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[VIDEO] The #1 Reason Why MOST People Fail at Launching Products in Ecommerce

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I’m going to come right out and say the punch line on this…

The biggest challenge that I see happening to people, who are trying to launch a product is choosing a launch method.

There it is!

Why?

There are so many shiny objects.

There are so many ‘gurus’ out there saying, “Do it this way… Do it my way”.

Pitching you on ‘the silver bullet’ when that is a completer myth.

There is no silver bullet.

And remember the days, not long ago that you could ‘cheat’ on Amazon?

You used to be able get free reviews and have successful launches on Amazon by giving away 1,000 units and getting your BSR ranking really low and such.

But Amazon got smart and the cheaters got shut down and they changed their Terms of Service.

And you know what, I’m glad they did that, and if you want to have a serious business, you should be too. Business isn’t always ‘fast and easy’. In fact, in most cases its ‘long and difficult’.

So, what basis do you choose your launch strategy then?

You have to choose based on where you are right now in your business.

If you’re a brand new ecommerce seller or even just brand new to a market, then there are certain strategies that will work and that you need to consider that will help build awareness, build a following, generate sales and hit momentum.

And if that’s the case, there definitely are some solid softwares and services that can help you get going (for example if you’re starting on Amazon you could use Snapshot by Seller Labs).

If you’re a seasoned ecommerce seller, then part of me is wondering why you’re even reading this. But then again, maybe your sales are flat, you’re launching a new product, into a new market (see previous 2 paragraphs) or you’re just interested in this subject.

Either way, I recommend watching the video below, where I go into A LOT more detail on the challenges of launching products.

And make sure you look under the video below, for a little surprise.

Enjoy!

 

Click here to check out all of the details and see if our Launching Mastery Training Program is a fit for you

How to Get Reviews On Your Amazon FBA Product Listings

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There are quite a few different ways to get reviews on your Amazon listings.

Let me say right off the bat… with recent changes in the Amazon Terms of Service review services are getting more and more difficult to use to get reviews, if you can even use them at all.

So, I wanted to let you know about some alternative tactics I’ve used to successfully get reviews.

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When to Use Sea Shipping for Your Private Label Products

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I get asked frequently…

“Under what circumstances do I use Ocean Freight (Seas Shipping)?”

Great question!

Let me just put it right out there… Sea shipping is going to be your least expensive method of shipping.

I use sea for just about everything.

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Avoiding Small International Freight Mistakes That Have HUGE Negative Consequences in Your Ecommerce Business

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Even the smallest of shipping/freight mistakes can REALLY cause major issues for you in your Ecommerce business.

Yep, of all the things… shipping/freight?!?!

And trust me you DON’T want shipping headaches.

So, I wanted to go over the finer points of international freight and shipping with you today and how it applies to GDW.

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Protecting Yourself and YOUR Ecommerce Business from MAJOR Supplier Issues

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One small mistake in negotiation or on your PI (Proforma Invoice) with a foreign supplier can be a death sentence for your ecommerce business!

I know… Morbid… But I’m not known to sugar coat things.

What I’m trying to do is keep you from making mistakes, show you how to protect yourself and what works/what doesn’t work when dealing with Chinese or other foreign suppliers. (FYI – this works for domestic suppliers as well, its just not as much of an issue because there aren’t really any language or cultural barriers when you’re dealing with a domestic supplier)

On our trips and masterminds in China/Asia AND in our Sourcing Mastery Training Program, we go over the dos and don’ts on your invoice, and how important it is that you get your details right. When you get the details right, it gives you a leg to stand on if there are ever any challenges with your product orders from foreign suppliers.

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Conquer This Ecommerce Beast or Die Trying – NO PLAN B

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I love history and I LOVE the underdog.

I myself am and always consider myself an underdog.

I was not a big kid… but more a small, shy, skinny as a rail, long haired kid.

I grew up dirt poor and forced into the ghetto area of St Louis MO due to divorce with a single mom with 3 boys.

We lived in public housing (the projects for all my fellow ghetto citizens).

There I think I learned the life lesson early on that “if you want something you gotta work for it.”

Now there are different types of work. When I was wrong… Some people sold drugs, some stole, some pimped, some were doing all the things people do to survive, when you do not see a way out. But to me that was for chumps and idiots, NPT smart kids, and especially not skinny little white kids who would be toast in Jail.

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TRANSCRIPT: “The Market” Is THE Key to Success OR Failure in Ecommerce

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This transcript speaks VOLUMES!

I know that might be perceived as me gloating, boasting or being a little ‘into’ my own stuff.

And that’s fair… But I DO know what you struggle with when it comes to growing (or heck, just starting) your ecommerce business.

And anytime I see an opportunity to make a positive impact and help you change those challenges into opportunities and victories, I take advantage of it.

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What Can You Learn About Yourself And Business From My 1986 Car Wreck?

