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RANT Running Away From Alibaba and Amazon

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Salama2017

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If you have read Unscripted, you'll understand why sourcing from Alibaba and then selling on Amazon is such a slow-lane idea. On page 249, MJ talks about how this idea violated the commandment of entry.

I tried doing the same (sourcing from Alibaba and selling on Amazon) but stopped halfway. I stopped after finding out how many other people were doing it and the countless programs that are out there to help sellers track sales and find the right products.

I am not arguing that there is no money to be made. A lot of people are making a lot of money. But for people like me, looking for a way to make millions, it will be easy to just focus on solving problems that people are having.

Hit the forums and blogs and people are complaining left to right about all aspects of life. A lot of issues to be solved and a lot of money to be made outside Amazon and Alibaba.

For instance, I was working in a big freezer and wearing my glasses. When I walked out, the warm weather fogged up my lenses. I couldn't wear them for 5 minutes. I googled ways to stop lenses from fogging up. People have all kinds solutions.

However, I couldn't find a single solution that solved the problem 100%. I even looked for solutions on Amazon and Walmart and people were complaining about how crappy the anti-fog wipes and sprays were. Imagine if you solved this problem... $$$$

Why haven't I solved it? because I am lazy. I do not want to go through the process of contacting manufacturers and studying the industry... among other excuses. I am working to solve another issue though.

My point is that there are opportunities outside Amazon and Alibaba. I recommend anyone that is looking for a good business idea to read Unscripted from page 228-300.

Anyone can source from Alibaba and sell on Amazon in minutes. That is when my 'easification' bells rang. However, this does not go for those who jumped on Alibaba and Amazon early on. This also does not apply to those selling shovels to those digging for gold. Programs like Amazeowl, JungleScout, Unicorn Smasher, and so on are the shovels. And you my friend, just starting the Alibaba-Amazon business, are the golddigger.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Amazon is a channel, not a business. It just happens to be the largest channel out there so people make it their business.

Anyway, while I agree with your points, don't dismiss the value in importing and selling on Amazon. There is some good experience in doing this, even if you don't make a dime.

In the end, no matter what you do, Amazon will probably be involved. It's gotten that big and dominant.
 

Walter Hay

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My point is that there are opportunities outside Amazon and Alibaba. I recommend anyone that is looking for a good business idea to read Unscripted from page 228-300.

Anyone can source from Alibaba and sell on Amazon in minutes. That is when my 'easification' bells rang. However, this does not go for those who jumped on Alibaba and Amazon early on. This also does not apply to those selling shovels to those digging for gold. Programs like Amazeowl, JungleScout, Unicorn Smasher, and so on are the shovels. And you my friend, just starting the Alibaba-Amazon business, are the golddigger.
I completely agree with your view that the easy approach to Alibaba and Amazon is folly.

Although your statement: "Anyone can source from Alibaba and sell on Amazon in minutes." might be hyperbole, that exaggeration for the sake of emphasis certainly gets the message across.

Unfortunately the great majority of Amazon gurus know that if they are to get buyers for their courses, they have to make it all sound very easy. The big problem there is that yes, it's easy if you are a risk taker, willing to accept mediocrity, and follow the flock.

The truth of the matter is that sourcing on Alibaba can be a high risk venture made far riskier by the advice provided by sales professionals with little knowledge of the realities of sourcing and importing. (See my AMA GOLD Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist.)

In addition to that, selling on Amazon, only on the basis of the results you get with those programs that "help sellers track sales and find the right products", means joining the ever swelling ranks of people selling those very same products.

There was a worthwhile discussion on this subject here: Amazon is Going to Slaughter Your Brand and I particularly refer you to @Eskil's post #53 and and my post #54.

Walter
P.S. There is a long running Amazon course that has over 1,000 provable testimonials and a BBB A+ rating. People can and do continue to make Fastlane money on Amazon.
 

MoneyDoc

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As @MJ DeMarco already mentioned, Amazon is simply a sales channel. It drives me nuts when people say they have an “amazon business.”

And yes, if you follow these “gurus” and their courses, you’re not going to make any money. Yes it’s easy selling the same product as everyone else. The real money is where everyone else isn’t looking.

I was doing some product research yesterday for a new product for one of my brands. Holy sh*t... there’s a ton of niches on amazon.com right now that will make any private labeler a 6 figure business very quickly. Again, you get what you put in. Don’t expect to find a product to create a brand around with 1 hour of research.
 

