This is one of the Ask Scott sessions where Scott Voelker answers your questions about Amazon private label sales. If you’d like to get your question answered on one of these podcast episodes, you can do it by going to www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask. Scott would be happy to address your issues to the best of his ability so be sure to take advantage of this powerful resource.
Should international sellers try to start in their local Amazon market or the U.S. market?
A listener of the show does not live in the United States and wants to get started with private label sales on Amazon. He’s not sure if he should start selling in his local Amazon market or try to get his products set up on the U.S. Amazon market. Scott’s answer is an “it depends” kind of answer but you’ll want to know what it is that it depends on. 😉 There’s lots to consider in a situation like this so be sure you take the time to listen.
I have a customer who has contacted me through Amazon’s system and wants to buy large quantities of my product. How can I handle that?
It’s an amazing opportunity – or it appears to be. This listener and active Amazon private label seller has been contacted by one of his customers through the Amazon system. The customer claims to want to purchase large quantities of his products in bulk. The listener is not sure if there is a way he can connect with the seller legally within Amazon’s terms of service to work out that deal. Scott’s answer is very helpful and you’ll hear it on this episode.
I’m an international seller but I sell on the U.S. Market. How can I get my products shipped to the U.S.?
Scott has often recommended that international sellers get access to a U.S. based address to have their products sent to before sending to the Amazon warehouse so that products can be inspected before being stocked in the warehouse. It’s a great idea, but today’s listener doesn’t have access to a U.S based address and is curious if there are other options. There are indeed and today Scott is going to walk through them. It’s all on this episode of The Amazing Seller.
Would you like to get in on a free 10-day private label course?
One of the things Scott has done to create a helpful training resource for brand new Amazon private label sellers is to put together a 10 day course walking through every single step Scott has taken to get his private label products, get them onto Amazon, and make sales with them. If you’d like to get that 10 day course sent to you via email, you can get it by going to www.FreePrivateLabelCourse.com – and Scott will send it right to you!
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:04] Scott’s introduction to the podcast!
- [1:08] How you can get your questions answered on the show.
- [2:05] A TAS member who’s taking action!
- [5:31] Why the process is the best way to learn.
- [6:28] QUESTION ONE: What is your take on international sellers getting started – should we start on the U.S. Amazon market?
- [12:42] QUESTION TWO: How can I handle someone who wants to purchase my products on a large volume basis? Can it be done?
- [20:21] QUESTION THREE: I want to follow your advice about getting a price of products being shipped to me via air, but I’m not located in the U.S. How can I do that?
- [25:04] How you can get Scott’s free 10-day course.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 181
TAS 181 : Ask Scott Session #52 – Amazon FBA Questions
[00:00:03] SV: Hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller podcast, this is episode number 181 and session number 52 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your question here on the podcast that you submit via voicemail. Now, let me first say that I’m really happy that you guys are here and you’re listening. Today is Friday, if you’re listening to this on the day that it’s published, everyone gets excited about Fridays…
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…and you guys heard me talk about this before. I’m not going to go into this again, but every day is a Friday for me, I just think that everyone should have the ability to make that choice. You guys have heard me rant about that before so it’s up to you to make every day your Friday. All right.
The other reason I’m really excited too is it’s sunny out today here and it’s going to be 70 degrees and this is just going to be breaking some records here in upstate New York. I was able to walk this morning, I didn’t have to wear a hat and gloves and all that stuff so really excited about that. Yesterday, we took Brody to the park, we were running around with him. It’s just really awesome time of year because winter seems to have passed so that’s cool. All right, so let me remind you, if you want to ask your own question and have me answer it here on an upcoming show, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can do that. You can record a voicemail, make sure you leave your first name so I know who I’m talking to and then just leave your question there.
Try to keep it under a couple minutes, give me the details and all that stuff and of course if you guys want to talk about how you found the podcast and what it’s done for you so far, a lot of you do that, that would be awesome because I love hearing about that as well. Definitely head over to theamazingseller.com/ask, leave a voicemail there and I would love to hear from you. That’s, again, why I love doing this because it feels as though we’re in that same room together, having that cup of coffee or tea, whatever you drink, I drink coffee, you guys know that, and we’re just hanging out, we’re kind of rapping about this whole Amazon or selling online thing. All right. Definitely, definitely go over and do that for me.
Now, before we do jump in, I wanted to highlight one of our action takers, one of our TASers that is. They posted inside of the Facebook community, the TAS community that is. Again, I’ll give you another link if you guys are brand new and you wanted to be part of our community, which we have over 24,000 members in there right now, totally free to join, you can head over to theamazingseller.com/fb and you can request to join. Usually it takes a few hours to get approved and then from there you’ll have access and there’s tons and tons of great resources there and great people. Definitely check that out.