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I’ve been told that I speak very fast…

…Funny thing is I know people that speak a lot faster.

Its true that I don’t take a lot of breaths in between words and sentences, and I can tell you why. It’s actually a funny story.

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Should You Source from a Trading Co. or Direct from Manufacturer?

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I’ve decided to start a new series having to do with sourcing.

Why?

Because we work with a lot of people in sourcing products in China and we’re seeing a lot of common issues.

The ones that we’ve seen in the past for ourselves, but have learned to overcome.

And now we’re seeing a lot of new people who go to China, source direct use sites like Alibaba have these same problems.

In this post, what we want to look at is buying from a middleman versus buying direct from a real factory AND how you should determine what the difference is.

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Why Do Most Businesses Fail?

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Its actually quite simple…

Because they can’t pay their bills.

Speaking of Cash Flow… Have you seen my Launch 50 Products in 60 Days Posts? If not, download them all here in PDF format and see how a 16 year ecommerce veteran tackles launching.

If you’re one of the few that started your business being financially literate, have paid your bills on time and in time since the beginning, this post may not be for you.

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2 Parts to My Successful Ecommerce Business Winning Formula

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I am NOT a motivational speaker.

Yet, people will put me in that category on occasion.

I do not think about personal development…

I do not read self help books…

And I do not post about how I can help YOU be a better you.

Only you can do that.

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Simple Mistakes That Can Have a Huge Impact on Your Business (Part 3)

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In the last 2 segments we talked about US Customs, commercial invoices, and country of origin labels required by US law.

Now let’s cover an interesting subject Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights. I have covered these briefly in a previous blog post but think they deserve mention again for all the new people who may not be familiar with my work.

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Simple Mistakes Can Have Massive Impact on Your Imported Goods (Part 2) Country of Origin

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In my continuing series on simple and easily avoided mistakes that have massive impact on your importing and eCommerce business we are going to talk about one of the easiest to correct, but most often overlooked mistakes. Country of origin.

If you do not think that you need to worry about having the country of origin put on your products or insuring it is by your supplier before shipping it into the US, come with me to find out what recently happened to a customer who did not and shipped her goods (via supplier) to GDW.

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Simple Mistakes Can Have Massive Impact on Your Imported Goods (Part 1) USCBP Requirements

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Why a series on Importing?

GDW Inc. helps customers bring goods into the US every day. And we also accept shipments and products sent via external importers and shippers as well. We prepare your goods for whatever sales channels you sell on. Since we ship volumes and accept volumes of goods we find a lot of common mistakes that end up costing money and time for the importer. In an effort to help explain these common mistakes, AND so you can insure you are not one of the statistics… we are putting together a series of blog posts and videos on those common issues that can cost you time and money.
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The 4 Most Common Importing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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This is a short and sweet post but VERY important if you’re importing products for your eCommerce business.

Lately we are seeing some issues with customer’s products we are processing in our facility and by bringing these ‘real life, real business’ issues to light I’m hoping I can save you from dealing with the same challenges these customers are facing.

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Top 5 Business Rules for Startups

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Here is my list of business rules I try hard to follow especially when starting a new company. (more…)

Are You Listening to Your Customers?

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Are you listening to your customers? Or are they ‘silently’ leaving you?

Listening is arguably the most important skill a successful entrepreneur can possess.

Yet, most entrepreneurs that I know are terrible listeners (except for listening to them selves in their head). And hey, I’m not perfect and catch myself not listening as intently as I should as well. (more…)

The Growth of Amazon’s Private Label Brands: A Blessing or Curse for Amazon Sellers?

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I recently read an excellent blog post from my colleague Greg Mercer at JungleScout (a tool I personally LOVE and actively use almost on a daily basis). I wanted to go ahead and share with you that post in its entirety as I think you’ll get a lot of value from it.

Enjoy,
Alan

======= GREG’S BLOG POST =======

This week I have received some messages about news that Amazon will be expanding its private label brand, Amazon Basics. “Is Amazon going to crush my product, and the FBA opportunity, while they expand their private label brand?” I have one response to that: Fear not, the sky is not falling!

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How I am launching 50 products on Amazon in 60 days Part 7 – THE LAUNCH!

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So for the past several months I have been posting about my launch sourcing and launch strategies for launching over 50 products in the shortest amount of time possible. As many of you know my goal is to launch 100 product this year.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

 (more…)

In Order to Win at Business You HAVE to Consistently Invest in These 4 Things

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We are meant to do more than work, raise kids, and die. But we allow the world to tell us that we should watch football, or enjoy a hobby, or participate in sports, and spend free time doing things that are fun.

