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Work From Home - Sell Used Books on Amazon and eBay

Getting Out of Debt

The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ February 2017 ~ Volume 18, Issue No. 2

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

In This Issue:

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

  1. Getting Out of Debt
  2. Use Great Keywords to get Eyeballs on Your Listing
  3. How to Cut the Logistics Fees When Shipping from China
  4. Reasons Why Right Now is the Best Time to Start an Online Business
  5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart, is their amazing persistence." ~ Lisa M. Amos


Musings

Please Note - If you are interested in buying The Complete Amazon Marketing System , please do it now, because we are having a substantial price increase on March 1st of this year.

Please don't write me after March 1st. and ask for the old price -Sorry, but I cannot make any exceptions. It's just not fair to charge some folks the old amount, while others are paying full price.


ASD will be upon us soon. The ASD Wholesale trade show in Las Vegas will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 19 - 22 (Sunday - Wednesday). Here is the link to register . I am not speaking this year, but I am attending and can sometimes find time to meet with folks who are my readers (I can't guarantee that, as I also need time to attend the show, but I always try to meet with as many folks as I can). I don't start making appointments until I get close to the show, so please don't write me now asking for an appointment.

If you act now, there are plenty of great hotel deals (After you register, check out the hotel booking deals through the link on the registration page).

If you want convenience, the Westgate Hotel (formerly the LVH) is right next to the convention center (easy walking distance) and they have some good deals if you book soon. Call them at 1-855-516-1090 (You can get better deals by calling them instead of going online).

If you want a little luxury - I have a special deal with the Wynn and Encore Suites Hotel. You can get a luxury room at the Wynn Hotel - or a King Suite at the Wynn Encore (right next door to the Wynn). The deal for my readers is $149 per night - the regular price is $295 per night (Sunday through Thursday - which covers all the dates of the show).

Call 1-855-770-7171 and mention registration code JOYV before you register. This deal defaults to the Wynn Hotel, but if you call in the next week or so, and ask while you are on the phone, you can usually upgrade for free to a King Suite next door at the Encore (Which is where I always stay).

Trip Advisor just announced a special on Las Vegas Hotels -and if you book through them, you could win $15,000


Amazon has just updated their Associates (Affiliate) agreement. Amazon Affiliates residing in Missouri, Rhode Island and Vermont, will now be able to participate in the Amazon affiliate program.


Rumors about Amazon offering to accept PayPal, are just that -- Rumors. There have been several stories on business sites in the past week stating that Amazon and PayPal are close to a deal. I checked with a source at Amazon, and they debunked the story. PayPal has contacted Amazon -and pitched their service -but they have also done that with several large online sellers. As far as I can tell -the only thing Amazon will admit to, is getting a sales pitch.


I came across this somewhere on Facebook (Sorry, I can't remember who posted it) - It's a really funny video on being an entrepreneur.


eBay 2017 Financial Results are a Good news/bad news scenario. At 5% growth in GMV (sales) in 2017, eBay did finish ahead of Wall Street expectations -and therefore, their stock is up pretty well. But this was only a tad over 2016 results. As of this writing, Amazon has not yet released their 2017 financials, but Amazon's stock is up strongly as Wall Street expects strong sales and profits. I predict they will be way larger growth than eBay.

It does look like eBay has turned the corner on operations (Finally!), but has a long way to go to catch Amazon.

One good thing -eBay is sitting on almost $11 Billion in cash, that it could use for acquisitions or, to invest in operations. Most of that is sitting overseas to avoid 35% US taxes.

But, the new Congress says they will come up with a one-time tax reduction for the many companies in that situation. The tax reduction will be part of the new Corporate Tax Plan to lower corporate taxes in the US.


More competition on Amazon from China. Amazon has begun shipping products from Chinese merchant partners to its U.S. warehouses via their own ocean freight operation. Unlike many of the rumors surrounding this program -Amazon has NOT purchased its own ships. Instead Amazon is now handling the shipment of goods from Chinese retailers that sell on its platform, to its many US warehouses, so their goods can be sold via FBA

Previously Amazon left shipping to 3rd-party global transportation companies. Essentially, Amazon has become its own freight forwarder -but with only one customer - themselves. And their shipping rates are ridiculously low.

