok so it's now one month later and I got some data on this new product.

Right now I am sitting at #6 for its 2 word keyword. Here are the stats for the top 5.

Price - # of reviews - stars
$14.38 - 78 - 4
$12.99 - 32 - 4
$19.99 - 61 - 4.5 (AMZ student)
$21.99 - 101 - 4.5 (AMZ student)
$20.99 - 11 - 4.5
$16.99 - 3 - 5 <-- ME

Here are excerpts from my 3 only reviews:
In any case, they performed absolutely perfectly. The length helped us... And I'll be happy to have them for... etc if needs be with their extra application capabilities.

Nice and light. Comfortable. Find a smaller one if you are under 5'9.

Solid quality and value, and plenty big despite my much larger than average height

Interestingly, all 3 reviews commented about its length. This was one of my modifications to this product. Many people complained that it was too short. So I made mine 4 inches longer and I specifically put that in the description and bullet points.

The length was also a huge pain point in going back and forth, if you read a few posts above I talk about how my supplier couldn't get the length just right.

So as you can see, my slight modifications have solved an issue for taller people that they cannot get from the top 5 sellers.

I've sold 53 at an average price of $15 (26 in the last week). My cost is $10. So I have broken even with this product in my first month. But, I averaged 1.76 sold per day. But in the past week, I'm selling 4/day, so it's accelerating, most likely due to my ranking now.

I have raised my price to $18.99 now, so I will make $2 per unit this month. My ultimate goal is to get it up to $24.99, and a $7.50 profit per unit. But that may be a stretch since others are dropping prices a little.

So to summarize, ranking at #6, averaging 4/day in the last week, minimal profit, no PPC, 3 reviews.

Product is performing exactly as expected. Product will probably be a $500/mo profit product. Just another cog in the wheel.
 
Last edited:

iceyblitz

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So you've decided to jump on the Amazon bandwagon and import a product and list on Amazon.

Do you want to do it the easy then hard way or the hard then easy way? I see most people on here and the thousands of Amazon class lemmings choosing the easy/hard way. I don't discount that this way works but it is way tougher. For those of you just jumping in after reading and taking an Amazon class here is what you can expect.

Here's the Easy/Hard Way

Let's say you have $5000 to spend and you choose a AMZ perfect product like a pork shredder. Below is exactly what happened to me when I ventured into an AMZ perfect product. Now before I go into this, I went into this fully understand what I had to do and what it would be like. I also have relatively deep pockets so I can outspend my competition. But the reality for me is that this is one of 80 products and I did not want to devote the time needed to succeed on this product. I will call this product AAA for the rest of this post. AMZ sellers refers to people who have taken an Amazon class.

March 2015 - I decide to import AAA after some research. There were about 15 popular models on Amazon and 3 dominant AMZ sellers. The product sells for $20, cost in China is $3. Total cost landed by air is $6.

April 2015 - After going through the sample phase I chose a supplier and ordered 800 units.

June 2015 - Before my product even got to Amazon in July, there were at least 10 more AMZ sellers who have decided to do this product. The top seller, we will call SellerA in March was pushed off the front page and is now on page 2 with 800+ reviews.

One particular seller had deep pockets. We'll call them SellerX. They jumped onto the scene averaging 75 reviews a day! From 0 to 700 reviews in 2 weeks. This moved them to middle of page 1.

I felt sorry for the other 9 AMZ sellers that were barely showing up with only 20-30 reviews. I could tell that they could not afford to give away 700 units. They probably planned to giveaway only 20-50 units.

July 2015 - My first units hit Amazon. Priced at $19.99, profit per unit was $8.33. I did a giveaway of 25 units and moved from page 17 to page 6. I then lowered my price from $19.99 to $10.99 which was a $3 loss per unit sold. This moved me to page 1 briefly. I lost $250 in this month.

