The Seller’s Journey: How to Be the Hero Your Business Needs

The Sellers Journey

This post is by Tim Calpin, CMO of multichannel retail platform ChannelApe. Prior to this he worked in brand and content for eBay Partner Network. He also spent several years working in the entertainment world – with credits including South Park and the Bruce Willis indie “Assassination of a High School President”. Tim is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid writer and a raconteur.

Do you know who Joseph Campbell is?

He’s the foremost authority on journey and myth. Renowned storytellers like Spielberg and Scorsese are all about him.

Campbell believed all truly great stories were, in fact, the same story. He coined something called The Hero’s Journey, a narrative structure that embodies characters ranging from Jesus Christ to Luke Skywalker (as Luke should prove decidedly less controversial, we’ll use him as our example here).

The hero’s journey produces a character with integrity, worth and direction. If a seller can emulate this journey, they’ll create a business with the same characteristics – one that will naturally draw demand and generate a strong brand.

Continue reading

Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime: The Essential Guide

Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime Guide

This post is by Dan Burnham, Head of the Customer Success team at Volo. Dan has over 15 years of retail and ecommerce experience, and at Volo is focused on building a world-class customer experience and helping customers to grow. Volo provides technology and services to online multichannel sellers, and processes more than 40 million sales orders annually. This post was originally published on the Volo blog in four parts: Intro, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

There’s one marketplace dominating large parts of global ecommerce right now – and that marketplace is Amazon. Within Amazon, there’s one area experiencing huge growth, and that area is Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime Day on 12th July generated the kind of buzz other marketplaces can only dream about. Across the Volo platform we saw gross merchandise value increase 55% over the previous 30-day average, while Prime Day 2016 was 42% busier than the previous year, which was the very first Prime Day.

Sellers are scrambling to win the attention of the Amazon Prime customer and fighting to win the Amazon Buy Box. They’re qualifying for the Amazon Prime mark by using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and sending their consignments to Amazon fulfillment centers across the world.

They’re also fulfilling Prime orders themselves, shipping from their own warehouse to the same high standards as Amazon. And they’re winning big time. What’s going on?

Continue reading

Selling on Rakuten Japan: Your Questions Answered


This post is by Ryan Miller, Vice President of Global eCommerce Strategy at Rakuten. Among other duties, Ryan helps merchants get set up on Rakuten’s global marketplaces, including Rakuten Ichiba in Japan. Rakuten has a share of 27% in Japan’s mature ecommerce market, and there is strong demand from consumers for foreign brands, making Rakuten Japan an attractive platform for cross-border selling.

With 44,000 sellers, 105 million members and sales of $17bn, Rakuten Japan is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world.

Rakuten’s Japanese ecommerce platform, called Rakuten Ichiba, began life in 1997. It’s an online marketplace which allows vendors to sell their goods in the way they want to. Rakuten Ichiba does not sell any products itself – it’s entirely a third-party marketplace.

Since 2005, Rakuten has been expanding internationally through acquisitions and joint ventures. It purchased in the US (now, Priceminister in France, and Ikeda in Brazil (now Rakuten Brazil) among several others. Rakuten was also an early investor in Pinterest and owns messaging app Viber, which has over 600 million users.

Even with Rakuten’s global expansion, and diversification into online media, the majority of its business still lies in Japanese ecommerce. It’s the market leader and presents a compelling proposition to brands and merchants from all around the world.

Continue reading

Ecommerce Operations Roundup: Inventory, Efficiency and Processes

Ecommerce Operations Roundup

Finding good products and marketing them successfully are what gets a business off the ground, but there’s a lot more to master to stay profitable in the long term.

As a business grows, a whole host of operational challenges emerge. The skills needed to handle them successfully are quite different to those that got the business started – disciplines like inventory management, efficiency and process improvement. They’re less exciting than sourcing and branding, but are absolutely essential to the healthy functioning of the business.

Here’s a roundup of articles from the Web Retailer blog focusing on the operational side of the ecommerce business. They provide a great primer on warehouse management, making use of data, repeatable processes, supply chain management, handling growth, inventory management and optimization, and systems thinking.

Continue reading

Amazon Brand Gating: What Does it Mean For Your Business?

Amazon Brand Gating

This post is by Leah McHugh, an ecommerce consultant for For Amazon sellers, having their merchant account suspended means losing time and money trying to get back in business. ecommerceChris shows sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

Last week Amazon began gating many major brands. In order to sell those brands you must now submit 3 official invoices and/or a letter from the brand owner, and new sellers to the brand must pay a non-refundable “approval fee” as part of the approval process.

This is not the first time we have seen Amazon restricting brands, nor is it the first time we have seen them charge an ungating fee. They’ve already been doing this as part of the Fine Jewelry category approval process.

But, this is the first time we’ve seen them do this on such a large scale.

There has been a lot of guessing, a lot of misinformation, and a lot of emotion flying around the seller community, and understandably so. We’ve been given very little information about a change that will have a huge impact on the marketplace, and on its third-party sellers.

So, let’s take a look at the implications.

Continue reading