Category Archives: Repricing

Top 10 Tips For Finishing Strong in 2016

finishing-strong-2016First off, if you can see this… thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read today’s blog post. I know Q4 is crazy busy, and I hope my blog posts can help you take action t0 save time and increase your profits.

As we all know, the holiday selling season is in full bloom, and I hope you’ve been able to stock the Amazon warehouses with as much quality inventory as you possibly can. It seems pretty obvious to say, but you can’t sell a lot of items if you don’t have a lot of items in stock. To help you continue to make this month your best selling month ever, here are my top ten tips for finishing strong in 2016:

christmas-lights1. Reprice holiday related items. It’s crunch time. Log into Seller Central and check all of your holiday related items in your inventory. Do a keyword search for words like “holiday” and “Christmas” and make sure that all of your holiday items are competitively priced. While some of these seasonal items actually sell throughout the year, there might still be some in stock that you need to reprice. As always, double check with CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales you could possibly expect. If you have multiples of higher ranked holiday items, it’s probably a good time to lower your prices to get the sale. You don’t want to hold on to these items another full year… especially with long term stores fees coming up in February.

2. The week before Christmas is a Prime spending frenzy! For items sold through FBA, hold on to your prices that you think will sell for Christmas. It’s not rare to see an item going for $15 on December 14th to be selling for $25 on December 19th. This is especially true for items where you’re the only FBA seller or one of a few FBA sellers. On the other hand, if the competition for sales is fierce, you might want to lower your price just a little to sell out before the newbie Amazon sellers freak out and lower their prices too far.

returns.jpg3. Be prepared for an increase in returns. Naturally, with an increase in sales, there is also an increase in returns. Don’t let this make you anxious or worried. It’s a natural part of selling. As you might already know, Amazon automatically refunds the FBA customer the full purchase price when the buyer requests to return an item. If the buyer fails to return the item to Amazon, then Amazon is supposed to automatically reimburse you for the item after 45 days have passed, but many times Amazon “forgets” and needs to be reminded. For more about how to make sure returned items are actually returned to Amazon, check out this popular blog post.

feedback4. Be prepared for an increase in negative and/or positive feedback. If you’re keeping to best business practices, then you’ll most likely get lots of new positive (4 or 5) feedback, but you’ll also get the occasional negative (1 or 2) or neutral (3) feedback score. If the feedback is actually about the FBA process (“my item came 2 days late”) or a product review (“this coffee maker is hard to use”), then it’s up to you to do whatever you can to get the feedback removed. Your feedback score is a huge aspect of your seller metrics. The better seller metrics you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to earn the buy box for your products. To read more about how I handle feedback issues (and how I keep a 100% feedback score), then check out this blog post.

5. Look at sales ranks differently. As you already know, the sales velocity in December shoots through the roof! This should make you look at sales rank differently than during the rest of the year. Here is an example: A toy with a sales rank of 10,000 in July might sell 25 times a week… while a toy with a rank of 10,000 in December might sell 50 times a day. This is important to know when you are out sourcing for inventory. Know that after Christmas and into January, many of these sales ranks will start to return to their normal patterns (slower sales), and it’s up to you to recalibrate your mind to what you need to expect when you’re out sourcing. Again, look at CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales velocity to expect in January.

targetstore6. Be careful with sale prices at retail chain stores. Retail stores are realizing that they need to do whatever it takes to sell their stuff as soon as possible. Often, this means some outrageous clearance sales. But be careful, the items you’re finding clearanced at large national chains might be the same items hundreds of other resellers are finding. You don’t want to be slow moving on these sales. If you decide to buy, you need to get those items to Amazon as fast as possible… and I wouldn’t recommend going too deep. It’s possible that Amazon is about to be flooded with these items from other resellers sourcing at the same sales in their town. Buy fast, prep fast, and ship fast so it can sell fast.

7. Profit from selling items Merchant Fulfilled. We all love selling via FBA, but this week still provides a nice money making opportunity if you are willing to do a little more work. Selling via Merchant Fulfilled can still bring about some nice profits this week for items that buyers need to buy today. The best items to sell MF are those that both Amazon and FBA sellers have sold out of, are backordered, ones that are “Currently Unavailable” on their Amazon product page, and ones with a low rank that you don’t want to risk the extra time it takes to travel to a fulfillment center.

amazon_gift_card8. Keep sourcing for post-Christmas buyers. On the days after Christmas and well into January, many people have brand new Amazon gift cards burning a hole in their pockets. They head on over to Amazon and look for items to spend these gift cards on, and you want to be sure you have what they want waiting for them. Not only do gift card buyers show up, but so do the people who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas. They know what they want, and since they didn’t get it, they decide to give themselves the gift they really want. Again, you want to be sure you have what they want when they go shopping for themselves.

list-of-updated-after-christmas-sales-20099. Buy Christmas-themed items at huge discounts. The week before, and right after Christmas, all of the Christmas related items go on sale at drastically reduced prices. This is a great time for you to stock up for your Amazon inventory. Like I’ve said before, seasonal items sell both in and out of season. I’ve seen Christmas ornaments sell in May, candy canes sell in March, and holiday DVDs sell in August. The stuff sells year round, but especially in July as people have “Christmas in July” parties. So, now might be a good time to buy holiday decor at 75% – 90% off. Again (I might be sounding like a broken record by now), check CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales velocity to expect throughout the year.

