Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web
1. Time to Sign up for The China Sourcing Trip
2. Do Amazon or eBay Sellers Need Their Own Websites?
3. eBay Sellers – Start Preparing for the Product Identifier Requirements
4. eBay Niche of the Month – Vintage Hi-fi & Stereo Equipment
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
eBay Niche of the Month – Vintage Hi-fi & Stereo Equipment
1. Will eBay Be Sold and Who Will Buy It?
2. Where To Buy Products From the Amazon Lost and Found
3. Get Ready For More Changes in Amazon Seller Central
4. Taking Your Consignment Sales to the Next Level
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
Retailers now-a-days can sell on a plethora of marketplaces. Almost every day a new one arrives. Selling hand-made items? Sell them on Etsy. Expanding to an international audience? Try Rakuten. Do you have electronics for sale? Newegg is your new best friend.
These marketplaces may seem to be stealing the show, however, they still don’t overcome the heavy weights – eBay and Amazon.
While the names eBay and Amazon go hand-in-hand, selling on them is actually very different. Today we’ll discuss the types buyers and sellers on each platform. Also, if you want a statistical look at the differences in the two, check out our Amazon vs eBay selling infographic.
Why You Should Sell on Amazon or eBay
With Amazon and eBay you’re reaching a much broader audience than your eCommerce store can. Marketplaces give retailers access to a global audience with the intent to buy.
Also, online marketplaces make it easy to start selling immediately. You don’t have to create your own store, or online app, you just have to sign up and start selling.
Amazon and eBay give merchants the opportunity to start selling, to sell more, and to sell to a larger (and more diverse) audience.
The Key Differences between eBay and Amazon
eBay and Amazon’s origins have helped shaped who they are today. eBay started out as a site for hobbyists to sell their goods. Amazon started out as a book store. However both of these marketplaces have evolved into something much more expansive.
In 2014, eBay earned $17.94 billion dollars, and Amazon earned an astounding $88.99 billion dollars. Now this 5x revenue disparity may seem ridiculous, but let’s think about it.
eBay is only a marketplace. Amazon is much more. Amazon sells its own products, provides its own fulfillment program, and has its own subscription service for streaming movies and TV. This business structure gives Amazon a chance to earn much more revenue.
That being said, Amazon’s user base is still much larger than eBay’s (244 million compared to eBay’s 157 million.).
Another key differentiator is the types of products you find on each marketplace. Generally speaking, eBay is for used items and Amazon is for new. Look at their origins. eBay was as a site for hobbyist looking for specific items, those are usually previously owned or used. Amazon’s foundation is providing an easier, more convenient alternative to shopping in-store.
There aren’t any statistics to back this observation. But, think of your own experiences with each site. If you’re looking for a used, affordably priced item, where do you shop? Probably eBay. If you want a new toy for your kid where would you look? Probably Amazon.
As you can see, even though the names go hand-in-hand, selling on them can be very different.
What to choose? Amazon or eBay.
If you’ve decided to make the jump to selling online, it can be hard to choose where to start, but your decision is undoubtedly coming down to one question. Amazon or eBay?
The easiest place to start is to look at your products and ask yourself, what site would you search for to find your products?
The answer could be Amazon. The answer could be eBay. The answer could be both! If you have the time, it never hurts to try selling on both and see which one performs better.
Still not sure which one is the best marketplaces for you? Take a look at our infographic on eBay vs Amazon for some key statistical differences in the two marketplaces.
1. eBay To Change Their Feedback Program
2. Are Dimensional Weight Charts Eating Your Profits?
3. Using Reviews to Uncover New Product Potential – Looking for a way to work smarter, not harder? This is it!
4. How to Source Products in Small Quantities to Determine Sales Potential
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
We also have some info on Jim Cockrum’s upcoming CES meeting in this issue.
Using Product Reviews to Uncover New Product Potential
The early April edition of the eBay and Amazon Sellers News is now online. You can click here to read the current issue. Did you miss the newsletter? Not to worry, we keep archived versions online for several years. You can find this newsletter here.
In This Issue:
Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web – Be sure to take note of the possible sourcing trip to China.
