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Wholesale Product Sourcing Tips for eBay & Amazon Sellers

The eBay & Amazon Seller's News ~ August 28, 2018 ~ Volume 19, Issue No. 15

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

In This Issue:

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

  1. Wholesale Product Sourcing Tips for eBay & Amazon Sellers
  2. eBay Releases Fall Updates. Will this be the final straw for many sellers?
  3. Start Getting Ready for 4th Quarter Now!
  4. Does it Make Sense to Have Your Own Website?
  5. Avoiding and Dealing with Price Wars on Amazon
  6. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." ~ Steve Jobs


Are used books still a viable market on eBay and Amazon? My book, How to Sell Used Books on eBay, Amazon and the Internet for Profit has been one of my all-time best sellers with the lowest return rate of any of my books.

Now to answer the question: The answer is a resounding yes! The mainstay of the used book market is non-fiction books. There are two reasons for this:

  • Novels (fiction) are produced in the millions of copies, whereas many non-fiction books have a first printing of only 50,000 copies or so. The large oversupply of fiction tends to keep prices very low. For example, you can pick up a popular James Patterson novel at a garage sale for a dime, but you will be lucky to sell it for a dollar. After Amazon or eBay/PayPal fees, that leaves you no profit. Whereas just a couple weeks ago I bought a book for $2.00 at a Thrift shop on How to Draw People, that I sold for $17.67

    Image of the book How To Draw People
  • The other reason is the popularity of e-readers such as Kindle. Because many non-fiction books have illustrations, charts, graphs and maps. Those tend to show up very poorly on e-readers. Therefore, someone buying a book about historical or scientific subjects that are loaded with charts and maps will tend to buy the hard or soft cover version instead of the eBook.

Check out my book, How to Sell Used Books on eBay, Amazon and the Internet for Profit. Like all my books on this website, it comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Used books are easy to source, they typically sell for excellent markups, and can provide a foundation for a large sustainable business on eBay, Amazon and other Internet sites. In fact, some of the largest sellers on eBay and Amazon are book sellers.

In the last few issues I told you about Kibly. They are a relatively new company that specializes in building seller feedback and product reviews on Amazon

In my 12 years of experience on Amazon, my average feedback left is about 1 out of every 100 or so orders. With Kibly I am seeing one feedback in every 4 or 5 orders and my product reviews have increased about 15%.

In the past I have recommended both Feedback Five and Feedback Genius. Both of them are good companies, but since switching to Kibly my performance has increased dramatically.

It has become common for shipping companies like UPS and FedEx to raise shipping prices during the holiday shipping season. This year FedEx is only charging extra for oversized items, and those that require special handling (i.e. wine, ammo and expensive items that require age verification and/or signature. All other residential items will be shipped at the regular year-round charges.

We are still waiting for UPS's announcement.

Over the years I have used just about every keyword tool on the market. Many of them are quite good at finding basic keywords, buy I have finally found one that finds the best long tail keywords. Why are long tail keywords important? Simply put, they are the cheapest ones you can buy or use. For example, if you were selling a fish filet knife, a good long tail keyword might be "best knife for filleting fish." That phrase would be a lot cheaper to buy than the words "fish filet knife."

The system is called Long Tail Pro and you can sign up monthly or save money with an annual plan. Best of all they have a$1 trial and a 100-day money back guarantee with nothing to return. Just contact them and say you want a refund.

Here are some of the things Long Tail Pro can do:

Details of the Long Tail Pro starter plan

In the last issue I covered quarterly results for eBay and Amazon, but failed to mention Etsy. Well, Etsy also beat eBay and announced double-digit sales growth just over 20% for the second quarter. Their profits grew just over 30%. Although Etsy is still quite a bit smaller than eBay, their fast growth makes them a viable competitor.

Amazon recently made it slightly difficult to contact support, but it can still be done. Here's how:

1. First click in Help and when the window opens there is a link at the bottom of that window that says Contact Us.

2. Click on Contact Us and another window comes up that asks you to select between Selling on Amazon or Advertising or stores.

3. Select Selling on Amazon.

4. Once you do that a search box will open at the top of the page for you to ask a question. Simply type the words "Contact rep" in that box.

