AMZ Pathfinder is an Amazon advertising management agency. Their focus is to help Amazon sellers build effective advertising strategies. They recently invited our co-founder, Amy Wees, as a guest on their youtube channel to discuss sourcing in Mexico and other developments in the eCom industry. Watch below:
Ecommerce Sourcing: How It Started – How It’s Going
In the video, Amy takes us through the origin of eCommerce sourcing. How it started in China and how it has evolved in Mexico and Latin America. To summarize:
- Sourcing in China in the early days was not as efficient as it is today.
- China’s digital sourcing infrastructure began when interest from Amazon sellers grew.
- Alibaba and The Canton Fair are both major contributors to the growth of China’s sourcing industry.
- Until 2020 – when Covid hit. The global pandemic led to factory shutdowns, logistical issues, and a rise in tariffs and fees.
- Covid challenges pushed Amazon sellers to look for a viable sourcing alternative. This led them to Mexico.
- Mexico’s potential as a global sourcing hub served as the springboard for the first Mexico Trip and EvoLatam Expo – which happened in June 2022.
Welcome To The Future: Join us at The Mexico Trip 2023
Mexico is not new to manufacturing. Major car brands have been outsourcing their facilities to Mexican cities for years. Meanwhile, smaller brands and manufacturers in Mexico are used to operating locally – which also took a hit at the peak of covid. Restrictions and shutdowns of businesses all over Mexico forced manufacturers to look for buyers outside of the country. These circumstances brought forth the conception of the first Mexico Trip.
We took home several discoveries from the first Mexico Trip. Below are some that are worth noting:
- Sourcing in Mexico involves more legwork than sourcing in China today. There needs to be more factory visits, relationship-building, and face-to-face meetings.
- Many of the manufacturers in Latin America don’t have websites. Searching for Mexican manufacturers on Google may not give you the results you need.
- Many of the myths we believed about sourcing in Mexico – i.e. high MOQs, handicrafts only, and others – were not true
- Latin America is a giant minefield of raw materials and all kinds of products. We found biodegradable plastics, wood suppliers, and many others.
- There is an untapped resource of local Mexican handicrafts and artisan products. All waiting to be discovered and introduced to a global market.
- Mexican and other Latin American manufacturers are very easy to work with. They display an eagerness in doing business with eCom sellers.
Long story short – there is boundless potential in Mexico and Latin America. Mexico’s limitations have turned out to be their advantage. The lack of online communication touchpoints forces everybody to meet, observe processes, and negotiate face to face. This sometimes proves to be more beneficial for business. And there’s no better time to exploit that than this very moment.
Join us as we keep the momentum going. We are going back to Mexico – stronger and armed with more knowledge and experience. On February 11-17, 2023 – The Mexico Trip Year 2 is happening – this time at Monterrey, Mexico.
What can we expect at The Mexico Trip 2023?
- More relationship-building and networking opportunities
- More product discoveries, raw materials, and services that will help us scale our businesses
- A bigger EvoLatam Expo. We are extending EvoLatam into a 2-day trade show with more exhibits, more manufacturers, service providers, sourcing agents, and other eCom professionals
- Ecom Connect – the trade show afterparty where we mingle with all trade show participants
- Endless growth opportunities in Latin America – pegged as the next global eCommerce sourcing hub after China
It’s happening. Soon. And we only have 100 seats.
Amy Wees: You know, unfortunately, due to COVID, a lot of businesses were damaged. But now at the same time, all of these manufacturers in Latin America who previously didn’t care about building a website or getting on Alibaba or doing any of these things, now we’re like, whoa, we need to figure out this exporting thing. And oh, by the way, e commerce is knocking at our door, and I wonder what that’s all about. So there are tons of opportunities
Matt Tran: Welcome to another episode of AMZ, Pathfinders beyond PPC, I am your host Matt as well as with bryndza radnik. And we have our special guests here today, Amy ways she is the CEO of amazing at home ecommerce consultant company, or coaching focuses on helping brands developed unique products, validate them in the marketplace source at a profitable margin and successfully launch. And honestly when it comes to her work and impact Amy is one of the most prolific when it comes to sharing her experience and knowledge about running a profitable future proof business in the E commerce and Amazon Seller community. She also covers these concepts on her ecommerce Tips and Tricks podcast called The seller roundtable. All those links are in the bio. And fun fact about Amy is that she has over 300 videos on the amazing at home YouTube channel. And out of those 300 you have 25 in depth videos all about sourcing from around the world. And that doesn’t even include like videos, podcasts that you’ve been a guest on. Amy, welcome. Big and excited to have you here.
Amy: I love the fun fact because I didn’t even know I had 300 videos and nonetheless 25 in depth videos about sourcing. So thank you guys for just compiling that awesome information.
Matt: No problem, I think he got his beat on video count on YouTube, for now, we have a while to catch up to you yet, but maybe we’ll get there one day.
Amy: You know, I have to give credit to my content team. They are amazing. They pull all the videos from all the different places, including my podcast, and they made sure that they’re there they write blog posts on them, they will do that for this podcast today as well. So, you know, it’s it’s, it’s all hats off to having an amazing team.
Matt: Right on. Perfect. So, I mean, you’re so prolific you you’re you’re on, you know, so many different podcasts, you have your own channel. And you know, we’re one excited to have you here. And then to you know, you have a wealth of knowledge. So I guess we can start off with the first question. You know, are there new opportunities when it comes to sourcing? And specifically, is there any new opportunities within the USA and Mexico countries, you know, or these locations when it comes to manufacturing?