10. Look towards the new year. Why am I talking about the new year in December? I honestly believe that if you wait until the first of January to start thinking about the new year, then you’re already behind in the game and are at a disadvantage. Imagine someone showing up for a marathon without doing any training beforehand. The runner would most likely quit before they even pass the 5 mile marker. Don’t be that guy. When January 1 arrives, we all begin a 365 day marathon, and I want to be sure you are ready for the journey. One great way is to grab my book, The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business. This resource will help you know exactly what to do and what to avoid for each month of the year.

How about you? What strategies are you implementing to finish strong in 2016? I’d love to hear your ideas, so comment below.

 

Overcoming Your Fear of “Tanking” Prices

It seems to happen far too frequently. You buy an item (or multiples of an item), price it just right, send it to Amazon… and your competition starts to lower their prices. What once was selling for $29.99 is now selling for $15.99 only a week or so later. What happened? Why would someone want to sell it for $15.99 when it was selling just as fast at $29.99? It can be maddening if you let it consume you. With experiences like this, it’s easy to see why so many people have the fear of their competition tanking the prices of their inventory. 

Just like other articles on our series on Overcoming Your Amazon FBA Fears, this one will be aimed at replacing your fears with truth so you can not only move past your fears, but move forward in your Amazon FBA business. In our previous blog posts about overcoming fears, we replaced each individual fear with a specific truth, but in today’s post, one simple truth will replace all of your fears concerning your competitors tanking the prices.  

falling-pricesFEAR #1 – I’m afraid if I buy an expensive item to sell, the price will tank. 

FEAR #2 – I’m afraid if I go too deep with inventory, prices will tank and I’ll be stuck with a lot of “dead” inventory. 

FEAR #3 – I’m afraid to buy almost anything now. The price of every item seems to tank one it’s finally at Amazon. 

THE TRUTHPrices are always going to be fluid, but making better sourcing decisions will lower the chance that your competition will lower their prices, and could increase your chances that the prices will go up. 

Supply-demand-equilibrium.svgYes, it’s true that some of your competitors will change their prices on the same items you are selling. Sometime the prices will go up, and sometimes they will go down. It’s a natural process of supply and demand. When demand for an item outweighs the supply, then prices usually go up. The opposite of this is true as well. Think about how this applies to your sourcing strategies. 

It really surprises me how often I hear other online sellers say something like, “I bought this item for $10, and at the time it was selling for $30… now, it’s selling for only $15. Looks like I need to lower my price to try and break even.” Here are a few of my thoughts about this mindset:

  1. If prices have gone down, then it’s most likely that the supply is now outweighing the demand.
  2. It’s very likely that if you exercise some patience, prices will recover. 
  3. If you lower your price to get the sale today, then you’re just adding to the problem.

BlogGraphic_ArrowsI’m not suggesting that you should never lower your price in order to sell your inventory. There are times when this is necessary (when the cost of long term storage fees are too much, or when CamelCamelCamel shows that the price history of the item is usually lower than when you first sourced it, etc.), but many online sellers might be surprised just how fast the price of an item can recover, and maybe even be higher than when they first sourced it. 

Chris Green says in Online Arbitrage, “More competition? Prices never ‘tank.’ Prices normalize as supply moves to meet demand. I have never seen an item tank and never recover. The market bears what it will bear. Sales rank can never tank unless demand is non-existent, and in that case, items won’t sell at any price (high or low).” I completely agree. 

toy-clearance1So, as long as sales rank remains consistent, it’s feasible to conclude that the prices will recover. Think about it this way. You go to Target and notice that there is a huge clearance sale on toys. You fill up a cart full of toys at 30%, 50%, and even 75% off. You’re elated because you know that you’ll at least double, triple, or maybe even quadruple your investment.

The only problem with this situation is that hundreds of other online sellers across the nation are also sourcing at the big Target clearance event. After the Target sale is over, you begin to realize that most of what you sent in from Target to Amazon is no longer selling. Why is that? Because Amazon was flooded with an increase of supply while the demand has remained the same. With more supply than demand, other online sellers begin to panic and assume they need to be the lowest price in order to get the sale (read The Buy Box Bible sometime and learn why the lowest price doesn’t automatically give you the Buy Box). With dozens and dozens of sellers seeking the next sale by lowering their prices by a penny or, worse, a few dollars, it’s easy to see how the prices fall quickly.

everything-will-be-ok-in-the-end-if-it-s-not-ok-it-s-not-the-end-368781-475-559_largeBUT, this is not the end of the story. As other Amazon sellers sell out, those who are patient eventually get the sale at the price they want. It’s only the end of the story if you decide to lower the price and break even or take a loss. Show some patience and the prices, most likely, will recover. 

As with all situations, there are exceptions to what I suggest. Sometimes your business is in a place where you need the capital back as soon as possible in order to take advantage of better selling inventory, and therefore lowering your price to get the next sale might be what you need to do, but complaining about others lowering their prices is not a profitable use of time. 

