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    Holiday Season, The Perfect Time For an E-comm Side Hustle

    Holiday Season, The Perfect Time For an E-comm Side Hustle

    During this session, our hosts Colin C. Campbell and Michele Van Tilborg, who have enormous amounts of e-commerce experience, bring you the best Black Friday tips for your buck.

    We were joined by e-comm and Amazon guru, Norm Farrar, and CMO of Paw.com, and Co-founder & CMO of .Club Domains, Jeffrey Sass to discuss the world of online buying and selling.

    It’s the run-up to Christmas and we’re all trying to make it through to the holidays, but little did you know it is prime time to be having an e-comm side hustle! 

    Michele advises not to quit your day job just yet, though. “Don’t feel like you have to rush into this”. 

    It is important to do your research, check your numbers, and figure out your strategy. You don’t have to do discounts on Black Friday! You can increase the price if you so wish, the right customer will pay. 

    What will your strategy be? Norm asks, “Will you make any money?” That is the deciding factor!

    Norm insists that you should do a course, learn competitive analysis, and understand how the process works!

    Find your niche! If you want to go down the pet route, be more specific, what animal, what will you sell? Make your product as niche as possible to gain a dominant stance in the field. And this doesn’t mean you can’t expand later on! But targeting your Black Friday marketing strategies will be way easier if you have a clear niche.

    Ensure your product stands out and work on your SEO!

    Jeff Sass

    It is one of the most crowded days of the year, millions of brands are offering enormous discounts, how is your product going to stand out? Think of creative ways to get your product to your customers’ feeds. There are tons of different digital platforms to think of, and even more assets and tactics to use.

    Work on a brand story, get some marketing campaigns going, and of course, don’t forget email, the best tool for you to spread the word about your e-comm side hustle!

    Listen to the full session above for more tips and insights from our awesome moderators and guest speakers.  

  • TRANSCRIPT: SE.Club – EP38: Black Friday, The Perfect Time For an E-comm Side Hustle (11/26/21)

    [00:00:00] 

    first, thank you everyone for joining us on black Friday. One of my favorite holidays, I have to say it’s the shopping holiday.

    So you’re probably just sitting there wondering wow. You know, there’s all this money flowing through e-commerce black Friday. We’re all I’m sure aware of what the news is saying, and everyone’s moving to online shopping. So we thought we would do with our favorite e-commerce guru Norm that’s here every week at the same time, Fridays at 2:00 PM Eastern time.

     Just talk about how do we get started? How do we get in on this? How do we get started on an e-commerce business? So Norm, why don’t you introduce yourself then let’s hear from Jeff. Jeff is the CMO of a very popular pet [00:01:00] e-commerce company. So give us a little bit of update about who you are, and then we’ll just very, very quickly jump into the audience to start giving ideas or tips and tricks about how you get started Norm. Alright, thanks, Michelle. So yeah, I got started way, way, way back in the day accidentally, um, backing around the mid to late nineties and I’ve been working with e-comm and I’ve been in working with other aspects of business, such as manufacturing and fulfillment and specialty man, uh, specialty packaging, as well as branding as probably one of the biggest things that, uh, I I do right now is help with branding.

    But, um, I also have a podcast called lunch with norm, which helps Amazon sellers become better sellers, but at the end of the day, um, I work with e-com and that’s Amazon Walmart Shopify stores to help them become more [00:02:00] successful.

    Awesome. And, you know, I know norm, as you know, does amazing podcasts and Amazon seller consulting. So I’m very excited to hear about what you’ll have to say about getting started norm. So next let’s go to Jeff. Jeff is a COO of a very popular, successful, um, pet e-commerce store. So Jeff, please introduce yourself briefly and we’ll start.

    Sure. Thank you, Michelle and norm and Collin and Rachel. Um, yeah, today’s kind of a crazy day as, as I’m here talking to you. I’m also monitoring our sales@ourshopifyplussiteforpaul.com and you know, seeing a lot of a lot of activity today and yesterday as well. So, um, it’s an interesting time for e-commerce obviously.

    The trends, not just, you know, even before COVID the trends, we’re leaning more towards e-commerce than physical retail for the [00:03:00] holidays. And this year is certainly, you know, following that trend. So this is going to be a great discussion. Um, Norm’s got a lot of great information to share, and it’s an interesting time because just about anyone can start an e-commerce business.

    Um, you know, in the old days you needed to hire developers and spend a lot of time and money creating, uh, at e-commerce website. And today you’ve got platforms like Shopify and others that make it really easy to set up a business overnight, literally, or in a few hours. So looking forward to the discussion.

    Thank you. All right. So let’s put up your hands. If you have questions or you want to vet an idea that you have to get your e-commerce business started, but normally it’s rolled back to you quickly. What are the top? Let’s just say your top three items for those in the audience. Or even us on the stage, if I just want to like, get started with an online business, what would you tell the folks here?[00:04:00] 

    Well, first of all, you have to, it doesn’t cost a lot and it depends where you’re going, but you have to have the proper capital. And if you’re just looking at your, uh, your, your cost of goods, uh, that’s not good enough. Like, usually, especially for. You have to look at about two and a half to three times, even four times cost of goods or your landed costs to really have the right budget.

    And the reason for that is you’ve got the marketing costs. You’ve got listing costs, you’ve got, um, possibly, uh, social media. It’s putting up, um, your Amazon post, which is like Amazon’s, um, uh, social media network anyways. That’s where a lot of people trip up, which follows right next to know your numbers.

