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eCommerce Momentum Podcast - eCommerce Momentum Podcast 14th April 2020
430 : Sean Humenchuk : Selling in different categories helps when the market changes quickly
00:00:00 00:41:21

430 : Sean Humenchuk : Selling in different categories helps when the market changes quickly

Sean is very humble. He will say he does not have it all figured out. I would ask have you met the person who does? So his advice is strong: Sell in multiple categories to weather the storms that will be coming. Now is the time to diversify. How many of us are heavy seller fulfilling right now? Well there are many Amazon businesses that are not built for it and are feeling the pinch.If you sell in grocery you are likely killing it where most clothing sellers are struggling. So diversification across channels, categories and methods allows you to flex. Fix your "B Plan"!

Mentioned:

Seans previous episode

Tips:

1- Work on terms with your vendors

2- Adjust your Ad Spend

3- Don't send all your inventory to Amazon

4- Add a thank you card to your FBM

5- Revise your listing to recognize people are at home right now

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Transcript:

Sean (00:00):

Wait, they find new products they get in the market. You already know. Um, and then I think product research where if you're looking at, uh, looking to keep the charts and looking at what was selling last summer, uh, and last Christmas are two things that I'm kind of focusing on. Um, because I know if it was selling last Christmas, it's going to be selling again this Christmas most likely.

Cool voice guy (00:21):

Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of eCommerce selling. Today. Here's your host, Steven Peterson.

Stephen (00:34):

Hey, I'm staying with the no pitch a, I'm not pitching any of the services I've got a bunch of sponsors are and a bunch of companies that if you're looking for any services, which you really shouldn't be buying any surfaces right now, but if you are, I have discounts to them and they pay me. So I don't want to hide that. But they're out there in a website just to go check out this episode. But I'm staying with no pitch right now. I want you to focus and put your head down and do the work. Welcome back to the eCommerce momentum podcast. This is episode 431 Sean human check. I brought Sean back on. Um, because I, I just think again, there, there has to be optimism out there. You've got to sit back and say, yeah, this sucks. I mean, it's face it right now.

Stephen (01:12):

This is a challenge, you know, especially as people are getting sick and people, I mean, it's just breaking my heart to see some of these stories. It's just heartbreaking. But you can't cower in the corner. You have to push through it. Or I see people who are having huge financial problems because they're up against the wall. You know, and I understand it. You know, if you've listened to my show, you heard that our account went under review. You know, that pause for a day and a half. But it's still, it was the first time that's ever happened to us. So it was like, Whoa, that was a wake up, you know? But there are some really good information out there. There's some good plans, there's some people doing it right. And I think Sean, Sean got some really good advice, um, in this episode and some things I had not thought about.

Stephen (01:53):

But I, I love, I mean I want you to really pay attention to product mix and fulfillment mix those two, four pieces of the formula that you can plan for. You know, and again, fulfillment mix might not be activated until you need it, but based on drip inventory, you can manage that. So the, all these terms, I know I'm just dropping some things, but listen to the episode and we get into exactly what all that means and how it can apply to you. And it's got me thinking about, you know, what we're going to do. So I just think there's some really solid advice. Um, and it just, just a wonderful person and just a really smart guy who can offer, um, some optimism to you. Let's get into the podcast and welcome back to the eCommerce momentum podcast. Excited for a return guest. Actually, it wasn't that long ago. It was a little more than a year or so ago that we spoke, but I thought, I thought, uh, it's a perfect person to come bring on during these trying times. And I think that's a fair description trying times to talk to some rationalization, some reason and kind of how he's doing it and I think, I think he has something to offer. So welcome back Shawn human Chuck, welcome Sean.

Sean (02:58):

Thanks for having. Um, as

Stephen (03:00):

always, I love talking to you and, uh, excited to, uh, excited to be here. Yeah, I'm excited to have you because again, go back to January, 2019. You can listen to Sean's episode, um, and get some backstory there, but you really did a great transition in your business from the old RA and all that stuff. Built out wholesale, built out private label, uh, then took your wholesale to other levels, which I, I'm always impressed with cause it's not easy. Back then. This was the phrase, and I told you this in the preinterview create a job you like, let me ask you how that's working for you right now.

Sean (03:35):

It's working great. Um, I mean, I'm still, what I want positivity, a lot of the, a lot of the same stuff I was doing a little over a year ago. I'm still doing,

Stephen (03:45):

but the world's uploading. Sean, I don't think anybody told you the worlds. Have you been outside? Have you seen there? Uh, there are flying saucers over Philadelphia in New Jersey right now. Uh, there's volcanoes going on there. They're definitely outside your house circling right now.

Sean (04:04):

Yeah. Right. So, I mean, um, you know, obviously things are a little crazy right now with, uh, with the Curt, the coven, 19 everything that's going on. Um, I'm trying to not panic at all, especially with my business. Um, luckily I haven't seen too, too bad of a hit and sales and not as bad as some people I know.

