Customer Spotlight: Kat Simpson of KatsKloset.com

December 16th, 2010 Comments off

Kat Simpson has been selling women’s fashions online since 1997.  She operates her own website, KatsKloset.com and also sells on eBay, Amazon and Bonanza.  Along with being an entrepreneur, Kat is a certified eBay education specialist and often teaches new sellers how to find selling opportunities.  She lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Stamps.com recently caught up with Kat at the eBay Radio party in Las Vegas.

Tell us about yourself and your business.
I’m Kat Simpson from KatsKloset.com  I sell products invented by women for women, such as shoes, hats and hand cream.  We donate 10% of our proceeds to a women’s charity in Honduras and I’m a Stamps.com user and I love it!!!

How are you using Stamps.com to ship your products?
I’m using Stamps.com to make my life easier!   Shipping is one of the most time-intensive processes for an entrepreneur like myself.  So if I can use a service like Stamps.com to import all of my sales order data and I don’t have to retype it four different times in four different places, that software becomes a huge time-saver for me.  Stamps.com imports the sales order data automatically from eBay and Amazon – for my Amazon orders, it really cuts my shipping time because I haven’t found any other program that imports orders from Amazon the way Stamps.com does.  Stamps.com brings the order info into the software, I hit the button and tell it the software how much the product weighs and Stamps.com prints that pretty little shipping label out.  Afterward, in a wonder of wonders, Stamps.com goes back into Amazon and updates the order with a delivery tracking number. 

Tell us more about how Stamps.com saves you time.
The best part about Stamps.com for me and my business is that it processes my Amazon orders almost seamlessly.  I don’t have to go into Amazon and grab the customer info and paste it into the shipping software and then go back to Amazon and copy and paste the tracking number. Stamps.com does all of that for me – the software saves me a ton of time with Amazon orders —  and that’s why I love it.

Check out Kat’s site at KatsKloset.com or follow her on Twitter @katskloset

Thanks for watching!  For more information, be sure to watch our video on importing orders from your ecommerce store.

Survey: 64 Percent Say Free Shipping is the Most Effective Promotion

November 10th, 2010 1 comment

For e-commerce retailers, the holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year. To increase profitability, many are recognizing the value of shipping practices and promotions.

In its latest survey on e-commerce shipping practices, Stamps.com found that 64% of respondents report that free shipping, with or without minimum spend, is the most effective promotion they can offer to drive sales during the holiday season, and 53% will be offering free shipping on more products this year compared to last holiday season. More than half (52%) of the survey respondents who use free shipping with minimum spend report their average order size increases by at least $4.

Free Shipping Is Seen as Most Effective Sales Promotion
According to 64% of the respondents, free shipping—with or without minimum spend—is the most effective promotion an e-commerce merchant can offer to drive sales during the holiday season.  Coming in second place was another shipping-related promotion. 26% of the respondents chose discounted shipping as an effective tool to drive sales.  Note:  survey respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers.

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Merchants to Offer Free Shipping on More Products This Year
More than half (53%) of the merchants surveyed report that they’ll offer free shipping on more items this holiday season than they did during the same period in 2009.

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In fact, 43% of those surveyed will offer free shipping on more than half the items in their product catalog.

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How Much Do Customers Have to Spend to Get Free Shipping?
For merchants who require minimum spends in order to qualify for free shipping, 66% of the respondents required an average order size of $50 or more for consumers to get free shipping.
 

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Free Shipping Increases Average Order Size
When using free shipping with a minimum order amount, e-commerce merchants can expect to see their sales increase. More than half the survey respondents (52%) report that free shipping increases their average order size by at least $4.00. 37% of the respondents claim to see their average order size increased by $7.00 or greater.

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Most Merchants Ship Using Regular Delivery
When offering free shipping, 82% of the respondents send their merchandise using regular 3-5 day delivery.

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Social Media is Being Used for Sales Rather than Customer Service
More respondents are using social media to drive sales to their site (54%) rather than customer retention (43%) or customer support (39%).

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Seller Reputation Is Still King
Although shipping cost and speed are both important factors in driving sales, many merchants believe customers are influenced most by the seller’s reputation.

