Matt Clark and Jason Katzenback discuss how to source products to sell on Amazon. This article and video will teach sellers the steps to follow in order to source a product from overseas, or to find a private label product supplier domestically, in the U.S.
How to Source Products to Sell on Amazon:
What are Private Label Products?
Is the Product I Want to Sell Better to Source from the U.S. or Elsewhere?
How to Buy from Alibaba and Sell on Amazon
How to Find Domestic U.S. Private Label Product Suppliers
Note About Choosing a Comparable Product
Amazon Product Supplier Relationship
“Buy for $4, Sell for $26.99: How to Source Any Product” Video Transcription
Matt Clark and Jason Katzenback, co-founders of Amazing.com, Inc., joined forces live on Facebook to reveal how sellers can use the internet to find a supplier step-by-step for any product they want to sell on Amazon.
Private label products are products that are already being manufactured by a supplier. Sellers find the supplier they want to source their product from. The seller then works with the supplier to customize the product with their brand. The seller is then able to sell the products on Amazon, under their own brand.
Private label product suppliers can be found both in the United States and overseas.
Once you find a product you would like to sell, you need to figure out if the product is one that should be sourced in the United States or if it can be sourced overseas.
Matt and Jason explain it this way: anything that goes inside your body, like vitamins, supplements, or beauty products that go on your skin, will likely be sourced in the United States. Other products will likely be sourced overseas. (There are some exceptions to this).
If your product can be sourced in the United States, read the section below titled, “How to Find Domestic U.S. Private Label Product Suppliers.” If your product should be sourced overseas, follow the steps presented in the below section titled, “How to Buy from Alibaba and Sell on Amazon”
What is Alibaba.com? Alibaba is a company based in China. Alibaba is an online site that connects suppliers around the world with sellers. The site makes it simple for sellers in the United States to connect with suppliers in places like China, without having to travel there.
Steps to Sourcing a Product from Alibaba:
1. Figure out what the product is called.
2. Go to Alibaba.com
3. On Alibaba.com, search for the product you want to sell on Amazon by entering the product name in the search bar.
4. On Alibaba, find products that are as close to the competitor’s product (or better) as you can find.
5. Find at least 3-5 suppliers.
6. Contact the suppliers.
When ready, click the “contact supplier” button and contact the suppliers via Alibaba.
Get information from the supplier on features, pricing, and order minimums.
Do not take what is written for price and order minimums on Alibaba as fact. Try to negotiate features, pricing, and order minimums.
Take notes on the things that are important: How fast are they at getting back to you? How is their English? How helpful are they?
7. Order 3-5 samples.
8. Choose the right sample and place an order.
Make sure you are getting a product that is comparable or better that the competing products. Find the best quality product with a pricing that is right for you.
Steps to Finding a Product from a Supplier in the United States:
1.Find a product you want to sell.
2. Go to Google.
3. Search for the product and add “private label” at the end.
Example: “organic greens powder private label”
4. Look through the first page or two of results, and find suppliers to contact.
5. Read Amazon reviews to see what was liked or disliked about the product.
6. Find a comparable product or a better one. Look at the products to see what ingredients are there, and verify that the ingredients reviewers liked are present.
7. Contact 3-5 suppliers and order samples.
8. Buy the competing product to see how it compares.
9. Negotiate price and order numbers.
Sellers should not try to find the exact product already selling on Amazon and just duplicate what is already being sold.
- Figure out how to make the product offer better than the competitor.
- Read Amazon reviews to see what people like and don’t like about the product.
- When talking to Alibaba suppliers, ask them what all the features are, and what different customizations they can add to make it better.
Sellers should not be rude to the supplier—the supplier is your asset.
Suppliers can prioritize one seller over others, and can give you price breaks.
So, always be professional and patient with the supplier.
Watch the video (above) or read the transcript (below) for more information on freight forwarding, two example products, and more insider tips.
Matt Clark: Hey there, Matt Clark here with Jason Katzenback, co-founders of Amazing.com Inc., welcome to this live video. What we’re talking about today is how you can find suppliers for any product sold on Amazon. It’s a lot easier than what you may think, whether you’ve done this before or maybe you’ve done a different kind of related business, maybe you’ve done some drop shipping, you bought somebody else’s brand and you’re like, “How do I create my own brand?” That’s exactly what we’re going to cover today. This is part of a live series that we’re doing here on Facebook. We’re doing a handful of live sessions that are in order. We’ve talked about so far how to find a product to sell. We’ve talked a bit about the business model. We’ve talked about some examples of products, which we’re actually sort of piggybacking off the last one we did, because we showed you different opportunities last time, and now we’re going to show you how to find suppliers for these.
This product here, which you can see behind me sells for about $25.99, you can actually source this product for about $4, and so a pretty good profit margin even after you consider Amazon fees and everything like that, which we can get into all that, and because we’re doing here, this here live feel free to ask questions. I can see them over here, I’ll cue them up for Jason and I to answer. Let’s have a good time with this and engage with us, like, comment so we know that you’re here, and then if we can answer any questions you may have.
What I like to do real quick is just to get into this is in case you’re joining us for the first time or maybe you want some extra clarity, Jason’s going to explain real quick exactly how this business model works, why are we talking about these kind of products? Are you selling somebody else’s product? Are you creating your own? How does this whole thing work? Jason maybe give them a quick overview of how this business model works.
Jason K.: Sure. What you’re doing with this business model is you’re essentially making your own brand of physical products and you’re leveraging Amazon to launch and grow your physical products business. Sometimes you’ll hear this referred to as an Amazon business, an Amazon-based business, those kind of things, but really Amazon is only the launching platform. Now the reality of it, most of the students that we know and most of the people that are successful get about 90% of their sales directly from Amazon, but that’s because Amazon is exploding so much internationally. Not only can you put your product on amazon.com, now Amazon’s making it easier all the time so I could start selling in Europe, Japan, Australia, all over the world through one platform, through the Amazon platform, but through their international areas.
