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Customer Service Week! Get to Know the Team

October 1st, 2018 Comments off

We’re super excited to be celebrating our 12th Annual Customer Care Week at Stamps.com during October 1-5, 2018. Customer Service Week is a nationally recognized event devoted to acknowledging the importance of customer service and honoring the people who provide it at its best. At Stamps.com, our award-winning Customer Care team helps us shape our mailing and shipping product, being the eyes and ears for our customers to alert us to issues and suggest new product features.

In honor of Customer Service week, we would like to introduce you to Stamps.com Customer Care team member Paul as he shares what makes his work rewarding.

 

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Stamps.com Celebrates Customer Care Week!

October 1st, 2018 Comments off

We’re super excited to be celebrating our 12th Annual Customer Care Week at Stamps.com during October 1-5, 2018. Customer Service Week is a nationally recognized event devoted to acknowledging the importance of customer service and honoring the people who provide it at its best. At Stamps.com, our award-winning Customer Care team helps us shape our mailing and shipping product, being the eyes and ears for our customers to alert us to issues and suggest new product features.

In honor of Customer Service week, we would like to introduce you to Stamps.com Customer Care team member Jynifer as she shares what makes her work meaningful.

 

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Seller Confessions: My Biggest eBay Fails

September 24th, 2018 Comments off

Nobody wants to lose money, but even the most experienced eBay seller makes mistakes.  Here are three of my biggest eBay fails.  Read and learn.

 The Trader Joe’s Nightmare

About 8 years ago, I bought $1,000 worth of Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels to sell on eBay.  I’d never sold food before, but I looked them up, and they were in demand.  I soon realized that I had purchased too many.  Before I knew it, summer arrived, and I had stacks and stacks of these tasty treats sitting in my garage.  Although we were still getting orders, they were melting in transit.  People were not happy.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until winter to get rid of them because they had an expiration date.  We started eating sea salt caramels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  What else could we do?  I gained five pounds trying to get rid of those suckers.  Eventually, I gave the rest away as presents.  Remember: If you’re going to sell food, always check expiration dates, and be careful buying items that cannot be shipped in hot weather.  Lesson learned.

The Shoe Emergency

Many of our biggest fails involved shoes.  Years ago we did not understand the importance of inspecting preowned shoes before listing them.  Shoes can look brand new but may fall apart the first time they are worn if they have been sitting in a closet for years.  For example, some manufacturers produce soles that do not stand the test of time and will disintegrate or even split in half if they get old.  When we first started selling on eBay, we listed a pair of name brand clogs.  The woman who bought them worked at a hospital and thought they were an amazing deal!  Unfortunately, the first time she wore them to work, she left a trail of rubber wherever she walked.  The soles were literally disintegrating all over the emergency room.  Uh, oh.  Instant refund.

The Fashion Fiasco

In another instance involving shoes, a buyer purchased a pair of beautiful designer heels.  She wore them to work with her favorite outfit.  A few minutes after she got to work, one of the heels fell off – the entire heel.  So embarrassing!  She hobbled around the office for the rest of the day.  Luckily, she thought it was funny.  We quickly issued a refund, and offered to send her a pair of shoes for free.   We now know the importance of closely inspecting all preowned shoes before listing them on eBay.  In addition, we have purchased a one million dollar insurance policy that covers us if anything goes wrong with the products we sell.

Selling on eBay is an adventure, but, like anything, it does come with some risks.  Luckily, each of these fails taught me an important lesson and made me a more successful seller!

 

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.

Shipping to Canada: Taxes, Duties & Tariffs

September 14th, 2018 Comments off

 

With over 20 million English-speaking digital buyers, it’s easy to see why Canada is an attractive place to sell for U.S. based e-commerce merchants. Canada even has one of the strongest e-commerce infrastructures in the Americas, including broadband internet access and widespread mobile phone usage for completing online transactions. Selling internationally doesn’t come without its challenges, however. Like any other country, Canada has duties, taxes and tariffs you will need to be aware of. If you haven’t gone through the process to become a Non-Resident Importer your Canadian buyer is responsible for duties, taxes, and tariffs that are imposed on imported goods.  It is important you communicate these additional fees to your customers at checkout so as to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of package delivery.

