TAS 463 (Ask Scott #143) Timing Product Launches – Alibaba Ripping Me OFF – Using Old Account for NEW Brand

Are you excited about the direction of your business? Do you feel like you have all the tools and lessons you need to go out there and build a thriving ecommerce brand? If you need that extra push to keep going and continue firing on cylinders, you’ve come to the right place. It’s time for another session of Ask Scott here on The Amazing Seller podcast! On this episode, you’ll hear from Scott as he shares his thought of the week and tackles questions from listeners like you. Make sure to listen to as Scott touches on topics including the timing of your product launch, what to do when it looks like your supplier is ripping you off, and much more!  

Prepping for the future!

You might be really focused and honed in on your business right now, and that’s great! But what about the next step? Are there things you can be doing right now to prepare for the future? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott gives his helpful thought of the week that centers on preparing for the next step on your journey. Scott wants all of his followers to hold on to this important truth that he finds crucial, “Build today, for tomorrow’s success and results.” That’s some fantastic advice! Make sure to listen to this episode as Scott expands on this wisdom and much more!

Go ahead, start your PPC campaign before you have reviews.

As you finish up your product research and the other steps necessary to launch your first product, you might be wondering about how and when to launch your PPC campaign. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott goes through how his thoughts have changed on this topic and why you should consider starting your PPC campaign even if you don’t have many reviews. Scott use to be of the opinion that you need as many reviews as possible before you start running PPC on your new product listing, he has since changed that view and encourages sellers like you to start using PPC right away. To hear more about running PPC at the launch of your product and other helpful subjects, make sure to listen to this episode!

How to respond when you find your product listed by a supplier.

It is a seller’s worst nightmare, you find your product listed by your supplier. What do you do? Are there steps you can take to prevent this scenario from happening to you and your brand? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott shares that this situation happened to him so he has very relevant and helpful info to share that can help you prevent this from happening to you! Scott encourages sellers to reach out and contact the supplier and tell them that they can’t utilize the product because it belongs to them. Depending on what steps they’ve taken regarding patent pending status, they should include that information when they reach out. To hear more about safeguarding your brand from this important issue, listen to this episode to hear Scott expand on this subject!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [3:00] Build today for tomorrow’s success and results.
  • [4:30] Question #1: Should I start PPC before I have reviews?
  • [12:00] Question #2: My supplier might be ripping off my product, what should I do?
  • [20:30] Question #3: Should I start a separate Amazon account for my Private Label businesses?

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 463

TAS 463: (Ask Scott #143) Timing Product Launches – Alibaba Ripping Me OFF – Using Old Account for NEW Brand

[INTRODUCTION]

[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 463 and session number 143 of Ask Scott. This is…

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…where I answer your questions here on the podcast and I do it every single Friday. This is 143 times that I'm going to be doing it back with you guys this Friday or depending on when you're listening to this. It could be a Tuesday but yeah what I want I want to do here is answer questions, and if you have any questions that you want me to answer on an upcoming ask Scott session just send it over to theamazingseller.com/ask. You can record a brief message there. Please leave your first name. I'd love to hear who I'm speaking with and we can have that cup of coffee together.

It's the way I look at it. You guys that are long time listeners know that I like to feel as though we're sitting around that table, having a cup of coffee or your choice of drink. Maybe it's a latte. I don't know. Yeah, we just talk business and today just to give you a heads up of what we're going to be talking about is timing product launches. That's going to be a question we're going to address. AliBaba ripping me off, or us off and can that happen? Then what do we do about it? Then the other one I'm going to be talking about is using old accounts for new brands and the pros and cons.

We're going to talk all of those here on today's Ask Scott session. Now before we do jump into the questions for today I did want to remind you if you have not registered for an upcoming workshop, we have a brand new workshop which we just did it, depending on when you're listening to it, last night. It's the five step road map for building a six figure brand in 12 months or less. The reason why I'm titling it that is because it's me tracing back the exact five steps that we just recently used in this past year, in 2017 to do exactly that. Build a six figure brand and we're heading toward seven figures as we speak.

[00:02:03] Scott: So this workshop is really a case study in a sense to take you through those steps and then give you action steps of your own. So this way here you can go and implement and take action 2018. You guys that have been following along you guys know and I'm doing the hashtag symbol here with my fingers, #takeaction2018. That is going to be our hashtag for this year. So definitely start using that if you're posting on Facebook and stuff. The replay is up for that if you want to check it out. And if the replay is not up, then you can register for an upcoming workshop at theamazingseller.com/workshop.

