Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Selling Toys on Amazon this Holiday Season

Today’s post is contributed by my colleague, Kim Tarrant, who co-wrote our book, Amazon FBA Recipe for Success. Kim has sold on Amazon for several holiday seasons.

If you’re selling on Amazon there’s no doubt you’ve received the “Holiday Selling in Toys and Games” email from Amazon. These guidelines are implemented to maintain buyer confidence in Amazon during the holiday season. If you do not meet the performance criteria you will not be eligible to sell in the toys and games category from November 15, 2011 through the first week in January 2012. These guidelines are only applicable for merchant fulfilled items, they do not apply to items fulfilled by Amazon as long as your account is in good standing.

In order to sell in the toys and games category from November 15, 2011 and the first week in January 2012 you will need to meet these guidelines:

- Seller’s first sale on must be prior to 09/19/2011 (sale does not need to be Toy-specific).

- Seller must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders (do not need to be Toy-specific) during the 60 consecutive days preceding 11/1/2011.

- No greater than 1% short term order defect rate as of 11/1/2011.

- No greater than 2.5% pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the trailing 30-days preceding 11/1/2011.

- No greater than 5% late shipment rate for the trailing 30-days preceding 11/1/2011.

This email can seem intimidating at first but it’s really quite simple to achieve all the requirements. Amazon will periodically send emails to let you know where you stand on meeting the criteria. On or around September 21, Amazon sent an email to all sellers letting them know where they stand on meeting the criteria for the holiday season. Amazon will send several more notices out before the deadline of November 1, 2011. In my experience, these notifications will come around the end of September, the middle of October, the end of October and a few days before November 15, 2011. If you haven’t met the guidelines yet, don’t panic as there is still time. The sales quota guidelines (first sale prior to September 19 and at least 25 orders during the 60 days preceding November 1, 2011) can be met through merchant fulfilled orders OR orders fulfilled by Amazon.

If you’ve sold during the holidays in the past, you know it can be a wild a crazy ride. If you haven’t, relax, don’t get overwhelmed and take it one sale at a time.

More Amazon Resources:

Podcast - Getting Started on Amazon

Amazon 90 Day Experiment

Make Money Selling Toys on Amazon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What’s Your eBay Worst Offer?

I have a good time discussing eBay Best Offers (and worst offers) with other sellers. Sometimes the offer is so low it just makes you laugh. Here is the craziest eBay offer I have ever received. (This same seller offered me a Toyota car fender for the item last week.)

“Hello .... I am an inventor

I am doing marketing research on a paint by numbers related product.
I need some examples of pbn artword for this research.

My offer to buy your painting is based on the USEFULNESS of that
artwork in the R and D program NOT on art market value or quality.

I am an inventor involved in product development and marketing
NOT an art collector or speculator.

OFFER EXPLANATION .... My offer to buy is based on a shipping
allowance + artwork allowance = total offer. EXAMPLE ....
$8 shipping + $10 artwork = $18 total offer. I you decide to accept
my offer PLEASE remove the artwork from the frame if included
in order to MINIMIZE shipping costs and MAXIMIZE your profit.


At the conclusion of this project I intend to have a CLEARANCE
SALE on Ebay to make room for the next project .... Artwork will
be priced about what I paid for it for quick sale .... you may be able
to buy it back for the price you sold it or less.

PLEASE KEEP ME IN YOUR DATA BASE .... If you decline my
offer but can't sell your artwork PLEASE send me an Email at
.... ....

THANK YOU for your time and consideration.”

All I can really say to this is, “Thank you for letting me keep my frame as a bonus!”

Related articles:

Beware of eBay Trading Assistant Scam

How to Cancel Unwelcome Bids on eBay

How to Avoid Scams by eBay Buyers

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What to Sell on eBay – Burt’s Bees Brand

Burt’s Bees started back in 1984 as a candle company operating out of Maine. Candles were made from beeswax as a spin-off of Burt’s honey business. The founders, Roxanne and Burt, attended local craft fairs to sell their products. Sales reached $20,000 at the end of their first year. The company continued to grow over the years, incorporated in 1991, moved its headquarters to North Carolina, and began focusing on natural personal care products more so than candles. Burt’s Bees products are known today as one of the most trusted companies offering natural personal care products and consumers can find Burt’s Bees products in a variety of retail stores including grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Cracker Barrel restaurants.

