Are you interested in diving into the world of online sales, but have NO interest in selling on Amazon? Do you have a product idea that you can’t wait to launch? More often than not, people associate a product being sold online with Amazon. My guest, Allen Walton of will talk about why Amazon doesn’t work for everyone and what you can do instead.

Allen specializes in selling all things ‘spy industry’ including surveillance cameras, GPS tracking, and even bug detectors! He started working in the niche in 2009 and by 2014 had learned enough to launch his own store. He’s grown a successful business that now earns 7 figures a year. In this episode, you’ll hear about his decision to use Shopify over Amazon, finding mentors, what he wishes he would’ve known—and more!

Are you interested in building a brand online that can earn you 7 figures? On this episode of Maximizing #Ecommerce @Allenthird talks about building his brand SpyGuy using #Shopify—not Amazon. #ProductSales #Entrepreneurship Click To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:50] I introduce my guest, Allen Walton.
  • [5:40] Pivotal moment that led to launching his store
  • [8:25] Why he doesn’t use Amazon
  • [11:25] Selling and manufacturing electronics
  • [15:30] Learning his industry
  • [18:30] Story about Tim Ferriss
  • [22:40] How to find mentors
  • [32:50] Driving traffic to your site
  • [36:20] Where to focus your advertising
  • [41:00] Things he would have done differently
  • [43:00] Book recommendations

Why Allen decided to use Shopify over Amazon

Customers who purchase from SpyGuy usually have a particular reason for doing so that they prefer to keep private. They could be purchasing surveillance equipment to catch someone in the act of stealing, record workplace harassment, or catch a cheating spouse. Many of the devices can be considered invasive, and anything that “secretly intercepts or records” audio or video is banned from Amazon.

So, quite simply, the largest reason he doesn’t sell on Amazon is that many—if not all— of Allen’s products cannot be sold on Amazon. Another reason? Many customers purchase surveillance equipment and within days have the answer they were looking for. With Amazon’s lenient return policies, Allen knew that his company would hemorrhage profits! Shopify is different in that they provide the tools necessary to build your own online store—with a much smaller list of restrictions.

Creative ways you can find a mentor

Allen’s #1 recommendation for finding a mentor is to become active in online communities related to E-Commerce. You can learn an immense amount just by interacting with people who have been where you’ve been. Using online platforms is the perfect way to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from each other. Even better, If you join a paid group, they tend to weed out the “wantrepreneurs”. AKA, people who aspire to be entrepreneurs but aren’t there yet, or may never be. This solidifies that everyone in the group is there to contribute valuable information and not just probing for questions.

Another way you can locate entrepreneurs to gain wisdom from? Go where they are! Embrace networking and attend conferences (or “unconferences”) or events where you know the key players in your industry will be. Allen lives by the mantra “If I’m doing interesting things then I’m going to meet interesting people.” He strives to be helpful, entertaining, and be real with people. He’s always shown a willingness to learn and believes you should do the same as well. This episode is packed with tried and true tips straight from Allen—definitely give it a listen.

Are you looking for a mentor but don’t know where to start? @Allenthird gives us some of his best tips and tricks on this episode of Maximizing #Ecommerce—you don’t want to miss it! #ProductSales #Entrepreneurship #Mentor #Mentorship #Coach Click To Tweet

The many ways you can drive traffic to your store—and choosing the best option for you

How do you decide where to spend your advertising budget? With the many options available it can be a difficult choice. Allen decided to primarily use Google’s AdWords to drive traffic to his website. It allowed his business to be profitable from the beginning and gave his customers the anonymity they were looking for. Most people searching for surveillance equipment don’t want to be found out, right? So marketing on Facebook or Instagram aren’t necessarily the best means of advertising for him.

However, he has a friend who sells crochet hooks and is absolutely crushing it doing Facebook ads. The bottom line is that you need to keep your audience in mind. Make sure you do your due diligence when researching your market, and the way you market your product should become clear. A tool Allen recommends to help grow your search traffic is ahrefs. It’s a great way to monitor your niche and gauge competition in the space.

Why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) needs to be prioritized

When asked what advice he would have given to himself when he started his business, Allen joked that he would’ve said don’t go into electronics. All joking aside, he recommends putting time and energy into SEO. He didn’t make it a priority from day one and regrets it. While paid ads got him traffic immediately, in the long-haul you want multiple channels directing traffic to your site.

He believes if he had invested in SEO from the start, he could essentially just end his ad campaigns and still get the majority of the traffic needed to turn a profit. The point is that Google can be fickle, and their algorithms are constantly changing. Who knows if his ads will be shuffled around or no longer prioritized—so he emphasizes utilizing multiple modalities of driving traffic.

Allen is quirky, real, and blatantly honest—all wonderful qualities in an entrepreneur. This episode is chock-full of valuable information and resources that you don’t want to miss!

Are you familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? If not, our guest @allenthird suggests investing some time learning about it and optimizing your website. Check out this episode of Maximizing #Ecommerce as @allenthird talks about why it… Click To Tweet

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Allen Walton

Connect With Kevin Sanderson


When most people think about a product being sold online, their mind automatically jumps to Amazon—but it’s not the only option. Listen to this episode of Maximizing #Ecommerce as our guest @Allenthird chats about his decision to use #Shopify… Click To Tweet Do you even know where to begin with paid advertising? Business guru @allenthird joins us today on Maximizing #Ecommerce to talk about the ways you can drive traffic to your store—and choosing the best option for you. #ProductSales… Click To Tweet

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