Love this phrase from Mary Ann: “In and out the door in 24”. It kind of tells you what you can expect from the Wisconsin prep center. Fast service and even faster turnaround service. You need a partner in your business and as I continue to suggest : find the person who you connect with. The relationship really matters and with a strong relationship you get to ask for help when you need it. You will need it, everyone does.
(715) 267-5111 (local)
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Stephen: [00:00] Want to jump in here and just bring back up episode 250 Toys for Tots campaign put together by Sellar lambs. It is such a great opportunity. I was with the seller on Friday. Their team is working on it. I’m very very excited. This is a chance for you to use the skills that you personally have developed. You’ve got sourcing muscles not many other people have it. And this is a chance where we can take and use our skills to help those less fortunate. All the information is on episode 250 such a great cause. Kick back give back give back this time of year thanks hope your Q4 is going good. It’s a great time to be selling and sell a lot. Watch your repressors. I just got whacked on one last$15 a unit. I didn’t lose I lost in profit because I should have blocked one wasn’t paying attention so please do me tell you by a couple sponsors you know scope from solar labs.
Stephen: [00:59] If you’re not using it to even just to take your wholesale accounts of course you got to use a private label. Right. You need to understand the keyword you want to understand a key word go look at your competitors get their keywords and then use them. That’s smart business right because they already have proven that proof of concept but take the same approach to your wholesale accounts make sure that those keywords are in there. If not upload those changes many times you can but many times you can take advantage sculped from Sellar labs go to several labs dot com slash scope used a code word momentum save a few bucks get a few key words get your listings found.
Stephen: [01:35] Got to find that key and scope will be the product that will help you. There are solutions for e-commerce Charron logger. You know again you hear me talk about her because she is my account manager. She has been doing a great job. Again I had some stranded listings and I notice them down there on the bottom right hand corner. They’re gone. I look back and they’re gone and I see stuff submitted. I see stuff return. It’s such a great process because I don’t have to pay attention. I can pay attention to the other parts of our business solutions for e-commerce slash momentum. I’ll save you 50 bucks. Lowest price she offers. And do you still get the amatory Health Report. Take a look at it set up for 2018. Now tell Karen I sent you.
Stephen: [02:17] When you think about Q4 lists and hope you don’t use them just Q4 for Hope you use them all year long again you want to learn how to fish right. And so the best thing to do when you’re buying a list is look at what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and then figure that out on your own. That’s the approach that gay lesbian uses and a million dollar arbitrage list. It is closed for the rest of this year. However I have asked them and they have said they would do it if there’s an opening. They will pull from the waitlist. OK so I have the link out on my site and this episode that will have a link that will take you right onto the waitlist. So get on the waitlist if there’s something that your interest member she’s going to give you a 7 day free trial so there’s nothing to lose.
Stephen: [03:00] But then once you get in there take advantage learn how to fish right sharpen your tool you know sharpen your skills I guess is the right phrase I should use. OK so again I have that link out on this episode. So jump out there and get on that list. You know go daddy and grasshopper are both national sponsors of the show. I’m very fortunate. I have a third one coming on in February very excited about that. But go daddy. I use them. This was somebody who had a great idea for and for a domain and I’m like. Use my link. Save 30 percent 30 percent yes they pay me. We all know that. However 30 presents real I use it myself because I want to save the 30 percent.
Stephen: [03:41] So let’s try. Go Daddy dot com slash momentum right try Go Daddy dot com slash momentum and you’re going to save 30 percent grasshopper’s the same deal. Try grasshopper com slash momentum and you’re going to save 50 bucks. I saw somebody else just signed up for it. The service makes you a pro.. All of a sudden your business has a phone number has a vanity phone number you can kind of create your own one if it’s available but you don’t need a second phone. And I think that’s the big thing it’s not Google Voice which is choppy Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This is professional stuff. Press one for customer service press two for my Amazon account manager which we go to Karen’s team. I mean this is a great opportunity. So it’s Try grasshopper dot com slash momentum. Say fifty bucks. Welcome
Cool voice guy: [04:29] to the e-commerce momentum. Good guys. Well we focus on the people the products and the process of Commerce selling today. Your host Stephen Peters and welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This
Stephen: [04:44] is episode [2:53] Marianne shuk Allman. Marianne is runs a company called central Wisconsin prep pack and ship and she was recommended to me by a bunch of different people over time and we just haven’t. We’re both busy. Let’s face it we’re both busy but we had met in Chicago and said I’ve got to get you on. And she broke free and is busy Q4 to come on a couple surprises in the conversation. One is that she would take on a new customer right now. So if you’ve been thinking about adding someone to your team perhaps this is the opportunity to add a prep center and there are a bunch of. I’ve had a bunch of great interviews on one of my kind of conversations that we have pre is about you know I think I think that when you add somebody to your team when you partner up with a company you bring on somebody you’re going to find out who you’re comfortable with and assume costs are relatively the same service you should be able to expect what you want and then you should be comfortable with the person and so find the person that you fit with and you want it with everybody nobody does and that’s cool but find the person that you do and then just go all in.
