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Progress Thread First True Venture into Importing & Growing a Business

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Denim Chicken, Apr 18, 2017.

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  1. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm a private person, I don't like posting things too much online. But reading some of the threads like @Vick @biophase @Ecom man @Walter Hay, it's very cool to see development and growth in hindsight (and real-time). So I'm deciding to log my steps.

    Things I have accomplished so far:
    - Read a lot of materials and threads on here, particularly related to ecommerce, Amazon, product development over the course of few years. Never had the capital, time, or balls to drop a large amount of money (and risk) into importing something until now.
    My justification for this is comes from being presented with an unexpected turn of events in life, and also having faith in my product that at the very least I'll break even or lose only a little bit of money.

    - Developed a working prototype of my product. Started out with sketches, brainstorming, ordering raw parts online to assemble it myself, involved drilling and cutting. This gave me the personal hands-on experience to know the materials and dimensions needed, how it looks, how long it takes to assemble.

    - Created a good name for my company. Spent a few weeks creating a logo in Illustrator in vector format. Also spent those weeks using Photoshop to create blown up diagrams of the product with dimensions to send to my supplier.

    - Brainstormed and chose appropriate colors based on the vision of my product and company, tweaked the color palette. I had to make a lot of adjustments not just based on looks but also what is possible thru suppliers, which is something you can't account for without having the experience or working with the suppliers and asking questions. Planning can only get you so far.

    - Tested the product everyday for the past few weeks, taking notes on potential changes required.

    - Packaging and shipping design and layout for the maximum efficiency. Least weight, space and cost.. while a) looking great and no compromise to appeal b) Amazon ready even though I'm planning on selling from my own website as well. Needs to compatible universally with FBA. c) Sturdy, doesn't destroy product.

    - Today, paid over $400+ on samples of 5 units each of few parts. A bit of risk here, it's really expensive for samples because my product is custom, it requires set up fees, etc. The risk here is that the quality will be shit. The shipping, fees, printing set up, etc. are all wasted on if the product is bad.
    I thought about the option to ask for non-custom sample first, and then if it's OK to proceed with a custom sample order again. But that'll take too long, I want to get to market. So this is the ante for testing this supplier with the final product in mind.

    And that is where I am today. Sent over payment today for the samples with an estimated delivery time of 2 weeks from now.. which is May 2.


    Plans while waiting for sample order #1 to arrive:
    - Create a beautiful, customized product insert/packaging design using Illustrator to reflect my brand and things I want to include.

    - Use my web design skills to create and launch my Ecommerce website.

    - Contact more suppliers and order samples for other parts required in the assembly of the final product. Probably will take another 2 weeks minimum and cost another $100 each for the samples.
    I'm looking into domestic sourcing for parts. The margins may still work and shipping time/cost may be a wash.

    - Register for Amazon FBA and figure out all the details required for this. Handle any of the verification process, set up, etc. File for LLC once I see traction in sales.

    After all necessary samples arrive:
    - Place orders from all necessary suppliers.
    - Assemble each unit from first batch by hand. Ship out to FBA
    - Promote and run ads


    My main concern at the moment is the quality of the parts produced and the ability to produce the color I requested. I am hoping they get it right. My contact has been good so far.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  2. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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  3. Denim Chicken
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    Waiting on the samples to get delivered, sent payment already so I am estimating some down time of 2 weeks.

    I contacted about 15 more manufacturers for the other parts that I need and one of them I will be sourcing domestically. The other part I am waiting on them to send me an invoice for the sampling+shipping costs and hopefully they'll all get here at the same time.

    The past 2 days I spent all day and night long designing my website. About 60% done. Once the samples are here, I can finish the website after I take product photos. Also planning on making a video ad which requires quick storyboarding. Should be about a 30 second ad.

    For those interested, I found gifs to be very effective for websites versus videos if they're small and quick. A quick gif demonstrating your product above the fold or in an ad, does more than a 1 minute video. People nowadays don't have time for that. Gifs are good intros that act has a hook for them to scroll down and watch the full video or read the full description. Also gifs are mobile friendly and show up in full.

