#240 – Two Amazon Sellers From Opposite Sides of the World Tell Their Story
One of the best things about selling on Amazon is how entrepreneurship and e-commerce tend to bring communities together. In many different ways, online commerce becomes a shared experience.
That’s why today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton is using this platform to have a conversation that checks many boxes for the majority of Amazon sellers. In this episode, Bradley welcomes Vova and Wayne to discuss their Amazon selling paths. Even though Vova started in Israel and Wayne began in China, you’ll be amazed at how often their experiences mirror each other.
Working hard to develop PPC Strategies, check! Creative fulfillment methods, check! Using Helium 10 to bridge language barriers, check and check!
Are you selling on Amazon? If so, there’s a very good chance that you’ll hear a little (or a lot) of your story in this episode.
In episode 240 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Vova and Wayne discuss:
- 02:34 – Growing Up in Israel
- 04:26 – Journalism in China, then Entrepreneurship
- 06:45 – Starting with Scissors on FBA
- 10:45 – Wayne’s History as a Reporter Helped Him Source
- 12:53 – Chronicling E-Commerce Journeys on YouTube
- 15:40 – “Everyone Loves Barbecue”
- 18:40 – Recruiting Chinese Amazon Sellers
- 20:07 – Using Helium 10 to Bridge the Language Gap
- 23:00 – How Did Wayne Find His Products?
- 31:00 – Solid PPC Strategies are Crucial
- 36:38 – Putting Inserts to Work in Your Launch
- 39:15 – Bradley’s Strategy Battles
- 43:40 – Splitting Keywords in PPC Campaigns
- 47:47 – How is Vova Fulfilling His Canadian Products?
- 48:30 – Wayne’s Writing a Book on Amazon
- 50:45 – How to Reach Out to Vova and Wayne
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast or wherever you listen to our podcast.
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.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon 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.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: On today’s episode, we’ve got two sellers, never met each other from opposite ends of the world, and who were going to find out that they have a lot in common from revenue to some of their goals that they have to their strategies. As a matter of fact, we’re going to have our first ever strategy showdown here with these two guests. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. We’ve got a couple of serious sellers here on the complete opposite, if I’m not mistaken sides of the world. It’s 10:00 PM here in California. First of all, Vova, where are you at? And what time is it there?
Vova: Hey, Bradley. Nice to be here, man. I’m in Israel now. It’s now 8:00 AM, just starting the day, man. And it’s a good start so far with you in a way.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So Israel and then Wayne, what time is it where you’re at and where are you at?
Wayne: I’m here in Shanghai and right now it’s 1:00 PM.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. 1:00 PM. So yeah, we are all kinds of time zones right now. It’s still– what is this? I don’t even know what today is today. Tuesday over here. We got Wednesday. I’m talking to Wednesday. All right. Anyways, let’s talk about some strategy here. And your guys’ history. You guys don’t know each other as far as I’m mistaken. I’ve met both of you. I haven’t met you guys in person. I don’t think, but just on zoom and different things like that. But first of all, Voba, where were you born and raised?
Vova: Yeah, man. I was born and raised in Ukraine and I lived there until the age of eight. I was born in a town called Zaporizhzhya, and then I moved to Israel to a town called Arad, a really small town in the desert here, like 30,000 people, something like that. And I’ve lived here most of my life, man in Israel. Yes.
Bradley Sutton: So, then growing up right around that time, when you’re about to leave Ukraine and just getting to Israel, eight, nine, 10 years old, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Vova: I was a really little kid back then, so I don’t remember much, but I do remember that I could read fast for some reason, I could read fast. So I probably thought of something connected to– something connected to the hard evidence to say something creative, maybe because the reading and we can read fast and maybe learn fast and maybe some engineer or something. But fast forward, man, after this, I wanted to be a chemical engineer. something like this. And then I became a lifeguard and then I quit my job to become an Amazon seller. So it went the other way.
Bradley Sutton: Did you go to university there in Israel?
Vova: No, no man. No. I never went to university. I skip this. I went traveling for like a year of backpacking and did military service. Backpack the year man. And then I got my chakras open to creating something because of the travels. I really enjoyed the freedom. I came back home. I tried travel blogging. I tried running on Instagram, a bunch of other stuff and eventually somehow bumped into Amazon FBA in 2016, man.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. So, it didn’t exactly end up where you thought you were going to be, but that’s pretty much always the case with everybody. Let’s switch back to Wayne, were you born and raised in China?
Wayne: Yeah. I’m born and raised in Mainland China. Then I go to university. Then, graduate school.
Bradley Sutton: Oh wait, wait. You’re going way too fast. Come on. So, you went from zero, you went from born to university in like three seconds there. Well, what part of China were you born in?
Wayne: The Northern part of China, it’s near Beijing.
Bradley Sutton: Near Beijing. Okay. I’ve been to Beijing. I’ve been to Tianjin over there. I think that’s the North part there. Okay. So then what did you think you were going to be when you became an adult?
Wayne: I always want to be a journalist. I started journalism in university and in graduate school. I start, I think I work in journalism–
Bradley Sutton: But even when you were little, you wanted to do that?
