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 time to practice getting your exposure and image size settings right
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.
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!
Use Brightness to Set Blacks to Black
|FILTER → BRIGHTNESS|
We start by using the "Brightness" tool in the "Filters" area to adjust the brightness of the darkest parts of the image. Our goal is to adjust brightness levels until the very darkest parts of the image are a pure black.
Use Gamma to Adjust Color Balance and Highlights
|FILTER → GAMMA|
After getting the blacks right, we use the "Gamma" filter to adjust the brights, colors, and color balance of the image. Our goal is to position the red, green, and blue sliders in such a way that there is no color cast to the image—and the highlights are sufficiently bright.
Sharpen to Enhance Detail
|FILTER → SHARPEN|
After the last step things were looking reasonable, but the image was lacking just a little bit of "oomph." By clicking on the "Sharpen" filter, we significantly enhance detail and really make the image pop. Now the brightness, colors, and fine detail look great.
Use Text to Add a Product Label
Using the "Text" tool, it's time to add a label. That makes the image seem a little bit less generic and contributes a touch of professionalism. Don't go overboard with tools like added text—it's easy to overdo it.
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.
Here we go!
The Editor View
Immediately after opening the editor, you'll see the image you've opted to edit along with a toolbar that leads to the other features we'll be talking about below.
From left to right, the options available to you in the default view are:
Because the "Filter" option leads to a number of additional tools, we're going to start by illustrating the others first, starting with "Resize."
Use the "RESIZE" tool to change the size of your image. Note that this may not change the size at which eBay displays your image, but it will change the amount of information that your image contains, for example to enable faster loading.
Use the "CROP" tool to remove edges of your image that are unnecessary. Think of it as a way of "trimming" your image.
Note the availability of a number of common sets of image dimensions across the top row. Click on any of these to automatically trim your image to a particular rectangular shape.
Use the "TRANSFORM" tool to flip or rotate your image. The two circled arrow icons will rotate your image by 90 degrees in either direction. The two other buttons flip your image horizontally or vertically.
Use the slider to rotate your image arbitrarily to any angle.
Use the "DRAW" tool to draw freehand on your image, for example to call out or circle important things for shoppers to notice.
Use the "TEXT" tool to add typed text to your image. Remember not to use this to add contact information for your business, as this runs against eBay rules and can result in suspension.
Use the "SHAPES" tool to add pre-defined shapes to your image. Click on a shape icon to add the shape, then click on the shape in your image to resize it or drag it to a new position.
Use the "STICKERS" tool to add stickers to your image from a very large pre-defined set of clip art and emoticons.
Filter (18 Additional Tools)
Clicking on "Filter" opens a new menu containing 18 additional tools that affect your image's colors, brightness, sharpness, or other visual characteristics. Here are illustrations of how each of them affects your images, along with a brief explanation in each case.
|FILTER → GRAYSCALE|
Use the "Grayscale" tool to remove all color information from your image, rendering it only in shades of gray.
|FILTER → BLACK & WHITE|
Use the "Black & White" tool to reduce your image to a true black and white image—only two colors, black and white, no shades of gray.
|FILTER → SHARPEN|
Use the "Sharpen" tool to automatically sharpen the edges of objects in your image, to enhance clarity and visibility.
|FILTER → INVERT|
Use the "Invert" tool to invert the colors in your image, producing a "negative" of the original image.
|FILTER → VINTAGE|
Use the "Vintage" tool to simulate an old, yellowed, faded photograph (or old, yellowed, faded goods).
|FILTER → POLAROID|
Use the "Polaroid" tool to imitate the exposure and color characteristics of Polaroid camera film.
|FILTER → KODACHROME|
Use the "Kodachrome" tool to imitate the exposure and color characteristics of Kodachrome camera film.
|FILTER → TECHNICOLOR|
Use the "Technicolor" tool to significantly enhance the intensity of all the colors in your image.
|FILTER → BROWNIE|
Use the "Brownie" tool to shift all of the colors in your image slightly, toward a dim brown color.
|FILTER → SEPIA|
Use the "Sepia" tool to simulate the look of a sepia-colored vintage film print.
|FILTER → REMOVE|
Use the "Remove" tool to remove areas of a particular color from your image. First, select the color you'd like to remove. Then, move the slider right and left depending on how much of these color areas you'd like to remove.
|FILTER → BRIGHTNESS|
Use the "Brightness" tool to make your image either lighter or darker.
|FILTER → GAMMA|
Use the "Gamma" tool to change the brightness of all the red, green, and blue primary colors in your image. Move each slider to indicate more or less of each color.