August 2015 - 5 more AMZsellers hit the market. They all did giveaways of course! I drop down to page 3, then 4, then 10. I still made $400 in this month.

September 2015 - I don't recognize anyone on the first page of Amazon for this product. SellerX is holding at #1. The rest of the sellers are all new AMZ players. I still made $250 this month.

October 2015 - I don't even bother to check this anymore. Oh SellerA, he was #1 all of 2014, middle of page 2. I made $32 this month, basically sold 4 units.

November 2015 - More sellers still coming into the market. I drop my prices a little more. I made $50 this month. Profit margins are now $5 per unit.

December 2015 - Still more sellers coming into the niche. I estimate that since March 2015, 50+ new AMZsellers are in this one niche. I made $150 this month.

Many of the AMZsellers are doing monthly giveaways now. They need to keep giving away units to keep their sales count high to keep ranking. As more sellers come into your niche, they will be discounting, giving away their product. So if you want to stay on page 1 or 2, you need to do the same. Don't think that you can giveaway 25 and rank. If you are starting out with limited funds, you will get bled to death.

Some interesting notes:
To write this post I had to find my product through search. As i went through the results I saw:
  • Guys who were on the front page in March 2015 are now on page 3-5
  • I am on page 6, grid style. Not bad.
  • I found that 2 reviews got deleted. I used to have 31, now I have 29 only.
  • Front page product averaging 500+ reviews
Remember, just 9 months ago it was not like this. If this is the business you want, go for it!

So now what?

Now, I look at this market I can know I can compete. Here is why. First, my product is on page 6 and I'm still selling 1 a day with no PPC. Why? Because there is some value add. If you put my product on page 1 with most of the others, it will be the best value. Second, I have the funds to keep this product going at break even just to sustain it.

I can place another order for 3000 units. I can do a planned giveaway, 150 units a month for the next 6 months. That's 900 units. Total cost to me would be $6 for the product, $3 for the giveaway, or $8100 total.

Assuming this keeps me close to the top of page 1, I would sell the other 2100 at $8 profit to make $16800. So the profit from this would be $8700.

In this market I would have to keep my volume up. So that means monthly giveaways. My competition SellerX would likely see me doing this and also do their own giveaways.

The rest of the AMZsellers who are trying to make a living will slowly fade and give up. They just won't be able to outspend the deeper pockets.

But I'm not going this route. This market is not worth my time. In the next few months I will be at least 10 more AMZsellers per month come into it.

You don't want this to be your money maker. Just ask SellerA. They were rolling last year with no competition and then it just got flooded and will continue to be flooded as this product checks ALL the boxes on the AMZ seller checklist.

Here's the Hard/Easy Way

Last year I was selling this product made by another manufacturer that we packaged in our warehouse on Amazon. My cost was $6 and I sold on Amazon for $13. Measly $2.00 profit. Most people would avoid this like the plague. How do you live on a product like this?

Well for me, it was more of a brand recognition product. Sold cheap, no profit but got our name out. It also got annoying that we had to print labels and pack this thing. So we looked at China. They would make it for the same price basically. Cost of $6 landed into our warehouse. But the difference was that it was all packaged and ready to go. So basically for the relief of not having to package the product, we decided to import this over from China. In doing so, I was able to make a few changes so it was not the exact same product as before.

(I am glossing over the back and forth sample creation, changes in product, etc... All the hard stuff that it takes to make or improve a product)

First order from China was 1000 units. Hits Amazon. I drop the price to $9.99. Basically a loss of $1. Within 1 month it climbs to #1. Then we start selling a bunch. I raise the price back to $13. We average about 250 units a month. So we are making $500/mo.

Second order from China was 3000 units. We had a huge price drop as we found a better factory. Now our cost is $2.50 per unit. Bam, profit is now $5.50 per unit. Now we are selling 400 units a month. So we are making $2200/mo.

This little product is now making us $2000/mo. fairly consistently. No PPC, no giveaways, no competition. It's sitting at #2-#3 right now, priced at $13.69. One tiny product, $24k a year!

