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Great Trick for Getting Exposure for Your Products on Amazon

The eBay & Amazon Seller's News, January 2016 - Volume 17, Issue No. 1

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. Great Trick for Getting Exposure for Your Products on Amazon
  2. Protect Your Business - Security Tips for Online Sellers
  3. Could I Sell That? – The top 5 Rules for New Product Discovery
  4. Does It Make Sense to Incorporate Your Online Business?
  5. 2016 Sales Tax Compliance Checklist
  6. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Average people have wishes and hopes. Confident people have goals and plans." ~ Anonymous


This is our first issue for the new year. We publish twice monthly except for one summer month when we take vacation and in December. This issue begins our 17th year of publication. If you wish to unsubscribe for any reason, there is a link in the email you received that you can click on to do that.

The holiday selling season is behind us for another year. This one was one of our best ever. But once again (for the 2nd year in a row), I underestimated how much inventory to source. In 2014 we doubled our inventory amount.

This past year we tripled it -yet I still ran out of several top selling items as early as December 5th. Our three top seling products have been averraging around 25 units a day since mid November. (Two of the top three were private label so they were really profitable)

We had another ten or so products that sold about 8 to 10 a day and everything else sold at least one a day. Out of our 900 SKUs I did have about 30 to 40 items I will be dropping as they did not sell at all.

Tax time is approaching soon so we have two articles in this issue designed to help you.

As we go into 2016 I want to once again invite my readers to take a look at our online coaching membership site. Membership offers several benefits including:

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If you are interested in personal one-on-one coaching, we also offer that. Just call toll free 1-800-578-3449 to speak with one of our coaching consultants who will discuss our programs and budgets with you. We do NOT offer a canned coaching program. We tailor our programs to you, your experience level and your budget. And don't worry - you will not get a high pressure sales pitch.

February 15th is the cut-off for Long Term Storage Fees on Amazon, so you want to either recall or dispose of items that are in FBA for longer than 6 months.

To see your items, first click on Manage Inventory in Seller Central. Then look across the top of the page and click on the link to Inventory Dashboard. Now click on the link that says Manage Excess Inventory. This will bring up a report that shows all you inventory and how long it has been in storage. Here is a partial screenshot of what the report looks like. As you can see, I have several items I need to remove.

One strategy you can use until you remove the items is to put them on sale at ridiculously low prices. That will often net you more money than returning them and help reducing the inventory between now and Feb 15th.

Two New Books I recommend for my readers. The first one is available at very low cost in Kindle and at $9.99 in paperback. The second one is only available in Kindle.

  1. Merch by Amazon is Amazon's newest platform and it allows ANYONE to create print-on-demand t-shirts! All you need is an image, a little understanding of their platform, and you'll have your shirts available for sale on Amazon.com. Shirts are printed on demand which means that there is never any cost to you! You upload the image, you set the price (which sets your royalty), and Amazon will do the rest. (One word of caution - make sure the images you upload are not copyrighted by someone else as many of the images you get from the web are).

    You can make shirts with keywords and capitalize on pop-culture trends, or promote your shirts and send targeted traffic to Amazon. When your shirts sell, Amazon will make them, ship them, and give you your royalty! This book contains links to 12 password protected videos walking you through the Merch by Amazon platform. An additional 7 videos will teach you basic Photoshop.

    Merch Life: An Introduction to Using Merch By Amazon to Design Shirts and Make Money

  2. 25 items that sell out online eBay and Amazon FBA Thrift store profits yard sale Gold It will teach you when and how to go Garage Sailing also known as Yard sailing is going to be a powerful tool for you to make money online. It will also give you tricks that will get you items much cheaper than your competition.

    25 items that sell out on eBay and Amazon FBA Thrift Store Profits Yard Sale Gold: Make money This weekend .

Mother's Day is a major selling holiday on eBay and Amazon. This year Mother's Day falls on May 8th which means you want your listings and inventory available by April 1st at the latest.

Two services I use to help sales - Feedback Five and JoeLister.

Feedback Five is a third party Amazon service that helps you build your feedback and product reviews. FF sends out an automated email to everyone who buys something from you. It asks the customer if everything was OK with your order -and if not gives them a way to contact you so you can address the issue. It also provides a clickable link where the buyer can leave either seller feedback, a product review -or both.

JoeLister is a service that lists all of your Amazon FBA inventory and gives you the ability to quickly create eBay listings for those products (It takes about 30 seconds to create a listing). When the product sells on eBay, JoeLister automatically creates an Amazon fulfillment order so Amazon ships the product to your eBay customer. And it zeroes out the listing on eBay is your inventory falls to zero so you don't sell something you don't have. Lastly, once Amazon releases the tracking info, JoeLister automatically enters the tracking into your eBay account.

Full Disclosure - I have affiliate relationships with both of these companies, but I only recommend services I use and endorse. My affiliate relationship does not affect the price you are charged.

Lets get started with this month’s articles:


1. Great Trick for Getting Exposure for Your Products on Amazon

When you look at an item on Amazon, if you scroll down the buy box page you will often (not every time but most of the time) see an image that looks like this:

In this image, three of the items appearing there, are items I am selling. (the two ceramic knife sets and the push button salt and pepper mills). So how did I get these to appear?

First I went to one of my hot selling products – See the image below:

Next I went to my Manage Inventory page and looked up the push button salt and pepper. That looks like this:

Notice that the ASIN number B00UXW5I5M appears right below the title. Now what you want to do is copy the ASIN number and then go back to the page where my cone dip was listed and paste the ASIN into the Amazon search bar on that page. That looks like this:

Now hit the search button and the product will come up on Amazon. When it does be sure and click on the product page. Now you are done. Because someone searched for that second product from the original product page, Amazon will serve it up in the list whenever anyone looks at that page. Amazon's robot does not recognize that you are the seller of both products.

Note: There are two important things you need to know.

  1. This only works for products in the identical category. For example, I also sell jewelry. If I first look at a kitchen product then entered the ASIN for a piece of jewelry Amazon would not display that.

  2. You want to repeat this at least once a week to keep your item there. And if you can do this a second time from a computer at a different ISP, it will also keep the item there longer. (Hint - Take a laptop to Starbucks and do it from there.)


2. Protect Your Business - Security Tips for Online Sellers

If you are like me, you probably do a lot of your business online. I have accounts with vendors, banks -and of course sites like eBay, PayPal and Amazon. Protecting your accounts from seizure or hacking is vital to your business. Here are my tips for protecting your accounts.

  • This is probably the most important one. Make sure you use a strong password for all of your accounts and a DIFFERENT password for all of your accounts. If a hacker gets into your computer and breaks a password, they can look at your email and see which sites you do business with. If you are using the same password for all -or several, of your accounts then the hacker will have access to everything.

  • On eBay and Amazon use a Seller ID that is different than your business name. This way your suppliers and competitors do not know what you are selling and what your pricing is. (Note - both eBay and Amazon allow you to use a different seller ID than the business name you have registered and your seller ID does not have to be a DBA or registered business name).

  • The same goes for your About me page on eBay and your Seller info page on Amazon. Keep the information general. Do not put your address, city, or any info that could identify your business.

  • Avoid logging into sites if you are at a public Wi-Fi location. These sites can be easily spoofed. You think you are logged on with Starbucks but you are actually logged into some guy's laptop sitting in the front of the store, or a car in the parking lot, and he is capturing all your keystrokes.

  • Keep your computer's operating system and security software up-to-date.

    Although extensively tested prior to sale, software
can have vulnerabilities that are discovered only after
the software has been used in "real-world" situations. Developer-issued software updates will correct these vulnerabilities. Left uncorrected, they could allow the computer to be infected with malicious software that may steal information from the user.

