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Take Time to Succeed

January 21st, 2019 by Skip McGrath

This morning when I checked my email, there were two emails that came in just minutes apart –but that were poles apart in content.

The first email was from a person who wanted a refund on my book How to Make Money Selling Used Books on eBay, Amazon and The Internet. The reader said he was still in my 90-day refund window and learning how to sell books was just taking too much time. When I looked he had bought the book about 45 days previously so I processed the refund immediately.

The next email was from a reader who told me that she bought my book and started selling her first week. Although she made some money in her first few weeks, she said she worked about six weeks before she started making some serious money, and now she is doing very well. One product, two different people two different experiences.

You can listen to the radio or go on the internet every day and find sales pitches for so-called money-making systems that claim you can make money overnight –and many of them further claim you can do it on autopilot –giving you the impression that you don’t have to do any work.

I have been selling online for ten years now and I have bought many of those programs and I can tell you that I have yet to find anything that:

1. Works overnight
2. Works on autopilot without substantial input on your part

There are lots of ways to make money working from home and selling online but all of them require time and work.

There is a college kid in Texas who keeps pestering me with emails asking questions about how to do this and that on Amazon. He doesn’t even have the money to buy one of my books. So I try and help him as best I can. It is obvious he is struggling, but I have no doubt he will be successful because he just won’t give up.

There are lots of ways to make money selling online –and yes, every once in a while you hear about someone who got lucky and actually made a serious amount of money overnight –but that is the rare exception.

I did get an email once from someone who bought my book about selling used books. The first day out at a garage sale she found a large box of science textbooks from the 1950’s for $20 that she was able to sell for over $2000 total. But the next time she went out she spent over $100 on a few dozen books and was only able to turn that into about $400 in sales over the next few weeks. Her first week was the lucky exception but her second week was closer to the norm and what you would expect.

Luck Is Not a Strategy

No matter what online business you go into from Blogging or Amazon to Affiliate Marketing, it all takes work –and time. Yes, you could get lucky and make some quick easy money overnight –but luck is not a strategy. The best formula for success is to be patient and set reasonable goals that build results over time. Then write them down and check them off as you accomplish them.

When Things Go Wrong

Things always go wrong. Just last week one of our coaching clients had her account suspended by eBay. Now that is a disaster for most people, but she has decided to soldier on and started selling on Amazon.

When you start a business any business, not just an online business, things will go wrong. They always do. You will make mistakes –everyone does. But it’s how you react to adversity that determines whether you will win or lose. Remember, you can’t fail until you quit!

So if you are one of those people hurting for money, don’t be afraid to try something new. Yes you may have to take some risks. I don’t know of any rewards in life that come without some risk. But try and take small risks. If you take a series of small risks and some of them result in failure, you can survive, but if you roll the dice on one large risk and fail you may lose all your start-up capital. And once you start your business just keep going. As I said above, I guarantee things will go wrong and you will make mistakes. But you just have to power thorough and be patient. Do that and your chances of success go up a thousand percent.

Use Check Permission to See if your Item is Restricted on Amazon

January 20th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

You might also want to investigate CheckPermission.  Experienced Amazon (U.S.) sellers, use Check Permission for instant, on-page notification that tells them whether not they are authorized to sell any Amazon product!

CheckPermission

 

Amazon Updates Condition Guidelines

January 18th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Amazon Updates Condition Guidelines

Note: You’ll need to be logged into your Seller Central account for many of the links in this blog post to work.

Amazon recently updated the condition guidelines for Used, Certified refurbished, and Rental products to reflect current standards. Please refer to the revised condition guidelines to categorize your 2019 listings correctly.

Condition guidelines

Assigning the correct condition to each product you list on Amazon is the first step toward providing a great customer experience. It is important to make a careful assessment of your product before specifying its condition.

For information about selecting a condition for your product, see Selecting Conditions.

General condition guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all product categories unless otherwise indicated in the Category-Specific Condition Guidelines:

New:

Just like it sounds. A brand-new item. Original manufacturer’s warranty, if any, still applies, with warranty details included in the listing comments. Original packaging is present for most New items but certain items like shoes may be re-boxed.

Renewed:

A pre-owned product that was inspected and tested to work and look like new by an Amazon-qualified supplier (a seller or vendor) or by Amazon. The product has minimal to no signs of wear, no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away, and may arrive in a brown or white box with relevant accessories that may be generic. The product comes with a warranty giving you a replacement or refund within 90 days of purchase if the product does not work as expected. A selection of products are eligible for the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. Any exceptions to this condition description will be mentioned on the product detail page.

