#565 – A Seller With 20 Years Of Experience On Amazon!

Join us for an insightful conversation with a true pioneer in the online marketplaces as we journey through a remarkable 20-year e-commerce journey featuring Rolando Rosas, who has two decades of selling experience, including 10 years on Amazon. Listen in as we unpack strategies to amplify product reviews on Amazon, ensuring compliance with their stringent terms of service. The discussion takes a turn down memory lane, recounting our guest’s rich personal history from Panama to the United States and an unexpected career pivot that led him away from the medical field.

The e-commerce landscape is constantly shifting, and our latest chat explores how sellers must evolve to keep pace. We reflect on the transition from physical storefronts to digital dominance, discussing the necessity for adaptability in response to the surge in online shopper activity. The dialogue further reveals the struggles and triumphs experienced by our guest, as we navigate through topics such as profitability challenges, hybrid business models, and the utility of analytical tools like Helium 10 for pinpointing underperforming products.

In our final segment, we focus on maximizing profitability through cost control and the strategic use of available tools. We talk about the potential impact of Amazon’s forthcoming FBA fees and how meticulous inventory management is key to thriving in e-commerce. Rounding out our discussion, our guest Rolando Rosas offers his insights into maintaining an online presence and the significance of podcast collaborations, sharing his accessibility on various platforms and his journey with Helium 10. So, tune in to gain valuable knowledge from a seasoned expert who has navigated the e-commerce waters with agility and success.

In episode 565 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Rolando discuss:

  • 00:00 – 20-Year E-Commerce Journey
  • 11:04 – Evolving Strategies for Amazon Sellers
  • 12:44 – Adapting to Changing Amazon Strategies
  • 17:24 – Optimizing Amazon Seller Profitability
  • 20:34 – Sellers Discuss Zero Fees and Profit
  • 22:51 – Strategies for Maximizing Profitability With Amazon
  • 24:37 – Amazon Advertising Strategies for Success
  • 28:53 – Strategies for Reselling and Private Label
  • 29:23 – Cost Control and Profit Increase Tools
  • 34:01 – Online Presence and Podcast Collaboration

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today, we’ve got somebody who’s been selling online for 20 years and on Amazon for 10 years, and it was even on a Helium 10 podcast before I ever was. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think. How can you get more buyers to leave you Amazon product reviews? By following up with them in a way that’s compliant with Amazon terms of service. You can use Helium 10 Follow-Up in order to automatically send out Amazon’s request or review emails to any customers you want. Not just that, but you can specify when they get the message and even filter out people that you don’t want to get that message, such as people who have asked for refunds or maybe ones that you gave discounts to. For more information, visit h10.me/followup. You can sign up for a free account or you can sign it up for a Platinum plan and get 10 % off for life by using the discount code SSP10. Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the series sellers podcast by Helium 10. I’m your host Bradley Sutton and this is the show that’s completely BS free unscripted and unrehearsed. Organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e -commerce world and we’ve got a serious seller who is doing what I think I gotta think about this might be a first so we’ve had many people who started maybe on the AMPM podcast and came here actually I’m one of them so my very first podcast I was ever on was when I was a new employee at Helium 10 and I was a guest of Manny Coats on one of the last podcasts he did for the AMPM podcast and then a few weeks later we actually started this one. Now, we’ve also had unique situations where we’ve actually had somebody on the German podcast, and they were on the Spanish podcast. We’ve had somebody on Serious Seller’s Podcast English, and on the Spanish, Elizabeth Rivas for one Helium 10 elite member. But this might be the first time we’ve had somebody who’s been on the AMPM podcast, the Serious Seller’s Podcast in Espanol, and now the Serious Sellers Podcast English for a record-breaking moment here. Rolando, how’s it going?

Rolando:

I am doing fine, that is right. I did appear with Manny Coats sometime in the middle before he, before, you know, changed over to Kevin and they had been on Adriana’s now twice on the

Bradley Sutton:

Also you were a guest of Manny and Kevin then?

Rolando:

Yes. that is correct.

Bradley Sutton:

All right but and you’ve been listening to it since the Manny Coats days way back in.

Rolando:

Yeah well yeah that didn’t nothing looked like this it was I was a whole I was at the very beginning of starting to appear and going on people’s podcasts it was very I was a new new newbie at the time so Manny kind of broke me in in terms of you know getting out there it was probably the second or third time I’d been on a podcast at that point.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, first of all, where are you at right now? 