[00:02:42] SV: I’m going to go through this post real quick and I’m going to read what she said and then from there we’re going to go ahead and I’m going to answer … Not answer, I’m going to read a couple of the comments. There’s a ton of comments, over 273 likes and a bunch of comments. This is what Manuela said, Manuela Sticks that is, and says, “It works. Going to hit 5,000 today, starting selling about three weeks ago. Scott, you rock”, smiley face. I want to say, Manuela, thank you so much. Hopefully I’m pronouncing your name properly. I apologize if I’m not.
Let me just go ahead and just a couple of … Obviously, whenever someone posts this type of stuff, it gets a ton of comments asking kind of like, “What was your process? What did you do?” and all that stuff. I’m just going to skim through this really quick and I’m going to read this one right here. This was from Carl and says, “Would you elaborate on really good product that set you apart? Just wondering, are you taking a product and updating and changing it?” Then Manuela says, “I like improving it,” smiley face, wink. “We made changes, updates that add value to a product that is already selling well on Amazon, be careful not to violate patterns. We have gone through a lot of painful months, yes, months, in order to find a manufacturer for our product and invested a lot in prototypes and samples but hard work always pays off in the end. Of course we’re still not where we want to be but on the right way.”
That was that comment. Then, let me just read down here because I know you guys will be asking the same kind of question, “It's just curious. What was your launch process? Giveaways, promotions, etc.? I do about 10,000 a month and I’m launching a new product and I think it could be a huge seller and I want to get out of the gate like you have just done. Thanks and congrats.” That was Kevin MC. Manuela says, “Thanks Kevin, no secret to it. Really, we gave away some units in the first days and started automatic pay-per-click a week ago. We are on page one for our main keywords since day three. I think to have a really good product and product listing is key. We have organic sales since our first day selling. I wish you all the best.”
Then Kevin says, “Okay. Was this is a very competitive market and how many did you give away?” and then I don’t believe Manuela answered that particular question. There’s a ton more in here and comments back and forth as far as going through this. Actually, I’ll read this last one, Karen O’Brien says, “It sounds like you’re the one rocking, congrats.” Then Manuela says, “Thanks Karen. Long way to go, every day is an adventure and new challenges come our way”, smiley face, “But these little successes show us that we are on the right track. Wish you all the best.” I just want to highlight that. Right.
Everyone thinks that they’re going to launch a product that’s going to be a home run, that’s not generally how it’s going to happen. It’s going to get your feet wet, you’re going to learn the process and you may or may not have a winner but you’re going to learn through that process. I think by piggybacking off of what other people are doing and being connected inside of our community like so many of you are, it really, really does help. If you guys want to be part of that free community of the TASers that is, that’s TAS listeners, The Amazing Seller listeners, you can head over to theamazingseller.com/fb.
I just want to say again, congratulations Manuela and thank you everyone that posted and commented and liked it and really just kept the conversation going and asking some really great questions and then Manuela, thank you for answering those as well. That’s just a great, great thread there so I will leave a link to that in the show notes of this episode as well.
All right guys, I’ve talked long enough here, let’s go ahead and listen to the first question of today’s session and I’ll go ahead and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:06:38] Michael: Hey Scott, Michael here. Let me start off by saying a big thank you for the podcast that you put our regularly, these are just awesome, giving lots of neat tips and tricks. Just a big thank you for that, I much appreciate it. My question to you is, from what I’ve discovered through research, through listening to various podcasts, it seems that most sellers are selling on Amazon.com and of those, that is sellers who are selling on Amazon.com most of them seem to be residing within the states. My question is, I don’t reside in the states, would you recommend someone selling on Amazon.com if they don’t reside in the states? Second part to that question is, would you recommend someone launching a product on Amazon.com and later on launch it on the various European FBA setups Amazon has also? I look forward to hearing from you and thanks a lot again. Bye.
[00:07:37] SV: Hey Michael, thank you so much for the question and I got a really short answer for you. If I was talking to you right now and you asked me that question, which you just did by the way, thank you and thanks for all the kind words and all that too. I really, really do appreciate it and that you’re a listener that is getting value from what I am discussing here. Okay, so my simple answer to that is launch it on the platform that is easiest for you. Yes, is it going to have more traffic and probably more buyers currently on the US market? Absolutely, but there’s a lot of people that are doing well on the Canadian market, their doing great on the UK market so it really, just to me, depends on where you are right now and can you successfully launch that in your own country.
