It’s almost every week that somebody says Amazon is too crowded for anyone to build a successful business selling private label products. But this episode should prove to you that those are entirely false beliefs. This episode features a couple who started out selling products via retail arbitrage but soon transitioned into wholesale products from China that turned into a successful business. It wasn’t overnight and it took a lot of hard work and smart product research but this couple has done it. You can hear every step of their process and the things they’ve done to keep the ball rolling on this episode.
How to get past the discouragement to become successful selling on Amazon.
In any business, you’ve got to understand that discouragements are going to come. So what can you do to prepare yourself for the discouraging times? How can you set your mind in such a way that you’re more likely to press forward than give up? One of the most important things you can do is to find yourself an encouragement partner. That could be a person who is committed to cheering you on during the difficult times, or it could be an actual business partner like the couple featured on this episode. They have found that when one of them is down the other is able to encourage so they keep moving forward together. What’s your strategy for staying encouraged? Find out how it works for this couple, on this episode.
Did you know that you can be rid of Amazon product hijackers once and for all?
One of the best things that has happened on the Amazon platform in a very long time is that the powers that be at the Big A have added a new perk to the benefits of brand registering your products. Once you have a brand approved on Amazon it is now impossible for anyone else to begin listing products under your product listings unless they first ask your approval to do so. That is an incredible benefit to private label sellers, virtually eliminating the possibility of hijackers taking over your listing. On this episode Scott and his guests talk about the safety and power of this new ruling, so be sure you listen.
Product research criteria #1: Less than 100 product reviews in all of the top 10 listings.
When Scott asked this amazing couple what they were looking for when it came to product ideas one of the things they said is a non-negotiable for them is that every one of the top 10 products in any niche they consider must have less than 100 reviews. If you’ve been researching product ideas on Amazon for any length of time that may sound impossible to you but this couple says they find products that fall within that criteria almost every week. You can hear how they are finding them and the tools that make their search easy, on this episode of The Amazing Seller.
How poorly optimized Amazon product listing are something you can use to your advantage.
When you’re checking out the listings of the competition in a niche where you are considering a possible product launch one of the things you need to look at carefully is how well the competitor’s product listings are optimized. If you find low-resolution pictures or a small number of pictures that’s a sign that you might be able to quickly capture the sales in that category by optimizing your own listing much better than theirs. That’s just one of the product research tips given on this episode by a couple who’s become very successful at selling private label products without resorting to PPC or giveaways. Find out more by listening.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this great interview edition of the podcast!
- [1:45] The importance of having support in your business journey.
- [6:20] The backstory behind this amazing success.
- [12:40] Pressing forward in spite of the discouragement.
- [17:31] The idea that sparked interest and the product research process that followed.
- [22:40] Hijacker problems and how they dealt with the threat.
- [26:59] The new benefits of brand registry some are experiencing.
- [31:53] Future product ideas the path ahead.
- [33:29] The product research criteria this couple is using and how they apply it.
- [40:24] How the product listings are being optimized.
- [53:50] The price point these products hit.
- [47:55] Moving from non-branded to branded products.
- [50:58] Tips to those who are skeptical about whether Amazon will work these days.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 291
TAS 291 : (Full Story) Husband and Wife Launch Product with No Giveaways – No Reviews – No PPC and Selling 30 Units per Day
[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 291 and today I've got the full story of a husband and wife the launched a product with, get this, no giveaways, no reviews, no pay-per-click and selling 30 units per day. Actually a little bit more than that now that we're in fourth quarter. Crazy right? Well, little story here. I actually received this email…
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…going now back about a month. I believe it's about a month, maybe a month and a half and Amy, Amy Hong who actually her and her husband Wii, they'd emailed and said, “Scott, this is just crazy and I had to share it with you.” This is the email. I'm just going to read it to you really quick so you guys can listen as to what I was reading here but the title was like, ‘No pay-per-click, no give aways, not reviews, sold 30 units a day'.
Then, “Hi Scott. I'm a long time dedicated listener of yours. I appreciate everything you've done for our TAS community. I just wanted to email you my results for the last three days. I sold over 100 units of one product with no reviews, not give-aways and best of all not pay-per-click. You've given me so much hope and valuable advice with your podcast, website that I just to share this amazing result with you. Thank you so much for always reminding us to TAKE ACTION. I love it, keep up the great work. You rock.” Well, you know what, Amy rocks and so does her husband, Wii.
I am telling you once I got on, we went on longer than we expected and they didn’t believe it either. They were like, “Wow, I can't believe we've been talking that long,” because you know why, because I wanted to dig into the story. I wanted to figure out all of the ins and the outs. I also wanted to hear about what wasn't working. Something that you guys probably about know about me is I like to figure out what didn't work and what did you learn from that and we actually get to dig into that and I'm so glad that we are able to go through this entire journey with them and where they started, where they are now because it shows you that, somethings are not going to work but it’s okay.
[00:02:03] Scott: You dust yourself off and you move forward. These guys are just are really cool couple and they're husband and wife team. They work together on a daily basis and it's funny because my wife and I have worked together in multiple businesses now. A lot of our friends and family even say like, “I don't know how you do it.” It's funny good friend of ours now or friends I should say is actually people that just attended our last TAS event. That was Melissa and Keith Armstrong. Those guys are a husband and wife team and they said the same thing. They get that all the time. Like, “How do you do it?”
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it works, great. If it doesn't well that's cool too but you got to know your relationship and you got to know who you're partnering with. Now if you're in a partnership it's going to be just like a marriage. The key is here and this is what they say and you're going to hear us stress this, “It's important to have each other. Whether it's someone that you meet on Facebook in one of our groups, maybe it's in the TAS, The Amazing Seller group, maybe it's in that group, maybe it's in the class if you're in the PLC classroom.
Finding someone or even one or two people to lean on, to get you through those tough times because there are going to be tough times. I'm here to tell you that guys. There is going to be those times. If you have a husband or a wife or a partner that can help pull you through this, it's really, really important. If you guys are brand new and you guys are thinking I don't have anyone yet, well go to theamazingseller.com/fb and just start being involved in that community and then find someone.
