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EcomDOCs https://ecomdocs.com Your Ecommerce ER Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:59:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 https://ecomdocs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-App-Square-32x32.png EcomDOCs https://ecomdocs.com 32 32 Team Training: SCRUM Hybrid Model to Launch Physical Products on Amazon https://ecomdocs.com/scrum-hybrid-model-for-physical-products-on-amazon/ https://ecomdocs.com/scrum-hybrid-model-for-physical-products-on-amazon/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:47:17 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=2328 This is the actual training video I used to get my team up to speed on how we were going to operate our business.

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Tools Used for This Training

  • Teamwork Projects
  • Slack

Transcript

check check, check, all right team uhh this is our introductory scrum hybrid training for physical products, and explain how we’re gonna start doing things starting uhh the beginning of next week, uhh starting Sunday night. So, a lot of times uhh products will get saturated quickly on Amazon so you are, your your advantage will be to be out first and get solidified first in the search rankings uhmm so you get there before everybody else so you’re the top dog and so launching products quickly is a big part of that and getting it out and getting it done and getting it on Amazon as quickly as we can and efficiently as we can, and uhh in terms of revenue like you can kind of uhh estimate the number of SKUs that you need in order to hit certain revenue goals so, you can say you know 10 SKUs will give us an extra $50,000 of revenue, uhh so more SKUs equals more, more money. uhh we’ll hit our goals. (achoo! excuse me.)  Alright, so, how are we gonna want to launch more products and launch them quickly and use this new full-time team that we have put together. uhmm well first we got to talk about how we’re gonna organize these tasks we have housekeeping tasks we have slack tasks and we have teamwork project and scrum tasks. So, the housekeeping tasks are kind of daily uhh the daily work that’s part of your positional contract so for, for the customer support people it’s gonna be like support emails, feedback monitoring, uhmm and then you know like listing optimizations for aerith’s uhh sales monitoring uhh for what’s that part is but you, you know it’s it’s kind of in everybody’s uhh contract about what type of thing they do every day. then the slack tasks are more kind of like hey I need help with this it’s the team asking you for something it’s me asking for something it’s Peter asking for something or it’s uhh one of you guys asking each other for something uhh that needs to be kind of done quickly uhmm and and to get so everybody can get their work done uhmm uhh so that’s kind of like uhh the the one-off tasks that are kind of simple and and unscheduled and then that are needed by the team. and then we have team work project tasks and scrum tasks so our scrum tasks are gonna go within teamwork projects and uhh these are more structured long-term projects uhmm occasionally we’ll throw in an urgent item in there or something so you got to keep an eye on it through your email and just through uhmm reviewing your tasks on teamwork projects uhmm but these are things like multi employee projects market data research product development product launches expansions into other sales channels so we’ll go through a little bit more how we’re gonna use it for scrum. So, what is scrum? Scrum is a project management framework kind uhh it’s based on the whole agile methodology which is being able to adapt to things quickly, and not uhmm have these big product releases that take months and months to do and then you you’d only figure out if it’s done right at the end of the project so it’s very uhh flexible and we can do things quickly, and the way we do that is by using small teams we have a team of six or seven right now uhh that have cross-functional ability, so people uhh our team will be able to perform multiple tasks so uhh you know one team member can perform the tasks of another team member and you know it’s everybody’s responsibility to get the tasks done there’s gonna be some some people who have you know very uhh narrow skill set that can’t be done by other people like the photography and, and some of the product uhh graphics and things like that, but you know in general we wanna help each other uhmm learn how to do each other’s jobs uhh so we can all work on any any individual tasks uhmm so scrum uses what’s called Sprint’s which is a focused uhh period of time to complete any any tasks that are designated to be completed during that sprint, uhh so our sprints we’re gonna start off with one-week sprints which we will have a sprint to-do list and our main focus during that time is to just be all over that to-do list like everybody is trying to get that to-do list that Sprint to-do list we want everything in that list done by the end of a week and we’re we’re clawing or scraping where we’re helping each other in order to get that done because it’s a team effort and everybody’s responsible for getting that done now we may not always get it done but we want to strive for you know strive for getting everything done, and the players of our scrum team are the product owner which will be me and I’ll explain more about that later the scrum master which in this case is going to be Amit and the team members uhh scrum master and team members are kind uhh of the scrum master I’m going to include as a team member also.

 

Okay so this is the overall picture of how our scrum team is going to look in the structure of the of the team so, uhh product owner at the top that’s me I decide what products we’re going to start developing and uhmm I relay that information to the scrum master we talk about what products are gonna make it in what what features and stages are gonna make it into our our weekly sprint uhh so the scrum master is more sort of like a project manager who’s responsible for getting uhh the team working well with scrum facilitating the removal of any roadblocks that might be in people’s ways things that might be slowing people down bottlenecks things like that and here’s our entire scrum team so it’s total uhh a total of six people a photographer and graphic designer a graphic designer uhh product research data research PPC uhh type of perfect person uhh we have a customer service agent and we have an Amazon manager kind of utility player. uhmm and here we have various things that we may have to outsource our uhh send out to a contractor for example we don’t have a dedicated copywriter right now as part of the scrum team so we have to figure out how to work them into the team so this is the overall uhh function of how the team’s gonna work now, when we decide on a sprint so we have one-week sprints alright, and this seven days everybody descends on the tasks that are in that sprint time period and everybody is working to get those particular tasks done as quickly as possible uhmm and to completion uhmm so everybody’s responsible for that and that means there’s got to be a lot of cross talking a lot of uhh you know help me with this help me with that, uhh cross functionality you know teach people how to help you how to do your job everybody is working as a team to get this project done it’s not a one-person show for any particular tasks now you will be assigned like the project photographer will uhh of course usually be assigned for the product photography, but uhh that doesn’t mean that you can get help in certain areas that you need so uhh that’s basically the scrum team structure.

