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EXECUTION E-Commerce Brand Kick-Started By The Pandemic

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Odysseus M Jones

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Does anyone know the best way to ship to US fulfilment centres from the UK?

I've been getting quoted quite high prices - £700-£1000+ plus to send 10 boxes 60x45x45cm 6kg in weight.

Does this seem right, or is there a better way to do it?

@biophase @JasonR
Volumetric weight is 20.25kg per box if I recall correctly. LxWxH ÷6000
You could check with a forwarder see whether air or ocean is cheaper.
 

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biophase

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Does anyone know the best way to ship to US fulfilment centres from the UK?

I've been getting quoted quite high prices - £700-£1000+ plus to send 10 boxes 60x45x45cm 6kg in weight.

Does this seem right, or is there a better way to do it?

@biophase @JasonR

I assume this is shipping by air? Shipping is currently pretty expensive. So you are talking about $70-$100 per box. That doesn't sound way off.

Is this through DHL, Fedex, UPS?
 

JasonR

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So that's 60 kg?

That doesn't sound unreasonable. Contact a few freight forwarders.

If you're importing from China it'll be easier to go straight from China to the US, or straight from China to the UK.

Edit: didn't see Bio's reply. Air freight is definitely at a premium right now.
 

AdamB

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I assume this is shipping by air? Shipping is currently pretty expensive. So you are talking about $70-$100 per box. That doesn't sound way off.

Is this through DHL, Fedex, UPS?

Yes tried them all. At those prices, there’s no point in me even selling in the US. I’m getting head of myself anyway, I need to get up and running across Europe as I can send boxes to those fulfilment centres very cheaply.

Big order arrives on Friday and then I just need to start prepping and sending in as quickly as possible to keep up with demand.

Thanks for the input @Odysseus M Jones @biophase and @JasonR
 

AdamB

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34167 --- 50 units shipped to FBA at a cost of almost £90


34168 --- 180 units shipped to FBA at a cost of £27.

It pays to know how to pack the items. I'm glad I discovered that quickly. Imagine those cost differences at scale!
 

AdamB

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Shipment arrived this morning and it all fit into one container which was great. A little bit of stacking required, but it was painless and all went smoothly. Now time to get packing and send it into Amazon to keep up with these orders!

Apologies for having to mark out parts of the image. I should have made this thread on the inside!

34181
 

bbar97

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This thread is amazing. I've learned so much just from reading about your experiences as you're learning. This is adding to my confidence to move forward with my product idea. My idea seems to be a bit more customized than yours, so I'll probably have more pre-launch work, but I still think I'll be able to apply everything you're learning here in my own journey.
 

AdamB

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I thought I had better update the thread as it's been a while. Things have been crazy recently. I'm in the middle of a huge house refurbishment, I'm working full time from the new house (which is a building site) and I'm also working on this business.

Thank god I have the freedom to work from home with my social media marketing.

I decided to take a screen shot tonight inside my Amazon account specifically to post in this thread as I've just crossed a nice milestone. Since launching this business on June 1st 2020, I have crossed £50,000 in sales. Nice! I've also done over £2,500 today which is insane! I have made over £1,000 in profit in one day whilst project managing my house refurb. I can't get enough of this.

34597

I was discussing my branding conundrum with my wife and she has sparked a lightbulb for me. She casually suggested an idea that would allow me to brand the products, but actually get the customers to apply the branding on their own. So simple but great - I think. Sometimes it just takes a new set of eyes.

The plan is to start working on this right away to get it implemented. I will keep everyone up to date.
 

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Well done for getting through all the obstacles in the beginning, now you can reap the rewards for not giving up easily.
 

Sandy Dives

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I thought I had better update the thread as it's been a while. Things have been crazy recently. I'm in the middle of a huge house refurbishment, I'm working full time from the new house (which is a building site) and I'm also working on this business.

Thank god I have the freedom to work from home with my social media marketing.

I decided to take a screen shot tonight inside my Amazon account specifically to post in this thread as I've just crossed a nice milestone. Since launching this business on June 1st 2020, I have crossed £50,000 in sales. Nice! I've also done over £2,500 today which is insane! I have made over £1,000 in profit in one day whilst project managing my house refurb. I can't get enough of this.

View attachment 34597

I was discussing my branding conundrum with my wife and she has sparked a lightbulb for me. She casually suggested an idea that would allow me to brand the products, but actually get the customers to apply the branding on their own. So simple but great - I think. Sometimes it just takes a new set of eyes.