Rolando:

I live just outside the nation’s capital in Washington, DC.

Bradley Sutton:

So is that where you were born and raised or?

Rolando:

No, I was born and raised in Panama. And my parents came over when I was six and we moved to Louisiana. And in Louisiana, you know, back in the early 80s, boy, it’s not like what it is now. There was a, there weren’t any, bodegas like you’d see in New York City and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Eventually

Bradley Sutton:

You must not stay there very long because I don’t hear the accent at all.

Rolando:

Come on y ‘all. Come on y ‘all I get there. I get there if you want me to I can talk a little bit.

Bradley Sutton:

There we go. Okay. Where’s the water boy? I don’t have I don’t have any water boy vibes here

Rolando:

No, you don’t hear very much because

Bradley Sutton:

Let me get some high-quality H2O.

Rolando:

Yeah he’s a great wait, great, great movie. And I lived in New York for some time new york, you know, loving the pizzas and all that. You know. He, he, he, uh. And then for some time, when I went to college, I went to college in the in the Midwest Minnesota. So you can’t get as clean as a talking voice.

Bradley Sutton:

Is that the Golden Gophers?

Rolando:

Goldie, go, goldie, that’s right, look at that.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, my mascot skills still. I still have it, even with a fever.

Rolando:

And then after college I said, you know what? Minnesota is just too damn cold and so I live right now outside the nation’s capital, and I’ve been doing that for the last 20 years wow, okay, all right.

Bradley Sutton:

So what was your major there? Uh, in the frozen tundra of Minnesota

Rolando:

I majored in Psychology and

Bradley Sutton:

What were you looking to? I mean, like, what was it like when you, you know, when you start college, you’re like, all right, pick the major. You have something in mind that you wanted to do. Like what was your?

Rolando:

Oh well, I wanted I started as a pre-med and I started as a pre-med, my brother also. He we went to school when we both he was only one year behind me, and so we both were in the same school. We both were looking at pre-med. I got about into junior year and I was like you know, I don’t know if I want to do school for another eight more years, 10 more years. If you throw some specialties in there and my brother did so, he’s a very successful surgeon right now and I wanted to just get out of school and just start working, because you know, hey look, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have money. I was po, po, po po, and so I wanted to start making money and I started. I came out of college, worked for a fortune 500 company, did that for a while and then, at the tech bubble bursting in the early 2000s, that’s when I backed into being an entrepreneur and started my e-commerce journey

Bradley Sutton:

How did you discover?

Rolando:

By, totally by accident. So the bubble burst. I got nowhere with job applications really for months. Nothing, nothing. You a lot of interviews, nothing happened. And I happened to have a box of samples of the stuff that I was selling in the previous job and I really was so bummed out I’m like God, maybe I just throw this, all this stuff away. I don’t even want to look at it. And so I said you know, all right, you know I’m going to do something better than that. So, instead of throwing in a landfill, I’m going to call a couple of people that I had already known. And one of those said, yeah, come on down, this is a call center. And they said come on down, we’ll talk. And I said look, here’s what I got. I know you’re looking for some new stuff. And they said, yeah, but we want more. And I was like, oh really, I was just purely thinking I’m going to unload this stuff so I don’t have to throw it away. And then we want more. And that was where the beginning I thought, hmm, maybe there’s a business here selling this. But the downside was I knew that I have to either be on the road the entire time trying to build a business and I didn’t want to do that because that’s what I was doing in my previous job or this new thing called e-commerce. Like, people could go to a website and buy what you have. At the time, Amazon was at its infancy and only selling books and a lot of other websites. I was on a Yahoo stores. You either dialed the number that was on the page and you call and say, hey, I want such and such, or you send in a fax and it had your credit card number, which we also did. And then that’s one thing led to another, and then, several years later, I started the Amazon journey.

Bradley Sutton:

While you were talking, I actually looked up on the AMPM podcast website your name. I found your Kevin King episode, but then I did find that you were on with Manny. And now I just have a question because I’m looking here on the pod. By the way, it’s episode 141. So for sure this is a first. Somebody has been on with Matt, I mean Manny, me and Adriana. Now you just have to learn German to be on our German podcast.

Rolando:

I can do it, that’s all.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, yes, exactly, but I’m looking at the timestamps and so I just have to go back to your story, because what does this mean? Rolando the archaeologist, have you any idea what that could have been referring to?

