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Author Archives: Prabhat S


Easy Marketing Tip: Promote your online shop with Amazon Customers

I got a letter through the post today from Amazon. I was not expecting it. It was a good formatted letter explaining about the Amazon’s new company “LoveFilm”. The interesting bit was it was offering me 30 day FREE trial and £20 Amazon Gift Certificate if I become a paying member.

This is a really good deal. I have no obligation subscription along with Gift Certificate. If I were a movie fan I would definitely jump into it. Would you not?

You can learn to apply this marketing method to promote your online store if you are currently selling on Amazon. It is now time to design one if you have not and if you are already sending one, start redesigning. Here are some components you must include in your leaflet:

  1. Personalise the letter with Full Name and address which establishes that it is genuine and not a spam mail
  2. Brief about your company with location, number of years of trading which creates a relationship that you are not virtual
  3. Give your Amazon customers reason to go to your store. It could be FREE gift or MONEY OFF vouchers.
  4. Include your FREE delivery promotions or WEEKLY deals
  5. Create a gift Certificate imprint with 1,2,3 steps to redeem the certificate

Now that you have designed your leaflet, you need think about how to measure the impact of your leaflet. One way is to monitor the direct hits to your site and another is to monitor the customer registration source in your site. Don’t be afraid to re-design if your result is not good!

This is a simple way of getting new customers to your site. Remember these are customers who are already looking for your product. You would have to spend 100s to get these sort of targeted customer & we often overlook these who are in your doorsteps.

Let me know how you get on.

Good Luck !

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eBay Strategies eBay Training

Why is it important to Automate your Order Processing jobs ?

The key to your online sales success is better implementation of your knowledge in development of the sales strategy. You can only achieve this if you spend more time on research and less time on routine jobs. You might have found that inventory and order management takes awful amount time. However, I find it very hard to understand why so many small businesses spend time on the routine tasks and disregard sales strategy which actually they should look at more than anything else. This is the only way to go forward and grow your business.

Try to find ways to automate the processes which you already know. If there are recurring questions from your customers, why not make response email templates. I am sure you will find your customer support team finishing their job in half the time they used to! Similar is the case of order management. If you have multiple sales channel why not automate the process of getting invoices and shipping them. Let me introduce “Linnworks Express”, a FREE order management system to suit your need. Yes, it is FREE with no catch. Let’s see what you can achieve with this software.


You will see your orders from eBay & Amazon or your own website at one place allowing you to print invoices, shipping labels and picking/packing list with one click. I don’t disagree with the fact there is learning curve to apply this. However, once you learn the process, the routine order management process becomes quick and easy.

Remember if your business expands beyond online sales, then Linnworks also provides integration with telesales, direct orders and an integrated EPOS (electronic point of sale) system.

Most of the business must have noticed the issue with overselling when you operate multiple sales channels. It is very difficult to be 100% efficient in updating the inventory over multiple sales channels manually. The consequence, unhappy customers with unfulfilled orders! With this software if you sell a product through one channel it updates the inventory level across channels so you know you are not going to oversell it and yet the inventory is visible in all sales channels. You have better inventory visibility with no risk!

Shipping your orders on time is important part of order processing. You would want to let customers know that their orders have been dispatched on time and that they can track their orders line with certain codes. Now, you can do all these with a click. You can generate labels from Linnworks saving you time having to switch to the shipping company’s label printer along with automatic recording of the tracking codes. You have now better informed customers about their orders putting less pressure on your customer support team.

If you are not happy with above free features, Linnworks has more for you.

  • You can establish your business brands with customised invoice templates with your company logo. This is very important to promote your own web store.
  • You can automate email notifications to talk to your customers as you need. This can be handy when there are issues like delay in delivery due to weather conditions when you tend to get many “where is my order” queries.

All in all, you have a clever system to suit your order processing needs for FREE. The key is to get comfortable with this service and see if you need any extra to help your business. Do you think Linnworks express would do well for your growing business?


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eBay Training

The Art of Clever Bidding on eBay

Have you ever lost a bid on eBay? I will be surprised if you have not. For me, I lost quite often before I found out the trick. It is quite simple to understand and it is more of “thought” than anything else.

eBay does have guide on how to do automatic bidding. However, it lacks the thought that putting higher bid live allows other bidders to bid more. Thus, the price of the product goes up! There is gain to seller as he/she gets high price and eBay who could take cut on higher value. Really buyer is paying higher price when he/she could get away with less. Right let’s get to the point!