This tool is helpful for removing color casts, if you can keep the primary colors and how they interact in mind. For example, to remove a purple color cast, set the red and blue sliders slightly lower than the green slider, since red and blue make purple (and it's purple you'd like to remove).
|FILTER → NOISE|
Use the "Noise" tool to add noise (similar to film grain) to your image for a gritty look.
|FILTER → PIXELATE|
Use the "Pixelate" tool to lower the amount of detail in your image, replacing groups of pixels with larger single-color blocks, for a "digital" or "classic video game" look.
|FILTER → BLUR|
Use the "Blur" tool to blur the sharp edges in your image for a much softer look.
|FILTER → EMBOSS|
Use the "Emboss" tool to simulate slight three-dimensional raised edges in your image around every transition between two colors.
|FILTER → BLEND|
Use the "Blend" tool to add either a weak or a strong color cast to your image.
Lots of Tools to Improve Your Images
Whew! That's a lot of tools available to you in inkFrog's built-in image editor, all of which can be used to enhance the appearance of your images. As you use the editor, keep the following points in mind:
You can use more than one or even all of the tools together on the same image
When using the tools in the "FILTER" area, clicking on a tool "adds" the filter to your image (changes its appearance)
The effects of many filters can be combined for a more complex final result
To remove the effects of a filter that you've already added, click the "X" icon on the filter button
When you're done making changes to your image, click "Save" to save your changes
Now you've seen how each of the image tools in inkFrog's image editor works. In our next post, we guide you through the process of editing a single picture using multiple tools, to go from "iffy picture" to "great picture" in the end.
But for now, review the tools in this post and explore the editor tool and what it can do to help you improve your photos quickly, and without having to leave inkFrog!
Posted on November 29, 2018
Need some examples with real images to show you how to use the inkFrog image editor? Here you go.
Many inkFrog sellers have stores on multiple platforms—for example, a store on eBay, a store on Shopify, and a store on Amazon.com.
If this is you, ask yourself whether you've done what you can to brand your stores similarly across each marketplace or platform. Though at first glance branding consistency across all of your stores might seem like a ticky-tack issue, it's not a hard thing to accomplish.
eBay gives basic store subscribers two images and a text area to customize. Use them!
Why Consistent Branding Matters
Here are just a few of the reasons why consistent branding across each of your storefronts can benefit you:
Gift cards and marketplace loyalty. More and more shoppers are ending up with gift cards in their wallet, and eBay and Amazon gift cards can only be used on eBay and Amazon. Consistent branding enables a shopper to easily locate you on another platform and buy your products, whether the reason is gift cards or simple marketplace loyalty.
Authority, trust, and brand-building. Having stores on each major shopping platform, branded in similar ways, shows that your business is well-established and has a reality that goes beyond your merely being present on eBay, or on Amazon. This increases shopper trust, which can increase sales while enhancing the value of your brand.
With a basic Amazon store you get one image and a text area—but it can be enough!
More contact options and better customer service. Shoppers' ability to contact sellers varies from marketplace to marketplace, but there's no doubt that in some cases (say, on eBay) it's limited. When shoppers can find and identify you elsewhere, you can offer them more contact options—like a phone number or direct email.
Profit from marketplace promotions. From time to time, each marketplace runs promotions that offer significant discounts to shoppers, driving sales without affecting sellers' bottom lines. Being present and identifiable on multiple marketplaces means that shoppers can follow the discounts and buy from you on any marketplace—enabling you to benefit from these promotions.
On Shopify you have more control—but remember to echo your eBay and Amazon branding.
Repeat sales. By being present and clearly recognizable on multiple marketplaces, you're more likely to earn repeat sales from buyers as they navigate all of these factors—gift cards, promotions, convenience factors, and their own evolving preferences. If shoppers can find you wherever they happen to be shopping, you won't lose them as their shopping needs or preferences change.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes
Look at the examples above and consider—there are only two images used. Together, they took just a few minutes to assemble. It took just a few more minutes longer to insert them into an eBay storefront, an Amazon storefront, and a Shopify storefront.
If you're still muddling along with storefronts that use default or missing images or templates, you're missing a chance—every time a shopper visits you—to build your brand and the future of your business.