    Currently working on the hang tag designs. My plan is to include instructions and some form of reason to visit my website after receiving the package, and register with an email address. I want to employ inbound marketing at some point and an email list is crucial for future launches.


    Also, I made a slight fuck up. When estimating costs, I allocated roughly 33% to amazon fees just as a quick rule of thumb. Amazon fees and costs ended up being around 50-60%, which was due to the size. Worked up a quick pricing sheet on profit margins at different price points so I have an idea of break even point. We'll see how that plays out. My initial plan was to charge more than my competitors as my product fixes a lot of their problems, is branded all around premium from the logo to the website, the product design, etc.


    UPDATE:
    Got a response from a supplier. Sent 2nd payment for different samples. Waiting on 2 more suppliers' responses.

    Before all the samples arrive:
    - Finish Hang Tag and Insert designs
    - Finish copy on the website
    - Order packaging materials

    After samples
    - Test product again, check quality
    - Assemble, work out kinks in the process. Optimize assembly
    - Take professional photos
    - Shoot video ad
     
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  4. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    2nd samples have shipped.
    Hang tag design and packaging design has been completed.
     
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  5. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Waiting on DHL to bring me my samples today...... "out for delivery"

    2nd samples will ship tomorrow after Chinese May Day holiday

    On the downtime I'm studying Trading and chipping away at MJs option thread to get a grasp of it so I can start earning anything other than $0 on my small IRA account. Figured it's a good way to learn.

    UPDATE:

    Samples have arrived. 3 different variations of a part I need. Will decide which one is the most durable and best fit. Will need to wait on the other samples to come, I have 5 more variations coming. Already paid for those. Need to stress test them for about a week or two. I should start taking pictures once they all get here.

    Waiting on the biggest piece, sample was paid for on the 18th, paid nearly $500 for it. Fully custom part. He said 15 days, I'm not sure if it's counting their holidays and weekends. If it's not, it should be ready by end of this week. I'm really hoping that this piece is done right, it's the most important.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  6. Denim Chicken
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    Trying to bring the costs down as much as possible. I am paying about $.50 in premium per unit on a part because of a lower MOQ.

    Currently for my first order, $20 is my break even point. The unit cost is around $7/unit finished including packaging, tags, and estimated shipping of 70% of unit price from supplier. It's slightly higher than I wanted. Still not locked in as shipping can be more or less. I am hoping to get it down to sub $5 at scale.

    Amazon Fees ended up being higher than expected. Originally before I started I guessed around 30% in amazon fees of retail price, it's more like 55-60% esp in the case of an oversized item.


    I plan on selling at a retail price of around $30. Competitors sell anywhere from about $14-30. My product is better, it solves all the problems. It's branded nicer, it looks way more visually appealing, it comes with support that competitors do not offer.

    At about $30 price point, profits would be roughly 20% or so. This is taking into account lowering costs by a few dollars at scale but also adding in a few bucks for an assembly/fulfillment center to make the product. On the first order or two, I will be hand assembling each unit. It will take time. I'm willing to do this, I'm willing to lose or BE on the entire batch. At scale, however it would not make sense for me to do it myself, or to hire someone just to assemble 1 product.

    I'm still looking into this but because my product is not a finished good imported, it requires assembly here in the U.S.

    Either I:
    A) Do it myself. Which is an option for the first order, OR at scale but not in between. Meaning if I had a warehouse and 1 full time worker, they could do it as part of their job along with logistics.
    B) Find an assembly center to do it. I have no idea the cost of this but I am allocating about $2-3 per unit for this. Might be more? I dont know yet.
    C) Hire temp workers by the hour or by the project on craigslist or locally to help assemble the products every time the new orders come and pay for a few days of work. Considerations here is having strangers come to my home, knowing my brand, knowing the assembly process, being copied (probably not but you never know), etc.