Rental:

A product that was inspected and graded by a qualified supplier (a seller, vendor, or by Amazon) in working condition with no structural imperfections that could impact the functionality. The products may be packaged in a generic box and come with relevant accessories as expected for a new product. Any exceptions to this condition description will be mentioned on the product detail page.

Used – Like New or Open Box:

An item in perfect working condition. Original protective wrapping may be missing, but the original packaging is intact and in good condition with minor damage possible. Instructions are included.

Used – Very Good:

A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use and remains in good working condition. The item may show some limited signs of wear with small scratches or cosmetic blemishes. Item may arrive with damaged packaging or be repackaged and could be missing some accessories. Missing accessories are clearly defined for each item.

Used – Good:

The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and functions properly. Item may arrive with damaged packaging or be repackaged. It may be marked, have identifying markings on it, or have minor cosmetic damage. It may also be missing some parts or accessories such as screws (in the case of furniture) or an instruction manual.

Used – Acceptable:

The item is fairly worn but continues to function properly. Item may arrive with damaged packaging or be repackaged. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. The item may have identifying markings on it or show other signs of previous use. Item may be missing some parts or accessories such as screws (in the case of furniture) or a mouse or USB cable (in the case of a laptop).

Unacceptable and prohibited items

Items in any of the following conditions are unacceptable for listing on Amazon:

  • Item is not clean, including signs of mold, heavy staining, or corrosion.
  • Item is damaged in a way that renders it difficult to use.
  • Item is missing essential accompanying material or parts. This does not necessarily include instructions.
  • Item requires repair or service.
  • Item was not created by the original manufacturer or copyright holder. This includes copies, counterfeits, replicas, and imitations.
  • Item was originally distributed as a promotional copy, promotional bundle, product sample, or advance reading copy. This includes uncorrected proofs of in-print or not-yet-published books.
  • Item has passed the expiration date (includes “best by” and “sell by” dates), has an unacceptable portion of its shelf life remaining, or the expiration date has been tampered with or removed.
  • Item is prohibited for sale on Amazon.

For more information about prohibited products, see Restricted Products.

Only full retail versions of software may be sold on Amazon. See Software & Computer Games for a list of software products that are prohibited for sale on Amazon.

Category-specific condition guidelines

The following category-specific condition guidelines should be used as indicated in addition to or in place of the general condition guidelines.

 

Rentals

Textbooks rentals:

Acceptable rental condition means:

  • No water damage (wavy, swollen, discolored, crinkled, stains, or rings)
  • No broken spine or binding
  • Cover is not torn or taped
  • No missing, torn, or loose pages
  • No burns, fire, or smoke damage
  • No strong odor of any kind (including musty odor, cigar or cigarette odor)
  • No excessive writing or highlighting

Musical instrument rentals:

Acceptable rental condition means:

  • No functional imperfections that could impact instrument’s playability
  • Carrying case and accessories are not missing
  • May not be in original packaging

Books – New and Used

In addition to the general condition guidelines, apply the following guidelines to new and used books:

  • New:A brand-new copy with cover and original protective wrapping intact. Books with markings of any kind on the cover or pages, books marked as “Bargain” or “Remainder,” or with any other labels attached may not be listed as New condition.
  • Used – Like New:Item may have minor cosmetic defects (such as marks, wears, cuts, bends, or crushes) on the cover, spine, pages, or dust cover. Dust cover is intact and pages are clean and not marred by notes. Item may contain remainder marks on outside edges. Item may be missing bundled media.
  • Used – Very Good:Item may have minor cosmetic defects (such as marks, wears, cuts, bends, or crushes) on the cover, spine, pages, or dust cover. Shrink wrap, dust covers, or boxed set case may be missing. Item may contain remainder marks on outside edges, which should be noted in listing comments. Item may be missing bundled media.
  • Used – Good:All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include “From the library of” labels. Shrink wrap, dust covers, or boxed set case may be missing. Item may be missing bundled media.
  • Used – Acceptable:All pages and the cover are intact, but shrink wrap, dust covers, or boxed set case may be missing. Pages may include limited notes, highlighting, or minor water damage but the text is readable. Item may be missing bundled media.
  • Unacceptable:Has missing pages and obscured or unreadable text. We also do not permit the sale of advance reading copies, including uncorrected proofs, of in-print or not-yet-published books.

