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

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I'm pretty disappointed killface got banned.

He was a helpful poster and much of that info in the above mentioned thread doesn't seem astronomical or unobtainable by any means. A lot of oil guys are pulling similar numbers from what I understand, especially with a degree.

Pour out a little liquor I guess.
 

germanico

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I thought of a novel application for an existing, ubiquitous, cheap product.

Id like to produce it (order a couple thousand units, pack them, stock them, etc) and sell them on Amazon.

How should I go about this? What info or sources would you guys recommend me check into?
 

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Most of that has been covered on the first page germanico. You really dont even need to stock anything yourself physically.

The basic jist is After your product is developed you have your chinese supplier from alibaba or wherever send you pics and samples of the product. Once you're happy, you have the total order/shipment sent straight to one of amazons fba warehouses in the US. Give the first 20-100 units away, depending on what it is your selling, rack up some 5 star reviews, after about 10-20 reviews you hit the first page of amazons search for that product and hopefully the orders will start coming in. You never physically hold the product.

Also Vac posted some good links and podcasts, give them a look.
 

HonantheBarbarian

Kingfisher
Gold Member
You can technically start selling without ever actually touching or seeing the product.

But that would be risky cause the supplier could royally fuck up/take shortcuts on your product.

Searching for only gold rated suppliers on alibaba mitigates this a bit, but I would still order a small sample to see it and use it for myself.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
I heard on one of the podcast I've been listening that the gold rated label in typical chinese fashion, is at times nothing more than that, a label, that these chinese manufacturers purchase.

Has anyone in here heard about this and confirm/ deny this and and more lights into that?
 

BallsDeep

Kingfisher
Gold Member
You get the Gold Label by paying Alibaba, it's nothing more. It costs 5000RMB a year.

Guys, the real money is made by actually being in China. The majority of vendors on Alibaba are traders, not factories, despite what they may claim.

Why you ask? Because a factory may produce anywhere from between $5million-100million worth of product annually. Their job is to produce quality product at the lowest possible price. They only care about supplying by the container. They don't have the time nor the interest to chat on Alibaba all day with guys who are kicking tires about possibly buying 50 cell phone chargers. That's what traders do.

The problem with traders though, is they'll hike up the price anywhere from 30-100% of what the factory charges them. In addition, they're also your competition on ebay and amazon. You know the guys on amazon who have the cheapest price but it says it ships from China? Those are the same traders you're buying from on Alibaba.

As far as shipping directly from China to the Amazon FBA warehouses.... I call bullshit. Any marginally large shipment that comes into the US has to go through customs. Who's going to do that for you?

Bottom line, there's plenty of money to be made, but it's not done by a couple of clicks and boom, your product's in the Amazon warehouse.

Germanico, if you have any questions I can help you with, shoot me a PM. The most lucrative items I've found are ones that you craft yourself. When only one factory has the molds, instead of thousands, it prevents competitors from shooting down the price and killing your business.
 

Deepdiver

Crow
Gold Member
BallsDeep said:
You get the Gold Label by paying Alibaba, it's nothing more. It costs 5000RMB a year.

Guys, the real money is made by actually being in China. The majority of vendors on Alibaba are traders, not factories, despite what they may claim.

Why you ask? Because a factory may produce anywhere from between $5million-100million worth of product annually. Their job is to produce quality product at the lowest possible price. They only care about supplying by the container. They don't have the time nor the interest to chat on Alibaba all day with guys who are kicking tires about possibly buying 50 cell phone chargers. That's what traders do.

The problem with traders though, is they'll hike up the price anywhere from 30-100% of what the factory charges them. In addition, they're also your competition on ebay and amazon. You know the guys on amazon who have the cheapest price but it says it ships from China? Those are the same traders you're buying from on Alibaba.

As far as shipping directly from China to the Amazon FBA warehouses.... I call bullshit. Any marginally large shipment that comes into the US has to go through customs. Who's going to do that for you?

Bottom line, there's plenty of money to be made, but it's not done by a couple of clicks and boom, your product's in the Amazon warehouse.