Bradley Sutton: Oh, wow. And then you ended up going to university for what you wanted to do since you were young?
Bradley Sutton: Wow. Nice.
Wayne: I want to be a reporter. I want to write something. I always want to write something. And so I go to university to study journalism afterwards. I work for the best financial information in the three companies in China. But there’s a trend in China. People want to have their own business, their startup in 2016, I left the company, started my own company providing information. But that failed. For two years, I worked here and there for some public relation job, and then in 2018 I found Amazon, some friends in America asked me to solve something for him. So, I came across what the guy’s doing. So I found Amazon and the rest is the last three years.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Let’s go back to Vova now. So, it was actually a couple of years before way that you discovered Amazon, how did you even discover the Amazon opportunity, Vova?
Vova: Yeah, so I was struggling to make money on the internet. As I mentioned, I was traveling and backpacking. When I came back to Israel, I was fired up to create something of my own and nothing really worked. So the first thing I was able to sell online was a picture of 2020.com. It’s like stock photos, a website of my travels, but that was it for like a year and a half. And then I read about drop shipping and I told a good friend of mine that was going to the gym with me. I told him like, Hey man, drop shipping, want to try. And he was also kind of– we wanted to do something entrepreneurial and then he’s like, Hey man, I found something else. Like Amazon FBA. And then we kind of bought a webinar of a company, Ukrainian company that was in back in the day info products, sales hub. And we went through that and it sounded good. It creates your own products, you don’t take care of the fulfillment. And then we kind of started manually just dumped, right first product or 500 units of kitchen scissors.
Bradley Sutton: So, this wasn’t drop shipping. This was private label.
Vova: No, no, no, no. We eventually started from private label straightaway than the drop ship or–
Bradley Sutton: And this is 2016 or we’re in 2017 now when you–?
Vova: Yeah. We kind of went to Ibisa, actually partied hard for a week, came back and the webinar thing was after nine. So, yeah. The whole process for sale was January 25th, 2017.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Interesting, interesting. Now then how did that first product do? Was it a success? Failure? Broke even what?
Vova: It’s interesting. Because it started going pretty well. Like in terms of new sellers, we were excited for each new sale. One, two sales, whatever. I think the first year in 17 was sold about, I can tell you straight away. I mean, I remember our revenue, we made 147 grand revenue profits 17% of these products, the scissors we sold about 4,000 scissors or something like this first year. So it’s kind of caught up and it was pretty, I mean, yeah. Fine.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. So, obviously it wasn’t enough to like make a living or cover all your expenses, but it was a start. Okay. Let’s go back to Wayne. So did you tell your friend that you were going to go ahead and start on your own or you just did it by herself?
Wayne: I tell him and said I want to learn. Cairo tell me, it’s a secret, go watch YouTube.
Bradley Sutton: And so that’s how you learned, you just taught yourself, watching YouTube videos?
Wayne: I took some courses later, but at that time I just watched YouTube and found who is an expert and watched a lot of YouTube.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then your first product, are you still selling your first product today or you stopped it?
Wayne: I’m still selling my second product. The first product is called long-handled squeegee.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Like for windows?
Wayne: For windows. For cleaning windows, that’s a failure because at that time I have no idea about the oversize problem. It’s way over 18 inches. And Amazon warehouse will allocate the products to three warehouses. At that time, I couldn’t, I calculated it, and went to the same warehouse. It will make a profit, but when it’s a split, I do not make a profit.
Bradley Sutton: Yup. Yup. Yup. That’s a big thing for new sellers that they run into that a lot, even experienced sellers. I’m running to that right now. Like I have a kind of oversized product and it’s just killing me because I guess I usually ship things. I’m able to ship most of my Amazon products to California warehouses. So whether it’s coming from my warehouse here in California or whether it’s coming from China, it’s pretty cheap because it’s just right here in California. But then this product can, I guess the size can’t go to that warehouse. So I have to go to three different warehouses all in the East coast and just completely kill my profits. So, that’s a very valid problem. So then your second product, you went, I’m assuming just a smaller product. And then, it was more successful for you.
Wayne: It still sells the best– it all went to FTW.
Bradley Sutton: That’s okay. So California or FTW, which one is that? Is that Texas?
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay, cool. So then for you, did you, I mean, I would imagine you’ve got a nice advantage living in China, speaking Chinese, obviously for sourcing and negotiating, like did you just go to a website to find a manufacturer like Alibaba or 1688, or did you already have like your own contacts at factories?
Wayne: Yeah. I do not have any contacts at that time. The benefit of my past experience is I’m a reporter. I’m not afraid to talk to anyone. I’m not afraid to lose faces. So I asked around, I go to 1688 and there is some local e-commerce wholesale site. So I go there on chat.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. And then you just start emailing them and negotiating prices?
Wayne: Yeah, we use chat and Alibaba.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. So 2018, what did you end your first year of sales? You had that first one that didn’t go very well. And then you had the second one, which was better. What was your gross sales, gross revenue, would you say in your first year?
Wayne: That’s another story because I started to sell on Amazon on December the 11th.
Bradley Sutton: So at the end of 2018?