 You have an item to bid. You know your buying power. Now, all you have to do is decide the maximum amount you could afford to pay for this item.

 STEP 1. Open up the listing page

Say for example you could afford to pay maximum £100 for this bike. This is quite popular with 31 bidding at the time of writing. Quite impressive!  You must have noticed the automatic bidding is shown as light grey. There is automatic increment in bids by 50p (orange circle) in early history and latest automatic increment is £1.0 (green circle).


The next bid it is expecting is £67.00, £2.00 above current maximum bid. So if there is automatic bidding in place the bidding goes up by £2.00. The increment in bidding differs when there is sudden change on the bid. However, there is only minimal change in the incremental automatic bidding so you are safe!


STEP 2. Open another browser window and arrange the size as shown below so that you can view both windows.



STEP 3 Put maximum amount you could afford to pay for this item, £100 in this example and click place bid. (Remember click only “Place Bid”)



You have screen like this. Do not confirm the bid.

Step 4 Leave the second window and stay on first window. You will notice the changes in bidding. If somebody bids more than £100 you lost it. You could not have afforded it anyway! Move to the second screen in last 2 minutes. When there are last 10-15 seconds left, click “confirm bid”. Now either you won or did not buy the item which could not afford.

The interesting bid is, you will pay for the item lot lesser price compare to normal bidding system which increases the value of the bike or automatic bidding system which allows other bidders to bid higher than yours.

The trick on this is to give a thought what you could afford and bid at the last minute. Love me or hate me, leave your comments !

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eBay Strategies

High postage cost: How can we absorb?

Many of small business are hit hard with the high postage cost this year with increase of royal mail prices by 11% on average. These prices will not come down & we need to find a way how to absorb this price rise so that you can stay in business.

Few businesses might be able absorb the price rise due to high volume of transaction and others thinking of closing down! Many of us might already be looking at finding alternative suppliers & others stay with royal mail as it is still cheaper. We knew about the price rise in March which was the time to think and plan. Here are few ways to cope with royal mail postage price rise for your business.

  1. Tweak your Product Prices: It is good idea to do a research on your product prices & see how your competitors are selling. Raise the product price by few pence if you need to. This may not look ok with one product but will make difference across a range of products saving you money bit by bit.
  2. Lower your packaging cost: Try bulk buying your packaging material which should lower your cost. If you are loyal to you supplier you might even be able to negotiate price. The best way to go forward is to use recycled packaging material which you can get for free. Do you have Cash & Carry in your area? Ask them if they got any wasted shrink wraps or boxes. They will be more than happy to give it out as it is going to be their waste & you are helping them out with picking it up their area!
  3. Offer Multi-Buy Products: People love bargains & they will buy more if you offer them decent price. As you already know the royal mail minimum price starts with 0-750g product. Why not offer multi-buy deals which will clarify the postage cost? If the price is right you will have better sales.
  4. Alternative Suppliers: This may be an option if you are selling heavy products. Collect + starts their price £3.99 and it is a good service as well. Why not keep your mind open for this option especially if your multi-buy sales go up?

These are basic ways of absorbing the royal mail price changes. You may be in trouble if you were offering Free Postage. The best way to go if you are in this situation is see what others are doing. If you can raise the product price, do it! Keep the postage free as much as you can as it is one of the reasons that buyers are put off in online shopping!

It would be interesting to find out which strategy worked out for you and which did not. Please do leave your comments.

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eBay Strategies

eBay Listing Feature: Which one should I use ?

If you have some extra cash there are always some people who want to take it. It’s up to you how you decide to spend your cash. EBay listing features are one of them. They can easily gobble the fees if you are not careful taking away major part of the profit. However, if you are careful and use these features they will give you competitive advantage over others thus, increasing your sell through rate.[1]

We will discuss about eBay listing features and which one of them are important for you. If you wish to sneak peak at the eBay listing feature fees please feel free to browse eBay Fees page.

Timing your listing helps you to schedule your listing so that you can start to sell during a chosen time. This time is supposed to be the high traffic time increasing your chances of selling. One research[2] suggests that Sunday evenings, 6-9 is the best time to sell.

eBay says adding pictures to your listing helps you increase sales, gives your buyers a more accurate picture of what to expect and distinguishes your listing from others of its kind. There is an option to add up to 12 pictures all together. Gallery Plus enhances the product displaying a larger picture, up to 400 x 400 pixels, when you hover over the item which is 96 pixels otherwise. Subtitle gives and option to add more descriptive and enticing item information below the main title, to create more interest and emphasise listing in search results. Listing Designer gives you an opportunity to enhance the listing with attractive themes. There is freedom to use HTML codes allowing you to customise the listings as required.