What you’re basically doing is you’re finding opportunities, then you’re looking to see what these opportunities are in Amazon. You’re looking for products like we’ve shown here, products that are good sellers that you could purchase for a lower price, put your own brand on it and then sell on Amazon under your own brand. Now that sounds really confusing, we’re going to put a lot of information today to help you clarify the whole sourcing product, process for those products. But once you have the product then what you do is you simply work with the manufacturer, 99% of them have a system in place where they can help you create your own packaging, labels, all those kind of things, and then you just ship it to Amazon and you start selling it.
It’s really that simple. It’s just a matter of identifying an opportunity, finding a product, putting your own brand on it, putting it up on the Amazon platform, using the Amazon tools, plus some other strategies to be able to get a lot of traffic to that listing, then to start getting sales and refining the process from there. That’s really the highest level overview I can give, it’s just a quick process of, again, you’re building your own physical products business, because a lot of people get confusion about that, “Is this drop shipping? Is this wholesaling? What are you doing here?” It’s like, “No, you’re creating your own brand name.”
For example, it might be ABC Health Products that I create, and then I work with manufacturers to find health products, maybe Vitamin E, and I’ll find out if they’re a private label supplier. I can then put my own label on the product and start shipping it and selling it through Amazon. I don’t know if I need to really add anything more to that, about what the definition of … the overview of what we’re doing is.
Matt Clark: No, I think that’s perfect. What we’re going to cover today is two examples. One example is this product that will be sourced from China, and then another example is a product that will be sourced from the US. Just quickly what this product is, this one right here is a face brush, it’s going to be sold likely in the beauty category or something related. This is basically a kind of a face device I guess, you use to clean your face, exfoliate your face, comes with some different kind of heads on here that do different things. This product you may think, “Is this kind of too complicated? It’s kind of electronic product.” It’s not. It’s very different than selling a product like a laptop or a cellphone or something like that, that has all kinds of technology in that kind of thing backed into it. This one, fairly simple product, at the end of the day you basically press the button and the thing starts spinning, which makes it a great product if you could actually sell your own of.
I’ve got the listing pulled up behind me, and this product right now sells about $146,000 every single month on Amazon. Well over a million dollars per year from this single product, and like I mentioned earlier, it sells for $25.99 right now. I’m going to show you an example of how you can actually source this product for as little as about $4. This kind of product … When you’re sourcing a product that’s from China, a physical product that doesn’t go on your body or in your body, you’re likely going to source it from China and it’s likely the easiest way to find it is just to go over to a website called alibaba.com. If I go over to alibaba.com, and first off, you have to figure out what this is. maybe it’s a facial cleansing brush or a face exfoliating brush. I’m just going to search for that over here. If I go for face exfoliating brush and we’ll see it pops up.
Alibaba is a massive site, one of the biggest companies in the world, Alibaba based out of China. They basically have a lot of different areas of their business as you can imagine being how big they are. One big area is connecting people and the rest of the world with suppliers based in China. Now they have suppliers from all over the world, but really their main focus is suppliers based in China. You, in about 30 seconds can go over here and be connected with thousands and thousands of suppliers all the way over in China even if you’ve never done this before. If I search for face exfoliating brush, and wait for the page to load in.
Jason K.: I didn’t think you hit.
Matt Clark: It’s loading right now.
Jason K.: Sorry.
Matt Clark: As soon as this loads you’ll see that there’s a whole bunch of different results, and your job is basically at that point to dig through the results and find out exactly what kind of probably you’re looking for here. There’ll be some that are closely related and some that are not as closely related as you would want. If you’re finding out that people are liking this product because it has the different kind of heads on there, and if you were to go source your own product and it only had one or didn’t have any movable parts, you’d be at a disadvantage. You want to find out, and one way to do that is look through reviews of the existing product. Find out what people like and don’t like, and try to find a product that meets that.
Jason K.: I was just going to add that a big thing to do before, especially when you have something with movable parts, like as Matt said, this is a pretty simple product. It doesn’t have a lot of complicated things, but it still does have a little bit of moving parts, and with that you definitely want to read the reviews because you want to see what people like and what people don’t like. Because part of your process here isn’t just duplicating what’s already selling, it’s figuring out how to make your offer better, and it could be something simple. They might find that, “Geez, I wish it had one more of these brushes that I really love,” a certain type of brush, and if you find that out, well then you could add that, and feature that and say, “It includes this type of brush.”
It’s really important not to just blindly say, “Oh, this looks like a good product. Go to Alibaba and then start working that way.” You really want to make sure you understand what the customers are saying about the product, and then how you can work with the manufacturer to make it better. You don’t want to overcomplicate that too much, but when you’re contacting the manufacturer they’re generally going to give you like the lowest price possible with the most least amount of features. You’re going to want to work with a manufacturer and ask them, “What are all the features? What are all the customizations I can do with this?” So that you can understand the whole spectrum of what you can offer before you really start committing to anything.
Matt Clark: Sweet. We got a ton of engagement here, [inaudible 00:08:37] these examples. We’ve got people from all over the world, Roxanne from Germany. We’ve got Pablo from Puerto Rico. We’ve got Aleska from Miami. Somebody here, Anafi from South Africa. We’ve got people from Wyoming, Romania, Georgia, so awesome to have you with us. We can see the comments live over here. Give this post a like, leave us a comment and we’ll be getting to those and getting to your live questions about what we’re talking about very soon.
I’m over here in Alibaba, and as you remember all I did was search for face exfoliating brush, because what I found is this is a good opportunity on Amazon. If you want to learn how to figure out what good opportunities are on Amazon, you can either watch one of the live sessions we’ve recently done or at the end of this one, and we’ll also put it in the description and pin it as a comment, we’ll give you a link to get access to a four-part free training series that walks you through all that stuff. Don’t worry about that, just know that we found a good opportunity here, and now we’re going to show you how to find suppliers for them.
