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Amazon Profit Booster - Three Books to Help you Increase Your Amazon Profits

New Amazon Mini Amazon Profits Booster Course

The eBay & Amazon Seller's News, July 29 2015 - Volume 15, Issue No. 13

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

In This Issue:

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

  1. New Amazon Mini Amazon Profits Booster Course
  2. How to Source Products For Your Ecommerce Business
  3. Perfecting Titles and Keywords on Amazon (and eBay)
  4. Getting Ready for the Busy 4th Quarter Holiday Selling Season
  5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." ~ Mark Twain


Musings

Are you attending ASD next week in Las Vegas? Join John Bullard, Sr. and Ryan Reger for a FREE seminar on-site Sunday morning at 9:30am in room #N241.

ASD can be overwhelming and John & Ryan will be sharing tips and strategies to get the most out of the show.  You will learn:

  • How to identify realistic goals for your time at the show

  • Strategies for researching vendors on the show floor

  • How to build on your trade show experience even weeks after it's over

  • and more…

Space is limited - you can register for this free seminar here: http://nanacast.com/vp/10001214/320665
 


A few days ago Amazon announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2015. Net sales increased 20% to $23.18 billion in the second quarter, compared with $19.34 billion in second quarter 2014. Excluding the $1.39 billion unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 27% compared to second quarter 2014.

Operating income was $464 million in the second quarter, compared with operating loss of $15 million in second quarter 2014.

Net income was $92 million in the second quarter, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $126 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, in second quarter 2014.

This is the first quarter Amazon has stated a profit because for the past few years they have been re-investing all their profits in growing the number of distribution centers. I suspect Amazon will continue to add distribution centers but just not at the fast rate they have done for the past two years.


eBay is Twenty Years Old! To Celebrate eBay is holding a birthday party in San Jose.

If you still sell on eBay and live on or near the west coast this will be like a mini- eBay Live so it could be worth attending. I have some other events planned around that time, but am going to try and make at least one day. Here is the link to get more information and to register.


Have you tried Snagshout.com yet? If you haven't heard, Snagshout beta testing is complete and the site is open to everyone! It fully launched the first part of July and has had stunning growth, with more than 30,000 shoppers on the site. There are nearly 400 unique products available in varied quantities--with new products showing up daily.


Here is a great piece from Ina Steiner's eCommerceBytes blog - Weigh In on eBay's Recent Change to Feedback. eBay added a question to the feedback system that buyers are now seeing as they rate sellers. Is it a positive change for sellers, or something to worry about? Learn more and take a survey to let us know what you think.


Mark Houng is an expert on importing from Asia. He has written a great blog post about the 9 biggest mistakes people make when importing. Here is a link to the article.


Lets get started with this month’s articles:

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1. New Amazon Mini Amazon Profits Booster Course

I have recently published a new course for existing (not brand new) Amazon Sellers. It's a 3-book mini course called The Amazon Profits Booster Course. This is NOT a "how to sell on Amazon course." It is designed for existing Amazon sellers who have at least a few months experience.

There are three volumes - each fairly short and to the point.

Book #1 - Bundling for Profits

Book #2 - Importing For Profits - How To Imports Goods From Overseas for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Book #3 - Grow Your Profits - Tips, Tricks, Techniques, and Best Practices to Grow Your Amazon Business

As I said, each book is fairly short and all three are designed to teach you ways to increase and grow your business while increasing profits. All of these topics were covered in The Complete Amazon Marketing System which is my "How to Sell on Amazon" course, but the mini-course takes them to a new level with much more detail.

Most of my eBooks cost $27 or more but I am selling the Amazon Profit Booster Course for just $17. And like everything I sell, it comes with my no-questions-asked, 90-day money back guarantee. You can pay with PayPal or any major credit card.

Please remember - this is not a "how to sell on Amazon" course or aimed at really brand new sellers. You should have at least a few months selling on Amazon before trying some of these techniques.

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2. How to Source Products For Your Ecommerce Business

This is a guest article by Jodie Pride. Josie is a Content Creator at Veeqo, an inventory management, order and shipping software for online merchants based in Swansea, Wales.