Amy: Well, yeah, I think that’s such a great question. Because COVID has really changed the world. And we’ve alseen it. We’ve seen what’s happened with China, we’ve seen what’s happened with the political environment with tariffs and everything else. And it’s just been kind of a wild ride that we’ve all been on, right. And, you know, I used to do sourcing trips to China. And I hope to pick those back up again. And we used to do them twice a year in April and October, we would go to the Canton Fair, which is the largest sourcing exposition in the world with over 60,000 suppliers at each phase of the Canton Fair. And it’s incredible. And then of course, you’ve got Alibaba, which is massive sourcing database. But there isn’t a lot in the US. So one of my products is actually made in the USA, it’s made in Dallas, Texas. And it was so hard to find a supplier in the US for a product because the product that I developed, because you’ll notice when you source in the USA, that most of the manufacturers you find outside of like supplements and manufacturers that are used to doing contract manufacturing, supplements, health and beauty, that kind of stuff. Most manufacturers that you find on some on a database like Thomasnet are going to be manufacturers that that have started their own thing like open up their own factory for their own brand or their own purpose. So you asking them it’s not like in China where you’re like, Hey, can you make this thing for me and do the packaging and do all of that you really have to pitch yourself to these manufacturers and say like this is going to be worthwhile for you. This is a good collaboration, you know? So it’s it’s not the same sourcing most categories in the US. And what ended up happening with COVID is a lot of people wanted to source in Latin America, Mexico and Latin America. We all know that. You know a lot of car companies have moved to Mexico. Some electronics companies like C Again, some of the other ones have moved to Mexico. So, you know, we know that there’s opportunity in Mexico. But you can go on Alibaba and try to find try to find suppliers in Mexico and you won’t find them. And you can google suppliers in Mexico. But it’s very, very hard to find them. But what ended up happening in during COVID? Most of the suppliers in Mexico and Latin America, Brazil, some of these really great countries have wonderful manufacturing, I mean, in how do you know they have wonderful manufacturing, just go to a retail store in one of those countries, and pick up products, if you see these types of products, all over amazon.com, all over us marketplaces in retail stores, you find these awesome products, you flip them over, and you see that they’re made either right there in that country or a neighboring Latin American country. And you’re wondering, how do I get these products? How do I find these manufacturers that are making these awesome products in these other countries? And the answer is, up until now, you really couldn’t, because most of these manufacturers, prior to COVID, were just manufacturing for local that they didn’t need to expand, they had plenty of business, and they weren’t really looking Latin American culture is not really like Oh, grow my business. It’s more like build relationships and do what’s right for my family and my country, you know, so it’s not the same as China. And it’s very hard, you’re not going to find websites, you’re not going to find them on Alibaba. So but at the same time, all of the a lot of the retailers and stuff that were that these local manufacturers in Latin America, were producing for during COVID have closed. So now all of a sudden, all these awesome manufacturers have capacity that is unused. And so what happened is, we in the western world wanted to source in, you know, locally, a little closer to home, and we were looking for opportunities. And at the same time, it’s like the perfect storm, you know, unfortunately, due to COVID, a lot of businesses were damaged. But now at the same time, all these manufacturers in Latin America who previously didn’t care about building a website, or getting on Alibaba or doing any of these things, now we’re like, whoa, we need to figure out this exporting thing. And oh, by the way, e commerce is knocking at our door. And I wonder what that’s all about. So there are tons of opportunities. I actually started my own trade show in Mexico. It is the only multi category trade show. It’s called Ecolab, Tam. And I’ve done that with my partner, Tim Jordan. And we started a trade show. So we wanted at first to just take people on a sourcing trip to Mexico. And we were like, Wait, there’s no multi category trade shows, if we could take them to like an automotive trade show? Sure. We could take them to a plastics trade show. Yes. But we’re ecommerce buyers, we sell in multiple categories, we need phase two of the Canton Fair, that’s what we need. And so I discovered, we discovered that you can actually source all of these things. But we had to find these manufacturers, invite them to our expo and get them here. So that’s what we did in in June of last year, we had our very first sourcing trip to Mexico, and we hosted our very first Ebola tam Expo. And Little do we know there are 1000s of sellers in Mexico, and especially expats that live in Mexico and sell in the USA. And there are also sellers from all around the world who came to our expo there. And we change lives, you guys, these manufacturers that came to our expo that are that we’re producing or still are producing for local retailers, they were so easy to work with. They busted all of the myths that we thought about Mexico, we thought MOQ is were super high. We thought that was that was a busted myth. We thought we couldn’t really do private label, you know that that product development wasn’t a thing, total myth. So you know, we weren’t sure what kind of categories we could source. A lot of people think of Mexico and think of like handicrafts. But we had a supplier there we had a manufacturer that does biodegradable plastics. Are you kidding me? How many of us have looked for suppliers like that in China? They’re wonderful to work with. They’re wonderful people. We had wood suppliers we had, I mean, you name it, we found them and they were there and they were ready to work with us. And it was just a wonderful experience all around. And I’m sorry that I’ve been talking forever. But I can’t wait to do this again. In June. We’re going back again in February. Sorry, we went back in June and in February is our next one. And I just cannot wait. It’s so exciting to think about what Mexico and Latin America has to offer.