Note: Some electronic material access codes are valid only for one user. For this reason, used books, including books listed in the Used – Like New condition, may not come with functional electronic material access codes.nbsp;

Books – Collectible

To ensure that customers are able to buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon, sellers listing in the Collectible Books category must be pre-approved. For more information, see Collectible Books.

To be considered collectible, a book should be unique in a way that could reasonably be assumed to increase the book’s value to a collector:

  • First editions and first printings
  • Signed, inscribed, or scarce copies
  • Advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs of out-of-print books

Collectible books do not include the following:

  • Uncorrected proofs of in-print or not-yet-published books
  • Former library books
  • Remaindered books
  • Book club editions

The General Condition Guidelines do not apply to collectible books. The following condition apply for Collectible Books:

  • Collectible – Like New:All pages and the cover are intact. The dust jacket is intact, if applicable, with no noticeable or very minor nicks or flaws. Spine has no signs of creasing. Book may have very small but virtually unnoticeable flaws.
  • Collectible – Very Good:Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. Spine shows no sign of creasing. Dust jacket, if applicable, shows signs of some rubbing or chipping.
  • Collectible – Good:All pages and the cover are intact, including the dust jacket, if applicable. Spine may show signs of wear. Generally, books in Good condition are not considered to be collectible grade.
  • Collectible – Acceptable:A readable copy showing significant wear. Dust jacket may be missing. For all but the rarest items, books in Acceptable condition are not considered to be collectible grade.

Music – New and Used

Music formats include vinyl, magnetic tape, and disc.

If you are listing a club edition against the detail page for the standard edition, use the listing comments to indicate that your item is a club edition. For more about listing club editions, see the exception under Matching product offers inaccurately in Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions.

CDs and cassettes must be sold with a protective jewel or cassette case. You may substitute newer packaging when a jewel or cassette case is damaged, but you may not substitute copied cover art or liner notes for the originals.

In addition to the general condition guidelines, the following guidelines apply to new and used music:

  • Used – Like New:The jewel case, cassette case, or album cover has no scratches or scuffing. Cover art, liner notes, and inclusions are in perfect condition. Packaging may have a remainder cut-out, which should be noted in the listing comments.
  • Used – Very Good:The packaging, cover art, liner notes, or inclusions may show limited signs of wear.
  • Used – Good:The item or packaging may have identifying markings from its owner.
  • Used – Acceptable:The item plays perfectly but is otherwise the worse for wear. Packaging and inclusions may be damaged, marked, or missing. Note any missing items in the listing comments.

Music – Collectible

To be considered collectible, the item should be unique in a way that increases value for a collector, such as signed, inscribed, scarce, or unique characteristics such as special pressings, unusual aesthetics (colored vinyl), or limited edition packaging.

Seller comments for collectible music should include the following:

  • Further detail on condition or completeness of item and packaging
  • Notes about the presence of signatures, inscriptions, or other personalization

Make sure you describe your CDs, MCs, and records accurately. An accurate product description increases buyer satisfaction. Should an item have an obvious cosmetic flaw, sellers are strongly encouraged to make a note in the comments field. The presence of remainder marks or cut-outs should always be noted in comments. Recopied media is not permitted. CDs with surface scratches may be listed as Good or Acceptable, subject to the above guidelines, as long as the quality of the playback is not affected.

Electronics, Camera & Photo, and PC

You may be required to obtain approval to list certain products in the Electronics category. For more information, see Categories Requiring Approval.

See Selling International Camera & Photo Products for specific listing policies on international version products.

Software & Computer Games

You may be required to obtain approval to list certain products in the Software & Computer Games categories. To submit a request to sell restricted products in Software & Computer Games, please contact us.

Only full retail versions of software may be sold on Amazon. The following types of software are prohibited for sale:

  • Copied or duplicated software, in any format
  • OEM software
  • Back-up copies
  • Fulfillment software
  • Promotional software
  • Beta (pre-release) copies
  • Unauthorized freeware or shareware
  • Academic software requiring pre-purchase verification

In addition to the General Condition Guidelines, please apply the following guidelines to Software & Computer Games.

Note: All products in Software & Games with the condition type Used will be listed as Open Box.

  • New: Includes the original Universal Product Code (UPC).
  • Used – Like New: The box and jewel case are pristine, with no signs of wear. UPC should be visible.
  • Used – Very Good:Outer box may be damaged or come repackaged. Jewel case shows no signs of wear. Disc may have up to 1cm marking but is in great working condition.
  • Used – Good:Outer box may be damaged or come repackaged. Jewel case may have small cosmetic damages. Disc may have up to 1.5cm marking but is in great working condition.
  • Used- Acceptable:Original UPC, the original jewel case, or both are missing. Disc may have markings greater than 1.5cm but is in great working condition.
  • Unacceptable: See the list of prohibited software and computer games earlier in this section.