    If you do not know your exact numbers, [00:05:00] Most likely will fail. I worked with a $10 million business, a great business, and they, their top line was $10 million just over. And when we look into their books, they were losing a hundred thousand dollars a year and they had a brand, they were paying through the nose for their, uh, PPC, their paid advertising, and they just didn’t realize that the true numbers were the other thing that you want to look at is do you want to launch and throw a ton of money into a product when you’re just learning a platform?

    So if I’m going into Amazon or Shopify or whatever it is, Do I want to really test out my knowledge of that platform. So people going on to Walmart or going into, uh, Amazon, if you don’t understand how to navigate and build a listing, I saw one last week. It was, it would have got the. [00:06:00] The product, Amazon has a, um, a honeymoon period.

    So they, they give you a little bit better possibilities to rank, um, then just starting cold, but the way that the listing was set up, no one would see it. It would just tank, they broke all sorts of the, um, Amazons. And you’ve probably heard about this lately, but Amazon sellers code of conduct. It was just all down the tube and they would have either been suppressed or suspended.

    So you got to know your platform, get it, take a course, make sure that you, you at least know the minimal amount to help you succeed. Those are probably my top three. All right. Awesome. Thanks so much. You know, I’m just going to add a few things here, cause I I’m just gonna like take it up to a little bit, very beginning thinking about doing this.

    What should I [00:07:00] do? So one thing I would say, and I’m just speaking quite directly here is don’t quit your day job yet. Like really don’t feel like you have to rush into this. This is the beauty of starting an e-commerce businesses. You can do it as a side hustle, like doing it as a side hustle could be extremely advantageous for you because it gives you a chance like norm was saying to kind of like test out what your thoughts are, what you’re doing to figure out what you actually need to do to make it profitable.

    The second thing I would say is, you know, everyone likes to talk about brands and I’ve been in marketing and business for a long time, online and off, like, don’t get too wrapped up about it, but do understand kind of the vertical, right? Like if it’s like Jeff, like he’s in pets, like understand pet. [00:08:00] Like start to understand that and look for some pain points, but think about names and get a domain name like that can take you like amazingly forward.

    And then I think, lastly, so you got your good domain. You’re thinking about your vertical. Then you start to do like some research, like I’m looking on Amazon, I’m trying to figure out what some underserved markets are, where I honestly and transparently think that I could add value. So those, those are a couple of ideas that I have the first I said, don’t quit your day job.

    Right? Like treat it like a serious side hustle at first while you try to perfect. What is your, you know, what do you need to do? Secondly, think about the name and the vertical look for a domain name. That’s really critically important. So those are my tips. Um, I see we have. Joe [00:09:00] here in the studio, um, on actually is onstage.

    I’m sorry, we’re in the studio. He’s on. Oh, he went off. We’re getting back connection here. Uh, let’s go to Jeff then let’s go to Jeff next. Jeff. I know you’ve been like an innovator in the e-commerce space when you did ring tones, like you’ve seen a lot of things, like just based on all of your experience, what are the top three things that you would suggest to folks.

    Well, I think, you know, Michelle, you gave some good tips in terms of, of, you know, not necessarily quitting your day job to start. But I think that the other thing that’s important to think about is marketing, right? Like how are you going to, you know, the thing that’s been democratized and is pretty easy now, it’s actually relatively easy to source products compared to the old days.

    It’s very easy to set up an e-commerce website now with all the various platforms, but you still have to gain customers. You still have to acquire customers and attract [00:10:00] traffic to your site. And so the marketing becomes the piece that ultimately is going to be the most important, because it’s not a situation where if you build it, they will come by a long shot, especially when you’re in a crowded vertical, where there is many, many competitors with similar products, in some cases, even the exact same product.

    So, you know, you really have to give some thought and understand how you’re going to approach the marketing of your e-commerce business. Are you going to have a. Uh, what kind of a budget are you going to have for that? And that’s going to play a big role in your success in my humble opinion and norm you probably have some thoughts,

    right? Yeah. So I like what you said about the marketing side of things. Uh, Jeff, because that’s, that’s an area that nobody really thinks about, right? If it’s on Amazon, um, paying that, I call it paying your Amazon tax and that’s, you know, um, It’s everything that you didn’t [00:11:00] know might creep up. I was talking to Kevin King today who was well-known in the, uh, in the Amazon space.

    And it was something simple. He sells calendars, simple calendars. They’re the exact same size. He caught Amazon with their sizing, right. He just, he dug into his seller central account and he found out that their, their fulfillment fee or their picking and packing fee range from $2 and 10 cents, $3, five something, and $8 and something cents.

    And he’s planning on selling around for each one of those calendars, a minimum of 10,000 units. So just by checking those numbers, that’s the first thing. That’s one thing. The today bidding on black Friday. Most people would try to, you know, bid and go really high, uh, you know, to get that marketing and get the brand awareness out [00:12:00] there and you would just be killed in the marketplace right now, a matter of fact, in some of our listings, we actually put the price up just so we put the price up with a, with a digital coupon and we’re getting sales.

    Um, it’s a different strategy. We know that people are going to buy on black Friday. Do we have to drop our pants? I don’t think so. And most people and, you know, Jeff with your product, I’d be kind of curious to hear about this. Um, you know, are you doing the thirties and 50% percent off, uh, with, with, with your pet?

    Yeah, we, we typically, um, we, we typically go along with the black Friday cyber Monday sales strategy. And so we do have a lot of different products on sale, um, across the website at different different sales, different products are, are at different levels of sales. [00:13:00] So some things are up to 70% off. Um, then we have another code, that’ll take an additional 20% off.

    So we’ve got a lot of sales going on these days and that’s typically been our strategy this time of year. We know that this is when, uh, people want to shop not only for their own pets, but for gifts, for, you know, 10 families in their circle of friends and family. So, um, we do discount things for the holiday.