5. Now look back on the left and you will see a list of topics.

6. Go down the list and select My Account, and under that, click on Other Account Issues. When you do that, a support form will open. You will have the choice of chat, phone or email. I always have the best luck with email, because I get written instructions to fix my issue.

I don't know if you have noticed but eBay Seller hub has been acting glichy for the past week or so. Some pages just won't load at all, while others are very slow. You may not be seeing this, but I have experienced it in my account.

Amazon is expanding their own Private Label business. If you've looked at almost any clothing item, you will see a brand labeled Amazon Basics. And it goes beyond clothing into jewelry and other products as well (including electronics. I just bought a USB mouse that came with the Amazon Basic logo). Amazon is also reportedly developing their own brands of wine.

Apparently, Amazon saw how well their sellers were doing with Private Label and decided to jump on the bandwagon as well.

Lets get started with this month's in-depth articles:


1. Wholesale Product Sourcing Tips for eBay & Amazon Sellers

Wholesale Product Sourcing Tips

In one of the Facebook Groups I am in; last week a new seller posted a question looking for advice. She said she had $2000 to invest in wholesale product and how should she best invest it? As you can imagine she got a lot of advice, but it got me to thinking that a lot of new sellers are in the same quandary.

You may not have $2000, but even if you only have a few hundred dollars, you face the same challenges. When your funds are limited, you really can't afford to make any mistakes. There is nothing worse than making a big investment in product and then finding out you cannot sell it at a profit on eBay or Amazon.

There are several types of sellers on eBay and Amazon. Many eBay sellers work exclusively in used, vintage and collectible merchandise. That venue has its own challenges and I am not going to address them here. What I am going to cover today relates to selling new merchandise sourced from wholesale sources.

Once again this breaks down into two groups: Those sellers who sell clearance and on-sale merchandise, and those who purchase from traditional wholesale vendors.

The first group practices Retail Arbitrage (a term coined by Chris Green). Retail arbitrage is where you buy clearance products from retail outlets to resell at higher prices online. Some of the more popular retailers used by eBay and Amazon sellers are Wal-Mart, Trader Joes, Big Lots, Costco and Sam's Club, Home Depot, Kohls and Target.

The other group buys new merchandise from traditional wholesale vendors that they find online, at wholesale trade shows or local wholesale merchandise marts. Before you start sourcing from these sources there are some things you need to know.

Most, but not all, wholesale vendors have both a minimum opening order (MOO) amount and a minimum re-order (MRO) amount. Some of them can be very low. One vendor I use has an opening order amount of $250 and $100 on re-orders. However, another one has a $1000 minimum opening order and a $250 minimum re-order.

The size of the MOO mostly depends on the price point of the product. Products that retail for under $25 will typically have small minimums, whereas expensive products (such as small appliances) will have higher amounts. That makes sense if you think about it. If Kitchen Aid had a $250 MOO, you would hit that if you only bought one or two appliances. If you were buying knives and pots and pans that are less expensive, then they have a lower MOO and lower MRO.

Purchasing a new product is always a risk. If you only have a small amount of money, then you want to spend a lot of time researching to find those vendors with no, or low, opening minimums. They are out there if you look. One of the kitchen product vendors I use has no minimums at all. After I met him at the ASD trade show, I bought one of each of two different knife sets. I put them on Amazon and none of them sold, so I lowered the price a bit, and both of them sold quickly.

I still made a profit, so I reordered the knife sets. But the point here is that I had less than $100 tied up in inventory for those two products. Had that vendor had a MOO of $500, I would probably have passed on those products since I didn't really have much experience with them. Or, I may have waited until just before Christmas to order, when those types of products sell much faster.

If you buy a product that doesn't sell at a price where you can make a good profit, then cut your losses quickly. Lower the price to get rid of them, and put that money to work with products that are making you money.

There is risk in everything we do when we sell online. But tying up money in non-selling or unprofitable products is one of the biggest. But, it's also the one risk that is highly manageable.

You know the old saying "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Well that really applies here. If you had $1000 to $2000 to start out, you would want to spread that risk around and source several different products. Some of them will be winners and some will be losers. So you want to take the Wall Street Investor approach. Let your winners run and sell your losers quickly.

