Ready…Set…Sell

SALE

Hard to believe it, but Black Friday is only a week away. If you’re like most sellers, you’re sitting on ready and just waiting for the big day. If you’ve increased your inventory for the holiday season, you want to make sure your investment pays off, but simply having a fully stocked store is no guarantee of having a successful selling season.

Below are some tips to make sure your store is tip-top ready:

Check your content. Whether you’re selling through eBay, Amazon, or on your own site, you want to appear as a professional. Check your listings for misspelled words or missing information on your listings. If you have your own website, check for broken links and make sure your all pictures are appearing correctly.

Read over your return policy. Although both Amazon and eBay have rules sellers must abide by when stating a return policy, you do still have a little leeway in the wording of your policy and how you want to handle your returns. Since longer return times are strongly encouraged, updating your policy to reflect the longer return time, or that you do not accept returns can help to avoid confusion in case there is a problem.

Create cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Look for ways you can cross-promote your items on your website and social media sites, such as Facebook and Pinterest. As an example, if you sell bed comforters, you could suggest pillow cases or bed runners.

Know your delivery dates. Buyers are not typically the forgiving type. Make a note of cutoff dates and post them in a prominent place for when you need them. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, alert potential buyers of when they should expect their items. Let them know as far in advance as you can if an item cannot be delivered by Christmas. Some sellers find it helpful to offer overnight shipping as an option to help packages arrive quicker if needed.

Consider selling global. Since Christmas is a global holiday selling worldwide (internationally) or to at least certain countries can help to increase your bottom line. Keep buyers aware of shipping times and offer multiple ways of shipping so they can decide which shipment method works best for them. Some buyers may not mind spending more on shipping if it means they can get their items before the big day.

Are you ready for the holidays? Leave a comment below.

How to stay productive when you work from home

Working from home

Although many online sellers work from the comfort of their home, keeping the productivity up can sometimes be a challenge. It’s easy to get distracted and before you know it, the day is gone and you have little to show for it. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you stay productive.

It’s all about structure
One of the biggest problems about running an online business from home is that you no longer have a boss keeping an eye on you to make sure you get all your work done. A little Facebook here, a little watching television there and at the end of the day you’ve done very little listing and have no idea where all your time went.

The secret to keeping yourself on track is to create a structure that is similar to what you would experience in the workplace. Structure your day so you have both a start and stop time along with certain hours during the day that you perform certain activities. As an example, many online sellers like to use the morning hours of each work day to get the items they have sold ready to ship and then either run them to the post office, or even better yet, have them ready to be picked up by the postal carrier when he or she comes to the house. Once that is taken care of they know that the next couple of hours are ready to be spent taking photos or listing items they are ready to sell.

Create a separate work area
Just as it is hard to separate work from home life, it can be hard to separate your work area from the rest of your house. When you don’t have a designated area to work in, however, it makes it harder to put on your business hat and settle down to getting everything done. If your home is small or the space in your residence is at a premium, you may not be able to devote an entire room as your workspace, but you can still choose a certain spot that you use only for work. In some cases, you may find that the area still has to do double-duty, such as an area in the living room is your work area by day, but becomes the place where the kids play at night.

When this is the case, you may find it helpful to store your work items in a specific place where they are easy to obtain when your work day begins. In example — you could have a shelf in a closet where you keep your shipping scale and packing supplies so that it is simply a matter of bringing them out each morning as part of your daily routine instead of having to run around the house looking for everything.

Set some goals
Most companies have a quarterly review to see how they are doing and how things are measuring up. Setting some goals for yourself and your business not only helps to keep you on track, but it can motivate you when you are having one of those days when you want to slack off. Concentrate on the bigger goals to keep you moving in the right direction.

Don’t be Blown Over by April’s Sales Tax Typhoon

taxjarlogotaxjarlogoMark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make transaction sales tax compliance easier for multi-channel ecommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. He previously cofounded and led FileLater to become the web’s leading tax extension service for both businesses and individual taxpayers before being acquired in 2010.

The team at TaxJar has what it takes to have your business hit the mark with sales tax. TaxJar can pull together your sales records from all the channels on which you sell, organize that information into sales tax return-ready reports, and then deliver it to the state(s) in the way they need to have it. Plus, we keep track of which state has been paid and when you paid them.

The issue with sales tax is that it is not only tedious, it also can be baffling. It is especially when it comes to due dates. The state gives you these dates once you are registered for a sales tax permit.

Regrettably, these dates vary by being monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. They also can vary state to state. Not to mention that one year you could file annually and the next year you could be filing monthly. The term ‘quarterly’ can also vary because some states use different sets of months as their ‘quarters.’

Not to mention if you sell on FBA or another fulfillment service, you could find yourself remitting sales tax to 18+ states.