    Yeah. You know, uh, interesting just to, to jump in for a second. Sorry, Michelle. You have a higher priced product too, and you know, your numbers. So with, with something like that, you know, if you were to really promote it, it’s not just brand awareness. You’re going for, you’re going to make a profit. And you know what that profit is, um, with some sellers that I work with and you’ll see these black Friday sales they’ll offer 30% off.

    A lot of [00:14:00] sellers don’t even have 30% in built into their profit once Amazon takes their fees or when you pay Walmart, their fees. So these are things that you need to. Yeah, just because you’re saying, oh, I sold $20,000 on black Friday or a hundred thousand on black Friday. I mean, it’s a great to say that, but did you make any money?

    You know, and it could be all of this, by the way, if you have a game, if you have a plan in mind and it’s for brand awareness and trying to build out your brand, especially if it’s a recurring revenue, like possibly soap or, um, shampoo, then I would spend more on marketing because it’s recurring people like it.

    They have a good customer experience. They buy your product. Yeah. I think that’s great advice, like really know your numbers. Like I know that sounds very simple and easy, but it’s not always when things are moving very, very quickly, otherwise [00:15:00] you’ll, you’ll spin yourself right into sales, but right into bankruptcy.

    So that’s some great advice norm. So. So, let, let me pose a question to you because I see less of people on Instagram, coaches, whatever, like posting, like how to become a number one seller on Amazon. Like I’m literally talking from the beginning forward. Like what, you know, I know you’re an expert here.

    Like what would you suggest? I just pretend like I don’t sell on Amazon right now. And I,

    um, okay. So if you’re just a beginner selling on Amazon, there’s a few things, like I said, take a course, do something, get, get, get knowledge. But when I’m building out my listing, I want to spend time with competitive analysis. I want to see, [00:16:00] well, what if I don’t have a product dorm? Oh, if you don’t have a, like, how would I even, like, I’m just Noah’s sounds like a really good idea.

    Like, how do I even select what? Well, now that’s an interesting story. Okay. So product opportunity, product research, uh, some of the things that if you’re just coming on to Amazon, that you want to look at the opportunities, usually start to, like, let’s say I’m into pets. That’s a good base to start looking down the niche and saying, okay, what can I get into?

    So you start looking into pets, okay. Drill it down to dogs, drill it down to, uh, you know, it could be bully sticks or, you know, you might go to pet shoes and start looking around. Now I would definitely 100% get a, either a free Chrome extension from helium 10 and. [00:17:00] Or they have a free and paid program where you can go in and do some keyword research and it’ll, it’ll show you what type of search volume there is for certain keywords.

    And you can kind of get the idea of what the average prices, what the search keywords are. And you can start just drilling down. So to give you an example, Uh, my partner and I, uh, use this example with, we just did, this is, we started out with we’re both kind of foodies. And so we looked at tacos. Okay. So we, I don’t know how, but we went in and we were looking at Amazon and we went to just met.

    It was for Mexican food. We saw that a pitcher was a taco holder. We thought, okay, let’s take a look at that. And we dug a little bit deeper and we saw that there was plastic holders and, and we used, um, a keyword research tool in helium 10 to bring out these other keywords. [00:18:00] Well, we noticed that there was a woman.

    Uh, a taco holder. So what did we do? We went over to Pinterest and we wanted to see what people were pinning. And we went over to Etsy to see what people had and they did have these really cool, um, authentic looking wooden, uh, taco holders, or, uh, yeah, sorry, taco makers, tortilla makers. And. Anyways, we went and we took a look, we put it up, we went to Alibaba and we started doing some research to see, you know, where they were coming from.

    We found that there were being made in China. Well, Tim said, why don’t we make it really authentic and see if we can get somebody in south America to make these wooden taco makers or tortilla makers. And it looked good. It was a niche. It was a very specific niche on Amazon and started selling them. So he started selling them.

    I didn’t, he started selling them at and he’s doing great. [00:19:00] But now, because we told everybody about this taco holder or taco maker, everybody, like it’s a pretty saturated market, but you can like for again, foodie item knives. Okay. What knives? What, what knives are out there? Uh, what’s the search volume. Um, where can I.

    Uh, long-term keywords. It’s another one. So I can go in and compete with chef knives, but there’s a million chef knives out there. Can I get something very specific? Okay. Can I get a Damascus steel knife or a multi-purpose knife or a paring knife or whatever it is, let’s say that you, then you have to go and you have to talk to your suppliers.

    So you could start with Alibaba and probably if you’re new Alibaba would be a great starting point. And then you can contact the supplier and see where your price point is. If you’re starting with. So like for the knife, I can tell you that we launched at [00:20:00] $16. Michelle. We can come back to this because I want to talk about perceived value later on, but that’s kind of what we’re doing.

    We take either a hobby and you niche down. So again, pets. Dog treats or dog chews down to bully sticks down to 12 inches, six inch bully sticks, odorless bully sticks, natural bully sticks. Grassfed bully sticks. And you can take that niche and you can just see what your competition is within that niche.

    That’s a very, very broad approach. Does that make sense? Yeah, that’s great. So, all right. So I got my idea. I’m feeling pretty good about it. I have a product, Jeff, what do I actually do next? I know you’ve built a lot of websites like, wow, what do I do? I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. I got to write all this copy.

    I got to be a technical person. Like what would you suggest? [00:21:00] Well, I think, you know, obviously the first step is you’ve got to pick which platform you’re going to. Launch your business on, are you doing Amazon? Is Norma’s talking about, are you building a Shopify site? Are you doing something with WordPress and WooCommerce?

