Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I found out about today’s guest Tor Rabinovich, because he’s got a new book called ride, the Amazon wave, and I read it. And it’s all about how he sold products on Amazon and what he learned from doing it.
And truthfully. He, I don’t think he mentioned a single product that he sold. So I reached out to someone that I know and trust, and I said, is this is this guy for real? What’s he up to? And I got a little bit of information. I understand why he can’t talk super openly. He’s smiling because he, he knows that I’ve pushed him in.
And he is not going to get super open about the specific products, but the methodology we will be open about. And I think what he’s been building is interesting. I’m also curious about why freaking Amazon, why not Shopify, why not build your own store instead of building on a platform where you have to hide your, your products for fear that someone’s gonna copy you or I don’t know what, all right.
Anyway, I invited Tom on here. Super exciting part of, uh, the online, uh, business world. I wanna find out how he did. And we could do it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you’re looking to invest in, in startup. like maybe, you know, an entrepreneur who’s building something great. And you wanna bring a few of your friends together to make an investment in it.
VO, Bon is the platform that will help you do it. And I’ll tell you about them. Uh, later I’ll also tell you about our second sponsor, the company that will help you hire developers. It’s called lemon there at lemon.io/mixer Deva. First, tell me you’re not gonna gimme the specific revenue numbers, but you’re gonna gimme ballpark tens of millions fair to say, or what.
Tomer: Um, yeah. Fair to say. Yeah.
Andrew: That’s all you’re gonna say,
Tomer: yeah, pretty much. Yeah. I mean, honestly, like I think, uh, numbers are, are not that important, you know, like, To me it’s um, and I know you got my email from yesterday. To me, it’s about the lifestyle that you can get from running an online business, uh, opportunity. That’s like our parents, grandparents didn’t really have in their lifetime.
Andrew: you’re talking about, the one where you emailed your list and I’m on your list where you said, here’s what I’m doing. Building Lego with my kids, using the same Lego set that my parents saved and I get it. But dude, you could do that as a kindergarten teacher and then come home and play with your kids.
I feel like numbers are important that you’re able to, I think. Have more impact because you have more revenue. You’re able to do more in the world because you have more revenue. And I don’t know why you’re downplaying the tens of millions of dollars, but don’t you agree that there’s more there than just lifestyle?
Tomer: Yeah. Yeah. There, there obviously is like, I think it’s also, uh, being fulfilled at the same time. Um, I just listened to another podcast where the guy said that, uh, success is, uh, measured by the amount of people you get to help to. So, uh, I think that really got me from just selling physical products to actually doing consulting later on and helping sellers like myself,
Andrew: And it’s not about the money you’re making. Can we say that what your profits are or is it in the million?
Tomer: Yeah. Here it is. Yeah.
Andrew: is the part where I feel like you think Andrew is so nice to me. He said something nice about my, my kid’s picture. And so I agreed to be on, but why am I on with him? Why is he such a jerk when he knows we’re not, I’ll tell you why. I, I feel like the money does matter and don’t, don’t you get to do more because you have money because you made money from this business.
Tomer: money gives you freedom, right? So freedom is, is different for everyone. And people spend it in different ways. Um,
Andrew: How do you
Tomer: honestly, like a, so to me, honestly, that’s what I was gonna say. I live in a small kibbutz in Israel, like Northern Israel. Uh, we are still renting at this point.
Like we don’t really know where we want to kind of sell down and stuff. So to me, it’s not, I don’t have a fancy car. I don’t really there. I don’t have any guilt pleasures in terms of like stuff that I buy for myself or whatever. Like to me, it’s really, uh, more about experiences with my family and just doing what I can to, to support them.
Um, a guy asked me on a different podcast. I was ONED recently, if you, if I gave you 10 million, how would. Lifestyle change. I’m like that, that one probably do much, you know, to my existing lifestyle. Um, I do have dreams, you know, that they want to kind of, uh, achieve at some point and affect more people, but that’s, uh, that’s like down the road.
Andrew: before we get into how you did this, why is it that the Amazon sellers that I talk to? Don’t say, here’s my site. I am proud of what I’m selling here is the product. Look at the reviews. Let me show your audience. Maybe some of them will buy. You’re not the only one. So I’m not I’m, I’m not shocked by it, but I’m wondering universally, why is this true?
Tomer: Yeah. So honestly, like in the past I used to be open with what I, what I sold. This was back when I started around that 20 15, 20 16. But then when I started kind of doing consulting and stuff like that, I decided to, to remove all the, everything that I had kind of, uh, showing what I’m selling, uh, removed everything that I.
Is basically there, uh, because, uh, it’s very easy to do damage to Amazon sellers if you really want to. Um, and if you have, uh, competitors and they know who you are or whatever, like it’s just very easy to hurt you. So I think, uh, I think that’s one of the reasons, uh, there are a few more reasons, but I think, um, how can they hurt you so, well, I, I think it can even be like on a personal level.
Like if they don’t like who you are or whatever they might hurt you. Or let’s say it’s another service fighter right. On in the space. Um, and they wanna do damage. They can, there are sellers that are fully open with what they sell and they have, um, they have great brands and stuff like that. And that’s fine.
But I just find that even if let’s say, let’s say I am open with what I sell, I can have thousands of clicks to my listings every single day with now I’m buying. Cause they just wanna see what I’m doing. That OB obviously hurts the Amazon algorithm that tanks my ranking on Amazon. If they don’t purchase, there is more to it than just like a black hat tactics of people shutting me down or whatever.
Andrew: Give me another reason that, that you said that there are multiple reasons why a seller wouldn’t wanna say what they’re selling. What are some of the other reasons that are not the competitor going to knock me out or people just going to mess with the algorithm by checking out
Tomer: Yeah. So, so the most obvious for at least for beginner sellers is, uh, they worry they’re gonna be copied by another seller. So if they just open with what they sell, let’s say they hit gold with their product, and it’s already doing like 30, 50 K a month in sales very quickly. Then they’re kind of afraid of.
