4 Untruths You’ve Probably Heard About Amazon

By Kate Hornsby | May 20, 2016

amazon
A lot of wannabe sellers want to take the plunge and start selling on Amazon, but find they are intimidated by some of the things they’ve heard about the mega marketplace. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions that get bantered around the Internet on an almost daily basis. Here are four untruths you’ve probably heard that may be holding you back.

It’s hard to sell on Amazon

Hang around on some of the Amazon sellers boards or Facebook pages and you’ve no doubt heard sellers talking about getting massive orders ready to send in to “feed the Amazon beast.” They talk about how stuffed animals have to be in plastic bags and boxes have to have labels on them and…and…well, it can seem quite overwhelming.

Although it might seem like it would be easier selling and shipping your own items out to buyers, the truth is that for many sellers Fulfillment by Amazon makes their life a whole lot easier. In fact, really all you do is ship your items to an Amazon warehouse and Amazon does the rest.

You can’t successfully sell on Amazon these days

A couple of years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to hear about sellers moving over to Amazon from eBay and suddenly go from making almost nothing to making five figures a month. While it’s no longer a sure thing (and really – despite what you’ve heard, it never was), there are still a lot of sellers making some serious money on Amazon. Do your research, study the market and you could still be one of the success stories.

The marketplace is just too crowded

When you consider that there are over two million sellers on Amazon, it’s no wonder that so many people find it daunting to give it a try. After all, that’s a lot of competition to go up against. When you step back and consider that Amazon typically gets around 175 million visitors a month, however, you should realize that you still have a fairly good chance to carve out a spot for yourself.

You can set it and forget it

Maybe once upon a time you could list a popular item, add a price, a few simple details and a photo, then just wait for it to fly off the shelf on it’s own, but that’s certainly not the case anymore. Today, you need to use every optimization tool at your disposal to ensure that your item will rank as high as it can.

This means, good item descriptions, good photos and a competitive price. Even after you have your item listed, you still need to keep an eye on what the competitors are doing and adjust your pricing as needed. You don’t want to be the highest with your prices, but you don’t want to end up losing profits by being the lowest either.

What untruth have you heard about Amazon? Leave a comment below.

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Topics: Amazon, Amazon FBA | No Comments »

Amazon to implement holiday storage fees for end of 2016

By Kate Hornsby | May 17, 2016

Amazon Packaging

If you’ve been following the Amazon warehouse saga, you know that the company is concerned about storage space, since their warehouses started filling up with unsaleable items that take up a lot of space. Although the company has made some changes that limit the amount of certain items that can be shipped to the facilities, it’s apparently not been quite enough to deter some sellers from their shipping patterns.

To counteract this around the holiday season this year, Amazon has decided to hit sellers right in the pocketbook. They plan to raise the fees for sellers using the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service, but the higher fees will only start and stay in effect for the last three months of this year.

Amazon states that this change is to urge sellers to think before they send and instead, use the Amazon warehouse wisely. Basically, they want to make sure that items that are sent in for the holidays will actually sell. Interestingly, while the storage fees are going up, the fees will go down for what they call their Weight Handling Fees, or rather, outbound fees.

Adding to a bit of the confusion, they will actually lower storage fees for October to lower than they are now, but then the fees become higher for November and December. Here’s a copy of the email that Amazon sent out to its sellers. You can also read more about it and see the proposed fees by going here.

Hello from Fulfillment by Amazon,

In 2015, FBA volumes, growth rates, and inventory levels were very high. As a result, our U.S. fulfillment centers were very full in November and December. This fullness was driven in part by FBA inventory that did not sell until well into 2016.

To avoid potential capacity constraints during the 2016 holiday season, we are accelerating the expansion of our fulfillment capacity. Additionally, we are changing our FBA fee structure to encourage all sellers to send in and store products in November and December that are likely to sell by the end of 2016. To give you time to plan for these changes, they will begin to take effect on October 1, 2016.

We are introducing the following updates to our fees:

–  Adjustment to Monthly Inventory Storage Fees: Effective October 1, 2016, the monthly fee for inventory storage will change for Standard-Size and Oversize units. October storage fees will decrease, and the fees for November and December storage will increase. This change will first be reflected in November 2016 charges for storage that occurs in October 2016. See details (or scroll to the Monthly Inventory Storage Fees information below).