One research[3] suggests that promotional upgrades to auction listings are now a ubiquitous and only subtitle is effective and worth the cost. Another research[4] suggest that the designer listing feature was the most important feature for determining the final selling price of an item, followed closely by the subtitle feature, while additional photos and gallery plus proved to be the least important feature. The designer listing gives an opportunity for seller to bring forward what customer needs to see in order to complete the purchase with larger area display. The list of listing features according to their importance is listed below:

Designer Listing

  1. Subtitile
  2. Gallery Plus
  3. Additional Photos

Bear in mind you can easily use this features and easily spend good amount of money on your listings. There are no rules of thumb on using this features which why it makes difficult to decide whether to use it or which one to use. Researching the products is a better idea with tools like Terapeak. It claims that one Terapeak seller saw that a specific category sold items at higher price points than others, and made 360% more by listing smart. If you are thinking that I am suggesting this particular tool to use. No I am not! Now the best tool is in your hand research. Have a look at Terapkea testimonials and use it as a trial. It does not hurt trying.

[1] Sell through – Sell through is the number of items that sold divided by the number of clicks for your listing. A higher sell through rate is better, meaning members were more likely to buy your item when they clicked to view your listing

[2] David Steiner, The Most Popular Day to End an eBay Auction?

[3] Mikhail I. Melnik, Paul Richardson& Dan Tompkins: Does It Pay to Promote on eBay?

[4] Leon Lin ,Vasant Ramachandran : Assessing the Value of eBay Listing Features

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eBay Training

Should I add eBid to my Sales Channel ?

All I am concerned is to add sales. I have seen the sales doubled when Amazon channel was added. I believe you would add sales if you another channel eBid. Before you start reading through and wasting your time you see what people are saying which is the first thing you should research. However, whether to follow them or your thoughts is obviously your decision. You may make money with this but surely you will not lose any !

I did a quick look at Google insight which shows the level of interest among the population in the UK.


You can see the interest grows over beginning of the year and slows down end of the year. Similarly, the interest has risen in recent years compared to past which shows there is better awareness regarding this sales channel. There is still question. Why does the interest grows over beginning of the year ? It may not be correct to say there are more unwanted items after Christmas because the interest has grown normally after February. This will be something to tease my mind.

Some Strengths of eBid

  1. 100% free to list which is very appealing and gives you a push to try. Have a look at the eBid Price Comparison Chart
  2. It has got sites in over 21 countries which shows they want to grow
  3. Loyalty system called Buddy points which you can use to bid.It can also be earned by referring your buddies and friend.
  4. You don’t have to start with zero feedback because you can import your eBay Feedback into your eBid account
  5. You can import you ebay listing easily via Ninja lister which saves you quite lot of time
This site has been voted the best eBay alternative by Webuser Magazine, and is third on TopTen Reviews. eBid has invested in server infrastruction, software, advertising and perfecting the site for efficiency and with more advertisement in 2012 it is expectd to grow. Saying tha tit is always best to do your own research before jumping into it. To help you out you can read between the lines of Wholesale forum or Trust Pilot discussion. It is up to you to make judgement !

Payment types

There are quite a few payment methods accepted unlike other sales channel. Having, PayPal and Google as options are strengths and it help to convert consumers used to them. 

  • Paypal
  • Google Checkout
  • Nochex
  • Eggpay
  • PPPay
  • Escrow
  • BACS/Bank Transfer
  • Postal orders
  • Cheque

Cost of eBid

Here’s an important factor for the business. Costing ! We all are hard hit by eBay & Paypal fees. You will eBid fees structure profitable.

There are two seler levels.

This is meant for “evening and weekend sellers”. 

Upgrade Fee : £0.00
Auction Listing Fee : £0.00
Auction Final Value Fee : 3%

You will notice that this is tempting offer and you MUST ready this  fees chart to see what you will get out of it. The first thing I have noticed is Paypal and Google Payment are not integrated with this level.

