More often than we’d like to admit our choice of a private label product was not the best choice we could have made. It’s either got too much competition or is not in a viable market to expect sufficient volume of sales. When that happens your sales can stall out or never get started at all. If you’ve done everything you can to get your listing optimized and jump start sales but still can’t get things moving, you may need to liquidate those products. On today’s episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott chats with Brad Kugler, who is an experienced liquidator both online and offline. Brad shares some amazingly generous tips on things you can do to sell your products and cut your losses. You won’t want to miss this one.
What does it mean to liquidate your products?
Anytime you run into a situation where your products are not selling as quickly or for as much as you had anticipated and you forecast that future sales will not be much different, you may be in a situation that requires that you liquidate your products, cut your losses, and move on to another product. Liquidating is the process of selling your products at the best price you can in order to recoup some of the money you’ve spent on the products so you can move on. Today’s episode features a professional liquidator, Brad Kugler. He’s got lots of tips to share about how you can do your own product liquidation quickly.
Can you use eBay to get rid of products that aren’t selling?
Brad Kugler says that one of the best tools that you can use to sell products that you want to get rid of is eBay. The platform seems to work very well for product liquidation and he has found that the buyers on eBay are very different from those who typically purchase through Amazon. Therefore you are able to get your products onto Ebay quickly, sell them faster, and get back the money you’ve invested so you can cut your losses and move on. On this episode Brad shares some tools you can use (most of them free) that will help you get your products on eBay and sold as quickly as possible.
Is retail arbitrage success still possible on Amazon?
One of the things Brad Kugler deals with often is the process of doing retail arbitrage. That’s because he often purchases bulk lots of items from stores or vendors that are liquidating and will resell those in whatever way he can. One of those ways is through retail arbitrage. When Scott discovered that Brad is familiar with the current state of retail arbitrage he asked what he thinks about the possibilities of successfully running a retail arbitrage business today. You might be surprised at what Brad has to say, so be sure you listen.
Do you know about the Amazon Giveaways feature?
One of the great Amazon tools that Brad Kruger recommends on this episode of The Amazing Seller is the “Amazon Giveaways” option. It’s a way that you can use the power of Amazon to promote products that you’re willing to giveaway to one winner. But all the other people who enter the contest receive a discount on the same product. This enables you to move a good number of units quickly because Amazon is the trusted source that’s promoting your contest. You’ve got to hear the tricks Brad has discovered to make the giveaway feature work for liquidations, so be sure you listen.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to the podcast about product liquidation!
- [2:51] What’s the best way to eliminate the need to liquidate products?
- [8:31] What Brad has been doing in the liquidation space since 1997.
- [13:23] What Brad’s business does today and how he recommends you liquidate.
- [19:44] What does Brad do with inventory he purchases?
- [22:53] What Brad thinks about the possibilities of retail arbitrage.
- [26:48] Tips for retail arbitrage on eBay.
- [32:00] Taking advantage of the Amazon Giveaways feature.
- [39:06] Using Facebook Groups to help you get rid of products.
- [42:20] Scott’s summary of the conversation.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 275
TAS 275 : How to Liquidate Products to Get Your Cash BACK with Brad Kugler
[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what's up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 275 and I am super excited today, extremely excited today. I hope that you're excited today just because I want you to have a good day. More than that I want to share with you my next guest. His name is Brad Kugler…
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…and he is an expert in product liquidation. Why would I be excited about this? Well, because sometimes when we're picking products especially in the beginning we might make a mistake or maybe we don't know exactly the market we want to go into.
But we want to pick something, we pick something and it maybe sells or maybe it doesn't sell as well as we wanted it to. Or maybe we just want to get out of that market. For whatever reason we want to be able to just get the cost of goods back or at least get some of the money back. We can then maybe take that, re-invest it into another product or another market that we want to go into. I've heard people ask me this question like how do you do it? And it was funny because I mentioned this on another episode and I think we did another episode which was more or less geared towards the obvious ways.
Go to eBay, Craigslist, maybe even your local retailers and he talks about that as well. But there's other ways that you can do it which was pretty creative and pretty clever that Brad came up with. Now, just to be totally transparent, he does have a service that does buy back products. But he'll say it right here right now on this podcast and I'm going to tell you guys right now too. He's going to tell you this, that's your last resort. Going to him is your last resort. If you don't follow what he says, the recommendations are and you just want to do it tomorrow, then yes you'd give him a call or someone like him.
He's going to tell you go try this first and this and do this. Then if that doesn't all work and you just want to get out from under it, then yes you go ahead and you can give me a call or someone like him. Just to be totally transparent, he's basically saying, don't come to me unless you've exhausted these other resources that he's going to share with us. Now again, he's been in this space for a long time.
[00:02:02] Scott: I believe it was over 15 or 20 years. I'm talking about going back as far as selling VHS tapes and stuff and he'll go through his story but I'm really excited because he's been in this even in the retail arb game for a long time .
