April 05, 2013 by Mike
Good afternoon sellers!
We’re proud to announce that AutoMCF will begin supporting eBay’s Global Shipping Program starting tomorrow, April 6th!
In case you aren’t familiar, eBay’s Global Shipping Program simplifies selling an item to an international buyer. The item first gets shipped to a US shipping center. Then, international shipping experts manage the international shipping and customs process, and send the item to the international buyer. Learn more about the program here.
Now you can automate this process, just like the rest of your eBay orders, using AutoMCF and Fulfillment by Amazon.
How to use Global Shipping with AutoMCF
If you’re already using the Global Shipping Program on eBay, there’s nothing more you need to do. AutoMCF will process your orders as normal and use the US shipping center address that eBay supplies when creating the fulfillment order in FBA. Only paid orders that have not been marked as “shipped” will be processed.
Otherwise, click here for more information about the Global Shipping Program and for instructions on how to opt-in.
February 28, 2013 by Mike
Amazon has launched a new set of tools to help you preview your expected FBA fees for each order. Based on the ASINs in your inventory, you can now see your FBA fulfillment fees, along with the sales commission fees (based on your rate card), in advance of each order. The Fee Preview tools are available in your seller central account.
Fees are viewable in 2 ways:
1) Within your seller inventory, there is now a column on the far right that shows the expected fee for that item.
2) Within Reports —> Fulfillment, there is now a Fee Preview Report available for download (also along the right side).
BUT WAIT, there are also a few other features that are new in Seller Central! You can now:
- Reconcile inbound shipments more easily from the Shipping Queue.
- Track your removal order status and detail more accurately with two new removal reports.
- Manage your FBA inventory in one place and view status in near-real time from the Manage Orders page.
- Access important Sales Tax reporting with a new Customer Taxes report.
To learn more about these new features, check the link!
November 18, 2012 by admin
As of today, AutoFBA, the online tool that you’ve grown to love is now called AutoMCF — automated multi-channel fulfillment. This is the first (small) step in broadening our products and features, so watch for more exciting news to come soon!
August 23, 2012 by Mike
If you didn’t catch the headline yesterday, Amazon announced that they’ve expanded FBA’s international fulfillment to include non-media items! This program, now called FBA Export, will allow more of your inventory sold through Amazon Marketplace to be available to international customers than ever before.
What’s New? International customers will now be able to purchase your non-media items and calculate their shipping, duty, and taxes right on the spot! You won’t have to do anything differently, and there are no extra costs on your end.
What Else? Media items can now be sold and shipped internationally through Multi-Channel Fulfillment! This means you can start offering international shipping on your books, music, video and DVD (BMVD) items whenever you list them on Buy.com, eBay, or Sears Marketplace. One note: if you are manually entering your Multi-Channel Fulfillment orders, you’ll need to include the ISO 2 digit country code of the shipment destination. Fortunately, those aren’t hard to find!
Sign up for FBA Export here. Learn even more about it here.
Finally, while AutoFBA isn’t currently configured to support FBA Export, you can bet we’re working on our plan to implement this capability. Stay tuned for an update from us when that feature is released.
July 17, 2012 by Mike
If you are not yet using FBA for your fulfillment and warehousing, Amazon has re-introduced it’s incentive rebate to try and get you to test out the program. The program is for new accounts created before September 30th, 2012, so hurry up and get on board!
The rebates have 2 components:
1) Shipping Cost Rebate – (based on the fees paid to ship inventory TO Amazon between July 1 and September 30)
2) FBA Fees Rebate – (based on the fees paid for your orders to be fulfilled between July 1 and September 30)
This offer applies to all shipments received at and/or shipped from a qualified Amazon fulfillment center between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012. Qualified sellers will receive a one-time Shipping Cost Rebate in the amount of the actual cost, up to the amount earned per the above schedule, of their inbound shipments received at an Amazon fulfillment center between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012. For example, if Amazon receives 750 units from the seller between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012, at a verified shipping cost of $200, the seller will receive a Shipping Cost Rebate of $150. Qualified sellers will also receive a one-time FBA Fees Rebate in the amount of the actual cost, up to the amount earned per the above schedule, of FBA fees incurred for units shipped for the seller through FBA between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012. For example, if Amazon ships 750 of the seller’s units through FBA to fulfill the seller’s Amazon.com and off-Amazon.com orders between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012, and the seller incurs $700 in FBA fees, the seller will receive an FBA Fees Rebate of $600. The combined dollar amount of any Shipping Cost Rebate and FBA Fees Rebate earned will be deposited to or used to offset any negative balance in the seller’s Amazon Seller Account on or before November 1, 2012. The amount will be titled “Other.” This offer is not “incremental”; sellers will not accumulate more than one Shipping Cost Rebate or more than one FBA Fees Rebate. The seller must use the integrated UPS shipping account to send their products to Amazon unless prior arrangement is confirmed in writing by the Amazon sales associate. If using a carrier other than the Amazon UPS account, proof of shipping costs will be required to verify the costs of inbound shipments to an Amazon fulfillment center. Proof of shipping costs (for example, a bill of lading or official shipping receipt from the carrier) must be submitted to and received by an Amazon associate no later than October 10, 2012, otherwise such costs will not be considered in calculating the Shipping Cost Rebate.
