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Stamps.com announces their New PC Postage Version 9.6 Software

September 28, 2012—Stamps.com has recently announced the unveiling of their PC Postage Version 9.6 software, which offers users automated features to increase productivity and mass produce their shipping operations with immense convenience. This new software not only lets sellers combine multiple orders from a buyer into one order, but also lets International shipper import product information into USPS custom forms.

While the 9.6 software version is both critical for multi-tasking and time-saving, it includes key features that other postage services cannot offer. With Stamps.com, customers can take advantage of their batch shipping toolbar and interface redesign by printing shipping labels in bulk and making last minute edits with their quick-edit menu. They can also utilize two printers for different tasks such as shipping labels for one, and packing slips for the other.

Ken McBride, Chairman and CEO of Stamps.com recently stated, “Stamps.com PC Postage Version 9.6 provides new automated features that allow sellers to maximize the efficiency of their shipping systems and increase productivity. The benefits of this are time-savings and the ability to allocate resources to revenue generating tasks.”

Stamps.com has been providing customers USPS postage and shipping software to over 400,000 customers and is the leading provider of USPS postage online. New and existing customers can download Stamps.com PC Postage Version 9.6 for free at http://www.stamps.com/download/

Online Sales Tax—Amazon to Collect Taxes in Massachusetts

December 12, 2012—The Amazon tax man has gobbled up yet another state. On Tuesday, state officials and Amazon announced that Amazon.com would collect and remit sales tax in Massachusetts starting next fall. Earlier this year, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, a Massachusetts firm, and started recruiting staff for a new office in Cambridge. According to a report published in Boston.com, these moves were enough to require Amazon to collect state sales tax.

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eBay Updates Apps to Make Selling on Mobile Devices Easier

January 9, 2013—eBay’s mobile apps are getting a makeover. Earlier this week, eBay announced they had updated their mobile apps to make selling on eBay from iPhones and iPads easier. Since the first three quarters of 2012, over 1.8 million new customers have joined eBay through mobile devices with an average of 2.4 million listings per week.

eBay’s new updated apps provide sellers with category, pricing shipping guidance, and the ability to work on multiple listings. The new update also integrates mobile cameras and editing, plus streamlines the listing process by making uploading photos and item descriptions much simpler. eBay sellers can also save drafts of their listings on their smartphones and then complete the process from their PC or vice versa. The new update app even allows users without associated PayPal accounts to make purchases via the app with a new guest checkout feature.

eBay Vice President of Mobile Products Kevin Hurst said, “With eBay’s app updates, selling has never been simpler. We’ve streamlined the mobile selling experience to give consumers step-by-step suggestions for pricing and shipping, and we’ve loaded the updates with new features that let customers seamlessly switch between mobile and PC – to more quickly and easily upload photos and edit listings.”


eBay Utilizing Amazon-Like Search Feature

Last Monday eBay notified sellers who use the product catalog to list in categories that it was removing product cards from search results.  This email from Vice President of Merchant Development Michael Jones stated:

“We have made significant improvements in our item-based search experience in recent years, and have learned that eBay can generate more sales for sellers like you by launching the item-based search experience everywhere. For that reason, we are removing the consolidated view experience (often referred to as ‘product cards’) at this time.”

eBay launched its Product Pages in 2009 along with other attempts to become more like Amazon.  When shoppers searched eBay for products they would see product cards representing generic Product Pages instead of individual listings.  eBay said that this new merged view was a “”new way of displaying results on eBay that will help shoppers find the exact product they are looking for much quicker as it minimizes the need for filtering a list of items.”

Now however, it seems to have changes its tune.  Search results now come back with individual seller listings.  eBay explained this in its letter from October 1st, “Note that the product details page – including the value box featuring great values from Top Rated sellers – will continue to be available to buyers, but only from a link on the view item page, onsite search widgets, or from off-eBay search results like Google and Yahoo.”

What the heck does this all mean?  Well, the Product Pages are staying, the catalog is expanding and the search within those categories is reverting back to the old eBay style. This is great news for merchants using Appeagle’s repricer since it means they can now reprice more of their listings.

eBay hopes that these changes will sever to shorten the shopper’s path to purchase for your items. eBay concluded this letter with:

 “We are always testing and evolving the site to ensure that eBay is a top shopping destination for buyers, and a powerful, profitable platform for valued sellers like you.”

Amazon Launches Friends & Family Gifting Program

December 13, 2012—Amazon is making it easier for you to find gifts for friends and family. On Wednesday, Amazon.com announced a new program that allows customers to keep track of birthdays, special occasions and manage gift ideas for everyone on your list year-round. You can even receive shopping reminders and link your Amazon account with Facebook to make it easier to add friends and family to the program!

Similar to Facebook and how it reminds you of your friend’s upcoming birthdays, Amazon’s new program makes it simple to find the perfect gifts for all your favorite people. Along with Facebook, Amazon’s new program uses other social networking sites like Pinterest and Twitter to share gift ideas with its Gift Lists feature. The program allows shoppers to see which gift-giving occasions are coming up next! In the FAQs section, Amazon explains the new service by saying, “You can use Facebook Connect to easily grab information about your friends and family such as profile pictures, birth dates, sometimes Wish Lists, and your friend’s “Likes” to help you get more personalize gift suggestions.”

Features of the new Friends & Family Gifting program include:

  • Keep Track of Friends & Family: Store important dates like birthdays and anniversaries with just a few clicks and get reminders.
  • Add Information about Friends: Customers can find existing Amazon Wish Lists to make it easy to find the perfect gift for their friends. By connecting their Amazon and Facebook accounts, customers can also use information about their Facebook friends, such as the things their friends ‘Like,’ to select a gift.
  • Great for Kids: Make it even easier to find the best gifts for kids, as Amazon Friends & Family Gifting provides gift recommendations by age and interest.

