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Why top retailers choose Teikametrics for Professional Amazon Repricing

The Amazon Repricing Problem

Automation is the use of technology to optimize productivity in the delivery of services or products. If correctly executed, automation can offer a business a distinct competitive advantage but if poorly executed, it can damage a businesses ability to output a consistent level of service. In the case of Amazon repricing technology, precise execution is key.

Amazon repricing software automates a process that would be virtually impossible to execute with human labor – but are all Amazon repricing tools offering the same level of execution?

In 2003, I was invited by Amazon to be one of the first retailers to list sporting goods as a third-party seller on their marketplace platform. As our Amazon sales grew steadily to over several million dollars per year, our team used many third-party repricing tools to attempt to optimize and improve our sales. Naturally, we Googled the terms ‘Amazon Repricing Tools’ and ‘Amazon Repricing Software’ and tested all of the solutions available.

What our team noticed was that even repricing solutions provided by ‘leading companies’ charging significant fees did not always reprice our products correctly. Our Amazon repricing data frequently showed missing data, delayed repricing runs, missing/incorrect shipping prices, or in some cases, our products were even changed to the wrong prices.

Differences in Amazon Repricing Technology

After our e-commerce business was acquired, we decided to launch Teikametrics to address the problem to help other merchants. With an investment we set out to build a software team to execute our mission of providing the best Amazon repricing software.

Why aren’t all Amazon repricing tools able to provide accurate results?

The simple answer is that is the task of consistently capturing data from Amazon is not trivial and presents a significant challenge for automated software. Amazon repricing software can only be as accurate as the data it is able to capture and here lies the issue. Unfortunately, Amazon does not make the task of sampling pricing information, competitive merchant’s prices, and other inputs required to reprice accurately, an easy task. This has been the source of frustration for many third-party tools including those providing Amazon repricing services.

Amazon repricing services uses different techniques to capture pricing information and is a reason why performance can vary between providers. The techniques used to sample Amazon data include:

Through extensive research, our development team learned techniques using Screen-Scraping have serious limitations and importantly is prohibited by Amazon’s strict terms of service. We were surprised to learn that some of the largest providers of third-party seller tools were relying on data from Screen-Scraping to capture prices. The inaccuracy issues that we had experienced as a seller and the inconsistencies between repricing services made complete sense after learning that Screen-Scraping is used by a large number of Amazon repricing services.

Screen-Scraping, like any automated process, experiences an error-rate which in a high volume retail scenario can have critical negative consequences. The Screen-Scraping process relies on the ability of the process to capture data in a fashion that mimics thousands of individual web browser requests. If for some reason a request fails and pricing data is not correctly captured, there is no way for the repricing tool to be able make any changes.

In recent months our research and development team has identified changes by Amazon that will render all Screen-Scraping techniques obsolete. If you’re a seller using a Screen-Scraping based Amazon repricing techniques you are almost certainly experiencing major issues since these changes have been put in place.

Amazon’s own API, called Amazon MWS, also has limitations. Due to the size of Amazon’s vast database which handles petabytes of data across the globe, services querying product data using the Amazon API also experience an error rate. What do these error rates mean for Amazon repricing services? In short, if there is no process or error-correction detection in place to handle data sampling errors they will not reprice products correctly. For high volume sellers, these errors and product miss-pricing adjustments can result in thousands of dollars of lost revenue.

Teikametrics’ Data-Driven Approach

Our goal at Teikametrics is to provide the best Amazon repricing service and our development team has put in thousands of hours to test, re-test, build, and release multiple iterations of our software. Through this data-driven process, clients using Teikametrics are able to experience an Amazon repricing service with a level of accuracy that is superior in terms of accuracy and performance to other solutions available.

Our Amazon repricing software dynamically identifies Amazon API inconsistencies, reacts, and adjusts to optimize the adjustment of all products. In addition, we’ve developed proprietary adjustment techniques to dynamically search for missing data to provide the most complete data set to execute price updates.

The resulting performance is why some of the largest retailers in the Amazon marketplace choose Teikametrics technology to accurately manage and reprice their products.

