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Brands can’t use copyright to stop resales, court confirms

January 25th, 2015 by Skip McGrath

This is a major decision that will affect all eBay and Amazon sellers.

Brands can’t use copyright to stop resales, court confirms

In 2013, the fate of everything from used bookstores to neighborhood garage sales hung in the balance as the Supreme Court decided whether it was legal for people to sell secondhand goods without the permission of the original owner. Fortunately for resellers, the court said it was and, this week, a new court ruling cleared up the issue once and for all — for physical goods that is. Digital possessions are still a different story. Read the full story at Gigaom

eBay & Amazon Seller’s News – January 21, 2015 Edition

January 23rd, 2015 by Skip McGrath

I just wanted to let you know that a new version of our newsletter is available.  You can always find the current version of the eBay and Amazon Seller’s News here.  And past issues can be seen in the archive area.

So what’s in the newsletter?

  1. FREE 19-point checklist reveals… the secret of finding suppliers in China!! – This handy checklist will help you evaluate suppliers in China
  2. Why Total Dollars Net From a Sale are More Important Than ROI – It’s always important to look at the numbers.
  3. Now Is the Time to Source and Ship for Mother’s Day – Mother’s Day is closer than you think!
  4. Easy Product Bundles Anyone Can Do – I’ll show you how to make some easy product bundles.
  5. Combat Amazon’s Latest Fee Increases With Higher Conversions  – Yes, there are some things you can do.
  6. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers – You know I’m always on the lookout for new wholesale sources.

And don’t forget to check the musings.  I’ve got a simple way for you to find the top selling items in any category.

Amazon Seller Tip - How to find the top selling items in any category

Updated Article – 20 Tips for Selling on Amazon

January 22nd, 2015 by Skip McGrath

Tips for Selling on AmazonI’ve updated my article, Twenty Tips for Selling on Amazon.  It includes three good reasons that you should become a professional seller.  (You can see one listed on the left.) You can also see ways to deal with negative feedback,  packing tips and 17 other tips.

Leveraging Sales Rank to Formulate Amazon Selling Strategies

January 19th, 2015 by Skip McGrath

Amazon Sales RankToday’s post is a guest post by Izabella de Souza of Appeagle – am Amazon repricing service.

Leveraging Sales Rank to Formulate Amazon Selling Strategies

By Izabella De Souza of Appeagle

Selling on Amazon is a marathon, not a sprint. There are numerous factors and idiosyncrasies that play into selling effectively online, and it can take years to acquire all of the expert-level knowledge that’s out there. When deciding whether an item is worth the investment to sell on Amazon, sellers often factor the item’s existing sales rank into their decision.

Sales Rank Defined

As defined by Amazon, sales rank refers to the current selling performance of an item. A lower sales rank (higher numerical value) indicates a drop in sales for an item, while a higher sales rank (lower numerical value) denotes higher, more active sales for an item. Amazon doesn’t disclose its algorithm, but we know the retailer updates an item’s sales rank every hour in their effort to reflect recent sales trends and maintain a current ranking system. The idea of sales rank sounds simple enough, but much like selling online in general, there are complex elements that go into understanding the full scope of sales rank.

What Does Sales Rank Really Mean

Many sellers have a hard time grasping the true notion of sales rank. Some may believe it is a cumulative representation of a product’s sales standing overall, while others consider it a permanent grade that doesn’t change. In layman’s terms, sales rank can be thought of as representing sales velocity or the duration of time since the item was last purchased. A product’s sales rank will begin to rise until it sells again. The longer the period of time between sales, the higher that product’s sales rank will be. When a new sale for the product occurs, the sales rank drops—often significantly.

Common Misconceptions

Sellers tend to either overemphasize or ignore sales rank. Sales rank shouldn’t be ignored because its data that comes directly from Amazon—which is hard to come by. Amazon is very selective in sharing data and anything that the marketplace provides should be taken into account. However, while sales rank provides valuable data, it only represents a product’s most current standing—not a history of the SKU’s sales position which should also be weighed.

