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Why Dropshipping sucks (and the mistakes I made)

Dropshipping amazon ebay

I get these inquiries all the time:

"Hi Jordan, I want to start dropshipping - you know, find an Amazon item online, post it on eBay at a higher price, then when its sold, I want to buy it from Amazon and ship it to the eBay buyer."

I'll cut to the chase: That business model is a crappy one. It's high risk, with typically razor-thin (or negative) profit margins, and eBay and Amazon will penalize or ban your seller account if you get caught (it's happened).

The reality is many sellers are doing that type of dropshipping (if you even want to call it that) anyway, because it's "easy." And in this business, when something is that easy, it's destined for failure.

There are other forms of dropshipping. But even those are generally high risk. [click to continue…]

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Am I wrong about not offering you $3,500 coaching?

Ed. - Update 2/26/18 - Now Amazon itself offers coaching to sellers, which stars at a minimum of $700/month for 3 months. I don't know how good it is, so I can't offer specific advise on their coaching at this time.

Also: I've collected feedback from readers, and my notes over the years. There are two coaching services they and I trust. They are legit and very helpful to customers. I am an affiliate of each, so I may receive compensation if you decide to hire them: Jim Cockrum Coaching and Robyn Johnson Coaching. My readers tell me Jim Cockrum's coaching starts at approximately $3500, and if you hire a coach and you are not having success, you have the option to be reassigned to another coach at no additional charge. My readers tell me Robyn Johnson's coaching's fees are affordable.

Do you think coaching services are worth their $3,500-and-up investment? Amazon Coaching

By 'coaching' I mean this: Many of my peers - Trusetd Amazon experts not officially affiliated with Amazon - currently offer one-on-one Amazon or eBay seller help that runs (generally) $3,500 to $10,000.  He/she will spend a few hours a week with you (phone and web), for multiple weeks, hand-holding you during the selection or discovery of products to sell (via one or more methods like retail, wholesale, etc), where to look for products, how to buy, the entire listing and selling process, dealing with customer service issues, tracking your sales and profits, and growing your business.

Many of my readers have concerns with that coaching:

1.) They are not entirely sure there's a need. The 'nut' of what you're getting with coaching is hand-holding and step-by-step advice. But that's already accomplished to a great degree - albeit not a personalized one - with (for instance) the acclaimed Proven Amazon Course.

2.) Some think coaching can be overpriced. If I were to hire a coach for (say) $10,000, I think the coach should be doing everything for me for a short period (account sign-up, creating new products, finding me ideal products to sell, product listing, customer service, etc.) and then sending me videos/documents of all those recurring activities so I know exactly what to do after the coaching service ends. It seems most coaches don't offer that, to my knowledge.

3.) Because of #2, there can be a shortfall of expectations. I think clients of coaching may expect that by coughing up a large sum of money, that their success will be easy, fast and guaranteed. That's definitely not true. Even if you have the greatest Amazon coach, you still have to do the work. Selling on Amazon is a wonderful privilege, but it's not without its downfalls and it there are moments where you have to work very hard. But the pros of selling on Amazon far outweigh the cons, as it has generated tens of thousands of successful sellers (like myself) that now don't have to work a 'real' job.

I would LOVE to get some feedback from you, how do you feel about $3,500+ seller coaching? I want to be proven wrong.

-Jordan

P.S. The above is not intended as a slight to any current coaches out there.

P.P.S. Before you buy any coaching, you should ask for recentverifiable testimonials from previous customers. If the seller of the coaching denies you that, that's a reason to be concerned about the quality of the coaching you're about to buy.

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amazon reimbursements

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Updated 2/15/18: This sample snapshot shows $480 in reimbursements I got from Amazon in January 2018 alone, thanks to Karen Locker's Solutions4Ecommerce, who does all the legwork for me

Many sellers and I have been discovering that Amazon does not always reimburse you for any inventory they damage or lose. They're supposed to do reimbursements 'automatically' but there's a whole lot they can forget. Which is where you come in: you have to ask (=file a case with Amazon).