If that's you, take a few minutes today to bring your storefronts into sync!
Posted on November 27, 2018
There are real benefits that accrue to sellers who take the time to brand their eBay, Amazon, and Shopify stores in the same way.
We've previously shown how to efficiently manage very large image libraries efficiently using inkFrog, but we thought it might be nice to also provide help to users who:
If you're tired of scrolling through lists and lists of items in inkFrog, it's time to start using folders.
Need a simpler way to organize a moderate number of inkFrog images
Are looking for a way to keep their inkFrog listing library organized
Would like to be more organized about their eBay messages
inkFrog offers a simple, effective tool that can be used to manage your images, listings, and messages, all in the same way. In fact, it's one that most users are familiar with from their everyday computing life: folders!
What You Can Do with Folders in inkFrog
Using inkFrog folders, you can:
Create and name folders to hold images, listings, or messages
Move images, listings, or messages into or out of folders, in bulk
View and use one folder of images, listings, or messages at a time
Search within folders to further narrow your view images, listings, or messages view
Happily, folders are very easy to use in inkFrog and make for a quick, ideal organization system for any seller with more than a dozen or two items in their inkFrog libraries. Here's how to do it.
Creating a Folder
Folders exist inside your inkFrog image, listing, or message library. So before following the steps below, open one of these areas of inkFrog. Once you've chosen and opened one of these areas, the steps to using folders are easy:
- Open your list of folders. Click on the folder icon, then on "Manage Folders" (or, in your messages area, just click directly on "Manage Folders") to open the folder management tool.
Click "Manage Folders" to open your list of folders for editing.
- Click "Add new folder" to create a folder. In this dialog, you either can delete existing custom folders or add new folders. Click on "Add new folder" to create a new folder. When prompted, enter a name for your folder.
Click "Add new" to add a new folder. Use the trash can icons on the right to delete folders.
- Select items to move into your new folder. Select the items you'd like to move into your new folder, then click "Bulk Actions" → "Move to folder" (or "Bulk Actions" → "Library Actions" → "Move to folder" in the listings area) to begin the move process.
Select multiple items, then click "Move to folder" to move them to a new folder.
- Select a destination folder. In the "Move to folder" dialog, select the folder you just created from the drop-down list, then click the "Move" button to move the items you selected into the folder.
Select the destination folder for your move from the drop-down list.
- View the new contents of your new folder. To open your new folder for work and see the items you just moved there, click the folder icon and then select your new folder from the drop-down list. Your view will be updated to show the just contents of the folder you selected. Note the "Is in..." label above your items, which tells you which folder you're viewing. To exit the folder, click the 'X' on this label.
When you view your new folder, all of the items you moved are there.
Folders That Synchronize
One quick caveat bears mentioning.
The items and folders in your images and listings libraries are local to inkFrog, meaning that when you create folders and move images or listings into them, these activities do not affect your listings or images on eBay. The folder tools in these areas are there purely to help you to keep your inkFrog life organized.
The messages and folders in your messages area, however do synchronize back to eBay, since eBay's messaging system also supports folders.
We suspect that most inkFrog users will find inkFrog's messaging tools far superior to those on eBay, and as a result, won't ever even notice—but it's worth a mention that if you create a new folder, then move messages into it, you'll see these changes also reflected in your eBay messaging area.
It's That Easy
And there you have it—folders in inkFrog. There really is nothing else to it!
This simple technique only takes seconds to learn, but can save you gobs of time down the road as you build up libraries of images, listings, and messages—eliminating the need for you to scroll or search through endless lists to find the items you're looking for.
Posted on November 19, 2018
You can end up with a lot of images, listings, and messages in your inkFrog account. Happily, inkFrog folders give you a way to keep them all organized with ease.
When you sign up for inkFrog, you link an eBay account to your inkFrog account as a part of the registration process. But did you know that you can link several eBay accounts to a single inkFrog Professional, Unlimited, or Designer account?
You can! Inside your inkFrog account, visit "Settings" → "eBay accounts" and click the "Add eBay Account" button to begin the linking process.
Use "Settings" → "eBay accounts" → "Add eBay Account" to link additional eBay seller accounts.
You'll soon find that inkFrog is every bit as easy to use with several eBay accounts as it was with one eBay account.
The Benefits From Using Several eBay Accounts with One inkFrog Account
Why would anyone do this? Because it's a great option for many eBay businesses. Here are five of the most important benefits.