Note: Buyers outside the U.S. cannot purchase software or computer games from Amazon sellers.

For more information about listing software for sale on Amazon, see Selling Software.

Cell Phones & Accessories

For more information on listing products in this category, see Selling Cell Phones & Accessories.

Before shipping a used or renewed cell phone to a buyer, you must do the following:

  • Cancel the existing account associated with the phone.
  • Remove the SIM card from the phone, if present.
  • Clear the phone’s memory and restore the default settings.

Personal Computers

Before selling a computer on Amazon, you must restore the computer’s hard drive and any software on it to its original state in one of the following ways:

  • Use the Restore discs included with the computer.
  • Reformat the computer’s hard drive and reinstall the original software.

Include in your shipment any documentation provided with the computer itself and any software installed on the computer.

You must comply with the terms of any software licenses or other agreements governing any software on the computer. This includes any restrictions on transferring software or retaining copies of any software.

Consumer Electronics

You may be required to obtain approval to list certain products in the Electronics category. For more information, see Categories Requiring Approval.

Toys & Games – Collectible

Collectible toys and games must be rare, exclusive, one-of-a-kind, or otherwise unique.

The general condition guidelines do not apply to Collectible Toys & Games.

Use the following condition types for Collectible Toys & Games:

  • Collectible – Like New:An apparently untouched item in perfect condition. The original protective wrapping, if any, may be missing, but the original packaging is intact. There are absolutely no signs of wear. Suitable for presenting as a gift.
  • Collectible – Very Good:A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. Item and instructions are complete and undamaged but may show some signs of wear.
  • Collectible – Good:Item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition. The original instructions are included and in acceptable condition. The item may be marked, identified, or show other signs of previous use. The item works perfectly and is in good shape overall.

Home & Garden

All Home, Kitchen, Garden and Large Appliances equipment, whether new or used, must be safe (that is, there is no risk that the equipment will cause death, personal injury, or damage to property) and, where applicable, come with the standard plug for the country where they are sold. The seller must have used and renewed equipment tested by an expert prior to listing to verify that it is safe. You must not list any product that has been the subject of a product safety recall.

What we will not accept for sale on Amazon:

  • Items that do not work perfectly in every regard or are damaged in ways that render them difficult to use
  • Items not manufactured or printed by the original manufacturer and for which essential accompanying material is missing (this does not necessarily include instructions)
  • Consumable items where any part has been used
  • Products that require repair or service
  • Products whose commercialization is prohibited under the applicable law (for example, some cutlery products)
  • Unclean items are not acceptable

Ink and Toner Cartridges

Note: Amazon prohibits sellers from listing ink and toner cartridges in Renewed or Used condition.

All ink and toner cartridges should be listed as New, with “Remanufactured,” “Compatible,” or “Refilled” in the Title field.

See also Selling Ink and Toner Cartridges.

Video, DVD & Blu-ray Discs — New and Used

We suggest that you list videos and DVDs at a price that is the same as or lower than the Amazon price.

Collectible videos and DVDs

Must be rare, out of print or otherwise unique–you will have an opportunity to say why your copy is collectible.

New videos and DVDs

A brand-new, unused, unopened video or DVD in perfect condition in its original packaging and with all original packaging materials included.

What we will not accept for sale at Amazon: Video or DVD recordings not created by the copyright holder, including recopied media in any form. In addition, promotional media is prohibited for sale through Amazon, as are recordings in which any aspect of the film is missing or obscured.

Please note: 18-certificate videos or DVDs can only be listed if the seller is at least 18 years of age.

Rental DVD and Blu-ray discs are only permitted for sale on Amazon in Used condition. If you are listing a rental DVD or Blu-ray disc edition against the detail page for the standard edition, use the listing comments to indicate that your item is a rental edition. For more information about listing rental editions, see the exception under Matching product offerings inaccurately in Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions.

In addition to the general condition guidelines, apply the following guidelines to used video, DVD & Blu-ray discs:

  • Used – Like New:Any codes for digital copies or downloadable content must be included and unused.
  • Used -Very Good:Case may be damaged or come repackaged. Disc may have up to 1cm marking but is in great working condition.
  • Used – Good:Case may be damaged or come repackaged. Disc may have up to 1.5cm marking but is in great working condition.
  • Used – Acceptable:A product with extensive external signs of wear, but is in great working condition. The case may be damaged. The cover art, liner notes, or other inclusions may be marked, or one or all of these items may be missing.

