More SKUs Equals More Money on eBay & Amazon
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ March 27, 2018 ~ Volume 19, Issue No. 6
Tips, Tools, News and Wholesale Resources for eBay and Amazon Sellers
The weeks leading up to Mother's Day (Sunday, May 13) are one of the largest selling seasons of the year, followed by Father's Day, June, 17. It's not to late to order and get merchandise into Amazon FBA, or ready to ship to your MF and eBay customers, but don't delay.
My experience has shown that the selling season for both Mothers and Father's day starts about 4 weeks before the actual day and peaks about 10 days before the date. So, don't miss out on these important days -get those products on order now!
Should Amazon Sellers use FBA?
A loyal, and long-term reader of mine, who is a $600,000-a-year Amazon seller, did some extensive research, and shared the results with me. I got his permission to share some of his data with you.
He examined 1,000 Amazon listings to determine the percentage of Merchant Fulfilled (MF) vs. FBA sellers in the Buy Box, and looked at the sales rank of both. Here is what he learned:
68% of Buy Box listings were FBA and 32% were MF. And, the sales rank of the FBA items averaged 27% higher than MF items.
He only recorded listings that were in the top 10% sales rank of listings in a given category. Also he did not examine the following categories: Alexa, Amazon Devices, Appliances, Automotive (incl. Vehicles), Furniture, Handmade, Media (Books, movies, music, video games) and Software, as he felt those would skew the results.
Based on his experience, he told me he plans to increase his FBA percentage (now about 50%) to about 75%. He would do more, but many of his items are large or heavy.
I offered to pay him for the research, but instead he asked me for a free copy of How to Sell Used Books on eBay, Amazon and the Internet, which I agreed to.
By the way - this is a statement from Amazon on winning the buy box: Offer Prime and free shipping. Sellers who offer faster shipping options are more likely to win the Buy Box. FBA is the place where sellers get the fastest shipping option.
Testimonial Contest: Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!
The last time I did this was about 3 years ago. I get a lot of positive mentions in my email from those of you who have bought my courses, but many of them are now somewhat out-of-date, so I am looking for some fresh testimonials. Therefore, I have decided to run another testimonial contest.
Here is what I am looking for:
Prizes: The best testimonial (in the judgment of our coaching staff), will win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Everyone who enters will go into a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. I will announce the winners in the first May newsletter, and the winners will get an email from me before that.
Amazon has restricted the services of many refund companies. These are companies who monitor your Amazon account, and make refund requests on your behalf. (Money that Amazon should have given you for lost or missing products, etc.).
Amazon now prohibits FBA sellers from using third-party services to submit reimbursement requests on their behalf. The key words in that sentence are "on their behalf." One of the largest refund companies, Refunds Manager (the one I use), had this to say about the new policy.
We want to assure you that our service is fully in line with Amazon's TOS. Because we manually review all errors, and manually submit all cases as coming from your account -not our service. Refunds Manager is not an automated service, but a business service that utilizes software in the initial stages of its process.
Here are all the key ways that Refunds Manager stays compliant with Amazon's TOS:
Note: When I originally signed up for their service two years ago, they did cause sellers a problem because they opened too many cases in a short period of time. They have solved that problem, and I have not heard any recent complaints. None of our cases have been closed and we get a payment each month. Business has been going on as usual.
I have been receiving refunds from Amazon every month for the past two years.
If you sell on eBay, Etsy or merchant fulfill on Amazon, this is a service that can save you money. This is an offer that Stamps.com occasionally makes to my readers.
Special deal for Skip McGrath Readers to Ship with Stamps.com
Get $5 worth of USPS postage FREE to use during 4-week trial. Sign-up here.
Be sure and take a look at the offer to get $100 worth of postage and supplies that you will see on my page. Here is what to look for:
Last Week, President Trump signed an executive order increasing import tariffs (duties) on a wide range of products from China. He did say that his administration was in negotiations with China that could solve the issue, but until that happens (months - not weeks), be sure and check the customs duty on products with a Customs Broker before you place an order. The order will be effective on May 7th, so you may want to place any orders you have now to get in before that date.