Um, revealing what’s going on and what they sell and what, how they got that, uh, success. Because most products that are being sold on Amazon are relatively simple to copy. Most of them are not patents or anything complex.
Andrew: All right. What about this? Why sell on Amazon instead of say a Shopify store or a WooCommerce store? So many other platforms where you could have a direct relationship with your customer, somebody could say, buy. Magic supplies from you. I know that you have experience as magician. They buy one item from you.
They join your mailing list, they get another and another and another. And maybe even before they buy, they, they read your blog post where you reveal a few magic tricks and how to do it. And then they sign up so they could learn more. And then eventually they buy like that whole funnel you could own completely.
There’s a reason why you’re on Amazon, despite that. What is that?
Tomer: So honestly, like Shopify is a completely different business. It’s um, it’s almost like, uh, in the book, I mentioned that my grandparents had a small mom and pop shop for electronics. So it’s kind of like the modern era, like having Shopify stories similar to that, I guess. But it wasn’t their products that were selling like random stuff.
Amazon basically does almost everything for you. So you basically don’t need to run ads on TikTok and Facebook and Instagram, and you don’t need to build up that audience. You don’t need to bring in that traffic. You don’t need to do any of that because Amazon is handling all of it for you. They even store your products and ship your products to customers.
And if they are prime customers, they get the products within two days free shipping. um, I think the, the ease of it in that regard of how easy it is to kind of sell through Amazon. Um, and basically when people shop on Amazon, they know you don’t need to kind of build any trust because for them, if anyone listening, ever bought a product from Amazon in their heads, they bought the product on Amazon.
They didn’t buy from a specific brand. Um, and usually the way they see is you just buy random product on.
Andrew: but that. That’s not a, that’s not a bad thing that people see that what they bought was from Amazon. And don’t even notice that you’re the seller.
Tomer: So it, it really depends, you know, cuz the biggest sellers that I know and consulted for these can be eight, even nine figure sellers are 99% on Amazon so that just shows you can still build a massive business just by selling on Amazon. And they can have relatively lean teams with, um, 10, 20 people and not like huge teams as you would probably need if you had that on Shopify, or if you had that as a real brand selling retail or other, other things.
Andrew: You know, the other thing that you’ve told me in the past was you said, look, Andrew, maybe for some products, people want a relationship with the maker. They want a relationship with the seller, but if someone’s buying shoes or if someone’s buying in your case, uh, baby safety equipment, they’re not looking for an ongoing email list about baby safe, baby safety equipment.
And once they bought it, they’re not looking necessarily to come back to the store. There’s a whole new batch of people that are coming in. And you say it’s not always a reasonable expectation to build a relationship in a sales funnel for your customers. Sometimes it’s better to be on a platform where the customers are fair to say
Tomer: that’s very fair to say. I, I think that, um, when you think about how people shop, let’s say on Amazon compared to Shopify, when people shop on Amazon, they search for something. Amazon is a search engine engine. So we type in baby safety product or whatever, baby safety locks or stuff like that.
They type that in. And then they click on whatever and they buy it on Shopify. You need to disturb whatever they’re looking at. And just when they kind of scroll their feed, you need to disturb them and then you need to sell them something. So those are usually two different sets of products and it’s not the same on Amazon.
You can sell commodities and on Shopify, it’s a lot more difficult to sell commodities unless you have a unique edge for the product or very good creative. Um, And good copy. And maybe you run an ad and then it goes well for a weld and it stops doing well. So I think, I think it’s a different ball game.
Um, and it’s usually like you don’t have a lot of products that can kind of sell well on both, uh, platforms. I’ve also put together events and I really tried to find people that kind of started on Amazon, went off Amazon and did 20% off of Amazon. I could count on a single hand how many people actually achieved that, that I personally know, like it’s, it’s just.
Difficult. It’s not, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s difficult. And the other way around, by the way, like if you start it on Shopify, you wanna go into Amazon. That might be easier. Cause you already built the brand. You established it. Maybe people are even typing your brand name on Amazon. So that’s like a lot easier to do.
Andrew: Okay. So let’s talk about how you got started. You were at a nine to five job working for a government contractor in Israel. You had extra time and you said, you know, I need something else. You are scrolling through one of the Facebook products you saw an ad for what? And then how did that change your life?
Tomer: Yeah. So I signed an ad for, uh, an online course. Uh, actually I saw the ad was, uh, by Robert Zaki, who I followed on Facebook. I’m not even sure it was an ad. I think it was just like his post. And he said, this is the first thing I’m promoting. This is not my own. And that really grabbed my attention. And then I signed up, um, the course was $3,500.
That was all the money ahead in the bank at the time. Uh, and I basically, uh, signed up for that. Um, and started selling on Amazon with, uh, basically no money. So the entire savings they had from that job basically went into, to stock the first few shipments.
Andrew: Okay. What was that first actually? What was it about that course that Robert Kiosaki was talking about? Robert Kiosaki is the author of rich dad, poor dad. A lot of people have been influenced by his worldview. What was it that they taught you that made you say I can do this as a business. I’m ready to spend a big chunk of my life on it.
Tomer: I mean, the model made sense to me, you know, the model made sense in, in regards to like, this is a scalable business. Um, and it looked, uh, it looked real to me. Um, and also there wasn’t like a lot of information out there. There weren’t like I’m in Israel. There weren’t a lot of people in Israel kind of doing the same business model.
So to me was, to me, it was really appealing. And I really looked to find something to do, like in terms of running my own business. And I really wanted to do something online. Um, if I could. So that seemed like the best opportunity at a time.
Andrew: What’s the first product that you sold.
Tomer: So I sold, um, baby cabinet locks. that was the first one. Uh, basically those are locks that, um, the toddler cannot open up once they start crawling and, and walking and things like that, like, uh, the cupboards and under the sink. Um, so that was the product. All I really did is I, I went into, uh, alibaba.com.
That’s where you, you basically have Ali express I’ll express is where you source, where you buy products from China. Uh, usually China, you buy them in like 1, 2, 3, 5 pieces. And Alibaba is, uh, Ali express is owned by Alibaba, which is a huge company. Um, and in Alibaba you buy them in, in bulk. So you can buy 500 units, a thousand units.
