Ina Steiner in eCommercebytes reported today that eBay has released the compensation and perks for their top executives
eBay CEO John Donahoe received $14 million in total compensation (including salary, bonus, stock, options) in 2014, up 1.6% from 2013, while CFO Bob Swan received compensation totaling $7.7 million in 2014, down 2.9% from the previous year. Among the perks received by the top two executives was personal use of the corporate jet, valued at $76,524 for Donahoe, and $64,263 for Swan. Read the rest of the story here…
I don’t know about you, but based on the abysmal performance of eBay over the past few years it looks like these guys are vastly overpaid. That level of salary and perks are not out of line with similar large corporations, but when the CEO and top execs turn in the kind of performance that eBay has – they are usually given their golden parachute and sacked. eBay has gone down and down ever since Donohoe took over – I am just amazed at why he is still there. The only thing that kept eBay afloat was PayPal –and now eBay is spinning PayPal off later this year. If anything its the leadership of PayPal that should get the big bucks. Just MHO.
Tired of eBay? Learn to sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System – a two volume printed training course on all aspects of starting, running and growing a profitable Amazon business working from home.
1. Registering Your Private Label Brand on Amazon
2. Amazon Changes the Game for Kitchen Product Sellers
3. How To Avoid Losing Your Amazon Seller Account
4. eBay Spring 2015 Policy Announcements
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
In the musings area you’ll see a reminder about the special offer on The Complete eBay Marketing System. It’s been updated. To celebrate that I’m offering free US shipping through the end of March. (a $10 savings) You’ve got a few more days to take advantage of this deal.
This is my last issue before the Easter Holiday. Let me take a moment to wish all of my Christian friends and readers a very happy and joyful Easter.
Despite government assurances that the economy is getting better, there are still over ¼ million people who lose their jobs each month –and even worse, there are now over 11 million people who have given up looking for work and are no longer counted in the statistics.
At least once a week I get an email from someone who recently lost their jobs asking me if its really possible to start an eBay or Amazon business or set up a website.
I try to be brutally honest with these folks. As much as I am a champion of online marketing – it is just not for everyone. When you start any business, online or offline, you are becoming an entrepreneur. Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur as:
“A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
Let’s break down that statement and see if it applies to you. – “A person who organizes and manages…” Does that describe you? Do you have the ability to organize and manage a number of both related –and unrelated tasks on a daily basis?
And: “with considerable initiative…” Do you have initiative – the ability to get up every morning and dive into your business? If you worked in the corporate or factory world most of your life, you are used to having tasks assigned to you – or being told exactly what to do. Now the shoe is on the other foot. You are both the boss and the employee. You have to come up with the tasks –and carry them out. This means you have to be able to set goals and priorities and then execute them.
Let’s look at the last part of the definition: “…and risk.”
When you become an entrepreneur, risk taking is a daily fact of life. You take a risk when you start your business. If you invest time and money in an enterprise with no guarantee of outcome you are taking a risk. When you make decisions about what product to sell, you are taking a risk. Every time you purchase merchandise for resale you are taking a risk.
The question is: “Do you have the ability to handle risk?” Or are you the kind of person who worries about every little thing? Do you understand the different kinds of risks? There are small risks and big risks. One of the things you will learn very quickly is that a lot of the small risks you take, will not work out –but that is OK.
If you take a number of small risks where the outcome is survivable you chalk it up as a learning experience and go on the next task (and risk). But if you take big risks where a bad outcome could sink you then you do may not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Lastly – but not mentioned in the definition is do you have the initiative to dive in and start your business. If you are a perfectionist – that is a major negative. There is an old saying “perfection is the enemy of good.”
Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email from someone saying that they bought one of my training books 2 years ago and now they have decided to finally start their business. When I see that I really wonder if these folks have what it takes to succeed.
Another of my own favorite sayings is” If you want to start your business –you have to start your business. If you plan endlessly and procrastinate until every little item is in place –you will most likely not be successful. You will make mistakes –I have been doing this for 16 years and I still make them. But as long as you learn from them and don’t repeat the same mistake over and over you can keep going.
