#225 – The Latest Amazon Wholesale Strategies for 2021!
Private label, private label, private label. Sometimes it seems that’s all you hear when it comes to selling on Amazon. In this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes someone who is going to take us in another e-commerce direction altogether.
Dan Meadors and his partner, Dylan Frost started their Amazon business with an original investment of $600. At the time, it was all the money they had to invest. A few short months later, their success enabled them to leave their day jobs and sell on Amazon full-time. Since then, they’ve been able to generate over $30,000,000 in sales on Amazon.
Their business, The Wholesale Formula was created to help Amazon sellers leverage big brands through the power of wholesale. Dan says that it, “Gives everyday people the simple steps to build long term sustainable businesses. Period.”
From the number of people waitlisted for Dan and Dylan’s next workshop on their website, it appears that more than a few Amazon sellers are excited to follow in their footsteps.
In episode 225 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Dan discuss:
- 03:00 – Revisiting Wholesaling on Amazon
- 06:00 – Different Wholesale Models
- 09:00 – A New Way to Calculate Wholesale Sales Estimation
- 12:00 – A Helium 10 Tool Change Levels Up Dan’s Workflow
- 14:30 – Wholesale Products Usually Have Built in Demand
- 16:30 – Exclusives are Won, Not Given
- 20:00 – How to Identify a Good Wholesale Product
- 21:00 – Calculating Return on Investment (ROI)
- 23:00 – Where Do Wholesale Products Come From?
- 26:00 – Contacting Distributors and Brands
- 29:00 – A Good Invoice Often Means Fewer Problems Down the Road
- 33:00 – What is the Wholesale Formula?
- 36:00 – Wholesale Success Stories
- 42:00 – How to Contact Dan
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: In today’s episode, Dan is back to talk about wholesale selling on Amazon. He’s going to give us the latest strategies as well as talk about the first ever tool in Helium 10 designed specifically for wholesale sellers. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of this 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 e-commerce world. We’ve got one of the most serious sellers out there. Dan, the man, Dan, how’s it going?
Dan: Hey, how’s it going, brother? Thanks for having me on.
Bradley Sutton: All right, I’m doing just great. This is now your second time here on the podcast. So guys make sure to go to helium10.com/podcast, and then do a search. Spell your last name again. You spell your name kind of funny. So I forget how to do it.
Dan: It’s one of those uncommon ones for sure. M E A D O R S.
Bradley Sutton: All right. So guys make sure to, to type that into helium10.com/podcasts, you can get a little bit more of Dan’s backstory on there, but when we have somebody on for the second time, it’s been like a year and a half almost since he’s been on we kind of focus a little bit more on what’s been going on in the last year. We don’t have to get their life story again, but it is an interesting one. So, but make sure to check it out. Are there times now, Dan, you wish you were still in the kind of like trading cards and Pokémon kind of game, like you were way back when, because that has just been ridiculous in the last year.
Dan: It has been wild. Like it was funny because I sold a lot of my collection off and stuff as I was moving out of it and goodness gracious. If I would have hung on man, it’s been a crazy market for those guys too. And it’s just one of those things. I think it’s been a good time for e-commerce in general, but it’s really helped that segment for sure.
Bradley Sutton: Sure, sure. I mean, when we were last talking, I had told you about how I was selling my dad’s stuff, but I wish I even waited even from last year, like there was this one I was selling some packs from Japan, it was Neo three Pokémon unopened, these Japanese packs. And I was selling them last year, about 25 bucks a pop, which I was happy about. Because the 25 bucks a pop, these things, my dad bought retail for like $5, a piece or less in Japan 19 years ago, I only have like about 30 left of those and they’re going for $350 a pack. It’s just insane what’s happened in the last year. But anyways, we’re not here to talk about sports cards. I want to talk about wholesale because that is, I don’t know if it’s what LL cool J say, don’t call it a comeback, but it never really went anywhere, but I guess see it seems to be buzzing more and more where people are like, Hey, this wholesale thing on Amazon is a thing. This is some pretty good stuff. Can you talk about like maybe some success stories or that some of your students have been having the last year?