How to avoid buying items with tanking prices:

While it’s impossible to only source items that are “tank proof,” you can make better decisions to insure that you won’t be faced with an onslaught of tanking prices. The short answer to how to avoid buying items with tanking prices is this: Make smarter sourcing decisions. Here’s how: 

  1. Tank and RecoverWhen you are out sourcing for inventory, don’t just look at the current price, but look at the price history. You can do this by using CamelCamelCamel on your desktop or smartphone. If you see that in the past the item has had a constantly good price, then it’s likely that the price, if temporarily lowered, will recover sometime soon. 
  2. When you are sourcing for inventory at a big sale at a major retail store, understand that probably hundreds of other online sellers are doing the same thing. The best plan is to source quickly and send your items in as soon as possible. That way you’ll get some sales before the prices begin to fall. Then, just be aware that prices will fall, most likely temporarily, but will return to market value once the supply falls. The return of the price will happen even faster the closer you are to Q4.
  3. Unless you are willing to wait it out, don’t go too deep on an item at one of the major retail store clearance sales. You might sell one or two before the prices fall, but you don’t want to be stuck with too many while you’re waiting for prices to recover. The prices might recover in time for you to sell out and avoid any long term storage fees, but you don’t want to risk it by buying too deep.
  4. Create your own bundles. When you create a quality bundle, you can usually avoid competition all together. It’s harder, but not impossible, for other Amazon sellers to find each of the items in your bundle, so you’ll have much less competition and better control over the selling price. 

patience-god-give-meOverall, the key is smarter sourcing, and being a patient seller. Don’t be a self-fulfilling prophesy by complaining about prices tanking, and then responding by lowering your own prices by a large amount. Again, there are exceptions to everything I suggest, but overall this balanced approach to selling both fast nickels and slow dimes provides you with a well-balanced inventory that should consistently give you sales throughout the year. If you’re interested in learning how to source smarter, then check out my coaching page for information about personalized one-on-one coaching. 

How do you best handle prices when they begin to fall? What do you do to avoid sourcing items where the price seems to fall soon after? I’d love to hear your ideas and strategies.

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If you’re looking to learn more about how to know exactly how long it might take for an item to sell on Amazon, be sure to watch my free tutorials on how to understand Keepa and how to understand CamelCamelCamel or check out my book/video course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions.

10 Things You Need to Know For A Profitable Q4

Q4_logo_on blackQ4. For an online seller, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Sales and profits seem to go through the roof as more and more people buy stuff online for the holidays. If you’re just assuming that Q4 is going to be great for you but you’re not doing anything differently, then you might miss out on some amazing opportunities to increase your Q4 profits. The following are 10 things you need to know about Q4.

1. For those of you experiencing your first Q4, you might be worrying that your sales have not yet really increased as much as you thought. This is because while the business world sees Q4 as October to December, Q4 for the Profit-graph-260x259Amazon sales world is actually November to January. Don’t worry… Amazon Q4 really starts to gear up in November and will go absolutely crazy in December.

2. While the bulk of Q4 sales happen in December, many sellers (including myself) have found that January can be almost as profitable as December is. As long as you still have lots of inventory, you will still sell a lot in January. Why? Because people are finally going to Amazon and getting what they actually wanted for Christmas. Not only that, but everyone will be using their Amazon gift cards they received on Christmas day. Be sure your inventory is still well stocked for January, so you don’t miss out on the last month of the Amazon Q4.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 5.41.50 PM3. What I deem as acceptable sales ranks for inventory purchases changes a lot during Q4. While I might shy away from a toy ranked 200,000  to 300,000 during the summer, I’ll almost always buy that item as Q4 is approaching. Why? During Q4, the sales velocity increases exponentially. So while a toy consistently ranked 250,000 might sell only twice a month… come December of Q4, that same toy might sell once a day.

4. Many Amazon sellers start to freak out a bit when they get an email from Amazon about their “Holiday Selling Guidelines for the Toys & Games category.” For those who don’t know, Amazon decides which sellers are eligible to sell in Toys & Games category during the holiday season. Sellers worry that they might not be approved to sell toys during the holidays and begin to stress out. One thing that Amazon needs to do a better job of is communicating that these guidelines only pertain to Amazon sellers who are selling MERCHANT FULFILLED toys. If you are selling toys via FBA, then you are automatically approved to sell toys during the holiday sales season. Again, these guidelines only apply if you are mailing your inventory directly to the buyer (merchant fulfilled).

ID-10044546-resize-380x3005. If you reprice your inventory on a regular basis (either manually or with an online repricer) then I might suggest stopping, or at least slowing down. Sales start to increase during Q4 so much that an item that sells for $14 today (early October) might potentially sell for $30 a month from now. Take a moment and research your item on CamelCamelCamel and see if the price of that item tends to go up during Q4. If it does, leave your price alone and make more profits than if you lowered your price. You might even want to raise some of your prices.

6. Many of you wonder if you should try to focus on reselling the toys from each store’s “Holiday Hot Toy” list. My personal plan of attack is to avoid most of these toys. My reasoning is this: If a store tells you what toy will be the “hot” toy this holiday season, then it’s reason enough to assume that the store will be heavily stocked with those particular toys. The toys that you want to find to resell during Q4 are the toys that will be harder to find come December. If you’re interested in learning more about the Q4 strategy that I’m learning and implementing this year, then check out Jim Cockrum’s Proven Q4 Plan.

images-37. Want to save even more money on the stuff you want to sell in Q4? Buy discounted gift cards. I personally love raise.com and cardpool.com, but there are other sites out there that do the same thing. I’ve bought $100 Walgreens gift cards for $75… that’s $25 in free sourcing money! Find other great gift cards from stores like Target, TJMaxx, Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, Walmart, and more! If a store offers gift cards, then most likely you can get some free money to source with by purchasing discounted gift cards.

