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Listing Quickly? 1000's of Items? Inventory on Ebay -- Question/Discussion

Discussion in 'Ebay' started by PhilVegasOne, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. PhilVegasOne

    PhilVegasOne Newbie

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    So some of you might have seen my other thread on this forum and I'd like to start a discussion on how to list quickly items and manage hundreds and thousands of listings.

    In our particular business we use a program called Lynnworks. It seemed like the best solution but its really geared for medium volume businesses like ours.

    When we started, we used Turbo Lister and Listing Factory which was fine when we only had 100 listings.


    So lets discuss methods to list quickly and handle large amounts of items for all sellers. I'm not just talking about listing, but the camera work, discriptions, etc. Anything that is involved in the listing process.


    I'm wondering how these people get these 4000+ listings handled. I know we certainly can't do it in our business without stressing.
     
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  2. el_capitan

    el_capitan Junior Member

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    I'm new to amazon/ebay but I would like to know more about this topic. I'm subscribing hoping people can shed some light!
     
  3. PhilVegasOne

    PhilVegasOne Newbie

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    Sonmeone told me there is a bulk upload in both Ebay and Amazon but I'm not familar with it. I know Amazon its much easier since everything is tied to UPCs but it doesnt help if the product you are trying to sell doesnt have UPC
     
  4. HostStage

    HostStage Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member UnGagged Attendee

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    $5 per 2 hours on Fiverr to get a virtual assistant.

    If you provide them your tool, you can reach those amounts quickly.
     
  5. Kronic

    Kronic Registered Member

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    the company i work for uses bulk upload for amazon. they have an excel sheet you fill out, which can be done systematically. we're able to list/update about 6000 items with one upload.

    as for products without a upc, you need to get a private label exception to list on amazon. you'll get a unique amazon code if you're approved. to be able to do this though, you have to have the paid seller's account. its $39.99 a month for the subscription. after you sign up for that, ask your rep or a a service rep for an upc exception for private label. when you get approved for private label, then you can list any products you create/produce that does not have an upc.

    alternatively, if you want to obtain upc codes for unique products, there are companies out there that have been grandfathered in with upc codes that can create unique codes for you for a few pennies per product.
     
  6. PhilVegasOne

    PhilVegasOne Newbie

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    That interesting to know. I think my listing guy has been randomly entering UPC codes on Amaazon till he finds one thats availiable. Is this different than a private listing exception?
     
  7. Kronic

    Kronic Registered Member

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    Sorry for the long response time Phil. Work has been taking away much of my time lately.

    I was going to PM this to you, but maybe it'll be of use to others on the form. But feel free to PM me if you have any questions or need assistance. I'll do what I can to help.

    After reading all that i wrote, I'm dividing this into multiple parts. Mods, if you feel like it should be one post please combine them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  8. Kronic

    Kronic Registered Member

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    FOR AMAZON:

    To list items in bulk, you want amazon's Inventory File Template excel sheet. You can find these at
    Code:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_cn/185-3863921-8925626?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200186090
    There is a different template for each category listed on amazon. You need to know what category you're going to list your items in, and fill out the appropriate inventory list. This is very tedious work if you have to type everything out manually. One word of advise I will give though is to make sure you fill it out properly. Amazon has a character limit on their description. I believe its 5000k, but it may be 3000k. It will simply cut off at the limit. And this makes the description look bad if you have full length descriptions. The other advice i can give is to make sure you fill out all the tabs that you can on that sheet. You have 5 bullet points that you can highlight the main features of your product. Choose so wisely to best display your product. But remember that other sections will show up below or above the bullet point. Such as a light weight product. You'd be wasting one of your bullets if you talk about it being light weight, when right below the product's weight will show up as well.

    Your categories can make a difference. We list a majority of our products in the home improvement section. This section does not allow variants. Ones such as clothing will. If you have a shirt in blue, red, and white, and you offer it in small, medium, and large, its better to use parent and child listings than listing each one of the colors and sizes individually. One listing is easier to manage than nine individual listings. Or, in my case, having the description talk about the most popular of the variants, and having each variant called out in the title only. We have this issue alot. Since we offer different colors, voltages, and cord options for some of our products....for whatever reason people only find the most obscure variant and purchase that one, which is not called out in the description because its not as popular. Then customers complain because they wanted black but purchased from the white variant page. Or having to chase down customers to confirm what they wanted, 90% of the time being something other than what they ordered. Alot more hassle. So if your products have different variants, i'd strongly advise making sure that all the options of that specific product are called out in the description, or hopefully you can list in a category that allows for the parent and child relationships.

