This week on That Kat Radio, Stephen Smotherman joined us to talk about his book “How to Keepa Camel”.
Kat and Stephen talked about Stephen’s history in ecommerce and how he became an author. Stephen explained that back in 1998 while he was in college, he got addicted with buying on eBay. Soon, he found out that he had no more money and needed to begin selling on eBay. He sold a lot of his things on eBay and realized that he actually made more money back than what he initially invested. He added that the whole reselling thing just caught on fire with him. He did eBay for about a decade or so for just a nice income hobby. In 2011, he found himself needing to turn his hobby into a full time job. He started searching online on how to turn eBay into a fulltime job and discovered Amazon. He said that he completely fell in love with selling via Amazon FBA. Six months after he started out, he was able to make a full-time income to support himself and his family on Amazon. In 2013 his wife encouraged him to start a blog, so he started blogging over www.FulltimeFBA.com. He spent part-time hours to make a full-time income on Amazon and the rest of the time he get to have fun blogging, writing eBooks and helping others make full-time income also.
Kat asked Stephen, where is he in eCommerce now and what kind of things is he selling now? Stephen told Kat that he is doing both Amazon and eBay. He further explained that 97% of his sales go to Amazon and the other 3% are on eBay. On Amazon he is selling anything that is profitable. On eBay he said he is selling items where he is not approved to sell on Amazon. Also he is selling board game pieces on eBay from time to time and any item that needs a specific detailed description.
Kat and Stephen spoke about what Stephen thinks about Retail Arbitrage. Stephen said that he is about 60% online arbitrage and 40% retail arbitrage, and they are just now starting to add in some wholesale accounts just to broaden their horizon. Stephen further explained that he has no fear about retail or online arbitrage in the future. He thinks that the main reason why other people are getting scared about retail and online arbitrage is because they are not buying the right items to sell or they are selling items as new that shouldn’t be sold as new. Stephen added that he is not scared about the future of retail arbitrage but in fact excited about it.
Kat asked Stephen his thoughts about retail arbitrage. Stephen thinks that no matter what kind of business that you’re in, things are going to change as the world changes. People should adapt to changes and instead of seeing it in a negative way, people should focus on finding success in this change.
[smart_track_player url=”http://filesource.abacast.com/wsradio/thatkat/051016/segment1051016.mp3″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]
Kat and Stephen discussed about Stephen’s new product offering “How to Keepa Camel”. Stephen joked that it’s not about how to keep Camels. It’s about how to use the free services CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. He explained that Camelcamelcamel and Keepa are both services that give people the price and sales rank history along with a ton of other different pieces of information. People can look at the sales history and the pricing history of an item that they want to sell on Amazon. With this people can be able to see what items are going to sell out and possibly how fast they’re going to sell in the future.
Kat and Stephen talked about Keepa. Stephen explained that it’s a free service that provides sales rate history, pricing history and other pricing information of items on Amazon. It has a comprehensive price history graph, so people can be able to easily understand the history of the item they’re looking at.
Kat and Stephen explained about Camelcamelcamel and what it does for Amazon sellers. Stephen said that it has very similar information with Keepa. Keepa will put all of the graph information on one graph and then you can choose to turn on and off different lines. Camelcamelcamel on the other hand has a different graphs for the prices and then you can change to another graph to see the sales rate. So it’s not as confusing with Camelcamelcamel because you can choose the information you want to see. With Keepa, it will throw all the information on the graph at the same time and it can be confusing. But the great thing about both of them is that you can choose what you want to see.
Kat asked Stephen if anyone can use these tools and how much do they cost. Stephen answered that anyone can use these tools and the great thing about them is that they’re tracking the information not just from Amazon.com but also in Amazon Canada, Europe and other parts of the world. You can just go in and choose which Amazon platform you want to look at. It’s absolutely free, you can get access to it with on your laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones. Stephen added that Keepa and Camelcamelcamel were not created for Amazon sellers, they were created for price sensitive shoppers who want to make sure that they get the best price on an item that they’re looking for. People found ways to use both Camelcamelcamel and Keepa as resellers. He also added that Camelcamelcamel and Keepa are getting their money from affiliate sales and some advertisement and if ever he said that they run out of fundings, this is something that he’ll pay for.