–  Reduction of Weight Handling Fees in November and December: To minimize the impact of the increased storage fees in November and December on your business, effective November 1, 2016, we will reduce our Weight Handling Fees for all items shipped in November and December. See details (or scroll to Fulfillment Fee information below). With the reduction in Weight Handling Fees, sellers who reduce the storage space they use in November and December have the opportunity to pay lower total FBA fees. Sellers who hold unproductive inventory through November and December may see an increase in total fees. See examples of how total fees may be reduced.

–  Box content information required for shipments to Amazon: To ensure that shipments to Amazon are received quickly and accurately, effective November 1, 2016, you must provide box content information for each box sent to a fulfillment center. Shipments containing more than 55% of FBA units already provide box content information. In September 2016, we will provide additional tools to make it easier to provide box content information on all shipments. If your shipping processes do not support providing this information, we will apply a fee of $0.15 per unit in November and December. The fee will be $0.10 per unit for January through October. If you provide box content information, you will not be charged this fee.

Should this concern sellers?

Well, yes and no. Basically, you will have to pay higher storage fees, but when the item sells it will cost you less in “fulfilled” fees.

If you want to keep costs down, you will really need to take a long hard look at what you plan to keep in inventory this holiday season. You will also want to adjust your prices accordingly to cover the cost of your items sitting in Amazon’s warehouse on a shelf, so that you can recoup the extra amount of the fee. While I wouldn’t panic or completely change my strategy, I would keep it in mind as you begin getting your holiday inventory together and perhaps may even consider listing some of it elsewhere if you believe that the storage costs could present a problem for your unsaleable items.

What do you think of the fee change? Leave a comment below.

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Topics: Amazon, Amazon FBA | No Comments »

4 things to do before naming your online store

By Kate Hornsby | May 14, 2016

Cash register: "Welcome to our store"

You’ve brainstormed, agonized, brainstormed some more, and finally, finally, you have the perfect name for your online store. Before you make it official on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, or another marketplace, however, there’s some things you need to do first.

Check the marketplace
Depending on where you are planning to sell, you will first need to see if the name is available. Almost all of the marketplaces are designed where you will type in the name you want for your store and it will let you know if that name is available. Don’t be surprised if the name is already taken. If it is, you will either need to choose another name or get a little more creative with the name you selected (we’ll discuss that in a moment).

If the name is available, you still need to do a few things before you make it as your final selection.

Google it
Google the name to see if any similar names come up. As mentioned, don’t be surprised if you find one, or two or even three names that are the same as the one you’ve selected. It is really hard to come up with a completely original name. If you do find the name has been taken by someone and is being used on another marketplace, it is not necessarily the end of the world, but you will have to do some additional legwork to ensure you can still use it.

Trademarks and the law
Some names and even some words are trademarked. This means that someone owns the name and using it could actually get you in legal trouble. As an example, even if you discovered that the name Nike was not on eBay, you could not use it because the name and brand is trademarked. In the United States, you can check to see if a name has been trademarked by checking the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If you are outside of the US, you would check with your local trademark authority.

Here is where things can get interesting. If the name does not have a trademark and isn’t on the marketplace where you want to sell, you may be able use it, but you should still proceed with caution.

As an example, if the name is unusual such as Carol’s Candles and you and the other Carol both sell candles, Carol may become very unhappy to find out you are using her name even if it’s on another site. It could also become a source of confusion for Carol’s customer’s or even yours, so even though you can use it, you may not want to. In this case, slightly changing the name may help since it will distinguish between the two and help avoid this kind of confusion. For instance, you could use Carol’s Candle Creations and this could help to distinguish you from the other Carol.

Ask for Feedback
Once everything has checked out, it is still a good idea to run it by some other people to see if you are missing anything. You may find that you have inadvertently come up with a name that has a slang meaning or double entendre that could cause you embarrassment or be a real turnoff to buyers. Finally, ask people what they think a business with this type of name would sell or what kind of branding it would have. Just because the name is cute and people like it, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is appropriate for your store.