Stephen (04:24):

Got a second. But you, you said one of your products, and we won't, don't out any of them, but one of them, you've sold nothing. So you've had a hundred percent reduction in that particular product, but then you, because you're in multiple categories, you've been able to see a pretty even. Correct. I mean, I don't wanna put words in your mouth, but that's, that's pretty, I mean, did, were you that smart to know that that's what you should have done?

Sean (04:47):

Yeah, I wish, I wish I could take all that credit. No, it just, um, you know, just my, my sourcing habits I guess kinda, um, have brought me into different, different categories and, um, luckily, you know, some of them have taken off and other ones that have been here, especially with the, uh, renewed delivery delays now people aren't, uh, getting, getting prime products for a month now. So, um, you know, some of those products had definitely taken a hit, but like you said, other ones have, have kind of filled in that void. Uh, so it evens out. And I think, um, I think a lot of sellers, uh, I think a lot of settlers are experiencing the same thing. Um, if you're stuck in one category, like, like travel, um, and you know, like we were talking shoes, stuff like that, that that stuff has taken a huge hit right now. But there's definitely categories that are seeing huge lists.

Stephen (05:36):

They're having the best of their life. Right. I mean, if you're in grocery, you're having the best year ever.

Sean (05:41):

Yeah. I was looking in some Facebook groups, uh, earlier and people were saying it's been like black Friday for the last week and a half or two weeks. Um, so I'm sure they're, they're doing great, but even with that, there comes a, there come struggles. You've run out of stock and you're, you're struggling to find inventory. If you're doing RA. No way. I'm sure. Uh, it's tough to find that stuff at certain stores and, um, certain stores are closed down. It's, it's very, uh, like I said, everything I think is hectic right now for no matter what your business model is, no matter what your, uh, product category is. I think everyone is kind of scrambling right now.

Stephen (06:17):

We, we, when I, uh, I, I just think though that product mix that is such a smart move, you know, as I think going forward, even for our business, um, I have to pay more attention. I, I, you know, that we, uh, we got our account went under review and we got through it. It wasn't even two days. It was down immune. It didn't go down. Our stuff stayed live. They held your money, which is interesting. I never had this happen before, but they hold your money and so within a day it was released. But I literally thought, you know, Hey, we've got to go a different approach. And we went back into grocery, which we haven't done in a long, long time and add it back in. And then we went back to fulfilled by merchant. Now you've been to our warehouse many times. You see we have a lot of shipping.

Stephen (06:55):

We ship every single day. But adding that back to Amazon was a weird feeling for me. It's like, man, I've got, I've become so accustomed, so hooked on FBA. I don't even think that way anymore. Like literally everything we buy, it's always like sending it in. That's the only way we look at it. We don't even judge it any other way. Um, will you, will you make, you know, when you're done with all this, when, when all this cycles through, will that now play into decision making that you make, um, whether you should or could survive, you know, doing fulfilled by merchant products and stuff?

Sean (07:30):

Um, so for sure, I mean for me, I know a lot of people kinda think fulfilled by merchant is like taking a step back from FBA or it's, it's more work than it's worth or things like that. But I mean, as you know, you have clients that do primarily FBM and do awesome. Um, I think it depends on the product number one. And I do think it's re it's really good to have some stock on hand in another warehouse or in a storage unit where FBM is a possibility. Um, in case of something like this, you never know. I mean, who would have thought that Amazon would be shutting down fulfillment centers and have a month long delivery time for prime products that are normally a day or two delivery time? No, I don't think anyone really thought this was going to happen. Um, I sure didn't. And, uh, but so now for sure, anything that I possibly can, I'm going to try to keep some extra stock on hand. Um, you know, just in case something like this happens. Um, I'm definitely gonna. I have my one private liberal product that's selling well and I'm not gonna be able to ship anymore in because it's not an essential product, but it is seeing a sales lift. So we're definitely gonna have to, uh, merchant fulfill that for the time being.

Stephen (08:41):

So it, it, I mean, I want to get back to this. This is, I mean this is really deep Sean, right here. Thinking about this, the product mix is really important. That was cross categories, right? What would be the categories that no matter what the zombies are walking the earth, the people are going to want food and grocery. We all know that health and beauty toilet paper for God's sake, right? That would be one of the big categories. We all, we're all going in the toilet paper business, right? But seriously, but then I thought about this, that fulfillment, um, mix. That's another piece of the formula. If you really want to have an even business because it's a challenge. I mean, you've been to a warehouse, you know, uh, you know, I laid off to the guys, you know, those guys you've been here and so it's a challenge. You know, if we were doing more self-fulfillment, uh, we could have probably absorbed more of that. Right? I mean, Hmm. I think, I think, you know, I'm going to sit back and ponder this for a while. Um, I think those two things have to play into the future of our business. Um, and it sounds like you're playing into yours. Um, yeah, for sure. Well, Oh, go ahead. If you want to add anything there.