So I started with, uh, 500 units launched. March, uh, 2015, uh, and the product. Uh, so, and what all I’ve done is I found a supplier with a better product than what already exists on Amazon. I didn’t modify the product at all. I just bought in a better version of what, uh, Amazon had to offer. And then, um, I also created a pretty good instructional video that no one really had at the time.
And the product just took off, uh,
Andrew: It’s the, um, I’m sorry to interrupt. Was the instruc. Sorry, sorry to interrupt. Was the instructional video on Amazon or was it sold? Was it sold with the product? Cause I I’m just trying to understand why your product stood out in a market where there’s so many of them.
Tomer: Yeah. So back then, um, there weren’t so many of them and mine was kind of unique because, uh, on the outside of the cabinet, you couldn’t see the. Uh, so it’s like a magnetic clock now. It’s like all over the place on Amazon. So it’s a magnetic clock. You basically attach like a small magnet. You put it against the cabinet and then you can open it.
So it’s, uh,
Andrew: I see you’re saying, look. There weren’t a lot of these, this was a unique version of it. And I understand as a dad who had to have one of these safety things on, I did not wanna have this plastic piece of garbage all over my nice kitchen. I like that I could have the metal magnetic things that you’re talking about, where it’s hidden and only I know where, where the key is and how to open it or that it’s even there.
So you had that and then was the video as part of the sales process or was it a post-purchase, uh, inclusion.
Tomer: Yeah. So back then, you couldn’t put a video on the Amazon listing now it’s possible to do for everyone. Um, back then, it wasn’t possible, but also when you buy a product, you don’t really go back to Amazon to see a video on how to install that product. That doesn’t happen. You expect to have all of the instructions inside of the product itself.
So in the product itself, we had, um, a nice insert inside. Uh, and we actually, I, I, as a former magician, I really worked on the experience for the customer. So we had, um, a very, you can say, uh, playful letter inside that said, uh, like dear mom and dad, and then it goes into like the baby thinking their parents for buying this product, uh, for the, for them.
And, uh, we just kind of kept it playful and nice. and then, uh, in the instructions it said, uh, who reads instructions anymore? Or watch the video right. Uh, and then we just send in to watch the video. So, uh, and when they go to the link, we don’t, we don’t ask, uh, for your name and email, we don’t like, we just give you the video, uh, just to bring like, just to provide a better experience, uh, for you and the cool thing about adding, uh, those small things to, uh, to the packaging, like an insert, or when you open up the packaging, you have a, a small saying inside or a, a funny phrase or whatever, like all those things add.
And let’s say there is a piece missing, let’s say the lock is not there. Let’s say the key is not there or whatever is missing. You won’t run and leave a one star review on Amazon. You are probably gonna reach out because you got value that you didn’t expect. Um, that’s covered in a lot of detail in the book as well.
So, um, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to basically, like, I think in Amazon specifically, people are really trying to kind of. Uh, over promise and then under deliver, and then you get a whole bunch of negative reviews, but if you do the opposite, if you under promise and then over deliver, once they get the product, you are much more likely to get a lot of organic and real five story views from people.
Andrew: All right. Let me tell you about my first sponsor. I think you’re gonna like this one Tomer. It’s a company called Von and what they do is they help you become an angel investor with everything buttoned up. Let me give you an example, Tomer of how you might use this. You’re in the Amazon selling world.
Let’s suppose you come across a company. That is selling especially well that you want to invest in to help them grow. Maybe you can find a software company that is useful to Amazon sellers, and because you have inside information about how Amazon works and what’s selling on Amazon works, and you have a reputation for yourself, especially now as an author of riding the Amazon wave, you say, I know this is gonna work well.
I know I can help them grow. I’d like to invest, but maybe instead of investing on your own, you say, I know other sellers too, who should be investing. And if we pull all of our money together, we could be. Big force behind this company, as opposed to a lot of little checks that are kind of a distraction for the company.
And so what you would do is you would go to VO bond.io/angels. They will set you up with everything you need to lead this investment. And by that, I mean, yes, all the forms that you need and all the onboarding software that you need for your investors, who will come on the platform to invest, but also. In the world today, we have know your customer and other rules to make sure that Tor is not using VO bond to help.
I don’t know what, um, launder money or something, right? The, all these rules that you wanna make sure that you don’t run AF foul of and VO bond makes sure that you have it all buttoned up and that your investors who are backing you essentially, or backing your in. Through you that they have everything they need to keep track of how their investment is doing.
This is a phenomenal company that actually now is part of car and you probably have not done much angel investing. Have you Tomer
Tomer: No, but, um, I have
Andrew: a little
Tomer: consulting a few aggregators, so there are basically companies that are buying. Amazon businesses. And in one of them, like I, in both, in a few of them, I have equity. So I, I know about Carta and I have some agreements there with them. So, uh, I know all about
Andrew: right. Car is the software that the company that keeps track of all of our investments. I used to have all these different pieces of paper coming at me essentially by email Carter, put ’em all together. If I wanna know how many shares I have in a company, Carter has it. It’s basically like your whole, uh, startup portfolio and more, I understand that, but anyway, now VBA is part of car.
Anyone out there who is interested in investing in a company can go to VO bond.io/angels, pull some people together and make an investment. And Tomara, I’m telling you for you. This would be phenomenal. Imagine if you emailed me and you said Andrew, I know you and I kind of hit it off and kind of your, your pain in my neck.
But I think you’re gonna like this company. I am pooling a few people together and we’re going to be making an investment in this company. Do you want to join? Of course, I’d be interested of course. And the way for you to set that up is vaon dot. I should spell it. Bob on is V AU B a n.io/angels. And one of the beauties of them is they will allow you to get investors from all over the world.
They’re not us centric, right, Bob on. Thank you so much for sponsoring. Let’s continue here. So you finally had a hit, how big was this? How much money did you make from the first baby safety product that you sold?