I've received reimbursements of over $3200 in just a couple months. That's from about 1 year's worth of lost/damaged/improperly reimbursed inventory. Those reimbursements are paid to me just like Amazon's regular payments. There have been reports of $250,000+ annual sellers being reimbursed $3,000 to $10,000 at a time. [click to continue…]

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compare proven amazon course wholesale formula
A handful of folks are emailing me with: "Jordan, what's the difference between The Wholesale Formula and Jim Cockrum's Proven Wholesale Sourcing?"

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Best Wholesale course for Amazon sellers

The Wholesale Formula ("TWF") is a proven blueprint/system for sourcing and selling wholesale products profitably on Amazon. Its founders Dan Meadors and Eric Lambert sell over $11M annually on Amazon.

You're probably here because you're asking "is The Wholesale Formula legitimate, and does it work?"

The short answer is "yes" and "yes". But perhaps you need more info. So I wrote this post for you. (Full disclosure: I'm an affiliate partner of TWF, so I may be compensated if you purchase it)

If your questions aren't answered below, you can ask TWF themselves via their free official Facebook page
[click to continue…]

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Wholesale vs. Private Label vs. Retail Arbitrage

The above pic is Dan & Eric from The Wholesale Formula. They sell $11M+ annually on Amazon

Dan & Eric from The Wholesale Formula  sell $11,00,000M+ annually on Amazon. Those profit #'s (above) are just for ONE pallet for ONE month.

For my Amazon business, I source products 3 ways (well, more than 3, but the major methods are):

 

  • Retail/online arbitrage
  • Private Label
  • Wholesale
Can you guess which two have been the more problematic these days?

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What’s ‘Fake’ Wholesale Sourcing?

Buying wholesale

There's a big problem for eBay and Amazon sellers who want to buy wholesale. Typically, they'll go to google.com and type in “buy wholesale”, and they'll end up buying from one of the dozens of companies they see in the results (an example follows)

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Tips to Resell Black Friday items on Amazon and eBay

Resel Black Friday

buy items to resell

It's that time of year again, where online sellers grab great deals for the holiday season. Black Friday falls on Friday, November 24, 2017, the day after Thanksgiving, as always. Although it's traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, retailers have stretched out Black Friday to really encompass at least a week or more.

Over 30 percent of annual retail sales are secured between Black Friday and Christmas. You are a part of that, both in terms of sourcing and selling!

Check out the following strategies to help you prepare for Black Friday in-store sourcing, maximize your great shopping finds, and secure some great products at rock-bottom prices.

1.) Make your list, check it twice. Sit down and think about everything you'd like to purchase on Black Friday. Compare the Black Friday store item to the equivalent item on Amazon and/or eBay (whichever marketplace you're selling on). Have your shopping list handy when those Black Friday teasers start filling up your e-mail box. That wa you're ready to take advantage of the best deals at the bestprices. Don't have the local circulars yet? Use this free app to view your local fliers on your computer or mobile device: snip.ly/bhk2v

2.) Then check your bank account. Before the big day, it's a good idea to put together a budget. It's easy to get swept away by all the great deals, until you get your credit card bill in January. Set your sourcing expenditures limits first, and then enjoy your shopping. I'm a big fan of 'invest with only what you receive.' Meaning most of the time, I don't use credit or loans to by inventory. I only use the revenues I receive from my previous Amazon sales.

3.) Keep sourcing a top priority. To find the best deals, you have to stay on top of the advertisements and marketing propaganda. Many times, deals last for several hours or one day. Now, stores are releasing some Black Friday deals several days in advacne! Be sure you check out those items on your list regularly and often between now and Christmas to snag them whenever there is an opportunity.

4.) Pay less when no one else is.  For online sourcing, I use TopCashBack to earn cash back on my buying (it adds up!) Also, some credit cards will track your purchases for free, and automatically credit you the difference if/when the price drops (Check your credit card company's policies or this article for more.) These Apps can track your online purchases and automatically contact the retailer if there's a price drop, and ask them to credit you the price difference (I use Paribus).

5.) Watch those buyers reviews. Both Amazon and eBay offers display buyer ratings for many of their products, and it's worth the time to read up on those before you buy. The last thing you want is grabbing qty: 25 toasters and realizing that customers loathe the product. By reselling that item, you'll be bound to get poor seller ratings and returns. By relying on the posted experiences of others (e.g., Amazon's 'star reviews' for products), you can avoid that trap.