If you buy a product that doesn't sell at a price where you can make a good profit, then cut your losses quickly. Lower the price to get rid of them, and put that money to work with products that are making you money. I believe in this so strongly that I have been known to sell goods at below my cost just to get that capital working again. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

Here is an example: I am a huge fan of wholesale trade shows to source products. I like that I can actually meet the people I will be dealing with and assess their character. I can pick up the goods and examine them for quality and trade shows are where you see the really new products, so you can often be first to get them to market.

However, one of my rules for attending trade shows is that I rarely buy something right at the show. Instead I like to acquire the catalogs and price-lists and do my research when I get home. Many vendors offer trade show specials, but they will usually hold them open for at least a week or two after the show if you ask them to.

Back to my example: At the last ASD show, I bought some wooden puzzles that were on a 20% -off, plus free shipping show special. I asked the vendor if he would hold that open and he said no. The cost was so low (70% below MSRP), that I took a flyer and purchased $500 worth of the puzzles. That was months ago. I have lowered the price to near my cost and have still not sold even one set.

Pretty soon I am going to hit Amazon's 6-month limit on storage for products that are not selling and I will have to pull them out. Until then I will try lowering the price again and hope they sell. If not, I will have to pull them out and donate them to my local Kiwanis Thrift Shop for the tax deduction. That was an expensive lesson I hope most of you can avoid.

The lesson here is when you make rules for yourself, you should follow them. Had I followed my own policy of not buying right at the show, I would not have made that mistake


2. eBay Releases Fall Updates. Will this be the final straw for many sellers?

In my last issue I pointed out that eBay is once again struggling with growth in sales & profits. They are in the single digits while Amazon is enjoying double-digit growth.

So what was eBay's response? Raise fees and put more demands on sellers. The changes are occurring in three areas:

  • Marketplace Updates - Answer your buyers' questions before the sale, managed payments, reminder to list using secure HTTPS content, and fee updates.

  • Inventory Optimization - New categories in the product-based shopping experience, item condition updates, lower final value fees in some business equipment categories, and new item specifics requirements.

  • Service Metrics & Shipping - Access service metrics and peer benchmarks in Seller Hub and expansion of the new eBay labels experience to all sellers.

I am just going to list the updates as eBay put them out, then I will give my comments in italics at the end of each update.

Marketplace Updates

What you need to know

  • Provide your customer service phone number to answer buyers' questions
  • Managed payments for simplified buying and selling
  • Use secure HTTPS content when you list your items
  • Reserve price, Subtitle, and media fee updates

Provide your customer support phone number to answer buyers' questions before the sale

Sometimes buyers have questions about items they would like to purchase on eBay. While buyers and sellers aren't allowed to share or request direct contact information prior to completing a sale for the purpose of making offers to buy or sell items outside of eBay, a new pilot program allows you to help buyers make purchase decisions. With the new pilot program, your customer service phone number will be visible to buyers on desktop before the sale. You can opt into the feature within "Manage communication with buyers" in your account settings.

This is one I am OK with. We have provided our contact info for years and it has always led to sales and/or prevented negative feedbacks.

Managed payments for simplified buying and selling

As announced in January 2018 , we (eBay) are committed to creating the world's most powerful selling platform, and building out our payments capabilities is the next step in that strategy. By managing payments all in one place, we will be simplifying the buying and selling experience on eBay. You will benefit from consolidated pricing, simpler invoicing of your fees, and daily payouts direct to your bank account. Buyers will have more payment choices and better checkout experiences.

Managed payments will be phased in gradually. When you receive your invitation to participate, we strongly encourage you to join. eBay expects to transition the majority of sellers to the new payment experience by 2021. We want you to be part of this journey and welcome your feedback.

As you know, PayPal is going away next year. The last time eBay tried to manage their own payment system it was a total disaster. eBay has been experiencing so many system issues and glitches that I have no faith in their ability to pull this off. I predict a disaster that is going to cost sellers lost sales and money.

Use secure HTTPS for enhanced browser security

As we previously announced , the Google Chrome browser now displays the message "Not secure" in its address bar when users visit HTTP pages or HTTPS pages that include non-secure HTTP content. Starting September 15, 2018, you will be required to use secure HTTPS content when you list items on eBay based on Google's HTTPS mandate. "New," "relist," "sell similar," and "sell one like this" listings created with non-secure HTTP content will not successfully submit.