Video, DVD & Blu-ray Discs — Collectible

To be considered collectible, the item should be unique in a way that increases value for a collector:

  • Signed or inscribed
  • Scarce

Seller comments for collectible media may include the following:

  • Further detail on condition or completeness of item and packaging
  • Presence of signatures, inscriptions, or other personalization

Video Games

You may be required to obtain approval to list certain products in the Video Games category. For more information, see Categories Requiring Approval.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, all video game items sold on Amazon.com are assumed to be U.S. market products.

In addition to the general condition guidelines, apply the following guidelines to Video Games:

  • New:Unless specified in the product title, all new video game items are assumed to be in full retail packaging. Bulk, plain white box, or other types of packaging are not allowed unless specifically called out in the product title.
  • Used – Like New:Activation codes for bonus online content may be missing or expired. Product may not include downloadable content.
  • Used – Very Good:Activation codes for bonus online content may be missing or expired. Product may not include downloadable content.
  • Used – Good:Activation codes for bonus online content may be missing or expired. Product may not include downloadable content.
  • Used – Acceptable:It must be noted whether the box or instructions are missing in the condition notes field. Activation codes for bonus online content may be missing or expired. Product may not include downloadable content.
  • Unacceptable:Video games without essential accompanying material are not permitted. This does not necessarily include the box or instructions.

Tools & Hardware

To sell a product as New in the Tools & Hardware category, the product must be unopened in its original packaging. All original accessories must be intact in the package, and manuals included.

If the original packaging is missing or opened, you must list the product as Used even if the product appears unused. You can clarify the condition of the product and packaging in the condition comments.

*Before listing a product as renewed, see Selling Tools and Home Improvement products.

Watches

  • Used – Like New:Item will come in pristine, original packaging. No cosmetic damages are present. All parts and accessories are present and item is functioning.
  • Used – Very Good:Item may be repackaged. Packaging may have slight cosmetic damage. Glass housing or wrist strap may have scratches that are less than 4”. Parts and accessories are present and item is functioning.
  • Used – Good:Item may be repackaged. Packaging may have slight cosmetic damage. Glass housing or wrist strap may have scratches that are less than 10”. Some parts and accessories are missing but item is functioning.

To ensure that customers are able to buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon, sellers must be pre-approved to sell products in the Watches category. For more information see Categories Requiring Approval.

What is the hottest product on Amazon?

January 14th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

The Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle by Outward Hound is the most gifted dog toy on Amazon , and the most reviewed. Why?   The Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle  has over 10,000 reviews and an overall total of 4.3 stars on Amazon.

Not only is a great toy toy that will keep your dog entertained, it also offers a high degree of mental enticement. The plush  toy is a tree trunk filled with stuffed squirrels which squeak, that your dog can hunt for.

Buyers love the Hide-A-Squirrel. It works for puppies and older dogs as well.  Many of the reviews say their dogs became more obsessed with this  than any other toy.

Be creative, and maybe you can come up with a similar dog toy you could design and private label.

Amazon US FBA and referral fee changes are coming in February 2019.

January 13th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Amazon Notification

This should not be a surprise because Amazon does this every year.  Fulfillment by Amazon US FBA and referral fee changes are coming in February 2019. For complete details, visit amazon.com/selling-fee-changes.  NOTE:  You must be logged into Seller Central to see this page.

In other news –

Have you heard that Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is getting a divorce.  Since he lives in Washington State which is a community property state, his wife, MacKenzie, will get 50% of Amazon.  Jeff will drop from the richest man in the world to 6th richest.

New FREE Wholesale Sources for eBay & Amazon Sellers

January 12th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

New Wholesale Sources
Remember – not all of these websites show wholesale products and pricing.  When you run into that situation, first look to see if there is a link to register.  If not, use the Contact Us form to request wholesale information.

Indo Trading USA is a closeout company that carries merchandise specifically for online (incl. eBay & Amazon) resellers and – They also will ship direct to Amazon FBA for 25¢ per product label.  Their basic membership is free, but they also have an executive membership for $49.99/monthly  that includes: The hottest deals they have with margins of 30%+ and controlled quantity spread.

Hi End Accents carries over 2000 SKUs in bedding, bath, tabletop and home décor.

Bowman Designs makes and sells Handcrafted sterling silver designs w/ extensive use of gem stones, 18kt gold accents and enamel work.