What does this mean for US, Japanese and European based FBA sellers? It is not good news. Chinese sellers used to compete with US sellers via the E-Packet program, whereby, Chinese sellers can ship goods to the US at ridiculously low prices such as $1.50 for a 2-pound shipment. When they were doing that, US sellers could still compete by using FBA, so unhappy customers could just return things to a US address, rather than spending a fortune -taking weeks to return an item overseas.

But now, with this cheap shipping service, Amazon is getting Chinese sellers to use FBA, which makes it harder for us sellers to compete. This is another hit on US and European sellers who use FBA. But, what can you do? Just like when you were a kid -If you play in someone else's sandbox -you have to follow their rules.


If you sell on several different platforms, this won't work for you. But, if you are like me (I only sell on Amazon and eBay), then you might take a good look at JoeLister. If you are selling on Amazon -and not selling on eBay, you might want to give it a try. Here is why you should do that:

  • Amazon clearly outsells eBay - We sell about 7 to 8 items on Amazon for every 1 we sell on eBay (eBay is a little better over the Christmas selling season). But, eBay still works out to about 15% of our business. Who wouldn't want to grow their business 15%, with very little effort.

  • When you use Amazon fulfillment, Amazon passes their low shipping rates onto you. This allows you to be more competitive on eBay (I use the low rates to offer free shipping).

  • eBay fees are somewhat lower than Amazon, so you make a little more money on each sale

With JoeLister, you can launch eBay listings direct from JoeLister in less than 1 minute. JoeLister does this by importing your FBA inventory (JoeLister now also handles Merchant Fulfilled inventory, but since I am 100% FBA, I haven't tried that).

What JoeLister does:

  • List in one click - Joe automatically creates your eBay listings with images, descriptions, and product info. Publish hundreds of listings in just one click -or modify your listing in less than one minute.

  • Quantity Synchronization - Joe will always keep your item quantities in sync between Amazon and eBay. You will never double-sell a product again. If your FBA inventory goes to zero, Joe will set your eBay listing to zero also.

  • Automatic Fulfillment - When your items sell on eBay (and the payment is received), JoeLister automatically creates a fulfillment order on Amazon (for shipment to your eBay buyer) for shipping.

  • eBay Tracking Info - Joe also automatically uploads tracking numbers to eBay as soon as Amazon releases them

  • Great Support - Need help, have a question, problem, or request? Reach JoeLister anytime by telephone or email.

So if you sell on Amazon and want to add eBay, I suggest you give JoeLister a try.


Last week I was interviewed on School for Startups Radio. They are also running a video I did with them last year. Here is the link .


Terapeak, the research tool I recommend instead of HammerTap, has just released their updated service, Terapeak 2.0.


Here are some of the new features:

  • Search auto-suggest and auto-complete.

    Data-driven suggestions help you to refine your searches based on real data, saving you time and generating new product ideas.

  • 40x faster searches and analytics.

    Massive speed increases in Product Research 2.0 mean results in seconds, with high-volume MySales users seeing speedups as well.

  • New global marketplaces.

    New marketplaces have been added including Spain, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among others.

  • UPC, MPN, ISBN, and eBay Product Identifier searches.

    Drill down to exactly the products that you want to study-without delays or keyword frustration.

  • Detailed shipping cost data.

    A redesigned shipping cost analysis shows free shipping percentages and per-transaction fees, for more shipping clarity to help you compete.

  • Full 365-day searches.

    Now you'll be able to see up to a year of data in a single search, eliminating repetitive searches and time frame limitations.

  • New, completely redesigned mobile apps.

    More powerful than ever, our new mobile apps-coming in February-offer fast searches, built-in bar-code scanning, and more.

    The Terapeak 2.0 has not been formerly rolled out yet -but they are releasing it to their customers. So if you sell on eBay -- Terapeak is the best research tool you will find today.


My webmaster, and co-author of my book on blogging, Marsha Perry, has some great tips for you in her monthly online newsletter . She also has a link to her new book, WordPress Website Owner's Manual.


Lets get started with this monthís articles:

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1. Getting Out of Debt

"Every time you borrow money, you're robbing your future self."
Nathan W. Morris

I couldn't have said it better than Mr. Morris. If you are -or ever have been, deeply in debt, then you understand the wisdom of that statement.

This article is somewhat long, but if you are seriously in debt, I suggest you stick with it and read it to the end.

My wife and I were once horribly in debt. The only thing that saved me over the years, was that my skills were in such demand, I kept getting raises, promotions and new jobs that resulted in a higher income year-after-year. The problem was, I was young at the time and figured that working in my field (International marketing and sales), would always be my savior.