 

So, general overview of what scrum will look like. So, we have the product backlog which I’m responsible for keeping up on that’s all these products that we think we might want to do uhh and and then I choose which ones get moved to the Sprint backlog so these are the active products that we are working on doing and they’ll be marked in brown and I’ll show you that in a little bit on teamwork projects and from there uhh Amit and I will decide which of these stages in this this product development will be moved over into the sprint to-do lists so we’ll move a few things over here and that’s what the team is focusing on doing during that one-week period. uhmm as you’ll notice here in each sprint every 24 hours there’s what’s called the daily stand-up or the daily scrum this is basically uhmm if we were all in the same place if we were all in an office it would be a 15-minute meeting where everybody on the scrum team uhh stands up and says uhh what they’re working on what they worked on yesterday and things that are getting in your way uhmm the way what we’re gonna do it I’ll talk about a little bit a little bit later we’re gonna do it by video but I’ll about that in a second. So anyway, uhmm so then we complete everything we can in the sprint to-do list uhmm so like sprint one would be stage one of a certain product sprint two we try to do stage two or or whatever it is, and by the end each of these stages is sort of a stopping point uhmm so it’s maybe we’re waiting for the supplier at the end of stage one or we actually physically have the product at the end of stage two and all we need to do is is launched it in stage three so they’re kind of discrete stages where uhh at the end we’ll have a finished product we’ll have it launched and it’ll be awesome.

 

Okay so here we have a visual representation of what is going to be our digital workflow in our project management software this is kind of a modification of a traditional scrum board which some of you may recognize with the few things missing in a few changes. uhmm I only had heart-shaped post-it notes but I think it fits because we all love our products right so on the left side we have the backlogs these are going to basically be the responsibility of the product owner in this case me, and the scrum master and on the right we have the basically the responsibilities of the scrum team which is the spread to do list and the in progress uhh call the product backlog is the responsibility of me the product owner so each one of these represents a products we have three products here with three stages two stages and four stages each stage uhmm will come with a you know varying degree of subtasks within that stage basically everybody’s responsible everybody in the entire scrum team is responsible for each one of these stages. uhmm within the stage there’s going to be things specifically like product photography that one one or two people in the scrum team can do because they have kind of special skills but overall everybody is responsible for completing the stage of each product. So, whatever you can do to help anybody in the team that’s kind of the idea when I put these products in the product backlog there will be a couple of tasks assigned to a few people that are low priority kind of research tasks that we’re going to use to decide if we move them to the Sprint backlog so you’ll have some things like uhmm product data research to figure out if there’s good sales volume you know what the competition is and product differentiation research you know researching how we can improve this product those are low priority tasks that will get done whenever there’s downtime and it will help us to decide what I’m going to move into the sprint backlog. But this looks like a good these all three look like good products so this one is maybe uhh a Christmas product that’s gonna take a few months so we can’t get that one done in time so we’ll just leave that there but we want to do product number one. So, I’ll move all three stages of product number one over to the Sprint backlog and we want to do product number three so I’m gonna move all three stages all four stages a product number three. So, this is now the Sprint backlog which in our project management software will be marked with brown uhh tags so, now what is the scrum team concerned with, the scrum team is concerned with the Sprint to-do list which will be marked with green text. Whenever I decide that we are going to start on one of these products I’ll start with the first stage I’ll say okay Stage one out of this product but I think we can do that one in our one-week sprint and I think we can do stage one and two on this product because I think it’s going to move a little faster so we’ll do both of these stages now these three stages uhmm will be you know there’ll be a project for this product and it’ll have stage 1 stage 2 and stage 3 this one will be marked with a green spread to do tag and this one will be these two will be marked with brown, same thing for this for these two so you can tell what uhmm what is in the sprint to-do list and then all the subtasks under that stage are also in the sprint to-do list what you will do is you’ll go into those subtasks let’s say we’ve got a bunch of subtasks under this one right, alright so there’s a few subtasks there uhmm and this one uhh is its product photography so you know our product photographer would say ok yeah I can do that one so let’s move that over to in progress and this one is is uhh Packaging design so one of our graphic designers will grab that and we went over to sprint in progress you basically will tag it with the sprint in progress tag that is it’s pink in our project management software okay so the whole team can see that you’re working on those two things if one of their tasks in here is like is uhh generating the barcode and GS1 like I like you know they’re working on the product packaging I’m gonna help them get that GS1 barcode on so I’m gonna work on that and you can ask for help if you need help from somebody I don’t have the product yet, I don’t have the barcode or whatever it is it’s the whole team’s responsibility to complete this stage and there’s you know multiple subtasks within this stage that are assigned to different people but that’s a responsibility of everybody. Same goes for stage one of this product and stage two this this product now once this is complete in our project management software you just mark it complete and it will disappear off the list. uhmm so, we completed all these and please all these and these actually you know somebody took that one and they took through that line okay we got that done got that done you know what that’s the entire stage one of this one we’re done with that okay but oh we didn’t we didn’t do we didn’t complete this maybe we got one or two tasks done front it from it but uhh stage 1 and stage 2 from this progress still on after our week-long sprint so go okay well we couldn’t get that done that’s fine but this time so we’re starting our next sprint and I think I think we can get this one I think we can add this so stage Stage two from this product then we can complete stage one and stage two from the other product so repeat the same process uhmm as a team, That’s the idea that’s the work for a workflow process of how that’s gonna happen. So, I am going to build this product backlog and you’ll occasionally get assignments about doing some product research kind of low priority that I will move products into the sprint backlog uhmm in conversation with the scrum master which you can see marked as brown tags and then, uhmm the scrum master and I will decide which stages of product development to move into the sprint to-do list everybody is responsible for the every stage of product development but there will be subtasks within the stage that each individual person can take and mark in progress, complete, and then once all those things are complete everyone will be responsible for checking off the stage and that’s how we do a sprint.