Stephen: [05:52] I just think it really really can help grow your business. Let’s get into the podcast. All
Stephen: [05:56] right welcome back to the e-commerce moment podcast very excited about today’s guest because she is in the throes the busiest possible time for me to pull her out and to get her with the pressure. I think the pressure is what really adds to the conversation. Marianne Shackleton from central Wisconsin PAC prep pack and ship welcome area. Good morning Stephan. Well Stephen and this is the earliest I know it’s spelled that way. This is the earliest worst possible time to get here. This is the heat of Q4. This is you’re probably inundated with people’s products. It’s come on now everybody wants it done yesterday why wasn’t it done yesterday I’m sure. Trucks are backed up all the worst possible things it’s early in the morning you’re probably still putting out fires but you graciously agreed to come on and talk with us this morning about about you know kind of kind of where you are and where you’re going and how you got there.
Stephen: [06:56] I really really appreciate that. Thank you. Glad to be. OK so let’s get into it. So you in Wisconsin and you were or are an Amazon slash e-bay slash whatever else seller.
Mary Ann: [07:14] OK so in 2013 I previously owned a business but was looking to get out of that. And I found ebay and Amazon. So I started selling in 2014 is when I opened a prep pack and ship company. Where we have an empty build the thing that we were using at that point I had two employees. We very quickly outgrew that. Our packages were sitting out on Main Street piled as high as we could get it waiting for the U.P.S. semi to get here at night and our city didn’t really take a liking to that. So
Mary Ann: [07:57] we bought a building about one and a half blocks from where we originally started out that building very very quickly. And we just completed this summer took the boys about a month and a half to add on our onto our existing building an eighteen thousand square foot addition which we are now and still in the other part of building. But
Mary Ann: [08:31] that’s where all our offices and receiving comes then outgoing is in that building also. So
Mary Ann: [08:38] that’s where we are today. We’ve grown very very very quickly. And I truly believe it is because we do have the 24 hour turnaround.
Mary Ann: [08:49] So a couple of weeks ago we got a container from China in and if you go to our Facebook page you will see pictures on there. We unloaded and labeled or 5000 products for our customer and it went out the same day.
Stephen: [09:10] Well OK so I’m going to pull that apart because that’s a lot of information and it’s in it. I mean I agree the 24 hour to 48 hours. You said 24 but you know you do give your little self a little bit of leeway that sometimes it can take up to 48 hours turnaround time and it’s a guarantee that you offer. So I do want to talk about that because it does sound like a little bit of your secret sauce while you’ve been so successful. But let’s go back. So what kind of business were you in that you didn’t want to be in anymore.
Mary Ann: [09:39] A restaurant bar business.
Stephen: [09:41] Oh that doesn’t sound. I mean I’m assuming was it glamorous when you first went in and you you’re going to be different. You knew all the answers you were going to make it right. And it was going to be awesome like cocktails and dreams from Tom Cruise or was it you know right away to an ok thing I wanted to be different so we are we are bikers and we drive a Harley Davidson.
Mary Ann: [10:11] So that’s the way that the restaurant was set up. Wait a biker bar. That’s what it was going to be. Wow.
Stephen: [10:19] Now we have a dining room as I envision when I think a biker bar I think of at roadhouse but kind of a rough for a little rough for tumble you know kind of fight in a bar where a guy like me could walk.
Stephen: [10:35] OK. So not like that.
Mary Ann: [10:38] Yeah definitely not that.
Mary Ann: [10:40] So we had seating for I believe there was 65. The
Mary Ann: [10:45] bar was in another room. You know it was two buildings put together.
Mary Ann: [10:54] I just I’m getting to the age I’m in my middle 50s. I just did not that wasn’t. It wasn’t for me.
Stephen: [11:05] OK. OK. But there was a time it was for you right. And so there was reward and enjoyment. When you start out probably especially right because you’re enthusiastic and then is it the hours the time the customers the staff what gets to you or what wears you out in a business like that.
Mary Ann: [11:27] It’s long hours and it’s seven days a week. So
Mary Ann: [11:30] seven days a week is something that would wear on anyone over time. I mean it surely has to affect your family life. I mean did you have kids or grandkids at that time. My
Mary Ann: [11:43] kids are all grown and yes I have seven grandchildren. And
Stephen: [11:47] so getting you know time away when your seven day week operations are almost impossible. Right. Let me ask you this because this is this is a question that pops into my head. Do you have a seven day a week business today.
Mary Ann: [12:01] We do not. OK
Stephen: [12:02] . So you physically do. Close.
Mary Ann: [12:05] Yes. We run Monday through Friday seven thirty four and I’m not saying we never work Saturdays because in Q4 if it comes in Friday it has to go on Monday.
Mary Ann: [12:19] So you know we’ll have I have a lot of toys that have to go out on Monday and yes we will close Saturday but 99 percent of the times we do not. We
Mary Ann: [12:33] were on Monday through Friday.
Stephen: [12:34] And so that sounds intentional. I mean is that one of the things that was attractive for when you were setting up this business is a kind of an absolute like hey I’m not working nights and weekends anymore. That’s the way we’re going to do it. Definitely. OK. OK. All right. So
Speaker 14: [12:51] you had the business and the restaurant. Was that the business the building that you were in when you started up your eBay and Amazon business.
Stephen: [13:00] Yes. OK. So you’ve closed the restaurant in the bar. You then moved the tables together this process on are you selling the stuff from the bar.