Sean (09:41):

No, I am, I, the only thing I was going to touch on bear was just, it depends on the product, right? Because you're selling shoes and clothes. You can't really compete being merchant fulfilled against FBA sellers owning every day, you know, on an everyday basis. I mean, right now you might be able to because of the long delay times. But again, yeah, I really do think it is. FBM is really just category specific where it's going to work best and, and, and, and time-specific you know, based on crazy times, like right now, you know.

Stephen (10:13):

Yeah. I don't think anybody is sitting around right now cause I think there's still, until these checks go out, until people get a little bit of security now there's not many people buying shoes. So I think it's a good example where right now you can fulfill by merchant all you want to and you're not going to sell the volume. Right? You might sell a few here and there. However, what I think is going to happen when the economy loosens up, when things get back and running, Amazon still going to be behind. They have no, I mean there's just, this backlog is getting bigger and bigger. I mean, when you look at your, uh, your, uh, Amazon, uh, page, how many back, um, or pending orders do you have? It's enormous. It's more than key for, for us. Um, I know somebody who mentioned me the other day, they have over 3000.

Stephen (10:53):

Wow. Yeah. And so it's going to take them so long to cycle through that you actually, those fulfilled by merchant, uh, shoe sellers might get another boost just before because Amazon's going to keep those long lead times just for a little while. So once the money's free, but I don't think I would want to plan my business around that model. That's not a, that's not a good plan for your business. Right. Great. Great. All right, well let's talk about what you're doing differently going forward. I mean, one of the cool things that we talked about I think is, uh, variations, um, taking something you already know that you've already had success with. How, how different is that approach? Um, like going forward, cause you're, you're, you're always out there looking for new products or go into trade shows, looking for new products. How much of your time is focused on just taking what you're doing and doing it differently, better, or meeting the market as you see the market being evolved?

Sean (11:50):

Um, I, I think looking for variations, I mean, uh, products that you're already selling is, is a smart way to go about it. You already know that market, you already know what keywords are successful. Um, you already know what those customers want, especially at a time like this right now. I don't know. I would not be, I'm not doing any product research, uh, for, for non product. Exactly. Not for something that I want to launch next month. I do have a couple ideas at which we can get into after this, but I mean look at your products that are doing well right now and, and see how you can grow that brand out as opposed to looking for, uh, markets that you're not, you, you don't have any information off of, especially if you're using a lot of the keyword tools right now are going to be thrown off.

Sean (12:36):

Um, you know, they do the estimated keyword search volume. They're all going to be thrown off right now because, let me ask you questions are thrown off. This is that because right now it's a perfect poof proof of concept because you could see the demand is there no matter what's going to happen. The crap hit the fan, Sean, and that product that you're selling is still in demand. Therefore now I don't need any charts. That's enough for me. Is that not necessarily just because I like puncture puzzles are going crazy right now, but fair enough. You know, that's hilarious. Yeah. And I'm sure puzzles go crazy, you know, Christmas time and things like that. But year round, I don't know. I'm sure some puzzles do well, but year round, I don't know if puzzles are going to do well right now. Yeah. Because everyone's sitting at home and uh, you know, they looking for stuff to do with their kids or just maybe by their time.

Sean (13:25):

So I think, I think they're, yeah, that has to go be more thought into it then it's just then it's selling right now. So people are gonna want it all the time, just because, you know, just cause it's hard times right now. It doesn't mean people are going to want that same product in a month or two when things are back to normal. Um, but I do think, you know, like I said, going off those variations is a, is a, is a good way to find new products that get in the market. You already know. Um, and then I think product research where if you're looking at, uh, like looking to keep the charts and looking at what was selling last summer, uh, and last Christmas are two things that I'm kind of focusing on. Um, because I know if it was selling last Christmas, it's going to be selling again this Christmas most likely.

Sean (14:08):

Right. Um, if, I know it was sounded last summer, it wasn't selling all winter, so a lot of people weren't, weren't finding a, weren't getting that data in November, December, January when they were doing product research. Um, but now that summer is approaching, you can look at, you know, what was selling last summer, um, and, and really tried to take advantage of it. Especially because people aren't, I think people are not doing bottle. I think people are scared. They're not doing a whole lot of product research. They're not looking to be buying products right now. A lot of people are in a whole hold pattern. They're kinda just waiting and see what's gonna happen with their business, with, with the economy. Um, and I think a lot of people are scared. So I think now is, it's definitely a time to plan and take action. Um, you just have to be definitely more calculated because, uh, we don't know how long this is gonna last, but we know it's going to end, you know, it's not going to be the end of the world. So I would say by next Christmas if, you know, if you're sourcing products that were selling great last Christmas, um, I think that that's good data to look at for, for this Christmas, especially when, when everyone is, uh, sitting, sitting on their, you know, sit on their butts and kinda waiting to see what's gonna happen.

