Many sellers are scared away from the whole importing from China process because they think that shipping costs are too expensive. I recently had a blog comment from Michael, which perfectly illustrates this common frustration:
I just got a quick online quote from FedEx for collecting these 5 boxes from the factory address and delivering at my home address and it was $1880 USD! Yikes.
If I look on AliExpress for the same item, I can order 1pc for $125 delivered from a reseller.
I know this is all part of the learning curve, but why is shipping 5 boxes so expensive? Is it because they are relatively large, but light in weight?
Is the only way to make this cost-effective simply to order more units? Enough for a few pallets? Advice is greatly appreciated.
I get comments and questions like this one all the time, so let’s try to debunk the expensive shipping myth and find out exactly why Michael’s shipping quote was so high.
To follow up on my recent Amazon France update, I want to share my progress on another hugely popular Amazon European marketplace—Amazon.de! I have been amazed by the results I have seen so far, so I hope this post will inspire more sellers to take action, register for the Pan-European program and expand their international sales.
I started selling in Germany in August. In the beginning, I was just using my UK stock via the European Fulfilment Network (EFN) FBA program. As you can see, I made 26 sales in August, which wasn’t a full month as I started selling on the 10th of August:
This resulted in a profit of about €78, as I’m selling the product for €9.99 with a profit of €3 per unit sold. My initial goal with the European expansion was to make at least 25 sales a month in each country in order to cover my VAT service costs, so I was happy to see that I reached that goal in the first month without even switching on the Pan-EU program.
Let’s talk about failure. I’m not a huge fan of the concept, but let’s be honest, business is a risky thing and there are no guarantees. Whether you’re starting an ice cream shop or an Amazon FBA business, things don’t always go as planned. There may come a time when you simply have to face the fact that you have failed.
Luckily for us, with an Amazon FBA business, failure will usually only happen on a “product level”. That’s what I like about this business. There’s always another product out there that you can work on and be successful with. One failing product doesn’t mean you have to stop altogether. In fact, in most cases, you will come out of such situations much STRONGER. The additional knowledge and experience you gain will make your second, third and fourth product launch much easier, and you’ll have a much higher chance of success.
In today’s blog post, I want to share my thoughts on the right time to cut a losing product and move on. What indicators are there that show you that investing more time and money into a product is not worth it? What can you do to minimise your losses and ideally recoup your investment?
It’s time to talk about Amazon’s Pan-European (Pan-EU) program. In last week’s blog post, I shared my initial results from expanding my Amazon UK FBA business to France. Since then, many blog readers have asked me to cover in detail how the Pan-EU program works, how much it costs, the enrolment process, etc. Today, we’ll do exactly that. I’ll cover all of these questions in detail and show you how you can double your Amazon UK FBA sales with the Pan-EU program.
Before we get started, I want to give you a quick update on my Amazon Germany sales. Since I enrolled in the Pan-EU program last week, my sales in Germany have already skyrocketed! On Tuesday, I made 16 sales.
Yesterday, I made 15 sales. Hopefully, that’s just the beginning! I will do a full blog post on my Amazon.de progress later on this year, but just so you know, the Pan-EU programs WORKS and you’re leaving tons of money on the table if you’re not using it.
It’s been a while since I last covered my own business and sales, and there’s a good reason for that! Writing, editing and publishing blog posts takes a lot of time, so I always have to make a choice about whether to document my own progress OR create high-quality how-to posts for my readers. I know that many of you are interested in how my business is doing and that it’s a great motivation for some, so I will try to find a good balance of update posts on my own business and informative how-to posts.
Today, we’ll talk specifically about my expansion to the Amazon France platform. At the end of last year, I announced that I planned to expand to Europe in 2019. As a seller, I received an invitation from Amazon offering to cover my VAT registration process costs and one full year of VAT returns costs in Europe. It was a great opportunity to get into the European marketplaces without really risking anything.
I signed up with VATGlobal.com, who helped me with VAT registrations and VAT returns. The cost of this was €5000 and Amazon promptly covered it, as promised. They did not send the money directly to my bank account, though. Instead, they added that €5000 to my German seller account balance. From there, I transferred the funds to my bank account (using Transferwise, of course, to get the best possible exchange rates).
