#231 – An Update from an Amazon-Selling Military Vet and Podcast Favorite
If we spoke to a (socially distanced) room full of Amazon sellers, they would all have different stories that reflect how e-commerce sellers have navigated the last 365 days of this life-changing pandemic.
Still, there have been a number of similarities. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes back a podcast favorite to give us a “boots on the ground” reflection on e-commerce during COVID. Schrone Hardeman was a retiring military vet who told us in his first visit to the podcast 18 months ago that when he had left the military, he was deciding between becoming a greeter at Walmart and clerking at GameStop.
Things changed quickly. He found success selling on Amazon and within a short amount of time, began coaching other entrepreneurs to do the same. Now, he’s back to talk about the last year in e-commerce, and how despite having a product shut down for over half the year, he was able to add to his 2020 revenue goals by over 100 thousand dollars.
In episode 231 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Schrone discuss:
- 03:00 – Catching Up with Schrone
- 05:15 – COVID Causes a Second Product to Come to a Complete Stop
- 07:30 – Treating His Product as a Relaunch with Targeted PPC
- 12:30 – How Schrone Manages His Finances
- 16:00 – Applying for Trademarks to Protect His Brand
- 18:00 – Taking Advantage of Brand Registry
- 20:00 – Doubling His Revenue in 2021 Was a Nice Surprise
- 23:00 – Schrone Loves ADS but Makes His Own Changes
- 25:00 – Expanding His Amazon Catalog
- 27:00 – What Was the Shopify Set-Up Like?
- 30:00 – Shopify Shipping Options Help Create Sales
- 33:00 – Shooting for 750K in 2021 and a Few Clever Ideas
- 36:00 – Finding the E-Commerce Sweet Spot
- 39:00 – How to Contact Schrone
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 Play 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: Today, we’re bringing back somebody to the show who has one of the most inspiring stories of our guests, and he’s going to talk about how, despite one of his products being shut down for more than half of the year, last year, he was able to crush his 2020 revenue goals by over a hundred thousand dollars. 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 Bradleysutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS, free unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies or serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. And we’ve got one of our all-time favorite guests here, back on the show, Shcrone. Shcrone, how’s it going?
Shcrone: Man, it’s going great, sir. How are you doing boss?
Bradley sutton: I’m doing just delightful. And guys, whenever somebody comes back on the show, it’s been about a year and a half or so since Shcrone was on here, but we don’t go into their entire backstory because you guys should have already heard about that. But in case you’re new to the show, what you can do is you can pause this episode right now and then hop on over to helium10.com/podcast, or just search for it on whatever app you’re listening to, and go to episode 112, 112. That’s one of my favorite groups of the nineties, Shcrone, you’re about my age. You remember that group, right?
Shcrone: That’s where the Players dwell.
Bradley sutton: Exactly. Where the players dwell. So guys, episode 112, you’ll get a Shcrone’s back story– really inspiring, was a military veteran, and then thought he was going to work as a Walmart greeter. And then all of a sudden he learned about the Amazon opportunity and he’s been crushing it. And so let’s just, first of all, recap, kind of like fast forward to the end of that episode, you, I believe at the time, this was like, January or something of 2020, you were around a quarter of a million from that one product that you had started was that.
Shcrone: That is correct. That was hidden around 220 something.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Okay. And then I remember you had said you had grown a Facebook audience to like 17,000 followers and that had helped then you’re launching different variations of that one product, but so let’s just catch up. This was before COVID, when you’re on that episode. So obviously a lot in the world and I’m sharing your Amazon business has changed. So let’s just catch up with what’s been going on in the life of Shcrone for the last year or so. So how, in the beginning of COVID like what, when Amazon started locking things down, like, were you affected by that? Like, were you unable to replenish or what?
