Starting an e-commerce business? It's a hot idea these days.
But if you're new to e-commerce, it can be difficult to know where to start, and to understand how many of the big brands that are often talked about fit together as parts of the larger e-commerce world.
Let's take a look at what each of these brands is, and what sort of opportunity they present to you as a seller.
Trying to figure out e-commerce and how big brands like eBay, Shopify, Amazon, and BigCommerce fit together? Here's what you need to know. (Image: © Lightfieldstudiosprod / Dreamstime)
eBay and Amazon: The Marketplaces
eBay and Amazon are both e-commerce marketplaces.
Consumers search for products beneath an eBay or Amazon logo, find products under an eBay or Amazon logo, and they pay for products under an eBay or Amazon logo. If they'd like to return a product, they do that under an eBay or Amazon logo, too.
Between them, eBay and Amazon boast over half a billion active shoppers yearly—people who go directly to eBay and Amazon.com to find products to buy.
As it turns out, many of those products are not actually sold by eBay and Amazon, but by independent sellers and e-commerce entrepreneurs. In practice, it works something like this:
eBay and Amazon operate websites where products can be sold
Millions of sellers go to these websites and list their products for sale
Hundreds of millions of shoppers go to these websites, find, then buy these products
eBay and Amazon take a cut of the proceeds, relay the rest to the seller
The product is delivered to the shopper
Despite the fact that sellers have to sell under an eBay logo or an Amazon logo, and despite the fact that these marketplaces take a cut of the profits and impose strict rules that sellers often struggle to comply with, this is a very attractive arrangement to sellers for one simple reason.
That reason is the captive audience of hundreds of millions of shoppers who are already very comfortable buying on eBay and Amazon and, who have eBay and Amazon shopping apps installed on their phones and tables, who already have their payment information on file at eBay and Amazon, and who are thus unusually ready to click "Buy Now" buttons.
A fast and endless supply of shoppers is what makes marketplaces attractive. (Image: © Rene / Fotolia)
As a seller, listing on eBay and Amazon is the single easiest way in existence to get your products in front of a very large shopping audience very, very quickly—often mere minutes after deciding to become a seller.
Shopify and BigCommerce: The Store Providers
But there are limits to how far you can go on the marketplaces:
No matter how great or how unique your products or your brand are, they'll always be dwarfed by the eBay or Amazon logos, colors, and language on these websites.
Both eBay and Amazon impose limits on what you can do with your buying audience, making it far more difficult to built repeat sales and a loyal customer base.
By the time you're making lots of sales, you're also dreadfully aware that you're sending lots of money to eBay and Amazon that you could otherwise be investing in your business rather than in theirs.
And if you're struggling to get to lots of sales, you may be frustrated by the degree to which both eBay and Amazon limit your ability to present your products in new, different, and interesting ways, rather in their own standard formats.
For this reason, most established and growing e-commerce entrepreneurs and even many brand new ones also want to operate and invest in their own online store—a store that they build themselves, brand and design in their own way, and whose sales revenue doesn't get parceled out to already-rich third parties like eBay and Amazon.
That's where Shopify and BigCommerce come in. They're two of the best-known providers of online stores for sellers. Instead of selling on eBay.com under a red, green, blue, and yellow logo, or on Amazon.com under the yellow and black arrow, Shopify and BigCommerce provide easy-to-use tools for you to build your own website.
With Shopify or BigCommerce, you build your own online store. (Image: © georgejmclittle / Fotolia)
They can enable you to:
Create your own layouts, look, feel, branding, and colors
Present your own story, policies, methods of presenting products, and support content
Your own web address, like WildWestShoes.com or DiaryEmporium.com or MikesBoatParts.com
Accept payments yourself as you build and communicate with your own loyal, satisfied customer list
It's easy to see the allure. It's also a longer-term project to build business on your own site this way. After all, between the time you list your first product on eBay or Amazon and your first cup of coffee afterward, hundreds or thousands of shoppers will open their eBay or Amazon apps or visit eBay or Amazon in their web browser, perhaps looking for products like yours.
On the other hand, the day after you create WildWestShoes.com, it's unlikely that anyone will type it into their web browser. Perhaps not even the first week. Or the first month. It's your job to bring them there, and you're starting from scratch.
They're All Useful—and So is inkFrog
For many new sellers, the obvious thing to do is therefore to sell in several ways. For example, to drive sales quickly by selling on eBay and Amazon from the start, and to build more slowly in the background, with more ownership and long-term potential, using Shopify or BigCommerce.
Trying to sell in several places at once can make you tired. Very tired. But inkFrog can help. (Image: © pathdoc / Fotolia)
But this comes with problems of its own, as many new sellers find out.
