We use the inkFrog blog to provide lots of different kinds of information to sellers, including information on some the best strategies for succeeding on eBay.
With everything that we post, however, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to keep up—as the days and weeks fly by, still-very-current tips and tricks can get buried under a pile of more recent posts, leaving sellers to wonder whether we've covered a topic here at all.
So here are some of our most recent how-to posts all in one place—to help sellers to find and make use of all of them quickly.
Consistent branding is one key big-picture strategy for e-commerce success.
Big-Picture eBay Business Strategies
Before you get into the click-by-click strategies, there are some big-picture things that you need to do to ensure that you create a healthy, growing business.
Establish Consistent Branding Across your Online Storefronts. What it looks like when your eBay, Amazon, and Shopify brands match—and why it matters. Read the article! →
Easy Ways to Increase Your Professionalism. Looking pro is important for long-term growth and repeat business. Here's how to do it inexpensively. Read the article! →
How to Get Un-Suspended on eBay. Suspensions and mean that you have problems to address. But in the meantime, how do you get back to selling? Here are some tips. Read the article! →
Your positioning in eBay search results is going to become more and more important, so it pays to focus efforts there.
eBay Listing Strategies
Once you nail down the big-picture business basics, focus on these strategies to ensure that your listings are ranking in search and driving desire in shoppers.
How to Create eBay Item Descriptions that Lead to Sales. What to include in your item descriptions, and how to do it, to generate sales. Read the article! →
How to Create eBay Listing Titles that Rank and Sell. How to create eBay listing titles that are search-friendly and sales-friendly. Read the article! →
Rank Higher and Get Your Listings Seen in eBay Search. How to master eBay's search algorithm and propel yourself to the top of the rankings. Read the article! →
How to Enter eBay Item Specifics in inkFrog. How to use inkFrog to populate item specifics in eBay listings, and add your own as well. Read the article! →
Create Better Listings when Moving non-eBay Inventory to eBay. How to turn listings from other platforms into listings that will sell well on eBay. Read the article! →
Listing templates are an incredible, flexible inkFrog tool for driving growth in your business with minimal effort.
inkFrog Strategies for eBay Templates and Images
Once you have the business and listing basics down, you're ready to tackle specifics like beautifying your listiings using inkFrog templates and achieving perfect product images using inkFrog tools.
How to maintain Thousands of Listings with inkFrog Templates. How to use inkFrog's templates to manage, update, and maintain a large library of listings. Read the article! →
What to Customize in inkFrog Listing Templates. What customizations to make to inkFrog's listing templates before using them yourself. Read the article! →
Profitable Uses for the Photo Space in inkFrog Templates. What to do with all that extra space in inkFrog's designer templates—to increase sales and profits. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog to Create a Library of Holiday Templates. How to quickly and easily create a library of holiday-themed templates that echo your standard templates. Read the article! →
inkFrog provides powerful image editing tools to perfect your product photos—tools that are much easier to use than most other image editors.
Key Things You Can Do with inkFrog's Designer Templates. Great ideas for leveraging features of inkFrog's templates into extra profits and sales. Read the article! →
Save Time by Editing Product Images Inside inkFrog. How to get perfect eBay listing images quickly, using the right equipment and inkFrog's built-in tools. Read the article! →
inkFrog's Image Editing Tools, Step by Step, Part 1. What each inkFrog image editing tool does, with concrete visual examples. Read the article! →
inkFrog's Image Editing Tools, Step by Step, Part 2. How to combine operations from inkFrog's image editing tools to turn a losing image into a winning one, step by step. Read the article! →
How to Manage a Large inkFrog Image Library Efficiently. How to manage a library of many thousands of images quickly and efficiently in inkFrog. Read the article! →
inkFrog's folder system takes much of the pain out of eBay image, listing, and message management.
Other Time-Saving inkFrog Strategies
For established businesses, saving and making more cost-effective use of time are often the key concerns. These inkFrog strategies will save you time and help you to scale.
Use inkFrog Folders to Organize Images, Listings, and Messages. How to use inkFrog's folders feature to make life with eBay images, listings, and messages easier. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog Profiles to Quickly Create, Update, and Maintain Listings. How to use inkFrog's profile features to accelerate your listing management and updates. Read the article! →
Create Multiple eBay Accounts and Link them All to inkFrog. How to use multiple eBay accounts with one inkFrog account, and the benefits you'll see by doing so. Read the article! →
How to Use inkFrog Staff Accounts to Employ Virtual Assistants. How inkFrog's staff accounts feature works, and how it enables you to grow more quickly. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog Staff Accounts to Hire These Four Kinds of Employees. What kinds of employees you should consider hiring first, then putting to work under staff accounts. Read the article! →
With inkFrog's synchronization tools, becoming a multi-channel eBay, Amazon, and Shopify seller is easy.