Just like my good friend Dom Sugar. And he'll tell you too there's still a market out there for retail arb. Just to let you guys know. A lot of people are saying, “Well retail arb, online arb.” It's not my thing right now although I have thought about maybe another little division that I can have of maybe hiring a few people that could help me with that. And then we could have a whole another side thing but that's another discussion. Just want to say he's got a ton of knowledge he's going to share that today. So I'm really, really excited to have him in not to mention Brad's a cool guy, really cool guy. Definitely excited to share this with you, this conversation that we had.
Now I did want to also just say that people ask me, “Scott, what's the best way to eliminate even getting into a situation like this?” And the answer is, “There really isn't one set way.” There isn't a true formula. The one thing I will say is product selection or product research is going to be key. And I think that if we can master that, if we can master what to look for. What are the red flags that say, “No, no don't go after that market or that product.” I think going after a market is also I think something more important now than ever because we can build something around that market or inside of that market and maybe niche it down.
But again that's for a whole other conversation which we will have future episodes on that. That goes for even if you're not selling on Amazon. If you're selling just any product you got to find the market, you got to find the demand. You got to be able to prove that it's already selling. I do have a couple of episodes that we've done in the past. Episode 161 with Greg Mercer, check that out. And that will be in the show notes. Then episode 189 where I go through depth and demand and all that stuff to make sure that the numbers are accurate and you can validate.
[00:04:01] Scott: And this can reduce the amount of risk. It doesn't mean it's going to remove all the risk. It's going to remove some of the risk. Again, when you start to get good at this, it's like when you exercise or you train for an event you get better as you do it. You're going to get better as go through the product selection phase. Again, you just have to understand that it's a learning process. Now before we jump in I did want to remind you about the show notes. There will be full transcripts and show notes and links. There's going to be some links I'm telling you he's going to drop some links here. You're definitely going to want to head over to the show notes page theamazingseller.com/275. One thing before I do jump in and this is on a side note.
I just wanted to reach out and give all of the true TASers out there a giant hug because you guys are awesome. I have to say I go into iTunes to read the reviews and the feedback usually weekly. I don't always talk about it on the show but I did want to give you guys all a shout out and say I truly just want to say thank you for being listeners and being just fans of the show and supporters and knowing that it's collectively all of us pulling together. I did want to read one real quick if you don't mind and this one here was funny. Just the name, it's pretty awesome that people around the world are listening to this.
The headline of this in iTunes was ‘Scott the Humanitarian’. And it was by Itchy and Scratchy which is funny. “I'm brand new to the podcast just happened to stumble upon this gem. Me and my wife have been driving truck all around the country for two years. Currently we're hauling an Amazon load from Dallas to West Columbia, South Carolina.” Then he put in brackets, “Maybe I'll pass your house Scott.” Smiley face. “Four days ago we put in our two week notice to finally leave this job and be able to take action. I've been listening to this podcast pretty much nonstop since I found it. About ten plus hours a day.
I'm currently on episode 78 and hopefully can finish listening to all the episodes before I get home. So I can get caught up in two weeks from right now.
[00:06:03] Scott: Thanks Scott for taking the time of your day to put this podcast together and giving us so much valuable information and motivates us and helps us to listen.” I just want to say being able to read this stuff, the people that are actually listening. Whether that just turns something on in your head where you say you know what, this is something I think I can get started on. Because I've wanted to get started before but it just seems so complicated. Again, I'm using this Amazon as a vehicle, it's not necessarily the end of the game.
You guys have heard me say that and I'm going to say it time and time again. Especially Itchy and Scratchy I don't have the name but I just want to say that I'm sure you have the concept of what you want to do but hopefully and this would be a little bit of advice for you before I would ever leave any job I'd need a runway. I need a runway of cash and capital that I know that I'm going to be able to move towards. Anyone out there that's thinking that I just want to do this to leave my job, you have to understand if you're just building your business on Amazon it is risky and I would never recommend doing that. If we were sitting down having coffee, Itchy and Scratchy that's what I'd be saying.
I just want to throw it out there for anyone else too. I think it's awesome that someone would have the balls to do that but me personally I would need a runway and I've done that in the past. Even when I left my father's construction business and then went into the online space or even my brick and mortar business, with the photography and all of that stuff. I always had a runway and I think that everyone should. You got to have a plan and you got to execute it but yes there are risks involved. I just wanted to give a shout out, give a great big hug to all you guys and say thank you so much, I appreciate each and every one of you. I've rambled on long enough. This has been a long intro and I apologize. Let's go ahead and listen to this awesome interview I did with Brad Kugler enjoy.
[00:07:52] Scott: Hey Brad thank you so much for hanging out men, what's going on?
[00:07:56] Brad: Hey Scott it's really a pleasure to be here. I've listened to you for so long and to be honest I'm a little bit star struck to be sitting here talking to you. This great thank you so much.
