Category Archives: Guides

Translating Amazon sales rank into useful information – for any category!

When you are sourcing products to sell online, it is important to know if the product you are going to sell is a faster or slower moving product. We are going to be using a site called BrowseNodes to find out the percentage of sales rank in ANY category. We are going to use the numbers that are available from BrowseNodes to do some simple calculations, to give us an idea of how well a product will sell.

First, a little background explanation.

Sales rank on Amazon is a classified algorithm that basically shows the amount of time since a product last sold. When a product sells, the sales rank jumps. Then it slowly lowers over time, and as other items sell. The smaller the number, the better the sales rank. The better the sales rank of an item, generally, means the more units sell per day.

Nodes are Amazon’s way of categorizing items in their catalog. Think of these as sub-categories of similar products.
The basic process is like this.

Find sales rank of item you want to research. You can find this number either from Amazon.com (on the product page) or from your favorite scanning app (we recommend Scanpower)

Look up category on BrowseNodes. (Or compare against the spreadsheet you have already updated)

Look at Details to get total number of active offers in that category.

Do the math, or plug the numbers into a spreadsheet. (To get yours free, sign up for our mailing list here).

What we are looking for is products that sell quickly, in order to recover our investment as soon as possible. Sales rank by itself is not a good reason to buy a product, but is an important piece of information that can help to make better decisions. The lower the number, the more likely it is to sell quickly.

Basically, we are going to choose our category, and then look at the number of ACTIVE offers that Amazon has in that category. This will give us a rough guide of the top 1%, 5% etc. in each category.

For example, lets look at an Lego Minecraft Nether Fortress Kit. ASIN B00WHY9I1O

sales rank post 1

You can see on the bottom of the listing page that this product is ranked #1,061 in Toys and Games.

sales rank post 3

From the www.browsenodes.com home page, you can see the node for Toys and Games.

sales rank post 4

The link that says “Detailed Information about Browse Node 165793011 “ is the one that has the information that we want. When we click that one, it takes us to the details summary for the Toys and Games Node.

sales rank post 5

The number that we want is the one that is listed under “Search Index Product Count”. In this case, the total number of ACTIVE items is 4,913,032.

sales rank post 6

To find out how our sales rank compares, simply divide the sales rank of our product by the total number of active offers.

In this case, our product has a sales rank of 1,061 of a total of 4,913,032 total listings available.
This gives us a sales rank percentage of about .02%. This means that the item we are looking at is on the top .02% of all of the items in the Toys and Games categories that Amazon has to offer. That is a very good rank!

You can also use this information if you have the rank for a specific product. For example, you have scanned a toy using your favorite scanning app, and gotten a sales rank of 150,000. Simply divide 150,000 by the total number of active listings 4,913,032 and you will know where the toy you are looking at is ranked compared to other items in this category.

Ex: 150,000 / 4,931,032 = top 3% of all Toys.

This information is useful to determine if you have a toy that people want to buy, or one that is going to sit on the shelf in the warehouse for a long period of time.

There is also some other interesting information available on this page. There are four bullet points here that are also worth researching if you are going to be selling or specializing in this category. Top Selling Products, New Releases, Most Wished for Products, and Most Gifted Products.

Browsing these lists will give you a very good idea of what customers are looking for when they are searching this category of product.

Keep in mind that the same percentage means different things in different categories. A top 1% Toy for example, will probably sell more units per day than a top 1% Home and Garden.

I encourage you to search around on this site, and learn more about the niche that you intend to compete in. If you are not specializing in a niche, then use these numbers to get a little bit better of an idea about which products sell quickly.

For the categories that you are going to be sourcing in often, I recommend updating the numbers about once a month. I have uploaded a free spreadsheet that you can use. To get access to the spreadsheet, simply sign up for our free newsletter here.

More useful sales rank resources:
Camelcamelcamel.com – shows sales rank and price history for items on Amazon
GDFR.com – an interactive calculator that will show the top percentages in categories, or tell you what percentage your item is

My UPC is on Amazon, but my product is not!

My UPC is in Amazon, but my product isn’t!
My item is not in Amazon’s catalog, but the UPC is already being used!
I want to sell a puzzle, and there are 15 other puzzles with the same UPC!

These are all part of the same problem, today I will tell you how to fix it.