    You know, there’s a number of different platforms to choose from, and then you have to start, um, putting together, as I mentioned earlier, the marketing and also part of that marketing is the presentation. How are you going to present your products on the webpage? You know, there’s a lot of standard templates that you can use and maybe that’s an easy and a simple, fast way to start out.

    But do you want to think longer term if it are the standard templates sufficient for you, do you need to get some more customized design going to help your product stand out from other similar products? You know, these are all the decisions you have to make. You want to, you may want to be testing, um, certain things.

    Um, listings also, SEO is very [00:22:00] important. I don’t know if we’ve talked about that yet, but even if you’re using one of these platforms, you still want to populated properly with the proper tagging and, and you know, all of the best practices for SEO, for the keywords that you want to rank for to make sure that when people are searching for similar products, that your products, even the domain is.

    Yeah. As you mentioned earlier of choosing the right domain makes a big difference. You know, paul.com the company was originally started as treated dog, treated dog.com. And that’s how we lived our, our formative years as a company. Um, and then, uh, two and a half years ago, we had the opportunity to acquire the domain.

    Paul.com. And even though it was expensive, we felt it was the right move because we saw it open up opportunities for us as treat a dog. We were fairly well limited to dog products as pod.com. We can go after anything in the pet space. So that was an important decision for us. So you want to think about [00:23:00] when choosing a domain name, you want to think about not just the short-term, but the long-term.

    If you, if you have bigger vision for your business and you’re going to expand in different ways, make sure that the name and brand that you choose early on is going to fit as the company evolves. Um, so if you’re going to be doing pet products, don’t choose a name that’s just cat or dog specific, but if you are going to just be specific, then that’s good to have a name that is very specific.

    So all of these things come into. Awesome. All right. We have, let’s take it to the audience. We have a dual UB, dual. What are your tips? Or do you have questions for anyone?

    Uh, hello. Uh, thank you so much for allowing me to talk over here. So yeah, I have a tip because in my experience, and with Amazon in the last four years, I have launched, you know, over 50 products in private label. So currently I’m managing [00:24:00] four different brands. So, uh, in my experience, a keyword is the most important thing that we can go for because in Amazon every day is different and the competition is coming, you know, uh, once we have, uh, we have discovered like we have this opportunity available and we, that particular opportunity have a lot of potential, but we have to, you know, launch our product as soon as quickly as possible because the competition will saturate the market in, uh, two to three months.

    So, uh, if you, you don’t write the product on the right. Dining on the right opportunity so that we’ll make in, you know, kind of, uh, uh, kind of generation, uh, driving, you know, earning model. So this is most, most important thing that have seen in my career. So whenever I have launched a product on the same timing that the product have not, you know, much saturated, so that product have [00:25:00] performed a lot better, like in term of PPC, in term of, uh, you know, uh, making the high ROI into that because once the, you know, the market is saturated, so your, all the costs and marketing costs will be high.

    You know, you can’t compete with that. So definitely it depends upon, you know, which market you are weighing in. So I’m intrigued of Joel, like, you know, remember, you know, I’m, we’re trying to like talk as though people haven’t done it yet, or they just want to do something new. So how do you find. That product, what are the tools, what are the research methods that you would use, um, norm gave a couple suggestions, but what would you suggest to people to try to identify those products?

    Like, I’m not sure where, where to tell people. Yeah. Yeah. Good question. So, uh, I have used a [00:26:00] lot of tools, but the most tools, you know, uh, that, that tools are working for me as you, most of you maybe know about helium 10 and jungle scout, these tools I’m using, you know, on the daily basis. And I have discovered a lot of products by using these tools with the help of these tools.

    I’m also, you know, uh, doing a reverse, you know, kind of a keyword strategy and from which we can, you know, drive the keywords and, you know, uh, see the competition, what products are, have, you know, kind of less competition. And we can easily find out that opportunity because. People who don’t have, you know, uh, much experience in Amazon.

    They don’t know what algorithm is all about and what things you have to consider for selecting the product. So, yes, uh, there are a lot of factors in that because in, in, uh, searching the keyword, we see how many keywords have a good search volume. If a keyword having search volume over, you know, uh, 8,000 to [00:27:00] 10, 10,000 minimum.

    So that keywords having a lot of, you know, potential over there. If you rank over here, uh, what the keyword with, you know, having a low CPR, that means low competition. So, uh, you have to, you know, if you are doing PPC on particular keyword, so there is a chance with, with low investment. Like if you have spent, let’s say we have a case over here, a coffee cup, let’s say, so a coffee cup is a keyword.

    So that coffee cup, uh, you can rank on that critical or keyword with low search volume with the low competition by spending let’s say $20. So me later on that keyword is, you know, making a good sales, organic sales. And by the time with that sales, your BSR best seller rank on Amazon will be lower and lower.

    So they, this, this way, it allows you to rank better more quickly. [00:28:00] So if you hook up on two or three different keywords with the search volume, 10,000, 20,000 or 50,000, it depends upon, you know, different products, uh, some products having. Crazy competition, some products having, you know, less competition. So if you only get, try to get hookup by spending $2,001,000 on PPC, and we have a lot of other ways as well.

    So this kind of strategy will allow you to get Frank on high competition keyword. So later on, if you, if you have, if your product having a good value and you’re, you know, you are getting good reviews over the time over the sales, and later on, Amazon gives you value because your customer is happy. So, uh, if you have a prof, proper R and D upon your product, your product is, you know, having a lot of venue.

