There are at least a few dozen metric tons of tips, tricks, and tutorials to help you to sell more online, particularly on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
It's true that most of this information is very helpful, but it's also true that there are a few useful strategies for boosting sales that are rarely mentioned on the blogs and in the YouTube videos.
If you've taken care of the basics, have your stores up and running, and are happily using inkFrog for smooth day-to-day operations, here are four ideas to help you to go a step further in your marketing and sales efforts on eBay and Amazon.
Both eBay and Amazon host product reviews that can sway shoppers when averages are positive.
1. Ask for reviews of your products.
Both eBay and Amazon enable shoppers to write product reviews.
Amazon is probably the single most important product review site online, and products that have a review average of four or five stars see a significant boost in sales over products with no reviews.
eBay reviews are less well-known and less impactful overall, but even so, having a four- or five-star indicator above your catalog product listing can help to sway buyer decisions. On top of that, eBay also reveals which seller sold a given product to the shopper that reviews it, enabling shoppers to locate the sellers that have made shoppers for particular products happy.
If you're confident about the quality of your products (and you should be), don't just use follow-up email to encourage shoppers to leave feedback about your eBay seller ID or Amazon store. Encourage them to write positive reviews your products as well if they're satisfied with their purchases.
2. Complete your store and seller profile information.
On-the-fence shoppers can be wary about buying from independent sellers. This is particularly true if said independent sellers don't offer much information about themselves in the spaces provided.
eBay and Amazon both offer store pages and eBay also offers a feedback profile page where you can brand your business with images and text about your business. Use this space to tell prospective shoppers about your business and to provide them with at least one graphic or logo that will stick in their memory.
An empty or blank profile page suggests to shoppers that you're small-time, not established, or just not paying attention, while a nicely curated profile page says just the opposite and can encourage bookmarks and repeat sales.
These days, it's easy to start a blog or a vlog to create content and excitement about your products and niche.
3. Promote or advertise your store in other online venues.
Much of the tutorial information about selling on eBay and Amazon emphasizes being found in eBay search or achieving placement in the Amazon Buy Box. Both of these are important for eBay and Amazon sellers, respectively, but their reach is limited—they promote you to shoppers that are already on eBay and Amazon.
You can do a great deal, however, to promote your listings beyond the confines of eBay and Amazon. If your business is up and running and you're looking for new ways to gain an edge and drive new traffic to your products, consider and research each of the following strategies:
Sharing your listings via major social media platforms
Using Google Ads and other ad platforms to bring new shoppers to your store and products
Creating a blog or website, providing useful content about your niche, that also promotes your listings
Each of these strategies can pay big dividends in sales, and none of them needs to be particularly expensive. So if you've already spent significant time optimizing your product listings and marketplace profile, think beyond the marketplace and reach shoppers across the broader web.
4. Promote your business publicly.
Too often, sellers focus all of their energy on the online portion of their business. Sometimes, good, old-fashioned PR and pavement-pounding can also pay dividends. Consider each of the following strategies to promote your business as a whole, rather than just promoting individual products:
- Get local press coverage as a small business owner in your town or city
- Reach out to blogs and podcasts that cover the kinds of products you sell and offer to contribute
- Represent your business at meetups, conferences, or events related to your sales niche
- Begin to host your own regular meetups at which you demo products and offer discounts
Search traffic is the lifeblood of online sales, yes, but for many sellers there are many additional sales to be earned by gaining exposure for their brand and business and building a network of interested, dedicated friends and shoppers—to make purchases and promote you by word-of-mouth.
Every Little Bit Counts
These strategies aren't day-one strategies for your business—it's important to get your listings, prices, policies, and fulfillment practices right first—but once these ducks are in a row, you'll be well-served by them.
If, on the other hand, you don't have your ducks in a row yet—start by getting inkFrog and getting your products online and selling. Then, return to these tips when you're ready to take the next step toward an established business.
Posted on February 28, 2019
Once you've got the eBay and Amazon basics in place, ask yourself whether you're doing these additional things to make more sales.
eBay has issued an unusual 2019 Early Seller Update to enable sellers to "start taking advantage of new features" without having to wait for its usual April update.
eBay has issued an unusual "early seller update" for February and March of 2019 detailing new promotional offers, Seller Hub features, and listing properties.
Here are some of the most important changes.
New Promotional Offers
A new "Offer to buyers" feature enables sellers to make special targeted offers to people who shop for their items or who "are interested" in their items.
Listings that are eligible to be promoted to shoppers this way will be marked as such inside Seller Hub. Listings don't need to have been listed with the "Best Offer" feature to be eligible for promotion.