You want all of your inventory up for sale on every platform, for the greatest chance of a sale
Yet this means potential overselling—if you have one item listed in three different places and a shopper on each of them makes a purchase the same day, it's may be a problem
It also means a lot of work—it's hard enough to create product listings, set prices, and manage orders in one place—but three selling venues means three times the already heavy start-up workload
Happily, there's inkFrog, which is designed precisely for this situation:
Sell on eBay, Amazon, and your Shopify store—or on eBay, Amazon and your BigCommerce store
Reduce the number of times that you have to create listings for each of your products
Keep your inventory levels and prices up-to-date with real inventory numbers across all of your platforms
Earn early sales quickly on the marketplaces while you build a business in the background
Without having to do two or three times the work, pulling your hair out in the process
With inkFrog, you can add Shopify, BigCommerce, or Amazon support to your eBay sales.
The Best Way to Start
So, at the end of the day, if you're new to e-commerce, here's our advice for the best way to start:
Start building your own store on Shopify or BigCommerce
And also selling on eBay, a flexible marketplace where millions of shoppers already shop every day
As you have success and get the workload under control, add Amazon sales and continue to polish and grow your store
If you're just starting out, there's a lot of research and learning still to do—but bookmark this page and return to it for the big picture. And when you're ready to start, sign up for inkFrog as one of your very first steps.
Posted on January 24, 2019
Just starting out and trying to figure out how these big e-commerce names fit into your future? Here's what you need to know.
This article was provided by Mollie Thick, Marketing Manager for BitBond.
For most eBay sellers, the biggest problem they have to worry about is whether or not their products are selling.
But you have a different problem.
Your eBay business has experienced consistently impressive conversion rates, and you've managed to turn a healthy profit.
You're beyond worrying about the effectiveness of your business strategy. Now, you’re ready to expand.
But expanding your eBay business is easier said than done, especially if you don’t have tons of liquid capital lying around.
Fortunately for you, building a bigger eBay business doesn’t have to be a nightmare - if you have the right tools and information available.
With that in mind, we've put together this article detailing the biggest obstacles you'll encounter, and how to overcome them.
By the time we're done here, you won't just know how to raise funds for your eBay business. You'll have a strong understanding of what it means to properly fund your own expansion.
Ready to get started? So are we.
Let's dive right in by tackling the first (and most important) piece of this puzzle: the current problem with most small business loans.
The Problem With Traditional Small Business Loans
For the sake of simplicity, we'll be putting small business loans in two categories: traditional loans and intuitive loans.
We'll discuss intuitive loans a bit later on, but for now, we'll just be focusing on traditional loans for your average lender. There are a few major issues that you’ll have to deal with if you’re looking for a typical lender to fund your eBay business expansion.
For starters, let's talk about the speed factor.
Being the talented eBay seller you are, I don't need to tell you how important speed is when it comes to managing your business.
Your ability to make important decisions quickly and efficiently is something your business relies on, and it's likely one of the reasons you fell in love with eBay as a platform.
The amount of freedom you're given, and the flexibility that comes with it, are essential to the continued success of your business.
Anything that threatened that would be an inconvenience at best and a liability at worst.
And that's the problem with typical small business loans. Even under ideal circumstances, your funds can take weeks to become available.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Typical lenders qualify your business the same way they would qualify you as an individual.
In fact, one of the reasons that small business owners struggle with getting loans is because of this outdated credit check system that traditional lenders use. Keep in mind, they're typically performing a hard check.
That's why these loans are usually only available to a small number of people. And let's not even get into the numerous hidden fees you'll have to deal with. Or the repeat visits to their offices because they insist on doing everything "face-to-face".
There's no getting around it: as an eBay business owner looking to expand their business, you're going to be in for a bad time with traditional lenders.
There's a small chance they'll say yes. If they reject you, it was likely because of something that had nothing to do with your actual business. Getting your actual funds can take weeks, and once you have them, you can expect a variety of hidden fees to pop up.
Not a particularly exciting deal, is it?
Understanding Bitbond and Instant Online Business Loans
Enter the world of intuitive loans. Where traditional lenders are inflexible and unreasonable, these instant online business loans have been built to innovate the way small business loans are handled.
More specifically, companies like Bitbond are much more interested in helping you make the most out of your business.
How do you know if you're eligible for funding from a company like Bitbond? Well, there are a few bare minimums to keep in mind.
- Your business has been in operation for at least 1 year or longer
- You're looking to repay your loan in 3-12 months
- You're looking for up to $25,000 in funding
Instant online business loans are exactly that: instant.
Instead of having to visit an office multiple times, you can complete your application for a Bitbond small business loan in as little as 10 minutes.
Yes, you read that correctly.