Have inkFrog Automatically Leave Feedback for You. How to automate your eBay feedback using inkFrog tools. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog to Automatically Relist Unsold Inventory. How to configure inkFrog to automatically relist unsold inventory for you. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog to Move Listings Between eBay Accounts. How to use inkFrog to move listings between your eBay accounts with just a couple of clicks. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog to Get Your Amazon Inventory on eBay Quickly. How to use inkFrog to get your Amazon inventory up for sale on eBay quickly. Read the article! →
Use inkFrog to Sell on Both Shopify and eBay at Once. How to use inkFrog to get your Shopify inventory up for sale on eBay quickly. Read the article! →
Customize and Manage Your Synchronization Settings. What sorts of changes you need to make to your Amazon or Shopify listings as you import them for listing on eBay. Read the article! →
Video is just one strategy you should probably be adopting for e-commerce success in 2019.
E-commerce Strategies for 2019
The e-commerce landscape is constantly changing, and 2019 will be no different in this regard. Here are some things to know for the year ahead to help you to outrun the competition.
E-commerce Trends for 2019. Big-picture e-commerce strategies that are going to drive success in 2019, no matter which platform(s) you sell on. Read the article! →
Drop-Shipping Tips for 2019. How to survive and thrive as a drop-shipper in the crowded drop-shipping market in 2019.Read the article! →
Videos to Consider Making for Your Business in 2019. The kinds of videos you should be creating and using to promote your business in 2019. Read the article! →
Ready for More?
If you've read through all of these helpful articles, you're well on your way to becoming an inkFrog (and e-commerce) guru. Want more?
We're constantly publishing new ones—so continue to read the inkFrog blog until the next time we publish an omnibus index like this one!
eBay shoppers in 2018 expect generous return policies of they'll go elsewhere to shop. eBay is well aware of this fact—and as a result, has been pressing sellers to offer such policies for some time now.
Use the "International Returns Accepted" checkbox and options to set an international return policy that differs from your domestic return policy.
The trouble for sellers is that not all returns are created equal. Different items call for different return policies—and so do different buyers—if a seller is going to be able to stay afloat.
inkFrog enables sellers to create flexible return policies as profiles, and to make these policies different for domestic and international buyers on each eBay site.
Creating Domestic and International Return Policies
In the "Return Profile" area of the "Create New Listing" form, there are two checkboxes related to your returns policy for the listing:
International Returns Accepted
Each of these does precisely what its name suggests. Check the "Returns Accepted" box to accept returns from domestic buyers for the eBay site in question. Check the "International Returns Accepted" box to accept returns from international buyers for the eBay site in question.
In each case, if you enable returns, you'll then be able to also select:
Return window. Use the first drop-down list to select the time period within which returns must occur.
Refund method. Use the second drop-down list to select what the outcome of a successful return will be—a simple refund or the option of replacement (with a like item) or exchange (the value of the purchase applied to another item from inventory).
Save the return policies that you create as profiles to be used with other, similar products in your inventory.
Return shipping responsibility. Use the third drop-down list to select who will pay the shipping costs for the item being returned.
inkFrog's ability to provide this set of choices once for domestic returns and a second time for international returns enables you to manage costs and complexity to provide the best possible service to domestic buyers, without being constrained by the more costly realities of international returns.
Saving a Returns Policy as a Profile
Once you've made your selections on the listing form, you can save your returns policy as a profile to be used with other similar products in the future.
To do this, click "Save as new profile" once you've made your selections. You'll be asked to provide a name for your new returns profile, and also whether you'd like to link the profile to the listing you're creating.
In most cases, linking should be your preference—when a profile is linked to a listing, any updates to the profile in question will also update all of the live listings to which it is linked.
Using Your Profile with New Listings
After saving a returns profile, you can use it for any new listings that you create by clicking the "Link existing profile" button on the listing form, on the right side of the return profile area.
To use a saved profile with a new listing, click "Link existing profile" button in the listing creation form.
When you click the button, you'll be asked to select the profile to be used for your new listing from a list of the returns profiles you've already created. Select the desired profile, then click "Link selected" to apply the profile to the listing.
Once a profile has been linked to a listing, any changes to the profile will also update the policy in the listing—and in any other listings also linked to the profile.
Offering Returns with Confidence
By easily creating and using granular shipping policies that vary with the products that you offer and the locations of your buyers, you'll be able to offer levels of service that make you competitive for return-friendly items and shoppers without having to risk losing your shirt where generous return policies don't make sense.
That's a win-win for everyone.