    Onto obtaining UPCs and exemptions. You have a few choices here. If your products or brand will end up taking off, you may be better off purchasing UPC codes for them. If you google it, you will find companies that were grandfathered in for UPCs, and they will sell you them at a small cost per code. The more you buy, the better you are. Don't fall for the BS organizations that want several hundred per code. Thats total shit. You can purchase them from a company who has the reseller rights for a few bucks per code. If you only have a handful of products, it may be worth going that route. If you are like my company, and has several products, some of which are not popular sellers, then you may not want to go this route. You always can later down the road. And it helps to make your company look established. Also can help with inventory. But thats another discussion.

    If you don't want to purchase UPC codes, then you will need to apply for an exemption from amazon. For example, Amanda is a stay at home mom. In between taking the kids to school, running errands, this and that...all the stuff a stay at home mom does...she somehow finds the time to make handmade bracelets. Since Amanda is extremely small, she doesnt have the money to purchase UPC codes. Specially since she doesnt move much product, and makes many custom products. She applies to amazon for an exemption. Amazon grants her this exemption, and now allows Amanda to sell her homemade bracelets on amazon WITHOUT having a UPC code for each. Many private label items will pass for an exemption.

    My company does roughly 10-15M gross a year, half the products we make in house, and half we simply resell other peoples shit. Of the half we make in house, at least half of that is products that incorporate and are based around someone elses product. Technically....for at least half of our products, we should be listing them under the original manufactures' UPC code, and selling them that way. However...since we don't make it ourselves, we have our markup on it (a judicious amount i might add lol). If we listed under the original UPC, we would never sell any of those. Our prices would be at least 30% higher than anyone else out there. And who wants to buy over priced from some small company when they can purchase directly from the manufacture? No one. That is why we list the same products under our name and our amazon codes.

    According to amazon, the follow is required for an exemption:
    Private label: Non-nationally branded product on your own company's label
    Specialized: Low-volume accessory part/item with a specialized function
    Non-consumer: A business-to-business product not sold in a retail store
    Pre-configured: Made-to-order or custom products

    In addition to that, they also mention this:
    Now in all honestly, I say the 6 months thing is complete bs. We got our exemption within 3 weeks of selling on amazon. However, I will add that our company was using the amazon ads type listings for a year or two before this. This was on a different amazon account though, so I don't believe it had any influence on our time frame for the exemption. I will agree with the external website and the clean photos. Make sure you have high quality photos, and have the backgrounds removed! You can find someone overseas to do this for you very cheap. Possibly someone here on BHW offers this. If not, I can give you my contact for the company in India that we use.

    Having the website portion already up and running makes a big difference. We export our data to an excel sheet that is set up for the amazon template our rep provided us. If you are paying the monthly membership for selling on amazon, talk to your rep. I've found amazon to be very friendly and helpful in the learning curve to get our products listed properly. Whatever I have not covered and you cannot find on google, ask your rep. Trust me, I have asked them several absolutely stupid questions, and after they told me what i was doing wrong...i was hitting my head against the desk for not figuring it out myself.

    Alright...lets see...Ok, I know all of this sounds like alot to wrap your mind around now. But once you get it set up, it becomes alot easier. Amazon also has a separate inventory sheet that will allow you to update pricing, quantity, sales and such. All you need is your ASIN number, which they will create for you if you're approved for the exemption. Then you upload that sheet, and your products are updated. Its easy to run sales and specials, such as during the holiday seasons, with this template. And if you keep an accurate count of your inventory, its fairly easy to ensure you do not sell out of a specific product either. If the amazon quantity reaches zero, people cannot purchase it from the site. Which is a good thing, cause you DO NOT want to piss off people on amazon. Make sure you pay attention to orders, clarify stuff with sellers as quick as you can, and be prompt in your replies to questions. ship out the order as soon as you can, and if there is some delay for whatever reason, notify the customer. amazon has a set "expected delivery date" for orders, and i'll tell you from experience...customers get PISSY if you don't deliver by that time, within reason. also, ALWAYS provide tracking numbers. its worth it in the long run...i can attest to that, still running from paypal lol.