We got a look at this listing and figure out what it is, okay, we decided it’s a face exfoliating brush. We’ve gone over here to Alibaba, we search for it, and as you can tell immediately, this first one up here, not exactly comparable to that other product. The second one, very similar, third one, once again there’s something else that’s similar here, because if you noticed the first one and the third one are pretty close, but then the second one is very different, which is more what we’re looking for. You got to look through these, and fortunately they have the images right there. If you just keep scrolling through these you’ll find that there’s a handful that are very similar, another one that’s very similar.
What I’ve already done, which I don’t know if I’ll be able to find it just a second, but I already looked up and found one, and all I was really looking for … the other ones are probably close enough, but I was specifically looking for as close as I could possibly get. I spent a few minutes earlier, and I think I’d probably find it if I kept scrolling down here, but we don’t need to wait for that to load and everything. I found one, just one of these listings here, and you may not be able to see this, but the buttons are very similar. The buttons on the two front part are almost identical to the buttons on this two front part. I think this probably their supplier most likely, and they also have this colored part on the back. You don’t always have to have literally identical one. I just wanted to show you how easy it is to find these.
You’ll notice that the price here is between $4 and $7 a unit, and they claim a 2,000 piece minimum order. At $4 bucks each that’s like $8,000 grand, however, whenever you actually start talking to them that’s almost never the case. If you come off as credible, then we actually, I believe, give you some supplier contact templates in the free training series, that we’ll tell you about later. In that one you can literally just copy and past, and what they say here is almost never the actual case. You can get possibly better pricing, almost always better pricing, and you can also get a lower minimum order quantity.
You may be able to get started in this thing with as little as a few hundred units, maybe 500 units or maybe, heck, I mean a couple hundred units. If you just tell them that, “Look, I’ve got this business going. I want to just source this product. I want to see how it goes, and if everything goes well I’ll be ordering thousands of this from you,” which is very true because if the product starts selling very well. This product is easy, it’s selling thousands of units every single year, and you would be in that boat too, and it’s all very honest to tell them, and you could also likely get better pricing. You may ask them something like, “What’s the price based on if I order 200 units? 500 units? A 1,000 units? 3,000 units?” You can see their flexibility there, and you may find out pretty quickly that it’s a lot better than it even says here.
Jason K.: One of the really, really critical points of all these too, is like I said you’re creating your own physical products business. This is really serious, you’re creating a business. This isn’t a hobby. This isn’t like a scam. This is building a legitimate business, where you’re selling legitimate products with your own brand, you really want to do your due diligence and check out as many options as possible. Don’t just find one supplier and say, “OH, I found my supplier, I’m going to work with them.” Because what I learned early on and when I first got started in the Amazon … selling on Amazon, one of my first products, and I’ll tell you back in the day I used to be in the health supplement are, and it was a raspberry ketone drop that I was selling. I ended up being able to get two suppliers, two manufacturers fighting against each other, and I ended up having my price drop $3 per bottle from the original quote to when I finally ordered the product.
When you’re able to have all that data and talk to suppliers, and just say, “I’m really interested in yours. I’m really interested in this one. These guys are charging a dollar less, can you match their price?” You can do things like that because you really … all you’re trying to do is figure out what’s best for your business. Don’t just jump in with the first supplier and say, “I’m going with this guy,” make sure you take your time, and really look for all the options available and then start communicating with them.
Matt Clark: Whenever you’re ready to find more information or to contact them, all you do is click this big Contact Supplier button, and like I said we have a template for you. You basically can just click this and it’s more or less a messaging system built into to Alibaba. If you want you can contact them later through Skype or through e-mail, but this is the easiest way to get started, just click the Contact Supplier button and you can start messaging them right on Alibaba. You can find other information that you may or may not need on here. Some suppliers are better at filling out this stuff. This is an interesting how to use this product, they show you all these information, which is kind of cool, not all suppliers are going to have that. They talk about their company, all that good stuff.
The general process is once you find some that are pretty close, you don’t want to just put all your eggs in one basket and you’re going to be stuck with one supplier. You want to find, if you really want to be aggressive, 15 to 20 plus of these, but at least three to five that have a comparable product. Start messaging with them and immediately start either literally writing the stuff down or mentally taking a note how fast do they respond, how helpful are they, how good is their English, because at the end of the day they could be a great supplier but if they really struggle with communicating it’s going to be hard dealing with them for as long as you deal with them. Because ideally you get it down to a really good supplier and you have a good solid partnership with them. They understand your business, if they mess something up or maybe you mess something up, it’s a good relationship there, that’s what you’re looking for long-term.
Don’t think of this as just kind of a one order deal. Find three to five good suppliers, after messaging them and then you’re next big step is to order samples. You want to order samples of this products because you want to find the product that after looking at the reviews and after finding what this product actually does, you want a product that’s as comparable as possible or better ideally. As you can see this product, it’s nothing super fancy, I mean it looks nice and everything, but it’s just regular plastic. It’s got the different heads there so you can swap it out, and I’m sure it has instructions for how to do the different items on there. You want to find a product that based on your research, looking at what people like about their product and related products on Amazon, can you get a product that’s as good or better?
The last thing you want to do with this business is sell a low quality product. You want to order at least three to five samples, and then you should have a good idea in terms of pricing, in terms of quality, some you’ll find out are literally the exact same product. It looks like they have the same manufacturer, but they’re producing similar products. You want to find the best quality product with pricing and margins that makes sense for you. I think that’s about all I have to cover on this one.
Jason K.: The only one thing to understand too, when you’re ordering your product one thing to notice is like this box, this packaging, they’re probably going to give you different options on that. Some people might have just everything in a poly bag in a box. You’ll be able to customize all that, and again, the videos that Matt talked about that you’re going to be able to get access to, we cover tons of that material. We really go in-depth on a lot of these stuff, but just know you can customize all of these stuff, how the presentation in the box is, what it looks like.