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International Sales Add Up
The international market appears to be a good method to grow sales for e-commerce merchants.  82% of the respondents project that at least some of their holiday revenue will come from international purchases.  And 10% of respondents anticipate international sales to account for more than a quarter of their holiday sales.

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Low Cost International Shipping Is a Must
Nearly half of the respondents (48%) report that low cost is their main consideration when shipping to international destinations, although package tracking and delivery speed are also important concerns.

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This survey was sent to current Stamps.com customers that operate an e-commerce store.  The survey was conducted from October 21-28, 2010.

eBay Sellers – Expand Sales with International Markets

July 6th, 2010 7 comments

suzanne-wells_1If you are an eBay seller, shipping internationally is one way to gain millions of potential new customers without costing you a dime in advertising or marketing. 49% of the buyers on eBay live outside of the USA, which means that opening up your auctions to the rest of the world is a great way to increase demand for your products. Although eBay has many international sites, consumers worldwide understand that the USA eBay site offers a much larger selection of products. Plus, many international customers have an affinity for products sold in the USA.


First Class Mail International:  Cheapest Option to Ship Overseas
Shipping internationally is not complicated; it just involves a few extra steps. If you are shipping small inexpensive items such as health and beauty products, clothing items, or accessories, consider shipping those items First Class Mail International. If the item weighs less than 4 pounds, it can be shipped First Class Mail International which is a much more economical rate than Priority Mail International. For example, let’s say you sold a sweater for $19.95 to a customer in the United Kingdom. The sweater weighs 8 ounces when packaged in a poly mailer. If you ship the item First Class Mail International, the cost to the customer is only $7.32 compared to a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box which costs $13.45 or a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope which costs $12.95. By using First Class Mail International, you are able to charge your customer less and make the purchase more attractive. As an eBay Top Rated Seller, I have used Stamps.com to ship thousands of packages via First Class Mail International over the last 7 years.

Stamps.com Offers Free Program for eBay Sellers
There are two major advantages of using Stamps.com for your eBay business. First, Stamps.com has the option to print and ship First Class Mail International without a trip to the Post Office whereas PayPal Shipping and and other shipping labels services do not. Second, Stamps.com offers discounts on your postage when you print labels online from home; you can save up to 13% on domestic Priority Mail and 5% on Priority Mail International.  Best of all, Stamps.com offers a free service for eBay sellers.  You can print shipping labels for free (including First Class Mail International) by connecting Stamps.com to your eBay account.  Learn more at: http://www.stamps.com/ebayfree4


About the Author

Selling on eBay since 2003, Suzanne Wells aka The eBay Selling Coach has sold over 17,000 items as a one person operation and has achieved the status of Silver Level Power Seller on eBay.   Suzanne’s book, The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling helps eBay sellers learn what products to sell, where to find them and how to successfully market on eBay.

5 Tips to Sell Better on eBay

April 21st, 2010 3 comments

Blog_EbaySellingTipsThere is a marketplace for every product, and at an increasing rate, the best place to sell your item is online. One of the most reputable places to sell items online without starting your own website is eBay – the world’s largest marketplace where a person can buy or sell products and services to a global audience

If you are selling on eBay, check out these five tips to boost your sales:

#1  List Your Item in the Correct  Category:

One of the first things that eBay has you do is choose a category for eBay to list your product in. Picking the right category is key because potential buyers pay attention to categories when looking for items that they want to buy. When you begin posting your item, eBay will prompt you to describe your item in a few words. If the categories that automatically pop up aren’t right for your product, try choosing new keywords. You can even choose multiple categories if you’re not sure. This first step can be the difference between your item selling for $10 and $100.

#2  Add Keywords to Your Item Title:

You don’t get much space for an item title, so you need to maximize your keywords to entice potential customers to view your item. Keywords are everything on eBay, so make sure your item title includes a brand name/manufacturer, material, color, and any other applicable descriptor. Only if you have room should you mention the item’s condition in the title.

The description of your product should be clear and concise. You should be honest about the condition of your item and mention any policies you have about eBay sales. Avoid using all caps which many buyers find obnoxious.

#3  Don’t Forget the Power of Pictures!:

Sellers on eBay will focus on pictures of your item because they want to make sure they know what they are getting. Bring your item into a well-lit room and place it on a neutral space, such as hanging in front of a closet, laying on a nicely-made bed or sitting on an empty table. Take pictures from multiple angles if necessary. If there is any damage to the product, take a detailed picture of it. The pictures should be small enough to load quickly and be clear, crisp and well-lit.