Matt: Wow, that’s a lot. So let me let me ask you one of the things I mean, like you mentioned Thomasnet. This is like the Alibaba for America. I’ve heard that before. But is it is it anything like Alibaba because Alibaba has so Sure reputation is so big. It’s like all encompassing is like kind of the, like the one stop shop that everyone always goes to mentally. But is that even deserved anymore? I guess? And how does like Thomasnet compare? And is there any such thing for Latin America? Yeah, so
Amy: Thomasnet is really just a simple, it’s like a white pages.com. You know, it’s like a simple database of manufacturers. But just like, if you were to want to source in India, or Vietnam or any other country, you would have to learn the culture there and how to actually work with these businesses, right. So the same thing applies in the US there is like Makers Row, I think is another one that you can another website, there’s a couple of database type websites like this, like Reference USA is another like business database in the US. But it’s you can find suppliers in the US pretty easily. You can even if you’re looking for private labels for certain products, like you could type into Google, you could say, private label, face lotion, USA, and you’ll find manufacturers that way. But then you need to have really great skills to reach out to them and actually understand your manufacturing process, know your business and know how to actually talk to them about your projections and what you’re trying to do. And that’s where it doesn’t really fit in for newbies. You know, Alibaba is easy for newbies. I would argue that most newbies do not know how to negotiate, they don’t even know who they’re talking to on Alibaba. A lot of the suppliers on Alibaba are not actually suppliers, I have a friend who is in Shenzen. And he just is he’s a, like a 10 year gold supplier on Alibaba. He’s like a factory on Alibaba, but he’s actually just a guy in his apartment whose sources from all these different factories. So you know, I mean, just like us having a store on Amazon, you know, we don’t have to be who we say we are, we get to be whoever we want, right in E commerce. And so you’re gonna find that on Alibaba, too. So one of the key things that I teach people, no matter where you’re sourcing from, is that you need to understand your manufacturing process. Because if you don’t know how a cotton soy product is made, for example, your let’s say you’re making pillowcases, and you have no idea how pillowcases are made, you just think that they come out of nowhere, and you don’t know you don’t understand the manufacturing process. You don’t understand the types of materials, how factories actually source, those types of fabrics and stuff, whether or not you can do a custom print all of that. If you don’t know those things, somebody is going to take you for everything you have. If you go on Alibaba, and you think you’re shopping, like I go to Canton Fair all the time. And I see people walk into booths with suppliers, and they’re like, scuze me, how much does this cost? Like you’re shopping at the store? People we are not shopping, we are partnering with manufacturers to grow our brands, I was sitting in a booth it with a manufacturer of poker chips, and I’m talking to the boss because in in China, Kings negotiate with kings, and I’m the boss, and I want to talk to the boss and I want to talk to your sales manager, they can’t tell me about pricing. I’m developing a product, where’s the leg out? Where’s the boss? So I’m gonna sit down to the boss, I’m talking to this lady and who has owned this factory for like 20 years, then she has done poker chips for World Series of Poker. And she’s just like a queen. I’m like, I love you. You’re awesome. And we’re talking, you know, and I’m asking her, I was developing this product for poker chips. And she gave me a price that was super fair, like after we we don’t start with price. We start with relationship building. Like I’m interested in this, like, tell me more about you tell me about where your primary export markets are. Tell me about your processes. How long have you been in business, yada, yada, yada, right, then we get to talking about a little bit about a product and pricing possibilities. And someone came in and asked her how much they came in. And they said, How much is this? And she gave them a price six times what she just gave me. That’s what you’re thinking so many people come to me after they’ve been shopping on Alibaba? And I say, Have you had a video chat with this supplier? No, I’ve never talked to him. I’ve only talked to this one salesperson, you know, and they’ve released their ideas, they’ve released unique designs. And you wonder why people are complaining about getting knocked off. Most Amazon sellers are at a 3x multiplier, meaning they’re selling it for $15. And they’re sourcing it for five, and really need to be added like a 10x. In order for you a 7x is perfect. That’s the gold standard in retail. You need to be there in order to have margins for your advertising. You know, so that’s when if you want to have margins, you have to learn how to negotiate and you have to learn how to talk about your manufacturing process. You have to learn how to make business partnerships, and that applies in any country you go to you want to learn about their culture. So if you come with me to Mexico, I’m gonna ask you to not assume it’s China because it’s not. They don’t do contract manufacturing. In the same way, in most cases, you know, if you are thinking about sourcing from the USA, you know, you got to know your process, you got to know your product, you need to know your partner, and make sure that you’re, you’re building those relationships,
Matt: right? And that’s non falsifiable information to you can’t bluff your way into these situations, it sounds like you really actually have to know this stuff. And you know, bravado is not gonna get you there knowledge and experiences. So very valuable. I love the 7x Insight, too. I didn’t know that. That’s great.
Amy: Yeah, I think it’s a very important thing, I also help a lot of people expand into retail. And the big thing that I find with Amazon sellers that want to expand into brick and mortar, or even larger retail channels is that they just don’t have the margin to sell their products at a 50%, which is, you know, most wholesale prices. So you know, because already, they’re, they’re, you know, very narrow margins. And so, you know, unless you want to build your own version of Walmart, it’s very hard to grow a brand if you don’t have the margin. So that’s usually the first fix action that I do working with clients is like, let’s look at your margins. Let’s see, how are your contracts with your suppliers? How are your relationships with your suppliers? You know, what are we doing for quality control? Where are we going from here, right? Because that’s what longevity for a brand is, that’s what is going to help you scale very quickly, and also be able to afford more advertising and be able to really just move forward in your business without getting hung up on oh my gosh, can I even afford to make another order? I gotta dig back into my pocket again, because I didn’t make enough profit. So yeah, it’s the profit first model. The biggest thing about that profit first model is like, you need enough margin to put some money in your pocket after you set aside money to buy new inventory.
Matt: Right. And that’s a good book if anyone wants to read that too. For sure.
