Hope everyone had a good weekend! Today’s post will be a bit different than the normal posts.
I have 3 new updates to discuss.
The first is that I was interviewed by Jay and Ryanne from eBay Scavengers. They do podcasts and blog posts on at least a weekly basis about selling online, and as a part of their posts share their financial results each week. They sell mainly on eBay and were interested in learning more about selling on amazon and the fba program. They interviewed me to discuss some of the strategies I use to sell on amazon, and ask some questions from the perspective of figuring out how selling on amazon (and fba in particular) works. (Update 2020: No longer available.)
The second update is that I have updated the Experiments page within the blog. I have posted the results of the first 2 experiments: waking up without an alarm clock and checking email twice per day on the weekdays. I have also added a 3rd experiment that will result in checking email less than the previous experiment.
The third item on the docket for today is that I would like to receive some feedback in regards to topics that you would like me to discuss on this blog. I still have some more posts in the works so I won’t be running out of content any time soon, but I want to make sure I am writing about the topics that are of most interest to YOU.
If you would take the time to respond to these questions either via email or leaving comments below, I would really appreciate it! It will also help to ensure that the content I share is relevant and valuable to you.
Here are some questions for everyone reading this:
- What would you like to see a blog post on?
- Do you want information mainly about selling via Amazon merchant fulfilled Amazon FBA, or eBay?
- What can I add to the financial results posts that would be beneficial to you?
- I am considering doing a monthly spreecast to discuss the previous month’s results and answer questions that any viewers have live. Would you be interested in this?
- What else would you like to see from me on this blog? More videos? Sharing more mistakes? Something else?
- Why haven’t you liked the Online Selling Experiment Facebook Page yet?
- Any other tips or suggestions you have?
I would really appreciate any feedback that you could provide on these questions. Please leave them below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will take all suggestions into consideration, and if you send a request for a blog post, it is very likely that you will see a post on it in the near future.
66 thoughts on “A Podcast Interview, Updated Experiments, and Some Questions for You”
Hello, going shopping tonight for the first time…what is the price differential that i should look for? For example, if I can purchase an item for $4.00 and it sells for $12.00 that seems to cover expenses… would you agree?
I would recommend using a scanning app such as the Amazon Seller App and then looking at the net payout compared to the buy cost. I would recommend looking for a net payout that is about twice what you can buy the item for. This allows for margin for error, and really reduces the risk of things not going well.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!! It really was perfect timing as i was in the store in the beginning of my shopping so thanks again your information was helpful.
I think i got good scores, but the proof of course is in the pudding as they say. Now to post, print and package for shipping.
No problem Heidi, hope you got some good stuff! 🙂
Thanks!!that’s really smart!I will look into doing that aswell!
I really enjoy your blog posts, they are to the point and really informative.
I just wanted to say thanks to you as you are the main inspiration for me to start selling with Amazon FBA.
I have sent in 2 shipments this month and have already made a couple of 100 profit!
I used to previously drop ship items for sale on ebay and other online platforms but stopped due to problems with shipping times and customs.
I am from Ireland and sell on Amazon.co.uk so things are a we bit different here.
While listening to your podcast on ebayscavengers.com I heard you say you label all your items as opposed to co mingling them with fba….could you explain the advantages of this if you don’t mind?
Also if you are interested I recently seen a bbc documentary on Amazon that was very intersing here is the link to it on youtube if you haven’t seen it https://youtu.be/6UhrIEUjtwI
at 25:50 min to 28:30 is of particular interest as it has a quick look at 2 people making a living from amazon buying and storing stock selling when trending up on camelcamelcamel.
All the best
Great to hear you are enjoying the blog, and congrats on seeing some profits already!
The main reason that I do not use commingled inventory currently is the potential risk of the end customer receiving an item that is counterfeit or not up to new condition associated with my account. I am constantly evaluating options, so it is possible I will try commingled in the future as it would save some prep time.
I just checked out the 3 minutes of the video you recommended, that’s very interesting. I may have to come back and watch more if later on.
sorry, I meant your video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfByRTVVrhI and not podcast. They were both very informative, btw 🙂
No problem, and glad to hear it! 🙂
I am trying to come up with a business plan for selling groceries through Amazon FBA (my hubby wants to see one before he ‘invests’ in my business 🙂 )
Can you do a post on how to come with a business structure or basically the things I need in place/need to consider before I go out and scout for groceries? What is the average investment needed to see some profits? How many hours of work is needed per week/per day? What were the basic tools you started out with? What are the common pitfalls to avoid and so on?