Once an offer is sent, shoppers have 48 hours to take advantage, and item(s) in the listing remain available for anyone to purchase while the offer is open.
Edit Listings, Get Orders Report in Seller Hub
The price, quantity, and custom label fields for listings in Seller Hub are being edit-enabled. Sellers will be able to click on these values and change them for active listings, without having to leave Seller Hub and open the listing editor.
eBay also plans to add the capability to enable the "Best Offer" feature for multiple listings directly from the Seller Hub view.
Starting in March, sellers will be able to download a CSV-format "Orders Report" that includes buyer and transaction information for all orders shown in a Seller Hub view.
All Fixed-Priced Listings Good 'Til Cancelled
Starting in March, all new fixed price item listings on eBay will be listed as "Good 'Til Cancelled" rather than some other, shorter, seller-selected duration.
These listings automatically renew every 30 days until sold, with a listing fee charged each time. As a part of this change, fixed-price listings will also remain live once all inventory sold, being shown as "out of stock" rather than as an ended listing.
Changes to Item Conditions and Product-Based Shopping
eBay is addressing some of the difficulties that sellers have faced with the eBay catalog and product-based shopping.
Rather than requiring sellers to link listings to a particular catalog item, which has proven difficult for some sellers and some items, they can instead fill out all item-specifics details for the product they're listing to comply with product-based shopping requirements.
Along with this change, the "New other" item condition in a number of categories is being changed either to "Open box" or to "Used - Like New" to make the nature of the item's condition more clear to shoppers.
Sales Tax Collection for Some U.S. Sellers
To comply with new regulations in Minnesota, Washington, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and possibly a growing list of other states, eBay announced last year that it would increasingly collect and remit sales tax on transactions for which this is required automatically, on sellers' behalves.
No particular seller action is required for this to occur, and no fee is charged for the service. eBay's goal is to enable small and independent sellers to comply with the complex and evolving web of sales tax regulations in the United States without undue cost or difficulty.
Starting in March, the "Orders Report" in Seller Hub will itemize the sales tax collected and remitted for each such transaction, to provide sellers with transparency and accounting information.
The April Update is Still Coming!
eBay is still planning to issue the usual Spring Seller Update in April of this year, so more changes are no doubt in the works.
In the meantime, eBay's page about the 2019 Early Seller Update can be found here.
Posted on February 28, 2019
In an unusual pre-spring update, eBay announces changes to promotional offers, Seller Hub, and fixed-price listings.
These days, many online sellers offer their products on multiple marketplaces and websites. Multichannel selling is one of the best success strategies for growing e-commerce business.
If you're an Amazon seller considering expanding to eBay, or an eBay seller considering expanding to Amazon, you've probably read about inkFrog and had questions about how inkFrog can help you to sell on both platforms.
Here are our answers to some of the most common questions we receive about using inkFrog with eBay and Amazon sales.
1. Can I use inkFrog to help me sell on eBay and Amazon at the same time?
Yes. This is exactly what inkFrog does best! With inkFrog, you can:
Get your Amazon listings up on eBay more quickly
Synchronize inventory levels, prices, titles, and descriptions between Amazon and eBay
Use designer templates to ensure that your eBay listings match your Amazon listings in quality
Manage your entire Amazon product line, even thousands of products, efficiently on eBay
2. Can I use inkFrog to help me import my Amazon listings to eBay?
Yes. Get an eBay seller account, sign up for inkFrog, then link your Amazon account to inkFrog. You can then import your listings for reuse on eBay, tweaking or customizing them in the process for maximum performance.
Use inkFrog to get your existing body of Amazon products up for sale on eBay—quickly.
It takes a significant amount of time to get a complete inventory up and selling on Amazon, and even longer to get a complete inventory up and selling on eBay one listing at a time. inkFrog enables you to start with the Amazon listings you already have, then quickly leverage those and hundreds of designer templates to build a complete inventory of eBay listings.
3. What does it mean that inkFrog can "synchronize" my eBay and Amazon listings?
This means that once you have created eBay listings based on your Amazon listings using inkFrog, you can opt to have changes that you make to titles and descriptions stay "in sync" between the two platforms.
Optionally, inkFrog can spot changes that you make to an Amazon listing title or description and make the same changes to your matching eBay listing
Optionally, inkFrog can spot changes that you make to an eBay listing title or description and make the same changes to your matching Amazon listing
When you link your Amazon account to inkFrog, you can choose whether to synchronize titles, descriptions, neither, or both, and whether updates will run in both directions or just one direction (and, if only in one direction, which direction that is).