So you've decided what you want to sell online, now what? You need to figure out how you're going to source those products. There are quite a few questions you're going to have to ask yourself when it comes to sourcing products for your ecommerce business.

What kind of supplier will you use?

You need to ask yourself what kind of supplier you're looking for. This will help enormously when you begin researching suppliers if you're looking at becoming an Amazon seller.

There are a couple of options when it comes to suppliers: you can make, manufacture, wholesale or dropship.

  • Make - This is where you would create your own products, e.g if you sell homemade clothing, crafts etc.
  • Manufacture - This is where you outsource the creation of your products, e.g they would be made offsite in a factory, or potentially even a number of different factories.
  • Wholesaler - This is a party who has the finished product ready to sell. You would order in bulk from a wholesaler and sell the goods on your ecommerce store.
  • Dropshipping - This is when a supplier is willing to fulfil the orders if you handle the ecommerce, marketing and customer service side of business.

Your choice of supplier will depend on your product, but it's worth considering your budget and assessing which option is best for you. For example, it could be cheaper and far less time consuming to order ready made goods than make them yourself.

Are you going to use domestic or overseas suppliers?

This goes hand in hand with the first question: if you're not going to make or manufacture the products yourself, are you going to use a supplier from the country in which your business operates, or are you going to source them from overseas?

If you're choosing an overseas supplier, the classic choices are Asian countries like China and India, where it's almost always cheaper to source products. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, so you'd need to compare the two and decide what's more profitable for your business.

Domestic Suppliers

Advantages

  • The standard of quality of manufacturing and labour is higher.
  • It's far easier to communicate, with no time constraints or language barriers.
  • There's a marketing appeal of the products being "homegrown".
  • It's easier to verify that your suppliers are reputable by visiting their site.
  • Shipping is faster.
  • Payment security is better.

Disadvantages

  • Manufacturing costs are higher.
  • Less product choice (There are many items that just aren't made in North America anymore).

Overseas Sourcing

Advantages

  • Lower manufacturing costs.
  • Large volume of suppliers to choose from.
  • Services like Alibaba make it easy navigate suppliers.

Disadvantages

  • The product quality is often low.
  • Manufacturing and labour standards are often poor.
  • Communication constraints more likely due to language barriers and time differences.
  • Far more difficult and costly to vet suppliers by visiting them on-site.
  • Shipping times are often much longer, which could cause complications.
  • Cultural differences in business practices.
  • Product importation and customs clearance.
  • Less payment security and recourse.

How do I find these suppliers?

Now you know what you're looking for, you need to figure out how you're going to look for it ("it" being the suppliers, of course).

So how do you begin looking for suppliers? This might seem obvious, but there's a wealth of information available online. You can look for official manufacturer pages for the products you're trying to stock (think branded goods), or you can simply Google "supplier" + "[whatever it is you're looking for]" and search for reputable wholesalers in your area (or overseas, of course).

Check out online trade dictionaries like Alibaba.com and Exporters.sg. These are an excellent source of information, even if they are a little disorganised.

Online forums are another great way of finding suppliers. Just search for ones which cater to whatever products you're trying to source. This could be an opportunity to connect with other retailers who are doing well in the industry, and you could even use these forums to target potential customers. You could even try the forums at Amazon Seller Central to see if you can find out how other sellers found their suppliers.

If you're looking for domestic suppliers, try local trade shows. These are the best places to find the latest products. Alternatively, trade journals and magazines are a good approach for finding manufacturers who advertise their latest items. Make sure you get a good subscription as you don't want to lose out on valuable information.

How do I approach them?

You need to prove to suppliers that you have a viable sales channel, and offer them something that's unique, otherwise they won't be keen to do business with you.

Before your site is live, it's a good idea to put in some dummy products, and get some business cards designed and printed (this also applies if you're selling on eBay). This will ensure you're in a much stronger position to have a chat to them negotiate the possibilities.

Think of the following:

  • Do you offer free Delivery?
  • Does your site have lots of user-generated content?
  • Do you have a decent blog following?
  • Highlight your personal skills, experiences and personality - remember, people buy off people, so let your personality shine through!

