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FBA – Ready for a break

I have tried to experiment with pricing to see if I could get some more out of the unit sales. I went from £12.99 to £15.99 for three days. The unit sales went down as well as the total sales for the day so I reverted back to the old price. At least I know now that it’s on at the right price.

As the bike wheels flash as they go round I have been trying to figure out how to do this. The main image for the wheels has to be a cutout so I can’t use a black bacground in the dark. I used the drill attached to the wheel to create the above colours. I think they look great. Perhaps better than they actually look.

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Over the past couple of weeks I have been sending off big batches of wheels to amazon. Mostly black and pink. About 45% each. I will be going on holiday soon so it will be interesting to see how many sell while I am away.

The training wheels  have remained on the first page of Amazon. This has to do mainly with the sales velocity, sales and reviews. Only 1 review so far. I think it’s time I modified my email requesting review – customising it for the UK market.

I got my Bike handle bar magnet delivered on Wednesday. I quickly created an MVP listing on Amazon with a few basic pictures. It will be interesting to see if there is any kind of interest. The air vent mobile phone holder has been a slow and steady burn. I am hoping this is a bit more unique to the other offerings.

After holidays I am due to get my bells. 2000 units! I am thinking I could sell for £4.99 with prime. That would make £10,000 in sales. This is it seems my plan. Slow and steady and constant sales through the year to smooth out the peaks and troughs.

FBA – Bag to basics

Bit of an annoying on I had to recall my first big shipment last Thursday. I got my first review, and it was a bad one. 1 star and a bad comment. The customer got he package on time but it was missing the wheels and the arms! Instead of contacting me she wrote a bad review. She must have been annoyed! Bascially the packaging wasn’t up to the job. It was quite flimsy and once it gets a cut in it the whole thing opens.

I got a few notifications from Amazon to say that some of the products wern’t fit for selling.  So I assumed it was the bag. I also relised the instructions were wrong once I fitted it on the bike. So with the packaging issue and the potential safety issue I decided the recall everything and start again. I’ll just add the cost of recall to ‘startup costs’!

I cancelled the FBA listing and transfered over to Fulfilled by merchant. The beginning of this week I made a start on the new packaging. Stronger and thicker bag then before. I’m not taking any chances this time. I went with a stand up food bag which you can heat seal at the top. Virtually indestructable. The other lesson I learned is it speeds up the production process which gives me time back for other things.

The socks

So the good news is my socks go into production this week. I signed off the sample and they have the deposit.

I am planning on sending some via express and some by boat. So I can start trading straight away. When these do sell out I will have only a few weeks where I am waiting for the rest to come by sea.

The socks will be bagged and come with a head tag. All items going to amazon have to be bagged. It’s better that china does this then I don’t have to spend time sourcing the bags and bagging!

Car mount

I have been having a few problems shifting my car mount. Turns out there are a few main merchants that dominate the top listings. But I am experimenting with some social and video work. I made a sale in Germany which is a first.

Spending a lot but learning as I go.

The rug

The rug has also gone into production which is great but not without its problems. I sent the cash to the bank address at the top of the invoice but it turns out it was the wrong bank account – an old one. It’s been about 2 weeks where I didn’t know what was going on but finally last night the money has gone back into my account. Around a 3 week delay but I hope they can push on again.

Royal mail

I’ve been signed up to Royal mail business service which looks very complex. It looks a bit pro for my needs. And the website is a total nightmare. They’ve created a series of Youtube instructions on how to use it. If you need to do that there is something wrong with your user experience.

Day 24 Amazon FBA – More of the same

More of the same production line but now it’s all set to go. Back hurts. Time for a bath!

Sending the inventory to FBA will allow me to get the buy box for my product – even though I am the only one selling it! I haven’t fully worked out why I can’t do this as a merchant but hopefully this will follow in the next few weeks. Then I can advertise and spike the algorithm.