Today I’m starting a new blog post series where I go through Amazon UK FBA product research examples using Jungle Scout. My goal with this series is to show you exactly how to read the numbers and make informed decisions based on the information provided by the Jungle Scout Extension. Product research is the most time consuming and complex job any Amazon seller faces, so I really hope these posts help newbie sellers better understand how to do proper and thorough product research.
In this first post, we’ll take a close look at one specific product, but I hope to do these posts regularly in the future to cover various products in different niches with different competition levels and market sizes.
Another important thing: when I start work on these posts, I have no clue whether the product has potential or not. Just like you, I will only find out at the end of the post when I give you my verdict on whether this product is good or bad, along with the reasoning behind my conclusion.
My long-term followers will know that I was an eBay seller for more than 10 years before I switched my attention fully to Amazon in 2017. I started this blog during my eBay career, so there are tons of eBay-related articles published here. Unfortunately, I haven’t updated these posts and don’t plan to update them in the future. Since I’m no longer selling on eBay, I can’t really offer advice about eBay selling. I don’t even know what works and what doesn’t work on eBay anymore.
However, because of all the eBay-related content on my blog, I still get comments and emails from eBay sellers asking for help. If they’re struggling, I usually just recommend that they switch over to Amazon—the same move I made a few years ago, and I have never looked back…
As good as eBay was 10 years ago, nowadays it’s a super-competitive, price-driven, unfair platform where product quality and seller efforts have little to no impact on rankings. I could not stand that environment, and the LOW-PRICE, LOW-QUALITY agenda was not something I wanted to pursue.
I have never been a fan of the high-volume, low-margin business model—mainly for personal reasons. When you take the high-volume approach, it means extra overheads, more employees, etc., which always results in more stress and more problems! I have always strived to stay “lean” with my companies. Even though I don’t turn over millions per year, I do manage a very small team of employees and partners and maintain a healthy profit-to-turnover ratio.
Sure, nowadays there are many more, some of which are actually quite good (like Helium 10), but I’m still sticking with Jungle Scout because for me, personally, it works best. I also believe that the learning curve is minimal with Jungle Scout tools compared its competitors.
With that being said, people often ask me about the difference between the two Jungle Scout products: the actual web application and the Chrome tool. I agree that for newbies it might seem complicated at the beginning. Why are there two separate tools and subscriptions? What does each of them do? And most importantly, do you need BOTH tools? Or can you use just one?
Today, we’ll take a closer look at how it all works so that you can make the right choice for your situation.
It’s September. The kids are back in school, summer is over, and Amazon sellers are working super hard to launch new products in time for Q4 and trying to plan our inventory ahead of time to get through the year’s busiest shopping period.
Last year, I messed up big time (due to reasons out of my control), so this year, I have already started to send in some stock to Amazon so I can be completely ready for the October/November/December spike in demand and sales.
With the Inventory Performance Index now live on the Amazon UK platform, we do have to be extra careful about how much inventory we send in, but when it comes to stock for the Christmas sales, you just have to take the risk. It’s better to overdo it now and remove the stock from Amazon later on (or liquidate it) than be stuck in a situation where you run out of stock during the hottest sales time of the year.
But today I wanted to talk about the future of Amazon and the future of Amazon FBA sellers.
Is there a future at all for us on Amazon? I mean, what will happen five, seven or even ten years in the future? Will Amazon be around? Will the opportunity for small-time traders to make money on Amazon disappear? Will Amazon take over EVERYTHING?
If you’re an eBay or Amazon seller who has just recently started importing from China, you know there are LOTS of things to learn! You need to know everything from how to filter out scams on sites like Alibaba to the best ways to order product samples, as well as all kinds of specific, previously unknown business terms and abbreviations.
And it’s not like you can just ignore these new terms and abbreviations. Having your price or shipping terms wrong can turn your first order into a massive disaster! You can easily incur unexpected charges that you never accounted for, which can totally ruin your projected margins and chances of being profitable on eBay or Amazon.
CNF, CIF, DDP, FOB, Ex-Works—what do they all mean? And, most importantly, which of these shipping methods is the most cost-effective? Which one is the best for your situation?