The plan is to start working on this right away to get it implemented. I will keep everyone up to date.

Seems like you are selling masses, why don't you just get the producer of the product to print your labels? Or maybe they don't do that? Also on the legal side, do you have a contract with the producer allowing you to place your own brand on the products? Asking because I'm starting my own eCommerce store soon and I only have "word of mouth" from the producer (alibaba producer) that I can put on my own brand myself. Really new to this.

Also are you only selling through amazon, and are you pushing out any ads whatsoever?

Extremely motivating! Thank you for sharing.
 

AdamB

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Seems like you are selling masses, why don't you just get the producer of the product to print your labels? Or maybe they don't do that? Also on the legal side, do you have a contract with the producer allowing you to place your own brand on the products? Asking because I'm starting my own eCommerce store soon and I only have "word of mouth" from the producer (alibaba producer) that I can put on my own brand myself. Really new to this.

Also are you only selling through amazon, and are you pushing out any ads whatsoever?

Extremely motivating! Thank you for sharing.

I am sourcing two different products and putting them together. So, in a sense, I am the manufacturer of my product as I am combining products from 2 suppliers to make one, which I will then brand. It's quite common to brand products bought on Alibaba, in fact, that is the whole 'Private Label' strategy in a nutshell.

I'm only selling on Amazon at the moment. I tried selling direct from my own website recently, but it demands a lot of attention. I want to stay absolutely focussed on building sales on Amazon before I start diluting my focus into other areas. Besides, I'm not even scratching the surface at the moment and I'm already struggling to keep up with demand. Sales have just started growing in France and I haven't even got going in Spain, Italy or Germany.

In fact, I've only just realised that Amazon will automatically transfer my stock to fulfilment centres throughout Europe. I thought I had to send stock to each country. It's so easy for me to sell across the whole of Europe. I used Fiverr to get my listings properly translated and Helium 10 to do keyword research. That seems to have worked in France, but Spain and Italy need a little more work. I need to be VAT registered in Germany before I can sell there. In the process of doing that now.

There are also supply issues with one part of my product due to a worldwide shortage, so I have begun contacting other supplies throughout the world. One company in the US have got back to me and can potentially supply me. This has got me thinking about sending stock from suppliers to a 3PL in the US, where they could potentially package up my products and send them into Amazon US. That would solve the problem of such high shipping costs from the UK to USA and would allow me to tap into Amazon's biggest market - Amazon.com

Can anyone recommend a company I could ship stock to directly from suppliers in order to be prepped and sent into FBA?
 

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Lyinx

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be careful with getting too large on Amazon with one item, I've heard too often of Amazon deciding it would be in their best interests to copy the item :(
and yes, I do think it's right in their contracts so it's legal for them to "test" it with you, and then when you have sales going, start their own production.
just another reason to sell on your own site :)
 

Sandy Dives

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I am sourcing two different products and putting them together. So, in a sense, I am the manufacturer of my product as I am combining products from 2 suppliers to make one, which I will then brand. It's quite common to brand products bought on Alibaba, in fact, that is the whole 'Private Label' strategy in a nutshell.

I'm only selling on Amazon at the moment. I tried selling direct from my own website recently, but it demands a lot of attention. I want to stay absolutely focussed on building sales on Amazon before I start diluting my focus into other areas. Besides, I'm not even scratching the surface at the moment and I'm already struggling to keep up with demand. Sales have just started growing in France and I haven't even got going in Spain, Italy or Germany.

In fact, I've only just realised that Amazon will automatically transfer my stock to fulfilment centres throughout Europe. I thought I had to send stock to each country. It's so easy for me to sell across the whole of Europe. I used Fiverr to get my listings properly translated and Helium 10 to do keyword research. That seems to have worked in France, but Spain and Italy need a little more work. I need to be VAT registered in Germany before I can sell there. In the process of doing that now.

There are also supply issues with one part of my product due to a worldwide shortage, so I have begun contacting other supplies throughout the world. One company in the US have got back to me and can potentially supply me. This has got me thinking about sending stock from suppliers to a 3PL in the US, where they could potentially package up my products and send them into Amazon US. That would solve the problem of such high shipping costs from the UK to USA and would allow me to tap into Amazon's biggest market - Amazon.com

Can anyone recommend a company I could ship stock to directly from suppliers in order to be prepped and sent into FBA?