But when you’re first getting started and working with a supplier you really want to go minimal at first, because if you’re just getting started you don’t want to invest all these money in customizations and everything. You want to be able to find a product that you can get up on Amazon as quickly as possible to start proving out the business model, so that you know whether this is a product … there’s two things, whether this is a product that sells, and number two, whether it’s a product you want to sell. As I mentioned earlier I used to sell raspberry ketones and other health supplements, and they did really well. I didn’t like selling them. I didn’t like the business model. It wasn’t something I had interest in, so I eventually sold out of that, used the profits from it and started another business. There’s a lot of options you can do like that.
Matt Clark: Like I said this product, once you do some negotiation and whatnot, possibly source it for as low as, say $4 [inaudible 00:17:16] initial order. Once you get ramped up and get scaling you may be able to get this same product down to $3 bucks or something like that, especially after you talked with different suppliers and say, “Hey, this one supplier has a product that’s exactly like yours,” and maybe it’s a dollar cheaper, maybe they offer free packaging or free design or free inserts or whatever, that can help you start comparing suppliers, and possibly get the best pricing. Once you do all that this product, the $4 per unit or so, there’s going to be a couple of bucks in shipping. This product is actually fairly light. You may be able to ship this very profitably through air, which means that the … You’re ordering it from your supplier, and likely DHL is shipping it across the ocean, over to Amazon in the US, or if you’re selling over in Europe, it would get there fairly quickly, like within a week.
The alternative, and you’ll probably get cheaper shipping is to ship it by sea. We actually gave you a freight forwarded contact, and we’ll tell you how to get all that towards the end. You get a freight forwarder, they’ll arrange everything, they’ll contact your supplier, they’ll get it all shipping over, and it takes a little longer. It can take about five weeks to get that inventory, which for a product if you can make it happen, sometimes it makes sense to do your initial order by air or part of the order by air, so you can get live and selling faster, but absolutely does not make sense if you’re not profitable that way. You just have to run the calculation.
This product, not super big or heavy so it wouldn’t be an issue at least to do a partial order through air most likely, but at the end of the day your shipping shouldn’t cost more than a couple bucks on this. That’s $6 into it, it’s selling for $26.99, there’s going to be some Amazon fees, some FBA fees, and probably a little bit of other costs, either way there’s no reason why can’t be making probably at least a 50% margin on this exact product. Like I said, they’re saying it does like a $146,000 grand a month, and if you’re doing 50% that’s like $70,000 a month in profit from this one product.
Jason K.: One of the cool things about these kind of products … First of all, I wanted to mention this, we’re showing you Alibaba, and one of the reason is because, as we’re going to show you here when things are ingestible or go on your skin, we really recommend that you search domestically, like here in the US if you’re selling in the US. But when you’re looking for products like this, China really is 9 times out of 10 going to be your best source for it, because it’s just going to be hard to compete from a price perspective. However, as we’re going to show in a minute, there’s other ways to search for a manufacturers to be able to find products like this, but the reality is for things that are non health-related, non beauty-related, Alibaba is 9 times out of 10 is going to be your best starting point because it’s just so huge. But as we’ll show you very shortly, you can use Google and find some pretty awesome things. I really recommend you test that.
Now sadly for me, almost every product I’ve checked when I tried to get … because there’s an advantage if you can get a manufacturer here. If you’re selling in the United States, you live in the United States, and you get your products from the United States, you’re going to cut off probably 80% of the shipping time. Even if you pay a little bit more for your product, the fact that you can get your product down much quicker is a huge asset, because then you can manage your inventory in a much easier way, where you’re not putting so much money down for so much inventory. You can buy less because you know your turnaround time is better.
This is why you really want to take this time seriously, where you’re looking for your products, understand what the best product is, and where to get the product that makes it best for you. Because if you can save half the time on getting the product, but it charges $2 bucks more, it’s going to be worth it because you’re going to save on shipping and you’re going to save on time. Just other things to keep in mind.
Matt Clark: For sure. Next stop, we’re going to show you a product that you can actually source in the US. There’s really two different sides of sourcing. There’s sourcing products in China, which we just saw, and if you’ve just joined us, by the way there’s going to be a replay posted automatically here, so you can watch this all the way from the beginning, pretty much immediately after. There’s sourcing from China, which you just saw and we just covered, then there’s sourcing products from the US. Even a lot of health supplements and beauty products that are sold in Europe, you can get them over there, but a lot of people still just get them in the US.
Regardless of where you’re selling product source in China is pretty much everything except for products like this one, which is a Greens Powder that is a product that goes in your body. It’s an ingestible product. You’re sitting there and you’re putting it inside of water or juice, and you’re actually drinking it. Same thing with beauty creams that will go on your skin or products that your pet takes, pet vitamins and that kind of thing, and pet food is likely going to be sourced here in the US.
Now there are some other kind of products, which haven’t done this business myself, but I’ve been involved by the people who have, other products like food items, like chia seeds and other kind of super foods. I know a lot of those are actually sourced in South America and that kind of thing, either way products that come from there, not a typical product, people that we’ve taught sell, but either way just so you know.
Over here is this, basically a Green’s Powder, it’s an organic Greens Powder, and this product does about $42,000 a month right now. There’s other ones that also sell very well. They’ve build a great brand around this, which if, you want to learn more about the branding process, watch the most recent live session we’ve done, but they have a lot of products under this brand. This one may do $42,000 a month, and this may not even be their best-selling one. If somebody’s buying supplements and they like your brand, they’ll buy a lot of other related products. This product does very well, it sells for about $30, my guess is this probably costs, I don’t know, $5 to $8 or $9, to probably get done. This is probably super high ingredients, high-quality ingredients, and this is a great potential product that you could sell, like this or something similar.
All I did over here is, if you just search for organic green, you can see I already have searched for it, organic Greens Powder private label. If I search for this, you’ll notice that there are 1.8 million results, but you typically only need to look through the first page or two. Even now suppliers have gotten a heck of a lot better than when I first started at doing SEO and optimizing their websites. Back in the day, you could dig through five pages of Google results and finally get the best supplier. You look here, I’m just going to click on this first one, this VitaGreens Complete Private Label Greens.