But the perks don’t stop there. When you work with Bitbond, you have access to international funding. In other words, you can get your small business loan anywhere in the world.
Still not convinced? Well, here's something that might change your mind - Bitbond actually offers truly instant funding to prime borrowers. You'll receive the funds in your bank account after one business day.
That's right: with Bitbond, you're one day away from the business growth you deserve.
Plus, you can rest assured knowing that you're in good hands, with Bitbond being Germany's first BaFin regulated blockchain company.
Bitbond doesn't bother with outdated credit checks. They qualify your business accounts using your sales history.
See what we mean? Intuitive. It just makes sense.
You can stop worrying about hidden fees cutting into your eBay business profits. Bitbond online business loans apply a single, simple fee. More importantly, that fee only applies once you're funded.
Bitbond cares just as much about transparency as it does about efficiency. You'll be provided with a full repayment schedule before you officially publish your loan. You'll know exactly how much your loan will cost, and when those payments are due.
With over 3,000 satisfied business owners in over 120 countries, is it any surprise that more and more eBay sellers are looking to companies like Bitbond to help expand their businesses?
Listen, we get it. Expanding your eBay business is a massive step, and something that you'll want to consider carefully before doing.
But if you're going to take the plunge into the world of small business loans and expand your eBay empire, instant online business lenders offer you some fantastic perks and tools.
Instead of waiting around for your funds, you can get them within a business day. You don't have to worry about some tedious credit check when your sales history speaks for itself.
You'll have access to worldwide coverage, no matter where you’d like to base your eBay business out of.
You can focus on a single, straightforward fee instead of worrying about hidden fees. And you can apply online, in just under 10 minutes.
Get the funding your business deserves without compromising the integrity of your eBay business in the process.
Posted on January 14, 2019
E-commerce sellers typically use Bitbond to bridge liquidity gaps and try new product lines. Read about our partnership here.
eBay moved nearly $90 billion in merchandise volume in 2017, and will probably move even more than that in 2018. There are a lot of sellers on eBay and a lot of new sellers joining every day.
Things are always changing in eBay's giant universe, and you may be due for an audit. What's an eBay audit? Read on to find out.
What this means is that eBay's inventory levels and competition levels are always in flux. Whatever you sell, there are either more or fewer of them on eBay today than there were when you began, being sold by either more or fewer sellers.
Why does this matter? Because you're in this to make as much money as you can, and you won't if your business isn't aligned with current marketplace conditions, shopper expectations, and eBay practices.
In short, when's the last time you did an audit of your eBay business?
What's an eBay audit?
In an eBay audit, you examine every part of your eBay business to see how well you're leveraging the opportunities that exist now—and avoiding the risks and threats that exist now—as opposed to those that were in evidence when you began.
In an eBay audit, you'll go over your eBay listings, account, and activity to evaluate your:
You're making sales—but could you be making more of them? Charging more for them? Are you at risk of being blindsided by declines over the coming year? Better find out.
Inventory. Are you offering products in oversaturated areas with no hope of being seen? Are you failing to offer products for which unmet demand exists? Are you pricing yourself out of the market or leaving money on the table?
Strategy. Do you stand apart from your competitors or blend in invisibly? What strategies are you using to differentiate yourself? Are they effective? Are there others you could or should adopt?
Listings. Are your listings up to current quality standards, or are you falling behind? Are you using best practices for product images, item descriptions, and other things that affect both search placement and the ability to convert sales?
Compliance. Are you in compliance with recent eBay policy changes, or are you at risk for being dinged by eBay, either in search or in your ability to sell, for violations of policies that you don't even know about?
Workflow. Are you making use of the best tools available to you, or are you missing out on tools that could significantly reduce your labor investment or enhance your sales and productivity over time?
In the eBay universe products, competitors, policies, strategies, and tools enter and exit every day. You could be missing something. The last time most sellers sat down and looked at these things holistically was when they first started selling. How long has it been for you?
How do you do an eBay audit?
The most effective sellers know better than to let their business run for years on autopilot; they periodically stop to consider all of the items above, making a careful SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) list:
The SWOT analysis is a classic business tool—that can help your eBay business to thrive if properly done. (Image: Xhienne / CC-by-SA-2.5)
Strengths. What are you and your business best at, most effective with right now, or able to offer that others can't? These are your foundations—the things that you can double-down on and build upon.
Weaknesses. What are you not keeping up with that you already know you should? These are your areas for improvement—the things that you can do to raise the ceiling on your growth and revenue.
Threats. What forces and realities are emerging now that could affect the way that you do business or your ability to do business at all, and how will you monitor them and adapt?
