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

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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"!


Seans previous episode


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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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 (