Amazon is eliminating the Hazmat Status Change Report. Here is what they told me:
Amazon will eliminate the the Hazmat Status Change report by late March. The report is being replaced by improved notifications in Seller Central. In addition, sellers will receive email notifications about any of your inventory already in fulfillment centers that is identified as potentially hazardous.
You can download the Inventory Health report in Seller Central to learn the hazmat status for your items already in a fulfillment center.
In my book, How to Make Money with The Amazon Affiliate Program, I recommend using the WordPress, free (non-hosted), software to build your blog or website. Well, I just saw a report, that WordPress now powers almost 30% of all websites (including blogs) on the Internet.
If you want to set up a website or blog using WordPress, they offer two systems: Hosted and non-hosted. Always pick the non-hosted version. Yes, you will have to pay for hosting (averaging $5 to $7/month), but then you will have total freedom to develop your site and perform SEO to better the chances of search engines finding you. The free hosted version has lots of restrictions and is just not suitable for an affiliate or eCommerce website.
Now, when exploring WordPress, you want to be very careful. The non-hosted website/blogging software is free, but WordPress will try to steer you into their paid services which you don't really need. Instead of going to the main Wordpress.com, be sure to use Wordpress.org. Or you can just go here to download the software.
If you need help, there is plenty of free information on the web, or you can post a job on Fivver.com and get someone to build it for you for very little money. Or, you can ask my webmaster, Marsha Perry, for help. Marsha is a WordPress expert, and delivers top-quality WordPress sites.
Having said that, it is very easy to do it yourself. My webmaster, Marsha Perry, is an expert on WordPress. She has just finished updating WordPress Website Owner's Manual 2018: The Illustrated User's Guide for WordPress Websites and Blogs (Volume2) Paperback - March 17, 2018
It is available in both Paperback and Kindle, however I recommend the Paperback version because you can more easily see the screenshots and follow along.
Why should every eCommerce website include a blog?
You can host your blog right on your website, or on a separate URL (which is what I recommend as this increases authority).
A blog can provide several benefits
As you write and publish blog posts, link them to product pages. This helps create inbound links that Google sees, and will help your search position by creating link juice. The more blog posts that contain links to your product pages, the more it will benefit your site -and your sales.
What kind of blog should I do?
Once your blog is up and running (at least a dozen posts), make sure to link to it from Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
I was speaking with an insider at Amazon who told me Amazon Prime now has close to 80-million members. That is a huge user base and a great reason to use FBA.
Question: Do more reviews equal more sales? Answer: Yes and no!
Most people think that more reviews = more sales. That can be true -but one thing to think about is the opposite: More sales equals more reviews.
It is sort of: Which came first - the chicken or the egg? A high volume of sales will result in more reviews. That is one reason I lower the price on new items. It generates sales that result in a better sales rank and generates reviews that can help you reach better position in search.
Grocery Sellers - Did you see this fee discount notice from Amazon?
When I was facing Long-term storage fees, I removed several SKUs with multiple quantities down to just one each. Well, even though they were slow sellers, several of them sold leaving me with a quantity of zero. So, I asked Amazon Support if I could restock some of them without penalty. Here is what they told me:
Here is your chance to meet actual Amazon employees, managers and executives. Amazon Announced its next Annual Summit June, 20th at Marti Gras World in New Orleans. Here is what Amazon said about the summit:
Are the new Nexus sales taxes unconstitutional? Here is an interesting item in eCommerceBytes. Click here to read.
Amazon launched FBA service in Australia. Besides my many readers in Australia, this move gives US sellers an additional opportunity to benefit from a new market with customers that are similar to Americans
Amazon announcement about feedback ~ Mar 23, 2018
Letís get started with our in-depth articles:
It may seem obvious, the more products (SKUs) you have for sale, the more you will sell and the more money you will make. The single fastest way to increase your income on eBay or Amazon is by selling more products.