Amy: Yeah, actually had I’m in total, like Mike McCalla wits, fan, and I actually had him on my seller roundtable podcast. And that was so excited. I was so excited. I tried not to be a total fan girl, you know, I was like, calm down. So okay, you’ve read all of his books, your total fan journal, but just calm, you know, so it was fine.
Matt: As long as doesn’t come on to the first thing you’ve learned. I’ve read all your books.
Amy: Exactly. Like before I got on the podcast, I was just like, Zen said he was he was really cool. He’s a cool guy. Great, great books. I agree.
Matt: All right. Well, I mean, you’re you’re so boots on the ground right now, when it comes to working with manufacturers in Latin America. After that first trip and bringing people over and developing, you know, this event that you that you started? And going into? Would you say this is this is the second? Like the second annual? Yeah, that’s awesome. So with that, and with your knowledge currently? I mean, are they building something similar to an Alibaba? Is there like a new marketplace that you kind of see boy, like, you know, bubbling from? Yeah, from from that region.
Amy: So I do have some knowledge in that area. I happen to know that there are several large e commerce companies that and even Alibaba themselves that have a lot of money set aside to build something like that. We are pretty much the only ones right now. Like we kind of started this whole thing. We, you know, Alibaba reached out to us the last time and they’re like, you’re three years ahead of us, we’re so excited. But we’re gonna be part of what you’re doing. Because, you know, we have a big plan for Latin America, right? So we’re very ahead of the curve. But it’s not easy to just build a database like that, because like I said, most of these manufacturers don’t even have websites. And that’s not to say that they’re not professional. Like, they’re incredible. I mean, one of our folks that was on our last trip is sourcing from there now, and she’s one of my clients. And they did such a good job. This this small manufacturer, they developed a product for her based on the product she saw at the trade show, they developed a product for her within a few weeks, they sent her a 3d video of this product from all angles, they shifted the sample, which oh, by the way, instead of waiting, like three weeks and going through all these customers, she got it in like two days, right? Because it’s so much easier to get products from Mexico to America. And there’s free trade rights, you’re not paying all those tariffs and everything. But they were so professional. And then we made a few changes to the product. And they just got it done super fast. And they’re just what you would assume, you know, when you see this little kind of like wood products manufacturer at a at a little tradeshow booth, you would assume that they probably don’t have the capability to develop something for you or grow. But every single person like we had a barbecue company, this guy made grills and all kinds of like different spatulas and you know, and he was just on fire like everybody who met him at our tradeshow. And we heard back from feedback from our VIPs who came in They were just like, wow, that I don’t even sell barbecue products. And I want to sell them now, because that guy was awesome to work with. So, you know, I think that there’s so much to discover in Latin America. And you know, it’s got nowhere but up from here to go. But so many people reach out to us and say, Hey, can you find me a supplier of this? Can you find me a supplier of this? And I tell them, I tell everybody the same thing come to this trade show. It’s free to attend. It’s a quick flight to Mexico, Mexico has like no, like, there’s just not like, you know, when you go to China, you have to have like a visa and all these things. And crazy Well, Mexico’s pretty open, right? So it’s very easy to travel there. And I tell people, like, if you just call like I can give you a manufacturer? Yes, sure. But if you’re just calling them and you’re expecting them to be like China, and you don’t know your manufacturing process. I don’t know what your experience is. And it’s okay, if you’re learning. But do I want our relationships that we’re building to be totally swindled by all this influx of sellers going, I don’t need to go, I’m just going to call all these manufacturers myself, and try, well, that’s not doing anything good for us, right? This is not the China model. It’s not find them on Alibaba, show them a picture of the coffee mug you want made and get it done. It’s build a relationship and a partnership that is going to save you time money and is going to be in your time zone, you’re gonna have free trade, like this is a relationship worth developing. And it’s not China. So that’s always my answer, like, Okay, I could give you a name for manufacture. But this is not China. Are you prepared? Do you even know how to build a relationship with a manufacturer in Latin America? And you know, and the answers that I get from a lot of people who make those causes, they go, Oh, their prices were insane. They say, Oh, their prices were way too much. And I actually had that same experience. When I was trying to source from Mexico before I went, I have the same experience. These guys quoted me like an insane price. Because why should they waste their time with me? Right? They don’t know me, they don’t, you know,
thing happens in China, when you go to Alibaba, and you don’t know what you’re talking about, that person will give you as high of a price as possible, because they won’t take you seriously. And they they expect to only get one order out of you. We see it all the time, like people get insane prices. So the thing is, if you’re just calling up a manufacturer and treating them like China, you’re going they’re just gonna give you a crazy price. Right? So and we learned when we had this trade show and actually worked with these manufacturers that their prices were actually very fair, and it wasn’t at all what we thought. So yeah, I think there’s no other
Matt: other means on the ground. It’s really, you know, buy the ticket, take the ride, literally ticket, take the ride, and then you you find out the reality of it boots on the ground style.
Amy: Yeah. And like, imagine the moat you’re building around your business. That one trip that one trip that cost you you know, if you come to Eveleigh time, that one trip that cost you What 400 bucks in a in a plane ticket to go and maybe 200 bucks in hotels because Mexico is cheap, right? That one trip that costs you less than $1,000 to attend a trade show there could change your business completely, you know, so you really have to think about it that way. And just understand that Mexico is not where China is, they might be 10 years from now. But in terms of you know, having a website and being able to place an order, and you know, but they’re not there yet, right now you need to go you need to develop that relationship. And that one order could really change things for you. So that’s, that’s really cool.