To qualify for these rebates, a seller must sign up for FBA before September 30, 2012, and ship its first units to an Amazon fulfillment center between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012. The rebates earned will be based on only units received at a qualified Amazon fulfillment center between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012, and/or shipped from a qualified Amazon fulfillment center between July 1, 2012, and September 30, 2012. This rebate offer is void where prohibited. Amazon may terminate or modify the terms of this offer at any time in its sole discretion. This offer will not be applied retroactively to any units shipped to Amazon by a seller prior to the seller signing up for the Fulfillment by Amazon service.
NOT COVERED by REBATE!
The rebates earned by the seller will NOT cover any portion of the following costs and fees charged to the seller:
- FBA removal and return fees for inventory the seller requests Amazon to remove and/or return.
- Fees that are not part of FBA, including:
- Any sales commission or closing fees charged by Amazon in connection with the sale of any unit.
- Any subscription fees for any other Amazon program, including the Professional Selling plan and the WebStore by Amazon service.
June 12, 2012 by Mike
We’ve decided to pack up the AutoFBA party bus and head to Seattle for the 2012 Sellers’ Conference for Online Entrepreneurs!! This is our first year attending the show, and we’ve heard lots of great things about the event from our awesome customers.
This year’s conference runs from Sept 29 – Oct 1, and will include dozens of talks by industry leaders. Sellers on eBay, Amazon, Sears, or Buy.com are encouraged to attend. This year, attendance is being capped at around 400 people, so that there may be plenty of time for sellers to get some one-on-one interaction with Amazon support, as well as hands-on time with all of the cool sponsors….. like us!
Speaking of liking us, have you liked us on Facebook yet? Because you should!
To get a little more info on this conference, or to see if there might be value for you with your own business, check out their website: http://scoe.biz
*** Update — 7/17/12 ***
At the time of post, Amazon was still tentative on their ability to commit Seller Support resources to this year’s event. They’ve just announced that they will be there, and each seller will be able to get 30 minutes of 1-on-1 time!
May 09, 2012 by Mike
Hey there sellers!
We are delighted to inform everyone that autoFBA is now out of its private beta, and is open to the public! Easily connect your eBay, Buy.com, and Sears.com marketplace accounts to your Amazon FBA account, and the only thing left to do is watch your orders roll through!
Remember, with autoFBA you no longer have to manually enter an order in your Seller Central account, nor do you have to upload tracking info or update your inventory quantities on your other marketplaces. All of that is done for you!
Try it out today FREE for 30 days, with no credit card required at signup. We welcome any feedback you’d like to share, and look forward to bringing you more powerful apps in the future!
April 16, 2012 by Mike
Bloomberg is reporting today that retail sales were strong in March, with growth almost 3x over projections. Many major categories saw growth, not just seasonally-affected products, which suggests that weather wasn’t as key of a factor as overall economic development, the report suggests. For anyone interested in checking out the RSTAMOM chart (yeah Rasta Mom!), click here.
This is good news for sellers, considering other market indicators are still less than stellar at the moment (see stock market/housing index). Categories reporting a solid month include clothing, electronics, automobiles, furniture, and home improvement. This shows that consumers are becoming more resilient to the difficult times we’re facing. Let’s hope that those receiving tax returns this year will contribute to continued momentum in April.
March 21, 2012 by Mike
Amazon announced Monday that it had acquired robotics company Kiva Systems, a leading innovator of material handling technology. Long known to employ automation in its own fulfillment centers, it is unclear how exactly Amazon will add Kiva technology to its operation, but the potential implications of this deal could be pretty interesting.