Don’t get me wrong. A fair amount of study and planning is fine. You don’t want to jump into any new venture totally blind –but if you are the type of person who takes months or years to start something new, then it is unlikely you have the temperament to become a successful entrepreneur.
After reading this if you decide you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur – the first step is to study the different online business models and decide which path to take. Then get a good book or training course on that method and study it. Next make a plan and a budget to get started –and then START.
If selling on eBay or Amazon sounds good to you here are links to my two flagship training products:
Today’s post is a guest post by Jodie Pride from Veeqo.com
Tools to Help You Stay On Top Spot on Amazon & eBay
It takes more than just low prices to get you to the top spot on Amazon and eBay; although price is an important factor, there are many other aspects you’ll need to optimize in order to make sure you rank highly and stay in that prime position for potential customers to notice you.
eBay has a system called “best match” which ranks listings based on the seller’s performance, recent search impressions and sell-through rate, recent sales, titles of listings, prices and whether or not free shipping is offered. Other important factors include TRS (Top Rated Seller) status and whether you offer Premium Service.
You must remember that most listings that reach the top page of an eBay search will be from Top Rated Sellers and will usually offer free shipping. These sellers will also have a large sales history and will offer the best price for that item.
Amazon uses a similar system where it looks at seller rating and price, but it also looks at keywords in the product’s title to rank listings. The more keywords related to the search query, the more likely you are to rank highly.
So here are a few tools you can use to help you reach those coveted spaces high up the ranking lists if you’re selling on eBay, or are an Amazon seller
This is a great tool to use for competitor and market analysis for pricing your goods, as well as evaluating. It’s important to monitor and evaluate trends in products and prices, and that’s exactly what Terapeak can do for you. This tool can help when selling on eBay and Amazon by discovering new selling opportunities and identifying which products, makes, models and listings are currently hot sellers.
You can also use it to see how well keywords of your own choosing are performing, and use it to generate sales projections for these opportunities, so you can decide what items you want to sell in what quantities and at what prices in order to minimize costs and risks.
It’s a valuable tool for assessing other successful sellers by seeing who else sells the same items as you, so you can see how well they’re performing and what strategies of theirs you can adopt for yourself. It can be used to score your listings against a set of criteria so you can optimize them for peak rankings in Amazon and eBay, leading to an increase in sales.
Feedback and reviews are crucial to obtain a high seller status level, and a high seller status ensures that your products will reach the the top of the listings in eBay and Amazon. And how do you get feedback and reviews from your customers? Simple: you ask for it. Unless your service is particularly exceptional or truly abysmal, customers are unlikely to comment on it unless chased.
That’s where Feedback Five comes in: if you’re an Amazon seller, you can use it to automatically email your customer, either with messages asking for them to contact you if there are any issues with the transaction, or to follow up post-sale to politely ask for them to give you feedback and a review of the item they bought from you. If you’re selling on eBay, and alternative to this tool is Feedback Pro which performs many of the same tasks as Feedback Five, and is a great way to help you achieve TRS status and remain in the top spot on eBay.
Communicating with your customers is key to keeping them happy. They may seem like small gestures, but an email notifying the customer that their product is on its way, or a simple “thank you for using our service” email can go a long way in keeping the customer satisfied in the knowledge that you’re a competent retailer who recognizes, cares about, and is going to meet their needs. What’s more, if the customer contacts you first, it’s essential that you respond quickly to their communication – Amazon, for example, require you to respond within 24 hours or there’ll be a demerit against your account.
Replymanager is a great tool if you’re selling on eBay; you can use it to read and respond to mail from eBay’s “My Messages and Resolution Center” , create customized standard replies so you can respond to your customers more quickly, and tackle multiple emails at once for improved efficiency. There’s also a reporting function which produces detailed reports on user activity such as reply time, time spent, category summaries, and average response times.
If you’re an Amazon seller, you can use Amazon Seller Central to communicate with your customers and can make it so that any customer questions are forwarded to your email, so you can respond when you’re not on Amazon.
