Payments by Amazon

Do you know that over 95% of customers leave ecommerce sites without purchasing and only 50% of customers who put items into shopping carts actually purchase?

That’s according to a Javelin survey.

You can better your odds of getting those shopping cart customers to convert by 14% if you offer three or more payment types (other than just three different credit card types).

These alternative payment types include: PayPal, Google Check-out, Bill Me Later and now Amazon Payments.

Recently Jockey.com added Amazon Payments and now see about 30% of their customers are the Amazon service.

Amazon has three payment structures to choose from:

  1. Amazon Simple Pay – good for digital products with no physical delivery and non-profits who are collecting donations
  2. Amazon Payments – for merchants who have physical products to ship
  3. Flexible Payment Services – merchants who need customized shopping cart integration via API

Amazon payments offer existing customers their ‘one-click’ payment service – which we all love!

And, they offer merchants no start-up charges. Payment processing is 2.9% of the total plus .30 per transaction. They also offer a lower value payment processing option for items under $10.00 – 5% of the total plus .05 cents per transaction.

Unlike selling directly through amazon’s catalog online, payment processing services have no category restrictions (except of course government restriction like tobacco and alcohol).

For more information go to: https://payments.amazon.com

Selling on Amazon – Taking your selling to the next level

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If you have a Pro Merchant Account you can offer customers “special promotions.”

With the Manage Promotions feature you can create promotional discounts, free shipping, and free-product offers.

A promotion can be a percentage or dollar amount off the purchase price, free shipping, or a free product.

Promotion claim codes are optional. If you select the option, customers must enter this code when they place their orders.

You can schedule promotions to start and end at a future date and time.

A complete tutorial on how to set these promotions up can be found on Amazon at:https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help-page.html?isLink=1&itemID=9451

(please note – the above link will only work if you have a Pro Merchant account)

Cross Promoting

Other features available to Pro Merchants to up sell and cross promote include using the accessory widget – which allows you to set up which other products you want displayed on the listing page for the item pages you create. This tool is powerful! The easiest way for customers to find your items is by clicking on the ‘similar items’ links on the Amazon pages.

More information about the Cross Selling via ‘creating accessory relationships’ can be found here:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help-page.html?itemID=9001

(please note – the above link will only work if you have a Pro Merchant account)

Offering Gift Services

You can use Gift Services to offer customers gift wrapping and gift messaging. These services can help increase your sales conversion rates by offering your customers an enhanced buying experience.

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help-page.html?ie=UTF8&itemID=571

(please note – the above link will only work if you have a Pro Merchant account

A Word Of Caution About Signature Lines

One of our group of Amazon/eBay sellers just recently ran into a spot of trouble with Amazon – without intending to. I wanted to pass this information along because many of us have clickable email signature lines. (You know those lines at the end of the email with a link back to our store – see mine below).

Amazon is very clear that they do NOT want you to direct traffic away from the site. However, they do want you to update your buyer each step of the way through the process of shipping.

Our unlucky seller, was doing just that. She uses endicia.com to create the shipping label and to automatically create the ‘item shipped’ email. The problem was (as far as Amazon was concerned) is that the seller had a clickable link directing off Amazon to her ‘Everywhere I Sell’ listing, which includes links not only to her Amazon store, but to Bonanzle, eBay, etc.

The bottom line is; be sure that you are not sending traffic away from Amazon.com when you communicate with them. Amazon doesn’t even want you to put a flyer (other than the packing slip) in the box when you ship items.

The Internet Sellers Conference — The Amazon Selling University!

A few points surfaced over and over during the conference this year. Some facts were no surprise to sellers who have sold on the Amazon platform for years. However, a few radically different approaches to selling, especially if you’ve sold mainly on other platforms may enlighten those who are just approaching Amazon as a third party merchant.

One fact I heard repeated over and over at the conference was how the Amazon buyers choose which item they purchase. Shoppers make their purchase decision based on price 85% of the time. Coming in second is seller reputation or feedback.

This is a radically different approach for sellers used to other platforms. Often it is the emphasis is on buyer ‘experience’ or how you can position yourself apart from you competition that makes the purchase decision. On Amazon the real bottom line is price — you must offer your product at the least expensive prices to float to the top on the Amazon buy pages. This makes automation extremely important — as a third party merchant you can’t spend time nurturing the customer relationship (that’s Amazon’s job), and in many cases you must average your margin. In other words, you can’t sell every product at your ideal markup. Some inventory will sell for more, but others for a smaller margin. The idea when selling on Amazon is the overall profit at the end of the day.