Every time I got a raise, instead of paying off my debt, I would just go out and buy something else I wanted like a new deluxe stereo system -or a Porsche. (At the time I had a Lexus and a Porsche that I owed money on, and my wife had a 3-year old SUV that was paid off).

Then one day - I wasn't so young anymore, and those jobs began to become scarce. I was still earning a good income, but I could see problems on the horizon. My wife and I sat down one day and said to each other: "We have to get out of debt." At the time, our total debts were about $320,000, and we always seemed to come up a bit short each month.

And, once we started doing it, we liked the results so much, we decided to keep going until we were 100% out of debt -including our mortgage, which was just over $200,000 at the time. That was after a few years of paying the minimum each month.

Once we got started, we realized this was not only fairly easy -it was pretty painless as well.

There are several get-out-of-debt systems out there. Some of these so-called experts, charge as much as $300, or more, to get their system. I am going to give you my system for free.

Besides getting out of debt, we decided we needed a cash fund for emergencies -and later, for just when we wanted to buy something or go somewhere. So, in addition to getting out of debt, we also started a savings fund at the same time. This did add a couple months to the time it took to get out of debt -but the extra cash came in handy several times.

With the system I am about to show you, it took us about 2 years to get 95% out of debt, and we had about $4,000 in our cash fund. (We still owe about $14,000 on our mortgage -but that will be down to zero in 3 months).

OK - Here we go. As you read this you may be a bit skeptical, but trust me -this works, and since it's free, you have nothing to lose.

Much like booster rockets on a large airplane -I realized we needed some type of accelerator to get us started. Around the time we started this plan, my wife and I had just started selling on eBay (April 1999). At first, it was just a hobby, but eventually we went full-time and still do that (and Amazon) today.

We had been selling and earning a few hundred dollars a month -but our goal for the accelerator payment was $1000. So we started upstairs in a spare bedroom, and went through the whole house ending in the basement, grabbing everything that we hadn't used in the last six to twelve months. (We even took some toys our boys had lost interest in -and they never missed them).

We spent a couple days taking photographs and writing descriptions, started everything on eBay at $1 -no reserve in a 7-day auction. At the end of seven days, all but 3 or 4 items had sold -and instead of $1000 -we realized just over $2,600. We also had a few very large and heavy items we did not want to ship, so we sold those on Craigslist, which was very new at the time. This raised about another $450, bringing our total to slightly over $3,050.

Whether you have a garage sale, go to a street fair or flea market -or sell on eBay and/or Craigslist, you need an accelerator to get you started. This will become obvious as you see how the program works.

The theory behind my program is to prioritize - and pay off your smallest debts first.

Let's take a look at what we owed in debts, (The monthly payments are in parentheses):

$200,110First mortgage($1,950)
70,200Two cars($660)
15,0002nd Mortgage line of credit($310)
11,420Furniture loan($278.00)
9,100Sears card - kitchen remodel($290)
8,955Credit card #2($298)
5,215Credit card #1($165)
90Overdue gardening bill($90)
$320,000Total monthly debts

(These debts do not include monthly household payments such as food, utilities, telephone, etc.). At the time, we had a savings account of $229, which was for Christmas gifts for the kids (This was in June, and we were adding $20 month, so we would have $329 by December 1st).

Notice that I have arranged these in descending order of amount owed. This is your first step in this plan.

Once you have arranged your debts in order with the largest one first, we can get started. Notice that I have not mentioned interest rates. Many reasonable people (and some financial gurus) think you should pay off your highest interest rate debts first -but if you go that way, it will take a lot longer.

Now, look at your debts, and use your accelerator money to pay off the lowest debt first and pay the remainder of the next lowest debt. In my case, I had $3,050 in accelerator funds. So, I paid off the $90 debt to my gardener and applied the rest ($2,960) to my lowest amount credit card ($5,215), leaving me with a $2,255 balance on the credit card. My minimum monthly payment on my credit card was $165 which I was already making. Once I made the $2,410 payment, my new minimum was $74. Since I was already able to pay the $165 a month, I kept paying that amount on my card each month.

This way it took me 13 months to pay off that card. Yes, I know that is a long time, but keep reading -I am going to show you a way to speed that up.