A1988

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Hey @Salama2017 I see what you're saying, but think about this for a second. First of all, not all niches are saturated. There are so many sub-niches along with niches that you, others and myself have never heard (or thought) about. Competition/Saturation doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. It means there's demand my friend, which you can capitalize on. Sure, everyone is jumping on board, but that doesn't mean that everyone will be successful. You might also think that EVERYONE knows about FBA, but I can guarantee you most individuals have never heard of it before. Don't believe me? Go ahead and ask around.

IMO, Amazon is a great platform to test your product out in a market (could be a prototype of some sort) that can help generate feedback (reviews) and will allow you to evaluate your product based on overall customer satisfaction. This is great because it enables you to change things based on customer gratification. Not only that, you can develop new skills such as learning how to source/negotiate deals with manufacturers or suppliers overseas, educating yourself about running PPC campaigns, and just overall knowledge about market places and how to evaluate them.

I'm new to FBA, although I'm not looking to make millions like you, I'm trying to learn a system that can one day allow me to scale an online business of my own. Although I'm still in the product research phase, I'm learning so many new things about FBA and also about myself (which I think is extremely important). I think its a great place to start if you're new, but then again that's my opinion.

I'm currently reading UNSCRIPTED , @MJ DeMarco also states that there is no "Silver bullet" to success. Shit comes from hard work, failure and persistence. Not laziness. Please don't take me the wrong way. If you have read UNSCRIPTED and TMF you should know that laziness does not contribute to success as well as making millions. Rather than thinking BIG, I would recommend focusing on SMALL DAILY WINS. I hope this helps in some way, shape or form.

I wish you success in your future entrepreneurial journey bro!
 

biophase

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If you have read Unscripted, you'll understand why sourcing from Alibaba and then selling on Amazon is such a slow-lane idea. On page 249, MJ talks about how this idea violated the commandment of entry.

I tried doing the same (sourcing from Alibaba and selling on Amazon) but stopped halfway. I stopped after finding out how many other people were doing it and the countless programs that are out there to help sellers track sales and find the right products.

I am not arguing that there is no money to be made. A lot of people are making a lot of money. But for people like me, looking for a way to make millions, it will be easy to just focus on solving problems that people are having.

Hit the forums and blogs and people are complaining left to right about all aspects of life. A lot of issues to be solved and a lot of money to be made outside Amazon and Alibaba.

For instance, I was working in a big freezer and wearing my glasses. When I walked out, the warm weather fogged up my lenses. I couldn't wear them for 5 minutes. I googled ways to stop lenses from fogging up. People have all kinds solutions.

However, I couldn't find a single solution that solved the problem 100%. I even looked for solutions on Amazon and Walmart and people were complaining about how crappy the anti-fog wipes and sprays were. Imagine if you solved this problem... $$$$

Why haven't I solved it? because I am lazy. I do not want to go through the process of contacting manufacturers and studying the industry... among other excuses. I am working to solve another issue though.

My point is that there are opportunities outside Amazon and Alibaba. I recommend anyone that is looking for a good business idea to read Unscripted from page 228-300.

Anyone can source from Alibaba and sell on Amazon in minutes. That is when my 'easification' bells rang. However, this does not go for those who jumped on Alibaba and Amazon early on. This also does not apply to those selling shovels to those digging for gold. Programs like Amazeowl, JungleScout, Unicorn Smasher, and so on are the shovels. And you my friend, just starting the Alibaba-Amazon business, are the golddigger.
It’s ironic that in your example eyeglasses problem, that once you solve it you will probably get in made from a factory that is on alibaba and then sell it on Amazon.
 

Kak

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Three years ago Amazon was flush with low hanging fruit for the taking. Now, Amazon is starting to look a bit like a saturated bubble to me honestly. The window of opportunity is far more narrow than when I got into it. I have been saying it for years, Amazon should be a spoke to the wheel... not the wheel itself.

The barrier to entry is too low. Any idiot with 2 grand to blow can start an “amazon business” and further push prices in the category to rock bottom and advertising costs into the stratosphere while furthering the reputation that 3rd party sellers pedal a bunch of useless junk and don’t stand behind their products. Only Amazon will be making money once this kind of racket runs its course.

At this point, unless you want to dissect the inner workings of Amazon (NOT YOUR COMPANY AND YOU SHOULDN'T WANT TO) and pull all the magic strings at just the right time forever, it is a distraction devoid of true control.

If I were a brand new entrepreneur, I would be looking for other opportunities. I know this is an unpopular viewpoint, but I don’t give a shit. Folks should be thinking bigger than solopreneur “amazon business” anyways.
 
