Jason Sanchez is a true ecommerce veteran, having had his first taste of selling online in 1995.
Over twenty years, he has sold a range of products from novelty inflatables and swimming pool equipment, to fancy dress costumes. He now sells through eBay, Amazon and his own website CostumeBliss.com.
I caught up with Jason to talk about how his business his grown over the years, how he researches new products, and the challenges of selling through online marketplaces – both within the US and internationally.
Ecommerce is driven by technology, but there’s still a lot of work that people have to do.
Someone has to write descriptions, take photos, create listings, dispatch orders, support customers, do bookkeeping, marketing and more. There’s no way to completely avoid these time-consuming, repetitive tasks. So what can you do to lessen the pain of that work?
Today outsourcing is the first choice for many businesses, from part-time sellers who still have day-jobs to the very largest enterprises.
I spoke recently with Carlo Silva, co-founder of outsourcing company 2nd Office. Carlo’s company is uniquely focussed on ecommerce, particularly selling through online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Rakuten and others. That knowledge and experience is not easy to come by.
Not only that, 2nd Office has a great reputation. You can read reviews of 2nd Office in the Web Retailer directory.
I asked Carlo how he got into ecommerce, why he started an outsourcing company (and how sellers can outsource successfully), and what he sees as the next big trend in ecommerce.
UK Sports Warehouse, based in Oxfordshire, England, has been selling sporting goods though online marketplaces for fifteen years. They specialise in clearance – products which other retailers have been unable to sell through their normal channels.
Clearance (or liquidation) is a normal part of the retail business. Shelf space in stores and warehouses is a valuable resource, so items that don’t sell need to make way for those that do. And that often means selling them off in bulk for less than the cost price. Sometimes much less.
So clearance can be a great source of profitable stock for marketplace sellers, but there are downsides. One problem is that the supply changes every day – you can’t simply reorder bestselling products. Other businesses can sell the same line successfully for months or years, but clearance sellers need to constantly refresh all their SKUs.
UK Sports Warehouse (UKSW) saw the risk in only selling clearance products and decided to diversify, by adding a number of current product lines to their portfolio. But there was a problem. A “cheap and cheerful” image can work for a company selling clearance gear, but people who want the latest equipment expect to buy from a company that is serious about sports. That’s a very different brand.
So I caught up with Elizabeth Hitchins, an experienced ecommerce consultant who has been working with UKSW for a number of years. Elizabeth had the job of building a whole new sports brand for UKSW. This is the story of how she created SportsBubble, and the ups and downs of launching it as a new business on multiple online marketplaces.
Seller Labs are the company behind Feedback Genius, one of the highest rated products in our Feedback Tools category.
Despite the name, Feedback Genius does a lot more than help Amazon sellers build positive feedback. It’s actually an all-round email automation tool that can send messages to buyers when an item is ordered, dispatched or even received.
Seller Labs have two more innovative tools for Amazon sellers: Scope and Snagshout. Scope is an Amazon research tool, currently being redeveloped, and Snagshout helps sellers get sales and product reviews. All together they make an impressive line-up, particularly for a company that’s only two years old.
I caught up with Paul Johnson, the co-founder of Seller Labs, to ask how the business got started, what’s the story behind each of their tools, and what they’re working on right now.
* Scope and Snagshout are only compatible with Amazon.com, and will only appear in our listings for readers in the US. Feedback Genius has support for the UK, US and EU Amazon marketplaces.
Chad Rubin has achieved a rare thing amongst marketplace sellers: a genuine, recognisable brand name that stands for something.
Not only that, his business was built selling on Amazon’s marketplace – a channel that gives sellers little control over how they market themselves. And he did it selling products that seldom get people excited: vacuum cleaner spares and accessories.
In 2013 Chad’s company, Crucial Vacuum, made Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., with $5.1 million in revenue the previous year. Another rare achievement and recognition for a marketplace seller.
I caught up with Chad to talk about ecommerce, branding, marketplaces and his latest project co-founded with Damir Kunovac, Skubana – a brand new ERP system for marketplace sellers.