Why Do Only 3.9% of U.S. Small Businesses Trade Internationally?

American businesses are failing to embrace cross-border ecommerce, while sellers elsewhere are quick to sell internationally. Why is that?

A recent infographic by international payments company, WorldFirst, asked: “Are American businesses falling short when it comes to cross-border ecommerce?” And, it would seem that the answer was yes, as their infographic found that just 3.9% of small American businesses sell cross-border, compared to 8% of European small businesses.

With the total value of worldwide cross-border ecommerce expected to hit $424 billion dollars by 2021, it seems that small American businesses are missing a trick. Especially, when you consider that 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the U.S.

So why do so few U.S. small businesses trade internationally? We don’t have the answers – we want to know what you think!

Continue reading

FedEx and UPS Shipping Contract Negotiations: Your Checklist to Getting Them Done Right

Ten hot tips from Brian Gibbs to make sure you don’t pay sky-high prices, when you sign up or renew your contract with FedEx or UPS

This post is by Brian Gibbs, President of Refund Retriever, a company which audits shippers’ FedEx or UPS accounts for late deliveries and billing mistakes, using their own in-house technology. They also help with contract negotiations, and provide a range of shipping reports to help sellers analyze their activity and get better prices.

What do most small businesses do when their shipping contract comes up for renewal? That’s right, they just resign themselves to rising prices and tougher terms, and sign on the dotted line.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Shipping is a competitive industry, and you can make carriers fight for your business. But how do you do that? FedEx and UPS each have very complicated contracts and it’s hard for online sellers to understand all the variables that exist within those terms.

Here’s how, through contract negotiations, shippers can lower their rates, reduce their shipping spend and improve profitability. There’s no reason for ecommerce merchants and online sellers of any kind to continue overpaying for freight and small parcel shipping.

Continue reading

Amazon Keyword Tools: Four Software Tools for Keyword Research and Data

Alex Knight gets his golf balls out and walks us through four Amazon keyword research tools, to help sellers optimize their listings and ads

One of an Amazon’s sellers most important jobs is to discover the words that buyers are using to search for their product.

Why? Because they need to make sure that all of the most important terms are included in their Amazon listing. They also need to make sure that their PPC campaigns use relevant terms, with good traffic and sensible competition. Otherwise, they are losing out on potential sales, and wasting money.

So how can sellers find keywords? One way, is to get a thesaurus and sit racking your brains for all the terms that someone could possibly use to find your product. This is going to be a painful experience. You’re almost certainly going to miss words out, and have no useful data on the ones you do find.

Luckily, there is a whole category of software focused on generating keyword suggestions and providing data on their popularity, relevance and competition. I’ve reviewed four of those tools, to help you choose the right ones.

They range from under $10 per month, right through to nearly $400 and there’s also one with a “free forever” plan. The type of data they produce varies, as does the complexity of their interface, with some having Chrome extensions and others just web apps.

Continue reading

How To Use Amazon Suspension Appeal Escalations The Right Way

Misusing the escalation process can do you more harm than good. Chris McCabe explains how to it use it effectively to get your account back.

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of information telling Amazon sellers that the quick way to get their accounts reinstated, following a suspension, is by escalating their appeal to a team higher up within Amazon.

This has led to many sellers getting the wrong impression, and thinking that the minute their POA is rejected by Amazon, they should start firing off emails to Jeff Bezos and the Executive Seller Relations team.

What these sellers aren’t being told though is that escalating your appeal will only work IF you do it at the right time, with a solid Plan of Action (POA) behind you.

This is not the correct course of action, and can actually hurt your chances of reinstatement. Simply spamming my former teams with the same weak POA is just burning through your chances and could lead them to stop corresponding with you, leaving your account permanently suspended.

So, in this post, I will explain how Amazon sellers can use the escalations process effectively, to get their account reinstated. We’ll cover what an escalation is, where Bezos escalations fit in, the common mistakes sellers making when submitting escalations, and how to make investigators take your escalated appeal seriously.

Continue reading

What Makes the Best Product to Sell on Amazon?

Jérôme de Guigné has found six key attributes for ensuring success on Amazon. Use them to source a product with bestseller potential.

This post is by Jérôme de Guigné. Jérôme is the founder of Amazon Made Simple and specializes in helping start-ups and traditional mid-sized global companies grow their distribution on and through Amazon.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a secret recipe to ensure success on Amazon?

Businesses often look at the products they already sell, or can buy from their suppliers, and try to figure out how to make them profitable on Amazon. Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, it will never work if you picked up the wrong item to begin with.

But what if we could reverse engineer the problem? If we can discover the traits shared by products that have been successful in the past, can we create a new product with all the right properties to be a future bestseller?

I believe we can!

There is an optimum size, price and context that has a much greater chance of success on Amazon than the average product from your catalog. I’ve helped many businesses succeed on Amazon over the last five years, and time and time again the products with the right attributes succeed, while others struggle to gain traction.

So what are those attributes that the best products have?

Continue reading