If you keep your eyes open and your radar on, you can find Burt’s Bees items on clearance sometimes at any of the above locations. I often see them in Walgreens marked down to 75% off the regular retail price. For the highest profit when reselling, you will want to look for the more expensive items with the biggest discounts. (Make your money when you buy, not when you sell!) Here are a few examples of products to look for:

Burt's bees radiance eye crème. I found this at Walgreens on sale for $5.99 a jar. I sold both jars on Amazon (through FBA) within 3 weeks for $22.92 each, for a profit of $11 each. I found 2 jars of it at one store. Not a bad flip! Here is the current info on Amazon for this product:

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee products. When I was selling heavily on eBay UK, I sold quite a bit of the baby products including diaper rash ointment, bubble bath, shampoo, and dusting powder. Here is a listing on eBay for a lot of 12 buttermilk lotions with a free gift:

Burt’s Bees Sunscreen. I’ve been seeing this on clearance quite a bit lately since we are at the end of summer. Look for this in the grocery store, health and beauty aisle. There is usually a special section just for the Burt’s Bees products. You may be able to double your investment by selling on eBay, but you will definitely make more selling this product on Amazon. Be sure to check the expiration dates before purchasing!

For more ideas on what sells well on both eBay and Amazon, join my Facebook Group with over 2,500 online sellers networking and sharing ideas.

Related articles:

Make Money on eBay Selling Grocery Store Items

Source for eBay Inventory – Walgreens

Learn to Sell on Amazon – FBA Recipe for Success

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Did you Miss the Missoni Mania?

eBayers are scrambling and hitting Target like its Black Friday. Missoni, the famous Italian fashion house has partnered with Target department stores for a short-term offering of a few products. According to an article by, the limited edition Missoni stock will only be available from September 13 - October 22.

Fashionistas and resellers have hit the stores hard and cleaned out everything Missoni including women's apparel, accessories, baby items, bedding, luggage, dinnerware, and even coffee mugs. This is huge! The demand was so out of control on Tuesday, Sept 13 that the Target website crashed and during that few hours, prices sky rocketed on eBay. Look at these completed listings:

Set of 4 Missoni Mugs sold for $137.50:

These mugs sold for $19.99 in the store. Out of stock online at

This lingerie set sold for $85.81:

In the store and online, it sells for $29.99:

I went to a few Target stores today, and here is what I saw:

No shoes.

No handbags or tote bags.

No home goods, dinnerware, mugs, linen, or bedding.

I think these insane prices are a result of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right information. Will we continue to see such high profit margins on these products? Some things to consider:

1) is back up and running. People will try to pay regular retail before they will pay inflated prices on eBay. I think the insane prices yesterday were a result of the Target website crashing. (Although many of the items are out of stock on already!)

2) eBay sellers who purchased Missoni for resale (or maybe even over-bought) are going to undercut each other and this will become a race to the bottom. The examples above show what people will pay. Many eBay sellers are going to start to panic when they realize that they aren't getting 3 times the retail price for this stuff within 24 hours, and they have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on Missoni merchandise. Impatience and inexperience will cause them to drop their prices quickly.

3) Supply with catch up with demand. Even though the word on the street is that Missoni for Target is a limited deal, it is getting people in the Target stores,and during this economy, Target must like that side effect. Nothing is written in stone between Missoni and Target - for all we know this could become a seasonal or even permanent arrangement.

This will be a "wait and see" situation. I was able to find about 20 items and will be watching very closely and see how prices on eBay fluctuate as items become more scarce and show up as "out of stock online." We can't be sure that more Missoni isn't on the way to Target - could this be a ploy to cause a shopping frenzy and help Target's numbers during the 4th quarter? A pre-holiday selling blitz?

What is your Missoni Madness story? Did you hit Target stores, battle the crowds, or find anything at all?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brand to Sell on eBay - Joseph and Feiss

You may not have heard of this brand, but it is a good one to look for at thrift stores. Joseph and Feiss. This brand is sold by Men's Wearhouse and they make dress shirts, polo shirts, blazers, slacks, and suits.

I often see these dress shirts in thrift stores in what look like donation "dumps" from dry cleaners. You may not realize that dry cleaners need to do something with their unclaimed clothing, and many will donate the items to a thrift store to take the tax deduction for a charitable donation.

I had a great sale this week on a lot of Joseph and Feiss shirts. Below is my listing:

Click here to see the completed listing. These shirts cost me $2 each and the lot of 3 sold for $32.97. After fees, I realized a profit of $21.50. (You can figure out your profit using this handy ebay fee calculator.)

On a side note, although I have moved into selling on Amazon, I am still an active seller on eBay. My eBay sales have definitely decreased over the past 2 years with much of my time spent on private coaching, learning to sell on Amazon, writing information products, and collaborating with other eCommerce experts to create trainings. I still have my finger on the pulse of eBay, although not to the extent it has been in the past.

