When you are beginning your ecommerce business, one of the first hurdles is deciding on what you will sell.
There are a variety of places and means to source product – you need to decide which one will work best for you and your business. Today’s blog post will address a low cost way to enter the market: dropshipping
Sometimes this is the easiest and lowest risk way of getting into an ecommerce business. Simply put, drop shipping is the process of listing merchandise for sale that is owned and warehoused by a third party. Once you sell the merchandise, you notify the drop-shipper who will ship out the product to your customer for you. Sounds easy, right? The secret here is finding a RELIABLE and TRUSTWORTHY source with a product line that is IN DEMAND.
Most legitimate drop shippers will not require a minimum purchase or charge a monthly fee, but there are exceptions to even that rule. Do your homework – research potential drop shippers by entering the dropshipper’s name into a search engine and add the words “complaints” “sucks” “reviews”. Also research what the fees are and figure out if there is a market for their products and what the going rate is. Take a look at private web sites, ebay and Amazon to start. Figure out if it is worth it to sell their products after you factor in the fees that each marketplace charges, the fees from the dropshipper and the cost of the merchandise.
Next up: distributors
August 30th, 2012
So you want to sell on the internet and you want it to be a home based business. What do you do first?
We will be beginning a series of blog posts on starting a home based ecommerce business just to provide some information to newbie ecommerce sellers that need some basic information and guidance.
As always, you are welcome to join the Internet Merchants Association where you can network with others that have been in your shoes.
In our first blog post, we will be addressing product sourcing. Do you have any requests for things you’d like to see us cover in a future blog post? Leave a comment below and we’ll see if we can accommodate your request.
August 23rd, 2012
Feedback is an issue that causes much angst to sellers both on eBay and Amazon. Many times the negative feedback left is irrelevant to the transaction especially when the buyer has not even contacted the seller. So I ask you – Is feedback even necessary in 2009? How many buyers even review a seller’s feedback? On Amazon the seller’s feedback is pretty much hidden, especially if the seller has the coveted “buy-box”. It is also extremely lopsided since so few buyers actually leave feedback on Amazon. On eBay many buyers do not understand the feedback percentages and don’t take the time to review the comments. This is obvious when you see a seller with 89% feedback, yet all their 99 cent junk auctions have bids.
So what other mechanisms could replace feedback and help reduce scam sellers? Both eBay and Amazon already have the mechanisms in place, they just don’t publish the information derived from these mechanisms to the buying community.
Continue Reading January 8th, 2009
Good morning again from Vegas. Day 3 of the conference was a whirlwind of new information and new people. Some of the presentations were very detailed, while others were more basic. I was happy to find out we had registered several new members of IMA as a result of our free seminars for ASD/AMD members on “Getting Started in E-Commerce”! Great job everyone!
The first presentation was on Market Intelligence, by Tim Williams from QL2. QL2 is a company that has helped many very large, well known retailers with market intelligence in order to increase their market share.
Market Intelligence is information relative to the markets you are trying to penetrate. This consists of information you gather inhouse as well as information gathered by third parties. We learned how and why to monitor our competitors as well as how to monitor brand perception. The very detailed information will help us be more competitive in the fast changing e-commerce world.
The second presentation of the day was “Analyze your Business Using Web Statistics” by Sagerock and Engine Ready. They gave a lot of useful information about analyzing your CPC campaigns in order to increase your conversions while decreasing your marketing budget. After hearing all that’s involved in managing your own SEO and CPC ad campaigns, I’ve decided it might be best to hire a professional to do this, unless you are a numbers person and really like working with statistics.
I missed the Endicia Presentation on the USPS changes, however I did talk to the Endicia rep for a little while and found out that the post offices just received the new, larger, flat rate box this week. So if you are interested in these boxes, check with your Post Office as they may have received them.
During lunch we attended round tables with the companies of our choice. This was an awesome opportunity to sit with a representative and ask questions specific to our businesses, as well as make valuable contacts.