Mary Ann: [13:09] We actually had an auction. OK. Everything out.
Mary Ann: [13:15] And so we had an empty building to start with. So that was a wonderful thing.
Stephen: [13:22] And so did you specialize in anything. I mean was it did you have any knowledge going into that world.
Mary Ann: [13:30] Me why eBay and Amazon it was something that I could do on and really work the hours that I wanted to work. OK. If you know if I want to take a day off and not source I didn’t have to. If my daughter called me or one of the kids called me to take the grandchildren can you pick them up from school. I could do it.
Speaker 14: [13:54] Was it easy for you I mean to do. Did you have experience on selling on e-commerce platform.
Stephen: [13:59] I mean tending bar doesn’t necessarily give you gives you a good listening skills set but not necessarily a good e-commerce skill set. What what made you so good at it. Did you have a background in it or something.
Mary Ann: [14:13] I listen to a lot of podcasts and I there’s a lot of free information out there on YouTube. Some good some not so good.
Mary Ann: [14:24] But you know you start following some of these people and they’ll say hey buy this pair of shoes or you know they kind of drop nuggets for you. And if you fall on anybody actually can do this business.
Stephen: [14:39] Right. And then you you figure that piece out on your. Right. Like you said hey this is a pair of shoes if you can figure out why they’re a good pair of shoes then you can replicate that right and grow lot from that. Correct. So I’m looking at a picture of Central Wisconsin packing prep It’s July 24th. Big gray building with kind of a moon roof. Is that your current facility there.
Stephen: [15:03] Yes that is our current facility today. I know the section to the right is the addition that was put on looks like a big giant garage door.
Mary Ann: [15:13] Actually that is the second building that we are in. And we added that part to the left.
Stephen: [15:20] Oh that big giant piece to the left. He smokes. Well OK. So that’s 18000 So you’re in 20 30000 square feet.
Mary Ann: [15:33] About 36 I believe it is 36000.
Stephen: [15:35] Wow. Beautiful building built intentionally did you. You know it’s I’m. I’m no I’m jumping around but my mind goes this way. I’m thinking about like I saw an internal picture and I saw the lower roof and it looks like it’s in a processing area. So I assume that was done by design because it looks like you can receive in that big area kind of what you describe That’s a receiving area. And then you can break it down. It looks like you don’t store a lot of stuff in that section. So
Speaker 15: [16:02] you built it with a lower roof for comfort because of Wisconsin weather.
Mary Ann: [16:09] Yes that’s I mean we didn’t need the 14 foot ceilings. So when we added this and we just I believe it’s 10 or 12 feet.
Stephen: [16:19] OK. OK. But it looks comfortable. And I was looking at it and I’ll have these pictures I’ll put these on the Web site because it’s very cool to look at. You don’t generally get to see the internal workings and you guys share it pretty generously. There’s a lot of good is that because you feel a connection with your customers.
Mary Ann: [16:36] I really do. I have many customers that not only are my customers but are very very good friends of mine. I don’t show anything that would give a way. I’m very protective of my clients.
Mary Ann: [16:55] And we actually have people that drop retail arbitrage off here from Wisconsin Illinois Iowa and Minnesota. And we’re we’re very protective of the items that we have in this building. You know not to let anything out.
Stephen: [17:19] Right right. So you keep privacy is paramount because there’s a trust issue. You know in a recall and I qualify this to say look I help.
Speaker 16: [17:27] I’ve had many others. I’ve had John Boehner down. I’ve had Brendan Sullivan on I’ve had a few others who offer prep centers similar to what Marion does. And my theory is this is that generally and this is a very general broad statement. Generally you guys offer similar services probably at similar costs and we can argue that all we want to. However my theory on this stuff you should have X as a as a consumer as a customer of hers and I don’t benefit in any possible way so I’m just going to qualify that but you should have certain expectations minimum expectations you should have you know as a customer that’s reasonable. However to me the relationship and their communication and my connection is the most important thing. So if Mary and I connect or John and I connect or Brendan and I connect or Ashley another person does.
Speaker 16: [18:15] And so if we connect or Tony Tony down in Texas if we connect one on one and we we have that rapport and I feel like you know it works for me. That’s what you should go with. And you know what and I think that that’s a very healthy thing for your business because quite frankly Marian you’re a partner for your customers aren’t. A very very very important piece of their team.
Speaker 17: [18:43] Exactly.
Stephen: [18:45] You know we have I have a couple of mutual friends that use Merrion service and they love her period and they always said Steve you got to have Mary on it. And we we met each other I think it was in Chicago and that’s the reason i finally the like. Yes I need to have her on. But I can see that you know when they talk about you it’s talk. It is almost a love kind of you know not in a weird way in a business way relationship and that that seems to the couple that I’ve talked to had that same feeling like you’re part of their team.
Mary Ann: [19:20] I’m I’m really glad to hear that. The one customer has been with me since day one.