    The Test:
    About 6-8 months ago, I sold 2 of my competitors units at $28 and the customer paid $3 shipping for a total of $31 within a week's time on google. I put up a shopify page that took about a week to fully customize with my video and professional pictures and copy written content on there and ran Adwords PPC for the first time.
    The objective at the time was to learn PPC. I had a 100% impression share for about 15-20 keywords and it generated only 2 sales in 7 days. There was nothing wrong with the campaign or the website, just not enough google search volume.

    I bought my competitor's product at around $14, sold it for $31, paid $1 for shipping, and if I remember correctly about $5 in ad spend. My memory is a bit foggy but I remember I made a profit around $9-10 on the $31 after every said and done.

    I did not pursue it at the time because A) Competitors product was not very good. I didn't feel good about selling something that's not that great quality B) 100% impression share on Adwords for only 2 sales in a week wasn't enough $ to justify self fulfillment.

    Obviously I changed my mind on this. I decided I can make something better than the crap that is selling now (of which I was a customer) so that is why I designed my own prototype incorporating fixes in the product, and put in full branding into it. I also realize 2 sales/week on Google may not be the same as on Amazon. Amazon seems to be doing more volume. I also wasn't listed in Google shopping, didn't sponsor any influencers, FB ads, etc.



    My goals are realistically to make $300/profit AFTER shipping and assembly outsourced on 1 product. So ideally about $1000-1500 in revenue. That would have made my time worth it on this development as I plan to scale into other related products in the niche.

    I'm fairly certain it will sell and at the price point I hope, but even with the test and with all the info, I cant help but have doubts creep in my mind about something I am not accounting for.

    We'll see. Waiting on sample #3 to get here and sample #1 to be finished production. If sample #1 is shit, I will have to start over and find suppliers for 2 parts.
     
  7. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    There should never be any guessing on Amazon fees. They make it crystal clear what the fees are for different size/weight products in different categories.

    That being said, you shouldn't have to guess at ANY of your costs before launching a product.
     
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  8. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I have the costs down down to a tight range but until I get the orders made and get quoted on shipping landed, I won't know exact costs on shipping. Also why i made a spreadsheet on pricing for my first order and one for scale, because my pricing per unit changes drastically at scale as I negotiated down to 500 MOQ for higher pricing with all of my suppliers.

    The amazon fee was a fuck up on my part. For some reason I assumed it would be roughly a 1/3 as I've heard that many times before. Luckily i used the sellers fee calculator to figure this out. I haven't placed any orders other than samples yet
     
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  9. Denim Chicken
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    Heard back from Manufacturer #1 about Sample #1. Days to be completed was about 15 days but with the holidays might be slower. Emailed very brief wishing them good holidays and for an update and clarified I didn't mean to rush them.

    Said part 1 is done, part 2 should be done today. Printing should be done next week. Shooting to have samples shipped next week. I should receive them sometime mid-May. He's going to send me pictures and if the pictures look OK enough, I'm going to start building my next steps out which is:

    - Build a photobooth
    - Acquire a camera. Rent or buy used
    - Finish the copy on my websites and packaging
    - File for LLC. It seems unnecessary so I was originally going to wait until the product showed sales. But...
    A) Amazon requires you to give them EIN, legal name, etc. and I don't wish to do business under my name.
    B) Brother's a lawyer, can do it for free in about 20 mins
    C) When I started this venture, I promised myself I'm not going to throw the towel in after a failure. I figured my chances at finding a dud were there and so I'm resolved to launch at least 3 products, learning from the previous one whether win or fail.
    - Register for seller central. get FNSKU printed, finish out the product copy and images
    - Shoot video content

    I imagine realistically if all these samples turn out great (which is best case scenario), it wouldn't be until July or Aug until I can even sell them what with shipping, production, assembly, sending to FBA, etc.

    The biggest difficulty here is time. It's taking so long to get things done, I work pretty fast so the biggest sap on time is due to production. I wouldn't mind the losses so much after 7 mo but the 7 mo of wasted time if the product is a dud would be annoying and frustrating.

