Is anyone importing/selling/dropshipping products on Amazon as a side hustle?

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I searched under "amazon" and "import" and found nothing that directly addressed this question, so if it is a redundant thread let me know. There is one thread about ecommerce and dropshipping but im more concerned with Amazon specifically.

Ive been doing some reading the past few days and noticed a few posts about importing various products from overseas or wherever and selling it on Amazon for a profit. I just wanted to see if any of the fellas here could possibly drop some knowledge about their experiences doing so. Im looking for ways to get a piece of the online pie and I figure someone else may also benefit from this info.

A few of the main questions that come to mind:

1. Drop shipping vs having the inventory physically delivered to you, which is preferable? They seem like two different practices but a lot of the material im reading seems to blend them together. There have to be obvious benefits/drawbacks to each.

2. What kind of numbers were you looking at in terms of initial start up costs and investment?

3. Speaking of dropshipping, A thread I read on another forum states that the guy just purchases the item directly from another supplier i.e Best Buy and has them ship it directly to the buyer's address and has them (best buy) mark it as "gift" so that the buyer cant see what it actually cost the seller.

If im understanding this correctly, he waits for the money to be deposited in his account and then buys the product, has it "dropshipped" directly without ever handling the actual product and takes in whats left as his cut. This seems a bit shady and underhanded, but a lot of people seem to be doing it. He says his clients are more than happy with their product/prices and it all falls within his promised 7-10 days of delivery time. During this course he has supposedly invested $0 and uses UPC codes to mass upload several units at once.

This is the thread I was reading in case anyone else wants to check it out:
link

4. I know a lot of sellers import from China real cheap and sell on Amazon for a profit and make a decent income that way. Without giving too much away what are some good examples of the types of products/goods used to achieve this method? Also how big of orders did you have to buy to initially break into this?

5. Ive heard Amazon's fees are pretty high at something like ~15%. How do you factor this in?

6. What kind of numbers did/is this amazon business generating in your experience?

Forgive me if these are basic questions, there is just an overload of gimmicky information claiming $20k in 5 weeks and its becoming a bit dizzying to sift through it all on google. I just want some realistic, real life examples of this.
 
1. Use amazon FBA always
2. Low end would be $2k
3. This is a shitty business model. You want to private label. Use IMEX or alibaba and private label a product.
4. All the big niches. Supplements, skincare, kitchen, whatever is hot on google trends. Target females as they do 80% of online purchases
5. This is a non issue. A typical product for me costs $5, $2 shipping, I sell for $40 and amazon takes about $8 including shipping to the customer and running my business for me. It's wonderful. Make sure your product has plenty of margin.
6. I'm at a couple thousand net per month and I just started. Some of my colleagues are at 50k+.
 

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Thanks killface and Cattle Rustler. This is exactly the type of real-time information I needed, but couldn't get to amidst the "you'll get rich in 10 days by shipping someone else's stuff and have a lambo" google results.

Killface, I also felt like the guy's business model was suspect. I can't imagine someone making worth their time in money doing that. A lot of what I have read suggests that private labeling is really the way to go. If I may ask, how much of your time are you investing in this venture? Is this your main thing or do you have a different main source of income supplemented by your amazon sales? Feel free to PM if need be.
 

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
link

I found this reddit thread that goes into pretty good detail about the types of questions I asked in the original post. Its a long read but very informative. It appears this guy started his venture with a bit less than 2K but pretty much followed the same principles mentioned here.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
Drop shipping per say can be a very profitable biz model in more than one way if done right. Obviously, the method mentioned from that black hat forum link is definitely not one of them! At least not anymore. It might have been back in 2009.

I am currently building a drop shipping store from scratch. I might post a data sheet about it once I've completed my site using the steps I've been using and my own notes. Provided there is interest about it.

Regarding the amazon FBA biz model, I am very intrigued by it. I've done some reading on it and what I've gathered so far is that you'd have to invest in inventory (500-1000 units being the very minimum order quantity). Then, once you've received your order, you'd have to give away the first 100-200 units in order to get positive feedback!

I see there are a few guys doing the Amazon FBA biz already in here, so please correct me if I'm missing anything here on that.
 