Opportunities. What new things can you start doing, or what new products or niches can you adopt, to add a new dimension, a new level of effectiveness, new customers, or new revenue to your business?
Practically speaking, making this list takes time and attention. Get out your favorite note-taking program, personal database, word processor, or even just a spiral notebook, make sections for each of the items above, and then begin, one step at a time.
Make notes—things that need to be updated, changed, ended, or adopted. Keep your eyes on the categories outlined earlier as you do this and stay organized so that you'll be able to read through and make sense of these notes later on.
Once you're done, read through the notes—a couple of times—and put together a mission statement for the year and lists of urgent tasks, things to stop doing, investments to make, inventory to add or discontinue, unsolved problems to solve, and new things to try.
Professionals like Day to Day eBay audit your eBay business for you, providing an in-depth, objective SWOT analysis—so that you can focus on running and improving your business.
Um, isn't there an easier way?
Of course, eBay sellers are busy people (we don't have to tell you this), so all of this may sound just a bit pie-in-the-sky, as in:
"Yeah, sure, just as soon as I catch up on my fulfillment backlog, get my latest 200 products listed so they're not sitting there depreciating, manage to reconcile my bookkeeping, and get my one hour a day of sleep."
Happily, you can also pay someone else to do an audit of your eBay business for you. eBay specialists and coaches abound online and are often happy to consult. Even better, consider using an eBay audit specialist.
Specialists like Day to Day eBay go over your business in detail, then provide you with a professional SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and matching consultation via Skype to understand what your next steps ought to be.
Just as importantly, as an objective third party that specializes in understanding eBay businesses, a team of auditors like those at Day to Day eBay can often spot things that even highly detail-oriented sellers miss about their businesses.
For this reason, an external auditor is often a sound investment for any eBay seller looking to continue to grow and thrive in the massive eBay universe.
Whether you do it yourself or invest in the help of a seasoned professional, take the time today to ask yourself two important questions:
When's the last time I really understood my eBay business?
How much more success could I achieve this year by coming to understand it once again?
Looking for ways to spice up your listings, promotions, or inventory now that the holiday season is over?
Sell housewares or anything like them? It's white sale time for you.
Here are five ideas that you can incorporate into themed templates or your promotion or inventory strategy that will resonate with January shoppers.
1. White Sale
If you have home products that are compatible with the idea of a white sale, which is traditionally about linens, housewares, and home decor, then you're in luck—because January is white sale month.
Dress your listings down and get back to basics for a white sale; traditional visuals and colors are neutral and simple following the technicolor explosion of the holiday season, and consumers are drawn to this simplicity as they stock up on housewares for the months ahead.
2. Valentine's Day
You may have noticed that brick-and-mortar retail is already transitioning to the Valentine's Day inventory in the promotional aisles, and there's no reason to be left behind if you sell:
A wide variety of pink and red products can be marketed with a Valentine's Day theme.
Personal care goods of any kind
Jewelry or watches
Unique gifts or curios
Anything that might be considered a gift for a partner, romantic interest, or good friend
The visual and inventory cues for Valentines day don't need to be explained. Pink and red are your colors and starry-eyed love and affection are your language to reach shoppers for this seasonal shopping event, which is one of the largest of the year.
3. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year occurs on Tuesday, February 5th this year, when the Year of the Pig begins.
This year, pig products are Chinese New Year products. Asian goods too, as always.
Don't be fooled by the previous sentence—Chinese New Year is a pan-Asian holiday, not just a Chinese one, the audience is sizable, and the pig is no less auspicious than any other animal. People born in the Year of the Pig are said to have beautiful personalities and to be blessed with good fortune.
If you stock Asian cultural goods of any kind, from chopsticks to Anime and comics, or anything having to do with pigs, you may stand to make extra sales by mentioning Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig in your titles or listings.
4. Winter Sports or Preparedness Goods
The holiday season may be over, but the winter sports season is just hitting its stride in January, so if you stock winter-oriented goods—whether along survival-and-preparedness lines or along outdoor sports lines, now is the time to foreground them.
Bang your listings into shape by showcasing cold weather and snow, either as a source of fun or as a source of risk that your goods can help to mitigate.
Sell anything that's winter-specific? Time to hold a winter-themed sale.
Consider having a winter fun sale to move more goods and really get shoppers in the mood as they view your listings.
5. New Year's Resolutions
Early winter is also the time to include language and promotional material relevant to New Year's resolutions if you carry goods that:
Encourage personal wellness
Encourage health or fitness
Encourage or are relevant to maintaining a healthy diet
Have to do with habit tracking, habit changing, or planning of any kind
Are designed to help with the cessation of particular bad habits or the development of particular good ones
January shoppers are looking for tools to help them achieve their resolutions for the new year.