  • Be careful of great deals delivered to you via unsolicited email, pop-up boxes or advertisements on websites and never click on any links in those ads or emails.

    Clicking on a link in emails, or popups, could infect your computer with malware. Malware can capture keystrokes, steal information stored on your computer, or while you use the internet. This, of course, could lead to identity theft or account takeover. If you're truly interested in a deal, independently visit the company's website and perform a quick search to ensure it is legitimate.

  • One last thing. If you get email from PayPal, eBay or Amazon that is not addressed to your name, it is a fake. All of these sites will only email you using your personal name, business name or username.

So follow these tips and you can prevent identity theft and account takeover and keep your business safe.


3. Could I Sell That? – The top 5 Rules for New Product Discovery

This is a guest article by Julius Haralampou at Trendosaur. They are offering a free 14-day trial of their product finding service. (Note - I am not an affiliate of this service)

It's happened to all sellers.

You walk in to a store. A particular product catches your eye.

Your Business Brain kicks in: "Maybe I could sell that?"

You go home and start looking for suppliers on Alibaba.com, searching for drop shippers, finding out the product dimensions, scanning Google to see where it's been sold, sales figures, price variation and user reviews.

Then you start running the math in your head…

Cost and Shipping $4, sell it for $7...Boom! 3 Shiny Dollars Per Unit!

Money Showers and High Fives right?

Well Maybe… Finding a product outside of your regular marketplace can be a profitable thrill and also a massive let down. It has the potential to earn you big cash while your competition all scramble to find suppliers. The potential downside is that you pour your precious time and money in to a product that doesn't sell at all.

Here are 5 things to consider before moving forward with a new product idea.

  1. Everyone Loves Their Own Ideas.

    Appreciate the fact that your judgment is slightly skewed by your desire to tell people that you found that product all by yourself. Systematically detach yourself from the idea that it was you who first discovered the product and ask yourself; If someone else suggested I sell this product, would I consider listing it?

  2. Do Some Real World Research

    Go back to the store you first saw the product at and simply ask them 'Are these selling well?' Most people who work in retail will see you as a potential customer and have no idea that you intend on selling the product. Build rapport with them first and then ask them casually. How well you build rapport will determine the honesty of their answer. That applies in all situations. Detectives even use it to get information out of suspects.

  3. Different Market, Different Consumers

    Check to see where the product has sold in a variety of markets. You may find that the product is crushing it on Groupon, but maybe there is no one buying it on eBay or Amazon? Your Market has a very unique demographic to any other online store. Use a website called Trendosaur to highlight how the product has performed all around the world in a variety of market places.

  4. Increase Your Prices

    The pricing of any product WILL be driven down over time as competition floods in. With the speed at which the internet moves, the market price may even halve within a few months. But if you find the product first and list it before anyone else - you indeed have the right to ask for a higher price. Look at USB Cufflinks, when they first appeared online, there were websites selling them for $150 a pair. Now you can't find them anywhere for more than $25.

  5. Stick, Move!

    Move at lighting speed. Don't mull over the decision for too long. If you have found a product that you are convinced will sell well in your market - don't wait around for someone else to validate your idea. Act like an Autobot and 'ROLL OUT!' By the time you've made the decision to list the product, your competition could be minutes away from discovering the same one.

    One way to make fast money in online retail is to benefit from first mover advantage. The faster you move, the less competition you'll have and the higher you can price the product. Keep your eyes open and your mind clear when choosing 'out-there' products and you're guaranteed to hit the lotto eventually. Good Luck.


4. Does It Make Sense to Incorporate Your Online Business?

Before I get started I want to point out that I am not any kind of tax expert and although I believe this information to be accurate, you should always check with a CPA or tax expert before taking any of my advice.

First let's look at types of corporations.

In general, there are two types of corporations - a regular corporation and a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). For tax purposes, a corporation can be filed two ways. If you file as a regular C-Corp, then the corporation pays taxes on its income and then you pay taxes on any income earned from the corporation. If you file as an S-Corp (which I suggest) then the corporation's income is passed through the corporation and filed as income with your personal taxes. This way you are not paying double taxes.