Thanks for the awesome answer. You are a real inspiration to me! Really, wife, new house, shuffling a full time job with this too. Awesome!

In regards to the private labeling, when marketing a sourced product, can you say things like "we have manufactured this product with strict detail to x y z". The reason I'm asking is that here in Norway there is a law against "misleading marketing". Essentially "lying" or saying things that aren't completely true, and I'm not sure if saying the example over ^ is going to fall under that category? Not saying I will do that, just trying to find where the limit is as I can't seem to find too much information on the laws around white labeling.
 

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Time for an update.

I'm currently in Turkey sitting by the pool.

I knew I had a holiday coming up, and I thought I would have to switch off my self-sulfilled product whilst I was away.

However, a couple of weeks before leaving, I decided to have a search for third party fulfilment centres in Glasgow.

What do you know?...

There was one literally a stone's throw from the warehouse I was using.

I contacted them and met with the managing director. I liked him and he seemed to like me. He came round to the warehouse and I showed him everything I do to prepare and send out orders. I also showed him the prep that goes into my FBA product before sending it into Amazon.

He basically said, 'We can do all of that - no problem."

So I drafted up some documents containing all the steps involved in preparing and sending out orders and stock to customers and Amazon (for FBA products). They came back with some pricing - an absolute bargain - and I began moving all of my stock from my shipping container to the 3PL.

I was worried about this, because I've never done it before. However, being able to go and walk through their (huge) warehouse, speak regularly with the managing director, have an account manager to deal with on a daily basis, and be able to pop into the warehouse whenever I want, all put my mind at ease.

I let it run for a week or so before I left to come on holiday and it was all absolutely fine. I'm sure they deal with a lot more complicated fulfilment than my products.

The long and short of it is - I have been relaxing in Turkey for 10 days now and all I've had to do is send customer invoices which takes around 15 mins per day. As soon as I register for VAT, this will also become automated through Amazon's VAT service.

When I get home, I will no longer have to spend hours and hours at the warehouse every day. In fact, I don't think I will have any use for the warehouse any longer. I have given my month's notice on my shipping container as I no longer have to store any pallets. Everything gets delivered direct from supplier to 3PL.

I was also offered the opportunity to take 40,000 units of my best selling product - which I jumped at. It felt a little scary spending 20k on inventory, but the sales are still holding att between 1k-1.5k per day.

UK and France are currently my biggest markets, but I can see Italy and Spain building now too.

To top it all off, the new house will finally be finished when we arrive back home in Glasgow and we can move in. The house has also turned into a fantastic investment as it required so much work but was in such a fantastic area. I'm trying to buy another one!

My major focus when I return home is to build a brand around the FBA product as it is still bog standard, white label. This is number 1 on the priority list now. I have already spoken to the 3PL about adding branding into the product when packaging up for Amazon and there doesn't seem to be a problem.

I will update on the pricing of the 3PL once I receive my first bill. There are a few different charges which is slightly complicated but it is negligible compared to time I am saving (both mine and my wife's).

I hope this update adds value for someone reading this thread.
 

AdamB

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Can anybody help me with a 3PL in the US? I'd like to start building a relationship with a company that can help me expand into that market. I already have a supplier in the US for my product lined up, I just need a company that can prep the products and send them into Amazon.

Any recommendations would be massively appreciated.
 

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Something I forgot to mention in my most recent update that's been playing on my mind a lot.

As I've mentioned a few times in this thread, I do social media and other digital marketing and I have a few clients which is how I earn my main income. My biggest client offered me a full time job just before I went on holiday.

They want me to join the management team so that I can take on more responsibility and become a more significant part of the team, rather than being an 'outsider' who they pass work to when required.

This sounds great, but it's actually been getting me down.

Why?

Because I've spent all of my adult life trying to avoid a conventional full time job exactly like the one being offered to me. Having to be somewhere 9-5 and having to ask someone's permission to take a day off or go on holiday. I struggle with it and I feel it I were to take the (fantastic) opportunity, I would be giving in and settling in for 5-10 years of slowlane work.

So, what's the problem?

Because I have turned the job down, they need to hire someone else. This other person will eventually take on the work I carry out for this business and I will lose my biggest client who currently pay me more than the average monthly salary. Big problem.

This may not happen overnight, but it will happen. I feel a bit stressed and under pressure to replace the income.

I suppose this is why you shouldn't have one client making up more than 50% of your revenue.

