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May 5, 2020

Coronavirus for Amazon Sellers- Global Roundup late April/early May 2020

Facebook live panel global 29 April 2020

Jenna Lieber, Turnkey Product Management

Konark Ogra, Rural Handmade

John Cavendish, Seller Candy

What is changing for Amazon Sellers under Covid19?

notifications are insane
– ,monfitionring listing is arduous
– amazon stopping everyone shipping in from mid march to mid arpil
– france still closed
– can’t shop intra-couty
– couldn’t ship into Italy
– use 3 PLs
– have live listings
– sales volume not down too much
– Some up a lot but

A lot of clients grew in March
April plateau
Some clients not able to ship things in
– Non-essential
– Switched to FBM
– Now still not able to ship items in for all clients
– Amazon Launchpad
– no.1 sellers will go first


2 big changes
– Hedging from diversifying from China
– Supply chain
– The biggest concern with sellers – how safe is the brand?
– Should we be focussed on creating existing products
– consumers are now looking for stories

What’s the number one solvable issue for your clients?

Jenna: Managing ship time – Jenna – prime badge etc.

– monitor using merchant words to track ship time
– Some clients half FBA and half FBM
– FBA is beating FBM half the time
– Clients with over 300 different SKUs

John – FBA sales

Manually tracking on a spreadsheet
FBA dropped from 80% before COVID, 20% then back up t5o 65% plus
Treat it as business as usual

Konark – Simple model still working

CAD design etc in China can be $5-25K
Minimalist model – come with a design, see feasibility
– Human-made samples are maybe $250
– Post COVID the future will be more local
– More SMEs
– Army of sellers will be a big thing
– feeling we have to support small businesses

What’s happening next?

Things are moving fast
There will be a boom – people want control over their income

Ecommerce In general will continue to rise
Anyone who didn’t have a prime account is now in
And locked in for a year!
People who didn’t buy on amazon

What’s happening next couple weeks?


Allegedly reopening
A lot of people will keep sheltering in place

FBA warehouses probably seen the worst
Statten island walkout and Chicago

Europe – John/Konark
Coming out of lockdown
Spain coming out
You can still ship back into France from other countries

Thanks to our international panel!


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Episode Transcript:

