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3 Tips for Ecommerce Sellers to Grow Sales on Amazon Prime Day

July 12th, 2019 Comments off

3 Tips for Growing Your Sales on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day – it’s like Black Friday in the middle of summer, minus the turkey leftovers and holiday deadlines. This year as in the past, Amazon will offer its Prime members “a 2-day parade of epic deals” on Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. And if 2018’s numbers are any indication – more than 100 million Prime Day products sold and an estimated 3.6 billion in sales – this year’s Prime Day Event promises to be another record-setter.

However, nowadays the Prime Day shopping frenzy isn’t limited to Amazon. Large, well-known competitors such was Walmart, Target, eBay and many other retailers have jumped on the Prime bandwagon by figuring out how to reap the benefits of this Amazon-invented buying holiday on their own sites. For example:

  • Starting July 15, Target will hold a major 2-day sale, with deals to include 40% off furniture and 30% off appliances.
  • Walmart has yet to divulge details about its upcoming deals, but its midsummer promotion runs July 14 through 17, so it bookends Prime Day. Walmart also teased a few major online-only deals on Dyson vacuums and HD laptops that will go live on July 14.
  • eBay’s July 15 “Crash Sale” was created in response to a past Amazon.com Prime Day site crash. Like Walmart, eBay extended its sale period with events starting as early as July 1. On July 15, eBay will offer doorbuster savings on top brands, but will also launch new deals every day through July 22.

But how exactly does Amazon’s Prime Day event translate to success for a regular ecommerce seller? Research shows that Amazon’s Prime Day creates a “halo effect” – a phenomenon where shoppers looking for deals on Amazon instinctively seek out great deals on other sites, too. This can absolutely include smaller e-commerce sellers … like you.

Here are 3 tips to help you attract shoppers to your site this Prime Day.

Tip #1: Create an Amazon Coupon for your Amazon listing. Since Prime Day is all about price discounts and great deals, sellers can bring extra attention to their product listings on Amazon.com with a great coupon offer.  Products with coupons include a highlighted “coupon” label showcasing the discount being offered.  This is a great method to ride the coat tails of Prime Day sales without having to participate in the Lightning Deals process, including the $500 Amazon fee to participate.   Important!  Coupons must be submitted at least 48 hours before the offer becomes active, so make sure you submit the coupon by Saturday, July 13 for coupons to be live by Tuesday, July 16.

Tip #2: Create a flash sale promo on your site. Offering a product at a deep discount appeals to shoppers’ competitive streak, because everyone loves catching a good deal! For your own flash sale, consider an item selling quickly on other sites. Or take advantage of your page analytics to see which products in your cart routinely get viewed but not purchased. And be sure to alert your customers via email and social media shortly before the sale starts.

Tip #3: Optimize your Google Shopping campaign on Prime Day. If shoppers cannot find the deals they want on Amazon.com, they’ll turn to Google to find them on other sites.  Make sure your website appears at the top of the listings in Google with an optimized Shopping campaign.  First, using the “view search queries” tool in the Keywords tab, scrub out keywords that have not generated a sale in the last 30 days. This action will allow you to spend more money on keywords that are producing revenue.  Then review your conversion stats: increase bids for those keywords that are producing sales and lower bids on those that aren’t.

The Bottom Line – Amazon Prime Day Can Increase Sales for All Sites

Make the power of Prime Day work for you! Pay attention to what the major retailers are doing to tap into Amazon’s event, then optimize your own online store with sales promotions and discounts on top selling products to take full advantage of Amazon Prime Day fever.

How To Start Planning for the Holiday Season — In July

July 9th, 2019 Comments off

Christmas in July Blog PostThe weather outside may not be frightful…but successful e-commerce is so delightful! And just imagine how delightful it will feel just a few months from now when you fully appreciate your advance preparation for the 2019 holiday season. Remember, many retailers find November and December alone makes up as much as 30 percent of their yearly revenue. It definitely pays to be proactive in planning, even if you’re presently thinking more about sandcastles than Santa.

Here are 5 reasons why it pays to get into the holiday selling spirit well in advance.

1. Your customers are already thinking ahead. Google Trends indicates searches for “Christmas Gift Ideas” begin in August and only go up from there. With a plethora of holidays stacking up once October hits – including Yom Kippur, Halloween and Thanksgiving – almost everyone gets busier and more frazzled as the year draws to a close.

2. Non-calendar holidays are key. You know about Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2), but these aren’t the only retail-friendly dates to mark on your calendar. They may not appear on everyone’s to-do list, but as an e-commerce seller, you absolutely need to be prepared for Green Monday (Dec. 9), a shopping holiday similar to Cyber Monday that tends to fall on the second Monday of December, and Free Shipping Day (Dec. 14), a one-day event when merchants are encouraged to offer this perk with guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. Create a holiday calendar so you know exactly which ecommerce promotions you’ll be participating in so you can be sure to plan accordingly as well as alert your customers.

