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eBay and FedEx Unite…Finally

October 26, 2012—For years eBay.com clinched tightly to shipping methods through USPS and UPS by incorporating them into their single label printing flow. Now, eBay is finally adding FedEx to the mix. eBay announced earlier this week they are currently running a pilot program for select sellers that will allow them to print FedEx labels for orders. This is great news for eBay sellers as more and more sellers are looking for convenient and fast shipping options.

eBay plans to run the test pilot program until the end of the year and begin full availability to all users starting the first quarter of 2013. Sellers will soon be able to print FedEx labels directly from eBay’s single label pricing flow. To access this feature, sellers can simply go to their My eBay and find the FedEx selection there. Although FedEx will not be included in eBay’s shipping calculator during the pilot program, they are currently working on additional features with FedEx that will become available to sellers in the first quarter of 2013. Like the name says, eBay’s shipping calculator automatically provides sellers with accurate shipping cost to buyers based on their location.

Spokesmen for eBay also noted that eBay will not add the FedEx label-printing capability to PayPal as this feature focuses mainly on eBay.

Etsy Milestone–$100 Million in Sales for One Month

Etsy is celebrating a milestone. The online marketplace of handmade and vintage goods just announced their first-ever month of over $100 million in merchandise sales in November 2012, smashing last year’s record of $60.3 million. Holiday shoppers were in full effect this year as Etsy sellers sold around $105.6 million in goods in November, 75% higher than the previous year, and 28.9% higher than October 2012.

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Is Hurricane Sandy Boosting Online Shopping?

Appeagle.com–Hurricane Sandy ferociously battered the Eastern seaboard over the last couple of days leaving many residents of New York to New Jersey without power. You would think that with one in four buildings in New York without power and with the outage expected to last for days, in conjunction with the fact that the New York Stock Exchange closed down for a historic two days, commerce would be massively affected. Yet oddly enough, in the wake of the worst storm this side of the country has seen in some time, e-commerce has experienced a surprising surge.

Storm Shopping

As prospects of Hurricane Sandy began reverberating through East-coast neighborhoods, causing many to rush to supermarkets to stock up on food, water and other supplies, some retailers saw the storm as an opportunity to increase sales.

Glam, a Silicon Valley e-commerce blog, published Sandy Sales: Where to Shop Online During the Hurricane, two days before the storm hit. The post reads, “It’s never too stormy to shop online,” and readers are provided with links and discount coupons to many top retailers like Singer22 and Juicy Couture.

Retail blog Racked National ran with the same storm promotion concept with the post, Dealing with Sandy: 15 Sales to Shop While Weathering the Storm.

The LA Times even reported that American Apparel was catching flack for its Hurricane Sandy promotion, which read, “In case you’re bored during the storm, 20% off everything for the next 36 hours – offer available: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island – Just Enter SANDYSALE at Checkout.”

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PayPal Continues to Expand POS Service for Brick and Mortar Retailers

January 16, 2013—PayPal wants to be a major player in the point-of-sale service. The online payment processing company announced earlier this week they had exceeded their goal of signing up 20 large national retailers to its POS service by the end of 2012. PayPal’s VP of Retail service said the company currently has 23 retailers in agreements for the service.

“The vision we started to lay out in 2012 is quickly becoming a reality, and when you now walk into 18,000 physical stores around the U.S., you see the PayPal name when checking out, making the reality of any time, anywhere payments come alive.”

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International Marketplaces–Global Selling with Amazon

November 8, 2012—Whether your niche market is too small or you just want more exposure, selling globally on Amazon can be your ticket to international success. Global Selling with Amazon offers sellers the opportunity to list and sell products in Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, China, and Japan. To help sellers get started, Amazon has introduced a brand-new PDF or Kindle format Guide to Global Selling with Amazon. It might just be the reading material you need to increase sales and boost your storefront traffic.

Amazon’s free guide to selling globally summarizes every aspect sellers should take into account when choosing whether or not to expand into Amazon’s international marketplaces. The guide outlines various topics sellers can expect when selling globally like customs, taxation, intellectual property rights, parallel importation, export controls, markings, labels and more. The manual also covers issues like regulations on product compliances and safety for all types of goods like electronics, toys, pharmaceutical/cosmetics, medical devices and food.

Global Selling with Amazon offers merchants two methods to sell items internationally–Either by fulfilling customer orders themselves or by using Fulfillment By Amazon. Amazon’s FBA program even has Global fulfillment centers in several countries throughout the world that merchants can use to make selling in other countries more convenient. Here are a few tips from Amazon’s selling globally guide:

  • Global fulfillment centers: Amazon has fulfillment centers in several countries throughout the world and offers various services to help you make the most of them.
  • Online order management: Amazon supports you by supplying reports to help you run your business and a Seller Central portal, which provides helpful tools and information, such as at-a-glance order status, messages from buyers, and seller-coaching tips.
  • Simple shipping: Amazon has established relationships with service providers such as freight forwarders and customs brokers, making it easier to ship your inventory.