We all know about investments to some degree, and on a big level we take a portion of our assets, (money in this case) and invest it into stocks, binds, mutual funds, real estate or ??? to hopefully in the long run retire comfortably. Or as in the case of most of the really wealthy in the world, leave it to our kids who hopefully will do the same to theirs. (more…)

Sourcing Direct from China: Win on the ‘Buy’, NOT the ‘Sale’

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The highly successful eCommerce businesses win on the ‘Buy’ and NOT the ‘Sale’. You can see exactly what I mean, right here.

This strategy at the beginning is literally a matter of philosophy for most start-up eCommerce businesses. But very quick, it needs to become something you practice instead of something in theory.

Let us explain…

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How I am Launching 50 Products on Amazon in 60 Days Part 6

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launch

Each week I am trying to update everyone on my apparently audacious goal this year, which was to set out at the end of January to go directly to China, source a bunch of products, get them on a boat before Chinese New Year, get them back to the US, and launched before I leave to go back to China at the end of March or less than 60 days. That is like launching 1 product a day for 50 days.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

To bring you up to speed. We did successfully get to China and got most of our orders on the boat before CNY. We did get samples for all but 1 of my product shipped to me via DHL from the warehouse in China. So we have been doing all the work leading up to the arrival and prep of the products.

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How I Am Launching 50 Products in 60 Days Part 5

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launch

Each week I am trying to update everyone on my apparently audacious goal this year, which was to set out at the end of January to go directly to China, source a bunch of products, get them on a boat before Chinese New Year, get them back to the US, and launched before I leave to go back to China at the end of March or less than 60 days. That is like launching 1 product a day for 50 days.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

To bring you up to speed. We did successfully get to China and got most of our orders on the boat before CNY. It actually went to sea on 2/1/16 and made it to our warehouse in 41 days from shipping. We did get samples for all but 1 of my product shipped to me via DHL from our warehouse in China. So we have been doing all the work leading up to the arrival and prep of the products.

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How I am Launching 50 Products on Amazon in 60 Days Part 4

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Whew…

So, before I left for China we were slammed with customer’s products, and my own goods took 41 days to arrive. That delayed my launching by a couple of weeks. It finally looks like that is clearing up, so now I get to put some time into our products before the tidal wave of customer’s goods come in the next 30 to 45 days. Oh, did I tell you I got 15 more products while in China in early April? 100% customized and will be done in 30 days. Meaning, I have more goods on the way for existing niches after we finish these. As many of you know my goal is 150 new products this year. May or may not hit that but again if we try and miss by a little we still move the needle forward significantly in the business.

Here is the plan so far.

List the 10 to 15 products that are ready to go, with boxes, labels, etc. and begin launches for reviews. Most of these are products with a low freebie giveaway, so I should be able to use my existing customer base to launch them without going outside to a service. Looking for 20 reviews or so max and a strong PPC campaign. I do have 3 launches that are in very competitive markets and will require hundreds if not thousands of giveaway products to get moving and for those right now I will be using a service.

They are ready to go now so we can make it happen and start selling these ASAP. Once my brain gets over the fog of jet lag this week I should get those moving.

What is holding us up?

The photos for all the remaining products are done, but I do have some copy-write info, some watermarks (not the type your thinking of but small inconspicuous marks that allow me to prove a stolen photo is mine.) and some call outs, which should finish this part, but that is for over 1000 photos so it is a lot of work and will take at least a week for my Photoshop person to finish them all.

For the most part it is label and package time in the warehouse and that is a job (or 4 jobs) work. Inserts are done, labels for some goods still need to be printed on our high speed label printers.

Here is what has happened so far!

 

launch

 

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

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How Eating Chinese Food Determines Your Success and Happiness

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I just got back from China to help 20 people learn to Source and Launch Products like me and several of my very successful friends do. It is a trip I make 3 times a year and love every minute of it except for the plane trip.

It was a great event, with great sourcing, and almost everyone did extremely well. and since I had soloed the trip this time I was pretty happy most were taking to the style and tricks fairly well. I did notice a few reluctant people who were not doing well and sourced less than the rest in products, after shelling out over 5k for the trip it made me wonder about what type of person would do that. I spent extra one on one time with each of those people and learned a little about them and tried to help them with their challenges. Most we were able to help easily be identifying the source of the problem and addressing it. Normally this would take me just taking them without the rest of the group to source and showing them again how I put the products together and how by asking simple questions we could find dozens of opportunities in less than an hour. (more…)

How I Am Launching 50 Product In 60 Days Part 3

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launch

Time flies and here we are almost exactly 60 days from leaving for China on my sourcing trip to YiWu and 41 days since my goods left China on the way to the US.

To keep everyone who reads this up to date so far here is what has happened.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

 (more…)

The Shark Tank Guide To Developing A Business?