Which way is better?

Well I hope you can see the difference in work. With the second product, you do all the hardwork upfront and then let it sell. With the first product, you do the easy stuff up front and then spend the rest of your time trying to sell it.

I much rather do the hard work first.

As for the first product. I think I'm just going to let it sell out and die a slow death on Amazon. I'd rather put my energy into other things.
brilliant!
 

GravyBoat

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Ok so it's now one month later and I got some data on this new product.

Right now I am sitting at #6 for its 2 word keyword. Here are the stats for the top 5.

Price - # of reviews - stars
$14.38 - 78 - 4
$12.99 - 32 - 4
$19.99 - 61 - 4.5 (AMZ student)
$21.99 - 101 - 4.5 (AMZ student)
$20.99 - 11 - 4.5
$16.99 - 3 - 5 <-- ME

Here are excerpts from my 3 only reviews:
In any case, they performed absolutely perfectly. The length helped us... And I'll be happy to have them for... etc if needs be with their extra application capabilities.

Nice and light. Comfortable. Find a smaller one if you are under 5'9.

Solid quality and value, and plenty big despite my much larger than average height

Interestingly, all 3 reviews commented about its length. This was one of my modifications to this product. Many people complained that it was too short. So I made mine 4 inches longer and I specifically put that in the description and bullet points.

The length was also a huge pain point in going back and forth, if you read a few posts above I talk about how my supplier couldn't get the length just right.

So as you can see, my slight modifications have solved an issue for taller people that they cannot get from the top 5 sellers.

I've sold 53 at an average price of $15 (26 in the last week). My cost is $10. So I have broken even with this product in my first month. But, I averaged 1.76 sold per day. But in the past week, I'm selling 4/day, so it's accelerating, most likely due to my ranking now.

I have raised my price to $18.99 now, so I will make $2 per unit this month. My ultimate goal is to get it up to $24.99, and a $7.50 profit per unit. But that may be a stretch since others are dropping prices a little.

So to summarize, ranking at #6, averaging 4/day in the last week, minimal profit, no PPC, 3 reviews.

Product is performing exactly as expected. Product will probably be a $500/mo profit product. Just another cog in the wheel.

Bio,

Last year I designed a product that was much improved from any examples I could find. It is an average house hold kitchen item. I did some research and it looks like my improvement was partially covered under a US Patent that I found, and I didn't know how to continue.

In this case, would you even bother caring about that potential danger, or is that a massive red flag?

I could find only one other example of the product that came even close to what the patent covered, the rest were vastly different, yet the patent still covered some of my changes.
 

proper

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@biophase Very informative post, thanks. I wish I had read this post a year ago before struggling to sell on Amazon with the "easy" way.

One question though, do you do any market validation before investing $$$$ into making new mould? Because as you mentioned there were only 6 sellers selling the similar product. The market could be very small, not justifying the coset. The customers may not be very interested in your improvements etc.
 

biophase

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Bio,

Last year I designed a product that was much improved from any examples I could find. It is an average house hold kitchen item. I did some research and it looks like my improvement was partially covered under a US Patent that I found, and I didn't know how to continue.

In this case, would you even bother caring about that potential danger, or is that a massive red flag?

I could find only one other example of the product that came even close to what the patent covered, the rest were vastly different, yet the patent still covered some of my changes.

Sorry I didn't see this post until today. I really don't know what to tell you. To me, I would probably avoid it and find a different product. But it really depends on the product's potential.
 

biophase

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@biophase Very informative post, thanks. I wish I had read this post a year ago before struggling to sell on Amazon with the "easy" way.

One question though, do you do any market validation before investing $$$$ into making new mould? Because as you mentioned there were only 6 sellers selling the similar product. The market could be very small, not justifying the cost. The customers may not be very interested in your improvements etc.