It makes running your eBay business much easier. Selling across several eBay accounts without inkFrog is a massive headache, requiring you to log in and out of each of your eBay accounts constantly in order to list, ship, create or edit policies, and so on.
Link all of your eBay accounts to one inkFrog account and you can suddenly do anything related to your eBay business, for any of your eBay IDs, in a single application. The savings in time and headaches are immense.
You can easily move products and listings between accounts. Many sellers use each eBay account as its own brand, and this means sometimes shifting listings from one account to another as strategies evolve. This is a huge, error-prone time sink; moving a single listing can take minutes. Moving ten can ruin a weekend.
With all of your eBay accounts connected to inkFrog, this becomes a simple task. End the listing under one account, then opt to relist it under another. It takes a few seconds to move one listing, and it also takes a few seconds to move a hundred or a thousand listings.
With inkFrog, moving listings between accounts—whether one at a time or in bulk—is a rapid process.
You can re-use your library of images, templates, and listings. Every image, template, or listing that you create or customize inside inkFrog can be quickly reused with any of the eBay accounts connected to your inkFrog account.
This means that all of the creative and marketing work that you do is multiplied—rather than having to do or upload your work again and again for each eBay login, you do it once and re-use it forever, right away, with any of your accounts.
Incoming orders and messages are each handled in a unified list. Without inkFrog, it's hard to stay up-to-minute on incoming orders and customer messages. If you're logged into and working on one account, you're not seeing what's happening on all the rest. You have to constantly visit them all, round-robin style, to stay current.
Link your accounts to inkFrog and you'll see all of your incoming orders in one list incorporating all of your eBay IDs. Messages, too—you can read and reply to all of your messages chronologically and seamlessly.
Imagine all of your messages and your metrics, for all of your accounts, in one place.
Better metrics that give you full totals. When you have multiple eBay accounts, it normally takes additional legwork to understand how your sales are going overall. You literally have to log into each account, pull out numbers, and then tally them yourself.
With inkFrog, you can see dashboard activity or analytics for all of your eBay accounts together, to get a clear picture of how your business is performing overall, without extra manual labor.
With this list of benefits, it's easy to see why most inkFrog users with several eBay accounts choose to link them all to inkFrog.
But How Does eBay Feel About It?
Every now and then we hear from a seller who wonders how eBay feels about sellers that have multiple eBay accounts and that link them all to inkFrog.
If you're one such seller, here are some facts to help clear the air:
eBay policies allow sellers to have and use multiple eBay seller accounts
For each account, you are expected to follow eBay rules and keep fee payments current
eBay wants sellers to succeed, and embraces tools that enable policy-compliant success
By linking multiple eBay accounts to your inkFrog Professional, Unlimited, or Designer subscription, you'll improve your ability to market and sell efficiently while also boosting your ability to provide timely and accurate customer service and order fulfillment.
What's not to love? If you're struggling to answer that question, it's probably time to get inkFrog now if you haven't already.
Posted on November 16, 2018
Have several eBay seller accounts? Have you linked them all to inkFrog? If not, you're missing out on serious advantages.
inkFrog's Unlimited and Designer plans offer you the capability to provide staff accounts to employees. Some sellers likely know immediately what to do with this capability, but for other new sellers, the uses are more fuzzy.
If you know that you're becoming the limiting factor to the growth of your business, yet you started out as a one-person operation and don't quite know who to hire and set up with an inkFrog staff account, this article is for you.
Here are four employees or contractors to consider adding to your business—and to your inkFrog account.
A listing and/or fulfillment assistant can help you to keep your products listed and your orders shipped on time. (Image: Sirinarth Mekvorawuth / Dreamstime)
1. A listing and/or fulfillment assistant.
The first kind of help you'll likely hire is likely to be either a listing assistant, a fulfillment assistant, or both rolled into one. This assistant:
Helps you to craft listings and take product photos
Helps you to post new listings and update old ones
Does the grunt work when you make changes to many listings at once
Helps you to package orders, print labels, and ensure that fulfillment happens promptly
A listing and/or assistant is a great first hire or first independent contractor because listing and fulfillment are the two tasks in which sellers most typically bog down and fall behind when they first start to see rapid growth.
