Shipping seems simple at first. You pick the order, package it, and send it out. That’s it.
But as your business grows, it gets more and more complex. There will be unexpected spikes in order volume. You have to manage staff and perhaps juggle multiple carriers. You will certainly need to create and continually improve processes which keep everything running efficiently and accurately. If you want to ship overseas, that’s yet another level of complexity.
But shipping is not just complex, it’s expensive. Even while fuel prices fall, shipping rates still go up every year. UPS and FedEx raised their rates by around 5% this year. Online sellers either have to absorb the costs or pass it on to their customers – which can impact sales.
So in this article, I wanted to find out if it was possible to save money on shipping without adding any more complexity, and without downgrading the service offered to buyers.
After a lot of research, I’ve discovered three ways to do exactly that.
In this article I’ll say what those approaches are, and highlight some companies that provide tools or services in those areas. Then I’ll explain how they work and how much they cost. If you have any questions, fire away in the comments at the end.
This post is by Todd Ryan, a Florida-based IT manager who has been selling online since 1999. He currently concentrates on the Amazon marketplace, growing 100% year-on-year and employing three people in the business. Todd uses a range of applications, including automated repricing software since 2012. He has tested more than a dozen repricers in the sub-$500 per month range including RepriceIt, Appeagle, Sellery, ChannelMAX and BQool, and regularly advises other sellers on repricing.
For an up-to-date list of repricers, with reviews, see the repricing category in the Web Retailer directory.
On the Amazon Marketplace, the Buy Box reigns supreme. Almost all sales go to the seller who is “in the Buy Box”. Few buyers even realize that they can choose to buy from another merchant, because it’s an integral part of the experience to trust that Amazon has already found the best offer for you.
So as a seller, you really need to “win” the Buy Box to make sales, and one of the most important factors in deciding who wins is price. For better or worse, price also happens to be a factor that you, as a seller, have complete control over. By regularly adjusting prices you can potentially make a huge difference to your sales.
It’s quite common now for Amazon sellers to use automated pricing tools, and dozens of repricers have sprung up in recent years to meet that need. Most repricing tools use preset rules and algorithms to frequently adjust prices.
However, there are still many sellers who are wary of repricers, for a variety of reasons – some of which are way off the mark! In this post, I will tackle the most common myths I hear about repricing. I’ll try to pick apart the reality from the myth, and address the biggest concerns which sellers often have.
Way back in 1997, John Slocum created the very first software tool for eBay sellers: AuctionAssistant.
Over the past twenty years John has not wavered from his niche of creating desktop-based, feature-rich software for eBay sellers.
After eBay bought his first company in 1999, John spent ten years writing software as an eBay employee. When eBay let John and his team go in 2009, John set up his own company again and carried on writing software for eBay sellers.
That company is SixBit, and it’s going strong today. With nearly twenty years in the business, John’s history and knowledge of eBay, and software for online sellers, is unsurpassed.
Now, surrounded by so many cloud-based applications fighting for users, SixBit has held firm as a desktop tool for eBay sellers. But, in a way, that’s coming to an end – because SixBit is adding support for selling on the Amazon marketplace too.
I caught up with John to find out more about his long and remarkable history with eBay. I wanted to find out why he started down this path in the beginning, why he still prefers desktop-based software, and why SixBit is now adding support for eBay’s biggest rival.
Since 2009, M2E Pro has been connecting Magento, the world’s most popular ecommerce platform, with the world’s most popular marketplaces – eBay and Amazon.
It is a hugely popular system.
M2E Pro has been downloaded over 80,000 times from Magento’s app store, and in 2015 it handled nearly 57 million orders with a total value over $2.3 billion. Over 31,000 unique eBay accounts are connected to the system, along with more than 9,000 unique Amazon accounts.
Its massive user base makes M2E Pro one of the most popular marketplace management systems out there.
But that’s not all. There are three more factors that make M2E Pro even more remarkable:
- M2E Pro was completely free until late last year, when it stopped being funded by eBay.
- The company has a very strong community-driven philosophy. They don’t see M2E Pro as a piece of software you just buy and use, it’s a cause that every user should support and believe in.
- M2E Pro isn’t standalone software or cloud-based. It’s part of the Magento ecosystem, and is designed to do a very specific job alongside Magento and other apps. It can’t do anything on its own.
I spoke to M2E Pro co-founder Alex Podopryhora about this unusual company’s history, philosophy and future plans.
Brightpearl is a vendor of multichannel ecommerce software that has been growing steadily since it was founded in 2007. They now have more than 1,400 customers in 30 countries and handled more than $4 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV) in the last year.
I wanted to find out more about them, for three reasons. First, they have been very successful in both the UK and the US. That’s not common in this industry.
Second, a key strength of their system is its ability to manage the financial aspects of a business – it does accounting, in other words. Other multichannel systems do some of that too, but few make it the core of their software. You don’t even need a separate accounting package if you use Brightpearl.
And third, it’s not easy for a software company to maintain great customer support, particularly when their system sits right in the middle of business operations. Just a small technical glitch or communication delay can be enough to cause significant business problems, and earn a negative review. But Brightpearl has an excellent reputation in the Web Retailer directory.
So I caught up with James Scott, President of Brightpearl Inc. in the USA, to find out what makes this company so unique.
BREAKING NEWS: Today Brightpearl announced new funding of $11 million to accelerate the growth of their US business. That’s a fourth reason to find out more about them!