3. Expanded holiday payment options and generous return policies appeal to shoppers. Many retailers extend additional payment options, discounts and loosened return windows during the busy holiday season. By taking the time to consider these factors now, you can make informed decisions once the busiest shopping season begins.

4. Intuitive mobile platforms attract shoppers on the go. Studies have shown that mobile shoppers make quicker purchasing decisions than desktop users. If you haven’t already done so, optimize your mobile site now to make it more responsive to mobile browsing.

5. Connecting with customers can benefit your bottom line. Whether it’s a curated Pinterest board of your holiday gift ideas, enthusiastic Tweets about products or personal emails to customers, your social media and personalized marketing can have a big impact on customers, especially during the stressful shopping season. Start your campaigns now by reaching out via abandoned-cart and after-sales emails or posting “Only 130 shopping days left!” teasers on social media. The more you connect with customers, the more you can be sure to offer them the products they want.

The bottom line
It’s often said that the days are long, but the years are short — so don’t let the holiday shopping season sneak up on you. Take steps now to consider your options and plan ahead for the busiest shopping season of the year. That way, when fall rolls around, you’ll be prepared to celebrate a successful season.

Using Two-Step Verification to Keep Your eBay Account Secure

June 28th, 2019 Comments off

A few months ago, I woke up to thousands of dollars of eBay sales.  I couldn’t believe how many iPhones I’d sold!  Unfortunately, I don’t sell iPhones.  Last weekend, the same thing happened to one of my former eBay students.  When she logged onto the site, she noticed that someone had used her account to list five PlayStation gaming consoles and a number of Samsung Galaxy Notes.  She changed her password over and over again, but that wasn’t enough to stop the attack.  Panic time!

 

The problem?  Our eBay accounts were hacked!  In both cases, eBay was alerted immediately, and customer service reps took care of the problem quickly.  Rumor has it that hackers prefer preying on seasoned eBay sellers who have accounts in good standing.  My former student has been buying on eBay for years and is now a successful seller.  And it was pretty obvious why I’d been hacked. I have a feedback score of almost 20,000, I’ve been on eBay since 2005, and I’d recently changed my password to one I’d used for years on numerous other accounts.  But that password change gave hackers the change to move in.  Bad move, Miriam.

 

Blocking hackers from your eBay account – installing two-step verification

Needless to say, I changed my eBay password again and followed the advice of a friend who supports his entire family selling estate sale items on eBay.  My friend cannot afford to have anything happen to his account, so his eBay account is set up for two-step verification.

What is two-step verification?
Basically, in order to log onto eBay, a person has to go through a two-step process.  The first step is inputting your eBay password.    Then, eBay will send you  a security code via text which must be entered as well.  If any of the two steps is not inputted correctly, the person will be blocked from logging in to eBay.

I set up two-step verification on both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and I haven’t had a problem since.

 

How to set up two-step verification in eBay

  1. Click on the “My eBay” link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page
  2. Go to the “Account” tab
  3. Click on the “Personal Information” or “Business Information” link on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Security Information” section
  5. Under this heading you will see “Two-Step Verification”
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Follow eBay’s instructions on screen to complete the process.

 

How to set up two-step verification on PayPal
If you’d like to set up this feature on PayPal and you have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the summary page, click on “Profile”
  3. Choose “Profile and Settings”
  4. On the left-hand side of the page, click on “My Settings”
  5. Then scroll down and find the “Security Key” section
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Click on “Register a New Mobile Device Number”
  8. Follow PayPal’s instructions on screen to confirm the process.

 

If you do not have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the summary page
  3. Click the “Security” tab on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Go to the “Security Key” section
  5. Click on the link to the right of this section and follow PayPal’s instructions on screen

 

Setting up two-step verification may take a few minutes, but it’s well worth the security it provides.  This extra level of protection will give you peace of mind and will save you time in the future.

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Finding Profits At Estate Sales – A Guide for eBay Sellers

June 21st, 2019 Comments off

 

Part 1 – The Kitchen

 

Estate sales can be overwhelming.  So much to look at, so little time.  In order to navigate the waters of this very special type of sourcing opportunity, it is important to stay focused and informed.  This is the first of a multi-part series that will help you narrow your search for profitable estate sale items to sell on eBay.

Cooking Up Profits

Always start your estate sale adventure by visiting the kitchen.  Every house has a kitchen, and many of them are filled with amazing finds that not everyone knows about.  The following items are relatively common and can be worth quite a bit of money.

Pots and Pans

First of all, look for high-end pots and pans.  High-end pots and pans are hot property on eBay, and they are often overlooked by pickers.  Brands such as All-Clad and SaladMaster bring in the big bucks, and copper pots made in France are always in demand.

Knives

Thereafter, check out the knife drawer.  Knives are high-profit, lightweight items that are easy to ship and can be purchased for next to nothing.

Look for brands such as Wüsthof, Henckels, and Cutco.  Note: When it comes to knives, the bigger the better.  For example, chef’s knives and cleavers usually sell for quite a bit more than steak knives.

