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Going from a Hobby to a Real Business with Amazon FBA

As many of you know, I’m on a mission to scale up my Amazon sales and turn this business into a full time living.  One of the first things I realized early on, was that while I enjoy doing retail arbitrage, it’s not a consistent way to get a steady source of reliable inventory.  And it’s also very difficult to scale and grow the business this way without a lot of time spent physically sourcing products.  Online arbitrage is better in that you don’t have to leave the house, however many of the best deals are often somewhat well known and you end up with products where there’s a lot of competition.

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The ultimate selling model, is to create a private label brand that you own and control.  But this requires a lot of time to implement (9 months from start to finish is considered quick!), and involves a lot of legalities and costs that require experience and knowledge in working with manufacturers.  It also involves a lot of risk, especially if you don’t fully understand the implications and technicalities involved in designing and branding your own product line.  I look at this as the graduate level of selling, and something to work towards once your other channels are going steadily.

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In looking around at my options, I decided that the best next step for me would be to find a few wholesalers I could buy from.  As you probably know, I recently attended the ASD show in Las Vegas and was blown away with the sheer amount of choices available.   Many of the suppliers made business as easy as just walking up to the booth and placing an order with your credit card!  I received personal attention from every seller and everyone there expressed an interest and was comfortable with my business model of selling on Amazon.  Apparently, a few years back it was another story and many vendors shunned online only retailers, especially the Amazon crowd.  Times have changed for the better!

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Before attending the show, I had business cards made up and created my own simple web page for my company explaining what we do.

I’d explain to suppliers that we’re a Canadian based reseller that promotes and sells products for manufacturers, retailers and distributors.  We make it easy for US companies to do business in Canada as we have warehouses in the US (I have companies I use that do this for a small fee) where they can send their products and let us handle importing into Canada.  That got many of them quite excited, as they were confused and unsure of how to do business in Canada.  I negotiated free freight, or 10% off for this service if there was mutual interest.

My pitch was simple, and to the point.  I’ve summarized here:

We can increase your sales by putting your products on-line through Amazon and our other high traffic channels to supplement your existing distribution channels.

How’d you like to grow sales alongside your existing distribution without competing with them directly, or diluting your prices in a “race to the bottom” scenario?

Within days, your products are in front of millions of buying customers in Canada and the US

You’re in control of your costs – No concern about price cutting and product dilution as we can arrange MAP pricing with you

Don’t have to worry about having to continually offer deeper discounts – If you deal with Amazon directly, you’re likely under contract to cut prices and do business on their terms

We sell through a trusted, secure platform where consumers typically spend more than anywhere else

You can send anything from 1 box to full trailer loads of product to Amazon’s fulfilment warehouses – The business is totally scalable

Personal, friendly staff willing to work with you as a long term partner

Ability to cross-promote and bundle your products with complimentary items to increase sales

I found this worked very well, and quite often offset objections.  You see, I really believe that we as 3rd party sellers on Amazon bring a lot to the table for companies looking to expand their business online.  Especially those looking to expand internationally, where many locally based Amazon sellers can offer expertise getting products to market.

I’ll end with an email I received this afternoon from one of the wholesalers I’d talked with at the ASD show, using a similar pitch to the above.

It was a pleasure meeting you at the ASD show.  I am THRILLED at the possibility of FINALLY being able to find success on amazon in Canada.  We receive frequent emails about purchasing in Canada and we don’t have a single online reseller.  I believe you are the right partner and we will be very successful together! I have attached our catalog and standard wholesale price list.  Can you please advise what next steps are to get started?

If you’d like to learn how to scale your own business with Wholesale, consider joining my Seller Academy.

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Great info here Duncan! I think this will be very helpful for me as I extend out into wholesale buying as that will be my next step! Keep up the awesome work!

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