Stephen: [19:28] Now think about that. That’s a pretty cool statement to say that you’ve had that customer since day one since they came into this world and in this business even though they’ve been bombarded by other options and you know maybe maybe different you know scenarios especially as the business has evolved. So that’s something. OK. So that’s enough pitching your stuff and I’ll I’ll put links for all her her services and stuff because I want to walk through some of them because I think some of them are unique. The thing that I noticed that in your name it’s central Wisconsin prep pack and ship you put the word prep first. Was
Speaker 15: [20:01] that intentional. I’ve always been a have you always been a prep center yes. And do you do merchant fulfilled prep also. Or is it just FBA. We do merchant fulfilled also for.
Mary Ann: [20:18] Amazon Shopify Wal-Mart jet and we also have customers which send us pallets of items and we list them on eBay for them all.
Stephen: [20:31] So you do the physical create the listing and put them up and that whole thing and then would it sell so basically they’re never in theory never touching the product they are never touching the products.
Speaker 18: [20:42] OK. So let’s talk about cost if we can. I don’t know how you let me how personal you’re going to let me get. But I like to talk about it because I think it’s going to be like Well that sounds great Steve but you know I can’t afford that or it sounds expensive. What can you tell us about your costs.
Mary Ann: [21:01] OK. So we start out at a dollar 15 per item but we also drop down to 40 cents a night. Whoa.
Speaker 19: [21:11] So there’s a 75 cents swing volume complication size. All that stuff kind of matter.
Mary Ann: [21:22] Correct. Today we’re going to be receiving pallets of grocery and here it’s all bundled one knows that you have to put together.
Mary Ann: [21:33] You mean correct. OK. And I know what Amazon takes out and charges for fees so my prices are not always solid. This gentleman called me he’s having as well as prep work. We work with sellers. We understand what Amazon fees are. And like he said we drop all the way to 40 cents. Now that is shipping 10000 products a week mostly pharmaceuticals So it’s very repetitious and you’re doing the same thing you know same product you’re not changing products. But yes we do work with sellers as far as our pricing. We
Speaker 17: [22:25] work with the smallest of sellers which means we do have a minimum of 30 items before we ship to Amazon. But we also work with several millions of dollars sellers.
Stephen: [22:40] So we we have a wide range in the U.S. and out of the U.S. a lot a lot of our country sellers use your service and you can handle a packet or mean pallet shipping so let’s say sometimes you can also store and store product it says. Correct correct.
Mary Ann: [23:07] Yes.
Stephen: [23:08] You know in this the the shippers that I’ve talked to in the past when they talk storage fees they’ve always been competitive with Amazon. Do you feel that you’re in that same position.
Mary Ann: [23:19] We charge by the pallet so it’s$25 per month per pallet.
Stephen: [23:24] Okay. Whether the pallets full or not but it’s square you know roughly correct. Right. And that space you got to take up so that that’s very reasonable. And so if they’re if they have little iPhone cases you can fiddle a lot on a pallet as opposed to Barbie Jeep’s where they can fit just a few on a pallet. OK. You’re receiving you off for a 24 to 48 hour turnaround time. So walk me through that. So does that mean you know when I ship when the when the trucking company says that it’s at your door I can expect it to be out within two days or I mean does it depend on time of year or what is generally what’s a general practice.
Mary Ann: [24:07] Our general practice still even in Q4 is 24 to 48 hours. We got 13 pallets of toys last week and we had it out in the 24 hours I have wonderful wonderful girls that work for me and they know when that trucks out the door that customer has already set up the ship and for us and we will all as a team go over there and work on that order. So it’s all hands on deck correct.
Stephen: [24:43] Now I was thinking about this too. When you when you are receiving a shipment is there a way that I mean have you coached sellers in two ways to talk to their manufacturers to help make it better. And is that a way that I can then lower my cost even though that’s kind of counter productive for you because you want the most money you can and that’s reasonable as a business. But is there. I mean have you offered you advice back to sellers for that kind of stuff.
Mary Ann: [25:14] Definitely. You want all one size one color and one box she knows so you’re not you don’t have four different colors of an item stuck in one case. And when you’re trying to label a product so yeah that has worked very well. One color one size one box or you know maybe the same color button several different sizes. That’s worked very well also.
Stephen: [25:38] So those are best practices we’ll keep going with some best practices when other things can. Even if they’re not clients of yours that people can improve in their business.
Mary Ann: [25:49] Definitely hire people for the things that you don’t want to do.
Mary Ann: [25:57] Our clients use inventory lab and give us access to that and it makes our workflow go so much smoother and faster.
Speaker 17: [26:10] So that’s you know that’s what that is one tool that I could not live without.
Speaker 14: [26:15] Well let’s stay on that because I think that’s an important point. So you because your client I mean is that a requirement that they use with you that we use inventory lab.
Mary Ann: [26:27] Some use that and some don’t. OK.
Stephen: [26:29] OK. So it’s not a requirement. But now but I imagine you guys have become experts at it because you’re using it so much and so frequently with so many people’s accounts is that another area that if I came in as a customer you could assist me in with best practices maybe naming conventions or amatory tracking or things like that right absolutely we can help we can help the smallest seller to the biggest seller what any of that. And I asked this question I don’t think you answered it so I’m not going to let you off on this one. Do you still sell.
Mary Ann: [27:04] I do have an eBay and Amazon account. OK. Because of the hours that I put in here if I am out and about I will pick items up and send them in. I am not actively out there on a daily weekly monthly basis.