Some sellers think that product reviews can be used to measure sales rank accuracy. The idea is that a greater number of reviews denotes a precise sales rank, while little to no reviews represents the opposite. This is incorrect. While both reviews and sales rank can technically be manipulated—reviews by sellers posting fake evaluations, and sales rank by sellers placing fake orders—reviews and sales rank still do not correlate even when neither is manipulated. Additionally, a manipulated sales rank will return to its true value over time while reviews will not.

Much like with product reviews, many sellers may be under the impression that stock quantity affects sales rank. This misconception is derived from the idea that if a seller has many of an item in stock, it may be likely that the item’s sales are infrequent. Because of all the factors that contribute to every individual seller’s replenishment methods, this is an arbitrary argument that does not contribute to sales rank at all.

Category Is Everything

One of the most important factors to recognize about an item’s sales rank, is that it is entirely relative to other items in that product’s category. In highly saturated categories like Health & Personal Care or Home & Kitchen, a higher sales rank means less competition for sales. Likewise, in a category less inundated with SKUs—such as Electronics or Jewelry—a lower sales rank can mean the opportunity for sales, but with much stiffer competition.

Paying close attention to popular sub-categories is also important. There is a general sales rank among parent departments and depending whether or not a product can be found in different sub-categories, the sales rank may change. Sales rank ties directly into search in the sense that even a good rank in a sub-category is only useful if that is how people are searching for an item. So while the fixed blade knife you’re selling may rank high (#33) in the sub-category of Hunting Knives, it can rank a bit lower (#89) in a sub-category like Knives & Tools, and much lower (#3,212) in the parent category of Sports & Outdoors.

Finding the Balance

With so many factors influencing sales rank, it can be difficult to decide how best to weigh the components that affect sales rank. We’ve compiled a checklist to help eliminate some confusion…

  1. Understand Which Department/Sub-Categories Your Products Fits In. As mentioned, depending on the item’s department or sub-category, the sales rank can mean different things. The nature of your product will determine whether or not the parent department sales rank or the sub-category sales rank should be weighed more heavily.
  2. Know Your Budget. What really matters is your decision to risk selling with high competition (low sales rank) and perhaps making a smaller profit, or with low competition (high sales rank) and maybe not making a sale. Deciding how much of your own money you have to spend on inventory for a specific SKU should be your ultimate deciding factor.
  3. Use Google Trends to Gauge Public Interest. If an item has a high sales rank in a saturated department or category but you still wonder if there’s a market demand for it, you can use Google Trends to see if people are searching for that particular item. Google Trends will show recent search results, as well as results spanning years back and regional interest. In other words, if you’re an international Amazon seller and you see that the item in question is not popular in the U.S. but is widely sought after in Europe, you may choose to list it on Amazon France, Germany, Italy, UK or Spain.


This is one of the best explanations of sales rank I have seen.  After reading this I felt like I had a college course in Sales Rank 101.  If you are interested in learning about Appeagle’s’ repricing service, please click here.


If you would like to learn how to sell on Amazon professionally, please read about The Complete Amazon Marketing System – it’s a two volume training program that covers all aspects of learning how to sell like  a pro on Amazon.

Updated – My Top 99 Wholesale Sources For Online Sellers

January 6th, 2015 by Skip McGrath

Updated in 2015 I wanted to let you know that I’ve updated another popular book.   I just uploaded the January 2015  version of My Top Ninety-Nine Wholesale Sources For eBay and Amazon Sellers .  As with all of my eBooks you get updated versions for life.  If you’ve already bought the book just go back to the download page and you’ll find the newest version.

If you haven’t purchased this book I highly recommend it.  You can have instant access to this specialized list, plus my own specialized wholesale search engine for just $4.99 –AND it comes with a money back guarantee if you are not happy with the information.  You can’t beat a deal like that!

New Years Resolution for FBA sellers

December 31st, 2014 by Skip McGrath

“Master Inventory Control”

For most of us, inventory is our single biggest expense. Amazon is very simple – In general, the more SKUs you have, the more you will sell.

But under performing inventory can be a profit trap. As you go through the year, follow these steps:

– Practice Just in Time Inventory. Watch your stock like a hawk – know how long it takes to reorder and get new inventory into Amazon. Ideally you new inventory will hit FBA just as your last item sells.