[smart_track_player url=”http://filesource.abacast.com/wsradio/thatkat/051016/segment2051016.mp3″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]
Kat and Stephen talked about the top three tips for Camelcamelcamel. To start off Stephen said, you can look at the graph and get a good idea of how many sales have taken place over a given time span. You can go to Camelcamelcamel and look at a particular item, change the date range to the last month and count the number of sales for that particular item. Anytime the sales rank number jumps from a higher number to a lower number that indicates at least one sale. Everytime you see those straight up on the graph, it’s indicating at least one sale and if the line is twice as long as the other line, it could mean two sales.
Kat and Stephen spoke about the second tip for Camelcamelcamel. It has to do with seasonal items especially with Q4. A lot times when you’re pricing an item, you look at the current low price and most people will match the current low price. But say you got seasonal item and that season is coming up in a month or two, you can go and look at the history of that item in Camelcamelcamel and see what kind of prices you’ll expect for that item. Say for example you can sell the item today for $12 but Camelcamelcamel is showing you that if you wait for 2 months you can sell the item for $40. You can make good decisions on when to sell your items with the information that Camelcamelcamel is showing you.
Kat and Stephen talked about the third tip. It has to do with making good buying decisions for your business. Stephen said that he has a lot of items that he use for his business that he buys on Amazon. You can import your Amazon wishlist to Camelcamelcamel and then you can set up price alerts so that when those items go to a certain threshold of price it will alert you.
Kat and Stephen discussed about the typical mistakes people make in using Camelcamelcamel. One of the mistakes that Stephen sees is that people doesn’t change the date range when it comes to looking at sales rank. The default shows the lifetime sales rank of an item. So people might think that the item sells a lot because they see a lot of up and down lines indicating sales, but if they choose to look at the last month, they might realized that it only sell once a month or once every three months. People make the buying mistake by not changing the date range. Another mistake that a lot of people make, is that they assumed that the price on Camelcamelcamel is the price that the item is actually sold for. The price on Camelcamelcamel is actually the current low price for an item. Third mistake that people make is that they ignore Camelcamelcamel completely, they say that it’s too much information and just a waste of their time.
Kat and Stephen spoke about the tips for Keepa. Stephen said that the three tips for Camelcamelcamel are the same with Keepa. There’s only a few other tips for Keepa, on Amazon there’s a shaded area for items in stock and the white area for items out of stock. Another tip for Keepa, there’s link called historical data. Click on the link and it will give you the history of the number of competitors of a new item and a used item. You can actually look and see the history of the supply. The last tip about Keepa, there’s a little box that you can click and it will give you the highs and lows, the averages and including the sales rank. The statistical data information will give you the average sales rank over the last three months.
Kat and Stephen talked about the typical mistakes people make using Keepa. Stephen said that people who ignore Keepa is probably the biggest mistake that they make. Another mistake people make using Keepa, on their sales rank graph, if it peaks, it indicate sales. It can be confusing because with Camelcamelcamel it displays opposite.
[smart_track_player url=”http://filesource.abacast.com/wsradio/thatkat/051016/segment3051016.mp3″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]
Kat asked Stephen his advice to someone getting started now, in 2016. Stephen said that his advice is to follow your heart and follow your passion. No matter what you’ll do, you’ll come up against failure, change, and obstacles and that passion for it is what going to get you over the hump. So you won’t end up quitting on it and try something else. Also follow one course until successful, learn about it, master it before you move on to the next thing.
Kat asked Stephen if he still believes that ecommerce is the best option for someone wanting to start their own business. Stephen said that he believes that ecommerce is the best option. It provides the most amount of freedom. It provides the most amount of possibilities. The more time you put into it, the more time you spend learning about it the more you’re going to get something in return.
Kat and Stephen spoke about some of the common mistakes new ecommerce people make. Stephen said that the number one mistake is not being able to focus, people try to do too much at once. Second is that people don’t spend enough time to properly educate themselves.
[smart_track_player url=”http://filesource.abacast.com/wsradio/thatkat/051016/segment4051016.mp3″ social=”true” social_twitter=”true” social_facebook=”true” social_gplus=”true” ]