You should also ask your suppliers the following questions when asking for a quote:

  • "What is your minimum order quantity?" - This is crucial. You need to make sure you can actually afford the minimum order. Be wary - if you are having goods manufactured, the price can often creep up once production costs, service charges and sales tax are added.
  • "How much do you charge for samples?" - You definitely want to check out the goods before you commit to ordering anything. Most companies will give free samples to genuine enquirers. But they usually ask you to pay for the shipping which is a normal practice
  • "How much does production cost?" - Make sure you get the price for a number of different quantities because it will definitely cost you less to buy more. It's probably best to get a smaller quantity first to test the waters.
  • "What is your turnaround time?" - Knowing how long it will take to produce your products is vital information. This could dictate how many items you order, the supplier you choose. Timing can be a huge factor in your decision making.

Remember: Picking a good supplier can be the key to a successful business. If you find a great supplier who delivers on time, stay loyal to them and you'll likely be able to negotiate a good deal on products. It's worth planning ahead and doing your research before jumping in headfirst. Taking your time and making sure everything fits together perfectly is the key to building a successful business.

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3. Perfecting Titles and Keywords on Amazon (and eBay)

This article is mostly directed at Amazon and most of my examples relate to Amazon but almost all of this information will carry over to eBay sellers as well. At the end I have an additional paragraph about optimizing this information for eBay sellers.

On Amazon the Title is the single most important place to get the proper information that buyers search for to make sure your listings are found. The keyword field is also important but the title is king.

The most important items to get into your title are:

  • Brand name
  • Product line
  • Product
  • The material or key ingredient
  • Color, size or quantity (as appropriate)

Here is an example:

RSVP Endurance Line Stainless Steel Set of Three Spring Scoops 1, 1.5 and 2 Ounces

Lets break this down:

  • Brand - RSVP
  • Product Line - Endurance Line
  • Product - Spring Scoops
  • Material - Stainless Steel
  • Color, size quantity - Three Spring Scoops 1, 1.5 and 2 Ounces

Now lets look at search terms:

The product we are going to look at is a set of hot peanuts I currently sell on Amazon. Here is the title:

Ass Kickin Peanut 2-pack Gift Set Bundle - 1 Can of Hot AK Peanuts and 1 Can of AK Honey Roasted Peanut

When you create or edit a listing, look in the navigation tab for the tab that says Keywords:

When you click on the keyword tab you will see a field on the page that looks like this:

Fill in the search terms people search for when looking for this type of product. I suggest you use a keyword service. I use Merchantwords. Merchantwords is a service that is connected to Amazon that tells you they words people search for when you type in the name of the product. Merchantwords normally charges $29 per month for their service but I negotiated a deal for my readers where you can get it for only $9 per month if you use this link. The $9 price will stay in effect as long as you stay with the service. But if you drop out and attempt to get back in the price will go back to the full $29 per month.

There are a few rules you want to follow when selecting keywords.

  1. Do not reuse words that you used in the title
  2. Do not use quotation marks in search terms
  3. Consider using alternate spellings and synonyms (here are some examples - airplane or aeroplane, pants or slacks [or slax] and different spellings for common words Glamor - Glamour)

One last tip - IF an item is small and will fit into a Christmas stocking, be sure and make one of your keywords stocking stuffer. I checked Merchantwords last year around Christmas and the term stocking stuffer was searched over 1.2 million times per month in November and December. But when Christmas is over don't forget to go back to your listings and change that to something else for the rest of the year.

Now - I said at the beginning I would have some info that relates this to eBay. eBay looks for keywords in three areas

  • The title
  • The first 100 characters of the description (including spaces)
  • Item specifics

So these are the three places you want to place your best keywords. Unlike Amazon it is OK to reuse a keyword in both the title and first 100 characters of the description and in the item specifics. In fact its important. The more times the eBay search engines sees those keywords repeated in all three locations the better your chances of being found.

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4. Getting Ready for the Busy 4th Quarter Holiday Selling Season

When I was working on this issue of the newsletter I stopped to check my email and got a question from a reader who is also a blogger. He asked me "What it the single most important thing you can do to prepare for the holiday selling season." Here was my answer:

"The most important thing you can do to prepare for holiday sales is to increase the number of SKUs and the quantity of each. Last year I doubled the ordered quantities of my top selling items and still ran out by early December. This year I plan to triple order."