There were 6 sellers, but I knew that there was a market for the product. It was a very general product that many people buy. You can always do the add to cart 999 test to see how others are selling. But realistically, if there are 10 people buying a day, that would be 300 a month, which is enough for me. So I think most products have enough buyers as long as you don't get too niched down.
 

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Hi @biophase

I hope its okay that I ask a question regarding this method of importing in this thread. How do you go with brand building with this? I've found a couple of products I could improve and sell in Germany which would bring a lot of value to customers. I was actually already in talks with potential suppliers, but backed off since the products I could improve are in no way related to the two products I am already selling. With my current brand, I feel kinda stuck with my current niche and would like to expand to more products and add value to them.

With each product you improve there might be a few more products in the category but, if not do you just move on and search for other products you could improve? I fear that this way I will be more dependant on amazon. What do you think? Would love your input!
 

AJG

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There were 6 sellers, but I knew that there was a market for the product. It was a very general product that many people buy. You can always do the add to cart 999 test to see how others are selling. But realistically, if there are 10 people buying a day, that would be 300 a month, which is enough for me. So I think most products have enough buyers as long as you don't get too niched down.

pardon my ignorance, but what is the "add to card 999 test"? I've never heard of that before.
 

amp0193

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pardon my ignorance, but what is the "add to card 999 test"? I've never heard of that before.

Try to buy the product.

Put a quantity of 999 in your cart for that item.

There will be an error, and it will automatically change to whatever the total number of their stock is (unless they have more than 999).

So, day 1 - 350
Day 2 - 345
Day 3 - 344
Day 4 - 340


You can track what their sales are, or at least get a rough idea.
 

biophase

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Hi @biophase

I hope its okay that I ask a question regarding this method of importing in this thread. How do you go with brand building with this? I've found a couple of products I could improve and sell in Germany which would bring a lot of value to customers. I was actually already in talks with potential suppliers, but backed off since the products I could improve are in no way related to the two products I am already selling. With my current brand, I feel kinda stuck with my current niche and would like to expand to more products and add value to them.

With each product you improve there might be a few more products in the category but, if not do you just move on and search for other products you could improve? I fear that this way I will be more dependent on amazon. What do you think? Would love your input!

I'm not sure what you are asking. You find products to improve but they aren't in your niche? Are there no more products in your niche? You can move outside your niche but in my opinion it has to make sense if you are trying to build a brand. Also, not every product needs to be improved in your niche. You can use some products to build your brand. For example if you are selling shoes, you can sell socks, shoe cleaner, etc... that is basically white label. You don't need to redesign a new sock.
 

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RisingStars

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I'm not sure what you are asking. You find products to improve but they aren't in your niche? Are there no more products in your niche? You can move outside your niche but in my opinion it has to make sense if you are trying to build a brand. Also, not every product needs to be improved in your niche. You can use some products to build your brand. For example if you are selling shoes, you can sell socks, shoe cleaner, etc... that is basically white label. You don't need to redesign a new sock.

Thank you very much. You pretty much answered my question. Yes there are more products in my niche, but I don't have the funds to make them better at this point in time - if this is even possible because they are pretty much good as they are.
So I was looking for products outside my niche, after I got inspired by your thread and found a few products I could improve, but they are in no way related to my brand/niche. The question is would you advice to stay in once niche, even if I would just put a label on a product, or should I jump on opportunitys if I could improve these product, even when they are not align with my niche? (And sell them under another name)
 

proper

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Try to buy the product.

Put a quantity of 999 in your cart for that item.

There will be an error, and it will automatically change to whatever the total number of their stock is (unless they have more than 999).

So, day 1 - 350
Day 2 - 345
Day 3 - 344
Day 4 - 340


You can track what their sales are, or at least get a rough idea.

Yes, however, this is the old way of checking sales. It is still effective though on some listings.

As an FBA seller, I normally set the maximum purchase amount to something like 20 or 50, depending on the items I sell. So the "999" check will not work on my listings. So my competitors will not know my stocks.
 