4. What does it mean that inkFrog can "synchronize" my eBay and Amazon inventory?
This means that once you have created eBay listings based on your Amazon listings using inkFrog, you can have inkFrog update available quantities on both platforms for you as sales are made.
If you sell an item on Amazon, inkFrog can also decrease your eBay inventory for that product appropriately
If you sell an item on eBay, inkFrog can also decrease your Amazon inventory for that product appropriately
If you replenish your inventory on eBay or Amazon, inkFrog can update available inventory on the other platform for you to reflect the most recent inventory information you've provided
Once again the way in which this synchronization occurs is highly configurable, enabling you to think about your inventory as the number of products that you actually have on hand—rather than having to try to strategize about or balance the way in which you allocate inventory to each platform, and rather than having to try to manage two separate inventory numbers (one on eBay and one on Amazon) for each product.
You can easily customize how inkFrog's listing and inventory synchronization work.
5. Can I use inkFrog to help me to import my eBay listings to Amazon?
inkFrog is not able to quickly create a full complement of Amazon product listings from an existing body of your eBay listings.
6. Can I still use inkFrog somehow if I started selling on eBay first, and now want to add Amazon?
Yes. Even though inkFrog does not create Amazon listings for you, you can indicate to inkFrog that an eBay listing and an Amazon listing are the same product in your inventory.
Once you've done this, inkFrog can synchronize your eBay and Amazon listings and inventory just as described above. This means that even if you are an eBay-first seller that is looking to add Amazon sales to your business, you can still use inkFrog to save considerable time and effort and accelerate your business.
7. Does inkFrog provide e-commerce market research?
Yes. inkFrog provides advanced research that can tell you:
Which products are selling in which niches at which prices
What the top selling products in each niche are
What the hottest products in the market are overall
Which companies are seeing sales success, using which marketing strategies
inkFrog's e-commerce research is based on eBay data, so it is most directly applicable to sales and sales strategies on eBay—but the information in inkFrog research is also broadly applicable to e-commerce as a whole, including Amazon sales.
inkFrog research is based on eBay sales, but can offer clues about Amazon strategies as well.
That is to say that if a particular product is in the top ten products on eBay for the holiday season, it's a good starting assumption that demand on Amazon is strong as well. Conversely, if a product simply doesn't see any eBay sales, it's a good starting assumption that sales on Amazon will be limited as well.
inkFrog Can Help You to Sell on eBay and Amazon
Ready to start selling on both eBay and Amazon at the same time? Then it's time to get inkFrog now!
Posted on February 25, 2019
Have questions about the details when it comes to using inkFrog to sell on eBay and Amazon together? Here are answers.
Mid-February is upon us, which means that the referral fee changes in baby, grocery, furniture, and other areas that Amazon previously announced are soon to take effect.
If you use Amazon fulfillment or have products stored at Amazon's warehouses, however, you should know that there are other changes to fees also taking effect this month—changes that affect what you'll pay to store items at Amazon and to have Amazon fulfill your orders.
Changes to Amazon Fulfillment Fees
While Amazon's fulfillment fee structure isn't being entirely overhauled and the planned changes are in most cases not radical, some sellers will be affected. Here are the details in brief:
Do you sell on Amazon or use Amazon fullfillment for your orders? If so, this month's fee changes may help—or harm—your bottom line. (Image: © Ifeelstock / Dreamstime)
Small standard size tier: Packages weighing 10–16 ounces will see a base rate increase of $0.07/unit, to $2.48/unit.
Large standard size tier: Packages weighing 10–16 ounces will see a base rate increase of $0.09/unit, to $3.28/unit. Packages weighing 1–2 pounds will see a base rate increase of $0.05, to $4.75/unit. Packages weighing more than 2 pounds will see a base rate increase of $0.17, to $5.26/unit.
Small oversize tier: Packages in this tier will see a base rate increase of $0.13, to $8.26/unit.
Medium oversize tier: Packages in this tier will see a base rate increase of $0.35, to $9.79/unit, as well as a per-pound rate increase of $0.01, to $0.39/pound over the first 2 pounds.
Large oversize tier: Packages in this tier will see a base rate increase of $2.60, to $75.78/unit.
Special oversize tier: No change.
Sellers of items weighing 10 ounces or less or items in the special oversize tier fare the best, with no fee changes to these items; everyone else will see increases, ranging from $0.05/unit to $2.60/unit, depending on the size of the product.
Like the previously announced referral fees, Amazon says that this new fulfillment fee structure is effective February 19th, 2019.