8. Stock up on supplies! When everyone is in the thick of Q4 madness, you don’t want to suddenly discover that you have run out of 3-inch packing tape, Dymo labels, suffocation warning labels, or any other supply that is necessary to run your business. Stock up today while you have the time.

returns.jpg9. Nobody likes returns, but just remember this: With increased sales come increased returns. There is no avoiding it. There will also be an increase in warehouse and distributor damaged items, as well as warehouse lost items. It’s ok. For most situations, Amazon will reimburse you for the items they lose or damage. Important: Don’t just assume that these reimbursements will be automatic. Make sure that Amazon not only reimburses you for items they lose, but that they also reimburse you for items your customer never actually returns.

10. When Q4 hits, some resellers go into overdrive and spend every waking hour sourcing, buying, prepping, and shipping. They sometimes forget about what’s really important: family. Don’t let the dollar signs blind you. Look around and spend quality time with your family. Remember what the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are truly about and reflect upon God’s great gift to us all. When we remember what’s truly important, it gives us the right perspective. And that’s more important than any Amazon payout could ever be.

I hope these ten tips will help you have a profitable and meaningful Q4. If you’d like to share more tips about this most wonderful time of the year, please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear how you make the most of Q4.

How to Find Out Exactly Which Items Will Be Charged Long Term Storage Fees

LTSFUPDATE: Amazon has recently updated their Inventory Age report, and this post is now outdated. What I teach below still works, but there is now a much easier way to find what you’re looking for. 

Click here see my latest training report on how to find out exactly which items will be charged a Long Term Storage Fee

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If you’ve been selling on Amazon at least 6 months, then it’s possible you have recently received a FBA Aged Inventory Notification email from Amazon. This notification from Amazon is to warn you about upcoming Long Term Storage Fees (LTSF). To read more about what the LTSF are, why Amazon charges them twice a year, and some timely tips on how to avoid these fees, then click here

Most Amazon sellers would be wise to find out which items in their inventory will be charged the LTSF and how much they’ll be charged. Unfortunately, Amazon does not give you this information directly, but there is a way to find out using one of Amazon’s reports found in Seller Central. 

Here is exactly how you can find out which items in your inventory are going to be charged a LTSF on August 15th (and how much you’ll be charged per item):

1. Log in to Seller Central.

2. Hover over Reports and click on Fulfillment.

3. On the left side of the screen, under the Inventory heading, click on Show More.

4. Click on Inventory Health.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.56.16 PM5. Click on the Download tab.

6. Click on the Request Download button. 

7. After about 60 seconds (or possibly longer) the report will be generated, and you’ll be able to download it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.22.10 PM

This is the text file version of the report. I copy this data and paste it into a spreadsheet so it’s much easier to understand.

8. After the report downloads, open up the file in a spreadsheet. My download automatically opens up a Text file, so I just copy and paste it into Excel. Based on your computer’s available programs, you should be able to open up the file (or at least copy/paste the text) in your computer’s spreadsheet program. 

9. The text in the file contains many columns of information that you really don’t need in order to assess your long term storage fees. You can keep the ones you want, but I delete all of the columns in the file except the following:

sku
asin
product-name
qty-to-be-charged-ltsf-12-mo
projected-ltsf-12-mo
qty-to-be-charged-ltsf-6-mo
projected-ltsf-6-mo

10. To make the chart easier to read, I change the names of the last 4 columns to:

12mo
12mo$
6mo
6mo$

11. To make the data easier to read, I also do the following (this is just a personal preference, so you may want to skip this step):

Change the document page setup to landscape.
Center align the last 4 columns.
Change the size of the last 4 columns to be smaller.
Change the size of the product name column to be bigger.

12. Select all of the text (CTL-A for PCs or Command-A for Macs)

Now, its’ time to sort. In Excel, you can sort by clicking on Data from the top menu bar, and then select Sort

13. Sort the 12 mo column and choose descending

14. Sort the 6 mo column and choose descending

15. When I’m done, my spreadsheet looks more like this:

The image is blurry on purpose. It’s so you have an idea what the spreadsheet looks like after the changes above.

Now, your spreadsheet will show you on the first pages which items will be charged a LTSF, how many will be charged, and how much the charge will be. My next step is to print out the document, but I only print out the pages that contain the information about LTSF. If I printed the whole document, then I’d waste a lot of paper as most of my inventory is not affected by the LTSF. 

Now, it’s important to know how to read and understand the data in the spreadsheet. Under the 12mo and 6mo columns, you’ll see how many items will be charged in the upcoming LTSF on August 15th. In the 12mo$ and 6mo$ columns, you’ll see the total amount that will be charged if that item is not sold or removed from your inventory. 

For example, your chart might read something like this for an item:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.39.18 PMThe above example shows that the My First Pad item will not be charged a 12 month LTSF, but will be charged a 6 month LTSF of $8.32. Since you have 7 of these items that will be charged a LTSF, you can do the math and see that it will be a charge of about $1.19 per My First Pad. (Remember: one unit of each SKU is exempt from LTSF, so you actually have 8 of this item in stock, not 7.)

The next step is to decide what you want to do with the inventory that is affected by LTSF. In a previous blog post, I’ve discussed all the ways you can avoid Long Term Storage Fees, but for the rest of this post, I’ll only discuss the most popular method of avoiding the fee: lowering your price to get the next sale. 

