New Wholesale Sources from 2017 Trade Shows
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ March 28, 2017 ~ Volume 18, Issue No. 5
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
Aweber is an email marketing and newsletter service for online sellers. Their biggest value is the anti-spam techniques they demand from their customers, and their instructional info, tips and advice. If you are at all interested in email marketing, or setting up a newsletter, give them a look.
There is a great little help page on why Amazon restricts some listings. Although I am pretty experienced, there are some things on there I didn't know. First log into your seller central page, then use this link.
OK - I know this has nothing to do with eBay, Amazon or online marketing, but sometimes I like to throw a personal aside into the newsletter.
I like to listen to music while I write. I had iTunes set to a Genius mix, and it just played Johnny Cash & Willy Nelson performing Ghost Riders in the Sky. Ghost Riders in the Sky is considered by many to be the best country (or cowboy) song ever. I agree -and the version by Johnny and Willi is the best -with the Blues Brothers version, a close second! I don't know why, but this kind of music helps inspire me when I write.
eBay CEO David Winig, gave an interview where he opines that the last 4 th Quarter, (Christmas selling season) was a turning point for major retailers -and some of them may not survive 2017. One of the things he noted was: "Department stores J.C. Penney, Macy's and Sears have collectively announced hundreds of store closures slated for this year. Amazon, meanwhile, had its best holiday shopping season ever." You can read about the entire interview at this link . Since I read this, I saw a news story that Sears has filed a statement with the SEC that they may not be able to continue in business this year.
I mentioned this in the last issue, but still getting questions about it. So please note:
Are you looking for a past newsletter article -or an article from the previous issue?
The most recent (current) issue of this newsletter is always on this page - (The page you are reading now).
Whenever I come out with a new issue, the previous issue is moved to my archives, located here.
If you look in the archives you will see both the current issue, and all of the previous issues, for the last three years.
One of the most common and vexing problems Amazon sellers have, is other sellers camping on your listings. When you create a new listing (for a unique product, PL product or a bundle) Amazon requires any seller who uses your listing to deliver the exact items (including brand and packaging) you are selling in your listing.
One way to differentiate your listing is to include a free bonus of an eBook (PDF File). If you are selling kitchen or food related items, your eBook could be a collection of recipes. Or say, you were selling bird houses or bird feeders -you could write a short eBook about "How to attract song birds to your yard."
What ever you decide to do, be sure and copyright your book. If another seller is offering your same book, then you can file an intellectual property violation with Amazon. (I cover this in more detail in article 4 below).
My friend, John Bullard who runs the Amazon fulfillment service I use , has just started an Amazon Refund service called Seller Extensions to compete with Refund Manager. You can find information here
Lets get started with this month’s articles:
The wholesale sources featured in this issue are from two of the largest and most important wholesale Trade shows in the US: ASD Las Vegas and the Chicago International Home + Housewares show.
NOTE : Many of these websites are either retail sites -or manufacturer's sites that do not show any wholesale information. The reason for this is that most wholesalers do not want the general public to see their wholesale pricing.
When you run into this, simply use the website Contact Us form to request wholesaler information. In my email, I usually say: I am a retailer located in (Name of nearest large city). I ask if they have a sales rep in my area, or if I may purchase directly for resale. Make sure your email is polite and businesslike -and do not mention eBay, Amazon or drop shipping. (If a wholesaler asks me if I sell online -I always answer truthfully -but I don't volunteer that information.
So let's get started:
Chapul is a line of Protein Bars that were featured on Shark Tank. Don't freak out -but the main ingredient is Cricket flour. Yes -they do sell -in fact quite well. The website is retail, so use the contact form to ask for wholesale information.
Howard Imprinting is not really a wholesale source -rather it machinery that you can use to make personalized or your own brand name products. At first glance the machinery seems expensive -but look at it over a long time horizon, as a way you can create new products for years.
