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Amazon Clamps Down on Incentivized Customer Reviews

Howdy E-Commerce Gurus: Another day, another huge blow to Amazon Marketplace Sellers.   It seems like every few weeks we’re posting news about major modifications that Amazon is making on their platform. Today’s blow is especially tough for “Private Labelers” who rely on incentivizing sales in exchange for reviews.   Effective today, Amazon will no longer allow product reviews for items that were purchased via incentives or discounts with the exception of items given away through the Amazon Vine program.  (see the Amazon blog for the full update) This disrupts a huge surge in product reviews with the required “I received this item at a discount in exchange for my honest review” that is prevalent on products that are launched by new sellers or existing sellers with new products.   The strategy in the past has been to use review clubs, lists, or services to offer discount coupon codes so…

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7 Ways for E-Commerce Dropshippers to Prepare for Q4 on Amazon

Today is October 1st – Q4 has officially begun! I’ve personally endured over a decade of Q4 excitement (and suffering) in the world of e-commerce.   Although sales don’t historically show a significant pickup until the week of Black Friday, now is the time to begin preparing.  For those who utilize dropshipping as a core component of their e-commerce strategy, it’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm of your life.   Hopefully in the end, you’ve safely made it through and you’re enjoying the profits of your season. For those who are selling Toys & Games on Amazon, this month is a critical month for you.  Amazon will be watching your performance metrics and will disqualify you for the entire holiday season if your metrics aren’t meeting their standards below. Effective on 17th November, 2016, only sellers who meet the criteria listed below will be…

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How I Found the Dropship Distributors to Turn $99 into $19 Million

It all started about 10 years ago.  I was working full-time in my local church as the music minister and had a small, but growing web hosting company as a way to scratch my business itch and supplement our income.   One of my older brothers gave me a call and he said something like this: “Hey man, I’m trying to find some Legos for my son’s birthday.  I can’t seem to find them anywhere.  I know that you know how to do eBay and I’ve never done it so do you mind helping me find some online”? I agreed and as I began to search eBay for the Legos I discovered something:  every person who listed them sold them.   The entrepreneur in me went wild and all of a sudden I’d forgotten about where to buy them for my nephew and all I wanted was to find where…

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Proven Tactics on Growing Your E-Commerce Biz

E-Commerce Business Owners:   We are always searching for ways to grow.   Competition is fierce and more and more people are becoming online sellers each day. Rewardstream.Com recently published this article that we’d like to share called “Proven Tactics to Grow Your E-Commerce Business”.  These are some fantastic tactics that you can implement to help grow your business. For more, visit RewardStream.Com. (h/t:  Inbound.Org)

Two Books I’ve Decided I Have to Buy Today

As an e-commerce business owner and specialist, there is never an end to learning.   I personally try to always have literature that I am reading to learn more about the industry.   Just as important as industry news, overall leadership development is just as important.   Whether you are managing a multi-million dollar e-commerce enterprise or just flipping a few items on Amazon FBA, it’s important to keep yourself motivated and educated with leadership and business skills. I recently took two days to attend the Global Leadership Summit and in that 48 hours I received enough inspiration to push myself for quite a while.   Every speaker was powerful and had amazing insights.   I walked away wanting to purchase every single book and resource available; yet, I also had to recognize that I only have a limited amount of time to read so I’ve narrowed my first “purchase…

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Amazon Now Requiring Tracking for Envelopes/Flats

Attention Amazon Sellers, In case you haven’t noticed, Amazon is making serious changes to their policies impacting 3rd party marketplace sellers.   Just a couple of weeks ago they started restricting well-known brands from being sold without approval.   Just last week they announced a major change in their return policy as well. It appears they are still making changes to improve the overall customer experience in the buildup to Q4 and the 2016 Holiday Season.   In yet another announcement, Amazon is requiring merchants who are fulfilling very small, lightweight items that are typically shipped in regular first class envelopes or flats to include tracking.   This does not apply if the item is priced less than $10 USD.   Otherwise, the addition of the “package” weight and delivery confirmation from the US Postal Service will add a couple of bucks to each shipment. Dear Seller,   Beginning October…

Amazon Shakes up 3rd Party Sellers with Forced Prepaid Returns

Amazon.com has been shaking up the scene lately with 3rd party “Marketplace Sellers”.   Just last week they announced a massive plan to begin restricting well-known brands from being sold by Marketplace Sellers.   The ripples of this announcement are still sending shock waves throughout the community of Amazon sellers who practice what’s known as “retail arbitrage” – buying items in retail stores at discount or liquidation pricing and reselling them for profit on Amazon. This morning I woke up to yet another power play by Amazon.   Effective November 1, all Amazon Sellers will be forced into accepting automatically approved returns, along with prepaid labels, at their own expense.    This is a major shift in policy as Amazon has always allowed 3rd party Marketplace Sellers to have their own, separate return policies.   For example, with our company we do not provide prepaid return labels to customers unless…

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You’re Never Too Busy for Metrics

Have you ever settled in and ignored your metrics? Friends, one of the main reasons that I started this blog was to share news and insights about e-commerce and online selling.   With over a decade in e-commerce, I’ve seen plenty of things – some amazing successes and some really discouraging heartaches.   I hope that my transparency and vulnerability with our readers will help save some of you from the mistakes we’ve made and at the same time, launch you into some of the success we’ve enjoyed. We Got Sloppy and It Costs us over $10,000 Yes, you read that correctly.   Today I just swallowed the intense reality that we’ve unexpectedly accrued over $10,000 worth of eBay insertion fees.   How did that happen?  It’s not pretty. Because our company is a high volume seller, we qualified for a promotion a while back that enabled us to have unlimited…

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3 Things Your Customers Want

This past week I had the privilege of attending the annual Global Leadership Summit via simulcast hosted at a location here in Georgia.  It was two jam-packed days of teaching from some of the world’s greatest (and most successful) leaders in the world. For any entrepreneur who is leading a business, whether an online e-commerce operation or any other type of organization, leadership is critical.   Good leadership will help a venture soar to higher heights and poor leadership will most assuredly sink you into the lowest of lows. One of the speakers was Horst Schulze, the CEO of Capella Hotel Group and Founding President of Ritz-Carlton Group.   He discussed three simple reminders about hospitality and what customers want.  I’d like to translate some of his teaching into our world of e-commerce and online business. What Do Your Customers Want? Your customers want their product (or service) without defect:…

As The Dust Clears on the Walmart Purchase of Jet.Com

    As the dust settles this week, there are lots of opinions on the recent acquisition of Jet.Com by Walmart.   Does their $3.3 billion investment make sense?  We found a great article from the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania that sheds some great light. What do you think?   Was this a powerful move from Walmart or a disastrous play?