    Sometimes I want to get a second product started but I dont want to tie up capital and spread my focus too thin. Maybe something that isn't as complicated. My first product has 4+ parts that also requires assembly, a lot of them from different manufacturers so, essentially equiv to importing 4 different products. (and assembly on top)

    Still looking for assembly solutions. Assembly companies I reached out to have really shitty websites and never get back to me with a quote.
     
  10. Denim Chicken
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    Sample #3 - Have my doubts

    Talked to my supplier and asked for paypal for the sample payment. He wanted to talk on whatsapp and gave me the paypal through that, which was a little weird. He also gave me his personal payment (I said I wanted his company paypal). He said the paypal was his financial directors but it has his name on it. His claim is they do not use paypal as it is risky for them.

    Sent payment May 1 as he said he won't be back until after May 1 due to holidays. Didn't hear back even after I sent payment other than confirmation, so I emailed him and he gave me tracking # yesterday.

    The tracking # doesn't show anything in Google, I asked him to double check.

    He sends me the actual UPS waybill slip with the tracking # which is great. He also sent me a picture of the samples I wanted so it really seems like a lot of effort to scam me out of $60.

    I contacted UPS, they verified it is indeed a real tracking # but electronic info has not been uploaded. Which means it hasn't been scanned/shipped yet. It's a fairly large supplier so I'm hoping it is in the process of being sent.

    The products are better than the others I've found with a lot of variety. But I have my doubts about communication and sending a full order amount via bank transfer after this.

    Sample #2 supplier gave me their paypal, they're very small and a trader. Sent the sample the next day and I got it in a week.
     
  11. Denim Chicken
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    1) Supplier #3 samples have landed!

    [​IMG]

    Everything worked out. Tracking # he gave me started with a "9" was not trackable but UPS Choice gave me an email notification about the package scheduled to arrive today luckily.

    He was generous enough to give me extras for different products, around double what I had asked for. The variety is good in helping me establish which one will be best, both in size, weight, material, etc.


    2) Supplier #1 (the most important) emailed me last night saying the samples are finished, they just need to print this week and it will be sent out this week sometime. Will be sending me a picture. I am hoping it turned out how I had hoped. My product has 4+ parts and I am hoping that this supplier will competently produce more than 1 of them, it would gave some trouble of finding another supplier for 1 little part, having to renegotiate MOQ all over again, etc.


    There are temptations. Temptations to read other unrelated threads on here, look into other opportunities, merely out of boredom during the downtime. I've made that mistake before and I won't make the same mistake again. I understand how much focus it takes to stick to ONE thing. For someone who constantly wants to move forward, the devil is in the downtime. When you've done everything you can even steps ahead, and there's nothing much more to do other than wait patiently.

    I try to focus and read E-commerce related threads only on here as it keeps me focused. The shiny object temptation is kept at bay this way.

    Even the thought of starting on a new SKU during the downtime when I'm waiting on my suppliers, enters my mind as I dont want to waste time. But I think focusing on 1 product is best.


    Next steps:
    - wait on Supplier #1 samples. Cant do much without those.
    - Once I receive them and they are satisfactory, place orders with all my suppliers. I don't want to keep them waiting, supplier #2 had sent me samples about 1-2 weeks ago.
    - At best, that will still take maybe 2 months to produce. This means, I may receive the products sometime around Aug to Sept.

    Hmm, if I receive the sample next week and it is all good, then assuming it'll take 2 months for production and another 14 days for shipping for a total of 2.5 months, that puts the estimated landed date to my door around Aug 1.
    Beginning of Aug, will have to spend a week or so assembling the products as fast as possible, sending it into Amazon FBA. The product might hit the shelves End of Aug/Beg of Sept.
    This leaves me Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec. I should have 500 units. I don't know how it will perform. Worst case, it does poorly and hopefully use the holiday season to liquidate it all.
    If it does well and the 500 units sell fairly quickly, I will run out of stock during the holidays and won't be able to receive another shipment (larger this time around) until possibly Feb.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
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  12. Denim Chicken
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    Supplier #1 sent me pics of the sample, unrefined. But the color is pretty close to my wanting. I have to see it in person to be 100% sure but so far looks good. Given that color was a big issue for me and I am paying extra for it, this is a huge step.

