All posts in “Services”

Tools Sellers Use to Ask for Customer Feedback

Support feedback files
A common concern our users convey to us is that they can’t seem to be able to garner enough feedback to satisfy Amazon’s requirements, and to attract new customers. We’re eager to help, but before we can do that, we’d like to ask our readers for some input.

Please carry on reading to learn how feedback management can impact your business.

Continue Reading…

Come see us at SCOE – August 14th-16th

SCOE 2014 in Seattle!

Seattle Skyline

We’ll be in Seattle at the Sellers’ Conference for Online Entrepreneurs, August 14-16.

We’d love to meet with you face to face to talk about how your business is doing, let you know what we’re working on, and give you a first look at what we’re doing now.

Use the discount code sellerengine to save $160 on your registration. See you in August! Don’t wait too long, that coupon expires on July 15th.

Hope to see you there!

Keep reading to learn more. Continue Reading…

A SellerEngine and Amazon Success Story: Tunes Online

Today we’re going to meet Chip and Anthony from Tunes Online. They’ve been successfully selling online and offline for over 10 years. They use Sellery and want to tell you how Sellery and SellerEngine have helped their business. Let’s hear about their Amazon success story and how SellerEngine played a part in it.

Tunes OnlineAnthony & Chip’s Amazon Story

Q: When/Why did you start selling on Amazon and what types of products did you sell?

A: We started selling on amazon in 2002. We mainly sell media. CDs, DVDs & Videogames. We started selling on half.com in the 90’s but realized we were missing the boat. Amazon is a much larger marketplace than any of their competitors.

Q: How has your business evolved since you started selling on Amazon?

A: We developed our own point of sale software that manages all the inventory in our stores and the different marketplaces we sell on as well. This has enabled us to partner with SellerEngine. Sellery handles all of our repricing on all the Amazon Marketplaces, US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Spain and Italy. We handle order retrieval, confirmation and cancellations. This is all automated through our software. SellerEngine gets the pricing right. This is key to our online sales.

Q: What’s the hardest part about selling on Amazon?

A: Sourcing. We can sell an infinite amount of product but it has to be the right stuff. I need to be more open minded about selling other products besides media.

Working with SellerEngine

Q: How did you first find out about us?

A: It  was my New Years Resolution to find a new repricer. I did a Google Search. Emailed SellerEngine. Ioan took the time to call me and discuss our needs. He also delivered what he promised. I respect that.

Q: Why did you choose to work with us?

A: I felt confident after many conversations that Ioan would come through for us. The team at Seller Engine delivers what they promise.

Q: What features and benefits of Sellery have given you the most value?

A: Sellery is set it and forget it. Once they know what your goals are they will do everything in their power to help you achieve them. I really appreciate the customer service. Also, the pricing is spot on. That is the most important thing for us.

Q: How has Sellery and SellerEngine improved your business?

A: Sellery gives us better pricing than our former repricer and SellerEngine Services has helped us open up on markets that were not accessible to us previously, especially Amazon Japan.

Q: What would you tell other sellers about SellerEngine?

A: Talk to them. Have a defined set of goals. And see if they can help you achieve them.

What’s in Your Future?

Q: Where do you see your Amazon business in 5 years?

A: I hope to be selling many different types of products. Not just media. I hope to marry FBA more to my business model. I also hope to be helping other sellers & stores get all their items online. With our software and seller engine there is no reason why sellers shouldn’t have ALL their inventory online. It is the perfect match.

Q: How do you see your relationship with SellerEngine evolving?

A: I see  us bringing SellerEngine leads for future clients and SellerEngine doing the same thing for us. We don’t handle repricing but have a system that can handle almost everything else. This could be a perfect marriage.

Keys to Communicating with Amazon Seller Support

How to Ask

When you ask Amazon Seller Support representatives for help, do you feel like they’re not really listening to you? Like you’re not really getting through to them with your questions, or that they brush you off with superficial or too short of an answer?

It could be in how you’re asking.

Here’s what you need to do to make sure you get your point across and to make sure that you get the answer you want.

Start in the Right Place

If you want to contact Amazon Seller Support to ask a question, the simplest way to do it is by email, from the Help & Contact Us via Email section of your seller account.

Select the correct category and the right sub-topics to ensure that your initial question goes to the right person.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t forget that there’s an option for Other. Don’t just pick a topic at random!

Keep Focused

After you choose the right category to write your question in, make sure you stay on topic once you start writing! Otherwise, the Amazon representative taking over your case may redirect you to a different department, which might keep you waiting for an answer.

If you have multiple questions about different topics, open two cases. Don’t combine them. The more focused and pointed your questions are, the more likely you are to get a fast, accurate response.