April Sales Tax Due Dates- A Storm Brewing

No matter whether you are an online seller or not, April is usually a big month for taxes. Even if you didn’t collect a penny in sales tax, remember often states will require that you file a “zero return.” If you neglect to file, be mindful that the state will most likely give you a penalty. A $50.00 penalty when you didn’t owe tax to begin with is no fun!

To help you be in the loop, we have gathered a list of April Sales Tax Due Dates for each state. Take a second read about your requirements when you have some time.

While you’re there, think about getting a free trial of TaxJar for 30 days. Let us take the work out of taxes for you. This way, you get to do what you do best – running your business!

Amazon FBA: Push it – Push it Real Good

Okay, I confess. I chose today’s title after hearing Salt N Peppa on the GEICO Insurance commercial. I will also confess that I am old enough to remember skating to this song at the skating rink while trying to catch the eye of this really cute guy, who I am quite sure didn’t even know that I existed.

I think the song goes well with today’s subject, however, because as eBay nears its big split off with PayPal, I think it’s time for those who have been dabbling in Amazon FBA to…PUSH IT – PUSH IT REAL GOOD!

In other words, if you want to start making some serious money as an online seller, it’s time to get serious and start treating your Amazon FBA business like a real job.

First (and this was a hard lesson for me to learn when I started selling on eBay), you are going to have to spend some money to make some money. If you don’t, you will have a lot bigger learning curve as you try to learn what is going to sell and what won’t. There’s really no set number for the amount of cash you will need, but I would say somewhere around a $1,000 is a good amount to invest to get yourself up and running. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to buy all your inventory with this. You are going to need to buy some shipping and packing supplies too.

Second, don’t waste your time selling $5 items (or below) on Amazon. You are not going to make a profit doing this because you’re going to have a bunch of fees that are going to eat into your profits. If you do find some lower priced items that you feel are hot sellers, bundle the items together or sell them as a multi-pack. Not only will you have a whole lot less competition, but you are going to pay only one fee when they sell.

Third, you need to “feed the beast” as many Amazon sellers like to say. In other words, you need to make a point of sending inventory in to the warehouse on a regular basis. Don’t wait until you are out of a popular item to run out and buy more. Keep an eye on those inventory numbers and restock before they are completely gone.

Finally, make it a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom. It’s hard to keep yourself from lowering prices when all the sellers around you are trying to undercut each other. The good thing about holding your price steady though is that eventually after all those sellers sell their items at a loss or for very low profit, the buyers will turn to you to purchase the item instead because your the only one still standing. While you don’t want to be the highest priced seller in your category, don’t aim to be the lowest priced seller either. Go for the middle ground and then hold for a while until you see how it’s all going to play out.

Are you a part-time seller on Amazon FBA who want to take it to the next level? If so, what’s stopping you? Share your comments below.

Are your descriptions making or breaking your sales?

kat5

Yesterday, I scored a package of Nabisco’s Special Edition Red Velvet Oreo Cookies. Actually, I got the last package on the shelf – so YAY ME! As we were driving home, I got to joking with the hubby about whether we should eat them (the original plan!) or sell them on eBay.

I was curious to know what they were selling for, so I did a little Oreo price comparing. I discovered that sellers who were selling two or more packs at the same time seemed to be getting the best prices and that it probably wasn’t really worth the trouble right now to list just on package of them. With this information, I finally decided we are going to eat ours…I’ve really been wanting to try them.

Interestingly, the thing that I really noticed during my search was the product description boxes and how much or just how little information some of the sellers had. There were some listings with descriptions that read like sales copy and tried to tell me how much I was going to love the cookies, and others with a more “here’s some Red Velvet Oreo Cookies – now buy them” type description.

The thing is, some sellers don’t seem to realize that when you are looking at multiple listings of the same item and they are about same price, the description box is generally what seals the deal. Too short of a listing and I wonder if I’m missing some important details. Too long of a listing and my eyes start to glaze over. Note, that it’s even worse to read when you try to view a long description on a smartphone.

So, the question becomes,when you are creating you listing – what do you really need to include?

Well, first make sure to tell the buyer what the condition of the item is. In the case of the Oreo cookies, obviously they are new, but providing an expiration date will make the buyer more comfortable about buying them. Second, provide a short and simple description of the item. In this case, how many cookies are in the package would be good and also I would mention once again that the cookies are a limited edition.

Although you wouldn’t need it for a package of cookies, you normally also want to include any flaws an item might have and the measurements of the item if applicable.

I also like to put a notation at the bottom of my listing that we are a smoke free home. If I’m selling clothing, I also add that we do have a dog and he sheds. That way, if an item arrives and there are a couple of dog hairs attached to it (which trust me – you can’t get them ALL when it’s winter and there is static electricity), then I have already stated that this might be an issue, so if you have dog allergies it’s probably best not to buy from me.

Finally, while Amazon encourages and wants bullet points. There is a bit of debate about whether it’s a good idea to use them on eBay. In fact, some sellers think that using any type of HTML on your listing can hurt – so do a little experimenting with this and adjust your listing as needed.

Have you tried the Red Velvet Oreo Cookies or are you selling them? Leave a comment below.

3 Common EBay Mistakes You May Be Making

kat7

As an eBay seller, you recognize that things sometimes can go wrong. When things get hectic such as around the holidays, it can be especially stressful. Unfortunately, that’s when things are the most likely to go wrong. Here’s three common eBay mistakes that you may be making.

The devils in the details
From shipping the wrong item to leaving out a crucial detail in a listing, almost every seller has a story about a listing or a shipment that’s gone wrong. As an example, during a particularly stressful time in my life, I once listed a coin incorrectly by stating it was proof when it was only uncirculated. It didn’t end there, however. Once the buyer sent it back, I listed it again as uncirculated. This time I got the listing right, but then mailed the buyer the wrong coin once the auction was over. Lesson learned. I now carefully check to make sure each item is what it says in the listing and then check over things again before I ship the package out.

Thankfully, these mistakes can usually be minimized by slowing down and paying attention. Check and recheck your orders and read over listings before they go live.

Underpricing your inventory
You may make a lot of friends and sale a lot of items with low prices, but are you really making any money? While most sellers know to calculate all those eBay fees so they can arrive at their true profit, they sometimes forget about all the time they are spending on the listing. That takes away from your profits too. If it takes you an hour to life two $4.00 items, you basically are making $8.00 an hour. Not only does that put you around making minimum wage, but after you take away those fees you might find you’re making even less.

Play with your price point and try starting at a higher price. You may sell less items initially, but ultimately make a higher profit overall.

Bad Photography
One of the biggest challenges in listing items on eBay is taking good product photos. A lot of times sellers just point and shoot, then settle for less than quality photos. While a good camera can make all the difference, even a smartphone can take a pretty awesome photo these days. So, really it’s all about practice, practice, practice. Play with different lighting to discover which type looks best for your photos. While a white background is often preferred now-a-days for online selling, you might find in some cases that using another solid color for the backgrounds is all that is needed to make your item really standout.

EBay selling 101: 3 tips for treasure hunting

Thrift Store

Although some sellers are heading toward the proverbial eBay door, there are and always will be other sellers who are either just getting started or want to take their eBay business to the next level. If you’ve been wondering how the Powersellers find all the good stuff, here’s three tips that can help you with your eBay treasure hunting.

It’s all about the pricing

Obviously, the easiest way to treasure hunt is by visiting antique stores. Unfortunately, the treasures you find there are also going to be the highest priced. After all, the people selling them have already done all the scouting work and know what the items are really worth. That’s not to say that you won’t find a bargain or two, but if you are planning to resale the items, antique stores are not usually worth it.

Unless you’re wanting to sell new items, that generally leaves flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales as the treasure hunting spots of choice. While each has merits, keep in mind that flea market items are generally priced higher than thrift store items and thrift store items are usually higher priced than yard sale items.

Making the rounds

Although yard sales tend to have the cheaper prices, I actually prefer thrift stores since they generally seem to have a large assortment of items and are constantly getting in new things. The best part about thrift stores though is that you don’t have to search for them every time you want go out to hunt. Once you’ve located some stores in your area, it’s more about organization and time management. Plan your most efficient travel route for making the rounds and then simply stop in about once a week to each of the thrift stores you have found to look for new inventory.

Forearmed is forewarned

A few years ago, if you you saw something at a thrift store, you had to take a leap of faith, make the purchase, then pray that you didn’t overpay for whatever treasure you thought you might have found. With the invention of the smartphone, however, researching an item is simply a matter of making a few swipes and clicks.

Two words of advice though.

First, if you even remotely think that you want an item, go ahead and put it in your basket. That way you have “claimed” the item until you have a chance to decide whether you want to purchase it or not.

Second, remember that there are other people are trying to shop in the store too. Instead of blocking an isle and inviting disapproving glances from employees or quizzing from curious customers, move to a low traffic area to scan items where you are out of the way and can work undisturbed.

So You Wanna Sell On eBay – Kat Simpson

soyouwannasellonebay

So You Wanna Sell on eBay Podcast:  Interviewed Kat on December 1st, 2014

See more at: SoYouWanneSellOnEbay.com

Kat shared that she is very proud of reaching gold power level seller and selling $10,000 a month on eBay. She had several different product lines going. She believes keeping her business varied has contributed to her success.

Kat’s Tips:

Kat buys liquidation lots from Bidonfusion.com. Enter “ThatKat” and get 10% off your first buy. Kat also loves Terapeak for analytics, eBay selling manager Pro and Stamps.com. She uses Profit Bandit and Seller Engine for Amazon. Kat also uses Virtual assistants to do repetitive tasks.

Listen here: SoYouWanneSellOnEbay.com

 

Ask Janelle Show # 8: Karon Thackston

In this episode, Kat spoke with Karon Thackston.

 

KaronthakstonKaron Thackston is President of Marketing Words, a full-service copywriting & content agency that helps businesses convert better, rank higher and make more sales.  Since 1999, she has created several products including the popular e-courses “Ecommerce Copywriting,” “Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies” and others.  Her company has contributed to the search engine and sales success of organizations including Gorton’s Seafood, American Boating Association, Entertainment.com and more.Amazonadvantage

Karon is a speaker at Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, Internet Retailer and Internet Summit and always draws big crowds.  Karon Thackston has over 25 years combined experience in marketing, advertising, copywriting and SEO copywriting. She understands the processes involved with creating various advertising strategies.

Get your free copy of her cheat sheet “5 Product Listing Secrets for Amazon Sellers” when you subscribeto her Marketing Words Newsletter today at MarketingWords.com/NL

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Kat and Karon talked about how she came online and started an online business.

  1. How did you first come online and why?
  2. What did you do for a living before you became an Internet Marketing Person?
  3. What is your history related to online business?
  4. Please tell us one thing you’ve never shared online.

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Karon talked about her business beliefs & philosophy.

  1. What is your current online business?
  2. Why did you start this business?
  3. What are your core beliefs about business and life?
  4. How do you integrate your family with your business?
  5. Where do you see your business in 10 years?

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Karon talked about her book “Amazon Advantage.”:

  1. Where did the idea for your book come from?
  2. What kind of Amazon seller did you write the book for?
  3. Give us a capsule view of what is in the book please.
  4. Have you been surprised at how the book has been received?
  5. Does your book help us figure out who our customers are on Amazon and how to target them?

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Questions that were asked and answered were:  Karon talked more about her book.

  1. What is your favorite part of the book?
  2. Should an Amazon seller write for Amazon or Google or both?
  3. What is the most important thing about your Amazon title?
  4. Can you and should you use HTML in your descriptions? How?
  5. Doing this right is a lot of work, can we hire you to do it for us?
  6. How and where can our audience connect with you?

 

Links from the show:

You can follow Kat on TWITTERFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram. Read the blog on  ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join her Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

Show #85 – Ty Yolac of KoleImports.com

 

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In this episode, Kat spoke with Ty Yolac of KoleImports.comTyYolac

Ty Yolac is the eCommerce Marketing Manager at Kole Imports.  He is expanding the online presence of Kole Imports and helping to develop and promote their dropship program.

 

Questions asked were:

  1. Please tell us about your history and how you got into wholesale sourcing.
  2. Is your company focused on e-commerce sellers?
  3. What kind of items do you have available?
  4. Are your items new items?
  5. What is a typical size minimum order?
  6. What kind of guarantee comes with your items?
  7. Do you have discounts for larger orders?
  8. How can our audience connect with you online and learn more?

Links from the show:

http://www.koleimports.com

http://dropship.koleimports.com

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ty-yolac/66/481/70

http://www.Stamps.comhttp://www.bubblefast.com/store/pc/Big-Kat-Kombo-25-each-of-4-sizes-192p1819.htm#.UeHeh9Lqn54

http://www.bubblefast.com Use code: THATKAT for a 5% discount!!

http://www.bubblefast.com

Http://www.facebook.com/bubblefast

Kitty Kat Kombo: http://www.bubblefast.com/store/pc/Kitty-Kat-Kombo-10-each-of-4-sizes-192p1818.htm#.UeHeUtLqn54

Join the That Kat facebook group! http://www.facebook.com/groups/thatkat

http://www.thatkatradio.com

http://ThatKatGroup.com

http://outright.com/

http://bidonfusion.com/content/

 

You can follow Kat on TWITTERFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram.   Read the blog on  ThatKat.com.

Purchase one of Kat’s books on Amazon. Kat’s Sales Tax Book or Ultimate Guide to Savings by Store.

Join our Facebook Group to be notified of upcoming shows.

 

Please help us spread the word about That Kat Radio!

Please let your twitter followers know about us by tweeting. If you enjoyed this episode of That Kat Radio, please head over to iTunes, leave a rating, write a review and subscribe. And if you listen on Stitcher, please rate and review us there.

Ways to subscribe to That Kat Radio: Click here to subscribe on iTunesClick here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed). You can also subscribe via Stitcher or Talkshoe.

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