Now, once you pay that first and second debt off -let's attack the third one. The monthly payment on that bill was $298. If I add the $165 from the last paid off debt to that one, I could now pay $463 each month. That works out to 19 months to pay off the next debt. As I said, that is quite long, but I am going to show you how to reduce that time substantially.

So, lets do that now.

There is an old truism that says: You can't budget your way out of debt. That is very true - but making some adjustments to your budget can really speed up the process.

In our case (The example I have used so far), we were $320,000 in debt including our mortgage. Our monthly take-home W2 income was $5,950 (that is not a bad income today -but it was a really good income in 1999). Our mortgage and other debt payments came to $3,951.

So after debt payments we had $1,999 left to pay for food, utilities, insurance and gas for the cars, entertainment and other expenses.

I am sure that most of you reading this, would not feel sorry for someone with that income. But, the problem was, we were used to living large at that income level -but it got to the point we were living paycheck to paycheck -and sometimes coming up short. Not to mention that we were contributing very little to our savings and retirement income.

So we took a look at our budget. One thing we liked to do was go out for a weekly movie and Pizza once a week. By the time we paid for movie tickets, drinks, popcorn and Pizza, for us and two kids, that came to approximately $65 a week. It was a bit of a bummer for the kids, but we cut our movie nights to one per month. We started renting from Blockbuster (remember them?) and making our own popcorn. Just doing that, saved us about $175 per month.

The next thing I did was take a look at our food budget. We were in the habit of going to the market and buying fresh food daily. By doing some meal planning and buying a week's worth of groceries at a time, we were able to save almost $50 week - or $200 per month.

The next thing I did was take a look at our cars. Since my wife's SUV was paid off -it was a no-brainer to keep that. I still needed a fairly nice car for work, so I sold my Lexus and my Porsche and bought a late model, low-mileage Infinity for about $18,000. I financed it for 5 years which brought my payments from $660 per month on two cars, down to $316 a month for one (a savings of $344 per month). We also saved money on insurance, oil changes, tires and maintenance since we now had one-fewer cars.

We kept looking to reduce other expenses and found a few small ones that added up to slightly over $200 and we applied all of that to savings.

Now, don't go crazy reducing your budget. You don't want to be miserable and start eating beans every night. The point is to look for things you can easily do without, and would not make you really unhappy if they went away.

Yes, I hated giving up my Porsche, but when I thought about it, I realized that I was being really selfish since I was the only person who drove it. Another reason was, my two boys were getting close to driving age, and I didn't want them driving it. (Giving a young teenager a super-fast sports car is a recipe for disaster)

But just looking at the big expenses, our total came to $719 per month. If you add that $719 per month to your payments on the first credit card, the time to pay that off, goes from 13 months to 3 months (I am rounding off for simplicity).

Now when you get to the second credit card with a balance of $8,955, you add up your budget savings $719, the amount you now pay $298, and the $165 you used to pay on your second card. This gives you a total payment of $1,182. Apply that to the $8,955 balance and instead of 19 months, you can pay that off in about 8 months.

I am not going to keep going with each payment, because I think you get the idea. We kept paying our debts down this way until all we had left was our mortgage. At that time, we were able to apply $3690 to each mortgage payment. After a few months, once the balanced was reduced, we were able to send in a full double payment each month. At that rate, you can pay off your mortgage pretty quickly. Depending on the length, interest rate, and size of your mortgage -double payments should pay off a 30-year mortgage anywhere from 8 to 12 years.

However, it is 17 years later and we still owe about $14,000 on our mortgage. Why is that you ask?

Well, there are two reasons.

  1. About that time, we started selling on eBay and we started using some of our new found cash to buy inventory to resell. (But -that is another story)

  2. A couple of years into our debt reduction, we got serious about saving money, so I started putting $500 a month into savings -and since my employer at the time matched 5% of my salary (Just over $7,500 a month), I raised my 401K contribution from 1% of my salary to the full 5% matching amount, which came to an extra $300 a month. $500 + $300 = $800, so that came out of our debt

These two things reduced the monthly amount we had available to pay, so our program still worked -it just took a little longer.

Let's review how this works:

  • Organize your debts in order of the total debt in descending order, with the largest one first

  • Create some way to accumulate an amount of cash -your accelerator (garage sale, sell on eBay, Amazon or Craigslist, volunteer for overtime at work, etc.)

  • Use the cash you raise, to pay off, or apply to, your smallest total debt(s)

  • Once you pay off that debt, use the money you were paying on the smallest debt, plus what you are already paying on the second-smallest debt towards that one, until it's paid off.

