Expand your business Internationally with eBay and Amazon
The Online Seller's News, June 2013, Volume 13, Issue No. 9
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
Jordan Malik is out with a new book - 16 Ways eBay and Amazon Sellers Can Boost profits, Slash Costs & Save precious Time. The book is only $15 and it paid for itself in the first few chapters. Jordan is the only person I know who has a money-back guarantee better than mine. I give a 90-day money back guarantee on my products -Jordan offers 365 Days.
Last month marked our 14th year selling on eBay and the 13th year I have published this newsletter. And this month marks our 7th year selling on Amazon. To celebrate I am offering a $10 off coupon on my best-selling e-book, eBay to Amazon. When you check out just use this coupon - SAVE10JUNE and it will take $10 off of your order.
Jenni Hunt has just released her annual Summer Toy Guide. Learn what the hottest toys are and where to get them. Jenni shows you the huge profits possible selling used toys and how and where to buy them.
Are you using Amazon FBA to fulfill your eBay and website orders? If you are not you are missing out. Amazon just released a new video for Amazon sellers that shows how to use Amazon to fulfill non-Amazon orders. You need to be logged into your seller central account to view it.
Last year I told you about another way I used to make money on the side. It's something I used to do full time years ago, but between selling on eBay and Amazon and writing my books and newsletter it has taken a back seat. What is it? I have an eBook called How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gold.
Gold prices have bottomed recently and now is a great time to jump into this fairly easy and lucrative way to make some extra cash. This is one of those things where it takes some money to make money, but I do show you how someone with very little money can get started. As with all my books, it comes with a no-questions-asked 90 day, money back guarantee.
Last week, Jim Beach on Startup Radio interviewed me about my eBay experience and business. You can listen to the interview here. You have to listen a while as my interview is the second one. But the first interview is also very interesting.
eBay is still struggling to get correct info to sellers about the new photo compliance rule. The new requirement is 500 pixels on the longest side with a recommendation of 1600 pixels. So eBay sent me an email reminding me of the new requirement that will go into effect on July 1st and they very thoughtfully told me here is a list of your listings that are not in compliance, but the email omitted the list. Additionally although I have not seen the posts myself, I was reading eCommerce Bytes and learned that there is a problem in Turbo Lister that automatically resizes your photos down to 400 pixels when you create a listing. You can read the story and comments here.
The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) team has officially rolled out the Amazon Partnered Less-than-Truckload (LTL)/Full-Truckload (FTL) service, which gives you enhanced shipment visibility and discounts for your LTL/FTL shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers. If your total shipment weight is more than 150 pounds, you should consider using a Partnered LTL/FTL carrier for cost savings.
On the "Select Carrier" tab in the Shipment Creation workflow, the Amazon Preferred Carrier option has been replaced by the Amazon Partnered Carrier option. You can still use the preferred carriers you have used in the past, but now you have the option to ship your products with an Amazon Partnered LTL/FTL carrier.
Important: To be eligible to use an Amazon Partnered LTL/FTL carrier, you must have a dock or forklift to enable placing pallets on a truck and be able to support a truck coming to your pickup address.
You provide a freight-ready date, a pallet count with the weight of each pallet, and the product freight class. If you do not know your product's freight class, the Amazon Partnered LTL/FTL carrier will estimate it for you. Amazon sellers can check out the FBA help page for more information about the Amazon Partnered LTL/FTL service - you need to login to your Amazon seller account to view this page.
A really bright fellow by the name of Ezra Firestone has created a new training program that covers not only selling on Amazon but Sears.com, Overstock and 10 additional online venues. Whether you are interested in that or not, he is giving away a really cool Amazon research tool for FREE. Its called Crystal Marketplace Intelligence and it shows what items Amazon buyers are buying and suggests the best key words to include in your listings.
Lets get started with this month's articles:
Expanding internationally was a hot topic at last week's SCOE conference for eBay and Amazon sellers. Just this week, Amazon announced a site in India open to third party sellers. Amazon India will start out with only the books and media category at first, but will be adding other categories over time. The India site includes both merchant fulfilled and FBA.
Amazon now has 10 Global Marketplaces, with customers in 178 countries and 89 FBA fulfilment centers.
Chris Green of ScanPower gave one of the keynote presentations at SCOE and agreed to share some of his info for my readers. Here are some of the facts he presented about international opportunities for eBay and Amazon sellers:
Global Selling with Amazon enables you to list and sell your products on any one of their websites in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, China, and Japan. You can access various tools and services, including product listing tools and the Amazon European Marketplaces Account.
You have the choice of merchant fulfilling or actually sending your goods to FBA warehouses in those countries.