Shcrone: Yes, most definitely. So my first product was thankfully considered an essential product. I don’t know how, but I’m not going to complain. So, at the top of the year I had gross 224, 2019 saw that that was a triple from 2018. So I figured it’s time for me to expand and grow. Started doing my research and I came across my second product, which I launched in February and then one I launched on February–
Bradley sutton: Same brand?
Shcrone: Same brand, different product, a different category. And from February, what was it? The seventh today? April 1st I sold 600 units in 51 days.
Bradley sutton: Wow. Of the new one or the old one?
Shcrone: Of my second product. So I was thinking it’s on its way. It’s on its way. It’s time to order big, this, that, and the other. Well, right before I made the order, guess what happened? COVID hit. So, Amazon did their control and placed my second product in a non-essential list. So I can not order. And goodness gracious. They put me out of stop for about seven months.
Bradley sutton: Seven months?
Shcrone: Yes, sir.
Bradley sutton: Okay. So, then you sold, those were your initial order. Something like six, 700 units. Was that like in the entirety of your first order? Okay. So then you sold out of it and you’re all excited. And then did you put money down on the second order and then you have to stop it, or you kind of like didn’t even order it because you could already see the writing on the wall that you weren’t going to be able to send it into Amazon
Shcrone: So, mid-February, I started selling. March is when they locked everything down and I couldn’t order anything. And I just had to watch my inventory dwindle down all the way until April 7th or April 1st or whatever. And then hoping they had said, Amazon said April 5th, that they were going to lift the non-essential and stop ordering. Well, that didn’t happen because we had a second round of COVID or whatever. And it just can happen. So when that deadline fell through, I put the funds into my first product because I was allowed to work, reorder them. So I redirected funds. And when he finally opened it up in like, what June or something like that, I didn’t have the funds to restock my second one. And I was kind of, we’re still growing my first product. And I actually re-upped on my second product in October, September, October.
Bradley sutton: Now throughout this whole time, was it just sitting there? Did you close it? Did you suppress it? Do you do anything at all or just left it out of stock?
Shcrone: So I learned something. I did not close it. I kept it active as long as it would. And the reason I did that is because when returns come back, Amazon decides whether or not it is sellable or not, and between April and I guess June or whatever, I get like 20 sales because I had like 20 refunds.
Bradley sutton: I’ve been in the same boat.
Shcrone: Creep up and then I’ll take a dip because I made a sale. And then I would creep up again. And I took a dip because I made a sale. And that was beneficial because when I came back in September, I was at 450 something thousand BSR ranking. And then I got on a third day back, I dropped down to 10,000.
Bradley sutton: Yeah. Once you start getting sales right off the bat, your BSR will definitely reflect that. So then you kept the listing open and thankfully there were no hijackers who had tried to hijack while you were gone or anything like that. And how was your keyword, your keyword rankings? I’m sure you were using Helium 10 for your keyword rankings with, during your initial launch. And you probably got to page one for some of your main keywords. What was it like as soon as you came back to the stock where you immediately were at the same position that you had left off on page one, or did it take a few days? Did it take a week or what happened there?
Shcrone: Definitely not at the same spot at the seven months of being inactive, I was around page four, page five when I came back and a week after that, I was around page one, page two for the majority of my high search volume keywords.
Bradley sutton: Well, and do you think this was pretty much just from PPC or did you do any search, find, buy or any Facebook ads or anything like that?
Shcrone: Most definitely PPC. Because when I came back, I treated it as a relaunch and I dumped money all day into PPC strategically, of course. And I got it back down in the back running and currently, well around November until now, it’s been about 10 to 15 sales a day.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Now, did you leverage your audience, your brand’s audience at all for that relaunch?
Shcrone: Absolutely. I engaged them with, because I knew, well, I felt that it was a good product to go, right. So I started– you know me, I love variations. So during that seven months, I engaged my group to give me new color options that they will want to see and keep them engaged that way. And I came up with two more variations during my relaunch and when I relaunched it, I let everybody know and maybe they bought, maybe they didn’t, but I got back up to 10 to 15 sales a day.