Wayne: Yeah. I never know the Christmas season is so harsh.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Let’s go ahead and launch right before Christmas. There we go. That sounds like a good idea. No, actually I don’t think that’s bad. I’ve launched products actually at that time. And it just depends what kind of product is, so then really your first full year was 2019?
Wayne: Yes. Yes.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Well, what was your gross sales 2019, your first full year then?
Wayne: I do take every month, use a metric and to make a video on YouTube for that year, I make around 100,000.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, about a hundred thousand dollars in your first year of selling 2019.
Bradley Sutton: Man, you and Vova, I just completely pick you guys randomly to be part of the same. I was like, you know what, it’d be interesting to bring two people from different parts of the world who have never met each other, but a lot of your, both of your stories are kind of similar. I like it here. Let’s go back to Vova before he feels too lonely over there. Now Vova, actually Wayne is a youtuber. I didn’t even realize that. You’re a YouTuber as well. When did you start your YouTube channel? Like, did you start chronicling your journey early on or did this come after a little bit of success?
Vova: It has so. First, I didn’t know that Wayne’s doing YouTube as well, so I’ll have to check it out. It’s pretty cool. And as for me with YouTube, so in 18, things were going very well on Amazon. And I thought like, Oh, it’s really nice. But if it just kind of doesn’t work that well, maybe she’ll get another stream of income. So I thought if people do this on YouTube and I thought, well, probably they’re also making some sort of income there. So I kind of watch some channels back in the day. It was a Sammer Brax, Tamara T, Adam Fisher, still, these guys are still doing this stuff. And I thought, Oh, they have interesting information. I have some experience as well. And somewhere in the late 18, I started.
Bradley Sutton: Now going back to the actual Amazon, we talked about 2016, how was 2017 and 18 for you?
Vova: Yeah. So 16, as I mentioned, I started just we were doing the process, sourcing, learning. So the first year we grossed 147 grand. That’s the numbers that I remember from Fetcher. I used to use it back in the day. So it might be a bit different on the seller central itself, but I think it’s not too much. And the second year was a bit better. We did 323 grand and I think the margin was 19%.
Bradley Sutton: So, now, that kind of is enough money to just live. Right. You did. Or did you have to still have a different stream?
Vova: Yeah, I mean, actually it wasn’t enough to live out of this because I also moved to Thailand. Thailand is much cheaper than Israel. And back in the day I moved after our first year, like 17 and yeah, just thought like, well, it’s about the time to take the leap of faith and just quit the job. I really liked being a lifeguard. It was super awesome, but it has a ceiling for how much you can learn and just generally, Oh yeah. So, I thought like it’s better to jump into Amazon full-time so move to Thailand and yeah, there was a — how would I say it– it was much cheaper living and yeah, the business was going pretty good in 18. So, that’s why I also started the other stream of income actually in the good times. I thought like, well, it’s good now, but let’s keep it good.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, then I forgot to ask this, but I’m assuming all of this is this amazon.com or Europe, or where are you selling?
Vova: Yeah, that was all Amazon.com. In Canada, we moved, I don’t know why we did it only now, but we moved to Canada, or like, I think in 2020, late 2020, or early this year, I don’t remember, but in Canada it is pretty good. Now we’re selling barbecue related products. Canada likes barbecue and American likes barbecue pretty much.
Bradley Sutton: Everybody likes barbecue.
Vova: But there is a special, very good culture of this and in Canada, surprisingly, very good culture of this.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, so, you were born in Ukraine. Were you also an Israeli citizen?
Vova: Yes, I am.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So what was your process for– which citizenship did you use to like to apply to sell in the USA? And did you have any trouble or was it pretty, pretty easy to apply as a foreign national?
Vova: Yeah. The Israeli one. And yeah, we never had some problems I think, but 2016 was less harsh. No, that it’s not harsh right now, but it’s a bit more, maybe you need more papers or something. I’m not even sure. But back in the day it was just like a few clicks. Maybe a few– what was that? Bill, utility bill, something like this. I think it’s still the same.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. So then living in how, I’m just curious, I don’t know the answer to this, but like living in Thailand and everything, like what about taxes? Like, do you have to pay Israel tax? Do you pay Thailand like income tax or no tax? Are you paying because you’re moving around so much or is the government after you, or what’s going on? Yeah,
Vova: So, it’s a pretty common question. Interesting man, because yeah, people are equate. You’re leaving here. You’re born there. You’re selling there, and there. So, yeah, it’s pretty simple. Israel takes all the money.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay.
Vova: All right. And then if you have a business registered there. You just, yeah.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Let’s go back to Wayne now. Now Wayne, what about you, as a Chinese citizen in 20, late 2018, starting an Amazon account. I know they’ve gotten a little bit stricter with anybody, even American people trying to get an account, but was it still easy at the end of 2018? Or did you have to like do a video test, or interview with them to get an account or you just pretty much signed up?
Wayne: Yeah. I failed the first time due to the utility bill. They ask to provide utility bills in China, but we only have invoices and Amazon doesn’t allow invoices then. We do not have a utility bill. Like in the US, we only have invoices. So the first one down and a user, the second company to apply. Back then there is no video verification. Right now there is some postcard verification.