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I do not know about you but I love to watch Shark Tank. It motivates me to see others doing well,but also educated me when people do not do well. Many time I see Mark Cuban or Mr Wonderful Kevin O’Leary tell people who have nice products that are doing what people think is well on Amazon that they do not want to invest in their business because it is not a business. And they are 100% right.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

 (more…)

5 Ways To Keep People From Stealing Your Intellectual Property Online

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Recently I saw a post in a FB group about how Amazon asks for your supplier information so they can compete with you. Although a great idea and possibly true there are steps I take and you can to to limit that and make Amazon do their own supplier research.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

 (more…)

How I Am Launching 50 New Products on Amazon in 60 Days PART 2

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launch

Each week I am trying to update everyone on my apparently audacious goal this year, which was to set out at the end of January to go directly to China, source a bunch of products, get them on a boat before Chinese New Year, get them back to the US, and launched before I leave to go back to China at the end of March or less than 60 days. That is like launching 1 product a day for 50 days.

FREE BONUS PDF:

Get this post and my entire ’How I Am Launching 50 Products On Amazon In 60 Days’ series in PDF to save, reference and email to colleagues.

Click here to download it free

To bring you up to speed. We did successfully get to China and got most of our orders on the boat before CNY. It actually went to sea on 2/1/16 and is still in transit. We did get samples for all but 1 of my product shipped to me via DHL from the warehouse in China. So we have been doing all the work leading up to the arrival and prep of the products.

 (more…)

How to Avoid Spinning Plate Syndrome in Your eCommerce Biz

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So for years now I have been selling on eBay and Amazon and other sales channels. And there has always been a couple of things that were the big issues in scaling and being able to be quick to market.

1.) CONSISTENTLY Sourcing Good Products
2.) Correctly Marketing Products for Sale
3.) Understanding Business Operations, Logistics, HR (more…)

How I Am Launching 50 New Products on Amazon in 60 Days

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How I Am Launching 50 New Products on Amazon in 60 Days

As I told everyone when I started this that I would keep you up to date on the large volume launch project with the products I purchased Jan 12th to the 19th while in China.

But to help others who were not privy to that information here goes – On Jan 12th this year I went to China with a mentor of mine to learn how we added so many new products to his Amazon stores so fast. Everyone I knew was teaching the whole Alibaba, online aribitrage or retail arbitrage deal. I was peaked out at 5 million and wanted to learn what the guys who were doing 10 million plus a year were doing differently. (more…)

In Order To Succeed At eCommerce You Must Do This

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In Order To Succeed At eCommerce You Must Do This

Again and again I see posts on FB about how people are having issues finding products to sell online. But at the same time I see posts of people who have figured it out and are launching new products fairly regularly. Then there are the few who are launching hundreds of products a year and smashing it.

  • Which ones do you want to learn from?
  • Who is your mentor?
  • What stage of business are you in?
  • What are the differences that cause some to fail, some to do well, and others to hit it out of the park?

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Top 5 Sourcing Mistakes You Want to Avoid

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Top 5 Sourcing Mistakes You Want to Avoid

My business changed when I figured this out.

Sourcing products for eCommerce is one of the hardest and most frequently talked about issues we see in this industry. I think with the information brokers selling get rich quick Amazon FBA courses a lot of miss-information is being spread on how to source products and also with a poor understanding of China, Chinese culture and incorrect expectations we see a lot of disappointment in this area when done wrong. So we compiled 5 of the most common mistakes we see and how to avoid them.

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Lessons Learned Sourcing in China

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As many of you are aware the number 1 challenge for most Amazon FBA sellers is sourcing good products to sell. It is easy to find products and categories online that look like they are good Markets to enter but going through the tedious process of researching, then looking for manufacturers via alibaba.com or other online sales portals, getting samples sent, and then negotiating sales was for me not effiecient enough.

In my own business we hit a plateau in what we could source and launch without having a costly staff I would have to train to find products all day, launch products, negotiate on my behalf etc. That was a nightmare I did not want. I have several friends who have Amazon businesses in the millions of dollars a month and being in mastermind groups with them I learned that to source properly and launch efficiently is the winning strategy. So I was fortunate enough to go on a sourcing trip with one of those experts who has been sourcing for his own Amazon business for 10 years in China now.

Here is the list of lessons I learned in that trip.

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Don’t Use Amazon Product Launch Services – Do This Instead

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product-launch-rocket

We have all heard about the product launch services that help us rank our products on Amazon.

In 2015 there was some changes to Amazon TOS as well as their ranking algorithm to battle that issue, because Amazon realized it was falsifying actual product reviews, increasing BSR on goods that should not be ranked so high, and customers were getting mad buying product that looked like they were good only to find they were not.

Still many people are using these services and although they can be effective we felt we should point out how they work, why they are detrimental to your business and how you can accomplish the same thing without the issues and potential risk associated with launch services.