Remember: communication with your customer is important to keep them satisfied, and satisfied customers are more likely to give positive reviews and feedback, meaning you will stay in the top spot on Amazon and eBay.
Keywords are another key component to ensure that you stay on the top spot on Amazon. Keywords are common words and phrases used by buyers when they search for products using Amazon’s search bar. When you create an Amazon listing, you are presented with a field in which to list these keywords
The more your keywords fit what the customer is looking for, the higher up it will rank – bear in mind that sometimes people misspell words, or use different phases or spelling variants, so you could use some of these as keywords. You could also try listing other popular brands in the keyword section so that your product will come up and potentially provide a more attractive option for the buyer.
KTD is a free tool for finding long tail keywords directly from Amazon. You simply type in a product name, and it will provide predictions (keywords and long tail keywords) of what it thinks you are searching for. It’s simple to use and is free, and can help you stay top of the rankings by ensuring you choose your keywords wisely.
Price Blink is a free browser add-on which helps you identify if the items you are selling are available for a lower price on other sites around the web. You can view items you’re selling on Amazon, and Price Blink will let you know where else you can but it. This means you can make informed choices in your pricing strategy, because even though an item may cost $5 on Amazon, it may cost $4.99 on another website – meaning you could price your item at $4.98, making it more desirable on Amazon as well as elsewhere on the web.
This is an inventory management software which can sync your inventories and orders across Amazon and eBay, as well as a number of other online marketplaces. This can benefit you by making sure that if something sells out on one channel, it is automatically updated across your other channels, eliminating the risk of overselling and disappointing your customers. There’s also an option to set reorder levels so that you’ll be notified if certain stocks goes below a set level.
This is particularly helpful if you have a large inventory, also because it can bulk print your shipping labels, which can save you time as well as reducing the risk of human error in writing your shipping labels.
If your customers order items only to find they are actually out of stock, they will not be happy and could potentially leave negative feedback, resulting in you being pushed down the ranking listing. Keep your customers satisfied and you will remain in the top spot.
Today’s post is a guest post by Sam Butterworth who designs eBay store templates. The 90 million strong eBay community buys more than $1,400 worth of goods every single second, which is more than enough to transform a profitable pastime into a full time business. In such a crowded marketplace though, it’s essential that your eBay store stand out from the crowd. Effective design is one method of adding value to your eBay store and helping prospective buyers differentiate the good from the bad.
Great design has an important part to play in developing a brand. The better your brand, the less price-sensitive your customers will become. The result is higher margins and a more professional storefront. So, if you’re thinking about designing your own eBay store, here are five un-missable tips to keep in mind.
1) Don’t run before you can walk
There’s no point creating an all-singing, all-dancing eBay storefront if your design is fundamentally flawed. The key is to get the basics right and lay solid foundations you can build upon.
Customers should be able to find their way around your store intuitively, without having to actively think about how to move from page to page. Create a clear navigational structure, make sure there are no broken links, and explain every step of the process in clear, simple language.
2) Dare to be different
eBay allows sellers to create up to 15 customized pages, so make the most of this opportunity and dare to be different. Creating a brand is all about telling a story and uniquely positioning your products in the minds of your customers.
Once you’ve decided what you want to be, stick to your guns and be prepared to overcome the challenges this may bring. Most importantly, don’t be tempted to stray off course. Inconsistent design can spell disaster for your brand, so stay true to your message.
3) It’s more than a fancy logo
There’s much more to great design than a fancy logo. Your design should dictate everything from the type of font and the prominence of images, to the layout of your signage and banners.
Color and contrast have important parts to play. Can your customers read your text without straining their eyes? If the colour is uniform on your eBay store, consider differentiating between menus and sub-menus by changing the font size.
4) Less is more
In many cases, great design is more about what you leave out than what you put in. Over-cluttering your store with too many images or too much text can scare your customers away, or just bore them.