Stay Patient

Don’t lose your cool. Sometimes questions that are more technical can require input from a specialist. Remember that you’d rather get the right answer, even if it takes a little bit longer. A quick response isn’t worth anything if it isn’t the right answer.

Of course, you’d like to get your question answered as quickly as possible, but in our experience, technical questions take the longest to receive a response.

So stay calm and wait for the right person to get back to you with the right answer.

A Winning Formula

  • Logically structure your emails and be as clear as possible.
  • Ask the question you need a response to.
  • Provide context for the issue you’re writing in about.
  • Give your interpretation of  the situation if you think it is helpful. “Is my interpretation correct? Why or why not?” is a good way to get a clear response. Avoid nebulous, open-ended questions that are open to interpretation.

How to Answer

Have you ever received a policy warning or notification from Amazon? Don’t panic, thousands of sellers get them everyday!

But, you do need to respond. Here’s how:

  1. If Amazon contacts you with a warning/notification, be sure to answer as soon as possible. If you don’t have a complete answer immediately available, just let them know that you’ll look into it and get back to them with a reply shortly. If possible give yourself a deadline and stick to it. If the email does not allow a reply, just contact Amazon from the Help button in your seller account using the guidelines above.
  2. Once you have decided on your final response, get ready to write. Keep the structure of your message in mind, especially if Amazon asks for a plan of action to fix a situation on your account.
  3. Don’t skimp on the details! Mention everything. Describe the changes you’re going to make. Work your way up from the smallest aspects of your business to much larger issues. Make sure to consider significant changes, like switching to a new supplier, if you believe that will help to solve the problem. You want to show Amazon that you’ve thought things through and have a detailed plan of action.
  4. Be apologetic and persuasive. Promise that you can remedy the situation and clearly illustrate how you’re going to get it done.

Remember that receiving several warnings for the same problem may lead to account suspension. Try to implement the changes you’re suggesting as soon as possible. In severe cases such as breaking prohibition rules, for instance, you may not get a second chance. So do your best from the start!

And if you do run into trouble, email services@sellerengine.com. The SellerEngine Professional Services team is here to help.

+Paul Cole

Making Your Items More Visible on Amazon

More Eyes on Your Listings

Competition is the name of the game on Amazon. Whether you’re trying to win the buy box, trying to maintain a profitable margin while jockeying with 10 other sellers or fighting Amazon retail, you can sometimes feel like you’re running as hard as you can just to stay in one place.

Today we’re going to talk about ways that you can stay ahead of the competition by optimizing your listings to increase visibility of your products on Amazon. Every seller can benefit from this information, but it’s essential reading for those of you who sell your own branded products or who create unique bundles.

Create Detailed Product Names

Each individual word in the product name is searchable by itself. Having detailed product names helps ensure that your product appears in as many search results as possible. For example, suppose your product name is “Victoria Soft Raspberry Silk Chiffon, Orange Velvet Pattern Flame Knickers” – Because this product name is very detailed, this product already has a good selection of search terms even before you add any additional terms.

  • Add as much information to your product name as you can that comprises: brand and product description, product line, material, color, size, quantity.
  • The words of the product name are already searchable so you do not have to use search terms that are words also contained in the title. Don’t waste the space and come up with other words that can lead the customer to your product, think like a buyer!
  • Do not use capital letters, it won’t help you.
  • Do not add irrelevant information such as shipping or your seller name. you will only overcrowd your product title.

Add as Many Search Terms as You Can

Add as many search terms as you can. Search terms (keywords) are the main method customers use to find products on Amazon. Having great search terms results in great visibility. Great visibility results in sales. Yay!

  • You can add up to 250 characters of keywords for each product. Use them!
  • Use single words and separate them with commas.
  • And of course, “think like a buyer”! Ask yourself how a buyer would come to find an item and use those keywords.

Product Descriptions

Don’t skip this part!

It might take a while to write a good and imaginative product description, but well-written descriptions help the customer to make a decision. Since your customers can’t touch the product they will be influenced entirely by what they can see (product image) and read (title, description). Avoid overly simplistic descriptions.

Product Images

Great product images are essential. Make sure you comply with Amazon’s policies. If you can influence the customer’s buying decision by writing innovative, imaginative product descriptions, then you also need to crown your product page with a perfect picture. Product pages without images useless.

More Tools and Tricks

Accessory relationships

In many categories you can designate accessory products that will appear on the product detail page for another one of your products. To learn more about creating accessory relationships between your products, refer to the Creating Accessory Relationships help topic.

Listamania! Lists

Listmania! lists are created by Amazon.co.uk customers as a way of linking related products. Listmania! can accommodate just about any theme imaginable. For example, the list of girl student essentials.

