That Kat Radio Show-Podcast 57-March 10, 2014: Paul Cole and Kenric Russell

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 57 – March 10, 2014: Paul Cole and Kenric Russell

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat speaks with Paul Cole of SellerEngine and Kenric Russell of eBay Mobile

 

First, Kat spoke with Paul Cole about repricing and the SellerEngine products.

Questions that were asked were:

  • What is repricing?
  • Is it something every seller should be doing?
  • What do you mean when you talk about intelligent repricing?
  • What is the best software to help a seller branch out into Amazon international sites?
  • Is there anything new with Profit Bandit?
  • Is there anything new with Seller Engine or  Sellery?

Kat discussed how long she had been a fan of Seller Engine software and how she uses their products daily. Kat and Paul began discussing repricing by showing the listeners exactly how important it was. They went on to discuss how intelligent repricing could save time and money for sellers by taking care of their inventory without any work on their part. Then, Kat and Paul went on to discuss some great things happening with the SellerEngine folks and their products, including some great new features that any seller would love to use. Paul thanked the listeners for being there.

 

After speaking with Paul, Kat was joined by Kenric Russell to discuss eBay mobile

Questions that were asked were:

  • why eBay is putting so much effort and money into developing the Mobile apps?
  • How can the eBay App help a seller when they are out and about sourcing their inventory?
  • Can you share a success story with us about an eBay Seller who has used the App to improve their business?
  • How can a seller learn more about the App and how to use it?
  • What can you tell us about the eBay Mobile BETA program?

Kat and Kenric discussed that eBay now has almost as many mobile users as it does regular users. They discussed the importance of the eBay mobile app and why eBay is spending lots of money trying to make the product better. Kenric talked about how helpful the app is when you’re out sourcing products and how to learn more about it. Kenric even shared with the listeners how to become part of the eBay mobile beta testing program. For more info on that, email him at mobilebeta@ebay.com and tell them what kind of smartphone you have.

 

Kat wrapped up the show by sincerely thanking her guests for coming and invited everyone to join Danni Ackerman at the More Fun Bigger Profits event in Las Vegas in May and at eBay Radio Party in June!

 

Links from the show:

Keeping “Showroomers” Out of You Service Business

One of the biggest threats to any “brick and mortar” retail business these days is the customer known as the “showroomer.”

 Ciff Ennico Headshot  You know the type, and I’m willing to bet you may have even done this yourself on occasion.  A “showroomer” is someone who visits a store, examines the merchandise at great length, asks dozens of questions of the store personnel, spends lots of time playing with the product and getting their grimy fingerprints all over the display models, and then . . . goes home and buys the product online to save money.

“Showrooming” is costing the retail industry millions of dollars, and is forcing many department stores to close their outlets, or convert them into “showrooms” to facilitate online sales of their merchandise.  There is even a new retail store chain known as “Hointer” (www.hointer.com), where customers can buy clothing without human intervention of any kind.

One of the saddest commentaries on human nature (at least for a small business writer like me) is that while people genuinely want the extra service, handholding and advice that can only be provided by human beings in physical, “real world” stores, they don’t want to pay extra money for that customized service. The easy availability of discounted merchandise online (with free shipping and no sales taxes) empowers them to become “showroomers”, and it’s killing traditional retail outlets.

Why?  Because it costs retail stores more money to provide that extra service, which they don’t recoup when customers “showroom” their stores and then buy from an online competitor.

Now here’s some news: the “showrooming” phenomenon is no longer limited to the world of retail.  It’s happening in service businesses as well.

Like, for example, mine.

I make a fair amount of my annual income by forming corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) for people forming small businesses.  Having a corporation or LLC gives entrepreneurs some protection against liability, and (sometimes) some tax benefits as well.

Up until a few years ago, you had to hire a lawyer or accountant to help you form a corporation or LLC.  Not anymore.  A bunch of online services (the most popular of which is Legalzoom.com) offer to form your corporation or LLC for you, at a price significantly less than what most attorneys and accountants charge for the same service.

I also make a fair amount of my annual income by drafting and negotiating contracts for small businesses.  Up until a few years ago, you had to hire a lawyer or accountant to help you do that.  Not anymore.  A bunch of online services (the most popular of which include uslegalforms.com and findlaw.com) provide you with all kinds of contract “forms”, with drafting instructions, for a measly few dollars.

Now, these services don’t do the whole job, which is why they are so inexpensive.  They also do not provide you with one-on-one advice as to whether you should form a corporation or LLC, or guidance on customizing and negotiating the “boilerplate” form contract (if they were to do this, they would run afoul of state laws prohibiting the “unauthorized practice of law”).

