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#370 – Supply Chain And Brand Protection Strategies

Today, we speak with podcast veterans Chris Lyell and Kian Golzari to share what’s new in the shipping and sourcing space and how to protect your listings against the bad players.
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43 minutes read

Chris Lyell and Kian Golzari have been guests multiple times in this show. But this time, they come together in one episode to talk about wide-ranging topics from the current updates to the supply chain to the steps you need to take to protect your brand, listings, and ASINs from the bad players out there. We also talk about how Chinese factories are now using AI technology, Climate Pledge Friendly by Amazon, how to maintain good relationships with your suppliers, how to use flat files to protect your listings, and more!

Our guests also talk about the upcoming Sell and Scale Summit, their strategy sessions in the event, and what to expect when you attend in September. So make sure to get your tickets and catch these two experts in Las Vegas!

In episode 370 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Chris, and Kian discuss:

  • 01:30 – Catching Up With Kian Golzari
  • 02:30 – Compliance Issues When Expanding To Walmart
  • 04:00 – What Are The Current Supply Chain Updates
  • 05:45 – Get Brand Protection Tips From Chris Lyell At The Sell And Scale Summit
  • 07:10 – Get Product Research, Development, & Sourcing Tips From Kian Golzari At The Sell And Scale Summit
  • 10:30 – The Latest Strategies From Kian And Chris
  • 11:30 – Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Tip
  • 14:00 – Protecting Your Listings Using Flat Files
  • 16:30 – Chinese Manufacturers Are Now Using AI Technology And Robotics
  • 19:00 – Add Your Reviews From Your D2C Website To Walmart.com
  • 20:30 – Pricing Behavior And Strategies From Sellers
  • 23:00 – How To Negotiate Good Prices To A New Supplier
  • 24:00 – Maintaining Good Relationships With Suppliers
  • 26:00 – Getting Brand Registry While Your Trademark Is On Process
  • 30:30 – You Need A UPC Code/GS1 Prefixes Registration
  • 32:00 – The Tinder/Bumble App Idea For Amazon Sellers?
  • 34:20 – How To Get In Touch With Kian Golzari
  • 35:00 – How To Contact Chris Lyell

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today, we’ve got a wide variety of strategies. We’re gonna go over from a couple of SSP veterans. Kian’s gonna tell us what’s new with sourcing and shipping, and Chris is also gonna talk about how to protect your listings against the bad players out there. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the serious seller’s 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 got a couple of people who helped serious sellers out there, and speaking of hats, you guys didn’t see. I was pointing to my, my BS hat, which stands for Bradley Sutton. Not anything else. Don’t get it twisted guys, but Kian, you’re not wearing a hat, what’s going on? You and I have this reputation to uphold where we always are on videos with hats and you’re kind of slipping here. What’s going on?

Kian:

You know what, like I’ve been giving it some thought and I was like, I just turned 35 recently and I was like, you know what is this a time that I get rid of the hats? I started a new era here and I’ve done a few shows without a hat. It might make a comeback at Sell and Scale. I dunno if people are, want to see the hat back, maybe I’ll bring it back, but that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve got some in the back Bradley. So for you, I don’t mind going and putting one on.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Knowing you you’d probably put a stinking Lakers up one up and we don’t need any of that nonsense on this podcast here. If you had a Clippers hat, we’d be okay or Helium 10 hat is appropriate as well. But we’ve got, Kian you’ve been on the podcast before and we also got Chris here, who’s been on the podcast before back in the day, and we wanted to kind of reach out to you guys, see what you guys are up to now. What’s buzzing in your, you know section of the world and also give a little preview of what you guys can be talking about at the Sale and Scale Summit. So first of all Kian in what part of the world are you right now?

Kian:

Yeah, right now I’m in Edinburg, Scotland. I’m just here for summer. I live in Dubai. I’m actually heading back there in a couple of days, but yeah, just so far in last–

Bradley Sutton:

It’s still too early to go back to Dubai. It’s still crazy hot over there. Isn’t it?

Kian:

I know. I’ve been here for two and a half months, so, and it’s like, I only get three months here because I’m an hour resident of Dubai. So I’ve got three months max in the UK. So I’m just sorted, I’m going back. But I’m actually gonna be home for like maybe three weeks, then I go to Australia to speak at an event there and then heading over to Vegas for Sell and Scale. So yeah, it’s not gonna be too bad.

Bradley Sutton:

Excellent, excellent life of an entrepreneur. You can live pretty much anywhere in the world and still handle your business. Chris, you still, you still here in California?

Chris:

Yep, in Hermosa beach.

