ChannelAdvisor’s Mike Shapaker on Operations, Optimization and Expansion

Mike Shapaker

When marketplace sellers get together, the conversation often turns to multichannel management software. Many sellers will talk knowledgeably about different vendors, but others will look on blankly.

After a while, when there is a break in the conversation, one of the sellers “in the know” will notice the vacant stares. How can they explain what they’re talking about? Maybe by saying how this kind of software synchronizes stock levels across marketplaces, creates listings and manages orders? Well they could, but normally they don’t. They just say, “Oh you know, like ChannelAdvisor!” And the blank looks fade instantly.

ChannelAdvisor is pretty much synonymous with “marketplace management software”. They’ve been in this business since 2001, longer than almost anyone else. They have over 2,800 customers globally, and in 2015 managed $6.8 billion in GMV (gross merchandise volume – total sales). ChannelAdvisor supports over sixty sales channels around the world, and the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. There’s no-one else like them among the many multichannel software vendors.

I caught up recently with Mike Shapaker, ChannelAdvisor’s Managing Director for the EMEA region (covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa). We talked about how this industry giant came to exist, the features they have been working on recently, and the company’s plans for the future.

Continue reading

Sales Tax Nexus for Online Sellers: Amazon FBA, 3PLs and More

This post is by Mark Faggiano, Founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service that helps more than 5,000 online sellers with sales tax calculation, reporting and filing. TaxJar offers a free 30-day trial.

If you are an online seller in the USA, you’re probably well aware that you are required to collect sales tax from buyers in your home state. But, as with just about anything to do with tax, it gets a little more complicated than that.

This post provides the fundamentals for sales tax nexus for online sellers, including what creates nexus, and what that means when it comes to collecting sales tax from your customers.

It covers the impact of using Amazon FBA (and other third-party fulfillment services) on sales tax nexus, how to determine whether a fulfillment service gives you nexus, and what to do if it does.

Continue reading

Marketing Roundup: Social Media, PPC, Conversion and More

Marketing roundup

Many of the demands of marketplace selling are technical and process-driven: rules, systems, and software automation. It’s geeky stuff.

Marketing, on the other hand, takes skills in creativity, salesmanship and psychology. It’s a different world.

Or so you may think.

There is a need for all that in marketing, but it’s not all about creativity and intuition. Like anything else, marketing skills can be learned. And a lot of online marketing is actually very technical.

So here’s a roundup of our past posts on marketing: eBay optimization, Amazon advertising, social media, PPC and more. Geek or not, I hope you find it useful! Continue reading

8 Unconventional Ways to Build Links to Your Online Store

Build links to your online store

This post is by Edward Dennis, digital marketing lead at agency Core dna. It was first published on the Sellbrite blog as 8 Unconventional Ways to Build Backlinks to Your eCommerce Store. Link building is a key SEO strategy for improving organic search rankings and traffic.

We’ve all been there.

We sit down with a warm cup of coffee in one hand and a long list of link-building tactics in the other. Somewhere in that list is the magical answer to building backlinks to your business site. However, have you ever noticed a pattern in these lists?

Not only do they never focus on multi-product ecommerce sites, but the advice and tactics they offer are either outdated or beaten to death by your competitors. “Publish amazing content, mention brands on social media, fix broken links.” All things you’re likely already doing.

What if I told you there was a way to build thousands of backlinks without using any of these tired old tactics?

In this post, I’m going to show you eight such unconventional tactics to build backlinks to your ecommerce store.

Continue reading

Shipping Private Label Products from China: My Nightmare Story

Man facing tsunami

This post is by Danny McMillan, a private label seller and international speaker on selling through the Amazon marketplace. Danny is a music industry survivor and serial start-up entrepreneur, focusing on Amazon FBA for the last two years. As a public speaker, he has appeared at events including the Smart China Sourcing Summit, Private Label World Summit and the European Private Label Summit. He can be found at DannyMcMillan.com.

I’ve been private labeling for a couple of years now: sourcing products from China, creating a brand and selling them through Amazon FBA. I haven’t nailed it by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been through the sea-shipping process six times, gained some amazing experiences and learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Back in May I wrote about my first visit to China and the Canton Fair. Trade shows are a fantastic way to scout for new products and meet suppliers face-to-face. Not long after, I decided to embark on a new product launch with my supplier. I worked through product selection, branding and manufacturing without too much trouble. One task remained: shipping the finished products over from China in time for Christmas. It’s just moving something from A to B. Should be simple, right?

Wrong. It turned out to be the most difficult and unpredictable experience of my private labeling career so far. Murphy’s law tells us that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And it did. I was asked for paperwork that I hadn’t needed before. As soon as I had jumped through that hoop, I was asked for more documents. That happened again and again. Then the payment to my supplier went through early, before the products had even been inspected. After that, we had hazardous material issues with the shipment. Then the boxes were damaged on the way to the port in China. Any one of those problems would be enough to lose sleep over.

But Murphy’s law was wrong. Not only did everything that could go wrong go wrong, things that can’t go wrong went wrong too. My shipment ended up slap-bang in the middle of the biggest economic disaster to hit the freight industry in the last 100 years: the bankruptcy of the world’s seventh-largest shipping company. It was completely unprecedented, and nobody had a clue what was going on. Would my products ever see the light of day?

So here it is: my nightmare story of getting one shipment over from China. I’ll be candid about what happened, and tell you everything I learned. I hope it helps you avoid the same problems.

Continue reading