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Fpm9

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I don't have experience selling on Amazon, but it looks like a good channel. However, it seems too risky to only sell on Amazon. What if you make millions and one day they decide to ban your account ? I'd rather sell less products, but sell it on a channel I own, and where I can acquire data on who buys my stuff.
 

JasonR

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Since I found my manufacturer online and will use Amazon's sales channel, I guess I better take my $70k product investment, 6 months of factory visits, product development, and manufacturing time and pack it in now boys.

Seriously though, there are excellent replies in this thread and some gold to be found here. OP and others take note, particularly Walter's and MJ's posts.
 

JAJT

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In the end, no matter what you do, Amazon will probably be involved. It's gotten that big and dominant.
Case in point: I got frustrated with my Amazon-only private label businesses and vowed to make them an afterthought in my new venture.

I'm days away from having product in the market and what did I ultimately decide to do?
After a lot of thought and research I decided to use Amazon's warehouses for fulfillment and list my products on Amazon again.
Oops.

They are just far, far too big to ignore.

You shouldn't rely on them to keep your business afloat but as others have mentioned it's pretty foolish to not give the largest online retail platform some serious love and attention in your business.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Since I found my manufacturer online and will use Amazon's sales channel, I guess I better take my $70k product investment, 6 months of factory visits, product development, and manufacturing time and pack it in now boys.
I hope you protect your investment in this, it's a very nice entry barrier. It would suck if your manufacturer then took all your work and advertised your product on Alibabi for every money chaser to sell as well.

In other words, you endured a process to make your product come to life, just make sure your manufacturer doesn't make it an event for everyone else.
 

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ProblemOd

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I tried doing the same (sourcing from Alibaba and selling on Amazon) but stopped halfway.

I am not arguing that there is no money to be made. A lot of people are making a lot of money. But for people like me, looking for a way to make millions, it will be easy to just focus on solving problems that people are having.

Why haven't I solved it? because I am lazy. I do not want to go through the process of contacting manufacturers and studying the industry... among other excuses.

However, this does not go for those who jumped on Alibaba and Amazon early on
Sounds like you're over thinking and giving your excuse not to finish something. That was me, so I understand where you're coming from.

But I didn't think about making millions from my first product.
In fact i was OK losing everything just for the experience.
I started selling on Amazon in April 2017.
So far I pulled in $232,574.50 in revenue.

This let me:
  • Take 2 extra days off from work every week to focus on business
  • Move into a really nice apartment in Manhattan (I was sleeping on mattress on the floor for a year before)
  • Save enough to enroll into biophase's ecommerce course.
Will this first business last? Who knows. But I will be continously working, and when you do that, opportunities appear that wouldn't have otherwise.

You'll notice a lot of successful people here started out with one thing, then moved on to another. Don't be afraid of that. You don't need to hit the jackpot on your first try.
 

KLaw

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I don't have experience selling on Amazon, but it looks like a good channel. However, it seems too risky to only sell on Amazon. What if you make millions and one day they decide to ban your account ? I'd rather sell less products, but sell it on a channel I own, and where I can acquire data on who buys my stuff.
This would just break my heart. Make millions then get banned. Pretty sure I could start something else up w my millions.
 

Walter Hay

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I don't have experience selling on Amazon, but it looks like a good channel. However, it seems too risky to only sell on Amazon. What if you make millions and one day they decide to ban your account ? I'd rather sell less products, but sell it on a channel I own, and where I can acquire data on who buys my stuff.
Amazon is not only a good channel, but at least while it lasts it is an excellent channel. Why not use it until you either can't use it any more, or until you don't need to use it any more?

If you can't use it any more that will probably be because Amazon pulled the plug on you for some reason. If you don't need to use it any more that will almost certainly be because you had the good sense to build your business on other sales channels at the same time as making the most of Amazon's phenomenal traffic.

I have posted a few times to suggest you should always set up your own eCommerce site to run side by side with your Amazon venture. Some come unstuck because they disregard Amazon's TOS regarding contact with their customers. Yes they are Amazon's customers not yours.

The way around that TOS problem is to put your URL on your labels, packaging, and if practical incorporated as part of the product*. But, please note: Your eCommerce site must be good enough to make those who notice that URL, and who click on it even just out of curiosity, want to stay and look around. If they see an incentive to stay, they might even buy. Think "Fries with your burger?" Your eCommerce site might be the better place to sell related products.

* See this post regarding incorporating a brand or URL as part of your product: Progress Thread - Going for it. Ecommerce.