Rolando:

Oh heck, yeah. So when I was in college, one of my professors said hey, look, there’s a discovery that we’ve made in the current hotspot today that Ukraine and Russia are fighting over in the Crimea Peninsula. I’d been there and so I said look, yeah, you know, one of the things I did that I thought was kind of cool is that I went on an archaeological dig. We found bones, we found a first century synagogue underneath another temple and yada, yada, yada. And you know, it was interesting, fascinating, to meet Ukrainians and Russians and there’s a difference, there’s a very there’s a difference. There’s similarities, but there’s a difference there. It was cool to play Indiana Jones, but it’s not glamorous. There was no cell phones, there was no Google, nobody knew where we were. We were in a military controlled zone at that time. At the time it was right when Ukraine had separated from Russia, so everything that could go wrong went wrong. You know, in terms from going to what was called a resort. It was not a resort; it was a resort that had freezing cold water. So if you want to take a cold shower, you were lit. It was like today you’re doing some Wim Hof cold shower. That’s exactly what it was. The toilets weren’t working. A lot of people got sick. So everything you could think of about roughing it back in the day prior to you know being on Instagram and be like, oh look, I’m suffering, Look at me, and none of that. You just had to suffer, and that was it. If you wanted to get out and some people did they were like, okay, we can airlift you to the next base over in Germany. We’d have to fly to Kiev, get you out, and that’s how you could get medical attention. So that was my introduction to archeology. I’m sure it’s a lot better now. They did a bunch of other digs after that. So that’s my archeology story. 

Bradley Sutton:

Indiana Rosas. I like it All, right cool. All right back to Amazon now. At what point in your e-commerce career did Amazon become your main source of income?

Rolando:

It took some time. The first nine months, probably the first 12 months on Amazon, it was not our main source. Our own website was, and we’re making really good living on our own website.

Bradley Sutton:

What year are we talking about?

Rolando:

So we’re 2024. So, I want to say that it was about late. 2014 was when we started the Amazon trip, the Amazon journey, and so we got to around 2015. Still nothing, you know, like $10,000 the year. But that’s because the mindset was that you know, Amazon doesn’t work for folks that are selling the products that we were selling. There’s no real business folks buying on Amazon. All of these assumptions about Amazon at that point were really unfounded, so I really wanted to see okay, can we do something there? So after about 12 months, I said, you know, let me dive deeper and found out look, you need a different mindset. You need to give a different approach. This is not your own website. You have competition. It’s not like selling Google or putting products on Google shops, nothing like that. The rules don’t apply here. And once that started to kick in, okay, what do we do? We got to do some ads and we got to do some this and we got to do some research and they get some keywords. The mindset of the shopper is high intent, so we got to attract them. And so once that started happening remember that first December, which normally holiday periods are really slow for us, even to this day, and it wasn’t. It was like a nice steady increase. And then January got better, February got better, then we made as much in one month that we had the prior year, and then that built on top of each other. Then the next quarter we sold more than we sold before, and then eventually our Amazon sales got parity with our own store, and that’s when we thought, hmm, we got to go all in, what can we do here? And so eventually our Amazon sales surpassed our own store, which was kind of an amazing thing. So then, as things progressed, as you know, you can’t use the same playbook from 10 years ago, and I think that’s what today a lot of sellers are going through, and I’m sure you’ve seen, whether it’s on Facebook or on LinkedIn, several sellers that are seven figures, some eight figure sellers are just throwing in the towel, and that’s because the times today require a different playbook, and I think sellers need to really grasp that reality. Amazon’s moved on. They want more money, period, end of story. They don’t care, they want you want to use PPC, that’s the tax you pay. You want to ship into FBA. You got to do it their way, and if you don’t, you’re going to be left behind or you’re going to be finding yourself far behind your competitors that get with the times, far behind your competitors that get with the times.

Bradley Sutton:

Maybe people who started around the time you did and just saw ridiculous success, if those kind of people could have, without much effort, relative effort, been doing seven, eight figures. But then if you, if you’re trying to use 2015 strategies even in 2018, let alone 2024, you’ll quickly learn that you can’t be lazy on Amazon or you can’t be stagnant on Amazon with your strategies. I mean, things are changing on a daily basis sometimes.

