E188: Launching Products for a New Ecommerce Business (Under the Hood with Wilson Lee)

A brick and mortar business can be vastly different to owning an ecommerce one. Each offers a unique selling experience and would require different kinds of resources. Having said that,it can be challenging for traditional entrepreneurs to make the transition.

Today’s guest is poised to make that very transition. Wilson Lee has been a traditional entrepreneur for 10 years. He’d previously dipped a toe at an ecommerce venture or two but is now ready to get both of his feet wet.

Initial Plan

Wilson is looking at two potential brands to sell online. The first is a green tea brand which he will source from a farm a business partner owns in Taiwan. The second is a baby brand. The plan is explore other online channels to sell on apart from Amazon. He also intends to set up a free plus shipping offer for these brands to test the waters and collect information on his potential target market.

Mike’s Input

Mike stresses the importance of taking the focus off Amazon when looking at online marketing channels. Diversification is important in order to develop and scale an ecommerce business.

He offers this play-by-play strategy for getting Wilson’s ecommerce business off the ground.

  1. Start with brand name and URL
  2. Design a logo – this will inform other branding elements like font style and colors to use
  3. File for a trademark – a crucial requirement if you plan to sell on Amazon
  4. Make the product – focus on creating that free plus shipping offer

A product belonging to a highly competitive niche can make an impact by having a premium look and feel about it.

Great packaging is more important in other niches than others. For example, new moms or moms-to-be would be more discerning about product packaging than tea aficionados.

Under the Hood is a segment where we do an hour-long coaching call with one of our listeners. We take a look at their businesses, provide honest feedback, offer our best business advice, and answer whatever questions they have. In exchange for the free coaching, we will turn the call into a podcast episode so that our community can benefit as well. It’s a win-win!

Registration to EcomCrew Premium is closed indefinitely. But, you can still learn from us through our suite of free courses. There’s a total of 20 videos covering ecommerce topics like Importing from China and Building a 7-Figure Business. Find more information on the link below.

Free Video Courses

As always, thanks for listening to this episode! If you enjoyed listening and think this episode has been useful to you, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!

Full Audio Transcript

Intro: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 188 of the EcomCrew Podcast. I am recording this intro right after getting back from Las Vegas and the Retail Global and Rhodium Weekend events which I spoke at. And as a parting gift, I got a pretty bad cold. So recording the intro, but the rest of the episode was recorded several months ago. This was an Under the Hood episode that we did with Wilson Lee. If you're interested in being on your own Under the Hood episode, you can go to EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood to sign up for that.

It's free. I will do an hour interview with you. You get a bunch of free advice and we get to use your recording on the podcast if we choose to use that later. I think it’s a win-win for everybody and these have been very well received. So, I hope you guys enjoy this episode with Wilson Lee.

Mike: Hey Wilson. Welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast, man.

Wilson: I’m so stoked, thank you Mike.

Mike: No problem. So just so people know that are maybe just tuning in for the first time to EcomCrew, we do a segment on here called Under the Hood where we have podcast listeners come on, and tell us about some of their struggles, their trials and tribulations and try to get some advice from us over an hour of free coaching. So if you want to do this yourself, you can go to EcomCrew.com/UndertheHood. And what I try to do is spend less than five minutes of pre talking with people that come on Under the Hood.

So whenever we're talking about stuff, I'm hearing it for the first time and it's not staged or kind of rehearsed or anything so I can have people can kind of see my thought process as we do this. But we did talk for just a minute; you have a couple of brands that you're looking at launching. And those are kind — I think we're going to talk about today.

So unlike a lot of people that have come on Under the Hood to this point where they have an existing product, and they already kind of know exactly what they're doing, you have two things that you're thinking of doing. And we're going to talk about those two things and kind of dig into them. So I'm really excited about that Wilson. But the first question I always ask everyone on this segment is how did you get into e-commerce? I'm so interested to hear how you kind of got to this point and got interested in e-commerce.

Wilson: For sure. Actually, I've been running business for last 10 years, and majority of them are brick and mortar business. And I just see a lot of my friends have been always telling me to jump into e-commerce and I did dabble in it here and there. Nothing really took off. I have no shiny object syndrome where starting multiple projects at the same time and majority of my projects, which is brick and mortar usually takes off before my ecom, and that's the reason why it never really succeeded. Now, what really got me into the ecom things is because I wanted to find something to occupy my girlfriend with.