Changes to Amazon Storage Fees
Long-term storage fees for inventory in Amazon warehouses are also set to change. Not everyone will be affected. From those that are, some will see increases, while others will see decreases Here are the details in brief:
Monthly fees for non-flammable, non-aerosol items: No change.
Monthly fees for flammable or pressurized aerosol items: Items in this tier will see a $0.30/unit monthly fee increase from January–September and a $1.23/unit monthly fee increase from October–December.
Long-term storage fees, 181–365 days: Items that have been in a fulfillment center from 181–365 days will no longer incur fees for storage.
Minimum long-term storage fees, 365 or more days: Items that have been in a fulfillment center for more than 365 days will see a reduction in the minimum long-term storage fee, from $0.50/unit monthly to %0.15/unit monthly.
Amazon says that the new storage fee structure is effective February 15th, 2019.
Study the Numbers
Whether or not these changes to Amazon's referral, fulfillment, and storage fees are a net increase for you or a net decrease for you will depend on the products you sell and the rate at which you sell them.
So visit Amazon's own page about the changes, study them, and then make adjustments to your business as necessary—using inkFrog to synchronize any multi-channel changes across marketplaces, naturally.
Do you sell online or have an online selling business? If so, you should be using inkFrog—or you're missing out. Why?
Here are ten key ways that inkFrog makes your life as a seller not just easier, but far more profitable and efficient as well.
You Sell on eBay. inkFrog makes just about everything having to do with eBay sales simpler and more convenient. If you're an eBay seller and you find yourself grumbling about—or procrastinating about—the little day-by-day tasks that you encounter on eBay, inkFrog is what you've been looking for.
inkFrog's designer eBay templates and point-click editor make beautiful listings easy.
Your eBay listings don't wow you when you look at them. With hundreds of designer listing templates that are easy to customize and are mobile-ready, inkFrog makes it easy to enhance your listings. Your listings, after all, should be working for you—impressing shoppers, convincing them to buy your product, and referring them to other products that you sell. That's what inkFrog templates are for.
You spend too much time managing your listings. eBay sellers regularly find themselves needing to update dozens or even hundreds of listings at a time. This can take time—so much time that these updates sometimes don't happen because you have better things to do. inkFrog enables you to manage thousands of listings quickly, and to make changes to listing content or policies in bulk.
Use several eBay accounts to sell? Manage them together and move listings between them quickly.
You use multiple eBay accounts to sell. Using the eBay website, this means keeping multiple browser windows open, or logging out and logging back in repeatedly during the day as you run your business. With inkFrog, you can handle messaging, listing, and orders for each eBay account from the same inkFrog login, and you can move listings between eBay accounts with ease.
You have employees helping you with eBay. If you sell via the eBay website, any employees that help you create listings or fulfill orders need full access to your eBay account. This is risky, and can lead to complexities and misunderstandings. With inkFrog, you can give each of your employees their own inkFrog login, where they have access only to certain parts of your business.
Link your other sales channels to inkFrog and synchronize listings and inventory.
You also sell on Amazon, Shopify, or Bigcommerce. inkFrog enables you to synchronize your listings and inventory levels between each of these major e-commerce platforms, so that you can achieve more coverage and reach without multiplying your work. If you sell multi-platform, you need inkFrog.
You have trouble keeping up with feedback tasks. With inkFrog, you can configure and then automate your feedback—so that you can leave an assortment of the right feedback and appropriate times, without having to do the actual busywork. No more getting behind on feedback and missing out on positive feedback in kind.
inkFrog analytics tell you who's selling well, what they sell, at what prices, in and what quantities.
You need a better way to manage customer service. Keeping track of what's been paid for, what's been shipped, and what customer communication is happening can be confusing using eBay's seller tools. With inkFrog, on the other hand, all of this information is easily accessible, and the unified history for each sale and its customer interactions means that you won't get lost trying to figure out what's going on each time you hear from a customer.
You're buried under creative assets. eBay doesn't provide you with any easy way to keep track of bunches of listing images, content, and profiles. This is fine if you're selling 50 things, but it's a disaster if you're selling 5,000. inkFrog provides search, folder, and profile tools to track and re-use what you create for your listings, without losing track of them.
Have an existing store but want to move into eBay quickly? inkFrog's your best bet.
You'd like to sell on eBay. If you're already on Amazon, Shopify, or BigCommerce and want to expand to include eBay sales, there's no better tool to help you to get there. Link your existing store and then quickly get your entire inventory up for sale as eBay listings, without having to start from scratch.
If any of these are news to you or you find yourself thinking that you need a tool just like this one, don't wait—give inkFrog a try today.