Shcrone: Okay. What’s your Facebook audience up to now? I believe it was like 17,000 at the beginning of last year.
Shcrone: Yeah. I haven’t been promoting the group as much, so it was only at 18,000 right now. Now that I’ve opened up my Shopify store and I have to drive traffic because I don’t, no one knows my website. Look is definitely the way to go for my [inaudible], anyway.
Bradley sutton: Did you open up any other forms of social media outside of your Facebook group? Like Instagram or Tik Tok or anything like that?
Shcrone: I have Instagram and Pinterest. I’m currently working on how to figure out Pinterest.
Bradley sutton: You mentioned how, because you weren’t able to reorder your second product. You just poured all your earnings back into the first one. And I’m assuming, you were opening up variations or whatever. Now, in retrospect, if your hand was in force, like happened with Amazon, do you think it would have been better off not pouring so much money back in that first product and then spreading and developing that second product? Or did it work out for you? Like, because you poured so much money back to that first product, you were actually able to scale that one a lot more than you would have had you had to divide your attention.
Shcrone: I wish I had hindsight, but my plan was to pour into the first product. And here’s why, because I’m brand registered now. I got brand registered around April, March, somewhere up there and they have the virtual bundles. So my first product, I get about 500 impressions a day. And if I put my virtual bundles on my first product, you’ll see my second product. That was the goal. And because I had to pour more money into it, I opened up more variations. And, uh, when you think about it in the end, it worked because I started it with two 20, something thousand in 2019, 2020, I yielded 449. I believe it was.
Bradley sutton: Are you tracking your virtual bundle sales?
Shcrone: I haven’t started that yet.
Bradley sutton: Oh, you haven’t started yet.
Shcrone: No. I haven’t started yet.
Bradley sutton: Okay. I’ve been wanting to do a mini case study on those because it’s unique to me. I see a lot of big sellers doing it, but it’s so weird because you can only track it through this one special report because they just show up kind of like individual orders from the individual SKUs. So it’s kind of hard to figure out, you know, which ones were virtual bundles if you’re not looking at this one special report. So, and then you can’t send PPC directly to it unless it’s a brand sponsored brand ads. So I definitely want to get into that. So I’ll definitely have to hit you up once you get started with that. Now overall, what did you end your 2020 and overall sales with all this stuff that happened obviously probably could have been more, but what did you end up with about and grow sales?
Shcrone: 456,000, a hundred thousand in gross revenue based on my Profit tool from Helium 10.
Bradley sutton: Okay.
Shcrone: That’s the max of 116 with a 26% profit.
Bradley sutton: Excellent. Now that money, like you mentioned during the summer, you were just taking all the proceeds and sticking it back in your company. Has that continued or now are you at the point where now you’re pulling money out and I’m not necessarily buying a Rolex or anything like that, but I remember before you had, I don’t remember, you had talked about, you’re trying to buy a house or a car or something like that. Like what have you been able to use the money for, if anything?
Shcrone: Yeah, so the way I handle my profits is I spend the necessary on utilities and bills of that niche. And I saved the rest until the top of the year. And at the top of the year after taxes, whatever’s left. I used that as that current year salary. So my salary is in the rear. At the top of 21. I finished out with about 60,000 at the pan and everything. So 60 of the 116K and I was blessed enough by God to flat out, buy my wife, a 21 Camry. And that’s what I did.
Bradley sutton: Nice. Is she working?
Shcrone: No. I’m the breadwinner.
Bradley sutton: Has been the case for a while, or was it something where she was able to stop because you were pulling in more money?
Shcrone: No, it’s been like that since 18 and that’s because of the Amazon business and the military pension.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Excellent. Excellent. So she’s definitely not complaining about the, I remember before that was one, that was one of the things in the episode, we talked about how you guys had this plan to put the money in the house and this and that. And you had to convince her to let you take some of that deposit money and put it into your Amazon education and start up.
