This post is by Radoslav Albrecht, the founder and CEO of Bitbond. Based in Berlin, Bitbond is a peer-to-peer lending platform that specializes in providing loans to online sellers and small businesses. The platform uses bitcoin as a payment network and is therefore available to everyone who has access to the internet. Previous to starting Bitbond, Radoslav was advising banks at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and has worked for Deutsche Bank in London.
As a seller on eBay and Amazon you’ve doubtlessly thought about driving the growth of your online business. Whether its financing new inventory, hiring new staff, or keeping up with increasing demand, growing your business can be an expensive endeavor.
At Bitbond, we’ve helped finance 1,400 loans worth more than €740,000 to small businesses and online sellers. We operate globally, and often receive questions from international online sellers unsure whether a loan is the right choice for them. Our community is over 40,000 strong, but we recognize that many eBay and Amazon sellers still have doubts about growing their business with external financing.
Below, I have given detailed answers to the most commonly asked questions. We will cover all important aspects of financing for online sellers located in the US and abroad. With the information in this post, you will be able to decide if external financing is right for you, and what your next step should be.
This post is by Danny McMillan, a survivor of the music industry and serial startup entrepreneur. For the last couple of years Danny has focused on Amazon, and joined forces with Anthony Vaughan last year to co-host the The Amazon Seller Meetup events and Webinars.
As news broke yesterday it seems the internet has gone into meltdown. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, yesterday Amazon banned incentivized reviews in the US (no UK announcement yet). These are the reviews written in return for giving products away (or at a heavy discount) and they have been the lifeblood for so many Amazon private label sellers.
At this precise moment in time no one truly knows how it will shake out. Sometimes stepping back and looking at the bigger picture and observing the lay of the land can produce dividends. We must remember getting reviews are only part of the equation and not the sole factor for success.
But if you are following the trend of, “product fits in a shoe box, pick it up for for cheap in China, stick a badge on it, do loads of giveaways, turn on PPC, collect cash on the way out”, then you are going to have it tough, especially if you are banking on high volumes.
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.
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.
This post is by Matthew Ferguson, Customer Success Manager at Volo, a provider of technology and services to some of the world’s largest marketplace sellers. Matthew worked as an ecommerce manager in Florida for six years, before moving into a marketplace services role in London.
A little while back we were working with a big retail chain, and they were thinking about pulling the plug on Amazon and eBay. They were putting more and more work into it, and their listing count had grown but sales were down. They were frustrated and ready to completely write off selling through marketplaces.
But they hadn’t dug into their data. When we ran some quick comparisons, we found that none of their key products had been restocked. Their best sellers across several brands hadn’t been reordered over a two-year stretch. Then we saw that their product prices were getting lower but their shipping rates were up. Overall they were less competitive than they had been two years before.
How on earth did they miss such simple things? Well, when you have a large sales volume and/or a team of people working in the business, you don’t “just know” that kind of information. You have to go looking for it. But when you do routinely examine your data, those things are really easy to spot.
But using data isn’t just a matter of regularly comparing sales figures, it goes much further than that. To put it frankly, data is make or break for ecommerce businesses. It can uncover problems, optimize current sales and guide you down new paths. That’s when you really start unlocking its power.