Last month I got an email from a woman who bought The Complete Amazon Marketing System last November. The email said:
I was curious, so I asked her to send me the link to her Amazon store, which she did. When I looked, she had some great products, and her listing and images were excellent. But, she only had 17 listings. I advised her to find more products and get them listed. I just got an email from her with a storefront link that now showed over 100 SKUs, and a note that said her sales are now going well.
I advised her to keep growing her business and try to build up to 500 SKUs and she would see another big jump in sales.
I have studied this with my own account and it works. Doubling your SKU count will not necessarily double your business, because there are other factors in play such as seasonality, product mix and so on. But, I guarantee you will see a large jump.
As you read this, you may be thinking, Duh, that isn't rocket science, it's pretty obvious. However, you would be amazed at how many people spend hours, or even days, doing research trying to find that one magic product that will sell hundreds a day and where you make at least $10 on each one.
I have been selling on Amazon since 2006, but the fastest selling product I have sells about 20 a day and I make about $7 on each one. However, I have about 400 other products that sell 1 or 2 a day. On a few of those, I only make $2 or $3 on each, but I have many others where I make much more. My overall average is $6.20 profit per sale after fees.
So, if your business is struggling, try adding more products. That doesn't mean you should ignore other factors such as sales rank, size, weight and fees -those are always important, but increasing the number of product offerings will start putting money in you pocket quickly.
What is a trademark -and what it isn't? A trademark is a design, or expression (incl. product name), that identifies products or services of a particular company or entity. Trademark protection does not cover individual products, or an invention. It does, however, protect your brand identity. (You trademark the name and/or logo that goes to a product.)
A trademark owner can be an individual, corporation, a non-profit, a business, or any legal entity. A trademark identifies the brand owner of a product or service.
A trademark is usually a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, or image, or a combination of all of these.
Let's take a look at some famous trademarks.
A trademark is usually located on on the product, or a sign, package or label, but may also be found on advertising and promotional material. Here is an example of a logo that violates trademark rules:
Although this logo is obviously satire, it is nominally in the same industry, a takeoff of the Starbucks logo, and trademark and registration rules also protect against satire and humor. There was a famous case on this idea about 3 years ago when a company called South Butt came out with a line of products poking fun at North Face. The South Butt company lost in court and is no longer making jackets (but they were allowed to sell parody T-shirts).
A trademark usually applies to only one industry (but there are exceptions). For example, the name Gucci is trademarked for the fashion industry. If you were opening a restaurant, and wanted to call it Gucci's Pancake House that would probably be allowed as long as you did not copy or adapt Gucci's colors or type styles. However, you could not open a shop called Gucci Shoe Repair because Gucci sells shoes.
Another example is a word like Froogle. That is ok, as long as your product is not related to the Internet, and you avoid using Google's colors or type style. So you could start a magazine about saving money called The Froogle Times.
Your brand can not be a play on words. The Frugal Gourmet was a long running TV show, and the words The Frugal Gourmet are trademarked (and copyrighted, depending on the usage). If you wanted to start a kitchen or cooking business, you could not call it The Froogle Gourmet, or a variation thereof.
Colors, type styles and Logos
No matter what the usage, you can not use the same colors, type styles or logo adaptions
There are two kinds of marks associated with Trademarks: TM and ®. The TM mark means a product or logo has been trademarked. The ® mark means the Trademark has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Unregistered trademarks can be defended, but not as easily as a registered ® one. If you get your brand trademarked, spend a few extra bucks to register it.
Copyrights & Patents
People sometimes confuse trademarks with patents or copyright. A copyright is intellectual property that protects an image, drawing, painting, photograph, or a written document from being copied or used without permission. The symbol for copyright is ©.
For example, everything on this website is copyrighted and may not be published elsewhere without my specific permission. Here is the statement you will find at the bottom of my website:
© 1999-2018 Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Online Sellers Resource and Vision-One Marketing.