6.) Watch that sales history. If you're an Amazon seller, find the item(s) you're sourcing on CamelCamelCamel.com and/or Keepa.com to see what their selling history was recently (and/or last holiday). If you're an eBay seller, check the 'sold' listings to see what a specific item sold for recently. Also remember whether you sell on eBay or Amazon, note that generally speaking, many items' selling prices can increase from 50-to-200% during the Holiday season (versus the rest of the year).

7.) Watch those Amazon brand restrictions. Earlier this year, Amazon hit many sellers with restrictions from selling specific
brands, grandfathering in some sellers and restricting new sellers, or vice-versa. However, don't fear, there is still a LOT of Black Friday merchandise from unrestricted brands. What are you restricted from? For help on just that, click here: http://jordanmalik.com/blog/amazon-brand-restrictions/

Easy tip: For a quick way to see if you're restricted from selling a specific product (in stores or online), see "2.) What you should do from now on - Part II:" on that same page.

Also (separate issue): You can't sell in categories that you are not approved in. may be restricted from entire categories. For help on that, click here: http://jordanmalik.com/blog/amazon-restricted-categories/

8.) Join the club.  Most retailers offer some sort of frequent shopper program that gives them critical marketing information and gives you additional savings. For instance, Kohls is offering $15 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent, on Black Friday! (No signup is required to earn Kohl's Cash, they'll give it to you at checkout in the stores, or via email for your online Khols.com purchases).
For other retailers (like Kmart, Sears, ToysRus, and Macy's), sign up if you like shopping there, and don't forget to redeem your points or discounts if you're already a member. Macy's has

9.) Dress comfy. Even if you love shopping, Black Friday in-store shopping can be stressful, and in some cases, brutal. Prepare for your own comfort by being prepared for warm stores or cold parking lots (dress in layers!). Wear comfortable shoes, charge up your mobile phone and test your price scanning apps, bring coupons or ad information, and don't forget your list and budget.

10.) Eat a big meal before you go in the stores. This one is critcial for me. If you go in on an empty stomach, you'll be cranky and hungry and (thus) distracted. If you can't eat, tuck a bottled water and some granola bars in your coat/handbag.

11.) Get help. Bring a friend or family member, or (better yet), assign them to store(s) to buy your stuff for you, and meet up later. (You'll get 2x-3x more done in less time, verus hopping from store to store yourself).

12.) Prepare a strategy. Figure out when sales begin online, when stores open on Black Friday, and what time special deals end. Then map out your day and prioritize your shopping based on the items you are looking for, where they are most likely to be found, and which retailers you are most likely to frequent. A little planning will make you much more
efficient and less stressed. Some retailers provide 'aisle maps' to the inside of your local store, so you can find stuff faster. For example: When you use the free Target app and find a product with it, it will tell you which Aisle a certain item is in.

13.) Finally, have fun. Getting great deals on things you want to resell is one thing, but remember to stock up on give gifts to bring loved ones (or a charity) a little extra joy this holiday season.

Good luck. I'll see you in the aisles!

-Jordan

P.S. Speed up your Black Friday sourcing.Grab the only trusted guide to in-store and online deals, published by me:

Black Friday deals Amazon eBay

 

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Boost Christmas Sales with My 10 Tips

amazon seller tips christmas

Even if you are not enrolled in one of my recommended Q4 sourcing groups, I put together some tips to help you make maximum sales/profits with your Amazon business this Xmas:

1. If this is your first Q4 experience, you may have noticed that your sales haven't yet started to soar. That isn't unusual. While most of the corporate world divides the year into quarters starting in October, Amazon sellers consider November to January the "true" Q4. In other words, don't be alarmed if your sales figures are still modest because the real rush has not yet begun. [click to continue…]

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Amazing Selling Machine is not paying me. Here’s why.

Amazing Selling Machine alternatives

Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) is not a scam by any means. They're 100% legitimate.

There, I said it.

ASM does NOT compensate me if you sign up with their $3997+ program. Go ahead, get it here. That's not an affiliate link. (Translation: I don't get paid anything if you buy it.)

