Wholesale Sourcing Conference for eBay & Amazon Sellers
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News, November 2014 - Volume 14, Issue No. 20
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
If you sell on Amazon FBA you may have heard that the Amazon warehouse in Murfreesboro, Tenn. had a bad fire last week. The fire was contained to a cardboard compactor where it started but apparently there was a lot of smoke damage to products stored in the warehouse. Amazon is working to identify damaged products and will be reimbursing sellers for any lost goods. But this process is likely to take up to 3 weeks.
My larger concern is that by the time Amazon notifies me there will not be enough time to replace the goods in time for the Christmas selling season.
www.SellRadar.com is an interesting site that is connected to Alibaba. It allows you to find products selling on Amazon with a good sales rank, then it connects you with the manufacturer so you can place an order. It's a pretty new site so I don't have much experience with it, but I did place one order that is in the works now, so once I get that I will let my readers know how it went.
Terapeak has introduced a new suite of tools called Terapeak Personal. The new research tools for eBay and Amazon are more powerful and give more information.
Here are some of the features and benefits of the new tool:
One of my readers, Alan Limebeer has developed a really interesting tool to easily insert videos into your eBay listings. It is a fairly Non-geek system that doesn't take a lot of technical know-how. I have not personally used it - only reviewed it but it looks interesting. Here is a link to a short video that explains it.
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 December 1st and use the Coupon code SKIP20 at checkout, Karon will knock 20% off of the price.
Sorry to be repeating the offer in two back-to-back issues but this is a really excellent book that will put money in the pocket of every Amazon seller. Her last discount offer was limited to only a week, but this coupon code is good through the end of this year.
John Boehner Kills Internet Sales Tax Bill - Tax-free Internet shopping is safe for now thanks to Speaker John A. Boehner.A bill granting states the ability to force out-of-state websites to collect Internet sales tax is dead, according to the Ohio Republicanís spokesman. Read the full story here: http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/boehner-kills-internet-sales-tax-bill/
This is my last newsletter before Thanksgiving so let me take a moment to wish all of my readers a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.
Let's get started with this monthís articles:
I have told my readers many times that I get more questions about wholesale sourcing than probably any other topic. Selling on eBay and/or Amazon is a situation where you make money when you buy well. Pay too high a price, or source the wrong goods. and you will find stagnant inventory and low profit margins. But source smartly and this is a very profitable business.
One of my favorite places to source products is wholesale trade shows and one of the biggest and best is the annual ASD Wholesale Trade Show in Las Vegas. I usually put on a one-hour seminar at these shows, but this year I am doing something different.
I have partnered up with Jim Cockrum, John Bullard of My Inventory team and a good friend of mine, Jose Calero who is a million dollar-plus Amazon and website seller and an expert on importing, private labelling and selling his goods. The four of us will present a two-day seminar at the LVH Hotel (which is right next door to the convention center so you can walk to the show).
The ASD Show dates are Sunday, March 1 through Wednesday, March 4th 2015. Our seminar is going to be on Saturday and Sunday Feb 28th & March 1st. We have put together a complete explanation and event description at http://wholesalesourcingconference.com/
You can read all about it and there is a link to sign up. We are offering two ways to pay. You can pay for the entire event up front, or you can select a 3-payment option at a slightly higher price. Note: there is no discount for couples as we wanted to keep the price down to make this event affordable and that was the best way to do it.
NOTE: We are strictly limiting the size of the event, so don't wait - Jim's last conference sold out in a matter of days and this event will be much-much smaller. We are also offering an early-bird sign up discount. the full price of this seminar is $1297 per person. The first 50 people who sign up will get a $300 early bird discount making it $997. But once that 50th person signs up, you will see the full price of $1297.00. So reserve your spot now and you will have an extra $300 to play with in Las Vegas.
There is also a link to get a special rate at the hotel. Right now that rate is limited to the first 50 people, but we may be able to expand that if the rooms fill up quickly.
As an added bonus the first 40 people who sign up will have the option of a one-hour walk around at the trade show on Monday morning with one of the presenters (Myself, Jim, Jose or John).
So please visit http://wholesalesourcingconference.com/ now so you don't miss out on this exciting opportunity.
When you buy wholesale the goods are first shipped to you and then you have to label them and ship them to Amazon. Just think how much money you can save if you can train your vendors to ship directly to Amazon for you?