In this article when I mention a corporation or incorporating, I am also including an LLC. LLCs offer all the tax and liability benefits of a corporation but in general are easier to set up and operate. But note, if you set up an LLC, the S-Corp election at tax time is not automatic. You have to tell your tax preparer to file your taxes with the S-Corp election, or your LLC income will be taxed separately.

I am often asked which is best -a corporation or LLC. According to my accountant if you plan to sell your business some day then a corporation is easier to sell than an LLC.

There are two primary benefits to running your business through a corporation - Taxes and liability protection. As I said I am not a tax expert so I am not going to try and list the tax benefits, but believe me they are extensive. You should meet with your CPA or tax preparer early in the year to discuss how to run your operations to take advantage of the savings.

The other reason for incorporating is liability protection. Running your business 100% through a corporation can shield your personal assets from lawsuits related to your business such as a product liability claim or essentially any legal matter related to your business. And if your business goes totally bad, it can also shield you from personal bankruptcy (You can bankrupt the corporation instead of doing personal bankruptcy).

A corporation is considered a separate "person" under the law. So if someone sues you for something related to your business, they have to sue the corporation as long as you run it properly. Let's see what that means.

In general, it means that you cannot mix personal issues and transactions and business. Only use your corporate credit cards and bank accounts fir corporate business. Do not mix the two. Also make sure the corporation owns your vehicle and only use corporate funds to pay for gas and maintenance and have separate business insurance policies for your vehicle. Lastly, if you make any substantial changes to the way you do business, keep corporate minutes and always keep your filing status with the state you are incorporated in up to date. I know all of this sounds tedious, and it is a bit of work to set it all up, but once done, the amount of corporate admin work I do each year can be measured in a few hours.

When someone tries to sue you. The first thing the lawyer tries to do is pierce the corporate veil. They will subpoena copies of your bank, auto and credit card records and look for any personal usage. If they find any, then they can make a case with the judge to sue you personally instead of suing the corporation. The reason they want to sue you personally is that is usually where the real money is. Lawyers know that if a lawsuit is going badly against you, there is time to essentially empty out the corporation of assets before the case is judged or settled.

There are some other benefits to incorporating. One is that wholesale suppliers tend to take you more seriously and once you incorporate in most states; you can have an unlimited number of DBAs (Doing Business as) company names under one corporation. So, for example if you are selling both jewelry and kitchen goods (as we do) you can have two different company names registered under your corporate name - one for doing business with your jewelry suppliers and a different one for your kitchen items. The name of your corporation can be anything including your own name -for example Susan B. Smith, Inc. Then once you are incorporated you can register your DBAs under the corporate name such as Susan's Jewelry or Happy Valley Kitchen Goods. You open your bank account in the corporate name and give your bank copies of your DBA names and then you can deposit money in those names.

A lot of folks think that the size of your business is an issue but its not. Even a small business with only a few thousand dollars in sales can reap the benefits of incorporating and once you do it I think you will see that you can also grow your business faster. When I first incorporated back in 2001 we were still very much only part time on eBay. Our annual sales were under $50,000 with profits around $15,000.

If you are just starting out I think it makes sense to start out and set your business up as a corporation. January is a good month to do that because you get the whole year's business under the corporation and do not have to file two separate tax returns.


5. 2016 Sales Tax Compliance Checklist

This is a guest article by Author Mark Faggiano, the founder and CEO of TaxJar -a service that helps Amazon sellers with sales tax compliance issues.

I get it. Sales tax isn't the most fun or exciting aspect of your business. But it does nag at your mind, especially during January's "Sales Tax Perfect Storm" when almost every online seller has a sales tax return due.

To help you put a lid on sales tax, we've created this sales tax compliance checklist. Run though this list and you'll feel confident that your sales tax life is well under control.