Shcrone: Listen to me when I tell you, it’s definitely hard to just pull $15,000 on a dream from a house fund. And that’s why I got her the thank you gift. It took about three years, but I did it.
Bradley sutton: Is she or any of your kids involved at all in your Amazon business?
Shcrone: Funny, you should mention that they’re not involved in my Amazon business, but my youngest is six year old, she’s interested in how I’m working from home. So just last Sunday, we did a lemonade stand, and this woman, this girl made $50 in 40 minutes.
Bradley sutton: Oh my goodness.
Shcrone: Off of lemonade.
Bradley sutton: Well, what’s she putting in that lemonade?
Bradley sutton: I love it. I love it. I love it. Yeah. And never can start too young. I had my kids packing fulfilled by merchant and putting FN SKU stickers since the age of like seven, eight years old here at this house. So, now they’re kind of like employees because I run a lot of brands as case studies, but I only got like five hours a week to spend on Amazon. So most of the work my family actually takes care of. So they don’t like it, they don’t have the passion for Amazon as much as me, but, but they’ve got a passion for that paycheck that I’m giving them. So, it’s regardless. It’s a good learning experience for their future endeavors.
Shcrone: That thing e-commerce is the way to go, man. Our kids have not done the 20 plus years of nine to five. Like we have, so they don’t understand. This is a great opportunity.
Bradley sutton: Yep, yep, absolutely. Now what else in 2020 happened? Like any other, I mean, obviously that not being able to replenish your product was a big problem. What other roadblocks, if any, did you run into in the last year since I talked to you?
Shcrone: Well, okay. I’m glad you mentioned that. Around February I was talking to a peer of my, and I wanted to show them our product. And then, you know, at the being established, one of the fastest ways to find your, probably Amazon is to search for your brand name. As I searched from a brand name, right beneath my product was another product with the same brand name of the same caliber. And this dude had not hijacked my listing. You had checked my branding and that scared me because I did not have the trademark in place. And so, at the 18 months of selling my first product and one day of selling my second product, I applied for a trademark, two word marks and two brand marks on two different products. And pray to God that my approval for a brand got approved before his.
Bradley sutton: So, hold on. Did you do it through the IP accelerator or did you just try and do your own trademark first before starting the process of brand registry?
Shcrone: I talked with my mentor. He gave me a website to go to, and that same night around 11 o’clock at night, I filed it right then and got brand registered because a whole lot faster, but I went through trademark. Yeah. And he got done.
Bradley sutton: So, it is for the USA. You did the trademark for the USA, so then that process to actually get it, that serial number that you need or that registration number that you need to show to brand registry. Was that like what? Five months? Six months?
Shcrone: So this was before they were allowing just the serial number before getting fully approved. So, I went from February to about October-ish.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Okay. Yeah, that sounds about right for that was what I always got mine in Germany because the US is too slow. And then things were even more slow, anything government related. Like I sent him my passport, like in March. Right. But when COVID started, I didn’t get my passport, my renewed passport back until like July or something ridiculous like that. So yeah. I know government stuff was pretty slow during that time. Now you got the brand registry, any roadblocks there. I’ve heard some horror stories that they, people like got the trademark and then Amazon sends them a message. Oh no, you can’t have brand registry because of this. And that reason is always that pretty much a smooth process for you.
Shcrone: It was definitely a smoother process than most, because I had already had my brand name, one of my products and on my listing, some people will start out with unknown as a brand name and then try to get it changed over to their brand name was their brand registered. I didn’t have that issue. The one problem I did have is that I did not know that once you get brand registered or approved for brand registry, you also have to apply for a brand registered store and to advertise as a brand. And I did not know that.
Bradley sutton: You’re talking about like making the storefront.
Shcrone: Yes. And it’s like three weeks after you get to apply for that after you get approved for brand register. I thought it was all in one package, but it’s not.