Mike: Nice, awesome. So you'll have her involved in the business then I guess?

Wilson: So what happened was she's always on my back, hey you know what, being an entrepreneur is very, very different because of the fact that you don't have that long weekend. You don't have that nighttime or Saturday chilling time and stuff like that right? So she's always annoying me about it. I'm like, hey, you know what? Why don't I start you something that can actually make you money? And she's like, okay, sure. Let's talk more Wilson, let's talk more. And at that time I went through the ASM course and with her, so then I'm like, hey you know what, why don't we start something and help you sell something on Amazon?

And at that time, she's really into the reality show stuff like Kim Kardashian and stuff like that. And at that time, Kim had a phone case; it's called the Lumee case. So basically, it's like LED strips in front of the phone case and allows you to take perfect selfies and everything. And she's like, oh my God; this thing is going to blow up in the internet. And so we did a test order. We ordered 400 different units. And that kept us going for like two, three months. And after the product after the first few months of actually going through all the work, she kind of felt bored of it.

So we just left it on Amazon and we didn't even pay any attention to it. And a few months later when we went back to it, it was actually sold out. So to our surprise, we're like, oh my god, this thing works. So but at that time she's already occupied with her other jobs and so we kind of left it at that. But that was actually my first taste of what Ecom is all about, that actually works. And then until recently I'm like, hey, you know what; one of my [inaudible 00:04:47] businesses is hitting a cabin.

I see the biggest problem with scalability and also the high rent and the high labor costs, and just not being able to scale as much as we really want to in my brick and mortar businesses. So then that was when I decided that this year, I'm going to make that jump and that leap and turn my attention into creating e-commerce brands.

Mike: Very cool. So like I said, we talked for just a minute before hitting the record button, you had a couple different ideas. Let's tell the audience about them and kind of dig into them one at a time, and maybe give you some ideas of which one you should go with or maybe both.

Wilson: For sure, for sure. And so to begin with, I actually have a — I really like leveraging off and actually seeing off my network and seeing what opportunity and what kind of support I have. And one of the support that I have is I have a partner in one of my business that actually owns a farm in Taiwan that distributes and they grow a lot of tea. And he's also one of the biggest supplier for bubble tea supplies in Western Canada. So, we have this warehouse that's 20,000 square feet, there's around like 500 to 1000 skews of teas and flavors and powders and all this stuff that people can purchase to create their own shops.

And I felt like that this is a very, very good resource that's in my backyard which I can easily get the raw material, repackage them, and create a brand of green tea powder or something that's a little bit more in trend at this moment. So that's kind of something that I was thinking into getting. Now, after doing some research on Amazon, everything on the first page has thousands reviews and it seems like that the market is really, really saturated. So that's kind of where I'm at with the green tea brand.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I love this. I can't wait to kind of dig into the tea stuff with you. It's something I've actually looked at myself. We were over at the Canton Fair about 18 months ago looking at potentially getting into tea like specifically tea ourselves, because I think it's just an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately for us, it just all the pieces didn’t quite line up. But if you have this extra piece where you have access to a farm directly and can get the stuff even cheaper, then we probably would have been able to because that was one of our issues. It kind of unlocks those things.

And from our perspective, we aren't just looking at building an Amazon business, we're looking at building a business that Amazon is one of the channels that is a component to that business. And that's how we look at everything at our company. Even though Amazon still is our largest channel, we hope that it doesn't always stay that way and we hope it doesn't change because like close our account or something stupid one day, but because the rest of our business continues to grow.

So, there's certain products that work really well as just straight up Amazon only products. And I think that those types of products are your commoditized, non brandable, non consumable type products that are very difficult to target with something like Facebook ads. And I think that the Facebook ads, direct response marketing can be like that great equalizer thing that changes the whole methodology. And I look at the Amazon component in these hyper competitive niches is basically the way to break into that is having off Amazon traffic to be able to dictate that.

And so with something like tea, pulling all this together, the way that I would handle it would be to be running a bunch of off Amazon marketing and sales funnels that we later can be able to launch products on Amazon in a way that would be almost unfair to the people that are currently there because they probably don't have that advantage. They're just selling tea on Amazon and they might not have that external ability.