1. Is The Cell Phone Accessories Market on Amazon a Viable Business?
2. What It Takes to be Successfully Self-employed
3. How to Finance Your eBay and/or Amazon Business
4. What Makes the Difference Between An Amateur and A Pro?
5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
About Skubana: Skubana is an enterprise-grade, all-in-one, SaaS platform that empower sellers to synchronize, optimize & simplify their entire ecommerce operation. Our technology is the only, truly unified system that integrates out-of-the-box with all the marketplaces and shopping carts for flexible order fulfillment (via internal warehouse, 3PL integration, dropships, Fulfillment by Amazon), customizing & printing shipping labels, multi-channel and multi-warehouse inventory management, automating business workflows, vendor management, accounting & cross channel analytics. Skubana eliminates integrations across multiple disjointed software systems and streamlines resources, allowing e-tailers to grow their business like never before, for a fraction of the cost.
In a perfect world, e-commerce sellers, big and small would never undersell or oversell, incur ridiculous warehouse storage fees, or lose customers. However the reality is that sellers are constantly busy trying to keep up with their e-commerce business and stay afloat. After years of ongoing struggles to manage and analyze inventory across multiple marketplaces and keep everything fully synchronized and profitable, the idea for Skubana was born from an e-commerce seller who believed that selling should and could be easier than it was.
Chad Rubin, the CEO of Skubana, grew up in the world of retail; spending his childhood helping his parents run a struggling brick and mortar vacuum cleaner business. In his early 20’s, he ventured off to Wall Street as a research analyst.
After seeing the growth of Internet stocks and watching e-commerce flourish, Chad soon caught the entrepreneurial bug. As an extension of his parent’s brick and mortar business, he set up an Amazon store selling vacuum parts. Over the next 5 years, the business grew exponentially however with rapid growth came complexity.
Selling on one marketplace quickly grew into selling on several and being overwhelmed was a constant reality. Real-time inventory count was impossible, overselling was a constant, and measuring profits was never accurate. There wasn’t a realistic complete solution for what e-commerce sellers truly needed, so we built one.
Skubana manages all back-end e-commerce operations in one place, including order processing, shipping, inventory management, fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), vendor management and cross channel analytics. It is truly everything a seller would need to build a successful and profitable business, no matter if you’re selling on one channel or several.
Unified solution to control the entire e-commerce operation lifecycle without the need to glue together disparate software.
How many platforms have you tried and then still had to supplement your workflow with spreadsheets?
Completely out-of-the-box ready.
This is all one without taking a percentage of revenue
No implementation fees.
True Multi-Channel, Multi-Warehouse Inventory Synchronization in real time.
How many times have you oversold on an item and had to cancel the order? How often do you receive policy warnings from Amazon?
No longer do sellers have to be overwhelmed by endless amounts of spreadsheets to manage their business.
Inventory updates based on intelligent shipping zone & sales channel allocation rules.
Intuitive Order & RMA Processing.
How many times have you wished there was an automatic order rerouting to a backup warehouse when you suddenly run out of stock in one location?
Routing orders to multiple warehouses, making shipping flexible no matter how a seller fulfills, including direct warehouse, 3PL, drop-shipping and FBA.
Batch ship & create customized packing slips, return labels and emails helping improve customer service and retention.
Complete Vendor & Purchase Order Workflow.
How many times have you been out of stock in FBA and didn’t have the proper replenishment to have consistent stock to win the buy box?
Eliminate data entry errors with automated purchase order creation based on past product sell-through.
Replenish stock levels or dropship in just a few clicks.
Cross-Channel Analytics offers marketplace insights to drive businesses forward.
How many times do you wonder which products are most successful?
Figure out the most profitable channels and products.
Decide when to offload ill-performing inventory.
Efficient Product Management.
How many times do you try to figure out real product inventory counts when there is no true idea of a product vs. channel listing?
Reconciliation of product SKUs with channel listing SKUs and vendor SKUs allow for complete inventory management without the spreadsheets.
Chad Rubin is the CEO of Skubana, LLC and Crucial Vacuum. Chad knows E-commerce. He loves to share ideas and talk to other sellers. If nothing else, you’ve made a solid acquaintance. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
About Crucial Vacuum: Crucial Vacuum manufactures high-quality vacuum cleaner accessories at a revolutionary price point and sells them directly to the consumer via the internet. The ecommerce site processes about 60,000 orders a month on multiple channels. Crucial Vacuum was conceived on Chad Rubin’s couch in 2008 while he was working on Wall Street during the financial crisis. He discovered a need to develop an alternative to the overpriced original vacuum accessories available at today’s retail stores. By circumventing traditional channels and engaging with customers directly through our website, Crucial Vacuum is able to provide high-quality vacuum cleaner accessories at a fraction of the price point!
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.
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