2016 Sales Tax Checklist

  1. Determine Where You Have Sales Tax Nexus

    Merchants are required to collect sales tax from buyers in states where they have sales tax nexus. "Nexus" is just a fancy of way of saying "significant presence" in a state.

    You'll always have "home state" sales tax nexus (i.e. you need to register for a sales tax permit and collect sales tax from buyers in the state where you're based.) But other business activities can create nexus activities in other states.

    Common activities that cause nexus include:

    • A location - an office, store, warehouse, or other facility
    • Personnel - an employee, contractor, salesperson, installer, etc.
    • A drop shipping relationship with someone in the state
    • A 3rd party affiliate located in the state
    • Temporary business activities - such as selling at a craft fair or trade show
    • Storing inventory in a state

    That last one is what can really trip up Amazon FBA sellers. Most states with Amazon fulfillment centers consider inventory stored in their state to create sales tax nexus. Follow these steps to determine if you have items stored in an FBA fulfillment center in a state (and thus have nexus there.)

  2. Register for Necessary Sales Tax Permits

    If you do find that you have sales tax nexus in a new state, your next step is to be sure you're registered for a sales tax permit in that state. Here's a list with step-by-step guides on how to register for a sales tax permit in every state.

  3. Cancel Sales Tax Permits You No Longer Need

    You may also no longer have nexus in a state. Maybe a remote employee left the company or you stopped storing goods in a warehouse in another state. You can contact that state's taxing authority and tell them you'd like to cancel your sales tax permit. Most states will allow you to cancel after filing a final sales tax return. Others might have "trailing nexus" which requires that you continue to file for a limited period of time.

  4. Double Check Your Sales Tax Filing Frequency

    Some states will actually change your sales tax filing frequency. For example, many states will put new sales tax filers on a monthly filing basis but then change you to quarterly or annual filing once they've determined how much sales tax you remit on average. Check any communications from your state's taxing authority to make sure your sales tax filing frequency hasn't change. If you are a small seller, some states will even honor requests to file less frequently. Just contact them and give it a try!

  5. Ensure You're Collecting On All Channels

    Multi-channel selling can be tough. Not only are there inventory issues to contend with, but also you need to make sure you have sales tax set up correctly on every channel. If you have sales tax nexus in a new state, for example, you need to make sure you're collecting sales tax from buyers in that state across all of your sales channels. Double check all of your platforms just to be sure your sales tax collection is set up correctly.

  6. Automate Your Sales Tax Life

    And last but not least, make sure you're not spending too much time on sales tax! Sales tax is an administrative hassle, not a profit generator; so don't let it suck up your productive hours. The first of the year is the perfect time to begin using a sales tax automation solution to put a lid on the hassles of sales tax once and for all!

Do you have questions or comments about sales tax? Start the conversation in the comments or visit us at SalesTaxCommunity.com.

TaxJar is a service built to make sales tax compliance simple for eCommerce sellers. Try a 30-day-free trial of TaxJar today and eliminate sales tax compliance headaches from your life!


6. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Remember that some of the company websites listed below may not be the wholesale web portal. If you don't see wholesale information, use the contact form and send them an email like this:

Dear Sirs

I am a retailer located in (name of your city). I am interested in carrying your products. Do you have a rep firm or distributor in our area or can we work with you directly?

Here is our business information

Name of company



State sales tax (or resale) number


Your name

Notice that I say I am a "retailer." I don't mention eBay or Amazon or drop shipping, or say I am an online retailer. If they ask me, I will tell them the truth, but I usually do not volunteer that information.