Posted on December 10, 2018
Don't get stymied by your eBay return policies. Just create granular policies—for products and for shoppers—and save them for later re-use.
In some ways, it's harder than it ever has been to be an online seller—competition is incredibly intense, margins continue to fall, and the expectations of shoppers are higher and higher.
On the other hand, there's also never been a better time to be a seller—the level of professionalism that even small sellers can achieve is higher than it has ever been before.
Here are some of the things that small sellers are now doing to play right alongside far bigger companies.
With today's great smartphone cameras, inexpensive digital SLR cameras, and inexpensive lightboxes, even sellers that are just starting out and operating on a shoestring can put together studio-quality product photos that make products look amazing.
How to take advantage:
Making high-quality photos and videos is less expensive and easier to do than ever before. (Image: © StockRocket / Fotolia)
Get a recent smartphone or an entry-level DSLR camera
Get an inexpensive photography lightbox—they can be had for less than the price of a movie ticket and popcorn these days
Take advantage of inkFrog's photo editing tools to make your images perfect quickly
The same smartphone or DSLR gear used for better photography can also be used to create pro-quality videos, if you also invest in an inexpensive tripod and basic video editing software, then find a nice setting in your home or business environment.
How to take advantage:
Get an inexpensive tripod—no high-end features needed, just something to hold your gear
Get ahold of iMovie or a similar program for your computer or tablet and learn to make basic edits
Start producing basic social media and product videos that will help to build a loyal shopper base
Yes, anyone can advertise online these days, and it doesn't cost a fortune. Take a day to learn—then reach a new world of the shoppers that you want to target.
There was a time when global advertising was out of the reach of most small businesses, but in the present, any seller can reach any audience anywhere around the globe for very little money. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and most importantly search advertising with Google and Bing enable you to reach new shoppers anytime you like.
How to take advantage:
Set aside a few dollars (literally) to experiment with advertising
Pick a platform or two—Facebook and Google Ads are good places to start—and learn about them
Start running inexpensive ad campaigns to reach shoppers that'd otherwise never find you
Polished fulfillment experiences.
With eBay now offering eBay-branded packaging material along with easy-print labels, and Amazon FBA providing professional packaging as well, the delivery experience for even first-time sellers can match the best the industry has to offer.
Pair with simple bubble wrap and laser-printed packing slips or included business cards for an unboxing experience that's top-shelf.
How to take advantage:
Either get your own branded shipping materials or take advantage of eBay-branded shipping materials for the professional touch.
On eBay, get eBay-branded packing materials and an inexpensive food scale, then pre-print labels
On Amazon, take advantage of the FBA service
Use your own printer to create packing slips and marketing material to include in boxes
Smooth returns and exchanges.
The days of having to negotiate returns and exchanges by email—along with the embarrassment and goofiness that this generates in comparison to major retailers—are over. Instead, sellers on eBay and Amazon can now deliver a first-class experience to shoppers when problems arise.
How to take advantage:
Opt in to the eBay managed returns program
Be sure to handle any returns, refunds, and re-shipments promptly to preserve the experience
Don't Put it Off, Take Advantage
Even if business is going well and sales are coming in, don't put off taking advantage of all that the modern e-commerce ecosystem has to offer. No matter how well things are going, they go even better when you polish the rough edges away and take a step up to the next level.
This is especially true when each of the strategies above are so easy today to take advantage of—and when your competition is increasingly likely to be using them. So get started today!
Posted on December 03, 2018
Think you can't look like an established, high-gloss operation because you're just starting out? Think again. Try these easy strategies and look the part.
Social media has emerged as an engine of growth in the e-commerce age, but amongst all the social media platforms, none has quite the untapped potential that YouTube does.
This is because creating video assets gets you more bang for your effort than just about any other kind of content. For example, YouTube videos can be used:
To drive engagement, loyalty, and content marketing directly
To show off products in listings and offers
To provide detailed information about your company and your offerings
As ads on other social media platforms
As ads on YouTube itself
Successful small- to mid-sized business are increasingly using video content to drive traffic and sales. Based on what some of the most successful are doing, here are several kinds of videos you should be considering making about your products.
As you read, check out the videos on the right side of this post for varied examples of what successful eBay sellers in particular are doing with video.
1. The "our business" video.
These videos introduce your business and tell your audience why they should buy from you. They're emphatically not just ad pitches; social media is generally the wrong place for that.
In this kind of video, you may choose to get excited about your mission and values in the world. You may talk about why you love the business you're in, the products that you sell, and the people that buy from you. You may show a few of your products, but all by way of showing enthusiasm for your mission.
Whatever you choose to put in it, it should show something beyond your inventory and something beyond the idea that you want to earn sales.
2. The "how to" explainer video.
These videos are not primarily about the products that you sell, but about how those products get used. These are the classic social media "content marketing" videos.