As an Amazon.co.uk customer, you can create your own Listmania! lists promoting your products. You can also include products from other merchants in your lists. This is helpful if your product compliments a product sold by someone else.

Links to Listmania! lists appear on relevant pages throughout the Amazon.co.uk site: on product detail pages, in search results, and on category pages. You cannot control the placement of a Listmania! list, but taking advantage of this cross-selling opportunity can lead to more sales.

Social Media

Create pages on Pinterest and Facebook. Promote your items on Twitter. These sites are used by millions and millions of people every day. Start marketing your products on these sites, where people spend hours and hours!

Conclusion

Successful sellers take the time to:

  • Understand the categories in which they are selling. This includes exploring the breadth and depth of selection in each category and considering where their items would fit in the category’s structure.
  • Check out the competition. They identify the number of competitors, their size, selection, pricing, and promotions in order to plan compelling and competitive offers.
  • Compare their price position with similar items already selling on the site.
  • Study the best-selling items in relevant categories and mimic common characteristics.
If you’d like to know more about how to improve your Amazon business, write to services@sellerengine.com to learn about SellerEngine’s Professional Services team.

 

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.

 

Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani Speaks at IRCE 2013

Last week, Ioan attended IRCE, the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition, in Chicago.

A major highlight of the event was the keynote speech given by Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO and co-founder of Rakuten. If you don’t know, Rakuten is a major player in international e-commerce. Rakuten is a hugely popular e-commerce site in Japan. And as a company, Rakuten has aggressively expanded its international reach, notably through a high-profile acquisition of Buy.com a few years ago, as well as by buying Kobo, an  e-reader company.

Empowering Merchants

The main point of Mikitani’s talk was that Rakuten empowers 3rd-party merchants to build meaningful relationships with consumers.

They changed Buy.com’s business model so that only 3rd-party merchants can sell there, whereas in the past, Buy.com themselves competed with 3rd-party merchants. Sound familiar Amazon sellers?

Mikitani and Rakuten see their fate as being intertwined with the fates of their 3rd-party merchants. So by making things easier for these sellers, both groups will see hopefully see longterm success.

How does Rakuten attract 3rd-party merchants? By attracting customers! That’s been the goal of their acquisitions. By purchasing companies attractive to consumers, like Kobo and Wuaki.tv, a video streaming service, they bring new customers to their sites who are ready to buy from their 3rd-party merchants.

Rakuten Facts

Rakuten currently has nearly 40,000 3rd-party merchants selling over 140 million products. Compare that to Amazon, with data collected by SellerEngine Services for our own keynote presentation at SCOE 2013:

Sellers per venueCatalog Sizes by Venue

You can see that Rakuten’s marketplace has a ways to go before it catches up with Amazon.

Rakuten was founded in 1997 with only 5 employees. They were the last major IPO before the tech crash of 2000. Today they have $13.8 billion in market capitalization and operate e-commerce sites in 13 countries!

They even have a baseball team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles!

Rakuten Eagles

+Paul Cole

 

SCOE – Less than 2 Months Away

This year’s edition of the Sellers’ Conference for Online Entrepreneurs (SCOE) is less than 2 months away.

It’ll be taking place at the Seattle Airport Marriott from May 30th to June 1st. It’s going to be the best place to connect with from hundreds of experienced Amazon, Etsy and Ebay experts, not to mention learn about products and services from dozens of outstanding vendors, including us here at SellerEngine.

The agenda is up and it’s looking great already! Check it out!

You’ll be able to demo Sellery, try out Profit Bandit and learn about how SellerEngine Services can help your business grow.

Ioan Mitrea, founder of SellerEngine Software will be giving the keynote address on International Growth Opportunities for Amazon Sellers. We’re looking forward to sharing with all of you how you can take advantage of Amazon’s commitment to global sales.

And if you’re ready to register for SCOE2013, use the discount code SELLERENGINE at checkout to receive $75 off.

Hope to see you there!

+Paul Cole

Amazon Consumer Electronics Summit March 6-7 in Seattle

Tomorrow, the SellerEngine crew will be headed up to Amazon Consumer Electronics Summit in Seattle.

The conference is Wednesday and Thursday of this week and is an invitation-only event for sellers in the Consumer Electronics category. The schedule is packed with breakout sessions, panel discussions and talks by industry experts.

We’ll be looking to connect with sellers and show them how Sellery and SellerEngine Services can help them take their businesses to the next level.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry. I’ll be posting videos and wrap-ups of as much of the conference as I can.

Do you have any questions about Consumer Electronics that you’d like me to get answered for you? Post them here or on Facebook!

And if you are you going to be there? Come say Hi to us! We’ll be giving out free copies of Profit Bandit, month-long Sellery trials and free inventory analysis to sellers looking to expand internationally.

+Paul Cole