In terms of customer behavior, overly-cluttered websites have been proven to increase exit rates and reduce those all important conversions; basically, everything you want to avoid. People don’t like to make too many choices, so limit the options you offer on each page.
5) Product descriptions
A great product description is about more than just the words on the page. It is one of the most important features of an eBay store, alongside quality images, user reviews and delivery information. If you don’t effectively convey the product information customers need, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
In terms of your design, use bullet points wherever possible, and display images against a white background, preferably with the product taking up at least 80 percent of the image.
If you are struggling with your eBay store design and could use a little help, there are plenty of custom-built templates out there to help you create a user-friendly, standout store. This isn’t rocket science but eBay success does benefit from some thoughtful design, so have a think about the tips above and feel free to share your own in the comments section.
1. New Wholesale Sources from The ASD Trade Show
2. When Does It Make Sense to Merchant Fulfill vs. FBA
3. Trial Balloon for a China Sourcing Trip
4. Guest Article – Should You Develop Your Web Site in Phases
5. Incorporating 101 – Why Should You Incorporate.
And don’t forget to look at the musings section. There’s always a lot of good stuff in there. This issue has as 70% off offer on Merchant Words, information about the Amazon 1099 and more.
This version has updated eBay fees and policies. Also, the book is no longer in a ring binder. We switched over to a two-volume set in spiral binding.
After 7 years of keeping the price the same, I was forced to raise the price this year. However the System still comes with some great bonus items. One of the most valuable is access to my confidential master file of wholesale suppliers.
Tools like Veeqo Inventory management Software can help you manage your inventory and orders far more efficiently. They can ensure that your products are synced across channels so that you don’t have to do it manually – this means that your stock will be updated so that if something sells out on Amazon, it will be updated in eBay. They can also save you time by automatically printing shipping labels, and you can set reorder levels so you’re never out of stock – which means you won’t be disappointing your customers.
This desktop app lets you create listings when you’re not connected to the internet, then upload them in bulk later when you’re online. It’s free and helps you create listings with its design editor and templates, and also save and re-use old listings.
This is another eBay seller tool; it assists in managing your sales, especially if you’re a high volume retailer. Schedule listings to go live at a later date, track your active listings, manage post sales activities like feedback and payments, download your sales records and more. It’s free and integrated into eBay.
Upload your item listings via CSV file or from Excel, create and list items in bulk, download active sales and sales history reports. Add, revise, re-list, and end a listing or update the status and leave feedback for a listing all in a single file. This is one of the most essential ebay tools, is free for qualified sellers, and is already integrated into eBay.
This tool allows you to see what your Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) fees would be. You can research products to sell and the FBA calculator will show you the costs associated with the FBA program compared to handling the fulfillment process yourself. This saves you time and effort as calculating fees can be time consuming and complicated. It also gives the most accurate calculation of fees as it is an Amazon integrated feature.
This tool lets you upload your listing onto Amazon and eBay simultaneously. If you run out of stock in Vendio, it immediately ends your eBay listing so there’s no danger of getting an order for something you no longer have.
This Amazon tool focuses on feedback management. It automatically emails your buyer network requesting feedback, and also lets you review any negative and neutral feedbacks received, monitor trends, and request removal of negative feedback, so you can ensure your ratings are consistently good, driving more customers to your Amazon store.
Item search, price checking, and inventory uploading/downloading, all in a user friendly desktop environment. The automatic re-pricing engine can adjust your price up and down according to your market position and the customized re-pricing rule allows you to verify and manually adjust prices before uploading to Amazon.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on Net Neutrality on Feb 26th. I have studied this and there is nothing “neutral” about Net Neutrality.
Anything that is backed and funded by the big Telecom companies can not be good for all the little guys like us.
I try and stay away from politics and political issues in my writing, but unfortunately the Internet has become a political issue and if there is one thing that should not be politicized –its the Internet. So I don’t really see this as a left or right issue. Its about the big guys versus the rest of us.
The regulations will allow the government to set Internet rates and create a Department of the Internet that will be controlled by whichever administration is in power. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or Republican – it will eventually work against you.
