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ShipStation.com Q&A

September 19th, 2012- The ecommerce world is booming. With online shopping sales skyrocketing in the billions, more and more people are looking to get in on the action. Entrepreneurs young and old are looking into marketplace selling on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Buy.com for new ways of making extra money. Many are even creating their own ecommerce sites and selling products directly from their websites. While this may work for computer savvy tech guys, common people looking for new income sources haven’t the knowledge, money, or time to learn coding and website design. This is where ShipStation.com comes into place.

ShipStation is a web-based shipping solution that streamlines the order fulfillment process for online retailers. With real-time integrations into popular marketplaces and shopping cart platforms, ShipStation handles everything from order import and batch label creation to customer communication. Advanced customization features allow ShipStation to fit businesses with any number of users or locations.”

We at AmazonGenius decided to sit down with Curtis Mitchell, Director of Business Development for ShipStation.com for a little Q&A to find out exactly what ShipStation is, and how it can benefit marketplace sellers.

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Hack Price Monitoring with IFTTT and ScraperWiki

WisePricer–At WisePricer, we’re always trying to develop new ways to help online merchants stay ahead of their competition. Today, I want to share a way to keep track of Amazon’s prices for multiple products. I’ll be mashing up ScraperWiki and IFTTT to show you how to setup a daily “Price Monitoring” email delivered straight to your inbox.

In addition to this tactic, the combination of these two tools offers you endless possibilities for price monitoring. Later, I will share some of these ideas which you can implement yourself (and share with others in the comments section below!)

The Players
ScraperWiki is a platform that allows you to make data do things. It is a platform for writing and scheduling screen scrapers, and for storing the data they generate. ScraperWiki is useful for both for programmers who want to write screen scrapers with less fuss, and for journalists, activists and the general public who want to discover and reuse interesting data.

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Growing trend: Online Merchants dealing with Major Losses from Fraud

In today’s age of technology, avoiding fraud and scam artists is easier said than done. With online shopping growing at historic rates, retail merchants who sell on various marketplaces are becoming enormously popular targets for scammers. According to a new study, fraudulent activity is on the rise for online retailers, especially mobile and multi-channel sellers, and the results are exorbitant.

The study, performed by Javelin Strategy & Research and LexisNexis, surveyed more than 1,000 merchants to discover what the actual cost of fraud was for each business. Their study included charge backs, merchandise replacements, and even fees paid to payment processors and financial institutions. All in all, LexisNexis’s Fraud Multiplier matrix concluded that for every dollar in fraud charges a retailer incurs, the real expense accumulated to $2.70. And that’s not all fraud is costing retailers. The report also revealed that 60% of consumers victimized by fraud said they avoid specific merchants as a result of fraudulent activity.

“We’re all paying for this. We all pay more for goods because of the fraud problem,” Javelin President James Van Dyke said while discussing the new report. “We have a dramatic disconnect between what merchants think consumers do in response to fraud and how consumers really do respond in case of fraud.”

For online sellers who use multiple platforms, the study indicated fraud is closely associated with the amount of avenues sellers use to complete transaction like browsers, texting, apps and other communication technologies. Hit especially hard in this report were sellers using mobile commerce. For every dollar of fraud activity, merchants experienced a total cost of $2.83, which is up 40% compared to last year.

Even large ecommerce merchants ($50 million + in annual sales) and international sellers experienced a rise in fraud activity. The study found international sellers underwent more than five times the rate of attempted fraud than merchants with U.S operations only. Larger ecommerce businesses suffered an average price of $219 on fraudulent transactions compared to $120 from smaller merchants, mainly because they routinely process above-average transaction volume.

While it is almost impossible to avoid fraud and scams entirely, online merchants and businesses are learning more and more about device recognition and browser protection technologies.

“Merchants can make an impact. This is all about taking the right steps,” Van Dyke said.

Amazon Competition- How Sellers get a Leg Up

Amazon Competition- How Sellers Get A Leg Up

Becoming a seller on Amazon is not for the faint of heart, at least upon first inspection. With all the competition and rules and with all the low prices, it can seem almost impossible for anyone new or inexperienced to get a leg up on the competition offering similar wares. This is why it’s important to study the latest selling techniques and technologies in order to maintain a competitive advantage. One of the latest techniques to reach Amazon sellers and one of the most intriguing technologies is the Appeagle repricing tool. Appeagle’s repricer may be the answer sellers on Amazon have been searching for to get ahead.

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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).

Say Cheese– eBay unveils New Photo Messaging System

September 25th, 2012—They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that concept has never been more true with eBay’s new messaging system. eBay.com announced on Monday their new photo sharing system where sellerscan send photos through My eBay. The days of paying extra to showcase more photos on eBay may soon be all but gone.

“No more need to share personal email addresses or deal with third party photo sharing services,” eBay wrote in its announcement.

The way it works is simple. When replying to an email in My Messages, sellers can include a picture message by simply clicking the “Add Pictures” button above the text box. Sellers are allowed 5 free images per listing through the My eBay messaging system that do not count against the 12 hosting pictures sellers are normally allowed. All photos must be in JPG, BMP, GIF, PNF or TIF format with a minimum of 500 pixels and a max of 5MB. Although this service doesn’t currently work with mobile devices, eBay looks to have their photo messaging system adaptable to smartphones in 2013.

Have you tried eBay’s new service? We want to hear from you. Contact us by emailing  support@e-commercegenius.com

Can Amazon’s Flow App help FBA Sellers?

September 25, 2012—Last year around this time Amazon’s subsidiary A9.com launched a new app for iphones called Amazon Flow. The app enables users to scan a product through a live camera that uses both barcodes and image recognition to identify products. Once the image is identified, the app displays Amazon.com product information including customer reviews and seller pricing. Amazon Flow is available for iPhones, iPads and just recently Androids.

Just like taking a picture with your smartphone, Amazon’s Flow works exactly the same as you simply hold your phone over a product or UPC barcode until the app visually recognizes it. The app will then display Amazon’s product information and details as well as any shopping features, customer reviews, ratings, and sharing options via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Amazon Flow will
even decode QR codes so customers can link to web addresses, get email addresses, phone numbers, and any other embedded information. So how would this app help FBA sellers? The answer is simple.

First thing third-party sellers need to know before listing a potential item is the market price—How much is it going for on Amazon? With this app you can scan any potential item you might be interested in and find out what it’s selling for. Within seconds you’ll know if you can make a profit on it or not, helping FBA sellers save time, energy, and money. Sellers can easily point to an item and Amazon Flow will overlay that image with pricing, availability, review, and media content directly over the item in view. Finding products to sell with Amazon By Fulfillment has never been so easy!

Here is a quick video of just how FAST Amazon FLOW is for image recognition of products. FLOW is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android

 

Available as a free download:

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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Buy.com to Launch Fulfillment Service

Many people mistakenly believe that Buy.com’s marketplace can not contend with channels like Amazon or eBay. Regardless of what people may believe Buy is a major player in the eCommerce market and regularly does over 50 million in yearly sales. Because of their success as a sales channel Buy has attracted some big league sellers offering a wide range of products.

Recently, Buy.com has been surveying Amazon and eBay sellers about their use of Amazon’s FBA service, or Fulfillment By Amazon, in preparation for the launch of its own fulfillment service. The survey asked sellers about their experience using Amazon FBA, including whether or not they use it for non-Amazon.com orders.  Buy.com also inquired about fulfillment fees for Multi-channel items fulfilled by Amazon compared to typical Amazon orders.

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