Bradley sutton: Okay. So then obviously that was one of the first things you did was maker’s storefront I’m assuming, did you do some A-plus content or did you do some sponsored brand ads sponsored display? What kind of things did you take advantage of now that you have brand registry?
Shcrone: Right. So I have my listings for virtual bundles. I haven’t fed them on yet because I’m waiting for inventory. I have taken advantage of the sponsored brand PPC, which is awesome. And I have taken advantage of posts. A lot of people don’t know about posts, but post is free advertisement for brand registered products. And I take advantage of that in the store and it turns out my store gets, it generates traffic all on its own. And I have a 10% conversion rate just from that alone.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Did you ever take a look at your sessions and things like that to see how these additions positively benefited you?
Shcrone: I never compared the two, but I did see an increase in my sessions.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Okay. All right. What do you use brand analytics for now? I’m assuming that was pretty exciting to be able to have access to that after not having it for the first year of your selling.
Shcrone: Right. I find though that brand analytics is a hard set of tools to measure for a product that has variations inside of a category where most people have variations. I really would hope that Amazon would come with something more specific for variations, but, the top keywords, the top search keywords in Brand analytics and stuff like that, doesn’t really apply when you have so many variations, you know?
Bradley sutton: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I can definitely see how that happens because the clicks and things like that are kind of distributed amongst everything. So it’s kind of a little bit harder to get top three in the click show up there.
Bradley sutton: All right, guys, quick break from this episode for my BTS Bradley’s 30 seconds. Here’s my 30-second tip. We’ve got a new Chrome extension out and it has a new interface for Xray. And one of the cool new features is, it helps you see how many keywords on the page a certain, or has a keyword in phrase form in the title. And so, you guys know how important that is from episode 200 of the Maldives Honeymoon, how it’s a great way to find product opportunity. If you can find keywords with significant search volume where the search keyword does not appear that many times in phrase form in the title on page one. So now just hit x-ray on any search page and then hit the filter button and then under title keyword search, go ahead and put that searched for keyword. And then it’ll tell you how many times it’s on the first page.
Bradley sutton: We talked a little bit about the bad things, some of the good things like getting brand registry, what were some of the pleasant surprises, if any, you had in 2020?
Shcrone: Oh, that I was able to continue and double my revenue for the year. I did not anticipate that with everybody being affected by COVID, even in the e-commerce world, people would be unaffected, but I was able to double my revenue and that was a pleasant surprise because I did brace the shock.
Bradley sutton: Yeah, absolutely. So any unique new strategies that you started testing out that did or did not work, that you haven’t mentioned yet?
Shcrone: Right. So, when I relaunched my Facebook, I mean, my second product, a unique strategy that I tried and did not work for me, but works for some of my students is Facebook marketplace, not only Facebook marketplace, but being able to boost that ad amongst all of the neighboring cities around you, that’s a really good situation, especially if you’re around a major metropolitan area. So that was a, it didn’t really work for me because all I got was the responses that say, is this still available by, well, if you read it, it’s online, but that’s when it didn’t work. One that did work for me is a call-out PPC or keyword isolation. So what I did is I checked six months worth of data to find out, which was my best performing keyword over those six months. And I found one that was more than double the second ranked keyword. So I thought to put that into a campaign by itself and sure enough, that keyword with its own budget has been thriving. I’m ranked three for it. And it gets double the sales of any other campaign that I have right now.
Bradley sutton: And so did you then negative match it in the thing that you took it out of, or like stop it in the other one and just now it’s only in its own campaign?
Shcrone: Nope, I sure didn’t. And here’s why. If I have a theory about–
Bradley sutton: I don’t do that either, by the way, I’m the same as you, but go ahead.
Shcrone: It is profitable. Why stop it? It was pulling like 25% in the campaign where it had other keywords to compete with in an isolated campaign. It was pulling like 8%, pull that together, dumping money in so that if it’s profitable, TACoS is the bottom line here.