Cottage Brands sells a line of handmade bath & body products made from honey and beeswax.

Kraft Club Inc. wholesales a line of decorative and functional home and garden décor items to the trade. Their items come in a wide range of styles and finishes from colorful enamel to rustic and gray zinc.

Sullivan’s, Inc. is wholesaler of holiday and floral, home decor and gift in business for over 50 years.

Alpine Corporation is a manufacturer of garden decorative products including solar, fountains, garden stakes, gazing globes, birding, statuary and holiday items.

Vintage Reef Coastal Jewelry features nautical coordinates, sea glass, freshwater pearls and natural shells. They also offer custom designs and they will package for your own private label.

Learn How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gold

January 8th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

As you know, my main business for the past many years has been selling on eBay and Amazon.  But I have also had some experience with the Gold business and in fact, I wrote a book on the subject a few years ago which I updated not too long ago.

The book is called How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gold.

You can read How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gold here.

As with all my books it comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.

Tax collection for Amazon orders shipped to Iowa and Alabama State – Effective January 1, 2019

January 5th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Based on the recent Supreme court decision –I suspect this will be happening in a lot more states soon.  That will be very good news for sellers.

Based on changes to Iowa and Alabama State tax law, Amazon will begin calculating, collecting, and remitting sales and use tax for all orders shipped to customers in Iowa and Alabama on January 1, 2019.

Your existing tax calculation settings, order details, and payments reporting will update automatically to reflect this change. No action to your tax settings or seller account is required.

Answers to common questions are available in the Marketplace Tax Collection FAQ. Consider working with your tax advisor to determine any ongoing tax remittance and reporting obligations your business might have.

For more information from Iowa, see this page.

For more information from Alabama, refer here.

 

Reminder Amazon Minimum long-term storage fees

January 5th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Don’t forget – Amazon now has a new minimum Long Term Storage fee

Starting August 15, 2018, items that have been in a fulfillment center for more than 365 days will be subject to a minimum fee of $0.50 per unit per month. Either the long-term storage fee or the minimum fee will apply, whichever is greater.

August 15, 2018, and after

Inventory cleanup date Items in fulfillment centers more than 365 days
15th of every month Minimum $0.50 per unit

Fulfillment by Amazon US FBA and referral fee changes are coming in February 2019. For complete details, visit amazon.com/selling-fee-changes.
Learn more

Is eBay Killing Search For Sellers

January 4th, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Here is an excellent article from the eCommerceBytes blog:

eBay’s “Best Match” search default was bad enough, and worse that search often ignores specific search terms, but eBay is now forcing even more control to limit what a buyer sees. This results in unhappy buyers and a serious disparity between sellers with similar items.   Read full article here >> (Now you know one of the many reasons I finally gave up on eBay after 21 years).

Just a few years ago I used to sell 75+ items from Black Friday through December 30th.  This year with almost 300 SKUs listed, I only sold 14.

Skip

New Wholesale Sources

January 2nd, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Fathom It Distributing Distributing “As Seen On T.V Products”:”XHose”, Water Jet Power Washer, Earth Brite All Natural Cleaning Products, Shark Pack Waterproof Cases, Chillz Cooling Towel, and the Go Booster ( Inflatable Booster Seat).

Poo~Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Sprays are environmentally friendly air fresheners designed to control organic odor with essential oils and all natural odor eliminators.

Berkeley Designs sells a line of model decorative boats and other nautical themed gift products.

Azure Green Is a large supplier of Metaphysical, Witchcraft, Pagan, Spell Crafts, and New Age supplies.

Fathom It Distributing Distributing “As Seen On T.V Products”:”XHose”, Water Jet Power Washer, Earth Brite All Natural Cleaning Products, Shark Pack Waterproof Cases, Chillz Cooling Towel, and the Go Booster ( Inflatable Booster Seat).

Poo~Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Sprays are environmentally friendly air fresheners designed to control organic odor with essential oils and all natural odor eliminators.

Berkeley Designs sells a line of model decorative boats and other nautical themed gift products.

Azure Green Is a large supplier of Metaphysical, Witchcraft, Pagan, Spell Crafts, and New Age supplies.

Jungle Scout Sale

January 2nd, 2019 by Skip McGrath

Jungle Scout
Jungle Scout provides incredibly helpful analytics for Amazon sellers.  And as of today, they’re having a great sale.  Click here to get the details.  Keep in mind that the sale only runs through January 10th.