If you can then why not, it’s not … I wouldn’t necessarily say I’d go all in as far as like launching a thousand on there but I would probably test it out with a few hundred and see what happens. Okay. That would be like first thing. The second thing is, I’m not an expert in international … Actually I’m not an expert at all anyway, I’m just like you guys, kind of in the trenches, kind of figuring this whole thing out and there’s different things that are coming at me every single day. The difference is that I have a microphone right here and I’m able to talk through it and connect with all of you, which is really, really awesome.
To be quite honest with you, I’ve interviewed a lot of international sellers. They really come back and tell me that it’s not necessarily hard to sell from their country to the US, it’s not really that big of a deal. If that was the case, then I would just say I would probably go to the US market and I would probably do it in your own market or in your own country because it’s not that difficult, you’re already there. Yes, is it going to require you to have a little bit more capital so you can go ahead and invest more in inventory? Yes. Is it going to, I don’t want to say complicate, but is it going to make things a little more challenging because now you have to separate inventory into two separate lots, let’s say and then from there you have to be able to look at two different platforms and two different pay-per-clicks and all that stuff? Yes. Could it be worth it? Yeah, it really could.
There’s a gentleman that I’ve since become aware of but also friends with, his name is Dom Sugarman. Dumm if you’re listening, thank you brother. We had a great conversation. He’s in Canada and he’s got a lot of experience. I’m probably going to have him come on the podcast here soon because he’s got a long history of selling on eBay and then Amazon before it was really big and now currently, you know the way that the market’s kind of evolved and all that stuff. He’s got a lot of great, I guess insights, on selling internationally, especially in the Canadian market as well. If you listen to other people’s interviews that I’ve done in the past, which I’ll give you a few of those right here. If you do that, you’re going to be able to hear what is probably the best method for you and maybe you can just take bits and pieces and then adapt them to your situation.
[00:10:50] SV: The first one is episode 98, so that’s theamazingseller.com/98. Now, I’ll leave all of these in today’s show notes which the show notes to this episode will be theamazingseller.com/181. If you go to theamazingseller.com/181 all of the links that I talk about I’ll drop them in the show notes there. Just to remind you guys, we do have transcripts now available as well so you can go there and read everything that I’m talking about now, that’s another option for you as well.
Back to my point, the other episode is, let’s see, 149 and that one there was with another international seller. He is actually selling in his own country and doing 250,000 dollars, he did it on one month. That was episode 149, theamazingseller.com/149. The other one that I would like to point out is episode 137 with Andy Irvine and he actually is in Australia and he’s shipping directly from China, excuse me, from China to Amazon FBA. He’s selling through the US market but he lives in Australia. All of those are there for you and I’ve got a ton more. If you just go to the blog, theamazingseller.com and you go to the search this site or search the site, a little bar there where you can actually do a search, type in international and you’ll get a list of everything that was discussed with the international kind of theme and you can pick and choose what you want to listen to and dive into.
Hopefully this has helped you, I know I haven't given you a direct answer and I don’t think there is a direct answer, I think you have to do what is best for you and you’ll be the only one to know that. Definitely check out those resources, thank you so much for the question and keep me posted on your progress. Let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I will give you my answer.
[00:12:46] Chris: Hey Scott, this is Chris, hey man. I have a question for you that I don’t think you’ve ever answered. I want to start off first by telling you thank you so much for all the information you’ve put out, it’s helped me tremendously. I’ve literally learned everything I know about Amazon from you and I actually have some other guys now that I’m actually helping to get their Amazon businesses rolling. Just feels great to kind of pass on that information. Again, I owe you all the credit for that because I’ve literally learned everything from you. I have a question. I have a customer that contacted me on Amazon. He’s made a purchase and he sent me a message through the system and it sounds like he’s wanting to make rather large purchases, more of a wholesale type purchase for some projects that he has going on, it’s going to be an ongoing basis and could be a rather high volume.
My question is, how do I handle that without getting into trouble with Amazon? Again, he sent me an email through their messaging system and he actually sent me his personal email address so I’d contact him back, however that email address was cut out in the message I received. I know you’re always saying build an email list and do thing like that so eventually we could take business off of Amazon if we needed to and this is going to be something that would require that because you were talking about hundreds, maybe even thousands of units here. If you could answer my question man I would greatly appreciate it and I hope it helps some other people out there, who may be going through the same thing.
Thanks a bunch man. Hope to hear from you. Thank, bye.