Sell garden tools? Start producing videos on key gardening topics—using and pitching your tools along the way. Sell wristwatches? Start producing videos on how to use a chronograph with a tachymeter to time a race, or how to use bezel compass marks to indicate direction. And so on.
Use this content not to sell your products or your company but rather to sell your expertise about the kinds of products that you sell. It's useful to your audience, which builds loyalty amongst precisely the people that are your biggest potential market, and it establishes by implication that since you are an expert, the products that you offer are expert-approved.
3. The "show off a product" video.
These videos, which are easy to make, simply show your excitement for the best products in your niche (at least the majority of which you conveniently carry).
Start the video by introducing yourself, your store, and the product featured in the video as an excitement-worthy item in your inventory.
Show the product a great deal, from different angles, as you talk about its specifications and properties. Gush over the good points. Relay weaknesses, but don't call them that—simply outline them accurately and move on (not "it's only got one megabyte of memory, which is a forgivable downer" but rather "it comes with one megabyte of memory and an 8.4 inch screen").
Include common uses for the product (not necessarily shown, but named) and how much buyers have liked it. Wrap up with a price and a nudge to go and pick one up at your store.
4. The "review" video.
Closely related to the the product video, the review video tries harder to be objective, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses of the product objectively.
In some cases, you might pick two products that you carry that directly compete with one another—and between which shoppers might be having difficulty deciding—and help shoppers to decide.
The best review videos give shoppers an honest view of the strengths and weaknesses your products, building trust in your honesty and expertise as a seller, while continuing to drive enthusiasm about your goods and your business.
5. The "seasonal promotion" video.
As YouTube marketing videos have grown amongst sellers, the promotion video has also become a genre of interest to shoppers.
In the promotion video, sellers outline a promotion—a discount, holiday sale, bundle buy, free gift, or other shopper enticement—and they do it before the promotion actually begins.
The video outlines which products are going on sale, at what prices, when the promotion begins, and when it ends. It sells the promotion as an opportunity for shoppers to get a great deal—and as something you're really excited to offer them as a seller.
Be sure to mention any promotions that are rare and unusual. Think "this is the first time we've ever discounted products from Brand X" or "we've never offered a discount this big before; it took a lot of work, but we're thrilled to bring it to you."
These videos go over well with shoppers and, combined with clear timing information, tend to magnify the successful effects of a promotion by orders of magnitude.
Get Out There and Video
Over the last year or two, some of the most innovative and successful small and mid-sized sellers have led the way in creating this new genre of promotional video content that shoppers not only enjoy, but adopt as entertainment.
In fact, there are three keys to making all of these kinds of videos a success, beyond the content shown in them:
They should feature a real person and a real voice, who excels in speaking on video and is ready to represent your business through many videos to come
They should be entertaining and useful—things that shoppers seek out and want to watch
They should be made regularly and in volume, and posted to a single place—like your YouTube channel—that shoppers are encouraged to like and share
We won't say that you'll be completely left behind if you don't start a video channel somewhere—though it could certainly happen if a competitor takes these steps and you don't—but we will say that if you aren't out there branding yourself in video over the next year or two, you're likely leaving money and loyal shoppers on the table.
Posted on November 30, 2018
You've heard that video is hot in e-commerce. But what kinds of videos should you be making? Here are some ideas and examples.
We know that there are a number of sellers using inkFrog who count drop-shipping as an important component of their business model—and that at any given time, new sellers are considering entering e-commerce via drop-shipping.
Drop-shipping is a constantly moving target, however—particularly with the speed at which e-commerce is evolving today and the number of new entrants who are always looking to give drop-shipping a go.
Here are five timely tips for those looking to start drop-shipping in 2019.
Competing on price is no longer a winning strategy for most drop-shippers. Instead, try competing on value—the value of the entire experience that you provide. (Image: © gustavofrazao / Fotolia)
1. Basically forget about competing on price.
Not so long ago, drop-shipping direct from China was a key strategy that sellers used to undercut domestic competitors on price. Long shipping times and worse customer service were offset by direct import pricing that was significantly less expensive, enabling both high margins and happy shoppers.
Those days are over.
The China wholesale supply chain is now firmly in place for sellers of virtually every size, meaning that drop-shippers are now competing not against sellers that pay much more for their inventory, but sellers that pay less—and can often deliver faster thanks to on-shore inventory.
If you're looking for drop-shipping product(s) that will enable you to undercut the market with a reasonable margin, you're going to look for a very long time—and if you discover one, other sellers will soon jump in and undercut you, destroying any margin you had.
2. Instead, compete on aspiration, lifestyle, personalization, and marketing.
Take a look at our previous post on e-commerce trends and note the mention of personalization.