Tomer: Yeah. So I sold it for a long time. I think it was, uh, maybe 12 or 18 months ago if they stopped selling it. So was a long, long time because, uh, and the reason I stopped is because it didn’t make any, like, Financial sense anymore because it became so saturated in Amazon that specific product, uh, there was no margin left, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to continue selling it.
and products, any product has a life cycle, right? Uh, at some point like it’s gonna, it’s gonna plateau and, and be done with, so, I can say that for the FA first, like a few years, even it was doing over 50 K a month in sales pretty quickly. And we basically, and then I thought to myself like this, this, this works.
I understand Amazon. I have one product. It did well. I tried once and it worked and then, um, I’m gonna do it.
Andrew: you know, your stuff.
Tomer: yeah. I signed up for a course. The course is legit. Everything works as, as it should, as they said, you know, and then I basically launched three more products and different niches started like new brands.
You can call them on Amazon. Um, and then they all tanked. Like they all didn’t really work.
Andrew: what happened at those companies that they didn’t work out
Tomer: Yeah. So, so multiple reasons. I think I, I was also pretty cocky with what I thought will work. And I think once you kind of think, something worth, you can kind neglect a bit in your second term around cuz you think, okay, I know what I’m doing. Uh, but then I launched like more of the same stuff that already existed on Amazon with some of.
Like, I didn’t really differentiate much. I was also like, you need to understand it also takes time until you actually get a product live on Amazon because you do, you get samples from China shipped to you and that takes a while. And then you, it’s not good enough. You fix it again then it’s still not good to fix it again.
Let’s say the fourth sample comes in. You’re like, okay. It’s okay. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. And then you say let’s launch on Amazon and see what happens now. That’s a huge mistake. You need to have a really good product when you put it in Amazon, you cannot just have like, whatever product, because the negative reviews are gonna come in.
If the product doesn’t work as it should. And you just waste a lot of time resources, um, money, obviously. So, uh, that’s not a good thing. And to me, that’s, um, to me, after those three products, I really thought to myself, okay, what, what can I do? Like, what am I gonna do next? And then it’s like, what? The first one?
So I just capitalize on that. So what I did was instead of selling like a four lock set, I started selling an eight lock set and a 12 lock set. And then I brought in like different types of safety products that also started to pick up, uh, pretty quick, like, uh, electrical plugs and
Andrew: On the winners.
Tomer: things. Yeah. So I think also Amazon actually reward you, um, in the frequently bought together.
Like they can see it’s the same brand they can see, like if you just scroll down below the mini image and Amazon, you also have like a few parts of frequently bought to. And then Amazon, Amazon basically wants you to build a brand, but on their platform, they don’t want you to kind of go out of their platform.
Uh, but they actually reward you for doing that because they see customers are buying multiple products from you. So they show your products more to those people.
Andrew: Tomer. One of the things that you told me before was that. Before you started selling these three products and I, I don’t know all of them, but one of them was some kind of a tent kit with poles or spikes or something that was special. You said before you started selling it, you did your research, but while you were getting ready to launch, you saw that they were already competitors coming in there, but you said, you know what?
I already put in my time, it’s gotta work. And so you went for it. And one of the takeaways for you from that was no more. Being so committed to one product in the early stage that you have to sell it. You were going to just keep putting a few different products in the hopper, so that if you noticed that something wasn’t selling you didn’t feel this sense that you had to talk about that.
Tomer: I think most sellers when they start, they have one, maybe two parts that they work on at the same time. And then they feel obligated to launch them. What I recommend seller to do is to have five to 10 products that they work on or more obviously the more, the better. And they, I think anyone needs to understand it doesn’t matter if you have a service or if you have physical products that you sell and you wanna launch a new thing.
You wanna launch an online course, doesn’t matter what it is. You need to understand it until you actually launch it until it actually actually goes. In Amazon until you pay the actual deposit supplier, like the initial list, usually it’s 30%, uh, ahead of time. And then 70%, once it’s ready to ship from China, everything by that point is research everything.
By that point is just validation, getting power developed and ready to go. And it can basically fall at any, any time. And also just before we pay the deposit, the supplier. We check the market again, we check if, if the market still makes sense to go into, or maybe there are like 15 new competitors for that product to Amazon, maybe it’s even, uh, in the book I mentioned, uh, a lock picking set.
So lock, picking sets is something I wanted to sell. It’s basically a set that teaches you how to pick a lock. Like that’s, that’s the product, a terrible product to you, basically selling market. You don’t really wanna stand behind such a product probably. And that’s why in the us, it became a prohibited product to be.
On Amazon specifically, and that was already in
the production process for it.
Andrew: you’re saying to me, you were already getting ready to sell a lock picking set. And suddenly Amazon says, actually we can’t have this on our platform anymore.
And now occasionally I’ll see it on there, but you’re saying they take it off as soon as they catch it. How far along were you? And then why did Amazon decide that a lock picking set is a problem?
Tomer: Yeah. So maybe, maybe let’s backtrack a bit. So I can kind of give the full story of this because they checked the numbers initially on. I thought everyone is doing amazing. Everyone is like doing 30 K 50 K a hundred K a month in sales and have very low reviews. They have like 50 to a hundred reviews, all of them.
So I’m like, this is an amazing opportunity. I reached out to some suppliers, got the samples, and then I had a cool idea. I said to myself, okay, I’m doing e-commerce and when you do e-commerce you can basically do whatever you want to the packaging. I don’t need to stay, uh, and do what everything. That you see in retail?
So my idea was let’s design a box that is black all around, has a small lock in the front and just looks like a deposit box. And then on the bottom of it, it was white. And there, we have like a, a bit of more text about the tools and they had maybe in China and the barcode and stuff like that, but it looks like a deposit box all around.
And then when you open it up from the lock side, it says, congrats. You’ve just picked your first. so doing that, that, that idea was to create like a, like a much nicer experience for the customer compared to what everyone else did. So we did that. I paid the 30% to deposit the supplier. And then I went in to kind of create a shipment in Amazon, telling them new stock is coming in.