Bradley Sutton:

You don’t have to worry about the kind of weather that Kian has to worry about in Dubai. That’s, that’s kind of crazy. Now we’re here to talk not about the weather, but about the Amazon and Walmart world. Chris are you still kind of strictly Amazon or do you kind of like dabbling with anything else, like Walmart or anything like that?

Chris:

Yep. So some of my clients we’re actually helping get onto Walmart right now, starting to see a lot of traction on the Walmart side, still, majority is–

Bradley Sutton:

Any the same issues, like on Amazon, you know, obviously your specialty is helping people get unsuspended or protecting their listings against, you know, hijacking and stuff like that. Like, do you see some of those things already happen on Walmart or not so much?

Chris:

Well, the most interesting thing on Walmart is I think a lot of people have kind of neglected it and there’s a lot of sellers who may get in trouble on the Amazon you know, website and they’ll take their product and they’ll go list it under your brand name on Walmart. And so when you go to list your products, all of a sudden you have a competitor that you didn’t have on the Amazon side of things. So that’s kind of one of the things with Walmart, you wanna make sure you get your brand registered with your GS1 documentation, so you can actually control your listing and who’s allowed to get onto it. So it’s a lot different than Amazon, cuz you can actually get a hold of people and talk to a human who’s right here in the US that can actually help you with some of the issues you may be having since there’s such a new company or this is such a new part of Walmart, with the Walmart fulfillment services.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. We’re gonna come back to you and get some strategies on a little bit, and also talk about what you’re gonna do on Sell and Scale. But on the flip side here, Kian, for months now, you’ve been giving different updates and things on shipping status and factories and I’m just curious what’s the situation in China right now with COVID, and are there still lockdowns where ports are getting locked down or factories are getting locked down, electricity blackouts and, and what’s the status with like shipping times? I haven’t really talked to you about that in a couple of months. I’m just wondering, August, September, what’s going on.

Kian:

Sure. Yeah. Well, I think rather the good news is that there’s now good news to report and I actually just a couple of hours ago just did a Straight From The Source episode live of Cassandra and I gave the full update. But essentially shipping costs right now are the lowest they’ve been in over a year. So now it’s actually the perfect time to ship products. Like at the end of last year we were looking at $20,000 for a container, but now we can get roughly four and a half to $6,000 for a container from China to the US. So it’s actually like the lowest it’s been in a long time. And this is actually a very, very good time at the moment because the prices will start to creep up as we get closer to Q4, cuz that’s just a busier time.

Kian:

And then as we get closer to Chinese New Year, which will be January 22nd in 2023 the capacity demand and all that will increase. So if over the last like a year and a half, you’ve been in a situation where you’re like, you know what I’m sitting on stock, I’ve put some stock amount in my suppliers’ warehouse. I’m waiting for that right time where the prices come down for me to ship it now is actually that time where like, it’s probably the best price you’re gonna get of the year, between now and the next like 30 days or so then it’ll gradual start to creep up as we get closer to Q4

Bradley Sutton:

As we mentioned, you know, we’re all excited for a Sell and Scale Summit and you guys are gonna be not on stage together, but we are pairing up some interesting people, but you guys aren’t paired up, but you guys are speaking at different times. So Chris, first of all, what are you gonna be talking about? I don’t even know–, at Sell and Scale Summit. And then can you give us a little preview, a little teaser of what you’re gonna be talking about so that people can get excited?

Chris:

Yep. So I’m gonna be talking about the brand protection piece and some of the more new interesting, like unheard of tactics that people are doing to unfortunately try to disrupt your sales velocity by either taking your listing down or taking over your listing. I was just right before we got on, I was telling Kian that I was dealing with somebody that’s actually at this moment taking over a listing that we manage and enrolled in the transparency program to basically block us from sending an inventory on our own listing. It’s a crazy behind-the-scenes Amazon tale that hopefully will be remedied here in the next 10 to 15 days. But basically really puts a damper on it. If I have a shipment coming in from China, that’s about to hit the warehouse. And if I don’t have transparency labels that match, Amazon will basically mark all my units defective and tell me, I gotta basically remove them from Amazon. So I’m kind of under a time crunch, figuring out how to stop this from happening. Amazon is a little bit bigger, so it’s very difficult to get to the right source quickly. So kind of some real-life experiences that I’m dealing with on a day-to-day basis with different brands I manage or own. So there’s always something new going on. So I’ll bring, bring in basically some of the newer things and strategies on how to combat that to the audience at Sell and Scale.

Bradley Sutton:

What about you, Kian? What are you speaking about?

Kian:

I’m so I’m super excited. I’m actually on a panel with Trevin Peterson and Melisa Vong and we’re covering product research.