Bradley Sutton: So, if you are in China and you want to start an Amazon account and an amazon.com, what does that mean? Postcard verification?
Wayne: You mean right now, or back then?
Bradley Sutton: Or what you had to do the postcard one or now is postcard?
Wayne: Now is the postcard.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Well, what does that even mean? I don’t even know what that means.
Wayne: Yeah. In China, it is the– mainly in China is everywhere. So Amazon has a China team. We call them– how to say– recruiting manager. They go to different parts of China, like in Southern part of China, Eastern part of China, they go deep, and they organize events. So, in some of the factories interested in joining Amazon or some of the traders want to join Amazon, they will add to the recruiting manager and ask him for links. The manager will send links to them and they will click that link and register. That’s how it goes. You can also register on your own, but it is not recommended here in China.
Bradley Sutton: So then if you do it through these recruiters, then it’s almost guaranteed that you can, I mean, as long as you pass those utility bills and things like that, it’s kind of like Amazon is trying to recruit Chinese sellers, trying to make it a little bit easier because I haven’t heard of that from other countries. Right?
Wayne: Yeah. Yeah. I think they want to make it easier for the Chinese.
Bradley Sutton: Your listing. I mean, obviously your English is better than the average Chinese person that I know, but it’s not your native tongue. So, for you, and I know you have a big network over there and for everybody else who– English is not their first language, how do you guys get around the language barrier in order to create listings that an English person can understand?
Wayne: Well, that part, I use Helium 10 because Helium 10 saves us a lot of energy. We use Cerebro to find the keyword and we have Scribbles. We can mimic, it’s not, so that’s a good word. But there are some native sellers and they are selling the products for quite some time, fully optimized. We can use the Cerebro tool pack there ASIN, find the most search keywords. We take that down to Excel or CSV, and later we may try to do our own version of the listing. It’s not perfect.
Bradley Sutton: Well, what about people whose English is not as good as yours? I mean, you obviously can speak fairly decent English, but I know a lot of there’s tens of thousands of Chinese sellers. I’m sure their English is not that great. But does that mean that all of those companies, what they’re doing is maybe they’re hiring somebody like you who can speak a little of English in order to do the listings, or are they translating, or what do you think they’re doing?
Wayne: I think they are translating most of the people who do not speak English well, they will hire someone in Taobao or other places. It’s quite cheap. I think it’s the last time I’ve heard this 100 RMB for listing, but yeah, they do not have that much keywords. That’s why Helium 10 Cerebro plays a big role here.
Speaker 3: All right. It’s time for my BTS of the episode. Bradley’s 30 seconds. Here’s my 30-second tip. We mentioned in this episode about looking at demand on Pinterest to get ideas. Well, you can do that on Etsy and even sites like Shopify and Alibaba where if you want to see demand on Amazon, if you’re on one of those websites, you can actually use the Helium 10 Chrome Extension to do that. So, let’s say you’re on Etsy and you should search for coffin shelf, or you’re on a Shopify website, and they’ve got a certain product that you’re on the page, you just click the Chrome extension, that same one that you would use on Amazon. And it’s going to bring up our new tool, Demand Analyzer. And it’ll tell you that search keyword that’s on that page, or just any keyword that you enter from that page. It’ll tell you, what is the demand on Amazon? How many searches are there? What are the top sellers? What are related keywords? So guys start doing some product research. When you’re on Etsy, you don’t have to open up a whole another Helium 10 window, and then Amazon window to find all this. You can do it right there within Etsy, within Shopify, open up the Chrome Extension. If you guys don’t have that Chrome Extension, yet you can install it for free at h10.me/extension.
Bradley Sutton: Now for way, obviously it was easier probably to get a supplier. I mean, he’s getting a supplier in his own country. He speaks the language perfectly and can negotiate things. Now, how did you get your suppliers for your products when you were living in Thailand and Israel? Did you just use Alibaba or how did you find the factory?
Wayne: The general process does get taught in the courses. So, you just go to Alibaba and then there you negotiate. You can go 1688 to check prices maybe. When you can translate the keyword from English to Chinese and put it there. Or even if you put the keyword in Chinese in 1688, that’s a sourcing website. So yeah, we’ll just find suppliers in Alibaba. We saw that the prices were good and we could make money. And it also kind of compares prices to other suppliers, of course, and to 1688 as well. And we saw the prices are fine. So yeah, it’s just English talking there where I would recommend people. If you’re looking for some suppliers through Alibaba, just see that you can get good English communication if you’re speaking English. Because sometimes it’s hard if it’s not. And if you need to work with the person for a few good years, usually what would happen if you have a product that works well, it will just stay with the supplier that you’re liking and of course, can change it. But yeah, so it’s just, it’s quite easy. Yeah. English.
Bradley Sutton: Did you use trade assurance for your first ones or do you just negotiate directly with the factory?
Wayne: Yeah, first trade assurance. And then we switched to pioneer to just direct payments because this saves quite like, I think about these days, trade assurance and Alibaba is like 3.9 percent-ish, I think. And the Pioneer’s zero if you have pioneer twenties.