Autotec Sales Inc. sells a complete line of remote control boats, cars, RC toys, hovercraft and helicopters.
The Simp-Q Photo Studio is a product you may want for your own business -but the real opportunity is to sell these to eBay, Amazon and website resellers. There is one seller of these on Amazon who is merchant fulfilling -but none in FBA.
Avanti is a high-end jeweler of unique items they design. The products are made from real (not plated) silver and gold, diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones.
Fusion Global sells a complete line of digital scales from small gold & gem scales, to kitchen scales and up to postage & package scales.
Alvantor sells the Travel-Lite camping and play tents that are suitable for all ages for use at camp sites, beaches, parks, or just in the back yard.
The American Gift Company sells area specific souvenirs from all over the country and around the world.
Amrapur Overseas Inc. sells a wide line of products for bed, bath, bedroom, throws and blankets and window coverings.
Amuse Cosmetics - There are some problems selling cosmetics on eBay and Amazon. There are a lot of intellectual property complaints and many of the popular brands are restricted. This is an opportunity for a new brand of cosmetics by Amuse.
AP&P Battery is the master importer and distributor of Panasonic Batteries
Architect Brands sells a wide range of silicon and plastic cooking gadgets, utensils and tools.
One of the most interesting pavilions at the International Home +Housewares show was the Smart Home Pavilion. The future of housewares is quickly moving toward the smart home. Here are a few exhibitors from the Smart Home section.
Loki Smart Meat Thermometer offers only one new product at the moment -but has more on the way. Loki is the smart WiFi meat thermometer designed to help track the main course to a perfect finish, while YOU enjoy the game or your company.
Loki monitors and records your meat's progress and sends notifications through the Loki app on an iOS or Android mobile device when your meat (or meal) is ready. Run out of fuel in your grill? Need a suggestion for cook times, temps or recipes? Loki knows... and will tell you through the app.
Spectrum Brands Inc. sells Pet, Home, Garden and kitchen items including many connected smart home products.
Char-Broil, Inc. sells a wide range of lower cost grills and smokers that are competitively priced with the famous name brands.
Wink sells a smart home platform that brings together hundreds of products - including small appliances and famous brands home items.
Anova Culinary sells probably the best Sous Vide cooker on the market
Bulq Overstock and liquidation has a special going on now of small lots from stores such as Sur La Table, Shark, Hampton Bay, Smith & Hawken, American Standard, Kohler and more.
Art + Cook has a very nice (and unique) line of excellent and well-priced kitchen gadgets and tools.
Lightstart has one of the nicest lines of flameless candles I have seen. The individual selling price of there is quite low, so you will want to sell them in bundles or multipacks.
World Kitchen sells several famous brand kitchen products including Chicago Cutlery, Corelle, Corningware, Pyrex, Revere, Snapware.
Onophilia sells a wide range of kitchen utensils and tools with a major focus on Wine accessories.
Picklehead sells a new type of knife cutting finger safety tool. They sell a professional metal version now but are coming out with a retail home cook plastic version soon.
Picnic-Time, as you can imagine from the name, sells a complete line of picnic tools, kits and gadgets
The Cooper Cooler sells a wine and beverage cooler that is the fastest on the market
W & P Design sells a very unique and well-designed line of bar products. These are things you haven't seen anywhere else.
The Negg is a fun, clever and well-designed egg peeler that makes peeling eggs fun and efficient.
First Edge Knives and Tools sells a very complete and top quality line of pocket knives, Special Forces knives, tools and all Made in The USA.
If you don't already have a blog or website -I am not suggesting, you go out and get one to start doing this. But, if you already have a blog -or an ecommerce website that is just not delivering, this could be an option.
Before I start -let me tell you what happened to me.
About ten years ago, I made a deal to sell the EZ Cube line of Photographic Light tents. They were a quality product and perfect for eBay sellers to take listing photos. My deal was he would drop ship direct to my customer and give me 45% off of retail. I also negotiated to be the exclusive seller on eBay -and I could sell from my website and/or Amazon -but I did not have an exclusive on these venues. In fact, I would be competing with the manufacturer on the web -and on Amazon.