I have run into a problem a few times, where the item that I want to sell has many variations listed on Amazon. It just does not have the variation that I want. The problem is I am confronted with two options, to select a product that Amazon has in its catalog, or to create a new product. The product I want does not have a listing. When I create a new listing, and I enter the UPC, it tells me the listing already exists, so I can’t make a new one! How do I get around this? The answer is to put all the information into an existing ASIN, and then have customer support split the pages up appropriately.

Most often this is with puzzles, although I have run into the same problem with printer ink, some types of books, some dead tech, or collectibles as well. I have noticed this problem when there are a lot of variations, like on Furbies. Here is how to fix that problem.

The first thing to realize is that this is going to take a day or two. The basic process is as follows:

1) Input all of the information for your product on a listing for a different product. (Make sure to include pictures and a great description!)

Screenshot 2015-08-26 20.54.39

2) Contact customer support, and let them know that the information you entered was for a different product, and provide proof that your item is different that the one on the listing.

3) Wait for the response from customer service to fix the listings for you.

Screenshot 2015-08-26 20.54.18
I have come across this problem several times, and it always made me worry. Here are the things I worried about, and here is why you shouldn’t worry at all.

Worry 1: If I put in information on a product that doesn’t match, I will mess up the original listing.
If you have been selling for a while, you have received emails notifying you that an ASIN has changed some information. This is because when another seller wants to modify a listing, a notice goes out to people listing against that ASIN. this gives sellers a chance to fix or dispute the information. When you make the changes you are attempting to make, you are not going to impact the original listing.

Worry 2: The two products information is going to get jumbled up, and both listings will be junk.
For the same reasons as worry number one, this is not going to happen. Just trust in the system and it will work out fine.

Worry 3: When I create the listing, it won’t allow me to put in the pictures, because it is against a current ASIN.
You are correct, Amazon will not allow you to upload pictures over an existing ASIN. However, in the “My Offers” section, you can upload your personal pictures. These are the pictures that Amazon will use when creating your new product page.

Worry 4: What if someone buys it from me before my new product hits the warehouse?
What I did here was create the item as a Merchant Fulfilled (MF) item. This allowed me to put in my pictures, and enter all of my listing details while I was still working on that product. In this case, I priced the puzzle at 99.99, well above value. This ensures that I will have time to change it to FBA and send it to the warehouse after Amazon fixes the listing page.

After all of your information is added and updated, including the age, manufacturer, an awesome description, etc., Amazon will say “Congratulations your item is for sale”. It will be under the item listing that you already chose, NOT the actual item listing you want to sell. Copy down the ASIN, and open a support ticket with Amazon.

Here is the format that I used to successfully complete this process. Remember to send them pictures of the product with the UPC visible.

Customer Support,
I am trying to make a new listing for a puzzle that has multiple variations under the same UPC.
ASIN: B0026RI9O4
UPC: 0021081033428
I put in all the details under : Ceaco Crowd Pleasers – Crazy Harbor
It should be listed as Caeco Crowd Pleasers – The Antique Show
Pictures proving UPC are uploaded to the listing.
Please create new detail page, thank you.

ASIN or SKU (optional): B0026RI9O4
Approximately one day later, I received this response.
Dear Seller,

Thank you for contacting us.

As per your request, I have worked to create new ASIN for SKU:FH-84ZH-119F which earlier was associated with ASIN:B0026RI9O4. I am glad to inform you that new ASIN for this SKU is B013TY0GMU. Your listing is live on Amazon.

Details:

SKU: FH-84ZH-119F

Old ASIN: B0026RI9O4
New AISN: B013TY0GMU

You can check the same from the below link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B013TY0GMU/?seller=ARF1P6LGMATY1

Please find the screenshots of the same attached to this email. Kindly note that images of the same will reflect in 24 hours.

This is the same process that you would use if the item that you are using has a UPC, but that UPC is listed under a totally different product on Amazon. Add all your information, open a support ticket (with proof), and let Amazon fix their catalog for you. That is all there is to it! As always, feel free to leave comments below, or email us at Amusingtreasures@gmail.com if you need help.

Fixing Stranded Inventory from Scanpower

I was searching through my inventory the other day and realized that I had 81 stranded items, totaling several hundred dollars worth of merchandise. These are the steps that I took to get them unstranded, so that they did not have to be shipped back, saving me some money.
Step 1 – Resend the feeds on ScanPower.
Look at your archived shipments, and click the Fix Listing button. Many times that will fix the problem immediately. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times.