So to me, it's incredibly interesting. I think it's something that you could do incredible with, and there's a lot of other reasons. It isn't just the Amazon opportunity or the direct response opportunity, but I see stuff like subscription boxes and repeat business and cost of sale and margin, and all these other things like check every box of like my Nirvana e-commerce business. So, I think it's an exciting opportunity. I’d love to dig into and I want to talk to you more about it.

Wilson: Yeah, for sure. And that's exactly what I was thinking too in terms of like creating brand that's not running off of Amazon only. It's just when I'm digging more into the different brands that are already selling on Amazon, the first 10 that has thousands of review each, they also have really strong off Amazon marketing. And so then that's kind of something I'm just thinking like if I'm going to spend the time and effort into creating a brand, is it a smart choice to start off the battle? We know for a fact that it's going to be an uphill fight throughout the whole time until we have a substantial base of customers.

Mike: Yeah. So, I mean, the way that I would approach it, it's always like that whole minimal viable product thing first. So there's some minimal things that I would do that I think are very important. I think it's important to come up with a good brand name, a good URL, a good brand message, good packaging, good look and feel, good logo, all that type of stuff. You want this to look like a premium product, and be differentiated in some way. So, I think that there are some minimal stuff you kind of have to do there, probably something like a $10,000 investment, maybe five if you do it really on the cheap. But basically that money would go to finding a good domain name, building or getting a logo designed and packaging so everything looks consistent.

And then what I would do is start running Facebook ads to free plus shipping offers. I think that this is one of those types of products that is just right for that. We've talked about that on the podcast and Under the Hood in the past. But certain products like lend themselves really well to something like a free plus shipping offer. And your free plus shipping offer could be get our free sampler of XYZ brand tea today only for free today only, just pay the shipping and handling. You have a product that you can source incredibly cheap, it's incredibly light. So it'll be very, very cheap to ship.

And once you have that product in someone's hands, whatever percentage of people that get it, that like it, will probably be customers for life at that point. Because once you stock something in your cupboard and you start using it every day or multiple times a week, it's hard to break that habit. And if they have a product that they – everyone is going to respond to it differently. But you don't have to have everyone fall in love with it, just to a smaller percentage, or I guess a large enough percentage of those people like it. And now you have a customer base which are continuously building.

That works really well with follow up emails saying, here's our new products and potentially getting them on a subscription or something. But even the free plus shipping component of it could probably run at a profit which is hard to do for most niches. But because of your low cost, high perceived value of the product and low shipping weight, you can probably be able to generate leads and customers at a minimum of breakeven or possibly even a profit and start building your list and I think it's pretty exciting.

Wilson: No, that sounds great. So one of my questions I have for you is what is your top level play by play for creating your brand like this green tea brand? Let's say for example, if you were to talk to your team about a strategy play on hey, you know what, we're going to go ahead with this tea brand. First off, this is the 10 steps for us to be able to hit, what would that be?

Mike: Yeah. So, I mean, again, the first thing is the brand name. For me, that's kind of always where I get started just because you have to have a name and a URL from day one. You don't want to change that down the road. So when we are looking at doing something like ColorIt or Wild Baby, I mean same exact process, tactical the stuff that we are doing, the brand that we're making for tactical. I never get married to a name. So it's, we start looking out there, I want something that what I would consider to be a premium domain, a premium brand name but like not ultra premium.

I mean I think ColorIt is really good, Wild Baby is really good, but they're not $100,000 kind of brand name are good. But I was able to pick each one of those up for something like three to $4,000, well worth the investment for those domain names. And that's actually a really good deal when you talk about buying something like ColorIt.com or Wildbaby.com for those types of prices. So naturally, the other nine of the 10 things that were on our list weren't willing to sell for anywhere near that price.

So, just a matter of scavenging for a month, coming up with ideas, reaching out, talking to people and pitting them against each other a little bit, telling them, hey, look, I'm looking at this other name, they're willing to sell it for 4000. I like your name better, whatever it might be, and trying to get it down to a price that makes sense. So that that's our first step is to get a good name like a Wild Baby, like a ColorIt and go from there.

So, step two would be to start getting a logo design. I think that that's like the most important second step. The logo really stems from there. Everything stems from the logo as far as what what's your color scheme going to be? What's your website going to look like? What's your packaging going to look like? Trying to do that stuff before you have a logo in place is really difficult. And most designers whether it's a website designer, or a packaging designer is going to want a logo in place before any of that.