2. A channel manager or marketplace specialist.
This employee is like the "listings" half of the a listing and fulfillment assistant, only with more hours and more expertise. They know eBay (in the case of an eBay specialist) or eBay and other selling platforms (in the case of a channel manager) inside and out:
How to keep tabs on competition
How to identify new opportunities and areas of unmet demand
What the hot niches are on eBay and/or other marketplaces
The listing practices and strategies that best present products to shoppers and drive sales
The tools and features on eBay and/or each marketplace that you should be using
They're there to help you to decide what you should probably sell, know how and where you should list it, and to create and manage the listings and branding of your business—to ensure that your inventory is up for sale effectively at all times.
3. A customer service manager.
Depending on the niche in which you sell, you may also find that as you grow, the demands of providing good customer service grow as well.
A digital marketing manager is like a techie and a marketing guru rolled in to one—perfect for e-commerce.
It can be frustrating to see orders on the rise and to realize that you're running out of time twice as fast because customer service tasks seem to be multiplying at the same rate. This employee:
Understands your business, products, and brand
Is a great communicator, loves people, and loves to make them happy
Has good basic business judgment
Spends their time responding to customers' questions, needs, and concerns
Customer service is a particular talent. As business grows, it can pay dividends to employ someone or find a contractor to relieve you of these customer communication and interaction tasks—enabling you to focus on inventory, listings, fulfillment, and strategy.
4. A digital marketing manager.
As your business grows, there are new, more technically challenging and marketing-oriented things that you need to accomplish. A digital marketing manager helps you to maximize the work done by you, your channel manager, and your customer service manager by:
Hire help, set up your inkFrog staff accounts, and put them to work. Don't let initial resistance keep you from finding the help that will enable you to grow.
Helping to coordinate the activities of your website and each of your channels
Building buzz for your brand, listings, and website on social media
Bringing in new shoppers via digital advertising
Identifying new online tools and services that can help you to grow
Ensuring that the online portion of your business isn't holding your growth back
A good digital marketing manager is a bit like a marketer and a techie rolled into one. They have the instincts and skills of a marketer along with the technical chops to operate effortlessly in today's digital, multi-channel, search-and-social-media environment.
Give 'em a staff account and put 'em to work.
If you're an inkFrog user with an Unlimited or Designer subscription who's growing a bit faster than you can cope with, yet you don't have any staff accounts yet, you may find that one of these people is exactly who you need to continue to grow.
So go out, hire them or put them on a part-time contract, get them an inkFrog staff account, and let them log in and start helping to make a difference in your business.
Posted on November 01, 2018
If you're an inkFrog Unlimited or Designer user trying to grow, here are four common small e-commerce business employees that you can hire—and set up with staff accounts.
Product image workflows can take a lot of time, particularly if you're concerned about representing your products well (which you should be).
But you can be making things a lot harder on yourself if you're not taking advantage of the tools that inkFrog offers.
For example, too many sellers have an image workflow like this:
- Take pictures with high-end camera
- Transfer from camera to computer
- Load into Photoshop
- Edit contrast and color
- Crop appropriately
- Resize down for eBay
- Upload to eBay or inkFrog
But you can shorten this significantly with a few camera tweaks and by using what inkFrog and your camera already have to offer. Here are some tips.
Are you spending time on long image workflows with heavy editors like Photoshop? Don't. Just use inkFrog.
Set your camera and lighting up properly.
Set up a small photography working space somewhere with a surface, backdrop, and lighting that will result in great product photos. Usually this means a bare, white background and diffused illumination from multiple angles.
Don't think that since you don't want to set up a full-fledged photo studio, you can't do better than cluttered snapshots. Take twenty minutes to establish a clean, uncluttered area and to experiment with lights. You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish with things on hand and a little ingenuity.
Then, change your camera's image quality settings so that your images are sized properly straight out of the camera. Twenty or thirty megapixels is just too much for e-commerce work—you're not making posters or billboards.
Instead, set the camera for a horizontal resolution between 2,000 and 3,000 pixels and a medium or low quality (i.e. stored image size) setting, so that you don't have to resize and re-save later before uploading.
Believe it or not, you don't need this.
Approximate it with a clean table and shaded lamps—or window light.
(Image: Nataliya Kuznetsova / Dreamstime)
Upload straight to inkFrog and edit there.
Rather than inserting additional steps and heavy applications like Photoshop into your workflow, use the image editing tools built into inkFrog. Once again, you don't need to do gallery quality artwork for online sales, so there's no reason to get buried in Photoshop or other similar programs.