Dan: For sure, man. We’ve definitely had a whole lot of success, but right now, I mean, this is not to veer off topic or anything, but right now I believe there’s two primary models for Amazon and that’s private label and wholesale. I think if you’re probably not doing one of those, there’s just a better model out there. Like really those are the premier things, but for sure, man, over the past year, like it’s been just incredible seeing the amount of success within the wholesale world. Like you have to imagine it from the perspective of– since the last time we talked like COVID happened and that’s been like a big thing, right? Like it’s been like a big thing that’s kind of changed commerce to a degree. And so there were certainly challenges as far as like the logistical things, getting products in, but the people who were well positioned, but like do specifically doing a lot of what we teach and creating value for brands we’re able to see a lot of really nice profits, like one of the ladies that I’ve talked about her before. I don’t know if I’ve talked about her on your podcast, but she’s just an awesome person and an awesome part of our community. Amy Sherlock, the other day she sent me a text and it was– I tried to read it right now, but it said that getting ready to crack a bottle of champagne just had my first 100k a month. And this was a lady who got her business started with absolute, most meager of circumstances. She had declared bankruptcy. She was on food stamps at one point and just got in and created a whole lot of value for brands. And over the past year, man, like Amazon, it’s always been one of those things where it was an important part of commerce, but for brands where the retail sector got disrupted so much, like a lot of brands really kind of turn their attention to Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Just to make sure everybody understands what we’re talking about here. There’s different, I guess, I don’t know if I want to say definitions, but different kinds of wholesale, or different things that people are referring to. You know, there’s some where it’s like wholesales, like, Hey, I’m going to go find these companies that have bad Amazon listings. And let me just offer my services and it’s not my listing, but it’s almost like I’m going to run theirs as if it was like a private label, and then maybe they’ll sell me some products and I’ll sell it for them. Or I’ll sell it on mine after I buy it. Or maybe it’s just the case. I’m optimizing their listing. They give me power over it. Now there’s other kinds of wholesales, such as people say, all right, no wholesale is just the strictly like, Hey, let me get this list of what wholesale price is. I’m going to buy it, have it shipped to me or have it shipped to Amazon, I’m going to put it to Amazon. And here I am competing with them for you, other people for the buy box. And we’re all selling this product. I don’t control the listing or the images and stuff like that. So which one of those do you mainly focus on?
Dan: We have experimented. If it’s a form of selling on Amazon, we’ve ultimately tried it in some form or fashion, but really it’s kind of that latter scenario that you talked about. We– the former scenario, I guess, we like to go in and create direct relationships with brands directly, not just wholesalers, and work with those brands to increase their sales. So that’s in a lot of instances, we have a lot of similarities with a private label model. Like we do a lot of those same optimizations for brands. We ultimately do things like optimize their listings, improve pictures to increase conversion. We, in a lot of cases like, for the vast majority of brands that we work with, we run ads and manage their ads campaigns. But what we did is we showed them the value that those ads have in terms of bringing them to a customer. So a lot of the brands pay for that because they see the value there. So, it’s very close to the private label model.
Bradley Sutton: Something came by my desk a couple of months ago and actually came from Dan’s team. It’s the way that they estimate how many sales someone can make on an existing listing that people do wholesale how much sales they can make, if they were to go ahead and add their listening to it. So before we talk about what we came up with in Helium 10, can you talk about the old way of how you and your students would calculate that out?