Bradley Sutton: Now, Vova, have you launched any new products like in the last year?
Vova: Yeah, I just launched the product. What was that like a week ago? And today morning, I got my first two star review on the three five star review.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, how are you, since one year ago when they started putting, or I don’t know if it was a year ago, a little bit less when they started putting the 200 inventory limitation for new products, you’re not in America, you don’t have a warehouse in California in the back of your house like I do. So, that didn’t affect me. So did you ship things to a 3PL first or how did you do it? I’m assuming before you would always just ship directly to Amazon?
Vova: Yeah. So, good question, man. Very popular also people are like, wait, how do we launch these days? What do we do? So for me, yeah, we used to ship most of the stuff to FBA. Yes. Straight away. And we did use 3PL but only when the volume has gotten a bit bigger in terms of units. But now what we do is, for example, for this product also BBQ related niche, we sent 200 units to Amazon straightaway and 300 to 3PL nearby. So we first get the address on Amazon from the 200 units. And then we send to a 3PL that’s close to that address. And then we start the launch soft, not too much, we should do giveaways. So that’s our strategy, PPC would connect after a few reviews and with the posts, stuff like that, Amazon posts now starting Pinterest for organic Pinterest traffic.
Bradley Sutton: What’s your strategy like is it once a week or do you have a certain schedule that you do post and what’s it about et cetera?
Vova: Well, it’s interesting. Yeah. So, Amazon suggests I think three to five posts a day, if there is, I think that that’s what I remember from their suggestion. But now with that, now we don’t have a friend, a virtual assistant that helps us. That’s kind of easier, but I used to do the loan. And what I used to do is I used to post about one, two per day. Okay. And I didn’t really see how to say, it just depends on the post. Some posts went very good. Some not. So you have to look at the metrics and the text usually is short because people are just skimming there. Yes. And what I found is just like a short text that maybe even mentions the keyword is going to be relevant. So what I saw was pretty simple. Like, for example, they’re looking for a famous garlic press famous house, Hey, Hey, there, looking for a garlic press. I’m like, this just mentioned something like that. So it kind of catches their attention because they’re like, yes, I am. Because you know that they are looking for this. And yeah. So these posts worked very good. Just where you mentioned the product name and maybe you mentioned their awareness.
Bradley Sutton: That’s one thing I’ve never used before. I haven’t used an Amazon post yet. I don’t have time for everything, but that’s going to be my next little mini case study. Let’s go back to Wayne really quick. What was your sales like last year? Way in 2020? Did it go down because of COVID or did it go up?
Wayne: Yeah, the first four months scares me off, but when we go back, we go full steam and we grow to around 400,000.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. How many products?
Bradley Sutton: 13 products, are these all separate products or some variations?
Wayne: 13 products. Some of them have two variations, I think there are too many variations in my listing.
Bradley Sutton: How do you find these 13 products? What was your strategy? Did you use like Helium 10 to find some opportunity or you saw something on Etsy, like Project X or what was your strategy to say, Hey, this is an opportunity I need to invest in it.
Wayne: Yeah. For me, it’s all of the above. I took down some of the Kevin King 16 standards, and there is some software where there is a double seven thing. And there are some that go to the niche for the most searched, most selected gift items. But in China we have the advantage of falling fast. When we see a trend, we climb on it. That’s the advantage we have here.
Bradley Sutton: So, those are 13 products. Did any of them fail like that one squeegee did where you had to stop selling it, or everything you launched so far you’ve been able to be profitable?
Wayne: Yeah. I think only three of them. I think it’s successful. Around five or six of them are also making some money. They did all come to the first page off or not seeing the top 10 places on the first page, but they are still making profits. So I’m just leaving them there for two or three things. I just, I think I made clear to some, it’s a rotating thing. Right now is 13. But last year I did some seasonal products. I also sell travel related items.
Bradley Sutton: That was terrible last year, right?
Wayne: Yes. I had a lot of inventories back then.
Bradley Sutton: I hope you kept it because soon in the next couple of months, I think travel is just going to get crazy. Oh no. You got rid of all of it, huh?
Wayne: Yeah. I don’t know when the COVID would end.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. But like neck pillows and all these things that nobody wanted for nine months, it’s going to be pretty crazy. I mean, already here in America, we’re seeing really big travel numbers increase. Now Wayne, what’s your main PPC strategy? Like, do you have a target for how much total you want to spend on your TACoS? In other words, what’s your total percentage of your gross sales you want to spend on PPC, or you just do it product by product and just look at the ACoS?
Wayne: I just do it product by product. I learned a lot from you, and I think the TACoS, everybody wants the TACoS to be lower, but for the first few months, it’s hard to get them lower than 20%. So we have to stick to it.
Bradley Sutton: So, Vova had talked about how some of his launch strategy is a mixture of like PPC and also giveaways. What about your launch strategy?
