All posts in “bundles”

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.

 

Weekly Amazon News Round-Up

This week in Amazon news, a Monopoly bubble might be around the corner, growing mobile sales on Amazon.com, a big gain for Amazon shareholders and Target expands its price-matching policy.

Monopoly to retire one of its iconic game pieces – After the excitement of the Twinkie Bubble of 2012, every Amazon seller should be looking to cash in on the Next Big Thing! And this could be it! Monopoly is going to be removing one of its classic game pieces based on the results of an internet vote. Any ideas how you can take advantage? I think sellers should search thrift stores for vintage pieces and then create bundles with new sets of Monopoly!

Eight percent of Amazon’s sales come from mobile – 8% of Amazon’s sales during 2012 came from mobile shoppers. Do you have ideas on how can you make your listings more appealing to mobile buyers? I think product images are key. Clearer, bigger and sharper. I think fewer sellers read descriptions on smaller mobile screens and are more likely to be swayed by quality product images. And of course, offering a competitive price and FBA shipping can help sway shoppers who may be comparing your listing to an item they’re looking at in a brick and mortar store.

Target vows to price match Amazon – No longer just a holiday promotion, Target will be matching Amazon prices year-round. However, this applies only to offers from Amazon.com, not 3rd party-merchants.

Morgan Stanley Upgrades Amazon Stock – Amazon’s stock took a big leap earlier this week after analysts predicted that global E-commerce sales will double to $1 trillion by 2016.

If you have any ideas for more news stories to feature, let me know through a comment here or find me on Twitter, @SellerEngine.

Don’t forget to like SellerEngine on Facebook!

+Paul Cole

 

Sidestep the Competition with Product Bundles

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

Updated 10/31/2012: Debra Conrad from ThriftingForProfit.com pointed out an error in this post and also provided a few new tips. Thanks Deb! -Paul

Are you sourcing Amazon inventory from Big Lots, Target, Walmart, Costco or other big-box retailers? So are many other Amazon sellers! Low clearance prices and popular consumer items make big-box stores a hotspot for Amazon sellers scouting for new items. Unfortunately, products found at these stores often have intense competition for sales and thin margins on Amazon. So what can you do?

Take Advantage of Product Bundles

Most sellers don’t know how easy it is to create product bundles. I’m not talking about selling a 6-pack of identical baseball gloves. Instead, I’m talking about selling a package of a baseball glove and a baseball.

Before getting started review the Amazon Product Bundling Guidelines. Some important things to note:

  • All items in a bundle must be related and have value when bought together as opposed to individually. No baseballs and board games, for example.
  • Bundles are treated as single items as far as returns are concerned.
  • No books, movies, DVDs, videos or video games.
  • Bundles can’t be made in the Books, Movies, DVD or Video Game Categories. However, bundles can contain these products as long as the media is neither the main product in the bundle nor the bundle’s category. (Added 10/31/2012)
  • Bundles are NOT multipacks of the same item or packages of variations on the same item. No red bouncy balls, green bouncy balls and yellow bouncy balls for example.

Create a Unique Bundle

Combine 2 or 3 related items to make a package that a customer might be interested in and that aren’t already listed on Amazon as a bundle.

A good trick I recently learned from a seller I really respect is to buy the individual items at different locations. For example, a baseball glove from Walmart and a baseball from The Dollar Store. This makes it tougher for other sellers to duplicate your bundle, reducing competition for you.

Go the extra mile and brand your bundles. Using unique branding can make bundles impossible for the competition to copy. (Added 10/31/2012)

Another great advantage to a bundle is that for cheaper items, they can allow you to reach that magic $25 price point so buyers can take advantage of Super-Saver shipping.

Add it to the Amazon Product Catalog

Since your bundle is one-of-a-kind, you’ll need to create a new product in the Amazon Catalog.

  • Take pictures of your bundle. The main product image must be a group shot of the exact products in the bundle. Read our post on Best Practices for Amazon Product Images to learn more.
  • Buy a unique UPC. This isn’t as tough as you might think! I’ve heard great things about Cheap-UPC-barcode.com.
  • Make sure to include the word “bundle” and the number of items in your product title. However, if the product can be considered a “gift box” or “kit” use these words instead of “bundle.”  (Added 10/31/2012)
  • Package your bundle for shipment to FBA (if necessary). Bag or box your bundles and make sure to cover any barcodes on individual items.

Start Listing

Once you’ve started listing your bundle, your work is just beginning. Don’t be surprised if other sellers try to copy you. But remember, that their bundle has to match yours EXACTLY. If you see a dealer who isn’t matching your exact bundle, contact Amazon and have their listing removed.

Happy selling and happy bundling!

+JD Aspinall