Stephen (15:20):

Are you pulling the trigger then on products for Christmas now? I mean, did you spending money? I mean, we were in a pre-call, we talked about money. I mean, I was, one of the things we talk about was, you know, trying to be conservative. You and I both are pretty much cut from the same cloth there. We're both a little conservative on that. Um, but are you gambling and buying merchandise for Christmas now? Because now's the time to order, right? I mean it is the time.

Sean (15:42):

Yeah, definitely. I already placed one order, I'm probably like a month ago, so it was a little bit before it got super crazy in America. No, because, no, just cause I just, you know, I've seen the trend for the last couple of Christmases. I, you know, I can see the, the sales data, I know what I sold. Um, so I, I was conservative in, uh, I re I ran out of stock on this particular line last year and I was conservative in increasing the order because I don't, yeah, I don't know what the demand is going to be exactly. But, um, I ordered a, you know, I added 10% to what I ordered last year. Um, and I'm not really worried about it. Um, you know, we did talk about money and I, I don't place orders that I, that I don't know if I'm going to be able to pay for it. You know, I, I don't like to be, have a carried debt and this is something that I've been selling for a couple of years now, so I'm not afraid of, uh, afraid to placement.

Stephen (16:39):

So are you a conservative entrepreneur? I mean, cause that's one of the, you know, I'm very, you know, me, I'm risk averse. I mean, it's my nature, but then I'm so much older than you. I'm more than double. Sean's age kills me, but, uh, um, it, it's the truth and I'm just way at that point in my life, but I just don't want that responsibility. Um, you're in that w w why are you there? Why aren't you just rolling it all on seven, Sean? My why aren't you just some wild and young guy who just, eh, start over again. I can always start over again.

Sean (17:12):

I don't know, to be honest with you. I guess it's just my personality. Um, I, I feel like I take risks, but I'd definitely, um, try to be calculated in them and, and try to test things before I go, uh, go too crazy. And when I take risks, like I usually have the, uh, the support of someone who's been there before me or smarter than me, who is kinda behind me telling me that that's a wise risk to take or at least, you know, a good, a good chance of being successful. Um, I try not to, I try not to take any risks that'll put me out of business.

Stephen (17:47):

Well, you seem like a genius, right? Right. Because you're not carrying any debt and there's this crazy situation right now, everybody's having trouble

Sean (17:54):

was our last, uh, our last interview we spoke about the, uh, the mishap with Amazon classifying the one product line as explosives. And, and I mean that was almost business crushing. That was almost a decision that, uh, that put me out of business. But, um, you know, things happen and like, luckily I was able to push through it and we were able to sell through most of that stuff over the last two years.

Stephen (18:17):

Yeah. This year you did incredible with that on all that inventory, but it's sat for a year, a year plus it's that for a year plus technically. I mean, cause you had it and you bought it. Um, so it, I mean it took till this year for you to make back your money on that.

Sean (18:33):

Right, right. But I think, um, again, it wasn't a risk. I mean I did have sales history on that. They were selling well on Amazon. It was kind of a free thing that happened. Um, so it wasn't a huge, you know, to me it wasn't a huge risk placing that order. Um, and you know, luckily I made sure that I had the capital to fund that order and it wouldn't, you know, I knew that even if that all went to zero, I wouldn't have put me out of business. Totally.

Stephen (18:57):

Yeah. That's what Dave Ramsey don't, don't make fatal decisions. The other positive thing there too on that particular product line is you are way more conservative in what you bought this year versus that last year too. You were, you bought differently cause you had that, you had that history, right. I mean that's kind of a, a good learning curve. Painful but, but it's good. Definitely. Hmm. Yeah, definitely. Well when you, what are you going to do differently? I was thinking about this, um, with you, I mean there are going to be some opportunities now when, when the economy turns and we come out of this. Have you been thinking about, you know, I'm sure you've been thinking about it there. Have you been thinking about products or ideas that you saw now that people need and recognize and maybe not capitalize in a negative way to take advantage of people, but just being there to fulfill the products that they need? Have you been thinking about that?

Sean (19:52):

Are you talking in terms of like the face managed and hand sanitizers, that type of thing?

Stephen (19:57):

Yeah. No, not those, but yes. Um, yes. Not those specifically because I, you know, I just think, you know, that's going to be a dumb business for anybody but, but it just, yeah.