Think of creative ways to bundle or to represent the idea of personal improvement and personal change, both in your listings and in your fulfillment. Seize the brief moment when shoppers are fully committed to making personal changes and use it to make sales that will help them to achieve these changes by showing that you're in their court to help.
It's Never the Off-Season
If none of the themes above quite works for you, take an hour to sit down and figure out what seasonal theme you can come up with that will match the goods that you sell. Then, act on it.
Remember, in e-commerce, it's never the "off season." Each new month just brings a new opportunity to show shoppers how and why your products remain relevant and desirable—so find out what yours is and update your listings, online inventory, and promotions to match!
Posted on January 08, 2019
Never let any season be your "off season" in e-commerce. Find a theme that will resonate with shoppers and your inventory. Here are five suggestions for January.
Operate an online store using BigCommerce? Many of our subscribers do. Why do sellers pay two different e-commerce platforms as they run their online business? Let's count the ways.
Here are five things inkFrog can help you to do to grow your BigCommerce business.
Manage your eBay sales from inside BigCommerce using the inkFrog Open app.
1. Get your products up for sale on eBay.
eBay is one of the world's largest online marketplaces and boasts hundreds of millions of active shoppers—a good many of which are eBay-first or eBay-only shoppers.
It's true that eBay is its own universe, with tools, workflows, and policies that don't always translate easily to other e-commerce venues, but with inkFrog, the path to eBay sales is a lot shorter. Get an inkFrog subscription and install the inkFrog Open app for BigCommerce to begin listing your eBay products to BigCommerce in minutes.
2. Match your BigCommerce store style on eBay.
Thanks to inkFrog's hundreds of point-click-edit designer templates, you can quickly match your BigCommerce store style in your eBay listings—even as you tweak your store with holiday and promotional decor.
This capability enables you to remove a huge amount of the legwork from maintaining an eBay selling presence, turning what might be hundreds or thousands of listing-by-listing clicks and saves into an operation where a single click updates hundreds of your eBay listings.
Synchronize your inventory and orders between BigCommerce and eBay using inkFrog.
3. Synchronize your listings and inventory levels with eBay.
More than just getting your listings live on eBay and enabling you to brand them visually to match your BigCommerce store with ease, inkFrog enables you to automate key selling tasks related inventory management.
With the inkFrog Open app for BigCommerce, you'll be able to configure synchronization between eBay and BigCommerce so that inventory levels stay up-to-date on both platforms, taking a key headache-inducing task out of your hands and automating it.
4. Make day-to-day operations on eBay easier to cope with.
inkFrog's better messaging tools, automated feedback tools, and eBay profile tools, many of the most irritating eBay tasks that might otherwise cause you to think twice about adding eBay as a channel are solved.
If you'd love to add all of the sales that eBay can bring without adding all of the extra labor that's typically associated with eBay, inkFrog is as close to a no-overhead eBay integration as you'll find in the BigCommerce world.
A great unboxing and branding experience means a new source of shoppers for your BigCommerce store. (Image: © Syda Productions / Dreamstime)
5. Gain a new source of loyal shoppers.
No, you can't advertise or link to your BigCommerce store in your eBay listings (this is against eBay rules), but you absolutely can market your brand to shoppers when you fulfill eBay orders.
By carefully crafting your fulfillment experience, packaging, and in-box materials, you can turn eBay customers into your customers for future purchases directly from your BigCommerce store.
inkFrog Expands Your E-Commerce World
If you've been waiting for the right time to add eBay to your list of sales channels, don't wait any longer—you're leaving sales on the table.
With inkFrog in your toolbox, you'll be up and running on eBay rapidly, without adding countless hours of new tasks and marketplace maintenance to your daily workflow. There's no reason not to make the leap today!
Posted on January 08, 2019
Thinking of adding eBay as a sales channel to your BigCommerce business? You need inkFrog.
If you're not yet selling on Amazon, now may be a good time to start.
But Amazon has recently notified third-party sellers that it's reducing fees in a number of areas on its site, to incentivize third-party sellers to expand their Amazon offerings and add more inventory, which will increase selection for Amazon shoppers.
If it's been a while since you sold on Amazon, the new reductions in fees may be a good reason to return. (Image: © Ifeelstock / Dreamstime)
The changes are significant:
Most listing fees down to $0.30. For sellers in most Amazon categories, listing fees will come down to $0.30 from $1 (or from $2 in jewelry categories).
Baby, beauty, and health: Referral fees reduced to 8%. Referral fees for baby, beauty, and health items will come down to 8% for products costing less than $10, while products costing more than that will remain at 15%.
Furniture: Referral fees reduced to 10%. Furniture sales over $200 will see the referral fee for the portion of the sale beyond $200 reduced to 10% from 15%. The first $200 will still be assessed at 15%.
