Importers - Donít Confuse UPS, DHL and FedEx with Air Freight
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ April 26, 2017 ~ Volume 18, Issue No. 7
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
If you are interested in personal one-on-one coaching, we offer an excellent program. Just call 1-800-578-3449 (toll free) and speak with one of our coaching consultants who will discuss our programs and budgets with you.
We do NOT offer a canned coaching program. Our program is tailored to you, your experience and your budget.
And don't worry - you will not get a high pressure sales pitch.
The 2017 update to The Complete eBay Marketing System is now available on the members-only website that we asked you to add to your favorites when you bought your system. You will find the update in the Bonus Section.
Bank Account Fraud targets Amazon SellersThere has been a lot of news about fraudsters targeting Amazon and Amazon buyers primarily with credit card fraud. Lesser known are, aggressive efforts that target seller's bank accounts registered on Amazon. Using a combination of hacking and email phishing, the fraudsters are changing the bank account you register with Amazon, so on the next payment date the money Amazon sends you will go into their bank account instead of yours.
Your only defense against this is to change your password regularly -and NEVER use the same password on Amazon, as you use with your bank account and credit card accounts.
I told you about personal coaching above. We also have an Online Coaching program. Please take a look at our online coaching membership site - Online Selling Coach.
Membership offers several benefits including:
On May 11th, CJ Rosenbaum of Amazon Sellers Lawyer will host a conference with industry leaders about The State of Amazon's Brand Gating Policy & Protection. What's True, What's False & What Sellers Should Expect going forward? You can register here .
This was originally a Facebook post by one of my readers. I asked him if I could share it with you and he agreed.
Thanks to Jeremy Bass of Cybertron Electronics for letting me share his story.
Feedvisor is the company I use for re-pricing - they have the best algorithmic re-pricer on the market. They have just published a really interesting study on the Amazon State of the market 2017. The study has some very useful insights for Amazon Sellers. Click here to read the study.
Be careful responding to Facebook messenger posts. I have heard several reports this week that scammers are using FB Messenger to put Ransom-ware on your computer. I honestly do not know if this is true, but it could be a case of, "Where there's smoke, there is fire."
Amazon is promoting Amazon's Garage. Amazon Garage is a place on Amazon where you can view, manage, and find parts for your saved vehicles. Apparently, they are buying, or somehow getting information, on new car sales, because Karen and I recently bought a new car -a very low mileage used Ford Edge.
When I went to My Garage page on Amazon, it had a photo of our new vehicle and information pre- filled, so I could go straight to search. OK - this is pretty cool for sellers who sell auto parts and accessories, but I find it sort of scary that Amazon can get this kind of personal information. We are in the process of building a new home. I wonder how Amazon will get that information and market to us.
I am in the habit of cruising some of the free classified sites because I occasionally find an item I can get for free and flip on eBay for a nice profit. Sometimes you see some really strange posts. I decided to take a pass on this one.
eBay First Quarter Results fail to impress again. eBay US sales, what they call (GMV) Gross Merchandise Volume, increased a measly 5% in the first three months of 2017 to $20 billion. Overall revenue for eBay, Inc. grew only 7% to $1.8 billion. Earnings (Non-GAPP, Non Diluted fell 2%.
Meanwhile, Amazon's results won't be out until next week -but analysts expect sales growth to exceed 23% for the same period.
Lets get started with this monthís articles:
I have been selling on eBay and Amazon a long time, and importing for the past 4 years, but I still learn something new every day.
Whenever I wanted something quickly from China -I would almost always tell my rep in Hong Kong to send the items DHL. Well, DHL is a great service, if you want something overnight or in 2 days. However, if you are willing to wait 4 or 5 days, you can use ordinary air freight which is much cheaper!
When I order a new product, or re-order an existing product from China, what I usually do is send part of the shipment air freight and the rest by sea.
Here is an example: A few weeks ago, I reordered an item that I usually buy in quantities of 1000. This product sells about 3 pieces per day. I ordered 200 by air which will last me approximately 66 days. I had the rest shipped by sea.
Typically, my sea shipments take about 40 to 49 days, so that leaves me with a nice safety margin. When I use air freight, my unit cost to ship is about 95¢, but by sea, this drops to under 40¢.