Walter
 

Walter Hay

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I hope you protect your investment in this, it's a very nice entry barrier. It would suck if your manufacturer then took all your work and advertised your product on Alibabi for every money chaser to sell as well.

In other words, you endured a process to make your product come to life, just make sure your manufacturer doesn't make it an event for everyone else.
This is very important. It is very difficult to make sure your manufacturer doesn't offer your product to others.

There is almost no way of guaranteeing that suppliers will honor a promise to keep your product exclusive. Even a written contract to that effect will be near impossible to enforce.

The best protection is to build an excellent relationship. One way of doing that is to make frequent visits. I am talking about 2 or 3 visits a year. They might be costly, but you don't have to be in China for long unless you want to do more product sourcing while you are there. I used to leave home Monday morning and was back home by Friday night.

Here is a post in which I described my experience when a big supplier published an image of one of my products: My manufacturer posted my product to order on their site

Walter
 

Urshunt

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Hi I am starting my own business over here in Germany and am planning to use Amazon FBA while sourcing on Alibaba.

So far it hasn't been anything but easy. The first shipment was crappy products. The second was good quality, but ultimately the wrong products as I had done further research and gained further insights. The third shipment of samples met my expectations both in quality and the product, but will need some modifications to become a bestseller.

What I am facing now are major farting headwinds from a member of my church who found out that I am planning to sell a babydoll/nightgallon piece and basically thinks it is from the devil, which is ridiculous, but living out here in the country in Germany, the madness is actually very real and depressing to me as she might make everyone else mad.

Don't umderestimate the farting headwinds coming your way!!

Researching US-Amazon I found that there might be plenty of opportunities still untapped here in Germany. I don't want to just have an Amazon business but build a brand that will work with or without Amazon as cuŕrently the premier sales channel. And most likely even more so in the future.

The entry level barrier part of my business will not be my affiliations with Alibaba or Amazon, but my brand, as I am able to build up a customer base who loves and trusts my products.

So far it has been overwhelming and I am looking forward to having finally broken through to the other side of the mountain by having had my first sale, which might still be more than a month away due to upcoming Chinese new year.

In my experience this is not easy at all, even though having worked in private equity for the past six years.

Gesendet von meinem SM-G935F mit Tapatalk
 

hamhock89

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Amazon is a channel, not a business. It just happens to be the largest channel out there so people make it their business.

Anyway, while I agree with your points, don't dismiss the value in importing and selling on Amazon. There is some good experience in doing this, even if you don't make a dime.

In the end, no matter what you do, Amazon will probably be involved. It's gotten that big and dominant.
This. I started a progress thread on this and have yet to update it because I have YET to sell my first Alibaba imported product and fulfilled by Amazon. Which is fine. The best experience was the learning process that came along with it. The product didn't work and that's okay. Its my first try, and Ill try again and again until something works. That seems a lot like throwing different kinds of shit on a wall and hoping one sticks. In a way it is. But rather than searching for profit alone, searching for a way to help people is much more rewarding. I do believe that wealth is a side effect of helping a mass amount of people when you have something to sell to help better their lives or make things more convenient for them.
 

Urshunt

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This. I started a progress thread on this and have yet to update it because I have YET to sell my first Alibaba imported product and fulfilled by Amazon. Which is fine. The best experience was the learning process that came along with it. The product didn't work and that's okay. Its my first try, and Ill try again and again until something works. That seems a lot like throwing different kinds of sh*t on a wall and hoping one sticks. In a way it is. But rather than searching for profit alone, searching for a way to help people is much more rewarding. I do believe that wealth is a side effect of helping a mass amount of people when you have something to sell to help better their lives or make things more convenient for them.
I like your mindset about helping people with your product. Business is all about serving people, a concept I have understood way too late. For me it was always about realizing self-fulfillment by being my own boss. Having a business as something that is manifasted as being a clever person. In hindsight especially with MJ's insight I realize how distorted that view was. People don't care about your ambitions, your age, the university you graduated from, etc., only about a product, service our solution to their problems.

I want to make sure I have a product people like and I can be proud of. I feel you though when you say it is like throwing **** at the wall to see what sticks, since even something you are convinced is a good thing might even turn out unusefull to the market. I would make the analogy much more about tapping in the dark trying to find the light switch though. I am in great hopes to see the light finally when I have feedback from my first few customers and I am actually starting to feel the heart beat of the market.

One point worth mentioning also is that I understand, a little boost in the beginning is needed to make a product visible Or you might actually be left in the dark even though it might be a good one. Have you done a propper product launch with your first product?

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