Germanico, if you have any questions I can help you with, shoot me a PM. The most lucrative items I've found are ones that you craft yourself. When only one factory has the molds, instead of thousands, it prevents competitors from shooting down the price and killing your business.

I have also done my deep dive into FBA or Fulfillment by Amazon and had read the Amazon Amazing Selling Machine materials they wanted $4K for the "full" course - - for $4K I would rather buy and roll fast moving inventory! I have an associate who had about 16 Virtual Web Assistants working in Philippines on various niche web projects... he tries to stay away from physical product - as there is always the problem of dodgy "trader" suppliers that may or may not deliver quality product - If you are selling the product attached to your name and business most states hold you responsible for merchantability and fitness implied warranties and the last thing you need is a fraud lawsuit from your States Attorney General around your neck.

That said some of the best ideas you will find are on the warrior forum...

The gist of the $4K Amazon Amazing Selling machine course was buy an inexpensive product in bulk preferably consumables or stuff easily lost and reordered... fishing tackle and lures or trout, bass or saltwater flies, or ladies garments - yoga pants, workout apparel - lightweight high markup stuff that is easy to ship ... then inspect for quality as you package the items in your own branded packaging then sell your brand for about half of the premium "licensed" stuff.

I did a week of selling at the Laconia bike week - the guy I set up with was a comedy of errors - but meet a guy with a business from Myrtle Beach - he carried licensed goods - Orange County Cycles and Jessie James goods which he augmented with cheap stuff he bought from China via trade shows he visited there. He sold some tacky stuff - he said you never go broke underestimating the tastes of the American consumer - he said if it had a wolf, eagle, bear, snake, pentagram, Iron Cross, US flag, Confederate flag etc etc on it it would sell.

He carried a lot of ladies undergarments and short shorts and beater tees - with printed slutty images of the above or provocative sayings - basically stuff that cost him one or two bucks from China and that he sold for 9.99 or 19.99 or more. The slutty biker chick slutty beach chick market for the rag trade is huge. Skimpy low weight easy to ship goods with a huge markup - he also sold ear rings and piecing kits, nipple rings, face piercings, clit rings - again same theme - small, slutty, cheap to buy, as much as a ten times markup, easy to ship.

Back to Amazon once you private label your quality controlled products (Don't want lots of returns and charge-backs to Amazon as with their 15% fees you can lose money at double your cost on just one crap quality shipment). People bend over backwards to keep customers happy so they will not be dropped by Amazon - cheap Chinese Phones or buggy electronics will drive customers into rages whereas a slutty pair of panties a sloe loses in the backseat of her boyfriends mud mobile means nothing... Fisherman lose millions of lures and flies and gear a year on snags in the countries lakes and streams it is a cost of fishing.

Guns and ammo and crossbows are often governed at the state and Federal ATM (Fed Gun Dealers License) and huge liability if a customer shoots his girlfriend if he finds her in bed with her boss or the local bad boy wannabee -

Any thing seen as healthy or green, light weight and consumable or on the other hand sexy and slutty and easy to ship with large margins will sell.

Dried fruit, nuts and spices can be lucrative but perishables - fresh cooked gourmet meals, etc., require special handling not well suited to Amazon FBA.

There are manufacturers who make stuff in volume, brokers who broker by the container full and dealers who buy wholesale then private label brand and resale with merchantability and fitness implied warranties

Still have to stay within the bounds of the Amazon TOU.

So that is the short overview about FBA with Amazon - I do not like drop shipping as there is too much room for fraud and if you get a low quality shipment from a bait and switch Chinese supplier you can get in legal hot water especially if any life safety issues - flammable fabrics etc.

Again quite a good bit of IM discussions on the warrior forum... yeah with the name warrior forum you might think it is a military oriented forum - nope just wannabee internet marketing warriors - a few the real deal.

Warning once someone finds a hot niche with a few hot products they guard that info and their sources with their lives. So unfortunately a certain amount of trial and error involved.
 

DVY

Ostrich
Gold Member
BallsDeep said:
You get the Gold Label by paying Alibaba, it's nothing more. It costs 5000RMB a year.