Can you also address some of the challenges or misconceptions out there about selling groceries on Amazon FBA?
Those are some very good questions! I might be able to dedicate a full post to some of those topics in the coming weeks. In the meantime, these 2 blog posts: https://onlinesellingexperiment.com/what-do-i-need-to-get-started-with-fba/ & https://onlinesellingexperiment.com/selling-groceries-on-amazon-fba-a-few-tips-to-get-started/
and this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfByRTVVrhI
are about similar topics to your questions. I will definitely plan to incorporate some of the additional questions into future posts in the somewhat near future.
Great. I look forward to reading them in the future. I will check out the resources your mentioned.
I would like to add one more topic (because I have SO many questions! lol) – I find many sellers on Amazon selling products at a premium rate (e.g., they sell something that is available for 2.99 for $20 or more) and are called out by people in their comments section with a negative rating . How much is too much when it comes to pricing? How do you deal with such negative feedback? Won’t it eventually affect sales? Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Sounds good, and let me know if you have questions on the resources previously mentioned. As for the pricing issue, I don’t worry about “how much is too much” if people are willing to pay the current market price then I will sell at that price. Amazon will generally remove product reviews that are strictly about price. You just have to click the “report abuse” link next to the review a customer left and amazon will review it to have it removed. I completely agree though that if a review like this is left on a product page that it would hurt sales, so it’s good to let amazon know about it, and then most of the time they will make that particular review go away.
Thanks for the great info about dealing with negative comments concerning price.
I watched your podcast and was surprised that you actually don’t recommend groceries for newbies who are trying Amazon FBA. Is expiration date something too difficult to handle? Also, I watched a couple videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Iha9xCt4o and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ_iZhGWYaI) that don’t recommend groceries or even retail arbitrage for that matter. Can you share your thoughts on these, when you have the time?
I am a bit confused now on whether to pursue groceries or liquidation or profit label or mix ’em all up (oh did I mention that I intend to start this with a grand $250!)…my mind is in a swim 🙁
No problem! As for the question about groceries for newbies, my personal take is that there are easier categories to sell in. The main challenge is with groceries are mulit-packs, and dealing with expiration dates. I definitely think it would be possible for a new seller to do well in the grocery category, I just think there are easier categories to start in. I would say my recommendation is based on what I think is easiest to get started with, but I wouldn’t consider it a definitive “stay away from the grocery category as a newbie.” By all means if you think you the grocery category is where you would like to start I wouldn’t discourage you from starting there, my advice is based more on looking at a blank slate and new sellers being willing to sell in any category as opposed to someone who has an idea of what category they would like to sell in.
As for the videos, the one about “the honest truth about retail arbitrage” I think there are some valid concerns raised in this video. I can’t say that it will last forever, but I have a longer term outlook than the gentleman in the videos, and I will say that I wouldn’t let this video discourage you from starting. I may make a video about my long term vision for retail arbitrage in the near future, as I think that would probably be of interest to at least some of the readers here.
I really wouldn’t worry too much about the grocery video. I don’t think he’s saying you can’t make money in the category, but he is saying that he doesn’t want all of his eggs in one basket. When you are just starting out I don’t think it’s a problem to focus on one category and “master” it before adding another. The main thing I would takeaway is that as you grow your business it’s good to be diversified.
Lastly, there is a TON of information out there about selling on amazon. I would find a few people who provide information you find valuable and focus more on what they are saying and don’t actively follow some of the others. Everyone has their own unique take on things, and when you listen to too many sometimes it can cause a bit of information overload which leads to “analysis paralysis” which leads to never really getting started. My advice would be to pick a category and give FBA a shot, the best way to learn is by doing. Just because I or anyone else recommends something in a blog/video/comment/etc. doesn’t make it a hard and fast rule, there are almost always exceptions, and only you know what will be the best strategy for you.
That was a pretty long answer, but I hope it helps!
P.S. I am rooting for you to have some success with FBA 🙂
Many thanks for taking the time out to answer my questions in detail. I have never come across a successful online seller who has been so patient and gracious in helping a newbie succeed. Truly appreciate all your inputs.
The reason why I am leaning towards groceries is because I have a handful of specialty stores where I live and found some of these products having a great track record (ranking) on Amazon. For now, I plan to sell a few things in my house (mostly books) to get an idea of how FBA works. I am also leaning towards buying Grocery Goldmine to get an in-depth look into this niche.