Rolando:

Exactly, the pace has accelerated. What Amazon wants to do with its sellers it changes. You guys put out so many updates and you’re trying to keep up and you guys have a big team of people to try to do with its sellers. It changes. You guys put out so many updates and you’re just, you’re trying to keep up and you guys have a big team of people to try to do that and it’s challenging. So being current and being relevant are getting harder and harder and for those sellers that already found it a challenge, finding it even more challenging. And I don’t think it’s a surprise and I’ve been talking to other friends about this that are in the Amazon space I’m not surprised if more sellers are just not going to be in the next 60 to 90 days. They’re not going to be part of it. And something that happened over the weekend our largest competitor they’re 10x larger than us they declared bankruptcy. I’m not going to say who they are, but they declared bankruptcy and I was blown away. I was completely in shock when I heard that and decided to look it up. Sure enough, that’s true. I checked out the court records. I was like, wow, I thought they were a beast. They were, but what is coming to the forefront, and I think every seller should think about, is profitability. No matter what you’re selling, if you don’t have money left at the end of the day to pay bills and buy more inventory, you are going to suffer. End of story, full stop.

Bradley Sutton:

So is your business model like? Is it all private label? Are you doing wholesale? Are you managing other people’s brands? What’s your model now, in 2024?

Rolando:

We started what you all call in the Amazon wholesale, what we call resell. So we resell brands in the electronic space. These are named brands and been doing that for 20 years. But what we brought along the way was a hybrid model where we are going to have our own private label of accessories on Amazon where we can control the inventory, we can control how we want to show ourselves and that kind of thing, and so that gives us a little bit of a balanced approach in terms of what we want to do. And I think if you’re a private seller, you’re going to face some challenges that resellers or wholesalers don’t face, and vice versa. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. I think the approach is different and you have to look at what your strengths are. For us, because we’d been in the reselling game or wholesale game for such a long time, we had the relationships, we knew all the distributors, we knew all the executive managers at all these different brand companies. So that’s our strength. But we brought in the high, we brought in the private label to fill in some gaps for us and without even going too far into a bunch of different people, folks like your audience would know. Like Steven Pope, he runs my Amazon agency and I had him on my podcast and he said the same thing. He sold his brand and you would think that somebody that has 400 people would be able to manage to keep moving forward on Amazon. But that’s how tough it is and he told me why. And you have blind spots and those blind spots can lead to mistakes and hopefully not all of those mistakes are grave mistakes that over time, pile up, and that’s essentially what he said. So, like you said, you got to be current, you got to use maybe a different playbook, you got to experiment, you got to watch the cash flow. And if I want to say something about Helium 10, I will tell you that one of the things I really love right now about Helium 10 is that you can go in right now, this very moment, find where your dogs are and I guarantee you every seller has dogs on their catalog and you can clean that up and easily boost your profitability 10% to 15% right now by looking at exactly what every single SKU is producing or not, and if you’re-.

Bradley Sutton:

What’s your cutoff point that you guys use to determine of who gets cut?

Rolando:

So we look at first of all, let me step back something that we’ve just done this year. We have somebody that I would term something like our chief loss prevention person, and in retail you have somebody like that to making sure stuff isn’t flying out the door under somebody’s coat right at their local Walmart and whatever. This person is making sure that we’re not losing money out the back door. And so one of the things that we try to do is anything that is making less from profitability. Every single SKU, anything that’s 10% or less, immediately gets flagged, and that week we have a discussion around it why is it 10%? Why is it 9%? Why is it 5? Why is it minus 4? If there isn’t some major justification like oh yeah, man, there’s a crazy amount of returns that came in that week. Good, all right. What if we back the returns out of the equation? It’s profitable, okay. So then we hand that information now to my catalog team and they go through and look through the reasons why the return was. If it’s one order that gobbled up the returns, we understand. Okay, we’re going to have some outliers. If it’s something more like this product sucks, the product sucks. You guys are bums. This product sucks, and that means we need to go even further find out what happened. Oh yeah, you know what the 3PL that we have? They put the wrong accessory in the bundled kit. We got a problem right, so now we can address it early, rather than six or eight months later when you’re doing an account review with your CPA or whomever and you’re like, oh crap, yeah, we’re 10 points lower this month, but that’s kind of our process. Now you have to have the mindset of somebody’s got to be in the numbers on a regular basis, looking at for us 10% or less, and be able to justify their existence If we can. And we see a pattern where, man, every month we’re only making 5 points, we’re only 5% profitable. It’s not going to pay off in the long run, especially if you’re constrained with cashflow. Cashflow is king, and this is something that I talked to a former CEO of Blockbuster. He told me our problem was cashflow. It wasn’t Netflix. Netflix just kind of pushed us over the edge. The problem was that we were constrained with cashflow, and cashflow, I think, is what every single, almost every single Amazon seller will struggle with at some point. And addressing the dogs helps improve cashflow, helps improve profitability helps improve long-term longevity on the platform.