Posted on February 25, 2019
Sell on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, or Bigcommerce? You should be using inkFrog. Here are ten reasons why.
We Are Hunters is about living fashionably conscious and celebrating a new way to shop for premium brands. "Premium brands that don’t cost the planet".
We Are Hunters was established in Sydney by Sarah Holdway & Kerry Flynn in 2016. We Are Hunters is an e-commerce store specializing in pre-loved premium Australian and international brands. We Are Hunters merges the girls' fashion & business experience and knowledge with a sustainable and conscious outlook that reflects their aesthetic values and love for the planet.
Here's what they have to say about inkFrog:
"We've been selling on eBay for two years now. We started using inkFrog in about August of this year.
inkFrog has allowed us to integrate our online store and our eBay store which means we have less double handling. Essentially, we have one collection of stock across the two platforms which has made management of sales, listings entries and editing a far less laborious task than if we had to list items separately on each platform. With the ability to setup templates and master profiles inkFrog has allowed for maximum efficiency which has helped our business easily manage its growth."
Visit We Are Hunters here:
Posted on February 06, 2019
How inkFrog Makes It Easier for We Are Hunters to Sell on eBay
This article was written by Danna Crawford, Strategic Director, WorthPoint, Inc.
While speaking at an event recently, someone raised their hand and asked, "What is a WorthPoint?" At that moment I had a flashback of someone doing the same thing a few years ago, only at that time they were asking "What is an eBay?"
I guess when people like "us," you and I reading this article, are obviously "internet savvy" we assume everyone else is. But the fact remains, not everyone "gets-it" like we do. Not that we are any better than anyone else, rather, we have a better understanding of using online websites and internet resources.
For me, my earliest internet resource was eBay. eBay helped me become a work-at-home-mom-entrepreneur, and I soon became a consignment seller growing the "PowerSellingMom" brand. Over the years it became challenging and time consuming to try to identify and value the vintage collectibles and antiques consignors would bring me. This is when I discovered WorthPoint.com.
WorthPoint saved me many hours of online research time, along with thousands of dollars I may have lost, because I did not understand how to read marketing trends.
Back to that question “What is a WorthPoint?” WorthPoint to me, is the key to my eBay selling success! It helps me not only figure out the value of my items, but it helps me develop an eBay listing strategy to help get the item sold.
WorthPoint is not just for eBay sellers. It’s a resource tool for anyone that owns antiques, art, or vintage collectibles. WorthPoint is the perfect tool for anyone trying to identify and value these types of items, whether they own the items or are thinking of buying or selling them. WorthPoint can help the antique dealer, flea market vendor, and the thrift store owner understand how to price their items.
WorthPoint is also the perfect tool for folks left with estates and have no clue if they should sell or donate. Another type of person who can benefit from using WorthPoint is the type that unfairly lost their precious items, and they are unsure how to put a price value on the lost items to submit to insurance companies for a claim. WorthPoint has been offering a service to the recent victims from the California fires to use the website free of charge.
WorthPoint is a small company of which I am proud to be a part. I was honored 2 years ago, when Will Seippel, the CEO, contacted me to lead up a new program about treasure hunting and organize "Treasure Hunts" around the country. I accepted the offer, and now as a "Strategic Director" I get to assist collectors and sellers, helping them source treasures at the best prices.
Will Seippel the CEO and founder of WorthPoint sums it up best: "Why I created WorthPoint? Shown is an 1899 Mardi Gras medal from New< Orleans. I recently bought this in Maine for a few dollars at a flea market. This morning I retrieved it out of my suitcase to sell and looked up "1899 Mardi Gras medal on WorthPoint and this similar one came up that had sold for $475.
I could not quickly find it elsewhere. I listed it on eBay at $500 and it sold in 10 minutes on eBay. The profit would pay for 2+ years at WorthPoint! You cannot afford not to have it!"
Nowadays, everyone knows what an "eBay is" since it is, after all, the world's largest online auction/marketplace. Now you’ve been enlightened to know:
inkFrog offers sellers hundreds of customizable designer templates for selling on eBay. No doubt you've experimented with them, and even spent some time doing basic customization—but did you know about these features?
1. Change the Look of Your Template for Mobile Users
inkFrog's templates are designed to be responsive, but you can go a step further and take control of the appearance of your listings on each kind of device. To manually choose whether a particular image or block of text appears or not on a particular type of device, follow these steps:
Click on the image or block you'd like to configure
Click "VISIBILITY" on the right sidebar
Check or uncheck the boxes next to "Desktop," "Tablet," or "Phone"
Click "Update" to save your changes
Decide whether each element in your template is visible on desktop, tablet, and/or mobile devices.