Stephen: [27:24] So it’s more of just to keep current on how the you know I always say this like you know Jeff from cell labs or money sponsors says you know we have to have an account because we need to see what the world how it works. Right we really need to see it all the way through. And that’s what he uses his for. So you know one of the questions so we’re going to have is wait a second if if she’s out there buying. Or is she buying my stuff. I mean is she one of my competitors. How do I protect myself. How. You know and my answer would be this is there’s a reputation right. You wouldn’t have that guy who said that he’s been with you said that he’s been with you since day one still with you if he felt there wasn’t the trust fair fair.
Mary Ann: [28:06] We did not. I mean everything that’s coming in here I could say hey I know who that supplier is the night and get it. We do not do that in any way shape or form. You’re right the reputation would be we would no longer be in business if we did any thing like that. I’ll
Mary Ann: [28:26] have customers call me and say Can you give me some wholesaler names. I cannot do that. I’m sorry. You’re going to have to google grocery wholesalers or you know shoe wholesalers. We just cannot give that information out.
Stephen: [28:46] Well you know to be honest you as a vendor that should make you wary of that person because if they’re asking you to you know lose your integrity for convenience for them you know that might not be the best customer to have. You know that might be a newbie mistake to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I you know that integrity is so important when it comes to this stuff because there has to be this level of trust. Period. You’re part of the team. And if I can’t trust you and know that my stuff is protected you know I wouldn’t I wouldn’t have you as a vendor for me right. Correct
Mary Ann: [29:23] . Yeah. Like I said you know those people dropping off retail arbitrageurs. We keeps items in boxes they may see a Walmart box or a target box but they have no idea what’s in that.
Stephen: [29:36] Right. That makes sense. So you know thinking about this too. You’ve been in business for three plus years almost four years as a prep center. How different is it today versus what it was even just four years ago. I
Stephen: [29:50] mean that’s such a short period of time.
Speaker 17: [29:53] The thing I’m seeing right now today is the restrictions were getting a lot of the restricted brands and the sellers didn’t know that they were restricted on so in the last couple of weeks we have had so many return items. You know they go in to set the shipment up and they’re like oh my gosh I’m very strict now. And this just happened a couple of weeks ago. And it’s a lot of toys right now.
Mary Ann: [30:26] I don’t think there are as many restrictions. Four years ago as there are today.
Stephen: [30:31] So can you help that person. I mean I mean this is you know I’m sorry to interrupt you there but can you help that person so Steve sends in his stuff to you and I’m sending him my hatch trammels right. One of the hot toys. I send my Hachem to you and then all of a sudden magically for whatever reason I was approved went through you know and it came to you. And then all of a sudden I get restricted. Right. Can you help me or you know connect me with another seller that is approved. Do
Mary Ann: [30:59] you offer that level of service if I asked for yes we can offer that and we can also offer.
Mary Ann: [31:06] We are working with as a prep center a toy distributor right now because of this situation and I am spending most of their clients to them.
Stephen: [31:19] OK. And so then they can work out their deal so I could work out with Joe and say hey you know I’ve got these Hachem Also I paid$52. If you could receive them and give me X ideally$52 at least two to make be whole not out and I can get my money return pretty quick. That guy’s like man is awesome somebody source for me all these Hachem oles and I didn’t have to go out and get them and I didn’t have to pay a commission to go get them if you use Byars it’s win win. In that scenario if that’s you know the worst way you walk away from it.
Mary Ann: [31:52] Right. Break even.
Stephen: [31:54] Always good to break even. That’s right. Right. It gives you a chance to fight another day. Right. And you know when we think of Matt Kelly who said you know if you buy it at the right price you could ride it all the way down. You’re not making a mistake. So in this scenario if you just broke even walked away you’ve really really won. So what else has been different. Would you say I assume that the prep work is different today than what it was four years ago.
Speaker 17: [32:21] Yes definitely.
Mary Ann: [32:25] Grocery glass they are accepting glass now where they weren’t before. All has to be bubble wrapped toys we always have bed.
Speaker 19: [32:39] And some of the bags though we now have multiple languages on them where they might not have in the past right. Because you know some people are sending them to other countries. I know when we bought bags we got them with I think three or four languages and that’s newer.
Stephen: [32:55] You know in the last couple of years. Right. Right. What’s different. So in a pricing model the bubble wrapping glass bottles for example that would at a cost Korat correct.
Speaker 17: [33:09] And and by buying the supplies or is the charge you’re charging me including the supplies the consumables the charge that we charge includes a bubble wrap or the poly bags or you know like a bundle we do for a dollar fifty so a bundle or multipack it’s includes the tramp it includes the poly big thing the skew label expiration date if needed.
Stephen: [33:41] Okay. And maybe this is a set do not separate separate or something like that and includes those. Does it include the outside boxers and an additional charge if you want them custom box.
Mary Ann: [33:54] You would send that prior to our warehouse but we really do try to recycle all our boxes.
Speaker 17: [34:04] Yesterday they came to pick up our dumpster and we filled it up three times because of all the cardboard.
Mary Ann: [34:09] So we do try to reuse boxes but if you want new boxes then there is a charge.
