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My Amazon experience, as directed by Guru X

Discussion in 'Lessons from Success/Failure' started by Surf16, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Amazon Experience

    I thought I would tell my Amazon experience as detailed as I can remember as it was over a year ago.

    The reason why I want to get it out there is to possibly answer/help anyone starting the journey and to just lay it out for myself to review.

    I am 50/50 on trying another product on Amazon.

    If I move forward, I will be taking what I have learned from my past experience and using the knowledge from this forum and other sources to help in the future.

    Here we go…

    I have a Lifestyle Brand that I have in a few stores hear in Southern California and Hawaii. I was always looking into other sales channels to gain more exposure.

    My friend, who is a buyer for a big brand in Maui suggested I look into FBA on Amazon. She said they had approached her about selling her line on Amazon. And since she signed up she has seen sales increase exponentially.

    At that time, I only knew how to purchase things from Amazon!

    It was a completely different beast for me to think about putting my brand on there.

    Well, while I was researching on how to get my brand on Amazon, I started watching YouTube videos on the “Amazon Guru’s” who make millions with Amazon.

    I fell down the rabbit hole hard.

    I got so pumped up on the entire FBA Amazon thing that I lost track of my own brand and started researching products right away.

    I bought one of the Guru’s courses and studying it day and night! I was hooked and I thought if these guys could do it I definitely could!

    I was the perfect target for these guys BS!

    I chose a “guru” who seemed to really care about his students. His big selling point was that he would be there for any questions with an email or DM if I ever needed him.

    Thinking back on it all I was such an idiot! I was chasing the money! I was the perfect candidate for these kinds of “guru’s”.

    So, I purchased the course, purchased the Jungle Scout software (which I am sure this guy got a % of) and was off and running.

    I researched products I found on Jungle Scout. Not even realizing how many others must be looking at the exact same products thinking they are landing on a gold mine.

    I found a product I thought met all the criteria for a successful Amazon venture.

    I contacted multiple suppliers via Alibaba on the product I chose.

    I was following the “Guru’s” course to a tee.

    I was bombarded by responses by the suppliers. It was a pain managing all the ones I had talked to and the ones I was going back and forth with.

    Finally, I chose one supplier to send me samples of the product I was going with.

    After a week or so I received the samples. In hind sight I don’t know why I didn’t get samples from at least a couple other suppliers. I think I was trying to keep the cost of the entire venture as low as I could.

    I had 2 variants that my competitors didn’t have. I thought that would separate me and add value to my product.

    I was impressed with the samples (they are still sitting next to my desk as I write this) and decided to make the MOQ purchase of 500 units.

    Knowing that reviews are crucial I decided to add an insert in each package. The insert thanked the customer for their purchase and asked if they could leave an honest review of the product. I then bullet pointed the exact steps to leave the review.

    While the shipment was being prepped I asked for updates and pictures of the progress from the supplier. My rep was great at answering all my questions and sending me all the requested updates.

    During this time, I prepped my Amazon listing. I followed every step in the “guru’s” course.

    · Great Description (using all keywords)

    · Professional Photos

    · Used HTML tricks in the Product Features & Description section

    I had the “guru” review it and he said it looked great.

    I thought as soon as the product was delivered to the FBA warehouse I would sit back and watch the money roll in.

    Fast forward to the product in the FBA warehouse, product listing is live and I am 100% ready to sell products and get reviews.

    Crickets…

    I had to start my PPC campaign.

    This was the most frustrating ordeal of the entire experience.

    I did every technique the “guru” said as well as a ton of other YouTube videos.

    I asked questions on forums (not this one) and researched the heck out of cracking the PPC code.

    I would see sales from 1 to 6 a day. But nowhere what I expected.

    The PPC campaign was obviously eating into my margins.

    I was frustrated and pissed that this was not working well.

    Another issue (my own fault) was I researched the product during the Holiday Season when the prices were much higher than normal.

    So now, not only was the PPC draining my margins but I had to lower the price to keep up with the competition. All of it was maddening.

    I still had about 330 units in stock and I started getting the notices from Amazon that I was going to start being charged for long-term storage fees.

    Long story short I now have 330 units of my product in my garage.

    I was originally mad at the entire experience. But then I started to look at all the things I learned through it all.

    Lessons Learned:

    · Don’t hire a guru – for ANYTHING! You can find most everything for free on YouTube or other resources. Just look deep

    · When researching products check price for the entire year

    · Look for a product you can add more value to

    · Check the bad reviews of competitors to solve problems

    · When calculating numbers and margins account more for the PPC Campaign

    · Start with smaller MOQ

    · Test a product before 100% committing to inventory

    · Use other sales channels to promote the product

    I’m sure there are more!

    I know Amazon doesn’t follow the CENTS commandments but I read from another post in this forum that you can’t start your Fastlane journey in a Ferrari!

    I currently have another product I am waiting to test and while that is being proven I am working on finding another product that meets my criteria.

    I am not mad about my first experience with Amazon, but rather I look back at it and will use it to prevent similar mistakes if I choose that route again.

    Sorry this post is so long, but it felt good to get off my chest!
     
    Kybalion, Strm, Kid and 11 others like this.
  2. therealmark
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    therealmark Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Congratulations on your awesome learning experience!
    Thank you for sharing. A lot of people don't want to share experiences like this. They are more than excited to tell everyone about the successful product launches.

    I guarantee the next time you do something like this you will be even more successful because you learned so much.

    What do you plan to do next?
     