FINAL GLobal Roundup 1 jenna, john, konark V2
Today's episode is sponsored by the new e-commerce podcast. The e-commerce leader. The podcast is hosted by myself and Jason Miles, Shopify business owner, and Udemy's highest rated e-commerce instructor. To win $100 worth of business books, just enter our contest. Simply go to amazingfba.com/contest, and then subscribe to the new podcast.
Michael Veazey: Today was an exciting new venture. We had our first panel interview today via Facebook live . We spoke to three experts on three different continents. So how international is that? the subject was a global roundup on what they've seen happening with our clients in the amazon space over the last few weeks of the crazy covid 19 times
we're bringing you today, a very international panel. And, the subject of today is all about sort of round up really big picture perspective on how Amazon's affects people globally and more by luck than judgment. We've got people on three different continents joining us today, which is kind of crazy!
So, starting from West to East was, feels somehow logical. We've got Jenna Lieber from turnkey product management. Konark Ogra from rural handmade originally from India, but actually in London, England, not far from me. And then John Cavendish originally from the UK, but of course over in Vietnam several times zones ahead.
So thank you. Particularly John - thank you for staying up to the really the middle of the night to join us, but thank you all very, very much for coming along. Great to see you guys. Thank you. x
So let's, let's just do a quick introduction of ourselves, one at a time. So we know, you know, where you're coming from and what your perspective is.
So Jenna, let's start with you.
Jenna Lieber: So I work, at turnkey product management. We are basically a done for you service Amazon consulting company, where we will manage top to bottom, Amazon for different brands. we also offer coaching and courses, so different opportunities. They're really just trying to help brands, Excel on Amazon.
So. Konark. Let's go with you next. .
Konark Ogra: Hi everyone. my name is Konark and, we work for Rural Handmade. Essentially, if I tell you what we do, we are Alibaba for handmade. And what really do is we connect, budding entrepreneurs who want to create these mindful, sustainable brands to communities across the Indian subcontinent, which includes India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
And together, the. Basically formed this amazing, sustainable brand. We specialize in three categories, which is living, giving, and dining. and we, you know, for Amazon sellers specifically, we work on a, mind to market model where we essentially commission design ideas into actual physical products, all handmade, all sustainable essentially. Yeah, that's what we do.
Michael Veazey: Cool. Right. So quite a different thing altogether. And then John, What are you doing over in Vietnam?
John Cavendish: Well, living in Vietnam, and he obviously stuck in Vietnam for the next six months or so. All the borders are closed, but it's nice. Safe here. Very few cases.
I run a couple of businesses. So I am an Amazon seller as well. We do, you know, seven figures. we have a full service Amazon agency called ecomDNA. And then recently we launched seller candy. And what seller candy is, it's kind of to fill the gap between having a full service agency and having someone to help you out on Amazon. So what we do is we do the mundane, boring tasks that you don't want to do.As long as it's in seller central, we do it. So unlimited tasks in seller central for a set fee per month, like having an outsource worker, but they're already trained. There's no HR, there's no need to explain to them how to do things. You just log tasks with us and we get to the outcome rather than seller central. They just keep telling you to submit the case again.
Michael Veazey: Yeah, absolutely. Great, good. Well, you know what's interesting about that is you all interact with a lot of different businesses as well as having your fingers in the pies of various different things yourself. So I think you're well placed to give a bit of a flavor from what your clients are experiencing.
So the first question is really, what changes have you seen in your own Amazon business or businesses or your client's business from, I guess say January, February this year to the current point, which is just the end of April, 2020 at the time of recording this. So, anyone want to start? That's a big question because there's been a lot, I think.
John Cavendish: I mean, I can, I can say a little bit if you want, . I mean, we have a lot of clients in, you know, both us, the EU you know, all over the place. I say that the biggest challenge with, with seller candy, with, with being an assistant is that notifications, cause we do account monitoring are insane at the moment.
You know, buy a buy box is coming and going, everything appearing and disappearing all day every day so that it becomes a monitoring, monitoring just listings becomes a huge arduous task. Obviously you stopped stopping Amazon stopping everyone shipping in between. what's the middle of March and April was a big pain, especially in Europe and in Europe at the moment, still that they've closed down French fulfillment centers and you can't ship into intra country between certain countries.
They weren't shipping into Italy during using European fulfillment networks that you could only ship if you had inventory already in the country. So what we've been doing is kind of helping clients and helping our own business. To move things around these three PLRs and make sure that we can still have live listings in every marketplace.
Because in general, sales volume on most things that we've been seeing isn't down too much unless you're in a very non, a very non essential category. lots of my clients volume is significantly up. our volume is up. but it really depends what category you're in. And lots of people are getting hammered here.
Which is not good, but Amazon is actually moving back up because we have a lot of deliverability slipped away for a long time. Yeah. I think, overall my understanding of Amazon's sales volume is that March, 2020 was 20% upon art March, 2019. So yes, it certainly gave it to your heart, so thanks for that.
