The key to success on Amazon’s Marketplace is simple: you need to win the Buy Box.
But there’s only space for one seller in the Buy Box. And that’s decided by a complex algorithm, running constantly behind the scenes. All the other sellers competing on that particular product are much less obvious to the buyer.
There are many factors used in the Buy Box algorithm, but one is crucial: price. Not only does price have the strongest weighting, but it’s also the only Buy Box factor that sellers can change easily and immediately.
So finding the right price to win the Buy Box, without going lower than necessary, is absolutely vital to a successful business. That’s where automated repricing software comes in. Repricers have been around for a while, but in the last few years the industry has exploded. There are now dozens of repricing tools and, for many of them, it’s hard to see how they’re different to the rest.
But one that has always stood out to me, since their launch in 2011, is Feedvisor. This company has always gone against the grain. While other repricers tout the benefits of dozens of configuration options, Feedvisor boasts that it has none at all. Other repricers compete with low subscription fees, but with Feedvisor the fees start high and add on a percentage of sales.
Yet Feedvisor is successful, growing 200% in just the last year. The company now has almost 1,000 customers, who sell a total of $1 billion of products through the Amazon marketplace. On their behalf, Feedvisor makes 75 million pricing decisions daily. And their reputation is outstanding, with a five-star average rating in the Web Retailer directory.
Retail Arbitrage is a simple concept: you buy items from regular bricks-and-mortar stores, then sell them online through marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
But to make a profit after shipping and marketplace fees, arbitrage sellers need to find products which are a lot cheaper in-store than online. Those items do exist, but they are rare. So not surprisingly, retail arbitrage shopping trips are often described as “hunting for treasure”.
Spending hour after hour checking prices in stores doesn’t sound like a great foundation for a profitable business. But it can be done.
Robyn Johnson’s business is proof of that. Robyn has spent as much as $50,000 on inventory in 2 to 3 days, and sold well over a million dollars on Amazon and hundreds of thousands on eBay. It’s profitable too, with excellent margins. Robyn also finds time to blog and offer coaching on her website Best From The Nest.
I spoke to Robyn about how her business has grown since she started in 2011, and to find out how retail arbitrage really works at scale.
Online sellers who ship orders internationally have several challenges: translation, delivery, taxes and returns often top the list.
But what about the fundamental issue of receiving the income from sales they’ve made? For many marketplace sellers, just getting their money back home is not a problem: Amazon and eBay (through PayPal) will send funds to a bank account in your own country, conveniently converting currencies along the way.
So why would sellers use a third-party company like World First to handle their foreign exchange needs? What do they have to gain from doing that?
World First, a fast-growing company with its headquarters in the UK, has won numerous awards and established an outstanding record of customer feedback here on Web Retailer. In the apparently simple business of changing money from one currency to another, what could it be that sets them apart?
To find out, I spoke with World First’s Chief Commercial Officer Alex Sullivan. We talked in-depth about the company and their services for online retailers.
You might never have heard of Momox, but this German company is the world’s second largest seller on Amazon, by volume of feedback received. Momox is also the fourth largest seller on eBay, by the same measure.
That’s an amazing achievement on it’s own, but there’s more. The company’s international selling accounts feature four more times on our list of the world’s top Amazon sellers, and are again on the eBay list with their fashion brand ubup.
But what does that translate to in sales? Well, this year Momox has reached 100 million Euros in annual revenue. That’s 112 million dollars, or 73 million pounds. They have two warehouses, with about 70,000 square metres of space (750,000 square feet) and 1,000 employees.
So where did this ecommerce giant come from?
Actually the company started from nothing only twelve years ago when Christian Wegner, then unemployed, sold a few second-hand books on eBay. Last week Wegner generously spared the time to talk to me about how his business has grown over the years. Here’s what he told me.
Many thanks to Marc Jarrett of Emjay Consultancy for his help with the interview and translation. Emjay Consultancy helps companies expand into the UK, Germany and China.
Two things surprise me about XSellco.
First, their Chairman is a hugely successful Irish technology entrepreneur – Ray Nolan. His many ventures include the world’s top hostel-booking site Hostelworld.com, and flight comparison tool Skyscanner. But that’s not what surprised me. What’s unusual is that Nolan isn’t just a passive investor in XSellco, he’s the company’s founder, and has been hands-on in shaping their software for online sellers.
Second, XSellco acquired competing company ReplyManager earlier this year. Acquisitions aren’t exactly rare in this industry, but this case was unusual again: ReplyManager was the only direct competitor to XSellco’s Fusion, and the company will continue to provide both tools indefinitely.
So I caught up with Nolan and new XSellco CEO Victor Corcoran to talk about why the company was founded, what makes their tools different, and their plans for the future.