    So, uh, there is no chance that you can’t rank on other teams. [00:29:00] Thank you. All right. Excellent. So don’t forget if you have a question or you want to give some hints here to the folks in the audience, just raise your hand and we’ll bring you on stage. But on that note, I want to mention that this session of, um, e-commerce weekly is actually sponsored by ventures, challenged.com.

    It’s a really, really cool contest pitch. Uh, that’s being held by Proctor and gamble. So the contest will actually be held at consumer electronic show in Las Vegas, which is the largest show conference probably in the whole world. Very, very cool Proctor and gamble of course, is the largest consumer based product company in the world.

    So if you have any cool ideas that help us age well or help health that are eco-friendly, you should [00:30:00] absolutely apply. This could actually, it’s a, it’s a life changing thing. I actually wish that I had something like this because they’ll take you under their wings. If you’re selected and help you work through your branding, your distribution, your product formula, you know, formulation, everything so amazing thing.

    Or if you know someone who qualifies you should shoot them over there to ventures, challenge.com. Okay. So let’s, let’s go back to. Interested in hearing what you have to tell us as we’re here on a black Friday and we’re all trying to, you know, figure out, gosh, how do I get an e-commerce business? Ready?

    Okay. So if we’re looking at, uh, w now we’ve gone past the competition and we have, we have a product, is that correct? Michelle? That’s correct. Okay. So once that’s done, you’ve got your [00:31:00] product. Now, it’s making sure that you can, um, create a optimized listing, which. I’m going to give you a great example. Uh, I took three shots of three different pricing tiers for dead sea mud.

    One was ranging from six to 1495. One was I think, in the twenties to 39. And then I skipped up to 79 to $89. And what the difference was it’s dead sea mud, it’s dead sea mud. And it was basically the same size of container. But the difference was that it was the, the, the photography, the imagery, everything that was put into the listing on the low, um, high volume, low dollar sales, they were nothing.

    They got what they, they, they want $6. It looks like it’s a $6 product. And that’s it. The one that was up top was [00:32:00] actually, these were all 16 ounce. This was a 3.5. Jar of dead sea mud in a really beautiful high perceived looking jar. And people were willing to pay $89 for it for 3.5 ounces, same, same mud.

    The other thing is that the title you want to make sure that you don’t make this for an algorithm where it’s just keyword after keyword, after keyword, you want to make sure that your phrases is there, like your keyword phrases there that you’re going after, but then you want to make it engaging for most platforms, um, Shopify, Walmart, and Amazon.

    They have either bullets or features that you can put in, make it with benefit. First, tell people the pain points, tell people, you know, the benefit of having your product. And then you can talk about the feature. If we’re talking about Amazon [00:33:00] or any of the platforms, again, bring in featured a frequently asked questions in Amazon.

    You can just ask people, ask questions and you can start to populate that. One of the things that you can start doing from the start is creating a brand, a look, and this is going to, this is a long-term play, but it, it can start from day one and that’s build out a nice looking a storefront in and Shopify.

    It would just be your website and your store, but, uh, it’s a storefront and people, you can drive traffic over to this store and there’s a follow button, and there’s also a follow button that are on Amazon posts. So Amazon posts or something you can sign up for, if you have brand registry and you, if you create.

    Now these brand or Amazon posts can show up on your product, um, on your product, uh, uh, listing page. And w all this [00:34:00] is doing is people can start to follow and people can start to follow it. And there’s more following. There’s more following even with Amazon live. So I’m building an audience. And what happens is they’ve got a new tool called customer experience.

    I can, I can blast my customers okay. Which you could never do before, but you could blast a, a special, or let people know that you have, uh, um, something coming up or a new color, a new scent, and you can target everybody who follows you plus repeat customers, which is really kind of cool. Again, it’s a, longer-term play.

    The reason why I’m bringing this in for, for the product launch is because it’s important to, again, uh, let’s say it’s, uh, Amazon live. You just turn on the camera, you can start talking. You don’t have to be a major influencer, but you get people starting to follow you because you’re talking about your product or the benefit, or it [00:35:00] doesn’t have to be about a product launch.

    It could be just be some cool stuff. Or like if it’s a pet product, it could be pet owners talking about. Their pets and, uh, benefits, you know, or just some quirky things, just, uh, kind of like a podcast, but what happens is now you’re kind of creating a brand. Now there’s a ton of like external traffic and all that.

    I’m going to let Jeff probably talk on that, but there’s so much he can do within your listing to get organic ranking. And you can use paid advertising, like sponsored brands as well, or sorry, uh, sponsored advertising and there’s ways of setting it up, but that’s, you know, that would be, uh, a topic all in itself, but, uh, that’s just to get the ball rolling.

    Just make sure the images are there. And Andrew utilizing the tools like in Walmart, for example, they have something called listing optimization. You can [00:36:00] go in there and you can see exactly what they’re looking for four points, and it tells you what your scores are for each one of those points. If you’re not making it just improve it, Amazon just introduced.

    That seems a similar tool. So anyways, that’s it. I’m long.

    I think it’s interesting norm what you brought up and highlighted is the fact that each platform has different. Tools and different opportunities to take advantage of. So one of the things that’s going to be important when you’re setting up your e-commerce business is understanding your strategy in terms of what platforms are you going to be on?

    Are you just going to be an Amazon business, or you’re going to also be direct to consumer through a Shopify site and do Amazon and do Walmart marketplace, et cetera, because you need to understand, you know, what each of those platforms may require you to do to maximize the opportunity there. And it’s not necessarily the same [00:37:00] across the board.

    Um, and then you have to understand and track, you know, especially if you get into paid advertising, you want to be able to track and understand, you know, which ads are driving, which specific conversions so that you know, what ads are working and what aren’t, uh, across different channels. So it can get to be pretty complicated as you get into multiple channels.