I will keep you posted 🙂
No problem, I am happy to help! I think that it sounds like you have a good plan in place, and definitely keep me posted.
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FIrst I wanted to thank you personally for helping me get my first shipment out the door. Two shipments were processed while the third was delivered. So far I am at $-54, not counting the cost of goods and shipping supplies I had to buy. That is just for shipping, but for 150 lbs I don’t think that is too bad.
There are some things that I can suggest from the internet marketing perspective. I would you need to start capturing emails right away. Especially since you have been much higher traffic I gather from Jessica Larrew’s site and the EbayScavenger’s podcast. Don’t miss out on this. The money is in the list. I already see that you said somewhere that a product probably is in the works.
You really need to do more videos! Youtube is a great source… just like in FBA think diversification.
Here are two things I haven’t seen in any of the sites. I would love to go with you on an actually trip for your sourcing. I probably wouldn’t go to the place that you have the most invested at. But say like a thrift store, where it is a one off hit and see how you really source.
And secondly, I would love to read more about the business side of things. I want to hear more about you getting your LLC, more about what happens when you talked to your CPA. These are valuable resources that some people can’t afford, but probably need to know.
Just my $.02
BTW, I am really looking forward to hearing about your Texas trip. I know you made new SKUs for that, and I want to hear more about it. As in depth as you want to share. Remember since you sourced there, it is now a tax deduction. So Meals, Plane fare, the works. Keep it up!
No problem on helping you get started! I hope the first shipment sells well for you, and definitely keep me updated on how it goes for you.
I appreciate all of the suggestions on the internet marketing end of things, I will definitely be trying to diversify and grow my list through providing valuable content.
I like the suggestions of showing what I do when I walk into a store, and discussing the business side of things. I will be sure to incorporate some of this in future posts. I will post an update on how the Austin, TX trip went as well in a month or so to give the items I sent into FBA then a chance to sell.
Thanks again for the suggestions,
The best way to grow your list, is by giving something away for free. You have many posts here, that you could easily expand on to make a short ebook resource, maybe 10-15 pages.
But if I am not mistaken, do you have an email list? Like I see to see new posts list, but is this going to an autoresponder or anything? Like I see the little subscription thing, but it isn’t prominent and what it says doesn’t really give me the call to action… Since I subscribe to my 100s of blogs through RSS.
Just something to think about, and if you have any questions, feel free to connect with me in any of the ways we are already connected on.
Yes I do have an email list, and when people subscribe they get an email to opt in. I am in the process of looking into ways of making the subscribe button a little more prominent. I will be sure to reach out if I have questions.
I really enjoy reading your blog posts. I agree with the general consensus of the others in that your posts are informative and concise…they are also well organized which make them easy to read.
I am a newbie as well and haven’t jumped into FBA, my own personal experiment is somewhat like a “red paperclip” (trying to gradually increase my profits and starting with VERY little)
Anyways, I would really be interested in learning more about:
1. The nuts and bolts of office management for online sellers (such as what are the essential tools you use?) For example, Inventory management-scanners-sourcing tools? There are so many items out there and I’m unsure which ones will save the most of my time and money?
2. TAXES for online sellers.
3. Sourcing resources and/or strategies.
Overall, I love this blog and many of the questions I didn’t even know I had have been answered by reading it.
Any additional items you may add like spreecasts and videos would just be icing on the cake! Thanks and good luck in April!!
Thanks for the great feedback Odessa! I will definitely take these suggestions into consideration for future blog posts.
That is awesome Odessa! I really loved following along with the red paperclip experiment.
Hey Ryan, loving your FBA advice!!! Please write an ebook, I’d be the first one to buy it!!!
Thank you, that’s awesome to hear! I am definitely considering putting an ebook together in the future, if/when I do I will keep your email on hand to let you know it’s available.
I’m a long-time reader and firs-time poster. It was great to hear your interview over on eBay Scavengers! I would love to see a few more blog posts about your experiments with eBay. Are you strictly retail arbitrage or do you dabble into thrifting as well?
Thank you for reading and great to hear you enjoyed the interview. I am doing mainly retail arbitrage, but once or twice a month I will do some thrifting to add some variety. I will definitely consider posting some additional ebay experiments in future posts, so thank you for that suggestion.