    Also, pay attention to the shipping on amazon. unlike ebay, where you can have ebay calculate based on the buyer's location and type of service offered (via USPS, UPS, Fedex, DHL, ect...Standard, First Class, Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air, 3 Day shipping, ect.) amazon does it differently. From what I remember, you have either 2 or 3 options. One option is a set price per item for the continental location. the next would be a price based on weight. With the standard being $0.50 per lb. This can really screw you if you have large or heavy items and do not pay attention to that. We got screwed MAJORLY before we figured this out. Shipped a pallet worth of products halfway across the country for ~$125. Our cost, without markup, was $275 to ship this. So pay attention to this section, especially if you have large or heavy items, or sell in bulk. You can choose what services you offer, and choose a higher rate for those type of services. And you can choose what countries you will or will not ship to. If you can, i'd suggest world wide. Cant hurt, right?

    After you've been on amazon for a while and start making sales, try your hardest to keep these first customers very happy. I don't know the exact formula, but amazon has a quality rating/feedback system going on in the background. When your items become popular, or amazon feels that you're a reputable seller (our rep was vague on this part), your products will feature the 1-click buy button. This helps increase sales as well. Impulse buyers, and it simplifies things. The potential buyer reads the description, is ready to purchase, and only has to click 1 button and the transaction is complete. Very helpful, and once our account obtained this feature, our sales nearly doubled the next week.

    If you can supply large quantities, you can have amazon ship your products for you. This is amazon fulfilled products. You ship them X amount of whatever, and they sell if for you. I believe they take a higher commission rate out for this, but its pretty much hassle free. They stock it, so no need for that space wasted with the inventory. They'll keep count of it for you. They'll ship it out to the customer, so you know it'll be there on time. With this feature, your products will qualify for amazon prime as well. Amazon prime members get free 2-day shipping. This, combined with the 1-click button, makes purchasing so convenient. my boss rarely goes shopping for anything anymore, because he can purchase it on amazon with one click, then go about his business. two days later, its arrived.

    I'm still learning plenty when it comes to amazon, so I am by no means an expert on this subject yet. But the above is what i've learned thus far and hope it helps.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  9. Kronic

    Kronic Registered Member

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    FOR EBAY:

    Alright, now onto ebay. If you want to learn more on this, there are plenty of WSO in the download section on ebay. Actually, there probably is plenty on amazon as well. (note to self, check download section for more amazon books after this post).

    Honestly, ebay is becoming overrun with out of country sellers. Fees are going up. you have to deal with paypal. Its a nightmare really. Our company is failing on ebay right now. But thats because 1) our products are way over priced, and 2) our niche is not something that people typically go to purchase on ebay. With that being said, I can offer some advice for ebay. I have been dealing with it on and off for the last 12 years or so.

    First tip, obviously, is to make the most out of the pictures you have. I'd say this is more important on ebay than it is on amazon. Ebay is known for used goods, least thats really all i've ever purchased on ebay. Knock offs is another issue with ebay. Shoes, clothing, and much more. You want to show as much detail as you can on ebay. If i remember correctly...they're allowing more pictures for free now. Don't remember if that was a monthly special, or permanent feature to increase business. Either way, its worth looking into.

    ----side note----
    This applies to ANY business platform in which you're selling online. Your customer is looking at all the information you are providing them to decide if they're going to make a purchase or not. You HAVE to keep this in the back of your mind in every aspect of your display. You need pictures. Typically, the more the better. If your product is say, a crock pot, you want to show every angle of that you can. Whats the front look like? Whats the back look like? Show it with the lid on, and the lid off. Show EVERY aspect of that product that you can. If you ask yourself "where does the power cord plug in?" this may be a simple question to you, because you handle the product and know the product. But your customer may not. You have to assume at all times that your customer knows basically nothing about your product. They obviously know a small amount, maybe the basics, because they're interested in buying it. But have they ever used your product before? Have they ever seen it in person? Most likely not. Which means you need to do your absolute best in painting a mental picture for them. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, its true. So show as much detail as you can of the product. Clean pictures too, with the background removed. Make it look professional. If you can, take a video of it. There is plenty of video editing software out there. Even if you cannot edit it, a simple 20 second demonstration video of your product with the audio muted is better than nothing. Then the description. I find it best to write a description as if you're trying to sell a neon sign or a vibrant Hawaiian shirt to a blind man. He cannot see any of it himself. So you need to describe it in such a way that even the blind man can visually see in his head what you're selling. If you have that type of description, high quality pictures, and a video demonstration, then the product halfway sells itself!
    ----end side note----