Bradley Sutton:

Are you guys utilizing FBA mainly, all right. So FBA is pretty much where the these new fees in 2024 have affected. You know people, people doing, you know shipping inventory in, or how much inventory they have in storage, return rates et cetera, et cetera. Let’s talk about the first one how have you guys dealt with the inbound fee? Has that affected you? Have you changed what you do? Have you had to raise prices at all? How are you dealing with that first fee?

Rolando:

So we took all the data around. So we did some experiments. First, before the cutoff date, we started doing the inbound. We were paying for the placement fees, right, because we wanted to send stuff here and there, so we were paying for that. Then we switched that off to let Amazon go ahead and start shipping with so that inbound fee, those inventory placement fees weren’t attached to it. We came out ahead even when factoring in the extra shipping. And I think every category needs to look at that, because if you’re shipping furniture, your situation is going to be different than ours. But a lot of our items are around a pound. So in talking to other sellers they were. They pointed out to me hey, Rolando, did you know that in some cases you’re going to come out where the fee is zero and overall you’re going to come out ahead. And I was like what are you talking about? And so we did some math. Sure enough, we come out ahead. So I think inventory fees are a real thing they make an impact. But even more crazy than the, the, the inbound fees, are the low inventory fees and those initially we thought we were going to really be hit with that. And then they came out with this 20 units or less exception. So with the 7 days prior, a seven-day average. If you have sold only seven, I’m sorry, the seven days prior to you going out of stock or whatever, they look at how many units you sold. If you sold under 20, you’re good, you don’t have to worry about it. And so we have a bunch of low selling, low velocity items that were in that bucket and some that went out of stock that were in that bucket, and so it took our fees down, I think by 75%, and then the net result for us is only like 150 bucks net that we would have to pay on top of the sales. I’m like, okay, that’s not too much to worry about, but we have all these things to look at. So I think in the end, this could make Amazon sellers better, because you’re paying more attention to the inventory, which I don’t know about you, but inventories are number one cost bar none. Like you could, you could get rid of all your staff. You still going to have inventory cogs outweigh almost everything else that you have on the books.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, okay. So what about electronics? I’m assuming you know returns are, are an issue. Is that going to affect you, that the new return fee, or are you pretty much below the threshold on everything there?

Rolando:

We’re good Almost. We did a review Again. This requires you to take a spreadsheet. Put it in, our chief guy of numbers or loss. He looked at it, and we’re in good shape. And one of the things about returns is that it takes a multi-prong approach to bring the returns down. It’s certainly not anything to sleep on, because they chew up a lot of profit. So one of the things that we did was we looked at a program that Amazon has. It’s called the PLS program, the product lifecycle support. In electronics. You have a lot of returns from people that say, oh, I don’t know how to use that or I couldn’t turn it on, and you know how easy it is to return something. Amazon just lets you send something back. You know whether you used it or not, or you dumped it in the toilet and dunked it. They don’t care, they’ll still take the return. So, we looked at creating videos. That helped. We looked at this product lifecycle support. So, the product lifecycle support lets the customer click on the get support that’s on the app and it comes right to us on a landing page approved by Amazon where they can chat with us online, they can call us, they can email us and we give them information. We have videos from, and so on, so that’s been really good to tamp down returns even in this very easy laissez-faire environment that Amazon allows when it comes to returns.

Bradley Sutton:

You’ve been talking about it throughout this episode and you specifically definitely referenced the importance of profitability in 2024. I mean, honestly, if anybody is doing any kind of business, you know what are you doing if you’re not focused on your profitability. But I think it’s more top of mind this year just because of everything that’s going on With the new fees that are happening. And then it’s not like PPC costs are going down per se or there’s less opportunity to advertise. There’s always more things you can do. How do you make the decision with your products? Hey, which forms of advertising am I going to partake in? And then, how do I just keep it all balanced to make sure that you know again, I’m still profitable.