When shoppers view your listing on a desktop computer, they will see the block or image in question of "Desktop" is checked. They won't see it if "Desktop" isn't checked. The "Tablet" and "Phone" options work in exactly the same way.
2. Create Rounded Corners for Blocks or Images (or Even Circles)
To nicely round the corners of your images or blocks, follow these steps:
Click on the image or block whose corners you'd like to round
Click "BORDER" on the right sidebar
Scroll down in the border dialog and locate the "Radius" option
Move the slider to the right for more rounding, to the left for less rounding
For the right sellers and the right products, rounded corners can soften and professionalize the look.
If you'd like to turn a perfectly square image into a circle, follow these steps, move the slider all the way to "100," then select "px" from the Radius drop-down list afterward.
3. Embed a Video in Your Listing
To embed a video in your listing that shoppers can watch without ever having to leave eBay, follow these steps:
Click on the block where you'd like to insert your video
Click "MEDIA" on the left sidebar
Select "Video" in the media dialog
Enter the URL for the YouTube video you'd like to embed
Click "Add to Page" to insert the video
If you have how-to or review videos of your products that comply with eBay rules, add them to your listings.
Remember that any videos you embed in eBay listings should be relevant to the product being sold, and should not provide information enabling users to contact you or complete a sale outside of eBay, even indirectly.
4. Rearrange the Order of Your Template Items
If you've got your template all set up except for the fact that you wish you could change the order in which some of the elements appear vertically, follow these steps:
Click "LAYOUT" on the left sidebar
Click the row containing the items you'd like to move
Click on the up or down arrows to move that row up or down in the template
Move entire rows of images or text upward or downward easily, to get template structure exactly right.
Using this technique, you can quickly slide major parts of the template up and down to get your template laid out in exactly the way you'd prefer.
5. Add Your Own HTML to a Template
If you'd like to bypass all the the fancy editor tools for part of your template and write HTML code directly into the template at any point, follow these steps:
Select the block where you'd like to add your own HTML
Click "TEXT" on the left sidebar
Select "Source Code" in the text dialog
Double click in the box where you see the words "Double click to enter your HTML source code"
Enter your HTML code
Click outside of the box to see the code render
Feel like inserting some specialty HTML directly into your template? You can.
This way, if you want the convenience of the template editor for most of your work—but really want to be able to carefully tweak those special elements yourself by hand—you can do so easily.
Explore to Do More
If you were surprised to see these features available to you in inkFrog's template editor, what else have you been missing?
Take some time to explore both the large library of designer templates that inkFrog offers and the assortment of tools and options that the editor provides. Your listings will be entirely unique to your store and your brand in no time!
Don't have inkFrog? You'd better get it now.
Posted on February 01, 2019
How well do you know inkFrog's designer templates and template editor? Here are some tricks you may have missed.
If you've used inkFrog for any length of time, you've probably discovered that you can quickly and easily print invoices and address labels when viewing any order in the "Sold (orders)" category in the "Listings" area of your inkFrog account.
(If you hadn't yet discovered this feature, go open one of your past orders now and look for the printer icon at the upper right of the page.)
By default, when you click the printer icon for an order, you can opt to print address labels for the order, an invoice for the order, or both.
Click the print icon while viewing an order to print order-related documents. You can customize these.
Did you know that you can customize both this list, and what each item in the list prints? This can make your record-keeping and fulfillment workflow far easier to accomplish. Let's take a closer look.
Adding a Logo to Your Invoice Template
Let's take a look at one of the most commonly desired changes for inkFrog print templates: adding your company logon to the invoice template, so that when you print invoices, they're branded. Let's get your logo into your print template.
Start by uploading your logo image to your inkFrog images area.
First, we need to get your logo into inkFrog. Follow these steps:
Find a copy of your logo saved as an image on your computer.
Click "Images" in the right sidebar, then "Upload" to upload a new image.
Either drag your image file into the pop-up window or select "Click here to upload" in the window, then upload your image.
Now your logo is in inkFrog, but we need to take one more step before we head over to your print templates to change them—we need to get the web address of the image. Follow these steps:
Still in the images area, click on the thumbnail of the logo image you just uploaded.
When you see the large version of the image pop up, right click on it.
Chose "Copy Image Address" (in Chrome and Safari) or "Copy Image Location" (in Firefox) to get the image's web address. We'll paste the address somewhere else in just a few seconds.
Preview your image, then right click and choose "Copy Image Location" to get its web address.
Now let's head over to the print template editor and open your invoice template to customize it. Follow these steps:
Click "Settings" →"Print templates" in your inkFrog account.