Kiva technology is used by many leading retailers, including Sax Fifth Avenue, Toys R’ Us, Staples, GAP, and Estee Lauder, to facilitate the distribution of products to their physical network of stores. They have also made a push in recent years to be the technology of choice for ecommerce outfits (B2C fulfillment), working with such clients as Gilt Groupe, Drugstore.com, and Diapers.com, as well as partnering with ecommerce fulfillment solution Quiet Logistics, who has its own impressive portfolio of clients.
What does this sale mean for existing clients of Kiva Systems? Well, for now it seems likely that little will change. Kiva will continue to operate out of it’s headquarters in Massachusetts, even though it sold all outstanding shares to Amazon in the acquisition. However, there is no telling what plans Amazon might have for the strategic direction the company should go. Might they direct Kiva to focus exclusively on outfitting their own growing fulfillment operation? Will they withdraw support from competing fulfillment services that Kiva previously worked with? Could Amazon fold up the shop entirely in the near future to stifle some of its retail competitors???!!!???
Alright, perhaps that’s getting a little conspiratorial, and we aren’t really the aluminum-foil-hat-wearing type. But from what we know about the deal, we can get a sense of the seriousness of Amazon’s intentions:
This was a cash deal. A LOT of cash – $775 million to be precise. It was Amazon’s largest acquisition since 2009 when it purchased Zappos.com for over a billion clams. Traditional wisdom suggests that you can get a better price on your purchase by paying cash (instead of stock), but we know that Amazon isn’t swimming in an ocean of gold bullion (like others) deep enough to justify that kind of expenditure without it being strategically important. We also know that Amazon’s operating margins are projected to be very thin this year, which has put pressure on them to increase profits and protect dividends to shareholders. A cash deal will protect shareholders from giving up any increases in share value to the newly acquired company.
What a cash deal also means for an acquisition like this is that the buyer assumes all of the risk of the future value of the purchase, since they’ve already paid out what they felt the value of the purchase actually was. In a stock deal, there would have been an incentive for the seller (Kiva) to continue to operate efficiently and effectively and grow their business in order to realize greater gains down the road on the shares they receive.
In our view, Amazon is placing a pretty nice wager on Kiva continuing to produce technology to scale them into their growing logistical infrastructure. It’s no secret that Amazon’s labor costs have risen faster than their revenues, so this is a smart way to help buck that trend, as well as scare some of its competitors. Hopefully sellers using FBA will see this as a huge step in the right direction for the program.
March 05, 2012 by Mike
As our favorite pastime (selling stuff online) continues to grow, sellers are finding more tools to help them along, and lower barriers to entry. While we believe in the power of simplicity for our software, the fact remains that from super simple to painfully complex, there are boatloads of programs out there to help you out, and that official number (boatloads) is growing.
From ecommerce platforms, shopping cart solutions, and fulfillment services, to payment gateways, accounting software, and analytics, to Seller AppVantage (we have no shame), today’s ecommerce retailer has to spend more time figuring out what software is best for them than actually setting up shop. While we <3 technology, and some of the new software out there is both clean, and helpful for the promising seller (see MailChimp, Retailr, autoFBA), software will only take you so far in your quest to be the next seller kingpin.
So what do you REALLY need to do? What do you need to think about constantly, look for aggressively, dream about day and night? What above all else will make you a more successful seller?
One thing: inventory.
The key to Amazon’s success is not that they had great traffic, or great branding, or the best technology, it’s that they recognized the need for aggregating all products “from a to z” under one roof. Heck, they even did it the lazy way, asking for the help of marketplace sellers to provide the ammo to get it done. Now Amazon is widely known as a one stop shop for anything you need, because you are helping them provide the real secret sauce, the inventory.
Selling products is becoming fiercely competitive. With automatic re-pricing tools (both on Amazon’s end and from 3rd parties) driving margins down, people having access to the same goods, reliable and affordable logistics, there is no telling when someone new will enter the game that you are already in and split the market that you enjoy up into smaller pieces.
The best way to capitalize on the marketplace system as we currently know it is to find new categories to branch off into. Selling books and media? Try out vintage goods (great for eBay!). Mostly familiar with electronics? Research some companies in a seasonal category and do a little biz dev. We come from a background dealing in e&o and distressed inventory. It used to be super easy because no one know about it, and times were great. Now it’s a game that’s catching on, and while there is still a great opportunity there (manufacturers come out with new products constantly, putting old product out to pasture), you have to be creative.
Set a goal for yourself to find a new category of products that are both new to your business and profitable. Even if they aren’t super exclusive, you will benefit from the experience of sourcing something new and the relationships you can cultivate.