Free Webinar from Vendio!

Do you want to expand your business online, but feel as though you don’t have the time?

Then you must attend this webinar: Online Triple Threat: Selling on Amazon, eBay and Your Website! This free webinar is a must-see for all online merchants hoping to expand their business without adding any time to their already busy schedule.

EBAY   &   AMAZON

The webinar will be hosted by Harry Hirschman, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Vendio.

What is an “online triple threat,” you might ask? An “online triple threat” is merely someone who is able to grow their online business to its full potential by taking full advantage of the “big three.” (EBay, Amazon and your own website) This webinar is designed to teach you why single channel selling is putting you at a huge disadvantage in this market; the how, when and why behind using the three different channels of EBay, Amazon and your own personal site; how to save time running your business; and much more!

Date: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT

Space is limited, so register here today!

 

 

EBay’s new deal with PGA Trade-In Network

Thanks to ecommercebytes, for the heads up about the new deal  that EBay has signed with golf’s PGA trade-in network. EBay has worked with PGA a lot in the past, but this new deal marks a great opportunity for golf professionals to buy and sell their used equipment on the site.

 

Through the online storefront at: PGA Shops, eBay

customers will have full access to an inventory of golf equipment – new and used – that has been inspected by the PGA Professionals. The storefront includes all equipment and services in the EBay marketplace that have been listed by folks who are professionals for PGA and the sellers must also be members of the PGA trade-in network who have taken the “Play It On” pledge.

“By promising to “Play It On,” PGA Professionals guarantee they’ll do three things: encourage the trade-in and resale of golf equipment, use their expertise to ensure authenticity and integrity, and share their knowledge and passion for the game.” – eCommerce Bytes

Sellers who want to have a part in this opportunity and have their golf equipment, clothing, bags, balls, shoes or accessories listed within the PGA trade-in network must be a PGA member in good standing, confirm their membership and take the pledge. I think this new partnership could be a great opportunity for sellers in the Golf arena and also for eBay buyers who love Golf.

So golf equipment sellers, will this be an opportunity for you or is this another time where eBay is bringing in the ‘Big Guys’ and causing smaller sellers an issue? What do YOU think?

Want to Sell Toys for Christmas on Amazon?

It’s almost here – the Christmas selling season, Q4, the Holiday Season, whatever you want to refer to it as – it’s getting close!

For those eCommerce sellers considering adding Amazon sales in the Toy category to their income list, it’s already time to get things set up and running well. In order to protect their customers, Amazon closes the toy category to new sellers for the Holiday selling season and only allows those who have already proven themselves to profit from the Holiday sales period.

I just got my first ‘warning’ or ‘reminder’ email yesterday so it has begun. Below is the complete text of the Amazon email. Feel free to email or comment if you have any questions about the Amazon policy. There is a secret way to get around ALL of the requirements in the letter below. Do you know what it is? First person to post the correct answer as a comment will win a goodie bag of schwag from eCommerce peeps I’ve been collecting!

Hello from Amazon Services,

To maintain buyer confidence in Amazon this holiday season, we are implementing holiday selling guidelines for the Toys & Games store.

Effective November 13, 2012, only sellers who meet the following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from November 13, 2012 through the first week in January 2013.  Webstore sellers are also subject to these guidelines.

– Your first sale on Amazon.com must be prior to September 17, 2012. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys store.
– You must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders during the 60 consecutive days preceding November 1, 2012. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys store.
– Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
– Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
– Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2012.

Your orders that use Fulfillment by Amazon will not be subject to the holiday season restrictions provided your account is in good standing.

You can find your customer metrics in the Performance section of your seller account. If your performance does not meet the above criteria, we encourage you to take corrective action.

Eligibility for the selling in the Toys & Games store is determined separately for each country.  If you sell in multiple marketplaces, your performance metrics will be evaluated for each country.

We will provide final notification about your eligibility to sell in the Toys & Games store by the middle of November 2012.  Then, beginning November 13, 2012, we will monitor the performance and listings of sellers who are approved to sell in Toys & Games during the holiday season. Amazon Services reserves the right to cancel listings, remove selling privileges, and prohibit the sale of specific products to maintain a marketplace that is safe for buyers.

Here are some steps you can take to remain eligible to sell in Toys & Games throughout the holiday season:

– Monitor your customer metrics and take corrective action when necessary.
– Utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship products to your customers.
– Check your orders frequently in the Manage Orders section of your account.
– Minimize order cancellations; don’t show more stock for sale than you have available to ship.
– Ship orders and confirm shipment in a timely manner.
– Ensure your seller policies are up to date.
– If you work with outside drop-shippers, solidify their SLA commitments for providing prompt shipping confirmation.

Thank you for selling at Amazon.com.

Regards,

Amazon Services

Top Categories for Pinterest

pinterest iconShould you be advertising your business on Facebook or Pinterest?  In my opinion both but a recent survey released by Comscore some extremely interesting data came to light. I found it extremely interesting to find the top categories for traffic on Pinterest and discover that for my retail business, Kat’s Boutique, it is going to be critically important to have an active and successful presence on Pinterest.

I am currently just getting started on Pinterest and am already pretty excited about the traffic coming from there. If you are on the fence about starting up ‘another’ social media site, or whether your products ‘belong’ on Pinterest, I strongly encourage you to delve into the specifics of the recent Comscore info.

According to Comscore date – here are that top content categories for visitors (what folks are looking for on Pinterest!)

1) Jewelry, luxury goods, and accessories;
2) Flowers, gifts, and greetings;
3) Fragrances and cosmetics;
4) Food.

What is a POP Score?

Two weeks ago, Amazon announced a new ‘seller metric’ called the Perfect Order Percentage score, or POP.

According to sources at Amazon, there is no plan to include the POP in any seller scoring plan, or to eliminate any sellers. However, I would pay attention to my POP as an Amazon seller. On the Amazon site, it is ‘suggested’ you aim for a POP score of 95 or higher.

Interesting for me, my score just showed up this week (I was unable to locate it earlier) and my score is currently exactly 95% .

According to Amazon, your POP score is calculated by the number of perfect orders from the past 90 days divided by the total number of orders received during that time. A ‘Perfect Order’ is one in which there were NONE of the following issues: Negative Feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee Claim, Chargeback, Cancellation, Late Shipment, Refund, or Buyer-Initiated message.

You can request a report once you access your POP score to see exactly what the issues are in your case and Amazon even has suggestions to improve your score. Based on all this effort being put into it, I foresee the POP score being a big issue in the future, for seller placement and even approval to sell in certain categories.

So once you sign in to Seller Central on Amazon, navigate to your Customer Metrics page and find your score. Pull a report and start seeing what you need to do to improve your score.

Final words from Amazon:

What happens if my score falls below 95 percent?

Your POP score by itself is not a performance measure. However, some metrics included in your POP score have performance targets and may result in action if they fall below the stated goals. These metrics include order defect rate (<1%), pre-fulfillment cancel rate (<2.5%), and late shipment rate (<4%).

 

Wanna Win an iPad?

Happy Anniversary Auctiva!

You have until August 31st to win!

 

Auctiva Celebrates 14th Anniversary with an iPad Giveaway

Aug. 8, 2012, Chico, CA — Auctiva, the largest third-party developer of eBay tools, announces its 14th Anniversary with a special giveaway.

Fans of Auctiva’s Facebook page can fill out a simple entry form to qualify to win one of three prizes: a new 3rd Gen. iPad, plus a free year of Auctiva’s Pro-Plan service; a free year of Auctiva’s Pro Plan service; or a $100 credit towards their Auctiva account (which can be used for service fees, shipping labels or shipping insurance.)

When asked what he was most proud of, Auctiva Founder and CEO Jeff Schlicht said, “The number one thing I’m most proud of is just knowing that the listing tool I created to help make my own selling on eBay easier has become the most popular listing tool for sellers on eBay, and still continues to be after 14 years. Our sellers are awesome–without them, we wouldn’t exist. Thank you!”

Auctiva will be accepting entries for its 14th Anniversary Giveaway until Aug. 31, 2012, limiting participants to one entry per person.  Facebook fans can earn five bonus entries if they provide their valid Auctiva user IDs in the entry form.

The giveaway is valid for all US residents, excluding residents of Florida. More details can be found in the terms and conditions portion of the giveaway, located on the Auctiva Facebook page.

For more information, please contact Auctiva Product Manager Rebecca Miller at rmiller@auctiva.com.
About Auctiva
Auctiva Corporation, an Alibaba.com company, is a leading provider of e-commerce solutions, and the largest eBay Certified Provider. Founded in 1998, Auctiva gives small merchants the power of large corporations by helping them build their brands, market their products and sell efficiently. Auctiva offers a wide array of listing, marketing and managing tools, as well as image hosting. For more information, please visit http://www.auctiva.com.

Media contact:
Rebecca Miller – rmiller@auctiva.com
Auctiva Product Manager

Addicted to Amazon?

Pending Orders Page

Okay, admit it, I can’t be the only Amazon FBA seller who LOVES to check her pending order page. It started when I first sent a box into Amazon FBA and it was just so much fun to get an email from Amazon that basically stated, “We Sold Your Item, We Shipped Your Item, and Here’s Your Money!”

WOW!  Those are the best emails ever. It was such a thrill, to be off working on something else, something for the family, or another writing project. Hit a snag or frustration and flip on over to the pending order page and see you ARE making money over there on that part of your business. I found it very encouraging.

BUT!  It’s like email, Facebook or anything else, BALANCE is the key. If I spend TOOO much time in any of these areas, eventually I will NOT be making any money as I am wasting time monitoring non-productive areas and not focusing on the needs of my business.

Today on an email group someone posted a really cool add-on they found for the Firefox browser. This add-on automatically checks any internet page you set and alerts you when there is a change. Great add-on for many things but this particular person was discussing using it to monitor your pending order page. No need to keep refreshing, just get an alert when a new order came in. I was so excited, how cool, how high-tech, how much FUN. I eagerly read the instructions and then thought, wait a minute, is this a productive use of my time. SHOULD I be focusing even more on the pending orders of my Amazon business?

My answer was no so I have nixed installing the add-on to my browser. Now, listen carefully as I am NOT saying it’s a bad add-on, or even a bad idea to monitor pending orders. There is a lot of information to be gained there. What I AM trying to say is BALANCE!  Don’t be distracted from the primary things you need to be accomplishing in your business. If you are taking a break and want to check Facebook or your pending order page, set a time and go for it. Enjoy yourself. But set limits and Get Back To Work Soon!

What is YOUR most distracting online activity?

I Love Bubblefast!

Mark and Robin LeVineMark & Robin LeVine run a wonderful small business named Bubblefast and for several years and I have so enjoyed watching them succeed. Mark & Robin have helped me so much with my business; they have always been supportive, helpful and wonderful.

This week I am so happy to share some fantastic educational videos they made for online sellers.

I’m especially in love with the first one, of course, cause I had a tiny part in it! Check out the Kat Boxes in this one, AKA Reverse Tuck Mailers

 

And here is another great one, especially for those selling BUNDLES of products.

 

Thanks to Chris Green for Sold Out Products Guide

Chris Green

GREAT new videos for Amazon sellers from Chris Green of FBAPower. Chris has made a practice of sending out these helpful videos over the year that I’ve known him.

Recently he has release a few that are really over the top helpful to Amazon FBA sellers. I think my favorite is the screencast that he made in just a few minutes to answer a question on his Facebook group about how to find items that are sold out on Amazon.

Click on the picture below to go to the video site and learn how to identify Sold Out items from the Amazon website in just a few minutes!

Video on Sold Out Amazon Products

 

 

 

 

 

And if you are curious about more videos and/or Chris’ new FBA Facebook group – check out FBAPower/Facebook and you can see more videos, two of them brand new, and ask to join his new group!

Don’t Pay the Amazon Stupid Tax

Huh?  What are you talking about, Kat?  When Amazon first started with the FBA program, there were no such things as the ‘Long Term Storage Fees.’ New FBAers signed up and sent in their entire inventory even the items that would only sell once or twice a year. So now Amazon had these great warehouses with enough Blue Widgets to meet the demand for twenty years taking up space. But we know those Amazon geniuses, they figured out how to keep the inventory moving, free up the valuable warehouse space for faster moving items and teach their third party sellers how to better choose inventory. Long Term Storage fees came into existence.

Long Term Storage fees are not minor. The regular storage fees for FBA are extremely reasonable and I challenge any seller to find cheaper storage at a local storage unit. The average size book will cost you about 3 cents per month for FBA safe secure storage. However, the LTS fees are $45 per cubic foot; a not insignificant amount. After the first time they charged these fees, Amazon decided to change from an annual charge of $45 per cubic foot to a semi-annual fee of $22.50 per cubic foot. These fees are charged on February 15th and August 15th of each year.

These fees were not added as a profit center for Amazon; it seems they are doing everything they can think of to avoid charging them. As I write this, it is August 3rd, my LTS fees will be charged in 12 days and I have received at least three emails from Amazon reminding me about the fees in the past 2 weeks.

Amazon has created reports in Amazon Seller Central that enable me to bring up a file of all the items I have in FBA storage that will be charged LST fees. Remember, the LST fees are ONLY charged on multiples of Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). This means that you can send in ONE of every product in the Amazon catalog and never pay an LST fee. You will only be charged on items where you have more than one of the same items in stock.

Recently, a friend posted an update on a Facebook group where she showed us a new tool Amazon has introduced to help us avoid this fee. This tool is called the Automated Long-Term Storage Removal tool  and you can now program your Amazon account so that you will NEVER be charged a LST fee. This tool will automatically create a removal order for any item due to have the LST fee applied before it hits and have them shipped back to your home (or any location specified). Amazon’s removal fees are ridiculously low: fifty cents for most items, sixty cents for oversized items. And yes, that INCLUDES the shipping cost. Just fifty cents; that is it.

So where did the ‘Stupid Tax’ moniker come in? Well, keeping inventory over one year, in general (I know, always exceptions!) is not a great business model. By introducing LTS fees, Amazon is encouraging its third party merchants to follow best practices. With all the tools Amazon has provided, there is NO excuse to wake up on August 16th and complain about this ‘huge fee’ Amazon charged you with ‘no warning.’ So, if you are charged this fee, think of it as a Wake up Call and learn the lesson that you need to pay more attention to your Amazon business.

What do you think? Is ‘Stupid Tax’ too harsh a term? What would you call it?