Q3 is Gone and Q4 is Here!

It’s been such a crazy selling season at UNCS and a lot of the focus has been on Brick and Mortar sales, but there are still great deals to find out there for your ecommerce store. This holiday season is speculated to be one of the best for online sales and now is the time to build up your inventory in preparation. So, what categories should we focus on for our stores?

Toys & Games: Be on the lookout for any deals related to toys, puzzles and board games. Why? Covid-19 has taken over the airways and the rumors of a second or third wave (depending on how you look at the reporting) during the holiday season will keep families at home and browsing the millions of resellers online. Classic board games and puzzles will see an uptick in sales as families bundle up in the cold and spend quality time with each other. Toys and specifically building blocks and modeling clay will also keep families engaged, so look for Lego or Mega blocks and start building sales!

Home Decor: Quarantining and social distancing measures has forced us to look around the spaces where we spend the most time leading consumers to think “ROOM REFRESH!” Children, Teens and adults are all pushing the markets towards an uptick in office supply sales as well as lamps, pillows, and curtains. Almost once a week there is a nightly news story on the shortage of desks around the country which leads carpenters to building desks that they can donate to local schools. While desks might be heavy and expensive to ship, think pencils, pens, markers, crayons and desk accessories that can be used to organize the virtual learning experience.

Electronics: TVs, video game consoles, computers and accessories are going to be big ticket items that will be found under the tree this year. GameStop for example closed 450 stores, but in the process saw an increase of 40% with online sales. This leads us to believe that the consumer is adjusting to the current pandemic climate, but still wanting to buy video games and electronic accessories online. There is still time to purchase these items from wholesalers and distributors for Cyber-Monday sales. My recommendation would be to self-fulfill as sometimes Amazon may take longer to post your inventory during busy seasons if you want them to fulfill for you.

Exercise, Health and Beauty: Rounding out the year, a lot of consumers will be looking to make purchases for their new year’s resolutions. Peloton, Mirror and Bowflex are not brands that distribute through resellers, but you can still take advantage of their boom. Look for exercise apparel, exercise balls, and yoga supplies to compliment the exercise craze. You’ll also see an uptick with nail polish, makeup and do-it-yourself kits for those who are not ready to start visiting their local salons. Even hair dye will be making a comeback as the uncertainty of the current pandemic continues.

Kitchen Gadgets: Remember at the height of the pandemic during the spring? It seemed like everyone was baking breads, pastries, cakes and more while they hunkered down. Today, we are seeing an increase in requests for baking supplies and kitchen gadgets during the upcoming winter months. Parents are finding this is a fun way to introduce new foods to their children, while also providing a fun activity for everyone to participate in. When speaking with your wholesalers, ask for cookie cutters, spiralizers, and even bread machines for your online stores. Winter is coming and you can benefit if you are planning and taking advantage of SEOs.

Those are just a few of the categories we believe will will round out Q4 and ring in the new year for the first quarter. Now, the only question you have to ask yourself is what category should I start selling on my site? At this point, I’d focus on products that can be delivered to you in a 14-day window. This will allow you to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend. From Black-Friday, Super Saturday and Cyber Monday, there are many opportunities to increase your sales and most importantly PROFITS. Good luck this holiday shopping season and if you are looking to maximize your outreach and product line, give our mothership a call. Simply visit them at www.uncs.com or you can visit our sales portal at www.arnhub.com. Happy Shopping!

Where did Q2 go?!?

It feels like March through today have been a complete BLUR! The COVID-19 pandemic certainly took over many of our lives and it impacted everything, including Amazon reseller sales. It seems like things are starting to normalize, even with the continued roller coaster ride we currently seem to be on. From toilet paper to Lysol disinfectant spray, local brick and mortar retail shelves were empty and online pricing and sales seemed to be going through the roof. We quickly noticed that Amazon stepped in and began blocking and restricting resellers that had never sold personal protective equipment (PPE) on their page in the past. While this was a great move on their part, it put a halt on any new items going into Amazon’s distribution centers and dramatically impacted reseller sales.