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That Kat Radio Show Episode 48 How to Keepa Camel with Stephen Smotherman

By Joanna Avellana | May 14, 2016

This week on That Kat Radio, Stephen Smotherman joined us to talk about his book “How to Keepa Camel”.

Segment One:

Kat and Stephen talked about Stephen’s history in ecommerce and how he became an author. Stephen explained that back in 1998 while he was in college, he got addicted with buying on eBay. Soon, he found out that he had no more money and needed to begin selling on eBay. He sold a lot of his things on eBay and realized that he actually made more money back than what he initially invested. He added that the whole reselling thing just caught on fire with him. He did eBay for about a decade or so for just a nice income hobby. In 2011, he found himself needing to turn his hobby into a full time job. He started searching online on how to turn eBay into a fulltime job and discovered Amazon. He said that he completely fell in love with selling via Amazon FBA. Six months after he started out, he was able to make a full-time income to support himself and his family on Amazon. In 2013 his wife encouraged him to start a blog, so he started blogging over www.FulltimeFBA.com. He spent part-time hours to make a full-time income on Amazon and the rest of the time he get to have fun blogging, writing eBooks and helping others make full-time income also.

Kat asked Stephen, where is he in eCommerce now and what kind of things is he selling now? Stephen told Kat that he is doing both Amazon and eBay. He further explained that 97% of his sales go to Amazon and the other 3% are on eBay. On Amazon he is selling anything that is profitable. On eBay he said he is selling items where he is not approved to sell on Amazon. Also he is selling board game pieces on eBay from time to time and any item that needs a specific detailed description.

Kat and Stephen spoke about what Stephen thinks about Retail Arbitrage. Stephen said that he is about 60% online arbitrage and 40% retail arbitrage, and they are just now starting to add in some wholesale accounts just to broaden their horizon. Stephen further explained that he has no fear about retail or online arbitrage in the future. He thinks that the main reason why other people are getting scared about retail and online arbitrage is because they are not buying the right items to sell or they are selling items as new that shouldn’t be sold as new. Stephen added that he is not scared about the future of retail arbitrage but in fact excited about it.

Kat asked Stephen his thoughts about retail arbitrage. Stephen thinks that no matter what kind of business that you’re in, things are going to change as the world changes. People should adapt to changes and instead of seeing it in a negative way, people should focus on finding success in this change.

Segment Two:

Kat and Stephen discussed about Stephen’s new product offering “How to Keepa Camel”. Stephen joked that it’s not about how to keep Camels. It’s about how to use the free services CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. He explained that Camelcamelcamel and Keepa are both services that give people the price and sales rank history along with a ton of other different pieces of information. People can look at the sales history and the pricing history of an item that they want to sell on Amazon. With this people can be able to see what items are going to sell out and possibly how fast they’re going to sell in the future.

Kat and Stephen talked about Keepa. Stephen explained that it’s a free service that provides sales rate history, pricing history and other pricing information of items on Amazon. It has a comprehensive price history graph, so people can be able to easily understand the history of the item they’re looking at.

Kat and Stephen explained about Camelcamelcamel and what it does for Amazon sellers. Stephen said that it has very similar information with Keepa. Keepa will put all of the graph information on one graph and then you can choose to turn on and off different lines. Camelcamelcamel on the other hand has a different graphs for the prices and then you can change to another graph to see the sales rate. So it’s not as confusing with Camelcamelcamel because you can choose the information you want to see. With Keepa, it will throw all the information on the graph at the same time and it can be confusing. But the great thing about both of them is that you can choose what you want to see.

Kat asked Stephen if anyone can use these tools and how much do they cost. Stephen answered that anyone can use these tools and the great thing about them is that they’re tracking the information not just from Amazon.com but also in Amazon Canada, Europe and other parts of the world. You can just go in and choose which Amazon platform you want to look at. It’s absolutely free, you can get access to it with on your laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones. Stephen added that Keepa and Camelcamelcamel were not created for Amazon sellers, they were created for price sensitive shoppers who want to make sure that they get the best price on an item that they’re looking for. People found ways to use both Camelcamelcamel and Keepa as resellers. He also added that Camelcamelcamel and Keepa are getting their money from affiliate sales and some advertisement and if ever he said that they run out of fundings, this is something that he’ll pay for.

