Amazon - The Evolution
Amazon is not the same company it used to be at its inception when ecommerce was still a relatively small industry. The online retailer only sold books at that time. Today, the planet's fourth most valuable establishment ships an unfathomable number of products to billions of people worldwide.
A Sellers Guide to VAT in Europe
Know where you stand with Brexit and your VAT returns for international sales before its too late. While you may not need to register yet, its good to know when and have a partner supporting you with the nuances and pitfalls in cross border selling fees, taxes and government requirements.
International Used Auto Parts
"I am working on opening my own salvage yard business. I’ve worked at an auto salvage yard for eight years, so I know the business.
Do you think I should start selling used auto parts internationally?"
— Terrell K., MS
Amazon Listing Changes
"I have been selling on Amazon for 3 years, mainly cosmetics. I have a few questions about listings and the Buy Box. Lately some of my listings have been suppressed due to not having a photo, but these were usually existing listings which already had photos attached. Should I add a photo? If I’m not winning the Buy Box, would it just help my competitors?
When adding my offer to an existing listing, how important are my own keywords if the listing is already selling strongly? Is there any way at all to promote my listings other than Sponsored Products ads?
Finally, I created a new listing but another seller is now getting the Buy Box. We both have the same feedback rating, but his price is double mine. Why am I not winning the Buy Box? Apparently price is not the issue!"
— Galit L., Israel
Getting started with FBA
"Hi Matt, hope you’re well. I’m different from your main readers, and hope I don’t waste your time asking, but I’m a stay-at-home mom of three and would love to make some extra dollars for the family. I just have so little time. From what I read, Amazon and FBA are the two best ways to make money online nowadays. I joined a Facebook group to learn about it but the other members are so experienced that it’s really confusing me. What’s it all about and where do I start? I can’t afford to invest a lot of money and I need to be home-based. I’ve seen a lot of training courses and they promise a lot, but are they for real?"
— Cathy from Portland, OR
Omni Channel Management tools
"We sell a number of goods from several different suppliers, and we can’t keep it all organized with spreadsheets anymore. We sell on Amazon and eBay, and want to sell on Walmart and others. We were looking at systems out there and there’s so many. Inventory managers, listings tools, etc. I have no idea where to start. They all seem to do different things. Help?"
— Chris from L.A.
Selling on Walmart
"Hi Matt! I recently got approved to sell on Walmart which I know is special to receive, but I’m not sure it’s worth my time to prioritize this. I was going to focus on a new website originally. Is it worth listing on Walmart? I sell mostly homewares and bedding supplies. It’s a vague question, sorry! I would appreciate complete honesty."
— Will from Texas
Amazon PPC topics
"I’ve been selling private label skin creams and treatments on Amazon for a few months. I am new to Amazon. I was a professional accountant in the past so the math doesn’t trouble me. I’ve been trying PPC ads but need help. My ROI is low and many of my campaigns are not performing. Advertising cost of sales [ACoS] seems high, but I don’t really know what to expect. I also don’t know why some are inactive for my own product?"
— Mike B., from Ohio.
Data, Data, Data!
"A little while back we were working with a big retail chain, and they were thinking about pulling the plug on Amazon and eBay. They were putting more and more work into it, and their listing count had grown but sales were down. They were frustrated and ready to completely write off selling through marketplaces."
International Ecommerce Myths
There is no doubt that international ecommerce – selling to customers outside your own country – is one of the most complex and challenging aspects of selling online.
I can’t make it less complex for you than it really is (although I would love to do that if I could!) but I can highlight some of the areas that, in my experience, many sellers misunderstand.
So here are my top ten myths about international ecommerce, covering strategy, translation, returns, taxes and duties, passive versus active selling, selling to Europe, shipping and more.
I hope you find it useful, and would be happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below.
Finding Products to sell on Amazon
"Love your answer to Cathy. So I’m taking you up on your offer to ask “How best to find products to sell on Amazon?” Specifically I have a beauty brand with seven products I started selling FBA last February and would like to add some private labels to quickly scale the line. How can I source profitable items to add, including sourcing suppliers?"
— Sam U, Houston, TX
Ebay Title Pain
Now you’re just ticking me off sellers. Really? Why are you doing this to me? To us? To your buyers? Why are you continuing to shoot yourself in both foots, and your arms and legs? Why are you mutilating your listings into disfigured abominations of confused conflicting logic. Why?