Rolando:

So, this is where a tool helps and there’s always a push and pull debate between an agency and you know in-house, and we run a lot of campaigns and so it’s not. You know, we have five campaigns and it’s easy to you know, just sort through. We have quite a bit of campaigns but internally, when you can have someone that you know what your goals are and they align with what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s a lot easier in some ways than hiring an agency bringing them in and they’re going to have their strategy, but the goals they’re trying to work with don’t always line up. So what we do is look at ROAS. For us, ROAS is always very important. And then the second piece, which is again another reason plug for Helium 10. I love that. You can go by each SKU and in any given time you know, in the last 30 days or 14 days or whatever you could see if ads have outstripped the profitability. So, what if we’d removed ads from the equation? Oh yeah, we would have been profitable. And those are for the ones that are under 10%. But the ones that are over that, that are 15, 20, 30 or more, what if we kick in an extra 5% on the budget? Or what if we went up more on the placement so that we show up more on the top of search? These are all the experiments that you play around with as a seller. Okay, let me give this one a little bit more. See what happens. Can we rank with more keywords? So you have a little different strategy when it comes to ranking, and you’ve had so many lovely, wonderful guests on the show talk about ranking and keywords. I would not do it any justice by trying to jump into that mix. I could just tell you, for us ROAS, the profitability by SKU and looking at how that fits into the product, if we have margin for it, I tell my PPC person go ahead, give it a little more juice, let’s see what happens. We do some external ads as well, outside of the platform, and that’s doing some wonders for us also. So, we’re running some experiments externally, pointing into the Amazon platform.

Bradley Sutton:

What is the most profitable form of advertising for you these days? I know when videos came out, that was very hot, you know like it was like oh man, my cost per click is so low compared to others, I convert really well. Or is it just the? You know the, the standard? Uh, you know sponsored product that you guys are doing, or maybe it’s a some kind of sponsored brand? Or are you guys doing DSP or other forms?

Rolando:

No DSP at this moment we do play around in sponsor brands. It’s a smaller part of our portfolio. When it comes to PPC and advertising, the heavy left, the heavy gorilla, the big gorilla is in sponsored products. I think, Dr. Travis, you know who I’m talking about. He had something that I am going to borrow from him. Amazon is a high intent platform that I’m going to borrow from him. Amazon is a high intent platform, so what you want to do is meet the demand. So if somebody, if there’s a lot of traffic for bananas just throwing this out because bananas is in my head If you want to sell bananas or banana products, maybe you want to look at where the demand is for that instead of you know, let’s say, like mung fruit, mung fruit is not going to be very popular in the US. So how can I plug myself in to the high intent shoppers that are on the platform that are looking for bananas and bananas product? Because whether I get 1% of those sales, 2% of those sales or 3% of those sales, especially if we’re talking about a big number, right, that’s better than 50% of monk fruit, which is a teeny, little pie, right? So that’s kind of our philosophy. Try to meet the demand instead of creating demand. There was a gentleman who’s head of marketing for Vermont Teddy Bear. I talked to him a few years ago. He more or less said the same thing to me. He said you know they do radio ads, they do TV ads they were doing. He said on Amazon, you meet the ads, they do TV ads. He said on Amazon, you meet the demand because you’ll find that you can’t even get your arms around all the demand. So try to meet the demand that’s there and you’ll find you’ll be more profitable instead of creating the demand where now you’re really investing. You’re really investing to educate. Amazon is not ideal and set up for that. Amazon is great for meeting that demand.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, any last strategies for the rest of this episode. Let’s talk about some quick-hitting strategies or something you can hit us with. Not many people in the game have been in the game for as long as you and you’ve kind of seen two sides of the spectrum People who are doing reselling and people who are doing private label. There’s a lot of them out there. You’ve done both. What are some strategies for either side of that aisle that you can help people to be profitable or to have success in 2024?

Rolando:

Today it’s all about controlling costs. There are very few levers you can pull on them. You can’t control the referral fee. You can’t control what your competitors are doing. You can’t control all the returns coming in. You can’t control Amazon’s fees. But there are things that you can do right now that you can control and affect your bottom line and I’ve mentioned a few of those. But when it comes to inventory, I just saw today the supply chain, the freight costs coming from China just jumped up to almost $7,000 for a full container where they were $1,500. Those may require you look at. What about if we ship air freight? You may find you can get really good deals on air freight and maybe use a different carrier. Find you can get really good deals on air freight and maybe use a different carrier. Go in and take a talk to if you use a 3PL or a warehouse. Maybe it’s time to look at a different warehouse. And we did that last year. We switched the 3PL that we were using. We’re saving money. We got even a better warehouse. They were more involved. They caught mistakes All of the mistakes you can catch before it goes into Amazon saves you money and makes you more profitable. And then have somebody designated to look at your blind spots, because I guarantee you, you will find some. We found a really huge error. We were double billed for stuff we were using, caused us to overpay taxes. All these things again. These could all be catastrophic. But if you don’t have somebody that’s the chief numbers person looking at all these things and tying them together so that you can take action on it, I guarantee you, if you look back at everybody that’s leaving, it’s a series of things that have eventually just pushed them over the edge. So put some chief loss prevention person in place. Look at Helium 10, look at every single SKU. Find the dogs, get them out, get them off the board, liquidate them. You’ll put more money in your pocket right now, and that’s what every seller needs more money in their pocket.

Bradley Sutton:

You’ve talked about profits being one of your favorite Helium 10 tools. What else is one of your favorite Helium 10 tools and why?

Rolando:

I love the dashboard. That’s where I spend more time in. The other parts of my team do different things. They’re looking at inventory, they’re looking at cogs and maybe they’re using Cerebro for keyword search. But I love the dashboard because you can customize what I want to look at. You know, if somebody says, hey, you know what’s going on with so and so I just look at and I get a good overview and I can customize it just the way I want and I can have, like, I want that first column to be the gross volume. I want to know overall what’s happening. Second column I want to know profits what did it generate last month or this month or whatever time period we’re talking about? And then profit margin, because then it factors in everything. I don’t have to guess, I don’t have to like go 10 reports deep. Oh, it’s minus one for the last month. We got to do something right now. Get Anthony on it right now, please. Anthony, can you look at what happened here with this? And so the dashboard is great for that high level view, customizing it, and then, if you want to take some action on it. There’s a lot of things you can do from there.

Bradley Sutton:

If we were to give you the keys to our product team for a week to develop a new feature or tool that we don’t have yeah, it could be an existing tool or it could be a brand new tool, something we don’t have what would be your priority for what we would do?

Rolando:

Let me see if I could do it my way, if I could do it my way. So, what I’d love is a way to combine PPC data, brand analytics data and keyword data. Combine those three. Let your AI in the background digest, chew it, find some nuggets and say hey, you are killing it on this keyword. Your conversion is astronomical, the profit is astronomical. You can afford to spend more here. Now I have some serious data to then my team hey, this keyword or this phrase double the budget. Why we’ve got extra money on it. It’s generating a lot of revenue for us, and the data says we’re killing it on conversions. If I had that ability, that magic wand, that’s what I would say to your team Get to it. Can you make it happen? Because you guys have the data. It’s just putting it together, running some analysis and then saying here’s the probability of this, here’s the probability of this, here’s the probability of that. Okay, good, now you’ve saved my team hours, hours of time going through all the different reports and all the different parts of this stuff.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome, awesome. All right, how can people find you on the interwebs out there if they want to reach out to you?

Rolando:

Well, I hang out on LinkedIn quite a bit. You can go to Rolando Rosas on LinkedIn. I also have got a podcast called What the Tech spelled T-E-C-K. I’m also there. Send me a comment or a DM or something like that and we’ll get in touch. I’ll be glad to help if you’re either looking to get into the space or you got some questions about why is this so hard and I can’t do what I want.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome, awesome. We’re also going to be seeing a lot more of you maybe in YouTube doing some Helium 10 demos and things like that. They asked me who do I think should get him. I was like, all right, my first choice right here is Rolando.

Rolando:

Let’s see, I’m honored. It says a lot, and you’re in this game. You’ve talked to a lot of people, so you had no shortage of people on your short list and I’m honored. I was at the top of that list.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome, All right. Well, thank you so much, Rolando, for being on the podcast multiple podcasts here at Helium 10 and helping me out with the Spanish demos and everything and sharing your knowledge with the audience. And we’ll maybe reach out to you next year to see how things are going for you and if you haven’t given up on those Spanish demos yet.

Rolando:

No, I’m going to learn German from here on out.

Bradley Sutton:

I want to there we go German. Yeah, we got to get you on the German podcast. All right, we’ll have a good one.

Rolando:

Appreciate it.  


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Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started: 

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business. 
  • Helium 10: 30+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon or Walmart business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTrademarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
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Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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