[00:08:05] Scott: No problem man. Star struck though? Come on man. You put me a little bit up higher up than I am but I appreciate that. I'm just so glad that I was able to connect with you. I know we've communicated a little bit through email. I really wanted to get you on because you and I had some conversations going back and forth about liquidating. You heard an episode I did where people were asking like, “What do I do if I have a product that it's not moving? Maybe I just want to move on to the next product but I got to liquidate it.” We gave them some ideas on what they could do but then you approached me and said, “You know what, I think I can help them because I do that already.” First off give me a little bit of the background story on Brad.
[00:08:47] Brad: Sure, first I want to say I started listening to you in January. And I've listened to every episode. Maybe I'm behind by five. So 260 episodes and I listen to you at this 2x speed. Usually you're talking twice as fast I'm at the gym or at the treadmill as you say. Speaking to you at normal speed, it's different. I don't feel like I have to keep up with you now. It's a much easier conversation but having to do that at double speed it allowed me to listen to all the episodes in a few months.
With that being said, basically I've been in the liquidation business since about 1991. We started doing liquidations on VHS and CDs. We were liquidating from the major studios, from video stores and we were reselling them. People would have called us a rack job or something. So I’d buy these liquidations from stores going out of business or even I bought returns from Target, from Walmart, all these chains. I guess it was 1997 the first DVDs came out. Ended up getting a liquidation from Warner Brothers. They had the first DVD it was The Wizard of Oz.
I said, I'd heard about this eBay thing, let me see what I can do. I opened an eBay account, I threw them up there, I had a case of them. And literally by the time I went to the bathroom and came back checked the computer, they'd all sold out. I thought there was a mistake. I run over to the sales guys I say, “Don't sell those DVDs I already sold them.” They're like, “Too late. We already sold them and they're gone.” My first experience of selling online I was actually booted from eBay 30 minutes after I launched my first auction. Because I had nothing to… The item I sold was already sold by the sales person.
[00:10:52] Brad: But I knew at that moment, there's something here. To fast forward we ended up being invited by Amazon to be one of the initial launch companies in what was called Amazon auctions in '98. I guess they had found us on eBay because we had grown a pretty good business on eBay. We basically became a premier vendor of VHS and DVD on Amazon. For the first, I don't know four or five years we were a top seller on Amazon. I actually got to meet Jeff Bezos myself, in the flesh a couple of times.
Because our business was multifaceted and we were doing a lot of brick and mortar type B-to-B business, the internet thing was really sort of a side business that I started as part of a larger company. And other guys dove into it a lot they grew in deeper than we did. We held our top spot for about five or ten years. Then others got in and really threw everything at it and became multimillion dollar sellers. I mean at our peak we were doing over $100,000 a month in CDs and DVDs and stuff.
[00:12:16] Scott: That was on Amazon?
[00:12:17] Brad: That was on Amazon alone. That didn't include our other stuff. The liquidation business grew to… We had, at our peak, 55 employees and over $25 million a year. Again, not all of it was on ecommerce lines but we were doing a bang up business. Every studio in Hollywood would sell us their returns, their liquidations. And sort of as DVD and media started to peak, we found ourselves having to find other liquidated product to get into.
It sort of opened the door to almost everything. We were experts in the media but then we had kitchen sinks, I've done astroturf, you name it, I've done it. I've been doing this for 25 years I mean I can talk for years about this. I have been involved in the buying of liquidations and repurposing or remarketing or reselling them for two and a half decades.
[00:13:23] Scott: What's that look like today? You know what in mean? What does your business look like today on how you do it. Then we can let people know. I wanted you on really to help people that said, “You know what I want to try to offload this product. I might just go list it on eBay, I might just go list it on another platform.” Maybe you can add some insight or just help them out. You know what I mean?
[00:13:47] Brad: Absolutely, when the word got out that I'm a liquidator, I started getting a lot of private label guys on Amazon who are like, “Look this isn't moving for me. Can you help me, can you take it? What can I do?” To be honest, I would tell them as my first sort of advice, “Drop the price and just get out of it.” That's probably going to recoup you the most amount of money. Because I'll be honest if you contact a guy like me who’s going to just wire you the money or overnight you a check or PayPal you for all your inventory, you're not even going to get your manufacturing cost back. Yes, you'll be out of it in 24 hours and you'll have money in the bank. The first thing people say is, “Well can you at least give me my cost plus my shipping?” And you know whatever money they've put into it. To be honest a liquidator is not going to do that.
It's unrealistic to think so. But if someone's really like I'm done with this, give me what I want, I'm sort of the last case scenario. But I will offer advice. There's lots of things that can be done. One of the things that has been more successful when I've helped people is go to eBay. Get on eBay and sell your product there. It's actually a very good outlet. It works in a similar fashion and you're picking up a different clientele. I think I've heard this on your show before, the Amazon customer, the eBay customer are not the same people.
[00:15:27] Scott: No, absolutely.
[00:15:27] Brad: And whereas you may not have traction on Amazon, you can get traction on eBay. Plus there's other things to do. All these daily deal sites, you've heard them, Groupon, Living Social, Tanga, Chotsky, there's a list. If you just Google daily deal sites you'll find a list of 100 of them. Go to those sites.