Private labeling means that they’re basically taking a standard blend of this product or in supplements it’d be a standard Vitamin D or anything else, and they’re essentially just putting your label on top of the bottle. You can have your own design, your own logo, your own everything, and they’re just doing all that for you, so that you can then list the product on Amazon, taking advantage of an opportunity like this one, that does $42,000 a month. Have your own brand of this, selling, build up your own customer base, do your own marketing, and everything else. Just search for this on Amazon, and if I click this one, I’ve already got it pulled up over here, but we’ll see if it loads. Cool. Here we go. VitaGreens Complete by a brand manufacturer, Vitamix Laboratories. Are you familiar with them?
We’ve both sold supplements in the past, but haven’t sold with these people before, either way we don’t know if they’re good or bad, but you can see they have all the kind of supplier information here. They tell you the different sizing of it, how big it is, this is an option one, it’s a 20 ounce jar or some sort of pouch or something. This one is 10 ounces, this would actually be twice the size, which could be good or could be bad just depending. One advantage if you want to sell a product that’s in the supplement world that’s bigger, the cool thing is, is that you have more, so you can say it’s the double the size of everyone else. The disadvantage is, is that you may have to sell it at a higher price, and people may immediately be kind of turned off by that. That’s something for you to consider.
This is an example of a product that could fit very well. You’ll notice that they have all their ingredients listed here. You could look on here what ingredients do they have, versus what do they have, and then what are people actually asking for. If I were to actually go over to Amazon and look at some of the reviews, and let’s say maybe four star, five star could be loyal customers or who knows what. Four star may give you some information from regular people that are just like, “I like this about the product.” If you look at some of these, “Good product. It tastes like it’s supposed to. Very strong taste. Licorice aftertaste, but great nutrition,” meaning people definitely do care about the ingredients. You could look through all these and find out, “Are there certain ingredients people really like here?” If so, that should be part of your supplier search.
What I would do is the same exact approach you did for the supplier in China, is you find 5 to 10 manufacturers like this. Contact all of them, if they’re in the US you can actually call them or just e-mail them or if they have live chat or whatever, go ahead and contact them, and get some more information, “Is the product similar?” Maybe ask them to send you some samples. You can try this out for yourself, maybe buy the competing product to see how it compares. Consistency, taste-wise, overall branding and packaging, see how all that sort of stuff compares. Check their margins, minimum order quantities, on this kind of product minimum order quantities is typically going to be lower, and it’s going to be quicker to ship, but there are disadvantages to selling supplements as well, lots of competitions, regulations, and that kind of thing. There’s pluses and minuses, other than that it’s the same exact process.
Jason K.: Two things to add on here. One thing to really emphasize is as Matt mentioned earlier, creating relationships with your suppliers. One of the things when you’re working with these people be really respectful and understand they get a lot of inquiries. Don’t look at them as like they’re providing a service to you so you’re being rude to them, because that happens a lot of time. You’re building a valuable asset. Every single person I know that we’ve taught is doing millions of dollars a year tells you that their relationship with their suppliers is key. When you get those relationships with your suppliers they’re the ones that first tell you about hot new coming products. They are the ones that are going to give you price breaks. They are the one that are going to prioritize you if there’s issues where you get your products first. There’s so many advantages, so when you’re reaching out to them, right away try to be as professional as possible. Make sure your communications are clear and be patient with them, because these relationships are so critical.
The other thing I wanted to point out too, we mentioned China and the US, but really you can look anywhere in the globe. When you’re looking on Google, if you find that, let’s say for example you want to do dish towels, you might have to go to Pakistan, to get the best products from there. There are going to be different areas, but what … especially when you’re just starting out, go really simple. That’s why we really like people to use Alibaba, especially if you’re just starting out, because you want to really get into this as quickly as possible. Learn the business model, get your product up on Amazon selling, and then you’re able to really start tweaking things and fixing things, learning the business model, and then you’re able to now start looking at harder products to get into.
For example, if you start with this and you realize, “Okay, now I’ve got this product on Amazon. I get the process. I know how to promote it. I know how to get the product to Amazon, work with freight forwarders. Now I’m going to actually look at a more complicated product because I feel comfortable, a product that I really want to try selling.” But you don’t to go for those hard products right away, you want to follow a system, where you find proven products, find a manufacturer that can send you something as quickly as possible to be able to get the business model going.
Matt Clark: You basically learn so far how to source products in the US and how to source products in China. Next stop we’re going to get into some live questions here, because essentially you learned how this business works, how to source products, and now let’s talk about how … basically answer some questions that you have. I noticed one over here, Richart says, “Does a manufacturer handle shipment or do you have to use a freight forwarder?” It depends on the product. A product like this sourced in the US, they’ll likely take care of the shipment for you. It can take care of the shipment for you using like UPS, and you basically can just print shipping labels or package inserts basically from Amazon itself, and they’ll handle the rest of that for you.
Now a product like this, especially if you’re shipping by sea you want to use a freight forwarder. We have a free training series at amazingsellingmachine.com. You can get it, it’s completely free. If you look at the second video we actually give you our recommended freight forwarder, and they’ll basically just take care of everything for you. A good question, but that’s basically how that’s handled.
Jason K.: As you can see here on the screen you’ll see it says FOB reference, what that means is freight on board. What the manufacturer’s will do is they’re giving you their price to get the product put in a shipping container. They’re covering, so when you pay $7 a piece say for example, that means you’re going to get your product from the manufacturer sent to the shipping container or however you’re going to get it shipped. But from that point on that’s where you’re going to really be working with a freight forwarder, because they’re going to help you consolidate and they charge very little. They’re so worth it, I mean it is something we wish we would have had back when we first started, but it will make everything that much easier for you using them that way. That’s what freight on board means, usually I’ve never seen it yet for my business where the manufacturer actually pays … covers the shipping costs other than to the container.