Some of the benefits of Global Selling with Amazon include:
There is no question that sending your goods to Amazon's FBA warehouses in other countries is the quickest way to access overseas markets. If you want to get your feet wet without a big commitment, Amazon recently opened FBA in Canada. Shipping to Canada is fairly easy compared with Europe or Japan. And, of course, there is no language barrier. Here is a link to get more information and sign up for selling in Canada. And here is a link to the Amazon Global Selling Information Page.
If you are already selling in FBA, Amazon will ship some categories of product directly overseas for you.
For international eBay sellers, eBay has its Global Shipping Program. The Global Shipping Program will soon be shipping to 8 more countries, joining the current list of 26 countries around the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and China.
Starting the last week of June, you'll be able to ship your items to these additional countries under the Global Shipping Program:
The Global Shipping Program can expand your sales to millions of international buyers. Through the program (which is free to join), you can sell to buyers in dozens of countries-and only have to ship your packages to a shipping center located in the US. That means you're only responsible for the domestic leg of shipping.
Once your item arrives at the designated US shipping center, the Global Shipping Program takes care of ALL facets of international processing, including:
Your shipping-related Detailed Seller Ratings will be protected, and you are not responsible for loss or damage during international transit. This program helps you buyers will see the complete and total price of their purchase up-front during checkout-so they won't be surprised by additional taxes or duties when the item arrives.
One downside to the program is if you sell the type of items where people can buy several items from you. Unfortunately eBay has no way to combine shipments. One lady who sold sewing patterns tried the program. Right away she made a sale where the buyer bought 4 patterns from her eBay store and eBay treated it like 4 different purchases and added international shipping to all four packages.
Both eBay and Amazon programs have their plusses and minuses, but all in all this is an opportunity to double the size of your market and increase your sales.
Karen and I just returned from the annual SCOE conference in Seattle for eBay and Amazon sellers. This year they are planning a second conference on the East Coast. It will be at the Philadelphia Airport Hilton from September 19 to 21. You get access to presenters, selling experts, and service providers. The conference is a bit expensive but worth it. Amazon sends reps who you can make an appointment with to discuss your account and address any problems.
I found some great vendors at this year's show that provide some really useful third party services to save time and money.
Let's start with Feedvisor and FBA Manager. If you have read this newsletter for very long you know that I have not been a big fan of repricing systems, but I really like Feedvisor because they use a propriety algorithm that takes other factors such as competitors, feedback, how new competitive sellers are and other factors that go into Amazon's decision as to who gets the buy box. At this time Feedvisor only works on Amazon but they are working on a companion eBay version.
FBA Manager is an online service that checks your account for items that Amazon has lost or broken and automatically opens a case with Amazon to get you a reimbursement. I told you about it last month. The first month I used the service they found over $800 in money that Amazon owed me. Since then they have found two more cases of lost inventory that I missed.
ScanPower is Chris Green's Company (See next article). ScanPower offers a number of services, but the most popular is a goof-proof listing system that creates labels as you create listings, so you never have to worry about mislabelling a product. They also have a great scanning tool similar to Profit Bandit, which gives you not only pricing and competition -it calculates your FBA fees so you can predict the profit on any item that you scan.
Unlike eBay sellers, most Amazon sellers tend not to leave feedback. Last year I told you about Feedback Five. This year at SCOE I looked at the products from Seller Laboratory called Feedback Genius. Feedback Five worked well for me. In the space of just a few months it took my feedback from the low 20's to over 150. With Feedback five you compose a message that is automatically sent to each buyer on a schedule you determine. But Feedback genius gives you the ability to tailor the message to a specific product or category. Here are some of the features and benefits of Feedback Genius:
Besides helping you monitor and generate more feedback, this tool can also be used for marketing. Here is an example. One of my products is a line of European charm beads. Because I can customize a message to a product, I can create an email that states:
Feedback Genius ability to write tailored messages to a specific product or category is what makes this possible. Another example is the ability to add helpful product data. For example, one of the products I sell is a RC Speedboat. The engine is water-cooled so if you run it out of the water it will burn up the engine. What happens is someone opens the box, doesn't read the instructions or warning labels on the box. They are excited to test it so they put batteries in and turn it on. In less than a minute the engine burns out so they return it as defective. Now when someone buys one of the boats, I can send them an automated email timed to arrive before they get the shipment cautioning them not to do that -thereby preventing a return.
Fillz was another vendor I spoke with, but it is just for merchant fulfilled orders. Since we are 99% FBA, we can't use it. But if you merchant fulfil you may want to take a look at it.Fillz is a web-based inventory, repricing, and order management service built to streamline and grow your online business. They have reputation for reliability, versatility, and affordability.
