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

Penta Sahi

Kingfisher
HonantheBarbarian said:
Also typing and grammatical errors make a huge impact on my eBay/Amazon shopping purchases.

I have a recent story related to this.

It's lawn and garden season, and my dad was fed up with electric weed trimmers. He wanted a nice gas-powered one, so I went on Craigslist to try and score a used one for a decent price.

I searched for:

Weed Eater
Weed Trimmer
Weed Whacker

All came up with shitty or overpriced listings, and the good ones were gone in minutes (I missed out on two or three by an hour or two).

So on a whim I decided to search for

Weed Wacker (mispelling)

Lo and behold I found a listing that had been up for a while and that clearly no one else had seen. Some guy was selling this monster 2-handle industrial weed cutter (worth several hundred dollars) for super cheap. Score!

I also know that camera gear folks regularly troll Ebay for mispelled lenses from sellers who aren't as knowledgeable about cameras ("Nikor" lenses, for example).

Bad spelling: a double-edged sword!
 

skptc

Sparrow
Penta Sahi said:
HonantheBarbarian said:
Also typing and grammatical errors make a huge impact on my eBay/Amazon shopping purchases.

I have a recent story related to this.

It's lawn and garden season, and my dad was fed up with electric weed trimmers. He wanted a nice gas-powered one, so I went on Craigslist to try and score a used one for a decent price.

I searched for:

Weed Eater
Weed Trimmer
Weed Whacker

All came up with shitty or overpriced listings, and the good ones were gone in minutes (I missed out on two or three by an hour or two).

So on a whim I decided to search for

Weed Wacker (mispelling)

Lo and behold I found a listing that had been up for a while and that clearly no one else had seen. Some guy was selling this monster 2-handle industrial weed cutter (worth several hundred dollars) for super cheap. Score!

I also know that camera gear folks regularly troll Ebay for mispelled lenses from sellers who aren't as knowledgeable about cameras ("Nikor" lenses, for example).

Bad spelling: a double-edged sword!

On Amazon you can take advantage of this by including misspelling in the backend keyword section and by bidding on them on Amazon's PPC platform. Your clicks will be much cheaper than more common search terms.
 

Shoubuliao

Sparrow
I've been doing Amazon FBA for about 6 months, so I'll leave my 2 cents.

1) Watch out for gurus

Be careful with the gurus. There are a lot of people claiming to make a lot of money in a short amount of time with FBA, but that's usually revenue, not profit. This is a very capital intensive business. That big number shrinks down quickly when you factor in all the associated costs. When you hear something that's too good to be true, it's probably someone selling an Amazon course or software. As was said before, the best way to learn is by doing.

2) Building a "brand" is largely a waste of time

Everyone says FBA shouldn't be your only channel and that you need to build your own website and following, be it through social, email, whatever. The word "brand" gets thrown out a lot. This sounds good in theory, but as a practical matter, if there's one regret I have since I started, it's wasting too much time trying to build a brand and quality website when all the low hanging fruit is still on Amazon and Ebay. The Amazing Seller guy and whoever else has an FBA podcast these days will talk about how he made a Facebook page, a website, etc for his private label product on Amazon, but I never hear anything about how those are performing. They sound like convenient contingencies that can be easily leveraged in the event of a problem with Amazon, but I guarantee sales are a sliver at best of what Amazon provides. If anyone can prove otherwise though, I'm all ears.

The notion of building a brand for a me-too private label product is not realistic in my opinion. The average Amazon seller is all over the place. Their store isn't a coherent product line so much as a mix of therapeutic pillows, crowbars, and jasmine candles. When the stuff you sell is totally unrelated like this, how do you build a brand? Are you going to make a website for one product? Send people to a dedicated landing page? This screams fly by night brand. Why would people buy from you when trusted sites sell the same thing? Your conversion rate will be less than a percent and you'll be paying for all that traffic. It can be tough to operate on those margins. Amazon listings convert so much higher.

If you have a coherent product line that you want to build into a brand, know that it's a long term commitment. Content is what creates a brand, so unless you know (or more importantly, care) enough about your product niche to regularly produce interesting, useful content, you're really not building a brand. People won't have much "brand experience" on your site other than the logo you paid some guy on Fiverr to make and had the same supplier everyone else uses print on your product.

3) Chinese suppliers have caught up fast

When I started selling my product six months ago, there were Chinese suppliers around, but their listings were crap (one shitty picture, no reviews, poor copywriting, etc). They were also shipping from China, which was a major competitiveness killer for them. Fast forward a few months and now I see Chinese sellers being proactive - they use review platforms to get reviews (I know because people leave the disclaimer in the review section on their listings), they take professional photos, and whatever they can't write, they steal from other sellers with better listings since Amazon doesn't enforce that anyway. And worst of all, they're using FBA now too, which means they can ship just as fast as you. Now you have your supplier doing literally everything you once called a competitive advantage. The only thing left is customer service, but frankly that's mainly responding to messages on time, which they do, and not fussing about returns, which they don't.