Ebay Item Specifics
I've been working on eBay for too long. I'm jaded. I've lost the will with listing. Having spent the better part of a decade either selling on marketplaces like eBay, or managing a portfolio of seller's listings and storefronts. I've lost hope.
"I got into “multi-channel” selling a couple of years back, to increase sales and reduce the risk of all my income coming through one marketplace. It’s going well with sales on Amazon and eBay, including international sites, and my own store. If any one channel went down tomorrow it wouldn’t kill my whole business in a shot like it would have before..."
US or EU?
"I live in Italy and am currently selling on the five European Amazon marketplaces, but I want to expand further, to reach my goal of selling on all the markets served by Amazon. I think my next move should be to sell on Amazon in the U.S., because I think customers there are more used to buying products online than they are in Europe. I currently fulfill all of my orders using FBA and I would like to continue doing this for whichever marketplace I expand on to next.
My question is whether you think expanding to Amazon in the U.S. should be my next step, or if there is anything more I can be doing in Europe?"
– Loris B., Italy
New Brand in a New Territory
"My business partner has a best friend in Italy who makes high-end golf shoes using top-notch materials. This golf shoe is already selling well in Italy’s retail stores, for between €300 and €450. We want to help him sell his golf shoes in the U.S. through Amazon and eBay. The wholesale price for these shoes is about $120 dollars. I checked other branded golf shoes on Amazon and the price ranges from $120-$190.
I have been an Amazon FBA seller for almost two years now, but I still consider myself to be new. So, I’d like to know whether this would be a good move financially, and if I should test the market online first. Also, is it unreasonable to have the golf shoe maker sign an exclusive contract with my company?"
— Jean-Paul B., New Jersey
Building a OmniChannel Presence
"I’m a brand, selling workout accessories primarily on eBay but also in small amounts on Amazon and Groupon. I’ve been selling for two years now and I’m keen to expand onto further channels, I’m just not sure which marketplaces I should expand on to. Maybe Walmart?
My main goal is to sell more to customers in the long run. For the next few years I want to grow my brand and sell my products not only online but also in bricks-and-mortar stores. But should I focus on both, or just continue selling online for now?
At the moment, I feel like I’m trying very hard, but I’m currently a little lost about what to do next."
— Michael L., L.A.
Vendor or Seller Amazon Accounts
I have a small company and we’ve been selling on Amazon for about a year. We have used Amazon Vendor in the past, but have now opened a Seller account.
We’ve been wondering if we still need a Vendor account since moving to FBA as a marketplace seller.
>Should we be worried about damaging our product listings? Do you have any suggestions for us on what to do with these accounts, or if we need them? Which is better?
We sell boating accessories, parts and clothing mostly."
— Mike, San Francisco.
"I am based in the UK and have been selling on eBay for a couple of years and Amazon for six months. I sell mainly toys and children’s products but I have recently been ungated in the Health and Beauty and Personal Care categories, so I’m looking to spread my wings.
At the moment I mainly do arbitrage but I would really like to move more into wholesale. However, I find that decent wholesalers are reluctant to supply Amazon sellers.
How should I reply to an email from a wholesaler that I have approached, and would really like to work with, to try and ensure I get a favorable response?"
— Mandy Williams, U.K.
Online Marketing Expansion
"I’m in need of some advice. I sell vintage cowboy boots, traditionally on eBay, but I’m now interested in selling them on Facebook, Instagram, any other similar social selling sites you might know of, and my own ecom site which is due to launch in the next month.
[a] What multichannel listing software will allow me to sell on Facebook and Instagram, as well as pushing the listings to eBay and to my ecom site? I have about 4,000 Facebook followers on my biz page but rarely any sales there.
[b] Is it best to start a blog attached to my ecom site, or use an independent hosting site for a blog?"
— Tracy, Minneapolis, MN
"I sell video game accessories on Amazon and eBay in the UK. I use the Global Shipping Program for international orders through eBay, and it works really well. Is there anything similar for Amazon? I have my stock in Amazon FBA in the UK already, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to send it from there when people order from Amazon.com in the US. Am I missing something? What are my options for shipping international Amazon orders?"
— Simon M., Nottingham, UK