 

Customers can receive shopping email reminders before their friends’ birthday that link directly to their existing Wish Lists. Mastercard is sponsoring the new program from Amazon and more information on the program is available here. Take the guess-work out of getting what your friends really want this year and connect to Amazon’s new Friends & Family program today!

Compensation: How Much do Amazon and eBay Executives Bring Home

Ever wonder how much the big dogs over at Amazon and eBay make in a year? Although both companies have established themselves as the #1 and #2 powerhouse for marketplace selling, they each take a noticeably different approach to paying their executives. Sure both companies weigh compensation based on stock and company performance, but you might be a little surprised what the base salary for these CEOs actually is. Warning: If you’re unemployed you might want to turn away.

eBay’s John Donahoe

In 2011, then current CEO of eBay John Donahoe made a combined salary of $16, 456,528 which included his eIP payout and assorted stock holdings. eBay’s compensation structure, which is often referred to as the eBay Incentive Plan (eIP), aligns salaries with the performance of the company drawing primarily on non-GAPP net income as a basis. Basically what this means is executives will not receive financial-performance bonuses unless the company meets a baseline level of revenue and net income. eBay explains Donahoe’s compensation by citing strong revenue growth, global expansion of PayPal, and the added workload Mr. Donahoe took on when taking over CEO duties following the departure of Lorrie Norrington.

Honorable mentions: eBay’s CFO Bob Swan made a grand total of $7.7 million including base salary, stock, incentives, and other compensation while Chief Technology Officer Mark Carges made a whopping $9.7 million in 2011. That’s almost a $7 million increase from his measly $2.9 million salary the year before.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

In 2011, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos brought home $1,681,840 in compensation which included his base salary of $81,840. Similar to eBay’s pay structure, Amazon focuses its executive compensation on company stock with one exception–CEO Jeff Bezos does not take any of his compensation in the form of stock. When asked why the CEO of Amazon doesn’t receive any compensation from stocks the company responded by saying, “Due to Mr. Bezos’ substantial stock ownership (approximately 19%), he believes he is appropriately incentivized and his interests are appropriately aligned with shareholders’ interests. Mr. Bezos has never received any stock-based compensation from Amazon.com.” That’s pretty surprising for a guy whose company this year sold 306 items a second on Cyber Monday.

Honorable mentions: Amazon’s CFO and vice president Tom Szkutak took a base salary of $160,000 in 2011, while senior vice president of international consumer business Diego Piacentini took home $175,000. Both salaries remained unchanged from the previous two year.

“Consistent with our belief that total compensation should be tied to long-term shareholder value, base salaries for named executive officers are designed to provide a minimum level of cash compensation and to be significantly less than those paid by similarly situated companies,” Amazon said.

What do you think of the two salaries for both CEOs?


Guide to Winning Amazon’s Buy Box

Amazon.com is a great sales channel for many types of products because of its great visibility, loyal customer base and a perception of high security. Not to mention it has a meticulously maintained technical platform to support third party retailers. However, there are many things that you will need to learn if you are going to sell on Amazon. Of course one of the most important things you need to do as an Amazon merchant is referred to as “winning the Buy Box“.

On the Amazon platform customers can add products to their shopping cart through multiple paths. One of those paths is by using the Add to Shopping Cart button. Only one merchant will “win” the Buy Box. Multiple factors are taken into account when Amazon selects the Buy Box winner including:

  • Price (Low total price, includes shipping)
  • Availability (Quick and consistent fulfillment)
  • Volume (Consistency)
  • Refunds (Low refund rate)
  • Customer Feedback (Low negative feedback)
  • A to Z Guarantee Claims (Low A to Z claims)

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Google gives eBay’s Kijiji the Cold Shoulder

December 14, 2012—eBay is a little upset these days. The online marketplace issued a press release earlier this week stating how they were surprised Kijiji, eBay’s Classified Group, had been left off Google’s Zeitgeist List of Most Searched in Retail 2012 given the fact Kijiji is Canada’s most-searched brand.

“Mistakes happen to everyone!” said Bart Molenda, Head of Marketing, Kijiji Canada. “But the numbers don’t lie; Kijiji is the clear leader amongst competitors in searches for online retail brands in Canada. We’re not calling for a recount, but we do hope that next time we get invited to the Zeitgeist.”

Zeitgeist is a list Google publishes annually that showcases the most searched terms. A list of Canada’s Google Zeitgeist List of Most Searched in Retail 2012 can be found online on the Google Canada website.

Compared to competitors, Kijiji is searched 2.7 times more than their closest competitor. Using Google’s own Trends analytics tools, eBay was clearly able to track Kijiji and their leading position as the most-searched retail site in Canada. Kijiji was able to provide a chart showing it was “several time more popular in what is otherwise a close horse race”

GoodBye Buy.com, Hello Rakuten.com Shopping

January 11, 2013—Buy.com is changing their name. The online marketplace is changing their name to Rakuten.com Shopping and starting January 31, the Buy.com URL will be redirected to Rakuten.com. The biggest difference sellers can expect is a switch in their storefront hosting which will now be hosted by Rakuten.com shopping. Even with the name change, the global marketplace will continue to support U.S. merchants and goods, and still offer over 3.2 million products with the Buy.com brand.
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TrueShip can make your holiday shipping easy!

 

Many experts are predicting another record breaking holiday season for ecommerce sales this year. The good news is a multi-channel sales approach that includes your website and ecommerce sites, like Amazon, eBay, Yahoo! and Buy.com, will probably result in the highest sales your online business has ever seen.

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