Now to the difference between standard air freight and services like DHL and UPS or FedEx. Remember those companies are package services that specialize in rapid delivery.
The last time I shipped those same products via DHL, my cost per unit was $1.40 versus 85¢ by normal air freight. I am not complaining about the cost of DHL - its just a fact that DHL (and UPS and FedEx) provide a different service than air freight - but people tend to confuse the two.
When you are shopping for air freight, don't trust your overseas supplier to arrange it for you. One of the ways Chinese suppliers make money is to mark up the shipping cost -or take a commission (kickback) from the air freight company or broker.
Instead I would either use a local agent (Mine is Bruce Wang), or hire a Freight Forwarder (FF). A FF is a company that acts as your agent. Once they know the weight, size, number of boxes and the product contents of your shipment, they will contact several Air Shipment airlines and companies and negotiate the lowest cost for you.
If you are going to import goods, you will also need a Customs Broker. A Customs Broker is a service for importers that clears your goods through customs. This involves the preparation of documents, calculating and paying duties and excise taxes, and handling communications between your company and the U.S. Customs service.
I use a company called Universal Cargo. I use them for three reasons. (Disclosure - I have NO affiliate relationship with this company):
So the moral of this story is: When it comes to getting samples sent, or ordering products to sell -the difference between 2 days and 4 or 5 days is not that significant. Unless you really need something in 2-days, forget the package services, and check out straightforward air freight.
I get a ton email from folks who live in other countries asking how they can sell on Amazon US. I have written about this in the past, but that information is out of date -so I thought I should cover it again. This way, when I get those emails, I will just give them the link to this article.
In order to be eligible to sell on any Amazon platform you need to be resident of one of the following countries, have a local phone number, local bank account, Phone number Amazon can call during the registration process, and have an internationally chargeable credit card. The countries are:
Amazon used to restrict registration on Amazon US to just a few major countries -but as you can see they have expanded the list.
You are probably wondering why some countries are not on this list? There are two primary reasons - US policy and Fraud.
There are some countries that American individuals and companies are not permitted to do business with (countries like Cuba, Iran and North Korea) by law. As for fraud, Amazon restricts sellers from countries that are well known for online fraud (Nigeria, Pakistan, etc.).
Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers is an optional service that allows existing sellers on the Amazon.com website who have a bank account in a country supported by Amazon to be paid directly into their local bank account in United States Dollars (USD), Great British Pounds (GBP), Euros (EUR), Australian Dollars (AUD), New Zealand Dollars (NZD), Indian Rupees (INR), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) and Canadian Dollars (CAD). U.S. sellers selling on other Amazon marketplaces (amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.es, amazon.fr, and/or amazon.it) are also able to get paid into their U.S. bank account, in U.S. Dollars (USD). You can find more information here.
Here is some helpful information on registering your bank accounts.
You might think this is aimed at older folks, but it's not. Let's face it -even though you may be young -you are getting older every day, and frankly, young folks have as many challenges as older folks -just different ones.
I am not going to tell you my age, but I have been selling online for 19 years, so you could say, I am getting up there. But what does this mean to you as sellers?
We are going to look at both young and older sellers first -then I want to say something about attitude.
The biggest challenge younger sellers have is just that -you are young. There is nothing wrong with that. When you are young, you have lots of energy, have very few physical limitations, and are probably more attuned to the world of high-tech than some older folks. On the other side -being younger means you lack experience and the wisdom that comes with it.
Notice, I did not say young people are not smart -many of them are not only smart -but super smart. The fact is -being smart in terms of intelligence, is not that important compared to other traits such as being clever, having creativity, and being persistent. A person of average intelligence who will not give up, is far more likely to succeed than someone who is super smart, but easily discouraged.
There is also the issue of work ethic. Don't get me wrong -there are plenty of younger folks who have excellent work ethics (both of my sons come to mind), but in general, a work ethic is something you learn and develop over time. Yes, I am generalizing -I know there are plenty of exceptions to that statement, but this is a newsletter article -not a grad school thesis.
Before I get anyone upset -I am not talking about geriatrics, but people over 55 (I am not saying 55 is old -just older than the younger folks I am writing about). I said earlier that older folks have more experience and wisdom. Due to their years they may have already owned, or at least worked for, a small business. This gives them experiences and skills that many young people do not have.