How can a penny-pinching business owner get the advice they need and still get the everyday low prices the Internet offers?  Well, a growing number of them are calling up professionals like me, asking a million questions about how to set up their businesses or how to put together their deals, asking me for a fee quote, saying they will “get back to me,” and then forming their company on Legalzoom.com or downloading a contract from Uslegalforms.com once they have the necessary advice.  Without paying me a nickel.  I am being “showroomed”.  And I don’t like it.

So what can lawyers, accountants and other professionals do to stem the tide of “showrooming” other than just sit back and watch while technology renders their core services obsolete?

The answer is simple:  start charging your clients for giving advice.

Starting this week, I have put the following language at the bottom of all of my e-mail messages:  “Please be advised that there is a minimum $75 charge for advice or information given over the telephone, via e-mail, or by text message.  If after receiving any advice from me you choose to retain my services, the $75 will be applied towards my retainer fee.  Otherwise, the $75 will be invoiced separately and will be due within 30 days.  Any request for advice should be accompanied by your name and mailing address for billing purposes.”

I am also thinking about putting a shorter version of that message on my telephone answering service, but may wait until I actually speak to the client before informing them of my new “minimum service charge”.

Some clients may still “showroom” you, but charging a fee for your advice makes you more competitive with your Internet-based competition, and drives home the point that if you want to do things yourself, “you get what you pay for”.

Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com), a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books.

Ki Phoenix Released 3/17/2014

KiOui is announcing the release of it’s newest application Ki Phoenix available in the eBay Application Center!

If an eBay seller has popular items and a steady supplier then this application is the perfect fit for them.  Ki Phoenix is an application that changes the default behavior of items.  When a seller turns on the “Out Of Stock” control with kiOui’s application, active items remain active with an available quantity of zero.

With the “Out Of Stock” turned on, the popularity that is accrued over a period of time (watchers and purchase history) remains because the item stays Active.

To set the Out Of Stock control On, simply search for an item in the application and click “Change My Item”. Now when this item reaches an available quantity of zero it will be hidden from the seller’s store, and will not end.

If sellers use social media sites, such as Pinterest, the link to their items will never be broken. It will just say “Out of Stock” and the buyer can still add it to their collection.

Take a Video Tour Here:

All 13 of KiOui’s applications are fully supported, everyone with a support issue or suggestion is encouraged to “Open a Ticket” on our website’s support page (http://www.kioui-apps.com/support/openaticket).

Learn to use kiOui with Youtube. (http://youtube.kioui-apps.com)

And make sure to like us on your favorite.  http://facebook.kioui-apps.comhttp://twitter.kioui-apps.comhttp://googleplus.kioui-apps.com,http://pinterest.kioui-apps.com, and http://kiouiapps.wordpress.com.

Product Feature Lists: Making Those Bullet Points Count

It never ceases to amaze me how many Amazon sellers literally miss the point. And when I say point, I’m not talking about the reasons it’s great to sell on Amazon, but rather I’m talking about the good old bullet point that should be part of each and every listing. What’s a bullet point you ask?

  • <— Here’s an example
  • It helps to separate text and makes it easier to read.
  • It provides a summary that is helpful when you’re quickly scanning a page or document

The funny thing is, however, a lot of people don’t take advantage of using them on Amazon and yet the bullet points are typically looked at more often than the actual description of the item itself. This means that how you use bullet points can literally make or break whether someone buys from you, so it’s really important to use them effectively. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Amazon only gives sellers a 100 characters (or about 15 words) for what they like to call “product feature lists” (the fancy way of saying bullet points!). This means, you want to make sure each bullet point counts!
  • Think about what sets your item apart from all the other items that are listed on Amazon. Highlight those features of your item and use them as your bullet points.
  • Choose the most compelling feature of your item and use that feature first in your list. Then list the next most compelling feature and so on.
  • Amazon gives you 5 bullet points to use for each item. Use them all!

If you’re having trouble coming up with your descriptions, ask yourself why someone would want to buy the item from you. Those are the selling points you want to list. Keep them short and to the point (pardon the pun) though. If each bullet point turns into its own long-winded description, your potential buyer won’t read through them and you could cost yourself a sale.

 

Don’t make the description too short either though. You want to give enough “sizzle” to make them envision themselves owning the item and let them know why they need it in their lives. As an example, instead of saying that a sweater is available in four colors, you would want to say that the sweater was available in four popular color choices and that the buyer can choose the color that best accents their own personal style.