And I see my listing is like, I cannot even create a listing. I check the sales on Amazon again, and I see everyone doesn’t exist anymore. Like none of them are in Amazon. Um, so I went into the prohibited product list on Amazon. It actually showed up there as lock picking sets. I assume it became illegal in multiple countries or multiple states in, in the us.
That’s usually the case. And then Amazon shuts it. Um, completely on their platform, uh, that happened to a few more products from sellers that consulted for over the years on different products. And, uh, I had other cases where it happened to me as well, unfortunately. so, uh, I eventually got almost all of the money back from the supplier.
Um, but that is like one example of a party that we really wanted to develop. I think it’s a, it was a really good idea at the time, but unfortunately we got shut.
Andrew: I see it. It’s on a list on Amazon’s prohibited list, along with theft devices. And so Amazon considers it to be a tool to allow somebody to pick a lock and then go in and steal. All right. So tell me about some of the things that work, what worked in the beginning, what works now for selling online on Amazon?
Teach us a little.
Tomer: What worked in the beginning was basically, you find about Amazon, you put a label on it from China and then you launch it and it might, it might work. It might not. But a lot of times it worked. If you picked a good product these days, Amazon is a lot more competitive. So you really need to have a better edge with your product, like have something unique about it.
Or this is what I recommend sellers. Instead of doing like heavy development for your products is going to niches where there is a. A lot of barriers of entry. What I mean by that is in the past, like in the courses that were teaching Amazon, they all said, you need to find a small light product, one piece, not complex, no electronics, uh, no FDA approvals, nothing like that.
And just make it very simple to kind of source and ship it to, to the, to Amazon what I’m telling sellers these days. If you do that strategy, even if you find that let’s say perfect product, it’s gonna become saturated by the time you get it to Amazon. So instead of what you should do is you should find products that.
A very high barrier of entry. So either they’re expensive or oversized heavy, um, or very cheap, right. Very, very small products that don’t seem like it’s even possible to make a profit with or products that we acquire F FDA approval. We were selling thermometer during COVID. Right. So, uh, shipping them from Taiwan to Amazon, we were actually sending them before COVID and then COVID, we made a lot of money selling those.
So to me, it’s like, if you can find products that actually. Require have a lot of requirements. Uh, that’s actually a good thing because you need to figure it out once you just sold it once in terms of sourcing it. And then once you sell it, you don’t have, you are not, uh, com you’re not competing and bringing the price down and the price war with, uh, competitors, uh, coming in every single day.
Uh, so to me, that’s the name of the game now, like the, the money is in the, in the pie development, in the sourcing, that’s where you really make your money. And then once you have that better product and the barrier of entry. Then it’s like, the game is easy from that point.
Andrew: so basically what you’re saying is things that seem impossibly hard to sell on Amazon are what you should be doing. Things that require FDA approval, which is really difficult. Things that are so heavy, like an exercise bike that you almost wonder, how could they even afford to ship it out or super inexpensive.
Andrew: Is there any way to get repeat business? Like if you sell to somebody, sorry, go ahead with that. And then let’s talk. Repeat.
Tomer: Yeah. So definitely I think, um, and, and what I can say is the way I validate products is I basically wanna say it’s already selling on Amazon and making some money, because again, Amazon is a search engine. So if someone is not searching for it, then no one is buying it. So if it’s like an exercise bike, I can basically say I’m launching exercise.
Um, and then you can do different things like you don’t have to even stay in that niche of selling to everyone. So another thing you can do is I believe that any saturated niche doesn’t matter what the niche is, is an opportunity. So let’s say exercise bike is a good example because one of the products we looked at recently was exercise bikes for kids, right?
So you basically can niche down and you can always niche down either to an
Tomer: Or you can reach down to a specific use of the product. So, um, a specific audience is for kids, a specific U use can be exercise, bike for triathlon, right? That’s like a specific use that you’re saying, this is for athletes specifically.
It’s like the most professional bike out there or whatever. So you can basically say just for, just for them. Um, another good example of a, um, actually that can also be an audience, but one good example of a use can. Let’s say Bluetooth headphones. So if you think about Bluetooth headphones and you, now you have like, because it’s such a, just a saturated niche, you have B Bluetooth headphones for running in the rain, right.
Or for running outside. And then you have, uh, Bluetooth headphones for gaming, right. Which is like, it’s a different product that only has one major use. And that’s why people are buy.
Andrew: I saw Bluetooth headphones for sleep. I immediately bought them. I love having these earphones in my ears while I sleep. I don’t disturb my wife. They don’t bother me. They don’t press in my ears. The only thing is that they look a little dorky, you know, I’m trying to like sleep with this woman in every way.
We’re talking about. It’s a little weird for me to have these Bluetooth earphones in when I’m in bed, but I don’t care. I, I like having my podcast on while I’m asleep. Um, so that’s what you’re talking about. Where’s the nichey thing that you wouldn’t expect people, um, would want, would, would use a mainstream product.
You’ve told me in the past how you can identify something like Bluetooth earphones for sleep. What are you doing? Are you looking at searches on Amazon? Is there a way to do that?
Tomer: Yeah. So, uh, Bluetooth headphones for sleep. Um, yeah, I mentioned that a couple of times, I think in different lectures I’ve done, but if you just go to Amazon and you type in Bluetooth’s headphones for. Right. That’s what you type in. You can just come up with a bunch of examples, like of what people are actually typing in.
You can see like the automatic search results there. Amazon actually also gives you backend tools and analytics. There is something called brand analytics. They actually give you a lot of, um, backend data that is not accessible to just, uh, customers. And then you also have different software out there, uh, like SU companies, uh, for specifically for Amazon sellers that are also showing you even more data.
By scraping Amazon by collecting data from all of their customers selling on Amazon. Um,
Andrew: What are some of those good, um, sites for getting information like that? About what’s going on Amazon.
Tomer: yeah, so I think the leading software these days is called helium 10. So helium 10 is, uh, uh, basically they can help with pretty much everything from like product research. They can even show you. So you, you click anything, you go to Bluetooth, headphones, you click on their extension, which I think is free.