Sean (20:07):

So I haven't really been looking at anything that's like virus related or that's all the sudden, um, you know, surged in demand because of what's going on right now just because, um, I mean there's could be saturated markets in, in a month or two. Um, but I mean, the one thing I, the big thing I'm doing is trying to, um, work on work on what I have in my business right now. So one of the things I'm doing is I'm going to all my suppliers, and you can do this, I mean, if you don't already know or you can't really do this, but if you're doing wholesale or private label, you can go to your suppliers and, um, and try work out terms with them. I mean, most private label, most people are paying 30% upfront and 70% on delivery. Um, so I mean, you could try to get 10% upfront, 90% on delivery or 30% upfront and 70%, 30 days after delivery.

Sean (21:02):

Any way you can extend that, that cashflow is, is gonna do wonders for your business. Uh, all are they receptive to it right now. Um, so I have a, I want my child, I've only really spoken with, uh, my Chinese factories and one of them, one of them was not very, doesn't see very receptive and the other one is a is is pretty sure we can, we can work something out. Okay. Um, so I think it's going to be, I think it's going to be hit or miss. It probably depends on how your negotiation skills to be honest. If they, you know, you have to paint a picture to where they're going to, they're going to win out of NetSuite where, um, you know, you, you getting those terms is going to allow you to purchase more inventory, turn inventory faster. Um, and, and, you know, in turn, place more orders, so you're gonna, um, it has to be win, win for them, but everyone's economy is, I think the whole, you know, most of the Globe's economy is hurting right now. So, um, any way that they can help you without putting themselves out of business, I think, you know, a lot of factories and suppliers are going to be willing to do that.

Stephen (22:08):

And that's our relationship, right? That's the, this isn't your first time dealing with them on what you did before. Right,

Sean (22:14):

right, right, right. Yes. Yeah. These are factories that, yeah, they're working with at least, uh, at least like nine months, one of them over two years. So it's, you know, these are relationships have to be built, right. You can't just, you know, hit up a random supplier and, and uh, try to work out terms. But if, if the relationship is there and, and you have that good, good history, then, um, I think now more than ever, suppliers are going to be more receptive to it. You know, it doesn't mean it's going to work out. But like I said, I think now more than ever, a lot of a lot of businesses are hurting. Um, I don't know about you, but I've been getting hit up from, uh, Chinese reps that for PR. I ordered samples over a year ago and I'm getting messages from, from Chinese suppliers that are trying to sell me products and I, you know, never did anything except for order to sample or asked if asked about samples. So you know, that they're, they're really hurting. They really need orders right now,

Stephen (23:12):

or even a wholesale. The wholesale customers are calling in. And even ups ups called me last week, they're like, Steve, just checking in, how's everything going? How's this and that? Now we switched from ups to FedEx and it was big. I mean, it's huge savings. And he's like, well, are you using anybody else? I'm like, yeah, we use 99% FedEx. You guys weren't, uh, uh, profitable or compatible. And while we could revisit that, and I'm thinking, Oh yeah, here we go. Right? But it's funny, all of a sudden out of necessity, they're starting to contact you.

Stephen (23:46):

Hmm. Yeah. It's interesting. I mean, it was, it was just a, I never got a call from them ever, and it was just another example. But at the wholesale, people are doing the same thing. They're actually calling and saying, Hey, you know, we have some, we have some space on our production line. Can you handle some? The answer is yes, for sure. We can handle some, we're one of those few businesses in Pennsylvania that are open, right? I mean, we're a warehouse is, you know, and, and we're open and open every single day and uh, really hasn't stopped. Nothing's really stopped. I mean, we're still getting deliveries every day. We're still getting pickups every day. The trucks on FedEx for sure are much emptier. I mean much empty or all of a sudden I'm in our town. I don't know. But if you're seeing that out by you, I had a pretty big ups,

Sean (24:28):

like 65 bucks for ups yesterday, and the guy, he said that they've been nonstop, so I don't know, interests the area or what. Yeah, he was saying they're insanely busy. So he said he was on his third truck of the day.

Stephen (24:40):

Well, and if they're, if they're delivering Amazon goods, which ups does in FedEx doesn't, right. Remember that breakup right now long ago. That would make sense, right? Because they're inundated. I mean, Amazon, we have stuff still that was supposed to be delivered a week and a half ago from Amazon, and they keep extending the dates. And it was in the Hilton beauty category, uh, many beauty pills. Um, it was vitamins and they're still haven't been delivered a week and a half later. So they're just, they're just struggling. I mean, it's just impossible for them. So that makes sense about fed ups. Interesting. All right. So one of the things I asked Sean to do was to put together maybe some action steps or advice from somebody who's been there, who had been through a pretty big challenge. I think that you're right, that that was a good example, that, that, that big product you have where you bet a lot on it and it, you got through it, but it took, it did take teamwork.