When you see the list of templates, click the pencil icon ("Edit Template") to the far right of the word "Invoice" to open your invoice template for editing.
You'll see a list of your print templates. Click the pencil icon to edit a template.
You should now see the HTML code for your invoice print template, ready for you to edit. Not an HTML expert? Don't worry. All we need to do is add a single line to your template. Follow these steps:
Click in the editor and position your cursor at the very beginning—the first position on the first line.
Press enter to add a blank line, move back up to the new blank line using your arrow keys, and insert the following text:
<img src="" height="50">
Now position your cursor in between the two consecutive quotation marks, and paste in the web address of the image that you copied previously.
Add the first line to the top of your template, pasting your logo's web address between the quotes.
And you're done! To see what your invoices will look like with your company logo at the top, click the "Preview" button at the upper-right of the editor view.
If all went as planned, you now see your business logo when you preview your template.
If you like what you see, click "Save Template" to save your changes, after which your logo will always appear on the page when you print templates.
Customizing the HTML Code
If you know something about HTML, the gears in your head are probably now turning rather quickly.
What other things about the templates can you customize?
We won't go over how the templates are put together in-depth, but as someone who's familiar with HTML, a quick scan through the template will probably show you that in fact it's mostly quite standard HTML code, with a few fields pulled in for things like seller name and address, order ID number, and so on.
Follow your nose to edit and style the HTML, while making use of the same fields, and you can achieve all kinds of interesting customizations.
If you know HTML, you'll feel right at home making bigger changes to your templates.
Just one key suggestion—if you plan to make significant changes to a print template, do it in a new template, so that if you make a mistake or don't like the effect, you still have your standard templates to fall back on.
Creating New Print Templates
Of course, that raises a key question—how do you create an entirely new template? In fact, it's startlingly easy. Follow these steps:
Click "Settings" →"Print templates" to return to the list of print templates.
Click "Create New Template" at the upper right to create a new, blank print template.
Enter a name for your new template in the "Template Name" box.
Type the HTML for your template in the "Code" editor box.
You can use inkFrog's default templates as a guide for how to add commonly used data fields to the print output in your template.
Use "Preview" as you work on your template to ensure that you get it looking just right, and when you're done, click "Save Template" to save it.
The print templates you create are available to you when you print your orders.
The next time you click the print button when viewing one of your orders, your new print template will be available to you. It's that easy!
Posted on February 01, 2019
Ever wish you could add your business logo to your inkFrog invoice template? Here's how.
Drop shipping is a popular e-commerce business model for small and first-time sellers. If you are a drop shipping seller, you:
Identify products that shoppers might like to buy
Find them for sale from another vendor at a good price
Offer these products for sale on eBay, Amazon, or Shopify, without first buying them
When shoppers order these products from you, you then:
Contact the vendor you've identified for the product
Place an order for the product and have it shipped directly to the buyer
As a business model, drop shipping enables you to set up an online shop, offer products to shoppers, make sales, and earn a profit all without having to store and manage your own inventory, or make a large up-front investment.
Drop shipping is a tried-and-true business model, but there are both practical and policy concerns to be aware of. (Image: © nik bibik / Dreamstime)
The Drop Shipping Gotchas
While millions of buyers and sellers have had positive experiences with drop shipping, many without even realizing it, the fact that sellers don't actually have the inventory they're selling on the premises can lead to some classic drop shipping problems:
Making sales when inventory isn't actually available
Delivery times that are longer than they would be if the seller maintained their own inventory
Return and exchange processes in which buyers are asked to interact with companies from whom they did not directly purchase
All of these problems can be avoided by drop shipping sellers that work conscientiously to provide a great customer experience—but they are also tendencies that can quickly turn shopper experiences bad if sellers don't actively work to prevent them.
And as always, while there are many conscientious sellers out there, there are also some that get sloppy or cut corners. That's bad.
eBay's Most Recent Drop Shipping Policy
For this reason, most marketplaces are hesitant to uncritically embrace drop shipping by their sellers, and most have carefully crafted policies that drop shipping sellers must meet if they are to continue to sell. eBay is no different in this regard.
What are the key points of eBay's current drop shipping policy for sellers? They are:
Drop-shipping is allowed, but
Drop shipping suppliers must be wholesalers, not retailers, and
All the other eBay rules and performance standards still apply
Let's break down what each of these points means in practice, so that if you're considering drop shipping on eBay, you know how to do it in a way that won't end up creating problems for you on eBay.
