Here we are with a final, 3rd installment of the CES V 2017 Conference in Orlando, Florida hosted by the Jim Cockrum team and family. The first two days were quite amazing and brought an audience well over 300 people valuable information that they can now use to further grow their Amazon store and online selling efforts.
Even from being a seller online for over 8 years, I was still able to find new pieces of advice that could be applied to my Amazon store. It’s always an amazing opportunity to learn from others who are deep into eCommerce strategies and growth hacks.
To no surprise (based off the first 2 days of speakers), the day was packed with entrepreneurs and business owners speaking about their expertise to the audience. Never a dull moment with the people that were brought onto stage and the information that they shared with everyone at the conference.
A big thanks to the entire Jim Cockrum team for putting the conference on and bringing together such an amazing group of people wanting to learn more about selling on Amazon and the Internet.
If you didn’t get a chance to read about Days 1 and 2 yet, refer back to my other articles outlining all of the speakers and information provided:
Jim Welcomes the Audience
First onto the stage in repeat fashion was Jim Cockrum to welcome the audience to the third and final day of the event. He compared that last day as the feeling that you get when it is the last day of summer camp and all is coming to a close. It’s that nostalgic feeling of sadness yet also excitement because of what an amazing time you had while together with your new and old friends.
The CES V 2017 conference really does bring together an amazing group of people all focused on the same goal: learning and growing as entrepreneurs. It makes it a lot easier to network with others and learn from what they know when all are on the same page working towards the same goals.
I’ve seen that same phenomena ring true as I’ve built both of my companies from the ground up. When you bring the right people together and govern them with a values based culture, connections are able to be made at a deeper level and the resiliency of the group stands stronger than if the culture and attitude were not to exist. Jim Cockrum does an amazing job of creating that culture in his conferences and it was a pleasure to witness it.
Legal Stuff: Trademarks, IP, Claims with Jeff Breloski
The first speaker to the stage after Jim’s introduction was no other than Jeff Breloski, an IP lawyer that works closely with Amazon sellers having issues with their seller accounts. Jeff brought his daughter onto stage as he talked about his story, how he got to where he is today, and what specific issues sellers should look out for when selling on Amazon.
Out of all the presentations given at CES V 2017, Jeff was easily the most entertaining and was really the perfect speaker to start the day off to get the crowd laughing, awake, and ready for the rest of the content on Day 3.
Connect Directly with Manufacturers in China with Shawn Hart of Jim Cockrum’s China Trips
Next was Shawn Hart from Rapid Crush, who had just recently returned from a trip to China. Big props to Shawn for fighting through the jet lag fatigue and still giving his presentation on teaching sellers how to find the best manufacturers and products in China. After sharing detailed best practices for finding actual manufacturers in China and avoiding the markups with middlemen you may find on Alibaba.com, Shawn shared a video of the most recent trip that he hosted to China for sellers to get direct access to products that they could then sell on their Amazon account.
Here are details of Shawn’s presentation:
- Search for “best selling” on Alibaba and change where the source is coming from on the left hand side. Don’t buy the marked up products from Alibaba’s agents. China is broken down into districts of where products are created. As you search for products, find the district where they are made and sort for that on Alibaba so you can find the actual factory. Don’t buy electronics from a factory that isn’t in the electronics district in China.
- He defined what to him (based off 15 years of experience) is a Chinese factory. Chinese factories can greatly vary in the condition of their building and working environment, but a real factory from China is one where the product is actually being made.
- Yiwu Marketplace –> small commodities market of the world. Best for small volume buying from China.
- If you decide to go with Shawn’s trip to China, you get online training to learn about what to do, what to wear, how to negotiate, and much more.
For anyone looking to source products from China, Shawn and his team is an amazing resource to take a look into. With over a decade of experience buying from China, who better is there to talk about sourcing your own products from China to sell on your Amazon account or eCommerce store.
Buy Local, Sell to the World with Jeff Clark and Nathan Bailey
Jeff Clark and Nathan Bailey came onto stage full of energy and ideas for taking advantage of the “low hanging fruit” that Brett Bartlett introduced on Day 2. The duo went back and forth talking about their passion for garage saling on the weekends and finding products that they could easily flip for 1-10x the price they paid. The strategies that they shared were amazing for anyone getting started with eCommerce and looking for an initial way to bring in a stream of income that they could then reinvest into a bigger operation on Amazon or in eCommerce.
Here are some notes from their presentation:
- Lowest hanging fruit tactics –> awesome profit margins, low risk, high reward, multiple streams of income.
- Become a picker — become a garage saler — $3-4k per month by finding products at a low cost and reselling on eBay or other sites.
- Use the eBay completed listing search while at the garage sale — compare the prices — buy the ones where you can make money.
- A natural progression into retail or online arbitrage as you learn the basics of finding products for lower prices than they are being offered on Amazon.
Should Your Business Take Advantage of Sales Tax Amnesty with Jennifer Dunn of Tax Jar
Jennifer Dunn from Tax Jar spoke next about the importance of sales tax with your Amazon or eCommerce business and how to know how to properly handle it. A more complicating topic than most being presented, I still thought that Jennifer did a great job to define key terms and rules surrounding sales tax to the many sellers in the audience.