Matt Clark: This person says, “Do I have to pay Amazon every time I sell my product?” The answer is, “Yes,” if you’re selling on Amazon, they basically take a percentage of sales, it’s about 15%. That means if you sell a product for $10 they take a $1.50 and that’s basically your cost for using their platform, for using all their services, for getting customers from them, very much worth it versus having to run your own e-commerce store and all that sort of stuff, but that’s how their business works. The cool thing is that if your product doesn’t sell there’s no fees related to that, that you have to pay.
Jason K.: One of the things to understand here is you’re paying a small fee, it works out to be about 15% to be putting your product on the largest website, e-commerce website in the world, that has millions and millions of searches every day, has an incredible system for getting the best conversions possible. It’s absolutely dirt cheap when you compare it to other ways to be able to sell your product. It’s so worth it. You’re leveraging a system that Google loves, people know, I mean how many people just go directly to Amazon now? That’s Google’s biggest fear, that they say over 55%, and this was a few years ago of people are now just going directly to Amazon instead of going to Google to do their search terms. It’s absolutely gigantic. When you look at it, I look at it, it’s like I can’t believe they’re only charging that much for me to be able to leverage their platform.
Matt Clark: Here Jason, I’m going to shoot this one over to you.
Jason K.: Sure.
Matt Clark: Let’s see. Easy one, “Will the video be available after?” Yes, there’s going to be a replay here immediately after we get done so you can watch from the beginning. Let’s see, a person’s asking basically, “Do you need a trademark to do this?”
Jason K.: With everything in this business there’s levels that you get to. When you’re first starting out your focus is to be as cash savvy as possible, because cash flow is so important, and the last thing you want to do is start investing in all these things when you don’t even know if your product’s going to sell. Now there is no way to be 100% about anything until it actually goes into action. We could look at every piece of data, it could say, “It’s guaranteed to work,” and you implement it, and for some reason your product doesn’t sell, don’t know why. Chances are very, very slim on that, but that could happen, so what you want to do is minimize your risks, and that’s why we tell you to start with a low amount of inventory. Try to start with only about 200 units.
The cool thing is this business model works with your budget, if you can only charge … Let’s say you have $300 you can invest in inventory and that’s it, well, what that’s going to mean for you is you’re going to limit the amount of product variety that you can look at, because a lot of manufacturers want to work with a bigger price, but you will be able to find products. You will be able to find something to start with, you just have to work within your budget. Then once you have that budget you also want to think, “What other expenses are there that are absolutely needed right now?” Your focus needs to be, “Get your product up on Amazon, selling,” that means marketing. Once you get the product selling and once you’re like, “Okay, we’re starting to get steady sales. I want to really start developing this product out,” absolutely, you want to start looking at copyright protection, trademark protection.
Start coming up with the ideas to make the product better, where you could potentially do patents, but you don’t want to do that first because that’s a lot of money. Trademarks take a lot of time to get into place, don’t put any of that thing, any of that stuff before actually making sales. Once you’re making sales then absolutely you want to start doing those things.
Matt Clark: We got some people asking about tools for product selection. In the, I think one or two live sessions ago, Rich Henderson, he walked through a very inexpensive tool. Basically if you go to amazingsellingmachine.com get the free training, you’ll notice that in video one we basically teach you how to find your own opportunities by digging through Amazon. Rich actually has a tool that he likes to use called DS Amazon Quick View, we covered that in a couple live sessions ago, absolutely go watch that one. That’s another option, which is pretty inexpensive, it’s very cheap. Another more expensive option is a tool called Jungle Scouts. Somebody just mentioned it over here in the comments. They have a good tool for doing product selection. For members, we actually have a special deal with them, but either way it’s not crazy expensive, but it is a little more expensive than the other options.
Jason K.: My one warning for you though, and they’re great tools, however one of the things you really want to do is you need to be a student of the business. You don’t want to just blindly use these tools to be able to tell you what to do. You want to understand the process. What we really want to do through this is help educate you to understand what you’re looking for. Then once you’re familiar with that, start using those tools to help you refine those searches, but please, please, please don’t just think the tools are going to magically tell you the best things. If you don’t understand how the tool works, what the tool is looking for, why you’re looking for certain things, it can actually lead you down a bad path. Really make sure you’re clear on understanding what it is you’re doing when you’re using the tools.
Matt Clark: Somebody over here is asking, “What’s the cost for samples?” This was Tres or Tray-
Jason K.: I’ll take that or …
Matt Clark: What’s that?
Jason K.: I’ll take that.
Matt Clark: Sure, go for it.
Jason K.: Sure. Samples from China can get really expensive, you want to be careful with that, but 100% critical, no exceptions, nothing, you need to get samples. You want to be careful with this. The one things is you don’t want to just call a manufacturer, “Can you send me a sample? Can you send me a sample?,” and have everything done separately. Ideally you make sure you wait until you’ve got your main manufacturers you want. You should order the competitor’s product off of Amazon, and then order your samples and see if there’s a way you can consolidate them together. Because sometimes they’ll charge up to $70 bucks for a sample, and the reason is, is because they don’t want people just thinking they can contact them for single units at a small price. They need to charge a little bit more, but once they’re serious … That’s why when you’re communicating them the first thing you don’t want to say is, “Can I get a free sample?” Because right away they’re going to be like, “Oh, this person isn’t serious.”
Make sure you have … Again, in the video series with the downloads we give you, we give you a template, we show you how to communicate to them, we make it really clear for you, but you’re going to pay anywhere between $30 or $100 for your samples from Chin, but it’s still so worth it, believe me, and you can get them consolidated together. The other thing though is now when you’re getting domestically samples come to you really cheap, and in fact, one of the companies I used to work with, they’d send me a free sample every time I ask because we created that relationship. That’s a really important factor.
When you’re getting started you’re going to be frustrated because you’re going to see, “Oh, it costs for this,” but they don’t know you from Adam. They have no idea who you are. They don’t know if they can trust you, so what they want to do is they need to build that trust with you, just like you need to build that trust with them. Once you’ve created that relationship I can guarantee you, they will send you products for free or at a very, very low cost, but initially you’re looking anywhere at $50 plus to get your samples.