Seller Engine has several services. Probably their most popular tool is a smart phone app called Profit Bandit. Profit Bandit is a scanning app that lets you scan any barcode, instantly assess profit and see Sales Rank and other offers. Profit Bandit calculates profit based on 15 factors - cost, shipping, Amazon fees and more.
Seller Engine has some other excellent services including inventory control, product listing and a suite of tools to help International sellers.
AutoMCF was also at SCOE. This is the tool I told you about last month. AutoMCF coordinates your Amazon FBA Inventory with eBay, Sears.com and Rakuten.com (formerly Buy.com). The way it works is you send your entire inventory into FBA. Then you list your products on other channels such as eBay with the identical SKU number.
When a product sells, AutoMCF automatically creates a fulfillment order in Amazon and Amazon ships the product. When Amazon ships they create a tracking number. AutoMCF grabs that number and enters it into eBay (or Sears, Rakuten, etc.).
Recently Vendio introduced a service similar to AutoMCF.. Vendio allows you to create listings on eBay and Amazon and then they coordinate the inventory. They do the same thing as AutoMCF but they do other things as well. Vendio also offers other services such as the scrolling product gallery, free image hosting and free pre-designed templates.
SingleFeed is a data management solution that optimizes your feed for multiple engines, categorizes your products and ensures that your listings go live on the comparison engines. Basically it is a way to manage your products placement on the various comparison-shopping engines.
Stamps.com was also at SCOE. Stamps.com is repeating their great promotion for my readers from last year. If you join from my page, you will get $100 worth of free stuff including a free $50 postage scale, $45 worth of free postage and $5 worth of supplies.
Stamps.com offers postage discounts on Priority and Express Mail, a discount on insurance and it saves you a load of time when shipping. You can ship worldwide with First Class International and Stamps.com imports your eBay and Amazon orders for fast processing. Best of all - you can hide the postage amount on your shipping labels so buyers do not know what you actually paid for shipping. And you can quickly and easily enter your tracking numbers from Stamps.com into eBay so you comply with the 90% tracking rule.
Lastly is eCom Label Solutions. This is for merchant fulfillers only -not FBA, but it is without a doubt the cleverest label solution I have ever seen. It is more than a label. It is a label that allows you to brand, upsell and cross-sell your products right in the label. This is a 54 second video that shows the process.
Last month I mentioned a new training program from Jim Cockrum called Liquidation Investment Training. A lot of you were interested but complained that there was not enough information to read about the program before applying. So here is some more information -and I recorded a conference call with Jim and Linda who runs the program as well as one of our students.
So let me tell you a little about the program, and then I will give you the link to listen in on our conference call.
First of all, what are liquidation goods? If you have ever bought from Liquidation.com or Via Trading then you know what they are. Liquidation goods can be a mixture of many things:
Ask anyone who has purchased liquidation products. They can probably tell you some horror stories. I have had email from readers who purchased what was described as a lot of new, brand name clothing still with tags. When the box arrived they opened to find mostly customer returns -some of the tags still on the items, but the retail packaging was destroyed and everything was piled in the box in such a way that everything was wrinkled and not in saleable condition without a lot of work.
Another story you hear a lot is about someone who bought xyz product for just 10-cents on the dollar but when it arrived the freight bill was so high it worked out closer to 69-cents on the dollar without a lot of room for profit.
Don't get me wrong - this does not happen all the time - but the liquidation business is a minefield where you have to step very carefully.
Looking back at the bullets above - notice the last one - Factory overstock. This is the sweet spot of the liquidation marketplace. What happens is that manufacturers overestimate the quantity of a product and make more than they can sell before the new model comes out -or in the case of seasonal merchandise, before the season ends. When this happens manufacturers sell this stock to liquidators at prices between 10¢ and 15¢ on the dollar (10% to 15% of the retail price). Since normal wholesale prices are typically 50% of retail -this is a huge discount. And the best part is that you are buying new, never-sold merchandise in the original retail packaging with tags and -in most cases, the product comes with the full manufacturer's warranty.
Linda Tyler, the lady who started this program (and who you will hear on the call), used to buy from traditional liquidators quite successfully. Then one day she had an epiphany: "Why am I buying from liquidators who are buying from the manufacturers when I could just buy directly from the manufacturer themselves?"
You see those liquidators buy from manufacturers and mark the product up about 10% or more and sell it to you. If you can buy directly from the manufacturer you realize several benefits:
This is what our Liquidation Investment Training (LIT) program is all about. Linda, Jim and our coaches have put a program together that will do three big things:
That is the gist of what we are offering, but you will learn much more on the call and we will connect you with someone who can answer questions.