That will take you to the registration page or the replay page, whichever is there at the current time that you're listening. But definitely go check that out. This is brand new, something that we're putting together to really retrace those steps so if you're at all interested in looking at those five steps and applying them and modeling what we've done, definitely go check that out. Now before we do jump and I got one more thing I wanted to address and you guys know that I like to talk a little bit about what's on my mind and especially it's the first of the year or the beginning of the new year of 2018 depending on when you're listening to this. There's something that I want you guys to think about because when I go back to everything that I've ever done in the past it always goes about kind of prepping for the day or prepping for the future.

Even in photography we used to have to prep for a photography session or even in the contracting business we had to always prep the job for maybe the next phase or whatever. But you're always building for the next thing. What I want to put out here for you guys right now and have you guys think about maybe even write down is this right here. Build today for tomorrow's success and results. Now let me say that one more time. “Build today for tomorrow's success and results.” You have to start today. We can sit here and plan all we want.

[00:04:02] Scott: We can sit here and think about what if I do this and it doesn't work? What if I do this and this happens? You won't know until you actually start. I'm going to give you those two hashtags, #just start and #takeaction2018 and write that one down. Build today for tomorrow's success and results. Make sure that you understand that's what we're doing here. Let's go ahead, let's jump into today's first question. I'll give you my answer. Let's rock and roll here. Let's get this thing started. What do you say? Let's do it.

[Q&A SESSION]

[00:04:31] Ryan: Hi Scott. This is Ryan in Nashville Tennessee. Thanks for taking my question. Love everything you doing. Love the podcast, love the community you've created and the inspiration you've given to so many people here. My question today is a two part question and it is about timing for launching new products. I have taken kind of the hybrid 1K Fast Track approach. Where I acquired about $500 inventory and going to be doing about another $500 or so in pay-per-click and ad spend there. My first part question is, when first launching a new product and you have no reviews and your product is brand new should you start pay-per-click advertising before you have reviews?

If people see the ad, they see your product and they see it's priced reasonably it works good, pictures are good but they don't see any reviews is that going to be effective? Should I be running pay-per-click ads before I have reviews, before I have friends buy them and leave honest reviews? That's my first question.

My second question related to timing is around inventory. Knowing I just bought 50 units to start and hoping that they go pretty quickly, how soon should I look at buying more inventory so I don't run out. Those are my two questions around timing for launching new products. Thanks again.

[00:06:00] Scott: Hey, Ryan thank you so much for the questions and these are good. I like them. Lets' just dig right in. Now, I think way back when in the day we're going back like maybe three years ago, I would have said wait until you have five to ten reviews before you start pay-per-click. I've changed that and the reason is because I've changed as far as how I look at products that I want to launch. If I'm going after products that have over 500 reviews which I'm not a fan of and I don't really do that anymore then I would say yeah, you're probably going to want to wait until you get a handful of reviews. But you could also use that as a validation point as to whether or not the product is going to sell pretty easily. Here's what I mean.

If you start pay-per-click with zero reviews and other sellers have 300 to 500 reviews and you start getting a couple of sales then we pretty much know that the reviews are not a huge part of people buying the product or at least it may seem that way. It's also a good sign that we can probably start to dial in our pay-per-click because we're starting to get sales with zero reviews. Now, let me go back a little bit and say that nowadays when you're launching and this is probably in the past year and a half, I've looked at products that have 200 or less reviews.

Preferably less. Even 100 or less because now I can start my pay-per-click right out of the gate and I can start to test it. I can start to get it in front of the eyeballs of my buyers and I also know that if these other sellers have received sales with low amount of reviews, then that's a good sign. That means that the buyer is not necessarily rolling through all of those, combing through all of those reviews and they are not buying necessarily because of the reviews.

[00:08:05] Scott: So I would say it's going to depend, that's a Chris Shaffer little thing there. It depends, he's always saying that. And it does depend in this case because if you're going after a product that has a lot of reviews then you may want to wait or you may want to throw $25 at it and see if you can get any traction. Another sign would be that you're starting to get impressions, you're starting to get clicks but you're not getting sales. Well, then we can go back and say well maybe it's because I don't have any reviews. Let' me pause that and go after some reviews and then come back and restart it.