 

 

3 Ways to Improve Your Returns and Exchanges

I’m sure you have heard that old saying “you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.” Never has this been more true than in the world of online sales. Since a buyer must rely on photos, measurements, and a seller’s description of the item they want to buy, the occasional return or exchange of an item is bound to happen. When the return or exchange process results in a poor experience for the buyer, however, it can not only lead to negative feedback, but can hurt your customer relationship with the individual as well. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make this process a positive one for you and your buyer.

kat6 (2)Create a clear return and exchange policy. Although most online marketplaces have guidelines in place that sellers must follow, they often leave it to the discretion of the seller as to how they can word their return policies. Leaving out important details, such as the reason that a buyer might be responsible for paying for return shipping or how long a buyer has to make a return can lead to a bad buyer experience when something goes wrong. Check to ensure that your policy clearly states the reasons you will allow a return and whether they must pay a restocking fee when they do.

Weigh the costs of the return. As sellers, we often have doubts about a buyer’s sincerity when they complain to us that an item is not what they ordered or that something arrived broken or damaged. It can be tempting to tell the buyer that they should simply return the item for a refund, but before you do, take a moment and consider the costs. If the mistake was clearly yours and you ask for a return, you may end up paying more for the return shipping than what the item is even worth.

Offering a partial refund or telling the buyer to keep the item may actually make more financial sense. If the item is broken and insurance was not purchased, it may also be more beneficial to simply refund the money than demand they send the item back. Instead, ask the buyer to send you a picture of the broken item and once you are satisfied that the item is indeed damaged, return the money along with a heartfelt apology.

Use the return to create a lifelong customer. We usually think of a return as money lost, but when handled correctly, we could actually create a customer for life. According to Endicia, a shipping and mailing Software Company, about 45-percent of buyers will actually recommend an online store when they have had a positive return experience. This means they may not only buy from you again, but may encourage other buyers to purchase from you as well. As a final step, leave the buyer with a good impression by following up with them after the return and invite them to shop with you again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Joins the Mobile Revolution

Amazon sellers rejoice! Amazon has finally joined the mobile revolution and launched a new mobile application called appropriately enough — Amazon Seller. What is this Amazon Seller, you ask? Well, it’s a neat little app that gives sellers a bunch of mobile tools that they can use to research the items they want to sell. As an example, it scans bar-codes, checks prices, lets you read reviews, allows you to communicate with buyers, gives you the Amazon sales ranking for items you are researching, and best of all…calculates the profitability of an item while taking into account the selling and Fulfillment by Amazon fees.

kat4 (7)Although it surprisingly debuted to very little fanfare last Thursday (March 6, 2014), news of its arrival seemed to gain momentum over this past weekend and for most of the Amazon crowd, the response has been mostly positive. In fact, most sellers agree that the best part of the whole thing is the fact that you can now scan and research your item, then list it…all at once and from the same mobile device.

The idea of an Amazon app is certainly not a completely new idea, of course. There have been other applications created by independent developers that basically do the same thing this app does, but there’s no third-party involved this time (it’s all routed through Amazon’s own servers!) and better yet, there’s no monthly fee for you to have to pay.

Before you rush to download Amazon Seller, keep in mind there are a few little caveats you need to know.  First, it’s currently not available for Android yet (you have to download it through iTunes) and second, you have to have a U.S. Amazon account to activate the service. I suspect that as it gains popularity, however, you’ll soon see a version for Android and I’d almost bet before the end of the year, the service would be available worldwide.

 

 

 

Defect Rate? What EBay’s Spring Update Means to Sellers

There are usually two things you can expect whenever spring rolls around. Daylight Saving Time and eBay’s Spring Seller Updates. Hopefully, you remembered to move your clocks forward this past weekend, so now it’s time to see what eBay has in store for us. So, without further adieu, here’s eBay’s 2014 Spring Seller Update:

kat6 (3)First, the good news. There was no mention of any increase in fees for those of us in the United States (afraid sellers in the UK weren’t quite that lucky). The increase for us wasn’t really that expected since it hasn’t been all that long ago that eBay did raise it some when they were tinkering with the final value fees.

Instead, what did change was that eBay is doing away with the four individual Detailed Seller Ratings or rather, what we like to call DSRs. In it’s place, eBay tells us that they are introducing a new single measure that will be called a  “transaction defect rate.”

What’s that you ask?

Well, it’s the new way that eBay is going to judge a seller’s performance. EBay says it’s “simply the percentage of a seller’s successful transactions that have one or more of the following transaction-related defects, the top predictors that a buyer will leave eBay or buy less.” In other words, the lower your defect rate, the better off you will be.