That feedback is interesting. the notifications thing, which hadn't struck me with this, but it's true, I suppose managing that is, you know, because everything's a bucking Bronco at the moment, isn't it? Janice, I know you do a lot of similar stuff, but for clients, you know, a world the way in some cases.
so what are your sort of, what have you been seeing on the, sort of the pros and cons of the current situation, right. Yeah. I mean, you know, just like you talked about the FBA shipping restrictions was a huge hit. majority of our clients do fall into the essential category, so a lot of them actually.
Really grew, especially in the month of March. April, I would say it started to kind of plateau, still high numbers, but it's not in a crazy rise right now. now as far as, you know, clients that aren't able to ship items, and we did have a few of those. Actually, one of our biggest. Clients was in the situation where they are not an essential product.
And, they had to switch to FBM scenes and FBM warehouses, which was able to help sustain their numbers. and then now, even, even as we're going along, we're still not for all clients able to ship items in. it's kind of a hit or miss, but it does, you know, and we actually, we work with Amazon launchpad.
So we get some insights from them and everything like that. And they basically said, you know, your number one sellers are going to be the ones that you start to see that you can send FBA inventory in and it will kind of go down from there to your lease. You know. Your, your least popular product. So we are seeing that pretty consistently where the number one products for us given brands are starting to open up.
but yeah, it definitely seemed very similar things to John where definitely specific categories are doing really, really well and others are taking a pretty big hit. just with losing the Brian badge and switching FBM and everything like that. Yeah, I mean it's, it seems to be a common theme, but it's good to have it reinforced because every so often you have an assumption.
But. That proves wrong. And those are the things you think, you know, and that aren't true. It is good to tease out, but it sounds like some predictable things, but also, interesting what you're saying about the number one sellers kind of by category or by, sorry, by client, almost then is it by account.
That's kind of reassuring, that understands, you know, willing to do that. There's some kind of common sense there. so can I, can I, I don't know if you do much on the sort of management side, but obviously you're very, very in the global source thing. Side of things. I mean, what are you saying from the sourcing side of things?
Germany. I think overall what you've seen, I think there are two major, you know, mindset shifts that you've seen, best for as consumers and entrepreneurs we work with. Have. One is, people are now really looking at, you know, we can't hedge. And do the entire sourcing from China, for example, and they're looking at how do we diversify, you know, these risk factors and go to different, different sectors.
you know, the same thing with supply chain as well. at the same time, I think we do talk to a lot of Amazon sellers, and their bigger concern is, you know, when you create a brand. How safe is the brand, you know, which has always been a big concern for them. And should we be really focusing on, you know, just creating and selling, you know, existing products.
and what we also see is, consumers that are now buying and now looking for stories. and they're looking for things that have a meaning behind. and I think we really strongly, you know, believe, bus as a brand, as a sourcing company, we can have, you know, supply. That's truly a, to a bias. Sure.
So that's the general sort of picture that you come from. And have you found that to be a difference in this, this sort of situation? Are consumers more going for the sort of brand story or are they just driven by other things like perception of necessity and that sort of stuff? Yeah. I think it's a mix of board, but I think, it's definitely the brand story is what will define strong businesses as we move forward.
but, you know, I mean, Amazon essentially has always been a necessity driven marketplace. Hmm. So that, that would always remains the case. Yeah, that's a good point actually. I think the nature of Amazon probably skews it particularly strongly, even compared to others, doesn't it? so Jenna, let's talk a little bit more about John, particularly in this, dealing with managing people's accounts.
What would you say is the, Let's put it this way. What's the number one problem that you see your clients facing that you think is pretty solvable? Let's start with some nice things first. Some easy wins. Yeah. Some solvable things. So, I mean, obviously the big thing was, you know what? Like. Are you able to ship inventory into FBA?
But then on top of that was kind of managing your ship times. Should you make that switch to FBM or not? Right. Cause we even had clients that were able to ship in FBA products, but then, you know, it didn't matter. Your ship times still weren't really great from seller central. You lost the prime badge, everything like that.
So. One thing we did to solve that issue, and it's something that we are monitoring still every single day, is we are using merchant words to track ship times where it will basically say, okay, here's the ship time for this given ASEN and it will list out the ACEs that you're submitting to them with each ship time.
So we are in a certain current situation where we have some clients that are half FBA, half, half at the FBM, and it's because the FBM warehouses are still beating some FBA ship times, but vice versa, where FBA is now beating SBM. So that is one thing. It seems very overwhelming. It seems really hard to track, especially we have some clients that have over 300.
Different skews on Amazon and it seems overwhelming cause you've got a lot. How can you track that ship time? That is one thing we've found is using that merchant word ship time tracker has really helped us make the decision of when do we go FBM and when do we go back to FBA? So that's one thing that we've seen is pretty solvable.