If you’re interested in reading Amazon’s Global guide or finding more information how you can sell internationally with Amazon, you can go here for more information.

eBay Affiliate Program—Now Open to WordPress & Blogger

January 18, 2013—Bloggers prepare yourself. eBay announced they have opened its affiliate program to bloggers using hosted platforms WordPress and Blogger. Previously, eBay had banned such blogging platforms because of required domain registration and validation but now the online marketplace is letting bloggers go wild.

Starting mid-February of this year, the ban on eBay’s third-party blogging platform will be lifted, allowing bloggers to start promoting eBay’s products through affiliate marketing. Earlier this week, Scott Parent, North American Communications Manager for eBay Partner Network informed affiliates that eBay will also pay compensation for any mobile traffic garnered from affiliate blogging. Until last fall when eBay began comparing traffic by classic versus mobile, the online marketplace clearly stated it would not pay for traffic from mobile devices coming from domains not registered with eBay.

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Amazon UK—New Rating System for Amazon Sellers

November 12, 2012—Amazon UK has recently rolled out a new seller rating system for UK sellers. The new system will automatically calculate a set of ratings for sellers from “Fair” to “Excellent” judging from buyer’s feedback and experience. Although the new ratings will not be visible to buyers, Amazon.co.uk wants sellers input before they consider implementing the new system and making it visible for buyers.

Amazon has a progressive formula for analyzing and calculating seller ratings and performances. Currently, Amazon uses percentage feedback scores over a 12 month basis, giving buyers access to each and every seller’s ratings. According to Amazon.co.uk, the new rating system “is based on how quickly you respond to buyers, and whether you ship on time, cancel orders, have credit card chargebacks, A to Z guarantee claims, or negative feedback.” The purpose of the new seller rating system is to provide buyers an inside view of who you’re trusting with your purchase and money. Although this new rating system is great for buyers, it’s awful for third-party sellers as it  essentially leaves the seller’s rating score completely in the hands of the buyers.

What do you think of the new Amazon.co.uk seller rating system? Are you currently happy with the way Amazon rates sellers or do you think this change will make a difference?

 

 

eBay and Craigslist Put a Stop to Inauguration Ticket Scalping

Scalping Inauguration tickets on eBay and Craigslist may soon be a thing of the past. While tickets to the event are made available to the public for free, many sellers attempt to make a profit from inauguration tickets by selling them through online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. However, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who just happens to be chair of the Congressional Inaugural Committee, wants ticket scalping of this event stopped immediately.

“eBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation’s most sacred events,” Schumer said in a statement. “I hope that everyone who has an Inaugural ticket will think twice before posting these tickets on any ticket resale site.”

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Ecommerce News—Google Purchases BufferBox

December 4, 2012—Similar to Amazon lockers, a Canadian startup company has started offering delivery kiosks for package pickups. In news that was first reported by TechCrunch, the king of search engines Google–has purchased the startup company Bufferbox for an undisclosed price of $17 million. BufferBox offers customers a secure pickup station for package deliveries, where customers will receive a PIN via email that is used to unlock the kiosk and receive your package.

Just like Amazon and Walmart, Google wants to be able to provide a convenient delivery destination for their online shoppers. Google’s latest purchase seems to suggest their strong interest in ecommerce beyond only search advertising and paid product listing ads. According to comScore rankings, Google approximately controls two-thirds of the U.S. search market with essentially no real competition to compete against.

The connection of Google to BufferBox is quite remarkable. The startup began testing their service in neighborhoods near the University of Waterloo and eventually made their way to the Greater Toronto area. Surprisingly enough, BufferBox made an impression on their upstairs neighbors who, believe it or not, happened to be an office of Google’s operations.

Not only does Google’s purchase of BufferBox showcase their distinct interest in entering the competitive world of retail, but this move suggests their innovative thinking towards this particular market.

What do you think of delivery kiosks for package pickups? Would you use the service?

Amazon Fresh now available in Seattle, WA

December 6, 2012—First it was books. Then came electronics. Then their online marketplace for third-party sellers was created. Just recently wine was unveiled and now, it’s food. Amazon has recently launched their new service, Amazon Fresh, in the Seattle, Washington area, catering to grocery and restaurant deliveries.

Although the delivery area is limited to a select number for Seattle zip codes, Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service that can, and will, delivery fresh produce, dairy, and meats to you after you’ve ordered it online. The service also offers alcohol deliveries and if customers spend enough, they can qualify for free delivery. That’s great news for Seattle residents looking to wine and dine their partner without having to actually go out and dine.

The restaurants and grocery outlets Amazon Fresh works with is unique, as Amazon chose to work with brands that customers had specifically requested. Amazon Fresh wants customers to enjoy their favorite brand and restaurant food without the traveling and parking demands.

The way Amazon Fresh works is simple. If you’re purchasing groceries, Amazon Fresh will delivery. If you’re ordering from a restaurant, Amazon Fresh will delivery your restaurant items but with some assembly required. For example-If you order a steak or chicken plate, all of the ingredients will be delivered straight to your doorstep, however, you’ll have to prepare it yourself.

How do you feel about the idea of ordering groceries online? Would you use Amazon Fresh?