For drop-shippers, this advice counts double. You can still earn the sale as a drop-shipper, but you'll have to offer something other than lower prices. In most cases, this something will be an appealing "bigger picture" that it's your job to assemble:
Want customers at any price? Delight them with who you are, what you do, and the pleasure that you take in serving them. Preferably on social media. (Image: © Photographee.eu / Fotolia)
One-stop shopping for shoppers that fit a particular profile and have particular interest(s)
Aspirational marketing and branding that speaks to lifestyle and personal identity
Convenience and ease—both in finding your products and in completing the purchase
Anything else you can do to build trust and excitement
The last bullet point matters and is really what we're talking about with our next two tips.
3. Build your brand and audience relationships on social media.
As a drop-shipper, you're probably small—a one- or two-person operation. You're less well-positioned to buy and warehouse in quantity or to compete on price, but as a sole (or small band of) decision maker(s), you're better-positioned to nurture a brand and speak directly to your audience.
In the era of social media, this is no small thing.
Don't think of your business as the collection of products that you sell. Your business is your brand and your voice; the products are a part of your offering, but not all of it.
Begin to build and nurture an audience by reaching them on YouTube and other social media channels. Nurture a relationship with them. Show your work and invite them to see and understand your business—and the fact that you want to serve them.
This personal relationship is more than able to pay off in trust, loyalty, and sales.
4. Focus on making your shipping policies passable.
Shipping times are becoming more and more important in e-commerce, with larger retailers and marketplaces now angling to reach same-day delivery and "economy" 5-7 business day methods now seen as "slow."
Paying customers waiting a month or more for products stuck in shipping yards? They're not going to be repeat customers. Find products and suppliers that can get reach your customers in less than seven business days if you want to compete. (Image: © Idanupong / Fotolia)
So where does this place you if you're offering 28-40 day delivery from overseas? Directly in the crosshairs of shopper impatience. When shoppers could save 50 percent or more by waiting a month, some would. With the lower margins of today's market, unsuccessful sellers ask shoppers to pay nearly as much, or in some cases more, to wait months instead of hours.
That's not a winning proposition.
You're rarely, if ever, going to be able to compete directly on shipping policies with sellers that have on-shore inventory. But what you can do is work harder to hide some of drop-shipping's dirty laundry. Go through your product and provider list and:
Eliminate or consider backgrounding any instances of extended shipping times, focusing instead on those that can be fulfilled via air in domestic "economy shipping" delivery windows of a week or so, where at least you'll be in the ballpark
Eliminate shipping costs to the buyer by labeling everything as free shipping, then marking up prices as needed, relying on the strategies above—instead of price—to generate sales
Again, as a drop-shipper, you're never going to win on shipping overall, but there are steps that you can take to at least avoid losing entirely on shipping, and 2019 is the year to take them.
5. Make customer service a top priority.
In the days when price was the key benefit to drop-shipping, customer service was also seen as a bit of an afterthought. After all, consumers came to drop-shippers to save, and part of what they were willing to sacrifice was a smooth experience.
If you're sensing a pattern here, it's because there is one. Those days are gone.
Do your best to take joy in customer service—these are your customers, after all—and to bear the costs and delays yourself, rather than pass them on in each individual case. You'll be rewarded with loyalty, word of mouth, and repeat sales. (Image: © zinkevych / Fotolia)
With Amazon in particular providing stellar customer-centric service at stellar prices—and eBay trying hard to follow in Amazon's footsteps—customers have come to expect an online buying experience that challenges the in-store buying experience for convenience, trust, and safety.
No-questions returns for weeks after the sale
Immediate refunds or exchanges without restocking fees
The ability to reach someone right now, as they type or call, to address concerns and solve problems
A pleasant and cheerful interaction throughout all of these things
Our advice? Provide these things with confidence. Yes, it's more painful for a drop-shipper up front. No, you're probably not going to build a sustainable drop-shipping business in 2019 by skimping on them.
Grit your teeth and eat the costs in time and dollars.
Remember that you're no longer focusing on pure price competition, and you will have to adopt the other strategies discussed here to make these kinds of costs bearable for your business. Do it and consider the change to be an investment in the viability and profitability of your future.
You Can Do It!
Yes, drop-shipping is changing. No, it's not the same low-touch, set-it-and-forget it business model that it once was. It's hard work.
But those who say that drop-shipping is dead are wrong. It isn't—instead, drop-shipping is growing up. It's not an also-ran any longer; it's an established retail business model—requiring you to provide all of the things that an established retail business provides:
A clear target audience
A story about why people should buy your product(s) and do so from you
Quality, convenience, and value (which, note well, is not the same thing as price)
Good customer service
The flexibility to grow and adapt to changes in the retail landscape
If you're able to find a way to do these things as a drop-shipper, you'll thrive in 2019—and beyond.