Now, the only way that you're going to be able to do that is if you build an email list and if you've built up some rapport with those people and then you send those people a discount and they are probably more likely to leave you a review, anyway because they know they can trust you already. The other thing that I want to address here is you're starting with 50 units. Now, I don't know, is this product a higher priced item? Is it a $50 item? Is it a $20 item? The reason why I ask that is because if you started with only 50 units and it's a $20 item, you're going to probably sell those. If it's a halfway decent product.

You're probably going to sell through those so I'd say as soon as you get a couple of sales, I'd probably reorder. Because then you're going to run out of momentum because you're going to run out of inventory. So my first sign there would be like if I had 50 units and I sold ten of them in like two or three days, I'd probably say I probably want to order more. Now, my other question would be if you're only ordering 50 how long does it take to get that next batch? Because what you might want to do is again wait until you start seeing a couple of sales trickle in and then immediately place an order. If you're waiting 45 days to get another shipment that's going to be a problem.

[00:10:00] Scott: I would probably warn anyone listening and you as well Ryan that if you're starting with 50 units its fine and all. You're reduced the risk kind of but in the same breath, you could be just validating and then getting some momentum and then losing all that momentum and having to start over again. I get what you're doing, it's fine but just understand, if it's going to take you 45 days to get more inventory that's a problem. If it takes you a week, not so much. So those are some things just to think about but me personally, all of the products that we've launched in the new brand we've started pay-per-click with zero reviews. Zero.

Because we have products that are hitting the market that are not competing on reviews meaning that a lot of the products have less than 200 reviews. And we also have an email list that we can send an email to and start to get sales almost immediately and then from there those people will most likely follow up and start leaving reviews simultaneously. So that would be my little bit of advice there for you or anyone listening as far as the timing goes but for me personally I like to get things rolling very quickly with my email list and then from there immediately turning on pay-per-click as soon as that is done. That's one little thing I should note here.

If you do have an email list, if you've built an email list and you're going to be doing a promo with them I would hold off on the pay-per-click until you've run through that and the reason is it's because I don't want to run through pay-per-click have them click over and then leave and come back and see one of my ads and click on my ad. I want them to go directly to the product. So I always wait on the pay-per-click until we finished up on our little promo. Usually three to five days on the promo and then I'll start running pay-per-click. So just little side note there for you. If you guys are wondering, “Well, Scott what are you talking about building a list?” Maybe you guys are brand new. I have a free workshop that you guys can go to and you can see exactly what I'm talking about here as far as building that email list. That can be found at theamazingseller.com/buildlist.

[00:12:04] Scott: theamazingseller.com/buildlist and I'll also leave that in the show notes to this episode which can be found at theamazingseller.com/463. All right, let's go ahead and let's go and listen to the next question and I'll give you my answer. Let's do it.

[00:12:20] Brett: Hi Scott. What is going on? This is Brett from Los Angeles. And first of all thanks for all the great work and great resources and I'm a big fan of the podcast. I found my first product to launch and I went through all the process that I customized my product and I changed the general shape and the dimension and basically I made it better than those who are selling on Amazon. I received my sample and I really liked the quality. My concern is yesterday I was digging into AliBaba and visited my supplier's mini website and found out that they put my design as their stock product.

In that case scenario what will be your approach? Thank you so much Scott. Keep up the great work. Bye.

[00:13:18] Scott: Hi Brad from Los Angeles. What's up man, thank you so much for the question and it's funny this just actually happened to us. No joke. This just happened and I'll tell you exactly what we did to deal with it but this is a common concern from a lot of people that are just starting out and this is where it comes down to having a good relationship with your supplier and there's no shortcut to that. There's really no shortcut. There's you reaching out to the suppliers building a rapport, building a relationship, getting a level of trust with them and they are going to actually probably try to protect you in some cases.

That's what's happened in our situation here. It's our agent that works for the supplier actually looks out for us. We actually had this happen where my partner was just combing through looking for another product that we were thinking about sourcing, getting an idea of another factory and then having our agent maybe reach out to that factory. That's how we do it too. They stumbled on a product that we currently sell that we customized and that we made our own design and all that. Obviously they were shocked and my partner they reached out to me and they said, “What the heck?

Like this is not supposed to happen, we are supposed to have exclusive rights.” That's another thing too. You might want to put in there on your modifications that you want exclusive rights to this design and this way here they will at least be aware of that you've acknowledged that and that you've said you want that. You may even want to send them over some type of maybe document that you create. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something that they're actually going to sign off on. It's another reason. The thing is, depending on how much your customization is.