As you have probably surmised this is an expensive program. This is not for beginners - you should already be experience selling on eBay, Amazon or both. And more importantly this is not for someone without capital to invest. In addition to the cost of the program you should have at least $5,000 to $10,000 in the deals.
But if you fit this profile - here is what you can expect:
If you fit the profile I described above - here is the link to the recorded call.
The call is about 30-minutes long. If you fit the financial profile, but don't yet have the experience on eBay and/or Amazon, call our coaches at 1-800-578-3449. * We have already trained a few folks and they have made a successful transition to the LIT program after completing our training.
Oh, one more thing: We are strictly limiting the number of members who can join the program so we don't over-saturate the marketplace and ruin it for everyone. We are talking dozens -not hundreds or thousands.
When most people think of importing they think, "too complicated." There is some truth to that, but there are actually some easy ways to do this. I have been importing directly from overseas for the past year, and in general things have gone pretty well. My secret - I have found people to help me, they do all the complicated stuff for me.
There are three services you need to import successfully.
FOB means Free On Board - that is an archaic term that means you pick it up and handle the shipping. There are two ways to do this. Your freight forwarder can pick up the items and arrange for shipment by sea or air. They will pick up the goods and ship them right to your door.
But that is all they do, which is where your trading company comes in. In Asia, trading companies are typically small companies (although there are some really large ones), that perform several services for you. First of all they act as your agent. They can find products for you, negotiate prices better than you can, arrange for retail packaging, receive the items, inspect them for you to make sure the quality is good and you get what you pay for, give you advice and basically be an extension of your business.
What if you could find all three of these in one? That is what I do -and I am going to share my resources with you. But first I want to tell you a little more about how I find and source products.
There are two large websites that list products you can buy from not only Asia but from all over the world. One of the products I currently import and sell is from Turkey and I found my source on one of these sites. Many of you have already heard about them. The two sites are:
There are other sites as well, but these are the two oldest and largest. Now having read this, don't go there yet. I am going to show you a better way.
Alibaba runs a site called AliExpress. The difference between Alibaba.com and aliexpress.com is quantity. Most of the manufacturers who list on Alibaba and Global Sources deal in quantities like pallet loads and container loads. AliExpress, on the other hand, deals in small quantities. You can often order just two or three of an item. This is a great way to test a product and a supplier. Let's look at these two screenshots.
I did a search for jewelry sets and got about 60 results. These are the first two. I kind of liked the one on the right so I clicked on it and got the following page.
Notice that the price is $5.39 per piece and they are offering free shipping via China Post Air Mail (This service typically takes about 7-10 days to get to the US. Also notice that if you buy a minimum of 5 pieces, they will lower the price to $4.58 each.
So I would buy the 5 pieces and have them air shipped to me. One good thing about Alibaba is that they hold your money in escrow and don't pay the supplier until they hear from you that you have the goods and they are what you ordered.
Now that you have the pieces, list them on eBay and/or Amazon as a test to see if they sell. New jewelry items on eBay and Amazon can often take several weeks to get the first sale so be a little patient. What I would do is probably buy several items to test, so you almost always get at least one or two quick sales while you wait for the rest.
When you scroll to the bottom of the page this seller has a long list of other jewelry sets he sells, so you could buy 5 each of say ten different items and you would know very shortly if any of them will sell and which ones sell best.
Remember this is a market test. You want to test the product and the price point. If I were to sell this particular jewelry set I would probably price it at $19.95, which would give me a pretty nice profit after fees.
Your total investment would be under $250 and if even 1/3rd of them sell you will more than recover your investment. More importantly you will know which items to order again.
One issue you will have is the photograph. This photo complies with eBay's new image standards, but not Amazon who require a photo on a white background. (Usually when I ask the manufacturer to send me Amazon compliant images they have been willing to do so, but I have not worked with this particular manufacturer).
Now, once you know which items sell you want to contact your trading company in Hong Kong. Give him (or her) the name of the company and the list of products you wish to buy and the quantity of each. Also tell him the price you paid so he will know the starting point.
The last time I did this with some really nice fashion bracelets. I paid $5.90 each with free shipping and my agent in Hong Kong negotiated that down to $4.10 each when I ordered 20 each of the six bracelets I decided on. I have already had sales of those bracelets at prices in the neighbourhood of $25.00.