Also, I had somewhat of an incident this week with another blogger who took the liberty of plagiarizing material from my blog, eBooks, and Examiner column and passing it off as his own original work. Although legal action for intellectual property theft was avoided in this case, because of the nature of the internet, it is disturbing that anyone can set up a blog and post information and advice about selling on eBay. For those of us who make eBay (or online) selling a source of income, we know how much work is involved in this business. It is offensive when someone with very little (or no) eBay experience poses as an eBay seller with the objective of making money by pirating someone else's experiences and presenting them as their own.

I want to caution you when reading eCommerce blogs and advice on the internet. Consider the source before following advice. Who is this person? What is their experience selling online, and can it be confirmed? I would be wary of anyone who claims to be an eBay seller who does not openly share his store or user ID with his reading audience on a blog, Facebook Group, or other venue. This seems to be a problem with people thinking they can sell information about eBay and not have the experience or knowledge required to create or disperse correct information.

Related articles:

Need Inventory to Sell on eBay? Ask Your Local Dry Cleaner

Brand to Sell on eBay - Façonnable Shirts

List of Thrift Store Items to Sell on eBay

Sunday, September 4, 2011

eBay Coach Top 5 – Kitchen Items

I am starting something new and different on my blog – Top 5 lists. These lists are my top 5 picks for items to sell in a category. Some of these items I have sold myself in the past, some items I have researched to help you save time and money when sourcing inventory. These items can be sourced at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, or estate sales, and are in used or vintage condition. Today we will start off with my top 5 picks for kitchen items.

Vintage Pyrex Bowls. I have talked about this one before, but they are still great sellers. The sets will be your best bet here, such as sets of mixing bowls, nesting bowls, and chip and dip sets. Complete sets can sell for $75 - $100. Patterned bowls are highly collectible. Some common patterns include Cinderella, Amish butter print, Autumn wheat, Sunflower, and Early American. 

Dutch Ovens. Sometimes when selling cookware, bigger is better! You can often find Dutch ovens in great condition for around $5. Brands to look for include Calphalon, Le Creuset, Griswold cast iron, Lodge cast iron, Cutco, Saladmaster, and Revereware. You will get the highest price if the lids are included. Some of these Dutch ovens can sell for over $150. Tip – look on Craigslist for cookware sets. You can often find the entire set for a low price and sell the individual pots and pans separately for a very good profit. 

Littonware Microwave Cookware. This item is often overlooked. I have sold this item myself and twice it shipped internationally. This type of cookware was introduced in the late 1970's – early 1980's when the popularity of the microwave oven was increasing. This product was created for use specifically in microwave ovens. The sets will sell for the most – but don’t pass up single units. Littonware made all sorts of different products including casserole dishes, cake pans (including a Bundt cake pan), muffin pans, and Dutch ovens. 

Martha Stewart cookie cutters. Here is a product that has increased in value over the years. Some of these can sell for over $80 – for one cookie cutter!. If the item has been retired, it will definitely be worth more. If you have not sold these before, do your homework before hitting estate sales or thrift stores. These cookie cutters are usually made of copper or metal, are solid (closed) on one side, and have a little handle on the top. Used Martha Stewart cookie cutters have a very high sell through rate. 

Fire King Mugs. These are the heavy milky-white mugs that were made in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970s. Restaurants often used these mugs for advertising so you might find logos on them such as Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Sambos. The famous and valuable Snoopy mugs were made by Fireking. Even if the mugs don’t have advertising on them, they are still good sellers on eBay. Fireking comes in a variety of colors other than white including green, blue, red, orange, and yellow. 

Related articles:

 Check out my book on Kindle - What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Selling Off-Season Items on eBay – Ice Skates

I often see discussions on different eBay groups and forums about selling off season items on eBay. Remember, eBay is a global community and if you are open to shipping internationally, it is never really “off season” as someone is living in the right climate to use your product right now.

Just to prove this point, I checked on what seems like an off season product right now (in August) – figure skates. Here are a few completed eBay listings for ice skates and figure skates. All of these items are in used condition and could be found at garage sales, thrift stores, or maybe even in your own home.

Klingbeil Ice Women’s Ice Skates – sold for $120 ($15 shipping)

Riddell Women’s Ice Skates – sold for $90 ($20 shipping)

Jackson Artiste Women’s Ice Skates – Sold for $95 ($14.67 shipping)

My motto is, “If you have it, list it!” There is a buyer for everything on eBay. Don’t assume that everyone shops, thinks, or plans the same way you do. Although ice skating may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, there are people out there right now looking forward to winter sports and shopping for off season items. Why not be the seller who thinks ahead and provides these items for those buyers?

Related articles:

100% Cashmere Sweaters Sell in the Summer, Too!

Summer Clearance Items to Sell on eBay

Thrift Store Item to Sell on eBay – Alpaca Sweaters