Current and revised listings with non-secure HTTP content will be displayed as "Not secure" to buyers in the Google Chrome address bar. To ensure the most secure shopping experience for your buyers, we recommend that you update your listings now. Check here (login required) to see if you have any noncompliant existing listings that need to be updated.

This is another one I am OK with. Enhanced security is always better, but eBay needs a way to update your current listings to the new standard. Once again I do not have a lot of faith in their ability to do this.

Reserve price, Subtitle, and media fee updates

Starting September 15, 2018, the feature fee for Reserve price will increase to either $5 or 7.5%, whichever is greater and the Reserve fee cap will increase from $100 to $250. In some Business & Industrial categories , the feature fee will remain at a flat fee of $5.

The feature fee for Subtitle will increase from $0.50 to $1 for listings with 1-, 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-day listing durations and an item price of up to $150, and from $1 to $3 for listings with an item price of more than $150. For 30-day duration and Good 'Til Cancelled listings with an item price up to $150, the feature fee will remain unchanged at $1.50. For 30-day duration and Good 'Til Cancelled listings with an item price of more than $150, the feature fee will increase to $6.

The feature fee for Value Pack will increase from $0.65 to $1.15 for listings with 1-, 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-day listing durations and an item price of up to $150, and from $1.30 to $3.15 for listings with an item price of more than $150. For 30-day duration and Good 'Til Cancelled listings with an item price up to $150, the feature fee will remain unchanged at $2. For 30-day duration and Good 'Til Cancelled listings with an item price of more than $150, the feature fee will increase to $6.50.

Changes to Insertion fee credits for auction-style listings that sell

Starting October 4, 2018, unlimited insertion fee credits for auction-style listings that end in a sale will be available exclusively to US and Canadian Store subscribers with Basic, Premium, Anchor, and Enterprise Store subscriptions . Starter Store subscribers and non-Store sellers will no longer receive these insertion fee credits. Only listings created after you sign up for a Store subscription will be eligible for a credit.

Media price increase

Starting September 15, 2018, the final value fees for Books, and DVDs & Movies categories will increase from 9.15% to 12% for Store subscribers and from 10% to 12% for non-Store sellers.

Starting September 15, 2018, the final value fees for the Music category will also increase from 9.15% to 12% for both Store subscribers and non-Store sellers, with the exception of the Records category, which will remain at 9.15% for Store subscribers and 10% for non-Store sellers.

eBay's answer to poor sales has always been fee increases. The two that bother me most are the Value Pak increases, as I have always been big users of those. Well no longer. So that is an area where eBay will actually lose fees from me.

The disappearance of free listings for non-store subscribers is another one that I think will come back to bite eBay because thousands of small casual sellers will just stop listing and move to other platform.

On September 15th, final-value fees for Books, DVDs and Movies (BVMD) will increase to 12% for Store subscribers and from 10% to 12% for non-Store sellers. This comes at a time when eBay's biggest rival Amazon is lowering prices and improving Prime deals. And, when eBay shut down its Half.com platform, it lost a lot of media business. This makes me wonder if one of eBay's long-term goals is to just get out of the books and media business and leave that to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Once again eBay appears to be shooting themselves in the foot. Raising fees while they make more demands on sellers. Let's next look at some of those demands.

Inventory Optimization

What you need to know

  • New categories and features in the product-based shopping experience
  • Item condition label and definition updates
  • Final value fee reduction in some business equipment categories
  • Include the Make item specific in your Heavy Equipment listings
  • Include the wheel quantity item specific in your wheel listings

New categories and features in the expanded product-based shopping experience

As announced in the 2018 Summer Seller Update , eBay is transitioning to a product-based shopping experience that makes it easy for buyers to find your products. Listing with the eBay catalog reduces your listing time, and improves the accuracy and value of the competitive pricing guidance we provide so you can manage your business better.

This means eBay will be demanding UPC codes for more products.

Key dates for the product-based shopping experience

Starting in mid-August 2018, as we previously announced, you will need to associate your listings with the eBay catalog in enabled categories . Any listings that require updating will be highlighted in both My eBay and Seller Hub.

Additionally, in mid-August 2018, you will be able to leverage your expertise and contribute edits to the eBay catalog within enabled categories using the new Create Product and Update Product Information features within the listing flow. Your contributions will help ensure that the eBay catalog is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, providing buyers with details they need to clearly understand the item being sold. We strongly encourage you to begin updating your listings in mid-August to comply with the requirement so that there are no interruptions to your eBay business.