Bradley Sutton:

Melisa, your sister from another Mister, right?

Kian:

Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Melisa and I get on really well and we’ve met in China, we’ve done a bunch of different cool stuff together. So excited to share a panel again together, but essentially we’re covering product research, product development, and product sourcing. And what’s really cool is that Trevin Peterson, Melisa Vong, and myself have all got different methods in terms of product development and product sourcing. And what’s cool is that like Melisa might be more into like beauty and cosmetics and sourcing from the USA and Latin America. I’ve got the whole Asia China side coverage. I think Trevin like really strong in sort of product research. And it’s just cool to hear different people’s perspectives because Trevin might be a lot more focused on the actual keyword volume and stuff like that. Whereas I’m much more so lemme just develop the best product and then the market will come to me type thing.

Kian:

So you’re gonna hear, and as you know, in this industry, like not, there’s not one right way, people can be successful doing many different methods and ways. So it’s gonna be cool for the three of us to be on the panel together. And then, I think the title of the panel is taking our product from zero to million dollars because we’ve all invented or developed a product, which we’ve done a million dollars in sales. And so we’re all gonna share our stories around those types of products and then the added bonus is that we are the presentation, which is right before the main keynote, which is Gary Vee. So we’re gonna have a full house, full audience. There’s gonna be some additional pressure as well. Cause I know that Gary watches the presentations before he goes on. So it’s gonna be cool. We’re gonna bring our A game. We’re gonna bring our A game anyway, but now it’s just gonna be a little bit better.

Bradley Sutton:

That’s awesome. All right. So now back to Chris, without talking about the stuff you’re gonna be talking about at Sell and Scale. What I wanna do is kind of go back and forth between both of you guys on different strategies on what you guys are, you know, it could be about, you know, what you guys do, or it could be just something else you’ve learned recently along the way, but real quick, I almost forgot before I do that I’ve been letting the speakers at Sell and Scale know when they come on here on the podcast, you know, a lot of them did not see the fine print when they signed to speak. But speaking at Sell and Scale also requires you to be present and on stage in my Zumba fitness dance class that I’m doing on day one. So I just wanna make sure you guys, if you didn’t see that fine print that you pack appropriate clothing, some tight shorts and tank tops colorful–

Chris:

I’m bringing a crazy sock.

Bradley Sutton:

There we go. See Chris already did his research. He knows about the crazy socks.

Chris:

I’ve fine print now, I’ve gotten too many things I’ve gotten caught up. I need to make sure I always read those contracts, you know?

Bradley Sutton:

Yes, yes. Excellent.

Kian:

I’ll do it if Tomer does it.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, Tomer’s got to, he signed that contract too, So Tomer’s gotta get there on stage as well. All right. So now that that’s taking care of the importance of let’s get into the strategies actually Kian, why don’t you start us off, we’re gonna go back and forth here with some different strategies about what you guys think sellers should be, or should not be doing out there right now. Especially since we’re almost getting to Q4 here. So Kian, what’s your first strategy for the day for us?

Kian:

Sure. So I’ve got a cool one, right? So I was at an outdoor exhibition in Munich, right in June, and July. And what was really cool was to see the biggest brands in the outdoor space. There was North Face, Patagonia, Jack Wilkin, all these guys. And what was really interesting is that the main focus for all these brands was on sustainability. Eco-friendly products, packaging, sustainable materials, recyclable materials, organic materials, stuff like that. And the outdoor industry always reacts first to these types of changes because of providing products for the outdoors. We have to protect our outdoors and stuff like that. And normally they set trends, which the rest of the industry follows a little bit later on, but people have been talking about sustainability for a long time. But what the difference now is that there’s full transparency in it, rather than saying that this product comes from recycled materials.

Kian:

It’s like, Hey, 23% of this polyester was recycled and that polyester was gathered from ropes that were pulled out of fishing nets that were pulled out of the ocean and stuff like that. And they’ve got images from their supply chain of that sort of stuff. Now, what that means to the typical Amazon seller is that Amazon’s taking notice of this as well. So they’ve got something called Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly, and you can actually Google that. There’s a link, there’s an Amazon website. It says Climate Pledge Friendly, and it rewards the sellers, which have some sort of sustainable eco-friendly recyclable materials in their products. And they give you a Climate Pledge Friendly badge and the same way you can search for products, which are prime. You can also search for products that are Climate Pledge Friendly. So it kind of ranks you in a different list and ranks you hire and gives you a special badge.

