Amazon Suspension – Avoiding Some of the Common & Less Common Problems
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ July 25, 2017 ~ Volume 18, Issue No. 12
Tips, Tools, News and Resources for eBay, Amazon and Independent Online Sellers
From $600 to $6 million per year on Amazon
Can you imagine having an online business that generates nearly $6 million dollars in sales per year? Now what if I told you a business that size could be almost entirely automated?
This might sound like the beginning of some fly-by-night promotion you would find in the back of a magazine, but it is actually the true story of an Amazon dynamic duo I have recently come across, Dan Meadors & Eric Lambert.
These lifelong friends from Kentucky started an Amazon business in 2011 with a $600 credit card and the intent of making some extra money. Flash forward to today and they are full blown entrepreneurs with an Amazon business that has done over $11 million dollars in sales in just the last two years alone. They've come a long way from their humble beginnings, but they credit their big breakthrough to a unique business model called Reverse Sourcing Wholesale.
Dan & Eric have been traveling the country telling their story at various events and conferences where they are in-demand speakers. If you are wondering how they can afford to spend so much time away from their Amazon business doing this, that is because they have almost completely automated it.
Right now, Dan & Eric are holding a very rare, free online workshop that reveals the inner workings of their business. How it works, how they got started, and how almost anyone can build a business, big or small, using their strategies.
I should warn you though, this workshop has already started and is only available for a limited-time. But don't worry, they are leaving up replays of all the free training through July 27th - which is unfortunately not much time. So, if you are interested in learning some tactics and strategies from a multi-million-dollar eCommerce seller, I implore you to check it out.
I haven't mentioned The Amazon Profit Booster in a while, but it still remains one of my top-selling training books. If you sell on Amazon and would like to grow your business and increase your profits, this mini-course can help. I describe three different ways to boost your profits. These are all tried and true methods I've used myself!
If you create a partial listing or, make a mistake when creating a listing, Amazon will now move your listing to a draft folder. Drafts is a new feature that allows sellers to submit partially complete listings and work on them them right from your Seller Central account.
New listings that meet the Amazon listing requirements and are submitted using inventory file templates or, the Add a Product tool will continue to publish as before. Listings that do not meet listing requirements, or incomplete listings, will now be saved as drafts, that you can view and edit & complete later.
To view your drafts, select Complete drafts option under the new Catalog menu in Seller Central. Drafts are saved in your account until you update missing data or correct invalid data, at which time your listing will be resubmitted.
You can add missing data, or correct invalid data, one draft at a time or in bulk for up to 250 listings at the same time. Additionally, you can also export a custom excel file containing all your draft listings and add missing data to those drafts before re-uploading the file.
One thing to note: Amazon knocked the image and description out of 15 or so perfectly good listings and put them in my draft folder. If this happens to you, I suggest you open a support ticket with Seller Support
It's not too early to start sourcing Halloween and Christmas seasonal items. Most companies in this market like to take orders now, so they know how many of each product to make. They will usually ship Halloween in September and Christmas in October. Most of the companies will not charge your credit card until they ship. Therefore, I have included a few seasonal sources in my wholesale sources this month.
What is the effect of growing online sales from year to year?
The Retail Federation recently reported that Brick Mortar Retail sales are forecast to drop by 20% this year (2017). Additionally, (and this one is a real shocker): 8600 retail stores are forecast to close this year.
If you make and sell any type of handmade items, there is now a magazine for you - Handmade Business. It's a paid subscription, but I suspect they would send you a sample copy if you asked.
eBay Inc. delivered gross merchandise volume (the value of all goods sold by eBay sellers) for the quarter ended June 30, 2017 of $21.5 billion, increasing 3% on an as-reported basis and 5% on a foreign exchange (FX) neutral basis. Revenue (Income) for the quarter was $2.3 billion, up a meager 4%.
Here is what the CEO had to say: "In Q2, eBay delivered strong top and bottom line financial results, led by Marketplace acceleration," said Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc.
He went on to add, "During the past two years, we have made significant progress to modernize eBay and drive growth by improving the customer experience, creating a product catalog that covers more than half of our inventory, and sharpening the eBay brand. We are on track and focused on creating an even stronger eBay for years to come."
I am not sure what Devin Wenig has been smoking -but these are not great numbers, especially when compared to other Online shopping sites like Amazon, who's quarterly results tend to come in at a rate 4 to 5 times greater. (Amazon will announce their 2nd Quarter numbers next week, so we will see).
Here is an example: Just look at Amazon's results for Prime Day: "Prime Day sales this year surpassed Amazon's Black Friday and Cyber Monday," the e-commerce giant says. Amazon said: "Prime Day Sales grew by more than 60 percent from 2016."
I am not sure what he meant by this: "During the past two years, we have made significant progress to modernize eBay and drive growth by improving the customer experience, creating a product catalog that covers more than half of our inventory, and sharpening the eBay brand. We are on track and focused on creating an even stronger eBay for years to come." But, I haven't noticed anything different when it comes to the buying experience.