Notice the edit button to the far right of images that you've uploaded to inkFrog. Click it and you'll find most if not all of the image editing tools that an online seller will ever need, tailored for purpose and all in one place.
Pay special attention to these:
Crop. Use this tool to trim out unneeded extra space around the outside of your image, so that only the product and important details are represented.
Transform. Use this tool to rotate your images if necessary, either in 90-degree chunks or by clicking and dragging until you get the rotation just right and the image is perfectly straight.
Draw and Text. Use these tools to add annotations to your images if they are needed. Just remember not to use them to add contact information, as that's against eBay rules.
Filter. If your image is "flat" looking, too dark, or the white balance is off (i.e. "weird" color or a color cast), clicking “Filter” opens a new menu full of options to help fix these problems produce a photo that's more appealing.
inkFrog's built-in tools offer all the adjustments needed for most e-commerce images, without all the extra steps and baggage.
There are a dizzying number of tools in the Filter menu, but here are some of the most useful. The best way to learn about how each of them affects an image to experiment.
Inside the Filter menu, click on a tool to apply it. For tools with fine-grained adjustments, click on a tool, then on the gear icon to access further options.
Sharpen. Click this tool once to make your image sharper—with better defined edges—than before. Click it a second time to remove the sharpening effect.
Brightness. Use this tool to either lighten dark images or to bring definition back to images that are too light. To use it, click the tool, then click the gear icon, the move the slider until you achieve the look you prefer.
Gamma. Use this tool to remove color casts in your image. To use it, click the tool, then click the gear icon. You'll see three sliders, one each for red, green, and blue. Move these sliders up or down to adjust the strength of each primary color in your image until the color cast is gone.
Remove. Use this tool to remove a particular color from your image (these areas will become white instead). To use it, click the tool, then click the gear icon. Select a color you'd like to remove, then move the slider right or left to determine how much of the color to remove.
When you're done making adjustments to each image, click "Save" to save the results directly in place, already inside inkFrog and ready for upload.
Fast, easy, and with great results.
By setting your lighting and camera up carefully to begin with, then uploading immediately to inkFrog and making any needed changes there, you'll speed your product images workflow up by a massive margin.
Loading Photoshop or another image editor doesn't seem like a problem if you just have two or three images to polish—but by image 100 (or 200, or 300) you'll be thrilled with inkFrog's image editing workflow—and the bunches of time it saves you.
Don't have inkFrog? Probably time to try it.
Posted on November 01, 2018
Do you dread product photography because your workflow is slow and cumbersome? Leave it behind and edit inside inkFrog.
inkFrog's designer templates give you ample space for images and links that can be used to skillfully cross-promote your items. As you curate cross-promotions, inkFrog also makes it easy to push updated templates to hundreds of active listings with a click.
But sellers are busy people, and constantly editing templates to show your latest products—even at a cost of fifteen minutes rather than days of work—can feel like a low-priority task.
Here are five reasons why you should prioritize it, making use of the cross-promotion space in your inkFrog templates and keeping your cross-promotions updated.
Shoppers love to shop. So help them do it! Your goal on eBay is to ensure that they're shopping your products, not eBay in general. Cross-promotion helps you meet this goal.
1. Shoppers want to see more products.
For shoppers, the eBay marketplace is a huge universe of options, most of them from sellers that aren't you. For those that don't live and work on eBay, finding more of your products isn't always an easy thing to do—unless you help them do it.
Without cross-promotions, to see your other listings shoppers have to find a small text link hidden amongst the header information in your listing and click on it, without knowing what they'll find. Either that or they have to get lucky enough to find you again in search.
With cross-promotions, shoppers see other products that you offer with their own eyes, as soon as they open your listings. Two things result.
First, more multiple-item sales as shoppers find additional things they'd like to buy. Second, sales that you would otherwise have lost, as shoppers who don't buy the main product featured in your listing spot the product that they actually want in your cross-promotions.
2. It makes your brand or store much more memorable.
You want customers to return to you for future purposes. For that to happen, they have to do extra work—remember your eBay ID or store name, then search for you again in the future.
Based on the strength of one product alone, most shoppers won't make the effort. But if they see that you have several things they might like to buy down the road, or even better if you're able to inspire a desire to make future purchases from you, they will.
Without cross promotions, this is how shoppers have to find your other items, and be inspired to save your eBay ID. Not great.