Amazon Keyword Tracking How-To

December 28th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

This is a guest post by Valentina Podmazina at www.SellerNexus.com

It is not a secret that search optimization is crucial throughout the whole Internet. This is true for Amazon too, as they have one of the biggest search engines in the world of eCommerce and shoppers are already focused on purchases. Your chances grow when your listings include keywords or phrases and customers find your products easier. As a result, you receive more organic traffic and don’t need to invest funds in paid ads, as search algorithm helps people find your brand for free.

From our Seller Nexus experience, we can say that keyword research and tracking is obligatory for each Amazon seller.

  1. Find Your Best Keywords

Many sellers don’t ever think about adding top keywords, though this affects ranking greatly. Finding them is simple:

  • Use Google Keyword Planner (GKP) – it is free. This tool shows an estimated search volume for a phrase or a word, and shows similar keywords. You can also segment words by geography and use different keywords for each marketplace.

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For using Keyword Planner, you need an AdWords account; still, you can register it for free anytime.

  • Keywordtool.io is an alternative to Google’s planner. Its free version can generate up to 750 keywords for each search query. The most important difference between GKP and Keywordtool is that the last one displays the list of keywords specifically for Amazon. See this option on the screenshot. Though the free version of this tool doesn’t give us any information on the search volume, you can go to GKP and check it there.

click for larger image

  • Amazon PPC tool may be useful as well. If you use automatic targeting, Amazon will show top queries for which they display your product. This is not the #1 method but a great way of finding more words and phrases of which you haven’t even thought before.
  1. Add Top Keywords to Your Listing

Here is where you should put them:

  • Title. Your keywords will be visible to both shoppers and Amazon search algorithm.
  • Description. Here you can use long tail words but keep the text readable. Don’t also duplicate keywords from your title in other places, use different ones.
  • Bullet points. Both short and long tail keywords work well here.
  • Promos. Of course, you should use keywords when starting your PPC campaign or a giveaway promo.

Once all the keywords are added to your listing, you can track their performance to take your Amazon business to a higher level.

  1. Track Your Keywords

The more top-ranking keywords you use, the more customers will find your listings and make purchases from you!

 

Add all your keywords to a tracking tool of your choice and keep those words which perform the best while deleting underperforming ones. You can also research popular words in your niche. Experiments and adjustments are key elements of sellers’ success on Amazon. You may use special A/B testing platforms for that or track keywords with ordinary tracking tools.

Here is an example – Seller Nexus keyword tracking tool.

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Firstly, add your keywords to the tool.

Secondly, once the software tracks them, you can see the keywords’ performance:

  • The number of the search page on which a word was shown.
  • Position changes for the last 1/7/30 days.
  • The overall amount of searches.
  • Search history which tells you about customers’ activities.

With this data in mind, you can decide whether you need to replace an under performing keyword with a more powerful one or maybe add underestimated words to your listing.

click for larger image

All in all, these are the keywords which help shoppers find your products. Optimized keywords are very important for Amazon sellers, so don’t hesitate to start doing this work right away and see the impact in the nearest future.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers

December 24th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. And Happy Holidays to my non-Christian friends and readers,

I hope all of you get to spend some quality time with your families.

 

Understanding Margins and Markups, for Online Sellers

December 16th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Understanding Margins and Markups, for Online Sellers

Before I dive into this, the first thing I want to disclose is that math was one of my worst subjects throughout school.  So I ran this article by my bookkeeper to get her input and any suggested corrections.  Nevertheless, I am sure a few of my readers are accountants or math wizards and may find fault with it.  Don’t hesitate to email me if you do.  I also want to caution you that I am no expert on taxes, so any tax issues you have I suggest you run them by a licensed and competent professional.

These subjects can be very complicated but what I have tried to do is simplify them and bring them down to a level where any seller can use them.  Having said that. I want to emphasize the importance of understanding at least the concepts, to help run your business.

Many sellers work hard to find inventory, sell it and all seems to be going well, yet at the end of the month they have more bills than cash.  Not understanding these concepts is a sure path to a failed business.  Lets look at each one of these one at a time –and when you understand each of them individually, you will quickly see how they come together and you will be on the path to understanding your business better, and avoiding mistakes that can really hurt your income.

  • Markup
  • Margin
  • ROI (Return on Investment)

Let’s start with markup.

Markup is the difference between the cost of a good (product) and its selling price.  The total cost reflects the total amount of both fixed and variable expenses (such as inbound shipping or shipping to Amazon FBA) to distribute and sell a product. Markup can be expressed either as a fixed amount, or as a percentage of the total cost or selling price. Retail markup is commonly calculated as the difference between wholesale price and retail price, as a percentage of wholesale.