There is some good news, CEO Wenig said that the number of eBay sellers has increased (Reversing a trend of the last few years), and eBay's move to add more Brands to the site has been successful.
If you follow eBay, you have seen a number of changes -many of them that don't make sense -and eBay is doing a lousy job of communicating to both sellers and buyers, what the changes are.
So what is driving eBay stock? Well, it might be the fact that eBay repurchased $507 million of its own common stock, and the board of directors recently authorized eBay to purchase $3 Billion more.
If you have been paying attention, you have noticed that Amazon is moving aggressively into launching and promoting their own Private Label products. Wine is their next product. Amazon recently introduced the Next brand of wine that is being made for them by the King Estate Winery, located in the Willamette Valley wine growing region of Oregon. (Not that many people know this, but there are some great wines made in Oregon -especially whites).
Wine is just another of Amazon's private label trend -joining Jewelry, clothing, computer accessories, home goods, pet supplies, grocery items, and more.
Amgates is a company that has been around for 8 years helping Amazon sellers with Amazon category, subcategory, and brand ungating, listing improvement, account reinstatement services, as well as consultation work. If you need any help with these issues, contact Derek Moskow at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets get started with this month’s articles:
This is a Guest Article by CJ Rosenbaum of Amazon Seller's Lawyers. They can help you with a lot of other Amazon problems in addition to suspensions. Please reach out to them for any help you need. Your first consultation is FREE.
CJ Rosenbaum, Esq.| Attorney at Law
Drop by the website and view a short (3 to 4 minute) video that describes their services in detail.
1. Avoid Inauthentic Suspensions - Only Sell Products in Current Packaging.
May manufacturers change their packaging so that only authorized sellers have products that look "new" even though the actual item is, of course, brand new. Sellers should make sure that the products they are delivering to Amazon's customers look exactly like what the consumer will see in a brick & mortar store or if the product was purchased directly from the manufacturer.
2. Avoid Major Brand Sweeps and Suspensions - Stay Away from Problematic Brands.
Sellers should spend time each day on the Amazon forums, Facebook, etc., and avoid brands that are doing sweeps or brand protection. Sellers should google their products before they invest in them. If you google "Apple Amazon Seller Suspension" or "NFL Amazon Suspension" numerous articles and posts will come up. Stay away from brands that are causing sellers problems. A little research before you invest in a product line can save your account from suspension.
3. Avoid Related Account Suspensions. - If you are going to maintain more than one Amazon account without Amazon's permission: never use the same computer, phone, IP address, name, bank, address and do not allow staff to work on more than one account. While you might give up the savings sharing staff, you are also putting both or all of the accounts at risk.
4. Respond to All Cease & Desist Letters - Most brands will send you an email asking you to stop selling their products before they assert a complaint against your account. If you want to avoid suspensions, have the professional courtesy of responding. You do not have to agree with the request, you do not have to honor the request but, all sellers, to avoid suspensions, should respond to the author of the email.
5. Avoid Late Shipment Suspensions - Merchant Fulfilled Sellers, before you run out of inventory...well before, pull out of the listing. We have seen an increase in these issues causing suspensions. You cannot count on obtaining more products....do not take the risk.
There you have it. Be sure and contact CJ, if you have any issues with your account before you try answering Amazon on your own.
I am a huge user of Amazon MCF, so I looked at the new fees with some reservations. On the upside, for most, small to normal-size items, the fee increase is negligible. But, if you sell Heavier (Over 10 lbs), or larger items (over 24 inches in length), then you will notice a pretty big bite.
Amazon FBA sellers have been paying these higher fees for larger items since last February, but MCF fees are just getting caught up.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a service provided by Amazon that allows you to have Amazon fulfill orders for you from your other sales channels such as eBay, Shopify, Etsy and others, with the same delivery that Amazon uses for your FBA business.
This includes built-in integrations with website providers such as Shopify and 3dcart.
MCF fees in the U.S. will be adjusted to reflect the changing costs of fulfillment and to better align with Fulfillment by Amazon's fee structure for orders placed on Amazon.com. The new rates will go into effect August 30, 2017.
Besides Amazon, I sell on eBay and use Amazon to fulfill my orders. Even with the fee increases, the discount Amazon passes on to me in shipping rates is still a good deal. I use a service called Joelister.
JoeLister automatically syncs your Amazon product's description, images, product details, and price with eBay so you can create eBay listings. You can list immediately, or customize (change any details) as you prefer. And when Amazon ships the item, Joelister automatically posts the tracking info to eBay.
A lot of people publish tips for growing specific businesses such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon and so on. But over the years, I have learned that there are a few things every seller should be doing to guarantee success, no matter which online business they have. No list like this will ever be complete but, here are some of the best ones I can think of:
I often get emails that ask: "Skip; how do I find real wholesalers?"
When I see that, I realize the person asking has no understanding of what wholesalers are, or how the wholesale market works.
The first thing to understand is there is no such thing as a real wholesaler. If there were, that would eliminate a lot of perfectly good sourcing opportunities.
A wholesale price is any price you can buy something at, that will allow you to increase the price to make money, regardless of the quantity.