Visual cross-promotions in your inkFrog templates are a key component of your eBay branding—and the buyer loyalty that every seller should want to inspire. Without them, the chances of earning a repeat sale from most shoppers is low.
3. It differentiates you from other sellers.
Let's be honest—in most eBay niches, multiple sellers compete against each other for sales by offering often similar products at similar prices. And each of them is often constrained by eBay's increasingly standardized listing format.
Standing out can be a difficult thing to do, particularly if you're not great with HTML.
With inkFrog's templates, you have beautiful templates without the need to know HTML—and you can fill them with cross-promotions for other products that your competitors either don't also carry or don't also cross-promote.
After visiting three or four virtually identical listings for the same product, it's a happy shock for a shopper when the fifth listing presents the product in a completely different, more pleasing way—and with more products to match.
With so much similar text and pricing on eBay, being different–in a good way—is often the factor that separates "sale" from "no sale."
4. It increases shopper trust and reduces resistance.
Even when shoppers are only planning to purchase one item, cross-promotions can be important in earning you the sale, rather than another seller. Why?
Cross-promoting with inkFrog templates differentiates you from the competition and sets you apart as a trustworthy, dedicated professional with interesting products to offer.
Because cross-promotions immediately elevate your listings, making clear that they're not one-offs and that you're not an inexperienced seller. Instead, you're a business with a product line.
Cross-promotions show that you have inventory, that you're invested enough in eBay sales to bother showing your other products, and that you possess the logistical and technical skills necessary to do so—which speaks well of your ability to fulfill on purchases as well.
So even when cross-promotions don't directly lead the sale of cross-promoted products, cross-promotions can drive your sales rates higher.
5. It helps you to understand your own brand and inventory.
There's a kind of uncomfortable magic that happens as you curate your cross-promotions. You're forced to come to terms with:
Products or images that don't present well
Gaps in your product line that make it hard to fill cross-promotion spots
Dead-weight products that you wish you didn't have to sift through
How well your entire product line hangs together and represents your brand
Inventory management is all about spreadsheets, bins, and shelves, and as you do it, your perspective is often limited to small details.
Building cross-promotions puts you in the shopper's position. What will they see? How desirable is it? Does it cohere or is it a mess? How does it represent your brand?
These are all tough, ongoing questions that often fall through the cracks—unless you regularly have to curate cross-promotion spaces in your listings.
Get out there and cross-promote.
The benefits that come from cross-promote are significant ones, yet inkFrog makes the actual work of cross-promotion fast and easy.
So lose the resistance you've built up to the idea of cross-promotion after years working through your listings on eBay.com—and jump into inkFrog's templates with both feet.
Edit your cross promotions (without needing to master HTML), then push them to your live listings by the dozens, or hundreds, quickly. You've got more sales to make, and cross-promotions can help you to make them—in a big way.
Don't have inkFrog yet? You probably ought to try it.
Posted on October 24, 2018
It's tempting to let cross-promotion fall on your priority list. Here's why this is a bad idea.
If you're an eBay seller that's been hesitant to add Amazon sales to your business, it's probably because you're wondering how you'll maintain twice the number of listings as before while keeping inventory levels well-managed between matching listings.
If it feels as though this will be an impossible task, don't worry—inkFrog can help. With inkFrog, you can:
Link your eBay and Amazon stores together
Connect individual eBay listings to matching Amazon listings
Have inkFrog keep their inventory levels in sync for you
You probably saw this post on how to move into eBay if you already sell on Amazon. Here are the steps to take if you're moving in the opposite direction—if you'd like to add Amazon sales to an eBay business.
Create Your Amazon Account and Listings
Start by creating an Amazon.com selling account and Amazon product listings for the products you'd like to sell.
If you don't have one already, start by creating an Amazon selling account and getting your products listed.
Because Amazon doesn't call for as much bespoke listing content as eBay does, getting your products online in bulk is somewhat easier on Amazon; consider using inventory files to quickly create all of your Amazon listings, particularly if you have a lot of products.
Once your Amazon listings have been created, it's time to put inkFrog to work.
Connect Your Amazon Store to inkFrog
Log into your inkFrog account. In the left sidebar, click "Store Connector" followed by the "Add a Store" link.
Click "Store Connector" and then "Add a Store" to link your new Amazon account to inkFrog.
You'll see a pop-up dialog that asks which kind of store you'd like to add to inkFrog. Select Amazon.com to continue.