Stephen (25:31):

Uh, we were fortunate enough to partner with you on that and we worked our butts off, didn't we? I mean we together, I mean we, you, you guys, yeah, you guys did a lot of, most of the, most of the heavy lifting, but it was still, but it was a coordinated effort. And again, I don't unappreciate, uh, I, I appreciate, you know, you and working with us and understanding we weren't perfect and vice versa. You know, I, I know it's mutual, so that's the way it's supposed to work. That's the reality of what if you have a warehouse that you work with a pay em right on time. Shawn's pays me early. Always. Um, be um, be willing to bend because I have needs too. And you have needs, right? How about, what's the advice you give to people or, I mean, cause I'm assuming you get these questions like, eh, and you got it all figured out, Sean, right? Do you have it all figured out? No way.

Sean (26:24):

I don't think anyone has it all figured out. I think, I think even the most successful people, a lot of times, uh, maybe not all of them, but a lot of that, a lot of them will tell you that they're learning every day and, and you know, it looks like they have it all figured out from the outside, but inside there, you know, they're questioning themselves and, and struggling too. So I think it's everybody.

Stephen (26:46):

No, I think that's normal. I mean how many of our big, our seller friends, the big seller friends that we have are having money trouble right now. All of them. Right? Because it's cashflow. I mean, this is a cashflow business. And guess what most, unless you're in certain categories, most people's cash flows have been affected one way or the other. And, or even if they're having gangbusters, like you said, they can't get stock now, so,

Sean (27:08):

right. Or they have their suppliers in China and like just be getting back to work and you know, there's, everyone has issues. Um, and I think, you know, it just depends on what like written our business, what category you're in, what product mix you have. Um, but everyone is going through some type of issue right now.

Stephen (27:25):

It's going to be it. So far there are two things that I really am taking away from this conversation. Um, one I love the work on terms with your current suppliers, you know, see what else you can do to make it work so you can, like you said, but you make it win-win, right? It's cause if they have to stay in business for you to have a longterm relationship. That makes perfect sense. And the other thing I'm, I'm going back to, and I just love it, the product mix and the fulfillment mix. I think that's true. In our pre-call we were talking about eBay is screaming for us screaming for us every day. Right? We just can't keep up because guess what? You could buy it on eBay and it ships the same day where if you buy it on Amazon, they're talking a month out. So it's a product base and fulfillment mix. I think that's so smart to have that. All right. Give me some more things that you think somebody can do to help get through these challenging times.

Sean (28:10):

Okay. Um, so one thing I think written now, uh, that people can do, especially in the, and this is if, if your all your stuff is an FBI, this isn't really going to be possible unless you're sending a new stock. But, um, for me, like people are so emotional right now with what's going on. Um, one thing that I'm doing, I have, I have a designer making the card up right now, um, and I'm going to have it printed and I'm going to put it in all my merchant fulfilled shipments and it's just going to say thank you so much for supporting our business during this tough time. Um, we appreciate you being part of the family is something like that to just establish a little bit of an emotional connection with them, let them know we appreciate them doing business with us and um, leave, leave an email and tell them to reach out. And, and hopefully from there we'll be able to establish a, you know, a nice customer base and, and really help people, you know what I mean? Um, I think just that little, that little card, we'll um, we'll definitely put a smile on people's faces and bring people back to our business.

Stephen (29:13):

Would you, would you put a picture of you and Ashley on it then that card like,

Sean (29:18):

Oh, that's interesting. I uh, I honestly didn't even consider that

Stephen (29:22):

cause I think about my girls. Like we just sent them a package. This is relevant because you're, one of your categories is toys. We just sent my girls, my granddaughters a big box of stuff from my warehouse. I mean, and one of the great things about having a giant warehouse full of toys, I could send them stuff every day. Right? They were so excited when they open it and my wife has to do, put a note in it and I'm like, I'm a guy. There's no chance. Put a note in it. Are you kidding me? But imagine having that picture from us with a big smile saying something like, Hey girls, we love you. We hope you love this. So basically like that's the connection, right? That was the piece that was missing. Now we were able to Skype with them, watching them open it, which was kind of cool. But what you're describing makes you guys human to other humans. I love it. I just think that's so powerful shot.

Sean (30:06):

Sure. And it, and it gives you that, uh, I mean it could give you a lifelong customer, but it just, that that emotional connection, um, can really make someone's day at a time like this.

Stephen (30:16):

Well, and, and let's take it a step further. You're sitting here trying to do variations of that particular product line. Dude, now you look really smart and I'm just letting you know, you look really smart with this because you're building a customer base at a time and then you're gonna bring out variations and you have, Hey customers, I have something that maybe you offer. Ah,

Sean (30:36):

yes, I'm definitely, you know, I'm getting something out of it and it's not totally, you know, of course I, I, I do like to make people's day. I like to make people happy. So that is part of it of course. But how hard is that to do a, well, it's going to cost, I don't know, what's it going to cost 10 cents a piece and then, um, I will have to pay you to cut the box and inserted in there, but you know, what's it going to cost? Not, not much. Uh, at $100.

