Category Archives: Amazon

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!

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.

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!

Adding an Item that does not come up with UPC

When you are adding items to your inventory, occasionally you will find an item that does not have a UPC. Sometimes the UPC is not linked properly to the product, or it is linked to multiple products. Here is a quick fix. Look up the item using a regular Amazon window. (www.Amazon.com)

amazon search

Once you have found the specific item you are looking for, look in the address bar.

In this example, the address bar looks like this:
address bar

http://www.amazon.com/Xbox-360-Component-HD-AV-Cable/dp/B000B6MLPU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364839032&sr=8-2&keywords=xbox+360+HDAV+cable

The area right after the /dp/ that says “B000B6MLPU” is the information you are looking for. That is the ASIN.  Copy and paste that into either the “Add a product” page on Amazon, or your Scanpower lister.

Congratulations, you have exactly the product that you were looking for.

 

If the product you were looking for does not exist at all, then you will have to add the product.  For information on how to do that, click here. (Article to follow)

How to pack board games for Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

We sell a lot of board games through our site, www.amazon.com/shops/amusingtreasures.  We also use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which allows us to have Amazon ship out our games, and handle the customer service on the orders.  When you use FBA, you have to pack the items and label them with a unique barcode.  Then you ship them to their warehouses, and Amazon stores them and ships them out from there when the order comes in.  There are a couple of things to keep in mind when preparing board games for FBA.

1)      Condition.  The guidelines for the board game category can be found here. http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200143590#everything_else The important thing to note here is that a “Like New” product should show no signs of wear.  Make sure that you do a thorough inspection.  List all damage, and include all pieces.  If the instructions are missing, there is a good chance that you can find them online.

 2)      Preparation.  It does not do any good to find a New or Like New game, and send it in to Amazon only to have it get all beat up or damaged in the warehouse.  Another thing to think about is the labeling requirements.  Many of the games are collectors’ items, and serious collectors do not like having stickers on the packaging.  Here are our recommendations, based on experience.

 a.       Cleaning.  If you source in Goodwills, thrift shops, yard sales, or storage auctions, then the games might not be ready for resale yet.  Give them a wipe down with a cloth or paper towel to remove the dust.  If they have grease pencil marks on them (pricing from Goodwill or Yard sales), use a dry Magic Eraser to take them off easily.  If it has stickers that you do not want to stay, you can use a hair dryer on low to loosen the adhesive.  Then you can use your fingernails, or a Scotty Peeler, to gently remove the sticker.  Bestine, Goo-Gone, or another cleanser may be required to lift all the adhesive off.

b.      Place all of the individual components in their own bags.  I like to rubber band the cards (if any), but if they are flimsy I might not.  If it looks like the rubber band will bend or damage the cards, then I leave them loose in the bag.

c.       If the pieces are rattling around and you believe there is a chance of damage, then you can place a piece of foam or bubble wrap between the pieces and the board.

d.      When sealing the box, I prefer to use plastic wrap.  We bought a big roll of it from the shipping section of Wal-Mart, and just wrap the entire box.  We prefer not to tape the boxes shut, as some tape will rip the pictures/packaging when you try to remove it.

e.      Place your custom label over the UPC on the outside of the plastic wrap.  Make sure that the plastic wrap is taped into place or snugly wrapped so that it does not shift.  For FBA, all existing barcodes besides the one you create must be covered.

f.        Many board games are over-sized.  Make sure when you are generating your shipment to place them in the same shipments, to cut down on postage costs.       

 

3)      Shipping.  Once you have them prepared, place them in a box with adequate padding.  Ensure that if you stack them on top of each other, do not place a board game that is skinnier than the edges on top of another game.  If you have a game that is supporting another smaller game on top, there is a good chance that the box will bow in the center. 

That is it.  When you ensure that your games are packed well, it ensures that your customers are happy with the things that they order.   Make sure you show the same care with your listing, and people will love to buy from you.  If you have any questions, please contact us at amusingtreasures@gmail.com.