EBO On the Go: Takeaways from ASD, SourceDirect, and The Prosper Show [Episode 15]

Welcome to Episode 15 of the E-BusinessOnline Podcast

Host & Speaker:  Fred McKinnon
Topic:   ASD, SourceDirect, and Prosper Show
Summary:  Join Fred McKinnon as he breaks down his takeaways from his trip to Las Vegas to the ASD, SourceDirect, and Prosper Show.

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Welcome Home!

This past week was my first of many.   First time to Las Vegas.  First time to the ASD Show.   First time to the Prosper Show.  First time gambling in a real casino.  First time seeing some amazing entertainment that I’d not seen before.  First time seeing the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.  First time meeting several fellow podcasters and best of all, some fellow EBOers.  (EBOers = Followers of the Podcast and Facebook Group!)

The ASD Show (including Source Direct)

ASD (Affordable Shopping Destination) is a gigantic trade show featuring products of all categories.   From their website:

ASD Market Week is the most comprehensive B2B trade show that brings the world’s widest variety of retail merchandise together in one efficient shopping experience. The ASD Market Week show floor is filled with quality choices at every wholesale price point buyers could want to find. ASD Market Week is held twice per year in Las Vegas and is truly the wholesale buying event that can’t be missed for any small to large sized retail, distribution, or importing business.
ASD Market Week is also home to SourceDirect Trade Show, a component of the show that allows importers, distributors, wholesalers and large retailers to buy wholesale goods directly from overseas. SourceDirect is the destination for buyers looking to source new product categories and find new ways to directly profit from manufacturers coming from more than 14 different countries.
ASD had already been running for a few days when we arrived on Tuesday morning.   The Las Vegas Convention Center is overwhelming.  Gigantic is an understatement.   Thankfully, ASD had registration tables setup everywhere and they had plenty of staff to point you in the right direction.  I was able to walk up to a self-registration table and type my last name into an iPad and have my access badge printed within a couple of minutes.   They also did a fantastic job of laying out all of the product categories across the many halls and buildings at the convention center.
I will be super honest here.  As I walked (for miles and miles) and browsed the different products I was somewhat confused on exactly what benefit I would have there.  It was clear to me that the majority of merchants are setup to display their own brands, their own products, and that a majority of attendees were buyers for retail stores and chains.  Although there was a plethora of Amazon/E-Commerce sellers there, it definitely didn’t feel like they were catering to the online dealer.   You could easily spend a couple of days walking through all the buildings and aisles so I focused my search on three categories that I was interested in.
If you are an e-commerce seller and you successfully sourced products at ASD to sell online would you comment below and let us know?  I’d love to interview you for a future episode.

The Prosper Show for Amazon Sellers

 As I stated on the podcast the primary reason I went out to Vegas was to attend the Prosper Show for Amazon Sellers.  You can hear more about this show from the co-founder in the interview on Podcast Episode #6.
The Prosper Show officially started at 9:00 AM on Wednesday but there were some premium classes (by premium I mean you paid several hundred bucks extra!) on Tuesday afternoon.   I’ll be the first to say that the accounting of a large e-commerce business is one of my biggest challenges so I forked over the cash and took the 3-hour “Workshop on Ecommerce Accounting” class taught by Scott Scharf from Catching Clouds, an e-commerce accounting firm.   I was surprised at the number of sellers who, like myself, were willing to pay the extra money for this as we had a good class.  Scott was a great teacher and was prepared to fill the full 3 hours with tons of content and information.    I could do an entire episode alone on this but suffice it to say it was well worth it and I learned a great deal.
The official show kicked off Wednesday AM and I attended many of the lectures and breakout workshops.  I will confess, I skipped out on the big sales tax discussions because I feel fairly confident in where we are with our sales tax process and I wanted time to network with the vendors and some fellow sellers who were at the convention.
What I loved about this show was the access to hear from top-level, former Amazon.Com executives and from some of the Top 200 Amazon Sellers who are actively selling on the platform.
A few takeaways that I had:
  • Amazon is not your friend.  Doing business on Amazon may be a necessity but it’s like dancing with the devil.   They are making constant changes which make things more difficult for 3rd party sellers.   Continue to aggressively work your strategy to have your business not fully dependent on Amazon.
  • No matter how bad your story may be of things that have happened to you, someone has a worse story.
  • Amazon does not discriminate against small sellers versus large sellers.  If you break the rules, you will be suspended, even if you are one of the biggest sellers on the platform.  Period.
  • PPC Strategies:   in regards to ACoS, you have to make a decision on what you want it to be based on purpose.  A product launch ACoS will be higher.  There are times to expect higher ACoS and times to try and break even or be profitable.   [This is exactly what I have been discussing in Episode 12, 13, and 14].
  • PPC Strategies:  every campaign should have an auto target, manual target, and one product per campaign.  There should also be an umbrella campaign that covers every product with a much lower CPC to catch any keywords or phrases you missed or removed from the more highly targeted campaigns.  (the umbrella concept was new to me)
  • Track your changes to PPC!  [EBO’ers – have you heard this before?]
  • Build your brand by always upselling and increasing AOV.
  • To truly grow you have to expand.  Constantly search and launch new products.
  • Outsourcing:  more important than ever.  What is my time worth?  What am I doing that someone else can do?

I enjoyed the classes and took a small nugget away from everything I attended.   Hope this helps!

Did you attend?  Would love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below.

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