Why am I saying it's not a scam, then? Well, it isn't. If you remember a few years ago, I gave those guys (Matt and Jason, founders of ASM) a really hard time, and went out of my way to discourage you from signing up.

But as years went by, a weird thing happened. Those guys proved that they're a legitimate business. And they kept churning out legitimate Amazon seller success stories, growing and hiring at their office in Houston Texas, attracting quality partners, and honoring all their 30-day refund requests from customers.

But I'm still not promoting ASM. That may sound crazy to you. Because as an affiliate with the size of my audience (17,000+ unique readers, 4,000 Facebook followers, and 10,000+ YouTube subscribers), I could make an easy $20,000+ in affiliate commissions from ASM - in 2 weeks!

Am I stupid? No. I'm not promoting it because the price - up to $5,000 if you pay in installments - unsettles me a little. That's not ASM's fault - they're pricing what the market will bear. Thousands of ambitious Amazon sellers will buy it.  Some will succeed, others will fail - but that has nothing to do with ASM (more on that in a moment).

ASM is arguably a bargain if it's juxtaposed against, say, my useless Boston University MBA, which I paid $35,000 for in 1998. An MBA today (still useless in most scenarios) will cost you around $85,000

But many of my readers are hard-pressed for cash, just starting out, or not ready to make such a large financial commitment.

See, there are other trusted Amazon systems/courses that focus on sourcing and selling private label products (your own products on Amazon), for a fraction of the price. And they're all from my honest, trustworthy partners.

And many of you will ask me "Jordan, what's the difference between Amazing Selling Machine and your recommended [Enter Course Name Here]?"

The truthful answer: Not a whole lot.

All the trusted courses:

  • Teach the general same techniques and strategies
  • Offer a few bells and whistles.
  • Offer no-questions-asked money back guarantees

But not one of them has THE magic bullet to your success. Nor do they offer anything that makes private label markedly "easier" or "faster".

(Some of them will respond to this post and say "Yeah but we have ___________ features that make us really unique from the rest!". That's a great selling point but it's not critical to you pulling off private label successfully. I don't care what the features are.)

See, an Amazon seller's degree of success tends to directly correlate to the amount of work he/she puts in to learning and doing, regardless of which trusted course they take.

Oh boy that was good. So I'll say it again:

An Amazon seller's degree of success tends to directly correlate to the amount of work he/she puts in to learning and doing...

A course (again, a trusted one) is something that can help you along the way. If you follow it step-by-step and execute, it's a tremendous asset.

And with other trusted courses generally teaching the same tactics, why pay that much? You don't need the bells and whistles to be sucessful.

So, what are my top recommendations* for you?

For Private Label (what Amazing Selling Machine teaches):

1.) Proven Amazon Course ($399). This will teach you Private Label the "Easy Way" via their Private Label 2.0 Mentor program (included in the price). And if you don't want to source private label but still sell on Amazon, there are at least 12 other courses within Proven Amazon Course that will teach you A-Z: retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, Amazon Merch, book sourcing and selling, reselling coffee, wholesale, and a whole lot more. Pay once and get lifetime access, lifetime updates and an anytime 10o% money back guarantee. Right now it's my top pick. At least read the testimonials here.

2.) StartupBros  ($2997) If you're looking for an apples-to-apples close pick to ASM but for $1,000 less, the StartupBros have been churning out big e-commerce experts for a while now (I've been following them for a few years.) Learn step-by-step how to launch a profitable e-commerce business from scratch. You can pay in installments, give full access to a partner for just $197 extra, and enjoy their 90-day 100% money back guarantee.

Other trusted experts:

The most important takeaway for you, whether you buy ASM, another course/system, or learn on your own for free:  Take action. I've seen hundreds of sellers fail because they don't take the first few steps - they just prematurely quit. Take action, follow through, ask questions, and pick yourself up if you fall down.

I welcome your comments and feedback below.

-Jordan

*I am an affiliate of some of my recommendations above (Not ASM). That means if you buy any of them, I may receive a small commission from them.

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  • Amazing Selling Machine is not paying me. Here’s why.

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