Dan: It’s like, for us originally, when we started, there wasn’t a great way to calculate it out. And honestly, that kind of leaves you operating in the dark, that kind of evolved over the course of time. And we were using a lot of– we’ve been using Helium 10 for a while now and have been using the sales estimation. So the process for us beforehand would be to look at a listing and determined the amount of what we consider competitive sellers. Now, over the course of time, we’ve seen that for the vast majority of sales on Amazon, they happen within the Buy Box and then the Buy Box on a listing where there are multiple sellers will rotate among competitive sellers. Competitive means in our world what we’ve seen is with, if you’re within 2% of the Buy Box, you have a good percentage chance of getting some level of sales equity right? Now, obviously like the best position. If you want to be able to maximize your sales equity, that would be like matching the lowest price or being the lowest price. But we’ve seen that competitive sellers kind of snag that buy box within 2%. So our calculation for that was look at the existing number of sales using the extension, like the total number of sales that happen on the listing. Look at the competitive sellers, the FBA or Prime sellers within 2% of the lowest Prime price and divide that by the number of sellers plus one, because that’s assuming that we’re going to be selling the product as well. So it was relatively simple process, but it actually, whenever you start doing it, like on so many listings, like it takes quite a bit of time to sit there and just kind of map out the sales. And that was ultimately part of the reason we reached out to you guys is like, wow, this is one of those things that I think could probably make a bit of difference for anybody who’s in that model where they’re looking at buy box rotation and at least kind of get a good grasp on it. Like it’s, nothing’s ever perfect and that, but it gives you an idea of what it should be if the ideal circumstances are there, so you can move forward and make decisions quickly. So yeah. I’ll be honest, man. That was a home run addition for us.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys. So anyways, long story short again, we greenlit this project and we worked the team here, we got Simon who was the product manager for our Chrome Extension, and he was really helpful at getting this rolled out. So anybody who’s got the Helium 10 Chrome Extension, by the way, guys, if you guys are listening and you don’t have the Chrome Extension, you don’t even need to pay for it. You can get it for free, you get a few uses a month for free. So just go to H10.me/extension. H10.me/extension, install it for free. Once you do that and get everything signed up, you go to any of these pages that you’d like to kind of estimate how much money you potentially, you know, could make approximately, if you added your own wholesale offering for it. And what it does is is you scroll down on any page and you scroll down to right past the BSR graph, Helium 10 has a BSR history right there. And right below that, you’ll see something called calculators and it defaults to right there the sales estimator. Now it’s going to show you the number of “competitive offers”. And what that’s based on is based on what Dan was talking about. Hey, usually if you’re within 2% of an FBA Prime Buy Box price, you’re probably going to be in the running to get a rotation on the Buy Box. Of course, if your metrics are 5% on your seller performance or your seller feedback, you probably won’t get as many impressions as everybody else, but Hey, in general, it’s a good rule of thumb. So we show you how many competitive offers, and then what you can do is you can say, like, let’s say there was two competitive offers. You just go in and change that to three. And then what it does is it takes the estimated sales for that listing or for that ASIN, and then divides it by that number so that, Hey, if in a world where the buy box is kind of rotated evenly, this is approximately how many sales you can get. It takes now one second, as opposed to the old way that Dan seemed had to do it as they had to add it all up and see who is within 2%, and then go check another Chrome Extension to see what the estimated sales, and then go ahead and bust out the calculator, and then they could probably get an idea. So have you started using that yourself, Dan or– because it’s literally brand new, like a couple days ago.
Dan: A hundred percent, our team definitely has started using it. And it’s like you said, it’s one of those things like the calculation doing it once, it may take 10 or 15, 20 second, 30 seconds to like, do it yourself and you don’t really realize how many 30 seconds there are in a day when you’re just sitting there scouting late. So we’ve seen an immediate increase in production from our scouting team. It’s incredible, honestly.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. Now here’s a question, I know you teach us in your training and we’ll of course, let people know how to get to that at the end of this episode, but as a rule of thumb, how do I know something might be an opportunity? Like, I can’t just go to Amazon, just start searching keywords and like, Oh, here’s a wholesale opportunity. I’m going to be on this listing within a few days. Like how does somebody get started in this field?
Dan: Sure. No, I think that’s usually like the scariest part for a lot of people is they can, what if I didn’t choose a great product, right? And the solace here is that in wholesale, you’re not quite as stuck to a product as you might be with private label, right? Like there’s a lot of development that goes in a lot of cases, a fairly significant initial order. And you’re really all energy into to that. But with wholesale, like you’re actually able to move around and get out of SKUs quiet, uh, easily, right? Because every product I buy as an example, it has existing sales. So I don’t have to create a whole bunch of demand. Like I just have to be a competitive seller on the list. We use a fairly set of simple rules to qualify a lead. And for us, that’s number one, I actually just don’t want products that are carried by Amazon themselves. And it’s for a couple of reasons like we’ve carried products and ultimately been able to beat Amazon before on price and win the buy box and kind of sell with products. But being the low– like Amazon is very aggressive. Like we try to avoid them because they are going to force you to sell it lower at a price lower than you want consistently. Like, so I hate the idea of looking for products where my margin is just pretty limited. The second part of that is back to kind of what we were originally talking about with our model. Our model is really contingent on developing great relationships with the brand. If Amazon carries that product, it’s really hard to make those specific changes to the product page. Like Amazon’s retail team kind of walks it for– walks the listing for changes, and it makes it difficult to add value. So we just avoid those products in general. The second thing is we really like products and this is more towards new sellers. Like if you’re a more experienced seller, I think this line kind of moves fairly well. But we like products over $20. And the reason for that is with wholesale, your acquisition costs, like you don’t have to typically spend as much on marketing. Like we don’t, like I said, the vast majority of ads and things like that the brands pay for.