And then, uh, it’ll just show you all the revenue, all the sales, like monthly of what everyone is doing on Amazon. So that can give you like a rough idea on what’s going on.
Andrew: So dude, I just did right now, a search for Bluetooth headphones four and running came up, which I kind of anticipated for girls, which kind of makes sense. Um, I could see that. All right. I wanna do an ad for my, I wanna do an ad for my second sponsor and then I. Why don’t I let you finish your thoughts, sorry.
And then I’ll come back and do the ad. And then I wanna talk about what makes like a six star experience as you call it. But yeah. What were you gonna say about the truck driver headphones?
Tomer: Yeah. So again, I think it’s, uh, I think that’s exactly right. And I think one, one thing I just wanna say about this is, uh, I think you need to also think, where do you take this brand? Because you cannot basically launch headphones to slip with, and then headphones for truck drivers, then headphones for yoga.
And then like, you cannot keep doing that with the same product. It doesn’t really work well on Amazon because you are trying to target different people with the same product. You almost become a factory. at that point. So what you really wanna do is you wanna say, okay, I’m selling products for truck drivers, so let’s do headphones for truck drivers, and then let’s do, there were some weird products I consulted for in the past, but, uh, they, they can be like a truck.
how do you call like a camera, right. That you can kind of see the road so you can even sell that. Let’s say just
for trucks or whatever. So, I mean, those are things, or let’s say, uh, uh, phone holder for truck, right? I’m sure that’s like a major key where people are typing in. Um, so you can basically target those people in different ways, and then you wanna build a brand around those truck.
Andrew: Okay, second sponsor come and call a company called lemon.io. Tom, me, imagine if you decide that what you wanna do is actually create your own software for people who are selling online, maybe internal software that nobody else is
going to see you just say, I need to be
able to do whatever. Do you have any ideas in mind?
It looks like, um, I’m looking at the look on your face and it seems like you have a couple of products in mind. What, what would you want a software developer from say, lemon.io to do for you?
Yeah. So actually you mentioned this last time and I actually checked the website right after, um, our call and, uh, I sent to my team as well. We’re probably gonna, uh, try it out to see what’s going to happen because we do have basically internal spread spreadsheets we’ve developed for ourselves. And we try to set a bunch of times
to different places around the world.
And we always, uh, like I think it was always like the communication wasn’t right. The people weren’t. I think we didn’t even describe exactly what we want in a, in a, in a good way. So I think, um, that looks like a very good solution for that. So we’re gonna try it out.
Andrew: Yeah. And was I right about the site? Doesn’t it have like this quirky, interesting vibe over on lemon dot? I.
Tomer: yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah.
fricking love that team. All right. So anyone out there, if you have a product that you don’t have enough
resources to build, maybe your team is already working on something else. Maybe it’s something that’s completely outta left field, but needs to get built. If you wanna hire developers, get them fast and more importantly, have them be the right match for you.
I want you to challenge the people firstname.lastname@example.org. If you go to lemon.io/mixer G tell them what you’re looking for, let them find the perfect match for you. And I think you’ll be amazed by how well it works, no obligation if you’re not happy, but if you are, you’re gonna be having a long term relationship with a developer that will change the course of your business.
All you have to do to give it a shot is go to lemon.io/mixergy. When you do, they’ll take great care of you because they’ll know that you come for me. And I’ve known the founder of lemon four years. And number one, and number two, they’ll also take some, um, They’ll they’ll give you a discount on their already low price.
And by the way, their price is so low because they, they started out with these Ukrainian developers who are phenomenal, but nobody appreciated how good they were. And so they were under price. And so lemon teamed you up with, uh, Ukrainian developers since the war. Uh, they’ve actually found developers from other countries to an expanded their business, but, um, they’ve been, uh, phenomenal throughout, and I can’t believe that they’re able to continue to grow considering what’s happening in Ukraine and they are Ukrainian.
I love them. Go to lemon.io/mixer G all right. You say, look, you need, if you’re selling on Amazon to have a six star experience, not five stars, yes. Their platform only goes to five stars, but you need to have it be so good that people wish there was a whole other star to give, and you have some techniques for how to do it and examples of how you’ve done it or how your clients have done it.
Give me some, let’s be specific about what it takes to get that six star experience that people love so much.
Tomer: Yeah. So two examples I shared so far was the inserting the baby thing that we did. And the other was the, uh, thing that we tried to do with the lock picking set as well. Um, in the baby brand, we still do that across our products, basically, just trying to be playful and kind of communicating that to the customers.
Um, one thing that they’ve seen on Amazon that was really interesting is, um, makeup brush, makeup, uh, brush set on Amazon that basically they just have some pictures on, on the listing, but when you buy it, it comes gift wrapped already. And I, I realized that just by going to reviews because they got like, Ridiculous amount of five star reviews very quickly.
And I thought this is fake. It’s not, it’s probably fake reviews or something like that. But then I kind of went into the images in the reviews. And then I saw there were a lot of different gift perhaps there, and they just basically gift rapid in China, ship it with just a label, just the barcode and made in China.
It’s like, whatever you need, uh, for Amazon and, and to sell in the us. And that was. And that’s like the only differentiator they had from their competitors. And then a lot of people reviewed and said, oh, I felt like a gift for myself. I, or they said, I actually needed to give rapid for my girlfriend or wife or whatever.
Like it just, uh, worked for them. So I think, um, the way you can also see this stuff, by the way, specifically on Amazon is if you look, uh, you can even check like review velocity, right? So you can see how many review. A product got in the last 30 days or something like that. The average is probably anywhere between, I would say 2% to 5% review rate.
So that means for every a hundred sales, you get five reviews. Uh, so if you, you see something with like eight reviews or 10 reviews in terms of like, um, percentage like 8%, 10%, that’s extremely. Uh, there are some categories where that might happen regardless. So like, it depends on the, on the product you’re selling.
If it’s, uh, disposable cups, you’re probably not gonna get a lot of reviews because people bite for their party and whatever. They don’t have a reason to review that product, but if they buy a
bag right, or, um, or whatever, then it’s a very personal item and then they feel more kind of, uh, not obligated, but they
feel, um, like they, they can write a review about it.