Jewelry: Referral fees also reduced to 5%. Jewelry sales over $250 will see the referral fee for the portion of the sale beyond $250 reduced to 5% from 20%. The first $250 will still be assessed at 20%.
Grocery and gourmet: Referral fees reduced to 8%. Referral fees for grocery and gourmet items will come down to 8% for products costing less than $15.00.
Take a look at those numbers again—fees are being reduced for affected sellers by double-digit percentages, and listing fees are once again low enough that many sellers will be able to enter the game even with lower sell-through rates.
Making Amazon Affordable Again
Amazon may be feeling a bit of heat both from a resurgent eBay marketplace and from an up-and-coming Walmart marketplace, and that's good for sellers.
These changes should help Amazon to accomplish exactly what they're hoping to accomplish—bringing independent and third-party sellers back around to the idea of selling on Amazon, and getting them to rush to list more Amazon inventory.
If you're an inkFrog user that has backed away from Amazon in favor of eBay or Shopify in recent months or years, now may be a good time to find your footing again on Amazon and generate some sales while fees are still low.
Posted on December 21, 2018
Amazon's fees have been creeping higher for years. Now, they're being slashed.
Everybody loves cake! So it's not surprising that people are selling cake decor on eBay - like Sydney Cake Art which sells cake decor on eBay Australia using inkFrog:
"I started selling on eBay approx 3 years ago and started using inkFrog earlier this year.
It is super easy and if I want to add bulk listings I can get all the listings on in minutes.
I can't wait until inkFrog integrates with the other AU platforms!"
- Gillian Sturevski
Sydney Cake Art has over 300 active eBay AU listing:
You can visit Sydney Cake Art:
Posted on December 20, 2018
Read what Sydney Cake Art has to say about selling on eBay with inkFrog
When it comes to success stories with inkFrog, a truly spectacular one comes from Direct Tool Source who uses inkFrog to easily synchronize their inventory from Shopify to eBay:
"The key notables for me using inkFrog for 2 years now was most noticeable in 2017 with a 2710% increase in sales and yet again with YTD a increase of 228% and on pace to hit a DTS Milestone of $750,000 yearly sales in 2018.
The ease of listing and tracking sales was a huge windfall for us and our small business of 2 making swift changes and allowing for quick reaction to changes in market trends."
- Joseph Kincade
Direct Tool Source sells thousands of automotive tools on Shopify and eBay:
You can visit Direct Tool Source here:
Posted on December 20, 2018
Direct Tool Source has seen a massive growth in sales since starting to use inkFrog
The last days of Turbo Lister are finally here, and this time eBay means it.
If you're a seller who has a large body of listings stored in Turbo Lister, this can inspire a kind of panic, even if you long ago switched to inkFrog for most of your day-to-day selling.
Turbo Lister has reached the end of it's life. It's time to get that data into inkFrog. Here's how.
Happily, it is possible to move much of your Turbo Lister data and listings to inkFrog. Because Turbo Lister is a very old tool hasn't been supported for a long time, the process is a little more involved than many are accustomed to in 2018—but it's possible.
Here are the steps involved!
1. Export Turbo Lister Data
Your first job is to export listings from Turbo Lister to a CSV file. There are some caveats to understand before you begin:
You can only import up to 250 listings at a time into inkFrog, so it makes sense to process one folder of listings at a time, rather than try to get them all in one go. Repeat these steps for each of your inventory listings folders.
You can only export inventory listings from inkFrog—not active listings. For active listings, the export option is grayed out. Don't worry, this isn't a limitation for you—as an inkFrog user, all of your active listings are already imported into inkFrog for you.
Here are the steps to follow to export listings to a CSV file:
Select a range of listings to export. Open a listings folder, click on the first listing in the folder, then scroll to the bottom of the list, hold down your "Shift" key, and click on the last listing in the folder while still holding the key. You should see all of the listings highlighted.
In the "Inventory" area, select a range of Turbo Lister listings to export.
Click "Export Selected Items" in the "File" menu. This step starts the Turbo Lister export tool for the listings you've selected.
Choose the "Turbo Lister Format (CSV file)" option. In the export dialog, select the middle option, which exports your listings to CSV format with as much data as can be preserved. Don't choose the "File Exchange Format" option, as this will omit all listing images.
Opt to export in "Turbo Lister Format" and then click "Export" to continue.
Click "Export" to begin the export. After clicking, you'll be asked to provide a location to save your CSV file. Select a location and give it a name, then save it.
Now you have a CSV file containing as much data from the listings you selected as Turbo Lister is able to preserve and export. If necessary, now is the time to move your CSV file to a different computer, if you're now using a newer machine to manage your eBay business.