1.) BSR Breakdown

So Amazon is very smart about how they dole out traffic to listings. They have learned and also know that they own the traffic on their site, and they can send enormous amounts of traffic to a single listing or divide it between multiple listings. The reason as many early dot.com business found out was that you could literally flood a site or product with too much traffic. So they could send enough traffic for you to sell out of goods in hours. Well that is bad for you, bad for the custom, and bad for Amazon. Why?

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Top 4 Reasons Not To Go To Canton Fair This Year

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Happy New Year All!

If you are new to selling online and sourcing your goods from Chinese sources you may not know what the Canton Fair is.

The Canton Fair is a trade fair held in the spring and autumn seasons each year since the spring of 1957 in Guangzhou, China. It is the most well known trade fair in China to most Amazon PL (Private Label) sellers. Like many people I sourced my goods from Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. I saw many people go to Canton Fair and come back in most cases with only a couple of new products. I also thought that maybe like the big US vendor shows it may be hard to get any real business done other than a few key meetings.

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How to Protect Your PL Product

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I am just sick to death watching people spend money and time launching PL products getting them to rank, sell decently, and then BOOM… Piggy Backer

It is like this is your baby, your money at risk, and you developed the marketing, did the financial work. Why should this bad guy get the benefit of your hard work and make you share? They could at least launch a competing product and fight fair but some RA/OA gurus are teaching black hat methods for a fast buck… Yeah I dislike those guys a lot

So what do you do?

How about launch products day one with proper protection? That gives us some legs to stand on should we need to fight off the piggy backers. If not then there is little you can do to stop them and quite frankly I am tired of hearing the crying form people who would crater at the first bully to hit them in the playground. Like most bullies if you fight back they move on to prey on weaker foes. I would rather hear the roar of young Amazon lions as they hunt down and kill the piggy prey one at a time.

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GDW INC Helps Sellers Expand to UK and Beyond

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How GDW helps you to expand to Amazon UK and beyond! Below is a high level summary of the Amazon UK expansion process.

Please review the steps and let us know if you have any follow up questions as we can help with any of the steps you may need along the way.

1. Next Steps

  1. To sell in the UK, you will need to register for VAT (see section 5/6 below for details)
  2. Register for a UK Seller Central account – http://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/on-board/workflow/Registration/login.html?passthrough%2F&passthrough%2Faccount=soa&passthrough%2FsuperSource=INV&passthrough%2FmarketplaceID=A1F83G8C2ARO7P&passthrough%2Fld=DSInvite&passthrough%2FtokenID=A2BFUVZEZPK23Z
  3. Prepare shipment and ship to the Amazon FBA UK warehouse.

2. Important resources for your review

  1. EU Imports and Cross-Border Sales Information for Sellers
  2. Amazon Global Selling Resource site

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Private Label Expert Myths Debunked – What Works

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First will clarify these are just my opinions based upon what has worked for me not the end all be all. This is also what I find to work well for me at the stage in my business which is very different than say someone trying to get moving with a few hundred bucks.

Now that I have gone over what will not work let’s look at what has proven to work for me and many others multiple times and what you can really expect a product sold Private Label on Amazon to do if marketed well.

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Private Label Expert Myths Debunked – What Doesn’t Work

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So many experts so little time to debunk all the parroted BS on how to actually get a product off the ground successfully. I am doing my best to do so one myth at a time.

 

Just a little about me. I started selling on Ebay in 1999 went full time Ebay and Amazon 2010-2011 and in 5 years have doubled in growth almost every year. Currently I should close 2015 at about 5 million in sales. The company is growing and I took zero classes on how to do this as real experts have been hard to find. So have real mentors. In canvasing the web for experts and mentors I have found a lot of BS. Many so called experts were actually students of some of the sell on Amazon classes and their real world experience was pretty small, and their actual experience running a real company was nil. So I decided to give away information for free to people using my own experience and those people who have demonstrated a true understanding of business and are not just out to take money from people hoping to get away from their current situation and move into what they are told is a better life on the other side.

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The Real Costs of Private Label Brand Creation

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Today the internet is full of experts selling you on how “easy” it is to get rich selling your own private label product you import from “China” and sell on Amazon or ?

They discuss how “little broke John Doe” had $50.00 and now does $500k a year or more on Amazon.  They all fudge the numbers even I have fudged the numbers a bit until I got big enough I did not care any more.

But what they do not tell you is the real cost in money and time to launch something that actually begins to make money online.

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What is Order Fulfillment Services?

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If you’re new to online selling, then take note because this will bring a huge boost of income and efficiency to your business.

What is Order Fulfillment Service?

Order fulfillment service, specifically Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA as it’s popularly known is a service from Amazon.com Inc. As we all know, Amazon has these huge warehouses and they store all the items there and when someone buys it, they have a process setup so they can quickly send the item from the warehouse to the buyer.

What the fulfillment service does is it allows the market place sellers on Amazon to send in their items that they want to sell on Amazon. This would let Amazon take care of all the hassle and paperwork needed. There are a few exceptions of items that you can’t send like flammable items.