Matt: Okay, so I forgot to tell you this, and it’s the most important thing, I totally forgot to be honest with you. But if you’re listening to this, and you really like what you’re hearing, please subscribe to the AMC Pathfinder beyond BBC podcast. It’s the most important thing you have to do like right now. But don’t do it because I’m telling you to do it, do it because you want to do it. Alright, do it because that’s the kind of person you are anything you want to add to that right
Amy: now it just sounds to me like a lot of these companies are not in the website business. They’re in the product manufacturing and sourcing business. So not surprising that they don’t have the world’s best websites. You might need to go meet them in person to make to make the connection. I think Jamie’s driven that point home extremely well. So I very eye opening.
AmyYeah, for sure.
Yeah, I mean, we’ve been quite bullish about talking about the Mexico marketplace as well or like Latin American in general. Right. The Spanish speaking marketplace, ecommerce is only growing and growing quite fast in these locations. So, you know, they’re gonna have an infrastructure that’s going to, you know, soon to rival I’m assuming, you know, all these other countries that are known for manufacturing sometime soon if, if this trajectory is going in this way, and also for you having been in this space for years and talking to hundreds of and or even 1000s of three P sellers, you do have a unique perspective. So, you know, one of the questions that we have for you is what sets successful Amazon businesses apart from the rest in 2022. versus, you know, back in 2017, for example,
Amyyeah, you know, we all have friends in this business that made their millions, when you could just launch a product, like I used to be, you know, I started selling on Amazon in 2007, before Amazon even had FBA yet, like everything was like merchant fulfilled, and I was like, flipping my college textbooks back then. And Amazon has changed so much, you know, I started private label in 2017. And I’m lucky that I actually developed a product, the reason I started private label is because I invented a product from scratch. And so you know, I’ve gone through like, everything with development of a product and branding, and all those things, you know, consumer education, and, and now, you know, I’ve helped so many inventors and sellers do the same. So I would say the key difference is that the old model is gone. The old like, find it on Alibaba have a 3x, you know, 30% margin and put it out there without a registered brand without a trademark, like, it’s not going to, I mean, you can make it work, you can still do retail arbitrage. That’s hard, that’s getting harder every day. And I just did retail arbitrage. I love telling people, if they’ve never done ecommerce before, I’m like, go buy something at Walmart, I don’t care if you make a profit, put it on Amazon and just learn, you know, like, that’s the bottom line. But I think the biggest difference nowadays, you really do need to serve a customer, you need to serve a specific customer, you need to serve a specific niche. And it’s, it’s no longer the days of the copycats are gone, unless you’re super good at BlackHat. You know, so I would just say, you know, you’ve got to, you got to drop that. And if you’re gonna get into this, you need to get into the mindset of, hey, people have been trading goods and services, since the caveman days, I need to serve a customer. And I’m building a brand, and I don’t care whether I sell that brand, that brands products on Amazon, my own website, at sea, whatever, you know, the point is, I’m building a brand, I’m connecting with a customer, and I’m gonna know my numbers, I’m gonna have a plan from the very beginning. And I’m, I’m gonna grow this, like, I’m going to treat it like a business and not like a get rich, quick scheme.
Alright, I think that’s something we see with her, I would say more successful clients and people, we do audits for people we engage with, is they’re not confusing amazon as the end, it’s a means to an end. And it’s a platform rather than the destination. And they also have a very clear idea of who they’re like customer avatar is and how a variety of products at different price points might service that avatar that customer need or demand. And, you know, data is really important on Amazon. And you know, as an ad agency, we definitely believe in that. But don’t confuse the keywords and search volume as like the only thing that matters. You know, that’s that’s one component to take into your consideration a data point that’s useful, but yet again, that is not the end. That was a means to an end. Yeah, I
would for sure agree. I love data. My last career before I went full time e commerce was cybersecurity. So I’m all about data. I’m all about hacking. I’m all about all of that. And I love SEO, I became a student of SEO, the way that I learned Amazon’s algorithm. So well was studying Google’s algorithm and testing things out on Amazon, and learning like, oh, do they penalize if we do this? Google’s algorithm says they do. Let’s check. Check that on Amazon. So that’s how I learned that stuff myself, not by watching YouTube videos of somebody else. Like, I studied it myself for my own listings, because I did wholesale in the beginning, and I would make my own wholesale bundles. And I was like, I want to rent this thing. So I agree with you, Brent, like you gotta have that data and you have to know what you’re doing. Because in E commerce, if the customer can’t find you, it can’t buy from you. So you have to understand not only am I serving a specific niche, do I know my customer? Do I know the market? Do I know their language? Can I speak it? Can I communicate it to them in photos? Can I convert but before you ask the question, can I convert? You have to go can I get on page one, and how much is that going to cost me and what am I competitors look like there and is my offer better? Right so Is my offer better? And why on that page one, what is my page one? What are those keywords? And then I got to ask myself, the second most important question is, can I convert? What is my message? What is my price? What is my positioning, can I convert on the platform I’m trying to sell on, on that page one. And that’s where you know, now let’s pour some ad gas on it. Let’s pour some external traffic on it. Let’s get it going from the very beginning and just squash our competitors from the start. And I love that I love coming up with that plan from the start. All my launch classes include a PPC plan in phases, as well as external traffic in phases. Because when you do that, you’re just gonna smash all of your competitors on Amazon.