    i'm not sure if this applies to grandfathered in accounts, but i know my newest ebay account is allowed to list so many products a month, and if it doesnt sell i get my listing fees refunded. use this to your advantage. find out what works and what doesnt work. test out different title phrases. and look at the competition. make sure your listing blows theirs away.

    competition is another subject all together. we have people steal our bad ass pictures all the time. you can water mark them. but you CANNOT use a domain name in the water mark. you may get away with this for a short time. but some troll will come along, flag your listing, and ebay will remove it for violation. using a water mark with the brand or company name is good though. specially if you have higher competition and your picture stands out.

    links within ebay listings. Use the links to your advantage according to ebays TOS, you are allowed to have outbound links to external sites ONLY IF those links are providing additional information in aiding the customer to make a final decision about purchasing. This means linking to a video of your product on youtube is allowed. Or for more pictures, higher resolution pictures perhaps. do you have a spec sheet of the product? maybe a dimensional drawing?

    my company uses ebay as more of an advertising platform. We use HTML coding for a nice layout and formatting. At the top, below our name, we have outbound links to our website. We provide more pictures, spec sheets, dimensional drawings, and videos of the product. according to ebay's TOS, this is ok. However, our sole intention is to drive the users away from ebay and to our website, where they can complete the order on our website after "being more informed" about our product via our website. by doing this, we are able to circumvent the ebay and paypal fees associated with sales on ebay. just make sure that if you do this, that the links do provide additional and relevant information in regards to the specific product and assisting the customer in their decision to make a purchase. not our fault if they would rather purchase on the main domain instead of ebay (slightly lower price is a good incentive).

    you can also use links within ebay to help obtain more sales. Lets say i'm selling light bulbs on ebay. the potential customer found my incandescent bulb on ebay, and is reading the description. within this description, i not only attempt to sell my incandescent bulb, but i also provide a paragraph about how much better compact fluorescent bulbs are. Less energy consumption (people love saving money), and longer lamp life (less replacing, meaning less work for them to do) are some of the features. I highlight the benefits of using compact fluorescent over the current incandescent they are currently looking at buying. now, if i have persuaded the buyer to take an interest in compact fluorescent lights, they will have to scroll to the top of the page on ebay and type out compact fluorescent light bulbs. but, what do you know, conveniently i have hyperlinked "compact fluorescent" in my text. If this potential buyer wants to learn more about compact fluorescent, all they have to do is click that link, and my link will take them to an ebay search for just that.

    however, this is not your average link. I have provided them with a link that searches only products that are sold by my account. You can do this in advance searches. so, for this instance i would go to advance search, type in my ebay user name, and add my keyword into the search box, in this case compact fluorescent. now, this potential buyer is looking at only my products, and i have removed my competition. maybe i have different size lamps, different wattage of lamps, and perhaps i have different quantities offered as well. single bulbs, 2 packs, 4 packs, and so on. the more, the better. the buyer is less likely to get suspicious of what we've done if there are several listings.

    now that may not seem like much of an accomplishment, yeah they see a few of my listings real quick. but this does get better. not everyone who buys on ebay is a computer expect (my boss, sole founder of our company and several others, fell for what i'm about to explain). when they click on this custom search link, that search only shows results of products i am selling. but, what if the customer is now interested in LED products? if they go right back to the large and more often used search box, they're going to type the keywords, in this case LED bulbs, and click search or hit enter. Most users will not be paying attention or even realize that they are STILL using a custom search. this means that now, when searching for LED bulbs, they still only see MY products. and it will continue to be this way until they A) uncheck the small box that says "search for products by XXX," B) use the small search box at the very top of the screen, or C) they close that window and use another one. so by doing this lil trick, you ensnare your future customers in a search trap that can help momentarily eliminate your competition. This is EXCELLENT to use with accessory items.