-Pull an inventory report and a transaction report every month. On the transaction report, sort your transactions by SKU and create an extra column where you enter the cost of that product (including inbound and FBA shipping cost). This will tell you what your top sellers are and how much money you are making.

On your inventory report identify your slow sellers and take action such as lowering the price, rewriting your titles, keywords and descriptions, etc. Basically do anything it takes to get that inventory moving. If it just won’t move, then you have a dog product and you want to really lower the cost to get that money back to put to work on products that sell.

– Keep searching for new items to sell to replace those slow sellers.

– Don’t be a margin pig. Yes big profit margins are nice but not if the items are sitting there a long time. Lowering your price and margin will allow you to turn your inventory over more often. And, the more times you can turn you inventory over in a year the more money you will make.

-Don’t forget about the extra Long Term Storage Costs Amazon imposes twice a year on inventory that has been in Amazon over a year. Don’t get caught with a lot of that. It can be very expensive and a real profit killer.

Follow these steps and I guarantee you will see a more profitable 2015 than last year.

Good luck and Happy New Year
Skip McGrath

Updated Version of Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay

December 23rd, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBayJust a quick note to let you know that one of my most popular books has been updated. The most recent version of Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay was added to the site just this morning.  As with all of my eBooks you get updated versions for life.  So if you’ve already bought the book just go back to the download page and you’ll find the December, 2014 version there.

Amazon Repricing Software Glitch Bankrupts Many UK FBA Sellers

December 15th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Before I get into this, I wanted to let you know I had a bad fall the other night and although nothing broken, my left arm is in a sling.  I should be able to get out of it in about a week – but in the meantime I can only type one-handed.  So let me apologize in advance for any typos.

Now the story – Repricing software is used by a lot of sellers to win the buy box on Amazon.  Well a third party repricer by a company called Repricer Express in the UK had a glitch  a couple night ago and repriced millions of items at one-penny.  The glitch lasted about 3 hours but it was the busiest time of day and millions of items were sold at the price of one-penny.  Merchant Fulfilled sellers were able to cancel the orders, but FBA sellers were hit hard as Amazon was shipping as fast as the items came in.

People were buying expensive items like jewelry, appliances, and even mattresses.

Since the problem was caused by a 3rd party – Amazon bears no responsibility and will not be reimbursing sellers.  I saw a Facebook post from one FBA seller who said they lost 90,000 pounds (About $150,000) in three hours and that size loss may cause them to file for bankruptcy.

I had a short interview with Shmuli Goldberg, President of Feedvisor and algorithmic repricer, who said that over 75,000,000 items were sold during the time period.  I asked Shmuli if he though other repricers were at risk for this type of action and he thought not.  His system, Feedvisor has a 4 point checking system including a sanity check to prevent bogus prices from being sent to Amazon.  He feels that other companies have similar systems and that this is not an industry wide problem.  As for folks getting reimbursed by Repricer Express – they are certainly liable, but I seriously doubt that they are big enough financially and may be the first casualty.  I would be seriously surprised if anyone got any money back.

Although the Merchant Fulfilled sellers were able to cancel orders before they shipped they still had some damage as several customers posted negative feedback when their orders were cancelled.  Its not clear yet, whether Amazon will remove those feedbacks, but I suspect they will in time.  But in the meantime, those bad feedbacks can knock those seller out of the buy box during the hottest selling time of the year.

The lesson here is when you use any third party software or any software you may design yourself –then realize the risk is on you when something goes wrong.

Search for your own books – use bookfinder.com as metasearch

December 12th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Today’s post is a guest post by Scott Laming and Bernd Heinisch from team at www.bookfinder.com


In online bookselling the competition is fierce. With such a vast number of books, sellers and marketplaces for a customer to choose from, it can be hard to stand out in the crowd.  However simple changes in your pricing or listing information could make a big difference for your future earnings, and if you use a metasearch – like bookfinder.com - it just takes one search to compare your offers to those of over 100,000 other sellers around the globe.

How many different marketplaces do you sell on? When did you last search for your own books on any of these websites?

Last week? Very Good!

A few months ago? Hmm, things may have changed.

Never? Oh, then this is a great opportunity to do it today!

You will never be able to micromanage all of your listings, so just select a dozen of your books which you think offer a representation of your whole inventory, additionally select some truly random books. Excel has a rand function =rand(), use it.  We will use these to spot check your competitiveness and listing quality.