It’s very evocative Elvis, smash imagery. I mean, your your excitement is contagious. I gotta say,
thank you. Well, I did spend 20 years in the US Air Force. And I’m, I was a war planner. And so I treat my businesses like, I’m going to war basically, you know, you started your you studying your competition, you study your enemies, and you make sure that you’re always one step ahead. And so that’s, that’s the way and I always have a plan. You know, and, you know, methodical execution, like, so important. And, and you know, it just gets me jazzed when I can go oh, man, like, yes, we are crushing them. We are crushing them. I love looking at rank charts, after we’ve launched, like one of our folks is launched, I love looking at those rate charts and going, look at that, look at those peaks. You see how low they are? That’s awesome. Your BSR is just smashing. Awesome. I love it. And then, you know, on the ad side, I love looking at placement. I love looking at how the ads look. It’s just it’s, it’s fun, right? It’s really fun.
That’s that’s how I got started in this stuff to just the excitement and fun component of it. So let’s hit you with a couple more. Matt, let me let me run through this one. Because this is something I mean, it’s a little bit different than we’ve covered so far. But what can you tell us about a plus premium content? This is like a little bit like more breaking news, because I’ve heard about this the past like couple days, it feels like Do you Do you have any inside track on this? You know anything about this?
Well, I do think that a lot of people are not even knowing about this yet and taking advantage of it. So the way that I understand the breaking news that happened is that what Amazon is changing is that you no longer have to be a registered brand to use a plus content on your product pages. Amazon stepping up their content game, they’re rewarding content, we already know like, if you have a video on your listing, you get more impressions like because Amazon is a search engine. And I always tell people, the search engine wants to make people happy. So the search engine knows what people want. They know what people click on. So if you are meeting those minimum things that that the search engine looks for when people that makes people happy, right? They come to your listing, and they see this great content, it looks like a beautiful web page. So first of all, what is a plus content a plus content is that beautiful web page look, instead of that text blob, you know, product description that we see there. And so you know, utilizing that can really help your brand stand out from the competition. And the fact that now that Amazon is pushing, even non registered brands to go ahead and create that, that a plus content, I think it’s huge. I think that we have to take advantage of it. And you’ll notice, you know, if you’re a Shopify store owner you’ve ever done and if you’ve ever built your own website with a plug and play kind of graphical user interface, you’ll notice that Amazon’s A plus content is a lot the same. So it’s not impossible. People put these barriers up where they’re like, I don’t even how do I hire somebody to do that, like, Dude, get in there, click the button. And you’ll see there’s all these templates that give you the exact pixel sizes that you need to do like, of course, I’m all about I mean, we do a plus content and amazing at home. So yes, hire us, we’ll do it for you. But at the same time, like you know, like like my podcast partner Andy or not. And I were telling people when video ads first came out, we were like, We don’t care what your video is, like get a video go on Fiverr pay somebody $5 to put like your your images into slides and get your video out there because these things are converting like crazy. And that’s what you’re gonna find. If you’re applying a plus content, you’re going to find that Amazon rewards because they want to test anytime they release something new. They want to test how well it works. See you getting like free attention from Amazon.
And so the first mover advantage to isn’t there. There’s like people who get in early you know it’s kind of a risk reward. We see it with ads a lot but it’s like you get an early like video is it good enough? sample a man, maybe you do have a 22nd video, that’s not exactly Hollywood quality, let’s call it. But you know, if it converts, and it works, and there’s a lot of capacity to get views and placement, because no one else is doing it, well, actually, that’s a pretty good risk reward ratio, if you will, and you’ll make out quite well from it. Yeah, you
really, you don’t have an excuse, you know, like, as far as I understand this new premium A plus content, you’re even able to put videos and stuff and like some, you know, some some of the a plus content I’ve seen, like gifs in there, and some really great like, cool content, and just that mesmerizes people and, you know, again, if you don’t have all the fancy stuff, if you’re not there with the bells and whistles, I don’t care, no excuses, get in there, figure it out, click some buttons, get it done, because you don’t have an excuse, and you’re gonna get rewarded ahead of your competition. And then remember that there’s really great services out there like fiber, of course, there’s great, you know, infographics, creators, stuff like that. But also, there’s also like, really great services like, below dot app, that’s a great website where you can go and have user generated content done for you for like, 58 bucks, somebody will create a video of your product, have them using it. And these are, these are content creators that create content for a living. So like, we know what they’re doing, they’re going to have that appeal. So you know, again, no excuses. My view on a plus content is getting done, because it’s not that hard. And you know, like, just get in there and get it done. Alright, folks,
you heard it here. First a plus content, get it done. MVP minimum viable product. Thank you, Andrew, for that for that insight. Yeah. Sounds good. Yeah. Okay, this is Brent from AMZ Pathfinder with a quick message. If you’re enjoying this video, then you’d love our newsletter, The Pathfinder bulletin, the bulletin covers Amazon news and highlights technical topics, and is written from an advertising centric perspective, take a look at the link below in the video description. So find our signup page and provide your best business email address. Now back to the show. Yeah,
I mean, it’s it kind of goes along with the whole concept of, you know, if you, if you don’t do it, you don’t get the data and you don’t have the data. You don’t you don’t have a benchmark. So you game and optimize something if you don’t do it right away. Right. So I mean, using this a plus content, I can see a lot of people just like, you know, this might be the first time touching it or might be something that they’ve already been experienced with running DTC on Shopify, for example, or Magento. Right. And then I think this is something that Brent brought up, but there’s this new AB testing feature, kind of like, you know, managing your experiments and stuff like that built in Seller Central, have you heard about this? Have you like talked to clients, you know, yes, new feature,
what I love about it, and so AV testing has been around for a little while, it is a little bit newer, I think it came out in 2021. And we all know, like, 2022, is just flown by, like, what happened to even 2021? Who knows, but But yeah, I think what’s cool about the AV testing, so what it is, is, you can actually have two versions of listing that will show, you know, the Amazon will show at different times. And so then let’s say you have like one version of a plus content, or you have one version of a sequence of photos, you know, you can switch that up with two different listings. And so it’s a great way and an Amazon shows you in the dashboard, like which one is converting more and all of that. So, you know, it’s a great way to test your content, in practice, a lot of sellers they don’t have the amount of content to use to really utilize the AV testing. And I don’t know that you know, you necessarily need to, I love it for like testing main images, I think if you’re in a more competitive category, and you’re really trying to see like, which mean image is the best, it’s a great opportunity. I mean, Amazon’s giving you the data, and they’re giving you the place to do it. So even if it’s a simple test, like I just want to check this main image and see which one converts better, why not do it that way versus trying to get into Seller Central and like changing your listing, and it’s just kind of a pain. So like, use the tools that Amazon gives you. And then it’s very, it’s a one click implementation after you have that data.
