How to Stay in Step with the Big Dogs

The Big Dog

As the holiday season comes to an end, many online sellers like to take a step back and breathe a huge sigh of relief. For big retailers like Walmart and Target, however, it’s not time to take a break or rest on their laurels. Instead, they begin planning for the next event or holiday (Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day!) and start restocking their shelves.

While you may think that this is because they are trying to rake in extra profits (which is partially true), the bigger reason is that these types of stores buy from wholesalers. Since there is usually a longer lead time required for wholesale purchases, retailers typically must buy on a very different type of calendar than other sellers normally do. Once that merchandise starts trickling in, the standard rule of thumb has become to go ahead and get it out on the floor in front of the customers.

Although you may not want to invest in a lot of inventory too far ahead of the next holiday, bringing in a little here and there on the retailer’s schedule can help you stay in step with the big dogs. Here’s some key buying periods to consider:

Early January: As mentioned above, two big events are just around the corner, so retailers typically start purchasing and stocking items that are Super Bowl party and Valentine’s Day related either on New Year’s Day or just a few days into the new year. Easter also comes a bit earlier this year (March), so Easter items won’t be far behind the Valentine’s Day orders.

Early Spring: One of the next bigger buying periods generally comes between mid-March to early April. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation may not occur until May and June, but retailers generally begin getting in items that will appeal to buyers for each of these holidays. Online sellers may not want to go too heavy with purchases, but buying a few items in small quantities can have your online store ready for some sales that you might otherwise miss out on.

Late Spring: Depending on what type of items you sell; the beginning of May is generally the time to purchase the products you want to carry for summer— or winter. Although it may seem strange to be searching for heavy sweaters when the thermostat is pushing into the 80s and 90s, a lot of online sellers have found that since winter is just starting “down under” in places like Australia, winter wear can be a good seller for those who are doing their research and identifying international buyer’s needs.

Late Summer/Fall: It may seem strange to be thinking Christmas in August, but wholesale buying on Christmas items generally begins around this time of year with orders by retailers picking up in the months of September and early October.

Late Fall: By the time late fall rolls around, most retailers have the majority of their holiday items ordered, but may continue to get a few additional items in. For online sellers, this can be a good time to study projections for hot selling items and bring in a little more stock before the big holiday season starts all over again.

Do you purchase inventory by the seasons? Leave a comment below.

That Kat Radio – Podcast 61 – April 14, 2014: Jim Cockrum Coaching with Bob Willey and Nathan Bailey and CLEER Amazon tool with Jordan Malik

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 61 – April 14, 2014: Jim Cockrum Coaching with Bob Willey and Nathan Bailey and CLEER Amazon tool with Jordan Malik

 

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat speaks with Bob Willey and Nathan Bailey about Jim Cockrum Coaching and with Jordan Malik about his amazing new tool for eBay called CLEER. 

 

Before the show started, Kat was joined on the line by Nathan Bailey. Once the show began, they were both joined by Bob Willey, and they all three began to discuss Jim Cockrum Coaching.

Questions that were asked were:

  • What are your ecommerce histories, Nathan and Bob?
  • How did you connect with Jim Cockrum?
  • Does every ecommerce seller need a business coach?
  • How would a good coaching program improve my business?
  • What kind of programs are available through Jim Cockrum’s program and what costs are involved?

Nathan and Bob both have a lot of history in the world of ecommerce. They were both ecstatic to be asked to join Jim Cockrum as coaches for his program. Jim’s program began as a relatively small endeavor, then continued to gather steam. Today, there are thousands of people who can testify that Jim Cockrum has forever changed and improved their businesses. Jim employs Nathan and Bob as coaches who write articles for his blog, discuss strategies with clients and do personal coaching with Jim’s clients as well. These coaching strategies are excellent because they are tailored to your specific business. Not only do you get the expertise of your coach, you get the entire program at your disposal, including hundreds of pages worth of articles about how to sell, what to sell, how to price, etc. This information is invaluable and all available to Jim’s clients. There are several links below, but the main Jim Cockrum Coaching page can be found by clicking the link above.

 

After a commercial break, Kat was joined on the line by Jordan Malik to discuss his newest venture, the CLEER app. 

Questions that were asked were:

  • What is your ecommerce history like, Jordan?
  • What and where are you selling now?
  • Can you describe your newest eBay tool for us?
  • Where can our listeners get this tool?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Tell us about your new “Ask Jordan” podcast and how my listeners can be on it!