Kian:

And these sellers are probably thinking, well, how do I get eco-friendly materials into my product? You can literally just go to that website, am Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly? And it tells you the certifications. And obviously, there are so many different certifications, whether your product is wood, metal, steel, polyester, whatever it may be, but then you can just ask your factory, Hey do you have any eco-friendly materials for this product? Do you have any sustainability sourcing for this product? And a hundred percent of ’em say, yeah, no problem. We have that. And then you say, cool, well, can you send me the certification? And then probably 10% of them will be able to show certification. So the ones that show showed at certification, then you can use that for your Amazon list and get that Climate Pledge Friendly badge. And then as a result you could be deemed a sustainable company and I could go very, very deep into sustainability. I’m very, very passionate about it, but I just wanted to give a quick tip around that. Definitely check out Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly, talk to your manufacturers and make sure that your supply chain, and your products through packaging is eco-friendly. And by the way, it doesn’t add much cost either. Just wanna make that clear.

Bradley Sutton:

Interesting. I like it. I like it all. All right, Chris, what about you? Like maybe something that people can do to protect their listings or how people can some common things you’ve been seeing about suspensions or hijacking. It could be about anything you want. Go ahead, Chris.

Chris:

Yep. Well, real quick, I just wanna piggyback on what he just said. There’s actually an offer right now. Amazon is offering five $20,000 grants to small businesses for innovative high-quality products built with sustainability in mind. So just another reason to do that. They’re having a $20,000 grant. I can send you the link after to post the show notes, but they’re doing this for five different people, gives you access to Amazon launchpads guidance and different selling opportunities with that Climate Pledge Friendly marking on your listing. So just wanna throw that out there. Just saw that email like three days ago and applied for it. Cause I do have a product that I work with that does that. In regards to listing protection, one of the biggest things that have been happening is real rampant right now is competitors.

Chris:

Like we, as I had mentioned before, their big thing is not necessarily taking down your listing for a long period of time. And just making you go out of business, it’s trying to stop the velocity you have and the rise in sales rate. And one of the ways that they’re doing that is they are marking and uploading flat files with your stuff on it. And they’re, they’re figuring out where there’s an empty space in one of your flat files. And they’re putting restricted words in there, whether it’s something related to smoking, something related to adult toys, something related to that, they’ll upload it, Amazon flags. It, there is no bypass. Once it gets flagged, it removes your listing and they have a four-day basically period, where they check to make sure your item is not actually a restrictive category. And then your sales obviously go to zero. That listing drops down and now you gotta restart from scratch essentially. Not a scratch, but you gotta basically spend money to build yourself back up to the rank in you’re app prior.

Bradley Sutton:

Wow. So like what can you do? I mean, is there anything you can do kind of avoid getting in that situation?

Chris:

So you need to download your flat file and you need to fill out every single space. I don’t care if it’s not related to your listing whatsoever. Like if it’s you’re selling an item and it asks you what the fabric type is, put NA fill out every single piece of that flat file, and upload it. And if they do that, that should stop them from being able to do something. Cuz they’re gonna go into Amazon, Canada, Amazon, Mexico, they do the listing updates on other marketplaces where you may not have brand registry. And if there’s some contribution that can come from the outside, into your current listing, that’s what flags you on the restricted side.

Bradley Sutton:

Crazy, crazy. Alright. Back back to Kian, hopefully, something that doesn’t scare people like Chris just did off it. That’s actually important guys. No, this stuff happens and we need to know how to deal with it. So it’s important that we talk about it Kian, go ahead.

Kian:

Something I found super interesting. And I think the last episode I did of tripped from the source, I actually interviewed three of my favorite manufacturers in China and I’ve got eyes and ears inside factories send in by-product inspection companies. I do, we check calls, all that sort of stuff. But what I found really interesting. So I’ve not been back to China since this whole thing started, which was 2019. And like I was speaking to the factors, I was like, what do I not know about China that’s really changed in the last sort of two or three years? And they said, you’ll be very surprised to see the amount of AI in the amount of robotics, which is used in factories. Now I’m like, really? I was like, well, in what way? Because like, let’s say, for example, a typical backpack that a product I would make like a t-shirt hoodie, they tend sleeping backpack, it’s all cut and so, right?

Kian:

And they were saying that like, okay, so for example, you have a fabric roll, which is 1.5 meters wide and a thousand yards long. Typically what you would do is that they would get, would they put that fabric out, they would get chalk, they would have a stencil of like the back panel of a backpack. They would chalk around that scissors would cut around it, wherever machine press comes down. But now it’s like a brown paper that comes out and a robotic pencil comes out. It does like the outline. It then like cuts it by itself. So they’re less reliant on labor because they were having a lot of issues with like workers not being able to come back to work, workers taking other jobs. It’s like delivery drivers you know, factory workers. Like you can’t really get any young people to work in factories anymore.