A patent is a registration that protects an invention, or process, and is denoted with the word patented. There is also a type of patent (called a design patent) that protects a design.
To gain protection from a trademark or copyright, the symbol must be used or stated. If I were to publish my newsletter on someone else's website and did not include my copyright, I could jeopardize it. However, if you took my newsletter and published it in your blog without my permission, you would be in violation and my original copyright statement would protect me.
As for patents, you are still protected even if you don't use the word patented on your device, but it is recommended that you do, so people are less likely to copy your design or process.
So what does this mean to you -when selling online?
Trademarks and copyrights mostly affect sellers who practice retail or online arbitrage RA or OA.
What happens is, you buy a brand name product at a retail store (Such as a Lego® toy and list it on eBay or Amazon. Then, within a day of so, Amazon or eBay cancels your listing claiming an Intellectual Property (IP) violation.
The problem is that you listed the item as new. There is an FTC Regulation called the first sale doctrine that says, if you buy an item from a legitimate seller (such as Target®, Macys ®, Wal-Mart®, etc., then you can resell it -but once an item was sold the first time, you can no longer claim it as new.
eBay allows many branded products to be listed as used, but Amazon does require some items be sold as new only (especially anything perishable). eBay also has restrictions on listing perishable (food, pet treats and H&B) item as used.
Therefore, you would think you could contest this and win -but not so fast. If the trademark owner controls his authorized resellers (most major companies do), and only allows them to use their company name and logo, (and you are not one of those authorized resellers), then you may be violating their trademark. If you used an image from their website, or marketing materials without permission, those are usually copyrighted, so this could be another IP violation.
As I said, the issue arose because you sold the item as new, or used photos or descriptions from website. Had you listed it as Used, Like New, then it may not be a problem. You are probably thinking: I bought it in an unopened box with all the tags on it and it has never even been taken out of the box or used whatsoever. Why can't I sell it as new?" Read what I said above. If you are not an authorized reseller, they can restrict who uses their IP. (Buying something at Target or Wal-Mart does not make you an authorized reseller.
Another issue is counterfeit products. The manufacturers are not being paranoid -Fake merchandise is a huge problem online. To help brand name manufacturers fight fakes, Amazon created the Brand Registry Program.
The Brand Registry Program gives both private label (PL) sellers, and well known brands (Gucci, Coach, Panasonic and others), greater control over their intellectual property. Brand Registry allows brands (including your PL brands, better control over listing pages and products.
Amazon recently announced added counterfeit protection to the Brand Registry. Under this system brands can register logos and copyrighted materials (Intellectual property) allowing Amazon to more easily cancel offending listings. The problem is, a brand can make this complaint even if it is not true. When eBay or Amazon gets a counterfeit complaint, they usually suspend your account until you can prove the item is not counterfeit and you get a letter from the brand stating your goods are authentic (Good luck with that).
Besides blatant counterfeits, there are other kind of fakes that can get you in trouble. These include look-a-likes such as a manufacturer who copies a designer handbag or pair of Channel™ sunglasses but leaves off the Channel ™ name and logo.
Designer brands routinely register their product designs. So selling knock-offs can get you in trouble, even if they don't have the designer's name or logo on them.
This article is about your Federal income taxes -not sales tax. That is a completely different subject.
Whenever I write about taxes, I always caution people that, although I have many years of experience, I am not a tax professional, and you should always consult one before taking my advice.
Tax time is coming up in April. My CPA (Who is a former IRS Official) recommends you take advantage of an extension. The reason is, most taxpayers selected for an audit are assigned to Auditors by June or July which fills up their schedule for the balance of the year. So filing your taxes in July means theoretically, you have less chance of getting audited.
If you make money selling online, then Uncle Sam (The IRS) want's their cut. You only pay Federal Income Taxes on your profits. You find your profits by first determining your sales (how much money came in). Then you subtract your direct costs from this. These would include your product cost, inbound shipping, eBay, PayPal or Amazon fees, and any direct fees (such as customs duty or warehouse unloading costs) related to buying your product.
