Cynthia Carrejo dove into e-commerce more than 10 years ago. It all started with eBay, where Carrejo is known as TexCynGoods.
Today the PowerSeller has her own online store, Texcyn Wholesale, and she sells on Amazon.
eBay just doesn't produce for us anymore. We sell in one month on eBay what we sell in a day on Amazon
We met Carrejo almost 10 years ago, and not only did we find an instant affinity with this bright, charming woman, but we also found a fountain of great ideas, positive attitudes, and flexibilities that even a contortionist would envy.
If you think Carrejo is 10 steps ahead in terms of what to do next, you're underestimating her. We were so happy to have her share some of her vast knowledge of all things e-commerce.
In this first part of our interview, Carrejo tells us how she got started, shares her experience of moving beyond eBay and gives us insights into her marketing efforts. In our next installment, we'll look more closely at her advice for networking, both online and in the real world.
Amazon proves more profitable
Schepp: Did you get your start selling on eBay?
Carrejo: Yes, I started selling on eBay in 2004 from my house. I started selling toys from a thrift store, then bought a couple of pallets of sporting goods and tools from a liquidation broker. They turned out to be dollar store items. We did well selling the basketballs and tools at the flea market, though. We bundled the tools and sold them on eBay.
I have since incorporated my business, have a warehouse and three employees. We focus solely on new items we buy from manufacturers that we have worked with for many years. Every now and then we add a new manufacturer.
Schepp: You do very little listing on eBay anymore. Why?
Carrejo: eBay just doesn't produce for us anymore. We sell in one month on eBay what we sell in a day on Amazon. It is also a time suck. I have other things I spend my time on that bring a much better [return on investment].
Schepp: Nowadays it seems you primarily sell wholesale to retailers. True?
We are adding a drop-ship service this year… With that in place, my goal is to be using Amazon only as a liquidation channel
Carrejo: Not true, yet. That is our goal, however.
Amazon is still our bread and butter, but our wholesale operation is starting to catch up to Amazon. We are adding a drop-ship service this year for our established wholesale customers. With that in place, my goal is to be using Amazon only as a liquidation channel by the end of 2016.
Wallets lead to niche
Schepp: You sell a lot of purses, handbags, wallets and accessories. How did you choose that niche?
Carrejo: After selling the toys and the tool and sporting goods pallets, I moved to liquidation items from TV shopping channels. I pretty much specialized in used, returned shoes. Once I was approved to sell in the Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories category on Amazon (in 2007), I had to find new items.
I chose wallets because they were easy to ship and didn't take a lot of space to store. That naturally progressed into handbags, which has progressed into other accessories such as hats, flip-flops and even jewelry on our wholesale site.
Schepp: How does your Amazon store compare to your Web store?
Carrejo: Comparing Amazon to our retail website is no comparison. Our annual sales on our website equal one month of sales on Amazon. However, our wholesale website last year was very close to reaching 50 percent of our annual sales on Amazon.
Seller prefers old-school marketing
Schepp: Tell us about your use of discounts and promo codes.
We really aren't focusing on social media anymore… It was a lot of work with few sales
Carrejo: For our retail website, we include a 10 percent off discount code in every package that we ship from our office. This has a much better ROI than any other form of marketing for the retail site.
For wholesale, we offer a 10 percent discount on new orders of $150 or more. We occasionally offer discounts to our VIP customers as well.
Schepp: How important is social media to your business?
Carrejo: We really aren't focusing on social media anymore. We did experiment with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for our retail website. It was a lot of work with few sales. We even paid to boost posts on Facebook several times. It was a complete failure.
Pinterest brings us the most business when I actively work it. However, there are only so many hours in the day. My main focus is our wholesale site, which we really don't use social media for. We use direct marketing, email marketing, SEO, blogging and Wholesale Central for our wholesale site marketing plan.
Our next article will look closely at the types of networking Carrejo does find very useful. We'll also take a look at many of the steps she's taken to stay educated, informed and ahead of the game.