I mean to write shorter and more regular updates but unfortunately I have not got disciplined enough and get sidetracked with the other work I am doing. So this may be quite long…
Ecommerce – Selling on Amazon.co.uk.
Things are looking pretty bright at the moment. Since we last chatted about this there has been significant movement. My new batch of products has arrived and is up and selling on Amazon. To recap I have four new products to add to my existing product, making the range five.
I placed an order with my Chinese supplier quite a while ago now for 1000 more units of the current product plus 500 each of the four new products. So the total order was for 3000 units (actually 3054 units because a got a few extra to fill boxes for shipping). There were significant delays in this order because of the Chinese New Year so I ended up raising my prices for my product that was already selling to slow sales (otherwise I would go out of stock), which was not an ideal situation.
I ended up flying this new order over to the UK this time (I normally use sea freight), which was a lot more expensive, maybe around 3 or 4 times as expensive, but I decided to bite the bullet because I needed this stock. Air freight is about 4 times quicker than sea and takes about a week compared to a month. I did not have a month so I really had no choice. I still make a decent profit on sales but this shipment will not be as profitable as is could (and should) have been.
In total this order cost me £14K-£15K and for the five products each unit worked out costing me (price includes product costs and shipping all the way to Amazon – I.E. cost to get a unit on the shelves):
Product#1 – Unit Cost £5.03
Product#2 – Unit Cost £6.26
Product#3 – Unit Cost £5.81
Product#4 – Unit Cost £1.27
Product#5 – Unit Cost £5.11
Average – Unit Cost £4.70
If I shipped by sea the cost per unit would be on average £1 to £1.50 less so for 3000 units that would be £3000 to £4500 more profit if selling at the same price.
This shipment was a little more complicated because it was for five different products so I needed to make sure everything was labelled correctly. Also four products were new so I needed to make sure all packaging was correct before it was flown across to the UK. I got a PDF file from the supplier with a load of photos of the products and packaging and I gave the green light to send them over here.
All products were going straight to the Amazon warehouses so I was a little worried about this. I had not seen the products with logos on and in their packaging, I’d only had samples. They arrived and went into my Inventory list and were available to buy. This was pretty smooth although the exact quantities are not what they should be. I have a support ticket open and I am waiting for a reply (I don’t rate the Amazon Seller Support, it’s not great).
I wanted to see the quality of my new products so I got a friend to order one of each of the new products from Amazon, and about a week or two ago they arrived. My initial thoughts were mixed. The packaging looked decent enough but I was left a little underwhelmed with the quality of a couple of the products. One in particular had suspect stitching and made me a little apprehensive about the reviews the product may get.
I raised these concerns with the supplier and made it clear I was not happy. Really though there is not too much I can do except hope that the products sell OK without major incident and make sure the next order (if I make one with them) is better. There were a couple of other things that were not 100% right but nothing too serious.
I took lots of photos of the new products and edited them using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). I then updated my basic Amazon listings, added images, added keywords, added bullets, added description etc. etc. This took a while and I will need to revisit them later and make them better. I feel I am at a good start point though.
I set the price low for these new products to try and get some sales moving. Two of the new products have sold a few units which I’m happy about so I will think about ramping up my marketing to get more sales flowing. Most likely Amazon pay per click (PPC) advertising. There are other ways to spike sales and reviews that people use to launch products onto the Amazon market place, but I’m pretty patient and prefer to grow things slowly and steadily.
With my product prices relatively low sales have been good. Over the last 4 days (not including today) I have sold 64 of my initial product and 22 of my new products. So about 16 sales of my first product per day and 5/6 sales of my new products (combined) per day totaling 21/22 sales per day. These equated to £1,118.72 in sales (average sale £13.01), of which about £336 was profit. So lets say roughly £80 profit per day.
I’m more than happy with £80 profit per day at this stage in the business. I aim to get sales of my new product on a par with the sales of my initial product, and I am on the path to do this. My next major milestone in this ECommerce business is to turnover £10K per month in revenue with around £3K-£4K in profit. This will take about 25 sales per day across the entire range, so we are not far off this now.
I’ll keep you updated with this.
I run a course called Earn1000 (click here if you want to check it out), which aims to take complete beginners through the process of setting up their very first Amazon affiliate website and get them to earn money online. I started online with affiliate websites and I currently have several that I maintain.
Basically what I did was I created a brand new Amazon affiliate website from scratch and recorded my screen as I did it. I narrated everything I did and explained in detail why I did it. I split this down into 18 modules so that anyone could follow along as they build their own website up. I also set up a complementary community to help people through the course and offer advice and mentorship.
I set up Google PPC advertising to send people to my Earn1000 website and I have had 10 people through the course so far. I have stopped PPC advertising for now while I analyse how the process is working. The feedback I have had so far has been great, people seem to be following the course and finding it straight forward.
But what I want to discuss is the website I set up during this course. The goal was to setup a simple Amazon affiliate website that would generate about £1000 a year (without having to really bother with it after the initial setup). So around £100 a month. Well this website has taken off and it made over £100 in a single day this month (23rd May 2016) and it has made £888 so far in total in May. I’m hoping it will break £1000 for the month. This will be a real achievement and a solid validation that what I teach in the course works.
I am going to wait until the end of May and see if the website breaks £1000 in commissions then I am going to update the Earn1000 website and course details as well as my email campaign. After I do this I will start my Google PPC again along with experimenting with other forms of marketing.
Other bits and bobs.
I have a few other things I am working on. I am trying to find a way to get content written for a good price and a good standard. I have dipped into the world of hiring freelancers a few times but I’ve never really stuck at it. However I am committed to make this work and need too if I am to maintain and grow my websites. I am using Upwork.com at the moment and have had a few bits of content written with more in the pipeline.
I am also going to promote my ECommerce brand outside of Amazon. I have a website but it does not do much. I am interviewing 3 interns for the role of content marketer whose job it will be to research, create and market a fantastic piece of content on the ECommerce website. This content will be used to increase awareness, form relationships, and to drive lots of visitors to the website. Once this happens it will be my task to get as many of them as possible to sign up to my email list and then to try and promote my products and get more sales. Initially I will just use my Amazon listings but eventually I will create my own ECommerce platform.
Finally I had an app that I was working on with a developer friend of mine. This has now evolved in to a web platform, and actually for now it has focused down into a service that will eventually grow to form the web platform. We are close to soft launching something to a select pool of people and hopefully this will go well. We are offering a free trial but are looking to charge for this service straight away (after a two week trial) because we want to create something valuable that people will pay for and not a free product that we hope to make money on using things like advertising later.
I have a lot going on but this is how I like it. I am the kind of person who likes to spread things out rather than focusing on a single project. This has its pros and cons but eventually I hope all projects will align and combined will provide me with the opportunities to move forward.
Good luck with your ventures 🙂