Positioning your seller ID at the top of the buy page and as the lowest price is a challenge. Here are a few conference takeaways to consider:

    1. Automation — use inventory, listing and shipping automation tools to minimize order processing times. Free up as much time as possible to use for product sourcing and bringing new products online.
    2. Do not manage your items SKU by SKU — many eBay sellers are used to romancing the buyers by adding additional information about the product. On Amazon buyers only want to know that they’ll get the cheapest price, shipped to them quickly in the stated condition. Use one cut and paste blurb in the inventory condition field to save listing time.
    3. Consider using Amazon FBA to keep the cost to the buyer lower. When you use FBA it will allow your buyers to use Prime or combined purchases to receive free shipping.
    4. Be aggressive when negotiating with your suppliers. Buy in as large a quantity as possible for the best price breaks.

Retailing on Amazon is about offering the least expensive price possible. That combined with the free shipping incentives are the driving engine for the continued growth of the site. Figure out how to offer your products at the best price and you’ll be a successful third party merchant on the site.

 

Setting Up An Amazon aStore For More Affiliate Income

Setting up an Amazon aStore is a fast and easy way to add an affiliate income generating store to your website or blog.

You can provide your site visitors a store full of merchandise related to your topic, without ever spending a dime. The Amazon affiliate program is easy to join and acceptance into their program in much easier the eBay.

In this demo we’ll walk you through how to set up an Amazon aStore in ten minutes.

Using An Amazon Listmania To Promote Your Amazon Products

On Amazon.com it can be difficult to get your unique product noticed by customers. The Amazon catalog is so massive that if your product isn’t highly ranked your item many never come up in search.

One way to get people to see you merchandise is the Amazon Listmania.

Here’s where users can create product lists around a subject or category. They can be subjects like “my favorite mysteries” or “ten things to take camping.” You can include any item in the Amazon catalog, including yours. These lists are featured on related products on Amazon, in the user communities and are available for aStore and Amazon affiliates to use as links.

So by adding your product to a Listmania you can add additional promotions without spending any money.

That’s pretty sweet! In this video I show you how to set up an Amazon Listmania.

 

How To Make Your Amazon Listing Stand Out

While we can’t customize a listing page on Amazon like we can an eBay listing there is room for a little customization. If you are an Amazon Pro Merchant you can add products directly to the Amazon.com Catalog. That means as a third party seller you are not limited to only the items currently available on Amazon, you can add your own unique items as well. However many ProMerchants don’t realize that they can spruce up their Amazon Catalog description with HTML and make it stand out from the crowd. This is a quick tutorial on how to edit your current listing or add a little HTML to new listings.

Many elements on the Amazon catalog page are static and uniformity is required. You must provide Amazon with a product photo that has an all white background. There must be no watermarks. The thumbnail photo is the same size and in the same exact place on every catalog page. The buy now button is the same size and in same place on every listing.

Amazon also requires a bulleted list of features and benefits right under the photographs and just below the fold.

Then more advertising and product specifications. Then the description, tags, reviews come – which is our place to shine.

We can change our bland looking description (like the one below) into one that flows visually.

azlist1

Let me show you how to edit your listing or if this is a new listing how to spruce it up with a few bolds, italics, breaks and lists.

To start go to your inventory page on Amazon (if you have already created the listing) if it is a new listing, click on the “add product” link in your seller dashboard).

azlist2

1) go to your inventory page
2) click on edit listing

Then look for the ‘edit this product’ button to get started.

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If you haven’t already created this listing you’ll want to add the photo, title, bulleted list, etc. The area we are focusing on in this tutorial is the description box.

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There are a few restrictions here. The character limit in the description is 2000. That includes the tags, which means that your description will be pretty short – the tags can really eat up a lot of characters quickly.

To keep it simple I’m going to just show you the HTML tags – and tell you that Amazon will not allow bulleted lists or ul tags. It also rejects the underline tags.

But all is not lost, you still can create lists. Instead of a bulleted list – I used a numbered list: 1), 2), etc to create a similar effect.

If you are not familiar with HTML – simply create your ad copy in an editor designed for web pages and cut and paste the code into the description box. For this demo I created the listing in FrontPage – but PageBreeze (which is free) will work as well.

azlist5

Just be sure to strip all the FrontPage or PageBreeze body & meta tags out before you copy and paste the description into the description box. For this example here is the code that I used for Amazon.