Kian:

So we’re having all sorts of challenges with labor demand really creeping up. So they were like, you’re gonna see a lot of AI and robotics and factories now, which I think is gonna have short term price increases, but long term price decreases because you have those like fixed costs associated with the AI and robotics, which would be quite expensive. But as time progresses, six months, a year, two years go by then you no longer have that labor cost and then you can actually produce a lot more goods as well. So I thought that was super interesting and I think for anyone listening, whatever product is that you’re manufacturing, whether it’s in the far east or other parts of the world, I would always just ask you’re factory, Hey, what are you guys doing with robotics or AI? Have you guys got any tech advancements in your factory? And just get ’em to explain it to you, show some photos, show some videos. Cause I think that’s the gonna be the future of a lot of our manufacturing.

Bradley Sutton:

Very interesting.  I mean, I haven’t been the Chinese even longer than you. I think it’s probably been at least four years since I’ve been there. When you visit the factory, I mean, they’re so efficient, but it’s just like assembly lines of people like very rarely, if any, I don’t even know if I ever saw any kind of robotics or something that any of the factory lines and, you know, I just saw 500 people in there. So it’s kind of interesting to wrap my mind about how, if they start integrating this, how the efficiency could get even better in the future. Interesting. All right, Chris, back to you, anything else like maybe something you can give us an experience of something, one of your clients or yourself has gone through and hopefully it’s something that actually had resolution as opposed to they ended up not having to sell on Amazon anymore cuz they got screwed over. But anything that you could tell us?

Chris:

Yeah, I was gonna say, so obviously we do some brand management stuff and so we’re bringing a lot of our clients onto Walmart.com. So this is a good piece of news. I’m not gonna just say the world’s gonna collapse here after I tell you another thing. But one of the things with bringing your listings over to Walmart is if you have a direct-to-consumer website and you have reviews on your direct-to-consumer website, I don’t think a lot of people know about this. This is kind of like a little bit of a little nugget that a lot of people don’t know, but you can actually apply on Walmart.com to use a syndication partner that they work with. And you can take every review that is on your existing to direct to consumer website and put it on your listings on Walmart.com. So if you do that, you can actually launch products on Walmart.com with, you know, 5,000 reviews. And that’s one of the biggest ranking pieces in the Walmart algorithm. And so a lot of different things with Amazon, you gotta spend a ton of money, PPC, all these things to try to move your products at the top with Walmart, you can start at the top, if you can actually get your reviews moved from your direct to consumer website over to Walmart.com.

Bradley Sutton:

I know people wish Amazon, you could do that you wouldn’t have to worry about starting off with zero reviews. That’s actually probably pretty cool right there. And then guys remember we talked about Sell and Scale Summit. You know, Walmart is one of the sponsors and they will actually have people on hand. So, if you’ve been having trouble, you know, getting approved for selling on Walmart, you might be able to get some of those issues resolved while you’re at Sell and Scale Summit. Alright, going back to you Kian, any tips that you can give us about, Hey, now all of a sudden, maybe prices are, are going down, like what’s your opinion on pricing strategy? You know, like have you seen, did people raise their prices? During the last year where container prices were 15 grand and 20 grand or do you think they were taking a loss, just hoping the prices went down, what did you see there? And like, what do you suggest sellers should do now? Just wait to see what their competition does. Or should they lower it to get the advantage if they’re paying lower or what’s some strategy you can give us there?

Kian:

So it’s super interesting. Right? So say for example, for the last like 18 months or two years, right, there was a lot of demand from Chinese factors. There are a lot more orders going in. So suppliers could kind of, they would have longer lead times. They could pick and choose which orders they wanted to do. So in terms of like getting the best price, there’s kind of two different scenarios. Are you talking to a new factory for the first time in developing this product from scratch? Or is it your existing factory that you’re just reordering as you normally were? And if you are just reordering, suppliers are like willing to sort of drop the prices for you, try and keep it the same. Even if their prices have gone up, their run-through price or labor cost has gone up, they’re trying to keep the prices the same.

Kian:

And I broke us down with a few suppliers on that last episode as well. And the way they were explaining it was, Hey, if I’ve made money from you before and I’m gonna make money from you again in the future, meaning we’ve worked together for many years, we’re gonna work together in the future as well. I’m okay to write this period out and break even, or even make a small loss. If it means it maintains our business and our friendship and our relationship. But if you’re a new customer and I’ve never spoken to you before and you inquire on day one, I’m going to give you the actual market price. So that means that you’re always gonna get a better price. If you’re working with your existing supplier, now you have to sort of nurture and develop those relationships. But let’s say, for example, you’re a new seller doing your product for the first time.