[00:15:21] Scott: If you're just adding a little strap it, well I'm not really sure you can say that they can't sell that. But if it's something that you have a completely new design or maybe a new fabric that you've used or maybe a new mold that you've created and now they are using your mold for other people. You don't want that. We paid for that mold. So you got to be careful and you also have to understand that again, it comes down to that little bit level of trust. So the first thing that we did is we contacted the manufacturer. Actually it wasn't even the same manufacturer as ours, it was someone else.

They just took our pictures, our exact pictures and put it up on AliBaba that they would remake that. So we immediately reached out to them, sent them a nice letter saying that we have a patent pending on this product which most of our products we at least file a patent. It's literally under a couple of hundred bucks. Then from there you have at least 12 to 18 months on that as a patent pending. Not necessarily that you're going to get it but it's something that you can have. Now, if you wanted to say that you have or you're in the process you can. I wouldn't be totally dishonest about it but you could even say that you have intellectual property. Whatever.

You just want to let them know that that is your unique design that is exclusive to you. Then they are violating AliBaba's terms yadi yadi yada. Most of the suppliers that have any type of history on Alibaba they don't want to get on bad terms with Alibaba. So immediately what this company did is they said, “Totally sorry don't know what happened, someone must have posted it on our team. We will immediately take it down and we will not offer it here.” Now does that mean they won't offer it somewhere else? Don't know. But they immediately took it off. The other thing that we found was that, and we found this through our supplier is that someone actually ordered our unit and they were starting the process of selling the item.

[00:17:34] Scott: Not on Amazon yet but they had a purchase order. Our agent went out to that person and located them through the manufacturer and said you cannot sell this on Amazon. It's exclusive to my client. So again there goes your relationship again. Like if you have a good relationship with this person, I can't stress that enough. If you can build this relationship it is huge and they will help you navigate the area there but they will also help you navigate like the ins and outs of other manufacturers. They will contact them on your behalf. Again, it comes down to the individual and how much relationship you have with them.

That's why recently we talked about we gave our agent a nice bonus and said we really appreciate what you've done for us, we're taking care of them and we continue to reorder. So the steps that I would take in your situation Brett is I would contact the manufacturer and say I'm just wondering why you have images on the website and it sounds like they are your images too or else they took their own. I don't know but you say that you are selling my customized product that was built exclusively for me. Then they may come back, well we didn't just say it was just for you, we just made the modifications. That maybe bad on your part.

That's something you got to go back and ask yourself did you say that and did make it exclusive and if you didn't then there could be a little bit of an issue there. But that's like the conversation that I would have with them. Let them know that I don't know if you do or not but you have a patent pending you might want to say I have a patent pending or I have exclusive rights to that. That's my customized design. So you have to be honest with them but you also have to be direct with them and give them the opportunity and the chance and let them know that you are the only one that's supposed to be able to sell that. Again, I don't know how much customization was done to it, I don't know the relationship you have.

[00:19:37] Scott: I'm speculating on this. But this is what we did, it worked immediately took the stuff down. I don't know how long it will work. Who knows, there could be another one that pops up and you got to deal with them but my attitude is the longer that I'm selling that product the more rooted I get into Amazon, the more I don't really care if someone comes on the scene because they are going to have to compete with all of the history, all of the momentum we have and we're moving on to new products anyways. Hopefully it answered your question. That's what I'd do and again I just want to stress anyone out there that is listening and that is saying like how do I find a good agent?

You have to go out there and treat it as though what's like an interview process. You have to go through that process. You have to be willing to build this relationship because they are on the ground there for you. And if you find a good one, I'm telling you they will go and they will run through brick walls for you. Definitely spend the time to work on those relationships. Let's go ahead and listen to the last question of today and then you guys can get on with your day and your weekend and we can get rocking and rolling out of here. What do you say? Let's do it.

[00:20:43] Mark: Scott how's it going? This is Mark from St. Morgan. First off, thank you so much for your podcast and all you put out there. It's such a good thing that you do. It's life changing stuff for people like me. It's awesome. Thank you. So my question is I'm just getting ready to get started. I sell on Amazon already with online arbitrage and garage sales, all that jazz. I was going to get my private label products going under the same account that I sell on now, kind of like the multibrand method but I was also thinking about selling my brand in the future so I'm curious if in my head I want to have Instagram account for my brand for my products. Have the shopify account all that. You got your Amazon listing, all kind of as one as that brand.