Stephen (30:58):

That's, I just thought of that price. I mean, is that too much? This is how the as well let's start a little high. We'll negotiate after. But you know, I again, no, I just think, again, you're thinking outside the box. Get it. Uh, but it's, it's serious. You're putting a matter of fact, you can even put a sticker on it, um, on the outside. Um, it's just

Sean (31:19):

the point in my car. Yeah. It might cost you a little bit more in production, but it's way less labor. So it's probably, yeah, probably even easier.

Stephen (31:25):

Yeah. Uh, or maybe with a, um, with a QR code for, I don't want to, I don't want to give ideas about your product, but let's just say you were doing, um, Legos and you were, uh, you had a Harry Potter house and then all of a sudden you're like, Ooh, you could take this Harry Potter house and make it into a bridge, for example. Bad example, but you get where I'm going with it. You could say, Hey, uh, for more, uh, Lego designs, uh, scan this code and come to our website and you can have free downloads there. I mean, so you can get really clever. I'm pretty smart. I just think that that's really smart.

Sean (32:00):

Sure. And if you got stuff in it, and if you got stuff in SBA, you, obviously that's not possible. So you could put a change, one of your bullet points. Thank you for supporting us during, during the Cove at 19 a pandemic or one of your pictures, you know, um, you could also change one of your pictures to, um, if it's something that a family can use during this time, put your second image as Corona virus rusting related and then, you know, put a, you know, just use an infographic type of a image or an image with some wording around it that will, um, you know, just make that emotional connection with how people are feeling right now, how people are homeschooling,

Stephen (32:40):

right? If you were in the homeschool, if you were sold anything that was related to education, everybody's homeschooling. So right now by change, Oh, Shawn, you know, that's why you're so good at this. All right. Anything else that you can offer?

Sean (32:54):

Um, so, um, another thing, again, it's more, it's more going to be wholesale and private label. Um, but with, with your sponsored ads, definitely me, I noticed the huge, um, the spend was, the spend was up a little bit, but it was, uh, the, the conversion rate was way down. So, um, because of the, the month out delivery time. So make sure you're keeping an eye on, on your sponsored ads, um, because that can really get out of hand quickly.

Stephen (33:20):

All right, so you're pulling back on it. I was just talking to somebody else this morning and they said basically they stopped. He said, they said it wasn't going to get fulfilled.

Sean (33:28):

Exactly. I turned it off on a couple of my products, but a couple of them I just scaled back and I'm just keeping a close eye because um, you know, with, with the delivery dates being so far out, I think a lot of customers are going to be clicking on products and then they see it's not delivered for a month. So they're going to be, you know, they're going to back right out of it and that's just going to cost you money very quickly. So that's especially the times right now when sales are down, if ad costs are rising and you're, you know, you're losing money on those sales, it's, you know, it's kind of productive and yeah, exactly.

Stephen (34:01):

And plus you want to save that money for when it restarts, you're in position to take advantage of it.

Sean (34:05):

Sure, sure. Um, if you have a nice budget, now probably is a good time to try to rank for certain keywords, um, on products because, because of this issue. Um, but I think, uh, that that's a difficult, that's a difficult issue.

Stephen (34:21):

Well, let me ask you this though, because I think you said something earlier, I didn't make this note to, this was another piece of advice you gave was, uh, don't send all your inventory FBA, hold some back, right? So whatever percentage that is, and you got to work out whatever percentage that would be. And, and in today's day and age, if you use a drip inventory method where you're not sending everything in any way, it's easy to hold some back, right? To keep some safety stock and the old accounting terms we used to use. Right? Um, can you then take those ads and, and really benefit, uh, fulfilled by merchant then in that same example. So let's say we're selling Steve's water bottle, that beautiful water bottle that is dented in. I love this thing. I don't want ever give it up. But that water bottle was FBA and the delivery time on that water bottle category wise would be, you know, a month from now. But could I then somehow direct to my fulfilled by merchant ads? Sure.

Sean (35:14):

If you just, yeah, sure. Yeah. Ads or ads running as long as your merchant fulfilled listing is in the buy box. Uh, so as long as your price is like low enough or your FDA prices high enough,

Stephen (35:26):

well that's a, that was a question. Can you raise your FBA price and then what our, your rep from full merchant, what

Sean (35:32):

I would probably do is just close out the FBA listing, put it on, close it without exactly. Close it. Without not, don't delete it, just close it. And that'll just make it not available. But your merchant fulfilled listing will still be available and you can just run ads to the bed, ACE and, and uh, your merchant. Yeah. You won't have the prime badge obviously. Um, but at least you will be, uh, at least you will be in the buy box and it'll say, you know, ships in two to three days or whatever your shipping time is. Um, so it's, you know, I don't know if the conversion rate is going to be as good as if it, you know, on a normal day when it's prime prime ready and available in one to two days, all that good stuff. But it's definitely gonna be better than accustomed. You know, people, nobody has to buy anything yet, right at this time when they're looking at, if they have two, two products, um, that they're comparing between, and one of them is a month out, a delivery time for a month out and it's coming from Amazon or one is coming from Steve's warehouse and it's going to be here in five days. I'm going to fix these warehouse. You know, I think most customers are gonna are gonna be there. They'll step out of the that prime comfort zone.