Google around and read up on this –and if you agree, email your congressperson and the FCC with your concerns. You only have 9 days left until this happens.
Here is a link where you can find and contact your congressperson – https://www.congress.gov/members
And here is a link where you can contact the FCC – http://www.fcc.gov/contact-us
Today’s post is a guest post by Diana Ratliff and expert in website marketing. Her contact info is at the end of the article.
Make It Easy for Someone to Buy from You – Develop a Brand
By Diana Ratliff
If you want your products to stand out in the marketplace, you need three things.
1. to be discovered – prospects need to know you exist;
2. to be selling – the folks who find you need to buy; and
3. to be remembered – for repeat business and referrals.
Branding makes the third one easier.
Entrepreneur magazine defines branding as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Simply put, your brand is your promise to your client. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it distinguishes your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”
Note that it is more than just your name and logo!
Having someone remember your brand in a positive way makes it easier for them to buy from you. Brands give us shortcuts – they save us from having to think too much or do too much work when deciding what to buy, because we know what to expect – that’s called a “brand promise.”
Consider a few successful brands.
Starbucks: They’re as much about lifestyle as they are about coffee, and they have intense brand loyalty. Starbucks is seen as a comfortable place to sip your favorite brew while chatting with a business connection or surfing the Internet.
Lexus: Lexus is the luxury car division of Toyota. The cars share engineering, the chassis, and design elements. Certainly the cars differ, but more important the brand differs. You see it in the way their salespeople are dressed and the way they treat you. The upscale showrooms and squeaky-clean service departments foster that impression of class and luxury. People pay a premium price for that.
McDonald’s: Fast service and consistency in taste, quality and pricing are the hallmarks of the McDonald’s brand. You know what you’ll get when you go into a McDonald’s restaurant, and we’re reassured by that.
Okay, so you’re not McDonald’s or Starbucks – let’s look at this in another way.
Your brand is your value proposition. It’s a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide, who you do it for, and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives. Very often, it’s described in your tagline or slogan.
Branding is the glue that binds various products together in your customer’s mind, and the dazzle that makes your products stand out above your competitors.
How though, to create a brand, especially if you’re offering products that others can sell too? Maybe you’re buying at wholesale or private-labeling products that others can also locate.
You need to find a way to make your product unique or better. Here’s what one client did.
He was buying lawn care items at wholesale and struggling to compete. There was no reason for someone to buy from him rather than anyone else, and he didn’t want to compete on price.
What he ultimately did was bundle them as a “recommended products kit” under his own brand. He added a DVD he made on how to use them.
No one else was bundling or adding the DVD, and few were targeting the market he chose, which is people who do not want to use certain types of products on their yard because they have younger children and pets.
He also created his own brand website. Though Amazon fulfilled the orders, the brand site allowed him to collect email addresses, set re-targeting cookies, and further educate prospects on the benefits of his product line.
You need to do something similar for the products you sell. You must either develop a product/line that is clearly different or better, or position it so that it’s perceived that way by your target audience.
Then wherever and whenever you market that product online, be consistent in the way you present it and talk about it, so that your brand becomes synonymous with a benefit to your prospect.
To sum up: Want to make it easy for someone to buy from you? Then focus less on “selling products” and start “promoting a brand.”
Diana Ratliff is an experienced online marketing consultant whose company, YourFriendontheWeb.com, specializes in e-commerce strategy, design and marketing. She’s also an Amazon and eBay seller.
She’s working on a special report, Secrets to eCommerce Income: What Sellers Must Know Before Starting an Online Store. If you have stories, anecdotes or advice to contribute, email her at Diana@dianaratliff.com.
If you’d like to be notified when the book is published, please sign her list at http://bit.ly/ecombook
1. Five Tips to Increase Your Amazon FBA Profits
2. eBay’s Woes Continue – Can They Ever Recover?