The result is your gross profit before expenses.
Once you have determined your gross profit, now you start adding up your businesses expenses and subtract those from your gross profit to get your net profit, which is what you will owe taxes on.
So what are some of these expenses? Your business expenses include things like car or truck expenses, rent, labor, advertising or travel. Every business is different, so a complete list would be impossible, but here is a list of the most common expenses:
If you spend any money on, or related to your business, ask your accountant or tax professional if it qualifies as a business expense.
Let me say a few words about Travel & Entertainment. Be careful of claiming too much entertainment as that is a red flag for auditors. As for travel, you can deduct your airfare lodging and 50% of your meals. If you combine a business trip with vacation, be careful! In general, you can deduct one airfare (both, if you and your spouse are involved full-time in the business), and the hotel & meals related to the business part of your trip. But don't add in travel, hotels & meals for the vacation part of your trip. That could get you in real trouble if you are audited.
This is the last year you will file taxes under the old system. The new tax bill takes affect in tax year 2018 and will result in lower taxes for most taxpayers.
We all struggle with our businesses, and Amazon, eBay, Etsy and other sites make it more difficult every day by constantly changing policies. But, the struggle goes on, and those who sit on their hands and do nothing, will wake up one day and wonder what happened to their once profitable business.
The trend towards private labeling products is strong and still growing. Here are a few tips that will help you do it better:
Creating and selling a PL product is one of those subjects that sellers and people who sell training courses, have strong opinions about, and most of them do not agree. However, I think my tips will help you be more successful no matter whose system you use.
This is a guest post by Dave Moniz, eBay Buying & Automation Expert - AutomatedSearches.com.
I don't usually run articles that are pure plugs for services, but buying on eBay to resell is a topic I get a lot of reader questions about. I used to do a lot of buying on eBay to resell. This was very profitable about 10 years ago, but eBay has really changed since then. However, there are still plenty of folks doing this profitably.
Dave's service is free, supported by donations.
So here is Dave's article:
Skip McGrath is well known as the eBay & Amazon Selling Expert. My expertise lies on the BUYING side of eBay. For over 10 years, I made a full-time living by buying and reselling items on eBay. In the past 16 years of working with eBay, I have earned the title of "eBay Buying & Automation expert". And, being a software developer, I have used my knowledge to create powerful eBay automation tools and buying strategies.
I will show you why searching eBay manually is very unproductive, and a more powerful way to do it.
Not all online sellers are using drop shipping and wholesale sources. There are many sellers that buy items on eBay to re-sell on eBay & Amazon and even in retail stores. They often complain that it takes much of their time to sit at their desk and manually search eBay for items to buy. And, while you are manually searching for one item, someone else is beating you to the other items that you want.
Why searching eBay manually is very unproductive
Online business owners are much too busy to waste time on unworthy tasks.
For lack of a better solution, some buyers try eBay's built in "Saved Searches" feature. eBay's once-a-day emails are not timely enough for beating the competition to the best deals. By the time eBay sends the email, anything worth buying is already gone and won't even show up in the daily email.
The solution is to use an Automated Search Alert Tool to automate all your eBay Searching and filtering. You will only have to visit eBay when what you are looking for becomes available. Time well spent. This will significantly increase your productivity and eBay buying power allowing you to buy a higher quantity of items, and at lower prices.
Why searching eBay automatically is extremely productive:
Twelve years ago, I created a Free Automated Search Alert Tool, AutomatedSearches.com. Since then, thousands of professional eBay buyers have become more successful by automating their eBay searching.
If you are currently buying from eBay, automating your searching with AutomatedSearches.com will make a big difference in your business and your life. Go to AutomatedSearches.com and create a free account. If you have any questions or need help setting anything up, you can contact me through the website. I would love to help you be more successful.