Step 2 – Click the “Incomplete” button next to the listing on Amazon.
Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.57.22

Step 3 – Copy the picture from the Amazon listing page by opening the listing
Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.57.49
and then clicking “see this image” underneath the photo on the page.
Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.58.00
Right click the picture, use “Save image as”.
Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.58.12

Step 4 – Upload the newly copied image into the Main Image. Update your price. Click Save.
Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.58.35

Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.58.41

Screenshot 2015-07-25 23.59.14

Step 5 – Be patient! Changes can take up to 15 minutes.
The error seems to be triggered if the item has a picture on the listing, but does not have one as the “Main Image” in the listing details.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at amusingtreasures@gmail.com.
Good Luck!

T-shirt Experiment – Part 2

T-shirt idea, part 2

So I have learned a lot about the designing part so far. I did some research, and decided to go with printaura.com for the fulfillment. I have not used them yet (disclaimer), but they appear to have all of the functions that I need, and quite a few that I would not have thought of. They can remove and replace tags. They pack the boxes with your logos, and can put on hang tags or go tagless. All of these options cost extra of course. I am choosing to go with them due to the no minimum order, and the fairly clear instructions on their website about what they can and cannot do.

As far as getting the actual designs done on Fiverr, I am learning a lot there also. A lot of the artists will send you a general picture for 5$. However, if you want more characters, more detail, color vs. black and white, different file formats, etc, they can add up pretty quickly. Out of the 34 responses, I contacted 5. Out of the 5, I have received completed work from one that I kind of like. One wanted to charge me 60$ per design, breaking it down into each individual step. One said he can do 5 shirts for 65$, and I am still talking to him.

The T-shirt company wants a .pdf, .jpg, or .png, with specific dimensions and setup. I downloaded their template, and am giving it to the artists from now on. I am also searching Fiverr for someone familiar with this company to see if I can convert graphics to this format instead of only being able to hire artists that no how to use this format.

I had a phrase from all the business books stuck in my head, of eating an elephant one bite at a time. I was also musing on the saying that if you have to eat a frog, eat it first thing in the morning. That led me to the idea for the theme of my site. I have not done any research yet (not really sure how) but I like it. I know that is the least important part, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. The idea is famous self-help or development / business quotes by zombies. I will either call it Zombies with Brains, or maybe Rotten Philosophy. I haven’t really decided yet. What do you think? My first design is for a zombie eating an elephant, and it says “One Bite at a Time”. I have also searched for quotes that I could convert over to having a zombie or eating theme to them.

Once I get 5 T-shirt designs I like, I will start a store. More information on picking a storefront on Part 3. If you would like to read the rest of this story and see how it goes, check it out at Facebook.com/amusingtreasures. Any comments, suggestions, or lessons learned, leave it in the comments below so that everyone can benefit. See you next time.

One Page Workflow – CD’s

I have been thinking a lot about processes and streamlining. Having an established process helps you to eliminate sticking points, and allows you to train your replacement. It also eliminates the number of decisions you have to make each day, which allows you to focus on better and bigger decisions. In part inspired by the Four Hour Workweek, and in part by the E-Myth Revisited, here is my one page CD workflow for resellers.

Before you start:
-Determine your low price threshold. 19.99 is a good one for most prices at most sources. You may elect to use a formula (3x price + 2$ as an example), but I find just setting a floor to be an easier strategy.
-Determine your level of comfort for sales rank. Higher sales rank = sells less often.
-Print the condition guidelines for CD’s, keep them near your desk.
-Look up professional CD refinishers on Ebay. You can get good prices when you do them in bulk. This also allows you to add the words “Professionally refinished” to your description, and guarantees that the CD is functional. (For more information about faulty CD’s, check out the article on pin-hole faults due to age.)
-Have some new empty CD cases standing by. This is optional, as you can sell CD’s with cracked cases. Buying them in bulk saves you money and increases the quality of your product.
-Decide on your pricing strategy. If you use a repricer, set the levels now. If you prefer to manually price them, jot down your way of thinking when you set the price. This allows you to standardize your pricing, and not make individual decisions for every CD.

Now it is time to find some money!!