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Vac, I heard you have to sell your item at a heavily distcounted rate before but giving it away? I would definitely like more info on that as well.

And please do drop that datasheet when its done.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
Yeah I've heard both, selling the first 1-200 units at heavily discounted rates and giving them away.

Nowadays, there are podcasts on pretty much any topic out there. Earlier tonight, did some search and found quite a few on Amazon FBA and starting to listen to a few.

Guys, start listening to podcasts, there are a good mine!
 
Hey guys,

Every supplier is different and you must talk to several of them to get quotes as they can vary widely. So you don't get burned, MAKE SURE they allow you to pay with a credit card through PayPal (that way if they scam you file a chargeback). Make sure you pay 30% up front, then 70% upon receipt of sample product and photos of the completed order. Filter by gold supplier etc on alibaba as well. Very important.

I've had MOQs as low as 100 before.

It takes almost none of my time. The time it does take is fun. I am limited by my capital and not my time.

100-200 unit gIveaway is unnecessarily huge unless you are trying to be the first guy in a hyper competitive niche. Like diet supplements. In that case you have bigger worries than giving away 100-200 units as you will be selling hundreds of units per day. For this I recommend viral-launch.com and their $150 per month plan. Zonblast etc do not come close. Give away maybe 20-50 with a $1-5 price and probably 50% will leave reviews. 10-20 reviews is certainly enough to get the ball rolling.

A good Facebook group is amazon fba private label sellers. My mastermind group has also been invaluable. I can't give it out publicly but poke around and the interwebs and you'll find people
 
1. Drop shipping vs having the inventory physically delivered to you, which is preferable? They seem like two different practices but a lot of the material im reading seems to blend them together. There have to be obvious benefits/drawbacks to each.

Ebay and Amazon are doing a big purge of drop shippers. Have fake invoices ready because ebay, amazon, paypal may come knocking and want invoices. If your a drop shipper typically you can't provide a legit invoice. They basically want to see if you have 100 items listed for sale they want to see an invoice for 100 items that you purchased.

Do a google search on amazon or ebya purging drop shippers. Also many shopping cart platforms like shopify also state in their TOS they don't allow dropshippers.

I personally prefer buying my own inventory or private labeling.

2. What kind of numbers were you looking at in terms of initial start up costs and investment?

Depends on who you work with. Many suppliers want you to order a few thousand pieces but most suppliers understand your doing business with them the first time and aren't really trusting so many will start with 100 to 500 pieces. Depending on what type of stuff your getting into you could potentially get a few hundred units for just a couple hundred dollars. Granted your paying a little more but its worth it to know who your dealing iwth and what your getting before placing a large order.

3. Speaking of dropshipping, A thread I read on another forum states that the guy just purchases the item directly from another supplier i.e Best Buy and has them ship it directly to the buyer's address and has them (best buy) mark it as "gift" so that the buyer cant see what it actually cost the seller.

If im understanding this correctly, he waits for the money to be deposited in his account and then buys the product, has it "dropshipped" directly without ever handling the actual product and takes in whats left as his cut. This seems a bit shady and underhanded, but a lot of people seem to be doing it. He says his clients are more than happy with their product/prices and it all falls within his promised 7-10 days of delivery time. During this course he has supposedly invested $0 and uses UPC codes to mass upload several units at once.

This is the thread I was reading in case anyone else wants to check it out:
link

I'm not a fan of dropshipping. There's not a ton of opportunities to buy something retail and make money to cover amazon fees let alone see a profit, I'm not saying people don't do it and have some success but to me its not worth it. Also even if you do a great job some buyer will be mad he bought from you instead of just going to bestbuy and will leave you bad feedback for doing that whether its justified or not.

4. I know a lot of sellers import from China real cheap and sell on Amazon for a profit and make a decent income that way. Without giving too much away what are some good examples of the types of products/goods used to achieve this method? Also how big of orders did you have to buy to initially break into this?

Obviously won't share products or a niche but go for items that are light, this makes your shipping fees lower and also if your planning on doing amazon FBA you also want light items.