E-Commerce has been around for more than twenty years now, yet it's impossible to get the feeling that the really big changes to the way the world buys and sells are just getting started over the last several years.
What do you need to do in 2019 to keep even with—or pull ahead of—your toughest competition? Here are five trends we're seeing in research circles and around social media that show the way to success.
In the coming year:
1. Mobile Will Continue to Grow
Mobile commerce continues to grow at more or less the same rate that it has done in recent years, with nearly half of all e-commerce orders now coming from handheld devices of one kind or another. This growth will continue in 2019.
Any remaining resistance to mobile shopping is disappearing. Shoppers are buying wherever they happen to be. (Image: © Christian Müller / Fotolia)
What can you do?
Make sure that you're making mobile-friendly content and web pages
Use mobile-friendly templates from inkFrog for your eBay listings
Keep content concise for mobile screens, where length descriptions can seem overwhelming
Test your Shopify or primary website using mobile devices and make any needed adjustments
2. Personalization Will Drive an Increasing Share of Sales
Shoppers are becoming more and more accustomed to the convenience offered by the personalization that major marketplaces and web platforms are delivering. Rather than having to hunt for what to buy, they expect useful product suggestions. Rather than having to express preferences, they expect to be learned about.
What can you do?
Use the cross-promotion space in inkFrog templates to show related products
Take time to organize your store(s) by category or theme, to help shoppers find their preferences
Increase your investment and time spent in turning sales data into data about and lists of customers
Message customers of particular "types" with newsletters promoting things that match their interests
Polish up your seller ratings and keep them polished. Shoppers are showing less and less tolerance for any customer service headaches. (Image: © Vasily Merkushev / Fotolia)
3. Customer Service Will Become a Key Decision Factor
Time is increasingly up for sellers that would prefer to think of customer service as secondary to "making sales" online. The major marketplaces and platforms have boosted expectations and customers are increasingly reporting that public customer service data plays into their buying decisions.
What can you do?
Strive to perfect and maintain feedback scores on marketplaces at almost any cost
Make sure that your returns policies everywhere match the level of service provided by Amazon
Renew your focus on rapid customer service responses, or hire extra help for speed
Go the extra mile to delight customers with problems, for great referrals and social buzz
4. Rapid Delivery Will Increase in Importance
Time has also run out on sellers that are delivering products slowly. Large companies at the leading edge of e-commerce are now fighting hard to achieve same-day delivery to most markets. Most smaller sellers can't compete with same-day, but even next day or two-day is better than the tired old 7-14 days or longer of "mail order" fame.
What can you do?
Forget about economy for non-oversized items; figure priority services into your standard pricing
Offer economy services as a cost-saving option and position it as a discount, as Amazon does
Keep track of which carriers have performed well for you in on-time delivery and stick with them
Get labels printed as close to order time as you can, since shoppers are now keyed into delays
It's time to get out there and talk about your products on YouTube—shoppers are rewarding sellers for doing so. (Image: © Diego Cervo / Fotolia)
5. Social Video Will Turn Competitors Into Winners
More and more shoppers are expressing the desire to see products in video rather than merely in images, since video presentation often gives a better sense of product quality and properties. Some of the best small-to-mid-sized sellers are now narrating or even appearing in their own product videos and earning thousands of followers.
What can you do?
Creating brief product videos whenever eBay and Amazon don't
Consider creating a YouTube channel to discuss the products you'd most like to move
Use these videos to gush about and show off the product
Appear yourself or use your own voice to show that "real people" are behind your business
E-Commerce is Getting Interesting
Twenty years ago, e-commerce was just a slightly different wrinkle on the catalog shopping days of old.
Shoppers browsed for the products they wanted while sitting in their living rooms, made a decision based on one or two fuzzy pictures, waited weeks for products to arrive, and expected headaches if anything went wrong with a "mail order" transaction.
In 2019, things are different. Shoppers are buying wherever they happen to be and expect relevant suggestions to save them time along with high-fidelity ways to really explore possible purchase. When they do make a purchase, they're increasingly expecting it to arrive within a day or two, if not within hours—and if something goes wrong, they expect the problem to be resolved immediately.
This is all a tall order, but it's also an opportunity—sellers that are able to deliver with earn loyal shoppers that are opening their wallets for remote purchases more than ever before in history.
So get busy and win 2019!
Posted on November 29, 2018
What's coming in e-commerce during the coming year, and how can you capitalize on it? Read on to find out.
In our last post, we took a tour through many of inkFrog's built-in image editing tools to see what each one of them does in isolation.