So I set up a website with the URL www.ezauctiontools.com. Despite the competition, I did great on my website, and not great -but OK, on Amazon as well. But my website was getting lots of traffic (and sales), and was more profitable than eBay or Amazon because I did not have to pay any listing or selling fees to eBay or Amazon.
That deal went on for several years and was highly profitable until an email from the manufacturer arrived one day telling me he was gutting my discount from 45% to 20% due to competition. As you can imagine, with only 20% margin, it was no longer profitable to sell on ebay or Amazon. I could still sell on my website, but my attitude is "I don't even get up in the morning for a 20% margin." There are so many better opportunities out there, that it doesn't make sense to work for 20% before fees.
But now I had a problem. I had a website that had cost me about $500 to set up and my hosting was running about $12 a month. You may have heard the advice that as an entrepreneur, your job is to turn problems into opportunities -or put another way, "when handed lemons -make lemonade."
OK - so that is what I would do. The first thought that occurred to me is that I already had a website with a Google 4/10 rating and a fair amount of traffic. So why not turn it into an affiliate website designed to earn income -and I hoped would replace the $500 to $600 a month income I had been making from the site.
Most of my traffic was from people looking for general digital photographic advice related to creating photos for eBay, people looking for advice and/or, shopping for light tents. The obvious answer for the light tents was Amazon. I was already an affiliate of Amazon, so I searched for good quality light tents on Amazon and set them up on my web site with affiliate links. Here is a screenshot of one of page of my light tent listings.
The way the Amazon affiliate system works is when someone clicks on one of those products, they are taken to the product listing buy box on Amazon. If they buy that product (or any product from Amazon within the next 24 hours), then Amazon pays you a commission. The commissions are somewhat small -but they do add up. My monthly payment from just this one website is several hundred dollars (and near Christmas those checks are over $1,500 a month).
Another option is Google AdWords. This is a program whereby Google scans the copy on your pages and serves up pay-per-click ads related to the copy (content on your site).
Here is screenshot of one of those ads.
(OK - I don't know what a Navy Seal flashlight has to do with digital light tents -but Google must know what they are doing because they send me a nice check every month).
The way Google AdWords works is when someone clicks on an ad on your website, they are charged a fee by Google -and as the website owner, Google pays you a percentage of that fee. So, besides, Amazon, Google gives you a good way to add to your income.
Having said that -don't paper every inch of your blog with ads. If you do, you will lose readers very fast.
Choosing other affiliate programs
Amazon and Google Ads are simple and easy to add income to a blog, but there are literally thousands of affiliate programs available. When selecting an affiliate program, there are a few things to look for:
So there you have it. If this is really something you are interested in, then take a look at my training course, Make Money with The Amazon Affiliate Program .
My wife, Karen, and I, started selling on eBay in 1999. By that time eBay was 4 years old. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar in his San Jose, CA living room in September 1995. Originally, eBay was a person-to-person marketplace for the sale of goods and services.
In 1998, Pierre hired Meg Whitman. Meg was a Harvard Business School graduate and was an executive at PepsiCo at the time. Meg brought in senior managers from companies such as PepsiCo and Disney, to change the image and strategy of the company.
Meg changed the image of eBay from used, vintage and collectibles in the auction format and moved towards new merchandise that stressed fixed price selling to raise the Average Selling Price (ASP). That continues today. But, eBay has been slowly moving back towards its roots and once again pushing auctions selling used, vintage and collectibles. I guess this is an example of the old slogan, "Whatever comes around, goes around."
When Karen and I started on eBay -it was still fun. eBay was a community and buyers and sellers used to chat with each other by email. eBay did not yet own PayPal, yet PayPal was the preferred method of payment for eBay transactions.