Um, so I think that’s. that’s one thing to think about
Andrew: there was another one where you said that
there’s a gift like you’re
Tomer: yeah. So what I will say is that you need to think about the experience from beginning to end. So obviously the experience starts on Amazon from your listing. And then it continues to when they get the product, they open up the packaging. Maybe you can write something on the inside of the packaging, right?
Like, congrats. You’ve just picked your first lock. Maybe when they take the product out, they go to watch a video or they have an insert inside. You can give value there, they watch the video. Maybe you can give value there. They use the product. Maybe when they store the product right around the house, maybe you can do something, something there, even the packaging.
Uh, there was a brand that consulted for, um, selling basically kids’ products and the packaging is basically thrown away and I gave them the, um, the idea to basically
turn it into like an kind of like an origami package, but then it like becomes a toy for the kid afterwards. So, I mean, there are so many things you can do when you kind think about every touchpoint with the customer and what can be done there, um, to just improve on the experience.
Andrew: about returns, dude, lately, I’ve been going over
to whole foods to return things from Amazon and they don’t want anything. They don’t need a box for it. They don’t even necessarily even need the packaging that it came in, though. I always keep the packaging
cuz I’m kind of OCD about it, but I look at the way some people return things and I think this is kind of sloppy.
I know we’re all making mistakes. If you’re, if you’re able to just buy a bunch and then return it with no problem, you’re gonna make a mistake in returning. how are you as a seller, able to keep track of the returns and have them be in good enough con condition that it even matters. Do you don’t you get ripped off by people who just either keep part of it or in some cases, just forget to return parts of what they bought from you.
I’m seeing some recognition here. Tell me about this.
Tomer: you do. So I have a crazy example of that, uh, which is unfortunate, but, uh, client of mine was selling, uh, screen projectors for the pool for the outdoors. Like you put it in front of your pool, it’s like a huge screen projector. You buy projector separately. And it also comes with like a blower to kind of blow it up.
You know what I mean? You plug it in and you kind of blows it up in like two minutes. So what people did they bought? They bought two, they took projector from one, the blower from the other, and they said, this one, they’d come with a blower. This one they’d come with a projector and refunded both to Amazon
So, uh, the seller and their seller realized this because why would someone buy two? Right. And then why would someone refund two? And then, uh, they send everything to their own warehouse, like to like, you can basically. You can use Amazon fulfillment for selling everything and also even for refunds. But when you sell like oversized item, expensive items, you wanna have your own kind of facility that you just use, right?
It’s not necessarily your own warehouse. You just kind of use their warehouse space for your products, and then you can have some people there to kind of, uh, take care of your products and you can have like other pieces there. Um, for your products to kind of put them back together, if you need to, or let’s say packaging, right.
People send it without the packaging can kind of package you there if you need to, and you ship it back to Amazon. So they realize it that way. They tried to deal with it with Amazon and they couldn’t figure it out eventually, uh, that business was sold, um, a few years back. So that’s why I can kind of talk about it more freely.
But overall, what happens with returns is it goes back to Amazon. Amazon decides if it’s sellable or. And then it just goes back on the shelf. Unfortunately, a lot of times Amazon is putting stuff on the shelf that is not really sellable. and you can kind of cancel that, but unless you ship it to your own warehouse, it’s still gonna happen regardless of what you tell Amazon.
So, um, for sellers that have most seller are selling products, let’s say up to between 20 to 60 bucks, that’s usually the price. Of products that are being sold in that price range, like dealing with an outside warehouse is like
too much of a hassle for most. Um, returns is probably around, uh, like it’s should be less than 5% for sure.
But if it’s like 1%, half a percent, whatever, like it’s not like you just take it as an added expense and don’t really overthink it too much.
Andrew: They just, and then what do you do with it? Do you throw it out?
Tomer: Yeah. So you have multiple options. One of them is to throw it out, uh, which is a bit unfortunate. I think one thing that I’ve done with the baby brand is I, I donated every year. Uh, like what Amazon does is they also give you
like certain times of the year where you can kind of liquid. Access stock, especially like unsellable products, you can just try to liquidate them.
And they always ask them to kind of take pictures and send them over to me. If I donate, uh, the products like baby proofing products to like,
orphanage and places like that. So,
um, I always ask them for pictures and
Andrew: Meaning you find it
Tomer: no, no, I find it. I find it then I, I send it to them. So what always happens with that and, and also like, That’s also like a tax write off for you cuz you donated that instead of just throwing it out.
So it’s kind of good for everyone when you do that. but the interesting thing is
when they send me pictures, it looks like everything is almost in perfect condition and should be sold on Amazon. So, um, again, I think it just, uh, it’s just something good. Good. You can do regardless obviously of. Of making like profit by.
Andrew: there was a guy. I don’t even know how to find
him, but Amazon, I mean, uh, YouTube’s algorithms were serving him up to me. What he would do is he would take his returns with a camera on him and a couple of guys around him and just open it up
and go look at this. We’d now have a phone that someone returned.
He opens up the box and whoa, there’s a brick inside the box. And everyone just kind of like hooting and I was watching them for a bit, but eventually you get tired of seeing the same scams over and over again. You feel bad for the guy. and then Amazon, I guess, stopped, uh, YouTube stopped serving, uh, those videos up.
That’s the, the smartest funniest thing that I’ve seen done with it. I, I, I feel really bad for sellers like you on there.
Tomer: Yeah. I mean, there are always gonna be bad players, I think, but, uh, I would say that’s the minority, obviously. So I think, uh, most customers on Amazon love, Amazon love buying on Amazon. Uh, really love the platform. And also in terms of reviews, Uh, especially in the us, like they will really, uh, five star view is something like that.
That’s the majority
are living five star views on products. Anything under five stars hurts you, right? Like a four star
brings you closer to four stars than,
than five. So, um, if you wanna say, let’s say five or four and a half stars, that’s like the that’s where you wanna be in most products, then, uh, anything other five hearts you right.