Now we'll use a few of these tools in combination to really fix up—and dress up—an image. We'll start with the same underwhelming product image that we began with last time:
What are the problems with this image? There are a few:
It's got a yellowish-greenish color cast
The colors that are there seem a bit muted
It's lacking drama somehow; it's a bit flat
Let's see if we can take an image like this one and use the inkFrog image editor to make it just a bit more appealing. Here we go!
Edit 1: Enhance (Color Fix)
We start by using the "Color Fix" option of the "Enhance" tool to remove some of the yellow-green cast from the image, so that it's in more neutral tones. When we're done, we click "Apply" to save our changes.
Edit 2: Brightness
Next, we use the "Brightness" tool to increase brightness across the image. In fact, the background is light enough to begin with that we can make it disappear altogether with a big enough increase in brightness. Again, once we're done with click "Apply" to save our changes.
Edit 3: Contrast
The previous version was reasonable, but it was lacking just a little bit of "oomph." With a subtle increase in contrast using the "Contrast" tool, we make the dark areas just a bit darker, almost imperceptibly adding a bit of depth to the image. Then, we click "Apply" to save our changes.
Edit 4: Saturation
Now we use the "Saturation" tool to bring out some of the duller colors, like the blue of the glitter and the red of the motorcycle, so that they look like the figurine does in real life. Once more we click "Apply" to save our changes.
Edit 5: Sharpness
By increasing sharpness with the "Sharpness" tool, we are able to really show off the fine detail, scales, and glitter in the figurine, so that shoppers can see just how intricate it is. We click "Apply" again to save our changes.
Edit 6: Text
We didn't feature the "Text" tool last time, but we'll use it here to add a little label, just for fun. The exclamation point tells shoppers that we really love this product. Again we click "Apply" to save our changes.
Edit 7: Frames
Finally, we use the "Frames" tool to add a dark frame with rounded corners around our image, almost putting it into a little scene of its own. When we're done, we click "Apply" one last time to save our image.
The Final Result
It may not be perfect, but the final result is a good deal more appealing than what we started out with—and it only took a few seconds in inkFrog's built-in image editor to make these changes.
So the next time you're disappointed in the product images you download from your camera, take a moment to see if you can enhance them in inkFrog—and save yourself a bundle of time!
Posted on November 29, 2018
Watch us use inkFrog's built-in image editor to fix up an image, one step at a time.
Let's face it, photo editing isn't everyone's forte—yet getting photos right is a key part of being able to present products well and turn them into sales.
We've previously covered the inkFrog image editor as an overview, but we thought it might be useful to provide some visual illustrations to help users that aren't familiar with common photo editing terms.
Here are some examples of what each of the most commonly-used inkFrog photo editing tools actually does.
Our Original Image
Let's start with a basic product image. In real life, we'd set out to get the camera's exposure, white balance, and other basic settings a bit more bang-on than this before taking the photos—but for illustration purposes, this image will do just fine.
In our next post, we'll actually fix this image up completely by stringing multiple inkFrog editing tricks together, but for this post, we'll use this image to illustrate what many of inkFrog's tools do, one at a time.
Here we go!
The "Enhance" tool has three sub-tools. "Hi-Def" is the first of these, and it literally increases the definition visible in the image by lightening the edges of light areas and darkening the edges of dark areas.
"Illuminate" is the second of the options in the "Enhance" tool, and it's used to simulate dramatic lighting when your lighting is otherwise flat.
Enhance (Color Fix)
"Color Fix" is the last of the options in the "Enhance" tool, and is used to try to automatically remove a strong color cast. Notice how the yellow-greenish cast of the original image has been significantly reduced here.
Use the "Effects" tool to apply a variety of pre-determined adjustments to color and lighting to your image. What you see is what you get here—select an effect from the preview list whose look you like, then click it to apply the effect to your full-sized image.
"Frames" does exactly what you might imagine it would do—it draws a frame around your image. There are a number of different from styles to choose from, from wood simulations to film edges to this textured black frame. Click on each option to preview it full-size until you find one that you like.
"Stickers" adds little icons to your image. Select an icon (a "sticker") that you'd like to add, then click and drag to move it around or click and drag on its corners to rotate or resize it. (The black square around the sticker disappears when you click "Apply" to save your changes.)
Use "Orientation" to flip your image horizontally or vertically (the "Mirror" buttons) or to rotate your image clockwise or counter-clockwise (the "Rotate" buttons). Here we've flipped our original dragon image horizontally so that he's facing left instead of right.
The "Brightness" tool provides a slider that you can use to increase or decrease the overall brightness of the entire image. This can be used to turn light areas white, to turn dark areas black, or simply to lighten or darken the image overall.
