Tag Archives: Shipping

From Hobby to Business: The Magic of Repeatable Processes

The Magic of Repeatable Processes

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.

A lot of sellers find themselves in between a hobby and a business. They start selling as a hobby, just to make a little extra income, and enjoy the process of buying and selling. But after a while it’s not as much fun as it used to be. It takes more and more time, and a lot of the work becomes frustrating and repetitive. It’s no longer a good hobby.

But it’s often not a great business either. It may be profitable, but only just. If you are in this situation, you can find yourself working a lot of hours, but discover – when you properly calculate all of your costs – that you are making less than the minimum wage.

Many sellers struggle with making the leap from hobby selling into building a legitimate business. Making that change isn’t everyone’s goal, but it was certainly a pivotal point for me and my business. This post is about what I’ve learned in taking that path, and I hope it helps you if you’re on that same journey.

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The Top 10 Headaches When Selling on eBay at Scale

Headaches Selling on eBay at Scale

This post is by Jonathan Pollard, CEO of eBay integration software company Codisto. Their products include Xpress Lister, a free eBay listing creation tool for spreadsheets, and Marketplace Connect, which provides full eBay catalog synchronization for Magento and WooCommerce.

eBay sellers generated $80 billion of revenue last year, from 17 million buyers who show up on the marketplace every month. For sellers, eBay is an incredible opportunity too good to miss.

But tackling eBay selling at scale can be a real challenge. Strategies and tools are needed to overcome the scaling difficulties. These will set yourself apart from competitors and allow you to make the most of the lucrative eBay marketplace. Let’s take a look at what’s involved.

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Three Innovative Services to Save on Shipping

Save Money on Shipping

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.

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Options for Handling International Returns

International Returns Options

When people think about selling internationally they often imagine sales being one-way traffic to happy customers. Few think up front about the challenges of international returns.

A proportion of your orders will always be rejected, for a variety of reasons. Customers have high expectations the world over, and just because you may be thousands of miles away from the consumer, they won’t forgive you for poor service.

If you sell on your own web store, maintaining customer satisfaction when handling international returns can be a logistical headache. If you sell through online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, it’s even more serious. Just a few poorly managed returns could result in bad feedback and complaints, and have serious consequences for the future of your business.

But what brought international returns into sharp focus for a lot of sellers were Amazon’s new rules covering international returns that came into effect in March 2015. The key point is that Amazon sellers now need to provide international customers with a local returns address, or provide free return shipping.

Driven partly by Amazon’s policy change, a number of new and innovative options for international returns have sprung up this year. In this article I’ll outline what your options are, the pros and cons, and what they’ll cost you.

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Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime: A Cuckoo in the Nest?

A Cuckoo in the Nest

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.

With Amazon’s recent announcement that it is recruiting sellers into the Seller Fulfilled Prime program, much of the discussion has been around how much simpler this may make the lives of Amazon sellers.

Yet, the key implications are likely far more extensive than that. I’d like to take a few moments and outline those issues here so as to spark discussion among sellers, investors and solution providers.

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