Bradley sutton: Are you using ads for managing all your campaigns?
Shcrone: I am. I’m using ADS for semi-management. I’m the stickler who likes to approve the bottom line, all changes.
Bradley sutton: Same here. I don’t have one automation on forever. Any of the 150 campaigns I do. I know ADS have that, but I like to at least be able to say yes or no before approving it.
Shcrone: I love how it crunches the numbers. And I love how it breaks down all the analytics for me, I take an hour or so and look at those and I guess, no ignore whatever the case may be. I changed the work towards the ACoS standard, like change it from a 30% down to 22% for this year because of whatever. But as far as final approval and I gotta be me.
Bradley sutton: Okay, good, good. Same. We’re on the same page now. You’ve got two main products, I guess. And it’s interesting, you said it’s the same brand, except it’s a different category. So that’s kind of cool. Some people don’t think you can do that, but you absolutely can. Do you have a third product in mind yet? Or are you just sticking with these two and now you’re going to focus on trying to expand to other markets like Shopify?
Shcrone: Yep. So one of my things about teachers, there’s three ways to expand or diversify. You can expand and domains. And that’s something that I did into 2020. I opened up the Canada, Mexico flood Gates. And I’m trickling through those.
Bradley sutton: You’re just doing the one, the North American fulfillment. One where you fulfill from your Amazon USA inventory, or did you actually physically send inventory to the other countries?
Shcrone: No, I did the FBA fulfillment.
Shcrone: Another way of expansion is platforms, Shopify, Walmart, Amazon. And another one is expanding your catalog. Well, as you know, my two products, the first one who has 24 variations. The second one only has six right now, but I have the potential to go up to 30 or 40. You thought what? And the plan is to go up to 30, but my avenue for expansion right now with Shopify, which I just launched about a week ago.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Oh, just one week ago. All right. What motivated you to do that?
Shcrone: Ownership. I really want to own my customers– customer’s data, excuse me. And I really want to challenge myself to have my own website produce as much revenue as my Amazon’s website. And the reason I’m interested in this is because my fees to fulfill are considerably lower using a 3PL warehouse that I have.
Bradley sutton: Okay. So you’re not shipping any of this stuff out of your house. You have a 3PL who is taking the orders and shipping them. So is it automated, like, are they like, did you give them a sub user account to like your Shopify account so they’re just like automatically get the orders or are you doing something old school where you’re having to email them addresses? Or how are you managing that part?
Shcrone: So, everything is automated. I use shipment.com, and everything is automated. I gave them limited access and they received the orders and they ship and fulfill and their fees are very good. So it’s automated. I have 2,400 units in their warehouse.
Bradley sutton: So, that inventory is what you also use when you’re running low on Amazon?
Shcrone: I can do B2B shipping. So if I ever had to, I can ship.
Bradley sutton: I mean, I’m sorry. Like, I mean, to replenish Amazon’s FBA inventory, right? Like, do you take it from there or are you always shipped directly from China to Amazon?
Shcrone: I shipped directly from China to Amazon, but if I had to do so in a crunch, like five, just plan wrong or something like that, or have another January of 21, which I tripled my sales, for some reason. I can mail half of my inventory from shipment into Amazon.
Bradley sutton: So, then why do you have 2,400 units then? Like it was this all in mind for you to launch your Shopify or how the world did that happen?
Shcrone: Yes, 100% on the launch for Shopify, but you got to remember I have 24 variations for my first, so I really only have 100 units per ASIN.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Okay. What was it like the process of creating the Shopify account? I’m assuming, you got your domain and stuff, and then did you have something where it kind of like created your 24 different listings just pulling from your Amazon account? Or did you have to create each listing and copy and images one by one and upload it? Or what was that like?