Segment Three:

Kat and Stephen talked about the top three tips for Camelcamelcamel. To start off Stephen said, you can look at the graph and get a good idea of how many sales have taken place over a given time span. You can go to Camelcamelcamel and look at a particular item, change the date range to the last month and count the number of sales for that particular item. Anytime the sales rank number jumps from a higher number to a lower number that indicates at least one sale. Everytime you see those straight up on the graph, it’s indicating at least one sale and if the line is twice as long as the other line, it could mean two sales.

Kat and Stephen spoke about the second tip for Camelcamelcamel. It has to do with seasonal items especially with Q4. A lot times when you’re pricing an item, you look at the current low price and most people will match the current low price. But say you got seasonal item and that season is coming up in a month or two, you can go and look at the history of that item in Camelcamelcamel and see what kind of prices you’ll expect for that item. Say for example you can sell the item today for $12 but Camelcamelcamel is showing you that if you wait for 2 months you can sell the item for $40. You can make good decisions on when to sell your items with the information that Camelcamelcamel is showing you.

Kat and Stephen talked about the third tip. It has to do with making good buying decisions for your business. Stephen said that he has a lot of items that he use for his business that he buys on Amazon. You can import your Amazon wishlist to Camelcamelcamel and then you can set up price alerts so that when those items go to a certain threshold of price it will alert you.

Kat and Stephen discussed about the typical mistakes people make in using Camelcamelcamel. One of the mistakes that Stephen sees is that people doesn’t change the date range when it comes to looking at sales rank. The default shows the lifetime sales rank of an item. So people might think that the item sells a lot because they see a lot of up and down lines indicating sales, but if they choose to look at the last month, they might realized that it only sell once a month or once every three months. People make the buying mistake by not changing the date range. Another mistake that a lot of people make, is that they assumed that the price on Camelcamelcamel is the price that the item is actually sold for. The price on Camelcamelcamel is actually the current low price for an item. Third mistake that people make is that they ignore Camelcamelcamel completely, they say that it’s too much information and just a waste of their time.

Kat and Stephen spoke about the tips for Keepa. Stephen said that the three tips for Camelcamelcamel are the same with Keepa. There’s only a few other tips for Keepa, on Amazon there’s a shaded area for items in stock and the white area for items out of stock. Another tip for Keepa, there’s link called historical data. Click on the link and it will give you the history of the number of competitors of a new item and a used item. You can actually look and see the history of the supply. The last tip about Keepa, there’s a little box that you can click and it will give you the highs and lows, the averages and including the sales rank. The statistical data information will give you the average sales rank over the last three months.

Kat and Stephen talked about the typical mistakes people make using Keepa. Stephen said that people who ignore Keepa is probably the biggest mistake that they make. Another mistake people make using Keepa, on their sales rank graph, if it peaks, it indicate sales. It can be confusing because with Camelcamelcamel it displays opposite.

Segment Four:

Kat asked Stephen his advice to someone getting started now, in 2016. Stephen said that his advice is to follow your heart and follow your passion. No matter what you’ll do, you’ll come up against failure, change, and obstacles and that passion for it is what going to get you over the hump. So you won’t end up quitting on it and try something else. Also follow one course until successful, learn about it, master it before you move on to the next thing.

Kat asked Stephen if he still believes that ecommerce is the best option for someone wanting to start their own business. Stephen said that he believes that ecommerce is the best option. It provides the most amount of freedom. It provides the most amount of possibilities. The more time you put into it, the more time you spend learning about it the more you’re going to get something in return.

Kat and Stephen spoke about some of the common mistakes new ecommerce people make. Stephen said that the number one mistake is not being able to focus, people try to do too much at once. Second is that people don’t spend enough time to properly educate themselves.

InventoryLab

www.fulltimefba.com

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Ebay Selling 101: Stocking the Shipping Station

By Kate Hornsby | May 11, 2016

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As a new seller, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first start selling on eBay. Not only is there a learning curve on the listing process, but shipping items so that they arrive in safe and timely manner is sometimes daunting as well. Having a well-stocked shipping station is the best way to ensure that things go smoothly.