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Lessons from a OA/RA FBA load gone awry

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Yup I am going to do it, even though I keep telling myself no I should not, but the greater good, hopefully outweighs the need to not air my dirty laundry. Those of you who know me know that never stopped me before, but this time it feels different? It is because this is a relatively new revenue stream for GDW Inc? I feel like it is a new baby and I need to protect it, but at the same time I want to let the people who trust me know I have no fear of telling the truth.

So her goes…

I am going to relive the horror story that is just clearing up for a customer who had drop shipped a bunch of Gerneral Arbitrage goods into our warehouse for FBA prep, packaging, and shipping.

It is a lesson learned and good information to help everyone doing this type of business model.

Here is how I see it from my side. As always there are more than one side of the story!

We started receiving goods for a customer last week. It just started arriving from local suppliers of big named products. It did have the customers name CO/GDW Inc. so it was very easy to tell it was this customers goods.

I contacted this customer to let them know the product were inbound and we received a spread sheet from the customer with cut and pasted information from the suppliers with tracking information, amounts purchased, and what services we were supposed to do for the customer. All good I am excited as this is our first customer of this type for FBA.

Up to this point we have mostly done case packed goods, repacking, bagging, labeling, boxing, all the same good. 100’s or even 1000’s at a time. It is a simple process but labor intensive.
This shipment is different, it is multiple cases of single items, 4, 5, 6, I think the most of any one item was 12. So I get a new guy who has had some snap and done good work in the shipping for GadgetDealz and show him the spread sheet, I give him the Amazon Packing guidelines and expand the spread sheet to show our services per item.

I ask him to get this shipment moving as we want to get it shipped the next day. This was Wed. we start “receiving the goods” which is where we check the goods against the packing slip, and against the shipments. We realize all the goods are not there. The customer is telling me how important getting the goods into FBA is as she is OOS (out of stock) and needs to get it into FBA before she leaves for a while?? O.K. not really an issue but we made a critical mistake at this point. We let the customer dictate the project.

So Thursday more goods arrive and it looks like we have everything. So this will be great…then more good arrive again for the same customer??? What is this for? It is not on the spread sheet. People get confused at this point and so I email the customer. Yup the customer loves us and has sent more products in unannounced. We get another spread sheet in yet a different format so I am trying to make it look like the other one so my new guys do not have to figure it out. We should be able to deal with that right? Wrong.

So now we have received 2 shipments and I tell my guys to work on getting the first one out so we can close that out as the customer is in a hurry…..darn I am letting the customer dictate the process and the speed….what am I doing. Opps kids B-Day in Austin. I leave thinking my guys pack and ship all the time we have great processes for what we do. We seriously ship 1000’s of units a day.

I get an email with the measurements and weight of 2 boxes ready to go to FBA for the customer. I send it to the customer and the customer sends me 3 shipping labels as we still have some product to go?? She guesses at the weight as well? I send it to my guys and tell them to get it ready to go out FT Monday.

The weekend goes by.

Monday I drive in from Austin 3 hours to Houston in traffic Monday AM yeah I am in a good mood. I get in and look at our prep area and there is still product there? I ask my guys and find out that it is part of shipment 1 and also part of shipment 2 and so the three boxes we had labels for was not the complete shipment and we were in for issues and better yet they just dropped off the three boxes at the UPS facility. Time to get on the phone!!! Luckily I was able to intercept the goods and pick up the boxes before being shipped out.

I email the customer and explain that the sizes and weights for the three boxes were not for the whole shipment, my guys got ahead of themselves and I needed to make sure everything was received and everything was correct and signed off before we shipped. No word back from the customer.

We now need to completely receive all goods for both projects and insure everything has been received.

And what do you know it had not, there were items missing, there were items not even on the list, and not only that we had not received every box yet. WTF my guys did not check the shipments again the list, they only checked the manifest against the contents. I am getting a migraine now.

And I in my great wisdom decide that I am going to keep the customer up to speed and tell them too much to be honest. I am eating crow because I allowed the process to deviate help a customer who was in a hurry, and also my need to get home for my kids B-Day.

Fast forward….I make my guys unpack everything, an we go item by item, I make sure it is labeled, I make sure the choking hazards are in place on bags that did not already have it printed, I make sure the do not separate labels are where they need to be. I get my office manager to double check me to make sure and he and I fix every potential issue. But business calls and I have to leave. SO I tell my guys to box this stuff and try to get it into as few boxes as possible to see if we could salvage the labels the customer already printed, BC I know how much of a pain it is to delete and recreate the shipping plan. Also there is a lot of worry as Amazon is trying to stop people from creating BS shipments to get around shipping products to different facilities.

I let the customer know what happened I eat crow, it is my fault, I accept the fact I will not bill the customer for this service and chalk it up to training and learning new processes for new employees.

