This post is by Radoslav Albrecht, the founder and CEO of Bitbond. Based in Berlin (Germany), 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 an online seller you want to spend your time optimizing and growing your sales. Your products and the service you provide to your customers are at the center of your attention. Other administrative activities that don’t relate to making sales directly are often regarded as chores.
Frequently, this also applies to the financing of a retailer’s activities. As a financial product, loans and credit lines are often untried territory for online sellers. To someone who is not familiar with financing, the associated terms and costs might look opaque and not easily understandable.
Cross-border ecommerce has never been hotter. The big online marketplaces of eBay and Amazon have been leading the charge, driving growth by pushing their sellers to trade internationally.
Many of those sellers have had great success trading across borders, becoming prolific exporters while suffering few of the headaches experienced by more established businesses. Or so it seems at first.
While ecommerce technology has adapted quickly to cross-border trade, the worlds of logistics, regulation and taxes are stuck in the past. Many international sellers have been tripped up by a bewildering combination of rules, classifications, policies and providers.
With a major global ecommerce event ThinkGlobal Retail just around the corner, I decided to ask over thirty sellers, consultants and service providers about the biggest challenges they had seen with cross-border ecommerce. This is what they said.
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.
This post is by James Thomson, Partner of Buybox Experts, a consultancy supporting brands selling on Amazon and other marketplaces. James is also president of PROSPER Show, a continuing education conference focused on developing training and best-practice materials for early-stage online sellers.
Why is it so hard to get your pricing right on Amazon?
You want to win the sale, but you also want to make profit. Any decent MBA student will tell you that no matter how skilled a business owner is at building, marketing and distributing products, only those efforts around pricing will bring revenue (and hopefully profits) into your business.
Correspondingly, no matter how attractive the Amazon marketplace may look to a third-party seller, long-term success is not possible without a comprehensive understanding of how to price products profitably. Unfortunately, the vast majority of retailers/sellers – whether online or brick and mortar – under-invest in building effective pricing strategies. But we can fix that right here, right now.
This post is by James Amazio, a veteran online marketer, web designer, and developer. He is also the founder of Feedbackz, software which can automatically email Amazon buyers with follow-up requests for seller feedback and product reviews. This post was first published in two parts on the Feedbackz blog: Amazon Success Story and Amazon Horror Story.
I am writing this long-overdue story about my journey on Amazon FBA. I’ll try to get into some good stuff from humble beginnings to month 8.