OK - On to our new wholesale sources

888 Lots - I have been doing business with 888 Lots for several months now with great results. Here is an email I recently received from their CEO, Albert

We have been electronics distributors for the past 15 years. In February of 2015 we started the liquidation business called 888Lots. In the short period since then we learned a great deal from our customers. We reacted quickly and made a number of changes to our platform. Below are just a few of these:

  • PayPal and Credit Card Payments
  • Subscription plans giving you access to a multitude of features.
  • Different types of lots specifically selected to meet the needs of all customers - Standard, Premium, Mystery, Branded and the special Lot of the Day.
  • Individual items - a catalog full of highly profitable items, created for customers who prefer buying single items instead of a full lot.
  • The Negotiator - a tool which helps you negotiate the price of each lot.
  • FB8 Calculator - our own profit calculator, giving you a real time estimated profit after your and AZ fees, helping you make smarter buying decisions.
  • Behalf Financing - we partnered with Behalf to give you the opportunity to get financing effortlessly, directly on our website, for up to $50,000.
  • Links to AZ and Camel - you can research each item directly on the Amazon and CamelCamelCamel websites.
  • Jungle Scout - we teamed up with the industry leader in Az product research - Jungle Scout, in order to bring you accurate monthly sales estimates for each of the Az items.
  • Lotathon - a special event with highly profitable lots, discounted prices and a flat shipping cost.
  • Watch buttons - watch your favorite Lots and Individual items for any price drop.

Other great features to ease your buying and selling experience: Detailed Exportable Manifests, Different Sorting Options, AZ Seller Tool, Price Drop Email Notifications, Restricted Item Notes and more…

We currently have thousands of pallets in stock and we have streamlined our processes. As we start 2016, we will continue to adapt and improve. During the first few months we will have the ability to purchase a massive amount of inventory and we need your help selling it.

With Internet sales breaking new records, we expect a strong 2016. Please check out our site if you have not done so already. If you have, check out our updates. Whether you are a large customer or you are just starting out, we value each and every one of you - feel free to start small. We believe that this is a journey that we can go on together.

Wishing you a profitable 2016!

Albert Palacci

CEO 888Lots

After Trade shows, Wholesale Merchandise Marts and Design Centers are one of the best places to source wholesale merchandise to sell online. They are essentially showrooms that look like retail stores so you can see and handle the merchandise. The only difference is you can’t pay and walk out with it. Instead you place orders and they ship the goods to you.

To get in you will have to prove you are in business so you will need typically 3 things:

  • Business cards
  • Checkbook with your business name
  • State sales tax or resale number certificate

Here is a link to most of the merchandise marts and design centers in the United States

The Great Bag Company sells handbags fabricated of Fashion-Flex™-a proprietary polymer-Model M. withstands any fashion forecast. Model M. is stylish, resilient, light-weight, and patent-pending.

Vita Craft Corporation manufactures quality cookware for the home. They recently developed a new line of induction capable commercial cookware for home and the industrial kitchens.

Jade Yoga makes a complete line of Yoga related products

Goodbyn makes lunch boxes and accessories that make lunch prep a snap and eliminate plastic bags and drink boxes. Kids love them because they're colorful and fun, parents love the ease of use.

Northern Promotions LLC is a wholesaler of framed and matted art, photo frames and frame mattes.

Reina Esperanza Company is a wholesale manufacturer of Pillow form inserts. They also manufacture religious rosaries and other rosary related products.

Patchmagic is a designer, manufacturer and wholesale distributor of quilts , bedspreads, coverlets, pillows, sheets, dustruffles, rugs and other accessories.

Solid Apollo is a company that manufactures, distributes and sells high-end LED Lighting and LED lighting Control Systems. They offer a wide selection of LED lighting Products and Services.

Crooked Brook has a partnership with a major manufacturer and importer of fleece products, that gives them access to the largest inventory of high quality fleece blankets in North America.

Scales Galore is a wholesale supplier of scales of all kinds, including baby scales, bathroom scales, scales for food service, education, industrial uses, and more.

See you again in about two weeks.

Skip McGrath
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News

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

 The Online Seller's News is the oldest & largest newsletter for eBay, Amazon & Online Sellers. Get news, tips, tricks & learn online selling strategies.
New Wholesale Sources in every issue.


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