The main advantage non-Chinese sellers have is they're generally the first to find profitable niches. Being more tuned in with trends and better at research, you can get a head start on things and make some money before the market gets crowded. Even after new people come in, you can still make money, but I believe it will get a lot harder as Chinese quickly get more savvy with Amazon selling. The best defense against this is to sell products not everyone else can manufacture on the cheap.

Overall thoughts

It probably sounds like I'm very negative towards FBA, but I'm actually not. Despite the above issues, I've made money with it and will continue to sell on Amazon. But I think there's a lot of questionable information out there that people are eager to accept as truth simply because it sounds so great. Be realistic about things. If it's something you want to do full-time, you need to really hustle. At times I find this difficult not because I'm lazy, but because I question the value of what I'm doing. Everyone's different though.
 

Quintus Curtius

Crow
Gold Member
I have a question about Amazon.

Does anyone know how to create "coupon codes" for things sold on Amazon? Someone was asking me about doing this. I guess it's a way you can give a gift to someone, by giving them a coupon code.

Did some research on YouTube and Google, but the advice is not working for me. I think you have to do it at Amazon Seller Central, but it gets vague from there.

Anyone know how to do this?

.
 

skptc

Sparrow
Here you go:

Log into SellerCentral and click the Advertising -> Promotions tab.

Select the “Money Off” option which will take you to the “Create Promotion” page.

Fill out the fields according to your preferences. There are many options available to sellers on how to run promotions. Please refer to Amazon’s guide HERE for more information.

If you haven’t run a promotion before you will need to select “Create a new product selection” and add the ASIN that you want to run a promotion for. Or you can include your entire catalogue.

I recommend you change the “Buyer gets” field to “Amount off (in $)”, particularly if you are offering a significant discount. This will prevent the customer buying a large amount of your inventory at a heavily discounted rate.

From there set your “Start” and “End” dates and give your promotion an “Internal Description”. Don’t worry your customer won’t see the name you give.

Select "Claim Code", "One redemption per customer" (OPTIONAL), and "Unrestricted".

WARNING: ENSURE YOU DESELECT THE ‘Detail page display text’ AS IF YOU DO NOT YOUR PROMOTION WILL BE DISPLAYED ON YOUR PUBLIC PAGE.

Then scroll down and click “Review”.

You will be taken back to the main promotion page. However, there will be a box at the top of the page. Click “View or modify your promotion”.

Click ‘View or modify your promotion”. This will take you to the View Promotions page. Press “Manage claim codes”.

You will now be viewing the Manage Claim Codes page.

Choose a name and select a quantity of coupons. Don’t worry you can always add more later.

Press “Create” and after about 10 seconds or so refresh the page. You will see a link that says “Download” in the bottom right hand side of the screen.

Download the ‘zip’ file and extract the ‘txt’ file. In the file you will see a large list of single use codes.

Done.
 
Shoubuliao said:
I've been doing Amazon FBA for about 6 months, so I'll leave my 2 cents.

1) Watch out for gurus

Be careful with the gurus. There are a lot of people claiming to make a lot of money in a short amount of time with FBA, but that's usually revenue, not profit. This is a very capital intensive business. That big number shrinks down quickly when you factor in all the associated costs. When you hear something that's too good to be true, it's probably someone selling an Amazon course or software. As was said before, the best way to learn is by doing.

2) Building a "brand" is largely a waste of time

Everyone says FBA shouldn't be your only channel and that you need to build your own website and following, be it through social, email, whatever. The word "brand" gets thrown out a lot. This sounds good in theory, but as a practical matter, if there's one regret I have since I started, it's wasting too much time trying to build a brand and quality website when all the low hanging fruit is still on Amazon and Ebay. The Amazing Seller guy and whoever else has an FBA podcast these days will talk about how he made a Facebook page, a website, etc for his private label product on Amazon, but I never hear anything about how those are performing. They sound like convenient contingencies that can be easily leveraged in the event of a problem with Amazon, but I guarantee sales are a sliver at best of what Amazon provides. If anyone can prove otherwise though, I'm all ears.

The notion of building a brand for a me-too private label product is not realistic in my opinion. The average Amazon seller is all over the place. Their store isn't a coherent product line so much as a mix of therapeutic pillows, crowbars, and jasmine candles. When the stuff you sell is totally unrelated like this, how do you build a brand? Are you going to make a website for one product? Send people to a dedicated landing page? This screams fly by night brand. Why would people buy from you when trusted sites sell the same thing? Your conversion rate will be less than a percent and you'll be paying for all that traffic. It can be tough to operate on those margins. Amazon listings convert so much higher.

If you have a coherent product line that you want to build into a brand, know that it's a long term commitment. Content is what creates a brand, so unless you know (or more importantly, care) enough about your product niche to regularly produce interesting, useful content, you're really not building a brand. People won't have much "brand experience" on your site other than the logo you paid some guy on Fiverr to make and had the same supplier everyone else uses print on your product.

