Saturday, September 29, 2012

Before you use webstore by Amazon

I signed up for this program about 2 weeks ago. It says the first month was free and then I would start having to pay monthly fees. About two years ago I tried to use eBays prostores without success and closed it within the trial period.  Ive been selling on Amazon for over two years now and wanted to give it a try.

Well I signed up for it.  My first issue was that it said it would take 48-72 hours before my listings were imported. Perhaps I read it wrong but after reading it I thought all the images, descriptions and categories would automatically move over since they already existed on Amazons website.  After 3 days I go back and see nothing so I wait, 2 more days and still I cant see anything. I called Amazon - 5 days wasted here - they tell me over 700 listings were moved over. If thats the case why cant I see them? I was looking in the wrong place.  They also tell me I have to assign categories for my items. Oh man extra work.  Now I thought they would share the same categories as Amazon, so wrong there.  I create categories and start assigning listings the categories.  Well for some reason they were not being assigned. After more searching I find a report telling me what the problem is. The report just says this sku number is missing XY&Z.  Now I gotta research what items are having problems.

The skus that were referenced were items added into my Amazon store but I never added a description or images as they already existed on the website.  Imagine my surprise that since all that information was missing they would not be seen on my personal webstore! Now I have to go back to every single listing upload an image, add descriptions, weights, and more details.   Now I have wasted the past 3 days entering information and Im still not done!   I made my site live but its missing everything so its very empty!  Of course the only things that moved over without a problem are items that I created so all the details were there.  Im still having an issue with some items that are telling me Im not allowed to alter them but Im working on fixing the ones I can before I tackle the harder ones.  Another problem Im finding is issues with listings that show multiple sizes. Again something to attack once I get the bulk of the other issues fixed.

Let this be a warning to you. Before you start using Amazon webstore be sure that all your listings have all those items.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Im going to run for the board of the local Chamber of Commerce!

I dont think its going to be that hard, but  I decided to run to be on the board of the Chamber. We are in such a small town Im not sure there is much to do but we have to bring it!  There are over half dozen salons in this town alone, a few places to eat, and even less places to shop.  So why cant we hang on the coattails of Warwick?  When they are having an event we should be included for all of them. I mean Florida is party of Warwick why not?

I hope to start promoting this lovely town with monthly events. Either ladies night out, kids day, awareness months, of course any and all special events.  Now that we have the internet we should be able to do more to get our names out there.  Maybe this town will even grow more because people are getting more and more familiar with this wonderful area.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Personalized Ornaments

Back in January, over 8 months ago I went to an expo.  I saw personalized ornaments and thought I would give it a try.  I have other personalized items which I have had success with. The thing with these ornaments was that I had to write it.  I can do it right?

So 8 months go by and well I forget about it until I got the email that they were shipping my box.  I happened to be away the day the email came in. I should have called and cancelled the order.  But by the time I saw it, it was the weekend and too late.  The packages arrive on Tuesday, the display arrives two days later.  I started putting it all together and the display looks good. I listed a few on Amazon and a few on eBay.  In the past 3 weeks I sold maybe 6. The first personalized one I did was just three letters and it was easy. The next was just as easy.  The most recent one wanted three lines in various places and long details it was a lot. So I did my best creating this ornament with the tiny spaces I had.  Imagine my surprise when I get the email thanking me for sending it out so quickly but the writing is horrible and disgusting.  Man did that kill my smile today!

Im thinking of just selling them without personalizing them but what would be the point in that right?  Who wants to personalize the items themselves? Or blank ornaments?  Not sure if I can return these items. Should I even bother? I feel so defeated right now.  The invoice says 20% restocking fee and the display cost $300 so I think I am stuck with these.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Disney's D-Tech Me at World of Disney Downtown Marketplace

The last week of August we visited Disney for a short trip. It was my daughters birthday and she wanted to go to Disney. We didnt mind either. The plan was to just spend the week by the pool. It was our first time going on vacation and not going to a theme park!

We stayed at Saratoga Springs resort in a deluxe studio.  There was just three of us and with such a short stay we didnt want to go a too crazy. We drove from NY to FL in our Prius. It was the first long trip in that car, amazing too since we got some excellent gas milage for the trip.  Overall I think we spent about $200 in gas.  Its cheaper then flying of course and renting a car.  Especially since we were just going to hang around the pool.

We arrived in FL around noonish and they allowed us to check it. It was a little wet so we were concerned about rain. Hurricane Isaac had just reached Florida and was heading towards New Orleans.  It was crazy but we were not going to cancel our trip.

Any event, Saratoga springs was walking distance to downtown marketplace in Disney, one night we walked around the marketplace. The weather was sketchy and it would rain then stop then rain then stop over and over and over.  It was a pain.