Amazon’s move to quickly address price gouging, especially for pandemic supplies, made perfect sense to protect the brand and the reseller network. Some might argue that demand drove the prices up, but some of the prices for hand sanitizer, Lysol and toilet paper were quickly looking like a really unfair joke to the regular consumer. They also stopped all non-essential items from shipping into their facilities and redirected all of their effort to moving essential items to the consumer as quickly as possible. Kudos to Amazon for analyzing the supply chain and redirecting their efforts towards PPE. Sure, it took a little longer to get to you, but for many it felt better than taking a risk out in public.

Now that Amazon is beginning to lift restrictions, like many of you, we are excited to get back into reseller mode! So with that, we begin to focus on Q3 and Q4, but what should I be looking to add to my store? Summer outdoor gear might be a quick solution during this crisis. Many of us will be partying in our backyards grilling and enjoying the summer heat. Look for water balloons, water guns, floats and noodles (if you have a pool) to fill your store. As we move into Fall, look for “harvest” themed products and Back-To-School items that might help parents who are uncertain how the school year will roll out. All the while, seek out Black Friday deals that will be a hit for the holiday season. There is still plenty of time to make up for the lull in sales due to the pandemic crisis, so stay at it and keep looking for great deals!

Remember, in addition to the many distributors out there, our parent company is here to help you stock your store with quality products. Please visit www.arnhub.com to view a small sample of products available today!

Become Friends with Seller Central

If you plan on jumping into the Amazon reseller world, take the time to educate yourself! Amazon has a plethora training tools, videos and forums to help you navigate the wonderful world of Amazon. There isn’t a test at the end, so you really have to commit to putting in the time so that you can make the most out of your investment. Don’t sit there an try to educate yourself in one weekend, take your time and focus on the topics that will get you started. The best part of Amazon’s resources is that they are always available, so when you hit a brick wall, go to their help section and troubleshoot that specific issue.

Yes, there will be issues. From trying to fix a product page to understanding why Amazon randomly transfers your inventory, the help section has an answer to help you understand their process. You can also speak directly with Amazon, but that communication happens via email and is not always the fastest way to resolve a problem. I tend to search the Seller Forums to see if any of my peers are or have experienced my current issue. Many times there is someone out there with the same issue and I am able to resolve mine by following their steps.

There is a lot of helpful information in the Amazon portal and they’ve done a great job of keeping important links handy. Ranking and reviews are very important in the reseller world, so you want to ensure that your customer service is excellent. Amazon tracks your response rate and wants to ensure that the customer experience is seamless, so be sure to follow the 24 hour rule with responding to inquiries and complaints. A good reseller may have some returns, just like brick & mortar stores, so keep the process simple and you’ll certainly get a good review. Just remember the most important thing is to stay up to date with Amazon’s policies and procedures, doing so will ensure you have a successful Amazon store.

Tools You Can Use

Tools! Tools! So many tools, but how do I know which tool to use?!

The store of everything has certainly created a web of developers looking to scrub data in new and exciting ways. From managing customer reviews to understanding ranking and profitability, there is a tool out there that you can use. Amazon loves data and they love to share data, but over the years what was once open source has become closed off trade secrets and pay-for-play data mining. My goal with this post is not to try and sell you any memberships to any data mining platforms, in fact a lot offer basic and useful data free of charge. Below is a list of some of the tools we like to use.

HELPFUL HINT: These tools work great in Google Chrome. All you have to do is download their extension.

Keepa is a great data hungry tool which tracks pricing history. You can set basic price tracking for free, where you will receive an alert whenever that item’s price changes. You can search product variations, best seller lists and they even do a great job of pointing out products that work well online so that you can make the best decision on what products would work well in your store. Or what products you could buy not at 60-80% off for yourself! There is more data available for a monthly fee and tiered pricing if you would like to connect your platform with their API.

Helium10 is probably the most robust tool you can find online for Amazon resellers. From key work suggestions to ensuring your ASIN doesn’t get hijacked, Helium10 has put a lot of technology into their platform to be able to provide their customers (you) with free to enterprise level solutions. Our favorite part of Helium10 is their Ala Carte Plan feature. If you are only interested in a few tools, you can isolate your plan to just those and maximize your profitability. For beginners, the free plan is great to use while you are getting your feet wet and scale up when you are ready for more features.