Kian:

And you’re like, well, what do I do here? Because everyone’s gonna get better prices than me. It’s really, really important that you can build leverage with the new suppliers that you’re talking to. So for example, like I wouldn’t go on Alibaba.com and find a product and be like, Hey how much for 300 pieces, what’s your MOQ? Can I get customized packaging? You need to actually write a very tailored message to build leverage for yourself. So for example, I would tell the factory why I chose them, and why I want to work with them. So I’d look at their patient, I’d see that, okay. They’re in business for 15 years of attending several Canton Fairs. I can see that they’ve got 300 workers. I can see that they’ve got like all these different types of sewing machines and that’s all verified information. So I know it’s true.

Kian:

And I would say, Hey, I would love to work for your factory because of X, Y, Z. I like that you have this that also aligns with our core values of quality. I can tell you’re gonna be a good partner for the long term, for the future, all those buzzwords that they wanna hear. And then I would explain a little bit about myself. So if I’m doing like a yoga mat, for example, but it’s my first time I would say, Hey, I’ve been a yoga instructor for 12 years. I’ve got my own studio. I work with the biggest yoga influencers in this space. And in China, they call them KOLs key opinion leaders. I work with the KOLs in the yoga space, excited to launch this product with you, et cetera, et cetera. So now that suppliers like, right, cause suppliers not thinking how much money I gonna make from this order.

Kian:

They’re thinking, how much money am I gonna make from this customer over the next 3, 5, 10 years? So if you explain, right, I’ve found all these things about you. This is what I like about you. I’m gonna be here for the long term. This is what we bring to the table. We know all the KOLs, then they’re like, cool, this is gonna be one of those good customers. And then they’re now aligned to sort of give you their best service and their best price. But if you were just like, Hey, I need the best price for 200 pieces. They’re like, I’ve got another 300 inquirers like that one goes to the bottom of a pile. So it’s very, very important how you communicate to build leverage.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, speaking of before we go back to Chris, I had a question for you. Like I know you don’t have any exact information on this, it’s all guessing, but one of the important things about maintaining a good relationship with suppliers is eventually if you’re at that level, so you’ve talked about this before is actually visiting them in person and building a relationship that way, going out for drinks and karaoke and stuff like that. But obviously, as we all know, for over two years now, you haven’t been able to do that. Any idea on when you know, non-citizens of China are gonna be able to visit the country again, like, do you hear any scuttlebutt around there of rumors about when it might open up or

Kian:

Yeah, sure. I’ve actually got my crystal ball here under the table. So lemme just get this one out. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Magic eight ball and shake it.

Kian:

Yeah. Hopefully, we can get some animation graphic of me just spinning. My intuition tells me that, like what they’re doing, like China, not allowing foreigners and stuff like that is really damaging to their economy. So, I would say that January 2023 is the Chinese New Year. They’re probably gonna let Chinese New Year pass because the Chinese New Year is the biggest people migration in the world. There are over a hundred million people that travel within China. So I don’t think they want to welcome foreigners and tourists back before then. But I would imagine once that Chinese new year migration happens and February, March next year, I think that’s when they’ll start to gradually open up and you can kinda see that from other countries around China, in Asia, like Hong Kong has really loosened restrictions for welcoming people back.

Kian:

Singapore’s completely open. So the countries around China are now graduates starting to let people back in. So I think China will eventually follow suit. But in your messaging with your suppliers, even if you’re working with a new supplier, I would always say like, show your intention that you plan to visit China, because that’s really important for getting the best service and the best price, because you can say, look, when travel opens back up, I look forward to meeting you in China, visiting your factory. So if you’re talking to a supplier and you say like, you know, how many workers have you got on your factory? And they tell you 500, but they’ve only actually got two hundred by you saying, Hey, I’m gonna visit your factory. When travel opens back up, they kinda have to give you their honest information from day one because they know you’re coming. So I would make that very clear that you’re gonna be there at when tra when travel opens back up there.

Bradley Sutton:

It’s a good point. Good point. All right. Back to Chris, you can go ahead and scare us again. Like I make light of it, but at the same time, it’s, it’s important. We know what goes on. We don’t want people having blinders on it there and be totally shocked when something happens, you know, Hey guys, let’s keep it real bad things sometimes happen on Amazon. They happen on any platform, if you’re in business, you’re an entrepreneur, there are always malicious people out there who could do something to you. So it’s better that we know about it and, and know that it’s not the end of the world. So what’s something else that you’re seeing other than like this ASIN hijacking like you talked about where people try and put some forbidden keywords in different sections of you’re listening? What has some of your clients been having to deal with lately?