Guys, the real money is made by actually being in China. The majority of vendors on Alibaba are traders, not factories, despite what they may claim.

Why you ask? Because a factory may produce anywhere from between $5million-100million worth of product annually. Their job is to produce quality product at the lowest possible price. They only care about supplying by the container. They don't have the time nor the interest to chat on Alibaba all day with guys who are kicking tires about possibly buying 50 cell phone chargers. That's what traders do.

The problem with traders though, is they'll hike up the price anywhere from 30-100% of what the factory charges them. In addition, they're also your competition on ebay and amazon. You know the guys on amazon who have the cheapest price but it says it ships from China? Those are the same traders you're buying from on Alibaba.

As far as shipping directly from China to the Amazon FBA warehouses.... I call bullshit. Any marginally large shipment that comes into the US has to go through customs. Who's going to do that for you?

Bottom line, there's plenty of money to be made, but it's not done by a couple of clicks and boom, your product's in the Amazon warehouse.

Germanico, if you have any questions I can help you with, shoot me a PM. The most lucrative items I've found are ones that you craft yourself. When only one factory has the molds, instead of thousands, it prevents competitors from shooting down the price and killing your business.

QFT. I bought a couple things for the dental office from Alibaba. F-ck me with the amount of bullshit that I had to deal with. I probably spent 10 hours talking to suppliers.

F-ckers keep trying to upcharge for some crazy amount for shipping. Then never get back to you after receiving $$$$.

I was waiting an easy 2-3 weeks and sweating my payment going through. Drove me absolutely nuts.

On a time/value/saftey basis you are better off just ordering at higher markup from ebay or from an american company.
 

the Thing

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I'm also interested in starting a FBA business. I found out about Scott Voelker's "The Amazing Seller" podcast and it's been a huge help so far. I'm not affiliated with this guy, besides the entire thing is free anyway so just Google it and off you go.
There's also a closed Facebook group called "The Amazing Seller" (the one with 12-13k members) Just apply to join and the guy himself (Scott) hooks you up.
From what I've found out, apparently $4-5k in gross profit is pretty regular in this. I've just read about two dudes pulling off $6.5M in gross profit last year.
 
Here's a quick tip for anyone just getting their feet wet. Most stuff on Alibaba is also available on Ali Express. Rather than deal with the headaches of alibaba and trying to get samples just place an order on ali express, you'll have it in about two weeks, you can check the quality, maybe even buy 5 or 10 and just do a test sale on ebay or amazon to make sure they sell and then go to Alibaba and place your large order. I find it a huge hassle asking for samples or small orders as I think like others have mentioned so many tire kickers who are never going to buy the people on alibaba ignore a lot of requests for samples or small orders.

Another tip I would advise not buying any programs, especially not any progams costing thousands of dollars. You'd be better served to just start buying inventory and learning through trial and error. There's also plenty of resources online about how to do FBA, how to import, etc. There's a couple great youtubes who cover every aspect of private labeling, how to send in your items for FBA, how to order from Alibaba, etc.

I have a question for any of you more experienced Alibaba guys.I've been dealing with a guy through Alibaba for a while and he always shipped my stuff DHL by plane, it would come to my door, etc. I'm starting to look into some new products and not dealing with the same supplier and I'm getting myself confused about shipping terms such as FOB, DDU, DDP, etc. I believe FOB means they get it to the port and I need a freign forwarder to get it the rest of the way to me. Which abbreviation or acronym is for direct to my door?
 

mammal

Woodpecker
The BIG question is, what can you do that others can't? The answer usually is not much. I've bought books from Amazon,most shipped from the US. And many dirt cheap so there is very little margin to the seller. I'm thinking of a book advertisedfor one cent plus 3.99 shipping. After Amazon takes a bit off the shipping, and the seller pays USPS for shipping, there might be 50 cents left (certainly less than a dollar) for the seller to pay the shipping envelope and labor of mailing and a few pennies left to pay fixed expenses(warehouse.)