Here’s a better idea of what they say they will now be looking for that can get you a bad defect rate:

ñ Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for Item as Described;

ñ Detailed seller rating of 1 for Shipping Time;

ñ Negative or neutral feedback;

ñ Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described;

ñ EBay Money Back Guarantee (previously known as eBay Buyer Protection) or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described;

ñ Seller-cancelled transactions.

They further go on to say that sellers are allowed a maximum of 5-percent of transaction with one or more transaction “defects” over the period of the seller’s most recent evaluation. This is scheduled to start on August 20 when eBay will do an evaluation of all sellers so everyone will know where they stand. If you’ve sold more than 400 items during the evaluation time, they will look at your last three months. If you’ve sold less than 400 items, they will look back over the last 12 months. It also looks like that if you’re an eBay Top Rated Seller; it appears you can’t have over a 2-percent defect rate if you want to keep your status. Thankfully, it appears that for now, at least, only transactions with US buyers will count.

In addition, eBay is saying that to maintain your TRS status, you must upload tracking to eBay on at least 90-percent of your transactions and it has to be within the handling time you have stated on your listings. They’ll be checking for the carrier scan information too, so you’ll need to use USPS, UPS, FedEx or DHL Global Express for your package deliveries. Interestingly, eBay is also saying that you no longer have to have 98-percent positive feedback, but they do caution that buyers will still be able to see your feedback percentage, so it’s still best to avoid getting those negative ones if you can.

Finally, eBay is also adding a new optional rule for those wanting that coveted Top Rated Plus status and seal. To keep it, between November 1 and December 31, your seller listings will have to have an extended holiday return options with buyer returns being accepted through January 31st. Thankfully, this is optional so some buyers may choose to opt out if they don’t have TRP status or don’t care whether they get it.

There are a few other odds and ends you should read up on, so you can learn more about the defect rates and other changes. Start by visiting here.

That Kat Radio podcast notes – Podcast 54 – March 3, 2014: John Lawson and Brian Guidry

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 54 – March 3, 2014: John Lawson and Remove the Background 

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat spoke with John Lawson of ColderIce and Brian Guidry of Remove the Background.

 

First, Kat spoke with John Lawson of ColderIce about his new book, KickAss Social Media.

Questions that were asked were:

  • Please share with us your journey from eCommerce Entrepreneur to Edutainer
  • Where and what do you sell now?
  • How did ICE Retailer get started?
  • You recently attended an event that you declared was “life changing.” Please tell us about the event.
  • What was the journey like to get where you are today?
  • What was your inspiration for the book?
  • How did you book come about?

Kat discussed John’s journey over the last decade or so and how fun it was watching him become the person he is today. They went on to speak about his new book, how it came about and what is in it. Kat declared that his new book was one that you needed to read slowly in order to fully digest all the great information contained within. John said that if the wonderful folks watching the show wanted to get an autographed copy of his book, they need to visit this page. John’s part of the show ended on a very positive note as he genuinely thanked Kat and her viewers for helping him achieve success. He said that without them backing him, he wouldn’t have come this far.

 

After speaking with John, Kat was joined by Danni Ackerman of the Danni App for a few moments to discuss her upcoming event and to offer them a chance to get $50 off of her event by visiting the page below.

To learn more about Danni’s event, head on over to MoreFunBiggerProfits.com

To receive $50 off your admission, visit this page.

 

After speaking with Danni, Kat was joined by Brian Guidry of Remove the Background to discuss his amazing product.

Questions that were asked were:

  • Please tell us about your company and how Remove the Background got started
  • How does this service benefit an eBay and/or Amazon seller?
  • How much does this service cost and is there a free trial?
  • How can I find out more about the service?
  • What else should I know about RTB?

Kat discussed the fact that she had tried the Remove the Background service and was super impressed with how clear they made the pictures come out. Brian’s product offers a special service for eBay and Amazon sellers. They can clear your photos and re-size them to your seller platform’s exact specifications. The cost is approximately $1.40 per picture and they can do thousands of pictures in one sitting. Talk about a remarkable product. There is also a free trial that doesn’t require a credit card! To use the service, simply head over to Remove the Background.com!

 

Kat wrapped up the show by talking about the ecommerce events coming up. She is in charge of the Seabay cruise and is very excited about it. She is also delighted to be taking part in the More Fun Bigger Profits conference this year. Also, they have opened up registration for the eBay Radio Party in March!

 

Links from the show: