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Amazon Launches Amazon Handmade

The eBay & Amazon Seller's News, November 2015 - Volume 16, Issue No. 19

Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Online Sellers
by: Skip McGrath

In This Issue:

Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web

  1. Amazon Launches Amazon Handmade
  2. Inventory Planning for The Rest of the Holiday Season
  3. Perfecting Titles and Keywords on Amazon (and eBay)
  4. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable." ~ Coco Chanel


Musings

Registration is now open for the ASD Wholesale Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center from February 28th to March 2nd. Click here to register. This is one of the largest wholesale trade shows in the country.


I was looking at keywords for Christmas on Merchantwords and saw this. If you sell any mall items that qualify as a stocking stuffer you might want to add those words to your keyword field.

I am sure that search volume will increase as we get closer to Christmas. When I looked at this last year it was over 3 million in November. Be sure and keep a record of which items you change so you can go back after Christmas and change them back.


This is from eCommerceBytes:

eBay Advises Sellers to Add Product Identifiers Early

Sellers will have to comply with additional requirements around eBay's product identifier policy in January, but eBay is advising sellers to get a head start in order to get a boost in visibility. eBay has said it plans for most listings to have structured data within 2 years. Read More


Lets get started with this monthís articles:

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1. Amazon Launches Amazon Handmade

Handmade arts and crafts has long been the domain of eBay and Etsy until now. Now Amazon has jumped into this market in a big way.

Right now, Handmade at Amazon is open to artisans who make Jewelry, Home products (Art, Baby Bedding, Bath, Bedding, Furniture, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting, Patio, Lawn & Garden, Storage & Organization), Party Supplies and Stationery. If your products don't fit into those categories, don't worry - they are working to open up more categories in the upcoming month.

All products available in your Handmade at Amazon store must be made entirely by hand, hand-altered, or hand assembled (not from a kit). Products must be handmade by you (the artisan), by one of your employees (if your company has 20 or fewer employees), or a member of your collective with less than 100 people. Mass-produced products or products handmade by a different artisan are not eligible to sell in Handmade.

At the moment acceptance is not automatic. You have to apply here and wait for an invitation which usually only takes a few days but some sellers have reported waiting as long as a week or so.

One of the requirements to sell in Handmade By Amazon is that you must upgrade to professional seller, However the current $39.99 monthly Professional selling plan subscription fee is waived through August 1, 2016 for Handmade at Amazon artisans.

Here are some common questions answered by Amazon

  • How will customers discover handmade products?

    Handmade at Amazon is a separate category on Amazon so your products will appear alongside other handmade items for customers to browse, discover, and shop.

  • How can I tell customers about my products and store?

    After you register with Handmade at Amazon, you will create your Artisan Profile page. Be creative! Here you can tell customers all about what inspires your craft and share your story and process through your own words and images.

  • How can I promote my products on Amazon?

    That's easy! As an artisan on Amazon, you'll have access to our Sponsored Products advertising program and you'll have the ability to run promotions - all from Seller Central. Learn more.

  • Do I need to have UPCs for my products?

    UPCs are not required, but you can add your own SKU or bar code to each product to help you track your orders.

  • Do I need to have professional photos of my products?

    Although it is not required to have professional product photos, we recommend that your main product images are shot on a non-distracting background to clearly show the product.

  • Can my products be part of Amazon Prime?

    You can choose to include your products without customizations in our Fulfillment by Amazon program which makes them eligible for Prime shipping. Learn more.

  • How quickly do I need to ship my products after they are ordered?

    Customers want to receive your products as quickly as possible. You can set your own production time (up to 30 days) for each product you make. This lets customers know when to expect their order, so it's important that it's accurate.

So that is pretty much it. Its going to be interesting to gauge the effect on Etsy and eBay. Knowing how well Amazon usually does things that should be an interesting battle.

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2. Inventory Planning for The Rest of the Holiday Season

Its already pretty late to be sending inventory into Amazon for the holiday season. One thing you should know is this time of year Amazon's warehouses are so swamped with shipments that it takes much longer to accept and store goods. But nevertheless if you have inventory arriving keep sending it in.

We keep sending in inventory right up to Christmas eve. That will obviously get there too late for Christmas but remember that January is actually a good month to sell on Amazon. There are two reasons for this. The first is there are always folks who forgot someone at Christmas or for some reason they could not buy in December and they send late presents. The other reason is plenty of folks get Amazon gift cards for Christmas and they start shopping right after Christmas day and through January.

If you are a fairly new seller and this is your first holiday selling season you will most likely realize pretty quickly that you did not send enough goods into FBA (or purchase enough if you are merchant fulfilling) and run out of stock on best sellers very early. Even experienced sellers make this mistake. Last year we doubled our normal stock and still ran out early. So this year we tripled it and I am anxious to see if that was enough.

Lastly if money is tight, this is one time of year when its good to use Credit cards to purchase goods that you know will sell. Sales are usually so high in the 4th quarter that you have no problem paying them off in full by January or February. But one thing I never advise is using credit to buy unproven items as that is a great way to get stuck with unsellable goods as well as big credit card bills.

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3. Perfecting Titles and Keywords on Amazon (and eBay)

This is a repeat of an article I did a few months ago but I am seeing a lot of questions in my email and on Facebook groups about keywords so I thought I would repeat it. Just so you know, Amazon used to search the bullets and descriptions for keywords but recently they changed so now the search engine only looks in the title and the listing keyword field.

This article is mostly directed at Amazon and most of my examples relate to Amazon but almost all of this information will carry over to eBay sellers as well. At the end I have an additional paragraph about optimizing this information for eBay sellers.

On Amazon the Title is the single most important place to get the proper information that buyers search for to make sure your listings are found. The keyword field is also important but the title is king.

The most important items to get into your title are:

  • Brand name
  • Product line
  • Product
  • The material or key ingredient
  • Color, size or quantity (as appropriate)

Here is an example:

RSVP Endurance Line Stainless Steel Set of Three Spring Scoops 1, 1.5 and 2 Ounces

Lets break this down:

  • Brand - RSVP
  • Product Line - Endurance Line
  • Product - Spring Scoops
  • Material - Stainless Steel
  • Color, size quantity - Three Spring Scoops 1, 1.5 and 2 Ounces

Now let's look at search terms:

The product we are going to look at is a set of hot peanuts I currently sell on Amazon. Here is the title:

Ass Kickin Peanut 2-pack Gift Set Bundle - 1 Can of Hot AK Peanuts and 1 Can of AK Honey Roasted Peanut

When you create or edit a listing, look in the navigation tab for the tab that says Keywords:

When you click on the keyword tab you will see a field on the page that looks like this:

Fill in the search terms people search for when looking for this type of product. I suggest you use a keyword service. I use Merchantwords. Merchantwords is a service that is connected to Amazon that tells you they words people search for when you type in the name of the product. Merchantwords normally charges $29 per month for their service but I negotiated a deal for my readers where you can get it for only $9 per month if you use this link. The $9 price will stay in effect as long as you stay with the service. But if you drop out and attempt to get back in the price will go back to the full $29 per month.

There are a few rules you want to follow when selecting keywords.

  1. Do not reuse words that you used in the title
  2. Do not use quotation marks in search terms
  3. Consider using alternate spellings and synonyms (here are some examples - airplane or aeroplane, pants or slacks [or slax] and different spellings for common words Glamor - Glamour)

One last tip - IF an item is small and will fit into a Christmas stocking, be sure and make one of your keywords stocking stuffer. I checked Merchantwords last year around Christmas and the term stocking stuffer was searched over 1.2 million times per month in November and December. But when Christmas is over don't forget to go back to your listings and change that to something else for the rest of the year.

Now - I said at the beginning I would have some info that relates this to eBay. eBay looks for keywords in three areas

  • The title
  • The first 100 characters of the description (including spaces)
  • Item specifics

So these are the three places you want to place your best keywords. Unlike Amazon it is OK to reuse a keyword in both the title and first 100 characters of the description and in the item specifics. In fact its important. The more times the eBay search engines sees those keywords repeated in all three locations the better your chances of being found.

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4. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

As I pointed out above it's a little late to be sourcing for Christmas, but I always put a few new wholesale sources in each issue so these may be helpful to you for next year.

Remember if their website appears to be retail, just use the contact form to request wholesale info.

Morris Magnets has been producing quality gift and promotional products for more than 25 years. All of their acrylic and wood products are proudly made in America.

Samantha Grace Designs sells a line of well designed baby things to household items to travel must-haves.

Stephan Baby sells all kinds of baby items including blankets, plush, toys, clothing, bibs, silver, inspirational keepsakes and more.

The Maui Soap Company Specializes in handcrafted Hawaiian soaps. They also sell premium candles, lip balms, body lotions, bath bombs, body butters, body scrubs and gifts.

Haven Scent Handcrafted Soap & Bath has been creating products since 2002. Their line includes 2oz and 4oz soaps, loofahs, massage/body oils, sachets, lavender lotion bar, honey lip balm and room sprays.

Carmel Ceramica has a line of tableware that is best described as casual elegance inspired by the beauty that surrounds Carmel, California.

Beaucoup Designs offers a broad spectrum jewelry line that includes charms to go with necklaces and bracelets, earrings, rings, cuff bracelets, hair accessories, and necklaces.

3-D Sells a great line of western leather products

Fortune Products sells a wide range of decorative lights

Starlinks sells a large and very complete line of Fantasy jewelry

Thatís it for now. See you again right after Thanksgiving. And again in early December - but that will be our only December issue.

Skip McGrath
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News

P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.






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