I got a little love note from Amazon this morning. It seems they are raising the variable closing fee for Music, Video, and DVD products. On the positive side they are also raising seller shipping credits for Music, Video, and DVD products in seller-fulfilled orders.
Here is what Amazon sent me
We’re writing to let you know that beginning April 24, 2013, the variable closing fee for Music, Video, and DVD products will change from $0.80 to $1.35. This variable closing fee change will apply to seller-fulfilled orders beginning April 24, 2013, but will not apply to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) orders until April 24, 2014. For more information, search on “variable closing fee” in seller Help.
Also on April 24, 2013, seller shipping credits for Music, Video, and DVD products in seller-fulfilled orders will increase from $2.98 to $3.99 for domestic standard, and from $5.19 to $6.19 for domestic expedited. For more information, search on “shipping rates” in seller Help.
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Rhonda Schnieder, the proprietor of the highly successful SCOE – Seller’s Conference of Online Entrepreneurs – or as many call it, the Amazon Sellers Conference, called me on Friday to let me know the dates of the Seattle conference this year. Formerly SCOE was held in the early Fall –but this year there will be two conferences –Seattle from May 30 to June 1, and for the first time, an East Coast conference will be held in Philadelphia in mid-September.
Rhonda had originally planned the East Coast conference to be in Atlanta, but since Amazon officials and employees usually attend the conference, she had to pick a state where Amazon has settled their tax issues. Pennsylvania is one of those states, but Georgia remains unsettled, so Philadelphia was a logical choice.
I will be doing a workshop – or perhaps two, at the Seattle conference but cannot attend the East Coast, as there is an important trade show we go to in September and I don’t like to do two trips that close together.
Rhonda hopes to announce the exact dates for Philadelphia within the next couple of weeks. I will blog it or have it in my newsletter once I hear.
The Seattle conference will be held at The Sea-Tac Marriott Hotel near the Seattle airport from Thursday, May 30th thru Saturday, June 1st. You can get more information, or register at www.scoe.biz.
In the past, SCOE was mostly for Amazon sellers, but last year Rhonda expanded it to include eBay and other selling venues. If you are a small to medium eBay or Amazon seller, this is a great chance to meet other successful sellers and learn from them, as well as attend some excellent workshops. Amazon almost always sends some great people to the conference and they not only put on some great workshops, they are very open, available and happy to chat with sellers.
February 15th is coming soon—and that means you either have to do something to sell your remaining inventory or shoulder the Long-Term Storage fee charged by Amazon. Of course, the latter should NOT be an option, if you’d ask me—which leaves us with the first one.
But how can you possibly clear your old inventory on or before the said date with virtually thousands of other sellers in Amazon with the same stuff as yours? Too hard to imagine, eh?
Fortunately, there are three simple ways on how you could still make some cold cash off your old inventory and avoid paying the Long-Term Storage fee. Here they are:
Increase traffic to your listings through Sponsored Products. Amazon’s Sponsored Products feature allows sellers to enjoy immense site visibility through advertisements that are targeted on specific keywords. These keywords are what most online shoppers type in; which means that your products will appear on top of the search results. So, Sponsored Products = better listings visibility = higher conversion = more cash for you.
Make your product pricing more competitive. Most Amazon shoppers tend to buy low priced items and shy away from listings that are relatively priced higher. With this in mind, you could do a price match analysis to figure out how other sellers with the same products as yours price their listings. From your gathered data, you could determine if your pricing is competitive or not. Lowering your prices is at times much better than returning your inventory or paying for Long-Term Storage.
Enable Automated Long-Term Storage Removals option. By enabling this option, you can keep your old items available on Amazon for the longest time possible. This way, your affected units will either be returned or disposed of, both of which have minimal fees. Remember – you can recall an item, then send it back in to get another year of normal storage fees. If you are sure something will eventually sell, this can be a better option than paying the higher fees.
Just choose which among these choices will best suit your needs. The key is to settle for the option that would allow you to make the biggest profit possible out of your old product inventory. Happy Amazon selling everyone!
eBay tools to help you reach Top Rated Seller Status
To be a successful seller on eBay, you need the right tools. Below are some great tools that will help you reach top rated seller status within a few months.
Looking for products on eBay, but don’t know what to sell? Terapeak will help you figure out what’s selling on eBay worldwide!
Benefits of using Terapeak:
Product research up to a 90 day period worldwide
See what your competitors are selling and how much they sell a month
Find out what products are hot on eBay
By using Terapeak, you’re able to make an educated decision before purchasing products from a vendor.
eBay Listing Tools
eBay’s built in web based listing software is great for individuals, but if you’re trying to build a business on eBay you’re going to need something more powerful. Two programs that are perfect for small businesses are eBay Turbo lister and Blackthorne Pro.
Turbo Lister – eBay turbo lister is a free listing software from eBay. It supports bulk uploads, html based descriptions and helps you manage your auctions from your desktop.
Blackthorne Pro – Blackthorne Pro is a more powerful listing tool from eBay. It is based on Microsoft access and works a lot like Microsoft Excel. It enables you to import and export your data into Blackthorne Pro using flat files.
Multiple users and permissions
Data import/export features
Integrates with Microsoft access or SQL server
Third Party Listing Tools
A lot of eBay sellers use Turbo Lister and Blackthorn Pro, but I have long been a fan of third party online systems. There are many third party systems and most of them are pretty good. My favorite is Vendio because I also sell on Amazon and Vendio works with both eBay and Amazon. so even if you don’t sell on Amazon now, you might in the future and this way you would not have to start all over and move all your listings.