Matt Clark: I got a question here. Erianna says, “Do you recommend air shipping for the first order from China?”
Jason K.: [Inaudible 00:37:56]. Air shipping comes down to higher pricing. It really comes down to what Matt said, if it’s profitable then let that guide. When I use air shipping, the only reason why I use air shipping is if my inventory sells out faster than expected, and I want to limit the amount of time that I have no inventory. For your first initial order I highly recommend, personally you don’t use air shipping because it’s going to add to your costs. Now if money’s not an issue for you, let’s say for example that you have a huge budget, you’ve already got a business, and you’ve got cash flow, then absolutely. Because if you want to get the business model started faster, you can put 50% of the product to be air shipped and get it here quicker, but really you got to remember, this is a cash flow game, especially when you’re starting.
You’re going to want to know both prices, understand all your costs, so that at the end of the day, “If I do it this way, what will my bottom line look like? If I do it this way, what will my bottom line look like?” Again, to me, air shipments are really, really good to use when you’re time-crunched, but they do directly affect your bottom line and profitability.
Matt Clark: Cool. There’s a question here, Princess says, “For your first order should I ship in my house then ship it to Amazon FBA or send directly to Amazon FBA?” Typically, you’re going to want to have either yourself or somebody check that stuff out, at least for the first couple orders. A lot of people sometimes if it’s feasible would just have them shipped to their house. It’s kind of a pain in the butt because you literally have to look through all the inventory. There are services out there who will do that for you, if you just Google basically FBA inspection services, you’ll find examples of companies out there that you can basically have your inventory sent to them. They’ll check everything out and then they’ll send it to Amazon in the US, which is why we’ve had people that have gone and built this business that are traveling around the world, that live in countries all over the world, that are sitting there in Thailand or Australia or Romania or wherever else, and that’s how we’ve had to solve a lot of these issues.
For a lot of people they couldn’t do this business that they literally had to have the inventory sent to themselves even temporarily. You can if you really want, but you absolutely don’t have to whatsoever.
Jason K.: Freight forwarders will often do that to you too, most of the freight forwarders. In fact, in the second video of the free video series we have we give you an interview, I believe with a freight forwarder. I think there is a … with one of the freight forwarders we use. It’s a great informative video, it will give you a lot of information. Freight forwarders will often do that, but I just want to address one thing with this, there’s two dynamics, and number one, and you hear us talk about selling on amazon.com, and that’s because we’re here in the States. We all sell in the States, but I want you to know Germany, the UK, Spain, Japan, those are all huge markets. If you’re in Australia … I’m sorry, if you’re in Europe or if you’re in Japan, I would recommend starting on those platforms. If you’re in the US start here or if you’re in any other country that it’s just easier to start in the US, start there.
Don’t start in counties like Canada, where there’s this low population. That’s why we mentioned amazon.com a little bit. When you’re shipping your products here though, if you live in the States, 100% my personal recommendation is get your first order sent to you. That way you can go through everything, understand the process, see how things work, maybe the first couple, but then after that, yes, start using your freight forwarder to be able to manage those things for you. If however, let’s say for example you live in Canada and you’re selling products in the States, you wouldn’t want to ship the products to your house first, because then what’s going to happen is you’re going to pay taxes and duties, and all those kind of things getting it into your house in Canada. Then you’ve got to ship to the States so it’s going to kill your costs, and that’s exactly where freight forwarders and FBA inspection services come in handy.
Because if you can’t be there, what these people will do is they’ll take photos, they’ll look at them, they’ll take videos and they’ll really help make sure that not only is your product what they said, that they’ll take out any broken one’s if there is. They’ll make sure it’s packaged for how Amazon wants it packaged when it’s delivered to them. There’s a lot of benefits to doing it that way.
Matt Clark: We’re getting tons and tons of questions here. Let’s see if we can keep them … We’re going to be doing a lot more live sessions, basically throughout the end of the month. We’re going to cover everything from … here we’re covering basically finding suppliers. We’ll cover listing optimization, how to market your product, how to scale your business, a lot of that stuff, including … people are asking questions about reviews, we’ll cover stuff related to reviews. For today’s live session, we’re trying to keep it somewhat focused around the sort of supplier process. If you don’t see me pick your question that’s the main reason why.
Let’s see, I’m trying to find one. Here is a question, Victoria says, “With the upcoming closures in China due to the New Year, when is a good time to order your product? Before what date?” It’s like that whole saying about, what is it? Planting a tree, the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the next best time is today. The same thing with starting this business, ordering inventory in general. You can keep waiting and all that sort of stuff or you can just get the business started now, including ordering your inventory now. There’s no real reason to wait, otherwise you’re just getting delayed.
Now if you were somebody that already had an existing business that was up and cranking or maybe you’re saying a couple of months ago, “Should I order now or should I wait?” That maybe affected by that, but if you’re literally placing your first inventory order, the sooner the better is what’s most important. Sure, you could run up into that holiday and then your order could get delayed, maybe you should expedite it now versus later, but either way there’s really no reason to wait.
Jason K.: The question is about is … China takes a Chinese New Year, I think there is two weeks specifically in February where nothing happens, but usually you can count on February being a write-off, meaning that you want to get inventory ordered well in advance so that it gets shipped out in January, because it won’t get shipped out in February. Just when you’re planning that way you want to take that into account, but then March business is back to normal and things get caught up really quickly. Really on that point I guess there’s two things when you’re ordering your inventory. You’ve got the Christmas season, what happens is on Amazon is [inaudible 00:44:15] people just flood as much inventory as possible to Amazon starting around October, September.
Amazon has actually started putting limits on certain things, so that if you don’t have your … if you’re a new seller and you don’t have inventory in Amazon, I believe by about October, they don’t actually allow you to send inventory to their warehouses until the end of December, because they want to focus on all the established sellers that have the inventory there. You’re going to want to, when you’re selling your product, get your inventory into Amazon ideally by August for the Christmas season, because then you can be sure you’re in. This is if you’re a brand new seller, but even if you’re an established seller I still recommend August and September being the target dates for your Christmas inventory.