Stephen: [34:15] OK. So but but if so that’s another little savings that’s a protip there. Is that your or you’re willing to not charge me for a box if you have some Walmart box laying around or whatever box laying around.
Mary Ann: [34:27] Correct. If that’s good enough to ship us we will definitely use use reuse bags.
Stephen: [34:33] And one of the other reasons that you know somebody should consider using a prep center is you keep up on the latest necessary hoops to jump through. Right. I know they always evolve and they change one way back and back and forth right. It’s open back and forth. But me as a seller I don’t need to worry about that when I use a partner like like a prep center. Correct.
Mary Ann: [34:55] Correct. Yes. We keep up to date on everything.
Stephen: [34:59] What’s been the biggest challenge for you bringing on a new seller. What are some of the things that would make it easier for a new sailor to come and use a service like yours. What could they do. I guess what I’m saying.
Mary Ann: [35:12] Our biggest challenge with new settlers is they want to make one ship and then be done.
Speaker 17: [35:18] And I’ve had so many new clients come on and they’re just not understanding that. With Amazon you’ve got to keep feeding the beast. Yeah. One shipment and they want to be done and they want to wait until maybe they’ve seen a profit and then they may or may not even make another shipment.
Stephen: [35:40] So I guess the way to say it was is if you’re going to use a prep center because you have more money than time which is what you should do if you have more time than money and prep yourself. It’s a great lesson go through it learn all the pain of it because it does come in handy when I’m buying things and knowing that it’s going to cost me more whatever for you. But then once you get to that place where you have more money than time and they come to you that’s a plan right. They should have a you know hey a weekly plan to bring you product to keep it going to get to scale. Right. Is that is that the advice.
Speaker 20: [36:13] Definitely the advice.
Stephen: [36:16] All right so what what else what other challenges do you find from new sellers coming in today. I mean do you get complaints about fees do they. I mean are they surprised or do they. I guess what you’re saying in that other scenario is they realize that wow after fees after Amazon takes all their fees and by the time they’re done paying me they probably work for less than minimum wage.
Mary Ann: [36:39] Right. Right. Yeah. And I think there’s they don’t understand or have not done their homework as far as maybe ranks on Amazon or even how to build a shipment. And those are the kind of things I’m working with the gentleman this morning. He is a new seller. He’s got his inventory in and he’s really struggling. So I said you know what. Give me a little while here and I will just go on and create the shipment for you. And he’s like oh thank you thank you.
Mary Ann: [37:19] I I’m not sure how we found out about Amazon when I went a new seller contacts me. I have a short survey that I sent to them asking how long they become a seller how many items they plan to ship per week. I really try to field them out now because I want them to know that they’re you know. And in that survey I say systematically how many items are you going to ship consistently.
Speaker 21: [37:52] And if they really can’t if they really can answer that you know they’ve got to be sure of what they’re doing.
Speaker 14: [38:03] So the the when they that’s a red flag for you when you see somebody who’s not really up to that place do you I mean have you turned away customers to say you know what Steve you’re just not ready for me. Let’s get you a little further along.
Speaker 22: [38:19] We have we you know we have to be honest with these people. I had a client contact anyone to ship 12 items. It wasn’t consistent but he was trying to get his feet wet. And I don’t want to say that we don’t take people like that because we have in the past and they’ve grown into million dollar salaries.
Mary Ann: [38:41] Oh that’s cool. I want them to be sure. So is what they want to do.
Stephen: [38:47] Right. Because it’s not easy. Everybody thinks it’s easy because everybody makes it sound easy. It’s absolutely not easy. And there is an artform to it so. So in that scenario the guy who wanted to send in 12 items did you do it. I did not do it. OK. I think that’s a good thing that you did that because that shows integrity again and again if you’re going to be my partner it just can’t be win for you and not for me because guess what I’m not going to be in business. Right. And so then you lose a customer forever. Right. You need me to be successful because if I’m successful then I’ll need your services right. Right and vice versa. Correct. Yes. OK. So. Thinking about other challenges that you see so let’s start talking to people who who have been thinking about using a prep center.
Stephen: [39:32] Right. So you give a little bit of advice to things that they want so let’s say they have a plan. They are in that mode now. They’ve been they’ve been growing. Maybe they want to touch into wholesale or private label and they’re thinking OK how am I going to handle this because you know that’s a planning thing. I mean when you’re handling wholesale you’re getting volumes and you’ve got to turn it around very quickly. Competitors or you have to stage your shipments going in and the same thing with private label. In the old days right is old people who’ve been saying for a long time. We used to send everything in. Well you can’t do that now because of fees. Right. And so let’s let’s talk through somebody who’s thinking about using a prep service when no know.
Stephen: [40:11] But it’s time what’s a reasonable expectation of cost and you know I’m just using an average customer you know not your outliers that you and I know right now those outliers just your average And then how long does it take them to get into sync to communicate because I always think the communication is one of the hardest things to do between me and you right is you know you have your system. I’ve got to adapt to your system. I have mine. You know I got to figure that out. So can we talk that through.
Mary Ann: [40:46] Sure. So what I would suggest to began with the prep center is if you really want to scale this if you’re using a press center you can do that on line arbitrage the private label the retail arbitrage the wholesaling those are parts of the day you don’t need to worry about we will take care of that for you. So we’re you’re receiving we’re receiving your unladen arbitrage as well as your wholesale. The trucking company just shows up here they’re not calling asking do we need liftgate. Is this a commercial property or residential. We work with the work sheet that they’re updated on a daily basis.