 

So, me the product owner uhmm I choose which products move from the product backlog over to the active tasks or sprint backlog and I make decisions on product development and feature set so I’m kind of I’ll need feedback from the customers and from customer support about what what new products we need what products need to be changed or upgraded or, or whatever. So, this is the product backlog and as you can see they there are pre sprint stages, so, pre sprint research, pre sprint price quote, and pre sprint sample modifications and then this is something to remind me to move the list to the scrum sprint uhmm which will be part of the product there the scrum sprint backlog so basically I will keep adding these products super-awesome test product I’ll keep adding these products and these stages are used to determine if we want to move forward with the product uhh and, and move it into a sprint so you may see some tasks assigned to you for you know product research, product improvement, getting price quotes, and getting samples sent out to me, or to the to the photographer whether that’s me or Maj and uhh these are low priority tasks so these will not be uhmm these will be whenever we have downtime when we don’t have anything to do in the sprint, to-do list or we’re waiting on something or something like that. So, uhmm whenever there’s downtime we’ll work on these and once this is all done I can decide if we want to move forward with the product and then we’ll move all these, these stages over into the sprint backlog so this one’s to determine this stage determines if there’s demand this stage determines if there’s uhh profitability in the product and this stage is determining you know with the samples are quality enough that we got from the different manufacturers and which one we want to go with. Scrum master, so this will be an its responsibility is to make sure that everyone is doing scrum right quotation marks, uhmm so he’s going to uhh be removing obstacles stopping the team and helping everybody you know if they have questions about how to do daily stand-up and this will be a learning process for for me for a minute for you guys for everybody so we’ll just do the best that we can so he’s gonna consult with me about uhmm which items to move over into the sprint to-do list and things like that. Team members, team members are responsible for the Sprint and the finished product uhh this is everybody I’m including Peter in there too because he’s got some things that he he can only do uhmm and I’ll be I’m technically in there too but uhh but this is basically the team uhh so the responsibility of the team members is to work together to complete the to-do list and working together is the key thing you guys got to help each other out uhmm if somebody needs help on a task everybody try to we don’t want it a single task to slow everybody down so everybody try to help get any individual task on that you can. uhmm the features of a scrum team is that they’re cross-functional meaning like multiple people on the team can do uhh various different tasks it’s collaborative everybody’s working together and it’s self-organizing so uhh you guys work together to come up with a plan for how you want to approach the sprint to-do list uhh so you don’t have to rely on me to tell you exactly what to do you guys can kind of organize it yourself with the help of the minute scrum master and everything. so the Sprint is a one-week time period we’re going to start with one week we may make it two weeks we may make it four weeks at some point but right now we’re starting with a one-week period. So, it’s a hyper focused time period uhmm so hyper focus on completing the sprint to-do list items uhh so we want to try to complete a development stage during each sprint. So, that’s the idea hyper focused on completing the sprint to-do lists. So, this is in the uhh in the project scrum sprint and you see we have three products here and we have the stage one two and three and this is the sprint product backlog in brown and uhh the sprint to-do list here in uhh in green. So, these are the things that you would be hyper focused on working on during this time period and notice that these two have a high priority tag and this one is a medium priority so we want to be working on these two first and this one even has a due date within three days uhh of whenever I set this so this one would be probably the most important because it has a due date within it within the sprint time period. So, when you expand the sprint sprint to-do list item the green tag there’s multiple subtasks and you’ll see that people are assigned to various subtasks multiple people sometimes or in this case an individual person uhmm but basically there are some tasks where multiple people can do it in some tasks where only one person can do it, which is which is fine uhmm so the idea is when you decide to take a task you click on it and this is as Maj going in and choosing yourself say I’m gonna take this task, and then you click the tag button, and you click Add tag, and mark it as in progress. This lets us know that’s the whole team know that you are working on that task and you have assumed responsibility for that task running through it once again you can see there are two people who can take this task so you have to assign it to yourself, uhmm this is as user Maj here so Maj is assigning it to herself and choosing the tag and selecting in progress now everybody can see that that particular task is in progress all right next up, to mark an item done all you have to do is hit the check box. and that will remove it from the list uhmm for everybody to see so all you have to do is Mark it complete and once every sub task underneath like this task is marked complete then you can mark complete this task. Once a uhh once all the subtasks below stage are complete you can then mark the stage complete and it will be removed from the the list of sprint to-do items and then all we would have left is the spread backlog items and so then the next uhmm sprint we would change one of these to a sprint to-do list and so uhh it’s a responsibility of everybody on the scrum team to get to the point where we can mark this off. So, everybody is hustling to get that done and help everybody out in order to be able to check that off. uhh so this is the sprint backlog like I was saying before once we mark these off they sprint to do list then Amit and I will go through and choose which stages are going to be moved up to the next sprint and they’ll be tagged as a spread to do list and then we go through the same process. so staying organized in teamwork projects there’s three kind of different ways to do this you can get an overview of all prioritized tasks, you can get an overview of all your assigned tasks, or you can get an overview of the scrum sprint projects as a whole so in order to get a an overview of all prioritized tasks uhh you will go to the everything it’s covered up here but that’s the everything tab, on teamwork projects, and uhh will let it run through this one more time it’s a gift so it’s just doing its thing. And we’ll go back all right so you sort by priority same priority and all people make sure it’s all people so you can see everybody’s and this will show you all of the Sprint to-do list items that are marked with priority tags so you can see these priority tags at the top. So we choose one and we can go through and see all the different tasks assigned to different people you can see here that this one is assigned to Maj uhh so it’s currently in progress and that’s how we look at that now if you want to look at your personal to-do let’s go here and just change it to so this is Maj won’t work we’re acting as Maj now and we can see all the items that are assigned specifically to her uhmm or to you and if you chose your name obviously uhh so that can be a good way to see specific tasks that are already assigned to you but it doesn’t give you quite the overview as the all the sprint items then we can actually just go up over here and go to projects and we’ll go to scrum sprint, and we can see all of the projects that are part of the sprint are that are active uhmm all the all the products that are part of the active task list and then we can see the active sprint to-do list items stage one to do and then we can see all the different subtasks that are assigned to everybody and so we can help uhmm help our teammates do their work or we can look at the work that we still need to do. That’s why going to projects scrum sprint and there it is. Okay so, what do you do first what’s the hierarchy of to-do lists so uhh number one you want to do the look for things that have the high priority tag I will make sure to put the priority tags on any tasks that I assign hopefully I’ll try to and the next one if the task has a due date before the end of the current sprint so our Sprint’s are a week long so if you look on on Tuesday and you see that there’s an item that’s due on Thursday that’s within the sprint then you should probably work on that but if there’s any high priority ones uhh you know take that into account uhmm so once you’ve got the high priority and the due dates done make sure you look at the spread to-do list. uhh that’ll be the next task list that you want to go for then follow that up with medium priority uhmm you know some of the sprint to-do list items are gonna be marked with medium priority or high priority or maybe even low priority but if it has a sprint to do tag it comes before just the medium priority tag and then you go to the low priority tags and then you go to the tasked with tasks with due dates that are kind of beyond the sprint so maybe 10 days out and then just go to all other tasks so this is kind of the way that you want to approach that. all right finally the daily standup this is kind of a new thing it’s uhh uhhm I’m kind of excited about the idea of this so everybody either has a smartphone I would recommend using your smartphone uhmm if you have it or a video camera on your on your laptop or something but every day at the start of each workday so starting Sunday night my time or Monday morning your timer or whatever it is you will create a two to three minute video. uhmm I would recommend just recording it on your phone saying what you did yesterday uhh what will you do today and are there any ops obstacles in your way that uhh stopping you from doing your job. Now uhh these questions are mostly uhh supposed to be about the Sprint items the things that are in the sprint to-do list uhmm but we can also include you know housekeeping items or things that were mentioned in slack uhmm you can say you know what what will you do today you can talk about what you’re gonna do and where you might need help that might also go in number three but basically we’re trying to get everybody communicating about what they’ve been working on what they will be working on and how we can work faster and work more efficiently if you know we helped remove some of these obstacles so do that little video on your phone and then just from your phone post it right into the slack channel I will I will make uhh let’s just do it on the general now uhh I’ll make a scrum channel I’ll make a scrum channel where you can post that video every every single workday at the beginning and then you can watch everybody’s before you start work so you can see if anybody needs help. uhmm and that’s kind of the idea and I think we can really start working really efficiently and launching a lot of products and it’s gonna be really awesome so uhh it’s gonna be a learning process we may make some changes add some things subtract some things uhh or whatever but I need feedback from you guys about how we can how we can do this even better uhmm and make it an awesome way to work.