    He said they should have sent it out this week, waiting on them to finish everything up.
     
  13. Denim Chicken
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    FINALLY. After 1.5 months since payment, my samples from Supplier #1 have arrived. All my parts are here and happy to say, the quality is great.

    What have I been doing while waiting patiently?
    - Working on my website. Branding it and perfecting it
    - Been on the lookout on slickdeals to wait patiently on a deal for a DSLR camera. Found a canon t6 for $350 after rebate and been learning to use it properly. Will be taking some action shots and product photos
    - Watching some youtube videos to see if I can find some methods on how to cut down on assembly time. Since I have 4+ parts in this product that requires assembly, this is my biggest challenge going forward for future orders. There is one assembly process that takes more time than the others.
    I don't think I have enough volume to outsource this yet so I will have to figure this out for now.


    Now the work begins. I was told I'd be getting 5 pieces each but the supplier added a few more (probably because of the delay) and I have about 10 or 12 units on hand, which may allow me to do a little testing before I make my first order.

    I'm debating this. Should I test or should I just place the orders? 10 units to test (minus my on-hand sample for photos, etc.) is not enough really to do any real testing and any rank from those will be wasted while waiting 2 months for my real order to arrive. I might just place the order without testing.

    Either way, I have I'd say at least 2 months of waiting once I pay for my order. I have 3 suppliers I deal with and so that is 3 orders, 3 customs issues, 3 of everything. I guess that's what I get for having multiple parts in my product.

    What's next?
    - Take this week to stress test every part of this product. Double check on quality or anything that could possibly go wrong
    - Reply to all my suppliers with final touches if any, and place my orders with them. I need to brush up on @Walter Hay's book for this part

    While I wait for my order to come..
    - Set up an LLC, EIN, Business Checking Account, etc.
    - Make an Amazon sellers account
    - Write copy for my listing
    - Look into brand registry
    - Finish my Amazon listing
    - Finish my website and the copy on it
    - Finalize my hangtag and packaging designs
    - Order labels and packaging materials
    - Clarify UPC and Amazon barcode requirements
    - Set up a fluid assembly station in my den to minimize assembly time and effort
    - Finalize my numbers including the exact landed cost to see if I was close in my estimate on COGS
    - Set up photo booth with good lighting and take pictures and submit to Amazon for approval
    - Choose a good day with good lighting to take product photos in action
    - Shoot a quick video and edit


    Man there's a lot to do. I ideally I wish I had 100 units to test and cut my list above by 1/2 so I don't have any wasted time or effort on something that won't sell.. but I think I have to believe in my research. After all, I am a consumer of this product.

    @biophase Have you ever run into having to assemble products for any of your products? Not just packaging or kitting but assembly like screwing pieces together, or attaching something here, tying things together, etc.
    Is there any outsource or 3rd party help you know of that I can get on this that I am not thinking of? I believe my unit # is too small to hire a contract assembly fulfillment center. My only option at this point is to do it myself or hire someone locally to help for a weekend.
     
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    Thanks for this progress thread, it is inspiring.
     
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  15. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Assembled the sample units, timed it. Found a way to assemble the difficult part faster. Takes about 1-2 mins per unit.

    Ran into a fucking headache though. Registered and made an Amazon seller's account. Suspended immediately, no listings. Tried to figure out why. I realized a few weeks ago I had completed seller account registration with my consumer Amazon email address to take a look at the platform. It wasn't active and nothing was listed, it just required me to enter a credit card when I tried to read the seller account FAQs.

    Well, today I registered for my REAL seller account using my business email. I think because the CC/Address/IP are the same, it was an immediate suspension. I wrote an email and suggested that this may be the issue and they can close one of the accounts out as they are both inactive.

    I am hoping for a timely response so I can place my first orders. I would hate for this to not get resolved for months as I hear Amazon seller issues take forever to deal with. Amazon would be a big part of the revenue for this product.

