Product Sourcing Ideas – Dropshipping

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

IMA Announces 3rd Annual Conference Agenda

The Internet Merchants Association has announced their conference agenda for 2009 in Las Vegas, NV in conjunction with the ASD/AMD Trade Show.  There is still plenty of time to register, so be sure to go to www.imalasvegas.com right now and get signed up. You do not want to miss this conference packed full of information for increasing your online sales!

AGENDA: Updated 3/11/09

NOTE – The IMA is still adding more speakers, so times and speakers are subject to change.  In addition to the agenda below, there will be a Networking Suite open at Bally’s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights where you can meet the speakers and ask more questions!

March 16-18 Internet Merchants Assn. Las Vegas register @ , www.imamerchant.org & www.imalasvegas.com Don’t miss out – Register TODAY!

Monday, March 16, 2009 – Internet Merchants Assn Workshops for ASD/AMD
Conference @ Sands Expo Convention Center Rm 107

8am – Marketing My Website on a Budget – Crystal Wells-Miller,Senior Marketing Manager, Vendio
930am – Successful Email Marketing –Charlie Bass, President, Las Vegas Int. Chamber of
Commerce
11am – Make Shipping Easy With Today’s Tools – Seth Birnbaum, Endicia
1230pm – Understanding Search Engine Marketing – Chris Finke,  Orange Soda

FIRST IMA EVENT:
ZAPPOS ON SITE TOUR:
3:30 p.m – 5:30 IMA Pre-conference on-site tour, Zappos.com
Meet in front of Bally’s hotel for transportation, reservations must be made in advance and are first come, first serve.

Hospitality Suite Open, Ballys Resort : 8 p.m. – midnight

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 – Sands Expo Convention Center Rooms 302/303

7:30 – 8 :15 am exhibits open & coffee

8 :15 am – 8: 45  YES WE CAN –case history, Mike Terpin, Social Radi’us Agency

9am-9:40am – Maximizing profit: How to make more money despite the economy – Sarah Brubacher senior manager of eBay’s top sellers programs,
Seth Birnbaum, Endicia and Charles Steinmetz, regional director CISCO

9: 45am-10 15 – Multi-channel Selling, Anthony Musselwhite, AuctionBlox

10: 15am- 10:30am – snack break

10 30-11: 00 am –  How to cash in on TWITTERMANIA , Dan Hollings Twitter Guru

11: 00 – 12:00 ROUNDTABLE #1 & exhibits area open

12 – 1:00 Lunch Exhibits open

2:30- 2:45 pm Snack break

2:45pm-3:30 pm – Driving traffic & attention with Video & Podcasts & online radio
in your marketing & ad mix: Mariana Danilovic, Hollywood Portfolio( former EVP Mediazone). Networks, Andrea Mitchell, Podcast Go, Charlie Bass, Host Vegas Talk Radio

3:30pm-4 00pm – Comparison Shopping Sites; Greg Haslam, Become.com

4:00pm- 4:30 pm Joyce Schwarz, Matchmaking for Business, JCOM, www.joycecom.com Marketing, PR & Joint Ventures

4:30 – 5:30  pm ROUNDTABLES #2

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 – Sands Expo Convention Center

8 am- 8:45 a.m. Morning Networking/continental breakfast

9am-10am – IMA Business Meeting /elections

10am-10:30am – Getting the Most from Your Websites –  Michael Levit, EVP Marketing & Business Development, Vendio

1045am-11:00am – snack break

11:00am-11 45am – “Rich” Email Marketing & Video that sells  Ron Cates, Regional Director, Constant Contact, Dave Boufford, creator of the viral video “THE DASH” 40 million views & counting.

12 pm to 12:45 LUNCH inspirational speaker. Author & poet, Linda Ellis,www.lindaellis.netTHE DASH which sold 200,000 books (only online) and online film that attracted 40 million viewers and counting.

1- 2 p.m. Zappos Keynote: Business Development 2.0 Business Development
at the cross-section of commerce, content & community, Aaron Magness, Zappos, www.zappos.com

2: 15 – 2:45  Subject TBA – Phillip Mulloy, CEO frooition, www.frooition.com  & Burne Hill, US Regiion Manager, frooition

3 – 4:45 Roundtables, workshops & demos & exhibits open

4: 45pm-515pm –-“SEO Link Building Techniques“, Alex McArthur, VP of Search, Orange Soda

5:15 – 5:30 – Closing Comments & Awards

Register today!  Get your business on the fast track to success! www.imalasvegas.com

How to Fix The eBay Feedback Fiasco

Written by Cyn

I applaud eBay management for taking steps to “fix” feedback on the site. The changes are in the right direction, but there are still some things that could be fixed to make feedback more fair for both buyers and sellers. After much thought, I agree with the proposal that sellers should not be able to leave negative feedback for buyers, IF the following changes are also implemented.

First, I propose that eBay do away with “neutral” feedback as it doesn’t do anyone any good. It is unfair to call something “neutral” that really doesn’t have a neutral effect. I understand that eBay feedback percentage is “Positive Percentage” which is why neutrals now effect the score. However, many neutrals are left as a form of communication rather than showing dissatisfaction on the part of the buyer, and therefore should not be used to penalize the seller.