[00:15:51] Scott: You know what Brad, can you do me a favor? Not right now but maybe after the fact, can you give me a list of maybe the ten or 12 or something like that?
[00:15:58] Brad: Absolutely.
[00:15:59] Scott: We could throw that in the show notes.
[00:16:01] Brad: We can put up a list. I actually remake that list every quarter or so because they jockey for position but that's another place to go. These guys are always looking for deals. It's a great source to offload it and you know what, you'll get more than your manufacturing costs. If I take this backwards, the person who's having a dud of a product, who just wants to recover… The term in the liquidation business is recovery. You want to recover as much of your cost as possible.
The first step is to try to retail the product via some other channel. Short of that the next step is to go off of the ecommerce world altogether. Everybody's got flea markets in town. There's a new crop of flea marketers growing which I call almost a permanent yard sale or permanent garage sellers. These are guys that literally every weekend from month on end they're setting up in their driveway and they're getting a steady stream of customers.
[00:17:12] Scott: That's great.
[00:17:15] Brad: I sell to these type of people every day. Again in the efforts to help your listeners coming to me is the worst case scenario, I’ll tell you right now. But if you take the time and you look for the local flea markets and you just walk up and down the booths. You will find someone that matches your product that'll probably be very happy to cash you out of your inventory.
[00:17:38] Scott: That's a great tip. It's funny because there's a local flea market here where I just moved to South Carolina. And it's a pretty big one. These people they literally have just about… It's like a store front inside of this building. All they do is they back up their vehicle. And usually the actual room itself that they have, it's just separated by wood. They have tools in there and they have all stuff that's retail stuff.
Which I've often thought that you can go there and probably find some deals and you can do some retail arb doing that thing as well. For like you, like going up to someone that sells kitchen goods and saying, “I got some garlic presses here. They are not really selling.” I might not even say that. I might just say, “I've got some that I want to get off my hands here. I can give them to you for just three bucks a piece.” You know what I mean? They can retail them for ten maybe.
[00:18:30] Brad: Absolutely and they do it every day. In fact some of these guys will even… There's no right or wrong to this. It's a negotiation and some people, the more of a hustler and a dealmaker you are the better you'll do this. But there’s guys that you can say, “Look let's work out a deal. You don't even have to pay me upfront. You put these out and I'll come see… I'll give you a call on Monday and for whatever you sold we'll split it 70/30, 60/40.” And if you give them on consignment then you can ask for more than 50 or 70%.
You get the lion's share because there's no risk to the flea market guy. He's no out of pocket one cent. Give him product and you say, “Sell this for ten bucks and I'll tell you what give me $7 or $6 for when you sell. I'll drop it off at your house.” At that point, you're probably not losing any money. There are no rules. You are free to make or offer whatever deal you want. Just as that potential liquidator or customer is free to say no it's worth it to just poke and prod because there is no right way or wrong way to do this.
[00:19:42] Scott: Let me ask you something else. You buy the inventory. What are you doing? Are you selling it to other businesses like that? Or are you selling it yourself and then putting it up on your own stores? Or a little bit of both. What are you doing with?
[00:19:57] Brad: That's a great question because obviously my years I've become pretty adept to this. I have probably done liquidations from Amazon private label sellers at least two or three dozen deals already. This can be anywhere from 100 pieces to 1,000 pieces of a piece of product. I evaluate each one. If I think I can turn this product around because I don't think that they really put the time or effort into it or their listing wasn't optimized or they just… You get hunches. I'll go and I'll just put it on their listing. I’ll ask them not to delete the title from the catalog. Amazon won’t really fully delete the title anyway because once it’s in their ASIN database they don’t really get rid of it ever.
[00:20:57] Scott: That’s actually a good point. It’s almost like if someone said, “You know what, I just want to give up on this product, I don’t want to touch it anymore,” and you’re willing to buy it but you’re basically not in control of that listing. You’re kind of a hijacker in a sense but you actually own the product.
[00:21:02] Brad: Exactly and they don’t care because they’re out of it. It’s not even a hijack situation because most of my life I was doing arbitrage. This term hijacker is really tentative because of a famous Supreme Court case in San Diego which is called ‘The Law of the First Sale’. Once a product is sold to someone else, they are free to do with it as they please. Anyways, getting back to your point, I’ll either the resell it myself, I have a database of some 7,000 Amazon sellers that I’ve done business with over the last 10 or 12 years.
Now, granted most of them were in media products but like anyone who’s selling media products, most of them either branched out or gotten out of Amazon completely. A lot of times I’ll take that product and I’ll just blast it out to my email list, to my 7,000 Amazon sellers and I’ll sell the thing in 60 seconds.
[00:22:05] Scott: Right. You’re kind of a broker in a sense where you’re…
[00:22:08] Brad: Exactly. And brokers get a bad name for it but you know how long it takes to build that email list. You don’t understand. It’s years of work and tens of thousands of dollars of advertising to get those names.