If you have any questions regarding Amazon repricing accuracy or if you would like our software team to review your current repricing solution for errors, please get in touch with us and a Teikametrics Amazon expert will be happy to help you through the process and provide a risk-free demo of our solution.

Amazon Crowned King of Mobile Shopping for July 2012

Do you remember a time long, long ago when cellphones were used primarily for talking? Yeah we don’t either as nearly 86 million people took to their smartphones for online shopping in July of 2012. Yes that’s right, 86 million people used their mobile devices to shop online and more than half of those shoppers went to Amazon sites.

According to a study conducted by comScore, an online analytics firm, Amazon drew major traffic in the month of July with 49.6 million visitors leaving eBay.com in their dust as they trailed with 32.5 million visitors. Following Amazon and eBay in comScore’s rankings was Apple.com with 17,684 million, Wal-Mart with 16,295 million, and Target with 10,041 million visitors. Also on the list were Best Buy, Ticketmaster, CVS, The Home Depot, Blockbuster, Barnes & Nobles, Walgreen, Limited Brands, Lowes, and Etsy.

The study by comScore noted that virtual shoppers using their smartphones varied in ages with about 70.7% in age ranges of 18-44. Male visitors encompassed 51% of unique retail visitors via smartphone, according to the study. Essentially 4 out of 5 smartphone users dialed up online retail shops on their phones.

All of these figures were measured by comScore and their Mobile Metrix 2.0 service.

Four Secrets for New Amazon Sellers

Four Secrets for New Amazon Sellers

Amazon.com is a great place to sell all kinds of items. People are always looking for a deal and Amazon is the best place to find great bargains. If you are looking to make some real profits from selling online, you need to make sure you start off right. Here are a few things you should check to make sure you are running your online business like the pros.

Buyer Waiting

You may occasionally see ‘Buyer Waiting’ on the right hand side of your details. This means that the buyer has preordered your item and as long as the condition and price matches your listing the buyer will purchase it. You just list it as normal, and within a few hours you will receive notification that the item has sold.

Price Matching, Not Underbidding

The problem with constantly undercutting your competitors is that if you go lower the competitor will see in his ‘Open Listings’ that he is no longer the lowest priced. So of course this will make him then undercut you and it will snowball into a pricing war in which neither one of you will get a fair price for your listing. If you instead match the lowest price you won’t be setting off any alerts and the buyer can decide which one to choose based on description… so make sure yours is the best!

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Changes to Amazon’s Associate Program

September 24th, 2012–Over the weekend Amazon.com sent out emails to sellers and associates notifying them of their most recent changes to their Operating Agreement. According to the email, Amazon has itemized a variety of products that are now excluded from sellers and associates. While this should come to no surprise for experienced sellers and associates, abiding by these new rules is extremely important. Amazon is very strict on their rules and regulations and one mistake could cause Amazon to suspend or ban your account.

The following are Excluded Products:

  • any product or service sold on a site linked to from the Amazon Site (e.g., a product or service listed through our “Product Ads” program or sold on a site linked to from a banner ad, sponsored link, or other link displayed on the Amazon Site);
  • any wireless service plan offered through the Amazon Site and not sold or fulfilled by us;
  • any product, including games and other applications, sold through the Amazon Appstore for Android;
  • any product sold on fresh.amazon.com;
  • any product or service sold on local.amazon.com; or
  • any digital Kindle product purchased as a subscription (e.g., Kindle newspaper subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, blog subscriptions, etc.).
  • any of the products identified by Amazon Standard Identification Number (“ASIN”) in the following list (from and after the date listed); provided that any additions to this list will be published on this page at least 7 days before the beginning of the month in which they are first excluded (and such publication will be your sole notice of such modification): 
    • Apple iPod touch 16GB Black (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN:B0097BEF0O (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Apple iPod touch 16GB White (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN: B0097BEFEU (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Apple iPod touch 32GB Black (4th Generation) CURRENT MODEL; ASIN: B001FA1O18 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Apple iPod classic 160GB Black (7th Generation) NEWEST MODEL; ASIN: B001F7AHOG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Garmin nüvi 50LM 5-inch Portable GPS Navigator (US and Canada); ASIN: B005HSDL8S (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Garmin nüvi 50LM 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator(US); ASIN: B0057OCDQS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B000MDHH06 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System; ASIN: B000GTR2F6 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Keurig B60 Special Edition Brewing System; ASIN: B000AQSMPO (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B0002VAFVG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Breville BJE510XL Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor; ASIN: B000QBFFU8 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor; ASIN: B003R28HWQ (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • LG Cinema Screen 47LM7600 47-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses; ASIN: B006ZH0KVG (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • LG Cinema Screen 55LM7600 55-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses; ASIN: B006ZH0M9Q (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST50 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV; ASIN: B00752VKW8 (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Panasonic VIERA TC-P60ST50 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV; ASIN: B00752VKBY (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Pampers Baby Dry Size 4 Diapers Economy Pack Plus 192 Count; ASIN: B004Q8FFJS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Economy Pack Plus Size 1, 234 Count; ASIN: B004Q8FFTS (Effective from October 1, 2012);
    • Cascade ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent, Fresh Scent, 60-Count Container; ASIN: B002KYB7UQ (Effective from October 1, 2012); and
    • Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology; ASIN: B001FWXKMM (Effective from October 1, 2012).

Invite Only–New eBay Promotion

September 24th, 2012– Whether you like the eBay marketplace or not, having 5 days of FREE listings is absolutely astounding. Over the weekend eBay.com notified sellers by sending out invitations to eligible sellers to participate in their “5-Day Fixed Price Free-Listing” promotion. While many sellers reported

not receiving the invitation, eBay verified on their website, “If you qualify for participation, you will have received an email, and/or a message in My eBay. The promotion is then activated with your eBay User ID.”

From September 24-28, 2012, eligible sellers will pay no Insertion Fees per item for up to 5,000 Fixed Price listings. To qualify, your account must meet eBay’s minimum seller performance standards and this offer doesn’t qualify for 30-day listings or Good ‘Til Cancelled durations. With the holiday season upon us, marketplaces everywhere like Amazon and Buy.com will be offering hundreds of new promotions to get sellers pumped up for the seasonal rush.

Summary of Restrictions and Exclusions:

  • You can list a maximum of 5,000 items as part of this Promotion on the U.S. site, www.ebay.com and eBay Motors atwww.eBayMotors.com (Parts & Accessories only).
  • Fees for optional features (such as Reserve PriceSubtitleGallery Pluslisting in 2 categories, etc.) and Final Value Fees will still apply. For listing in 2 categories, you’ll be charged at standard rates for the second category. 30-day or Good ‘Til Cancelled durations are excluded from this Promotion.
  • Only sellers whose accounts meet eBay’s minimum seller performance standards are eligible. Please sign in to My eBay and view your Seller Dashboard to verify whether your account is currently meeting the standards.  If you have received fewer than 10 detailed seller ratings from buyers, this information will not appear in My eBay; however, you will receive email notification if your account falls below the minimum performance standards. Find out more about seller performance standards.
  • All existing selling limits on your account (as well as category and item limits) still apply, and may exclude and prevent you from creating the maximum number of listings in this Promotion.
  • All listings must comply with eBay policies, including eBay’s Duplicate Listing policy that allows for the removal of duplicate Fixed Price listings.
  • This Promotion does not apply to the following: items listed in eBay’s Auction-style format, 30-day or Good ‘Til Cancelled Fixed Price durations, eBay Motors Passenger Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats, Power Sports, Other Vehicles, Motors Local Market, Professional Services, Real Estate, Classified Ad listings. The following business and industrial categories are excluded from the Promotion: Tractors & Farm Machinery (91952), Antique Tractors & Equipment (45009), Heavy Equipment (25249), Concession Trailers & Carts (67145), Imaging & Aesthetics Equipment (92036), Forklifts & Other Lifts (97185), Manufacturing Equipment (92080), Metalworking Equipment (92082), and Commercial Printing Presses (26247). The following additional categories are excluded due to overlapping listing offers: Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop (64482) and Outdoor Sports (159043). Get details.
  • The Promotional Rate does not apply to listings with a start date prior to Monday, September 24, 2012, including those listings revised during the Promotion Period. Additionally, the Promotional Rate will not apply to listings scheduled to start after the Promotion Period.