Second, I propose that non-paying buyers be banned from leaving feedback at all. Isn’t feedback supposed to be only for members involved in a transaction? If an item is not paid for, that is NOT a transaction and therefore that buyer has no right to leave feedback. I understand that eBay cannot tell if a buyer has paid unless that buyer pays via Paypal. However, I propose that sellers be on the honor system to mark an item Paid in their My eBay when a buyer pays with a payment form other than Paypal. If an item is not marked as paid, the buyer would be unable to leave feedback. Should a buyer choose to pay with a method other than paypal, they will risk not being able to leave feedback if the seller does not mark the item paid. However, this would just be another risk a buyer takes when paying with other methods. In addition, it would encourage more buyers to use Paypal – and isn’t that what eBay wants anyway?

[Read more…]

When Is a Neutral a Neg?

When eBay reviews your account – that’s when. At least that’s what was told to sellers recently on an Ebay forum by an eBay employee:

“If more than 5% of a seller’s buyers are dissatisfied, as measured by negative and neutral Feedback left or Item Not Received complaints during a 90 day period, the seller is in violation of the Seller Non-Performance policy.”

It has always been thought that Neutral Feedback was just that – the buyer was neither happy nor unhappy. Now eBay is using Neutral Feedback against sellers. <--more-->

For most sellers, receiving a neutral feedback is almost as bad as receiving a negative feedback. However, many buyers feel that a neutral feedback is akin to leaving no comment – it doesn’t count towards the seller’s positive feedback, and it doesn’t count toward the seller’s negative feedback. Additionally, some buyers use neutral feedback as a means of communication.

In the past sellers have been wary to request mutual withdrawal for neutral feedback as they feel it will look like they received a negative when buyer’s review their “mutually withdrawn” totals. So sellers advised each other to leave neutral feedback alone.

Is that advice no longer relevant?

Just exactly how is eBay determining that a seller falls into the bottom 1%? Is there some kind of rating system for negative feedback, neutral feedback and INR’s? Say you have two sellers, both with 2500 total feedback. One has 50 negs and 25 neutrals, and the other has 25 negs and 50 neutrals. Are they rated equally? Or are more demerits given to the seller with the 50 neg/25 neutral ratio?

And how are INR’s determined now that eBay no longer offers any protection to buyers? Most buyers filing INR are going straight to Paypal since filing an INR with eBay will forward them directly to Paypal anyway. Is Paypal forwarding these records to eBay?

Should sellers now go through the mutual withdrawal system for neutral feedback? From other posts I’ve read on eBay discussion boards, eBay phone reps are encouraging sellers to go through the mutual withdrawal system – leaving me to believe that eBay feels a bad transaction is wiped clean upon a successful withdrawal.

It would be nice if eBay would publish specific standards, so sellers know where they stand. There have been reports of sellers with FB above 99% receiving the dreaded “Poor Seller Performance” emails. These sellers thought they were doing a good job, but eBay didn’t. Ebay – why such secrecy? Why don’t you publish the standards so all eBay sellers can monitor their ratings the same way you do?

Cyn

Spring Cleaning – The eBay Way

There have been a rash of reports from sellers stating they have received a “Poor Seller Performance” notice from Ebay and their accounts have been restricted. This email basically tells them they are in the bottom 1% of sellers. It seems like Ebay is doing some spring cleaning, and about time.

It was about a year ago that I sent an email to Bill Cobb asking why Ebay didn’t use their own feedback system to monitor sellers’ performance. I received a reply giving me a complete history of the feedback system and how to use it properly. Not exactly what I was after. But now it seems that eBay IS actually using their own feedback system to monitor sellers and place restrictions if they see there is a problem.

According to an eBay employee posting on an Ebay forum:

“Sellers receiving this notification have been identified as part of this bottom 1% of sellers as measured by Feedback and Item Not Received complaints over the past 90 days. If more than 5% of a seller’s buyers are dissatisfied, as measured by negative and neutral Feedback left or Item Not Received complaints during a 90 day period, the seller is in violation of the Seller Non-Performance policy. In such case, eBay may take a range of actions intended to incent performance improvement — or, if the situation warrants, may remove the seller from the community.”

This is good – for the most part. However, from the posts I have read, the sellers being restricted are low to medium volume sellers, while sellers with 1000’s of listings a month, and 100’s of negs, continue on their merry way. Any seller with a feedback rating below 98% should be reviewed by eBay and action taken. How many high volume sellers have feedback below 95%? 90% or less? And yet they continue to be allowed to list thousands of auctions a month.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to start with the huge sellers who put up 5000 listings a month, and receive 500 negatives a month? Think about it – get just one of those sellers cleaned up and next month you will have 500 more happy buyers. Compare that to restricting 100 smaller sellers who have on average 4 negatives in a month. Much easier and faster to start with the large volume sellers and work your way down, right?

Good start eBay, but let’s do this on a “level playing field” just as you charge fees on a “level playing field.”

Cyn