2. Copy Data to inkFrog's Template
Now for the hardest step in the process—moving data from the Turbo Lister file into inkFrog's CSV template. To complete this job, follow these steps:
Download the inkFrog CSV template. Click here to download a copy of inkFrog's CSV import template. This is the file into which you'll copy Turbo Lister data.
Open the Turbo Lister CSV file in one window, the inkFrog CSV template in another. You'll need to have both files open because you're going to copy and paste between them. Note that the inkFrog template has sample data in it; erase this sample data before you begin and leave just the headers in place in the inkFrog template file.
There are a lot of columns in the Turbo Lister file. Find those listed below and copy them to inkFrog's CSV template.
Copy Turbo Lister "Title" data to the inkFrog "title" column. Copy all of the data (except the header) from the Turbo Lister "Title" column to the column labeled "title" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Copy "Description" data to the "description" column. Copy the data from the Turbo Lister "Description" column to the column labeled "description" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Copy "Quantity" data to the "quantity" column. Copy the data from the Turbo Lister "Quantity" column to the column labeled "quantity" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Copy "Starting Price" data to the "price" column. Copy the data from the Turbo Lister "Starting Price" column to the column labeled "price" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Copy "PhotoOneURL" data to the "images" column. Copy the data from the Turbo Lister "PhotoOneURL" column to the column labeled "images" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Copy data from either "UPC" or "EPID" to the "product_identifier" column. Depending on whether you use UPC or EPID numbers for your eBay products, copy either the UPC or EPID column data to the column labeled "product_identifier" in the inkFrog CSV template.
Whew! Glad that's done. Remember as you copy not to change the headers or the order of the columns in the inkFrog template.
Now, save the inkFrog CSV file template containing the data copied from your Turbo Lister export file.
3. Upload the CSV File
Now it's time to import the CSV file you just created into inkFrog as new listings. Don't worry—these won't go live on eBay unless you specifically push them live later. Right now we're just going to create them in your inkFrog library.
If you're not already logged in to inkFrog, log in now, then follow these steps:
Open your listings library. Click "Listings" → "Library" to open your inkFrog listings library.
Click "Import" → "From CSV" to start the import tool. The "Import" option is located at the upper-right of your inkFrog window.
Click "Import" → "From CSV" in your listings library to start the import process.
Click "Choose File" and select your CSV file. Click the "Choose File" button, then browse to the saved copy of the inkFrog CSV template that you just filled with Turbo Lister data.
Click "Upload" then "Start Import" to import listings. After you click "Upload" to begin, inkFrog will tell you how many listings it thinks it has found in the CSV file you created. If the number seems right, click "Start Import" to actually begin importing listings. A progress bar will be displayed as data is being imported.
Select the listings to create. Now you're shown a list of all the listings that inkFrog found in your CSV file. Select each listing that you'd like to create, or click the check box in the header row to select all of the listings found in the file. Click "Next" when your selections are made.
Select the listings you'd like to create, then click "Next" to continue.
4. Select or Create Profiles for Each Listing
After another brief progress bar is displayed, you'll be shown a long list of your newly imported listings.
Go through each of these listings, following these steps in each case:
Choose to create a listing or map to a listing. Since your goal here is to import data from Turbo Lister, in most cases you'll want to create a new listing—and this tab should generally be selected for you. You may opt to map a Turbo Lister listing to an existing inkFrog listing, however, if in some cases you want to overwrite the data in your inkFrog library with the data from a Turbo Lister listing.
Select profiles or create new profiles. For each listing, select an existing inkFrog listing, shipping, return, or payment profile if you already have one that's appropriate for the listing, or click the "plus" icon next to each option to create a new profile on the fly.
For each listing, either select existing listing, shipping, return, and payment profiles or create new ones.
Once you've selected or created profiles for each of the listings shown, click the "Import Products" button to have inkFrog create new listings in your library for each old Turbo Lister item.
Again, don't worry about this step—these listings won't go live on eBay; they're just being created in your inkFrog listings library.
5. Add More Data to Each Listing and Organize
Now it's time for more cleanup work.
The listings you've imported from Turbo Lister are now in inkFrog, but you may still wish to perform additional maintenance work:
Organizing your newly imported listings into inkFrog folders
Updating profiles or customizing listings that don't precisely match your profiles
Adding new images, since only one image for each Turbo Lister item is made available when Turbo lister exports data
Yes, this can be a time consuming step, but in most cases you've still saved a ton of time by exporting from Turbo Lister, then importing into inkFrog—particularly if you have hundreds or thousands of listings with hand-crafted item descriptions.