Mary Ann: [41:38] So as that truck is coming in and I have two girls in doing inventory all day long they’re updating those workflows. So
Speaker 23: [41:50] you want that wholesale order out tomorrow.
Mary Ann: [41:54] As long as it’s a Google document so we both have access to that and you can see that that wholesale order is now here. You can set up the Shevlin just e-mail us right away in the morning and we’ll get it out there. They are the following day.
Stephen: [42:12] OK. So by going through that process by working through that. And it is this is this in in the in boarding process where this is discussed.
Speaker 22: [42:23] Correct. And it will ask you know what you plan now what items but what avenue that you’re planning on coming in at.
Mary Ann: [42:35] And then each person in our warehouse has their own spot. So net inventory is never mix together with another seller. And that that’s really the way we communicate is that Google document. And like I said it’s a live document so they can see exactly how they’d look at it daily they can tell exactly what is in our warehouse and so that helps for a lot of reasons.
Mary Ann: [43:01] A with accounting right. Planning though is probably the hardest thing because you know you have to allow for things to get to you from if there is especially if they’re importing they’re coming from you know from usually the West Coast or if it’s you know the way it’s coming from wherever they’re coming from right. We’ve got a plan for that and then give you enough time to process it and then give you enough time to get it back in and get it delivered and then receive it. So all that takes a lot of work but a live Google document is that another thing that you can offer advice to people about is hey you know here’s what we see from our customers when it’s received here and we get it turned around within a day or two you could expect to start see received in Amazon within X number of days.
Speaker 24: [43:49] Ninety nine percent of our shipments go into Joliet Illinois. Really. Yes.
Mary Ann: [43:56] When they leave here say they leave here on a Monday. We will follow that shipment through and it’s usually to Amazon by Wednesday. And Julie when they are a they are a central processing.
Speaker 14: [44:14] One of the hubs like in BP or whatever that for Amazon is that correct.
Mary Ann: [44:20] Correct. Yes.
Speaker 14: [44:21] OK. And so then they. And is it because do I have to then choose premium placement or Im in story placement in inventory lambes to get that option.
Mary Ann: [44:31] I believe it has to do with our ship from address really honest.
Mary Ann: [44:38] I don’t know that that’s true. But like I said 99 percent of our shipments go into Joli.
Stephen: [44:46] It would be interesting to wonder I would wonder whether it’s that or if you’re not coaching people to select amatory placement or you know I am not. OK. So that’s interesting. So that might make sense. I mean that would seem to be reasonable if that’s the case. You know for them it would be great because they know it’s coming from you you’re sending it in consistently and maybe it’s a volume issue. That’s interesting. I’ve not heard that but if that’s true then that would be a cost saving because I pay for amatory placement. My wife and I we pay I think it’s 15 cents an item or whatever it is I forget how much it is. And generally most of my toys and stuff go to Hazleton Pennsylvania and my shoes go to Indianapolis any time I want to get charged extra.
Stephen: [45:29] They send it to California or Arizona seems to be a really expensive place. I have no clue why but man they get it must be in the middle of nowhere. Once in a while get whacked with a big charge. So that’s interesting I wonder if that if that’s really true because that could be a big savings that would help again offset the cost. Because that’s really what it comes down to. I mean isn’t your pitch. Look Steve you’ve got to pay if you’ve got to do it yourself. That’s time that you’re not doing more valuable things unless less your lane. You know you could be doing more valuable things but also if you’re paying somebody we can probably do it cheaper because that’s all we do. Right. Right. Correct. And you’re buying bags cheaper than I am because you’re buying them by the million you’re buying tape cheaper than I am because you’re buying it by the pallet load you’re buying packing material.
Stephen: [46:19] I mean all that stuff that efficiency if you’re getting that efficiency you’re not charging me more for that. So therefore I get that benefit just because correct. Yes
Speaker 24: [46:30] .
Mary Ann: [46:31] OK. All right. So again let me ask this thinking about somebody new coming in is now the right time to approach Marion and say hey I want to be in. It’s Q4. I’ve got all this truckload of toys. Can you take them tomorrow.
Speaker 24: [46:49] At this point I would take them. I would let them know. They’re not on my back burner and it will get done. But the current customers that I have today I have to ship first.
Speaker 14: [47:04] Right. So you’ve got to get worked into the workflow correct.
Speaker 24: [47:08] Something that we received this morning. Will be either yet late this afternoon. So it can shift tomorrow for the 24th turnaround or beyond. OK. The following day so we set up our orders. It’s first come first serve.
Mary Ann: [47:29] So you are accepting customers and I’ll put all the information again. I don’t benefit in any possible way other than hearing from someone who listened to the show saying hey I found a home. That’s always what I want to hear whether it be with Marion or be with one of the others. If this is something that’s a bottleneck in your business which generally it is. I mean when you think about it right sourcing can be a bottleneck but prepping could be a huge bottleneck because it could get behind very very quickly it’s like those Doritos that keep coming down the line. Right. They get they get piled up very very quickly right. So if that’s the case then you know have all the contact information in this episode. But Marians accepting customers which I didn’t expect you to say yes I thought you would say hey let’s push you off to the first quarter and let’s plan it. Well here’s the other thing though. Is this the time to plan if there is a time to have a 2019 plan which they should be working on.