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Thought of the Day: Deciding on a New Business Venture https://ecomdocs.com/thought-day-deciding-new-business-venture/ https://ecomdocs.com/thought-day-deciding-new-business-venture/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:34:28 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=2320 Your time is precious. You’ll be tempted to start new business ventures. But that will only detract from your current efforts. So… If it’s not a “Hell Yes!”, it’s a no.

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Your time is precious. You’ll be tempted to start new business ventures. But that will only detract from your current efforts. So… If it’s not a “Hell Yes!”, it’s a no.

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Tools of the Trade: Running Facebook Ads for Your Amazon Business? You Need This Tool. https://ecomdocs.com/tools-trade-running-facebook-ads-amazon-business-need-tool/ https://ecomdocs.com/tools-trade-running-facebook-ads-amazon-business-need-tool/#comments Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:37:02 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=2300

If you’re running (or thinking of running) Facebook ads for your Amazon business, you’ll want to read further. Facebook is a source of nearly infinite targeted traffic that you can use to launch products, amplify your brand, or grow your email list. But Amazon and Facebook don’t always play nice together. It can be difficult […]

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If you’re running (or thinking of running) Facebook ads for your Amazon business, you’ll want to read further.

Facebook is a source of nearly infinite targeted traffic that you can use to launch products, amplify your brand, or grow your email list. But Amazon and Facebook don’t always play nice together. It can be difficult to narrow your audience based on previous buyers and if you’re running Facebook ads to Amazon, it can be REALLY hard to track conversion.

A Well Known Software with Little Known Tools

We’ve had Manage By Stats hooked up to our Amazon account since the beginning. Initially I was using it for daily sales tracking, but we eventually moved to Hello Profit. So why did I keep Manage By Stats around? I kept MBS because they’re always developing little tools and hacks that make things easier (and I like some of their sales graphs).

*** The above link to Manage By Stats is an affiliate link that helps pay for the upkeep of this site. If you’re thinking about using MBS and you like ecomDOCs, I’d appreciate it if you signed up through that link! 

What Does MBS Help Us Do?

There are tons of tools in the software, but my two favorite tools are in the form of a CSV report. Boring, I know…

But let’s take a look at the “Facebook Customer List” and “FB Offline Events File” reports. These two reports allow us to create Custom Facebook Audiences from our Amazon order data, create Lookalike audiences, and track sales made on Amazon that happened because of our Facebook ads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Customer List

In 2016 we were creating Facebook Custom Audiences using phone numbers pulled from Amazon customer order data. But in the fall of 2016, Amazon deleted customer phone numbers from the reports we’re given. BUMMER! But it wasn’t long before people figured out how to get around that. Using Name, Address, and Zip Code, we can still get about 80% of our Amazon customers into a custom Facebook audience.

You can do all that manually of course, but it’s kinda a pain in the butt. Luckily the MBS “Facebook Customer List” report, makes things a lot faster. All you have to do is set the date range, choose the products you want to include in the report, download the report, then upload it into the Facebook Custom Audience section on your Facebook Ads account.

You can then use that custom audience to create a lookalike audience of millions of potential customers. Cool!

 

FB Offline Events File

This one is a little trickier. Anyone who is using Facebook ads to make sales on Amazon knows that it’s almost impossible to track conversion rates accurately. Well things just got a little easier, because this past year Facebook added offline event tracking into their ads platform. Using the same concept as creating a Custom Facebook Audience from your Amazon order data, you can match Amazon purchases to people who clicked your Facebook ad. Awesome!

This one is a little more complicated, but there’s really only 2 steps.

1. Create an offline event in your Facebook Ads account named “Amazon Sales” and set it to be applied to all future campaigns.

2. Generate a FB Offline Events File in MBS and upload that into the offline event you created.

Going forward, any Facebook ads you create will be using this offline event to track conversions. All you have to do is keep refreshing the conversion data with with Updated Offline Events Files from MBS.

 

Put A Comment on the Post if You Want A DOC on This…

These are just the basics, but if you want a complete step-by-step DOC on these two processes, just post a comment below. If there’s enough interest, I’ll make one.

And remember, you can sign up for Manage By Stats <—-HERE.

*** The above link to Manage By Stats is an affiliate link that helps pay for the upkeep of this site. If you’re thinking about using MBS and you like ecomDOCs, I’d appreciate it if you signed up through that link! 

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Tools of the Trade: Carton Requirements Specs that Will Save You Money! https://ecomdocs.com/tools-trade-carton-requirements-specs-will-save-money/ https://ecomdocs.com/tools-trade-carton-requirements-specs-will-save-money/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:51:11 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=2290

There’s a lot of talk in the Amazon Seller Community about FBA prep centers. They’ll do labeling, bundling, reboxing, damage checks, and a lot more. But all those fees can really add up. We try to eliminate as much “prep” work as possible by being deliberate with all of our packaging before it even leaves […]

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There’s a lot of talk in the Amazon Seller Community about FBA prep centers. They’ll do labeling, bundling, reboxing, damage checks, and a lot more. But all those fees can really add up.

We try to eliminate as much “prep” work as possible by being deliberate with all of our packaging before it even leaves the manufacturer.

One way you can do this is by optimizing your carton size & specs. By keeping your carton size to the specifications below, you can forward the carton directly to Amazon without having to rebox anything. These specs are also designed to help protect the units inside from any damage from shipping.

It can be a little difficult to communicate this information to your supplier, so we made a handy cheat sheet that you can use.

BOX REQUIREMENT CHEAT SHEET

 

Carton Requirements for Manufacturers

Download PDF

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Why I Switched From Feedback Genius to Salesbacker… Then Back to Feedback Genius. https://ecomdocs.com/switched-feedback-genius-salesbacker-back-feedback-genius/ https://ecomdocs.com/switched-feedback-genius-salesbacker-back-feedback-genius/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 08:05:24 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=1302 The post Why I Switched From Feedback Genius to Salesbacker… Then Back to Feedback Genius. appeared first on EcomDOCs.

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Originally Written: January 7, 2016
Updated: August 21, 2016

 

FINDING THE RIGHT PIECE OF SOFTWARE

There’s nothing I like better than finding the right piece of software with my business. The right piece of software can free your time from the mundane, so you can focus your energy on BIG things!

It can take a lot trial and error to find the right fit, and for email followup on Amazon, I think we’ve finally got a winner.

 

THE SEARCH

In August, you may remember my post about switching from Feedback Genius (FBG) to Salesbacker (SB) (Read about it here if you’re a member of the Startup Bros Ecommerce Empire). Well I’m posting now to say that I’m switching BACK to Feedback Genius.

In October I spoke at the Import Empire Summit in Orlando and met one of the other speakers and Co-Founder of FBG, Jeff Cohen. Since I had switched to Salesbacker in August, the Seller Labs team made some updates to the interface and tools that I found particularly intriguing. But one thing that I didn’t realize about FBG or SB is how they trigger delivery event emails.

 

DELIVERY EVENT EMAILS

It’s all very technical, but SB triggers delivery emails based on Amazon’s estimate, while FBG triggers it based on when it is actually delivered by the carrier. This may seem like a small thing, but once we switched to SB, we started getting 10 emails a week saying, “Hey where’s my package!? You said it was delivered!” Some of the emails started getting angry.

Those 10 emails a week were costing us time, which costs us money and it was only going to get worse with the higher sales volume as we grow.

 

MY FEEDBACK RATE

I kept FBG hooked up to my seller central account from the very beginning, so you can see the data in the image I attached. Some things to note:

12401838_574348669386020_2111505247599441235_o

12489333_574350672719153_3378724234889291019_o

1. From March to August I had a 2 email sequence. The first at delivery asking if they got their order and if they had any questions. This is where I would ask for a seller feedback, which is the percentage reported right now by FBG. The second email happened at day 7 after delivery. As far as I know there’s no way to track Product Feedback % in FBG.

2. You’ll notice that from Aug to Sept my feedback rate dropped form 9% to 4.5%. This is when I switched to Salesbacker BUT I also switched to the 3 email followup sequence suggested by the guys at ZonOptimize, shoutout Anthony Lee! The goal of the Review Rush service isn’t technically to get seller reviews, so I’m not sure we can blame SB or ZO for that.

2. You’ll notice in the second picture that most feedback was obtained on the day of delivery or the next 2 days after. But you also see a spike at the 7 day mark, which tells me people are remembering to go back to leave seller feedback even though I’m only sending them a link for product feedback.

Get My SECRET Email Followup Sequence Templates for FREE!

 

STEP 1: Sign up for FBG using Dr. Ben’s FBG Affiliate Link.
STEP 2: Email your order receipt to FBGbonus@ecomdocs.com.
STEP 3: Wait for us to send you my awesome templates.

 

Get Feedback Genius Now!

 

THE ROUNDUP

PROS:

Feedback Genius:
Accurate Delivery Event Emails (Huge for me)
Granular Control of Email Delivery
UPDATE: Added Auto Blacklisting Negative Seller Feedback Emails
UPDATE: Added Product Review Alerts
UPDATE: Added Email Targeting Based on Sale Price/Promotions

Salesbacker:
Simple Organization of Campaigns
Auto Blacklisting Negative Seller Feedback Emails
Product Review Alerts
“Pretty” Product Names for to autofill email templates (coming in FBG?)

 

CONS:

Feedback Genius:
Campaign Organization is somewhat complicated.
Trouble with WSYWIG Editor

Salesbacker:
Loose Delivery Event Emails
Trouble with WSYWIG Editor

 

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

CONSIDER Feedback Genius If:
You use delivery emails to get the customer’s attention right then.
You need tight control of a complex followup sequence.
You want multiple Seller Central accounts integrated into one system including UK.

CONSIDER Salesbacker If:
You use simple campaigns with no delivery email.
You need to save a few bucks a month.

Get My SECRET Email Followup Sequence Templates for FREE!

 

STEP 1: Sign up for FBG using Dr. Ben’s FBG Affiliate Link.
STEP 2: Email your order receipt to FBGbonus@ecomdocs.com.
STEP 3: Wait for us to send you my awesome templates.

 

Get Feedback Genius Now!

Get My SECRET Email Followup Sequence Templates for FREE!

 

STEP 1: Sign up for FBG using Dr. Ben’s FBG Affiliate Link.

STEP 2: Email your order receipt to FBGbonus@ecomdocs.com.

STEP 3: Wait for us to send you my awesome templates.

 

Get Feedback Genius Now!

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How to Deal with Piggybackers and Hijackers on Amazon https://ecomdocs.com/deal-piggybackers-hijackers-amazon/ https://ecomdocs.com/deal-piggybackers-hijackers-amazon/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2016 17:54:56 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=1214 The post How to Deal with Piggybackers and Hijackers on Amazon appeared first on EcomDOCs.

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How $2200 in Rice Cakes Turned Into a $1 Million Business https://ecomdocs.com/2200-rice-cakes-turned-1-million-business/ https://ecomdocs.com/2200-rice-cakes-turned-1-million-business/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 11:22:39 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=665

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This article was written of February 2nd, 2016.

This story of how I took my side business from $0 to over $600,000 in 365 days, while working 60 hours a week in my day job.

And it all started with $2200 in rice cakes…

Who Am I?

My name is Ben. My Startup Bros friends call me ‘Dr. Ben’, because I’m a practicing resident physician. I never know how many people understand what that means. I always describe it as “a lot like the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, but with less sex.” We work too much, get paid too little, and are trapped by student debt. Sound familiar?

My $1,000,000 Business.

One year ago today, on February 2, 2015, I started a side business with $360 of spare cash. Since then we’ve grossed over $600,000. If you extrapolate our current monthly sales volume of $90k (without factoring in growth), that puts us just over the $1 Million mark for the next 12 months.

Is that cheating? I don’t think so…

We’re going to destroy that projection.

Watch this video to learn how I launched my $1 Million business with $360.

Here’s How It Happened.

Rewind to nearly two years ago, in March 2014. I was driving home from a night shift in the hospital with a zombie stare on my face that would probably get me a guest spot on The Walking Dead. There’s something satisfying about being a doctor, about “saving lives”, if that’s what I did that night. But the drudgery wears you down.

To keep from falling asleep on my drive home, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts of all time, The Smart Passive Income Podcast with Patt Flynn. Heard of it? I thought so…

In particular I was listening to Episode 99 with Jessica & Cliff Larrew that detailed how she and her family were making hundreds of thousands of dollars by buying things from big box stores like Walmart or Target and reselling them on Amazon. A process that’s known as Retail Arbitrage.

By the time I finished the podcast, I was hooked on the idea of giving Retail Arbitrage a try. And because I’m addicted to taking action, I did it.

go do it gif

The Results of Taking Action.

By the next day I had hit all three Walmarts, the Target, the Lowes, the Home Depot, the Big Lots, and the Sam’s Club. By the end of the week, I’d bought $389 worth of retail goods to send into Amazon.

2016-01-31_14-25-40

That’s when I found the backbone of my retail arbitrage products. Quaker Popped Variety Packs. These sucker’s cost me $3.50 a bag at my local Walmart and sold for $15 on Amazon. That’s $7 profit.

SERIOUSLY!

There’s nobody even selling these things right now. If you see them on the shelf in your local Walmart, it’s like picking up $7 off the shelf every single time.

2016-01-31_14-38-46

In 90 days I’d sold over $4500 on Amazon, which included $2200 of rice cakes. That’s over $1000 in PROFIT on rice cakes!

2016-01-31_14-54-28

The Hiatus.

The whole reason I started doing retail arbitrage wasn’t to make a big business out of it. I just don’t think it’s easy to scale an RA business. No, the reason was simply because I wanted to learn the process so if I happened to see an opportunity in the future, I’d be able to take quick action on it.

Learning skills just for the sake of learning them has been a recurrent theme in my life. This last year, those skills I’d amassed helped me achieve such rapid success.

Eventually, I got bored with the whole RA process and I began to go back to my normal routine. Cash continually trickled in for the next 4-6 months as the inventory I’d accumulated slowly sold out.

Amazon had become an afterthought.

The Return to Amazon

Several months later in November 2014 I was listening to yet another podcast discussing the merits of making money on Amazon. Niche Pursuits Podcast 53: How to Earn Over $12,000 Per Month Selling Physical Products on Amazon with Chris Guthrie. In this episode they discuss the idea of importing and private labeling on Amazon.

There was a little pitch for an Amazon selling course at the end of the episode, but after Googling it a little bit, the course seemed a little to “Internet Markety” for me.

Nevertheless, I was SOLD on the idea of importing from China and selling on Amazon, so I went searching for more information and came across Will Mitchell’s post on Startupbros.com, How You Can Make Big Money Importing From China – The Rise and Fall of My Empire…

We’ll take a brief intermission while you go read that….

Done? Ok good.

I ended up joining the Startup Bros Import Empire January Jumpstart Group, now called the Ecommerce Empire Program. I was a little apprehensive to spend big bucks on a course, because after all a resident’s salary isn’t exactly a King’s Ransom. But it’s a good thing I did, because my investment was returned hundreds–and I do mean HUNDREDS–of times over the next 365 days.

But this isn’t a pitch for Ecommerce Empire Elite. If you want to hear more about EE and get some exclusive bonuses to launch your own Ecommerce Empire, sign up for my 3 part video series “How I Launched My $1 Million Business with $360.”

The First Sale

WIthin 30 days of joining EEE I had sourced my first product, ordered 40 units, and sent them into Amazon FBA.

Did I mention I’m addicted to taking action?

go do it gif

While my inventory was in transit to the FBA warehouses, my buddies and I left Missouri and headed up to Crested Butte for a much needed ski vacation. I was driving through the mountains just outside of Denver listening to a live EEE webinar when I get an email alerting me that my inventory had been checked into Amazon and my listing was now live.

YES!!!

An hour later, just before we we lost cell signal I decided to check my Amazon stats one last time. Just for kicks… When I opened my Amazon Seller Central app, I could hardly believe my eyes. I’d made my first sale of my private label product within an hour of hitting the Amazon warehouse.

For the next 5 days, I was getting sale after sale while knee deep in powder on the side of a mountain. I had to order 300 more units on the 2nd day of my vacation!

2016-01-31_16-01-53

The Next 365 Days.

The next year was a crazy whirlwind of sales, product launches, travel, team building, speaking, product sourcing, number crunching and growing. It won’t happen the same way for everyone, but here’s how it happened for me.

 

Month #1: Feb 2 – Mar 2
Gross Revenue: $4,620

2016-01-31_16-50-40

In January I spent probably 100 hours researching my first product and setting everything up. That means a thorough listing on Amazon including GREAT pictures. When I finally launched on February 2nd, I spent the next 30 days in a hyper-focused state.

I launched this product on my personal Amazon account. I didn’t have a business setup. I didn’t have an EIN number. I didn’t have a business bank account. THAT CRAP DOESN’T MATTER RIGHT NOW! My single focus was simply reviews. You CANNOT have a good product launch on Amazon without getting hustling for reviews. Period. I got my reviews by giving away product to friends and family.

Key Points

  1. Reviews, reviews, reviews. REVIEWS!

 

Month #2: Mar 2 – Apr 2
Gross Revenue: $12,368
Difference: +$7,748

2016-01-31_16-46-58

By the second month, I knew that I was going to be able to make this product a success. I was working at a little over a 40% margin, so profit was somewhere around $5000. It was at this point that I partnered up with a friend of mine from med school, Peter. We both saw the potential and decided to each invest $10,000 to stock up on inventory and launch some new products.

We decided to open a new Amazon Seller Central account just for the business, which is why you see the sales at zero at the beginning of the month. We setup an LLC S-crop, setup a bank account, and got our EIN.

At this point we also started researching and ordering test products for a second product line in a new niche.

Key Points

  1. Stay in stock.
  2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.
  3. Feed the beast (reinvest).
  4. Setup business structure.
  5. Research new products.

 

Month #3: Apr 2 – May 2
Gross Revenue: $17,782
Difference: +$5,414

2016-01-31_16-59-50

By month 3 we had stocked up enough inventory of our first product, which included 2 color variations. We received about 100 units of 3 new products in an entirely different product line. These three products accounted for a $2,500 bump in revenue during this month. Having multiple products within a product line allowed us to start getting some cross-selling between our own products. HOORAY!

Key Points

  1. Stay in stock.
  2. Test multiple new products in a new product line.
  3. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.

 

Month #4: May 2 – June 2
Gross Revenue: $21,704
Difference: +$3,922

2016-01-31_17-04-30

We continued to expand Product Line #2 as sales of Product Line #1 continued to grow. At this point we placed large orders for all 5 new products in Product Line #2.

Key Points

  1. Added 2 more products in Product Line #2 giving us a total of 5 products in the line.
  2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.

 

Month #5: June 2 – July 2
Gross Revenue: $31,225
Difference: +$9,521

2016-01-31_17-05-34

Same old story here. We continued to add to our product lines and test new products. As sales continued to grow, it became more and more time consuming to answer customer emails. I started to get stuck working in my business rather than on my business. Age old problem.

That’s when I began the search for our very first employee, a customer service agent. At this point we had more time than money, so I opted for Chris Ducker’s, Virtual Staff Finder service to find myself a Filipino virtual assistant.

Key Points

  1. Added a 3rd product to Product Line #1, which we launched as a variation of product #1.
  2. Tested a 6th product in Product Line #2.
  3. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.
  4. Started interviewing Customer Service Agents.

 

Month #6: July 2 – Aug 2
Gross Revenue: $53,734
Difference: +$22,509

2016-01-31_17-06-45

While we were in Alaska fishing, err… I mean discussing business strategy… a couple things happened. First, Amazon had Prime Day. We weren’t a part of Prime Day, but we say a good 50% boost in daily sales. Second, we began doing heavy promos on a few of our products using Viral Launch, which really pushed our sales to the next level. We also saw our organic sales on our two product lines continue to grow.

There’s no feeling quite like being on a river in Alaska and knowing that your business is bringing in cash all by itself. This was the first day off that I had taken since launching in February. The only reason I was able to get away with this was due to our recent hiring of Dyan, our customer service agent.

Key Points

  1. Began running aggressive promotions.
  2. Hired our first employee.

 

Month #7: Aug 2 – Sep 2
Gross Revenue: $54,164
Difference: +$430

2016-01-31_17-07-41

We hit a bit of a plateau phase when we started to streamline our business processes and develop new products that were taking a little bit longer to get to market. It can be a little discouraging to see your revenue flatline after such tremendous growth, but it was all part of the plan.

Key Points

  1. Stay in stock.
  2. Continue developing new products.
  3. Streamline business processes during the plateau phase.

 

Month #8: Sept 2 – Oct 2
Gross Revenue: $70,148
Difference: +$15,984

2016-01-31_17-09-01

We had another pretty decent jump here as we launched a few new products. Notice the increase in average sales price per order jumped up about 50 cents. As we built out our product lines, we noticed more and more cross selling, which increased our average order size.

Key Points

  1. Continue to expand your product lines.

 

Month #9: Oct 2 – Nov 2
Gross Revenue: $82,450
Difference: +$12,302

2016-01-31_17-10-16

In October we applied for and were accepted into 4 days of lightning deals that included 5 of our products. The first one that you can see as the giant sales spike, is responsible for the $12,000 revenue increase in October.

Key Points

  1. If you get an opportunity for lightning deals, jump on it.

 

Month #10: Nov 2 – Dec 2
Gross Revenue: $105,532
Difference: +$23,082

2016-01-31_17-11-45

The lightning deals continued into November and December and we saw BIG spikes in revenue. Early in November we realized that we needed to buy a crapton of inventory, but we didn’t have the money to do it because we put it all into new products in August and September. So we took out two personal loans totaling $30,000. Our company was now in debt $50,000.

Key Points

  1. Manage your cashflow while experiencing rapid growth.
  2. Consider taking on debt to fund key parts of your business.

 

Month #11: Dec 2 – Jan 2
Gross Revenue: $93,364
Difference: -$12,168

2016-01-31_17-12-41

Oh no! Our first month of regression! This was to be expected as the lightning deals ended and the Christmas buying season came to a close. Many people see a tripling of sales leading up to Christmas, but our organic sales were relatively flat with a minimal 50% increase.

Key Points

  1. Expect a decrease in revenue at the end of December and into January.

 

Month #12: Jan 2 – Feb 2
Gross Revenue: $96,994
Difference: +$3,630

2016-03-23_18-57-32

In January sales picked back up for us and we were finally caught up with all the inventory that we needed. We all of a sudden had a lot of cash coming in and not a lot of cash coming out. For the last year we had focused on top line growth by reinvesting all of our profits. Once you decide to stop reinvesting, that’s when things start to get really exciting.

Key Points

  1. Reinvest for top line growth to scale fast.

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Tools of the Trade: Suffocation Warnings for Your Polybags https://ecomdocs.com/tools-of-the-trade-suffocation-warnings-for-your-polybags/ https://ecomdocs.com/tools-of-the-trade-suffocation-warnings-for-your-polybags/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 03:17:00 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=649

Make sure you pay attention to packaging rules for Amazon FBA. You don’t want to get dinged for something silly like not having the right font size for your polybag suffocation warnings. Poly bags with a 5″ opening or larger (measured when flat) are required to have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag […]

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Make sure you pay attention to packaging rules for Amazon FBA. You don’t want to get dinged for something silly like not having the right font size for your polybag suffocation warnings.

  • Poly bags with a 5″ opening or larger (measured when flat) are required to have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag itself, or attached as a label.
    • For example: “WARNING: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages or play pens. This bag is not a toy.”
    • The warning should be printed or placed in a prominent location and in a legible font size for the size of the bag.
    • Print size of this warning should conform to the following table:
      Total Length plus Width of Bag Minimum Print Size
      60 inches or more 24 point
      40 to 59 inches 18 point
      30 to 39 inches 14 point
      less than 29 inches 10 point

Download Image Zip File

 

Amazon Suffocation Warning Image

Amazon Suffocation Warning Image

 

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PROGRESS REPORT: 45 Days After Launching a Product with Only 14 Giveaways and PPC. https://ecomdocs.com/progress-report-45-days-after-launching-a-product-with-only-15-giveaways-and-ppc/ https://ecomdocs.com/progress-report-45-days-after-launching-a-product-with-only-15-giveaways-and-ppc/#comments Sat, 30 Jan 2016 03:03:56 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=616

We launched a product 45 days ago with only 14 giveaways. Here's what's happened so far.

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What is This Product?

The product we launched is an accessory to a top selling medical product.

When Did We Launch?

We launched this product on Dec 11, 2015. We would have launched about a month earlier, but as soon as we got the first shipment into our Amazon Prep Center (GDW Inc) Amazon blocked our listing. They said they weren’t allowing this type of product to be listed on Amazon. We went back and forth for a while and eventually found out that they wanted an OTC FDA approval form. We were able to get it from our supplier and get the listing unblocked. But we were worried for a while that we had just purchased $15,000 of dead inventory.

How Did We Launch?

We asked the Ecommerce Empire Facebook group for some help launching. We had 14 people buy our product at a discount along with the top selling product. We then gave them a rebate on that top selling product. This gave our product launch a little boost by showing up in the “frequently bought with” section on the popular product listing page. Then we simply ran an automatic and broad match PPC campaign.

The Results

As you can see, we’ve sold 342 units since launching. We’re hovering around 10-20 units a day right now with expectations to triple that within a few months. Our ROI is a measly 72% (I like to shoot for 150%), but that’s because we are selling for a full $5 less than our target price. Estimated profit is $1974, which isn’t too bad for a product that’s 45 days old. You can also see a steady drop in our BSR. We’re hovering around 11,000 now. We’ve managed to get ranked in 3 different subcategories, so that’s cool.

Best of all, people seem to love the product. We’ve had a single 4 star reviews and 13 5 star reviews not including the promos. We’ll be reordering soon and we’re going to add 2 additional products to the line at the same time. That’s how you see really big growth!

Graph: HelloProfit

Product Launch with 15 Promos and PPC

 

 

 

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How to Do Quick and Dirty Keyword Research with Merchant Words https://ecomdocs.com/how-to-do-quick-and-dirty-keyword-research-with-merchant-words/ https://ecomdocs.com/how-to-do-quick-and-dirty-keyword-research-with-merchant-words/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:50:12 +0000 https://ecomdocs.com/?p=550

Sometimes you don't have Amazon PPC data to target keywords for your product listing. That's ok. Some quick and dirty keyword research goes a long way. Then you can fine tune later.

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