From listening to her presentation, you were able to learn and answer the following questions:
- When are you required to collect sales tax? – when you have nexus — states where inventory is stored.
- How much in back sales tax do you owe? –
- How much would getting caught hurt you?
My advice when it comes to sales tax is to always get a well reviewed CPA to help with the process. The last thing you want to do is improperly file your sales tax and owe money to the government at the end of the year. That would be quite the downer. Don’t you agree?
The Dreaded Insurance Lady with Ashlin Hadden of Voldico
Following Jennifer Dunn was Ashlin Hadden of Voldico, an expert that helps Amazon sellers understand the need to have insurance for their business in the rare case that something bad happens. Business insurance is always smart to have as you reach a certain level with your online business as you want to protect yourself from the extreme situations where it could drastically impact your ability to stay afloat as a company.
The Power of Proven Performance Inventory with Leah Miller and Glyn Kennedy
Have any interest in finding the best products to sell through your Amazon account that will perform well organically and through Amazon PPC campaigns? Leah Miller and Glyn Kennedy brought an extraordinary amount of knowledge to the stage as they presented about the Proven Performance Inventory method and how you can utilize specific hacks to identify high opportunity products on Amazon.
The presentation was packed with screenshots and explanations of key terms that would allow you to accurately find products that don’t cost a lot to advertise and have a strong return on your initial cost to acquire the customer.
Here are some tips that they provided the audience:
- Product selection –> don’t get caught up. The only way that it will work is to take action and start testing.
- Search term focused –> go into Amazon and search a keyword. Use dropdown that gives suggestions as you search and look into those keywords.
- Tools to check out Amazon product listings: Keyword inspector, Scope
- Run PPI ads through Amazon on specific search terms
- You want CPC’s below $0.50. ACOS of 10% or lower.
- Try selling with search terms and not products.
- Search on Amazon after setting up a PPI campaign 24 hours after and make sure that the ad is running so you don’t have issues with data.
- Conversion problem: high level of impressions/sessions, but low level of sales
- Traffic problem: low level of impressions/sessions
Business Relationships: A Key to Your Success with Barrington McIntosh
The final presentation of the conference was with Barrington McIntosh, a longtime friend of Jim Cockrum and one of the most lucrative sellers of coffee on Amazon and other eCommerce channels online. Barrington’s presentation focused on building great relationships and how his focus on that simple goal had made a profound impact on his life thus far.
Barrington introduced his story of how he met Jim, how he started his selling in Jamaica, and where the great relationships that he had built with countless numbers of people had led him to where he is today. He focused in on the outcomes that resulted when he went into each potential business partnership with a goal of not only doing business together, but also learning from each other and being loyal to each other.
I closely connected with Barrington’s stories and the focus on building great relationships as it is a motto that I also live by while growing as an entrepreneur. We are only so much on our own and it takes great relationships with other entrepreneurs and partners to take your company to a level that you envision.
A special thanks to Barrington for providing his advice as the conference came to a closing. I think that it left everyone on a specifically high note as they continued to make new friends from the CES community.
Closing Words with Jim Cockrum and Family
The final person on stage (and rightfully so) was Jim Cockrum to extend his thanks to everyone that had helped put together CES V in Orlando. He went through a laundry list of people showing his gratitude for all of the hard work and time that they spent putting the event together.
Finally, Jim brought his family up onto stage to thank them for all of their support in building such an amazing conference series. Before Jim could go, the MC of the event came out with a big wooden box and explained that in the past 3 days everyone from the conference had been writing special notes thanking Jim and his family for putting on the event this year.
The event finished with Jim announcing the dates and location of CES VI. I’ll leave that for you to find out through the Jim Cockrum community 🙂
Day 3 and CES V 2017 Conference Wrap Up
It was definitely a whirlwind! Three days of meeting people in person that I had met and worked with through the Internet proved to be an amazing experience that only further strengthened our relationships. It was also packed with meeting hundreds of new people all with a similar passion for selling on Amazon and building online companies that run for themselves so that we can better enjoy our personal lives without worries of financials and normal, 9 to 5 jobs.
I can’t speak for everyone at the conference, but just from experiencing the vibe of everyone throughout the entire 3 days, I must conclude that it was the best CES conference out of all five that have been put on to date. The speakers were all amazing, the layout was perfect so that it didn’t create burn out, and the people attending were all excited for everything that was presented. Not to mention that the leaders of the CES V 2017 conference (including Jim himself) were extremely accessible the entire time willing to provide their advice and knowledge on selling on Amazon. There’s nothing better than that.
Will I be attending CES VI in 2018? You better believe it! And I hope that by reading this series of articles, others in the eCommerce and Amazon world will consider it as well. The first speaker, Dan Miller, introduced the idea of investing in yourself each year. While some may look at the price tag of conferences and quickly click the X button, I challenge you to take a second look at how that conference could potentially change the trajectory of your own personal mindset and the growth of your business.
Can you put a price on those two things?
I’ll let you be the judge.