Today, what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about sourcing products. We talked a little bit about this yesterday, but I want to actually walk through what finding products on something like Alibaba actually looks like.
Choosing Products For Your E-Com
First of all, you never want to just have one product, especially like Done For You E-commerce stores stuff. You never want to just have one SKU, just have one thing and put all your eggs in that basket and drop a bunch of money to that one thing. You want to have multiple things. What we have all of our new startup e-com store folks do is have 10. If we’re looking at e-com stores, we want to make sure is that we have at least 10 products. From there, for those 10 products, we’re going to get two that actually work.
This is the 80-20 rule, so 20% of your products are going to produce 80% of your revenue. At the end of the day, that’s the number you’re going to look for. What happens is, if you have 10 products, then two of them are actually going to work. Two of them are actually going to be producing quantifiable revenue in your business. Now, these two products you want to reorder. You’re going to buy stock of those two products and continue working them in your e-com store, continue running traffic to them.
Then what you do is, the eight that don’t work, you just want to kill. Just throw those guys out. A quick and dirty way of doing this is going to like Alibaba, which is one of the best.
Where To Source Your Products
Alibaba is one of the most popular places to look for and search for manufactured goods, is Alibaba. What you want to do is you want to go to Alibaba, and you just want to start looking in your niche.
We’re going to go over here to Alibaba and what we’re going to do is, let’s say that we are going to start selling fitness gear. So we’re going to just start with a very general search, fitness equipment. Now, I can guarantee that there’s going to be just an absolute ton of stuff that pops up, and some of it is going to be great in terms of selling online, in terms of shipping. Now, I mean, just kind of looking down through these listings, we have a gym strength training pin load selection machine. The minimum order is one cent and it’s between $200 and $1,000 per set. Shipping this thing is going to be an absolute monster. The shipping’s going to be crazy on it, freight, like the whole deal. So importing that thing is going to be a pain.
Now, on the reverse side of that, we have this fitness equipment here, this resistance bands set. One of the reasons why you go to Amazon and you just type in resistance bands and you see a million people selling resistance bands is because, first of all, there is $3 to $4 per set for a minimum order, and far cheaper when you buy a 100 or a 1,000 of these things. They’re super light to ship, so there’s next to zero packagings, super cheap to ship. From a premium pricing standpoint, I mean, you can get quite a bit of money in exchange, rather the cost of goods is so small compared to what you can get for it.
Again, you have some big fans, you have these adjustable dumbbell sets. There are lots and lots of things in the fitness space that you can sell. Here’s another example of a good, low price, cheaply shipped item, one of these yoga balls, or one of these things. So nice offers to get started with, you don’t need to go start selling this hammer strength bench press to kind of get started.
What you do is that starts your search, then you want to just keep refining it. Let’s say we wanted to sell a fitness equipment sled. This is a Prowler training or fitness sled, and there are a couple of different versions. We have this one that you can put a dumbbell or a plate in the middle of. We have this guy, which you can put a plate in the middle of, it’s just kind of shaped a little bit differently. These sleds, I mean, they’re not too bad. I mean, $30 to $80, a 20 set minimum, you put that thing on Amazon and you put it on your website and then you can start selling it.
How To Order From Amazon
1. Contact the supplier and request samples
Now, here’s the trick. If you want to start importing from Amazon, you want to contact the supplier or you want to chat now. Chat now typically, we’ll chat pretty quick, but so you contact the supplier and you ask them for samples. You say, “I would like to start selling this sled. I would like a couple of samples shipped over, and so I can just check quality and manufacturing, and all that other stuff.” And they are going to say yes, usually. They say yes, they’re going to charge you in abnormally huge amounts of shipping money, so two sleds might be a hundred bucks, might be 150 bucks.
They’re going to send you those goods over and it’s going to come to DHL, or whatever.
2. Assemble the item, take photos and sell online
And what you do then is you put it together, you take some pictures. And then you turn around and start selling it. You start selling your samples. And if you can get two, or three, or five samples, and those samples sell-through, then you have a winner. Then you have this right here, you have the two that work and you’re going to increase the ad spend on those two items.
Now, if you don’t sell your samples, then they go on this dead list. They’re no longer able to be sold. That’s a way to rapidly kind of prototype new stuff. Now, think about this fitness sled for a minute. In Erie, Pennsylvania here, we have some manufacturing clients. One of those manufacturing clients does a lot of metalwork. So it doesn’t make sense. Let’s say I wanted to start selling this sled, it doesn’t make sense for me to get drawings, go to ISM and have them start building this item when I can sell it and test it so simply and easily this way.
I wanted to start selling the sled or anything metal, what I would do is I would go find a way to get my hands on like five of them, throw them up on a website, and then we can see how fast we actually sell through that stuff.
If we sell through it fast, awesome. If we don’t, then we either need to make modifications to it, or it’s not going to work right now. We’re not going to work to the audience or not going to work for any number of reasons. At the end of the day, it’s much, much quicker, and cheaper, and easier to import something tested. And even if you’re going to manufacture in the States, then you can figure out how to manufacture in the States. So, that is how we would source. That’s how we have people source products. That’s how we source products on our e-comm stuff.
You would like any help at all, just go to consultingsession.com, fill out the little form. It will send you down one of two tracks, either Done-for-you, where we would actually go and build a Shopify store and run the ads and all that other stuff, or Done-with-you, where we can help on a strategy mentorship piece.