3. eBay Niche of The Month – 35mm Film Camera Lenses
4. Preventing Returns on eBay and Amazon
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
This is the early Feb issue. The next issue will be out around Feb 22nd. If you’d like to get a notice in the email about new newsletters you can sign up here. In addition to getting an email about the newsletter you’ll get some great bonus items.
I will give you FOUR Moneymaking eBooks with your no-cost signup.
Sixteen Great eBay and/or Amazon Niches – This free bonus is better than a lot of eBooks I’ve seen people sell! The book is almost 40 pages long and has details about 16 profitable niche markets. There are merchandise tips, background market information, photos and more!
Successful Product Sourcing: How to find REAL Wholesale Products YOU can sell Online – This eBook will help you earn higher profit margins by better product sourcing.
Forty-Four Wholesale Sources for Small eBay Sellers – Be sure to check out these great sources as well as the sample email to wholesalers on page four.
Online Auction Photo Secrets – This eBook will show how you can increase the number of bids your auctions get…and increase your final values ten-twenty or even thirty percent. This book usually sells for $17, but we’re giving it away as a gift to our new newsletter subscribers.
This is an article right off their website. This looks like a really cool product and I am going to try it. I will let you know how it worked out in a later post. When you get to the end there is a link for a free trial.
The old adage goes that the most important part of fishing is choosing the right fishing hole.
If you pick a pond where the fish are too small, you’ll waste time and effort with very few bites. If you pick a pond where everyone else is fishing, you’ll risk getting your line tangled and may never actually catch a fish.
The best spots have good fish, and only a few fishermen around.
Good advice for fishing – even better for selling on Amazon.
Picking the Perfect Fishing Hole
Selling on Amazon can feel like you are searching for the perfect fishing hole. Does this ASIN have enough margin? What is the competition like? What is the demand?
Unlike actual fishing however, when you sell on Amazon, you have access to millions of potential “fishing holes.” You could be selling anything – which often creates more anxiety than opportunity. Are you selling the right product? Should you change your strategy? What are the great opportunities you don’t even know about? Would you even recognize a great opportunity if it came by?
When you are filtering through electronic catalogues of thousands of items, it’s easy to wonder if you are making the right decisions.
Two Characteristics of a Great Amazon Fishing Hole
Here are the two main factors to help you determine if you found a good fishing “hole.”
1. People are making money
Everyone starts selling on Amazon to make money. But too often, sellers act like there is a magic prize for making the most number of sales, even if it means they haven’t made any profit. It is the equivalent of someone spending all day at the fishing hole and walking away with fifty sardines.
Many products on Amazon have razor-thin margins, especially after calculating your FBA fees. Some of these products end up being sold at a loss. Even if you can find a way to win the Buy Box, it’s often not worth your time.
You need a way to quickly measure if you will actually make money, instead of being stuck with a handful of sardines.
2. It’s not too crowded
If you pick an ASIN that has dozens or hundreds of other sellers, the only way to really distinguish yourself is to lower your price. Then you might find yourself in a price war and on a long race to the bottom. You want to find a place where there is plenty of room for more sellers.
Finding out that there are a few other sellers is actually a good thing, because it lets you know that someone else is finding success, but you can safely keep fishing without your lines getting crossed.
How to Fish on Amazon
While this all makes sense, you may still feel some anxiety. With millions of products to choose from, how can you make an intelligent choice? How can you make sure that you are in the right place and haven’t missed an opportunity? It’s impossible to examine every available product and figure out which ones are the best.
At least it used to be.
eComSpy is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to make sure they are fishing at the right hole. Simply upload an electronic catalogue with all the UPCs you want to research and within minutes, you will have all the information you need.
Your report includes:
Amazon product sales rank
Number of FBA sellers and total sellers
Lowest FBA price and lowest overall price
Potential profit calculations (factoring in FBA fees if applicable)
eComSpy will show you all the hidden opportunities you don’t want to miss. In fishing terms, it is the equivalent of examining all the ponds and streams in the world and instantly having information on how big the fish are, how often they bite, and who else fishes there. No fisherman would ever pass on that kind of information, and you shouldn’t either.
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
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