Before you begin each test query take a moment to imagine who the typical buyer for each of your selected books might be? How would they phrase their search, what factors would be most important to them and does you’re listing explain the benefits of your listing compared to the competition…

Would the customer be a student looking for a textbook?

A student would probably search by ISBN.  Also they would likely value shipping speed more than condition.  Ask yourself if they would compare your domestic textbook to international editions?

Would they be a pensioner looking for an affordable price?

This customer would probably search by author and title using the full first name and surname and full title.  Also overall price is probably more important to this buyer than shipping speed.  Would they care if the book is new or used?

Would the buyer be a collector looking for a specific edition?

A collector might search by author and title, but will likely use keywords and all available filters to further refine their search.  The more meticulous your description, the more trust this buyer will have in your listings.  Also consider where this buyer might be located, collectors scour the globe looking for that rare listing; be mindful of global shipping rates for rare items.  Do you mention that you can offer insurance or tracking for high value items?  Which would describe your book:

  • Hardcover, First Edition and/or Signedimage001
  • Put in the publication year (same year for Min and Max).
  • Even add the publisher, illustrator or other bibliographic details in the keyword field.

On BookFinder.com click on “Show more options” to see all the filter options available.  Experiment a little bit with these filters and find out:

Let’s assume your randomly selected collectible book was this:

This link shows you the above prefilled search form:


Now that you have completed your searches look back at your notes:

  1. a) Can your books be found on com?

If not, chances are customers cannot find them on other websites where you have listed them.

  1. b) Are your books competitively priced across all marketplaces?

If not does it make sense to lower prices or would it make more sense to shift your focus to less competitive books? Shift focus to a specific kind of buyer?  Or focus specifically on one marketplace for this kind of listing?

  1. c) Are your books described as well, or better, than others in the search?

If not, find out how you could better describe them. Customers love good descriptions.

  1. d) Are your books in better condition, and only slightly more expensive, than others?

If not, maybe you can think about how you could get there?

Of course these are just a few examples; you can expand on this idea on your own to tailor your marketing for your own inventory.  The main message is…

If you can find your books – chances are your customers can as well.  Once you have found your listing, ask yourself if you would buy your listing. 

Happy hunting, for your own books!

All the Best,
Scott Laming and Bernd Heinisch from team at www.bookfinder.com

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition that Will Sell More

November 28th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Today’s post is a guest post by Massimo Colella, the Co-founder and COO at Itly.com.

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition that Will Sell More

When your business is selling products on eBay or Amazon, chances are with such a broad marketplace others are probably out there selling your same product. The trick here is to make your product stand out, make it unique in a way. Even if you’re selling the same iPhone 5/6 charger from China find a way to make yours unique. Market your charger as not only a charger, but also a connector to upload all of your pictures and music from your computer onto your iPhone. You can also create your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) by bundling together your products. For example, 2 for 1 or if you sell other iPhone accessories you can offer a case with the charger for a discounted price.

Your USP is what makes your business different from everyone else in the market. If you have an instantly recognizable USP you can lead the way through competitive and niche markets in your industry, but until you have your USP thought out and learn to capitalize on it you’ll just be another bird in the flock.

Defining your USP can be very difficult, especially for conventional companies. Fortunately, there’s quite a few ways you can make a name for yourself even if your product or service is swarming with competition.

USP as told by…

TOMS Shoes

There’s nothing all that unique about TOMS lightweight, inexpensive, and comfy everyday shoes. Sure they’re stylish and come in fun patterns, but that alone isn’t going to make the company stand out in the shoe business. What makes TOMS unique and compelling is there USP: for every pair of shoes you purchase, they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. The story is what sticks, what people remember about TOMS is that their shoes that they bought went to help someone else in need. What other shoe company gives you this type of gratification and charitable feeling when splurging on a new pair of shoes? eBay doesn’t allow you to mention charity contributions in their listings, but you can select to donate 10% of a charity by selecting eBay’s Giving Works option.