Dan: So we get like more of a true sense of margin than maybe private label does, but the front side margin, like the great thing about private label is typically you might be paying $5 for a product that have a retail price of 20 or $25. That’s just not the case in wholesale, like for the vote– the vast majority of products they operate in wholesale in terms of what they call keystone pricing. And that just means 50% of the retail price. So like a $20 retail item would be sold by a wholesaler or the brand themselves for around $10. And you may be able to negotiate a better price, but that’s like a good kind of rule of thumb. So whenever you start getting below that $20 threshold, unless you’re pretty familiar with some of the Amazon programs, like maybe small and white, like if you’re, if you’ve got pretty sizable shipments going in where you can really reduce your shipping expense, then those cheaper products become more viable. Like ultimately we carry some products that are like seven or $8 that do really, really well. They’re just a little more complex now we handle. So we advise like newer sellers to kind of stay above that $20 line and look for products $20 and above. The third thing that we’re, that we’re really looking for is that the product has more than three sellers. And a lot of people are like, wait, Dan, like, isn’t it ideal if the product would only have me as a seller? And it’s like, yes, that’s like the perfect scenario whenever the stars kind of aligned for that to happen. But we really believe that exclusives are typically one not given. And what I mean by that is we kind of earned those by providing a lot of value and developing a great relationship with a vendor over time. But initially when I’m looking for a product, like I really want to focus on products with three or more sellers, because that shows me that that company has experienced working with third-party brands or third-party retailers to sell their products. Like you got to think of– I know with Helium 10, like you guys deal with so much with private label sellers. And it’s like, a lot of your software is a lot of your customer base has to be because your software is just so good for that kind of stuff. And with private label sellers, like you have to imagine that they were bringing their product to market with the ideology that they were going to be the seller. So we don’t necessarily always align there. And my goal was to find the best aligned people to work with. Right. So it’s, we found that over the course of time, whenever they have three or more sellers, that tends to be more likely to be aligned with what we’re trying to do. And the last one is it’s kind of a vague, right? And this goes back to our philosophy within our business within like our teachings is we like to teach people to think, like, I want to think and never just kind of like follow those crazy hard and fast rules. Like, I don’t like rules. I like guidelines for how to make good business decisions.
Dan: And our last one kind of follows that. I like to say that the products that we choose have an established sales history of selling numerous times per month. And it’s like, well, what does numerous mean? And I think that’s flexible based on your business and in capital levels. And I also think it’s flexible based on the price point of the product. Like, when I carry a product that sold, then I could sell 10 times a month if it were a $600 product. And the answer is like, Oh yeah. Like if that’s the margin that I’m going to typically have from a product like that, it’s going to be easily worth my time to do it. But if I were selling like a $7 product, 10 times a month is not going to be able to move me. So it kind of depends on what your target is in what you’re looking for and what we found in the best targets to be is like the products that we can sell at least 20 to between ourselves, between 20 and 50 times per month, that gives us like a good volume to know that the product’s doing well. And I love seeing those products that are doing that well, like maybe have five, four or five sellers are selling two or 300 times a month and have significant room for improvement. That’s always like the most exciting product for me. It’s kind of long-winded, but the four rules kind of summarize it.
Bradley Sutton: No, I let you get going because in those three minutes there, or so, I ate an entire five guys, hamburger and fries. So I was like, please keep going, please keep going. So I can finish my whole hamburger here, but that was actually some good information. You got five guys out there where you’re at?
Dan: Well, I live in the middle of kind of nowhere Ville, Kentucky. The closest five guys an hour and a half away, otherwise . . .
Bradley Sutton: Well, speaking of that, I remember the first time I met you, you lost a lot of weight since the first time I met you. I think all your weight that you lost. I found it, and it’s on me now, but anyways, I digress. One of the– talking about finding a product you were talking about $20, $10, et cetera, what’s the target– what do you teach your students as far as what the target profit should be on what they should be shooting for?
Dan: Again, I think it’s one of those moving targets. We tell people if you’re new, I love looking at profit or products with a 30% ROI. Now, I can tell you that I personally carry, like, it’s not a hypocritical thing. I think whenever you start, like looking for products under that, you need to be a little more sure on your business processes and things like that, just to make sure that you don’t go negative or at least know what you’re doing. But we carry plenty of products under that threshold of the 30% ROI. And that just make sense because of their volume. But if you’re new seriously, look for products that have a little margin to give you some and cushion.
Bradley Sutton: Now just for people who are new to calculating things like that, like how would they go about calculating potential ROI? What factors, I mean, obviously the retail price that they’re going to sell it for, and then there’s the shipping to get it to Amazon. And there’s obviously the product or the price that they’re paying for the product, but how do you calculate that all in order to be able to say, Hey, this is the ROI on this.
Dan: For sure. No, that’s the thing I truly love about ROIs. It’s just that, it’s the basic comparison versus cost. And rather than trying to– there’s a lot of ways to look at how you make money. There’s ROI, profit margin, and those are different calculations. But for us, what we’re looking at is ROI is the percentage of profit that we make versus what we spend now that’s awkward, right? It’s like, there’s factors there. So, what I like, how I can do that is I can take the amount that Amazon pays me when I sell an item. If I sell an item for like $20, you can go to their calculator and it’ll tell you that maybe you get $13 after fees, right. $13. So let’s say that product, and you oftentimes, when you’re doing this on the front side, it’s best just to make out estimations, like how much is it going to cost me to send that product to Amazon? So like that kind of thing. So we like to use 50 cents or a dollar estimation to kind of depending on what the product is, but let’s pretend it’s just a small standard size product and it’s going to cost us a dollar to send it to Amazon. That’s our estimate, right? So that means that Amazon’s giving us $12 or $13. When we sell that item, a dollar goes into shipping and packing it and getting it there. So now we have $12 is our net. Now, if we paid $10 for that, our return on investment would be 12 minus 10, which is $2. And then it’s ultimately 20% of what we spent. So it’d be 1.2X, our spin. So 20% would fall below, ideally on a $10 item. I want to have that return on investment of $3, or I get $13 back.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. As far as who you’re purchasing from, what would you say is the percentage breakdown where it’s direct? I mean, not necessarily wholesale kind of wholesale, but direct from the manufacturer, or you’re buying it through distribution centers or actual wholesalers.
Dan: We kind of use the term brand and manufacturer interchangeably. And that’s like, it can be kind of confusing, right. But whenever we’re talking about brand, I just want to get really clear. So people understand what I’m talking about. Whenever I’m talking about a brand, the best example is Nike shoes, because everybody knows Nike, it’s just a brand that everybody’s heard of. So if I wanted to carry Nike shoes, I would contact their sales team at their headquarters. It would probably– that’s an Oregon. I think now most people were like, well, Nike shoes are created in China, right? Or wherever they’re actually physically manufactured. In wholesale, we don’t deal with the manufacturer or what the factory directly, we’re only dealing with the brand owner, because if you go outside of that chain of I would say, chain of custody maybe is the, probably the right terminology. You start getting into the area where you’re counterfeiting or selling an authorized products. And that’s what we really want to avoid. So for us, we exclusively deal with brands at this point. Like we, 0% of our products are purchased through distributors, or what you would consider to be traditional wholesalers. Now, when we purchase directly from a brand, like all of those brands are based domestically and have even regardless of where their products are manufactured, their warehouse domestically. So like, I place an order with a brand for us, about 80% of our orders are just shipped directly to Amazon. So like I set up my account, let’s say on day one, I placed my– I get approved. I placed my order. Typically our products are live on Amazon in about seven days or five to seven days. And then some amount of those would potentially be shipped to a third-party prep center who preps them and then sends them onwards to Amazon, if they require it.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, quick break on this episode for my BTS, Bradley’s 30 seconds, here is my 30-second tip for the day. I will be talking in this episode about wholesale. And one thing that’s important, whether you’re a wholesale or private label seller sometimes is to know the inventory of the competition. Now, when you’re a wholesale seller, you’re thinking like, Hmm, can I jump on this listing? I can’t afford the buy box price right now, but use inventory levels. You just click on the Chrome Extension of Helium 10, you hit inventory levels, and you’ll see the remaining inventory that all of the sellers have left in stock. So you know if you need to wait them out, or if you just need to move on to another opportunity, private label sellers can use that to check out some of their competitor’s inventory, as well as if you ever have a Hijacker on your listing. You can use inventory levels to see if it’s just one or two products that they have, or if they’ve got a hundred and a hundred or 150 or even more, and you need to like escalate that to Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. Now, you mentioned, Hey, you like products that have more than three sellers. So people obviously know how to deal with Amazon sellers, but how do you make that cold call? I mean, are these cold calls, cold emails, or how do you contact them? What do you say to get the relationship going?