Andrew: All right. How about one last tip for building a
business on Amazon? one of the things, uh, yeah, well, you know what your book ride, the Amazon wave is full of them. Is there one that if somebody is getting started, they could use, and I know that you usually
consult with people who are way further ahead than getting started.
You’re talking about the hu the bigger, uh, sellers on Amazon, but is there one thing you can think of from ride the Amazon wave that people who are new would, would be helped by.
Tomer: Yeah. So the book was really written for active sellers, and these can also be people that are already selling products, physical products, and they wanna go into Amazon or they do shop fine. They wanna go into Amazon or whatever. So that’s the, the right book for them. What I will say, I think, and this is what is neglect by almost every seller I ever spoke to.
And this cannot even be like bigger cells, not just. Beginners, but all the courses teach you. Everything you learned on Amazon is basically how to look for a product, launch it on Amazon. Then maybe a bit of supply chain, a bit advertising on Amazon, but that’s it. And if you just keep launching a product after product, it’s all gonna collapse on top of you.
So you really need to have, uh, you need to launch more products, but at the same time you need, you need to build up
your team and you need to build up your systems and processes, uh, as well. So you need to do all of those at the same.
because you don’t want to be get burnt out and you also want to have a scalable business and launching just launching products is not, not scalable at.
Andrew: And so what you’re saying is, think about focusing on one product with a team of people and allow, or one kind of customer and go deep. Is that it.
Tomer: Yeah. Yeah, that that’s it. And also the first hire should happen as soon as you can afford it, probably, uh, the similar, the better, uh, even if you don’t think you need that person, you do. Because, uh, what I recommend sellers do is basically. What most sellers are gonna bring title, unfortunately is you need someone for customer supports or hire that person.
You need someone for product research, hire a second person. Then you need advertising a third person. What I recommend sellers is when you usually start to hire, you don’t have that much work. So you hire someone for two hours a day, three hours a day. That’s very messy. So instead of what you wanna do is you wanna hire someone that is management material.
Right. That can be from overseas. That can be local, whatever, but you wanna hire someone who is management material, because if you look at any successful startup, you have the core team, right? You have the core team of like three, four people that are super talented and, uh, and know what they’re doing. So if you hire someone who is management material, who can teach them a lot of different aspects of the
business and they can help you hire.
let’s say outsourced team to, to cheaper places than higher, let’s say in the us. Um, and they can train them, right? So you only train like one or two people and then they can help you build up the rest of the
Andrew: All right. Let me close with this on a personal note. You’re in a kibbutz. Is it still like the whole socialist thing there where everyone kind of co-owns the assets of the kibbutz where kids go and live in like a kids’ area and adults get to
live together with their spouses or is, is the
situation different now?
Tomer: No, it’s, , it’s totally different. It’s kinda like a small town, so it’s, uh, just standard stuff. We just have some agriculture here. Um, like we get avocados and mangoes and whatever, like, uh, different season of the year. And that’s, uh, that’s pretty much it, like it’s. Just very good education for the kids to go out on trips all the time.
And then they, so I think for them, it’s, uh, it’s heaven, but, um, we live here. It’s like 15 minutes from my
wife’s parents’ house. So um, I think that’s, that’s why, and it’s the probably most beautiful place in Israel, like in terms of location and what’s around us. So you have rivers and you have mountains and you have whatever.
So, uh, very nice. Um, anyone listening and they wanna come, just let me
Andrew: So it’s more
like a comm it’s more like a small community with some like shared experiences for
families than it is, uh, an
old school commune
at this point. and you still do visitors
Tomer: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Andrew: Oh, um, you were saying anyone who wants to experience this can hit you up and let you know.
I know that at one point K uh, the kibbutz experience in Israel meant you can come and visit maybe even work on the property for a week. So you experience it and work for your, for your home, but not anymore. You’re laughing at that. This is more like if you wanna visit a kibbutz and see like a small town, come see it, but don’t expect the old 1960s experience here.
Tomer: exactly. Yeah.
Andrew: All right, dude. It is 10:00 PM. I am so grateful to you for doing this. You are actually even willing to do this at 11:30 PM. Your time. I’m, I’m grateful that you did it with me, not just once, but now twice. We’ve been on Bulletproof software here with Riverside, but there’d been a few issues and I’m, I’m glad that we could re redo this, the website for anyone who’s interested in connecting with you directly.
I’ve been on your email list. That’s how we stayed in touch was what is it called? It’s like top dog or something. I, I was on it a while back. And now I’m just getting your
Tomer: Yeah. Yeah. So if you go to join, tap down.com that’s the website. Um, you can also check out my name Tomara bevi.com. Um, and both have the book on there. If you could just go to Amazon, obviously type in, write the Amazon wave. That’s where you get the book and the book also sent you to a lot
more free content, like live lectures.
I’ve done on stages podcast, uh, different podcasts that I’ve I was on as well.
Yeah. So a lot, all of my stuff, basically, almost all of it is free.
I don’t really hide anything in terms of strategies, tactics,
Andrew: And I it on your side, it’s not like you’ve got some even upsell to get me
into a course. You’re basically just teaching, teaching, teaching, talking about this, and then a few higher end sellers
contact you and they hire you. But for the rest of us, it’s, here’s a primer and how to sell on Amazon.
Thank you so much for being on here. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first, if you’re looking to invest in startups with a pool of other people, sometimes you don’t even, you don’t even have to invest your own money, though. It helps. But if you want to, because you found an interesting company and told me I’m talking to you specifically, but also to everyone in the audience, what you could do is when you find a company that you wanna invest in, you go to VO.
V a U B a n.io. And you can pull together a few investment investors and make an investment in a company that you believe in and help them back. ’em and all of you ride the startup wave too, and I’m grateful to them. You don’t even need a URL with them. They they’ll they’ll know that you came from me.
And the second, when you do wanna hire developer, use my URL, you get a discount. And that way they’ll also know that you came from me, go to lemon.io/mixer G I’m grateful to them and to you Tomara thanks so much for
being on here.
Tomer: Thank you, Andrew.