It seems overwhelming, but you can take it on for sure. Nice. That's a lovely, I was gonna say hack, but I see some pretty profound decision. Say that's really, really helpful. John, what are your sort of solvable issues that you found that you can tell for clients? Well, I mean, that's a good one as well.
We've been manually tracking in spreadsheets, ship times, and percentage of orders shipped on within two days, and that way, you know, at one point from what, 80% before to 20%. Over time, and now it's back up again. It was 60 to 70%. Now, essentially it says mostly back. That's interesting. Yeah. That's mostly FBA or FBM and FBA combined, or FBA FBM obviously as fast as you can ship it out, it goes.
Yeah. yeah, so we've been moving clients as well who have FBM across the FBN to push things through the system. I think of any hacks. It's just kind of best practice. Mostly what we've been doing, like business as usual, once everything's live, making sure that we're not taking the eye off the ball, making sure that we're pushing our clients to continue growing, not just panicking and stopping, doing things, stopping ordering.
Because end of the day, it went downhill very quickly. It's going to come uphill extremely quickly on the other side, and we're going to be back to normal very soon in terms of Amazon sales. Anyway. Yeah, that's a good point. I guess that it's very easy to read the newspapers and check Facebook 50 times a day and, and, Treat the Amazon businesses as if it's going to be a subset of the general economy. And of course, e-commerce is working completely differently. So that's a very good point, actually. so can I can any, thoughts to add on that? I mean, I know you interact with a lot of families and businesses with a slightly different sort of take on it.
What, what do people, what are the, what is the problem that people come to and you say, actually, we can solve that pretty easily. I think one of the biggest advantages that we have is that we have this obviously very simplistic, mind to market model. I mean, just take an example. If you want to commission, let's say.
A bag and you go to China to any decent factory. I think, you know, just to create a design like a CAD design and do an actual product can cost you anything between five grand to maybe 25 grand a week with us. It's just completely different. I think we work in a very simplistic, you know, minimalistic model where you don't come with the design, share the designs.
We see that the feasibility of it being done. And then we created the sample and sampling with us because things are pretty much, you know, human centric and handmade does not cost you no more than 200 pounds or $250 at any point of time. And the other thing is, I think post-call Wade, and we strongly believe, the future is going to be local.
People are going to be buying from more and more from the SMEs. and then this whole, you know, army of, you know, you know, sellers, what online and offline, is going to be a big, big thing. especially because we, we truly believe we will have, you know, started, you know, feeling that we really have to support small businesses.
so yeah, I mean, I think this is a great time to start a business. at least, take your first step. And, I mean, I believe a lot of people who do help small businesses, and then essentially if you have a story, you have a product, you will do very well, very soon. So, yeah. Excellent. So I guess you're sort of pushing us towards the future.
So, I guess the next question is, is the 64,000, or rather, I suppose inflation to put that to more than like a million dollar question, isn't it? But yeah. what's happening next? I mean, John, you've already hinted at the fact that you think this is a blip down. It's getting back to business as usual. I mean, how much of a are you already seeing happening?
Well, I mean, some businesses are still growing heavily. I mean, we've had a record month for signing up new clients in the last month, and we haven't slowed down at all on our sales process. We've been doing our usual thing. So you have people signing up, people are getting going, people are onboarding. Yeah, I mean, things, things are still moving. A few minutes over. We're moving ahead really fast. So I mean, there's the whole concept that, you know, this is gonna, this is definitely a, a recession or depression or whatever, but on the other side of this is going to be a little mini boom. Whether it's a big room, a small boom, it's going to be, people are out of work.
People are starting their own businesses, whether it's, you know, contracted based businesses or, Amazon based businesses, internet based businesses. People want to have control over their income. So there's going to be all sorts of businesses coming out the other side of this and the economy is going to be going crazy and people are gonna be buying stuff and it's gonna it's gonna be good.
So it's a very, that's probably the most bullish. I, I've heard 70 beer about the postcode thing. That's pretty cool. Jenna, what do you see coming after the sort of postcode world for Amazon sellers specifically? Yeah, so I mean. One, one thing in particular, we keep trying to remind everyone if they're in panic or anything, kind of similar to John's mindset where I at least w we personally believe that e-commerce in general is going to continue to rise.
I mean, one thing to consider is people that, you know, if you knew anybody that didn't have an Amazon prime account, they now have one, and I mean, they're locked in for a year. That's an annual membership. So. That is a positive to think about is now people that were not buying online. I mean, it's hard to believe, but there is people out there that we're not buying online.
We're not using Amazon. They now are, right? So they're now getting in the habit of using that due to the circumstances. But the reality is that that's here to stay, most likely, right? When this is all over, they're still going to have that prime membership. If anything, they probably now see how awesome it is, two day shipping, everything like that.
So. It is a positive, I believe for e-commerce, it's hard to see it with all the FBA warehouses issues that happen, but I do think Amazon. Is already stronger, and I think they're going to continue to get stronger as this all happens. And it's, it really is they, they definitely got a boot boost and customers just in general, because of the need and people trying to stay in doors.