On the downside, many older folks were late to adapt new technologies and social media. The other issue is their bodies. As we age, our bodies slow down. In general, (again there are exceptions), as we age we can't lift and carry as much as we used to, and we run out of steam sooner. Selling on eBay and Amazon is not highly physical work -but you do have to occasionally carry some heavy boxes.
So what can we do about this?
If you are a younger seller, the first thing you can do is expand your social horizons to include some folks over 50 or 60. If these folks happen to own a small business -that is even better. When you are around them do two things:
If you are -or find yourself, getting older, start thinking about ways to ease both the physical and time load of your business. Here is an example:
We used to sell mostly on eBay with a few items listed on Amazon that we merchant fulfilled. On a slow day we would have about 15 items to pack and ship and take to the post office. But, on a good day, that number could go as high as 40. That is a lot of packages to wrap and carry to the post office.
In 2006 we reduced the items we sold on eBay to just a handful of listings -and of those, we tried to concentrate on items that were smaller and therefore easier and less costly to ship. At the same time, we moved almost 100% of our Amazon business to FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This meant we only had to send our wholesale goods into Amazon in bulk. We no longer had to make daily trips to the post office. Instead we called UPS who came and took the packages off of our front porch.
About that time, I was at an Amazon seminar and discovered a company called JoeLister.
Joelister turned out to be so good, we were able to increase the number of SKUs we were selling on eBay.
Moving into FBA had two benefits:
The other thing you want to do is find third party services that can do some of the time consuming low-level tasks for you such as automatically posting feedback on eBay, or automatically sending out feedback and product review requests on Amazon.
It doesn't matter if you are young or old, if you want to be successful, then attitude is everything! The first step to have a successful attitude is to learn to take 100% responsibility not only for everything you do, but to also take responsibility for things that just seem to "happen" to you.
When something happens to you that was not seemingly your fault -it is your fault because you didn't prepare for it. As Mark Cuban once said to a candidate on Shark Tank - "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you." This means you should always be asking yourself: "If ________ happened? What would I do?"
You can't anticipate everything, but you should try. The worst thing you should do is stop blaming others for what happens to you. I am always appalled when I look in on a Facebook group or see comments on a message board like this:
"eBay (or Amazon) is such a rip-off that no one can make money."
"Amazon's fees make it impossible to make a profit."
"I do everything right and I still get shi++y feedback."
Comments such as these are nothing but sellers trying to shift the blame for their failure to someone else.
No matter what your age, here are some tips to keep you centered and successful:
Lastly, whether you are young or older, look for someone you can work with (They don't already have to be a seller). A few years ago at the eBay Live event in Boston, I met one of the most successful seller teams I had ever met.
The "team" was a mother and daughter. Mom was 55 or so and her daughter was in her twenties. They were selling mostly on eBay with a few sales on other venues. Between them they sold over $2 million a year with very nice profits. And, at that time, they had only been selling on eBay for two years.
This is an update of an article I wrote early last year. The reason I am covering this again is, I continue to see Facebook posts and get email from readers asking where they can find a prep center near them.
Amazon Prep and Ship centers are services, where you send your inventory to them and they store it for you. They charge a storage fee, but their storage fees are often less than what Amazon charges -but not always - so check.
When you are ready to ship to FBA, your Prep&Ship center labels your products and ships them to FBA for you.
With some of them, you have to create the shipment and email them the labels. Others such as My Fulfillment Team will create the shipments for you.
As I mentioned in the first article, I use My Fulfillment Team, which I endorse and recommend.
More on this is covered in The Complete Amazon Marketing System .
US (and one UK) Fulfillment Companies
I researched this list on the internet, so it may not be complete
One of the best uses for a ship & prep center is handling shipments from overseas. When I get a shipment from overseas, it might consist of up to 1,000 items. Obviously, I don't want to send all 1,000 into Amazon at one time (unless it's an item that sells over 25 units per day).
When you send goods into Amazon FBA, they start charging you storage right away. And, if they don't all sell within 6 months, then you are assessed the long-term storage fee. So, what I do is send my goods to my FBA Prep & Ship Center and then send them into Amazon in quantities that match the sales of that item. (Most Amazon Prep & Ship centers have storage fees that are lower than Amazons').
I have written about this in the past, but I keep getting email from folks asking how to do this - so here it is again (Updated and revised).
