Category Archives: eCommerce

How to Lose Tens of Thousands of Dollars on Amazon

A growing number of self-proclaimed experts promise they can teach anyone how to make a passive income selling cheap Chinese goods in the internet’s largest store. Not everyone’s getting rich quick.

by Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, Jan 2, 2019

It was only after they’d sunk $40,000 and nine months of precious nights and weekends that Jordan McDowell and William Bjork realized how hard it is to make a passive income selling things on Amazon.

The couple had hoped to strike it rich—or at least quit their day jobs—buying goods from China and reselling them on the e-commerce site. Instead, they lost their savings. For that, they blame Matt Behdjou and Mike Gazzola.

In late 2016, McDowell and Bjork stumbled across a podcast hosted by Behdjou and Gazzola, normal guys who claimed they were making thousands of dollars working less than two hours a day on Amazon. The pair promised that anyone could do the same—all they needed to do was pay $3,999 for three months of coaching that would teach them everything they needed to know about the business.

They’d learn how to source and ship a product from China, how to list it for an attractive markup on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, how to advertise it to consumers, and how to get them to leave good reviews. Amazon would take care of the logistics of storing and shipping, for a fee, through its Fulfillment by Amazon program. Behdjou and Gazzola even provided class participants with a manufacturing contact in China, and organized paid tours of Chinese merchandise markets.

Read more here

Ready to start an online store?

With all the news about people making a ton of money online, many aspiring entrepreneurs are excited at the prospect of starting an ecommerce store. However, many people don’t think through all the things that they need to consider before they even start the process of building an ecommerce site.

Here are eight things to consider before starting an online store.

1. What Products Are You Going to Sell?

One of the most important decisions is determining which products you will sell on your online store. Your best bet is to start small – with a few select products that are based around a specific niche, i.e. breastfeeding products, scuba diving gear, hiking products, travel gadgets, hemp products, etc. Start with a handful of products in that niche – you can always add more products to your store as you grow. Check out your competition and see who you’re up against.

Be sure to pick a niche that you’re personally interested in. If you’re not interested in what you’re selling, you will quickly lose your passion.

Also, look for unique products that can’t be bought at Target, Walmart or other big brand stores — you will never be able to compete with them on price or promotion.

For instance, when I had an ecommerce site, I searched for mom- or parent-invented products that weren’t available through mass market stores. Plus, these types of product manufacturers are typically more willing to work with you on terms and drop shipping (which we will talk about in a little bit.) You can also look for innovative products to sell on crowdfunding sources like Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

When you determine which niche products you’re going to sell, see if there are industry associations, trade websites or magazines. If so, join, follow and subscribe. Also, if there are product tradeshows around your product niche, attend these trade shows to discover new products, speak with the manufacturer reps directly and learn more about the industry in general. Often at the tradeshows you will be able to negotiate better pricing or drop shipping arrangements – especially if the manufacturer is launching a new product and they’re looking for new distributors.  Continue reading

Get your products ready for e-commerce success.

ecommerceBefore the Internet age, small business startups had little opportunity to showcase their products right alongside major national brands. Online marketplaces have leveled the playing field for small businesses, effectively helping them leap geographic boundaries and sell their products in markets that would never have been possible.

Whether you are selling your products on Amazon, eBay or directly from your website, it is critical for you to efficiently manage your product setup and ensure you can be easily discovered by consumers. Many of the same best practices that lead to in-store success can be applied to e-commerce, with a special focus on providing consumers with a well-rounded view of your product prior to purchase.   Continue reading

Do you sell products online? You need to know about nexus.

Until recently, a business was said to have a nexus in a state if it maintained a physical presence there. Where nexus existed, a business was required to remit taxes to the state. This understanding served until digital commerce wholly revolutionized the global economy.

Today, a retailer can operate from their living room, selling goods without any physical presence outside their own home. Clearly, the old definition of nexus is obsolete. New definitions—offered up mostly by states looking to recoup lost sales tax revenues—rely on murky rationales of “economic nexus” and “factor presence.”

Unfortunately, neither the Supreme Court nor Congress has offered to clarify the issue, leaving businesses across the country to work things out on their own.  Continue reading

Do you want to network with local eCommerce folks?

There is a Facebook group that you might find interesting. It’s called West Sound eCommerce Talk and you can find it here. It’s a closed group, but pretty welcoming.

You might also want to check out Kitsap County E-Commerce Business Strategists. Sounds a bit formal, but it’s a Meetup Group and you can find it here.

If can think of any other eCommerce groups SCORE volunteers and clients should know about, please tall us about them by posting a comment below. Thanks!

Does your small business need an app?

70020apps

Apps are everywhere. From your phone to your tablet to even your desktop computer, businesses of all types are offering easy-to-download applications to make your life easier. (helpful workshop)

If your business runs a little better with technology’s help, you might be tempted to develop an app of your own. Or you might have been approached by a company that claims that having an app for your business will be critical for increasing sales or customer engagement.  Continue reading

Should you design your own small business website?

website concept diagram hand drawing on tablet pc

If you’re starting a new business, you can quickly get caught up in developing the visual aspects of your concepts. Branding and having a web presence are important (and exciting!), and there are thousands of designers out there who have created beautiful products for their clients.

But do you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a web design made from scratch? If you’re bootstrapping, that kind of investment might be out of the question right away.

If you’re not sure if you should spend money on a web designer or DIY, think about these three situations where doing it yourself could be a great option.  Continue reading