So I do think there is a big positive. Yeah. Yeah, that definitely makes sense. Bump in the rise in e-commerce has been substantial across the board. And yeah, it makes sense that, as you said, people are getting locked in. I spoke to Jason Somerville the other day from global wide advisors, and he's a former wall street guy.
so he's got a bigger perspective and he was saying, yeah, it comes down to how sticky the sort of new adoption behaviors are. yeah. One of the things you just pointed out, like once you've got a prime account is for a year, so you're more likely to keep using it and it will stick as a behavior even when you could go back to your local shop or whatever you were using.
well that's, that's a really positive place to attempt to deliver it, et cetera. I want to dig a bit more into the dirt of what you think is happening. That's a bit of the sort of medium term next few months over the next, couple of weeks. I guess it's really for John and Gemma more than anyone else.
What do you think is going to happen specifically with you. FBA warehouse system. You're already saying, Jenna, that prioritizing people's number one selling products. John, you've seen a massive uptake back to the previous sort of pre K mid levels. You can see that continuing to what? What do you see happening in the States?
Particularly jealous? Probably more poised to understand what the government is doing in the U S I mean, that's kind of reopened things, but we all see what happens really. Yeah. That seems to be my understanding. So yeah. Jenna, what's your understanding of what's the U S government up to? If there is such thing as one government there that out, you let me know, but we are starting to reopen.
That's what, at least they're saying. But again, I would say that a lot of people I think are still a little bit skeptical about that. And I think a lot of people will still continue to shelter in place if it's possible. you know, as far as FBA warehouses and things like that, I think we've seen the worst of it.
In, in my personal opinion right now, cause we've, they've had walkouts, right? I know that the Staten Island, FBA warehouse did do a walkout. I know that there was one maybe in Chicago, I believe that did a walkout as well. So as far as FBA warehouses, I think we have seen the worst, at least I, I hope.
We have seen the worst. I mean we've seen how bad it can get cause they know, John, you were talking a little about this. the, the French warehouses are completely shut down. So that is the worst unit. And, but truthfully, I think. In the U S we have seen the worst just because it had started to bounce back.
They have started to make requirements as to who gets into FBA warehouses. So I think we've seen the worst. I hope we've seen the worst of it. but the good news is there are other opportunities through FBM warehouses that is still a potential, and that's still a possibility. We actually have a list of FBM warehouses if anyone needs them.
Where we basically vetted them to see if they're even taking on people and everything like that. So we have a full list of that. Yeah, I would definitely want that list. I mean, I think that sounds like a valuable thing. Thank you. Yes, please. I'll say on behalf of anyone listening and watching John, so you've obviously got a handle on what's going on in Europe.
You mentioned that. Do you want to just say a little bit more about where you think Europe's going in the next three? I don't know. Two, three weeks, two, three weeks. I mean, Europe also seems to becoming out of lockdown. I've ever side stay in is coming out a lockdown. I've learned, this is not really a long ago.
People can walk around. So, you know, hopefully it gets better and better. And the good thing about Europe is that you can still ship into country now back into France. So Amazon's trying to deal with that with shipping, you know, basically from other countries. So, you know, kind of hopefully the same thing as the U S let you know, Texas doesn't want to like mid Midwest, mid, or the West States don't want to look down so they can keep their warehouses going and ship to all the other ones or something along those lines.
Same with Europe. So UK still open at the moment, which is good. Yeah, absolutely. And I can, can I, I guess finally we're both in the UK. What are your thoughts about specifically UK? Cause I know a lot of people in the group will be based in the UK and selling their, what do you see happening next couple of weeks in the FBA sort of side of things?
Well, I mean, I think it just is the right time to start your eCommerce business. I think. I think if you look at the global unemployment rate, you know, 20% of the workforce has gone in the U S I think some of the numbers here in the UK. and you know, people would want to create an additional source of income.
Yeah, because clearly all these people who have been led core and not to go back to work. and so this is, I think, just a brilliant time. You know, I think there's a great support staff. There's a great team of people who can help you with creating your brands. So, so yeah, I think that's where the future is featured is local.
feature is, e-commerce. and yeah, so that's what it is. That sounds like a great, I would say copyright that value, cause that sounds like something somebody is going to put out as a strapline under their logo one day. The future's local. The future is e-commerce. It sounds very good. So on that very good, neat little note, I think going gonna wrap it up there and say, yeah, thanks very much for your thoughts guys.
Very interesting. Literally three continents worth of, of, opinions in a nutshell. So, thank you very much Jenna Lieber of Turnkey product management Konark Ogra of Rural Handmade, and John Cavendish, Seller candy, particularly staying up into the middle of the night in Vietnam for us, sacrificing for everybody.
Thank you very, very much for coming on.
Today's episode is sponsored by the new e-commerce podcast. The e-commerce leader. The podcast is hosted by myself and Jason Miles, Shopify business owner, and Udemy's highest rated e-commerce instructor. To win $100 worth of business books, just enter our contest. Simply go to amazingfba.com/contest, and then subscribe to the new podcast.

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