Below is my Ecomm Elite Review
Updated: July 2017
Ecomm Elite takes a different approach towards teaching people how to sell on Amazon. First, they don’t focus exclusively on Amazon private labeling, although this initially what attracted me to them. In addition to this, they also outline how to sell on Amazon using wholesale or dropship strategies, both of which have worked extremely well for the founders, Todd Snively and Chris Keef.
I’ll go into detail behind each of these strategies later in my Ecomm Elite review, but I also wanted to point out that their pricing model is also quite different than other alternatives. Ecomm Elite charges a monthly or annual membership fee as opposed to a single upfront payment, like many other courses. The fee has increased since I first reviewed the course, but they’ve also improved their offering during this time.
First, I want to go on record as saying I hate paying monthly fees. A service really has to be worthwhile for me to try something (and stick with it), especially when it’s priced as high as Ecomm Elite.
Fortunately, they are able to ease the pain of paying a membership fee by including tools you really need in this business free of charge. These are things that you’d likely want to purchase anyway if you’re serious about becoming successful, so make sure you take these savings into account when evaluating the cost. I personally pay for some of these (or similar) tools in my own business, so I know there’s real value in having them included in the membership fee.
As of the time of this posting, this is what they offer:
- Proprietary Keyword Tracker
- Proprietary Keyword Finder
- Proprietary Stats Tool – allows you to track and analyze account data and profitability so you can better manage your business
- Proprietary Email Tool – allows you to automatically send follow-up emails to customers
- Jungle Scout Pro
- Merchant Words
- Single-Use Coupon Code Distributor
- There’s one more that’s proprietary to them, but I don’t want to share too much information publicly since it’s unique and considered to be a competitive advantage.
In addition to the aforementioned tools, they also offer a couple of “bonus” video modules covering social media marketing.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the balance between proprietary tools and ones where they partnered with existing services. To the extent that an existing service really excels (like Jungle Scout), I much rather that they develop a partnership rather than build something out from scratch. Developing software and managing tools takes resources, and my concern is that it will spread them out too thin. So far, this doesn’t seem to be an issue, but it’s something to keep in mind.
However, this ties back into their pricing model. I know that a membership model creates a better alignment of interest between the course owner and customer. With the traditional upfront fee model, course owners have to constantly work towards adding new members in order to sustain revenue, so they are incentivized to spend their time marketing the course. This is what turned out to be the downfall of Amazing Selling Machine (ASM), which was the market leader in Amazon courses for a long time. I could probably put together a full case study on where ASM went wrong, but their business model had a lot to do with it.
With a membership model, the course owner has to make sure customers renew their subscriptions in order to sustain revenue. Owners can only do this by continuing to add value to the customer, so they are incentivized to spend their time helping people really succeed. As an added benefit, avoiding a large upfront fee also helps free up cash flow early on in your business when it’s most important. That’s money you can apply towards inventory or promotion instead.
As I mentioned earlier, I personally don’t like membership fees in general, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a “deal breaker” for some people. However, I do really see some advantages to it for this business model, so I definitely wouldn’t rule out Ecomm Elite because of it. The fact that membership helps you save money in other areas of your business is really helpful in offsetting the cost.
That said, it’s still expensive. They’ve raised their price since I first reviewed the course, so I can’t recommend it as highly as I used to since there are reasonably priced one-time purchase options available.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of things.
Who is behind Ecomm Elite
Ecomm Elite is run by partners Todd Snively and Chris Keef. Both of them make most of their money as Amazon sellers and they are not professional “Internet Marketers”. In fact, I met Chris around the time we were both getting started in this business and he was working a full time job in sales back then. He had no background in Internet Marketing beforehand. Also, their funnels and sales pages for Ecomm Elite are just ugly and poorly done. Fortunately, they are much better at Amazon marketing, but don’t be surprised if their website seems a bit amateurish.
Both are completely immersed in being Amazon sellers, which keeps them on the cutting edge of what works and what doesn’t.
In fact, Chris is one of the few people I trust to reach out to when I want feedback on something Amazon related. I only know Todd by reputation because of how successful he’s been, although I’ve never met him personally. Apparently, he’s part of a small group of sellers that meets with Amazon representatives in their offices on a regular basis, so he’s someone who has access that’s not available to most people.
The training starts of with a Welcome area, Mindset Module and an intro to selling on Amazon. A lot of courses offer something similar because it’s important. Unfortunately, I’m impatient and didn’t actually go through this part. If anyone has specific questions about what’s included, I’ll go through it, but I’m more interested in the “meat”.
The core training is primarily broken down into three paths as mentioned earlier:
- Buy Box Model – buying products wholesale and reselling them for a profit on Amazon
- Private Label – creating your own brand of products to sell on Amazon
- Dropshipping – selling on Amazon using a dropship model
They used to break things down between a Beginners section and an Advanced section, which I had liked, but they did away with this and it’s more topic based.
I’ve always been critical of the wholesale and dropship model with respect to selling on Amazon because they are both very difficult to do successfully. I’ve since learned much more about how to manage them properly, which is really about volume and efficiency. With this in mind, you need to have a plan and systems in place to build a scalable business, and that’s largely what Ecomm Elite shows you how to do.
The Buy Box training consists of 8 parts, each with multiple videos, so there’s a significant amount of content. The dropship training has much less material as the business model isn’t really complicated, but you have to focus on avoiding pitfalls and solving problems. In both cases, they’ve done a nice job in showing how to build a scalable business using either model.
Building a private label business is much more complicated than the other strategies, although it can also be the most profitable. The training consists of 11 parts, also with multiple videos in each. They do a really great job of simplifying the process into it’s core components so that you focus on the elements that are most important. A lot of other courses, try to highlight the exciting elements of the business, but the boring aspects are often the areas where you can differentiate yourself.
When I first reviewed Ecomm Elite in 2015, the content wasn’t fully complete, but I had very high hopes for them. They’ve met my expectations with respect to content and quality, but I feel as though the site is still a bit more disorganized than I’d like.
Separate from the “Training” section, there’s also a Social Media Marketing section as noted earlier, which includes modules on Facebook Marketing, using Instagram and Amazon PPC. Additionally, they also hold regular webcasts that are recorded and have been holding Live Events.
There’s also a private member-only Facebook group that both Todd and Chris are active in.
Some of the info in Ecomm Elite is very basic, which makes it ideal for beginners, but they aren’t afraid to ramp up quickly to advanced concepts. They do cover some really high level info, especially when you take into account webinars and what’s included in the community.
Ecomm Elite has taken a different approach to teaching Amazon sellers as they have a different pricing model and they don’t exclusively focus on private label. It’s hard to say how people will ultimately respond to the membership model vs. paying a one-time upfront fee, but I think the better alignment of interest between course creators and members is a smart move. By providing cutting edge information about what works because they aren’t spending the bulk of their time “selling” the course, it will provide members with a real advantage. The model seems to make sense to me, and when you add in the fact membership includes tools that you would likely consider purchasing anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this becoming the favored approach. While I can personally get comfortable with a membership model, I do think it’s expensive relative to some of your other options if you’re specifically interested in private label. It’s probably only worthwhile if you would also like to learn their wholesaling or dropshipping strategies as well.
If you’re OK with the membership model in general, I think it’s a great way to get started with a low upfront cost, especially true if you’re willing to start with either the wholesale model or dropship model where you can start cash flowing quicker than with private label. This should at least make it easier to start covering the cost of membership relatively quickly.
I’d like to add that Chris is a VERY good teacher. He’s articulate and concise…probably the best I’ve seen in all the courses I’ve reviewed so far. This is true both in the training videos as well as written responses within the Facebook group.