[00:14:33] SV: Hey Chris, thank you so much for the question, thanks for the feedback and I’m glad that you’re a listener and really cool to hang out with you, so thank you. Yeah, no, you've got a great situation here and I think it’s awesome too that you’re painting it forward and you’re out some of your buddies learn about this Amazon business space and getting started here. Let me just kind of talk to that real quick. I know I’m kind of going off track here a little bit because I am going to answer your question which I think it’s an amazing opportunity by the way and there is a couple things that you could do.
When we’re talking about selling on Amazon and I’ll be diving more into this moving forward here in 2016 and beyond, but really, like Amazon is a great platform to validate and verify a product. A lot of you that are just starting and thinking that you’re just building a business on a Amazon, I want you to start thinking a little bit bigger than that. When you’re picking your products … Again, Chris, when you're talking to your buddies, you also want to let them know that this is where it starts, this isn't where it ends and it’s a great place to verify and validate products, period, so just a great, great place for that. All right.
I just wanted to bring that up because if you’re telling people about this business model, it’s great to tell them about it but you really want to keep them informed that you are building a business on someone else’s platform. Eventually we want to take that product that we know is selling because we validated it rather quickly and then from there we can bring it over to our own platform and start selling it on other channels or just even on our own eCommerce site.
Okay, cool. Now that I got that out of the way I just want to be very clear. Your opportunity is really, really awesome because you can pick up a customer that can buy 500 or a thousand units from you and all you’re doing is you’re just sourcing the product for them. Does that mean that they’re not going to find a source or a supplier in the future and then cut you out of the mix? Yeah, that could happen but in the meantime, hey, why not take advantage of that. If you can still make four, five bucks a unit let’s say or even three bucks a unit but all you’re doing is supplying it to them, I mean, heck, I don’t know who wouldn’t do that. Right. Trade in some money and then get an extra three bucks or five bucks back, every time that you give someone five bucks you get eight back, that wouldn’t be too bad or even 10 back. I think we would do that all day long.
You bring up a great point because you are not allowed, and I’m putting up the air quotes, “you’re not allowed”, within the terms of service of Amazon to contact that particular buyer and start negotiating deals about that product especially. Right. They don’t want you to obviously do business off of Amazon. This is a little bit of a different situation. I’m assuming that they bought your product because that’s the only way that they would know that you’re product is there and that it’s product that they would potentially want to buy 500 or a thousand of. Right. They would have to buy that product.
One easy solution here would be and again I’m not sure if this is 100% white hat but this is what I would probably consider, is the very first thing I would do is go find their address. I would find that person's address and you can find it right in your reporting inside of your back end of seller central of that buyer. You’re going to know their name because they wrote you that email, then from there you’re going to be able to find their mailing address. Then I would mail them a letter or some type of instructions or just, “Hey, give me a call.” I think the best thing would be like, “Hey, give me a call, here’s my phone number.” Right, you could do that.
That would be probably my first way of doing it and I think the most ethical way of doing it because we’re not talking about … I mean, I think Amazon would understand that if someone is going to buy from you wholesale they’re not going to buy through the Amazon channel. But they already got that sale, you didn’t take that initial sale away from Amazon and I think that’s really what Amazon is looking for. They don’t want someone to contact you and then from there you kind of cut them out of the mix on that purchase but that person’s already bought one or five or ten or however many they bought, they’ve already purchased them.
[00:18:44] SV: Now, outside of that, if someone wanted to, they could call you or mail you after they buy a product and say, “Hey, could you sell me this at 25% off what you’re selling on Amazon so I could sell it to other people.” Now you’re a wholesaler, you could do that all day long. Right. That doesn’t necessarily violate their terms of service, they reached out to you but in this case you’re reaching out to them because they reached out to you. I would be very careful on putting your email address in there to contact you. You could, and again I don’t know if this would be breaking any rules or anything, but you could put your phone number in there possibly and then have them call you. But I think I would reach out first with the mail. I would mail them something and then I would put your phone number in there to have them call you, talk a little bit about it in there but say, “I’d really love to jump on the phone with you,” and do it that way.
That’s what I would do. I think it’s a great opportunity and I want other people to realize too, this is something that could happen at any time if you have a great product and if people want to sell that product on their own eCommerce store or their own retail location. Again, it’s another reason why you want to develop really good products but you also want to have that margin in there that if you did want to go retail you could but it’s whole other animal. I think this is great, I think it’s a great opportunity. Chris I want you to keep me updated, I want you to let me know how this works out and yeah, maybe we can follow up with you and kind of follow along and see how this works out and what you did in order to get that communication started.