Now I have teased you long enough - How can I find all three resources in one place to help me? I use a company in Los Angeles called Universal Cargo. First, they have connections with reliable trading companies (agents) in Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries. Second, they will connect and deal with a customs broker on your behalf. And lastly they act as your freight forwarder and will arrange shipping. So you can get all three resources you need in one place from a company that has been in business in the US for over 25 years and is already used by a number of eBay and Amazon sellers including myself.
One thing about shipping; Universal Cargo is a large company which means they do volumes of shipping with the major shipping companies. So even if you want to bring in a small shipment via air from Asia, let them get the quote for you as their rates will be cheaper than you or the manufacturer will get due to the volume of business they do.
When you get to the home page be sure and watch the irreverent and somewhat politically incorrect video. It's only a couple minutes long and is really funny.
Here are our new wholesale sources for June 2013. Remember most wholesale websites do not show wholesale pricing until you register. Look for a registration link. If you do not see it, then use the contact form to request wholesale information.
My email to do that usually states something like this:
You will usually get an answer in a day or two. By saying you are a retailer (which you are) they will usually get back to you with a positive answer. If a vendor asks me if I have a store, I don't lie, but most of them seeing the word retailer will just assume have a brick and mortar. That generally gets around the vendors who don't want to sell to small, online retailers.
Topper Liquidators is one of our advertisers and they currently have some great fashion and jewelry items on their site as well as many other products.
Oh Scarlett! Jewelry wholesales transitional sterling silver jewelry with semi precious stones and fresh water pearls. Some pieces are 18k yellow/rose gold vermeil. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link to Register to get wholesale pricing.
Gift Basket Drop Shipping is a gift basket supplier with over 20 years of service in the gift basket industry. They offer wholesale gift basket drop shipping with over 450 distinct gift baskets. GBDS offers easy online sign up with immediate access, 40%+ profit margins and all images, contents and pricing are available online with same day shipping and order tracking. Like many drop shippers they have some fees. If you do not meet the minimum there is $29.95 membership fee in any month in which you do not purchase $100.00 in merchandise. That may sound like a lot but typically that is only 3 or 4 gift baskets per month to avoid the fee.
Healing Touch Pottery wholesales Birthstone mugs and healing stone mugs. They are Made in America by artisan potters. Each mug is hand-thrown and a stone is attached to the thumb rest of the mug handle.
Tidewater Sandals sells a really cool line of fashion sandals for beach or anywhere.
Handmade Expressions is a fair trade company specializing in hand made products from India
Woolby & Company sells minimalist and eco-friendly soft wool shoes for infants, kids, youth and adults. Handmade in the USA from reclaimed wool sweaters, cashmere, and leather jackets.
Core Gear sells misters to beat the heat with their large, hand-pumped, air-pressurized, personal mister bottle. They also, sell an absorbent Chiller Cooling Towel.
Bella B Bodycare has one of the broadest selections of organic all natural mom and baby body care products on the market with 26 full size products, trial and travel size products sample packets.
Sharp Creations is home of the world's largest selection of personalized Tooth Fairy Pillows. This is a great niche for eBay or Amazon sellers -and they can even personalize their pillows with the child's name.
Josh Bach sells a really nice line of whimsical and funny men's accessories. Its all pretty tasteful - just a little different that what you will find at Sears or JC Penny.
Millions of people collect items with roosters on them. Bargain Bunch as a great line up of Rooster themed products.
Artex sells rescue beacons ELTs, GPS locators and survival lights for boats, aircraft, backcountry hikers
Room Mates sells a large line of vinyl wall stickers and décor. There is a lot of competition, but I tried some of them on Amazon last year and they sold really well.
Genco Marketplace has listings this week for liquidation items from Home Depot. These lots include Plumbing - for bathroom and kitchen, Hardware - power tools, hand tools, and seasonal power equipment and lawn & garden furniture and indoor and outdoor lighting and Small Appliances - for kitchen and home.
If you read this newsletter regularly you know I am a huge fan of wholesale trade shows to find unique goods to sell online. Here are a few upcoming wholesale trade shows from around the country - Just Google the title of the show for the website to get information and register.
That's it for now. See you again in a couple of weeks.
P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
Click Here. Double your traffic. Get Vendio Gallery - Now FREE!
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.
Home | Newsletters | eBay Training | Free Articles | Tools & Resources | Web Wholesale Search | Testimonials | Blog
Please Note: Some of the products and services mentioned in this website, in articles, banner ads and newsletters and blog posts are for products and services for which I earn a referral fee or commission. We always evaluate anything we recommend very carefully and each year we turn down literally dozens of opportunities to recommend products or services where we can earn a commission. Even though we earn a fee on some of our recommendations, we only recommend products and services that we feel will deliver good value and with rare exceptions, they all come with a money back guarantee.