Friday, August 31, 2012

What is the Deal with Penny Book Sellers?

One of the more common questions I get is about penny books and penny book sellers. They are plentiful on both eBay and Amazon. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continuously run across them on both marketplaces:

1)If you look at the penny book sellers, they usually have thousands of books for sale and a large feedback number. These people are buying by the tractor trailer load, pallet, gaylord, or getting all the leftovers from library sales or storage unit auctions. Some books in those lots will be good to sell, some won't. They can make a few cents on a penny book sale rather than throwing them away. They have huge operations with warehouses and many employees processing books. It works for them to make a few cents on hundreds or thousands of sales a day.

2)Many also use repricers and the prices spiral down to a penny. If you have 3-4 large sellers all using repricers, and no one has set a cut off for the price, the automation of a repricer will allow the price to go to a penny. And these large sellers don't care.

3)There are lots of large sellers using Amazon and eBay for customer harvesting. They can get a sale, and include promotional material in the shipment to entice the buyer to go to their website (20% off your first order!!). Rather than trash a worthless book, they use it to reach a new customer who may become a valuable repeat customer on their own personal website.

Bottom line - don't assume everyone on eBay or Amazon is there to make money, and don't assume they are there for the same reasons you are.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Selling Toys on Amazon - 2012 Holiday Season

Toys are a huge seller on Amazon. FBA Sellers usually prepare for the season during the summer. With that in mind, Amazon has released its restrictions and guidelines to gain the ability to sell in this category.

Effective November 13, 2012, only sellers who meet the following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from November 13, 2012 through the first week in January 2013. Webstore sellers are also subject to these guidelines.

  • Your first sale on must be prior to September 17, 2012. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys store.
  • You must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders during the 60 consecutive days preceding November 1, 2012. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys store.
  • Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
  • Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% for the trailing 30 days preceding November 1, 2012.
  • Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2012.

  • Your orders that use Fulfillment by Amazon will not be subject to the holiday season restrictions provided your account is in good standing.

    If you currently sell on Amazon, can find your customer metrics in the Performance section of your seller account. If your performance does not meet the above criteria, you now have the opportunity to improve it before the holiday season begins.

    Amazon will provide final notification about eligibility to sell in the Toys & Games store by the middle of November 2012. Then, beginning November 13, 2012, they will monitor the performance and listings of sellers who are approved to sell in Toys & Games during the holiday season. Amazon Services does reserve the right to cancel listings, remove selling privileges, and prohibit the sale of specific products to maintain a marketplace that is safe for buyers.

    Here are some steps you can take to remain eligible to sell in Toys & Games throughout the holiday season:

  • Monitor your customer metrics and take corrective action when necessary.
  • Utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to ship products to your customers.
  • Check your orders frequently in the Manage Orders section of your account.
  • Minimize order cancellations; don’t show more stock for sale than you have available to ship.
  • Ship orders and confirm shipment in a timely manner.
  • Ensure your seller policies are up to date.
  • If you work with outside drop-shippers, solidify their SLA commitments for providing prompt shipping confirmation.

  • If you are considering selling toys on Amazon this holiday season, you may want to review the guidelines above again and start preparing. Take action to make any improvement needed if that is necessary. There are many time-sensitive tasks that need to happen before Amazon will allow you to venture into selling toys in the 2012 holiday season.

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    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Olympic Item on Ebay Funds Charity

    During the height of the Olympic Games recently, the Children’s Miracle Network listed a piece of Olympic memorabilia on eBay to help raise money for its organization. The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team donated a jacket that was signed by the members of the 2012 team, including the women’s gold medal winners. John Macready wore the jacket while acting as a host and emcee at the San Jose, California Olympic trials. Macready was a member of the 1996 Olympic team.

    The auction which began on August 1 started with a listing price of $19.96. Ten days and 35 bids later, the auction closed at $2025. The winning bidder will receive a certificate of authenticity and free FedEx shipping along with the jacket. The entire amount of the final sales price will go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals organization. The organization supports 170 children’s hospitals across North America. The funds raised by the organization are used to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care. Below is a screen shot of the completed listing.

    The donation for this auction was processed through eBay Giving Works. Managed by Misson Fish, the eBay Giving Works program allows sellers to share a percentage of the final sales price of a listing with a nonprofit organization of their choice. While listing an item, you can designate if you wish to donate to an organization, which organization you’d like to donate to, and the amount you wish to give. The donation is processed when a sale is made.

    If you would like to participate in this program, please click here.

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    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    eBay for Beginners – Inventory

    I am sure you have seen the stories about the rare finds that fetch millions on eBay. There was the video game collection that sold for more than $1 Million. There was the painting found at Goodwill that fetched more than $15, 000. While these sales may have been motivation for you to get started or come back to eBay, those opportunities are few and far between. The fact that they are not common occurrences does not mean that money cannot not be made on eBay. To be profitable on eBay is a process. Starting on eBay doesn’t not take a lot of money either. You do not have to invest thousands or even hundreds to begin your eBay businesses. The video below helps to explain.

    As the video shows, it does take work to be profitable on eBay but it is possible. The trick is learning what to buy for resale. Check out by book on Kindle, "What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay." This book showcases 40 items that I commonly find in thrift stores and sell on a regular basis.