I want to also point out that I actually found Chris Shaffer who's a good friend of mine now, a really, really good friend of mine but we're also partners in a couple of different things and it all came from a Facebook Group and here we are. Just the power of meeting people is really, really key. Now I went on a little bit of a rant there, sorry guys but it's really, really important.
[00:03:57] Scott: If you guys are brand spanking new and you're new to the podcast well, I just want to welcome you guys but I also wanted to say that what we're going to be talking about today is really good for you as well because you can hear the entire story. I also wanted to remind you if you have not attended one of my live workshops that's a great place to start because I'm going to walk you through exactly what they are doing. Exactly what they did and we do two different ones. We do a product research one, which focuses on just that or we focus on the five phases.
Depending on where we are in the rotation, you might want to head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop and you can register for an upcoming one there and you can get all the details. Guys, I am super excited. I don't know if you guys can tell that. I am super excited and going to be able to share this with you. You’re going to hear this entire story and see exactly how they did it, how they are picking products and what they look at to move forward when launching different products into different brands. All right. Enjoy this interview, you guys are going to get ton out of it and I'll talk to you guys at the end. Enjoy.
[00:05:00] Scott: Well Amy and Wii what is going on guys? How are you guys doing?
[00:05:05] Amy: Fantastic.
[00:05:06] Wii: Good Scott. Thank you for having us.
[00:05:08] Scott: Well this is a little different here. I usually don't have like a husband and wife team on together. This might be a first. This might be a first.
[00:05:17] Wii: We always talk about it whether there is other couples out there doing this and we're definitely happy to both be here with you, husband and wife.
[00:05:27] Scott: No, it's awesome. It’s funny. I just came back from Arizona. We had a live event there for our TAS group and there was a husband and a wife team there as well. It is cool because my wife and I are a husband team and we've been through all of our businesses that we've ever done and some people like, “How the heck do you guys work with each other like every day?” It just works for us. We have our own jobs and stuff but it’s funny because some people are like, “I can never do that,” but it works.
I'm excited for you guys to be on because the email that I received which, whether that was intentional or not, you got my attention. It was like… I'm going to read the headline or the subject line too, the email that you sent me. It was, “No PPC, NO GIVE AWAYS, NO REVIEWS” Then you had these arrows going to “SOLD 30 UNITS A DAY” I'm like Okay. This came just after this whole review change thing and I'm like, “That couldn't have come in a better time than just right now. Maybe what you can do is give us a little bit of a backstory as far as like maybe how you got started, what made you start to think about this and then we can start to dive into how you actually found a product to do this and going through that whole story.
[00:06:44] Amy: Sounds good. First I just want to thank you for having us on the show. We've been a long time listener and my husband and I are both in listening to you since episode 26. So thank you.
[00:06:59] Scott: That's a lot of Scott by the way.
[00:07:01] Amy: That is a lot of Scott. We had to binge you a few times!
[00:07:05] Scott: That's so funny. Whenever anyone says that, I'm like, “That's a lot of Scott. I think I would have to take a break on Scott on that one.” Anyway, I appreciate it guys. I really do.
[00:07:13] Amy: Absolutely. Okay. Our story. We started about two years ago after listening to Pat Flynn. You mentioned him before too. The first episode that I listened to was he interviewed the selling family and they were doing retail arbitrage. I started doing that for about a year, got really burned out and we did well though. We made really good money and it is just so labor intensive. Then we found the interview that Pat Flynn did with Ryan Daniel Moran. Then we jumped right into private labeling. Our first product wasn't a home run but we managed to break even after selling for about a year. I say it wasn't a home run because we didn’t do our product research carefully.
Then we went ahead and ordered 500 units, cost about $4,000 and then we spent a ton of money on giveaways, PPC and didn't really get us anywhere. Then during prime day of 2015 we had a spike in sales. It gave us a little bit of hope. We wound up ordering another 500 units and for some reason after prime day, our sales just plummeted and we were stuck with all these units for about another year or so selling maybe three or four a day. Finally we had to slash the price and then was able to liquidate and break even on that. It was a lesson learned but we wouldn’t trade it for the world because we were able to learn so much stuff going through this journey.
[00:08:57] Scott: I love that by the way Amy and I love it that yes, like you said a home run. A lot of people are just looking for the home run and everyone thinks they have to hit the home run, I'm all about bunts and singles and doubles. I want to go out there and getting those products that can maybe can do five ten or fifteen a day, those are the ones that we should be really focusing on but I love it that you went out there, you took action and you did something. You learned a ton through that process and you're like saying to yourself like it wasn't really a success but I learned a ton from it. Really it was kind of a success in that it taught you along the way and you were able to liquidate. I just love that you're still positive after going through like that. Most people would just quit after that. They're done. They're just going to take the loss and move on to something else. I love it.
[00:09:45] Wii: For us it was definitely a learning curve. Obviously there is a lot of information out there to try to pick up. We did everything from learning how to use Alibaba to finding an agent that we could trust and then just even coming up with like designs for labels, getting even at one point that stuff shipped by sea, which is a whole another… For us I have an entrepreneurial background, maybe not so much. It's good to have a partner that keep you motivated. Earlier you were mentioning how does a wife and husband stand each other.
For us it's not even about that. It's more about how we complement each other not just marriage but also in business. When times are tough I'll pick her up and then vice versa. For us yes, it was all about taking action, be patient, letting the system work and not being discouraged. You can't have any regrets, everything is a learning experience and you just move on and get stronger and better from there.
[00:11:01] Scott: I love that you highlighted that you guys you complement each other but then also you help each other pick each other up if there's something not going well and obviously when you're both feeling that that's going to be hard to do but one of you usually is going to probably… At least that's how it works in my partnership or my marriage. It's like if one's down the other is usually going to be able to be there to pick each other up and I have to give my wife credit on this. I wouldn't be on this podcast right now if it wasn’t' for her saying, “Trust your gut and just get out there and let people know what you have to offer.”