[00:22:23] Scott: I think of that a lot like even a real estate deal. If you’re a real estate guy that finds the houses for someone that’s flipper, they have a certain criteria but they don’t want to go out and find all those beat up properties. You call them up, you give them what they want, you give the buyer what they want, everybody is happy, you make a little bit in the middle. You know what I mean? You have the database because you’ve been doing this so long that you can make like you said, one email, one phone call or whatever and you can connect the dots there and that’s where the magic happens for you.
Let me ask you this. Okay, do you think, and this is off the side here a little bit but do you think that people can still do retail arb? Because you’ve been at this business. You’ve seen the retail arb, you’ve seen the online arb, you’ve seen all that stuff. People said the retail arb is dead now. What’s your thought on that?
[00:23:12] Brad: Having done retail arb, online arb and most recently I delved into private label myself in the last year, I keep ending up back in the arb side of things. You spend weeks or months launching a product and as we know, it’s not like it was two, three four years ago where had a 70/80% chance of success. Now, it’s tougher. There’s a, I don’t want call it the saturation point but depending on the product you select you’re going to have some competitors. If that product selection process from first look to actual sending your product to Amazon these days, that can be a three to six month process as you know. From the time you select to the time you go live with your product and it’s in Amazon’s warehouse, that competitive landscape could have changed 1000%.
I think whereas a couple of years ago you could hit a home run in kind of run your whole business on one or two products and they sell 30 or 40 a day. Now, the model I feel from everything I have witnessed over the last year, you’ve got to plan to have ten products that may sell 5 to 10 units a day. It requires a more of a concerted effort. I don’t think there’s any problem with the arb side. In fact, it’s easier and quicker. The long term success in terms of the value of the business of the brand it’s all about private label. If you want to get in this and learn it and make money quick, I think arbitrage is still the way to go.
[00:24:52] Scott: Now, do you think retail arbing on eBay is still good?
[00:24:58] Brad: Absolutely. I think eBay’s come far and they’ve done a lot to sort of raise their profile. I have people now, good friends of mine actually that are doing private label on eBay and selling literally 10,000 to 20,000 units a month with a managed account, where eBay will… I’m hearing numbers of private label products on eBay that are mind boggling. It’s like I almost want to say maybe this is the next place because eBay is doing some very interesting things with some of their managed accounts and these managed accounts are people that are proven some big debts and volume and able to obviously able to fulfill themselves because eBay has no manage fulfillment. They are giving these guys prime placement and the units being moved are unbelievable.
[00:25:51] Scott: So there’s clearly still traffic on eBay.
[00:25:54] Brad: Absolutely.
[00:25:54] Scott: Because a lot of people say eBay? eBay what?
[00:25:59] Brad: No, no. I would not discount eBay. In fact I think it’s probably more overlooked than it should be at this point.
[00:26:04] Scott: It’s funny because when this whole recent review update came out I heard people say, “I’m going to move over to eBay for a little while this stuff calms down.” I believe the same thing you just said. I think that eBay could definitely be another channel that is overlooked. The downfall is that, well, you got to manage the inventory somehow. There’s options around that but it’s still something else that it’s easier on Amazon because they do it for you.
[00:26:35] Brad: It is. There is no doubt that it is easier on Amazon. That being said Amazon takes so much healthier piece of the pie than eBay does.
[00:26:45] Scott: That’s true. All right. Before we jump on, let me ask you this. Seen that you’ve sold on eBay and all that stuff, what’s some tips for someone that if they wanted to do a little retail arb on eBay? You’ve got any tips for us? Currently because I know that’s changing all the time too, I sold some stuff on eBay years ago. It was different then, then it was like you have to do auctions because you want to get the place maybe because you can’t on the buy it now so much. You kind of play with the auction thing. Any tips there?
[00:27:12] Brad: I’ll tell you one tip. I don’t know if you’ve ever mentioned this product on here but there is JoeLister.com which takes your entire Amazon catalog and ports it over to eBay, builds in the costs, uses an API to do your fulfillment from the Amazon warehouse to your eBay customer. It’s found money and a great way to test your products on eBay without doing anything. It takes your content, your images, it figures out your price points, you get paid immediately because it’s through PayPal. You don’t wait two weeks. It’s a great way to test your existing products on eBay.
If nothing else, you’re going to pick up additional revenue on eBay. I think JoeLister gives you two items for one flat fee. If you’ve got dozens or hundreds of SKUs on Amazon they charge you a little bit more of course on a per SKU basis. I don’t know if you’ve talked about this product.
[00:28:14] Scott: I think I’ve mentioned it and I’ve looked a little bit into it and actually a friend of mine who’s been in the retail arb like you for over 15 years, he mentioned it as well. Actually it’s funny. I think that someone that is involved in JoeLister actually contacted me about maybe even coming on the show or something. I may have to look into that. Definitely. I’ve heard about it, I haven’t used but it’s something I definitely would be looking into.