Speaker 24: [48:22] Is this a time to start talking with you about that correct. Yes.
Speaker 20: [48:29] And I I want to let you in on a little secret of ours and we joke about this secret ops. We have saved many divorces. Oh I always say that a warehouse is a great marriage saver.
Speaker 24: [48:44] Yes. I ran to pick up customers products a couple of weeks ago. He was from Minnesota and we met halfway. I met I went to meet him you know and pick up his product because his wife was.
Speaker 20: [49:02] If you don’t get this out of my house I’m going to have a lawyer one of these if you don’t if it doesn’t get out you will be going with it. Wow. OK. So you’ll even go to that level of service. Wow
Stephen: [49:14] . OK. All right. So let’s close with this. Let’s help soldiers who are stuck. Move forward and it doesn’t have to be in the prep world. Other advice because you’ve been saying for a long time you say well you’ve seen much more product than probably any other seller come through your fingertips or through your door. So you’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly. What I always try to help people who are stuck right there they’re they’re killing themselves and they’re selling 20$30000 a month and they’re not getting anywhere because they’re barely making you know enough money to survive.
Speaker 18: [49:50] And so they just kept to keep going right and they can’t get ahead. What’s your advice that you would give for people to help get unstuck.
Mary Ann: [50:00] Number one is scan scan scan in and out the door in 24 again like that.
Stephen: [50:10] That’s a Mirch shirt in and should or in 24 somebody do a merger. I like it.
Speaker 24: [50:15] And keep feeding the beast.
Speaker 25: [50:18] I like that line. I’m
Speaker 26: [50:19] going to use that in and out the door in 24. Love
Mary Ann: [50:26] it. That’s a good one. I mean it really does say it.
Speaker 25: [50:29] And even on a small scale so little Steve in his garage if I follow those practices meaning skin Skins can always be sourcing right in and out the door in 24. Turn it around quickly. Own up to your mistakes. Get rid of them quickly. I would add that in there. And then wash rinse and repeat and keep buying and shipping buying and shipping and you will scale. I love it. I think that’s very sound advice. And you didn’t pitch your services. I appreciate that. I like that. That wasn’t one of the things to get unstuck. Because I agree with you. They have to be right for you as much as you’re right for me. Right is that reasonable.
Mary Ann: [51:09] Absolutely. Absolutely.
Mary Ann: [51:12] All right. So somebody has more questions and I’m assuming now that you know they know that you’re open for it.
Speaker 25: [51:17] I have your e-mail here is info at Central w. Central w Wisconsin prep pack and ship dot com. I have a phone number here of 8 5 5 3 9 7 4 5 8 7. If they have more information or if they want more information have questions. Is that cool.
Mary Ann: [51:41] Absolutely. OK. And we do have a local number of 7 1 5 2 6 7 5 1 1 1.
Speaker 25: [51:51] OK. And OK. All right I’m going to put all that out there again. I don’t benefit in any way other than hopefully having a listener find a home for them and help them save their business because I love and save their marriage. Help save their marriage. And I appreciate you taking the time. It was as good as I thought it would be. I’m surprised that you can you can. I mean that’s something that you can handle taking on a new account this quarter and work into your system that means you’ve you’ve done some good planning and growth. Clearly you have expanded your business and I’m going to have the pictures on the Web site you’ve got to go check out these pictures. The place is huge and you’ll see the addition is to the left not to the right which I thought. No it’s loud. Can you really expand it so. Man I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much.
Mary Ann: [52:41] Thank you so much Stephen you have a great day.
Stephen: [52:43] You too. Great interview. Great advice. I love it. In and out the door in 24 in and out the door and 24. I just think that that’s such a powerful statement. It really comes down to making it a priority to get your amatory buying is obviously sourcing is huge. It’s one of the biggest things you can do but you got to turn it around turn it on quick. I’m guilty of it from time to time. Amatory just sitting there can’t get to it because life happens. Well guess what when you partner with someone and you have a high expectation and you hold them to that standard boom they’re going to get you going. And that’s the fastest way to grow your business. So reach out to her if you think there’s a fit or reach out to some of the other prep companies that I’ve had on.
Stephen: [53:24] But what a great way to start 2013 getting prepared and organized to really tackle the e-commerce momentum dot.com Dulfer get my sponsor’s scope from Sellar labs. Man oh man get that keyword research get it done right. Utilize others information. It’s the best proven concept right you already know it’s the proof of concepts there you already know it’s a hot item because you’re going after number one number two number three and you’re going after their keywords. What a great simple idea. Solar labs dot com slash scope use the code momentum save some money get some free keywords get going on solutions for e-commerce. You guys know about Karen Locher I think so much over because she’s there to help me in my business and she can help you to solutions for e-commerce dot com slash momentum will get you in there and get you started on the right path. Take care.
Cool voice guy: [54:18] Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum. I guess all the legs mentioned today can be found at the combers momentum dot.com under episode number. Please remember to subscribe and the like goes on iTunes.