Shipstation is a powerful cloud based shipping solution for your eBay orders and other marketplaces. Eliminate the need for double data entry and streamline your business! Features:
Multi-Channel Integration (eBay, Amazon, buy.com, and more)
Integrates with major shipping carriers (UPS,USPS, Fedex, DHL, and more)
These are not all the tools out there, but they are the best in terms of price and value. These tools will help you become an eBay top rated seller without breaking the bank.
Once a year Fast Pack has a one-day sale on rolls of bubble wrap. The sale is usually only on Bubble Pak, but this Free Shipping sale includes other items such as scales and shipping tape. Here is a link to the page with the items available for Free Shipping.
The sale ends at midnight Eastern time tomorrow, Tuesday January 29th.
Bubble Pak is one of those shipping products that is fairly inexpensive, but because of its bulk, it is expensive to ship. So I urge all my readers to take advantage of this sale. While you are there, be sure and look at the Fast Pack Outlet Page. This is where they put discontinued items on sale.
If you’re like most sellers, shipping internationally can be a lot of work and expensive for your buyers. There are customs forms you have to deal with, import charges that your buyers never want to pay for, and expensive shipping costs. Shipping internationally is definitely not easy, but the international market is huge and there are a lot of buyers willing to buy from the USA.
Well the good news is eBay has rolled out their new “Global shipping Program”. The program is currently a pilot program (Beta) and is expected to fully roll out later this year.
Here’s a video with a brief overview of the program and how it works.
The main benefits of opting into eBay’s Global Shipping Program are:
1. Cheaper shipping costs for your buyers because eBay consolidates shipments and ships in bulk
2. eBay takes care of all the custom forms
3. Buyer is aware of the import costs up front
4. Buyer pays for all import costs at checkout so you don’t have to worry about the buyer refusing packages due to expensive duties and taxes
5. Tracking is provided to your buyers
6. Sellers have seen a large increase as much as 20% due to opening up their products to the international market
eBay itself isn’t the one handling the logistics of the program. They hired a 3rd party logistics provider (Pitney Bowes) to handle all of their international shipments. Sellers are required to ship their packages to a distribution center in Kentucky and then your shipments are sorted and distributed to their proper destinations.
If you’re looking to expand your international business the global shipping program might be for you.
I usually write about selling on eBay and Amazon, but this topic is germane to almost all of us who use smart phones and mobile phones these days in our business.
Own a Smartphone? What have you done about security?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), being aware of the number of smartphones gifted during the 2012 holiday season (more than 20 million according to a recent FCC blog post), has announced new tools to help consumers keep their smartphones – or at least the data on the phones – secure.
New Resources for Reporting Lost or Stolen Mobile Devices
The FCC, in coordination with participating wireless service providers, has created a new resource for consumers to use to report a lost or stolen device as well as a database that will prevent stolen phones from being reactivated on a mobile network.
Access information about reporting lost or stolen phones and tablets online at the FCC’s website, .
Stolen phones registered with participating wireless phone providers will be added to the stolen phone database.
The expectation is that preventing the reactivation of stolen phones will greatly reduce their resale value.
The FCC also provides an online guide that owners of a mobile device can access for advice on safeguarding against theft, protecting the data on your phone, and how to respond if your device is stolen.
As I sit here and write this with only 2-days left in 2012, the politicians in Washington are still arguing over the Fiscal Cliff. There are days I wish we could just push the politicians off a cliff and start over again.
Higher Taxes Coming on All of Us
No matter how the negotiations end up –one thing is for certain. Taxes are going up on everyone. And that does not bode well for sales in 2013. When you tax something you get less of it. States are rising sales taxes = fewer sales. Income taxes going up = Less disposable income. Less disposable income means lower sales.
Energy Prices Falling
On the good side however, is that energy prices are continuing to fall and that is something that puts money directly into consumer’s pockets. As long as economies around the world are growing slow, oil prices should continue to fall. It that happens enough it could be enough to offset the tax increases we will see and then the effect on sales would be neutral.
Online Sales Will Continue to Cannibalize Brick and Mortar Stores
The numbers are in, and in the Holiday selling season that started in November, Retail Store sales were flat to down depending on which part of the country you are in, but online sales grew a respectable 16% over last year. I saw this first hand as our November/December sales on Amazon were up 22% over the same period last year. eBay did not do as well this year. We won’t know the numbers until late January when eBay reports , but our personal eBay sales were only up 2% over last year. A lot of my readers wrote me that they were seeing the same thing. Leave a comment and let us know how you did this year.
So to summarize – Taxes going up – bad for sales, Energy prices falling – good for sales – Online stores taking business from traditional retail stores – good for us, bad for them.
Forbes magazine has a great white paper they are making available for free entitled The Recipe for Work-life Balance During the Holidays by Tom Drews, founder and CEO of Making Minutes. Great article and it has stuff that will not only help you during the holidays but year around as well.
My December newsletter will be out tomorrow with a great Christmas present for my readers.
Jim Cockrum is running an excellent Thanksgiving promotion from today through the end of the month. Jim is always up to stuff that you have to see to believe.
He just did an interview with a student who literally lives ON THE BEACH in Jamaica and is on course to sell $200K in physical product on Amazon…without shipping anything to customers!
He also had someone bet $5,000 that the results of another student were “made up”…you’ve got to see the video Jim made to put that rumor to rest!
The bottom line is the whole world is now shopping on Amazon, and Jim has a mindblowingly simple approach to profiting from the mega trend that is Amazon.com.
Check out the interview and the short video at the link below. This is inspirational stuff from one of the good guys in the business.
Through the end of November Jim has the price marked down 70% AND he’s adding in a surprise bonus that’s not even mentioned in his offer. The “surprise” is lifetime access to his top membership site MySilentTeam.com (where thousand pay $19.95 monthly for access!)
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