3) Chinese suppliers have caught up fast

When I started selling my product six months ago, there were Chinese suppliers around, but their listings were crap (one shitty picture, no reviews, poor copywriting, etc). They were also shipping from China, which was a major competitiveness killer for them. Fast forward a few months and now I see Chinese sellers being proactive - they use review platforms to get reviews (I know because people leave the disclaimer in the review section on their listings), they take professional photos, and whatever they can't write, they steal from other sellers with better listings since Amazon doesn't enforce that anyway. And worst of all, they're using FBA now too, which means they can ship just as fast as you. Now you have your supplier doing literally everything you once called a competitive advantage. The only thing left is customer service, but frankly that's mainly responding to messages on time, which they do, and not fussing about returns, which they don't.

The main advantage non-Chinese sellers have is they're generally the first to find profitable niches. Being more tuned in with trends and better at research, you can get a head start on things and make some money before the market gets crowded. Even after new people come in, you can still make money, but I believe it will get a lot harder as Chinese quickly get more savvy with Amazon selling. The best defense against this is to sell products not everyone else can manufacture on the cheap.

Overall thoughts

It probably sounds like I'm very negative towards FBA, but I'm actually not. Despite the above issues, I've made money with it and will continue to sell on Amazon. But I think there's a lot of questionable information out there that people are eager to accept as truth simply because it sounds so great. Be realistic about things. If it's something you want to do full-time, you need to really hustle. At times I find this difficult not because I'm lazy, but because I question the value of what I'm doing. Everyone's different though.

Hey buddy alot of very good advice in this thread. I think alot of people think of FBA as this hands off business that will make you a million Dollars in months. It's actually very labor intensive as well as capital intensive like you said if your actually trying to build a serious business.

As far as building a brand, that is the one area I would disagree and say is important but with a caveat. Many people spend time and money building a brand right off the bat and probably 9 out of 10 times that product or niche doesn't even wind up panning out so they have wasted time money and focus.

My advice is pick one product in a niche which can be expanded upon. Focus on sales and reviews, do nothing else until you get that. Once you hit say 20 reviews then start doing AMazon PPC, if you start before 20 reviews your not going to have a good conversion rate and your wasting your money.

Once you have say 20 sales per day at that point start building a brand around the product. ANything less than that your wasting your time IMHO. At this point you know your onto a fairly good product and niche. Once you hit say 50 reviews, and you can roll out another product without harming your ability to source, keep inventory and promote the first product at this point move onto the second product in the same niche so if your selling hammocks move onto floating tents. Do not do something like sell silicone spatulas and then moveon to phone cases.

At this point you have two products within the same niche, you can at this point start building a brand, private labeling, etc.

The reason a brand/private label sort of one in the same is important is if your selling a generic product and your spending money on giving away free units, reviewkick, amz reviewtrader, etc your essentially building up a product that someone else can come hop on. How pissed would you be if you spend $500 promoting your product, giving away free units, building reviews, rising in search and then someone comes and undercuts you on your own product and wins the buy box? Probably not happy.

This is why brands/private labels or at the very least "bundling" is necessary to keep others off your listing so this doesn't happen.
 
Quintus Curtius said:
I have a question about Amazon.

Does anyone know how to create "coupon codes" for things sold on Amazon? Someone was asking me about doing this. I guess it's a way you can give a gift to someone, by giving them a coupon code.

Did some research on YouTube and Google, but the advice is not working for me. I think you have to do it at Amazon Seller Central, but it gets vague from there.

Anyone know how to do this?

.

If your planning on doing giveaways definately be sure to join a bunch of Facebook groups who do giveaways. YOu can provide them with promo codes for free or discounted merchandise to build up reviews. There's also sites like ReviewKick.Com and AMZREviewTrader.Com among others where you can do this as well. The two above mentioned are my favorites.
 

Mycelium

Robin
Gold Member
Anyone interested in forming / joining a Skype mastermind group on the topic of eCommerce?

- It will be for RVF members only
 

skptc

Sparrow
Grindhard said:
Anyone interested in forming / joining a Skype mastermind group on the topic of eCommerce?

- It will be for RVF members only

I would be interested if its not for noobs (ie. minimum 10k a month in revenue).
 
skptc said:
Grindhard said:
Anyone interested in forming / joining a Skype mastermind group on the topic of eCommerce?

- It will be for RVF members only

I would be interested if its not for noobs (ie. minimum 10k a month in revenue).

I'd be in, my partner and I do 15k-30k a month on eBay,Amazon and our own sites.
 

Space Cowboy

Woodpecker
Since I'll be going there anyway, think there's an advantage in physically being in China (Shenzhen, where they make, sell, and forward every cheap piece of crap you buy on Amazon/eBay)? I feel like it would be easier to find products but I don't know jack shit. Thoughts?
 
I'd join a mastermind. I'm currently selling three products on FBA, two of which I launched in the past two months. Monthly sales are at about $5k. I have one more new product in production and two in development.

I haven't cracked the code to Amazon FBA. But I've listened to lots of Scott V's podcasts. I figure my strengths are in product development and data analysis. Therefore my strategy is to 1) take existing products that sell (according to Jungle Scout) and make one or two unique feature changes to them, and 2) figure out PPC and somehow gain an unfair advantage.

I'm in Southeast Asia.
 
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