That’s what’s so cool about it. And you know, we snuck this question in here, because it’s something that I keep putting in front of our clients and talking to them about constantly because I want to push them towards doing it. And Amy, you probably remember this, but there’s a tool called split Lee back in the day that allowed you to do split testing on Amazon, and they were bought by Jungle Scout actually 2018 2017 this is, you know, prehistoric era for a lot of listeners to this podcast, but you’ve, you’ve seen it all on Amazon. But you know, that was like cutting edge like scary stuff at the time. And now what we have is basically an externalized version of Amazon’s own ABX testing that they use internally. This is my understanding of it talking to our rep and it’s like a sim Well, five externalized version of it, but it’s free. I mean, that’s totally software cost money. And it was a Cluj, this is free, they give it to us, you need to have, you know, a minimum number of sessions, but like, Please, everyone, everyone watching this, please use it test your title test your main image, like these things have a big impact on ads, too. So yeah, I mean, it helps
- And the other thing, too, is like, there’s so many new tools now. Every time I pop into Seller Central, I’m like, Ooh, what’s under the brands menu today? What’s the opportunities menu today, and it just changes so much. And now there’s like, all these additional, like sales tools that you can, like, use to optimize not just listing optimization tools, but there’s like sales tools, where it will tell you to improve the sales on this listing, you could do this, you could do this. And there’s some great, great insights there. And, you know, why not use them? Even if you’re hiring that out, you know, we use a company called seller candy, and they, like, do all of our Seller Central stuff. But you know, that’s what they they point out things that are already there that they use to like, you know, optimize your your Seller Central, but it’s like, wow, why didn’t I take advantage of that, like, for example, uploading product documents, did you know there’s a space in Seller Central, where you can upload product documents. So
for furniture, that’s the only one I knew about, because you got like assembly instructions, this kind of stuff?
at all, you can only product, okay. So like that just gives like more information. And then you can set it up to actually email the customer that document as well. So you know, where previously you couldn’t really like, you know, they took away our ability to like, reply to reviews and all that. So there’s all these little ways that they’ve tweaked the system where you can take advantage of this stuff. It’s in a new way. So we just have to like stay on top of it. And you know, I’m always a big fan of like maximizing your current marketplace before you go and expand to 15 more, right. And that’s a great way to do it. Like just go poke around and see what’s see what’s out there product opportunity explore, you know, yesterday I was on seven figure seller Summit, we had like a mastermind session in there. And where they were talking about going into your, your product opportunity explorer and seeing the key search terms for your product and checking your conversion rate, you can actually see the conversion rate for the top three clicked ASINs. for that keyword, compare your conversion rate to the top three clicks, that’s a great way to help you have some metrics to grow. So just like all this data, you know, business reports, so many people don’t get into their business reports. And they’re like, I don’t know what’s going on with my sales. Well, are you getting sessions? Are your sessions growing? Have you since you changed your listing? Have you looked at your sessions, your conversion rates, you know, all that data is there for you? You just got to use it.
Alright, Matt, we got any more for for me here. Maybe one more. Tell us about the Mexico event a bit more? Is that a cure? Yeah.
I mean, you mentioned from the UN at the top of the podcast, but you know, we’d love to know more. And it’s an opportunity that’s happening in February of next year. Correct?
Yes. So February of 2023, which is coming up. I mean, not too far. From here. We’re in September, pretty much here. So a couple of months here, we will have two events in Mexico. So the first one and you know, companies like yours, you guys can come and have a booth. It’s crazy. It is crazy. How many sellers are there. I mean, we had good Tita at our first one. And they were like, Wow, we got so many signups. This was better than prosper, like we’ve had, you know, it was just insane. Like the amount I was so happy to be hosting an event that our sponsors were actually happy to have really benefited from. So you know, we’ve got not only manufacturers there, but we also have some amazing e commerce companies, including like Shopify Mexico is there we’ve got Mercado Libre. And then we have all of our really great advertising companies and an Amazon service, Amazon e commerce service providers as well. Kind of there. So let’s talk about the two events. The first one is the Mexico sourcing trip and this is an all inclusive trip. You join us in Monterrey Mexico. Monterrey is not far past the borders and major manufacturing hub it’s beautiful there I mean the mountains and the all the different restaurants and culture
and the foods and for me you don’t need to say anything past the food. I’m already there.