So we get the logo done and then immediately file for a trademark because we know that that's an important step within Amazon down the road. So we get our trademark filed for us. We can start the counter there. And then the next thing would be to start making product. You're going to — like I said, in this case, I'm going to want to focus on free plus shipping offers first. So, it's going to be going to the manufacturer and saying, can you put three of each of these 10 tea bags in a box, or two of each of these tea bags or one of each of these bags, whatever it is in a box or loose tea or whatever, however you're doing it and obviously get your packaging design to match your logo and your website.

And then those would be my first products that I would be selling. So you have the free plus shipping offer which has multiple flavors in the box or maybe it's one flavor, and you're hoping to get people hooked on that one flavor. So you're building your funnel out to here's a free plus shipping offer and then here's the ability to buy more of this. And that would basically be the way that I would handle it. And that free plus shipping offer would be running a Facebook ad saying, Wilson's organic tea just launched and we want to tell a million people about Wilson’s organic tea by the end of the year. So we're giving away 10,000 samples today only, just pay shipping and handling so there's some scarcity, and stuff like that on the message.

That goes to a landing page to get the tea legitimately for free just to pay the shipping and handling. You could charge 3.99, 4.99, 5.99, whatever makes sense for you for the shipping and handling component which would cover the cost of actually buying the tea, the cost of the shipping and the cost of the ad. And then the upsell would just be like okay, thank you for getting the free plus shipping offer, would you like to add a free tea pot or cup, or more of this tea or whatever offer works the best.

And then from there, it's a follow up sequence. They get the free plus shipping offer and you follow up with them over the next few weeks and couple of months. So we really hope you enjoyed this flavor, that flavor, whatever, would you like to buy more of it? And you try to sell them more of that tea at that time. That would be my early blueprint of how to like kick start that business. And that doesn't even get into the Amazon component yet. We're just kind of still at the early stages of the whole thing. And that would be the way that I would approach it.

Wilson: It sounds good. And in terms of timeline wise, do you have a specific timeline that you think we can scale this from zero to a million, and how long potentially this would take?

Mike: Yeah, so I mean that's always tough to answer because I don't know like what your resources are and how long it takes to get something like that free plus shipping offer packaging created, and then get it sent over here, and all those different components of it. But once you're ready, you can scale relatively quickly. And the thing that makes me excited about something like this tea thing that you have is there's a massive audience on Facebook of millions and millions of people who like tea, who like literally have an interest in tea. So they're easy to sell to because they’re already buying other tea and tea drinkers, always kind of like looking for the next new flavor or brand or whatever, to kind of just sample and test out.

So, I think that what ends up happening with these types of things is cash flow becomes the biggest inhibitor to being able to scale that quickly and keeping inventory in stock. Because once you find the ad that works, you can scale so quickly that you'll either run of inventory or cash before you'll actually hit your sales target.

Wilson: It's actually really funny that you mention that because those are the two kind of main thing that I have as an advantage because we have basically all the ingredients already here in Canada, Vancouver. And also we have a term that's like around 60 days with them. So I mean those two things, that's the reason why I'm so excited about this project is because like for any kind of ecommerce business, I think cash flow is really the major problem. But if we have 60 days before we really need to pay, I think that's a really huge plus for us.

Mike: Yeah, I mean that's a massive win. So then it just becomes can you pay the Facebook bill, the advertising bill quickly enough, which is a cash flow thing as well. But usually that isn't so bad because you're going — if you have an ad that's working well, you're going to be collecting the money before the money is due which is important as well. So you basically have credit card terms of net 20, net 30, net 40, whatever to pay those Facebook bills. So that makes it a lot easier as well.

Wilson: Now, in terms of — no, that's great. I think that's a really good idea as well. Now, in terms of like, you mentioned that you've done some research previously and you actually wanted to enter this market. Can you shed some light in terms of like how you would position yourself if you were to be in this market?

Mike: Yeah, so I mean the thing I was looking at doing was like all organic tea just because that seems to be like the hottest market right now. It's also something I have a personal interest in and also differentiates you. You also hit a market of people that are willing to spend more money, almost make just ridiculously stupid financial decisions if you will when it comes to buying organic stuff. I mean you'll see things at Whole Foods that you just completely shake your head. You don't typically see people in those other niches spending money that freely, and that typically means your margins are higher.