This is meant for business sellers with an upgrade options
Upgrade Fee : 7 Day £1.99 | 30 Day £6.99 | 90 Day £16.99 | 365 Day £49.99 | Lifetime (special offer running) £74.99 
All Fees apart from Lifetime are recurring.
Auction Listing Fee : £0.00
Auction Final Value Fee : £0.00 

First thing I thought “Nothing is free” in this world. Then I noticed this different auction fees chart. There is 2% FVF if you want thumbnail shown in search results and all category listing pages. We all know most of us would go with this option because it is on eBay for free and consumers are used to it. One thing I recommend is keep an eye on subscription offers. They have offered half price lifetime subscription in the past.

I believe by now you have good insight on what eBid can do and probably you have already made a judgement ! Remember there is nothing to lose but always something to gain when you add sales channel to your business. Best of luck !


I have had an eBid account for just over 2 years and I have listed the same     items that I’m selling on eBay.  To be completely honest, the sales are around 10% of my eBay business, but once you register and pay £50 to become a seller plus account, you won’t pay any listing fees at all. You only pay a final value fee when items are sold and that’s only if you have chosen the additional options to promote the items.I must say it’s quite easy to use, because you can export your eBay listings into Turbo lister and then import them into eBid’s Ninja lister and automatically import them.So, although my eBid sales are low, as the listings don’t cost me anything I’m happy to leave them running.David Rose

Rose Computer Solutions

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eBay Strategies eBay Training

Have you ever looked at eBay Sales Reports ?

Sales Reports on eBay is very useful tool to give better direction to your business. You MUST read and use these reports if you want to:

  • Know what sells
  • Get ready for busy months
  • Keep your loyal customers
  • Up sell to the existing customerseBay Sales Report
  • Minimise surprises

Sales reports are free and Sales Reports Plus is £3.00/month which is
nothing compared to what you get out of it. I have taken in three reports with
particular item which is important to business from my perspective. However,
there is plenty of data that are useful and easily spotted which I have not
wasted my time writing on !

Sales Summary

Sold items% – I will be worried if there is no increase in this value. If
there is decrease you I would be looking why my items are not selling more ? Is
there problem  with price ? Is there problem with feedback  ? I would
definitely check my competitors price.

Avg. Sales Price per item – I am not too much worried about this figure
because you could be selling low priced item. However, you can formulate a
strategy to sell cases of the popular product so that you are selling more to
one customer which is easy operationally.

Repeat buyers %
– Most of the eBay buyers are unique. Repeat buyers are great
sign of better customer service and product. Repeat buyers are there when you
are offering prod
uct having short span of life and they come back to you rather
than wasting time for other suppliers if they are happy. It is very important to
keep buyers happy with better packaging, quick dispatch and better customer
service. These are the customer who will talk about your business to their
friends and families !

Net eBay and Paypal Fees
– If you get % of this against sales, you will get
average eBay and PayPal fees which will help you setting up the price of the

Listing Feature Fees
– I would keep this to zero. You could be paying for the
extra picture feature fees without knowing. Keep an eye !
Have a look at why
you should be paying for it.

Sales By Category

Sales Vs Ended items – Increase in sales results more ended items  which
is why it is best to invest on the software which automatically relists or shows
the data of the stock availability across the sales channel. Be mindful of not
showing stock with less than certain quantity. This will prevent loss of sales
opportunity from ended items.

Sold Item % – This helps to show how much you sold in certain category
indicating you to invest more on that particular stock if you have the
increasing trend from past. It is also wise to compare this data with past years
so that you know if particular category demand normally increases in particular
month. This will help you to buy the stock in advance ready for that month.

Repeat Buyers % – This will show you if you have loyal customers which is
good thing and you know you should be keeping up with the stock all the time.
The last thing

you want is your loyal buyers come in to your store looking for
the product and its not there !

Marketplace Data by Category (All Sellers)

Sold item % – The month-to-month comparison shows you the increasing /
decreasing demand of the product. You will get the right answer when to stock
right product if you look into the past years data. Similarly, it will be nice
to create strategy like case deal, free shipping on the peak month. Don’t worry
too much about free shipping, you just need to add shipping cost on the top of
the item price. However, you should only take cost of the shipping while adding
on the top of the item price. Believe me it works !

Avg. price per item – You know what sort of price people are paying on
certain category. It is good idea to explore the category with high end average
price. This will also help you to try multi-buy deals on the certain category.

I would advise you to look into these reports every month so that you don’t miss
out the opportunity. It is also wise to look into these data when you are
planning for next period of time so you know when you should be contacting
suppliers. All these will help you to know exactly when you should do what !
Isn’t this helpful ?