LC_OFF_Body_NLPLowering the price might indeed get you the next sale, but there are more important aspects to consider. Remember, in our example above, you’ll be charged $1.19 for each item for the LTSF, so if you lower the price by over $1.19, just be sure you don’t think you’ll ever sell the item for the price you want over the next 6 months. If you do some CamelCamelCamel (CCC) research and see that you’ll probably get your original price come Q4, then maybe pay the fee, and then wait for the sale to come during Q4. On the other hand, if you don’t think you can sell this item for the price you want, then it might be a good idea to lower the price and avoid this fee. 

Again, with our example, say you have the item priced at $19.95, but the current low FBA price is $11.95. If you  lower your price by $8.00 to $11.95 to share the Buy Box, you might indeed get the next sale… but lowering 7 items by $8 each, you’ll be losing out on $56.00 in order to avoid a $8.32 fee. Is this worth it? Well, we’ll need to check CamelCamelCamel to see if we think the price will go back up during Q4. If CCC shows that the price will probably go back up in Q4, then maybe it’s a good idea to pay the $8.32 fee in order to make the profits come Q4. On the other hand, if CCC shows that the price will probably never again go up, then maybe it’ll be a good idea to lower your price in order to sell out before August 15th. As always, different items will require different actions, so do your research and make the best decision for your inventory.

amazon-warehouse-5

Note: Amazon does not want to be your long term storage solution.

You might be thinking that this requires a lot of work and thought, but the LTSF is something to take seriously, as it’s currently $11.25 per cubit foot for items stored over 6 months, and $22.50 per cubic foot for items stored over 12 months. Currently, my LTSF would be over $100, but I’ve been keeping track of my potential LTSF for over a month now. If I didn’t use these tactics to avoid long term store fees, then the fee would be even higher.

So how about you? What are some of your strategies for dealing with these Long Term Store Fees? I’d love to read them in the comments below. 

Top 5 things you NEED to do when you get an ASIN Change Notification

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 1.13.18 PMEver since I started selling on Amazon, I would randomly get emails notifying me that some ASINs I am selling were recently updated. For my first few months of selling on Amazon, I just ignored these emails and thought I had better things to do. I assumed innocently that these ASIN changes were probably just improvements to the product page, and that I didn’t need to investigate. Boy, was I naive and wrong. I quickly learned that there are many profitable action points that I need to do every time I get one of these emails.

Most of the time when an ASIN is updated, it means that someone is trying to improve the ASIN’s product page listing information. Maybe some good keywords were added, or the item had some additional information added that would help increase sales. I would say that 95% of the time, this is true, but the other 5% of the time, the changes actually hurt the item page and could also hurt you as a seller. Whether the changes come from a malicious and deceitful Amazon seller or just a newbie that doesn’t know any better, these changes must be checked in order to protect you, your seller metrics, and your bottom line. I’ll explain more of this below as I give you the top 5 things I check every time I get an ASIN change notification email from Amazon.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 3.43.01 PM1. Product Title – I think I’ve seen it all… I’ve seen product titles that were one word long and some that were paragraphs long. I’ve seen them contain spelling mistakes and written in other languages. I’ve seen product titles that tried to contain HTML and others that were not even talking about the item that was pictured. The product title is one of the most important pieces of information that Amazon uses to help buyers find what they want (especially the first 3 words of the title). So it’s vital that the updated title be accurate, spelled correctly, and contain a few additional keywords.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.27.30 AM2. Product Description – Unfortunately, some people don’t know what they are talking about and really make a mess of the product descriptions. I’ve had an item in my inventory where someone added to the description that it was a 4-pack, when in reality it was one toy that contained 4 parts to the toy. This is not a 4-pack. A 4-pack is when there are 4 copies of the same item. To make things even worse, sometimes some sellers actually do change a product from being one item to being a multi-pack. This change could really be bad if you start selling an item that is a 1-pack, but then someone else updates it to a 6-pack. You could have a really upset buyer leave nasty feedback for you if they only receive one item when they are expecting a 6-pack.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.20.52 AMOther sellers sometimes are doing mass updates and accidentally cut and paste info from one item and paste it on the wrong item. I’ve also seen when someone puts an external link in a product description to buy that item on another website. These external links are against Amazon’s rules! Not only that, but they are taking sales away from you.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.25.17 AMLike I said, some people who are trying to update the product pages are newbies. Most new Amazon sellers are coming over from eBay and assume that if they need to state something specific about their particular item, they need to update the product page, when in reality they just need to make note of what they want shared in their condition notes.

3. Product Type – Most of these updates are in reference to category changes within the Amazon catalog. Again, it’s so important that each item be placed in the correct category. Some Amazon sellers will try to sneak certain items in the wrong category because they are gated in the correct category. For example, someone might not be approved to sell in clothing (a gated category that requires approval to sell), so they try to change the category to toys, books, or another category that they are already approved to sell in.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 1.53.28 PMOn the other hand, some people try to game the system by getting products changed to be in gated categories. For example, if one seller is approved to sell in shoes, then maybe they’ll try to get that toy to be moved to the shoe category, so that there will be fewer sellers approved to be the competition for that item. It’s sneaky and wrong, but people do it. Ultimately, you want these items to be in the correct category. When an item is in the right category, then it’s more easily found by buyers who are searching for it.

4. Product Key Words – Some Amazon sellers have thought that adding unrelated key words would boost their product in the search rankings. Unfortunately, this not what you want. You want the item to have the best key words that actually relate to the item. Some people even add lines to the product description that could get that item completely removed from Amazon. I once saw a grocery item that had the keyword “e-cigs” added, and those are not even allowed to be sold on Amazon.