So yeah, it was just how can we differentiate and be different in the tea space? And for me that was that organic angle. Like I said, we were having some hard times sourcing legitimately organic tea from China, we were starting to look at other parts of the world. But ultimately, the thing that made me just move on from it is that we've agreed internally here that we have enough going on, we don't need a fifth brand or a sixth brand or whatever it might be. Otherwise, I love tea, and it just — but it's the shiny object syndrome.

And I think that our biggest issue right now is just trying not to drown ourselves on opportunity because there's plenty of opportunity out there in e-commerce and they all seem really fun to an entrepreneur like myself. But at the end of the day, we can't do them all at a high level. We have to pick and choose and that was ultimately kind of where we're at. We already had, at that time we already had Wild Baby and we’ve owned Tactical since 2000, oh my gosh, it was like 12 or whatever. So that kind of was just sitting there just begging to be something done with it. And I'm excited about that space as well.

So again, there's just you can't do everything, and so we've kind of stepped aside more for that than anything else. There is some other stuff we were looking at too, some other food products and there's a lot of really interesting food products that come out of China, Chinese medicine. So you got basically, the herbs and spices, and roots and stuff that come out of China that there's just a lot of Eastern medicine that's based off of that that's still a big thing, even in the Western world. And that was another thing we were looking at. But again, it's just a matter of, there's only so many things that you can do.

Wilson: Mm-hmm for sure, for sure. In terms of like testing your client avatar specifically for people that like the organic tea, would you recommend just going on Facebook ads and just testing different audiences to see which one converts the most or?

Mike: Yeah, that's exactly how would go about it. I mean, my first audience would be just people who like tea and organic, those two things overlapping. I wouldn't even put an age or a gender on it to start with and just see how it went. And then I could use those early ads to see if males or females seem to be reacting to it better, or if there was particular age groups. And then once I had that data because it almost is always one gender over performs the other, and there's always usually an age group of either 10 to 20 years that outperforms the other, and then that would be like, where the rest of my money would start piling into.

And I think that within a matter of days or certainly weeks, you would have that dialed in pretty quickly with the right offer and it could go crazy pretty quickly. I mean, your ad copy has to be good. You have to have a good video and a good message and that would be where I would put some of my other early money is just making sure that the ad is really, really on point and the landing page is on point. It isn't something that looks like it was thrown together in five minutes on ClickFunnels. You want something that looks professional, that has ultra premium looking branding because people kind of resonate with that.

And it's still the internet and people still have a lot of hang-ups buying things online and things like a free plus shipping offer just rings scam. So you got to make sure that your ad targeting — not your targeting, your messaging really hammers that home and isn't a problem.

Wilson: Mm-hmm. Well, that's kind of something that I was thinking. And would you recommend just testing a free plus shipping offer with no branding to begin with, mainly because for me to create this whole branding guide, and everything, logo and also the name, it really comes back down to who I'm speaking to. And I guess like for me, that's kind of the first way is to figure out who am I speaking to, then create a brand and messaging and all the visuals that appeal to this group of people. Now, if I were to create it to begin with, and I find out that you know what, it's not the females that like tea, it's actually the males, then it would actually change up the look and feel and everything. What's your take on this?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I would build a gender neutral brand. I mean, I would use colors and branding that would appeal to both genders instead of using pink boxes or something that's like, artsy cutesy. I don't think that that's necessary. There's lots of ways to use a color scheme that would appeal to both genders. And for me, I don't know, I'm in a different spot in my life with what I do. I mean, if I was going to be tackling the tea thing, I would be all in. And I think that there's a lot to be said for the way that you're talking about doing it, where you kind of do an even more minimal viable product where you're just brand agnostic and trying to do the free plus shipping offer.

But for me, like I would want to be hitting it full steam ahead. I don't know how to do things any other way. It's just the way that I'm wired. So it's like, okay, I'm going to do this now. And like a bull in a china shop, I would be plowing forward with making that work, just a different personality type and way of going about doing. I think that what you're talking about is perfectly acceptable. You come up with a brand agnostic version and you try to test the different genders first without any branding, knowing that it's not going to convert nearly as well as if you had all that stuff done.