Wayne: Yeah, our launch strategy I use like you’re in Maldives recently for some big words and some niche words. That’s our first part. Before that, before you invented the Maldives honeymoon method, I did a lot of PPC. I may open tool auto campaigns. That’s a loose match, close match, and the other tool, yeah, another auto campaign. So I do a lot of broad campaigns. Each of them contains 10 or 15 keywords, and I track the keywords ranking by using the Keyword Tracker. So I know which keyword I should put my energy on, to beat more. Or these keywords are not working. I should be negative. That’s a main– I also do some Many Chat. So, that’s all I did for the past year.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. How about reviews? Are you doing anything special for reviews or just using like Helium 10 Followup or are using insert cards or any other special strategies for getting reviews?
Wayne: We have some user cards. We also do the request a review button. Yeah.
Bradley Sutton: You just hit the button. You’re not using the request to review in Follow Up?
Wayne: I have the Chrome extension. Yeah.
Bradley Sutton: BDo you know that in Helium 10, it’s also in Follow Up, like, you don’t even need to use the Chrome Extension anymore. You can use request review inside of Helium 10 so that you can filter out people. You didn’t know that way?
Wayne: I don’t know that.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, come on Wayne. No way, Wayne. Okay. So anyways, Oh my goodness. Vova, did you– tell me you knew that.
Vova: I knew, but I’m still clicking the button.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness. You guys are wasting– Vova, I thought you wanted to party. You need more time partying and you’re wasting your time clicking the stupid button here when you can just automate it in Follow Up.
Vova: Lord man, Lord.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness gracious.
Shivali: All right, guys, that sound means it’s time for our C A T. Our CAT of the episode, which stands for clubhouse after party tip. Once a week, we go live on the clubhouse app and bring back former Serious Sellers Podcast guests. We take live questions from you and they give you their best tip out there. So, every episode we’re going to be giving you guys clips from these episodes we’ve been doing on Clubhouse. So, you can get some great strategies from our former guests. Now, if you have the clubhouse app, make sure to search for the club Serious Sellers Podcast and follow it, so that you can be notified when we go live. You can also follow our director of training on there at h10 Bradley. Today’s cat is from Ashlin Hadden, an e-commerce insurance professional originally from episode 227 from the Serious Sellers Podcast, who came back to share some invaluable wisdom on her matter of expertise.
Speaker 4: Actually, I have a question for Ashlin. Ashlin, in terms of insurance, primarily sells here in Canada on the .ca marketplace and looking to expand into the .com US marketplace later this year. So in terms of insurance, what advice do you have for non-American or international sellers who are selling in the US on .com? What’s your advice to them in terms of obtaining insurance?
Ashlin: Most to America? No, the Canada market is really, really super hard for us right now. We are struggling to find carriers that will actually extend coverage to a Canadian company. So right now, the only way that we have around that is for an entity to get a US tax ID number and a US mailing address. That is the only way the US carriers will allow coverage currently. Once you get us coverage then we can extend liability worldwide, but you still would need that us insurance to start with, and then we could do that exemption. We did a lot of questions on how to do that, how to get a US EIN and tax communications and all of that. So I am not a tax advisor, so definitely talk to a tax advisor, but we have heard a lot of our international sellers that do a zero tax return and make it a pass through entity. So you’re not paying US taxes, you’re not paying anything in the US. But you do have to have that US EIN. So talk to your tax advisor, you can get the EIN on the federal website. You can get it from a US attorney. There’s a bunch of different ways for you to be able to get it, but you do have to have that now in order to get you at suffrage.
Bradley Sutton: What about you Vova, any unique strategies you have either for PPC or for getting reviews?
Vova: Yeah, so for PPC, I can say much because my partner takes care of that. So my knowledge in PPC is very minor. Hence I don’t have many videos on my channel about this, so, but I will say from other strategies for say for launch or for the reviews, even with stock reviews is, yeah, it’s good to include the insert, right. But here’s one strategy that might help you even get more. Maybe people are scanning your insert. So think about it. The insert is in your box right? Now, yes, you can put a stop sign on it. Something that will attract the eye, some crazy face, some huge eyes. You know what I mean? Like, so people need to see that. They must see that. But another thing you can do is for example, you have a pan that you’re selling and it is right. Not a pen, like a writing pen, a cooking pan. Yes. So what you can do is you can put a little hanger on the handle, right? And on one side of the hanger, you can put, I don’t know some– your company logo, maybe on the other side, put the QR code and say like scan here for this and that. Why is it good? Because if people are going to be cooking, for sure, maybe they opened the box, but they didn’t look at the insert, whatever, but here it is, they have to take it off. They will probably see this. Unnecessarily, they will use it. It depends on your copy on how good your offer there is on this little hanger. But think about it. It’s not our way to showcase your place to get them to either to Portals on Helium 10 or ManyChat, if you wish.
Vova: And of course on the follow up of this thing, you get them in your list. And then I think the strategy for us is to, of course, somehow get the review so we can either just give value, value, value. Like we can give some more information about the product. If it’s a pan, we can just give without asking too much, just give some good book PDF. We can give some emails, an automatic email sequence that gives some tips for cooking. And after this, maybe in your follow up sequence, again, you can ask for the review. Another thing I would recommend for Many Chat is taking the OTN. OTN, these days is called one time notification because you can re-contact the users. If you can just message them if you don’t have this OTN. So make sure that in your follow up in Many chat, if once they scan the barcode part of your sequence for the first day is to take OTN from them. And if you can take two OTN for them, take two OTN.