1) Go to your source – for CD’s, I find thrift stores, Goodwills, Salvation Army’s, and estate sales to be the most profitable. You should track your mileage, costs, and profitability of each source. There are multiple programs that help with this. You can also just keep a spreadsheet.
2) Scan them for potential profitability – I use Scanpower right now, but any scanning program would work.
All ones with a purchase price of $19.99 (or your floor) or more, with whatever sales rank you are comfortable with, go in the cart.
3) Visually inspect, if any scratches whatsoever, place them in groups of 100 and get them professionally refinished. You can find someone through Ebay for about $1.00 – $1.50 per CD.
4) Rematch CD’s with cases and list. You can use whatever scanning or listing program you prefer.
5) Attach labels. (Optional, you can use Amazon’s labeling service for a small fee.)
6) Send in boxes to Amazon.
7) Profit.

Now obviously, each one of these steps can be broken down into much smaller chunks. If while reading the steps, there is something you are not familiar with, now is the best time to ask questions. If there is something you are not familiar with, such as sales rank or refinishing, then it is time to do a little research. If you have specific questions, you can contact us at amusingtreasures@gmail.com.

Once your processes are smooth, you can outsource, eliminate, or delegate these tasks to someone else. Remember, it is the processes that make your work easy or hard. Take the time to establish good habits and groundwork, and it will pay large rewards in the future.

How to create a successful Auction Listing on Ebay

Recently, we reviewed a bunch of completed auctions to look for some keys to success, to improve our listings. Special thanks to the fine folks at the Thrifting With The Boys Facebook group for posting up some of their great success stories. This is what we found, if it helps you then let us know!

There are a few areas where you can make your auction stand out. Take a little time and effort to separate yourself from the people that don’t care.

First and most importantly, PICTURES! I cannot stress enough how important it is to take well lit, sharp, clear pictures. Let the customer know exactly what they are getting, good and bad. Any trademarks, watermarks, tags, defects, special features, unique characteristics, EVERYTHING! You can upload the pictures to a photo sharing site like Picasa to save room.

Starting Price – If you are doing an auction style bidding, starting the price low will encourage competition. People dislike losing even more than they like winning, which is in your favor when it comes to bidders competing in an auction. A low starting price also lowers your fees, so it is a win-win!

Keywords – Use them often, use them a lot. Make sure you search for completed auctions for similar type items. What words did they use in their titles? Are their acronyms or misspellings that people look for often? The completed sold listings are the best place to look for information.

Shipping options – Offering Free Shipping is a huge draw. Customers will often not calculate the difference, and you can just raise the cost of the product to cover your shipping cost. Which sounds better, 9.99 with free shipping, or 4.00 with 5.99 shipping? Give your customers the easy choice. One other benefit is if you offer free shipping, you automatically are given 5 stars for the shipping and handling.

Another option is to provide a choice of three shipping options, and let the customer choose. I know that offering different options makes it more complicated, but some people like the option to pay a little less and get it later, or pay a little more to get it now. One more note on shipping. Always offer confirmation. Even on the free shipping. It is normally .85, but if you have an account with Stamps.com or an alternative, then the confirmation is free. Pass that along to your customers. It is all about them having piece of mind.

Auction times – If you start your auctions on a Thursday and run them for 10 days, you get two full bidding weekends in. Time the auction to end between 7pm and 10pm on Sunday. This is the time when the most people are relaxing at home and checking online. You can schedule your auction to start at a later time than when you type it up. This allows for you to choose when your listing is available for viewing, and also can give you time to edit the posting if required.

Guarantees – Always offer a money back guarantee. It comes down to making people feel safe and comfortable with the fact that if they are unhappy, they are not going to lost anything. Think about the reason so many companies offer money back guarantees and 30 day trials. Once your item is in a customers hand, it takes a significant effort for them to return it. They need to make calls or send emails, package it, and return it to someplace to shop it. Let your paranoid fantasies of all your products being returned lay to rest.

Another way to make your customers feel safe and cared for is to answer all questions that are asked. Even if the question is answered in the description, make sure that you answer them specifically. It shows that you care, and everyone wants to do business with people that care.

Advertising – Advertise your listings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, or any other social media that you are a part of. Join the resale groups in your area, and put them there and offer free local pickup in your listing. It saves you time shipping, and can lower your outbound material costs.

Lastly, have fun with this! Your description doesn’t have to be a compiling of every small fact about the product. It doesn’t have to be professional hard selling material. There are people out there that want what you have. Use your own voice. Throw in a joke or two, a little humor. Talk to your customers as if you were talking to a good friend. Include little thank you notes with your items, and make sure that your customer knows they are appreciated. After all, without them, you wouldn’t make any money!

I hope that these tips help you out. Good luck with your listings, and you can contact us with any questions or recommendations.