I've bought a plug adapter from China. Of course Chinese manufacturers and sellers can sellthrough Amazon just like you and I can. And I've bought electronics manufactured in China (or elsewhere) sold and shipped by a US based seller.

So ... margins are thin.

Dropshipping (either the manufacturer/wholesaler shipping to the customer, or you sending a bulk shipment to Amazon (and Amazon doing the shipping to the customer) is more expensive because you're paying whoever does the shipping for their time and trouble (plus postage, plus shipping envelope or carton,which is marked upfrom what you could buy them for in quantity.)

Below are more answers to your questions:
quote='HonantheBarbarian' pid='1029144' dateline='1432589533']

1. Drop shipping vs having the inventory physically delivered to you >>>>> drop is more expensive but prevents you from getting stuck with unsalable inventory especially at first when you don't know whether somethign will sell. Also unethical dropshippers can steal your customer datatosend them their own catalogs.

2. What kind of numbers were you looking at in terms of initial start up costs and investment? >>>>>> very little for dropshipping. Cost of initial order if you ship yourself (you'll need to buy in quantity to get a good price.) Warehousing cost for big items.

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

If im understanding this correctly, he waits for the money to be deposited in his account and then buys the product, >>>>>>
No, he would have to pay first and then wait for his money from Amazon.
Not unethical, but counting on the rare few unsopgisticated enough to buy from Amazon and not check the price elsewhere. Also, there is probably another seller on Amazon trying to play the same game (buy from Best Buy, resell for more) so margins would be razor thin.

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?>>>>>>>>> As stated above, Chinese sellers can sell on Amazon. What can you do that they can't? Obviously items that have a high value to weight ratio (electronics, small light items like a voltage converter) not bricks and lumber.

5. Ive heard Amazon's fees are pretty high at something like ~15%. How do you factor this in?>>>>>> Look at the lowest price an item is selling for. Subtract Amazon fees, cost of product, shipping,cost of returned merchandise somehow damaged/used which you can no longer resell as new. Is there any money left?

6. What kind of numbers did/is this amazon business generating in your experience?>>>>>>>> For 99% of sellers very little. Onceyou consider the value of their time they would be better off working a minimum wage job.

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.>>>>>>>>>>>>> Beware of companies that advertise books on how to do this, sources of cheap imports, catalogs for items they dropship etc. Ask yourself if making money this way is so easy why do they want competition?
[/quote]
 

Tiz724

Chicken
NOT an endorsement, but for those looking at Amazon who are the course taking type, Jim Cockrum seems pretty legit and has been around a while.

IMO a much better alternative to ASM and that $$$ price for a course ($300 range instead of thousands)

Google his name and "Amazon Course"
 

Belgrano

Ostrich
Gold Member
jamaicabound said:
I have a question for any of you more experienced Alibaba guys. I've been dealing with a guy through Alibaba for a while and he always shipped my stuff DHL by plane, it would come to my door, etc. I'm starting to look into some new products and not dealing with the same supplier and I'm getting myself confused about shipping terms such as FOB, DDU, DDP, etc. I believe FOB means they get it to the port and I need a freign forwarder to get it the rest of the way to me. Which abbreviation or acronym is for direct to my door?

Should be DDP, delivered duty paid.

Incoterms

INCOTERMS_2015.jpg
 

Philly215

Pigeon
HonantheBarbarian said:
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.


Ive been selling on Amazon for 3 years, completely self-taught. I do anywhere from $25k-$40K per month in sales. We don't use FBA, we fulfill ourselves from our own warehouse.

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.

Unless you are a really good internet marketer, affiliate marketer or have a huge list somehow, I would avoid drop shipping. The products are just as hard to find as buying them from a supplier. You will basically spend a few grand on a website, and man hours upkeeping the CSV for products with thin margins that no one is buying.

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

For FBA its really just inventory. May need to rent some short term space and employees to sort.

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 a slippery slope. You'll still need capital, and still will need man hours. I don't think you can ever list and sell enough stuff this way to make it worth your time. Plus Amazon is super strict with their policies, and I can't imagine this will be good for your account health long term. I just don't think this makes money.

