Monthly Archives: November 2017

Expanding To Japan: Key Considerations For Marketplace Sellers

Jia Li helps sellers understand Japanese consumer preferences and offers some top tips for selling on Japanese marketplaces

This post is by Jia Li, ecommerce marketing specialist at InterCultural Elements. From its base in Germany, InterCultural Elements helps online retailers expand their ecommerce sales internationally.

Japan has become an increasingly attractive target for online sellers around the globe. This is no wonder, as Japan has the world’s third-largest ecommerce market, and one of the fastest growing. In fact, it is estimated that by 2022, the Japanese ecommerce market will be worth over $113 billion dollars.

There are certain characteristics about Japan and it’s consumers that also help to make it an attractive market for online retailers. The compact country size and a mature distribution infrastructure helps to create a perfect online shopping environment, as delivery is easy and convenient.

Likewise, the mindset of Japanese consumers is important. They value high-quality products and often wish to experience the foreign, and sometimes exotic, lifestyle that imported goods can bring. Social status also plays an important role in Japan and products sold by sellers from the U.S. and Europe are usually considered more upmarket.

All the positive facts and statistics aside, this opportunity is not without its challenges, as expanding to Japan can be much more difficult than other countries and requires a relatively delicate approach. So, in this article I’m going to cover some of the key considerations for expanding into the Japanese market and reveal what online retailers need to do to kickstart a successful ecommerce business in Japan.

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The “Virus of Amazon”, Over-Eager Suspension Escalation and Australian Expansion

The seller waging war on their rival, the retail shark moving in for the kill in Australia and the angry sellers sending half-baked escalation emails.

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

The majority of Amazon sellers will tell you that selling on marketplaces is a cutthroat world, but one seller has taken this to heart. This self-proclaimed “virus of Amazon” has almost driven the seller of a number one product out of business.

Change is afoot in Australia, as some sellers have reportedly been involved in initial testing for Amazon’s latest expansion. While consumers are jumping for joy at the prospect of lower prices and wider selection, existing retailers are worried about the impact that the retail giant’s arrival could have.

In the world of suspensions, sellers are firing escalation emails off to Jeff Bezos and the Executive Seller Relations team too quickly, without solid a Plan of Action. The end result? A deeper hole to get themselves out of.

Meanwhile, the sales tax saga rages on, as South Carolina take legal action against Amazon directly, while other states continue to send audit letters to third-party marketplace sellers.

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Group Similar Listings: Has the eBay Buy Box Finally Arrived?

Group Similar Listings and “Our Pick” are the next phase of eBay’s evolution. But how did we get here and what does this mean for sellers?

This post is by Cardy Chung. Cardy is the founder of StreetPricer, a dynamic repricing, competitor analysis and price monitoring tool for serious eBay sellers.

Big changes are in progress at eBay, but to understand how we got here, we first have to look at Amazon. On Amazon, the Buy Box is a crucial part of the marketplace. Buyers search for a product, view the listing and the Buy Box chooses for them which of the sellers offering that product is the best. This is all underpinned by Amazon’s catalog-driven approach which makes browsing products easier, as there should be only one listing for each product.

eBay is a very different marketplace. It takes a listing-driven approach, that means while sellers compete in search, they each have their own independent listing for every one of the products that they sell.

This is now starting to change, as eBay has rolled out a new feature called Group Similar Listings, which comes with their own version of the Buy Box.

Group Similar Listings is not yet a default setting, but by clicking a button, the search results are grouped so that all listings for the same product are put together under one single search result and product page. eBay’s version of the Buy Box, called “Our Pick”, chooses which seller will get the order when Buy It Now is clicked, based on which one the algorithm deems to be best.

In this post, I’ll be looking at why eBay has decided to introduce Group Similar Listings, how it works, and what it means for eBay sellers.

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Can I Buy Amazon Reviews? Everyone Else Seems to Be Doing It!

Buying reviews is against Amazon’s rules. But are there ways around this? And is it worth the risk? Matthew Ferguson reveals all.

Have a question for us? Send it to questions@webretailer.com. Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.

Question

I have my own private label beauty brand and have been selling products on Amazon for the past five years.

I monitor my competition closely and it seems that over the last month, they’ve been getting a lot of reviews, far more than I’m getting even though my product has higher sales. I think they must be buying reviews.

I thought that doing this was against Amazon’s Terms of Service, so how are my competitors getting away with doing it?

Personally, I’m worried about the risks of getting caught. I’ve heard about Amazon suspending sellers for buying reviews and I don’t want this to happen to me. But, I also don’t want my competitors to be using this against me.

Do you know if there was a way that I could do it too without getting caught? Or even a way that would be treated less harshly by Amazon if I do get caught? I don’t want to do this if the risk of being suspended is too high.

— Grace, CO, United States

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Financial Management Made Easy: Tools and Services For Online Sellers

Managing your finances can be a nightmare. These tools and services reduce headaches, increase accuracy and help find new opportunities.

Very often, marketplace sellers focus on the more exciting parts of their business, like product sourcing, and shy away from areas that they find boring, or difficult, like managing their finances.

This can be counterproductive, because no matter how you feel about getting your finances in order, it’s a necessary part of running any business. It’s a discipline that sellers need to embrace, and become proficient at, so they really understand the numbers that matter.

You don’t have to spend hours in Excel to keep on top of your record keeping and accounts. There are tools and services specifically made to help manage bookkeeping for ecommerce businesses. These help make the process more efficient, while also minimizing the risk of errors.

There are also tools that produce reports to help you see how your business is doing. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are busy all day dealing with suppliers, listing products and providing customer support. But being able to see how profitable you are, at any time and at any level of detail, is crucial to business success.

Expanding into new product lines, or increasing purchase levels to get better discounts, can also make a big difference to your business. Some sellers choose to take out loans, or use other cash flow solutions, so they can take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves, or plan for the seasonal ups-and-downs of ecommerce.

In this post I’ll walk you through the Financial Management category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers Cash Flow and Loans, Accounting Connectors, Ecommerce Accounting and Sales Tax and VAT.

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