Jordan’s new program, CLEER, is a google chrome add on that is available in the chrome app store and helps you find completed eBay listings simply by clicking a few buttons! This can save an incredible amount of time when researching items you are interested in selling. All of us, at one point or another, have had to go to eBay, search for our item, then change our wording around, then change the parameters of the search to the “sold” listings or “completed” listings and we know how frustrating the process can be. Odds are, you’ve had to sort through all of the completed listings before even finding one that sold and how much it sold for. This was a great invention by Jordan and we can’t wait to find out what’s next! Tune in to his podcast to find out more about Jordan, or follow the links below!

If you would like to find out more about being coached by That Kat herself, go here: http://www.thatkatcoaching.com/

 

Links from the show:

Kat ended this episode of That Kat Radio by telling the guests that she knows they’re busy entrepreneurs and she is devoted to bringing them new content each week that will make a big difference in their businesses. We will be back next week at 2 PM EST right here at ThatKatRadio.com with more eCommerce information and connections to help you define your success and achieve it!

 

That Kat Radio – Podcast 60 -April 7, 2-14: Social Sandi

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 60 – April 7,2014: Escape Hashtag Hell With Social Sandi

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat spoke with Sandi Garcia, or “Social Sandi” about how to escape hashtag hell.

 

Kat spoke with Sandi about her history in the social media world, as well as the history of hashtags and how to use them effectively. 

Some of the questions that were asked were:

  • Why are they called hashtags instead of pound tags or number tags?
  • What is a hashtag?
  • Are hashtags similar to keywords?
  • Are hashtags searchable?
  • What is the best way to use hashtags on each of the social media channels or platforms?
  • Can using hashtags effectively help your business?

Sandi began as on online seller and quickly graduated to a social media expert, from there, she began helping others with the social media aspect of their businesses. Sandi is referred to within the seller’s circles as “social sandi” because she has so much great knowledge of the  social media channels and how to use them best. Kat allowed the guests to ask any question of Sandi and the one who asked the best question (or the most, as was the case) won a free business consultation with Sandi! Trevor was very excited to have won and I’m sure his business will profit from it wonderfully! If you would like to find out more about Sandi or have your own business consultation, you can find her here

 

Links from the show:

Kat ended this episode of That Kat Radio by telling the guests that she knows they’re busy entrepreneurs and she is devoted to bringing them new content each week that will make a big difference in their businesses. We will be back next week at 2 PM EST right here at ThatKatRadio.com with more eCommerce information and connections to help you define your success and achieve it!

That Kat Radio – Podcast 58 – March 17, 2014: Barrington McIntosh & Charlene Anderson

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 58 – March 17, 2014: Barrington McIntosh and Charlene Anderson

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat spoke with Barrington McIntosh about international Amazon selling and with Charlene Anderson about sourcing at trade shows.

First, kat spoke with Charlene Anderson (or “Char”) about sourcing inventory at trade shows. Questions that were asked were:

  • How many tradeshows are you planning on attending in 2014?
  • Isn’t it expensive to travel to a tradeshow?
  • How do you make it worthwhile to your business?
  • What kind of eBay/Amazon seller would benefit from attending Tradeshows?
  • How do I get started and choose a Tradeshow to attend?
  • What are your top 3 tips for Tradeshow sourcing?
  • What are your top 3 things to watch out for at tradeshows?
  • How can the audience connect with you and learn more?

 Charlene has been doing the trade show circuit for years now and is considered a pro. She has attended hundreds! Tradeshows can be beneficial to your business and offer countless sources of new inventory. She recommends wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, not deciding on anything until you have done your research and grabbing all the business cards you can!   After speaking to Charlene, Kat spoke to Barrington McIntosh about selling internationally with Amazon. Questions that were asked were:

  • How did you get started in eCommerce?
  • What were your goals when you started?
  • What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
  • What and where are you selling now?
  • What else are you doing in your business besides selling products?
  • Where can the listeners connect with you online to learn more?

Barrington has the prestigious honor of having his business ranked in the top 25% of all Amazon businesses during the 2012 holiday season. He didn’t start out on top, but he earned his position by working hard and by doing what needed to be done. Barrington and Kat discussed how hard it can be to source in an area like Jamaica, where there are NO big box retail stores. Barrington discussed how looking in different places and online for different items can make all the difference. If you find enough specialty items that people want to have, you can truly own the market, as he does. You can find Barrington and learn more about his story at his website, BarringtonMcIntosh.com After speaking to Barrington, we were in for a surprise guest! Kat got Scott Henshaw on the line to discuss the new KIOUIApps product, KIPhoenix!  Questions that were asked were:

  • where did the idea for Ki Phoenix come from?
  • How did you find out about Ki Phoenix and what is it doing for your business?
  • WHY is Ki Phoenix such a game changer?
  • How is business going for you and where can people find you?
  • what’s next for Kioui Apps?