Lets look at an example of markup.

You buy a product for $12 and sell it for $22.95.  The difference is $10.95.  If you divide your $10.95 net by your $12 cost then your markup is 91.25%.

There is another way to express this.  Let’s use very simple numbers.  You buy something for $10 and Sell it for $20.  That is a 100% markup.  If you sold it for $30, that would be a 200% markup.  (Each $10 represents 100% so adding $20 is 2 x or, 200%).

Margin

First of all there are several types of margins – Gross margin, net margin and profit margin.  Let me define these, but they are all essentially calculated the same way.

Gross margin – If an item costs $22 (including inbound shipping costs) and you sell it on Amazon for $44.95.  The difference is (44.95 – 22) =  $22.95.  That is your gross margin.  We are going to ignore shipping costs to the customer in these examples just to keep it simple, but know that the cost of packaging material and shipping is often an added cost you should consider.

Net Margin – So your gross margin is $22.95.  However, we all know that  Amazon charges fees.  Say your fees come to $5.35; you subtract those from your gross margin to get your net margin of $17.60.  To express this as a percentage you divide your net profit by your selling price (17.60 / 44.95) = 39.1%.  So your net margin on that sale is 39.1%

Profit Margin – Profit margin can refer to one sale.  If you are doing that you already know that it’s your net margin –or 39.1%.  But when business owners think of profit margin they are typically referring to their business in total – not one, or a few sales.  What you really want to know is:  What is your total net profit margin at the end of month, quarter or year?  The margin at the end of the year is critical to know, because that is what you will pay income tax on.

Lets just do one month to keep it simple, but the same method works to calculate your profit margin for a quarter or the entire year.

Profit margin is the total of the margin on all of your sales for the month less your cost of goods sold (again including inbound shipping), all fees to get at your net margin, then subtract all the expenses of running your business.  Here is an example:

Sales for the month $80000.00[1]
Total Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)  36000[2]
Gross margin $44000
Less eBay and/or Amazon fees – 12000
Net margin $32,000

Now let’s list our other business expenses for the month.  In business these expenses are called overhead.  Normally one of the big overhead items is labor, but lets leave that out and assume you are doing this all working from home.  But if you did have any hired help you would have to add that to the list as well. (We will assume for this example that all of your furniture, computers and so on are all paid for.  There is an accounting factor on these types of items, called depreciation, but I am going to ignore that in this example to keep it simple.

However, at tax time, you want to let your tax guy know how much you have invested in an automobile or computer during the year so he or she can calculate depreciation.

ISP, DSL Fees $62.00
Telephone 146.00
Office Supplies 145.50
Car expense related to business 98.75
Travel and meals related to business 738.55
Any advertising or promotions 125.55
Storage or mailbox rental 200.00
Interest expense 36.00
Insurance 185.00
Legal expenses & Bookkeeping 120.00
Professional dues and subscriptions 110.00]
Total $1,857.35

Subtract the $1,857.35 from your net margin and you will get your net profit which is what you will pay taxes on.

This is a very partial list of expenses.  Again to keep this simple, I have ignored things such as taxes collected and paid, depreciation, and other expenses you may run into.  To get an accurate idea of expenses, take a list of all your expenses to your tax preparer and ask him or her which ones you should be considering.

You don’t want to miss any because remember, the profit margin at the end of the year is what you are going to pay taxes on. If you are selling in this volume on Amazon, I am sure your expenses are going to be much higher than this.  For one thing to sell at that level you will probably have some help so you may have a few thousand in labor costs.

So our net margin  at the end of the month was $28,800.  When we subtract our monthly business expenses from that we get ($28,800 – 2207.35) = 26,592.65; Not bad !!!  If you want to know your profit margin for the month as a percentage just divide 26,592.65 by your gross sales of 80,000 and you get 33.24%.  If you could really do that, you are a brilliant businessperson.  But as I said, my expense list is very basic and your real expenses are most likely going to be somewhat higher.

Return on investment (ROI)

To find you ROI, first pick a period such as a quarter.  Now add up your Cost of Goods sold for that period (your investment)  and divide by the total net profit for the same period.  The resulting number is your return on Investment

[1] Sales would include money you collected for shipping to customers if any

[2] COGS would include the costs for shipping and packing materials and outbound shipping costs.

_____________________

Learn How to Sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System on sale until midnight the

last day of December 2018




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