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Does Retail Arbitrage (RA) Have A Future on eBay and Amazon?

August 7th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Does Retail Arbitrage (RA) Have A Future on eBay and Amazon?
You may have noticed I only did one newsletter in July. We took some time off, relaxed and spent time with our grandkids.  However, I will be back to doing two newsletters this month.

Speaking of newsletters, here’s what’s in this issue:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
  • Does Retail Arbitrage (RA) Have A Future on eBay and Amazon?
  • Understand your fees Before Selling on Amazon
  • How to Negotiate Exclusive Selling Arrangements for eBay and Amazon
  • Niche of the month – Used Children’s Clothing
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

How to Buy Wholesale from Legitimate Wholesale Sources

July 10th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

How to Buy Wholesale from Legitimate Wholesale Sources

Believe me, for every company you find that will not work with you, there are ten that will. But you have to know how to set yourself up properly if you want to deal with legitimate wholesale suppliers. Read the latest version of my newsletter for some tips.

Here’s the full list of articles:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
  • How to Buy Wholesale from Legitimate Wholesale Sources
  • Are you Ready for Amazon Prime Day?
  • Supreme Court Rules Against Small Online Sellers
  • How to Contact Wholesale Sources Successfully
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

How Will the Supreme Court Decision on Sales Tax Affect Small Sellers?

June 24th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Changes in Sales Tax LawLast week the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision that prevented states from charging sales tax on sales by companies (and sellers) who did not have a presence (office, store, warehouse, etc.) in the state.

Before that decision, a small seller like you and me, was only required to collect and pay sales tax on sales made to, and shipped to, someone in your own state.  An exception to this was a Nexus argument put forth by some states that claimed that since a company like Amazon, Wal-Mart or Sears had operations or facilities in those states, that you as a seller on those platforms are required to collect and pay sales tax on any sale made to someone in that state.  The problem was enforcement, and many tax attorneys thought the law was unconstitutional.  I have always agreed with that position.

That argument now goes away.  The Supreme Court decision means that all 46 states that charge sales tax, can now force sellers to register, collect and pay sales tax on all sales made to a person in that state.

If the problem were only dealing with 46 states that might be manageable for small sellers, but there are over 10,000 separate taxing jurisdictions in the United States.  For example, I live in a small town about 1 ½ hours North of Seattle and the tax rate in my town is different than Seattle.  Seattle has a different rate than Spokane and so on.  I don’t really know how many separate tax jurisdictions there are in just my state but it is somewhere North of 100.

So what can small sellers do?

First of all – don’t panic.  This is not going to happen this week.  It will take some time for the states (and eBay & Amazon) to act.  Since both eBay and Amazon will quickly realize they could each lose thousands of sellers (and millions of dollars in sales), and since they as companies are already staffed and set up to collect taxes, I suspect they will step up and take over the tax collection and payment.

Some states have a minimum level of sales a seller has to reach in that state to be liable for tax collection, and it is possible other states will adopt that policy.

There are also a couple of bills in the US Congress on this issue, and both of them have exceptions for small sellers (those that sell less than $400,000/year).

In the meantime, there is a service I have used in the past to collect and pay my taxes for me.  That company is Tax Jar.  In addition to offering sales tax payment services, they can also connect you to tax specialists who can help you get set up with the various states.

Lastly – be patient.  This will take a while to work out.  Be sure and check the announcement boards at the sites you sell on as those companies will all be changing their sales tax policies in the coming weeks and months.


Learn How to Make Money and Sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System

Is It Time to Give Up on eBay?

June 19th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Is it time to give up on eBay

In my last issue I had an article titled: Has eBay finally jumped the shark? New eBay Policies May Eliminate Some eBay Sellers. That article generated more readers and email than anything I have written in the past few years. So that leads me to the question, is it time to give up on eBay? You can see my thoughts on the subject in my newest newsletter.

Here’s the full list of articles:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
  • Is It Time to Give up on eBay?
  • Amazon Changes Keyword Indexing Again
  • Not Managing Your Amazon Inventory Can Restrict Your Account
  • Niche of The Month: Tiki Mugs
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

New Newsletter – Has eBay finally jumped the shark?

June 5th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

New eBay Policies May Eliminate Some eBay Sellers
I’ve got a new newsletter for you.  The first article is an important one for eBay sellers.  If you are like me, you have probably learned to dread the frequent eBay announcements. Well, here we go again. One of the factors in this announcement will most likely eliminate many sellers like me, who use Amazon to fulfill their eBay orders. In fact, this policy will cause me to cancel almost 300 eBay listings. Read the newsletter for details.

Here’s what’s in the June 5th, 2018 newsletter:

  • Has eBay finally jumped the shark? New eBay Policies May Eliminate Some eBay Sellers
  • A Better & Faster Way to Build Feedback and Increase Product Reviews
  • Sourcing Assessment: Wholesale vs. Retail Arbitrage
  • Source Now, and What To Source for Back to School
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

Summer Slowdown Book Sale

May 22nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Summer Sale

From now, through the end of June, I am having a 40% off sale on all my books and training courses. (Click here to see all my books.) To get your 40% discount, use the Coupon SKIPSAV40 at checkout.

Be sure and hit the button that says Apply after you enter the coupon so it will take effect.

I apologize to those of you who just purchased a book over the past week or so, but unfortunately, I can not backdate my sale price. This was a fairly sudden decision brought on by slowing sales due to summer selling and was not planned.

Important Please read before you order: Whenever I have a sale, I get folks who order multiple books. That’s great!  However, both the Complete Amazon Marketing System and the eBay Marketing System include all of the information in The Wholesale Buying System.  So please do not purchase one of the Marketing Systems, and the Wholesale Buying System.

One more thing, both the eBay and Amazon Marketing Systems contain a large amount of duplicate information -so again, I do not recommend purchasing both of them. My suggestion would be to buy the Amazon System, and my published book – Three Weeks to eBay Profits – Third Edition.

Amazon Opens FBA in Australia

May 4th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

 Sellers in Australia can now sell on FBA. Amazon has opened it first warehouse on the East Coast of Australia near the major population centers, and insiders say they are looking at a second West Coast warehouse in the near future.

Become an FBA seller in Australia and broaden your selling opportunity to reach new customers. Fulfillment by Amazon offers you access to our fulfillment and customer service expertise, providing your customers with the convenience of fast delivery on more products.


Learn how to sell on Amazon FBA with the Complete Amazon Marketing System.




Amazon Stops Construction at Seattle HQ Offices Because of A New Proposed $500 Employee Head Tax

May 3rd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

The Seattle city council is considering a $500 “head tax” on all businesses with more than $20 million in annual sales.  If passed, each affected employer (including Amazon), would have to pay the City of Seattle an average of $500/year for every employee on the payroll.

The tax  would cost Amazon $20 to $30 Million /year.  Because of this, Amazon has halted all construction in Seattle including a large futuristic project in downtown Seattle near their headquarters. That construction project had employed over 1,000 workers who are now looking for other work.

Amazon had planned to hire 7,000 local employees for the new facility, but has indicated it will now hire those people in other cities.

Amazon may also sub-lease out space it just rented in the Rainier Office Building, a premier office space in Seattle that would have housed another one-thousand employees.

Amazon employs nearly 50,000 people in Seattle.  The new tax would affect almost 600 businesses and would have a negative effect on hiring in a city that is  recovering nicely with the economic growth of the last couple years.

What is really interesting is; the city Council says they need the money for homeless shelters, but the new center included a 17-story tower, now halted by Amazon, that was slated to contain  shelters for several thousand homeless people.  The shelters were donated by Amazon at no cost to the City.

I live near, but not in, the city of Seattle, so my business would not be directly affected by the tax.  However, our local economy depends on overflow from nearby Seattle, so growth in our small town could be affected as well.

After 23 years in Seattle, Amazon is already shopping for a new headquarters location outside of Seattle  (Atlanta, GA is the leading candidate).  Amazon has said it will invest approximately $50 Billion the new HQ that will employ about 45,000 people.

Amazon made the decision to move due to high taxes, poor transportation infrastructure, traffic congestion, streets in disrepair and many anti-business regulations.  Amazon is not the first company to move out.  Aerospace giant, Boeing, moved their headquarters to Chicago for many of the same reasons.




Learn how to make money working from home with the Complete Amazon Marketing System.  Starts with the basics and include advanced money-making techniques and access to wholesale sourcing information

Final Sale on two of my popular books

April 27th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Through May 15th

I’ve been selling online since 1999.  I’ve sold on eBay, sold on Amazon and made money with affiliate marketing.  In short, I’ve made a living working from home by selling things online.  I’ve written about it all.  The result is that I’m currently maintaining and updating about a dozen books about how to make money online.  That’s a lot of books!  So I’ve decided to retire two of them:  The Virtual Peddler and How to Make a Living Working from Home.

They were both written to introduce people to the concept of selling online and they’ve got a lot of great information.  Make Money from Home contains seven home business plans. The Virtual Peddler tells you how to make money selling used and vintage items.   I have reduced the price of both books to $9.97.  That price will run through May 15th, and after that the books will no longer be available.  So get these great introductions to online selling before they’re gone.


By the way, if you want to learn more about selling on eBay or Amazon, I suggest you look at The Complete eBay Marketing System or The Complete Amazon Marketing System.

New Newsletter – Managing and Controlling Amazon FBA Storage Fees

April 10th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

ProfitsI’ve got a new newsletter for you.  One of the articles is very important to your bottom line if you’re a FBA seller.  Amazon is increasing its storage feels.  Those can add up quickly and start eating into your margin. So it pays to stay on top of them.

Here’s the entire newsletter contents:

  • Managing and Controlling Amazon FBA Storage Fees
  • Tips to Be More Successful Selling on eBay and/or Amazon
  • Online Reselling: Investments and Startup Costs
  • Using Amazon’s Buy Box Page to Create Fast Selling Bundles
  • Is Consignment Selling Still Alive and Well?
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

Check Your Credit Card Statements Closley

April 7th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Money - Watch the bottom lineI use credit cards for both my business and personal life.  I rarely run a balance, preferring instead to pay in full each month.  We purchase about $400,000 worth of merchandise to sell on eBay and Amazon a year and we earn travel points on that which we use to pay for airfare & hotel to attend trade shows.

In the past year, I have had one instance of someone getting my CC info and making trips overseas that I didn’t get to go on.  Fortunately, I caught it quickly and Bank of America Visa cancelled the charges and the card and sent me a new one.

But I have also had three separate instances of seeing small charges on my card that I did not recognize.  All of the charges were under $5.00 a month, so they are easy to miss.  All three of these were on my American Express card.  So, I disputed the charge and since the vendor had no proof that I bought a product or service, American Express charged them back to the vendor and credited my account.  In one case, they were not able to contact the company at all, so the blocked that company from accepting American Express.

I am now in the habit of checking mt CC statements online at least weekly, and when I receive a statement in the mail, I review it line by line.  The other thing you want to look out for are one-time hidden charges by your CC Company.

Lastly, if you have been good at paying your charges on time, call (use telephone –not email) your Credit Card Company at least yearly and ask if you qualify for a lower rate.  Every time I have done this, they lowered my rate by at least 1.5%.

Beginner Tips for Selling on Amazon

April 3rd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

These are Beginner Tips for Selling on Amazon, but there is a lot of good stuff here for the seasoned seller too.

I would love to claim Authorship of this, but it was written by the folks at Kabbage, a service that provides business loans to eBay and Amazon Sellers.

Here is the guide.

If you want to take this a bit further, I publish the Complete Amazon Marketing System, where you can learn how to just make some extra money, or learn how to make a full-time living on Amazon like I do.

Tips for Winning the Buy Box on Amazon

April 2nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Why does the Buy Box matter? Because almost 90% of all sales on Amazon occur within the buy box.

Let’s start with – What is the buy box?   There are actually two definitions –practical and technical.

In the practical sense, the buy box is the entire page that comes up with the seller in the buy box listed as sold by. (See image below)

Click to see larger image


In the technical sense the Buy Box is the portion of the page that shows the Add to cart button (see image)




If you are one of these sellers, then you are not in the buy box.



The complete algorithm Amazon uses to award the buy box is a closely guarded secret at Amazon, but we do know several of the key components (not in order of importance):

  • Competitive price – One of the major factors is that you price competitively.   When Amazon says competitive, what they really mean is be the lowest price including shipping.
  • Seller Reputation and rating – This is another major factor.  If you have poor feedback and account metrics (Order cancellation rate, pre-order cancel rate, etc.), you can forget winning the buy box.  This can be more important than price.  For example, I have a product I sell for $24.95 with free shipping, and one competitor who charges $19.99 + free shipping, which is quite a bit lower than me.  Yet, I am always in the buy box because my feedback score is 99% and his is only 90%.
  • Provide Excellent customer service. If you do this, then your seller reputation and ratings will remain high.  Another element in this is providing tracking quickly if you are merchant fulfilling and always answer customer questions under Amazon’s mandated 24-hour window.
  • Meet Amazon’s image guidelines. You may be buy box eligible as a seller, but if your image does not meet Amazon’s Image Guidelines, that item could be kicked out of the buy box (If this occurs, you will see a Quality Alert next to the item on your manage inventory page,
  • High number of product reviews.  Amazon looks at 2 things – the total number of reviews and the average star rating.  Just having a large number of product reviews helps a lot –but, if your average score is less that 3-star, it could also hurt you.
  • Keep stock on hand. One of the additional factors Amazon looks at is your inventory.  If two sellers were equal in all respects, and you had 1 each in stock and the other seller had 5 or 6, then the tie would go to the other seller.

So, there you have it.  Understand , and comply with all these values and your chances of making the buy box will skyrocket.


Learn how to make a living selling on Amazon with the Complete Amazon Marketing System


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More SKUs Equals More Money on eBay & Amazon

March 27th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

More SKUs Equals More Money

Before I tell you about the new edition of my newsletter I wanted to remind you that you can subscribe to my newsletter.  What does that mean?  You’d get 4 free eBooks and an email each time a newsletter comes out.   Bonus items. A free newsletter.  It’s hard to pass up a deal like that!

Now to the newsletter, the March 27th 2018 issue of the eBay & Amazon Seller’s News contains:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web

  • More SKUs Equals More Money on eBay & Amazon

  • Understanding Trademarks and Copyrights & Why They Are Important

  • Important Business Expenses That eBay & Amazon Sellers Must Track

  • Tips to Increase Your eBay or Amazon Profits

  • Five Tips to Select More Profitable Private Label Products

  • Increase Purchasing Power on eBay, buying from eBay to Re-sell on eBay or Amazon.

  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter


March 17th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.


Skip McGrath

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