I just was there last week scouting locations, I couldn’t believe the beauty I was absolutely in love and like send me real estate information. I want to buy a house you’re like this is amazing. So really great Monterrey Mexico is where we’re going to be going. And we are this trip is all inclusive. So our goal is the minute you get there, we pick you up from the airport, we hold a sign, we bring you to the hotel, we have three days of conferences, where we are in the morning, we do conferences, and we learn all about, we do some product research stuff. And then we talk about like legal and manufacturing and sourcing and the differences. And we have local experts coming in to help us understand this so that we get in the mindset before we attend the trade show, right? So we do that for a couple of days. And then in the afternoons, we do really fun, like tourist stuff together. So the for the first two days, we have some really cool, unique experiences. Monterey is, like I said, a manufacturing hub. And the city actually used to be all factories, and now those factories have moved to the outskirts. So you’ll see like all these really cool like museums and artifacts of manufacturing there. And so we have some really cool surprises coming up for our folks, we do a big gala dinner the first night after people arrive. And that gala dinner is going to be at a really cool place that is, you know, so memorable. And, you know, I don’t, I don’t know. But Tim Jordan throws like the best party. So he’s a great partner to have in these kinds of things. And then we also do factory tours. So we have two factories that we’re planning on visiting. And so you know, that’s your immersive experience. This last time we went to the ceramics factory, and we just fell in love with these people. They were just so wonderful to meet. And we spent the whole day there. And they made us a home cooked meal and served ceramic plates from their factory, it was just amazing. So we do today, we do two factory tours, like a full day of factory tours. And then the next two days is the evil at time trade show. So we have if you come on the Mexico trip, you’re treated like a VIP there. I mean, of course we treat everybody like VIPs. But our Mexico trip people have their own like special dinner area inside of the trade show expo area. And you know, it’s a great experience. So we spent two days at the expo and then the next day we traveled home. So then we have the expo so anybody can come to the expo. It’s open to anyone. And it’s like I said, it’s a quick short flight to Monterey from San Antonio, Texas. For me, it’s like 100 bucks. It’s like two hour flight 100 bucks. So the trade show is free to attend. So you guys can go to email@example.com and just click the registration button. And then at night, on the first day of the trade show, we do this really cool networking event called ecom. Connect. And this is where we bring not only the attendees of the trade show, but we also bring the manufacturers and everybody connects and has a couple of drinks. We had a DJ we I mean, it looked like the most posh lounge of course Tim planned all that right. But we had a blast we danced the night away and we learned a lot of new dance moves from our, our Latin American friends. They were just dancing the night away and you know, pulling everybody out onto the dance floor. And it is a party to remember. And so if you’re attending evolet time you can also book your ticket to eat calm connect. And we have sponsors that sponsor the drinks for the evening. And it’s just it is a blast you I can’t I’m smiling your to your right now because it is just such a magical magical experience. And I can’t wait to do it again.
Awesome. Well, you sold me pretty well. See my calendar looks like and what are the dates in February you have gates?
Yeah, so the Mexico trip and that in more information? Is that the Mexico trip.com? You know, really clever name there from us. Yeah, exactly. That is February 11. Through the 17th. Got it right, February 11 through the 17th. So seven days, and then the and the 11th and 17th are travel days. So really the actual event is the 12th through the 16th. Right. And then the evil that term trade show is the 15th and the 16th of February. Well thank god
yeah, that sounds amazing. I’m excited. I don’t even sell anything. I just want to go experience.
Yeah, it’s it’s so much fun. And I it’s really a cool. It’s really been a cool experience to be part of just like this groundbreaking thing. You know, like you got to think about what was China 30 years ago, when brands first started going there and partnering with factories and different companies like think of Oh, global sources, global sources was originally they just had a booth at of like basically a phonebook of manufacturers at one of the trade shows there. And now look at that. Now they have their own Expo and their own, you know. So it’s just like we are at the just the very beginning of what’s going to happen in Latin America, and this year at Ebola Tam, this next one, we’re going to have manufacturers coming from as far as Colombia, and Argentina. So not only are you going to need manufacturers in Mexico, but there’s just a lot going on in E commerce in as well as in manufacturing in Latin America. And I just can’t wait to see you know, every time we go, it grows, and the people are so warm and wonderful. And it’s just been a great experience.
Sure. Great. Well, thank you so much for coming on, and sharing your knowledge about sourcing and this trip that’s going to be out in Mexico, I guess if anyone you know, wants to get a hold of you and have any more questions, either about the trip or about the community that you’ve built, where can they reach you?
Yeah, so firstname.lastname@example.org is the best place. You know, we have a free listing review service at email@example.com. So if you want a me, we used to go through your listing and tell you for complete free, no strings attached, if you want me to just go through your listing and be like, this sucks. This is cool. This is why your PPC is not working, you can go over to firstname.lastname@example.org. Underneath the Services menu, you’ll see free listing review and send me your listing. It’s confidential, and I’ll send you a video of me going through it and picking it apart. I love doing that stuff. I’m a total nerd about it. So you know, we’d love that. And then of course, at email@example.com we have you know, a contact form if you if you need to reach out. And then also you know, we have a Facebook group so you can find us on Instagram, you can find us on Facebook. We don’t let any VAs and our Facebook group now that we don’t love vas, but we really want it to be sellers only. So you know you can find the amazing at home Facebook group, just make sure you answer all the questions because our moderators are are picky people could find me on LinkedIn too. I’m around and I would just love to hear from you. Cool. Well,
thanks so much, Jamie.
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate you having me on.
If you’re still watching, thank you. It must mean that you really like what you just watched or a bale hay just fell on top of you and you can’t reach the spacebar. Whatever it is, I appreciate it. Hope you like it enough to like and subscribe. And if you’re interested in more, check out more videos we have available and thanks. I’m Matt from AMZ Pathfinder and I will see you next time
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