How Important is Lead Time?

 

With Q4 just around the corner, it’s the time of the year when savvy merchants are beginning to plan and predict their holiday inventory investments. What is going to be my biggest mover? What are my competitors going to bet on?

Although future inventory investments are often necessary to ensure stock of products to sell, for merchants with a diverse set of inventory and many SKUs, accurately predicting all products to invest in is virtually impossible especially with the practical limitations of limited capital to invest and external competition variables.

Merchants can use Just-In-Time (JIT) fulfillment to maintain a leaner business model to offset the uncertainty of inventory investment. Since inventory is not on hand but residing at a suppliers location, a merchant will have to add a ‘lead-time’ to ship parameter to each Amazon listing. This ensures a buffer for transit time between supplier and merchant.

In the fiercely competitive Amazon marketplace where many goods are commoditized, how does adding a lead-time affect demand and profitability? If all things including price are held equal, will adding a lead-time affect performance?

At Teikametrics, our data analytics team has reviewed the data from a wide variety of merchants in almost every category of Amazon. The data showed some very interesting results with a clear relationship between lead-time and demand however the strength of this relationship was highly dependent on the category in which the products were being sold.

For example, products in the Electronics category were affected far more than products in the Clothing and Apparel category. With many variables at play it is unscientific to define a root cause however, we believe since the Electronics category has many larger sellers who hold inventory with where demand is highly price elastic, adding a lead-time immediately makes a product listing less attractive. In contrast, the Clothing category has many more choices with far less merchants per listing competing with one another across the same SKUs. Also, since the nature of apparel items results in many permutations as a result of options such as Size and Color variations, competition from FBA sellers is far less aggressive. If FBA can be deemed the nemesis for longer lead-times via JIT, there is a lot less FBA on apparel listings in the Clothing category.

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Online Haggling coming Soon? Amazon files for Patent for New System

October 10, 2012–Since the dawn of the internet, the sport of online shopping has worked in only two ways—Either you pay the listed price for an item and receive it, or you don’t and receive nothing. Unlike flea markets or garage sales, haggling has never played a major role with online shopping except for maybe the occasional Craigslist ad. That may soon be ending as Amazon’s new patent idea in the form of an online haggling system could soon be on its way.

Online haggling system? Amazon.com has filed for a patent that would create a first-of-its-kind system to allow buyers and sellers the ability to intermingle with one another and freely make offers and counteroffers on items until both parties agreed. Although eBay has a similar service called “Best Offer” where buyers can make their own offers, Amazon.com is looking to revolutionize the buying and selling experience online with their new patent. Along with their haggling system, Amazon would propose a rating system for both buyers and sellers based on flexibility, average closing prices, and how likely either side is to drop a deal before it’s done.

With the Holiday season rapidly closing in, this haggle feature could become a must-have for marketplace buyers as more and more people look to save money during this extremely expensive time of year.  

 

5 Online Marketplaces You Can Start Selling On Today

October 15, 2012An Online Marketplace is an established website that offers potential sellers the opportunity to sell items and products online. These marketplace platforms work almost like a virtual swap-meet as people come to
buy products, while others come to sell their products. They provide a method for listing items, selling them, and collecting payment. The advantage of using marketplaces to sell products is the proven audience arena each one consumes, making it extremely easy to showcase potential products.

Although there are dozens of internet marketplaces for people to sign-up and start selling, very few of them are worth the time, energy, and money. Depending on what you’re selling and to whom, each marketplace has its own niche of customers, prices and products. Typically these platforms charge various fees and/or commissions to sellers for listing and selling items. While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of online marketplaces people can use to list and sell items, here are the Top 5 Marketplaces You Can Start Selling Today!

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