First, lets define wholesale: Wholesale is the selling of goods at low prices to be marked up and retailed by others.
OK, with apologies to Merriam-Webster, I took some liberty with that definition
The traditional definition of wholesale isselling in large quantities at low prices to others who will mark them up for resale.
When my wife and I lived back East, we used to have a small antique shop. Our favorite place to source antiques was small country auctions. The prices we paid there were usually somewhat above what you would think of as wholesale -and had we sold the products "as-is," it would have been difficult to make money. But we soon learned that just by cleaning up and polishing the item, we could get a much higher price. So I ask you: Where we buying at a wholesale price?
There are at least seven types of wholesale prices:
The two biggest sources of wholesale products for online sellers are traditional wholesale companies who sell direct, or sometimes through a distributor -and liquidation and surplus companies.
Another large category of wholesale suppliers are overseas manufacturers and importers.
Manufacturers tend to supply a specific product to your specifications and in your packaging. This is a situation where you often have to purchase in large quantities. However, this can be quite lucrative. I have a leather goods product that I designed which now sells several units a day on Amazon and eBay. My landed cost in my PL packaging with my company name and logo is $3.60, but I sell them every day for $19.95, and I have sold them as high as $24.95 approaching Christmas.
Importers are typically companies who import in large quantities of 500 or 1000 (or even more), then they break the shipment up and sell them as cases of 12 or 24. You will pay a higher price than you could get through a manufacturer, but the advantage is, you can buy in much smaller quantities. Interestingly, some manufacturers (usually of brand name products) do the same thing. They will export a large
Lastly, there are reps and distributors. Reps, usually called sales reps, are independent business people who work for the manufacturer or importer on commission. When you place an order with a sales rep, you are actually ordering from the manufacturer or importer who pays the sales rep their commission out of what you pay.
A Distributor is a company that purchases the product from the manufacturer in large quantities -and much like an importer, they break the shipments up into small case-size lots. When you place an order with a distributor, you are dealing with them, and not the manufacturer.
If you would like to learn more about the wholesale industry, and how it works -as well as access my list of proven wholesale sources that will work with small online sellers, take a look at:
How, what and where to buy goods to sell on eBay, Amazon or other online businesses
I regularly update and add to the wholesale sources website on a monthly basis.
Remember - A lot of these websites are either informational or retail -but all of these companies sell wholesale. If you don't see a link to open a wholesale account, just use the Contact Us form to ask for the information.
Dollar Days sells both seasonal and regular goods at low warehouse prices. Dollar Days helps entrepreneurs compete against larger enterprises who buy bulk below wholesale merchandise product prices.
Popular Greetings, Inc. has been a wholesaler of discount greeting cards for over 28 years.
The Jerusalem Export House has been bringing the Holy Land to the World since 1969. In 1999 we merged with the AZ Trading Co., an international marketing company based in Jerusalem Israel.
Nashville Wraps is a Gift Packaging and Gourmet Gift Basket Supplies Wholesale Resource Nashville Wraps has a wide selection of gift packaging supplies.
JD Home sells a line of beautiful, high-end candles that are developed from a unique combination of fully-refined paraffin and soy.
OOLY - sells a nice line of pencils, pens, markers, crayons, stencils, Snifty scented pens, Filex and Clip-it's
Morbid Enterprises sells Animated props, costumes, decor, licensed halloween products, masks, static props and more!
The Mary Square Company makes inspirational gifts and additional items such as apparel, fashion accessories and personalized gifts.
Carmel Ceramica sells a line of fine tableware for humans and pets, designed for casual elegance and is inspired by the beauty that surrounds Carmel, California.
Randy Lu Art sells eco-friendly totes, bookmarks, women's shirts, art postcards, and art posters imprinted with artwork by artist, Randy Lu
Private Labeling is hot
, so here are a few suppliers who offer Private Label products.
Calico Brands sells a variety of less-expensive products that work well in multi-packs
Advance Pharmaceutical Inc. develops, manufactures and packages over-the-counter solid dosage pharmaceuticals in their own house brand or Private Label
Catania Spagna does private labeling of high quality gourmet olive oils.
Tastemore is a private label snack company that offers high quality all-natural rice cakes and crisps, pita chips , popped chips and more
Commercial Bakeries is a private label supplier of gourmet cookies that are baked to order including gluten free, certified organic and other natural specifications
Smitty Bee Honey also does private labeling of their gourmet, Non-GMO, Kosher honey. They can also offer specialty flavored honey.
Café Vittoria is a Canadian company that private labels a line of Organic, Fair-trade coffee.
OK - back to some regular sources
Best Dressed Tables is a specialty online boutique selling fine tablecloths.
Ergo Chef designs and manufactures innovative, ergonomic Kitchen knives vailable to retailers, distributors and OEM.
Mingzhou Oriental is an importer and wholesaler in the US specializing in oriental furniture, home decor, gifts, antiques, arts and collectibles. Wholesale only
Chef Craft sells a very nice line of kitchen tools, specialty utensils and gadgets
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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