[00:28:39] Brad: To me that would be the first place to start because you’re not doing any additional work other than the short fee of paying for the software which is really nothing and you’ll get an idea of the traction your products pull and you don’t have to even learn how to do eBay, when you just set up the account and this piece of software does it all. Some people have a bit of a learning curve. The brain fills up after they learn so many pieces of software and there is just no more room.
[00:29:07] Scott: Right. That makes total sense. That would be a perfect thing to test your product like you said without having to really go into eBay and do all of the ins and outs of that. Because I know that’s a whole another platform.
[00:29:18] Brad: It’s a whole another platform with it’s own ins and outs and that would be my first step. The second step, or the easiest one without doing anything is just take the products that you have access to or you’re selling and just start searching them in the eBay search bar. See how many sellers there are. Search completed auctions and of course you mentioned a million times, it’s camelcamelcamel. There’s also a product called Terapeak.com that will show you past history of eBay sales. I’m a big believer in test, test, test before diving in. To me if you’re not doing anything on eBay and you’re happy about your sales on Amazon that would be the first place to look.
[00:30:03] Scott: I think that’s important though too. For people that are looking to liquidate, I think that list of other places where you can just run discounts on your products. Now, if someone was to do that, would you recommend they have their inventory in there, where they just pull it have it shipped to their house? How would…”
[00:30:20] Brad: No. What you do is you wait for Amazon to offer you the free removal. The problem is if you’re going to liquidate your inventory to somebody like me or you’re going to move it somewhere else, they’re going to charge you the 50 cents per unit to move it. That’s that much more you need to recover but not every quarter or every 60 days they offer free removal sort of situation. That’s the time to liquidate. If you’ve got a free removal offer that helps the person you’re selling it to as well as yourself as you’re going to bring it home because it doesn’t cost you anything to get it out of Amazon. Look for those free removal offers and that’s when you jump if you’re going to liquidate.
[00:31:02] Scott: Okay. Okay. Now, in another case, if you’re talking to someone like you and you and you said, “Listen, I’ll give you whatever X amount for your product,” and they say, “Okay,” you may say, “Leave it though. I don’t want you to touch it because I’m going to basically just take over the listing.”
[00:31:19] Brad: Can’t do it. Unfortunately, oh man have I tried. Trust me because… Can’t do it. There’s no way to switch ownership of a product while it’s in FBA’s warehouses. You have to remove it and you gotta send it back. Believe me I’ve tried this, it can’t happen in the current Amazon world. Will not happen.
[00:31:43] Scott: That is a bummer. That is a bummer because that’s why you would want to wait for your removal. Now, would you personally then say, “Ok, I’m going to buy it but I want you to let it sit there until we get the free removal and then you’re going to ship it to me?”
[00:31:56] Brad: Depending on the price because let’s say I’m going to liquidate something, some little garlic press for a dollar and they’re going to have to pay 50 cents for the removal. Well now either I’ve got a kick in an extra 50 cents or the person selling it does. Sometimes it’s better to wait for the free removal. In the essence of the seller who’s trying to recover as much money as possible, my suggestion to them is wait for the free removal, discount it as much as you can, when you get the free removal offer then call me and let’s see where we’re at.
[00:32:32] Scott: I would say too if anybody is in this situation keep looking at you promotions tab and see if you see any lighting deals.
[00:32:41] Brad: Absolutely.
[00:32:41] Scott: That’s been awesome. That’s been…
[00:32:45] Brad: Lightning deals are great. I’ll tell you another one. In my test since the reviews situation came out, and this is just a side note, something I’ve done three times in the last week and it’s worked so well that I’ll share it. The Amazon giveaways that they have right on their site. I don’t know if you’ve ever discussed this but it would be a great topic for a show but Amazon offers a little thing in the advertising and promotions tab called giveaways where you can select several actions that the customer must take and they’re entered into a draw to get your product for free.
The one that I found the most effective is the YouTube video. They have sit through a YouTube video then at the end of the video they’re automatically entered into a draw in which Amazon does and they’re given an opportunity to receive one or as many free pieces of products as you’re willing to let them have. That’s predetermined when you set it up. But if they don’t win it, it brings them to a page where they can get a coupon to get your product. Now, remember they’ve just watched a little YouTube video about what your product is. So they are forced to watch an ad for your product. If they don’t get it for free they are delivered a coupon and I’m telling you, I’ve done this, so I’ve given away three items and usually pick up at least five times that many in paid sales.
[00:34:20] Scott: Now, that’s a great one and actually I was funny I did a Periscope yesterday and someone had mentioned that. I had seen that on someone’s site that you can enter the sweepstakes. I wasn’t aware of that. Now, again as I’m with you right now, I’m looking at my report area, my advertising area and you’re right, it’s right there, giveaway. It just says, create, and it just says, “Offer your items for free as a part of a sweepstake to generate buzz around products and increase social media following.” You’re telling me that the YouTube one is the best. Now, what would you put there on the YouTube video? Would you put something there?