#4  Start with a Low Starting Bid:

eBay has a great feature that tells you how much your item sells for on average on its site. However, numbers can be deceiving. If you’re selling a popular product, you won’t want to set a high bid price because it’s less likely that potential buyers will bid on your item. Lower bid prices also can lower your insertion fee.

Start by setting a bid that’s between 25% and 50% of your item’s listed value with wear and tear taken into account. Then set a reasonable “Buy It Now” price that’s between 75% to 100% of your item’s value. Soon enough, you’ll have a bidding war on your item.

 

#5 Save on Package Shipping:

eBay sellers often use shipping and handling as a profit center, so the extra fees can increase the price of your product quickly.  If your shipping costs are higher than other sellers, you could be losing sales every day.

To keep your shipping costs low, try using either USPS First Class (for items 13 oz. in weight or lower) or Parcel Post package shipping when you send items to your buyers. The savings can be as much as high as 30% off Priority Mail. You can also save money and time by using online shipping software such as Stamps.com.    The shipping software allows you to print all USPS mail classes including Media Mail, First Class Mail International and Parcel Post and includes discounts for Priority Mail and Express Mail.

Stamps.com is currently offering a free program for eBay sellers that allows you to import sales order data directly from eBay into Stamps.com – no cut and paste required. eBay Sellers will have access to great Stamps.com shipping features including hidden postage, discounted rates for Priority Mail and Express Mail, and Customs forms integration for international shipments.  Most importantly, you can print First Class Mail International labels and insure your products up to $2,500 instead of the $500 limit that other shipping programs have.

Sign up for the free eBay shipping program now at: http://www.stamps.com/ebayfree4

“Free Shipping” Holiday Promos Can Eat Web Retailer Margins

November 27th, 2009 3 comments

If there is one thing that online consumers respond to besides sales during the holiday season, it’s free shipping.  free_shipping4A 2008 survey by Forrester Research showed that 75 percent of shoppers prefer to buy from sites that offer free shipping, a jump from 61 percent in 2007.  This holiday season, 73 percent of consumers told Google that they would be taking advantage of free shipping at their favorite web retailers when buying gifts for friends and family.

Free shipping may entice sales, but the shipping itself isn’t free for the web retailer mailing the products.  Instead of the shipping costs being paid by customer, the web retailer must now absorb those additional costs from their profit margin.  During a down economy, it makes sense for ecommerce site owners to look for the most economical shipping option to fulfill your customers’ holiday wishes of free shipping.  Where can you find a reliable, yet inexpensive carrier to handle your shipping needs this holiday season?

The good old US Postal Service, of course.

“FREE SHIPPING” cost you less with the USPS and Stamps.com
How can you save money by shipping with the USPS through Stamps.com?

  • 10 percent off on package insurance
  • Insure packages up to $2,500 in value
  • Up to 11 percent off Priority Mail retail rates
  • Up to 8 percent off on International Mail classes
  • Free Delivery Confirmation for Priority Mail packages

And, unlike UPS and FedEx, the US Postal Service doesn’t charge for residential deliveries or fuel surcharges.  The US Postal Service also offers free packaging supplies for Priority Mail packages and will pick up parcels from your business for no charge.

Ecommerce made easy… Import Sales Order Data Directly from eBay, Amazon and More
Stamps.com is a great option for web retailers who want to take full advantage of the cost savings the US Postal Service can deliver.   Stamps.com software even allows web retailers to import sales order data directly from popular online marketplaces including eBay, Yahoo! Stores, Amazon.com, Google Checkout or PayPal Shops.   Once the data is imported into Stamps.com, the shipping manager can batch print up to 1,000 shipping labels at a time or pick and choose individual labels to print.  The Stamps.com software will also match all the address data to the USPS database to prevent any undeliverable addresses prior to the package being sent out.

For web retailers using Amazon and eBay, Stamps.com will also post- back the package tracking data and costs into the sellers account.

It’s time to rethink your holiday shipping.
When retailers combine the services of the USPS with the ease and  convenience of Stamps.com, they have a powerful tool that reduces the  impact FREE SHIPPING offers can have on their bottom line.

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