Amazon Announces New Shipping Policies for Merchant Fulfilled Sellers
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News, October 21, 2014 - Volume 14, Issue No. 19
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
I owe all of my readers a big apology. In the last issue in the article on FBA Frequently Asked Questions, I wrote an item about the math to decide whether to have an un-fufillable item returned or disposed of. Several of my readers emailed to with a big correction. In the piece I said that Amazon charges you a pick and pack fee plus shipping cost to return an item. Turns out I was totally incorrect. The pick and pack fee of 50¢ per item (60¢ for oversize items) includes the shipping cost back to you. I never imagined Amazon would send goods back with free shipping which was the genesis of my mistake. Turns out I should have checked. If you want to read the piece again you can find it here.
This week I had several folks who purchased both The Complete Amazon Marketing System and The eBay Marketing System. You don't want to do that. The reason is that both books contain the same general business and wholesale sourcing information and you will be paying a lot for a considerable amount of duplicate information. If you want to learn to sell on both platforms, I suggest you buy The Complete Amazon Marketing System and then get my printed book Three Weeks to eBay® Profits, Third Edition: Go From Beginner to Successful Seller in Less than a Month . This way you will have all the information you need to sell on both platforms.
I came across a book last week that I highly recommend. Even if you have not bought one of my books, but you sell on Amazon, you will want to read Amazon Advantage - Product listing strategies to boost your sales. This is simply one of the best books I have come across regarding writing titles, bullets and descriptions for Amazon and it also includes how to find the best keywords. The book is full of examples, screenshots and even comes with several handy worksheets to help you get started. The book is by Karon Thackston, who is a professional sales copywriter.
And Karon agreed to a really good deal for my readers. If you purchase before November 5th and use the Coupon code SKIP40 at checkout, Karon will knock 40% off of the price. If you sell on Amazon I strongly suggest you read Amazon Advantage - Product listing strategies to boost your sales. I think I know a lot about selling on Amazon, but Karon's book opened my eyes to several new ideas and techniques. This is one investment that will put money in your pocket.
Here is another good learning opportunity. Barrington McIntosh, Andy Dew and Lance Wolf have put together a series of online classes for four weeks called Source - Automate - Expand. Kat Simpson will host the classes. The class size will be kept to a very small number and once you finish you get membership in their Mastermind Private Facebook Group. Just a few of the things you will learn include:
And, there are four special valuable bonus items worth almost the complete cost of the course. Check out Source - Automate - Expand.
For the past year I have been participating in Jenni Hunt's private Facebook group for health, beauty and grocery, gourmet food sellers. Each group runs for 3 months and this is the last month of the current group. Each group is limited to just 100 members and includes Jenni, as well as several large professional sellers who will answer your questions and give advice about almost anything you will encounter on Amazon. So if you sell in the grocery or health and beauty categories, check out the Private Facebook Group. Here is a link to read more about it.
Check out this press release I received from Amazon last week:
Lets get started with this monthís articles:
Here is another good reason to sell on Amazon through FBA. I only have a tiny handful of Merchant Fulfilled items, but since I do occasionally sell direct, I got this notice from Amazon this week:
"Upcoming changes related to U.S. domestic shipping will affect your shipping options for items sold on Amazon.com. The changes will take place on November 13, 2014, as part of our effort to create a better buyer experience. We will be implementing the following changes:"
If you are a US reader, this article may not hold any interest for you unless you have a friend or relative who lives in a foreign country and who is interested in selling on Amazon.
About 10% of my readers are from overseas. And when I look at my Google analytics for this website, it shows about 8% of my daily traffic is also from several foreign countries - mostly India, UK, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Spain and Singapore. And since I launched The Complete Amazon Marketing System, I have sold over 45 copies to folks from those countries. (Note - because shipping rates are different depending on the part of the world, I do not have a shopping cart option for readers outside of the US or Canada. If you want to buy my book from another country, please use the contact form on the website and I will send you shipping rates and payment instructions).
At least once or twice a week, I get an email from one of my overseas readers asking how to go about registering on Amazon US from overseas. Not knowing the answer, I reached out to Amazon support and asked them. Here is the information they sent me:
If you want to sell on Amazon US and want to use FBA (which I strongly recommend), there is another service you will want to use. My friend, John Bullard of Maeja Associates and his company My Inventory Team provide a service for both US and overseas sellers. John's services include two major things that can help you. First of all he sources liquidation products from manufacturers and when you buy from him he will label and ship the goods to Amazon FBA warehouses for you. For overseas sellers, you can buy your inventory in bulk and have it shipped to My Inventory Team and they will also label and ship the goods into FBA for you. This gives overseas sellers better results than shipping goods one at a time when they sell because you save money since bulk shipping is so much lower than shipping goods one at a time.
Lastly, one of the services you are going to need is an international freight forwarder and a US customs broker. Rather than deal with two separate companies, I use one company that provides both services, Universal Cargo.
When you ship goods from overseas, they will arrange to pick up the goods from you're manufacturer, get them to a port, search for the best rates for your particular shipment and location, arrange shipment of the goods, clear the goods through customs here in the US and then they will ship by truck to whatever destination you select such as the My Inventory Team warehouse.
I often get the question, "How do I package my items to ship to Amazon's FBA warehouses?" This is one of those things you want to get right. If you screw up too many times, Amazon can suspend your FBA privileges. Here is what Amazon says about improper shipments:
If an item is in a sturdy retail box, we usually ship them right in the box. But for other items, including bundled and multi-pak items, we most often use polybags. If an item is at all breakable, we bubble-wrap the item and put it in a poly bag and seal it.