Paul David

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Hi @biophase i have a question if you don't mind answering.
I have identified a product/s that i know are selling already on Amazon.com but with little competition and profit margins are good.
I have found the supplier and got the quote which i'm happy with. My plan was to buy 5pcs of each (2 items total) and send them to Amazon to be fulfilled by them as a test rather than diving straight in and buying 500pcs of each.

I asked the factory for a quote for 5pcs and they replied with this:

Generally, our customer only need 1pcs of XXX with or without XXX to test. Are you sure you need 5pcs of each? Total 10pcs?
If so, the express fare will cost a lot. Also, we need to receive the sample fare USD30/PCS, and need 1-2 weeks to finish.
If you only need 1 pcs of each total 2pcs. We can send you soon.
For the package, we can do the mass production as your request. But for samples, the package is in bulk, do you mind it?

What would you suggest in this situation? My long term plan is to let the market decide whether the product is worth pursuing rather than jumping in head first. I don't even care if i don't make a profit on these test orders because of that.
 

amp0193

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Yes, however, this is the old way of checking sales. It is still effective though on some listings.

As an FBA seller, I normally set the maximum purchase amount to something like 20 or 50, depending on the items I sell. So the "999" check will not work on my listings. So my competitors will not know my stocks.

Good point. I've actually never set a max purchase amount on my listings since they added that option. It'd be a good thing to do, for sure.

Thanks for the reminder
 

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As an FBA seller, I normally set the maximum purchase amount to something like 20 or 50, depending on the items I sell. So the "999" check will not work on my listings. So my competitors will not know my stocks.

Can you tell us how you do this? I searched online but got many conflicting information.
 

biophase

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Hi @biophase i have a question if you don't mind answering.
I have identified a product/s that i know are selling already on Amazon.com but with little competition and profit margins are good.
I have found the supplier and got the quote which i'm happy with. My plan was to buy 5pcs of each (2 items total) and send them to Amazon to be fulfilled by them as a test rather than diving straight in and buying 500pcs of each.

I asked the factory for a quote for 5pcs and they replied with this:

Generally, our customer only need 1pcs of XXX with or without XXX to test. Are you sure you need 5pcs of each? Total 10pcs?
If so, the express fare will cost a lot. Also, we need to receive the sample fare USD30/PCS, and need 1-2 weeks to finish.
If you only need 1 pcs of each total 2pcs. We can send you soon.
For the package, we can do the mass production as your request. But for samples, the package is in bulk, do you mind it?

What would you suggest in this situation? My long term plan is to let the market decide whether the product is worth pursuing rather than jumping in head first. I don't even care if i don't make a profit on these test orders because of that.

I don't see how selling 5 pieces would be enough to test. I mean if you run PPC and all 5 sell in a day, I guess that is a good metric. But what if it takes a week? Was it due to your price, listing, lack of reviews, etc?? I guess for me, I personally couldn't make a decision based on selling 5 pieces.

Depending on their price point, I wouldn't order 500 pcs either. Maybe see if you can get just 100 pcs for a test order.
 

biophase

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Can you tell us how you do this? I searched online but got many conflicting information.

You can go into your listing and there is a place for maximum quantity. I forgot which tab it is on, maybe the offer tab?
 

Paul David

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I don't see how selling 5 pieces would be enough to test. I mean if you run PPC and all 5 sell in a day, I guess that is a good metric. But what if it takes a week? Was it due to your price, listing, lack of reviews, etc?? I guess for me, I personally couldn't make a decision based on selling 5 pieces.

Depending on their price point, I wouldn't order 500 pcs either. Maybe see if you can get just 100 pcs for a test order.

Great thanks. So normally, when you identify a potential product you would buy at least 100pcs to test on FBA?