Select the "Amazon.com" option, then tell inkFrog about your Amazon account.
Follow the instructions provided to link your new Amazon store. You'll provide the name of the store and the region in which it's registered. Then, you'll be asked to grant permission for inkFrog to maintain your Amazon listings.
Once your store is linked, you'll return to the "Store Connector" page in inkFrog.
Configure Your Sync Settings
Before doing anything else, configure your sync settings so that connecting your eBay and Amazon accounts doesn't result in changes that you weren't expecting.
Click the "Import" icon to the far right of your Amazon store name (it looks like a down arrow inside a circle) to open the import dialog. Click "Settings" and then "Sync Settings" to open the list of settings that inkFrog will use to keep your eBay and Amazon accounts updated relative to one another.
Click "Settings" and then "Sync Settings" to tell inkFrog how your link should behave.
The settings you see now control what inkFrog will do when it finds that eBay and Amazon listing data differs, or when new sales occur on your eBay or Amazon accounts.
Hover over tooltip (question mark) icons to get help as you configure each setting.
Spend some time making sure that each option is configured according to your preferences, then click "Save Settings" to save your choices.
Import Your Amazon Products
Don't be put off by the word "import" here; the goal isn't to create entirely new eBay listings from your Amazon listings. Rather, in this step you'll use the import tool to pair matching eBay and Amazon listings together, so that inkFrog can keep them in sync for you.
Click the "Import" icon once again to re-open the import dialog. To connect each of your Amazon listings to its matching eBay listing, leave the default "Import all" option selected and click the "Next" button to see the "Review, map and list" dialog.
The "Review, map and list" dialog helps you to match your Amazon products to eBay listings.
inkFrog is now showing you two groups of your Amazon listings:
Those it was able to match to one of your existing eBay listings (these have a blue "link" icon next to them)
Those that it couldn't automatically match to one of your existing eBay listings (these have a green check mark next to them)
Use the drop-down list at the top-left to manage which you see at any one time. Select "All products" in this list to see all of your Amazon listings at once, matched or unmatched.
Map Your Unmatched Products
Your goal now is to attend to any products that:
Have a green check mark beside them, yet
Should not be used to create a new eBay listing, but rather connected to an existing one
If you don't see any products in the "All products" view that have a green checkmark beside them, you're good to go—all of your Amazon listings have been matched to existing eBay listings, and you can skip this step and proceed to the next section.
If you do have products with green check marks beside them that should not be used to create new listings, it's time to tell inkFrog yourself which of your eBay listings match them.
Select one of these unmatched products to and click the "Map to existing listing" button to begin the matching process.
Select an unmapped product, then click "Map to existing listing" to tell inkFrog you'd like to map it.
You'll see the "Map existing listing" dialog, where inkFrog shows you all of your eBay listings. Scroll through the list or use the "Search for listings" box at the upper-right of the dialog to find the eBay listing that matches the Amazon product you've selected.
Find the eBay listing that should be mapped to the Amazon product you selected, then click it.
Once you locate the correct eBay listing, select it to tell inkFrog that it matches the Amazon product in question.
As you select eBay listings to match Amazon products, you'll find that the green check marks next to each product change to "blue" link icons to indicate that matches have been found.
Repeat this process for each Amazon listing that wasn't automatically matched (or "mapped"). Remember that any products left with a green check mark will be used to create entirely new eBay listings in the next step.
Complete the Import Process
Once you've ensured that all of the Amazon products that should be mapped actually have been mapped to your eBay listings, click the green "Import & list" button at the upper-right of the page to confirm your choices.
That's all there is to it! Your import is now complete:
All of your mapped products will now be kept in sync by inkFrog
New eBay listings have been created for any products that weren't mapped
inkFrog will use the sync settings that you configured earlier to ensure that prices, inventory levels, and/or other details about your eBay and Amazon listings continue to match each other in ways that make sense for your business.
So congratulations—using inkFrog, you've added an Amazon store to your eBay selling business, enabling a huge new universe of sales without creating tons of new work for yourself going forward. It's a win!
Don't have inkFrog yet? You'd better get it and then follow the steps above—so that your new Amazon store won't double your workload!
Posted on October 19, 2018
Thinking of selling on Amazon, but wanting to avoid tons of extra work? Here's how to branch out to Amazon while having inkFrog do much of the work for you.
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