Bradley Sutton: As you were talking, I just thought of something we’re going to do something different. I’ve never done this before. When I have two guests, we’re going to have a little battle here, a strategy battle, because that’s the topic of Serious Sellers Podcast is serious strategy. So, Vova has one point right now that was a pretty good one. That was a good strategy right there about placements of your insert. Now Wayne, I mean, you can take a little bit of time to think about it too. What is your strategy? It doesn’t have any, it doesn’t have to be about insert cards. It can be about anything, but you have to come up with a strategy as good or better than Vova. And actually let’s see who gets the point on this one.
Wayne: We have to combine a lot of our tools together to find what we’re selling the most in the next coming season or autumn info. So, there are quite a lot of tools out there. Google trends, claims. When we look at the data, we are predicting for the future and we all know Pinterest. They have, as you mentioned, Pinterest has a high performance ahead of time. So, what I encourage the listener do is to look at Pinterest and look at Google trends, look at academies. It will give you some broad ideas. What is– do you need to discover it out there? And now it’s competing with the existing products in the Amazon. So, mainly Pinterest offers that diversification differentiation ideas. So, we don’t take the time to do the packaging, to do a little bit of a bundling or design change. Your picture, your product will jump out. Will jump out from the list from the search. So people will more likely to keep click your pictures and the rest is all you need to do the conversion
Bradley Sutton: You’re looking on Pinterest. How do you determine if it’s trending on Pinterest or not? Like, how do you find something hot on Pinterest? Do you then, like you mentioned, like you go look at Google trends or something, or how do you know?
Wayne: Yeah. I think there’s Google trends and claims. They all have a good tool about data forecasting. I think they’ll give you some ideas about this. This product says trending, like the Tik Tok lights.
Bradley Sutton: Tik Tok lights. Ah, interesting.
Wayne: Yeah, because when people are talking about Tik Tok, maybe people are the Tik Tok influencer, they are already making some purchases around Tik Tok. Yeah. So there are the Tik Tok lights. And before that, there is a search on Google about Tik tok lights.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Okay. I like it. I like it. All right. One point each. So this is kind of a hybrid of what I call on my podcast the TST, 30-second tip. So, that was like a two minute tip. That was still TST because it was a two minute tip. But both of you guys took a couple of minutes. Now let’s go back to Vova. This will be your last chance now. So how about something that is 30 seconds or one minute or less, another unique strategy that you think you use that maybe some of our audience doesn’t really know about?
Vova: What I would say is I would go back to that same tip and I would use it as a main picture tip. So what do, I mean? If you have a pen that has a little handle– a hanger I called it on the handle, right? So what you can do is you can make the hangar look very colorful and shiny. And for example, if your pan somehow is eco-friendly or you have some other product that’s eco-friendly, or just general, you can use it like a green hanger, for example, something beautiful from your designer. What is nice about this is on the one side, you might have that way to the, another QR code side of your, maybe of your inside of your box, where they can see, but on the other side, you don’t have to show it to all the world at the main picture, just use something very eye-catching and it can give you a little bit more CTR on your picture.
Bradley Sutton: All right, Wayne back to you, another strategy from you.
Wayne: Yeah. I think I’ll do some PPC tips. I would love to split test two more campaigns. People in China are afraid to do campaigns. I heard someone, they put 500 words in one campaign. So I think maybe for quite a lot of sellers, they are confused when they see too many campaigns, but it’s necessary to split your keywords to multiple campaigns. And you can do the adjustment later, it will help because the most specific each campaign is, the more you can handle the negative thing.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, like, what’s your max number of keywords per campaign then? Before you start to split and make a new one?
Wayne: Yeah. I tried a lot, but right now, I think I may open 15 campaigns for each product,
Bradley Sutton: 15 campaigns per product. Yes. And each campaign has how many–
Wayne: Yeah. The budget is low. The budget is not like one hundred each. The budget, like the auto campaigns. I say, you could do two campaigns, but are used to the task. I opened for, which is why is a loose campaign or a whole campaign. And then there’s an exact match. That’s our campaign. So there is something I beat out a little bit more like it’s called missing, like I bid .2. 20 cents. And if there are no impressions, I raised the bid to 25 cents. So when there are impressions, I see if there are some conversions. So I do a lot of tests for the 15 campaigns, many is from the broad match.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Interesting, 15 campaigns for product. That almost sounds like Mina Elias. We had him on the podcast a while back. He uses tons of campaigns per product as well. All right. Well, Vova, what’s your goals for 2021? You have a revenue goal, or profit goal, or life goal, or what’s going on with you?
Vova: Yeah, man. Great question. And, well, I’ll tell you the profits goal, actually, the revenue goal, the profit, I hope it’s going to stay at least on 25%, but it seems to go up. We’re above 30, I think now generally for this year. And it’s mainly due to the product being more mature, more reviews, and we can raise prices, stuff like that. So it’s pretty nice, but we would like to do revenue wise, the million bucks this year. And we’re in about 80 something like that.