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biophase

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Great thanks. So normally, when you identify a potential product you would buy at least 100pcs to test on FBA?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It depends on price point, but I chose 100 because it's a number the suppliers can wrap their heads around.
 

Insaint

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You can go into your listing and there is a place for maximum quantity. I forgot which tab it is on, maybe the offer tab?

Yup, it's about halfway the offer tab: "Max Order Quantity".
 

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proper

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Can you tell us how you do this? I searched online but got many conflicting information.

It depends on the category and products you sell. That's why you find some conflicting information online.

Normally you can find this setting in the "Offer" tab of the listing editing page. Search for "Max Order Quantity".
If this setting is not there, you can look at the "More Details" tab and search for "Maximum" or "Max", it normally should be there.
If you still can't find the setting, it means you may need to update the listing using the excel sheet template and change the settings.
 

Thijz0

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just by reading this topic i found out i definitely have an easy product on amazon.

so I will sell out my inventory and start looking for new niches. thing is, I did an online course (a very well known) on how to research a product on amazon.

I can probably do the same but i would have to find a 3,5/4 star product and then add value by improving the product right?

@biophase
 

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Hey Biophase,

I've found a product with high revenue, low competition and high margin. Only problem is the shipping costs drop the margin from 50% down to 20% because of the carton size and unit per carton size for my order (air freight). If doing sea freight, the quote is not much better.

You have any tips for getting around this?
 

biophase

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Hey Biophase,

I've found a product with high revenue, low competition and high margin. Only problem is the shipping costs drop the margin from 50% down to 20% because of the carton size and unit per carton size for my order (air freight). If doing sea freight, the quote is not much better.

You have any tips for getting around this?

Order more? It's important to note that high margin products are not high margin products if the shipping cost is high.

There's a reason margins are high before shipping. That's because if they weren't people couldn't make a profit on them after shipping. You need to account for shipping costs in your margin calculations as the market price will always balance the overall product costs out.

Lastly a 50% margin product is not a high margin product. Are you saying that it costs $10 and sells for $20? If so, this is pretty low margin. A $10 product should be selling for $50. That's an ok margin. A high margin product is something that you pay $10 for and sells for $80.
 

RickyDJ641

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Dec 11, 2016
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You mentioned not to go through the manufacturer when creating your brand because they may take your idea. If not going through the manufacturer to private label, who do you go through? I want to ship directly from manufacturer to FBA.
 

biophase

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You mentioned not to go through the manufacturer when creating your brand because they may take your idea. If not going through the manufacturer to private label, who do you go through? I want to ship directly from manufacturer to FBA.

Can you quote where I said that? I don't remember writing that but maybe I meant it in a different context.
 

phenom4hire

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Hey Bio,

Question on FBA. Is it still as important as it was a few years ago? Is it the best way to move product? I have read through the costs and benefits and can see where it makes sense for what you sell, but lets say Im selling something in the 20 dollar range that is fairly lightweight but kind of big like maybe 12x12x12. Does it still make sense to use them? Also if I decide to go FBA, what would be the best way to get say 500 of a product that size at under 1 lb each to the warehouse. Thanks in advance.
 

biophase

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Hey Bio,

Question on FBA. Is it still as important as it was a few years ago? Is it the best way to move product? I have read through the costs and benefits and can see where it makes sense for what you sell, but lets say Im selling something in the 20 dollar range that is fairly lightweight but kind of big like maybe 12x12x12. Does it still make sense to use them? Also if I decide to go FBA, what would be the best way to get say 500 of a product that size at under 1 lb each to the warehouse. Thanks in advance.

I think it is still just as important. But in your example, I don't understand why you wouldn't go FBA.

You have a 12x12x12 product that weighs under 1 lb. Amazon charges you $2.99 to ship this. Can you ship it cheaper? Your box would be $.25 and a first class stamp would be $2.60. If you shipped this Fedex it would be $8-$10.

The best way is to use Amazon's deeply discounted UPS or Fedex rates.
 

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