The Mast Brothers Chocolate

The Mast Brothers literally creates every bar of chocolate themselves; every step from growing the cacao beans, through the packaging. This dedication in and of itself makes a great USP, but this chocolate has it’s own personality. It’s Rick and Michael’s (the brothers) personal style that stands out. Their style brings you back to the 18th century when craftspeople took pride in working with their hands. They even take this to the next level and travel to foreign places by ship to find the best cacao for their product. Completely over the top? Probably. But sets them apart from any other company producing chocolate? Definitely. This is something you can mention in your listings if selling that type of product. So whenever you buy a wholesale product that has a USP, be sure to use that information in your listing.

Price is not a USP

A lot of sellers think that setting their price lower than the competition can serve as their USP, but if your business practices are similar you will only end up creating a price war and further eroding your margins. Look for ways to create a USP so you can keep your prices higher. Here is an example. One of the jewelry lines I sell is made in India by individual artisans. So in my listing I say – “Designed in the USA and made in India by a woman-owned micro business. Each piece made by hand –not mass produced in a factory.” I have set my prices about 20% higher than similar products and have no problem selling items in this line. In fact two of the pieces are two of my best-selling products.

Customer Analysis

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever you come up with as your USP must be valuable to your customers. If you do good research to thoroughly understand your buyer’s persona you can gain really good insight to help you develop and test your USP. Your USP should be sustainable, but it’s not something that will last you forever, it needs to be constantly further developed to move quickly with your fast paced audience. Test your USP on various online sites and see if you get the desired effect with how many follow-ups and sales you receive.

A strong USP will help you attract and retain your customers and reduce client churn. At the end of the day it’s important to remember your USP should still represent what you’re selling and what you do, not just to make you stand out.

This is an especially important concept if you are doing private labeling. You private label products should have a Unique Selling Proposition that will set you apart from sellers of similar products.


Massimo Colella is the Co-founder and COO at Itly.com. Everyday detailed Business operations mean have every single customer happy. He loves always having challenges, hates losing them.




How to Create and Sell Information Products

September 25th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Several years ago I wrote a training course called How to Create and Sell Information Products. The info product market has changed quite a bit with sites like Create Space and creating info books for Kindle. Unfortunately I did not keep up with all the changes to the marketplace. Although the course is a bit out of date, I would say that about 75% of it is still relevant and one of the bonus items is Power Copywriting for The Internet. The 147-page eBook by Bob Serling that will lead you step-by-step to creating sales letters that sell. This book alone has sold for as much as $197, and is frankly worth the cost of the whole course.  Another great bonus is the coupon for The Complete eBay Marketing System or The Complete Amazon Marketing System.

Anyway, I have decided not to update the course, but instead I am having a one-time, 10-day closeout sale. I have reduced the price from $47 to just $17. This offer will last just 10 days and then the sales and delivery page will be killed for all time. So just click How to Create and Sell Information Products to read about the course and decide if it’s for you. There is still plenty of value in the course to match this new low price.

Note – because of the low price I am not offering my usual 90-day money back guarantee on this course, because there is plenty of value in it for the money -but all of my other products still come with my no hassle, no-questions-asked Money Back Guarantee. So please read the sales material carefully and make sure this is something you are interested in before you buy.

Information Products Sale

Protecting Your eBay Feedback

August 22nd, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Today’s post is a guest post by Eamonn Costello from XSellco Unity


eBay’s upcoming new seller performance dashboard has the potential to adversely impact your seller reputation. It implements new eBay seller standards on August 20th, so now is a good time to check your performance and understand the metrics involved before this deadline.

Review all your defects and check all your neutral and negative feedbacks to see if any feedbacks can be removed.

Handling negative feedback is pretty consistent across eBay and amazon:
Work with the buyer to resolve the issue. If you resolve the issue satisfactorily you are entitled to request them to remove the negative feedback. Note you are not allowed to coerce or bully the buyer to remove the feedback
You are allowed to publicly reply to the feedback. Only do this after step 1. Where you have made a mistake, apologise and state what steps you have taken (or will take) to resolve the situation. Be polite and to the point.
Where the feedback violates criteria set by ebay or amazon you can raise a case for the feedback to be removed (NOTE it will not be removed automatically – you need to raise a case to ebay or amazon)

XSellco Unity is a complete reputation management system for ebay and amazon sellers. It manages all your customer contact, feedback management in a single dashboard across ebay and amazon. By integrating full details of emails, orders, shipment dates, feedbacks and dispute cases, XSellco Unity will reduce the time it takes you to respond to customer queries by 50%!  See http://www.xsellco.com/crm for further details.