Here is the complete list:

Starting in mid-September 2018, when you revise an existing listing or create a new listing in enabled categories , you will need to associate your listings with the eBay catalog. If you do not associate your active listings with the eBay catalog, your listings may have minimal or no visibility to buyers. If you do not associate new or revised listings with the catalog you will not be able to successfully complete the listing.

Looking forward, in mid-October 2018, we will enable you to associate your listings for the following categories with the catalog. You will have until February 2019 to associate your listings in these categories with the catalog before the visibility of your listings will be affected.

  • 3D Printers & Supplies
  • CPUs/Processors
  • Desktops & All-In-Ones
  • DJ Equipment
  • Electrical Equipment & Supplies
  • Heating, Cooling & Air
  • Home Telephones & Accessories
  • Karaoke Entertainment
  • Laptops & Netbooks
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Motherboards
  • Multipurpose Batteries & Power
  • Portable Audio & Headphones (except Parts & Accessories)
  • Printers
  • Pro Audio Equipment
  • Scanners
  • Surveillance & Smart Home Electronics (except Parts & Accessories)
  • Test, Measurement & Inspection
  • Tools & Workshop Equipment (except Parts & Accessories)
  • TV, Video & Home Audio (except Parts & Accessories)
  • Video Games & Consoles (except Video Games)
  • Virtual Reality (except Parts & Accessories)

This one really sucks. I have a few products I am now listing by category and have yet to make a sale because they no longer come up in search. And of course you will need the manufacturer's UPC codes to list these products, so that kills any bundling possibilities.

New other item condition label and definition updates

Starting October 15, 2018, we will begin automatically updating existing listings in the Electronics, Home & Garden, Health & Beauty, and Musical Instruments categories with a "New other" item label to a new "Open box" label and definition. An "Open box" label will apply to items that are in excellent, like new condition with no wear. The item may be missing the original packaging or protective wrapping, or may be in the original packaging but not sealed. The item includes original accessories and may be a factory second.

Also starting October 15, 2018, we will begin automatically updating existing listings in the Business & Industrial category with a "New other" label to a "Like new" label and definition. A "Like new" label will apply to items that are in excellent condition with no functional defects. The item may have been used for testing or demo purposes, and may be missing the original packaging. It may include warranty and accessories found with the original product.

These item condition label and definition updates will help you meet buyers' expectations. We recommend that you review your listings to make sure your item conditions are accurate.

OK - Another one that's not that bad although it could affect used item sellers.

Service Metrics and Shipping

What you need to know

  • Access your service metrics and peer benchmarks in Seller Hub
  • Upload tracking to avoid "item not received" claims
  • Expanding the new eBay labels experience to all sellers

Service metrics and peer benchmarks are now available in Seller Hub

In the 2018 Summer Seller Update , we announced new competitive insights with service metrics and peer benchmarks that give you additional visibility into the status of your buyers' "item not as described" and "item not received" requests. These service metrics will help you identify listings that aren't meeting buyer expectations and manage your business better. The service metrics dashboard is now live in the Performance tab in Seller Hub (login required). Guidance is available to help you improve your metrics if needed and you can see your specific listings that may need to be updated.

As a reminder, starting October 1, 2018, if you have very high rates of "item not as described" returns you may be subject to additional 4% final value fee in affected categories based on the Service Metrics policy . Maximum fee caps do not apply to the additional 4% final value fees. See our selling fees article for more information on how final value fees are calculated.

Starting November 1, 2018, if you have very high rates of "item not received" requests, you may be subject to extended delivery estimates in affected categories.

Sellers will not be evaluated on a time period prior to June 1, 2018.

To make sure you're meeting eBay's minimum selling requirements, check your seller dashboard (login required) regularly.

The problem here is that eBay has made it much easier for buyers to mark these fields and they will soon learn it makes items easier to return when they do.

Upload tracking to prevent "item not received" claims

Starting September 10, 2018, you will be required to upload tracking in the structured data field before the estimated delivery date has passed in order to appeal an "item not received" claim. eBay will not protect you from a claim if you send the tracking number to the buyer via email.

Without tracking information, eBay can't protect you because we won't be able to confirm your item was delivered. Tracking also benefits buyers by enabling them to track the status of their deliveries. We will also update the eBay Money Back Guarantee policy with the new guidelines.