But you would take those results and say, okay, well, I'm expecting 4x better once I have the brand and everything together, my conversion rate to be four times better or 10 times better, whatever you hypothesize it will be. And you can use whatever results you're getting in on the early going and multiply it by your multiple there and see if it's a viable business or not.

Wilson: No, I think that's great. Do you have anything to add specifically for this brand?

Mike: I do yeah one last thing. So what I would do here, I mean, we talked about how to kind of start building this off Amazon component. The way this ties into Amazon for me is at a certain point as you're building this list, and you could be at a point where you're adding literally hundreds of people a day to this free plus shipping funnel and dozens of new customers per day buying your product on a regular basis. At some point, I would introduce that first product on Amazon, whether it's one that is already existing that people are already buying, or something new that you launch.

And you just basically one day say, hey, this product is now on Amazon, go buy it over here. And that's the way that you basically carpet bomb Amazon with an unfair advantage all this off traffic off site traffic that allows you to break into a competitive niche. Now mind you, like you already said, tea is one of the few niches in Amazon that has that covered for the most part already. It's very rare to find a niche on Amazon where the off Amazon presence is just as strong as the on Amazon presence. I'm looking at my office here, I mean we're about to launch some new watercolor pens for ColorIt.

This will all be documented on EcomCrew eventually, and that product is really, it doesn't have any off Amazon presence. There's just you know I'm looking at a pair of gloves here that we're doing for Tactical, all these products are just kind of your general private label products that don't necessarily have a super strong off Amazon presence of sending tons of traffic. They're strong sellers on Amazon but they don't have big name brands attached to them where tea is a little bit different. I mean, there is definitely some pretty prominent players in the space.

So it's definitely one of the more challenging ones to do. But I still love it because to me, I like the challenge and those are the things that I gravitate towards and some other things that we've been able to break into on Amazon, these ultra competitive niches, we've been able to do it with kind of the strategy this whole off Amazon strategy first going to on Amazon, like when we're ready to, like, really unleash.

Wilson: No, totally makes sense. Last question that I have for you for this brand is for the free plus shipping offer. Would you fulfill it through Amazon or would you send it to…

Mike: No.

Wilson: No?

Mike: Definitely not. Yeah, I mean, it's going to be a special package and offer just for free plus shipping, and Amazon is not good at fulfilling those types of things. So we would use either our own fulfillment here. I mean, we fulfill all of our free plus shipping offers in-house right now because they are small on money and we can just — like we get dozens or sometimes hundreds of them a day, and we have a high speed label printer that spits them all out, and we have it all come pre package from the manufacturer to what all we have to do is like peel and stick the label onto the package and throw it in the bin for the post office. So we can ship out 100 of those an hour, you know something along those lines crazy thing because it's already ready to go.

So that's how I would handle is just have it ready to go. If you're in Vancouver and don't have the luxury of shipping it directly from there, you can use a company like Dollarfulfillment.com, and they'll ship it for you very cheap.

Wilson:  Dollarfulfillment.com, okay. All right, awesome. That's perfect. Thank you.

Mike: Cool.

Wilson: Yeah. So the other — so since like thinking about this when I saw that the huge saturation, I actually moved on to a new brand called Made in Nine, that's the baby brand we're creating right now. And so I do want to talk to you a little bit more about that, too.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, that's obviously something else that I know quite a bit about since we have our own baby brand. And you were kind of asking before getting on the podcast if I had an issue with that, and certainly not. I mean, my feeling, and we document all this stuff anyway, so people know that we have a baby brand and I never professed to solve the world's baby clothing anyway, so definitely not a problem.

Wilson: Yeah, so I sent you a few documents. And I was just wondering what are some of your thoughts. And I guess would you be — is there a free plus shipping offer that you see, potentially that we could run?

Mike: Yeah, so this one's a little bit more difficult. And we've had some — of all the brands that we've done, this one we've struggled with the most. And we finally — it's been a while, we've kind of found our way but it did take a while. I mean we were just kind of at first, we'll just we'll get this baby product and that baby product and everyone needs a baby product and anything we could find at the Canton Fair or whatever, we would just start randomly getting. What I found in this niche especially is the brand, the look, the feel, the message is more important in this niche than anything else that we've done, because moms are very particular.