The "Contrast" tool makes light areas lighter and dark areas darker, not just at the edges where they meet (as is the case with the "Enhance" tool's "Hi-Def" option) but everywhere. Images that look flat, weak, or washed out can often benefit from a boost in contrast.
Use the "Saturation" tool to increase or decrease the intensity of the colors in your image. Drag to the left to decrease color intensity, or to the right to increase it. Drag all the way to the left edge to turn your image black-and-white.
Use this tool to make your image seem "warmer" (more yellow) or "cooler" (more blue), particularly in light areas. Here the image has been made just a little bit cooler. Notice how the yellow cast has become a more green-blue cast.
The "Sharpness" tool enables you to either increase or decrease the degree to which the fine details and edges in your image "pop" as you look at them. Just be careful—adding sharpness is addictive, but it can also make your images look unnatural.
Use "Splash" to turn the entirety of your image—except for parts that you select—to black and white. When you start the tool, your entire image will turn gray. Then, use the brush to "restore" colors in just those areas where you'd like to have color back again.
Use the "Blemish" tool to hide little marks, bits of dust or debris, or other photo defects that you don't want visible in your photos. In this case, we've hidden dust spots on the dragon's horns and feet, and some of the stray glitter on a wing. Look closely—the effect is subtle—but it's supposed to be.
Remember not to edit out actual defects in your products—these should be visible in your photos so that shoppers understand they're there. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a return later when your shopper finds out that key details about your product weren't represented in photos.
What did we leave out?
It's tricky to do a post like this one because there are a lot of tools—yet the post is already really, really long. For this post, we've left out a few tools that most sellers know about or that are most easiest to understand or use without seeing them visually.
The "Crop" tool, which enables you to trim edges off an image by clicking and dragging.
The "Resize" tool, which enables you to resize an image if it's too large or too small for effective use on eBay.
The "Focus" tool, which enables you to blur all of your image but an area that you select, to draw shoppers' attention to that area.
The "Draw" tool, which enables you to simply draw on your image freehand style.
The "Text" tool, which enables you to type text over your image.
The "Redeye" tool, which enables you to click on red eyes caused by a camera flash to turn them black.
The "Whiten" tool, which enables you to whiten just certain parts of your image by brushing (clicking and dragging) over them.
Whew! That's a lot of tools available to you in inkFrog's built-in image editor.
You've now seen how a large number of them work—but you haven't seen them used together yet to really clean up and improve an image with multiple defects, like this one.
We'll do that in our next post.
For now, review the tools in this post and become familiar with what each of them does, so that you'll be ready to use them whenever the need arises with your own images!
Posted on November 29, 2018
Need some examples with real images to show you how to use the inkFrog image editor? Here you go.
Simply Wholesale uses inkFrog to connect Amazon to eBay for them and help them sell thousands of products:
"We have been selling on ebay since 2011 and we started using inkFrog since 2015.
inkFrog has automated all our processes and made it easier to list products on eBay and make changes very fast if we have to which has led to an increase in revenue for us. Their customer service is really great and never had any issues with them"
- Samantha @ Simply Wholesale
Simply Wholesale has thousands of active eBay listings:
You can visit Simply Wholesale here:
Posted on November 27, 2018
Simply Wholesale uses inkFrog to manage their listings faster and sell more on eBay
Against Breast Cancer uses inkFrog to easily synchronize their eBay and Amazon inventory through a central location by using inkFrog to connect Amazon to eBay for them:
"We have been selling donated items on eBay as part of our fundraising since January 2017. Due to the popularity of the initiative, we needed to look for ways of streamlining and speeding up the listing process. We found inkFrog in April 2017, integrating it with our online shop for our branded merchandise.
inkFrog has allowed us to have confidence in the stock control of our branded merchandise as it is integrated to our online shop and also our Amazon store. Additionally and just as importantly inkFrog has allowed us to automate feedback on eBay and the listing tool is much quicker. The master template feature is extremely useful in helping us to stay on brand as much as possible on eBay too.
As we rely on our valued volunteers to add listings to eBay, inkFrog has been very refreshing in regards to it's usability. Other platforms are difficult to use and sometimes even harder to train other people on. We have found that our volunteers have been confident using inkFrog from the first time they are shown the listing tool. This saves us invaluable time and keeps us free to focus on what we are here for: to raise funds for vital research into the secondary spread of breast cancer, the main cause of breast cancer related deaths."
- Bryony Jones
Against Breast Cancer has hundreds of active eBay listings and donates their profits towards fighting breast cancer:
You can visit Against Breast Cancer here:
Posted on November 27, 2018
British charity Against Breast Cancer uses inkFrog to synchronize their inventory between Amazon and eBay
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