Boxes and envelopes
One of the biggest problems many sellers run into is finding boxes that are the right size to ship the items that they sell. Use a box that is too big and it can increase the cost of your postage. Use a box that is too small and the item you are shipping could become damaged.

While many sellers buy boxes and eBay is now even selling boxes with their logo, the United States Post Office offers boxes and envelopes for free and what’s better than free? Keep in mind, however, that they can only be used for Priority Mail and they will also have the USPS logo and information on them. In other words, you can’t use them for parcel select or for shipping through UPS.

Shipping/Packing Tape
Packing tape is essential for sending packages through the mail. Unfortunately, not all packing tape is created equally and through experience you will find that some brands shred easily or just plain don’t stick. Carol, a longtime eBay seller states that when she shops for tape, she typically avoids getting the bargain basement tape and instead generally purchases packs of the “mid-tier” priced tape unless the top named brands are on sale.

Peanuts and Bubble Wrap
Although the type of packing material you will need greatly depends on what it is that you sell, most sellers use peanuts and bubble wrap for items that are fragile or could become damaged without some kind of protection. Since it’s hard to ship items without packing material, this is an item for your shipping station that you should order ahead of when you will need it so that you don’t run out.

Measuring tape
You may already have a measuring tape on hand for measuring the items that you sell, but keeping another one handy at your shipping station can save you a lot of time when you are printing out your postage. When shipping by Priority Mail, you are generally asked to include the measurements of your box or envelope so that that postage is calculated correctly. Keeping a measuring tape of small ruler right on hand can help you through this process with ease.

Postage Scale
Since the weight of the package determines how much postage you must have, a good postage scale is a “must have” when it comes to stocking your shipping station. Postage scales come in a variety of sizes and usually have weight limits. Buying one that will allow you to weigh items up to 20 or even 40 pounds is best since most typical items will not weigh over this amount.

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The Graduation Speech your Kids Really, Really Need to Hear By Cliff Ennico

By Joanna Avellana | May 10, 2016

cliffThis column, which originally appeared in May 2009, is one of the most requested and reprinted “Succeeding in Your Business” columns, especially during “graduation season.” 

Members of the Class of 2016:

I was sorry to hear that the reality TV star who was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out at the last minute.  I was delighted, however, when the Trustees called me an hour ago and asked me to fill in.

Now, I’ve never done this before, and I wasn’t given a whole lot of guidance, except to tell you to “follow your dreams” and “reach for the stars”. Apparently there’s a federal law requiring those statements to be included in all graduation speeches.

While I know some of you already have jobs and some (OK most of you) do not, I know that all of you are wondering today what your lives are going to be like.

I have two pieces of information for you.  They are not fun to talk about, but I feel you need to hear them, and no better time than today.  First, whatever dreams you hope to accomplish in your lives, you won’t be able to achieve them until you have first achieved financial security for yourself and your loved ones.  For most of you, unless you were born wealthy (and sometimes even then), finding and holding onto that financial security will be the primary, if not the only, thing you will spend time on for the next 50 years.

The second thing is that it has never been a more difficult time to make a decent living in America.  I’m not just talking about the current recession or the high unemployment rate.  I’m talking about some longer-lasting, structural changes in our economy.

For your grandparents, it was easy.  You signed up with a large corporation, worked your way up the corporate ladder, and retired at age 65 with a pension, Social Security and a gold watch.  You can forget about doing that today.

Years ago, when America dominated the world economy, corporations viewed employees as scarce assets to be cultivated.  In today’s brutally competitive global economy, they view employees as costs to be reduced or eliminated.  If you can buy technology to do the work employees are doing, you buy the computers and fire the employees.  If you must hire people to do a job, you hire the cheapest people you can in developing nations.  And if you really must hire Americans, you “outsource” them as independent contractors rather than employees.  That way you don’t have to pay them benefits.  If you work for a large corporation today, odds are you will be unemployed in a few years.

Social Security, Medicare and other government programs that helped your parents and grandparents probably won’t be there when you are ready for them, at least not in their current forms.