Chris:

Well, some of the things that are, you know, just average, or it seems like it’s day to day, everybody seems to have issues like this, where they get a Hijacker to pop on their listing and they try to change the listing just in a different way than we were just talking about. And I think when sellers start, people are usually on a shoestring budget, and then they hear it takes eight months to get a trademark. And they don’t want to spend the money in $1,500 to use the Amazon accelerator program to I think it’s called the accelerator, whatever the program is that they have that allows you to get brand registered. If you use one of their attorneys, you know, it’s like $1,500 to get a trademark through them. If you actually apply for yourself through like trademark engine or one of those other sites, and you get your serial number, not your registration number, but your serial number, I think it is maybe it’ll be, it’s what everyone comes first.

Chris:

Once you get that, it takes about one week or so. Once it’s filed, you can actually use that to get a brand registry before it is the same thing as paying the $1,500 for that other using an attorney, you can actually do it through a trademark engine and get your brand registry and all the benefits for it right then. And once you have your brand registry, Amazon sees that as if you are a trademarked person or a trademarked brand. And if somebody jumps on your list and you can report them for counterfeiting, if they’re counterfeiting and actually trying to impersonate the brand that you have on Amazon. So cheap and quick, so you can start protecting your brand immediately versus thinking it’s eight months, man, I don’t wanna launch cause I’m so worried that somebody can take over my brand or whatnot. Once I get on Amazon and I’m not gonna be a registered trademark owner, you can protect your actual listings through the brand registry that way.

Bradley Sutton:

Now I remember back in the day if you never had a trademark before, that would work, but then like let’s say in one account, I only have one Seller Central account and I already have a brand registry and now I’m opening up a new brand. Can I still qualify for that now? Cause back in the day it used to be like, no, it only worked the first time. And then if you have a second one, you have to wait till you actually get the full registration. And so that is what I would do to get around that cause I only have one Project X account for example, but we have multiple brands. There is I would go and do a German trademark, cuz it would only take me like a week and a half to get that. And I would have a full registration number, but has that changed at all?

Chris:

I haven’t done any of the foreign trademarks to expedite. But regarding having more than one trademark and then trying to do what I just said, it doesn’t make a difference. If you have 1, 3, 5, I have like 9 in one account and we just did that on one that we literally just filed on trademark engine. Like it might have been seven days ago. Amazon may do a review, but they’re still going to allow you to be able to be basically brand registered with that trademark. Another way to strengthen that is obvious when you’re creating your UPC codes is to have a GS1 certificate showing that it’s registered to that brand. That’s kind of like a second. They’re like, well, that’d be like a second piece of ammo to try to get it, make sure it gets pushed through.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Yeah, I hear that’s a thing people are dealing with lately about GS. If they didn’t let’s say they bought their barcode from like speedy barcodes or something like that which is suggested.

Chris:

Guilty. Many many times.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, that was you, huh? And then have you, have you gotten any of your ASIN suspended for that? And then you have to like get a real GS1.

Chris:

This also just happened as well. They said they needed to do a review. They wanted GS1 documentation. They yanked all the pictures off all the listings down. This is in the middle of a launch by the way. So very costly, very timely to get them to actually to find somebody they don’t send. Amazon’s been really bad about sending emails for why they’re doing things. All of a sudden, I use the Amazon or sorry, Helium 10’s Hijacker product monitoring stuff. I’m getting notifications. Your pictures are gone. Your listing is inactive, whatever. I’m like, what the heck, no emails know nothing. You have to spend two hours on the phone and speak to them. They’re like, oh yeah, we need to see your UPC code registration. I’m like, how come nobody emailed me? What if I just had a hundred listings, I wasn’t paying attention. So that is something that’s happening to a lot of people actually right now. So make sure you do that and spend the money. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap for the GS1 prefixes so that you can actually get those and have the documentation.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Good to know. Now. anything else, Kian? For us what’s, what’s upcoming for you other than Sell and Scale Summit, like you have any other cool trips planned or any other big things that you’re like, you start a new brand or anything going on the business side of your life? Getting married, I mean, it could be a personal thing. Anything let us know what’s going on. I’ve

Kian:

I’ve got a couple of cool things actually. So I’m working with a Foundr. So Melisa and I did the course with Foundr but now I’m doing two new courses with them. I’m doing one course on product development and one course on supply chain, full agency, and everything need to know and actually recording that in LA after Sell and Scale. So I’m super excited about that. Cause I’m just gonna sort of let it rip for a few hours, talk, everything I know about product development and apply that lots of different ways. So I think that’s gonna be really cool. Still single. So if there’s any nice females listening, feel free to reach out.