The next presentation was “Amazon Best Practices for Selling Online”, which was a good, basic overview of the third party selling opportunities that Amazon offers. These include Marketplace, FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) and Webstores. Amazon stated that 26% of the total units sold on Amazon last year were by 3rd party sellers. Third party sellers are considered a significant and important part of their business.
The next presentation was Expanded Seller Protection by Paypal. I didn’t attend this but did talk to two Paypal Reps. One thing I learned, that I didn’t already know from the announcements, is that Powersellers will be protected against a fraudulent payment if they can show they shipped the item to the address on the Paypal Payment. The key word here is “shipped”. However, INR’s will still require proof of delivery.
Next up was a Q&A with eBay. Many issues were raised about feedback, Best Match and UPI from the audience. What I understand from what the eBay reps said is that all of these changes are evolving. eBay is monitoring the changes to see if they have the desired effect. If they do not, or they have unexpected undesirable effects, they will make changes to the changes.
The last presentation was given by Brian Kane of Microsoft “Microsoft Office – Interesting Elements of Office Relevant to the On-Line Merchant”.
Brian spoke about their small business website available at www.officelive.com which offers free basic websites. In addition, they now offer a program that will list both to eBay and to your officelive website. This includes a robust email marketing program as well. The presentation included many slides on the new Office 2007 products. It was interesting to see all the changes and new features now available in the 2007 version.
The last session of the day was the IMA Business Meeting hosted by Steve Grossberg, President of IMA. Steve pointed out that IMA has reached its 16 month birthday. He thanked the Events committee for all their work in making the conference a reality, as well as all committee members and Board Members. IMA has just begun, but is gaining momentum daily and every member can be proud of their Association.
The Board of Directors Election was held and 3 new board members were elected:
- Kim Wren – Wren Storage
- Cathy Aggelopoulos – Visibility Unlimited
- Cynthia (Cyn) Lizana – Texcyngoods
The meeting was adjourned and the Hospitality Suite was opened. We had a drawing for door prizes. All prizes were donated by IMA Members and most of the prizes were items we used in our TalkMarket videos, so there was a wide selection of awesome prizes given away. The Grand Prize was a complete eBay design package, worth $1600, donated by our Hospitality Suite sponsor, Frooition!
March 5th, 2008
Congratulations to all the members of IMA who sell on Amazon. According to the Nielson ratings, Amazon had more unique visitors than Ebay for the month of December. According to an article by “The New York Times” dated January 14th, 2008: “Amazon has opened its site to independent sellers, while eBay’s auction model is running into problems with fee-fatigued sellers and buyers wary of fraud and counterfeit items.”
“Now the latest audience figures from Nielsen Online confirm that the e-commerce traffic crown has changed heads. For the month of December, for the first time, more Americans clicked over to Amazon.com (59,624,000) than eBay (59,374,000)”
To read the complete article including some very interesting comments in the NY Times.
February 4th, 2008
I was not one of the top 200 Ebay sellers invited to the Ebay Ecommerce Summit last week where Ebay announced the changes to Fees, Search, and Feedback. I was one of the lower volume Ebay sellers on the sidelines at home waiting to hear the long awaited announcements about fee reductions. As we all know now, the fee changes will probably hurt more Ebay sellers than they help. The changes overall made me ask myself how the new CEO designate of Ebay, Mr. John Donahoe, can make changes to Ebay’s platform that blatantly copy the Amazon platform without feeling a bit unimaginative. Mr. Donahoe has been at Ebay since March 2005. If you would like to check out his salary on Forbes Mag. Is Ebay going to become Amazon Lite?
The new final value fees (FVFs) for Ebay stores are just slightly less than Amazon’s FVFs are now. Not allowing sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers is similar to the Amazon feedback system. The star rating system is similar to the Amazon seller rating system. Amazon already has a relevance based customer search that sounds like the “finding experience” Mr. Donahoe has been working on, and which is scheduled to be rolled out to Ebay this year. My guess is it is time for us all to examine the Amazon sellers marketplace because the new CEO-designate of Ebay seems to want the Ebay buyers experience to be just like the Amazon buyers experience, and will probably continue to imitate Amazon features.
February 3rd, 2008