Every seller should be entering tracking within 24-hours anyway. This one will hurt dropshipping sellers the most, because most dropshipping companies are notoriously slow to provide tracking.

Coming soon for all sellers-the new eBay labels experience

In the 2018 Spring Seller Update , we announced an easier and more intuitive way to purchase and print labels on eBay. Starting in September 2018, the new eBay shipping labels experience will be available to all sellers. We've added new features that will help you make informed shipping choices quickly and easily. They include estimated delivery dates based on shipping service and pricing comparisons. The previous labels experience will be retired in January 2019.

Here again - a good idea if eBay can pull it off. This is the sort of project eBay has always had technical struggles with.

Well that's it. I must say given these changes, I will be evaluating if I want to bother staying with eBay. Compared to Amazon, my eBay sales are already so low it may no longer make sense. However, that is me. There are plenty of sellers still doing quite well on eBay. I plan to make that decision as these changes roll out. Should I decide to leave eBay altogether, I will just kill my eBay book titles and concentrate on Amazon, Etsy and other selling venues.


3. Start Getting Ready for 4th Quarter Now!

I know it's only August, but now is the time to get ready for the 4 th quarter. Remember these facts:

  • Wholesale vendors start getting hit with wholesale orders in September.

  • A high volume of orders means they can run out of hot selling products early. Ordering by early September means you can be assured of getting hot selling products.

  • The high volumes seen in the 4th quarter slows down order handling and shipping times.

  • Starting in October, UPS, FedEx and the USPS volumes increase and this slows down shipments dramatically.

  • If you are using FBA, the same thing happens. The higher volumes slow down both shipping and receiving times at Amazon. If you ship something to Amazon on November 15th, it can take until December 15th to arrived and get processed into your sellable inventory.

Another important thing to remember is to always overestimate the volume of products that will sell. I overestimate every year, and still come up short and run out of hot selling items.

The best use of the month of August is to start researching and planning what you will sell. Get your orders into your suppliers by early September so you will receive everything you order, and everything will arrive in time.

If you use FBA, remember that storage fees increase in the 4th quarter, so try and time your shipping to Amazon just right. I like to send my shipments in around October 1st. Amazon is already slowing down a bit by then but its not too bad. Last year my shipments arrived in 5 to 7 days and it only took 2 days to receive them.

There is one drawback to waiting that long. There are folks who start their Christmas shopping as early as late September and you will miss those sales.

One last thing, I strongly suggest is that you use FBA. Remember FBA offers free 2-day shipping to members and there are a lot of folks who wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping. Since the first month of FBA is free, there are a lot of folks who sign up in December.

Also, all other things being equal, Amazon will put the Prime eligible (i.e. FBA) products in the buy box.


4. Does it Make Sense to Have Your Own Website?

The answer to that question is "maybe." It is no surprise that search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo now favor major shopping sites in their results for most popular products.

Here is an example of the results I saw when I typed in Chef Knife Set on Google:

Chef Knife Set search results

Click here for a larger image

You can see that most of the results are large shopping sites. Now let's type in a really narrow niche such as collectible metal toy soldiers.

collectible metal toy soldiers search result

As you can see, although you still get a few results from sites like eBay and Amazon, they are lower down the page and the top results are smaller independent web sites.

So the lesson here is: Yes, a website makes sense if you are selling a product in a very narrow or highly specialized niche, then it could make sense to have your own independent website.

There is another potential reason to have a website. There are some wholesale vendors who want to see a website before they will sell to you. In addition, Amazon often asks to see a website with actual products on it before they will approve you for a new category. (One thing they are looking for is to see if your images are Amazon compliant, so always make sure they are).

If you are setting up a website for either of these reasons, then Shopify is probably the easiest way to go and it has the added advantage that you might get some sales because Google often picks up Shopify results.


5. Avoiding and Dealing with Price Wars on Amazon

You set your price and then another seller comes in a few cents less to win the buy box. So you do the same thing and he or she comes right back. If this is happening less than hourly, you are probably up against an automatic repricer.

Tactic #1 - The first thing you want you do before repricing is look at the other seller's account and determine if they are in FBA. First look at their feedback and account metrics. If their feedback is poor, just go ahead and set your price higher than theirs and you will most likely win the buy box (unless yours is also poor).