<p>Need a an extra income, but don’t have time for a second job?</p>
<p>Looking for a career where you work for yourself?</p>
<p>Do you dream of working from home?<p>
<p>Join the over 1.5 million sellers who now make a part or full time living on eBay. This CD will help you on your way.</p>
<p>Learn what buyers are looking for and how sellers can make sure interested buyers find their way to your auction listings.</p>
<p>Grabbing someone’s attention is only the first step to making the sale. To turn buyers into browsers you must write a good description, have photographs that are eye catching and create a sense of trust and safety for your buyers.</p>
<p>This introduction to eBay covers:</p>

<p>- Registering for an eBay Account</p>
<p>- Getting Verified as a trusted eBay seller</p>
<p>- How to integrate eBay & PayPal accounts so you get paid promptly</p>
<p>- How to use My eBay to track sales, watchers, payment and feedback</p>
<p>- How to make more money by researching previously sold items</p>
<p>- How to write eBay auction titles that will land you at the top of user’s searches</p>
<p>- How to sell for charity – helping your community and your business</p>
<p>How to set Terms Of Service that will protect you without turning off bidders</p>
<p>…. and more!</p>
<p>Taught by an eBay Certified Business Consultant, Cindy Shebley.</p>
<p>Cindy explains how to start selling on eBay in plain English no internet babble. You’ll learn exactly what you need to know to get started without wading through hours and hours of help menus and complicated manuals.</p>

Put this CD into your computer and let Cindy walk you through eBay step-by-step.
instead of ordered lists or bullets a numbered list works:

1) one idea
2) the next idea
3) yet another
4) and another…

Here’s a view of the listing – notice how much easier it is to read than the normal description with lines of text all run together.

azlist6

Once you have your product description spruced up – don’t stop there. You can continue to market and promote your Amazon listing by:

  • adding tags – spend a little time each day going over your keywords, keep adding new ones that your buyers might use to find your product
  • star your product that you ‘own it’
  • review – ask your friends to review your product and give it five stars
  • create a video for the product and add it as a review
  • buy a copy of your item and in the same session purchase another best selling item in the category (so your item will start showing up on that product page as others who purchase this product bought that product)
  • create listmainas! If you don’t know how, be sure to watch the listmania video tutorial

New Amazon FBA Fees Coming in August 2011

If you haven’t heard the news yet — or are considering using Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) for your long term inventory storage here’s the news from Amazon:

“Effective August 15, 2011:
An annual Long-Term Storage Fee of $45.00 per cubic foot will be applied to any Units that have been stored in an Amazon fulfillment center for one year or longer. The fee is in addition to the regular Inventory Storage Fee and will not be charged if a request has been made to remove or dispose of the Units prior to the fee being charged.
The per Unit price of a removal for Media and Non-Media Units will be reduced from $0.60 plus shipping to $0.50 including shipping. Alternatively, Units can be disposed of for $0.15 per Unit. (The per Unit price of a removal for Oversize Units will be reduced from $3.00 plus shipping to $0.60 including shipping, or $0.30 for them to be disposed.)
Each seller may maintain a single unit of each ASIN they carry without being charged the Long-Term Storage fee.”

So what does that mean to the FBA user? It depends on how and what products you are using Amazon FBA to fulfill.

Amazon still wants those one of a kind, long tail items. If you read the last line of the release Amazon states that Sellers may store one ASIN (or item) at their facility for more than a year without incurring the storage fees. That’s perfect for the book seller who deals in unusual or rare finds — their fees won’t be affected by this change.

However, if you are the type of seller who buys case lots of items in larger quantities and then send them to Amazon for inventory fulfillment — you’ll need to monitor your turn rates a little more closely, especially seasonal items. For example some sellers buy out end of season Christmas items to sell the following year — you probably will want to house them elsewhere until closer to the season and then send them to Amazon. Or, if you import large lots of items, and have been using Amazon to store and ship the items — make sure the inventory turns regularly.

What’s a good inventory turn rate? Of course, it depends on the type of item. You’ll have to look at your historical sell through rates. You may want to compare with others in your niche. That type of information can be obtained from trade groups within your industry. Using their standards and comparing them to your historical sell through can help you to determine if you are in line.

Amazon.com Guidelines For Toys & Games Sellers 2011 Holiday Season

From Amazon.com email:

Hello from Amazon Services,

To maintain buyer confidence in Amazon this holiday season, we are implementing Holiday Selling Guidelines for the Toys & Games store.

Effective September 19, 2011, we will stop accepting new non-FBA sellers in Toys & Games.* Effective November 15, 2011, only those sellers who meet the following performance criteria will be eligible to sell in Toys & Games from November 15, 2011 through the first week in January 2012:

– Seller’s first sale on Amazon.com 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.

*Orders fulfilled by Amazon will not be subject to the holiday season restrictions provided your account is in good standing

How to Shoot Amazon Catalog Photographs

Amazon requires that all photographs added to the Amazon catalog adhere to a very particular standard.

The background must be pure white – Amazon specifies RGB values of 255, 255, 255. The picture must be 1000 PX or larger on a side, so that Amzon can scale it up or down without a loss in quality. The item for sale must be the sole subject of the photo – no inserts, no models, no watermarks or captions. No line drawings allowed – photos only.

You are a merchant, not a product photographer. How can you learn all the regulations? And once discovered, how can you comply with them?

This workshop, presented at the 2011 SCOE Amazon conference will show you, step by step, how to take a good catalog photo, even if you’ve never used photo editing software before.