And that's something we're working really hard on now. So I mean, our niche, our focus is organic, again, back to that same theme of organic stuff. But no relation to the tea thing, it was just a completely separate thing that we kind of stumbled upon, but organic, natural, environmentally conscious moms that are looking for the same for their babies. And so that's the thing that we're kind of gravitating towards now. And the things that don't fit that message, we're eliminating from our lineup. And we're making all of our stuff have that same look and feel so we can target people, and our messaging and branding is consistent.

Unlike Tactical and ColorIt where there's like these slum dunk free plus shipping offers, we don't really have that for a Wild Baby, because it's hard to do that with a kimono, or we can do it like the math works but it's we want people to buy these other items at full price. And so it becomes that kind of an issue where if we send them one for free plus shipping, are we going to actually get more business and stuff like that, it's a little bit difficult. So the product we’re going to be doing free plus shipping with is actually going to be baby shampoo and conditioner and body wash, which is actually going to be like one product.

And we're in the process of developing that product right now. It's kind of a product or a brand in a product line that's going to sit next to all the other things that we're doing. And again, it's all this organic environmentally conscious moms, so we're going to have like a trial size of the shampoo will be our free plus shipping offer, something we can fulfill and deliver really, really easily, and that's how we're going to handle it. And so we don't have that ready yet.

So it's been kind of a frustrating thing because everything else that we do, we start with the free plus shipping offer in mind these days to build our list. And we have that for Tactical in place and it's going well, and we have it for ColorIt which I've been doing now for a couple of years. We just don't have that thing in place yet for Wild Baby. There's a couple of other things we're looking at doing potentially like a bib. Something like that where it's small, cheap, easy to ship, it has a high perceived value, and there's a couple of other products that we're looking at there as well.

And it just depends on what products you're looking at making specifically to what your exact free plus shipping offer would be. But that would be another way that I would handle it is just to try to find something that makes sense within your exact product line and niche that works with a free plus shipping offer.

Wilson: Totally, totally makes sense. So, I sent you the guide, and I sent you the logo and also basically what we had so far. Do you have any feedback on that?

Mike: Yeah. I mean obviously, we only had two minutes here before doing the call, so I didn't get a chance to really dig into it. Let me look at the logo file again here just real quick and just to kind of get an idea. Maybe you can tell me because you kind of give me a rundown just kind of what your idea was. We can like we go down through that idea again and what your focus is for the brand. The brand name itself is awesome but like what kind of products specifically and who is your target market?

Wilson: Well our target market are the basically for the modern mom, modern parent who they want to feel like they're young, they have style, they have certain types of quality that they are upholding, fashionable, very, very like — although they’re a mom now, they don't want to feel like just like a mom. They still want to have their own kind of style. So we're thinking about something like a baby diaper backpack and stuff like that. But then a lot of them are very, very bulky.

And I see a lot of people online forums that they feel very like you know whenever I became a mom or a parent, there's all these things that we need to carry. And it just makes me feel like a dad per se, and not like a couple that's like hip and modern. So, we want to create a brand that's more like stuff that they would be using would be like their common day stuff, and then they would have a kid alongside with them, so they would feel good about using this product.

Mike: Mm-hmm. Okay. Yeah. So I mean, let's just hit on the backpack specifically since that was one item that you mentioned. Another product that I know a lot about since we sell a diaper bag and it does well for us, so I can give you some kind of inside scoop there. Let's say that's the only product you were developing, and how would I go about it? You have this innovative diaper bag that you're thinking of making for all the reasons you mentioned, which I think is actually like a perfectly permissible idea. It seems like that one product alone could actually be a business if you have like a really amazing diaper bag that was innovative and stylish and just something different that you can make resonate with people quickly that I just got to buy this thing now.

So I would have a couple of pronged approach to how I would handle that. Prong one would be for that particular product just a direct response Facebook ad campaign. It's like here's the diaper bag, a video of the diaper bag showing lifestyle mom or dad walking down the street with it, several different moms or dads but also one of these like stop motion videos of like all the things that can fit into the bag and how awesome it is and pointers to particular features of the bag, high quality zipper, this thing locks this way, this thing's in a designed in a way that keeps the bottle from spilling and this hold your diaper and basically why this bag is just awesome and why you have to have it now, and then it's just a link right to the product and go buy it boom.