71NGQMCh2QL._SL1500_5. Shipping Weight – Most of the time, the updated shipping weights come from Amazon themselves, but other times they are changed by a seller who sells merchant fulfilled items from home. The higher the shipping weight is, the more money they can make from shipping costs. For example: If Amazon thinks it should cost $6.00 to ship a one pound item, but the item actually only weights 8 ounces, then the merchant fulfilled shipper gets $6.00 to mail something that should only cost them $3.00. How does this effect an FBA seller? If someone is not a Prime buyer and buys your item, then it’s possible that they could be overpaying for shipping and therefore become an unhappy customer who is ready to leave you negative feedback.

Note: To check on your inventory items, simply follow the link in the ASIN Change Notification email that states: “Click here to vote to disagree with the decision to make the ASIN detail page changes below.”

When you click on this link, Amazon will take you to a page telling you what items are being updated, what the new details are, and what the previous details were. You then have the option to disagree with the update. If you agree with the changes, all you need to do is scroll down and click “Nothing to disagree.” On the other hand, if you do disagree, then you can click “disagree” on the items you think do not need to be updated. You then have the option to express why you disagree. Remember to keep your response short, as to not confuse the Amazon worker who is responding to all of these ASIN change disagreement notifications. After you explain your reason for disagreeing, you can then scroll down and click “Submit Votes.”

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It can be somewhat time consuming to check on each of these items one by one to verify that the changes are accurate, but in the end it will be worth it to protect your seller metrics and ultimately your bottom line.

If you notice something is incorrect or just flat out wrong, then vote “Disagree” and tell Amazon what you think the correct details of that product should be.

Some of you may have turned this notification off in your Seller Central preferences. If you want to protect your inventory and bottom line, I suggest turning the notifications back on.

price-tag-267x300BONUS TIP – When ASINs are updated, it often means that someone new is selling the item and that you now have additional competition. It’s likely that they are updating the ASIN because they have multiple copies of that product in stock. When the ASIN is updated, it’s probably a good idea to go and check your competition and make sure your item is priced competitively. For more on repricing your inventory, click here.

So how about you? What crazy ASIN updates have you seen? Do you have any additional tips on how to make the most of the ASIN Change Notification emails? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Imagine knowing exactly what to expect in your Amazon FBA business every month of the year.

Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way this year. 

Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month to make progress toward making this year your best sales year ever.

Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 200-page ebook, monthly live webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

FBA Aged Inventory Notification (or How to Avoid Long-Term Storage Fees)

amazon-warehouse-5If you’ve been selling on Amazon at least 6 months, then it’s possible you will receive a FBA Aged Inventory Notification email from Amazon. Twice a year, (February 15th and August 15th), Amazon charges a long-term storage fee for all items that have been stored in a FBA warehouse for 6 months or longer.

This fee is something to take seriously, as it’s currently $11.25 per cubic foot for items stored at Amazon over 6 months and $22.50 per cubic foot for items stored over 12 months. As an example, I currently have many aged units of inventory which (if none of them sell or are removed) will cost me $520.82 in long-term storage fees. That’s a charge of over $3.51 per item. These are just my numbers and yours will vary. You may be paying less per item, but you could also be paying more.

ifOUVAvNfA60Amazon charges this fee to make sure of two things: 1) to encourage sellers to keep our inventory priced competitively, and 2) to ensure their FBA warehouses aren’t used as a dumping ground for products that might never sell.

Before long-term storage fees, you could send in 100 of a $50 book ranked at 5 million, and only pay pennies a month for storage per book. Maybe you sell one book a year, but what do you care? You’re making a profit and FBA stores all the books for you. Meanwhile, Amazon is seeing thousands of other sellers doing the same thing. FBA warehouses don’t want to be a long-term storage solution for you. They want to be a short-term storage facility that holds your item for a short time until it sells. To make sure that Amazon sellers are motivated to get all of these multiples sold, they have instituted the long-term storage fee.

How do we find out what items are going to possibly be charged this fee? In the email Amazon sent you, there was a link to their recommended removal page. This page will tell you what Amazon thinks you should remove in order to avoid this fee.

But what if it’s actually worth the long-term storage fee to keep the items at FBA longer than 6 months or a year? By running a simple report, you can find out exactly which items will be charged the fee and how much the fee will be for each individual item.

So what are our options to avoid this fee?

LC_OFF_Body_NLP1. Reprice – Update the price for the items affected by this fee. Depending on the rank, you’ll want to either match the current low price or beat it. If the rank tells you this item sells often, just price-match the lowest price, but if it looks like this item only sells once a month, then you’ll probably want to be the lowest price of all your competition.

2. Amazon Promotions – Offer your potential buyers an incentive to buy your item. Maybe a discount if they buy more than one.

3. Amazon Sponsored Products – Advertise your item. This will cost you, but may cost less than the long term storage fee if done correctly. My friend, Cynthia Stine, has a great post about advertising on Amazon you should check out.

4. Multi-channel fulfillment – See if you can sell these items on eBay (or other sites) and then use Amazon to ship the item to your buyer. You can use JoeLister to sell your Amazon items directly on eBay. We use JoeLister and love how it helps more customers find our items. JoeLister is set up that if an item sells on eBay, not only does it automatically set up a shipping order for Amazon to ship your eBay customer their item, but it also automatically updates your inventory on Amazon so your inventory levels will be correct.