You not only save money on shipping, you save time as your goods get to Amazon sooner so your cash is not tied up as long. And this time of year when UPS and other shippers get bogged down and shipments get delayed, the time you save can be really critical. Just having a couple extra days of product available can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Obviously not every company will do this for you. I have five of my wholesale vendors who do this service for me and all of them are smaller entrepreneurial companies with less than 100 employees. Two of them do it for free and the other three charge me a fee.
One company, DVA, charges 25¢ per item. The other two companies charge me 50¢ each. That may sound like a lot but one of the products I buy from them is somewhat heavy and a shipment of one carton of 36 items costs me about $24 in shipping, so I am actually saving 16¢ per item if they do the labelling and ship direct to Amazon for me -not to mention the 5 days in extra time it takes to ship to me.
The first think you have to do is ask your vendors if they would agree to perform this service. I tell them a few things when I ask. A typical email might look like this:
That is the type of email that I send. If the vendor agrees, when I am ready to order I also send the following email that he can give to his warehouse worker with instructions to follow. That email says:
So far I have done over 30 shipments using this system and not one shipment has had any problems or issues.
In most cases I email the PDF of the labels to the vendor and they print them out. But, one of my vendors insists that I actually print and mail the labels. In this case he knows the size and weight of the box before I send them so I can mail both the product and shipping labels at the same time.
So give this a try with some of your vendors. You might be surprised how many will accept. One word of caution: Be very careful if you have a lot of mixed products in one shipment. Remember that only the first 3 or 4 words show up on your product label so make sure it is clear which label goes on which product. This system tends to work best when you only have one or two different products in a shipment.
I wrote about private labelling a few months ago, but this is a hot topic now and I still get a lot of questions. Also this newsletter picks up about 200 new subscribers every month so many of you have not seen this. Even if you did read this before I have added some new information so you may want to read it again.
So what exactly is "private labelling?" This is a selling technique whereby you buy a non-branded product and put your own brand on it, or you buy a branded product and the manufacturer gives you permission to private label it. In that second scenario, the manufacturer also agrees to provide you with product where there brand name is removed.
The advantage of private labelling is that you are the only seller of that item.
There are two ways to private label Official and Unofficial. With the official way, you come up with a brand name and a logo and you apply to the US Patent and Trademark office for a trademark. If you want to learn how to do that, here is a link to an article I wrote about that back in May.
It may surprise you, but there is no law that says you cannot make up a company name, use it on your product, and not trademark it. In fact lots of sellers do this all the time.
The downside to this method is that you cannot protect your brand name. If someone lists under you, or infringes on your name, there isn't much you can do. But in reality when someone sees you have a logo and a brand name they usually tend to avoid doing that because most people think all brand names are protected, but in fact they are not unless they are trademarked. (One way to tell if a name or logo is trademarked is if it has the ® symbol after the name.) Oh, and if you are thinking of using that symbol when your product is not trademarked and registered, that is a serious violation of Federal Law.
Here is an example of unofficial private labelling: This is a piece of generic jewelry that I buy from China. Notice the brand name "Florent" right above the title. That is just a totally made up brand name -and as I said above it is entirely legal to do that. Anyone can make up a brand name and use it as long as the product is not already branded. For example, if the brand name of this necklace was stamped on the package and I used a different brand name then that could get you in trouble with Amazon.
Here is another one. This is a holster that I buy from a company that allows private labelling with permission, which I got. In fact I am now sending them my artwork and they are packaging the holsters with my artwork and branding.
When I ship that to the customer it has an insert on the holster package that looks like this:
Shark Gun Leather is nothing more than a made up brand name. But it has been doing so well and I have three other products in this brand, so I have just applied for a trademark for the name and logo.
So where do you find products to private label? One of the best places is wholesale trade shows like the ASD show mentioned in the first article. Another good place is Aliexpress.com. That is the Alibaba owned site where you can buy in small quantities.
What I do is buy a small quantity of something that appeals to me to test the quality and the reliability of the manufacturer -and to see if it has a market on eBay and/or
If it works out, I have my agent in Hong Kong get me the artwork for the packaging from the manufacturer; I add my brand name and logo and correct any grammar or spelling mistakes (which are common on products from China).
My agent has a local designer redesign the box, has the boxes printed and sends them to the manufacturer who makes the product and boxes it for me. This service is far cheaper in Hong Kong than doing it here in the US. (I know many of you will want the name of my agent, but he is a small company and not taking on any new clients right now. However, he is hiring and training a few people so he may open up again soon).
If you want to learn more about private labelling and sourcing for private labelling, sign up for the seminar mentioned in the first article as that is one of the topics we are going to cover in great detail.