Stephen (36:38):

So there's a pro tip there if everybody caught that again. So is he, is Sean's advice is you put it on hold, first off, you have the second, uh, you put up a fulfilled by merchant, um, list, uh, on that listing on that ASEN you put up that second, uh, selling option, you're allowed to have two options there, one fulfilled and one for FBI. You're allowed that, um, but do that first. Um, so nothing goes down. And then as you say, close out that other listing and then you can change your wording on that listing to say, right. Is that that done in the keyword search to correct are the bullet points you could put in there, you know, something ships fast or something like that? Correct.

Sean (37:16):

Um, well, I don't know. I don't know if you'd be seizing your listing. It would just be that, you know, when, when the customer clicked on the listing, they would see that.

Stephen (37:25):

So maybe it's an info graphic. You could change an image to say, Hey, ships two days or something like that. Could, you could do that? Correct? You could do that, yeah. Your main image, but on another image. Okay. You definitely could do that. Yeah. Okay. All right. Interesting. We love it. I didn't even think of that. Say again. That's why I talk to smart people. All right. Any other advice to close out?

Sean (37:47):

Um, not really. The only other thing I would say is, um, with all the, all the noise going on, all the negativity in the world, it's take 10 or 20 minutes, 15 minutes a day, and just watch something. It's gonna put you in a good mood, whether it's uplifting or motivational or, uh, whether it's sports, highlights, whatever. It is, something that's gonna change your mood and get you out of the, uh, out of all the negativity. Cause I know me, I've been, I've never looked at Facebook so much. Um, and the news, I don't even watch the news, but right now I'm trying to watch, I can't help it. I, a lot of people are. So, um, to get out of that, um, I'm taking, I'm actually trying to do it once in the morning and once at night and watch a couple of videos or even just listen to music, something to, to break their negativity and, and put me in a positive mood. Um, and just, uh, be positive about Amazon in the future. I mean, right now it's, a lot of people are grim and it, it doesn't look good, but, um, this isn't gonna last forever. Like I said, it's, this will be, we'll get past this and, um, I think Amazon just gonna people are gonna realize that they need Amazon more than ever, you know? Yeah. So I think take this, um, the weather, the storm, do it and uh, and, and you know, there's only positive things ahead. So I'm looking forward to it.

Stephen (39:14):

Yeah. The other, my Steve's advice is to get a sauna, one of my best investments ever. I'm telling you, I look like a genius. If it would have killed the virus, then I'd look like a, you know, a Mensa member. Um, it doesn't, doesn't have any effect, but man, it just is a great place to relax and, uh, listen to podcast or do or read a book. Um, and believe it or not, but it's just, it's one of those things you got, it's a respite. You get to get away. I remember a crisp Duke we used to say, go to your Vista, go to a Vista, get to someplace where you can get away, um, and, and break free from it. Also. I think it's really solid advice. Dude. I love you, uh, love what you're doing. Um, I'm very, very excited. Uh, your voice of reason, even though you're half my age. Um, and it's just so cool to see what you're doing because it's so inspiring. I mean, it really, we talk about it all the time here in the warehouse. It's just so inspiring. Um, and you're like the best customer ever. So we appreciate you, uh, really meaning, so wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much.

Sean (40:10):

Thank you, Steve. I love you too, man. I appreciate it. And, uh, I'll talk to you soon.

Stephen (40:14):

How could you not be inspired? I mean, just, you know, uh, Sean will, he's very humble and he'll be saying, Hey, I'm not the smartest guy or whatever. Um, afterwards we talked about it, you know, stuff kind of fell into place for him. You know, and my comment to him is, this doesn't just fall into place. You set this stuff up by making the right decision again and again and again. So if you made the wrong decision before Steve's made many bronc decisions, now he start making right decisions and you start to build habits from that and you start to build a pattern there. And so I just think Shawn's a great example of somebody who's done that. Um, and I'm going to bring a bunch more of these kinds of interviews on because there's just so many really good things to look forward to because this is going to turn and then all of a sudden we're all going to be sitting here saying, do you remember when, do you remember when? And we're on the other side of it now, so I wish you nothing but success, but reach out to me if I can help you in any way. E-commerce, momentum.com e-commerce, momentum.com take care.

Cool voice guy (41:08):

Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at [inaudible] commerce, momentum.com under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.