However, part of me thinks this is the kick up the bum I need to start treating the business this thread is about more than just a side hustle. I really need to focus on building it into a sustainable, scalable business.

It's been another solid day of sales and my big shipment of stock arrived with my fulfilment company on Wednesday. They will begin sending that into Amazon this week and need to focus on adding my branding to the product now.

I'm exploring options in terms of selling in the USA and I am optimising my listings in other European marketplaces as the UK and France and making up the majority of my sales with Spain and Italy majorly lacking behind.

Today's numbers:

35060

I haven't taken a single penny out of the business account for myself at this point as I have ambitions to get my business account to 100k and start learning to acquire other businesses. I could achieve that this year if I can sell the 40,000 units that have arrived without overspending on ads.
 

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As I've mentioned - I've been selling a good amount of units in France. During September I did almost 11k in France.

It was annoying me that I was managing to get such good results in France, whilst struggling to get any real traction in Spain and Italy (1.8k and 1.7k sales in September, respectively) even though I didn't do anything different.

I used a freelance translator to translate my listings and do some research on main keywords in the market. It's quite difficult to verify this as I don't speak any French, Italian or Spanish. I just had to take the translation provided and add it to my listings.

I did some digging on amazon.it over the weekend to see if I could work out what was going wrong. I was looking at competitors who are selling a similar product to mine. I noticed their keywords seemed different from mine. So, armed with Google Translate, I tried to take note of all the main keywords they use on their listings and decided to add them to mine once I figure out what they mean.

I changed the title of my product completely, adding words I hadn't used before.

What happened?

Well, have a look at today's sales in Italy.

Screenshot 2020-10-06 at 15.28.05.png

I would normally sell 1-3 units per day. It's only 3.30pm (4.30pm in Italy) and I have sold 14 units. Granted, 14 units won't make me rich, but that's a record day of sales in that country and the percentage increase is huge.

Just thought I'd post this as it may be interesting for anyone who sells in a market with a language you don't speak. It can be tricky when you don't actually know exactly what you are saying about your product - it takes some more time to get right.
 

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So strange I started reading this thread half an hour ago and got to the last post 5 minutes after you'd posted an update, I was just about to ask :)

The Managing Director's business partner read my email and then intended to reply to the MD, but accidentally sent the email to me. It read - "I like this boy". That put a smile on my face. I don't know if he's realised his mistake yet - I didn't tell him.

This was so wholesome and lifted my mood, that's awesome!

Apologies for having to mark out parts of the image. I should have made this thread on the inside!

Maybe after you reach your initial goal you can do a thread on the inside about this brand? I'd love to hear more.
 

AdamB

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So strange I started reading this thread half an hour ago and got to the last post 5 minutes after you'd posted an update, I was just about to ask :)



This was so wholesome and lifted my mood, that's awesome!



Maybe after you reach your initial goal you can do a thread on the inside about this brand? I'd love to hear more.

I'd love to be able to share more details. We'll see how the business goes over the next 6 months or so.

Thanks for reading!
 

AdamB

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Follow up from this week's update on sales in Italy. Today's sales have been great. It's amazing what a slight change in your product's title can do. I'm now thinking about all the sales I've missed out on by not having the correct title in the first place.

That's the challenge of selling in a market where you don't speak the language.

Screenshot 2020-10-08 at 16.19.19.png

On another note - I have decided to take a generic product from the supplier that I have located and built a relationship with in the US. It's an unbranded product which comes in a ready-made three pack and I can have UPS collect it directly from the manufacturer. This removes the need for a fulfilment centre in the states at the moment and lets me dip my toes in the water on Amazon.com

Hoping to have my first shipment collected from the manufacturer and taken to Amazon next week.

Will keep everyone up to date.

I have also started advertising my own website on all of my invoices which I am having to manually issue to Amazon business customers at the moment as I am not yet VAT registered in the UK so I cannot use Amazon's automated service.

I see it as another opportunity to get my own marketing in front of my Amazon customers. As far as I can see, this isn't against any rules - but I might be wrong. My invoices point them in the direction of my own website with a discount code for their next purchase. I still make absolutely no sales through my own website and I'm looking for a marketing agency that can help me target small business owners throughout the UK who may be interested in my product.
 

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Very inspiring thread, those are some amazing numbers already.

Another great example about what can be done with a scalable product/business. I'm sure you'll get some sales through your own website as well soon enough!
 

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