 

Duties and Taxes

There are 3 kinds of duties and taxes for items being imported into Canada:

  1. Goods and Services Tax (GST): This is a 5% federal tax that applies to items being sold to Canadian customers for domestic consumption.
  2. Harmonized Tax (HST): A handful of Canadian provinces have opted to harmonize their provincial sales tax with the general sales tax and the total rate is known as Harmonized Tax.
  3. Provincial Sales Tax (PST): Provinces that do not participate in the HST collection process impose their own taxes at the local level. The tax rate varies by province and can range from 5% to 9.75%.

 

Tariffs

Along with duties and taxes, your Canadian customer may also need to pay tariffs. Tariffs depend on the country of manufacture, not the country from where the product is purchased.  NAFTA eliminates tariffs on all goods that are manufactured in the U.S. and shipped to Canada.  However, if your product includes components that were manufactured outside the U.S., then your Canadian customer will need to pay tariffs on those components.

 

Shipping to Canada

Over one-third of Canadian e-commerce sales are currently coming from U.S.-based websites. That’s nearly $50 billion dollars flowing in from north of the border. With annual growth predicted at over 12% for the next three years, now is the time to open your business to eager Canadian buyers. If you are looking to sell in Canada be sure to check out the Stamps.com Guide: How to Ship to Canada.

5 Blogging Tips Every Ecommerce Seller Should Know

September 4th, 2018 Comments off
By 2021, e-commerce is projected to grow to more than $4.8 trillion in US dollars. As more and more consumers transfer their shopping to online, it’s important to change the way you interact with your customers to create an exceptional online experience. An important part of that online experience is having a blog.

With a blog, you can connect with consumers in a conversational way. You can offer advice, be casual and fun, and give important comparisons showing the difference between your product and all the others out there. While many e-commerce merchants have yet to dip their toes in the blogging pond, now’s the time to jump if you haven’t already. Here are some handy tips to help you get the best results.

Tip #1 – Use Great Images

Did you know images on your website are crawled by Google? There’s an entire tab for image searches on Google, plus they can get picked up in social media. You can gain more visibility and boost SEO with images.

For example, let’s say you sell kids’ socks. Pictures of the socks you sell could show up in Google’s image search. To get extra oomph from your images, name your image files descriptively. For a pair of kid’s striped socks, name your file something like “striped-kids-socks” to get the most SEO value. Also be sure to use alt tags and image descriptions, this will help Google determine the content of your image and rank you better.

Tip #2 – Make Content the Star of the Show

Ok, saying “focus on good content” may seem obvious. But it’s important to remember that you’re not creating content for content’s sake. The content has to be good. While quantity can feel satisfying, the real results will come from quality. Avoid content that’s shallow. Things like poor writing and grammatical errors will reflect poorly on your brand.

Bonus tip: Sometimes less is more. Don’t make the mistake of trying to overstuff your blog with keywords. Google’s become a lot more sophisticated in the way they measure websites.

Tip #3 – Follow SEO Best Practices for Your Blog

You don’t need to be an expert to use SEO best practices. Most people don’t take the time to understand the way Google rankings work. Following the SEO basics can take you a long way. Start by researching your keywords. Find the best ones that will bring you more sales. Then, install an SEO plug-in like Yoast to help you manage using the keywords on page and in metadata. The Yoast plugin will also help you generate an XML sitemap, which you can submit through Google Search Console.

Tip #4 – Rev Up Your Site Speed

People don’t like slow websites. Having a slow blog site can drive visitors away, it also reflects poorly on your brand. Plus, it can harm your SEO. Website speed has been part of Google’s website ranking algorithm since way back in 2010. Here are a few tips to help rev up your page speed…

  • Use a lightweight blog template that’s made to perform well
  • Spend money on good/fast hosting if possible
  • Disable any plugins you’re not using and uninstall them
  • Be sure to compress images

Tip #5 – Promote Your Blog

Lastly, be sure to let people know about your new blog content. There are a lot of other ways for people to find your content besides showing up in Google. Share newly published blog posts on all of your social accounts. If you have an email list, feature new blog posts in your email communications. It’s a great to keep people informed – while making your content do double duty.

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