  • Now, repeat that with the next smallest debt and keep going until all your debts are paid off.

  • You can speed this process up by finding extraneous items in your household budget that you can easily do without.

If you are in great shape with your debts and only owe a small amount, and still have some disposable income, do this anyway. Just think how great it would feel to have your car(s) paid off, and to own your home outright with no mortgage.

So there you have it -my plan, including a real example, of how you can get out of debt -usually in less than 2 years. It's not that difficult. But the thing is, you can't procrastinate -you have to get started.

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2. Use Great Keywords to get Eyeballs on Your Listing

People find products on Amazon by typing terms and words into the search box on Amazon.com. For example, someone might type Womenís sweaters and get a really wide listing such as this one below:

But, most people have learned to narrow their search to specifically what they are looking for. Using the previous example of sweaters, it is more likely buyers will type a more descriptive term into the search box, such as: "womenís plus size cotton sweaters." That would bring up results like these.

The Amazon search engine currently looks for matching words, or terms, in four places when someone types something into the Search Bar on Amazon.

NOTE: Amazon recently announced that their search engine would only look in the title and Keyword Terms field when looking for a match. However, I have been following this, and as for now, Amazon is still looking in the following four places -although I don't know how long this will last.

  1. Item Title
  2. Bullet Points
  3. Product Description
  4. Keyword Terms created when a seller creates the listing

Let's look at each one.

Item Title - Make sure your title accurately describes what you are selling, but also be sure and include important keywords people search for such as brand, size, model number, gender and so on. Note - Amazon is now limiting the number of characters in a title (it's different by category)

Bullet points - Amazon gives you five bullet points you can fill out when creating a listing. This is another place you can include key words. The other important thing you can do with bullet points is list key information or benefits. (Studies have shown that well over 50% of buyers on Amazon, only read the bullet points -and never make it to the product description

Product Description -You can write up to 1000 words in most description fields. In some categories, the word count allowed is limited. I like to use the description to repeat high-ranking keywords (I will explain those below). Amazon's search engine is highly sophisticated. The keyword instructions in the Amazon help files say you should never repeat keywords, but I have found that if I repeat keywords from the title and bullets in the product description -my listings tend to come up better in search. As I said, Amazon disputes this -but my own personal experience -it works. (Again, this may change when Amazon finally rolls out their new search algorithms, but for now you can still use this technique.

Since I launch a large number of new or unique listings (from Private Label, New Products I source that are not on Amazon, and bundles), It is really critical that my new listings be found quickly. Otherwise, the inventory carrying costs and Amazon storage fees will kill me.

I am constantly creating new listings -so it is important to the success of my business, that my new listings be found quickly. Since I have never been that successful with keyword PPC advertising, I find that spending time finding, and using, good keywords, works just as well -and in many cases better -and, best of all it is essentially free, whereas ads cost money.

High Ranking Keywords

In the above topic of using keywords in product descriptions, I mentioned high ranking keywords. So let's explain what those are about. Keyword research tools show you the number of searches performed in a week, month, or year for a specific keyword, or keyword phrase.

Basically a high ranking keyword is one that ranks near the top in number of searches compared to other words or terms. There are many keyword tools on the market and they sell for prices from zero to several hundred dollars. Here are just a few:

Google AdWords (free if you have a Google account). AdWords is optimized for keywords used in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Keyword Eye (Free for the first 100 words searched, then it goes for $5.00 per month)

Keyword Spy is also free -but it is more aimed at finding keywords optimized for PPC advertising

Jaxxy (Several plans starting at $19 per month & going up to $49 month)

Keywords Analyzer is in my opinion one of the best tools on the market -but at $279 per month, its very pricy.

Merchantwords is optimized for Amazon (but works pretty well for eBay too). Single user is priced at $30 per month, but use this link for my readers who get it for $9 per month.

Of those on the list -I have used Google AdWords, Keywords Analyzer and Merchantwords, which I currently use. Google and Keywords advertiser are excellent tools if you do PPC advertising -but they are not designed for consumer shopping searches.

Merchantwords , however is designed for Amazon, and although no perfect -it works quite well 99% of the time. Here is a shot of a results page from Merchantwords.

I recently picked up a line of fashion jewelry toe rings and they were not already listed on Amazon, so I had to create several listings. The first thing I did was research keywords I could use in the listing.