Then you want to watch your inventory because as Christmas goes, hopefully, and like it did for us and so many people I know, we did exceptionally well. This was our best Christmas ever, and we sold out of a lot of inventory, now we are watching that because we wanted to make sure we’re ahead of the ball. We didn’t want to wait until after Christmas and then look at inventory. You manage it every week, see where you are, forecast out, we show you how to do all these, and then we ended up ordering earlier, and we ended up finding for the manufacturer, “What is the absolute cut-off date for us to be able to order inventory so that we can get it before the Christmas and before the Chinese New Year?” We got that all set, so then we knew by, I think it was like December 12, that if we get our order in today we’ll be able to get it so that we’re not affected by the Chinese New Year.
Matt Clark: Let’s see here. People are asking basically about barcodes. Rick asks, “How about barcodes? Do the freight forwarders do that?”
Jason K.: You’re going to be responsible for the barcode from the perspective of buying the barcode, and getting it on to the product. The manufacturer simply does what you’re told. For example, if it’s this product, say they’ll have a general template that they use where they expect that you have a barcode on. You don’t have to have a barcode on the actual product itself, but you have to have a barcode somewhere. Sometimes the barcode will be put as a sticker, if there’s outside packaging or a poly bag, the barcode will be on the poly bag, but as you can see with this, especially when it’s a product like this, most times you’re going to want the barcode, I don’t know if you guys can see that, put right on the product.
I think it’s G1, I can’t remember the name, [inaudible 00:46:35] GS1, I think it is, for getting barcodes, but we show you how to purchase your barcodes. We show you how to use them, and we show you how Amazon wants you to use them, and it’s really simple. Once you find the barcode then that barcode is set to that product for life. You don’t have to worry about somebody else having it, and then you decide, “Do I want to put it on the product? Do I want to put it on the packaging?” All those kind of things, it’s really simple.
Matt Clark: This person was asking, Jose says, “If you have your own product invention would you recommend asking a Chinese company to make it or would it be easy to get your product ideas stolen? It is US patent pending.” Related to the business model that we teach you can have your own product, which is great, it’s fantastic. It can be great for you, but you want to make sure that if you’re following what we’re teaching, that it meets the criteria that we found to be most successful, what you can find in the free training series at amazingsellingmachine.com or you can look at the old live sessions. But either way you want to make sure that it meets the criteria, because you could have the world’s greatest product invention, but if nobody actually wants it, like if it’s not proven to be selling on Amazon, this business model as we know it, may not work great for you.
Maybe you know how to really make things happen on Kickstarter and social media, and all that sort of stuff, which is a different model, you want to make sure that it fits all that sort of stuff. But either way just to answer your question, because I know a little bit about that stuff, getting kind of custom products made, a lot of them are going to be made by China, Chinese manufacturers. Getting your product made over there, I wouldn’t be too concerned about getting it “stolen.” We know a lot of people that go out there and that is their business, is to create unique custom products, they pretty much all use Chinese manufacturers to create prototypes and that kind of thing. I wouldn’t be too concerned about that, but obviously it’s your kind of business so that doesn’t mean that you should absolutely go do it, but in our experience, based on the people that we know it has now been an issue.
Jason K.: What I would recommend you do instead, and it depends like we don’t have a lot to go on, but let’s say for example this was your product, that you created a custom-type of brush that nobody else has. Because you already know that the product’s a proven seller on Amazon, then there’s a good chance that your product probably could do well, but if you follow our system, if you can’t find other people already successfully selling a product like your invention is on Amazon, then you’re taking a big risk throwing all your eggs in that one basket.
What I would recommend instead … Let’s say for example this is your invention, I would find a complimentary product that’s already selling well on Amazon. Let’s say if this was your product I would see, “Are there acne creams? Are there face masks? Are there anything else related to this industry that’s already a proven seller in Amazon, so I could get the business going on Amazon?” Really start pumping things up, creating that business, creating those leads, and then once you’ve got that established you can start selling them your invention, but you’ve already go a proven business model working. Does that make sense, how I explained that?
Matt Clark: Yup.
Jason K.: Okay, cool.
Matt Clark: We’re probably going to go and wrap this thing up. We’re getting close on time here. We want you to basically … We’re doing a lot of live sessions here, like I said we’ve already done two. One is on basically more in-depth on the business model, how to find product opportunities, the second one, we actually demoed a handful of opportunities. These are two, we’ve got four or five behind us, and we basically demoed all of these opportunities, what makes them good opportunities, why are they good, how do the packaging works, what are your different options there, how do you private label these, we covered all that in the second live session today, which you can watch the replay after.
We’ve talked about suppliers, and what we have coming up over the next few weeks is we have how to optimize a listing, titles, descriptions, bullets, images, including getting reviews and product launching. We’re also covering how to scale the business to multiple products, and how to really built a big substantial brand. We’re covering all that in the coming live sessions, but right now you can go and get your free training series, which covers four different videos, including product selection, finding suppliers, and a lot of detail, including the resources we’ve mentioned, like the interview with the freight forwarder, and the freight forwarder’s contact information. Also, we cover more on product launching and how to basically put all those stuff together, including a lot of bonuses, such as a 100 Red Hot Product Opportunities.
You can get all that stuff available at amazingsellingmachine.com. It should already be in the description. If you can see in the description amazingsellingmachine.com/video-series, if you just go to that link or amazingsellingmachine.com click on free training, get access to that four-part series, and all those bonuses right now. It’s a 100% free, and hopefully you get a ton of value from it. Leave us a comment below. Let us know what you thought about today’s live session, and follow us here on Facebook so that you can get access to all the coming live sessions, and get notified as soon as we release them. That’s really is from us right now, thank you very much for joining us for this live session, and we hope to see you soon.
Jason K.: Take care everyone.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.