Then the customer calls and we have the discussion. I tell them I understand their concern, how much I appreciate the customers patience and that although we wanted to help get the goods out fast, the way the goods came in would have not made that an easy task. I take ownership that we made the mistake of giving them box sizes and weights when the project was incomplete and that caused  some grief. I give the customer the new box sizes and weights that were on the edge of Amazons limits to try to save them some money and they do not like that as it may hurt the drivers back?? They  want them smaller?? We hang up and I go back to my guys and we repackage everything….I get to talk to the customer again in a couple of hours, everything is ready to go….hopefully we can get this out and finished.

Boy I really like imported products right now. 1000 units of the same goods. Even if we need to bag them, add hangar tags, insert silica, and label the process is easier, and we do it when everything arrives not in a hurry to get product up for the customer BC the customer failed to plan in advance and we are now supposed to save them from a lack of planning. Also if your looking to be a customer and after reading this you may not I know I may be shooting myself in the foot, but let me know in advance what you have coming in, and what you would like to get done. So we can be prepared in advance and not scrambling to accommodate your needs without proper preparation. It is a recipe for disaster and well I have had enough this week.

Here are the takeaways

lesson 1.) Do not let the customer dictate the process.

lesson 2.) Do not let the new guys go to the next step without sign off by one of the mangers. Especially on new processes.

lesson 3.) Do not give every detail of everything to every customer along the way. Sometimes too much information creates worry.

lesson 4.) Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. I allowed us to get in a hurry on a new process without the normal planning it would take to accomplish this satisfactorily. In the end it took the same amount of time it would have with planning, but without the drama and probably loss of some new customers….not a great way to start a revenue stream, but like a mentor of mine Will says. You have to get moving, make mistakes, learn, and get better as you go. I lived by that motto with every company I ever started and no matter how much you plan you just need to do it to learn and make progress.

I love the no named customer in this story, great people, honestly I do. I hope that we can still be friends and I know I have a lot to offer them as they are in the same space I am in online in the GA side of my business. But rocky starts either make long term partnerships or short term friendships. We will see later today what happens.

Thanks for listening and for allowing us to serve you.

 

 

 

Why I Love To Hate Partnerships

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Back in the late 80’s early 90’s I though I knew what a partnership was but found out very quickly I had no clue. I had started a company with 2 of my best friends at the time. We thought we had the world by the tail. Little did we know we had no idea what we were doing and worse we had not idea who we were. It costs a couple of friends and a little money but the lessons were invaluable.

We all have heard the term partnership before and think we understand what a partnership is right.

Here is the definition of partner: “a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits.

So why is it we so often invite our friends and family to join us in ventures?

Is it because we are afraid to go it alone, to bring in strangers, or want reassurance that our idea is good? The answer to that is yes, YES, and YES!!

So after decades of business experience, many mistakes I just wanted to let people in on a strategy in creating partnerships I learned from VC’s who invested multiple millions into companies I have started.
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Process Chart from my 4 Million a Year eCommerce Business Leaked!

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My name is Alan Basinger and I started a little Amazon store almost 5 years ago and in the first 10 months we did 850k and 40% net profit.
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How to Hack a Trade Show to Stock UP Your Amazon Store!

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We all know that stocking up your FBA store is one of the not so secret tips on getting revenue and profits up. Especially during Q4 we need to have maximum products available in our stores at this time.

Since we are in the end of the 3rd Quarter we all should be thinking about 4th Quarter sales and how we can take advantage of the holiday buying season to boost our store up.

The question I get more often than not is “How do I do that?”
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How to Keep From Slowing Down Your Ocean Shipments

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We all are looking for ways to speed up the arrival of our products from our manufacturers.  Some of us want to be in control of the shipments insuring we know what is happening and when our product will arrive and be available for sale.

If your using a door to door service like DHL, UPS, FedEx that works great and you pay a huge premium for that. Ultimately double the cost of shipping by freight and ocean. But Freight services move even higher levels of cargo and are more complex to navigate and insure things are happening on time.

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How To Tell If Your Amazon Expert Is A Fake

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First with the huge success of ASM (Amazing Selling Machine.) Course there are literally hundreds of wanna be experts out there trying to cash in on the waves of new people wanting to get free by selling online.

Unfortunately many of these self proclaimed experts have just as much experience as the people they are trying to mentor and in reality are doing more harm than good to innocent newbies who do not know any better yet.

My goal here is to hopefully help new Amazon/Ebay sellers recognize that the expert is just a Circus Barker taking their money and is not an expert.

PT Barnum said “there is a sucker born every minute.” and that these new Amazon and Ebayers were the sucker, but hopefully after reading this will not be any more.

So first let’s define an “expert”. The dictionary says and Expert is a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.

So with this we can start to weed out the true experts from the Circus Clowns?