Shcrone: It was definitely a challenge. There are ways to do it, automated and everything. And that’s something that I chose with Shopify. The appeal about Shopify is they have an app for it. There’s an app for everything you need. So you just gotta find that for it. I found an app that will pull listings by SKU from Amazon into Shopify, did that 24 times and viola that was there, made my adjustments here and there to shorten the title to make it have more sense instead of keyword stuffing, things like that. And as far as building the website, I am not the smartest man in the world, but I do know plug and play. And that’s exactly what Shopify has. They have all these widgets that you can place wherever you need to place them to make your website look as great as it needs to be. Luckily, I found a developer who has all in one theme for my Shopify store for 80 bucks. And it comes with like 30 different templates and everything. And that’s important because each template on Amazon Shopify is up to $150. Each that found a theme that has, I mean, a developer that has a hundred themes in one for 80 bucks.
Bradley sutton: Okay. Okay. Retail pricing on Shopify. Is it identical to what retail is on Amazon?
Shcrone: I’m still working on that, I initially had it higher, and that was to use the strategy of the illusion of free shipping because I’m fulfilling for myself. So I have to pay the shipper to fulfill it. And then I went another route. I dropped it down to the same price as I have it on Amazon, but offer three options of shipping. And this has been working pretty well for me. I have the expedited, two-day shipping the standard three to five day shipping, and then I offer my customers free shipping. And, it’s slated for eight to 10 days, but I placed it there 10 to 14 days just to buffer time. Right. And they’ve been– in one week, I’ve gotten 40 sales.
Bradley sutton: And so are you running, I mean, did you have any idea about how much is coming from ads or your audience compared to just organic, if any?
Shcrone: And this is my first time dealing to Shopify, but they are so intuitive. They have a lot of different reports at your display, so they can show you exactly where stuff is coming from. And one major thing about the learning is that 95% I’m making that number up, but based on the two numbers that I have, 95% of my impressions of my website have been from mobile phones instead of in the last 5% is from having a desktop.
Bradley sutton: Interesting. Interesting. Now you mentioned, I know you have a community of sellers who you help mentor and coach and stuff. And obviously we don’t need to say anybody’s name or exactly their product or anything, but any cool anecdotes, or stories about something that happened to somebody in your network, some cool strategy that they discovered, or like an inspiring story, you know, that that happened in 2020?
Shcrone: Well, I mean, well, let’s expound on one of the basic things that every seller needs and this one particular seller did not have at a time. I have, I was coaching somebody and they got a photo package from a company that didn’t put as much love and care as a person would in his own business, his or her own business. And as I’m looking at his listing to figure out why he’s not converting any of his impressions from PPC and notice that he has a very solid main picture, but all of the other pictures were standard, if not subpar. So I told him, I say, look, you need two lifestyle photos and two infographics. That explains what the customer needs to see before reading anything, because when a customer comes to your page, you look at your title, electric price, you look at your pictures, they look at your bullet points and then they make the decision based off the reviews. That’s a typical customer. So as they’re looking at your pictures within the first 60 seconds, you have to convince them to dig deeper or to buy. And you can definitely do that with infographics. So he added two infographics and you told me this, the day he added infographics, he was getting around four sales a day. And he said, he jumped up to 25 sales a day on average for about three months before he ran out of inventory.
Bradley sutton: And the only thing different was the infographics, so he can definitely attribute it to that.
Shcrone: That was it. Two infographics.
Bradley sutton: Nice. Now I remembered just something just now that they, and I looked it up just to make sure, but at the end of the last episode we did last year, you had said that your goal for 2020 was to hit 350,000 in gross revenue. And you obviously crushed that. So what about 2021?
Bradley sutton: 750K. All right, there, you have it, guys. You heard it here first. Between the three Amazon marketplaces and Shopify, 750K is the new goal. Now, what do you think is going to consist of that growth? Just expanding your current products that you’re replying to launch a third and fourth. Are you planning to expand to Amazon Europe or anything else?