    Michelle, uh, any further thoughts on the different channels you recommend, do you recommend starting out on one channel and then expanding or just right out of the gate, launching your business on Amazon Shopify, Walmart? Um, for me personally, like I like to like make sure that my idea and my messaging and my product are converting, but, you know, once you realize, you know, how do you do that?

    How do you convert? What is the right product [00:38:00] message? Yeah. Then I agree with you just like start rolling into those other channels very quickly. I think the mistake that people make is, you know, probably not doing that quick enough because you’re so busy, you know, with your website or whatever it is, but really like Jeff said, start thinking about.

    What are the other channels that you can sell through? I agree with, and they all are so intricate. Like that’s something, you know, in today’s world, in the old world, it used to be pretty straightforward. You put a listing on eBay, did a description that was about it, but you’re right. It’s like, it’s very complex, um, in a good way.

    Right? Because you can have a lot of control over how you sell norm. I’m curious from you, like, obviously I know you have some e-commerce brands, like, [00:39:00] like where would you start first? Let’s just say you had your own successful website. You did a free Shopify site. It’s not free. Right. But what would you do next norm?

    Like literally like, so I’m making a thousand dollars a month. Um, my new e-commerce site, that’s on the Shopify basic package. Like what? Well, I would probably a hundred percent. There might be some, maybe there are some premium products or products that don’t fit this model, but I would be looking at the world’s largest search engine for product Amazon.

    It’s a captivating audience, you know, they want to buy products. Um, that’s where I would start. And I like, if I had my Shopify store, I would go over to Amazon and I would understand the platform, but it’s [00:40:00] tough. It’s highly competitive. It’s not like it was back in 2014. It’s more competitive. But if you want to make money, I think that’s where you can still make a ton of money.

    Um, as long as you know, the platform, now, the other thing. Is there are tools out there, free tools that you can use to drive traffic over to any, any platform that you’re using. And that’s Google my business. And if I was starting out, if I had my e-commerce store, Amazon store, Walmart store, whatever store I would be going to e-commerce or Google my business, I think it’s called Google business profile.

    Now they just change your name and open up an account, create an anchor URL to wherever you want it to go. Your Amazon store, your Amazon product, listing your Shopify store and start populating with content. If you have a blog post [00:41:00] that’s on a website, do that. If it’s social media content, if it’s.

    Products or your brands, you can put it on to Google my business. It used to be only for bricks and mortar. It is for promoting brands right now. Nobody’s doing it. And it is incredible. I’ve seen a lot of success with that. The other thing I would say right now, this is a pre-launch strategy is try to become somewhat of an authority if you don’t have, when people come over to a micro brand, which when you’re going to Amazon is just a huge group of micro brands.

    So if you’re seeing a micro brand, you don’t know. Where do you, do you go to Google and just try to find it out, you know, find out what it is if you’re not consistent with a brand, or if you don’t look like, uh, let’s say it’s that $89 dead sea mud and your social media falls apart, or your website looks like it was made in 1997.[00:42:00] 

    These are things that are going to turn people off and you won’t have the trust. So you’ll, you need to build trust. You can do that by content press releases or, uh, content on your site, um, or it could be well, that’s the authority. So building the authority, making sure that your brand is consistent on social media platforms, on your, your site, in your Amazon listing.

    And that th that, that takes you from authority and to trust. And then trust takes you into sales. If you don’t have those two things, authority and trust, people are going to click off you. Like there’s no, tomorrow you just won’t get the sale. Yeah, I completely agree. I do that every time I see an ad on Instagram or whatever, I’d go to their website.

    Just like what you said. And then I also go to Amazon because, you know, if their website doesn’t have free shipping or doesn’t have the same offer, then I’m over to [00:43:00] Amazon. I’m trying to see if they’re prime. So I think that’s, you know, being really cognizant of how you look across the different channels is important because people, they want to do a little research.

    If that’s a good thing, that means they’re vomiting. You know, they’re engaging with your brands. So great advice norm, and don’t forget the importance of reviews, right? Reviews are critically important now. And I’m, you know, even if you think about your own shopping behavior, how many of you always look at the reviews?

    And if you see comparable items, I do this all the time at Amazon. If you search for something, you’ll see many very similar items and that’s true. Whether it’s a coffee maker or a cable, a charging cable, or whatever you’re looking for, there’s always going to be multiple listings that look pretty similar.

    And the first thing I do is I look at. The quality of the reviews, meaning four or five star, but more important. I look at the number of [00:44:00] reviews if something has five stars, but it only has 10 reviews. It’s not going to carry as much weight as something that might be four stars, but has 2000 reviews.

    Right. I would personally buy the four-star item with 2000 reviews before I would buy the similar five-star item with just a handful of reviews. So reviews suspicious, Jeff, like if you see. You know, 20,000 reviews and they’re all five star. Well, no, the, typically when you see that many reviews, it’s unlikely, it’s going to be a solid five.

    It’s going to be four or four and a fraction of stars and that’s okay. But yeah, I mean, you’re suspicious if it’s a hundred percent, five star reviews and I feel bad. My, my book actually has, I don’t have, I have like 30 or 40 reviews, but they’re all five stars legitimately. And I always feel like, you know, I feel awkward about that.

    Cause you do want to see, you know, one or two reviews typically that are realistic. You know, sometimes a bad [00:45:00] review is a good review because sometimes the bad review, if you actually read it, you realize that they’re saying they, they love the product, but they didn’t understand something about the color or, you know, there was some minor detail that caused them to give it a low star review.