And if you think you can scale back your expectations and join the blue-collar workforce, there’s a massive wave of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only too willing to take these jobs for salaries you won’t want to accept.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is only one person you can rely on to help you build your future and success, and that is you.  One day, you will find that you are no longer employable, and you will have to build your own career or business.  That moment of realization may happen next year; it may not happen until you turn 50.  But it will happen someday, so start planning now to take control of your income and your life.  You will need to become an entrepreneur, whether you like it or not.

I know all of you want to do good for the world, and that’s admirable.  But charity requires money too – ask the President of this college why he spends so much of his time raising money from alumni/ae.

If you want to do good for the world, start a business.  Provide solutions to people’s problems they are willing to pay for, and hire people to help you.  Succeed, and your business will make the world a better place.  Guaranteed.  What is more, you will achieve the financial security you need, and whatever money you don’t need you can use to make the world an even better place.

I have had the pleasure of working with over 15,000 business owners in my career.   They come from all walks of life and backgrounds.  The beauty of this wonderful country of ours is that anyone – I mean anyone – can succeed in business with the right training, the right outlook on life, and the courage and determination to do what others are too squeamish or hesitant to accomplish.

So by all means reach for the stars and follow your dreams, for without faith, hope and passion you will never succeed, even if you’re as smart as Einstein.

Just whatever you do, don’t run out of money.

Cliff Ennico (cennico@legalcareer.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’.  This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.  To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com.  COPYRIGHT 2016 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO.  DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

 

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That Kat Radio Show Episode 47 Cascadia Consulting Services with Rachel Greer

By Joanna Avellana | May 7, 2016

This week on That Kat Radio, Rachel Greer joined us to talk about her company Cascadia Consulting Services.

In segment one, Kat and Rachel talked about her eCommerce journey and her consulting company.:

She explained that it all started when she decided to take German as foreign language. Because of that she ended up going abroad to study and do her Master’s degree in European History. When she came back home to Seattle, she was looking for jobs and was hoping to test her German skills. She found a job at Amazon as a German Speaking Investigator. She worked for Amazon for over 7 years. Just last year May 30th a day after her last day at Amazon, she launched her own website and started talking to people.

Kat asked Rachel, how has she used her background working for Amazon to help her clients. Rachel explained that the vendor side of consulting in Amazon hasn’t been thorough. The vendor side is less organized in terms of infrastructure and tools that they use. If vendors want to have someone within Amazon to help them, then they have to actually pay for an employee themselves. So, a lot of companies will just hire out consulting firm to handle everything for them. Kat introduced the many services Rachel’s company offers: Global Sourcing, Product Benchmarking, Product Testing, Customer Experience, Seller Performance and Policy, Amazon Brand Management, Compliance Services and Fine Jewelry Quality Assurance.

In segment two, Kat and Rachel talked about the services Cascadia Consulting Services offers.:

Kat and Rachel talked about how Rachel built teams for different services that they offered. Rachel discussed that she was talking to her old colleagues about how to handle things and they offered to help her. Kelly and Emily were the first one she brought on and eventually became her partners. Both Kelly and Emily previously worked at Amazon. The company grew to such extent, so they added more people.

Kat and Rachel spoke about Global Sourcing, one of the services Cascadia is offering. Rachel mentioned that Global Sourcing means finding the right place to source products to sell, whether if they’re looking for a particular wholesale item or if they want to build their own brand. Rachel mentioned that most people automatically think of China when talking about Global Sourcing; however, this is not always the best place for a particular product. With Rachel’s team they can investigate USA Sourcing, Thailand, Mexico, or any other country in addition to China to choose the very best factory and source for your particular product.

Kat asked about Product Benchmarking. Rachel said that Product Benchmarking is looking at the competitive landscape of the product. Rachel explained that once the sellers benchmarked their products, then they go into sourcing phase. Once a factory has been chosen, that’s when they start doing testing. Testing is regulatory and safety. It’s very straightforward. It’s to validate that the listed product is what quality is being put out there. Rachel further added that, they also do Quality Testing, a lot of sellers don’t know how to make a product that will meet their marketing. So Cascadia helps them with that.