We buy the open top 2-mil polybags as we find those work the best. They are much cheaper than the zip top bags and available fairly cheap on both eBay and Amazon. When you use an open top polybag, you have to heat seal it. Here is a link to the heat sealer we use - 16" (400mm) Impulse manual bag sealer with cutter, 3mm wide sealing + 2 Spare Replacement Kits . The built in cutter saves time, the bags come out looking much better and the replacement kits are necessary as they do wear out over time. If you have the replacement kit on hand, it only takes a minute to replace the sealers that burn out.
Pack your product units using as few boxes as possible. Protect the products from damage during shipping by adding cushioning material like foam, air pillows or full sheets of paper. Styrofoam peanuts, crinkle wrap, and shredded paper are not acceptable. (If you have Styrofoam peanuts and want to use them as packing material, you can put them in a polybag. That is OK with Amazon -they just don't want loose peanuts as they are not set up to deal with them in their warehouses).
Check the sealed box to ensure the contents in the box will not shift during shipping and that the box is strong enough for shipping. Repack the box if necessary. IMPORTANT - Amazon recently released a new policy that you should have at least 2-inches of packing material surrounding the products in the box. You can ship without that, but if an item arrives broken and you did not use at least 2-inches of packing buffer, then Amazon will not reimburse you for item breakage. Most of the products we sell are not breakable, but for the few that are, we always follow that practice. This is where those polybags full of peanuts come in handy.
Use a Standard 1 x 2 5/8 - Inch label (Avery #5160). These come 30 to a sheet. Note, Amazon recommends using a laser printer, but we have been using a standard Ink Jet printer for years with no problems. Just be careful to wait a moment after the label prints to handle them, so you are sure the ink is dry and they won't smudge.
If you are selling products that have a manufacturer's UPC code on them, be sure and cover every instance of the bar code or any other bar codes that appear on the box or the product. There is usually only one bar code on an item, but I have seen goods that had more. If there are more, we simply place a blank over the second or third barcode.
For the shipping label - note that there are two parts -both parts must be on the box and Amazon insists that neither label covers the opening where the box will be slit to open so the labels are still intact after the box is opened.
Amazon no longer requires a packing list, but they do give you the option to download one. I have personally had cases where Amazon disputes the number of items in a box and says you are short or over. If you download the packing list and use it as a checklist when packing your boxes this can prevent mistakes if you make a miscount. If Amazon sees your checked off packing list in the box, they will also be more careful to count correctly.
So there you have it. I know it all seems like a bit much, but once you have done about a dozen shipments or so it's pretty easy to do everything right.
eBay announced they were returning to live auctions to buy art, antiques, rare books and collectibles online. This is being done in conjunction with over a dozen large auction houses. From anywhere in the world, eBay shoppers now have the same access to auction merchandise as those bidding in person on the auction room floor.
"Through the launch of live auctions, eBay is reimagining the time-honored auction house experience," said Gene Cook, general manager of emerging verticals for eBay Marketplaces. "We know that people want new ways to peruse and purchase fine art and collectibles, and eBay's live auctions are a best-in-class, inspiring shopping experience that delivers on this at a variety of price points."
With live auctions, inventory is sold directly by traditional auction houses, including partners such as Doyle New York, Freeman's, Garth's Auctions, and Swann Auction Galleries.
All items are backed by the eBay Money Back Guarantee. Here is a list of some recent sales:
If you go to this link you can sign up to receive notices of upcoming sales.
If you have fine art, books, maps, prints or important jewelry to sell, contact the auction house directly and send them your items. Just tell them you want your item to participate in eBay's Live Auctions. If you sign up at the link above to receive notices of upcoming sales you can get a list of all the auction houses in the US that are participating.
The Grant Howard Company sells a large line of kitchen & tabletop products. They work through sales reps all around the country. When you get to the website, click on the link to showrooms to find one near you.
Precision Products sells a large line of Beauty scissors and many other small tools that really lend themselves to creating unique product bundles.
The EE Schneck Company is a wholesale distributor for many companies in the sewing and knitting industry.
The Yarn Tree is a wholesale company that specializes in cross stitch and needlework supplies
Matr Boomie is a fair trade company specializing in hand made products from India.
Marukai Wholesale Mart specializes in the importing of Japanese products, such as groceries, goods, furniture, health products and electronic appliances. They carry over 20,000 Japanese products.
Mingzhou Oriental is an importer and wholesaler in the US specializing in oriental furniture, home decor, gifts, antiques, arts and collectibles. Wholesale to the trade only.
Miya Company Inc. provides unique products made in, or inspired by, Japan for the global market.
The Superior Glove Company sells a complete line of cut resistant gloves as well as other kinds of gloves.
Attwood Marine Products sells marine products and boating equipment and accessories.
The Hang-O-Matic Company sells a very unique picture hanging system to insure straight pictures every time.
Global Village Imports sells thousands of imported products from all over the world.
BookPal is a wholesale distributor of thousands of books.
Empire Discount is a company I have mentioned here in the past, but they sell thousands of toys -including many licensed and name brand toys and can still deliver in time for Christmas selling if you order soon.
Innex, Inc. is a worldwide distributor of video game accessories, toys, mobile & audio equipment. Find peripherals for retro and next-gen gaming consoles and handhelds. Licensed plush toys, figurines, R/C cars, and board games.
Thatís it for October. November will be a big and busy month so good luck to everyone! Make your Fourth Quarter ROCK!
P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.
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