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    Monday, August 13, 2012

    eBay Offers (Almost) Instant Gratification to Some Buyers

    Image courtesy of

    A few lucky eBay buyers have received an invitation for a new program from eBay. eBay Now was just launched to beta testers in the San Francisco, California area. eBay Now will allow eBay buyers to receive your purchases the same day the order is placed.

    eBay buyers received an e-mail that sent them an invitation to download a mobile app that will connect them to the eBay now program. Those users will be able to buy new products sold by local stores. The stores include Toys R Us, Target, Walgreens, and many others. Once the buyer finds the item they wish to purchase, they click as the “Bring It” button. In an hour or more, a personal shopping valet will deliver the purchase to the buyer. Currently, there is a $25.00 minimum for purchases. eBay is offering the beta testers who currently have access to the program $15.00 off their first eBay order and no delivery fee for the first three orders. After the first three orders, the delivery fee is a $5.00 charge. Here’s a copy of the email that was sent to the invited buyers:

    Hi [Name],

    We know you love shopping on eBay. But sometimes you just can’t wait for shipping. Sound familiar?

    If so, we’ve created an exciting new way to shop. Starting today, for purchases of $25 or more, San Francisco shoppers can order products from local stores and have them delivered to their door — at home, at work, or anywhere else in San Francisco. The new service is called eBay Now, and you can download it here for your iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod® touch.

    Since eBay Now is in beta, we’re taking $15 off your first order and offering FREE delivery for your first three! After that, each delivery during the beta period is only $5. Your orders arrive fast — usually within an hour! Pretty convenient, huh?

    Download the app now [link removed] and try it out. If you like it, share it!

    You have three invites for friends and family.

    Happy shopping!
    The eBay Now Team

    The eBay Now service is available Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The items can be delivered in as little as an hour but the store from which the item was purchased must be open for at least 30 minutes after the order is received. Here are a couple of screen shots that show what the app looks like on the iPhone.

    Image courtesy of TechCrunch

    In order to make this possible, eBay is using its Milo platform. Milo is a website that allows its users to search for a particular item and find out which nearby stores carry it. It also lets the website user know if the item is in stock and how much the item costs. eBay purchased Milo in late 2010 for $75 million.

    This new service is in line to go the head to head with Amazon’s Same Day Shipping program that is currently in development for major cities across the country. While eBay Now is only offered to San Francisco area residents right now, anyone can sign up. Please click this link to be notified of when eBay Now will be available in your area. eBay will be using these registrations to determine if there is any interest in expanding this program throughout the country in future.

    What impact will this service have on eBay Sellers? Will eBay’s marketplace become dominated by big-time retailers? Will the availability of new products and quick shipping impact Amazon's FBA business model? At this point, it’s a guessing game. What do you think? What impact do you think this will have on your business? Feel free to comment below to share your views.

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    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Online Seller Success Story – From Unemployed to Living the Dream

    Thanks to Sue Roberts for sending in her success story. She is a shining example of what can be done with this business with hard work, perseverance, and the belief that anything is possible!
    “In the spring of 2011, budget cuts at the local school brought my part time job to an end. It was a very scary time for us financially. We needed the income and working outside the school was not an option I was interested in exploring. I had been hobby selling on eBay for about 9 years, so I was familiar with the idea and basics of online sales. I had no idea how FBA worked until I found Suzanne’s Facebook group in the spring of 2011 – coincidentally, the same time I realized my school job was not secure. My husband always tells me things happen for a reason.

    I used to be a coupon queen and had amassed quite a stockpile of free brand name items I got by using drug store rewards programs and coupons. I read every post on the SAHM page, started asking questions, and after much research, I decided to send in a box of my free-with-coupon items to Amazon’s FBA program. It was scary committing to that shipping charge when I knew I didn’t have a job to rely on to cover the costs if it didn’t work out, but I figured that I needed to at least try.

    Well, those items sold! When I received my last paycheck from the school ($400), we decided that I would invest that money into inventory. I kept careful records and tracked everything. The idea of spending money on inventory was frightening when I knew that I could be paying bills with it. But through my research and all the help from the Facebook group, I knew that I would have success and be able to replace my old income.

    My first goals were modest: replace my old income. Then I wanted to double it. In winter 2011, I was offered the opportunity to sub at the school with the possibility of a contract position. I was actually pleased when it didn’t work out. I had felt conflicted, knowing I should try for a “real” job, but I knew I could make money with Amazon FBA. This was the point at which I decided I would stop sending out resumes and really make Amazon work for me.

    I’m happy to say I just had my best month to date (July 2012) with a $3115 profit. That’s almost 4 times my old monthly income. And I’m even more excited than ever because I feel like I’ve just begun to realize the possibilities with Amazon FBA. Now it is time to set some new goals and I know that in no time at all I’ll be reaching them.

    Here is a screenshot of my gross sales from my first month to my most recent. (Click to view it full-sized.) To some, these numbers are modest. To me, they represent a major accomplishment and a springboard of even more to come.

    I want to give Suzanne a heartfelt THANK YOU, because truly, without her, I would not be where I am today.”

    Congratulations, Sue! I am so happy for you and you are an example of what others can do.

    Do you have an eBay or Amazon success story to share? If so, send it to me at for consideration. Keep up the great work; you could be the next success story out there!

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    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    eBay to Welcome Teen Buyers

    Businesses throughout the US are acting on something that has been apparent for quite a while. Teenagers have significant buying power. Brick and mortar stores have banked on that fact for decades. Hotel chains like Ritz-Carlton and Marriot have even started employing teens as concierges to help make their peers’ hotel stay a better experience and to build brand loyalty. According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, eBay is planning to foster the same feel online by opening up its marketplace to a younger audience.

    Paypal, an eBay company, has already begun offering its debit cards to 13 to 18 year olds but only after receiving parental approval. eBay will probably require parental authorization as well. The current plan is to redesign eBay’s marketplace to keep the under-18 set from viewing or purchasing any items that contain adult content. Even with that plan, eBay is hoping that parents will shop with their kids to help ensure that nothing inappropriate is seen or bought.

    While most of the details of the plan and making the site secure for children have not been worked out, eBay plans to open up its site to kids within the next nine months.

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