Bradley Sutton: Wait, didn’t you say it was $250,000 last year?
Vova: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Bradley Sutton: And you’re trying to go 4x in one year.
Vova: Yes. Yes.
Bradley Sutton: Have you just completely stopped partying or what’s going on? How are you going to be able to do that?
Vova: Bro, it’s been 20x. It’s funny enough that I have, because that I think was close.
Bradley Sutton: How many products is it going to take you to generate that million dollar goal?
Vova: Right. So we have now, I think, seven products. Okay. And we are going to say we’re planning to launch two more. Okay. But because we’re going to other markets like Canada, and it seems like we were sleeping on this too long, because it’s just– with the few reviews it’s already even passing the States, selling sales in the States .
Bradley Sutton: What? One product you’re selling more in Canada than the USA?
Vova: Yes. For example, one product that for example, in the USA, was screwed there in the ranks and everything sent so much, but in Canada upon just putting there on the market. Yes. Organically. Yeah. It already got into, like, I think 20 sales a day.
Bradley Sutton: One last question. I just thought of this, like all this business you’re doing in Canada, are you sending inventory to Amazon or are you fulfilling it from your USA FBA inventory?
Vova: Great question. So I think it’s good for people to test it out with this program to try and how you call it? To try like this to list your product in Canada, while selling from the States. Yes. It will cost you a lot in fulfillment fees, but then you can at least see how the market is responding. And then what we do is we sell, sorry. We send the product to Canada. All right, to 3PL. We will turn off this program because it’s more expensive and just starts straight fulfillment. We sent it to Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: All right, let’s go back to Wayne, what’s your goal for 2021?
Wayne: Yeah. Right now, I’m writing a book about Amazon, how to sell Amazon in Chinese.
Bradley Sutton: In Chinese or English?
Wayne: In Chinese. My English is not that good to write a book.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, you can make an Amazon listing. You can write a book.
Wayne: There’s quite a different ways of doing Amazon here in China. As you mentioned, there are notorious Chinese sellers, believe me, there’s a lot more Chinese sellers who want to do this and business hands on. But they do not have the access to good knowledge. So, what I’m writing is about how to do the Amazon the right way to not hijack other listings and just make a different life. That’s what the book is about. For the company, I have the same goal like Vova. I hired VAs from the Philippines and it’s– I regret not hiring her much earlier. So, she is a great help. I think, I also, even the product searching for her. That’s really nice, save a lot of energy for me. I think that’s all.
Bradley Sutton: BOkay. All right. So what about revenue wise? Like, are you as crazy as Vova and trying to 4x your sales this year?
Wayne: Yes, I share the same goal with Vova. One million.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness. What is– you guys are so ambitious. I love it. I love it. All right. And then your book, how are you going to sell your book? Like on–
Wayne: The books are quite cheap here in China, it’s only about six bucks, so I will not make a fortune out of it. But I’m a reporter. I used to be a reporter. I love writing.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Cool. All right. So Vova, we’ve talked about your YouTube here. So can you give, like, if people want to reach you or find you on the interwebs out there and check out your YouTube channel or ask you some follow-up questions on, or maybe you want to go partying with you in Ibiza, how can they find you out there? What’s some of your links?
Vova: So, yeah, you can find me on YouTube as Vova Evan in English. In Russian, I also channel. If you type the same in Russian, and that’s in the Russian and also in Hebrew, I speak Hebrew. So Vova Evan Hebrew, but Hey, I live at noon. You can find me on Hebrew as well YouTube and yeah. All right, man. Welcome to contact me all the time. Happy talk.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. And Wayne, like I know you have a big audience. So if anybody is listening from China or even other Chinese speaking people around the world who maybe want to find out when your book is going to be, or reach out to you to get some help with their Amazon business, how can people find you on the internet out there?
Wayne: You can search me, Wayne Han. That’s my English name, Wayne.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, okay. Cool. Love it. Love it. All right. Well guys, tens of thousands of people just heard your lofty goals for this year. So, I’ve got to hold you to it so next summer or so we’ll definitely try and reach out to you guys and bring you back to the podcast. And let’s see if you were able to each hit that 1 million. And if you were, then you guys will be rich enough to treat me to a trip to Ibiza all three of us together, and we’ll go party with Vova. Does that sound good, Wayne?
Wayne: Good. Come to China.
Bradley Sutton: We’ll go to Ibiza and then we’ll go to Macau. And then we’ll go to Beijing. We’ll just have a crazy party week.
Vova: Great. I’m in for that.
Bradley Sutton: Vova is like don’t threaten me with a good time. He’s all about that. All right. Cool. Well guys, it was great for you to come on and I love doing this stuff. We’ve got three people who none of us have really met each other in person, but we’re all kind of connected in this Amazon game and look at it. You guys are from completely different backgrounds, completely different parts of the world. And look, how many things you guys had in common from your revenue to your goals, to some of your strategies. I love it. Amazon brings the world together. Sounds corny, but it’s kind of true when you think about it.
Bradley Sutton: All right, then, we’ll see you guys later and we’ll look forward to you being on the show again.
Vova: Thanks for the opportunity, man.
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