    Photo booth backdrop coming tomorrow. Will be taking professional product photos & finalizing my insert design and ordering their prints tomorrow.
     
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  16. Denim Chicken
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    DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY.

    I try to do something everyday even if it's responding to an email or fixing a stupid banner on a website. A good habit to get into. And those little things you get out of the way on a slow day compounds and makes your life easier. A list of 30 "little" things to do is quite stressful as it's a lot for your brain to process so I try to knock those things out little bit at a time.

    Today:
    - Got my Amazon account reactivated. They were quick about it.
    - Received my photo backdrop
    - About to take some product photos, I need to figure out lighting my lamps are yellow. Might mess with the photo settings or edit afterwards.
    - Send out my rebate for the DSLR camera I bought. I got burned before for forgetting about this (that's how they get ya)
    - Finalize insert and get it printed
    - Contact my suppliers and ask for pricing on freight, weight dimensions, etc. Place order Monday.
     
  17. Denim Chicken
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    Product photos.. took forever. It sucks because my product is larger than a standard photo booth so I used a white backdrop but when you do that, white isn't exactly white. There are areas that are gray and darker because the background isn't lit. I had to use photoshop and pen tool to individually outline the entire thing and put it on a white background.

    Website is 80% done. Got finalized shipping costs from supplier 1 and 2. Waiting on supplier 3.



    Any of you guys that want to chime in, would love a little feedback. @AllenCrawley @biophase @amp0193 @JasonR @Ecom man and anyone else that has some ecommerce experience

    Now that I have exact freight pricing, I am re-running the numbers for profitability and having some doubt.

    The cost of the product landed is about $7. Using amazon's fba calculator for the fees, the breakeven point is around $19-20. Before ad costs.

    There are 3 main competitors I am minding:
    - The top competitor is priced at $15 with around 800 reviews. The product is not better than my product. I bought it and I made my product custom because I bought 3 of them due to breakage. They have a lot of different products and are quite a decent sized company with lots of employees.
    - 2nd top competitor is priced around $30. They seem to sell equally well, they have around 500-600 reviews. It's definitely a tougher built product than the top competitor. Again, my product addresses issues with their product. Theyre not a very big company and seem to be doing well still. I see them on google adwords and received 100% impression share and 2 sales at $29 when I tested few months ago.
    - 3rd guy has maybe 100 reviews and priced at $12-13. Straight from china, not branded, terrible quality. I broke 2 of them using it. But cheap enough to use one time for a few weeks I guess.

    Given that I took all this into consideration while I designed my product and improved it, I feel confident I can price near the upper range. But I have no real way of knowing for sure and the fear of loss is making me consider all angles.

    My product objectively looks better than all 3, has features all 3 lack, and is better quality. It is also hand assembled here by me with catchier branding.

    If I price around $25, my profit margin is $5 after fees and COGS, which is is 20% profit margin.
    At $30, profit margin is 30%. This is probably best case scenario, I don't see myself going above this. I probably will want to stay in the 20s.
    Once again, $20 is the break even point so I really can't go lower than that.

    Competitors are priced anywhere from $12-29.99 so kind of worried I run the risk of not having enough margins in the case it flops. It also doesn't include ad costs. I can price it at 19.99 and run ads at a loss until I get ranked and then compete at the higher price mark.

    Any thoughts on the margin I'm working with?
     
  18. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Placed my orders. Should be live in 2 months hopefully

    Finished my website and woocommerce setup

    While I wait:
    - Shoot video
    - Order shipping supplies
    - Print inserts
    - Put inserts into the polybags and stick Amazon labels on them so theyre ready to go
    - Partially assemble a part sourced domestically
    - Do accounting with Quickbooks
    - Research 2nd product

    MODS, you can move to outside. dont think i'll be disclosing anything sensitive
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  19. Ecom man
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    Ecom man Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Not a fan of the margins at all. I regularly spend 15-20% of my sales cost in ad spend. If your margin are only 20% it will basically prevent you from using Adwords unless your cost per conversion is amazingly low. Just curious... what is the size of the item?
     