AMZScout is a great tool to help you find the best selling products for your store. With AMZScout, you can see how many other stores have the same listing, their sales statistics, and how much inventory is on Amazon. All of this information is provided so that you can make the best decision on which products your store should enter the marketplace to sell. My favorite is the AMZScout Pro which adds a widget which you can click on while shopping Amazon.com. While many of the tools show the same information from rank to average reseller pricing, AMZScout provides the most amount of data in one nice snapshot which truly aides in making the right decision on what products to invest your money into.

Get Rich Quick!

NOT! Citizens of Earth, there are no get rich quick schemes out there. Bernie Madoff taught us that right?! But seriously, unless you’re buying a highly sought after franchise, you’re not likely just to get rich quick. Hold on… I forgot about the lottery… You can in fact get rich quick by winning the lottery. But those are some crazy odds and not likely for the masses.

Growing up, I can remember uncles who loved to gamble and spend their time walking to the corner store picking the lotto pick two, three, four, five. They did win from time to time, but I wouldn’t call that “getting rich!” Truth be told, I love going to the store and having that nostalgic feeling when I pick my own numbers. I know I’m not going to get rich but it sure is fun to play the game.

Sometimes being an online reseller feels a lot like the lottery. Am I going “all in” alone? Will I have to split my winnings with others? Will I buy my ticket too late? Think about that last one… Imagine going to the store, buying a lottery ticket, seeing the winning numbers appear on screen, and those numbers match your ticket! The only issue is that you’ve purchased too late in the evening and your ticket is for the next drawing… not this one. UGH!

Being an online reseller is not a get rich quick scheme. There is a strategy and it is important to understand the nature of this business before you decide if it is right for you. Jumping into the online retail marketplace can be daunting if you don’t have the right plan in place. That’s where we step in. I’m never going to tell you that you are going to be rich off of one item, but you can certainly make money and hopefully you are able to sell many different items and can get rich over time. But honestly, if someone tells you that they can help you get rich quick… RUN!

Diversify your income in e-commerce!

Make money from home and quit your day job!” I love hearing those ads on the radio urging you to quit your day job or diversify your income by working from home, but what would you do? How would you start? Is there a catch?

Well, some of those ads might be legit and in a way they are right, there is a way to work from home and diversify your income, but I wouldn’t quit my day job yet. eBay, Amazon, Alibaba are great avenues to look when thinking about making additional income from home, but what do I sell?

If you’re on eBay, you can sell pretty much anything as long as you fully disclose the product conditions. This is great if you want to sell your old purse or shoes, but that’s not really a long term strategy. Some eBay sellers are coupon clipping, BOGO shopping geniuses with a knack for finding great deals locally and shipping half some place else at a good price. I’m not convinced it’s a lucrative business, but it certainly generates additional revenue.

Amazon is far more restrictive and certainly does not like used products in their portal. When you want to be the store of everything, sometimes, it doesn’t really mean EVERYTHING. It seems like almost everyday Amazon is restricting another category, making agreements directly with the manufacturer, and consolidating profitability into smaller groups. This doesn’t mean that Amazon is going to push out the resellers, quite the contrary.

According to Statista.com, third-party resellers represent over 50% of the units purchased on Amazon and that has maintained since the first quarter of 2017. However, it’s not always easy to sell on Amazon and if there are multiple resellers on the same listing, you’re likely to get into a price war. This is much like what Brick & Mortar establishments experience with loss leaders and BOGOs, but it hurts the reseller wallet and is not a long term strategy. So what does work? Is it worth the risk? How do I find product?

The first thing you want to do is RESEARCH! Don’t just take my word for it, go out there, visit Dr. Google and get educated. Yes, you can make money selling online, anyone can, you just need to find the right products. There are many manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers happy to sell their goods and move inventory out of their warehouses. Stay tuned for updates and advice on entering the e-commerce world. Good luck!