5. Improve Product Keywords, Titles, and/or Images – Maybe your not selling some of your items because customers are not finding them in the search results. Check on the product pages of your items and see if they need better pictures, a stronger title, or more descriptive keywords. I’ve found this strategy to be helpful for all of my inventory items, but especially the ones that are going to be charged a long-term storage fee. To get some excellent help on improving a product listing, I recommend the ebook, Amazon Advantage.

6. Reprice Again – Don’t just reprice your item once. Go back often and make sure the item is still priced competitively. Remember, you might not be the only seller of that item who may be hit with long-term storage fees. Other seller are going to be lowering their prices too.

7. Remove Items From Inventory – When all else fails and your item is still not sold before February 15th or August 15th, then you could set up a removal order to have your inventory returned to you. Removal orders are super cheap as they are only $0.50 for standard sized items and $0.60 for oversized. You can even arrange with Amazon to automatically remove all items that are affected by this fee.

After those items are returned, you could try to sell them on Amazon via Merchant Fulfilled, on eBay, on Craigslist, or perhaps sell them in a future garage sale. If that doesn’t work, donate them to a worthy cause.

NOTE: Amazon usually sends out an email about 6 weeks before LTSF are calculated letting all sellers know that any ASINS removed before the LTSF is charged cannot be sent back to Amazon until after a certain date. For the August 2017 LTSF, Amazon said if you set up a removal order before August 15, 2017, to have this inventory returned to you, you will be unable to send in additional units of these ASINs until January 1, 2018.

8. Destroy Items – If you don’t think that returning the items to you is worth the hassle of selling them on another platform or at a garage sale, or even donating them, then you could set up a removal order and have Amazon dispose it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11.53.12 AMRemember, many things I tell you have exceptions. If the item you are selling is a rare, high-priced item, perhaps you are fine with being charged a long term storage fee. Perhaps you have a rare toy that is ranked 1 million, but you are certain that you’ll get $250 for it… then maybe paying around $3 for long-term storage fees don’t matter to you. Also, you might have a situation where you’d prefer to pay a $3 long term storage fee rather than lowering your price by $10. Each product will require you to decide what is best and what will maximize your profits.

But for 95% to 98% of items in our inventory, you’ll probably want to choose some of the options above in order to avoid these fees.

If you did not get this FBA Aged Inventory Notification from Amazon, then congratulations! You don’t have any items subject to this upcoming fee. But just to be sure, you can go to Amazon and see your recommended removal report (sign-in required).

And again, here is the link where I’ll show you how to see which items are going to be charged a long-term storage fee.

So what are your plans to avoid long-term storage fees? I’d love to hear how you handle Amazon’s FBA Aged Inventory Notification and make the most of this situation.

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Imagine knowing exactly what to expect in your Amazon FBA business every month of the year.

Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way this year. 

Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month to make progress toward making this year your best sales year ever.

Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 200-page ebook, monthly live webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

My Top 6 Manual Repricing Strategies (#3 Increases My Payout Big Time!)

price-tag-267x300No matter if you have one hundred, one thousand, or even ten thousand items in your Amazon inventory, having your items priced competitively is one of the best ways to increase profits. No matter how long your inventory has been sitting in an Amazon warehouse, it’s very likely that new competition has come into the picture. Once you learn how to reprice your inventory, then it’s time to put that knowledge to work for you. Today I want to teach you my 6 most profitable strategies for repricing inventory.

1. Reprice “old” inventory – The items that have been sitting in a FBA warehouse the longest are most likely the items not priced competitively. I started selling on Amazon in 2011, and thankfully, all of the inventory I sent in in 2011 has sold. One reason is because I regularly reprice the items that have been in my inventory the longest. To sort your inventory to show you what’s been there the longest, simply click on the “Date Opened” column. To sort from oldest to newest, just click on the little triangle under the “Date Opened” text. This will show you the items that have been there the longest (The only instance where this is not the case is for the items in your inventory that you consistently replenish). Look through your oldest inventory and price competitively.

2. Reprice “high quantity” inventory – This one always gives me a big boost in my number of sales and helps me avoid potential long term storage fees. Sort your inventory by clicking on the “available” column. Click on the little triangle under the word “available” to sort that column from most to least. Currently, the item I have the most inventory for has 47 items and a great rank. I’m only a few dollars above the lowest FBA price, so if I competitively reprice that item, then I’ll see an immediate boost in sales. Remember, twice a year (February 15 and August 15) FBA charges a long term storage fee for all items that have been at their fulfillment centers for 6 months or longer. This long term storage fee for 6 months is $11.25 per cubic foot… and the fee for 12 months is $22.50 per cubic foot, so it’s a fee you definitely want to avoid at all costs.

3. Reprice “high priced” inventory – This one is my favorite, because it usually brings me high dollar profits fast! Sort your inventory by price by clicking on the “Your Price” column. Again, click on the little triangle to sort your price from highest to lowest. Most of the time, my price is still very close to the current low FBA price, but other times, my price is way above the current low FBA price. I do the necessary research and price competitively. Almost as soon as I reprice my high priced items, I get sales. Of course, not all of my high-priced inventory sells out, but the increase in sales of high priced items definitely increases my net payout for that payment cycle.

0074677526400_500X5004. Reprice “newest” inventory – If you have items that sell immediately after they arrive at a FBA warehouse, you may want to make sure that your price is optimized for maximum profit. Just last month I sent in five Elsa dolls to FBA. In the first few hours after arriving I had already sold two at $49.99. I quickly went in and saw that not only was I selling at the lowest FBA price, but the next highest price was $64.99. I immediately raised my price to $64.99 and by the end of the day, I sold out. If I had not been aware of my sales, or if I did not reprice these items fast enough, then I would have missed out on more profit.