We got to the World of Disney store, if you have ever been you know its very large! We took our time walking thru the store.  When we got to the side were the Boutique is my daughter gets excited and wanted to get her self done up. I was on the fence, she had it done a very long time ago and maybe it would be nice but I was stalling.  Walking around we found D-Tech me. It had just opened up they told us.

They take images of your child and put them on a figurine! All the princess were available as a choice, she wanted Cinderella of course, naturally we were intrigued.  They had two sizes available and we were really wanting the smaller one. Turned out you cant get the small one because its an 'add on' to the large one.  You can choose the hair color of the princess - she wanted the original blonde for Cinderella. The figure stands about 6 inches tall.

Well we gave in and we did it. They took a picture of my daughter, the high tech camera took an image from 8 different angles. It was amazing. We were able to choose the image we wanted to use. They took about 8 shots and we picked the best one.  They told us it would take about 5-6 weeks to get it.The order was placed on August 28, the package arrived on Sept 12. That is just over two weeks time! Pretty amazing.

The only thing I was bummed about was that the package had no note, or message or anything just the figurine inside the box.  Dunno what I was expecting but besides the nice box the delivery was boring.

Poem about princess. 

The front of the box

Other side of the box

Cinderella figurine

Final item.

Does it look like my daughter? Yes I think so! 

The large figure cost $99.95, the small on was an add on for $39.95, plus tax and shipping.  Shipping was via FedEx. There was no wait, we walked by and she got in within seconds.  Because of the wait and the fact they were not getting something right there, they gave her a charm bracelet with a heart.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trying to promote this tiny town.

Ive been in this location for a year now. We are planning to have a party and perhaps a tournament to generate interest, get people inside.  Its so quiet, maybe Florida was not the place to open my store. No one walks thru this town!  Its like deserted! How can we promote our town if the locals dont utilize its services?

We got various products with 'Florida, New York' written on them. Hats, Shirts, magnets, bookmarks, bags! Argh!

Im at a loss at what to do to generate more foot traffic.  We have a lot of neat products as well as personalized and customized items.  I keep thinking of changing the name, I even toyed with the idea of just closing up shop and sticking to being internet based.

I tried a 'back to school' section. Got backpacks, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, cases, crayons and all that and nothing. Guess that 1 cent offers from those big box stores was a better deal that I could offer.

I was in the supermarket last night, they had Thanksgiving things out already!  I dont even have Halloween out. Am I behind? Was this something too big I cant handle?



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fulfillment by Amazon part 2

In the first post I explained how the process worked and all which I thought it was going well.  I spoke of an item I sent which they marked as oversize which increased the feesm thus increasing the price dramatically.  I was not happy about it but I didnt want to return them back to me since I already paid to send it to them so I figured Id wait it out.  After they all sold I would not use FBA for that particular item anymore.

To my surprise they sold even at the higher price. Then here is the kicker - a buyer returns an item saying its not as described! Im like what? Ive sold dozens and no one has ever said that. So now Im annoyed but whatever. The item is return by the customer and the customer was refunded, Im not involved with shipping costs so I cant see that. I, as a seller, was refunded only the commission fees charged by Amazon. All the FBA fees are not refunded at all. So now I am out all this money.  To top it off the item is returned and Amazon marked it damaged! Seriously? I contacted Amazon and they will be returning that particular item within 14 days or so, I asked about the damaged and they couldnt tell me what it meant, it could be anything. Original Packaging could me missing, dirty or really damaged. If this item is broken in anyway I am out the cost now.  So the item sold to the customer and returned, which put the whole transaction in the 'hole' you know 'in the negative'  -  if Amazon sold the item sold again it would have made everything 'even' but nows its being returned to me until I can assess the 'damage' to the item.  Still in the 'hole'.

I dont think I will be using FBA again.  I sent some toys but they can keep them there. They are in boxes and I really dont want them here.  I hope they sell soon.  I think I wasted more money trying to use FBA then I actually made. Unless your selling items that are not oversized or items that are high priced I would not recommend it because of the fees.

Oversize was $6, plus 37 cent per pound, plus storage, per item, plus commissions.
Regular was $1, plus, 37 cents per pound, plus storage, per item, plus commissions.

If your already selling on Amazon your already paying the commissions fees.  If your planning to try FBA figure an additional  $1.85 or so per item to add, which seems like no big deal.  Make sure your item is not oversized - check the Amazon website for the measurements to be sure. My item was 'oversized' because one side was 14.3 inches, that .3 shot it over. Didnt matter that it was a bag that I shipped to them folded and could be sent to a buyer folded too. It was measured flat. And how the item gained .3 inches it beyond me!  Argh so frustrated by it. Yes many people have success with it, but you need to fall within the measurements and weights,  and have a decent price to justify the additional costs.