In segment three, Kat and Rachel discussed more about the services her company offers:

Kat and Rachel talked about what her company does for sellers in the area of customer experience. Rachel said that customer experience is the backbone of Amazon. The basic idea is to understand customer’s need and to make sure that they get it all the time. It’s really important to have standardized blurbs for customer support. A blurb is basically a pre-written response to any given situation. The concept is to have a standard responses to every situation that comes thru in the account. So you can always treat your customers the same way; whether you’re having a bad day or a good day. It’s also important to listen to what customers have to say because some of them are giving you good advice to help you improve your business.

Kat and Rachel discussed about A+ Product Detail Page. Rachel further explained that it is a feature that was primarily used by vendors but it’s becoming available to some sellers. It’s a page where you can scroll down and see the features and benefits of the product, explaining to the customers why they should buy your product. There are two ways you can access it. You can sign up for Vendor Express, but unfortunately it’s not available for certain categories like shoes, clothing and a couple of other smaller stuff categories. So, if you’re in to those categories, Vendor express won’t work for you. Another way to do it is thru Amazon Exclusive, you have to apply and they have to like your product. It requires sellers to sell only on Amazon Marketplace and through their own websites and physical stores.

Rachel spoke about the services they offer to clients in terms of the Seller Performance and Policy. She further explained that Kelly, one of her senior partners, wrote a lot of the rules for Seller Performance and really understands them from the ground up. She knows exactly what Amazon is looking for with those kind of rules.

Kat and Rachel talked about the services they offer to clients in terms of Reinstatement. Rachel discussed that they handle a lot complicated cases. She handles Product Compliant Case, Emily handles Product Quality or Packaging issues and Kelly handles everything in the Seller Performance side.

In segment four, Kat and Rachel discussed about the future for Amazon Sellers.:

Rachel told Kat that there are areas where Amazon Sellers can be successful in the long term. One is to be an exclusive seller of wholesale products. Arranging to be the seller representative for small manufacturer. It reduces the risk for the manufacturers and increases the potential payout for the sellers because sellers can build up a brand without having the risks of actually making the product themselves.
Kat and Rachel talked about Retail Arbitrage. Rachel explained that it’s still possible to do well with retail arbitrage if you can find clever ways to sell them, but the problem is that these items are not packaged properly for online shipping.

Kat asked Rachel for any advice for someone just getting started on Amazon. Rachel said that she’ll recommend doing smaller scale first, they’re not going to make a lot of money but it will help them learn the ropes. Learn from other people who have already done this before.

InventoryLab

www.thinkcascadia.com

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EBay return requirement changes to affect Top Rated Sellers

By Kate Hornsby | May 6, 2016

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As of May 1, 2016, if you want to continue qualifying for seller discounts and remain a Top Rated seller with eBay, you will now have to offer a 30 day return policy. Prior to the change, eBay Top Rated Sellers only had to allow for 14 days for a return to stay compliant.

That being said, it’s important to realize that this option is totally up to you. You can still continue to have a shorter window for returns or even allow no returns at all, but this also means that you won’t get seller discounts on your fees, nor will you have the Top Rated Seller badge that shows you’re a Top Rated seller.

While eBay would really like for you to provide the longer return period and the incentives they offer may make it worthwhile for some, it is still a decision that you alone will need to make for your online business. Although most returns usually happen rather quickly if they are going to happen at all, there is still the off-chance that an unsavory buyer will try to take advantage of the situation and ask for a return right at the last possible moment or after they have used the item and no longer need it.

This may not seem like much of a problem for most sellers, but when money is tight and you need the cash for more inventory or for household expenses, it may seem like a burden to wait as long as 30 days to ensure that everything is okay and the buyer is happy.

Still, eBay offers several good reasons for complying. They point out that having a longer return time can help instill confidence with buyers and may encourage them to buy more from you. They also say that sellers that do offer 30 day returns have seen little impact on how many returns sellers are actually receiving.

In addition, providing a longer time for returns could give you the upper edge when it comes to other sellers, since buyers may be more likely to purchase from sellers with longer return policies than from those without.

Will you be offering a 30 day return policy? Leave a comment below.