Dan: That’s a really good question. So for us, we kind of have a philosophy about just general compact strategy and part of that’s rooted in efficiency. And part of it is rooted in context and creating the right context around talking to somebody. So for us, we always start with an email and there’s a variety of different emails, I think you can send, but we start with an email to the brand and then ultimately try to go to a phone call to close and discuss how we can particularly help them. Like, I think it’s probably important to mention that traditional wholesale working with a distributor or wholesaler is typically easier. Like more of them will approve. Like if you send an email, it’s like, Hey, I would like to get an account with you guys. They would, you know, they’re going to be like, Hey, glad to have you, we need this information for the most part. Now with brands, they’re a lot more selective about who they work with, like a lot more. And the vast majority of brands will tell you that, on that initial email that they’re not interested, but that’s our sweet spot. Like, I actually love when a brand tells me no, because it means they care a lot about their brand that they’re invested into their own products. And that makes me know that if I can convert them or find a way to ultimately work with them, then it’s probably going to be a long and profitable relationship.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Cool Now, I would imagine a lot of the fees here, your profitability hinges on, how economical you can ship it to Amazon. So is your number one option, Hey, let’s get the brand or whoever you’re purchasing it from to send it directly to FBA?
Dan: 100%. That’s like the perfect scenario because it reduces that shipping from us, like, or to us, and then us having to ship it, or to the prep center and them having to ship it. So if that is the possibility, that’s exactly what we want every single time. Like not only do I think is it more likely to is most certainly cheaper, but I also think that there’s the element of, it’s less likely to get damaged too. Right? Like the less handling of a product in general, the more likely it’s going to be to kind of show up in tip top shape for the customers.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then– but sometimes can you still make money if they’re insists, I know I need to ship it to you first and then, and then you ship it to Amazon.
Dan: Oh yeah. Yeah. Like that’s probably 20% of our products currently still, and they just either, those products need very specific types of pre ep or the company just doesn’t have the– they don’t have the policies to be able to ship direct to Amazon. So yeah, it’s definitely possible, but the most ideal circumstance and where you get to make the most money is if you’re able to ship those products direct.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then do you have them put FN SKUs on everything so that the sales can be attributed to you or are you cool with doing the co-mingled sticker list inventory thing?
Dan: I only sticker things that require a sticker, like some products, if they’re ingestible or a food, or a topical that you rub on your skin or whatever they require stickers, if it doesn’t require a sticker, I don’t sticker because I don’t want to increase my costs. And another, for us at least like, typically that’s done whenever you, if you’re concerned about the condition of the product or whatever, because your invoices are up to snuff maybe, or you’re using receipts or whatever. Like the important thing to remember is with our direct form of wholesale, we’re working directly with the brand, like the invoice legitimately can’t get better. It’s not possible. Just like any other seller where we do a high volume of sales, like we get occasionally get customer complaints or the occasional, like counterfeit claim or whatever it is. Right. And for those, like we’ve never had any type of issue, being able to send our brand manufacturer direct invoices. And in some cases like we’ve also sent a letter of authorization from the manufacturer where they’re just like, no, these guys are legitimate. They buy their product directly from us– that kind of stuff. And we’ve never once had an issue.
Bradley Sutton: Hmm. Okay. So wait, I never done the co-mingled sticker less, but like, let’s say somebody buys a product and it is sticker less. I mean, basically Amazon doesn’t know where that product, which seller the product came from. Right.
Bradley Sutton: So then it really can’t fall back on you in that sense, like, if there is like a whole bunch of products that maybe didn’t have a seal, it’s not like they’re going to close the Amazon accounts of every single one of those 10 sellers. Right.
