All posts in “Seller Supplies”

How to Turn Amazon Customer Returns into Profit

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Martin Eisikovic, CEO of emerging New Jersey-based company Opened Box Returns. As the name suggests, his company specializes in converting losses into revenue by reselling returned products.

Opened Box Returns

 

 

 

Looking for ways to minimize your losses and pump up your sales? There may be some untapped potential for profit in your Amazon customer returns.

 

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Guest Post: How it Works – Sales Tax Rates

Tax time

 

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make sales tax compliance simple for eCommerce sellers. Try a 30-day-free trial of TaxJar today and eliminate sales tax compliance headaches from your life!

Even before you were an online seller, you probably noticed that weird little “sales tax” percentage tacked on to your purchases at the store. This could be everything from a nice round number like 4% to a rather off-the-wall amount like 7.35%.

As an online seller, you likely know that you need to charge at least some of your customers a sales tax. But why those particular amounts? Let’s have a look.

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Guest post: Meet 888 Lots

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Alex Valchev from 888Lots. 

888 Lots is an innovative online liquidation platform that gives online sellers new opportunities to expand their business.

At 888 Lots, we are trying to build the most advanced and intuitive liquidation platform crafted especially for online sellers. What we offer is surplus inventory, wholesale lots and liquidation sales. We carry over 100,000 items of brand new merchandise across more than 30 categories, and we do all this without compromising on our customer service quality. We also give you the possibility to make profits of up to 5 times your initial cost thanks to our great margins.

Here is a little more information about some of our key benefits for you as an online seller.

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Buying UPCs and Barcodes– Where to start?

Ed. Note – This is the first blog post by Maria, from the SellerEngine Services team. She’s an expert in selling globally.

What are UPC symbols and why are they important?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code and they’re the numbers you see below barcodes on the products you buy. They’re especially important to Amazon sellers because every item listed on any Amazon marketplace must have a UPC associated with it.

Most products you buy at the store will have a UPC provided by the manufacturer. However, sellers who manufacture their own products, or those who create product bundles will need to source their own UPC symbols and barcodes to put on their products.

What are my Options?

Depending on the size of your business and the number of UPC symbols and barcodes that you need, you have a few different options.

If you’re looking to buy thousands of UPC symbols, you should be going to straight to the GS1.  They’re a nonprofit group that sets standards for international commerce. There you can register as a company and you get your own identification number that appears as the first part of the UPC.

You’ll pay an application fee of up to several hundred dollars, then a much smaller annual fee. The exact amount of the fee depends on your answers to application questions, including a revenue projection for the next 12 months, and the number of products for which you expect to need individual UPCs in that time. Descriptions of your products may be required.

If you need a smaller number of products, there are other sites which resell UPC barcodes individually or in bulk ranging from $8-29USD each. You will be paying for the use of that company’s identification number– not your own. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll be paying a premium for this service.

Buying from Resellers

If you decide to buy from such a reseller, you need to be careful since there are some out there whose bar-codes won’t work on Amazon, or you’ll find they are already in use.

Here are my recommendations for the best UPC resellers out there:

  • http://www.BuyABarcode.com – A pricy option, but we’ve had great success purchasing from them. $85USD for a single barcode and $2,475USD for 500.
  • http://www.BarcodesTalk.com – Great online reputation and prices that range from $7.50USD for a single barcode to $825USD for 1500 barcodes.
  • http://www.LegalBarCodes.com – Barcodes purchased from Legal Barcodes are owned by you and unique to you. Prices range from $7.50USD for a single barcode to $125 for 100.

Where do You Buy Your Barcodes?

Do you know of other sites that offer good prices on barcodes and UPCs for Amazon sellers? Are there any sites you should definitely avoid?

What have your experiences been purchasing barcodes and UPC symbols?

Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

 

Profit Bandit Release 5.32 – Now with Amazon’s Offers

Profit Bandit release

The first thing that you’ll notice in the newest version of Profit Bandit (currently available only on Android, iPhone coming soon) is that some FBA offers are highlighted.

These are offers from Amazon themselves. We identify them using a method called MegaSeller that we developed for use in Sellery and SellerEngine Plus. And now it’s in Profit Bandit. But best of all, it doesn’t use any more data or take any more time.

Other updates in this version of Profit Bandit include:

  • ProductID is a new field in the CSV exported when you save your Buy List. This field saves the product’s UPC. Note that it will save whatever your search for that item was,  scanned UPC, ASIN or keyword.
  • Profit Bandit is now available to devices that lack an auto-focus camera, including many Android tablets. Users with these devices will be unable to scan using their device’s built-in camera, but they can manually search for items or use a bluetooth scanner.
  • The ShopSavvy scanning app has been fixed and once again, it works in portrait mode.
If you have any ideas for features to include in a future version of Profit Bandit or need assistance with Profit Bandit send an email to profitbanditsupport@sellerengine.com

+Paul Cole

Announcing the SellerEngine Spark

For 10 years, we’ve helped, coached and supported thousands of Amazon sellers. As a thank you to the community that has helped us grow over the past decade, we want to give something back.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the first annual SellerEngine Spark award. The recipient of the Spark will be someone who wants to launch or grow their Amazon business.

We’ll start accepting nominations for the Spark at the Sellers’ Conference for Online Entrepreneurs (SCOE). After SCOE, nominations can be submitted through our website.