How Congress, The Post Office and Chinese Businesses Are Screwing eBay And Amazon Sellers With The ePacket Program

August 8th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

 Today’s post is a guest post by Jose Calero of LapWorks, Inc

 Where else in the world can you go, except in America, to set-up an online business only to have your government subsidize your Chinese competitors so they can undercut your prices and steal your business? It makes you wonder . . . . . what were they thinking?

In 2011 The U.S. Postal Service entered into a deal with Hong Kong Post and China Post to help Chinese sellers send small packages to the U.S. at a lower cost and in a much shorter period of time than regular international delivery services. This “deal” was entered into “to promote the efficient operation of postal services with other nations” as stated in its Congressional Act. On the surface, this announcement looked well and good until it was discovered that the shipping rates given to these Chinese sellers were so deeply discounted that it gave them a huge cost advantage over U.S. Online Sellers.

Here’s the problem: to ship a one-pound package from China to any address in the Continental U.S., it costs Chinese sellers a mere $5.00. To ship the same one-pound package from the U.S. to Shenzhen, China via UPS, the cost is $58.00. Before ePacket, the high shipping costs from China to the U.S. was a strong deterrent and insulated U.S. online sellers from direct Chinese competition.

Here’s a quote from Internet Retailer Magazine from their August 2013 issue: “The Chinese have gotten smart about it – they used to sell to us through importers, wholesale distributors and mall kiosks. Now they can sell directly to the consumer. With Venues like eBay and Amazon making it possible for them to market to consumers everywhere, and globalization making international shipping and payment easier every year. This is no reason to think there will be less direct competition from Chinese e-retailers in the years ahead.”

Fortunately it’s not all smooth sailing for the ePacket program. On February 25, 2014 the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service published a report stating the following:

“Until accurate costs for ePackets can be identified and used as a basis for pricing, the risk of revenue loss for ePackets remains high.” And this: “While China ePacket revenues increased by $19.2 million between FYs 2011 and 2012, the Postal Service still lost $9.6 million in FY 2011 and $29.4 million in FY 2012.” The OIG ended its report this way: “Therefore, it is difficult for the Postal Service to determine whether this increasingly popular mail piece is sufficiently covering its attributable costs.”

What’s worse is that these Chinese sellers don’t play by our rules. Instead of creating a product listing for their product on Amazon, for example as most do, instead they identify a product that is selling well, they clone it in cheaper material and list the counterfeit product under the authentic listing at a 30% to 50% price reduction claiming it’s the same identical product. Most consumers don’t bother to see whom they’re ordering an item from, so long as they get the cheapest price for the item of their desire. So the consumer ends up with a counterfeit product that doesn’t last long or perform as described by the authentic product’s page description.

Adding insult to injury, when the consumer receives the product and realize that it’s a cheap imitation or “not as described” will want to return it. But sadly they discover that the Chinese seller does not have a U.S. return address so the product must be returned to China at a greatly inflated freight costs. Discouraged, they end up keeping the product and the Chinese seller wins.

The ePacket program is a scourge to any and all U.S. online resellers who struggle every day to make a living. And it’s a scourge to the consumers who are duped by these falsely advertised counterfeit products from Chinese sellers. The only way to fix this problem is to cut off the head of the snake –and that snake head is ePacket.

We ask anyone and everyone who reads this press release to contact their political representatives in Washington and urge them to suspend ePacket until they have had time to re-evaluate its efficacy. Because it not just about U.S. jobs . . . . . it’s about U.S. family owned businesses that are taking the hit.

About LapWorks Inc.