Scott was approached by Jean-Charles to try out the new ap,KI Phoenix for his business. He said he has never used such an easy app! He loves the simplicity and efficiency of the design and will never go back to doing things manually again! Ki Phoenix is an application that keeps your products in stock and the listing up, even if you have run out of stock of an item. If you sell large quantities of items on eBay, this is the app for you! Every time you have to take down a listing, or a listing runs out of your quantity, you must end the listing and start it again when you get your inventory in. Doing this, you lose sales, as well as potential return customers! To find out more about the app, head over to KIOUI Apps.com and check out KI Phoenix! Links from the show:

 

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:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

3 Ways to De-Stress Your Business

Whenever someone asks me what its like to run my own online business, I like to tell them how exciting it is. I usually mention how empowering it can be when you get to call your own shots and how nice it is not having to punch in somewhere on a time-clock. What I don’t talk about too often, however, is how exhausting it can be.

 

kat4 (3)You see, along with the perks of being your own boss there is a downside because you’re also the one responsible for keeping the business going and when something goes wrong, it’s all on you. This can cause a lot of stress and when that stress builds up, it kicks all that excitement and empowerment right out the door. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help de-stress your business and more importantly…yourself.

 

1.Set some short and long-term goals. I’ve mentioned before how important it is to set goals so you know where your business is going, but there’s another important reason you need to set goals too. Mainly, when you set goals for your business it helps take the pressure off. You then know you’re working toward something instead of just floundering around trying to figure out where the business is headed.

 

Once you know what the “end-game” is, then you can set some short-term goals to help you get there. While you may have to go back and adjust your plan to reach your goal from time to time, just think how much stress it can relieve to know that you’ve got a clear path along the way. And…As an extra benefit, you can look back at your accomplishments and know it’s all been worth it.

 

2. Make a schedule and stick to it. One of the biggest ways to build up stress when you own an online business is to never step away from the business. You may feel that you have to keep an eye on things 24/7, but the reality is that will only lead to burnout. You not only won’t feel like listing items on eBay or sending those packages to Amazon, you’ll actually start to resent the business that you once thought you loved.

 

Set a start and stop point for your workday and let your family know what those hours are. You’ll find you are less stressed and as a bonus, you’ll generally get a lot less interruptions during the day if everyone knows know that at five or six you will be finished with work and ready for family time. You may even realize that want to get at your desk earlier, so you’ll have more free time at the end of the day.

 

3. Manage Your Money. The biggest point of stress for an online seller is worrying that you are going to run out of money or not be able to pay your bills. I don’t know how many sellers I have talked to that have no clue whether they are actually making a reasonable profit with their business or if in reality, they are actually going into the hole. This can cause a great deal of stress with your business and is usually the number one reason that sellers throw in the towel.

 

I know that it’s complicated to create a budget based on sales when you don’t know what those sales will be, but you should still have an estimated budget of what you need to make and then keep tabs on how close you are getting to that number. If the numbers are going in the wrong direction, look for areas you can cut back or increase your sales. Also look for additional ways to bring in added income can help further reduce stress and will also help that bottom line.

 

 

 

Goal Setting: What are Your Goals for 2014?

Can you believe it’s an already February of the New Year? If you’re like most small business owners, you probably made a few New Year’s resolutions on the first, or perhaps you set some goals for your business that you hope to accomplish. Unfortunately, a 2012 report in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (University of Scranton) states that out of the 45-percent of Americans that make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8-percent will actually have success in in following through with them. Kind of sad…isn’t it?

 

 

While that may seem really discouraging, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Instead, take a step back and look at what it is that you really want for your business this year. Once you have gotten the big picture in your mind, you can then work backwards to reach your desired goal. To do this, you simply start by making smaller goals.

 

As an example, one of my goals (or resolutions) for this year is to find a way to better balance my time between my business and my family. To do this, I may make it a goal to start my work earlier in the morning, so that I can be done by a certain time each day. I could also make it a smaller goal that we would eat dinner as a family at least once a week. These are both small things to do, but together they help me reach my bigger goal.

 

Another way of breaking down goals to smaller easier steps is to make your goals for 30 or 90 day at a time instead of one big goal for the whole year. Instead of trying to raise your sales by $100,000 for the year, you could work at increasing them by $25,000 in the next 90 days. Once you have succeeded with that goal, you then set another goal to make another $25,000 for the next 90 days after that and so on. Same end results, but a smaller picture to look at instead of one that could potentially overwhelm you.

kat5 (3)

Finally, remember that the goals or resolutions you set in place now are not actually set in stone. As we go through the year we can almost certainly expect things to change. If a small goal isn’t getting you the results that you want, you can make another one to take its place. Perhaps the big goal you have now, won’t be as important to you as the year goes along either. If so, you can always create another goal to work toward. Oh, and remember, you don’t have to wait until next year to do it. A July 4th resolution can work just as well as a New Year’s one!