Everyone would always tell me, like I'm good at communicating and I'm good at connecting people and I'm good at like conveying messages but I never felt like I was. I think that's one thing, we don't know sometimes our strengths and our partners or our spouses or whatever can help pull that out of there and I love that. Even if someone's listening right now and they're like, “I don't have that in my marriage,” and that's okay but find someone that you can have that with and that can be someone you just meet online. My good friend Chris Shaffer now I met through Facebook group. Him and I now we're partners in a couple of things and we're great friends like we enjoy each other's company but we also complement each other.
Went on a little bit of a rant there but I think it's important for people to understand that you do need that little support system. You guys are fortunate. You have it within each other and that's awesome. Its' really, really good. Cool, we learned a ton, “we failed” as some would call it, you failed, I don't really think you failed. I think you guys learned and you have momentum and you're moving forward and you learned how to get through that. What's the next thing or the next aha or the next move for you guys?
[00:12:49] Amy: Funny that you say we complement each other because at one point I was just so discouraged with this business like, “Are we really going to continue this if we are not selling that well and we don't have a product next, we don't have any ideas for what the next part it will be” He just told me, “Well, you're going to have to keep on doing because some day just keep on trying it and then we'll, as you say strike gold one day.” I got pregnant mid-way between the journey and I tried out another product that didn't do so well.
I remember I got it shipped onto our house and I was sitting there and sorting out all the items by hand because I wanted to save that cost and I was seven months pregnant. I was, “If this isn’t going to do it, I don't know what will.” Fast forward a few months later we found this product that I emailed to you. We sold 30 units when it hit the Amazon warehouse without having any reviews, any give always or even PPC.
[00:14:07] Scott: Now, just for a second. What was that like?
[00:14:11] Amy: Wow, it was amazing. We had never experienced this before and that was just the beginning because as Q4's approaching, we're experiencing a rapid day almost every day. It's almost like a light bulb moment, that aha moment that just happened.
[00:14:29] Wii: Yeah. Like most Amazon sellers out there you probably have the Amazon seller app on your first screen of your phone so we're addicted to that. We're constantly opening it. We’re looking at that bar graph and for us back then before we had this 30 units a day sales, for us like 10 units was like mind blowing. It's awesome. Of course you see the graph and then it compares how you did last week and for us we just had the rubber rise and we couldn't believe that somehow we had managed to crack the code, reach a tipping point, whatever you want to call it. It was definitely an awesome moment for sure.
[00:15:13] Scott: I find that usually happens with a lot of people including myself. It’s like in the beginning you're just like, “If I can just get to 10 a day that would be so awesome.” And then you start working towards and then you hit that and then you might get a 20 a day but then now if you don't get a 20 day you feel disappointed. Are you starting to feel like that? You're like, “Wait a minute, we only did 30 today” and you would have been like jumping through the roof like a month before and it's like our mind changes.
I think that's a good example for people too that as you grow, your mind is going to change to what it is like a normal day or what is… That's not just even with numbers. I'm just saying like even in life in general like you start setting these higher expectations and then you want to achieve them. If you don't get there, you feel as though you don't meet your expectations. I think it's just normal.
[00:15:58] Wii: We could have like five, six, seven straight days of great sales then one day things aren't doing well and in the morning for example and like the sky is falling.
[00:16:09] Scott: Again, I think though that's a great thing for you to also understand and I'll be here to say it right here on the recording is don't fall into the trap either that you just stay comfortable. When that happens then that can be a little scary too because then if something does happen without one product, now all of a sudden that's all you have. That can be scary. I know a lot of sellers right now, some of them that are even in my class and they are doing really well like upwards of $80,000 to $100,000 a month but that's all they have is the Amazon channel.
That's why I've been talking a lot lately about to pivot, how to build your own email list and stuff so you can dictate when you get sales and push that traffic but that would be the only one thing. Enjoy it but then also don't get comfortable. Getting comfortable could be, you could be a little risky.
[00:17:02] Wii: Yeah we're definitely not ones to rest on our laurels. We're always thinking about what could happen like hijackers do this to us or even Amazon does that to us. We're definitely listening to your podcast and then we're going to implement ways to have different revenues to different channels sell our products and sure, we're never satisfied. We're always hungry and we’re definitely going to keep pushing.
[00:17:31] Scott: Love it, love it. Take us back though. We jumped right into the 30 unit a day thing. Where did this product become in your list of potential products? How did you come across it, maybe what was your process before? You were doing some retail arb before. Did retail arb give you any help as far as saying, “Wow stuff really sells in that category”? Did that give you any tip on any of this stuff or was it just a touch list? How did you figure out what to look into? Was it just tools, just maybe give us a little bit on that.
[00:18:06] Amy: Actually retail arb didn't… It gave me an idea that this category is a good category especially for the holidays. It didn't exactly get me to the product. I was actually doing your method. Just looking around seeing what is needed, what is popular among our friends or our people that we know and it just hit me one day to research the product and we do have the Jungle Scout, the Chrome Extension and that's what I use. Whenever I'm bored, I just go on Amazon and type in anything and then I'll click the… Because it's so easy. It populates right there for you. If the numbers looks good then I do a little more research and go right into ordering from Ali Express and that's what I've been doing because I just don't have patience to go through the Alibaba route anymore. I did originally. I like the $500 challenge that after that… I forgot which podcast…
[00:19:15] Scott: That was Chris Gastin. I don't know the one off top of my head but I'll find that, I'll put that in the show notes but that was the $500 challenge by Chris Gastin. You did the method of well I'm just going to be aware, I'm going to pay attention and then if something comes across that you think is interesting, you're going to immediately go to your computer and punch it into Amazon and start drilling down. I've done that so many times, it's like ridiculous. It's like I’ll be at people's house and they start talking about this thing and I'm like, “Really. That's a thing?” And I'll go and I'll start looking into it and I'll be like, “Oh my Gosh. There's a whole clan for this stuff.” It's like, “Man.”
[00:20:00] Amy:It's kind of crazy. You just never know and sometimes it might not be the greatest product but that's the beauty of the $500 challenge. It's that you don't lose too much either. You can do a test run and that's what happened with the first 500 units I ordered just flew off the shelf almost to a point where we had to quickly put another order so we don't run out.
[00:20:15] Scott: You went to Ali Express, talk about that a little bit because I get a lot of people that say, “Scott that doesn't work anymore. You can't do that.” I say, “You actually you can.” I look at it like you had said too. It's like you're retail arbing private label in a sense to where you can get it to the shelf. You might be paying a little bit more upfront but you can still do it. Maybe you can speak to that a little bit.
[00:20:41] Amy: Actually I love Ali Express if you ask me. It's the best route for me because it's sort of like wholesaling because you haven't quite private labeled it yet. You're finding a product that you can sell in bulk and the important thing is that you have to find the product that the price that you're willing to pay for it because you have to keep in mind that it can be less later on when you order a larger volume. With me I got lucky with my, the agent that I'm speaking right now. With Ali Express and Alibaba when you are talking to the person you're not talking to the manufacturer. You're talking to an agent and that agent can help you or break you.
You have to find somebody that you can really trust and speaks English really well. I found this lady, she is really amazing. Her English is phenomenonal and she was able to help me not only get that product but later on find similar products in that product line. Now, I don't even have to go through Ali Express every time I find a new product, I just ask her, “Hey, do you have this? Can you find it for me?” She can do a quick turn over, maybe like a day or two and she'll give me the best price.
[00:22:04] Scott: That's really cool. Now, when you're doing Ali Express though were you doing any branding or was it totally like stock like it's off the shelf they're going to put it in a package and send it off to you?
[00:22:14] Amy: In the beginning, it all just stock, everything that they have, they will send it to me immediately. I didn't even have to wait. It takes about seven days from ordering, putting in the payment to hitting the warehouse.
[00:22:27] Scott: That's awesome. Now let's talk about that real quick. Do you do anything when you get the product other than just mail it right in or do you put like your own label on or do you put anything to it? Do you bundle? Do you do any of that stuff with that product or do you just strictly just…? You know what, this is going to be a total raw test. We're just going to put it in there and see what happens with the listing?
[00:22:49] Amy: Actually Wii can attest to that because he actually gave me an idea of bundling to go with the hijackers. Wii do you want to talk about that?
[00:22:57] Wii: Yeah. So obviously success breeds competition and the dreaded hijackers. For us like what Amy was saying, we didn't even have time to do any type of labeling or private labeling and these sales took off so quickly that for us we just kept going with it. Kept ordering non retail packaging which we make it clear in our listing. That way we temper the expectations of our customers and even after letting people know that this is not going to come in terms of a fancy packaging it's still basically flying off the shelves.
Then when things start to fly off the shelves you do catch the eye of these hijackers and they are just like cockroaches. They just come out in bunches. For us the best to battle them was that obviously using, I think it was episode 201 or something when you had Jon Havre on. I must have listened to that a few times, read the show notes, just to get the nuggets that he was offering. The first thing we did was obviously do the whole brand registry so protect our listing to make sure they can't take that over and then the next thing we looked into was basically sending out those emails right away.
We were originally starting out with a cease and desist letters, those are really wordy and maybe too legal and jargony. So we went back and then Jon was like, “Why not send out the one paragraph email. Just politely state your point where this is your brand and you would appreciate that they would just basically tamper off.” And lo and behold, that actually worked for, I'd say probably 80% of hijackers. Then when that doesn't work, then you move on to the second email which is a cease and desist. That gets rid of probably another 10%. Then the last stubborn 10% of them you do the whole like ordering like a test buy.
[00:25:07] Wii: Then once you have that ammunition your back pocket you can reach out to Amazon. Looking at all our listings right now they are completely healthy. We've rid ourselves of all these hijackers. One more thing to mention is that this powerful piece that we used to battle hijackers is that in the title, we say that we bundle our product with an exclusive branded product that nobody else can possibly be authorized to distribute.
Yes, your main product can be generic and mass produced and anybody can basically buy that from Ali Express, Alibaba and sell that but if you bundle it with something that only you can possibly produce then you really have a unique bundled item that you can tell Amazon, “Hey, listen, these hijackers maybe selling product A but there is no way they can be selling product B because that's our special product.” Your listeners might be saying, “Well, G, what can I possibly produce that’s going to be exclusive?”
For us it's something as simple as a digital PDF that you can email Sales Backer for example to your customers. It's like for us a lot of our products can be complemented like with a digital PDF guide. We say that buy product A, get bonus product B. Again, product B is nothing more than an information instructional guide, something useful that can help them with their product A. We've been doing that and probably for about the last two weeks. We have not seen a single hijacker jump on any of our listings.
[00:26:59] Scott: Wow. Now, you said that you're brand registered as well, right?
[00:27:04] Wii: Yes.
[00:27:04] Scott: If you're brand registered, this is new and we've been hearing about it maybe… I probably heard about it about a month and a half ago that once you're brand registered and your products were underneath that brand then that would almost lock down your listing to where people would have to request permission but it wasn't happening for everyone. Like someone were saying it was happening and someone were saying that it wasn't happening. Just the other day, it seemed like everyone I was talking to about this was saying that now that was the case. Like their listing was being locked down by them which is great news because now that's going to fend off any of the hijackers.
[00:27:49] Wii: Yeah that could be a possible… You might be onto something because right around the time that… Once you start getting hijacked we just went full in with everything we could do to protect it. Getting brand registered along with bundling the exclusive product to writing all these letters out to hijackers, something stuck. I would recommend to your listeners to just try everything and do everything because hijackers can wreak havoc on your business. Our sales went from 30 to almost nothing because they were undercutting us on price and it was just awful but now that we've taken another step to protect ourselves, our sales are healthy.
We're having the sales that we've always heard about for Q4. We've always heard you and other people talk about Q4 and we're like, “Oh, that sounds nice but who knows whether that's actually true.” Well today, Amy and I can attest to that. That's actually true. Our numbers are just sky rocketing, we're growing in sales every day and it's not even black Friday yet. We don't even know what the future brings in the next couple of weeks. We’re so excited by that.
[00:29:11] Scott: That's going to be interesting to see how it does for you but I think it's really good to hear that those initial techniques, strategy, whatever you want to say of sending like the paragraph, sending a cease and desist, that still does get rid of about 70% to 80% but you're going to have those other ones that it’s going be a little bit harder. I had Ted Limus on a few times about this. Again, I'll link this all up in the show notes for everyone that's listening. He talked all about strategies as far as getting those 20% off that won't get off. But with this new listing lockdown that we're starting to experience it may not even be an issue anymore as long as you're brand registered. Again, anyone that wants to get brand registered I'll leave the link in the show notes. Jon Havre was on, we talked all about that.
How to do it yourself or even if you wanted to hire someone to create a little mini website to get brand registered. But the thing is now, if you’re going to brand register for you, do have more like an open brand now or is it more specific to a brand because some people are going to say, “Well, it’s great Scott but I sell in the kitchen space and I sell in the baby space and I sell in the sports and outdoors space, how do I do that? How would I brand register?” How was it for you guys? Are you guys focusing on one niche right now or are you guys more of an open brand?
[00:30:34] Amy: We’re actually an open brand so anything that gets sold under this brand it won’t sound weird. We’re not selling anything like a toy in the kitchen category?
[00:30:47] Scott: Yes.
[00:30:48] Amy: So it’s an open brand and we picked a name that is more generic so that we can sell more under this.
[00:30:55] Scott: Okay, that’s good. If people are going to brand register and you wanted to do that, you want to give yourself a bit of room to be able to do that. To my understanding if you brand register you’re going to be able to then launch products under that brand and the products that are launched under that brand will then fall under the brand registry.
[00:31:16] Wii: Correct. We were told by amazon that as long as you type out the brand name exactly as you registered it, it should be protected under the brand registry program of theirs.
[00:31:27] Scott: Yeah, I’ve heard some people actually send them in to basically… Each new SKU they’ll send in as to make sure. I don’t know if that’s necessary but if you wanted to be extra sure you can do that. My understanding is anything under that brand that’s been registered and you launch a product under there that’s within that brand then you should be fine. That’s good. Now, you have the one product any thoughts of products two, three and four?
[00:31:59] Amy: Actually funny that you should ask because since that day that I sent you the email, we were looking at 2 more products. So right now we actually have 5 products and that’s just within 4 or 5 weeks since we talked. That’s the beauty of Ali Express again because it’s just so quick, the turnaround time that we can just launch products. Not all of them are selling 30 a day but then there are some that are selling 50 or 60 a day and there are some that are selling 15 which is still selling. At the rate that I was looking at I was like, “Maybe we can just keep adding products even if some of them only sell about 10 or 20 a day.” But then yesterday we got our first sale that was like 60 sales and it hit the warehouse 2 days. I did the PPC just because we got extra credit from Amazon, they gave us like $50 credit so I said why not.
[00:33:05] Scott: Why not, right?
[00:33:06] Amy: Right. Right now we have about 5 and we’re looking to maybe expand one more before the holidays.
[00:33:12] Scott: Okay.
[00:33:14] Wii: Just emphasizing Amy’s point, this is something we did 2 days ago we did a little bit of PPC but no reviews, barely any giveaways and yeah it just jumped to 60. I was pretty shocked when I saw that myself.
[00:33:27] Scott: That is pretty crazy. Now here’s the big question that everyone’s going to be thinking and I’m thinking right now as well, what’s the criteria you’re using to go after a product? It seems like you’re going after I guess looking at products that sell well without having a lot of reviews.
[00:33:45] Amy: Correct, yeah. Yes, definitely and especially since Amazon rolled out the new review policy.
[00:33:52] Scott: Of course.
[00:33:53] Amy: For us it didn’t really affect us too much since our products didn’t require reviews. So my criteria is pretty simple. I just look at the Jungle Scout, the first page that pops up will be the keyword that you’re looking for and within the first 10 to 20 sellers. They have to have less than 100 reviews each. The product that sells per month has to be 1,000 or more. That gives you a very good buffer zone to launch a product and not having to have any reviews. And of course you’re asking me how can you find such products and I found 5 within the last 5 weeks so it’s still out there.
[00:34:44] Scott: Let me ask you this just so we’re clear on this because I know people will be wondering this because whenever we talk about 1,000 and then 100, you’re saying 100. If I look at the top 10, let’s say we’re looking at the garlic press again, we can talk about that. Let’s talk about the garlic press. So we have that.
[00:35:00] Wii: Love it.
[00:35:01] Scott: Yeah, you love it right, the garlic press. Everyone says that I should sell a garlic press and that would be pretty silly if I did. If we take the top 10 and what you’re saying is not combined but you’re saying is you want to see 100 or less reviews on each listing?
[00:35:21] Amy and Wii: Correct.
[00:35:22] Scott: Okay, that’s step one, step 2, you want to see 1,000 sales. Is that combined all 10 or is that each one of those you want to see selling 1,000 per month?
[00:35:33] Amy: Each one of those. Some sellers I see even selling 3,000, it’s even better.
[00:35:39] Scott: Okay, so you’re saying each one of those you want to see selling 1,000 per month like the top 10. That would be technically 10,000 sales per month for 10 sellers?
[00:35:50] Amy: Correct, yep, that’s right and you know what, it doesn’t have to be the top 10. It can be the top 5 or 6 but 1,000 units per listing is my bottom-line criteria. That’s the requirement. It can be more but maybe the eighth or the ninth or the tenth seller is doing about 500, 300 units, I’m okay with that.
[00:36:14] Scott: Okay.
[00:36:15] Amy: But they have to have, the first 5 at least has to have 1,000 units.
[00:36:20] Scott: Okay and you’re saying that you’re finding them? You’re not having a tough time finding them?
[00:36:26] Amy: No, not at all and with the first product I was able to find some within the same niche but the most recent one was completely different.
[00:36:37] Scott: In a complete new one and again, how were you discovering these products? Just because you came across something that someone had mentioned or you touched something, you were like, “Ah, that’d be interesting.” Where did you start to get some of this inspiration to start digging into these other areas? Like you just said you follow in a completely other market. Where did that aha come from?
[00:36:58] Amy: Before I told you I was just looking at products every single day and then when I was looking at that product at that time, it wasn’t a great seller but then most recently when I typed it in again, something else came up with that keyword phrase. And when I typed that in, that’s when it popped like a whole different listing, a whole different category. So then I was like “Okay, why can’t I do that for a different product?” And then just that one word that I typed in wasn’t a great seller but then when I added another word to the end of that it became an awesome product.
[00:37:37] Scott: Got you. So you got inspired by one product or one keyword and then that led you to something completely different really.
[00:37:45] Amy: Yeah.
[00:37:46] Scott: That’s what I’ve told people. A lot of people are like, “Scott, what if I get the Jungle Scout web app?” And I’m like, “That’s great, it’s going to give you ideas to start with but you’re then going to take that idea and plug into that particular niche or whatever and then you’re going to start drilling down.” I always tell people sometimes you’ll find your product by doing that but then you’re going to click on the brand and then you’re going to dig deeper in that brand and you may say “Wow, this brand sells like 10 other products that aren’t even related to the first one.” Now all of a sudden you’ve got these ideas that didn’t populate in the web app just by expanding.
[00:38:19] Amy: I was want to add just so your audience can have an idea, look around as see what’s popular, what is the new thing or what’s people paying attention to and crazy about? It could be a seasonal item but that seasonal item can last all year, you never know. With Ali Express you can literally start within seven days so you try that…
[00:38:50] Scott: Are you then saying then like possibly even like a trend? Like you see something that’s a trend and you’re like, “”We can go ahead.” I know my good friend Dom Sugar, he’s been in retail arb for years, he’s a private labeler too but he’s built his business off of trends.
[00:39:03] Amy: Yep, absolutely and Jungle Scout also has the web app I believe and they show you all the trends as well. I have it, haven’t played around with it too much just because I love the Chrome extension but I’d recommend it if people are thinking they don’t have an idea, the Jungle Scout web extension is great.
[00:39:32] Scott: I agree. To me it’s a tool that I wish I had when I first started and now that I have it it’s like I don’t know how I can live without it because it just speed up that process. Again, people think that they’re going to buy the web app that it’s all of a sudden going to give you the product. That’s not how it works guys, you guys have to actually punch in data and then it’s going to give you the information back. Just understand that it’s not this thing that’s going to hand you on a silver platter the product, you have to actually dig for it and that’s what I love about it. To me it’s the shovel. You’re actually digging using this tool. It makes it a lot quicker. It’s like having a shovel that you do by hand or you have a machine that automates that process so you can start pulling out everything quicker and sifting.
Anyways, this is really, really awesome. Okay, so you get the product, what do we do as far as the pictures and listing optimization and kind of all of that stuff? How much attention do you put into that stuff because I think with you guys doing this that would be important because you’re not really relying on pay-per-click in the beginning especially. You’re really hoping you can just get found and by having a well optimized listing I would think then you would be found. Maybe you can run us through that real quick before we wrap up.
[00:40:51] Amy: Yeah, absolutely. The pictures we do take, we have our own pictures and one of the criteria I had when I was doing the product research is that the other competitors’ listings are not optimized so there’s room for us to improve and that has worked for us as well. We’re seeing that if we bundle it, we can put it into the pictures, not the first picture of course but later on, the fourth or the fifth picture, we can show that that’s our bundle so that differentiated us from the other competitors. Yeah, we optimize the keywords. I use keyword inspector in the backend, make sure that the bullets and the description is solid which the other competitors don’t have. Our listing if you look at ours compared to the other ones, I think that people will turn their eyes and look at it more just because the pictures are better quality.
[00:41:54] Wii: I can’t tell you how many of our competitors just have like low res images and maybe only just one image. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. You can take nice pictures from the comfort of your own home. But I’ve seen some competitor listings where it looks like clearly they just kind of threw it on the kitchen table, took some shots. Also the title and the bullet points and the description, they were just kind of bad grammar, spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes, simple things that you can just clean up and just… Again, Amy’s point is that if these competitors are doing awesome and they’re putting almost like no effort into it you just put a little bit more effort, you clean it up, you make your product shine a little bit more, you’re going to do very well.
[00:42:45] Scott: Yeah. What do you think as far as having your brand in the title or in a bullet, do you guys put your brand in there?
[00:42:56] Amy: Yeah, we do have it in the title just because we have it bundled with the digital copies so we do mention it in there so that if Amazon asks us, “Why are you kicking out these other people that are selling your product?” we’ll say, “Well, because they don’t have this digital copy that is exclusively ours.”
[00:43:16] Wii: There are three spots that we put our brand in there so the title for sure just because that jumps out at hijackers. If the hijackers sees your brand in there then they’re probably going to move on it the next listing to hijack.
[00:43:29] Scott: And is that using the front or the back of the title?
[00:43:33] Wii: It’s usually the back. So we actually have like product A is this and this and this and then we say, “Bundled with product D from our brand.” That’s been working for us.
[00:43:46] Scott: Okay.
[00:43:47] Wii: Also mentioning the brand again in the bullet point and then sometimes if it’s relevant we’ll put it again in the description of the product and then in the list.
[00:43:55] Scott: Got you.
[00:43:56] Amy: I don’t know if you want me to talk real quick about the price?
[00:43:58] Scott: Yes.
[00:43:59] Amy: Our price point is actually not that high so we go for about $10 to $15 but we make… It’s not $10 profit but it’s a $5 product profit.
[00:44:13] Scott: That’s fine, if you’re doing the volume though.
[00:44:14] Amy: Right, so the volume is what is doing for us.
[00:44:18] Wii: Yeah.
[00:44:19] Scott: Okay and I guess the other question was is your product or your products, do you look also at it could be either purchased again or in more than one quantity? Do you find people buying more than just one?
[00:44:34] Amy: Oh yes.
[00:44:35] Wii: Oh yeah.
[00:44:37] Amy: Absolutely, we look at our numbers almost like addictively every day.
[00:44:41] Scott: Yeah, I know.
[00:44:42] Amy: We’re like, “Why are people buying 2 or 3?”
[00:44:45] Scott: Yeah, I know. Some people don’t realize-
[00:44:46] Wii: They’ll just buy two or three they’ll actually come back and say, “Oh, I’m going to buy some more.”
[00:44:50] Scott: Okay.
[00:44:51] Wii: It’s something the price point is affordable, it’s something that you can again, go to Ali Express, get a whole bunch of them and just see how it works.
[00:45:01] Scott: How many are you generally buying on your test run?
[00:45:06] Amy: Test run, I would like to buy 500 units.
[00:45:09] Scott: That’s a pretty big test buy.
[00:45:10] Amy: Yeah, you know what, the first one, the first product that I sent you was 100. Nowadays I do 500.
[00:45:18] Scott: Okay, again we’re going to take people back. In the beginning you did 100 units.
[00:45:23] Amy: Right.
[00:45:24] Scott: You did 100 units, you threw it in and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. I’m selling 30 in a day, I’ll be out in 3 days.” You’re like, “We better reorder.” Now you guys you ran out of stock that first one before, right?
[00:45:33] Amy: Yes, we ran out about 5 days, 6 days.
[00:45:38] Scott: How was that getting back one you got back in stock?
[00:45:41] Amy: We got back almost immediately. We were back to where we were maybe 2 days, trickle off a little bit but it didn’t take us that long at all.
[00:45:51] Wii: Yeah, I’m not sure if Amy has mentioned this but we actually have like number one best seller badges for a bunch of our products and then we also have the number one overall badges too.
[00:46:01] Scott: Nice, nice.
[00:46:02] Wii: Yeah, if you can find these products and get these badges really quickly, I mean those are eye catchers for these buyers, for the Amazon buyers out there.
[00:46:11] Scott: Yeah, even if you we’re going to do this strategy then you’re going to have expensive products that you sold only a few a day, you’ll be a good leading offer I would think. It’s kind of like you have a lead in offer if you would in the supermarket where they get you in the store and then you end up filling your cart on the way out.
[00:46:26] Wii: Yeah, might be clicking on our storefront and seeing what else we sell.
[00:46:30] Scott: Absolutely or frequently bought together, you can start to get that stuff on the bottom as well. Okay, price point real quick and then we’ll wrap up, did you play around with pricing it low in the beginning to just get sales velocity and then start to slowly increase it or did you just start at the price you just wanted to sell at?
[00:46:49] Amy: Yeah, we actually started very low. Most of our product we start at about $9.99 or $9.97, that’s the magic number for us and then as sales start to pick up, we would increase it and then we would do a little bit of a test run to see what is the sweet spot and then we would just leave it at there. And then when we were out of stock we would drop the price the first couple of days just to get some sale momentum and then put it back up.
[00:47:16] Scott: Okay, yes and we’ve talked about that even with the most recent review change. Everyone’s like, “How are we going to launch products now?” We’ve talked about probably you’re going to go in… There’s a bunch of different ways you can do it. One way would be to do something like this. You can even do a flash sale where you just did it for 2 or 3 days then you brought the price up. Some people say, “Well, then you’re going to invite your competition to do that.” And that may be true but once you get the sales volume, once you start getting those reviews coming in organically, naturally, I think you’re going to be the one has the best seller badge and all of that stuff, people are going to buy from you even if it is a dollar or two or three more. I think that’s a good strategy.
So you’re finding though that when you were buying these products once you see that it works, are you going back through Ali Express because I would imagine that would be more expensive or are you going privately with your agent now and saying, “Okay, now we want to do a full run.” and then are you branding it?
[00:48:12] Amy: Yes, that’s a good question, so my agent, she kind of gave us a really good deal. She said if I paid her directly through PayPal we save the 5% on top of the bulk discount order. At 500 units, we’re not getting the best price but at 1500 or 2000 units we’re getting a lot better price and with PayPal we saved extra 5%. The more you order the more you save and we kind of trust her at this point now that if we get her to talk to the factory because they talk to each other, they can negotiate a better deal than us so that’s what we do.
[00:48:57] Scott: Yeah, okay and so when you’re doing these test runs if you think you’re going to come in and eventually sell it at $13 or $15 dollars, what are you willing to spend on your test run, I guess is my question per unit when you first start?
[00:49:16] Amy: When I first started I only want about a dollar or maybe $2 per unit and then selling at 10 and up to 15.
[00:49:24] Scott: Okay, for you guys it’s clearly worked as far as volume. For most people, I’ve even talked about this, I like to look at products that can sell for $20 to $45 but I do have some products that sell less and a lot of that is because the market’s changed and when I first started… Things are different now than when I first started and I’ve learnt that through that whole process.
But, it’s still a lead in offer to my more expensive products which is still okay. But in your case you’re going after volume also you’re going after customers so this way here people buy, you could lead them to something else eventually down the line which I like. This is a great story. We went on longer than I thought too because I just wanted to keep digging here. I’m mining right now. I feel like I’m digging for gold because you guys got so many little golden nuggets and I don’t want to lose or leave anything out.
[00:50:20] Wii: This is our first podcast interview and we’re like, “Maybe we’ll be on for 15, 20 minutes or so.”
[00:50:24] Scott: No, not when you get on with me. I’ve got all these questions because I know that I think about this stuff and I know that people listening are going to be thinking about this stuff. So I try to think as myself but I also as the listener because they’ll be like, “Scott, just ask this one question.” And I think I covered all of these but I definitely would probably want to have you back on in the future.