You see one of the major factors Amazon takes into account when determining who wins the buy box, is the account metrics of the sellers. A seller with poor account metrics will almost never win the buy box -no matter how low their price. For example, my current 90-day feedback is 100%. I have a competitor whose feedback is 88%, selling the exact same product for 20% below my price. Yet, I own the buy box 100% of the time.

Also, Amazon tends to favor FBA sellers when awarding the buy box.

Tactic #2 - Many of the automatic repricers are only triggered when the price is either matched exactly or at least 1 penny less. Therefore, try placing you price at 1-penny more. In many cases. Amazon doesn't notice this 1-penny difference and will take turns rotating both sellers into and out of the buy box.

Tactic #3 - If you are in FBA and up against a merchant-fulfilled seller, then you have a real advantage. Because so many Amazon members belong to Prime and get 2-day free shipping, and any seller with at least $25 in their shopping cart, if your product is in an FBA warehouse, Amazon considers your shipping cost to be zero.

Therefore, if you price a product at $27.95 and your merchant-fulfilled seller's price at $24.95, you would think he would win the buy box. But this isn't always true. If you look more closely, you will see that his shipping cost is $4.90. That brings his total to $29.85. Since Amazon looks at the total cost including shipping, you are actually $1.87 cheaper because Amazon assumes your shipping cost will be zero.

Tactic #4 - If you can't beat them - join them. There are about 20 different Amazon Repricers on the market (Just Google "Amazon Repricer). Carefully examine all the features and fees. The key to using a repricer is determining just how low you can -or want, to go. Don't get yourself in a situation where you start losing money.


6. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Doodle Pants are a line of clever funny designed pants for toddlers and small kids. Click on the link at the bottom of the page that says Become a Retailer.

RG Styles sells a line of inflatable furniture and other designer home products.

Pacific Silk Plants sells a large line of silk plants of all kinds.

Love Bug Apparel sells a wide line of attractive tee shirts with clever slogans

The World's Softest Sock was born from one single thought… Softness. From this simple beginning, they have become Crescent's fastest growing brand. They carry a complete line of socks for any occasion.

The Milkhouse Candle Co carries a wide range of attractive candles.

Forte Chocolates makes and sells wholesale Hand-crafted chocolates and confections from award-winning Master Chocolatier Karen Neugebauer. Made in the beautiful Skagit Valley in Washington State (Home of the largest Tulip Festival in the United States).

Nika International designs and manufactures animated musical and talking stuffed toys. Great sound quality, synchro-motion technology. Alkaline batteries included.

Bite-Lite LLC serves the public's needs for natural mosquito control and the management of biting insects. They manufacturer a line of all-natural mosquito and other insect-control products.

The codex club (i.e. the book club) started as a greeting card line with a few creative friends. This became t-shirts, dresses, candles, tea towels and more -all digital designed and printed products.

Hankook Chinaware started off as a small high-end pottery factory in South Korea and is now used in homes all around the world. They export beautiful pottery of all types to over 80 countries including the US, Canada and Eurozone countries.

FunkyRandy Birdhouses are completely handmade in the USA. Original weatherproof designs made from 100% Cedar. Secure online ordering. FunkyRandy is an official supplier to Wild Birds Unlimited stores.

Clarity is a New Age social dice game with 216 abstract cards designed by artist Melissa Behr. Roll a die while concentrating on something you want clarity on. Then pick a card from corresponding category: Mental; Emotional; Spiritual; Physical; Past or Future.

Southern Elegance Candle Co . makes candles that are poured deep in the heart of North Carolina. (All made in USA). Each small batch is meticulously poured by hand to ensure you receive the highest quality candle possible.

Nashville Wraps is a wholesale Gift wrapping distributor who make almost all their products in the USA

Not a Wholesale Source -but two Cash & Carry Trade Shows:

  • Wednesday, September 12, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
  • Wednesday, October 1oth, Roberts Center, Wilmington, OH

Unlike most trade shows where you just place orders, these are cash & carry, so you need a truck or SUV to take the goods with you. Also, many of these vendors do not take credit cards, so you really do need to carry some cash (in a safe place).

Other upcoming trade shows (Not cash & carry):

See you again in a couple of weeks.

Skip McGrath
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News

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