P.S. The blog you started looks very well put together, I hope you reach your goal quickly! 🙂
Ooh I love reading starting out stories. You have a new RSS reader!
I work full time and I am a “powerseller part time” on Ebay.
I am mostly interested in FBA. The more I learn about FBA, the more I like it. But I haven’t “taken the plunge” yet.
I think it would be cool to start a series of detailed posts or perhaps even set up a schedule that ultimately results in the group of followers sending that first shipment of items to the FBA warehouse.
You could start with posts on sourcing, then have a goal date to send the first shipment to the FBA warehouse, with detailed posts on labeling, packaging, listing and anything else we need to know along the way.
If you end up doing it, let me know. I’m in!
That’s a very good idea of going through from step one to getting your first shipment sent in. Just curious, would you envision this being a service you would see enough value in to pay for?
I would pay for it, yes absolutely. Especially if it provided a way to get specific questions answered on issues that pop up along the way.
Good to know, thanks for the info Jim!
I think many would Ryan.
I have two things that I think should be discussed.
1. How to find an item worth selling. Such as evaluating the competition on Amazon. Judging how much real margin you will have (simply marking it a penny lower will cause competition to lower their price). etc. such things like that.
2. How to ensure you are displayed in the Buy Box on Amazon. I have a few items that I am the lowest price of, but I am not listed in the Buy Box for whatever reason. I am unsure as to why or how to resolve this.
Great tips! I will definitely plan on incorporating these topics into future posts.
I’d love to hear about your sourcing strategies. How you are able to source 7k to 9k of product a month.
Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely consider adding some sourcing strategies posts, I will give you a quick hint though, and that is through work and consistent efforts.
Are you buying several of one item once you know it’s a seller or is it made up of mostly one to two quantity purchases of hundreds of items?
My sourcing is made up of hundreds of different items. I am rarely buying more than 10 of any given item at a single time, occasionally I will be able to purchase the same item multiple times after I have sold my previous stock. The most I have ever purchased of a single item at one time was about 50 and that was because it was only going to be available one time and I had to buy as many as I wanted that one day. Hope that helps.
1. Blogpost about a typical day of sourcing like maybe a group of stores you hit , what department you always start with etc.
3. I think you show us most of it as it is..
4. I love spree casts i listen to at least 1
A night they are full of great info, even I I could not listen to it live I would definitely catch the rerun..
5. I like the mistake posts they are very helpful .
I think if you chose to write some type of FBA guide to sell at a reasonable price many of us would be intersted in some of your secrets that you have learned along the way that you may not want to give away for free…
6. Sorry don’t do facebook
7. Just keep doing what you are doing
And your fanbase will keep growing.
Great ideas and thanks for the feedback Chad! I will definitely put something together that shows what a typical day or week is like for me so everyone can get a good idea of what I am actually doing regularly. I am definitely considering putting together some sort of FBA guide that would be reasonably priced, so it’s great to hear that you would be interested.
What Spreecasts do you currently find most valuable?
I like all the fba spree casts i learn something different from every seller .
I started watching scanner monkey spree casts and they usually have a guest that tells how they got started and how they structure there business.
Then I watched my first episode of fast turn radio with Duane Malek , he does a show like what you are talking about where you get everyone to ask questions for you to answer and I believe he usually has a theme to each show of something he is going to share about but it seemed to be open to any topics within FBA .,
Good to hear, I have watched quite a few of the scannermonkey spreecasts, as well as Duane Maleks, they generally both have some pretty good info.
If you decide to do a podcast/Youtube/Spreecast, just keep it tight and to the point. I can’t sit through most of these hour long jumble of rambling insider jokes, drinking, bad-morning-radio-like videos.
I would much rather have a simple ten minutes of someone telling me concrete info. Don’t be an entertainer. Keep it just like your current blog: concise.
I agree 100% Jay, if I do this it would be straight to the point. I would be looking to provide valuable information as opposed to trying to be entertaining. I like the bad-morning-radio-like analogy, I think that’s a fair description of some of the ones I have watched.
Completely agree… and typically I listen to a spreecast the same way I do with the many MANY podcasts I listen to. I listen to them and go about doing my business. I don’t mind if you are going to be heavy visual I can always go back to rewind, for I probably won’t listen to it live. I just can’t devote a given time of the day to anybody.
Jay has a great idea of the ten minutes. Pat Flynn (one of my idols) has done the same thing with his new podcast Ask Pat. It is one of my most anticipated 10-15 minutes of Monday-Friday. Incredible insights!