Dan: It’s interesting because whenever Amazon, regardless of whether you’re stickered or not, let’s say that actually happens. Let’s say that thing happens. I’ve been through a lot of those things where Amazon doesn’t necessarily like, just say if it’s yours, they say that this was your product. And you have to develop your plan of action based on it, which usually requires you, whether you’re guilty or not to accept the responsibility, right. Like that’s part of kind of combating those plans of action. But what we’ve seen ultimately is, regardless of whether we were sticking or not, we would get that same claim. And being stickered has never helped us, whereas not being stickered saves us approximately 20 cents a unit. So, for us like, and our invoices now, if I were to like a retail arbitrage or online arbitrage seller, like I probably would just be stickered and to be a bit safer, but our invoices really just stand up to any type of scrutiny.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Cool. Interesting. Interesting. What about– have you ever, or I actually, I just thought of this. It was like what if the manufacturer doesn’t want people selling their product, but if you’re kind of like trying to focus just on buying stuff from the brands themselves, that kind of saves you from that problem. I know sometimes when you do arbitrage and things like that, you don’t know this, you’re buying the product and it’s legit, but then the actual manufacturer, the brand doesn’t want you selling online so that they’ll send like these cease and desist things. And they’ll try and get you kicked off Amazon, but under your kind of way of doing things that kind of saves you from that headache.
Dan: Yeah. Like we’re completely authorized. I mean, for the most part, the brands support everything we do. They’re helping us, whenever I improve their pictures, like, to be honest. Like, I don’t, I’m not a photographer. Like I’m not out there, getting poses and, and positioning pictures and stuff like that. For the most part, the brands already have that kind of stuff. So it’s, we’re working back and forth to utilize their resources and get them live on the listing. So, whenever these types of things come up, we’re number one, we’re always authorized. They know who we are. There’s never any confusion. So, we’ve never had a problem of them know, not wanting us to sell their products or whatnot.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. What’s another strategy, obviously you can’t give out all your secret strategies, that’s where people who take the course, but just to get people what their appetites of the kind of level of insights and training they’re going to get with the wholesale formula, what’s something you can give kind of like a preview of coming attractions.
Dan: No, for us The Wholesale Formula, it’s interesting because I think there’s a lot of courses and information, right? Like, The Wholesale Formula is quite a bit different than just a traditional course. Whenever we work with people, we try to provide all of the resources and support and, and it’s more like a program that is focused on getting results. So, what is The Wholesale Formula? The course aspects are the– it’s an exact replica of how we do our business. The process is the thought that goes into it, how we handle sales calls, like how we convince a brand to work with us, how we identify reasons that they would want to work with us. All those factors are in The Wholesale Formula but it’s, as far as like the program itself, like this last time we opened our course, like our course actually currently isn’t open. So, hopefully anybody hears it, won’t be disappointed, but in our last time that we opened the course, and we recently just kind of closed that workshop or whatever, but the people who signed up beyond just the program itself, they were able to get enrolled into our coaching program to make sure that they’re hitting the mark and getting the results they want. Similarly, we also have several other resources about like improving listings, running PPC, and all of those things to make sure that they’re able to support the brands that they get to work with them. So it’s really an intensive process, honestly, man.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. All right. Now, anything else that you’d like to say before we get to your 30-second tip of the episode? Like maybe some more success stories or some cool anecdotes or funny story, anything like that?
Dan: I actually ran a post from a guy in our community this morning named John. And we recently took on several hundred students and he just wanted to make a post to let them know how this business could ultimately affect them and how it can change their lives, because it was a big deal for him. Before the wholesale formula, he was an RA, OA guy just out there, kind of like beating the streets and really just grind it out and making dollars like working his butt off. And his wife was diagnosed with cancer and ultimately they were able to switch their operation to kind of be conducive with her condition and stuff like that, where she didn’t have to get out. She was able to list and send emails to brands and, and communicate and stuff like that, but not really get out there and make herself sick. And ultimately he said that cancer stole her, but the thing for him is during the course of time, whenever she was still with him, they were able to create like a real business. They were able to get their family involved. And it was something that gave her the ability to still work. Like he said that was like the biggest thing for her. And she was really sick and she still just wanted to work. And to me, I think, that was a big success. Like the guy created a business while he was going through a tragedy and ultimately was able to kind of spend a lot more time with his wife, and I think that’s, but I think that’s not exclusive to wholesale, honestly, it just happened to be the vehicle he took. I think that same possibility is possible for people doing private label and some forms of maybe arbitrage and stuff like that. But, to me, I guess the takeaway from that story is look at your– I guess you could look at your business as a family affair and use it to be, and in certain instances, be able to use it to make the people around you, even happier it was just to me, it was a really cool story saying, saying how he kind of leveraged Amazon as a way to make his wife happy whenever she needed it the most.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think there’s tons of stories like that, not exclusive to wholesale of course, but just in general, how e-commerce, it’s not all just about Lamborghinis and mansions and things like that. There’s a lot of real human stories behind things and allows people to do things that maybe otherwise they might not have been able to have the opportunity to do one last thing. Actually, I just remembered something. And I think I’m like 98% sure that you don’t know about this, because it just got added to Helium 10 this morning. And it just popped up into my mind as a potential strategy. So you tell me if this would be an accurate strategy or not. So, a lot of people are doing similar things wholesale. So let’s say that I happen to come across some solid listings I’m selling. And I noticed in a couple listings that there’s another third party seller, like myself, who I’m also sharing the buy box, nothing. And then we’re not talking about, Oh, we’re having a race to the bottom, or we’re having some kind of price wars. I just happened to notice that the name of a storefront, like, would it be a strategy of clicking on that person, that other person store for knowing that he sells like one or two of the same products as me, and maybe I’m thinking maybe this guy is doing the same thing that I’m doing and going to look at the other brands and things that he’s selling in his storefront to get an idea of some leads.