Bradley Sutton:

We did like a Tinder bum. What’s the other one?

Kian:

You got hinged.

Chris:

Bumble

Bradley Sutton:

Bumble for Amazon sellers. That’s a great idea. You know, back in the day, five years ago, it would’ve been like 95% mail there, but there’s a lot more diversity. I see. At least, you know, when I go to conferences, it’s a lot different than it was like a few years ago. So who knows there’s a product there’s an application idea for, that’ll be the new feature of the Helium 10 app, you know, swipe left on Chris, swipe right on Kiam. What’s going on here? Now, all of a sudden our downloads go through the roof of Helium 10, but Hey guys, all jokes aside, you know, Hey conferences are another great way to meet people with similar interests. A lot of times tell people, friends and, you know, potential people that you want to get in your network, what you do and like what you sell on Amazon or what like, but Hey, you go to an Amazon conference like sales scale. These are all people interested in the, in the same thing as you. So it might be a place to find that feature made. Anyways–, go ahead Kian.

Kian:

I think that would make for a great episode. Actually, if you did an episode of like a panel, four people single male, single female, and like a married male, married female. Just talk about how you manage relationships being in this e-commerce game. I’m sure there’ll be like loads of cool tips and tricks around that.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, I actually tried for that like three years ago. I wanted to do an episode about young people, like before they were 20 years old who are in this space. And I met at the same show at the Prosper show. One of the first Prosper shows I went to

Kian:

Michael was on that one. Wasn’t he?

Bradley Sutton:

It was Michael, Michael, he was, was 19 at the time. And then I saw I met this one girl who was also 19 at the time. And I was like they didn’t know each other. I brought them on the show and it was crazy on the show. We actually learned that they had the same exact birthday, like two of the days. So I’m like, this is so perfect. Like guys, you’ve got to get together now, as it stands, it didn’t happen that coupling I’m at. But tonight in about six hours, I’m going on a red-eye to New Jersey because Michael is getting married to somebody else, unfortunately. Well, wait, I shouldn’t say unfortunately his new wife won’t get mad at me, but he’s getting married to a great person, but it’s not the Amazon connection that I was trying to try to do. So Kian it’s on you. You’ve got to be the first Serious Sellers Podcast marriage.

Kian:

We’ve put it out there, so hopefully, we get some info.

Bradley Sutton:

It’s actually, at this time that I always ask I guests, how can people find you if they wanna ask more questions, but now all of a sudden you’re gonna get a lot of dating proposals too, but regardless of why they wanna reach out to you, how can people reach out to you out there?

Kian:

Yeah, sure. So I’m pretty social I’m on Instagram, @kian_jg. We’ve got Facebook and a YouTube channel, both called Sourcing with Kian. And we’ve got a great series with Helium 10 called Straight From the Source where we bring you monthly updates in the supply chain, which just put out an episode today as well, which is really cool. And if anyone needs any help, if any sourcing projects, I do have a really cool sourcing platform called titansourcing.com, so you can check that if you’re gonna help with your supply chain, but look forward to seeing you guys in Vegas. If you listen to this episode, definitely come up, come say hello, say, what’s up. If you gonna help, let’s open the laptops. Let’s get together. Let’s chat about prices, strategy, all that sort of stuff. That’s what we’re here for. So look forward to meeting you guys in Vegas.

Bradley Sutton:

Yes, and his Tinder profile is also sourcing with Ken. I don’t know what it is, Chris. What about you, if people wanna find you on the intro webs out there and reach out to you, obviously they’re gonna be able to ask you questions in person at Sell and Scale, but, but if they can’t wait until then how, how can they reach you out there?

Chris:

Yeah. You can contact me at [email protected], website 10X Growth Partners talks about our wholesale model as well as our brand protection piece. Also, I will be holding a speed dating event in Las Vegas for Kian and I, he doesn’t know about that yet, but we’re going to talk offline cause that’s definitely happening after this call. And anybody can reach me on. Much on my personal, but @chris.lyell1 on Instagram. But yeah, shoot me an email. I’m always happy to pay it forward and tell anybody, and give them advice. Not here to try to charge somebody. If it’s a simple fix, I wanna make sure people when I had no resources and I wish I had somebody I could reach out to always reach out, always wanna pay it forward.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Kian and Chris look forward to seeing you on the Zumba fitness stage with me in a few weeks and then on the Sell and Scale stage. So we’ll be seeing you guys soon.


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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.
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  • 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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