Shcrone: Here is the rest of the plan. I am currently looking into the reason I picked shipmonk.com is because they are also fulfilled to retail stores. My next goal is to apply for QVC. HSN, QVC, and I want to do big there. After that I have a goal to become a DME product, which is durable medical equipment product. And if I become a DME product, I can then solicit medical insurers to have my product insured, or prescribed, excuse me, to patients. If that happens, I can see that being a million dollar deal.
Bradley sutton: Nice. So that, I mean, that’s not even what you’re planning on the 750K that’s in addition to that would be just icing on the cake right there.
Shcrone: Yeah. I want to secure the 10 step goal that I had that near the end of this year was to secure, either VA health with my prescription, DME product or Medicaid.
Bradley sutton: Now, as you’re expanding your business, obviously it’s more work, now you’ve got basically four marketplaces you’re managing or sales every day, more customer service requests, more ordering, more accounting, more this, more that. I know your family is not, you don’t have a full family operation there. So have you come to the point where you’ve had to hire help or are you still handling everything by yourself?
Shcrone: And I still handle everything by myself and a good motivator or inspire a person that told me something that I’m going to live by is there’s a threshold in your growth. Where are you going to see yourself having to hire someone? Or where are you going to balance making it a full-time job or passive money to where you can go live your life. And I want to straddle that line right there. I don’t want to have to hire anyone to run a business, but I also want to get enough money to where I can consider a passive income and go work from Tahiti.
Bradley sutton: I like it. You know my Maldives honeymoon strategy, but last year, during COVID, there was one resort over there where they’re like, Hey, you know, you pay us $40,000 or something. Anything you could live in the resort for like the whole year with all your expenses paid and this or that.
Shcrone: So that’s a done deal.
Bradley sutton: Yeah. Maldives is– Tahiti, Maldives, Bora Bora. Well, let’s do it guys. This is a great story because I don’t remember when he retired. Exactly. But I remember, I could just imagine, if this is 2016, 2017, Shcrone’s there in the last bit of his employment with the military, you could say and imagine that he was going to be a, I believe a GameStop. He wants to work either at GameStop or as a Walmart, as a Walmart greeter. And then two, if somebody were to come up to you Shcrone and say, in two years, you’re going to be on a podcast where you’re talking about increasing your gross sales from $450,000 a year to $750,000, and buying a new cars for your wife and being a coach for a lot of, uh, new up-and-coming Amazon sellers, you probably would have thought they were crazy.
Shcrone: I would have never guessed it.
Bradley sutton: I love it. I love it. We love hearing stories like that. Everybody on the show comes from a different walk of life and a different background, but it really,– cases like yours really show that you don’t need any kind of special e-commerce degree. Like you don’t need some doctorate, or some bachelor’s degree in e-commerce to be successful. Anybody with whatever background, as long as you dedicate yourself to the work and learning the trade and have a good work ethic, you have the potential for success. Nobody’s guaranteed success. I mean, it’s not just, Oh, I’m going to work as hard as I can. And you’re guaranteed success, you know? Nope. And you have to have the right strategies and things like that too, but Hey, you can put yourself no matter what background you come from, you can put yourself in a good position to have a nice taste of success in the Amazon world. And you’re definitely a living proof of that. So thanks for coming on the show. And if people want to reach out to you to find you on the interwebs out there, how can they find you?
Shcrone: The best way to find me is through my Facebook messenger, Shcrone Hardeman, the name will be in the podcast, but if you want to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s where I’m taking people to consider for coaching. I don’t coach just anybody. I want to make sure that you are financially ready to some degree and after learning, and those are the two ways that you can definitely contact me.
Bradley sutton: All right. Well, maybe in the summer of 2022 or spring or so, we’re going to hit you up and I’m going to check if you hit that goal for this year and wish you the best of success the rest of 2021.
Shcrone: Appreciate it. And I have a goal to finish.
Bradley sutton: I love it. I love it.
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