Dan: Oh yeah, that’s definitely one of the big strategies that we actually teach. There’s no reason to replicate work when the work’s already been done for you. So it’s a phenomenal way. And I can tell you that you’re 100% on the right track because we call it seller profiles, like, and typically whenever you see that a seller is carrying a similar product to you, and that you can kind of look at their feedback and go to their store. And a lot of times they just carry a lot of those types of products with similar margins in the similar kind of price range, and maybe even niche based, which saves you a ton of work and having to research those niches and kind of do all that stuff. So absolutely something we employ and 100% encourage.
Bradley Sutton: Nice, nice. We just actually added that into Helium 10 for the Black Box for products. We’ve always had where you can search by brand for four different products that come up or exclude brands. Well, now we have two new advanced filters where you can actually filter by the seller. So as long as you have their seller name, you have to have it exact, you can’t put like,, lowercase and uppercase, depending on what they have. You got to have it exactly as it is on Amazon, you’ll be able to see right there, right in Black Box, up to 200 of whatever is in your competitor storefront. So there you go, there’s something maybe new you and your students can use.
Dan: This is definitely something that I’m excited to hear that this got out of the black box, because it was definitely one of those kind of more manual processes. And it will be a huge time saver because it’s easily one of our best ways where we’re able to find products consistently. So it’s a great, great addition.
Bradley Sutton: Sweet, sweet. All right. Well, we come to the part of the show that’s or the TST, 30-second tip. You’ve been giving us tips and strategies throughout this whole episode, but what’s something you can say in a round 30 seconds or less, highly valuable, highly actionable for our listeners out there.
Dan: It has to be that keywords are far more important than I used to believe. They were like the, if there’s a tool that is, that I’ve utilized more than anything, it is Cerebro and I’ve gotten absolutely crushing results. For us, it was understanding that position in keywords actually matters and how to position the most relevant keywords. So, my 30-second actionable advice would be focus on getting better keywords into your title and bullets. Cerebro can be a very, very powerful tool for it, and ultimately create a lot more traction than you believe.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. All right. Yeah. I know it’s closed right now for people to join The Wholesale Formula, but if people just want to reach out to you to find more information, or maybe get on some list to be notified when it’ll be open again, how can they find you on the inter webs?
Dan: For sure, my man. Go to the wholesaleformula.com. That’s our website. We also have a blog. You can join our mailing list there. And that’s what we obviously talk about any time that enrollment’s open or whatever, but more importantly, there’s tons of free content there and actionable strategies to help people get started with wholesale. And moving in that direction. Similarly, we have a Facebook group called the FBA wholesale community. It’s a free Facebook group. Anybody can join it. We can jump in there, have employees as well, that kind of jump in there and help to answer questions really, really good group, bunch of smart people in there. And then we have our Facebook page, The Wholesale Formula. We pump out a lot of cool content there as well. So, those are definitely the three best ways to contact us.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Well, Dan, thank you so much for coming back on this show and we’ll definitely want to reach out to you in another year or so, and see where you guys are.
Dan: Well, Hey brother, I appreciate it. And seriously, thank you for the addition you guys made. I promise it’s going to save a whole bunch of people in our community and anybody else who uses this feature a ton of time.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Awesome. All right. Thanks a lot. We’ll see you later.
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