American Acrylic Display makes and sells a wide variety of clear acrylic display boxes and other items. These are sold to both retailers and collectors.
FaceLube For Men : is an all natural organic automotive theme, anti-aging skincare product made for men, comes in box that looks like motor oil bottle.
Hot Leathers makes and sells Motorcycle Fashion and Accessories including a line of Made in USA leathers. They also sell patches, pins, belts, caps, hats, facemasks, jewelry, event shirts and more for bikers and will private label.
Indian Village Jewelry sells authentic Native American jewelry from Navajo, Zuni, & Hopi artists! They only sell authentic Native American handmade products they buy direct from Native American Artisans.
Jelly Belly is probably the most famous jelly bean company in the world. And, it's not just Jelly Beans, they also sell licensed merchandise as well.
MAC Wholesale is a national closeout wholesaler. They carry the major consumer product categories - housewares, hardware, toys, sporting goods, apparel, footwear and more. They sell happily sell to e-tailers. Like dealing with any liquidator, make double sure you know what you will receive, and get a shipping quote before ordering.
Kate Mesta Jewelry makes One of a Kind Made-n-USA jewelry. Each Piece is Hand Created in their Studio in Laguna Beach, California, USA. They are the licensed supplier for Dancing with the Stars.
Magic Stick TV , PVC Antenna Inc. is an Innovative Television Antenna Manufacturer offering affordable quality digital TV antennas and Made in the USA.
Mostly Signs sells wholesale licensed tin signs and magnets in many designs and brands.
Machu Picchu Jewelry is a wholesaler, manufacturer, distributor and designer. They have been making jewelry for over 20 years. Their jewelry is handmade by artisans in Brazil with semi-precious stones, buggle beads, Kokopeli and Aztec style, Czech-fire polished glass beads, washi pearls, and is available in gold-filled and/or sterling silver.
Protein Water Distribution sells their Probalance line of Protein Water. They feature All Natural Ingredients: 15g Protein - Zero Sugar - 5X Electrolytes Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, and Chloride.
The Smarter Hook™. is a product that allows one to hang things exactly where you need them. Cleverly designed device features three molded plastic hooks that rotate 360° from a plastic pin. Use the two end hooks or just the middle one to snap unit in place over rounded edges, handles, chairs or other items.
US Poly sells a complete line of Can Coolers, Sport Bottles and Neoprene Drink Insulators, including Collegiate licensed products.
88 Merchandise specializes in LED lighted gifts, clothing accessories and novelties.
A & M Wholesale Group is an importer of a variety of trademarked brands. Trademarked brands include Countryside Products, Totally Cool Toys, Kentucky Tactical Supply, Camco Tools, and Kentucky Cutlery Company.
Katie Q is a collection of handbags and other stylish accessories.
SunStaches are novelty mask type sunglasses that were featured on Shark Tank and have enjoyed widespread success. This is their Wholesale-only website.
Albanese Confectionary makes and sells Made-in-the-USA gummies and candies. Use the Contact Us link to request wholesale information.
Fattah Trading Company is a family owned and operated candy and grocery wholesale distributor based in Chicago. They sell leading brands of candy & gourmet food items and ship all over the US.
Bwanaz is an online wholesale marketplace for a wide range of products. They were recently recommended to me, but I do not have any experience with them, so try them out by placing a small order. They are a membership platform, but there is no fee. Instead, they require a $50 minimum order to set up a membership. One caution - I noticed a lot of brand names on the site that could be restricted on eBay or Amazon, so check before you buy.
Thatís 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.
Please Note: Some of the products and services mentioned in this website, in articles, banner ads and newsletters and blog posts are for products and services for which I earn a referral fee or commission. We always evaluate anything we recommend very carefully and each year we turn down literally dozens of opportunities to recommend products or services where we can earn a commission. Even though we earn a fee on some of our recommendations, we only recommend products and services that we feel will deliver good value and with rare exceptions, they all come with a money back guarantee.