There are actually two factors in that sentence even though he only asked for one. In addition to increasing quantity ordered, I also mentioned increasing the number of SKUs. (Most folks who sell on eBay and/or Amazon know what SKUs are but in case you don't - SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. It is nothing more than an identifier number you attach to each product to help you keep track of them.)

So when I say: "increase the number of SKUs," what I am saying is increase the number of different products you sell.

Both eBay and Amazon are alike in one respect - the more SKUs you have the more you will sell on a steady basis. We all look for products with high sales ranks that will sell every day, but in the real world that is quite difficult to do. But if you have 100 different products that sell about one or two per week, then you will see a few of them selling every day.

In November of 2013, we had about 500 different SKUs for sale on Amazon and our sales that month were in the neighborhood of $16,000. The next year we doubled our SKUs to nearly 1000 and our sales were closer to $30,000 for the month. This year we will have about 1400 if I can source enough products between now and then.

And NOW is the time to be sourcing and ordering products. When I find a new product in June, July and August I buy a small quantity to test. If it sells, then I order a large quantity to be delivered in late September or early October.

So don't procrastinate. Get out to trade shows, do your research and start finding those new products. One of the things you will find, is if you wait until October to order it may be too late as a lot of the things you order will be back ordered. (Don't forget to cancel any back orders you get, or you will find tons of unneeded merchandise arriving in February).

And do not be afraid to bite the bullet and order in larger quantities. I have one product in the sports and outdoors category with a sales rank under 5000 that sells 3 or 4 per day this time of year. But last year in November I was selling over 10 to 15 per day and ran out the first week of December. I spent the rest of the month kicking myself. This year I will send in over 350 units instead of the 200 I sent in last year.

If I don't sell them all that is no big problem as January is also a good month for sales due to so many folks who get Amazon gift cards for Christmas. So don't worry about being stuck with excess stock unless an item is a really slow seller in which case maybe you should not be selling it anyway.

Lastly the other thing you want to do is go through ALL of your listings and check them for good images, grammar and spelling as well as how you describe the product.

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5. New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

XS Merchandise is an excellent source of name brand liquidation products to sell for the holidays.

Another liquidator is one I have no experience with but they were recommended to me by one of my readers. Craven Closeouts has been in business for 65+ years but they are closing their doors and selling everything off at deep discount prices. If you are going to ASD they are setting up a special exhibit in the nearby Embassy Suites (3600 Paradise Road) where they are selling everything at ridiculously low prices - well below the already low liquidation price.

Lizzy James sells a line of leather wrap bracelets that can also be worn as necklaces with large secure clasps, Lizzy James jewellery can transition flawlessly from day to night, casual to formal.

Snoozies are decorative foot coverings for kids to tweens, adults to seniors. Their cute and colorful exclusive prints appeal to all ages.

Kay Dee Designs sells a very nice line of kitchen textiles in a variety of designs and styles.

Corn Bag Critter Co. is a "natural" alternative for children and adults of all ages to help soothe earaches, toothaches, backaches, cramps, growing pains and more. Corn Bag Critters can also be used as a "bed buddy" to help warm up those cold nights. And they are made in the USA!

EyeBlack produces high-end athletic face stickers for the "Ultimate Fan". Safe, simple and made in the USA, their products are worn by the players on the field and now also by the fans. Licenses include over 150 Collegiate licenses, MLB, and NFLPA.

Gingerich Leather LLC sells a line of high quality hand crafter belts and wallets made in the USA

Kett Cosmetics is high performance cosmetic line designed to solve the problem of modern technology's ability to expose makeup like never before. Their makeup is designed for high endurance, created in the lab and tested in the studio in front of the high definition cameras by makeup artists.

Angel Wing Scent and Gifts sells scented soy candles, body soap, and makeup.

Moon Glow Candle Supplies sells wholesale Candle Making Supplies specializing in soy candle supplies, soy candle wax, soy lotion, soy soapmaking bases, candle fragrance, and candle making instructions.

DWK Corporation provides quality wholesale collectibles, figurines, miniatures, giftware and home decoration accessories to retailers.

That’s it for now. See you next month.

Skip McGrath
The eBay & Amazon Seller's News

P.S. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.


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