Here is what I got:

Click here for a larger image

Merchantwords gives you the monthly search volume on Amazon. As you can see, the first keyword is simply toe rings at 155,600 searches average per month. This brings me to another good use for Merchantwords which is to use the tool for product research. When I was thinking of sourcing the toe rings, I checked here to see if there was enough search volume to make toe rings worthwhile to carry. At 155,600 that looked pretty good. But had that number been only 50,000 or less, I would have passed on this product. If only 2% of the people who search for toe rings end up buying, that works out to over 3100 toe rings sold per month on Amazon (more at Christmastime and in the summer months when sandal sales are up). That is actually better than a lot of products that are steady sellers.

Now let's go back to high density keywords. If you look at the results, the top 5 keywords are:

  • Toe rings
  • Toe rings for women
  • Infinity toe rings
  • Toe ring sandals
  • Toe ring silver

OK - since the word "toe ring" is already in my title, bullets and description -I am not going to use that again in my keyword field. Looking at the next one, "toe rings for women," with 41,000 searches, that is certainly one I would work in. Being a man, I assumed that only women wore toe rings, so I would not have thought of that one. That shows you the value of a keyword research tool.

The next one, Infinity toe rings, is interesting. None of the toe rings I am selling use the infinity symbol, but that may be OK. People searching for a specific design, may only be interested in that one design -But, these people actually use toe rings, and if my designs appear on the same page, someone looking at the page may see mine and think its very beautiful and click on it.

The next one, toe ring sandals is for a product in the shoe category. I could use that on the same theory as the infinity ring, but Amazon considers using a brand name you are not selling -or using a product from an entirely different category, to be keyword spamming -and can get you in trouble.

Now on to the last one "Toe ring silver." As it turns out, I am selling both gold and silver (plated) toe rings. If you look at the list,Gold toe rings have the identical search volume as silver toe rings, so I would use both of these for the appropriate product.

So, keyword density is nothing more than picking keywords with the highest search volume and working them into your listing.

Let's look at a few do's and don'ts when using keywords in listings:

Do's

  • Use a keyword tool when you create new listings. It never ceases to amaze me when my tool comes up with words and terms I never would have thought of.

  • If you are selling a brand name product, always use the brand name in the title. This is not related to keyword searches because Amazon already includes the brand when people search. However, the brand name is very tiny in the listing, and does not show up on the search results page. But if people are searching for a specific brand name, if you have it in the title, it will stand out.

  • Be sure to include keywords lower on the search volume list. If the top 2 or 3 terms are in the 60,000 range and you find another term lower down that is only 10,000, that is still 333 searches a day which is not bad.

Don'ts

  • Do not use keywords from products in a different category or brand you are not selling. For example, if you are selling food processors; when you do a search, you will find that some of the most searched terms are food network food processor,kitchenaid food processor and Cuisinart food processor. Since these brands have search volumes in the hundreds of thousands, it may be tempting to sneak in a keyword, but if you do, you could jeopardize your account.

  • Here is a little chart from Amazon that shows unacceptable keywords.

  • Do not repeat keywords in the keyword field in your listing that you have used in the title. This is the one place where it pays not to repeat a keyword.

  • Think in terms of keyword terms -rather than single words. Very few people type single words into the search field anymore. In fact, I should point out that in this article when I use the wordkeyword, I actually mean keywords and keyword terms.

  • When you are using a search tool such as Merchantwords , be sure and try several different phrases to start -as each different phrase gets you different results.

So there you have it -all my current wisdom on the topic of keywords. I might as well say that this is a controversial subject with many different opinions, and mine is really only one of them. So don't be afraid to do some more research on this topic and look for ideas from others. Just be wary of anyone that suggests ways to break the rules.

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3. How to Cut the Logistics Fees When Shipping from China

This article is a guest article by Evangeline Chang from ChinaDivision. ChinaDivision is a local company that provides one-stop warehousing, shipping and order fulfillment service for e-commerce online sellers. They also provide customized value-added services including assembly, customized packages and business inserts.


Because of the inexpensive and decent quality of made-in-China products, and the world biggest B2B platform Alibaba, a lot of entrepreneurs are now sourcing from China. But when it comes to global shipping, the logistics (Storage, shipping, paperwork, etc.) fees can be a problem. Logistics fees often account for a large part of the total cost in the sale of physical items. You have to do your best to cut them if you want more profit.