Drop shipping has always been a problematic business model and lately both eBay and Amazon have put policies into place to make it more difficult for sellers to do this.
Note: I said it was problematic - not impossible. In fact one of my best selling products on eBay is drop shipped, but I have a really long and close relationship with the manufacturer who does everything right for me including sending tracking information so I can get it into eBay within the 1 business day window.
But there is another way to drop ship. Unlike traditional drop shipping you have to pay for the merchandise up front, but this works really well. What I do is send everything into FBA. Then I list the same products on eBay. I am also starting to list on Rakuten (formerly Buy.com). I did try Sears last year but it didn't work out too well.
Now when something sells on eBay I create a fulfillment order on Amazon and Amazon ships it to my eBay customer for me. You can do this manually or automatically. Let me show you the manual method first.
Step 1 - Go into your FBA inventory and find the item that sold and check the box next to it and select Create Fulfillment Order from the drop down box. You can see I have checked the second item, Novobeads starter bracelet.
Once you hit the Go button, Amazon takes you to a page where you fill in the customer's information. That looks like this:
I have already filled in the info, which consists of the customer's name and address. The box also asks for a phone number and email address. Since I don't know the phone number of my eBay customer, I just put my own number in. Always use your own email address - not the customers. The reason for this is Amazon will send the tracking info to whatever address is in there and this way you get the tracking number so you can enter it into eBay.
Next - hit the Continue button at the bottom of the page and it will take you to a page that looks like this.
Notice that the shipping method is defaulted to Standard. And if you look at the cost the estimated order total is $5.95 to ship. If you want to offer 2-Day shipping in your eBay listing you can also do that. I did that just to show you the charge. Here it is:
As you can see this raised your shipping total to $9.05, which is far lower than you can buy 2-day shipping for yourself.
Now when I hit continue it takes me to a final page that says your order has been successfully placed. I am not showing you that page because this is not a real order, just one I made up to show the example and I don't really want to ship a free bracelet to Mr. Smith in Las Vegas. The reason I can't show you a real order is that I have my fulfillment orders processed automatically.
I use a company called www.autoMCF.com. They provide a service whereby you give them permission to access your Amazon FBA account and any other multi-channel accounts you have such as eBay, Rakuten, Sears.com or New Egg.
The key to making all this work is when you create a listing on one of those channels you must use the same SKU number that you use for your FBA listing. Now when an item sells on one of the channels you have set up with AutoMCF, they will automatically create a fulfillment order for you and when Amazon releases the tracking information they will send the tracking info to the other channel (such as eBay). Best of all you don't have to worry about selling something you don't have. When AutoMCF sees your FBA inventory go to zero, they automatically kill the eBay listing.
So that is how you use Amazon as a drop shipper.
Eye Black sells war paint - you know the colored paint you see fans wear at Football games. They also sell the black under eye patches that athletes wear.
Doggo sells a really unique line of tuggable dog toys.
The Real Insect Company sells a line of product that contains real insects (already dead) including paperweights and more.
Unrooted Plants sells a line of live plants that live without water. They just absorb water from the air.
Niki-Nu-Lites - are made of translucent polycarbonate plastic, which is unbreakable and washable. Their Lanterns feature an Origami like design, which allows them to be custom made and are available in 3 different styles, multiple sizes & color combinations.
Sockwell offers a full line of MADE IN THE USA socks including crew, tube, quarter, low-cut, dress, diabetic, designer and more.
Buck Wholesale is an importer of general merchandise for the dollar store industry. Thousands of wholesale dollar store and 99 cents items including fashion jewelry, handbag, purses, hair & beauty accessories, baseball caps, hats, bandanas, car magnetic ribbon, 3-d crystals, house wares, toys, hats, flowers, and all priced around or below $0.50. Again - these are low cost items but the lend themselves to bundling and multi-packing.
HMC Honors is a wholesale supplier of military merchandise, auto accessories, apparel, and more.
MSC Distributors sells a large selection of t shirts including wildlife t-shirts, funny t shirts, skull t-shirts, etc. They also offer flexfit hats, head-wraps, biker t-shirts, and more.
Deluxe Jewels sells a very nice line of mid-priced fashion jewelry.
SonTeez sells Christian T-shirts and Christian Hats and Christian Apparel. Their website is retail but you can contact them for wholesale information.
Thatís it for now. See you again right after Thanksgiving.
Happy thanksgiving to all my readers.
P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
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