    When in fact they really say nice things. Yeah, I completely concur because it might say it’s oh, the black was too light or whatever it was that actually might be something that I wanted to know. And it’s good information. So don’t try to fake reviews is, is I think the point, right. And they are, don’t underestimate that.

    They’re valuable. Another thing just, you know, before we go to DJ here, who’s on the stage with us is emails. You know, when you’re building your brand new, you know, website, don’t forget about email, don’t neglect it as a very valuable marketing channel. So make sure you’re [00:46:00] opting in people through the checkout and you have popups on your site.

    Like I know one of the e-commerce businesses that I’m involved with our email is the most valuable channel that we have. So. I like to say email is still the killer app. It might be the oldest, but it’s still the killer app. So consider that as well when you’re building this new website for your new e-commerce business.

    But on that note, let’s go to DJ DJ. Did you have a question or a comment here for our, um, for our panel? Hey guys, I’m DJ. So I I’m actually staying here in Dubai and I was a salary in Amazon before and until now, now, um, but I started my, um, career business deliver services. So my, um, my input regarding the e-commerce well, um, there actually a big, or when you tie up to a good core [00:47:00] year.

    So when you are starting up your e-commerce business, because, uh, for a very little capital that you are actually running. You need to tie up for, if you’re offering some Cod cash on delivery, you need to get the cash immediately when the delivery is done, because you are just going through, you need to buy your, your, your stocks.

    You need to replenish our inventory. So you need to have a very good courier that they can deliver your items that you’re selling. So, so because in Amazon they have some cat off, um, when will be there, their, their pay health like that. So you shouldn’t have to, you should have to have a carrier partners when you’re starting in a, in a, in a e-commerce business here in Dubai.

    That’s what we are doing. So we are actually, um, um, we are connected to a lot of online sellers here [00:48:00] and, um, those online sellers, since they are starting out their business, sometimes they don’t have their license for. Um, uh, to start up their business. So, so they just think of something like, what am I going to sell?

    So when they want to sell anything or any generic name or gen generic product, they’re going to post it on Facebook or in, or on their own website or Shopify, then they will go into connect with us. Then what are, what did they follow up? The courier or the driver? Uh, if it’s delivered, then the Cod the cash should be remitted back to the seller, just like that.

    So if the, if the money what’s on pending, if it’s being cleared out like that, so definitely the capital is it, you know, it’s not moving. So DJ, thank you. Like you really are bringing up [00:49:00] some important points here, um, specifically. I would say, apply to other markets, obviously outside the U S so that’s a great point.

    Not everyone is relying on the us postal service or ups or even credit cards. There are whole systems and ecosystems countries out there that have different infrastructure. So I’m curious about dull, you know, I’m looking at your profile. I see you’re an Amazon expert. Is there any advice along with what DJ gave us that you would recommend to people outside?

    Yeah, uh, definitely. Uh, I agree on that, but you have to, you know, uh, like, you know, the logistics issues are currently going on and the crisis, you know, everyone is facing that issue. So, uh, in my [00:50:00] opinion, how I, you know, uh, manage. Uh, you know, by, you know, uh, creating the other sourcing channel. I have tried my best to, uh, manage my supply and demand with according to the, you know, product in particular market, like in Canada, most of the products are, you know, my products are those products, which are selling good in USA.

    And I have replenished my inventory according to that in same with the Canada. And, you know, Amazon have a lot of good, these kind of, you know, uh, you know, uh, uh, issues with the inventory currently going on. Like we have limited inventory limit on that. So we, as a seller on Amazon can manage with the multiple accounts as well, unless you have, you know, kind of, uh, different with the different entities, because as you guys already know that creating multiple accounts is not, you know, Amazon recommended thing.

    So I’m not recommending everyone over [00:51:00] here that have less knowledge on Amazon. Most of them, which have, you know, kind of two, two years of experience with Amazon, they can manage their, uh, uh, stock replenished thing that way. Uh, if you have a particular project in, you know, uh, one account, so you can, you know, uh, meet two kind of things, uh, and sell this product on another account and list up debt product on account B.

    Let’s see. So in that way, you can send 1000 units on account a and 1000 units on account beat. So in, in, in this particular situation, so, uh, we have only distribution left because, uh, most of the accounts when we start on the new account, specially, so, uh, Amazon port limit of, uh, you know, 1000 limit, mostly most of the, most of the accounts having 1000 limit on that.

    So, uh, it is very difficult to manage that way because you have a lot of, you [00:52:00] know, Uh, potential on the market because you can’t order, like from China, like a 1000 year old, 2000 units, sometimes you have to, uh, you know, uh, you know, sometime you have to buy a complete container from China and you have to, you know, you have, let’s say 5,000 unit in that.

    So 5,000 unit, you have to manage with the three PL as well. So eventually your cost is increasing, you know, with the every step you have taken. So previously, like two years back, that that thing is quite easy. You need 2000 a unit in Amazon or 3000 unit in Amazon. So you can easily manage that. And Amazon was allowing you to create whatever inventory you want to be.

    So, yes, uh, uh, there are a lot of other ways as well, but this will be helpful for. Thank you. That’s great. Great to know, like, you know, Amazon’s a beast, right? I think [00:53:00] we all know that, but it’s not just a beast on the consumer side. And I say that in a good way, but also on the seller side. So, you know, that’s great that it’s a little hard, I’m going to say.

    I don’t, you know, normally I’d love to hear your thoughts that there are workarounds or hacks to help people, you know, really go global your, your thoughts on that. Then I think let’s, you know, we’re coming to the top of the hour. Um, let’s go through those on the stage here as moderators and say what your number one advice is.