[00:34:56] Brad: Yeah, I sent them to a YouTube video that I did on my product, that says this is what it’s about. This is why you need, I just push the usual buttons. At least I understood the product. The other most common one I think people do is the one to gain Twitter followers, which is great. I picked up 2,000 Twitter followers in one giveaway.
[00:35:15] Scott: You’re doing well.
[00:35:16] Brad: Yeah, in literally like two hours but then what do you do with them?
[00:35:23] Scott: Twitter is a little different. If it was Instagram I’d be excited.
[00:35:25] Brad: They don’t have that one as one of the options. There is a survey you can do. They give about six options. Anyway it’s a great alternative now to the incentive based reviews which are no longer allowed so…
[00:35:40] Scott: Let me ask you something. On that YouTube video, is there anything there in their terms of service about what you can put in that video?
[00:35:45] Brad: Nothing. In fact, you put in a little link and it then validates it and I’m assuming once it’s validated that’s it. There’s nothing that says what it should be about.
[00:35:57] Scott: Yah, a little URL in there or something.
1[00:36:02] Brad: YouTube URL, you can’t send them to your website.
[00:36:04] Scott: Right but inside of the video could you have any…?
[00:36:07] Brad: Yes, I do. And I’ve actually gotten the sale from it. Only one and I can’t confirm that it was actually because of that, it could of have been someone who just came of the YouTube video but that is correct.
[00:36:20] Scott: I was even saying something like join our VIP club or something like that or…
[00:36:24] Brad: You put it underneath the video.
[00:36:25] Scott: Yeah, just like a lower third or even just in the description of the video or something like that. That would be a pretty good opportunity to test as well. That’s interesting. Maybe eventually they’ll add something like Instagram. That would be kind of cool because I’m playing around with Instagram now myself. I think that has a lot of potential. That’s cool. I’m definitely going to play around with that myself. Yeah, anyone listening, that’s a great tip. 2,000 Twitter followers, that’s still impressive even though you can‘t really do much with them. I don’t know, I find Twitter to be very noisy.
[00:36:59] Brad: What I think Amazon does is they promote this giveaway for you on their giveaway page and occasionally they’ll even Tweet it on their Amazon giveaway Twitter account, which has half a million followers or something outrageous. They do the promotion. They get the eyeballs for you, which is really nice.
[00:37:20] Scott: Now does that have to get approved or is it something that just automatically can happen?
[00:37:25] Brad: It does go through approval process because you go through all the various steps. Then it says ‘pending review’ and then usually within an hour or two later you get an email that says your Amazon giveaway is now active. Then they give you a link in case you want to share it on your social media or through your own channels.
[00:37:46] Scott: That's interesting. That's good. That's a good little nugget there, I like that.
[00:37:51] Brad: And again you can give away as many as you want. The nice thing is, versus incentivized reviews that we used to do for free, you buy your own product for full price. It helps your BSR. You get what, 70% of the money back after they take it. In essence, it's really only costing you a third. For example I gave away three items. Amazon hit my credit card for 70 bucks. I get what 50 of that back from Amazon. So it cost me about 20 dollars to do this whole promotion and I sold 15 items within a few hours.
[00:38:33] Scott: And like you said it boosted your BSR and that's going to help you get organically ranked and all that stuff and that's when I can come back. Is there any limit to how many times you can do it?
[00:38:44] Brad: I've never tried it twice in one day yet but I've done it two days in a row and they accepted it. I'm still testing, I'm still testing.
[00:38:52] Scott: That's awesome, that's awesome. Well hey Brad this has been fun, this has been good. And it sounds like you're definitely into the testing stuff. Maybe we're going to have you back on with a couple more tests. And you can help us out because you're definitely in the game and I like that. Is there anything else that you would add to anyone right now that may be in the situation where either they want to liquidate…? Or maybe even just that they're having a tough time getting sales to move?
[00:39:20] Brad: Sure, the next one I didn't want to mention it which I found very helpful and I think it is another convergence on social media is Facebook groups. There are lots of wholesale Facebook groups for buyers, for eBayers, for garage sellers. Search these groups, I could name a couple of really good ones. Like Product Sourcing 101, there's Ecommerce Wholesalers.
I don't have names exactly but if you search these Facebook groups and you join them and you're accepted you can say, “Hey I've got this, is anybody interested in buying it?” Again this is a way for your sellers to bypass a guy like me and recover as much as possible. I'm there when someone's just like, “I'm out, I'll take your pennies on the dollar and send me the…
[00:40:22] Scott: You're the guy that I see with the cardboard sign on the telephone pole that says, “I buy houses for cash.”
[00:40:29] Brad: Yes and you know you're going to get the worst possible price.
[00:40:33] Scott: You might be going through divorce or something and you're like you know what I just want to cut all ties. I don't care I'll just give this thing away. And there's going to be people that want that. There's people that, you know what, they need it and you're the guy that can come in there and do that. I think that is funny but there's a service for that. And you are doing the service I think in a good way.