Yeah, really, really awesome and I’m glad you submitted that question. I’m glad to have helped you with that hopefully. Yeah, let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:20:26] Robert: Hi Scott, my name is Robert, I’m actually from the UK. I’ve discovered your podcast a few days ago and I find it absolutely amazing and I’ve already kind of been through 18, 19 of your podcasts already. Thank you for all your information. I do have one question about asking our suppliers questions. One of the questions that you’ve suggested that we ask was how much would it cost us to deliver by air to the US. As I’m based in UK I don’t actually have a US address so how should I go about this question then? Again, thanks for your help and all your amazing work and we just look forward to getting more. Thank you.
[00:21:17] SV: Hey Robert, thank you so much for the question, all the way from the UK. Love it, I love the accent, you guys all know I love the British accent, very, very cool. All right. This is a great question. Now, the one thing that I would say is if you are in the UK and you want to sell in the US, the Amazon.com platform that is, that channel, yes, you are going to have to ship the product most likely directly to Amazon. Okay.
Back in episode 137, I interviewed Andy Irvine, I just mentioned him a little while ago. He actually is based in Australia and what he does is he has an inspection, a third party inspection company inspect that product or products that are done China side. Okay. Then from there shipped directly to Amazon. This way here you don’t have to have an address in the US necessarily because the other way you could do it, and I’ve known people that have done it this way is, they’ll hire someone in the states to have it shipped to. They’ll inspect it there and then they’ll ship it into Amazon. I would rather probably just pay the inspection company China side and then from there directly ship it into Amazon.
Now, you’re probably going to ask yourself, “Okay Scott. What inspection company?” The one that I’ve heard really good things about is TOPWIN inspections or inspection.com so www.topwininspection.com. I haven't used them personally, I may be using them because I’ve had a couple of things happen here recently that made me think I probably should. It’s topwininspection.com, I have no affiliation with them, I don’t receive a commission or anything like that from those guys but I’ve heard good things from my podcast listeners but also from my students inside of the private label classroom. Just wanted to throw that out there to you.
I would probably go with the third party inspection company, I’ve heard they’re between $250, probably $400 depending on the level of inspection. They will go through every single box, if you want, and look at every single package, they’ll point everything out that they feel is flawed and then from there you could take it up with your manufacturer. One other little caveat here is that when you do that and again I don’t know this from personal experience but I do know other that have said this, what it does at that level, when you do that is your manufacturer understands that you’re having it inspected, they may take and spend a little bit more time and a little bit more care with your shipment because they know that it possibly will be getting inspected.
It’s not a bad deal to do that. I would definitely recommend doing that especially if you are an international seller and you didn’t want to get a US address and then have it shipped there and then forwarded in. that would be the easiest and simplest way to do it so that’s what I would do.
All right, so guys, I think that is going to wrap it up for today. I normally answer between three and four questions, today we’re going to do what we’ve just done because well I wanted to share also in the beginning there, Manuela, that awesome thread, so you guys can check that out as well. Everything will be linked up on the show notes to this episode, which is 80 … 181, sorry, 181. It’s theamazingseller.com/181 for the show notes and all of the transcripts as well. All of the links, all of the stuff we discussed will be there in the show notes.
[00:24:52] SV: The one last thing I’d like to remind you before you go is if you are brand spanking new to the show, welcome, by the way, and thank you. Hopefully this has been fun and this has been educational for you as well. I did want to give you access to my 10 day free private label course. What I’ve done here is I’ve broken down all of the steps into a 10 day little mini course where I will send you an email every single day for 10 days and I will give you exactly, in bite sized pieces, what I did when I first started and actually what I still do all the way through the launch process.
If you want to, go ahead and register for that. You can head over to freeprivatelabelcourse.com. Again that’s freeprivatelabelcourse.com, you’ll enter your name and email address. You’ll immediately get the outline of the course and the next day you’ll immediately get lesson number one. All right. Hopefully that’ll be helpful to you as well.
All right, so guys, that’s going to wrap it up for this session of Ask Scott. Remember, if you have a question you want me to answer on an upcoming podcast just like this, head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and do that, ask your question there via voicemail, would love to hear from you.
All right, that is going to wrap it up, thank you guys so much. Remember I am always here for you, I believe in you and I am rooting for you but you have to, you have to … Come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, take action. Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you in the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Facebook Post mentioned
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/ask – Get your questions answered on the show.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/FB – get into the TAS Facebook community.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/98 – the episode about international sales.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/149 – an international seller featured.
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/139 – An Australia seller selling on the U.S. market.
- www.TopWinInspection.com – inspection company Scott recommends.
- www.FreePrivateLabelCourse.com – get the 10 day private label course.
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