    Surf16 and Midas like this.
  3. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Why didn't you just sell the products in your lifestyle brand on Amazon? Why did you start with an entirely new product?
     
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  4. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I am currently researching products more carefully. I am using the "999 Method", Jungle Scout and making sure any product I find meets certain criteria.

    I am in the process of getting 3D images of a product to put on a landing page. I would like to test the market before manufacturing.

    Trying to take all the lessons I learned and apply them to my next experience.
     
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  5. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    When researching how to get my Lifestyle Brand on Amazon I got caught up in the UPC codes. The Lifestyle Brand has a lot of varients and they want a UPC code for each. At the time I was looking into it the UPC codes were way out of my budget.

    I still have inventory I may start putting on Amazon. However, it is a very competitive market and I think the PPC campaign would kill any margins.

    @biophase - I would love to get your thoughts on the product I am about to test if you are open to it.

    I posted it in your "Ask me anything about Amazon" (or something similar) but never heard anything.

    Your threads are very helpful - Thank you!
     
    Tommo likes this.
  6. dimraj
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    dimraj Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Lol so the only winners in this story was amazon and the guru, you helped pay for 1 months lease for his newest Lambo. :rofl:



    Seriously tho, why don't you try and bulk sell the remaining products instead of just leaving them in your garage.:frown:
     
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  7. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    But this brand is already selling right? I don't understand still.

    Why would you have to do PPC on Amazon. Don't people know about the brand already?
     
    Neng Her likes this.
  8. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I am talking to business owners who may buy bulks of my product in the coming months. I haven't given up on selling them just haven't made it a top priority lately.
     
  9. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Yes, people know about it but only in small areas that I have focused on. I do a lot of FB and Instagram posts to bring awareness.

    If my brand was on Amazon wouldn't I have to do PPC campaigns to draw in the larger crowd?
     
  10. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    What I would have done is market your brand to larger audiences on FB or IG and then they would wind up at Amazon looking for it.
     
  11. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    @Surf16 Your experience will benefit others, and I hope one thing it will teach is that limiting research to YouTube is not a great idea.

    I would like to add some comments to points you have made:
    So they make millions with Amazon! Really?
    What they can do is to convince people that they are doing it.
    There are a large number of posts on the forum (quite a few by me) warning against this mistake.
    Were those suppliers manufacturers or traders? Did you have any idea how to be sure you were getting the best price?
    This is a serious mistake. I have a 68 page AMA thread and I know that if anyone tries to start an importing business based on that massive amount of free information, there will still be huge, potentially costly, gaps in their knowledge.
    That is one of the free snippets of information I have repeated countless times, but do you know how to get a supplier to accept your order for a smaller quantity?

    Finally, most Amazon gurus know zilch about safe sourcing and importing, so they will inevitably lead you astray. But there are genuine Amazon experts out there who know that they don't know about safe sourcing and importing, so the good ones turn to experts that do know. One of them fixes the problem by including my importing book for free in his BBB A+ rated course, and the course costs peanuts.

    Walter
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  12. Maxboost
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    Maxboost Silver Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    This is 100% correct. Most of the information is rehashed. The current business model is, give away 98% for free, hire me as a consultant for the remaining 2%.

    You really don't need the remaining 2% as you will learn it eventually...
     
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  13. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    It's a pity your post followed on directly after mine, so I need to put something straight.

    I agree that most of the information I see put out by "experts" or gurus in my specialty is a rehash of something put out by others, including their mistakes, and seriously obsolete information.

    My AMA constitutes much less than 98% of the information in my importing book, partly because I can't publish the 121 pages ( + Appendix) in my 2018 edition. It is being expanded considerably in the 2019 revision, which includes many necessary revisions due to the changes happening frequently in the sourcing and importing field.

    One of those changes made in an earlier edition was so valuable that it led one Fastlane member to write: "You have saved me $3,000." Not a bad ROI on $97.

    Obsolete information rehashed by gurus who have no idea what they are trying to teach in a field that they don't understand, and who don't know what they don't know, can be a serious wealth hazard.

    Walter
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  14. Kaizen502
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    Kaizen502 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    @Surf16 thank you for sharing your story. I failed with FBA before and can relate to some of your points. It's good to at least reflective on the failure and learn from those mistakes.

    I am wondering why you are not selling the products of your Lifestyle Brand on Amazon? Do you have good customer feedback from the local stores that sell your stuff? What is your audience? Surfers?
     
  15. Surf16
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I do have great feedback. I am in the process of setting everything up on Amazon. This forum has inspired me to give it a shot.

    I feel I have a better understanding of running a PPC campaign now from my previous FBA experience.

    My audience in general are beach people. I surf and have made a brand around the lifestyle. I was able to Trademark the Shaka (hang loose) symbol as my logo.

    My brand is not for core surfers, rather the families that love the beach. Think of the brands you would find in a gift shop of a 5 star hotel at a beach location.
     
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  16. Kaizen502
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    Kaizen502 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Sounds great. Keep us updated.

    I am in the process of building a real brand myself and found the stuff from Ryan Daniel Moran inspiring and motivating to build a brand and sell at premium prices. My first product failed also because I made the mistake to compete on price.

    Selling products with a higher perceived value helps IMHO. If you sell jewelry you can have great margins even for cheap fashion jewelry. A good example of this is the German brand PURELEI who sells Hawaii-inspired fashion jewelry.

    If your margins are good then you can run PPC profitable even if your CR is not optimized and of course you can offer a better experience for your customers.

    Sounds like you have more local retailers in mind already :)
     
    Surf16 likes this.

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