Hello Ryan, unless I missed the information in one of your previous blog posts, I think a blog post on what type of items are worth selling on Amazon, and what types are worth selling on Ebay would be very informative for those of us interested in utilizing both websites. Thanks.
That is a great idea! I have not dedicated a post to this before, but I will definitely plan on doing a post covering this topic.
I had another idea for a post regarding Amazon: Do you ever sell groceries and have to compete with the brand names themselves? For example, if you wanted to sell some Lucky Charms, you would have to compete against General Mills Cereals themselves, what would you do in this situation? Thanks.
Thank you for the suggestion! I haven’t had this happen in the grocery category, but I may have an example that is worth sharing in a different category.
I am interested in the process of buying and using bar codes for Amazon.
I prefer Amazon however know there is a lot still for me to learn Ebay as well.
I like Spreecast as long as it is relevant and stays on topic, I do not like taking the time to sign in for a Spreecast only to hear and see people just being silly. I prefer them during the day as my evenings are full a lot of the time.
More info fromother sellers, what they are learning as well would be a go way to go with geting more content some times.
Of course I did like the FB page : ) I believe that is the best way to receive info fast!
These are some great suggestions! I will definitely take all these into consideration, and if I do end up trying out Spreecast the goal will be to be informational and to answer questions, as opposed to being silly and trying to be funny.
Thanks for liking the Facebook page, I believe you were the first to comment there as well!
I couldn’t find any more blogs with so valuable information. I could be asking you questions all day long, now that I’m starting this out. But I agree with everyone that you provide us with a lot of valuable info. I’ll leave you here my answers.
1. I’m mostly interested on your step-by-step experiences. For example, the required steps to start this business and send your first listing. You could do either text or video about it.
2. I’m exclusively interested on FBA.
3. The cash flow was good to add, but I can’t find any more things right now. I’m just starting out, so maybe in the future I’ll figure out something.
4. I’m not sure if I would be interested, but for sure I will check the first to try it out.
5. I’m starting, and as I already emailed you, I had a lot of doubts about the different applications and the steps to start all of this. I would appreciate more begginer guides. However, the mistakes and everything else is also extremely valuable.
6. I didn’t know it existed! Done! 🙂
7. Keep the great work and thanks for all.
Thanks for the feedback Axel! I will take all these suggestions into consideration for putting together future posts.
If you haven’t looked at Spreecasts, look into it. Lots of the heavy hitters in FBA are doing their own. It is only fitting that Ryan would want to go this route as well. You can learn a lot from these.
Ryan I would really love to see the spreecast
It is definitely something I am considering Jim, stay tuned!
I believe your first link to theebayscavengers.com is dead. Might want to check it out. The second link works fine.
Thanks for the tip on that! They just reached out to me as well, so I just updated the link and it should be working now.
Thanks for all the value you bring! Awesome stuff and I look forward to your posts. I’d like to read more about Amazon FBA mainly and learn from your experiences seeing as I’m just starting this endeavor myself. I understand most of the processing stuff so far but learning the in’s and out’s of sourcing is a struggle but I guess that’s typical for a newbie.
Videos would be a huge help! I think visually it would be easier. Amazon has videos but I think coming from actual people doing this everyday would be more beneficial.
Thanks again! Hope March is turning into a profitable one for you!
Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely take them into consideration for future posts.
We really enjoyed talking with Ryan about his FBA process. It’s rare finding someone so open about all his numbers. Usually people want to hide the fact that expenses eat so much into profit. But fining the NET PROFIT (or Cashflow) at the end of each month really helps know if you;re successful or not.
And we’re at https://ebayscavengers.com
We focus on selling one of a kind items on eBay, and share all our weekly numbers with each new podcast.
Thanks for interviewing me Jay, it was a lot of fun! It’s great to talk to someone doing a similar thing online.
I’d say keep doing what you are doing Ryan. Without you giving up too much strategic information this blog is already the most detailed when it comes to FBA operations. I have not found too many blogs that post as often as you and post the numbers especially for someone that is considers this an experiment. What I like about your blog is that you cut right to the chase and post the results. Everyone talks about the process very few talk about the results on a monthly basis and how you got there. This blog is pure motivation for me and I’m trying to find my secret sauces to get my numbers closer to yours.
Thanks Mark! If you ever come up with an idea you would like to see a post on, please let me know.