    So norm first, you know, adding onto Abdul and then let’s go round table on what your number one advice is. If you’re brand new, never done any e-commerce company. Okay. So if you’re looking to go global, um, Amazon makes it fairly easy, but I wouldn’t just try to do things my own. Uh, matter of fact, um, in a lot of cases, you can’t do it on your own.

    I would reach out for people that [00:54:00] specialize over in the UK or in the EU that can bring the account together that can get you going up and running fairly quickly. And that’s the same thing. If you’re over in Asia or India, these are places to give you an example. I went to Japan. And when I was signing up, they, this is, this is real.

    They asked me to send them a receipt of a toothbrush that I bought in Japan. They wanted to make sure I was there. Now this goes back a couple of years ago, but I thought it was pretty funny, but anyways, you have to either partner up or find people that can help you in the local area. And that’s also for customer service, which leads me to translation.

    Don’t do your own translation. Make sure you use a translator, do not use Google translate. It can be a disaster. So going global is great. I wouldn’t, I would not go and just [00:55:00] shotgun it, uh, for, for the EU, for example, or UK, I’d go over to the UK because it’s English. It makes sense. I go over to Germany.

    Germany is the best, uh, probably the biggest, uh, seller. Uh, th that’s probably the biggest area for sellers to start promoting within the EU, but, uh, don’t tackle it all at once. Make sure that you get dot calm down, or if you’re in the, you get the, uh, uh, the, um, the UK down, there’s lots of money over there, but just get your own area down sometimes.

    And you have to make sure, you know, this, when you, when you go into Canada or Mexico, there are lots of loopholes for people to come down, come into your listing and cause lots of problems. So you want to make sure that you understand how to close those gates for stopping [00:56:00] people from getting your listings suspended across Canada, us and Mexico.

    So that’s, that’s another topic, but you should be aware of that, but anyways, global, you can definitely do it. Um, I would not be doing the fulfillment out of one place out of the U S I would probably want to send my inventory over to, uh, wherever I’m sending it to. Um, another good spot that’s growing is Australia, by the way.

    Anyways. That’s that’s about it. Just a very broad overview. Thanks, Darren. All right, so now we’re going to go, you know, across the rows here, we’re going to start with Jeff. What is your number one advice here we are. We’re on black Friday and we’re thinking, Darren, why don’t I have an e-commerce building?

    What business, excuse me. What do I need to do? Like how do I just get, well, I think that there are really three things and we’ve talked about them a lot and [00:57:00] I’m going to give them to you with PS, right? You need, obviously you need a product. Um, you need a platform. You have to decide what platform you’re going to be selling on, and then you need a plan.

    And that plan, as I said earlier, has to include marketing. You. Can’t just worry about having a great product and a great website. You’ve got to have a plan for how you’re going to drive traffic. And more importantly, drive conversions of that traffic. Those would be my very well said, right? Like you can’t build the best mousetrap and expect everyone to buy it, especially if they don’t know about it.

    So norm just summarize for us quickly here. What are your top one to three suggestions I’m sitting here wondering why I’m missing out on? Well, I think the number one thing for me is you have to be resilient. You have to be an entrepreneur if you’re not in that position, or if you don’t have the [00:58:00] ability to.

    Sleep at night because you’re, you, you have risk. Um, maybe it’s not for you. Uh, you’re gonna wake up and you’re going to, um, there’s going to be problems and you have to solve the problems and you’ll have sleepless nights. If you don’t learn to handle those problems, just look, it’s never as bad as what you think it is in your head that Amazon gives you a suppression or a suspension.

    You can work out of it. You just have to figure it out and don’t forget. Uh, another thing, and I want to take this with a, kind of a grain of salt, but don’t listen to the platform. If the platform contacts you and says, oh, we’ve got a great new program. And let’s say it’s a black Fridays sales pitch, and all you can work directly with our team.

    And we want you to spend X on black Friday, uh, PBC be careful because they’re in the game of making money. And I learned that early on [00:59:00] that. Wow. It sounds like they wanted the right thing, but it was the wrong thing for, I know now that I spent way too much money and it doesn’t matter if that’s Google or if that’s like working with Google directly Facebook directly or Amazon directly.

    And probably the last thing would be, um, capital, capital, capital capital. If you don’t have the proper capitalization. You will fail. Right? Excellent. Thank you. I love what you said about being resilient because you know, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Right. If it was easy, everyone would be, you know, making a million dollars.

    It’s not an easy thing to do, but it can be done. It’s very clear that it can’t be done. You just, as, as Jeff and norm have told us, there’s some really good tips, be resilient. No, your product know your [01:00:00] platform by platform. We mean, are you using Shopify? Are you just going straight? Amazon? Just, just be very focused would be our suggestion.

    Get it right. And then you can grow, grow, grow like, uh, you know, investors love it if you’re making money already. So I think we’re at the top of the hour here, just to remind you. That this show was sponsored by Proctor and gamble. Proctor and gamble has an amazing challenge at consumer electronic show that CES.

    So if you have a cool consumer idea, think about the things that Proctor gamble sells, right? Anything that’s healthy for living for health, you know, men and women, children, you know, consumable products, then please head over to ventures, challenged.com. You can see it on the top of the screen here and enter their [01:01:00] challenge pitch.

    You’ll win $10,000 if you’re the winner. But what I personally think is even more valuable is that they will take you and they will mentor you. We’re talking about the largest consumable products brand in the world. They’ll help you understand about branding, about distribution and about product. So head on over there, or if you know someone else who has a cool product, let them know.

    So without further ado, happy black Friday, and I’m looking forward to cyber Monday, have a wonderful weekend.[

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