So you never thought selling tens of thousands of everyday, low-margin products online would make a great business and a great story? Neither did the guys behind Pharmapacks. Until they did it.
The next time you buy some humdrum product on Amazon, pause for a moment and check the Other Sellers listed on the right side of the page. That lip balm? Thirteen vendors offer it. Those vitamins? Twenty. As you click and shop, a battle rages in that little box, fought every day by entrepreneurs like Vagenas and Tramunti on practically every one of Amazon’s 410 million product pages.
To show off the secret behind Pharmapacks, his $70 million retail business, Andrew Vagenas picked up an EOS lip balm and tossed it to his buddy Brad Tramunti.
“Watch,” Vagenas said. “He’s like a special kid.”
There is nothing about Tramunti that makes you think: lip-balm guy. He’s 33 years old and hefty, with a two-day scruff and a faded T-shirt wrapped around his torso. But he held the lip balm in his paw carefully, inspecting its lollipop-purple-swirl case like a savant.
“This is a new flavor,” he said. “Just came out. Blackberry nectar.” He took it to his desk and brought up its Amazon.com product page. He checked its weight–0.25 ounce. He pursed his lips and calculated the shipping cost in his head: “$1.89,” he muttered. He looked at its Amazon sales rank: 54,000. He brought up a page with suppliers’ prices.
“We get this wholesale for $2.23,” he said, smiling. “That, plus shipping, plus our margin? We’ll be in the number-one spot.” That meant when a shopper clicked Add to Cart on Amazon, Pharmapacks would get the sale.
Vagenas grinned. Then he tossed Tramunti a box of Vitamin Friends Iron Diet Supplement.
“He just gave me a crazy product right now,” Tramunti said. He pointed to his screen: The vitamins already had 201 Amazon reviews. “If we can get this for under 10 bucks, it’s a home run.”
“We’re getting it for 11 bucks,” Vagenas said.
“OK, it’s a double,” he shot back. “But we’re going to be number one on this product–and it’s ranked 1,451 in all of personal care, number two in vitamins. This is crazy! This is bonkers!” Whatever you want to call it, within hours, Pharmapacks would be the number-one seller on Amazon for both of those products–a ranking it would hold for weeks.
“He’s my special boy,” beamed Vagenas.
Thanks to Amazon and other platforms, Pharmapacks is building an empire by selling more than 25,000 quotidian products – including those seen here – online.
Read the rest of this article, here.