05-05-2017 08:41 AM - edited 05-05-2017 10:12 AM
From 9-5 I'm a Virgin Media employee, but between 6-9 and 5-10 I'm a so-called "sideprenuer" and I'm about to take my business to the next level. I encourage you to follow my story, as I'll definitely be in need of your expertise!
What's my business about?
It's simple. I help UK customers get their hands on the latest and greatest male grooming products that are currently unavailable in the UK market.
I started off importing and selling on eBay, then moved the bulk of my sales to Amazon FBA and now I'm in the process of migrating to my own eCommerce site and selling direct.
Amazon FBA has allowed me to scale my business very quicky and develop a somewhat passive income stream. Once per week I order large quantities of products and when they arrive take them all to an Amazon collection point (Luckily for me, there's one a 2 minute walk from my house). Amazon then collects the products and takes them to an Amazon Fulfilment Centre. Everytime a customer makes an order, Amazon ships the product direct and looks after any customer service. From a customer experience perspective, it's exactly the same as buying a product that Amazon sells directly - Even Prime is available! I've also hired a freelancer using upwork.com who is in the Phillippines, who takes care of all the order tracking for me and the time zone difference means my business continues to tick along even when I'm asleep.
This all basically means that selling 10 products, is no different to selling 10,000 products in terms of workload for me (Just more to take to the collection point during my once per week trip) and I'm now ready to expand.
My new website is called M20Hair.com (Screenshots below) and will be launched this Sunday (7th May 2017). Please register your interest on the homepage until then! It's built on the Shopify platform and I'm working with a freight forwarder and fulilment company; Flexport, who will import and send out my orders. The use of Flexport is key for me - I want my business to be scalable and allow me to focus my energy on expansion, rather than order handling. (After all I do have a full time job!).
I hope you enjoy following the story and I'll post an update on here next week to let you all know how the launch goes. Also, if anybody needs any advice on Amazon FBA or import/export of tangible products, please let me know!
06-05-2017 01:15 PM - edited 06-05-2017 01:17 PM
Congratulations on the launch of your upcoming website and business idea, sounds like a winner.
What you can do when the site is officially ready is to add a signature which will show at the bottom of your posts like many of us do so everyone can see contact details and th website address.
If your unaware of this, you can place a direct website link (hyperlink) on a post and chose the option that opens a link on another page.
All the very best and I wish you success with the business.
Tweet & Follow: @FigurelandUK
Call During Opening Hours Mon-Fri 9am - 5.30pm
Tel: 01895 349595
on 11-05-2017 09:29 AM
Thank you for all the support I've recieved both on and off-line relating to this post! I'm keen to keep you all updated and this time I'm in need of some help!
First of all - After some last minute scrambling I managed to get the website live in time with my self-imposed deadline, created all social accounts and pushed out my first paid advertisement using Facebook Ads.
I've used Facebook Ads before driving traffic to my Amazon page with huge success, but this time I didn't manage to get any conversions from the 3-day advertisement. In fact, I got more page views from writing an article on skincare and posting it in various forums than I did from the paid ad. Turns out it's much harder to get people to buy from an an unknown site than off Amazon. If anyone has any ideas on how I can drive more traffic to my site, please reply below! (I've listed everthing I've done so far at the bottom of the page).
I already knew creating a new direct channel away from Amazon would be difficult and take time, so I'm going to push harder on building up the social media presence of M20 Hair over the next few weeks before launching another paid ad.
It wasn't all bad news. Along with the launch of the website, I expanded my Amazon sales and entered the North American market - listing products that are widely available in the UK, but difficult to get hold of by North American consumers (The reverse of my current business model). It's been an instant hit and doubled my sales volume literally overnight, which shows the power of selling globally on Amazon. I'm going to run with this for a few weeks and then look at expansion into Japan (The only other area outside Europe & North America, where you can use Amazon FBA).
Keep following the story and I'm open to any advice! Below is everything I've done so far to drive people to my site:
- Paid Facebook advertisement targetting people in my target demographic who have liked the page of my most popular (and most profitable!) brand.
- Written a blog post on skincare and shared on vairous Forums.
- Set up an automated e-mail using XSellCo informing all of my Amazon customers they can buy more cheaply from the M20 Hair website everytime they make an order.
- Rebranded my Amazon seller accounts so that they all fall under M20 Hair and contain links over to the site.
- Contacted so-called 'Influencers' on social media.
With all of the above, my freelancer in the Phillipines has been a massive help and cannot reccommend upwork.com enough, especially for 'Sideprenuer' projects like this one!
Stay tuned for updates!
on 11-05-2017 10:02 AM
Sounds like you've done a lot so far @jordanhall4! How long ago did you start up with your Amazon page?
Interesting to follow your entrepreneur diary, keep us up to date
11-05-2017 06:14 PM - edited 11-05-2017 06:17 PM
I started playing around with it in December and I'm still learning about the platform. Despite the relative success I've had using Amazon, it's not that easy to get going and Amazon themselves don't help the matter.
Amazon Seller Support is some of the worst customer service I've ever had to deal with and I've found I get more support going to the Amazon Forums than I do from customer service. Also, Amazon doesn't make it that easy to work out what fees you'll incur, the fees differ across product categories and Amazon only offers an "Estimated Fee" - It's often a case of trying something without knowing the complete numbers, seeing if it works and if so repeating!
Even with these frustrations, I still think it's by far by the best platform out there for growing a passive eCommerce business. I saw a statistic that 50% of all online transactions in the US take place on Amazon!
on 16-05-2017 06:18 AM
Hi jordanhall and congratulations on your launch.
"if you have not done already or are planning to" I would recommend you to keep your ebay and Amazon accounts active as in selling the products on them as well as your site as there are people who only buy off ebay and Amazon.
on 16-05-2017 10:29 AM
I'm definitely still keeping my Amazon account open and I'm viewing the website as more of an extension of my Amazon business, rather than vice-versa. I'm already seeing some traction in having a compelte brand with it's own website/social profiles etc on my Amazon sales number!
As for eBay, you bring up an interesting topic. I've kept my eBay open since moving over to Amazon but raised my prices to discourage people from purchasing on the platform. I find customers who buy on eBay are much more hassle, ask more questions and want more returns than on Amazon.
My eBay account remains open purely to drive traffic to Amazon - I have an automated e-mail go out to anyone who buys on eBay, informing them they can make savings by visiting my Amazon page.
on 20-05-2017 04:27 AM
The is great that you have used and tried different "resources" such as ebay, amazon, your website and social media.
Have you tried alibaba?
What works for some won't work out for others and so as you state ebay is not favourable as compared to amazon others will have a different experience but many will give up because of just one negative experience.
What you have shared with us is a great example "of what you are doing and have done" to others seeking to start a business of any kind from their ideas.
Best of luck and success to you.