High Shipping Prices.

Just got this message in feedback the other day...

'Really light and small charged to much for shipping'.  It was positive score but Im 'positive' they gave a low DSR for the shipping section.  So Im a little peeved because we have very low shipping rates. While many of our products offer FREE shipping, equally many of our products do have a cost. All our rates are based on weight and sometimes we use the flat rate charges instead.  When we enter 1 ounce the minimum eBay shows shipping fees is $1.95 - when we use a flat rate I use $1.75.  (This is under our settings)

A lot of the products are well under 3 ounces, so everything is light. We do get discounts for printing online labels on eBay and Amazon. Free delivery confirmation is one of those discounts but if you took this package to the post office they would charge you the same charge we pay. The lowest price I would pay for shipping is $1.64 not counting the cost of the envelope, my travel time to and from the post office, my time to pack the item and anything else you can think of. At the post office delivery confirmation is an additional fee. When someone wrote $1.75 is too much for shipping I was floored.

We used to send some of the tiny items inside envelopes and sold them like crazy and shipping costs were 50 cents.  Unfortunately because of new eBay requirements they wont let us do that.  I would save everyone a lot of money if I put these things in envelopes and used a stamp.

I thought of just including the price of shipping inside the price of the item and marking it free shipping but then my item would be 'too expensive'.

Call me crazy but if you agree to pay the posted price you shouldnt be able to complain about it.

Blue moon causing crazy online buyers?

This must be the biggest month for complainers this month.

Off the top of my head its the only thing I can think of that is causing this craziness.

Just got a neutral feedback mark on eBay today because the package was delivered two days beyond the estimated delivery date! Two days? Really? Thats a cause for complaining I am sure. I wanted to reply with - guess you have never been pregnant? And Sorry Im not perfect like you must be!  And - there are no guarantees in life only in death and taxes!  I almost wrote - guess you dont know the definition of estimate and guaranteed delivery.  I want to start a blog to post all about the stupid questions and complaints I get! It would be long lol.  I have not replied yet to their remark, I am waiting to calm down.  I may just put the standard about not having control over the post office and your package was packaged and delivered next business day.  What more can you do right?

Another crazy buyer purchased stencils for glitter tattoos.  We sell a ton of these and majority of them are professional artist that know how to use them.  We never include instructions and we sell them in lots of 5 at a time. Sometimes we get special requests when people dont want to order from multiple lots.  I offer a small discount when they do this since I can just invoice them via paypal and remove eBay from the equation.

So one buyer leaves a neutral saying ' I was under the impression it was more stencils that what had come in'  and I was like what?  The listing says lot of 5 stencils how many more were you expecting?  So I added a new line to ALL the listings saying - Lot of 5 means 5 individual stencils.  Sometimes I feel like I am dealing with infants!

Another buyer purchases stencils on Monday and says they want it for a birthday party that Friday from NY to CA. Well I make sure it was delivered the same day.  And I guess they got it since I didnt get notification that they didnt.  Instead I get an email complaining that the stencils were difficult to use and they wanted replacements or a refund!  Again I was like what?  After a few emails back and forth they seemed to back off.  We dont provide instructions on how to use them.  Nor do we refund for them because you dont know how to use them. Its like buying a piece of meat, cooking it, then asking for a refund because it tasted horrible!  Not happening this isnt a restaurant or a place where you can get something for nothing.  I have not heard back from this buyer but I am betting its not over.

A buyer on another platform (Amazon) placed an order on a Saturday and requested 2nd day air. I shipped the item on Monday and it arrived to them on Tuesday that Thursday I get an email from the buyer indicating that they wanted to return the item because they never placed that order. Here is goes, Im like what?  If you cancelled this order I would not have gotten a request to send it to you.  Not only that you have to 'select' second day air its not an automatic option.  So I let the buyer know they can return the item but shipping costs are not refundable.  The buyer became upset and says to us that they will get all their money back because the order was cancelled. About a week later a package comes in, inside was an item I had never seen before along with a letter from this buyer. Not a nice letter AND the product was not mine, it was a product I dont sell. So I called Amazon asking for guidance cause I can see this case can get out of control.  They told me I cant issue a refund if they dont return the correct item. They also told me that once an order is placed the buyer has 30 minutes to cancel the order. Beyond that they can contact the seller to request a cancellation.  Well we never got that and neither did Amazon so we are in the right so far.  I emailed the buyer saying if they want a refund they need to return the correct item to us and if they want the 'wrong' item back they will have to provide a prepaid label.  Its been a few days and we have not heard anything yet so cross your fingers lol.

Today I get an email from someone asking why they cant buy two of said item? Well turned out there is only ONE in the listing... wow really?  I replied you cant buy two cause the listing is for one.  I tell ya, that blue moon cause some crazies!