You can nominate anyone, including yourself. All you have to do is tell us about why you think your nominee would benefit from the SellerEngine Spark. We’ll have more details about the nomination process soon.

We’ll choose several finalists who will be invited to share why they believe they’re the right choice for the SellerEngine Spark. Then with the help of the entire SellerEngine Community, we’ll select a winner.

We’re still working out all the details but the SellerEngine Spark will include:

  • Profit Bandit, for your iPhone or Android.
  • A Bluetooth scanner to use with Profit Bandit.
  • A subscription to SellerEngine Plus or Sellery.
  • Coaching and training sessions with the SellerEngine Services team.
  • A branding and design package to boost your business’s image.
  • A marketing package to identify the right keywords and search terms for your listings and write engaging product descriptions.
  • Shipping supplies and advice for how to optimize your workflows.
  • Consultations with our financial experts to answer your questions about taxes, banking issues and anything else.
  • $100 cash for inventory. Ioan Mitrea, SellerEngine’s founder, is a huge believer in the $100 Start Up and he’ll show you just how far you can go with $100.
  • Access to a private forum where you can ask questions and get advice from SellerEngine’s expert staff.

We want this to be the award that Amazon sellers want to win and we need your help! Just leave a comment and let us know what you’d like to be part of the Spark.

+Paul Cole

Start Selling on Amazon, Part 3: The Essential Equipment

Note: This is another installment in my ongoing Amazon Fundamentals series. -JD

So, you’ve picked your product and decided on MFN or FBA fulfillment. What comes next?

Before you start selling on Amazon, you should make sure you have all the essential equipment on hand. There are plenty of really fun gadgets and toys that can make life easier for an Amazon seller, but you won’t need all of them just to get started. And I’ll probably talk about those in a future blog post.

For now, here’s what I think you need to start selling on Amazon:

  • Amazon Area – Dedicate a room or part of a room in your house or apartment to Amazon selling. Whether it’s your garage, a spare bedroom or half of the dining room, it doesn’t matter. The more professional and comfortable you feel in your workspace, the easier it will be for you to get your work done efficiently.
  • Computer – This might seem obvious, but I’ve heard about a few sellers who do all of their listing and label printing from the library or Kinkos! While this is doable, I don’t recommend it. Invest in a low-cost desktop or laptop. It doesn’t have to be cutting edge, it just has to be able to surf the Web and print.
  • Printer and/or label printer – I’ve talked about label printers in the past, but unless you can find a great deal on one, you’re probably going to be better off either printing labels on a desktop printer or having Amazon label your FBA shipments for you. While you probably have a printer at home, it might not be fast enough to keep up with you, when you’re printing labels. A new $50 or $100 printer will keep you from waiting while your print jobs finish!
  • Boxes – Love them or hate them, you’ll come to learn more about boxes than you ever thought possible once you start selling on Amazon. My favorite place to buy boxes is Uline. But, you should always be on the lookout for sources for free boxes! Ask friends, businesses you frequent, anyone who might have a few extra boxes. The savings will really add up! Just remember that boxes you ship MFN items in should be new and the boxes you use to pack FBA shipments must be free of barcodes. Also remember to use USPS flat rate Priority Mail boxes when appropriate.
  • Padded Envelopes – Cheaper to ship than boxes, padded envelopes could be your new best friend! Use them for shipping books and other small media items, as well as anything that doesn’t need the protection of a big cardboard box!
  • Stuffing – When filling a box, you’ll often need to fill in some gaps to keep products from shifting during shipping. You’re not allowed to use newspaper or styrofoam packing peanuts. Instead use brown paper; you can buy this in a big roll at a hardware store.
  • Tape – Use strong packing tape, either Duck, 3M or Scotch brand. Don’t “share” a roll with other household projects. Instead have dedicated rolls just for Amazon. Otherwise you’re likely to run out just when you need it!
  • Scissors, box cutter – Buy a strong pair of scissors and a box cutter today and thank me later! And know where they are at all times. Good scissors have a way of growing legs in my house 🙂
  • Goo Gone, Price Tag Peeler – If you’re going to be selling used items, these are invaluable tools. Use them to scrape off labels and old price tags. Most hardware stores carry them.

Really, that’s all it takes to get started! You can add additional tools, software programs and other equipment over time, but as long as you have product to sell and the items I’ve listed above, you’re ready to start selling!

+JD Aspinall

Thermal Label Printers for Amazon Sellers

It seems like everyone is talking about DYMO label printers. We even tweeted last week when the DYMO LabelWriter 450 was Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day. I’d bet that lots of FBA sellers out there snapped one up to label their shipments!

But is it the best label printer out there? There are plenty of options available. The DYMO is definitely one of the most affordable options out there, even when it’s not on sale! Low cost plus easy to use software and universal compatibility with both Macs and PCs make it a popular choice for a seller’s first label printer.

Recently, I asked a few experienced Amazon sellers who I know and respect for their thoughts on label printers. Their favorite thermal printers varied, some preferred Brother models and others thought that Zebras were the best out there, but they all thought that DYMO printers don’t measure up.

I heard over and over that DYMO printers don’t last and that the build quality feels cheaper than more heavy-duty Zebra and Brother printers. Any initial set-up time or money that you save by buying a DYMO isn’t worth sacrifice of long term durability and reliability that other brands are known for. More than a few of the sellers I spoke with called Zebra printers “workhorses.”

What’s your opinion on label printers? Let me know in the comments or find us on Twitter@SellerEngine.

+Paul Cole