That's the kind of product that actually can work with that direct response Facebook approach especially if you have the margin. If you're buying it for 10 and selling it for 60, you can definitely make that work in that environment. So that would be prong one. Prong two would be influencer marketing. Really, really important we found for this particular niche, Instagram especially going after parents or mommy bloggers type of thing, showing this product and convincing them that this product is better than everything else out there. And they review it and talk about it, doing unboxing demo it. That helps build credibility and something you can put on your direct response landing pages and drive your traffic.

And then the same thing would go for when you're launching on Amazon. You take all that and just direct it to Amazon till you're ranked number one for diaper bag or whatever your keyword is which is going to suck for me when you beat me because we're going after that keyword too which is what it is, that's fine. But that would be the way that I would handle that particular product and that product line.

Wilson: No that's awesome. Thank you, thank you that's exactly what we should do.

Mike: Yeah I mean, the days of just throwing something up on Amazon like you were saying, like this LED phone case you mentioned to begin with, those days are kind of gone. It isn't as easy as just throwing up any random product anymore, giving away a few, getting the early reviews and just off to the races. There has to be a brand involved and a strategy and some off Amazon traffic component, especially as things get more competitive etc. So that would be the way that I would approach it is thinking more in a brand sense and less than just like I want to run an Amazon business, and being prepared for the extra work that is involved with that.

Unfortunately, the Amazon part of is the easiest part. I mean, so many stuff on Amazon is so darn easy. Even as frustrating as Amazon is with all the bull crap we have to deal with Amazon, switching listings on us or taking listings down and people filling for us force IP complaint reports and stuff getting flagged as hazardous that isn't, and having to deal with returns and all this other crap that we deal with on a daily basis that drives me absolutely crazy with Amazon, it's still way easier than all these other ways, because then you're not dealing with fulfillment and all the other stuff off Amazon. You're dealing with it and it's a lot more work and you got all the advertising and trust, and everything to build with people that are already prime members who are willing to just pull out their money and hand it to you, it's a much different situation.

Wilson: I totally agree with you totally. Yeah, I think that's basically all the questions I have for you at this point.

Mike: Cool. Yeah I mean it was awesome chatting with you today. And one thing you mentioned before [inaudible 00:40:17] you're doing I think it's awesome. Very similar to EcomCrew, we might be your competitors in that someday too, but you're trying to document how you're going from zero to a million dollars as an e-commerce business. I imagine just from talking at this point you're on the lower end of that, but it'd be cool to kind of keep in touch and see how your journey is going. And you had a YouTube channel where you're doing that and if you want to throw that out real quick that'd be cool.

Wilson: For sure, you guys can definitely check me out at www.youtube.com/WilsonKlee and that's basically where I document my journey with all the different businesses that I’m running. And right now I'm just heading for like just jumping right into e-commerce, and I think that's going to be a really cool journey while multitasking and dealing with my two other brick and mortar businesses.

Mike: You have the scroll syndrome too. I think it's pretty prevalent in e-commerce. So I mean I guess my biggest last tip here would be pick one of these two things, don't try to do both. Each one is going to be a full time business in itself. And I probably, if I was starting from scratch and I had everything lined up the way that you do with this tea manufacturer, I probably would be going after that over the baby so just because I already know how ultra competitive baby is and it's really tough to differentiate.

I suspect the same thing exists in tea. Obviously, there's lots of people selling tea, but it just comes down to who is a better marketer and I'd like to think after 15 years of doing marketing and running almost just over a million dollars on Facebook ads now that that is something I would have an advantage on and I would love to tackle that. So either way I wish the best of luck with it.

Wilson: All right, awesome. Thank you so much.

Mike: No worries. Let's definitely catch back up when you got something going, and I always like to try to do a follow up with our Under the Hood guests. So whenever you're ready to do a follow up let us know.

Wilson: All right awesome, thank you so much.

Mike: Thank you so much.

And that's a wrap folks. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode with Wilson Lee. Just as a reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/188 to get to the show notes for this episode, and hopefully by the next one I will be feeling a little bit better to be able to get a full length one out. We have a couple cool topics to go over here soon. I also met some really interesting people at both Rhodium Weekend and Retail Global that I hope to get on the podcast. So, hopefully those will come up here before the end of the year as we march towards episode number 200. Thanks again everyone for supporting the EcomCrew Podcast. Until the next one, happy selling and we'll talk to you then.

Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.

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