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408 : Bob Steele – Don’t just chase inventory if you can not get it through your process
30th September 2019 • eCommerce Momentum Podcast • eCommerce Momentum Podcast
00:00:00 00:55:47

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Bob speaks from experience. Inventory buying is a thrill. Finding great deals is what we do. But if it sits in your warehouse and doesn’t get processed then it is wasted economic value. Value you might not get back. See if it forces you to borrow money or put off hiring key labor that would benefit the organization. Then you have a miss. Let’s talk about what you can make your Amazon business look like.


Bob’s previous episodes:

60 , 113

Chris Green


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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.

Bob:                                       [00:01]                     Who knew some computer stuff that were able to find me. Basically, you’re not unlimited lists of wholesale suppliers. I mean, of course they don’t all take Amazon, but I was able to use some portals and stuff to find more supplies than I could ever buy from, and I’ve just kind of taken the OAA that I did because I love the away. But the issue was I was getting too many IP complaints. I was afraid I was going to lose my account. I think I had maybe 12 in a year or something like that, so eight here in addition to wholesale, but I was kind of doing it the way I was doing away, always using the same tools I was using, tactical arbitrage, you know? Except that I was getting a program to a wholesale sites and basically that’s the same way I still do wholesale now. I either use tactile LABA charts to import a

Cool vice guy:                    [00:47]                     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:                             [01:01]                     Hey, it’s me. It’s Q4. Got to bring up my Amazon seller tribe. Um, this is probably, you know, one of the last chances you’re going to get to join this year. So I’ll run this for a couple of weeks. But, um, the, the good news is you could still get in, right? They are allowing people in, but at some point they’re going to cut it off. So I suggest you join today. Try it with 14 days for free, okay? So you don’t like it, you don’t get value drop. Um, however, don’t only measure on the value of what you’re buying, measure on the value of the impact it has on your business. And what I love about this group, the Amazon seller tribe is the amazing way they invest into your business. They will help you with all the questions. Go out and check out, uh, amazing, forward slash momentum dash arbitrage.

Stephen:                             [01:44]                     Look at the testimonials. Those are real people. Reach out to them, right? You can kind of figure out who they are and go out and figure out, uh, and ask them, is it real? Are they really helpful? Will they help my business? And you will be blown away again. You get 14 days free if you joined through my link only and they do pay me. So I don’t want you to, I don’t mislead anybody. Um, but I believe in him. I’m in the groups, you’ll see me and you’ll get to talk with me too. So amazing., forward slash momentum, hyphen arbitrage. I know it’s a lot momentum, hyphen arbitrage. And you’re going to get 14 day free trial on the daily fine list. Make a purchase, get your money back and then say, huh, I can do this again. Wash, rinse, repeat, wash, rinse, repeat.

Stephen:                             [02:29]                     Amazing., forward slash momentum arbitrage. They are going to close it. Q four is here. It’s going to happen. Get ready. Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode four Oh eight Bob steel. Um, it is crazy how long it’s been since Bob and I talked on air, um, mind blowing and his business has completely evolved, um, with a lot of hard work. You know, his name is steel, he’s got steel in his resolve is persistence. I mean he is, it’s tough stuff and he’s pushed through it. Um, some really cool things about warehousing. Um, very interesting to listen to some of that conversation. Um, we both talk about our situations. Um, and I think there’s a value there. Um, I think his investing in real estate, uh, with warehousing is a very interesting concept that others might want to consider. And then we talk about lessons learned, things that are you should have done differently.

Stephen:                             [03:26]                     And you know, there’s a maturity you get to, I mean, you know, he’s very humble, um, and very quiet, but he’s matured. He’s recognized. I mean, that’s cool that a guy, uh, my age and his age, we’re pretty close, can still learn and is willing to learn and admit that he doesn’t know it all. That’s, Oh, I get the chills thinking about it because that, that’s why he’s such a great guy. He’s such a good friend. I just love him. Um, and I just think there’s some real value. And the one thing, and I, I kind of use it in the title here about chasing inventory. Don’t just keep chasing inventory. Make sure that it’s inventory you can process and prep. That’s a pro pro tip to pop gifts. Don’t forget that, you know, don’t just keep getting inventory to get inventory. Spend your money.

Stephen:                             [04:09]                     If you’re just going to sit, don’t do it. Get that stuff out. Spend your time there and you’re going to be better use. Let’s get into the podcast. Hey, welcome back to the eCommerce momentum podcast. Excited to have back my guest and we both are blown away to realize it’s been three plus years since we last talk. Bob Steele, welcome back. Bob Steele. Nice to be back. Steve. We’ve been well. I have been. Well, I know you have been. Well, um, you know, it’s funny. At our age were 50s, uh, we only not only have to do business well, we have to stay health well, right? I mean it’s an issue, you know, it happens. I mean, so we’re not going to turn this into a health, uh, conversation, but it’s definitely one of those things. How about mental health? That’s an interesting thing to talk about. How do you, because you used to have a big job, a lot of responsibility. Um, did you believe that when you got at your own business and you were gonna and you walked away from your corporate job, that the pressures were going to be less than the responsible cause you were going to have less responsibility?

Speaker 4:                           [05:15]                     Yeah, I believe that, but that’s certainly not the cases [inaudible] stress and pressure now than I’ve ever had. Yeah, that’s plenty a, I was just thinking the exact same thing, you know, and I had a big job and I had a lot of responsibility. Now when you have employees and you have other people relying on you bomb, that’s so lot isn’t it? [inaudible] and it’s just constant. It’s one battle after the other, after the other and it’s all, I can just pass it on to someone else. It’s all got to get done. Well, you know, how much help you have. It’s like ultimately you’re responsible for on an average on it and figure it out. Yeah. That’s it. The buck stops with you. Um, do you think you were meant to

Stephen:                             [05:57]                     be a leader in this role when you think back to your skillsets and your life and the things that you’ve done?

Bob:                                       [06:04]                     No, I’m, when I first started selling on Amazon, my opinion was, you know, I never want to own a warehouse. I never want to have employees. I just want this a little bit on the side and you know, things evolved and that’s where I’m at now. When there’s some days I just want to give up and say I’m going to send it all to a prep center or I’m just going to do something else. Cause I’m, I was actually at our meeting with uh, Chris green and some other FBA sellers a few weeks ago and one of the things they talked about was Emma’s on fatigue where everyone’s starting to look to do other things because it’s, it’s a constant battle of finding inventory and turning inventory and prepping inventory. And it’s just a constant battle and to look to other avenues and it’s something I’ve considered, but right now I’m still fighting the Amazon battle.

Stephen:                             [06:49]                     Well, you, you are doing some other things with investing in real estate. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But let’s go back to that cause I think that’s interesting. Amazon fatigue. Do you think some of it, and this is, I have these thoughts, some of it is because the rules change. Like in your old business you guys had policies and procedures, right? They probably were the same for 20 or 30 years. Some of them, some of them should have changed, right? Of course they should have. Right. But lots of them didn’t need to, you know what I mean? Whatever it was. With Amazon it’s almost week to week that changes. So you can never like that one part of your world can’t settle. Is that fair?

Bob:                                       [07:26]                     Yeah. So like every other week there’s something else coming on. You know, we’ve been fighting hazmat issues for weeks over the name brand on the MSDS. She doesn’t match the name brand of the product and it’s because it’s a PR, you know, it’s our own brand and it’s a bundle and it’s one component inside the bundle. It’s a highlighter. So I send them the MSDS for the highlighter. They don’t accept it because the brands don’t match is it’s a fighting battle and now we’re getting all types of trademark issues for certain wholesale is that we use in this anal, that brand name is the trademark problem. Like no, the brand says it’s fine. It’s the right brand is every time you turn around and they are doing something to change and always having to spend hours and hours figuring out what they want and still not getting them right.

Stephen:                             [08:11]                     Yeah. Unintended consequences. Right. So I’m sure they’re trying to address nobody sitting in her saying, Hmm, who am I going to mess with today? Right. Nobody’s doing right there. They’re fixing a problem for something else. Right. Whatever it is. However, there are consequences in a, and I, I’ve said this a lot, a, you and I both are old sellers, right? We’ve been zoned for a long time. The where we’re just doing the way we’ve been doing for years. So you can’t all of a sudden just say, Hey, you’re not doing it right. It’s like, wait, it was right. Okay. You want me to change? That’s a different conversation. Help me change that. And I think that’s always been a miss. Even with eBay, I think there’s always been a miss that they’re not helping. And maybe it’s because we’re smaller sellers or at least we were, we were right.

Speaker 4:                           [08:57]                     They’re not helping bring you through those transitions. Right. Is that, is that right? Yeah, and especially, I mean eBay I don’t really do a lot with, but Amazon, they don’t give you the time towards transition. It’s like, okay, this is happening tomorrow. You know? Like I know one of the bigger changes has been the way the small light programs changed where now it’s a $7 maximum and a seven ounce maximum for the weight. But so that they said, okay, this is not going to be any more small and light and your products had to be in by a couple months ago while they’re still having me send the products. I used to have enrolled in small light to small light warehouses. So they kind of said there was going to be a change, but really I guess they haven’t implemented it. And that’s probably very, very frustrating. Now, at least with eBay, and this has been my experience later.

Speaker 4:                           [09:47]                     It’ll be interesting to see if anybody else agrees. We have been able to call and get a U S rep almost every single time we have a problem. They are almost always from Utah for whatever reason, and it’s just been a wonderful experience. They’re like, Hey, you know, we can’t help you there with this because of this and it’ll give you an actual reason. That’s been wonderful. I’m great. That’s amiss with selling on Amazon, correct? Correct. Mm Hmm. How hard it is. Imagine having times just trying to escalate a case and ask for a us representative. Sometimes you get one and sometimes it’s just passed on and you know, you get the merge. What are the merge case email? This is working into it and you get them for months on end and they don’t even tell you what it is anymore after the first one. Yeah.

Speaker 4:                           [10:31]                     You have no clue. Is that, would it be hard for them to implement, do you think? I mean, I don’t know. I mean, I just wonder, um, I think that’d be a lot of costs involved in that probably turn to avoid that as much as they can. Yeah. And another thing I think is, I always remember when I read the book, the everything store that if, if you have to call Amazon, it’s a fail on the customer side, right? They always said that you should be able to answer and anticipate all the customers’ needs and wants and the entire mall. Maybe, maybe they feel the same way about us sellers that we shouldn’t have to be able to call them. If that’s true. And I know Jeff Bezos is listening. If that’s true, then guess what? You got a little bit of ways to go there to help fix it.

Speaker 4:                           [11:15]                     And you know, we love the platform from it. God, we’d love it. Sorry, 80 90% of the revenue. Love, hate relationship. Yeah....