There are some ways to cut the cost.

Storage

Use China local warehouses. Almost every aspect of logistics will generate cost, so it's better to stock your goods in the right location. Consider the customer is worldwide, it's wise to stock the goods somewhere "near source", because it cuts the shipping fee from the manufacturer to the warehouse. Not only that, China local warehouses also have more cost-effective labor and other supporting services.

Choose more cost-effective warehousing services.

Outsourcing all the warehousing transactions can be a big hassle-saver, because the standard warehousing service includes all the pick & pack, insurance and inventory management. As I mentioned earlier, cheaper labor leads to cheaper manual operation fees, which can reduce some of the warehousing cost. But cost-effective doesn't have to mean low quality.

Good warehousing services must have these characteristics:

Your goods are covered by adequate insurance

With so many goods in stock, nobody can afford to lose them. But sometimes bad things happen and you have to be prepared. Buying insurance is one of the ways. Qualified warehousing service providers usually buy insurance for their entire warehouse. It means they can get big-client-prices and all of the goods in their custody are covered. Whether it's an earthquake, flood, other force majeure issues, or lost or damaged in the handling process, you can get compensation for your loss. It's way more cost-effective than buying insurance by yourself.

Stocking and storage fees

Inventory can take a big part of the budget for starters, if you have to keep some of your products in stock, it's better to choose the starter-friendly warehousing provider. Amazon FBA take monthly inventory storage fees. This can be tough for starters who only sell seasonal products-imagine you only sell holiday decorations before and after Christmas but still have to pay for the not sold out inventory in summer. It's better to seek help from warehousing providers who take a discounted price for small goods or first several month's free service.

Shipping

As soon as the goods leave the warehouse, you are into a more complex process, but there are still ways to cut the cost.

Shipping fee negotiation. The world leading express carriers like UPS, DHL, EMS, etc., all have discounted price for long-term customers, so it's possible for you to negotiate with them. If you have trouble with communication or just don't have the energy or time, you can have the third-party fulfillment organizations to negotiate for you, it's more likely to get a better deal because they have more goods to ship and normally a closer cooperation with the carriers.

Flexible shipping solution

The word "flexible" means after considering the location of the warehouse, it's better to have multiple options on the choice of transport route and express carriers, depending on the weight/volume of the products, the location of the buyer, and other actual situations.

Normally, there are a variety of real-time changing situations that occur in international transportation, because it involves the weather, traffic, strikes and sometimes policy changes of multiple countries or areas. You need work out more than one combinations to deal with different seasons, product types, shipping destinations, etc., or the shipping aspect may complicate your shipping when you should have the best sales.

Get expert's opinion on tax and import issues

Different countries or areas have different import policies and taxes. For example, if you import goods into the Netherlands from outside the European Union, you will usually have to pay import duties, VAT and in some cases excise duty. But if you import goods to Hong Kong, it will be duty free. So when you are choosing your transportation route or dealing with the customs declaration, it's better to seek for the expert's help. It can cut logistic fees if you know something about reasonable tax avoidance.

Profile

ChinaDivision is a China local company which provides one-stop order fulfillment service for e-commerce online sellers and crowdfunding project creators. The highly customizable services ranging from China warehousing, order fulfillment, global shipping to value-added services.

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4. Reasons Why Right Now is the Best Time to Start an Online Business

I am a believer in the notion that there is never a bad time to start a business, but there are some times that are better than others. The month of January is one of them. Let's look at some of those reasons.

  • If you incorporate, or form an LLC (which I strongly recommend), starting in January means you only have to do one set of taxes for the year. If you are a sole proprietor from January to June (or any month), then you will have to do a Schedule C., Statement of profit or loss, for the period from January to June, then do separate corporate (or LLC) returns for the second half of the year.

  • The period after Christmas is the best time of year to buy both from liquidators and wholesale providers

    Most chain stores liquidate their excess inventory in January. The liquidation and surplus field is so full of merchandise in January and early February that everyone is cutting prices and there are great deals to be had.

    A similar thing happens to regular wholesalers. Typically, manufacturers introduce new products just before Christmas. When they do this it means they have discontinued items they want to dump. But, these discontinued items are still very sellable -and often the wholesale price is way below the wholesale price you had been paying.

    Here is an example: I had one product that sold (wholesale) for $26.90 per case of 12. That worked out to $2.25 each. In the case, the only change was to the packaging and the size, (The new product came in a slightly larger size).