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Amazon Strategies

Amazon Business Report for sales growth

Business Reports by Amazon is an excellent way to track your sales based on time and product. This will give you insight on how popular is your listing, where do you stand on winning buy box, what is the average order value. One of the part of report is “The Detail Page Sales Traffic Time Series” report. 

Traffic: Traffic indicates which products are being discovered most often by shoppers. Products with higher sessions and page views are being found most frequently. In order to increase traffic use appropriate title, provide good item description and include relevant keywords at keywords search listing field. 

Buy Box Percentage: If multiple merchants are selling a particular product, Buy Box Percentage indicates how often your offer is featured when a shopper views the detail page. Merchants who win the Buy Box have a greater chance of gaining the sale. Follow following to win Buy Box win  

a. Low total price, including product price and shipping cost.
b. Fulfil your order on time
c. Keep a low refund rate resulting your error
d. Maintain low negative feedback ratings (generally less than 5%).
e. Maintain low number of A-to-z Guarantee claims.

Conversion: Conversion is a good measure of how often users actually purchase the product that they view. You can increase sales by increasing conversion. Start first with products that have a lower conversion rate than others.
a. Provide complete product content to make a decision.
b. Use promotions “Free Shipping” to increase conversion
c. Provide high-resolution primary image (300 dpi or higher). Include more images if necessary to give customer insight of product look from different angles. 

Order Session Percentage: This is a percentage conversion metric indicating how many orders were generated relative to the number of people who viewed the products. It is calculated by dividing the number of orders by the number of sessions for a selected time period and then expressed as a percentage. This is a good measure to check if your products need revision. 

Product Sales per Order: This is the average order size for the selected time series. It is determined by dividing the ordered product sales by the number of orders for the selected time period. Increasing value shows customers behaviour of buying multiple items. It is best to encourage this behaviour by reducing the cost of shipping.

Also Look at these two links
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eBay Strategies

eBay Pulse and Bay Estimator Tools for dummies

eBay Pulse is a very useful tool to find out popular results based on certain category. 

– popular searches performed by users. This is an easy way to see what people are looking for on eBay or within a category. You can modify your listing title based on this popular words which will give better visibility.

– popular shops based on a number of active listings. This is a good way to look which business is doing well. It is easier to look at what your competitor is doing and how you can differentiate yourselves. You can dig detail by going through their prices which will help you to revise your prices, feedback to check what are they selling the most and individual items sold number to see if they are selling what you want to sell.

– most watched items helps you find out what sort of goods are most in demand

These are all very good intelligence for steady growth of your business and you are relying on correct data which will give you strategic direction.

Another useful tool is Bay Estimator. The Popularity column can be use to determine relative popularity of search queries. The result is base on the time frame search is carried out. This is cool tool for seller what wants to find out what buyers are looking for. The  Availability column is the average item count that may be returned when search is carried out. When select to look into the most popular search query you will get following results:

– The BayEstimate for each search below estimates how well your title will perform when a buyer performs that search

– Keywords buyers like/dislike when searching for the title entered

Suggested category for listings

” I love this tool! I had no idea it even existed or that ebay labs was out there. I went through each of my listings and used the suggested key words. Wow! My sales have went through the roof this week! I agree the dots are weird, but I have gotten used to it, I like it better than the percentages, I would like to see that come back in the category selection search area. It helped there alot. I hope it stays free as well. Sellers deserve whatever it takes to up their sales and keep ebay alive and well! Thank you! “

There is easy to understand instructions on how to use this tool.

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Amazon Strategies Uncategorized

Amazon Prime – Brilliant way to lock customers

Customer Retention is the best way to grow your sales over period of time. Customer Retention costs less than acquiring new ones. This is the basic reason businesses try to encourage loyalty. Research shows one of the reason prospective customer do not buy is high shipping cost.

Amazon has cleverly rectified this problem with offering free delivery with minimum annual fee.Amazon’s strategy to lock-in customers with services like Amazon Prime and will help the retailer gain share in the online retail market.

“It also works because it exploits some very simple human psychology. Your best customers enjoy the pleasant, repetitive sensation of profiting from every purchase while your business still nets more money – either from the customer’s greater loyalty, or simply because the revised pricing causes them to spend more on your services overall.”
  Rory Sutherland, Campaignlive

Following Amazon prime strategy will be costly in the short run but will increase sales in a long term.

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