In those days, PayPal had an interesting method of growing their business. If you recommended another eBay member to join PayPal -and they did, then PayPal would pay you $10 and the person you recommended $10 also. (A few years later they reduced that to $5.00).
After Meg Whitman left, eBay turned to the Bain Company Mitt Romney's old company, The Bain Group and brought in John Donohoe -who immediately brought in other Bain and ex-Bain people -and stacked the Board of Directors with current and former Bain people. (Before I get into this next part -I have to state this is my considered opinion).
Unfortunately, John Donohoe, was a leader without vision, who tried to make eBay into Amazon. But he didn't have the skills or vision of Jeff Bezos -and eBay just ended up as a mess.
Finally, Donohoe left, and eBay brought in Devin Wenig. Devin recognized two things
That is kind of like what eBay is now. A hodge podge of new merchandise at fixed price and other traditional goods in the auction format.
So, the original question, "How has eBay Changed from The Old Days," has been answered -but what does that mean for sellers?
I think it means three things:
So there you have it -my take on the new eBay.
Amazon has made several changes to its review policy over the last year or so. Just a few months ago, Amazon changed its policy once again to restrict not only what you can do -but what you can say, in email to customers asking them to review an item they bought from you.
Here are some tips to assure you comply with the new guidelines (policy):
Here is an email along the lines of what I use.
This message meets all of Amazon's new policy guidelines, and shows that you not trying to trick the buyer into leaving only a positive review.
Another thing you can do is use your buyer email to deliver a free bonus in an eBook format. Here is some text I received on a recent purchase (Note: this is only part of the email).
Why do that? This is a great way to differentiate your listing and keep people from camping on it unless they buy the copyrighted document from you (which you should not sell).
So remember: Follow Amazon's review policy and protect your account. Try to be clever and game the system, and you put your seller account in danger.
I have written about Amazon selling tips before, but still get questions. So, let's take a look at a few ways to increase sales -and profits, on Amazon.
I know there are a lot more -but these are the important ones that come to mind.
As Amazon continues to grow, entrepreneurs are discovering just how profitable Amazon can be.
Starting any new business can be difficult, risky and time-consuming. Most entrepreneurs prefer a running business they can grow, to one they have to start from scratch.
First of all - is this possible? With Amazon (unlike eBay) -it is not only possible, but Amazon will help you do it. (Selling an Ebay business is very difficult, but can be done. We will cover that in a future article. In the meantime, here is a link to a blog post about selling your eBay business ).
OK - back to selling your Amazon business
The first step is to get an instruction letter from Amazon. To do this, open a ticket with seller support that says:
Getting this email from Amazon support will put a notation in your account that you "may" sell your business, (and what information Amazon will need). That is a good thing because it gives your buyer confidence that they are buying legitimately.
As long as your account is in good standing, Amazon will send you the letter.
Here is some of the information you will have to change, but you will have to log in and enter this information for the buyer: (The buyer should supply this information).
Other things you can do to help increase the value and make the sale go smoothly
Determining Your Value:
There are a lot of factors that go into determining the value you will ask for. Some of these may include barriers to entry, the nature of your products (how competitive they are, your average selling price, etc.), brand and/or trademark ownership, feedback and product reviews, your completion and your margins.
In general, (and this can change quite a bit depending on all of the factors and considerations) your business is worth about 3X to 6X net profits. For example, if your net profit (Gross profit minus expenses) is $200,000, then the sales value would be between $600,000 and $1,200,000. That obviously depends on a lot of factors such as those mentioned above.
Even a break even, or slightly unprofitable Amazon business, has some value if your account is in good standing considering your feedback, late shipment percentage, A to Z claims, and the number and quality of your product reviews.
If you have excellent account metrics, but little or no profits, then you should at least get an amount equal to your annual sales. So, if your annual sales were $200,000, then most likely you could sell the business for that amount.
That’s it for now. See you again in a couple of weeks.
P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.
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