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  20. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    It's not heavy but its long. Amazon deems it oversized. So for fulfillment outside of Amazon I am using shipping tubes that posters come in. Sent media mail or first class I think it can be around $5-6 for shipping coast to coast.

    These are the margins for my order of 500 units. The prices are higher. At scale say at a quantity of 3000 units, I can reduce the total cost of goods by about $1 from about $7 to $6.

    I dont see how you can lower the costs any lower with my design. If it was any smaller it would fall into the cheap chinese quality range which competitors are selling around $12-15. The quality one is selling around $30 which is what I am trying to price at. Mine (IMO) is better than theirs.


    Actually it was your thread that got me testing on adwords. I bought a competitors product for $8-9, ran adwords and got 100% impression share and got 2 sales in about a weeks time. Sold for $32 shipped (each) and ad cost was I think around $5-6 per sale so it was profitable.

    This was late 2016. The only reason I did not continue is because 2 sales in 1 week is terrible. and I had 100% impression share on adwords. So despite the profitable margin after adwords, I decided it wasn't worth my time shipping and fulfilling. Not to mention my competitors product sucked so I didnt want to sell anymore of it.

    Well now I designed my variation of it that's better quality. I am seeing volume on Amazon from my competitors so I think that would be my primary source of traffic. I also havent tried google shopping yet.

    Amazon fees take up a ton. Close to $12 or so.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  21. Ecom man
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    Ecom man Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    If you can ship it yourself and save $6-7 per item I would considering doing that for sales outside of Amazon. (At least at the beginning) Using FBA and having it ship from Amazon's warehouse is a huge boost when selling on Amazon but for sales on your own site self fulfillment would double your margins. Unless the volume of sales is absolutely spectacular I don't see how you can afford to grow with margins at 20%
     
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  22. Denim Chicken
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    Denim Chicken Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    That's definitely the plan for anything outside of Amazon. So for anything done on my website, it'll be self fulfillment for now. Quite honestly, I was a bit torn whether or not to continue with this, I had some doubts. But the initial plan was that if I break even I will have been happy to call it a learning experience.
    However, if its a small profit margin, I can scale out to other products in the niche. Or I might drop it all together.

    I really dont know how much volume will be done, both top 2 competitors are doing $8k-10k/mo and have consistent reviews and sales on Amazon which is what made me think my initial adwords experience of 2 sales/week should be reconsidered.

    The competitor that is of highest quality with the highest price point has been doing this for years and seems to be able to support the business.

    I am going to go all in with this product as I already placed my order and call it a learning experience. In the past I never had the chance to fully test FB ads or IG influencers, adwords, etc. because I didnt' have a product I could get behind without feeling like I was wasting money testing ads.

    Now, at least the product itself is my own creation and of high quality and something I am passionate about. I know the product itself isn't a problem, so if I run ads in all channels and it doesn't do well, I'll move onto something else.


    Are you still only using adwords or did you move onto other forms of advertising? How did the products at the trade show go for you?
     
  23. Ecom man
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    Ecom man Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Still using mainly Adwords and Bing a little. (Bing doesn't get near the search volume of Google) Products from the trade show are getting there. Have one new website up and running and bringing in about $100 a day in sales so far. Second site is in the works but I'm taking a vacation for the rest of June so won't get much done on it until July.
     
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  24. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Your product will be a tough sell. You need to be at $20 to break even and have competitors selling at $12-$15 and one at $30.

    You will hopefully break even on your first run. Without reviews and just launching, it will be hard to get people to pay $20. I hope your photos and listing are top notch as you will need them to be. How well can pictures convey that your product is better than the others?

    I see you pricing at $19.99 to get sales, maybe lowering to $14.99 to gain some sales velocity and ranking. Then slowly raising to $20 and to $25 if possible.
     
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  25. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I have done some on a small scale. I would do it myself at first until the volume is consistent enough to hire someone.
     
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