Topics: eBay | No Comments »

Are you guilty of these time wasters?

By Kate Hornsby | May 4, 2016

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Everyone has days when they just seem to waste a lot of time. Maybe it’s because they took a phone call they shouldn’t have or stayed on Facebook just a little (lot!) too long. It’s really not a problem if this happens occasionally, but if you find yourself getting to the end of each day and having little to show for it, you may have a time waster in your midst and as an online seller that can be a big problem.

Unfortunately, a lot of sellers know they aren’t getting a lot done, but they can’t really pinpoint where their time has gone. One minute they are having a cup of coffee and ready to work and the next, it’s dinnertime and they’ve only managed to get one or two listings done.

So, what’s going on?

Well, usually it’s because you’ve succumb to a a time waster and letting it suck the time right out of the day. Here are some common time wasters that may be stealing the hours from your day.

All those pesky distractions

Are you constantly checking Facebook or your email account? Maybe you have friends and family that take up a lot of time by texting you all day. Whatever the distraction, it’s probably keeping you from getting those listings done and cutting way into your productivity. While it’s unreasonable to say that you’ll give up social media altogether and some of those texts or emails may actually be important, but scheduling a time to check in instead of frequently returning to your Facebook page or email account can help keep this time waster at bay.

Bad daily routines

When you work from home, your morning routine generally sets the tone for the day. Although it’s fine to have a cup of coffee while you read your daily blogs or watch a little television to see what’s going on in the world, when one cup of coffee becomes two and it’s suddenly lunchtime and you’re still in your pajamas watching reruns of NCIS, you’ve set yourself up for being behind the entire day. If you find you are constantly falling prey to this time waster, track your time to see exactly how much time you are losing. It will no doubt be a real eye opener.

Poor planning or no planning

There’s a reason why all those self-help books tell you to make a list or plan for each day. They work! To-do lists and action plans help to ensure that you are staying on task throughout the day. Many people find that it is helpful to structure a day where they know what they are doing for each part of the day. As an example, they may do their shipping in the morning and then list after lunch, or they know that on Tuesdays and Thursdays they will source for inventory and list the other three days of their workweek.

Are you guilty of these time wasters? Leave a comment below.

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Topics: Online Business | No Comments »

How language and names can help eBay sellers sell more…or less

By Kate Hornsby | April 29, 2016

New Laptop

Did you know that eBay has 35 different categories in which sellers can list items? There are also approximately some 68,000 items being sold on eBay as well. With so many products and so many categories to place items in, what is it that makes one item sell over another? Well, in many cases it all has to do with what is known as the linguistic perspective.

In other words, there are certain patterns in language that some sellers use while others do not, that can significantly increase or decrease the odds of an item selling and even change the price that a buyer will pay for an item or whether the item will sell. As an example, research has shown that using ‘gents’ instead of ‘mens’ when selling a watch can make it go from selling for $40 to a sale price of $102. Other words that can affect the price of an item are ‘genuine’ versus ‘authentic’ (genuine fragrances sells for about $30, but an authentic fragrance may sell for $50.

In addition, some words will actually help sell one product, but hurt another. Researchers found that when selling cars on eBay, buyers tend to shy from those listed as “second-hand,” but sellers will use the term to sell small items, such as DVDs and CDs and they will still sell just as well.

As you might imagine, misspelling words or using or not using an apostrophe correctly can affect how and where your item appears in a search item, but did you know that it can stop an item from actually selling too? On the other hand, there are actually sellers who look for eBay items that are spelled incorrectly so that they can purchase them cheaply when they are for sale by auction, so a misspelled item can cost you money another way if you are the one doing the misspelling.

Finally, an interesting little tidbit that may make you think about your store name. Did you know that buyers are willing to bid more and higher when the seller has a male-sounding name instead of a female selling one? Dr Tamar Kricheli-Katz and a team from Tel Aviv University, Israel, discovered while researching items sold between 2009 and 2012, that when identical items were for sale, women typically received fewer bids on their items and their items sold for lower prices. In fact, women received about 80 cents on the dollar for selling the exact same item as their male-named counterparts.

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Topics: eBay | No Comments »

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