1. Drop Shipping is Allowed
Despite what you may have heard, there is no blanket policy banning drop shipping on eBay. In fact, eBay's policy page clearly says:
If your would-be supplier does most of their business with the general public, you probably can't use them as a drop shipping supplier on eBay. (Image: © Thodonal / Dreamstime)
"Drop shipping, where you fulfill orders directly from a wholesale supplier, is allowed on eBay."
That's pretty unambiguous—and it's safe to say that eBay doesn't particularly want to block perfectly good sales from taking place. They profit from every transaction, after all.
But with that said, the next point is important.
2. Drop Shipping Suppliers Must Be Wholesalers
The same eBay policy referenced above also includes another key line:
"[L]listing an item on eBay and then purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed on eBay."
It's allowed, but it's not allowed? What are we to make of this?
The key is in the difference between retailers and wholesalers. People often think of retail and wholesale as words that are all about price, but there's more to the difference than that. Retailers:
Accept orders primarily from individual shoppers and families
Are easy to find and buy from
Require no prior relationship for an order to be made
Have websites and customer service policies targeted at customers, not resellers
Often interact directly with the people that will actually use their products
Is it your business name or another brand listed on the packing slip, carton, or shipping label? If the latter, you could be taking a risk. (Image: © Tatchaphol Chandraprasit / Dreamstime)
Wholesalers, on the other hand:
Accept orders primarily from resellers
Are not as easy to find and buy from
Generally require a relationship or preliminary agreement prior to the first order
Have websites and customer service policies targeted at resellers, not customers
Rarely, if ever, interact directly with the people that will actually use their products
So if you're going to be a drop shipping seller on eBay, to comply with the rules your suppliers need to be businesses that sell to or through other businesses (like you), not businesses that sell directly to the public.
Is there an easy way to differentiate between the two for sure? Probably the easiest is this:
If a potential shopper would receive a parcel or packing slip that lists your business name somewhere on it, you're probably dealing with a wholesaler.
If a potential shopper would receive a parcel or packing slip that lists only their name and the name of your supplier on it—or if your shopper can use what they learn by receiving your package to make a future purchase directly, bypassing both you and eBay—you're dealing with a retailer, and should steer clear for eBay purposes.
3. eBay Rules and Performance Standards Still Apply
It's very important to understand the difference between retailers and wholesalers in order to comply with eBay's drop shipping policy, but it's at least as important to understand that all of the regular eBay performance standards still apply.
You get no breaks, in other words, just because your business is based on drop shipping and some eBay standards may be more difficult to meet.
Delivery times and processes must still meet eBay standards
Returns and exchange policies must still comply with eBay requirements
Your shoppers can still provide honest feedback about your transaction afterward
At present, delivering your own eBay inventory via Amazon fulfillment and other similar practices is still allowed in North America—but it can still lead to a less-than-ideal shopper experience. (Image: © Ifeelstock / Dreamstime)
It's important to make these points because it is objectively more difficult—though not by any means impossible—to do well in these areas as a drop shipper. They will, in other words, require special care and attention from you if you're going to succeed on eBay as a drop shipper.
Side Note on FBA and Other Gray Areas
For a few sellers, these policies raise an obvious additional question: what about eBay orders that technically don't violate eBay's drop shipping policy in any way, yet are processed and/or fulfilled by services or brands that are also retailers at times?
Given that eBay forbids sourcing products through Amazon when drop shipping, for example, what are sellers to make of using Amazon fulfillment on eBay to deliver their own inventory?
For the moment, the answer is a nuanced one. Third-party fulfillment and order management are not against eBay rules today, at least not in North America, so you're probably on solid ground to use them. However, there are some things to note for the future:
On some other global eBay sites (notably Australia), Amazon fulfillment is already against the rules, so there is no guarantee that it will continue to be permitted in North America indefinitely.
eBay has hinted and analysts have predicted that eBay is working behind the scenes to provide eBay-branded alternatives to sellers that currently do business this way, no doubt to put an end to the less-than-ideal experience that occurs when—for example—a customer makes a purchase on eBay only to receive an Amazon-branded shipping box.
For these reasons, it's probably best to assume that even if you use retail fulfillment partner like Amazon now, you'll probably stop doing so in the future if you plan to continue to sell on eBay.
Drop Shipping at Present and in the Future
Drop shipping has been a staple of e-commerce since the beginning, and despite what some have imagined, it shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
Keep abreast of the policies of your preferred marketplaces, stay savvy to the trends that separate successes from failures in drop shipping, and you'll do fine as a drop shipper on eBay, both now and in the future.
Posted on February 01, 2019
Drop shipping is a venerable online business model, but eBay has specific guidelines about how—and how not—to do it.
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