    I was completely out after Christmas and emailed my supplier to order two more cases. She came back to me, that the package design and size had changed. She said, if I still wanted the old design, she had 6 cases left and would sell them for $19 a case. That worked out to $1.58 each -well below the $2.25 I had been paying. So I told her I would take them all.

    That was not the only product that happened to. I had 4 other suppliers contact me with similar offers, which I took.

  • One of the most irritating things about having a corporation or LLC is renewing your paperwork each year. The last thing I want to do is deal with that from October to December when I am getting ready for the hot Christmas selling season. By forming your corporation in January, you can deal with this when you are not so busy.

  • It pays to start your business off on the right foot. January is not the slowest month of the year, because a lot of folks get gift cards for Christmas, but it is a lot slower than the Christmas selling season. This gives you time to research new products and plan your wholesale strategy. Valentines Day is February 14th, Mother's Day is May 14th and Father's Day is June 18th. These are great times to sell -and you can really build up some cash on these great selling days.

    Also, the summer selling season (Toys, beach ware and other summer related things including sports equipment, beach bags and so on), is about to begin, so you want to start sourcing those items in the March/April timeframe. This way you will have them ready to sell by May/June and all the way through July.

  • Just before January you are busy -and distracted, by the holidays. Getting Thanksgiving and Christmas behind you, frees up your time to focus and concentrate on starting your business.

So there you have it -My take on why January is the best month to start a new business -online or otherwise.

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5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Before we get started, lets look into some important upcoming wholesale sourcing dates. First of all, you can forget Valentines Day. If you donít have your products available for sale by January 10th. (About three weeks ago), then you completely missed the Valentines selling season.

We are now 100% FBA. I find it takes me about five or six weeks from the time, I order a product, get it delivered to me, and get it off to, and received by Amazon.

So, with that in mind, letís look at some upcoming dates.

  • Motherís Day May 14th
  • Fatherís Day June 18th
  • Independence Day July 4th.

For most holidays, you want your goods available for sale at least six weeks before the holiday. So, calculate 6 weeks plus the 5 weeks it takes to get products in and set the reminders to pop up in your computer about 11 or 12 weeks before the holiday.

One More Thing Ė I have pointed out before that many of the websites listed below are retail websites. That is because, many wholesale suppliers do not want retail customers seeing their wholesale prices. When you run into one of the retail websites, just use the contact form on the website to politely request wholesale or reseller information.

DS Secrets manufacturer a unique line of hair brushes and other hair care products.

Highland Graphics sells several unique products including coasters, trivets, cutting boards, clocks and many other decorative gifts with vivid reproductions of many top selling artists around the country.

Just Add A Kid sells over 1,000 different kids wear t-shirt designs, onesies, bibs, tote bags and socks.

Majestic Gifts Inc. makes and sells crystal and glass giftware. They have an engravable line of products recognized by the major promotional giftware companies.

HS Seashells have developed a reputation for carrying the broadest range of seashells, sea life and home dťcor products, as well as shell based jewelry, accessories and novelty items.

Bourbon Royalty Candle Co. sells soy candles that capture the aromas of the south! They also sell candles, room sprays, wax melts and fragrance oils, all hand-poured in South Louisiana.

The Artist Jay offers jewelry that is hand made in North Carolina using all recycled metals.

Orox Leather sells a wide range of unique leather fashion accessories from belts to handbags, tote bags, leather sandals and more.

Dr. Peats make sauces that include marinades, glazes and salad dressings. Their flavors include a Burgundy Wine Marinade, Praline Mustard Glaze, Chipotle Grilling Sauce, Herb Bacon Dressing, Parmesan Pepper Dressing, Chili Pepper Dressing, and Lime and Cumin Dressing/Marinade.

Swissmar sells a large line of kitchen tools and accessories all made in Switzerland.

HF Coors makes Dinnerware in the USA. HF Coors is a full-line manufacturer of commercial quality, restaurant grade, extremely durable and highly chip resistant ceramic dinnerware.

Patti Boo Inc. offers custom embroidery screen-prints and wholesale items including dickies, onesies, creepers, polos, hats, jackets and much more.

Globalis is a premier online distributor specializing in electronics, home goods, and closeouts deals. Their website is still under construction, but you can email them for wholesale product and pricing information.

Thatís it for now. See you again in a couple of weeks.

Skip McGrath
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News

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