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?

You're going to have to figure this out on your own. Experience plain and simple. You can import from China, but there is a ton of good stuff in the US as it is. Plus if your importing from China, you still need to know how to market your "private label brand" off-page. We spend about $100K a month on product for our different sales channels. You can do a minimum order of 100-500 units from China, but you won't sell non branded products with much velocity. The least I spent on an order to China was $5000 for Shiatsu foot massagers. Make sure you trust your supplier. Its a nervous feeling wiring a few Gs to a Chinese bank.

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

Amazon takes 15%, we offer free shipping, so that take out another 9-10% from the margins.

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

We do $25-40k a month depending on velocity and how good our buying was. We could do over $100k a month on Amazon, but we choose to sell in other channels. Eventually we may try to expand in Amazon.

I also wouldn't spend a ton of money on a course. Use it to test inventory. I figured it out, so will you. Its pretty much a template, there isn't much creativity behind it.

Use Amazon as a sales channel and income. Keep in mind all these channels can kick you off whenever you want, and there is never an exit strategy. You can't sell your storefront, or your list. For us its great for monthly sales, but you also have to diversify, because you don't have much control over your distribution.

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.
 

Philly215

Pigeon
renotime said:
The Amazing Seller podcast is a great resource on FBA.

Yes, its great. I just got into with this thread. We will be diving back into private label thanks to the podcast. Have a split of wholesale and private label. Great tips.
 
I'd love to mess with hoverboard but I don't feel like having a bunch of credit card chargebacks 3 months from now when they are all broken. I have a pretty good hustle going on Craigslist though, obviously all cash with no warranties or anything.

I've done a bit of private labeling but all with simple products, I'm finally starting to get into some stuff where I have to create my own packaging and I'm finding that a little more challenging.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
I moved about a month ago to China to the city where the HQ of Alibaba/Ali Express and Taobao are located. Not only that, the region around (Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, Yiwu etc...) is filled with factories. I'm going to be going to the factories, inspecting my own products in person at the factory directly. This is the main reason I chose the city I am for its super strategic location.

I've been looking at FBA for a few months but now that I'm at the very source of things, I'll pull the trigger in the next week or so and select a product to start with. This is by far, the most challenging part of this whole FBA biz from what I gather so far.

Agreed with the Jamaiacabound, don't waste your $ on courses! Best way to learn is by doing! Or better yet, come to China where it's at really. The Amazing Seller podcast is a gold mine! That's really the only "course" you'll ever need. And best part? It's free! :)

As Scott, the host of that podcast always says, "Take Action!".

Any interests in here to start an RVF FBA mastermind group?
 
Vacancier Permanent said:
I moved about a month ago to China to the city where the HQ of Alibaba/Ali Express and Taobao are located. Not only that, the region around (Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, Yiwu etc...) is filled with factories. I'm going to be going to the factories, inspecting my own products in person at the factory directly. This is the main reason I chose the city I am for its super strategic location.

I've been looking at FBA for a few months but now that I'm at the very source of things, I'll pull the trigger in the next week or so and select a product to start with. This is by far, the most challenging part of this whole FBA biz from what I gather so far.

Agreed with the Jamaiacabound, don't waste your $ on courses! Best way to learn is by doing! Or better yet, come to China where it's at really. The Amazing Seller podcast is a gold mine! That's really the only "course" you'll ever need. And best part? It's free! :)

As Scott, the host of that podcast always says, "Take Action!".

Any interests in here to start an RVF FBA mastermind group?

Hey there, would you be open to working with any of us forum members as our contact on the ground? Obviously take a cut for yourself or whatever that's what everyone on Alibaba is doing. I know lots of people think they are dealing with factories directly but obviously factories aren't sitting online talking to idiots about samples all day I realize it's all traders. I would definatley pay for an English speaking person to deal with me.

If your open to it drop me a PM. I'm ordering hover boards currently but about 4 out of every 10 orders of mine are "suspcious sellers" and orders are getting cancelled.

Hoverboards are just a small part of my hustles though I'm more into private labeling various kitchen products and camping products.
 
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