We can do an update and see where you’re at and see how things have progressed for you. I think you guys are on a great, great road here. I love it, you guys are a husband and wife team and I just really want to follow along with your progress. Wrapping up, what’s some tips you could give someone right now that’s says Scott, I just think Amazon’s just too saturated right now and I don’t think anyone really should start selling on Amazon.” What would you say to those people?
[00:51:10] Amy: I would say don’t give up. It took us 2 years to get where we are and our first product definitely wasn’t a home run and find that partner, whether it be your husband, your classmate, your friend, anybody that you can trust and do the business with because you’re going to have those low moments where you’re like, “I don’t want to do this anymore, is it really working?” but if you have that person to compliment you, it’s going to make the journey a lot easier.
[00:51:39] Scott: Yeah, I agree. What about you Wii, you have anything you want to wrap up with?
[00:51:42] Wii: Yeah, I’ll just say that just look at the amount of SKUs that Amazon probably has on their website and realize that we are a consuming country and even if there’s tons of Amazon selling out there, there are a whole lot more buyers out there. Just take action, get onto Amazon, just find something, find your home run product and you’re going to do very well. Just have patience and believe in the system and listen to Scott, he knows what he’s talking about.
[00:52:10] Scott: Thank you so much for that. I would add in there, again I’ve mentioned this, Amazon is a great place to test products and that’s kind of what you’re doing. I think you guys could also take what you’re doing here and then externally do the same thing and then control your own traffic which I’m sure you guys are starting to think about especially if you are podcast listeners because I’ve been talking about that quite a bit.
But I still think right now, if someone came to me brand new and they said and which I have every day but I’m saying if someone came up to me in my neighborhood, they’re like, “Hey, how do you think I could get started online?” I’d be like, “Go to Amazon and this is what you do. Go to my podcast obviously and listen because I tell everything on what to do there.” The only thing that changed is some of the updates that they’ve given us, right.
The launch strategy’s changed just a little bit but of you guys it really hasn’t because you guys aren’t doing these massive giveaways because you’re going into these very highly competitive markets. I think that’s the change for anyone that’s like, ‘What is change in the past two years?” It’s really about how you launch the products and maybe the product criteria but other than that it’s still got opportunity. They do all of the heavy lifting for us. They have the traffic, they have the ecommerce platform in place, they have all of that. They handle refunds, the fulfillment.
But with all being said in one day, in one email they could basically say, “I’m sorry.” and then you have to figure out what’s the next move so that’s where I would come in and say that’s why on the backend of this we need to be thinking about externally. You guys have already proven a market and markets because you have an open brand which is great then you can just take that stuff and start to adapt that to external traffic source as an email list and all that fun stuff that I talk about.
[00:53:50] Scott: We don’t have time for that today but I just want to say guys, thank you so much. This has been awesome, this has been really exciting. I love going through these stories because also you guys didn’t talk about all of the wins. You talked about some of the loses, I say loses but those lessons learnt and I think that’s key in anything that you do. I want to say again, Amy, Wii, thank you guys so much. I look forward to seeing you guys and hearing more in the future about all of your success and your journey along the way. I just want to say thanks again. I really appreciate you guys.
[00:54:18] Amy: Thanks Scott.
[00:54:19] Wii: Thank you Scott.
[00:54:21] Scott: All right, so there you go, another great story and a great couple. I have to say, TAS community rocks. We are just a great community and I want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your stories or helping each other in the Facebook group. Really, that’s what it’s about guys. They have nothing, Amy and we have nothing to gain other than sharing our story to help someone else that might be struggling or that might be going through this beginning stage thinking to themselves, “I’m not really sure that I can do this.” or “I think I got to lay out a ton of money to get started.”
They are proof that you do not have to lay out a ton of money. You can still go in to Ali Express and get started on a shoestring budget and they’ve done that. They’ve done it more than once. They’ve also talked about what didn’t work and why they believe it didn’t work and again learning through that process. I think the other thing I want to highlight here is whether you’re a husband and wife team or just a partner team or whatever or just someone that you’re working with, understand that is a really, really powerful thing when you can align yourself with someone else that can pick you up when you’re down or vice versa.
If you’re just staring you might not have that person right now. That’s why I love the TAS community. You can go there, you can start meeting people and then through those conversations you’re going to see if there’s someone there that resonates with you that you might be able to reach out to and do little weekly check in or something like that. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to find someone or a couple of people to have accountability partners. That may be your wife, it may be your husband, it may be whatever it is, if you can find that it’s really, really powerful.
[00:56:07] Scott: We do have the Facebook community for the TAS group that is, that’s theamazingseller.com/fb so definitely check that out if you’re not there already, great community there, over just about 38,000 now which is just incredible but a great community and it’s there for you guys. Little story here, if you guys didn’t hear this, me and Chris Shaffer met in a Facebook group. If you don’t know Chris Shaffer, you haven’t listened to the podcast long enough, you might want to go back and listen to some, smart guy. Him and I just got talking, we hit it off, we became really good friends, we’ve actually partnered on some things now including some stuff that we’re working on within TAS but also some of our own Amazon stuff together and some other people that we’re helping now.
It just opens up doors when you can find people that you can align yourself with that complement each other. Definitely go out there and do that and just remember, we all start at the beginning. We all start at zero and it’s through those experiences and it’s through those different things that we try that may not work but we learn through that process, I can’t stress that enough and just really take those experiences, learn and get a little bit wiser and then move on to the next part of your journey.
[00:57:19] Scott: All right, so guys the show notes, theamazingseller.com/291, there’ll be full transcripts, there’ll be show notes, links, all that good stuff, head over there. One last reminder on the workshop, if you guys are brand new, it’s probably a good place to start. I actually lay it all out for you on a workshop. You can register for an upcoming one there.
Head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop. That’s it guys, that’s going to wrap it up. remember, I’m here for you, I believe in you and I am rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, I can’t believe you guys can’t see me right now, my hands are going crazy because I’m so excited, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day guys and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/FB – the Facebook community
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/workshop – the free workshops you can attend
- Pat Flynn
- The $500 challenge episode
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/201 – Hijacker episode
- Jungle Scout
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