Labeled up product number 2. you can get FBA to do this for you but for a price. Around 25p per unit. It all adds up but as I am just starting it’s good to get some experience with sticiking.

So the wheels and p2 are ready to be shipped to FBA. Good job.

Day 23 Amazon FBA – Production line – me

So it’s compile and bag the wheels.

  • Paper prined
  • Paper folded
  • Paper pushed into bag
  • Drop nuts and bolts in
  • Seal bag
  • Drop arms and wheels in
  • Seal at bottom
  • Repeat 200 times

Tedious work but hopefully just once a month. Note to self. Get China side to do this for me.

Day 22 Amazon FBA – Instructions

Today was about finishing and printing the instructions. The Indesign work was done. Now with some photography. Now it just needs printing. So the choice was between should I print and finish (fold) this at a printer or DIY? As this was my first venure I went with DIY. Off to buy a printer.

I spent a few hours deciding on this. First of all, all printers look like they could produce the same results. But they all have different prices and different toner prices. Do I go with colour or mono. I might need colour in future but for now I just need mono. AHhhhhhhhjhsgdf.

In the end I went safe and got a £40 Brother printer and I was done with it. A colour printer is future.

Instructions printed. Now an afternoons’ folding is ahead.

Product number 2 arrived! First things first – the wheels.

Day 21 Amazon FBA – Shoot

For a while I didn’t want to touch the parts for my product as I was a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of the manufacturing.

My first product photography day. I had no idea it takes this long for it to look good. First I had no idea how to use the camera then all the images were blurry then they were too pixelated. I eventually sorted it with a long exposure. But with four products in the set it was a bit of a mare.

Then lightroom. Not as easy as Photoshop but only because I was using it for the first time. The results were acceptable but can do better with more time. Cutting out in Photoshop is a mare too. This is how I learned why they use a coloured background in a photo studio. To make it easy to cut out in PS.

Not sure I have the right bags for the job but these will do for the first batch. Big production day so not much to report.

Sent cash via swift to the fabric supplier in China. 30% payment for manufacture. Cross fingers for five days…

Day 20 Amazon FBA – S$%& gets real

So today is the big day of the first delivery of products. Kind of bricking it and it’s all getting a bit real. 18 boxes of wheels and posts. Some were super heavy. Luckily I had a trolley from the old shed so was able to offload the pallet from the roadside. I think I am suffering from imposter syndrome and I think someone is going to tell me off for playing shop.

I sent Cynthia the logo for product number 4 – I lose count. More of a test order but it’s something that I would like for my bike. Turns out it’s cheaper with DHL than with freight forwarder. It’s always worth checking. I think the FF is generally cheaper for sea than air.

Day 19 Amazon FBA – Notice

I get news the delivery will arrive on Monday.

Fed back on the socks. Important to get samples but do I need to see them in the flesh. Bit of a gamble but I have been able to sort out so far. Bit of a knowledge gap on how the weave works but I am putting it in their hands.

 

Day 18 Amazon FBA – Let us wait

Figured out product XML feeds – Sent all the products to Google. All I need now are products.

Paid for the Shipping fees

Made a start on the bike instructions for installation with Indesign. Now, how do I get this printed?!

My first product has now cleared customs and will be delivered on Tuesday. Finally!

Day 17 Amazon FBA – Socialise

Today is planning ahead for the social media. I converted some of my accounts to business ones and created some new ones. The different channels have different requirements.

  • Facebook – You open a business profile or page within your own profile.
  • Instagram – You create a login to link with your Facebook profile
  • Google+ – Use the existing login and add a professional profile within
  • Tumblr – I needed to create a new Yahoo account for my image posts
  • Pinterest – Create a new profile for the business profile.
  • Twitter – Two separate emails which you can link the two accounts together
  • YouTube – As part of Google but not clear how I create a channel. Stuff seems to take a while to clear the cache.

The geek in me created a Facebook pixel and created an XML feed to FB to create adverts based on my products on the website. All a bit premature but good to know I can do it!