Founded in April 2000, LapWorks, Inc. is an online reseller committed to providing customers with high-quality ergonomic accessories for their iPads, tablets and notebooks. José Calero, president of LapWorks, will be making a one hour presentation on the ePacket scourge on Thursday, August 14, at the SCOE Conference for Amazon and eBay resellers in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Calero is producing and will post a YouTube video on ePacket by the end of August that will be found under the title “ePacket Scourge”. LapWorks has two websites: www.laptopdesk.net and www.heldtite.com


Learn how to sell on Amazon with our two-volume printed training course – The Complete Amazon Marketing System

How to Effectively Manage Your Advertising Budget

July 27th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

Today’s Post is a guest post by
Doron Gez from Bannerplay.  Bannerplay is an advertising app for your eBay listings.

How to Effectively Manage Your Advertising Budget
By Doron Gez  of Banner Play

The online advertising world is exploding. There are many competing offers out there, trying to win the heart and budget of the average small business owner: keyword advertising, SEO, display advertising, social media advertising, email marketing, affiliates – as a small online seller, which are the best methods for your business?

Google are dictating the rules of word based advertising and SEO. That is, no doubt, one of the strongest means of advertising now which almost every business uses. The main problem there for any advertiser, is that Google are in a strong enough position to reinvent the rules of the game as they go along, causing unimaginable damage to businesses like yours, large and small, including eBay itself. Did you just spend thousands of dollars and months of optimization on tweaking you organic and paid SEO to ensure top ranking? Google is telling you with their constant changes is “oh Well tough, sorry, you are just going to spend another pile of dollars (and a lot of time) to ensure you’re still at the top”.

This constant shift in word based advertising is just unacceptable, expensive and complicated.  Businesses cannot succumb to the literally abusive and constantly changing market rules. Advertisers require reliable, stable, and proven services and partners.  For twenty years, display advertising has delivered the right set of benefits:

Targeted display advertising using strong ad networks, delivers a much more alluring and eye capturing advertising experience and is based on stable network rules – not on the megalomaniac reflexes of a one company. Display advertising works because targeted visual advertising works. Visual content gets clicked and noticed a lot more than text based one, almost 90% more.

It is a known fact that brand awareness and sales go hand in hand. Despite being doubted as a helpful sales tool, the bottom line doesn’t lie: Banner ads drive search traffic and conversions:  27% of people who see banner ads perform search right after they see the ad, and including video in your ad can improve brand awareness by 63%. Click numbers are pretty impressive too: 58% of people ages 15-24 click on banner ads, and 71% of post graduates have clicked banner ads. The audience is driven by visual display – with today’s information overload, they don’t have time to read and they are captured by alluring pictures.

That’s why we created the Bannerplay advertising apps – to provide end-to-end display advertising service that helps sellers funnel more traffic into their online shop. We have a dedicated advertising app, designed specifically for eBay sellers on eBay applications. To create both brand awareness as well as actual traffic, eBay users can create Geo and keywords targeted campaigns to direct their audience on both external web sites and mobile devices, to their online shops. Bannerplay campaigns allow retargeting to make sure potential clients which have not completed purchase in your site originally, get to be reminded of your service and/or product until they complete purchase. In addition, the service offers vetted and stable ad network to funnel quality and targeted traffic to ensure highest conversion rates.

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Build Your Business by Spying on Your Competitors

July 11th, 2014 by Skip McGrath

First of all there is nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about spying on your competitors.  Its done all the time in business.  I am not talking about stealing secrets or wire tapping – but learning what you can from whats in the open.   In the case of eBay and/or Amazon its pretty much limited to what you can see and learn from their listings.

So what are some of those things?

Well product selection for one.  What products and brands are your competitors selling?

Are they offering free shipping and/or expedited shipping?

Are they carrying complimentary products or bundling products together?

What keywords are they using in their titles and descriptions

If they are selling the same product as you, are they pushing different features or benefits or uses for the product?

On Amazon, are they merchant fulfilling or using FBA?

Is there anything in their descriptions that you are not using but you could use.

How about pricing?  Are they selling for less than you or more?  If they are getting more, what are they doing different than you are to justify the higher price?

Do you see any weaknesses that you can exploit?

After looking at their listings, also look at their store.  Try and get a feel for what products they are selling that you might be able to source and sell to expand your line.

Do these things and you will be amazed at what you can and will learn and how it can help your sales.


The Complete Amazon Marketing System by Skip McGrath is a two-volume printed training course that shows you how to start and build a large full-time Amazon business.  It comes with several free bonus items and training videos.




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