But you're also doing it in the right way because you're saying listen try these things first but if you're pressed for time or you don't want to go through that, then give me a call kind of thing. And I think that's the right way to do it. Any other last little bits or tips that you wanted to leave here before we wrap this up Brad?
[00:41:08] Brad: Gosh I could go on for days.
[00:41:11] Scott: I'll just say, we'll have to do a part two. This has been awesome I want to thank you once again. If people did want to get a hold of you, how do they get a hold of you Brad?
[00:41:21] Brad: You can probably hit me through my website. It's dva.com, it’s www.dva.com. That stands for, which is now antiquated and extinct is Distribution, Video and Audio. I'm Brad@dva.com.
[00:41:43] Scott: I'll put that all in the show notes and we'll get that linked up. If anyone wants to get a hold of Brad, definitely reach out to him. Great guy as you guys can tell. Willing to share which I love and we'll definitely be having him back on the show for sure. Because the guy is testing like crazy. I love it, I love that little golden nugget there at the end.
[00:42:02] Brad: Thanks.
[00:42:03] Scott: I'm going to let you know how that works out too. I'm probably going to set one up as soon as we get off here.
[00:42:08] Brad: Absolutely. I like to help.
[00:42:13] Scott: It's awesome I appreciate that and I know that the listeners appreciate it as well. Hey Brad thank you so much and again if anyone wants to get in touch with Brad please visit the show notes of this episode. You can do that and Brad I just want to say once again thanks a lot for sharing. It's been awesome, it's been a lot of fun and I'm sure we'll be talking soon.
[00:42:31] Brad: Yes Scott keep doing what you're doing I love your show and I tell people about it almost every day.
[00:42:36] Scott: Thanks a lot, I appreciate that Brad thanks.
[00:42:39] Brad: No problem.
[00:42:43] Scott: Alright so there you have it. Another great episode, conversation, interview, whatever you want to call it. I look at these as just me talking to someone else that knows about something that I don't really know about. And I'm able to get this education and then share it with you. It's really awesome. I love this. Hopefully you got value from that. There was a ton of little golden nuggets that we were able to pull out of that. You might even want to go back and listen again. I am going to have the show notes to this episode, transcribed and the links and everything that we discussed will be there as well so theamazingseller.com/275.
If you're interested in grabbing those, head over to the show notes page. A lot of goodies on this one. The other thing I think I'll say here again is I'm going to remind you about product selection. I think it all comes down to learning that and really mastering that in a sense. I'm not sure you'll ever master, I'm not a believer of mastering something like fully. I think that you're always growing. You're always going to be picking up little tips and tricks maybe but you're always going to understand that it's, it starts with a market. It starts with products that are being served to that market.
And then building an email list or your own social following or some type of audience around that market and around your brand. That right there is the secret source. That is it. Product selection but to a market that is willing and wanting to buy products and then creating that around it. And I think that there makes it so much easier to sell your products. But, things are going to happen. You may start something and be like, “I don't really think I want to sell product to this market. It's not going the way I wanted it to or the way I thought it was going to.”
Maybe you did it and it's just not what you're really passionate about. Whatever the reason is and you want to liquidate, Brad gave us some really solid ideas on how we can do that and get our capital back. Then from there take that capital and put it into what we are into at that time or that brand that we want to now create that we learned a ton through that process but then we're able to now use that knowledge and do it better on something else.
[00:44:55] Scott: I found that to be the case in a lot of different things that I've done through the years. Again, not just talking about this. I think a lot of things that I've done leading up to even just dabbling in Amazon it's helped me understand the inner workings but then also just marketing in general. Period. Once you learn that I believe you can just plug that into those other ventures that you are doing or maybe new ideas or maybe a new marketing strategy. Whatever it is, I think it always comes down to you have to get yourself set in motion. And in this case it's picking products or picking markets. Again I would say learn that, that is something I would continually want to learn more about.
Now, if you guys are interested in attending a live workshop where we actually walk through that, market selection, picking your product, making sure that all the numbers validate. I mean they are what they are. Again, it's like you're training yourself for the event. In this case we're training ourselves to have a better eye to do better research. We are doing a live workshop. At least at the time of recording this we are but you can always head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop. You can see all of our upcoming workshops there scheduled. You can register for an upcoming one there. Definitely go check that out if you're at all interested.
We also do a workshop where we go over the five phases for launching a product. Depending on when you visit that page, there'll be an option there to select a workshop that you want to attend. These are totally free, we get on live and we do Q&A. Definitely go check that out and you'll have all the information there.
[00:46:40] Scott: All right guys, that's pretty much going to wrap it up. Again, the show notes episode 275 so theamazingseller.com/275. I want to give you guys a great big giant hug and say thank you so much for being listeners. And I really, really do appreciate it. I really truly do.
Guys that's it, that's going to wrap it up. Remember I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you. But you have to, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, on the count of three let's do it a little different here, one, two, three, “Take Action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I'll see you right back here on the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- www.DVA.com – Brad’s website
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/161 – with Greg Mercer
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/189 – market and demand episode
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