    As for how to list your items...i cant tell you whats best. You need to learn that on your own. Bids, reserves, buy it now, store listings, or best offers...do research and see what works best for you. that really varies from niche to niche and product to product.

    to simplify things with ebay, turbo lister is good. i'd highly suggest a seller pro membership if you have a large amount of items. for the $10 a month or whatever, its worth it to have ebay auto relist products after they end. no more manual relisting. its a time saver after 100 or so products. we tested out blackthorn. it has potential, but in all honesty we went back to turbo lister. it wasnt worth the monthly subscription fees to our business. either program, as well as third party softwares, should and/or can support spreadsheets, similar to amazon. this is what we do for ebay as well. the amazon one is a slight variation of our ebay product export in a tab eliminated excel spreadsheet. very very handy if you have alot of products, like we do.

    you can experiment with multiple listings. the most important thing i found is the first XX amount of characters. make sure the first few words are different if you plan on listing the same products multiple times. also helps to have different main display pictures to make it look more unique. test out different keywords. maybe split test different display pictures, list in different categories if your product has more than one use or falls into multiple areas.

    ebay has several apps that you can use in your listings. one is a product scroll. it displays other products that you have to sell. very helpful to have the buyer purchase multiple items from you at once. even better if you offer shipping discounts or combined shipping rates on multiple purchased. if your product is small and can fit in a bubble envelope, maybe offer free shipping after first item. or cover your shipping fees in the first item, say $2.49 or $2.99, and charge like $0.25 per extra item. not outrageous pricing, but its still more money in your pocket. and at the end of the day, thats all that matters.

    another app they have is a pinboard, showing where else in the country or world that you have shipped items to. i believe this is a paid app. not completely sure. pretty cool if you sell worldwide like we do. it looks neat to see all those pins all across the spinning globe. another one i saw when ebay first starting using apps was advertising. they have you include a flier or print out a sticker for some other company, and they pay you so much per one you send out. kinda like an offline cpa or ppc type thing. unique indeed. never looked more into it, not sure if they actually paid out or how much per offer. could be way to recoup money or earn a lil bit more if you're into that type of thing and have the time to do so.

    now for an important app, analytics. you can see how many impressions your listing have, how many click through, CTR, and click to purchase ratios. this is VERY helpful in establishing your ebay campaigns, providing you have someone to process the data and make use of it. at the very minimum, you can see what products have zero impressions and decide if your title and keywords just completely suck, or if maybe no one on ebay is looking for that specific product and you're wasting money listing it on ebay.
     
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  10. Kronic

    Kronic Registered Member

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    Damn....that was alot longer than i expected to write! I apologize to anyone who actually reads all of that, it's been almost 24 hours without sleep, been working 14+ of that, and doubled up on my ADD medication today. So i'm more scatterbrained than normal to say the least lol. Hey, that shit works though! If anyone wants to compile the above information, reformat it (or outsource this), and make a quick few bucks in a WSO, go ahead. I just ask for a 10% commission on your sales. No recognition needed :). Though a few thanks thrown my way wouldnt hurt my feelings none, just sayin. But of course, this is BHW, which is why i want to give back to the community in some sort of fashion, if at all possible, and will not be surprised if i end up finding this on WF or DP in the future. Ok..enough of the ADD rambling, back to the summary.

    Hopefully the above information will help out some new people, or maybe some experience people will pick up a trick or two out of that information. At least a good laugh?

    I by no means claim to be an expert on either field. The majority of above is fact, while some parts are opinion or opinionated facts. I do not claim to be unbiased to these subjects. I do have some moderate experience with them, but I am sure there are others on this form that know more than i do. To learn more, i would suggest downloading some documents covering those specific topics to become more educated, along with searching google for more in depth answers. Also, youtube can be your friend. Even if you only pick up one worthwhile tip out of some WSO or youtube series, its worth learning that one tip.

    If the OP or anyone has more questions regarding these subjects, please post here and i will do my best to assist you.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  11. malaga310

    malaga310 Newbie

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    Hello, it is very interesting all what you say, am new in eBay and looking for information like this one, alraedy got turbo lister and now need some turbo lister files to upload them to my eBay account, please if you can, provide me some.