But how does that go if I were to sell it being set up under my account that I have now. Does that make sense? Versus setting it up on its own private Amazon account. Does that matter? I'd rather just do it on the account that I have now so I can just speed up getting started but I'm thinking if I want to sell it in the future would be better if I were to have its own private Amazon account. Or does that even matter? So that's my question. Thanks again for all you do Scott and I hope to hear from you soon.

[00:22:10] Scott: Hi Mark. What's up man? Thank you so much for the question and yeah this is a good one as well. Here is my thoughts. This is pretty easy for me. If you are at all thinking that you possibly may sell this brand then I would do it now. I would set these things up separate, I would keep them separate. I get what you're saying. It would be so much easier if we just left that account the way it is and then you just added your brand to it. The only way that I would do that is if you were going to create an open brand on that account and that is what you're going to be selling, an open brand.

I don't believe that an open brand would sell as much as a brand focused brand. So I personally would say leave your existing brand, use that for your RA, use it for open brand stuff if you want to. Keep it but don't like not use it and then I would start your new account separately. That's something also that if you're going to be operating under the same household as your new business, then your old business you're going to want to contact Amazon on that and let them know that that's what you're doing and why you're doing it and saying that I'm starting a new brand over here. It needs to be separate than this. They are usually going to be cool with it and I would definitely make sure that you keep all the emails and the transactions that you guys talk about back and forth.

Any type of chats that you have keep all that stuff just in case they come back and say, “Wait a minute. Wow, wow, you're operating two businesses under one household, you are not supposed to do that. You got to keep it under one account.” You got to be just upfront with them but then of course one person can tell you one thing and then another person tell you another. So that's why I always like to cover my tracks. We've done this a few different times and every time it's easy. You just need our own checking account with a new EIN number so that way you can use that. Obviously your business name. You don't even really have to register the name 100%. You can do a DBA if you want to.

[00:24:18] Scott: You can do an LLC if you want to right off the bat. But you don't necessarily need to. You just have to have it separate EIN number with that business name so this way here you can set up that checking account. Amazon will set up that account with a new checking account and pretty much you'll be ready go. There's not really much more to add to that than you'll have a brand new log in, you'll have a brand new checking account. All of that stuff. The other thing is if you are going to be making purchases with a credit card it's going to be hard to get a business credit card right out of the gate.

One thing that my CPA has said, Josh Bauerle who's been on the podcast a few times has said as long as you have a credit card, even if it's just in your name and you exclusively use it for that business then it can technically be that businesses credit card. Just another thing to keep in mind. I would definitely consider keeping those two separate especially if you're going to be building this thing as a brand. Because when you sell it, it's going to be a lot easier to hand over the keys to the business. Your logins and stuff so this way here they can access that. If you did it the other way, they might have three products that are going to go with the brand and then you have your RA stuff that you're still doing or you have two other products that you want to continue to sell on that account.

You're going to have to move them somehow. You really can't because the listings are the listings. So that's when it can get tricky. People that are buying businesses don't really like that. They'd rather you just say hand us over the keys to the business and then they can go in and change all of their information on the back end and this way here all you got to do is supply them with the login. That's it. So I would definitely, definitely say do that. I would set up two separate accounts. Yes you're starting from Scratch, you don't have a seasoned account, I think you'll be fine. Again, just like I said in the very beginning build today for tomorrow's success and results.

[00:26:21] Scott: Just start that account now and tomorrow it's going to be a little bit older than it was the day before. So it's no big deal. You got to start somewhere. So hopefully that helped you. Good luck, keep me posted and everyone that's submitted questions I want to say thank you and keep submitting them. Head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and do that. Leave your first name, leave a brief question, maybe where you're tuning in from and I'd love to hear from you and I'd love to have a cup of coffee together and we can chat business. And this doesn't have to be just Amazon focused stuff guys. It could be list building stuff, it can be just branding.

How to build a brand. Anything on business topics or even mindset. I love talking about that stuff. If you have any questions about any of that stuff definitely ask them for an upcoming session and I would love to answer them for you. One more reminder about our most recent workshop if you have not attended this one which it's pretty new, that we just started this one. So you probably haven't you're definitely going to want to do that because we go through the entire five step road map that we've just recently did in the past 12 months to build a six figure brand from scratch. We go through all that and we share on the workshop, give you action steps. So that can be found at theamazingseller.com/workshop.

Guys, #juststart, #takeaction2018 and that's going to wrap it up and as always 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, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

[END]

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