There are three major ways to win the buy box on Amazon:
With eBay search there is no guarantee you will come up first in search even if you are the exclusive seller -but your chances will be highly improved. On Amazon, if your product is unique, you will automatically win the buy box for that product when a customer searches for a product that matches yours.
If you are the only seller of a specific item, then you have no direct competition (on Amazon)
So how do you find and negotiate exclusive selling arrangements? Here is an example of a deal I am involved in now.
Last year Karen and I attended the Seattle Gift Show - a wholesale show open to resellers only (general public is not admitted).
In the jewelry section, we found a line of jewelry made by a small USA company, and the owners of the company were in their booth.
We decided to place a small order (about $500 worth at wholesale). While they were writing up the order, I started to chat with the owners. I explained what we do, and asked them if they would give us an exclusive deal for their product line on eBay and Amazon.
Here are the reasons I gave them:
While explaining this, be very nice and engaging so they like you --and will trust you.
My readers ask "what kind of contract did we sign?" The answer is, we rarely do that. In in most cases we work on a handshake or just exchange emails laying out the details. Some of the important items you need to address in the agreement include:
As for the last item, do a market test before agreeing, so you have a god idea of how much you want to commit to.
When you meet a supplier you may be tempted to ask the supplier to drop ship or sell on consignment. I wouldn't try this as these are very difficult deals to do. Just asking makes them think you are a real amateur.
The one exception to this is for very large and heavy products. When you run into this, then it's all right to ask about drop shipping. We have an exclusive selling arrangement on eBay for our large wood burning firepits where the supplier dropships.
Remember - not all of these websites show wholesale pricing and ordering information. When you run into this, just use the contact form on the website to request wholesale reseller information. Don't volunteer that you sell on eBay and/or Amazon. If they ask me, I tell the truth, but I never volunteer that information.
Smart Retailer is a great magazine with many wholesale sources every month. Click here to receive a FREE, 3-year print and digital subscription to Smart Retailer (US only, postage fees apply for International).
Sport Ear is a company that sells one of the best and most respected line of noise protecting earmuffs. They make both passive and active noise cancelling models.
Seedling is a toy company with some really unusual toys -many that are huge sellers.
Somersaults is a healthy snack company who's snacks are gaining a following online.
Lisa Leonard Designs designs and makes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, key chains and decor items. All products are individually hand-crafted with fine pewter and polished for a warm, soft glow. Wholesale Prices range from $4 to $34 each.
Miriam Merenfeld Jewelry LLC sells a nice line of Made in USA jewelry
All of their pendants are sterling silver and 18K gold plated over sterling silver.
Bonn Designs/Sanis Enterprises sells an assortment of ladies cross-body handbags, men's wallets, money clips and passport holders, as well as tool kits, grooming kits, trendy credit card cases and more. Many of their products offer an RFID shield.
Worker B offers a collection of personal care products that emphasize the benefits of raw honey, beeswax and bee propolis.
Candles & Quotes sells a nice line of Soy Candles in glass with very interesting quotes on them -everything from funny to thoughtful and spiritual.
Open Road Brands partners with national brands from yesteryear and today to design authentic and unique home decor products.
Red Wing Stoneware Pottery makes promotional pieces for businesses and events all over the country. They serve corporations, events, commemoratives, and communities with their hand made products. If you sell on eBay or Amazon, think about creating a product with wide appeal and offering it as the only .
Funatic makes unique socks for men and women. Some are clean, some are dirty, some are nerdy and some are naughty. Their designs also include socks that are funny, collegiate socks, Political socks, Dogs, and more.
Icy Craft Corporation makes and sells acrylic giftware; angels, Christmas nativity, animals, boxes, trains, trees, snowmen, Santa, Easter, and other ornaments. Many have LED or C7 lights. Don't wait - order now for Christmas.
Geo Central is a leading wholesale supplier of quality, educational and fun earth-related products
COSTA NOVA designs and produces high quality tableware and accessories with a reinvented classic and timeless style.
VHC Textiles is a supplier of a full line of beautiful textiles for Bed, bath and kitchen.
JTP Wholesale sells a wide line of monogramed products.
Thatís it for now. Hope you kill it for Mothers Day sales. See you again in a couple of weeks.
P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
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