Ask your expert how many years they have been selling full time on the sales channel they are mentoring you on?

Ask you expert to show you their sales on that channel in dollar and units sold?

Here is money for April 2015.

How To Tell If Your Amazon Expert Is A Fake

How To Tell If Your Amazon Expert Is A Fake

Ask them how many skus they currently have selling?

Ask which sales methods they are using to sell their products right now. (Retail Arb, Online Arb, General Arb, Private Label, OEM, etc)?

Ask how long they have been in business and how many businesses they have run?

When you get the Uhh, well, type answers to any of these questions then you should start using your spidey senses because something is wrong.

Or if you notice that the answers start to be evasive, if they do not want to part the curtains and show you what is really happening then again those spidey senses should be tingling.

Are you looking for someone who has read a bunch of books on a subject, trolls other people FB groups and forums for information, and then markets it is there own?

Other things to look out for.

If they are constantly promoting other peoples memberships, products, month paid services then they are making money on kick backs from these and your there to make them money.

Seriously folks if your just kicking off a brand new business and your short on cash you should spend ZERO dollars on the plethora of hacks, apps, and methods you do not need until you need it.

And you will know you need it when your business goes flat because with the current methods, processes, you have you just cannot keep up so you need to make a change.

The key here is everything was going fine and then BOOM you could not keep up. You need to identify why you could not keep up and then find a solution for that problem at that time.

To buy the latest app, pay for a monthly subscription for landing pages, shopping carts, business intelligence apps, etc etc etc. Your draining one of the most important resources a new business needs. CASH.

Most small business fail because the proprietors (you) do not know how to manage cash flow and so when things get moving good you cannot fund the business and it DIES.

Or it is going well and then it hits a snag and you do not have the cash to carry you until you can turn it around. WHY? Because you listened to a GURU sell you something you DO NOT NEED so they could make a kickback on it and put money in their pockets.

Or some expert person on a forum or FB group said he uses XYZ to do his business process and you think I need that too. Because if he is doing well it will make me do well also.

You rationalize you need it when you do not. You need it when shit hits the fan because what your doing now cannot scale to handle the crazy amount of business your doing. No other reason is worth while in my book.

Sincerely,

Alan Basinger

I know some people reading this are going to be haters and especially the info sellers and fake experts are going to be very upset, but here is my challenge to them all.

Open your books and your Business and prove me wrong.

Do not just tell us what you do SHOW US, nothing hidden behind the curtain oh great wizard of Oz.

Otherwise STFU and go back under the rock you came from……Yeah I said.

 

How to Use Your Competition to Beat Your Competition

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This is a super simple yet often overlooked way to develop products and beat competitors.

For the last 5 years I purchase my competitors products in a niche I am entering.

Yup I actually give them sales. (more…)

Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure

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How many of you have a plan for your business? A plan of who you want to be, what you want your business to look like in 30 days, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? If you do not know where your going you will definitely end up where you are at.
Oct 31 last year Amazon shut off 1.5 million in revenue by taking over my best selling listing. One day the switch was turned off but I still had expenses, to pay. Did I roll over a give up? Nope I gave myself 1 day to cry to myself about it then I set off on a mission.

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How a Fourfold Increase in Sales Tried to Kill My Business: Part 2

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Be Prepared for growth

Before I discuss the strategy I used to defend my business, let me first talk about growth concepts.


 

Lou Holtz said it best:

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.”

Growth costs money. Inventory costs money. Operating a business efficiently costs money. As discussed previously, getting hit with sales spikes can lead to serious setbacks because the need to maintain business alongside growth can create cash flow issues.

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How a Fourfold Increase in Sales Tried to Kill My Business Overnight

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Time Matters for Online Businesses

Yes, you read that title correctly. I experienced an overnight fourfold increase in sales that tried to kill my company.

But I’m fighting back.

Today, we live in a digital world. From the year 2000-2014, there was a 741% increase in internet usage worldwide. This presents several unique challenges to businesses that sell online, mainly, that more people enter the market each day. Online sales happen at the speed of light, and company reputation, competition, and market supply and demand will all play a role in the health of your bottom line.

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GDW Inc. Launches FB Group for Real Time Customer Service

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In order to help our customers and allow them to ask us questions we launched a FB group called.

FBM/FBA/PL US Fulfillment Service by GDW here https://www.facebook.com/groups/447657612067969/members/

We already have 10 members and just launched it an hour or two ago.

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GDW Inc Launches Importing and E-commerce Services in USA

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GDW Inc. A Houston Texas based corporation that specializes in Importing, Branding, E-Commerce, and Fulfillment service has launched it service to help other inspiring importers with the finer points of the online sales world.

With over a decade of experience online, GDW Inc. is positioned to be able to help fledgling and experienced online sellers, private label, OEM, Manufacturers, and Importers with USA based selling channels.

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