5. Ive heard Amazon's fees are pretty high at something like ~15%. How do you factor this in?

Amazon fees are incredibly high, this is my main thing that turns me off to amazon. If you find the right product with nice margins you can make money but thats a pretty steep fee. People complain about eBay fees but amazon is gangster when it comes to fees.

This is a big part of why I suggest private labeling. If your importing the same garbage everyone else is you have to be lowest price to sell, other people will piggyback off your listings, etc. With private labeling you have a unique product which can command higher prices and also nobody can compete with you on your own brand or your own label.

6. What kind of numbers did/is this amazon business generating in your experience?

I make a little side money but havn't really struck it rich on amazon by any means. Ebay is my bread and butter and I do big numbers on there but amazon I'm maying cashing out $6500 every pay period and thats not profit thats total sales. I probably make a 20% margin on that
 

samsamsam

Peacock
Gold Member
Vacancier Permanent said:
Yeah I've heard both, selling the first 1-200 units at heavily discounted rates and giving them away.

Nowadays, there are podcasts on pretty much any topic out there. Earlier tonight, did some search and found quite a few on Amazon FBA and starting to listen to a few.

Guys, start listening to podcasts, there are a good mine!

Maybe a couple of podcast links please? Just to get started. Thanks.
 
Cleanslate, many guys do, especially for the first order to do a quality check. Personally I don't want to fuck with it and I don't have an address so I take delivery of the sample and if it is good I ship directly from China to the amazon fba warehouse, which is so insanely easy I couldn't believe it
 
Yeah don't dropship, use amazon fba. They are the best at what they do and it will probably boost your internal search rankings as well since you're using an amazon service and they're making money.

I didn't mean to denigrate the reselling biz so much...I know people netting 5k+ per month on that. However, it is very time intensive, very short term, you're not building a brand or a business (please read millionaire fastlane) and I have no interest in hitting thrift stores and liquidators every fucking day. Private label instead. Get a good graphic artist and you can charge a premium since your products will look great. My graphic artist works at Apple. He charges a ton but my products would not look out of place hanging on the shelves at Target or Walmart, and people like that.
 

VincentVinturi

Pelican
Gold Member
Any experience selling supplements on FBA?

I've been tinkering with the idea of starting a premium supplement a la NaturalStacks, or BulletProof.
 
It's a tough niche, probably the toughest. You'll need a decent bankroll to get enough reviews and PPC traffic to gain traction. Couple thousand. Good news is great suppliers are easy to find stateside and you can drill down to smaller niches like say a menopause product.

You need to be very careful not to make medical claims and to obey amazon TOS to the T. No using trademarked terms as keywords or PPC keywords, etc. They scrutinize the hell out of that category. Network and read as much as you can to avoid landmines. PM me with any specific questions.

It's also a gated category, meaning you need to show them the invoice for your initial order, it's easy as fuck. People freak out and even pay companies hundreds of dollars to get un-gated even though it's the easiest thing ever. As more people enter the marketplace, amazon will continue implementing stuff like this making it harder for new entrants, so get in now.
 

WestIndianArchie

Peacock
Gold Member
I'm loving this thread so far.

With private labeling, are you doing research and design, or simply relabeling the same Ali Baba stuff that's also on Amazon?
 
Relabeling for now. I am setting aside part of my revenue to design and patent my own at some point. My first product was actually patented.:.shady Chinese supplier didn't tell me and my half ass search yielded nothing...I'm currently in negotiations with the lawyer representing this 50 billion dollar company for licensing. In the meantime I ordered a similar non patented product, and if the licensing deal goes through I will sell both.
 

WestIndianArchie

Peacock
Gold Member
I'm just amazed that the relabeling works.

Is it packaging and better advertising than the bare bones offerings?

Let's say I wanted to do the keychain flashlight market. (As an example)

I'm getting my black flashlight from the same factory as the other guys on Amazon/eBay, but my presentation looks professional, and it costs more, thus people buy?

If that's what you're saying, I'll me scouring the listings looking for a good product.

WIA
 

Moma

Peacock
Gold Member
Kill face, for those willing to hit thrift stores and so forth, what are the items that move the best? What items can one mark up and sell at a profit fairly quickly that can be obtained from dollarama etc?
 
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