Repeat as Necessary and For More Information
Now you've imported your first batch of up to 250 Turbo Lister listings into inkFrog.
If you have more listings in other Turbo Lister folders, repeat the process—and keep doing so until your entire Turbo Lister library has been moved to inkFrog.
Then, breathe a sigh of relief that you've finally taken that step you've been meaning to take for years now—and moved your library of old listings from an old tool—Turbo Lister—that's scheduled to disappear forever in just a few weeks into a new tool—inkFrog—that'll be around for as long as e-commerce happens.
Posted on December 18, 2018
It's time. Turbo Lister is finally reaching end of life, so let's get your listing archive into inkFrog.
So you've conquered eBay with inkFrog. Maybe even Amazon. And now it's time to take the next logical e-commerce step and open your own Shopify store.
As it turns out, selling on Shopify is very different from selling on eBay or Amazon, in a variety of ways, as you'll soon discover. Here are eight big-picture tips that can help you to navigate these differences.
Pre-built design work for Shopify and for websites abounds online. Spend a little and get a head start, rather than trying to do everything yourself. (Image: Google)
They won't tell you everything that you need to know to succeed on Shopify, but they do tell you where to look to address some of the problems and uncertainties that you'll need to resolve on your way to the top.
Map Shopify listings to eBay listings as you create them. Don't get off on the wrong foot by leaving yourself with inventory confusion. Go over or double-check your synchronization settings after linking your Shopify store to inkFrog, then map your Shopify listings to existing eBay listings.
Spend time on your store getting it right. Shopify is different from eBay and Amazon in that you are responsible for most of the shopper experience, not just individual product listings. Spend time building your store and doing it well. Build out your home page and category pages carefully.
Include high-quality branding and image materials. Spend time building and talking about your brand. Clearly show who your company is and what it aspires to be. Include high-quality photography or images that go beyond the products that you sell and instead illustrate your business, brand, and identity.
Invest in work done by others. Unless you're already a pro at design, don't spend time reinventing the wheel when you don't have to. Use good third-party themes and good stock images and icons to get up and running rapidly. Spend your time customizing already successful design assets for your own brand, not creating them from scratch.
Make content about your products. Lots of content. Even better if it’s video content. It’s how to get shoppers in the front door at Shopify. (Image: © Diego Cervo / Fotolia)
Optimize and advertise. eBay and Amazon have a built-in audience of millions. Not so with your Shopify store. Learn the ins and outs of SEO and content marketing and use them. Then, look into paid advertising via Google or social media. On eBay, you've been a mall store. On Shopify, you're in your own building in the suburbs.
Start blogging or vlogging. Create a blog on your site and ideally open a vlog (a space for your own videos) as well. Start producing content. Lots of content. SEO and advertising will prime the pump, but over the long term, it's the social content that you produce that will be make-or-break for your Shopify business.
Make clear customer service policies and adhere to them. Front-and-center feedback scores and ratings on eBay and Amazon—along with platform-wide policies—have previously structured your customer service life. Now you're on your own. Spend time and dollars to get customer service right, to ensure growth in the long run.
Understand that your store is never done. The eBay and Amazon home page experiences are constantly changing because shoppers respond to and buy what's just arrived, is on sale, or is seasonally interesting. Now you're in charge of a home page experience, and the rest of the experience as well. Keep your store constantly evolving in new, interesting, and sales-friendly ways.
If you want shoppers at your Shopify store, especially early on, you're probably going to have to advertise. (Image: Google)
Keep it simple. With near-total control, just about every task on your Shopify store can become an open-ended one. This bogs some sellers down. Don't try to become everything you've ever dreamed of at once. You'll never get there. Build what you need, build it well, and move on. You can try to achieve "perfect" later on, once you have "profitable" in place.
Go beyond eBay and Amazon but keep your store in sync with them, too. Your eBay or Amazon stores are assets you've spent months or years building, so ensure that there are overlap and synergies between them and your Shopify store. No need to make them exact duplicates, but make clear that they're the same brand, using what you've learned on eBay and Amazon to help you.
It's Like a Whole New Business
On eBay or Amazon you've always been most concerned with the nuts and bolts of selling—sourcing inventory, getting it online, representing it accurately, pricing it competitively, and fulfilling as orders roll in. Marketing played second fiddle to day-to-day operations.
On Shopify, you're jumping in at the deep end of e-commerce, where you'll need to become a marketing guru as well. It's going to feel like a whole new business—but the increase in creative and branding flexibility can also mean a whole new world of sales.
Play your cards right, keep the points above in mind, and you'll be on your way to success.
Posted on December 18, 2018
Are you an eBay seller getting ready to open your first Shopify store? Keep these big-picture concepts in mind as you embark.
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