If you could give someone one tip to get them on the road to being successful on Ebay, what would it be?

Combining FBA shipments that are in the Amazon Queue

We tend to buy a lot of our items at garage sales, thrift shops, Goodwills, and storage auctions. As we carry a lot of single items, when we make shipments, sometimes there are several warehouses to ship to. If there are only one or two items going to a warehouse, sometimes we will not ship those right away. Scanpower allows you to add to an existing shipment when you click ship. What do you do if you have already clicked ship?

Reviewing our outstanding shipments today, we realized there were 2-3 shipments going to the same warehouse. Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to combine shipments from the shipping queue. I would like to show you an easy way to combine those shipments, and save yourself some money on inbound shipping.

First, determine if you have outstanding shipments going to the same warehouse. The easiest way to do this is to filter the results on your “Shipping Queue” page.

See the attached pictures for screenshots of how this will look.

Select “Filter Results”, and under the “Status” drop down menu, select “WORKING / READY TO SHIP”. This will show you all of your outstanding shipments.

As you can see from the screenshots, we have several shipments going to the same warehouse.

Under the “Merchant SKU” column inside your shipment, copy the merchant SKU for each item that is in that shipment.

Now for the easy way to re-add them to a batch in Scanpower, so that when you ship out the batch you can combine the shipping.

(A “batch” is just a list of the inventory you are currently working on.)

In Scanpower, either load the batch you are working on, or start a new one.

Click the “Restore” button.

Type in the Merchant SKU (paste) and it will restore the listing, with your description and price to the current batch.

Repeat this process for every item in the batch you want to combine.

In your Amazon Queue, delete the shipment that you are no longer using.

When you are done with the batch in Scanpower, click “Ship”. It will ask you to pick a warehouse, and create a new shipment or add to an existing one.

Copy the “Shipment Name” and “Shipment ID” of the remaining shipment in your Amazon Queue that is going to the same warehouse, and select the checkbox in the top corner of the shipping screen that says “Add to Existing Shipment”.

All done!! Now all of the items that are going to the same warehouse can be shipped in the same shipment.

I hope this post was helpful. If you have any questions about this technique, please write us at amusingtreasures@gmail.com.

What items in your Amazon warehouse can’t sell right now?

When you send in a lot of inventory to Amazon, it is important to make sure that there are no barriers between your product and your buyers. Items that are sitting in a warehouse but unable to be seen by your customers just represent money that is tied up and not making you more money. This article will show you how to make sure that all of your items that you think are for sale are actually available. No one wants their money to just sit on a warehouse floor!

When you login, go to the Tabs in the Seller Dashboard.
Select Inventory-Manage FBA Inventory
On the first drop down menu on the left hand side of the screen, select “Error Status”.
Second drop-down menu select “Items with errors”.
Click the top of the column marked “Fulfillable”. This will sort the items and only show you the ones that Amazon currently has in its warehouse that currently have errors preventing them from being sold.
Open another Amazon tab in your web browser, this saves you from having to flip back and forth between the reports and the individual items.
Go to “Manage Inventory” on the new tab.
Look up the Merchant SKU, ISBN, EAC, or any other piece of information that it takes to find the item with errors in your inventory.
Determine the cause of the error.
If it says Inactive, try to relist it, paying attention to the condition you have it listed under. If the condition is Used or Collectible, there is a good chance that it should be listed as the other type (Used or Collectible). As a general rule, Toys and Games that are no longer in production are listed as Collectible, but it is not a hard and fast rule. Some exceptions apply.
Common errors:
If you use a third party listing program, sometimes your items are listed as Used when they should be Collectible, or Collectible when they should be Used.
There are two options:
You can “create a removal order”, you can do this by clicking the drop down box under the “Actions” column. This will cost you $ 0.50 (as of 15May2013). When you create your removal order, make sure that you type in the number of items you want returned in the “Fulfillable Qty” column above the number of items that Amazon has on the next screen.
You can list the product at Ebay, (Shopify, Etsy, or any other online site) and use Amazon’s Third Party Fulfillment service to have it shipped from the warehouse directly to your customer. The cost will vary based on the size and type of item. To use this service, click “Create a Fulfillment Order”, once you have sold it to someone else.

Once you have created removal orders for the items that had errors (or listed them on another site), just wait to ge tthem back in the mail. Once you receive them, list them through Amazon’s interface as new items in your inventory, marking them as Used or Collectible as required. Send them back in, and sit back and wait for the paycheck!