5. Reprice “expiring” items – If you sell grocery items or other items that come with an expiration date, then it’s a good idea to reprice any inventory that might be getting close to Amazon’s cut off dates for expiration. Remember, Amazon’s expiration date guidelines state that any items within 50 days of expiring will be removed for disposal by Amazon. If you have any items nearing the 50 day mark, it would be wise to reprice your item to sell ASAP.

41Cq9F-SqgL._SY300_6. Reprice “seasonal” inventory – This is a strategy that I employ the least, but if your business model is more focused on fast nickels (AKA fast turns), then this strategy will bring back some capital for you to invest in other more fast-turning items. There is no way to sort seasonal inventory by columns, so you’ll need to do key word searches on your inventory page. Keywords like Christmas, Easter, Summer, etc will help you find most of your seasonal items. You also might want to scroll through your active inventory to see if you find any other seasonal items that these key words overlook. My business model is more of a well-balanced model as I want to include both fast nickels and slow dimes. I’m ok with waiting a few months for price and demand to rise up to where my current prices are for Summer items. But if you’d rather have that capital back ASAP to invest elsewhere, then this strategy will work great for you.

I’ll do a blog post soon about how I price my inventory, but here is a sneak peek. It’s a combination of many different factors: the price I paid for the item, prices of FBA competition, current sales rank, sales rank history, and pricing history. I even listen to what my intuition tells me when I price my items. After doing this for so long, I’ve started to get a feeling of how to best price my items. My main goal is to price items competitively. Sometimes I want to be the lowest FBA price and sometimes I want to match the lowest FBA price. Other times I price my items above the current low price, because I think I can get more for my items eventually. It’s a detailed process, and I’ll gladly share with you more about my pricing strategies in a later blog.

As always, there will be exceptions to these repricing strategies, but overall, they should help you sell more items and get more capital back into your pocket than if you had left the prices alone.

So what about you? What pricing strategies do you like best? Any strategies you use that I don’t? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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To find out everything there is to know about using CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to make smart sourcing decisions, be sure to check out our course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions. This course is a combo ebook and video course where I walk you through everything you need to know to make sense of both CamelCamelCamel and Keepa in ways you’ve never thought of.

How To Manually Reprice Your Inventory

ID-10044546-resize-380x300You found some great products, bought them, priced them, labeled them, and sent them off to Amazon. Now what do you do? Of course you go out and look for even more inventory, but how often do you think about the prices of your inventory that’s sitting in a FBA warehouse? Prices in brick-and-mortar stores change all the time, and this is equally true with Amazon. As time goes by, your inventory will both gain and lose competition. Other FBA sellers will possibly undercut your sale price, while other sellers might sell out of an item. Just because you priced your item competitively three months ago doesn’t mean that it’s still priced to compete right now.

Smart FBA sellers take the time to evaluate the prices on their items to make sure they are priced to sell quickly and maximize profits. Repricing your inventory on a somewhat regular basis in order to keep prices competitive is a wise business decision. As you think about pricing strategies, you’ll soon learn that repricing doesn’t always mean lowering your price, but can often mean raising your price. We’ll talk more about repricing strategies later this week.

Repricing1

Now, let’s go over how to reprice your items manually. Click on the image to the right to see a visual representation of each step.

1. Log in to Seller Central

2. On the top left of the screen, click “Inventory.”

3. On the left sidebar, under “show my inventory,” click on “Active.” This will show you what items are currently in stock (no need to reprice something you don’t have in stock anymore).

4. The default setting is to sort your inventory by Merchant SKU, but you can change that to however you want to sort your inventory (by product name, date created, quality available, your price, and fulfilled by).

5. In this list, Amazon provides you with the current low price + shipping for each item, but be very careful with this information. Sometimes Amazon will give you the lowest used price even if you are selling a new item. It’s always best to open up the individual item’s product page to see for yourself what the current buy box price is, as well as what the competition is selling that item for, and then decide for yourself how you want to price your item. A quick click on the ASIN/ISBN link will open up the Amazon product page where you can get all the info you need to reprice wisely. Note: If you see a little check mark in the “Low Price” column, that means that you have the current lowest price.

6. If you’re looking to reprice a specific item, you can search for that item in the search bar located near the top left of the screen. You can search by product name, SKU, ASIN, or ISBN.

7. Under the “Your Price” column, you’ll see a box where you can update the price of the item. Simply type in the new price you want. The price box will turn into a yellow shaded box. This indicates that you have updated the price, but have not submitted it to Amazon yet.

8. Submit your new prices to Amazon. You can either do a hard return in the price text box, or you can wait until you are done updating prices on select items on the page, and then click the “Save” button on the top of the screen. Once submitted, it takes only a few minutes for Amazon to update the prices for your items.

Copy-of-salesThere you have it. You are now equipped with the skills to reprice your Amazon inventory. Keeping your prices current and competitive is a key component to a successful and profitable Amazon business. In our next blog post, I’ll share with you my 6 most profitable repricing strategies.

Comment below if you have any questions about repricing. I’d love to help you in any way that I can.

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To find out everything there is to know about using CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to make smart sourcing decisions, be sure to check out our course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions. This course is a combo ebook and video course where I walk you through everything you need to know to make sense of both CamelCamelCamel and Keepa in ways you’ve never thought of.