In addition, be sure to pay attention to condition.  Unless you are skilled at restoring blades, only purchase knives with blades that are not bent or chipped.  Note: Knives that have been stored in drawers instead of knife blocks often have bent tips.   

Flatware Secrets

Flatware is another product found in the kitchen that can be quite valuable.  Flatware can, of course, be sold in sets, but many people buy individual place settings or pieces.  FYI:  When listing flatware on eBay, write the brand and style name in the title of each listing.

Sterling Silver

When looking for flatware, many sellers search for sterling.  Sterling silver flatware is difficult to find at a good price because most people realize that it is valuable.   Sometimes, however, sterling is not marked clearly or the markings are hard to see.  This is why it is important to use the magnifying glass feature on your cell phone or a loop to inspect flatware closely.

The Sterling Score

In addition to sterling silver flatware, look for sterling silver platters.   A few years back we purchased a silver platter for $8 at a professionally run estate sale.  The back of the platter was engraved with a series of symbols, but the word sterling was nowhere to be found.  After doing some research, we found a guide to these symbols online.  Eventually, we determined that the item we had purchased was, indeed, made of sterling silver.  A local silver buyer offered us $1000 for our $8 purchase.

 

Silverplate

In addition, we sell silverplate.  While it is true that certain brands of silver plated flatware sell for a fortune, we usually do not often find these brands.  That is why we focus on selling silverplate in lots.  Silverplate can often be purchased inexpensively at estate sales as many people do not believe it is worth much.  Crafters, however, love silverplate.  We store the silver plate we find in large flat rate boxes.  When a box is full, we list it on eBay.

Mixers and Blenders

Finally, look for high-end blenders and mixers.  Vitamix and Blendtec blenders, for example, can be worth a fortune.  Even broken blenders can be sold for parts.  KitchenAid and Bosch mixers are also quite popular.

So the next time you’re at an estate, head for the kitchen first.  It’s a goldmine if you know what to look for!

 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

Categories: Ebay Shipping Tags:

USPS Rate Changes – DIM Weight Pricing

June 11th, 2019 Comments off

 

Beginning June 23rd, 2019 the USPS will enact rate changes that will affect Dimensional Weight Pricing for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select Ground. To ensure a smooth transition for your business be sure to review the upcoming changes listed below.

 

What Is Dimensional Weight?

Dimensional weight reflects package density, which is the amount of space a package occupies on a delivery truck in relation to its actual weight. Space is important for shipping carriers since they want to keep costs low by filling their delivery trucks with as many packages as possible.

 

Dimensional Weight can be calculated using the formula:

DIM Weight = (length x width x height)/DIM Divisor

 

Change #1: DIM Divisor Will Decrease

The DIM divisor will decrease from 194 to 166; this means packages greater than one cubic foot will have a higher billable weight. To illustrate this point, let’s look at a sample package with the dimensions 16” x 14” x 12” going to Zone 4 via Priority Mail:

 

Old DIM Divisor

Using the Dimensional Weight formula we can determine the package’s billable weight under the old Dim Divisor.

(16” x 14” x 12”)/194

(2688 cubic inches)/194 = 13.85 lbs.

 

The USPS Priority Mail Rate for this package would be $17.57

 

New DIM Divisor

Using the same formula, but with the new divisor, we see that billable weight is now higher.

(16” x 14” x 12”)/166

(2688 cubic inches)/166 = 16.19 lbs.

 

The USPS Priority Mail Rate for this package would be $20.35 ($2.78 increase)

 

Change #2: DIM Weight Pricing will be applied to New Zones

Currently, DIM Weight Pricing is only applied to zones 5-9 within select mail classes. Beginning June 23rd, 2019 the USPS will expand the list of zones in which DIM Weight Pricing is applied.

  • Priority Mail: DIM Weight Pricing will be expanded to include zones 1-4 for packages over 1 cubic foot. Currently, DIM Weight Pricing only applies to zones 5-9 for packages over 1 cubic foot*.
  • Priority Mail Express: DIM Weight Pricing will be applied to packages over 1 cubic foot for zones 1-9. Currently, DIM Weight Pricing is not applied to Priority Mail Express.
  • Parcel Select Ground: DIM Weight Pricing will be applied to packages over 1 cubic foot for zones 1-9. Currently, DIM Weight Pricing is not applied to Parcel Select Ground*.

*Prior to January 27, 2019, balloon pricing was used for Priority Mail (zones 1-4) and Parcel Select Ground (zones 1-9) packages under 20 lbs. if the combined length and girth measured more than 84 inches but 108 inches or less.

 

Stamps.com Makes Dimensional Weight Pricing Easy

Stamps.com software includes everything customers need to calculate current postage rates. For mail classes with Dimensional Weight Pricing all you need to do is weigh your mail piece, enter your package’s dimensions, enter your destination and Stamps.com will automatically calculate the required postage.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

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