Posted on December 10, 2015
So once you get your inventory listed and you sell an item, then what?
Fillz sends you an email alerting you to the sale. That email contains the title of the item, what it sold for, and what the SKU is, so you know where to find it on your shelves.
You are going to get this ready to ship at your home. Then you’ll take it to a post office and just drop it off, with the postage-paid label already attached.
Get a subscription to Endicia. This is a postage service that gives you a discount for purchasing online.
Then you will need shipping supplies and a scale. Find as local a place as possible to order your padded mailers from. Definitely buy them in bulk. Getting them at an office supply store, or even at Walmart, will cost you a fortune. You will need three sizes: CD size, 10×12, and 11×18. For bigger items you can find a box, but you will not have too many of those.
Fillz and Endicia connect so that Endicia has the buyer’s name and address automatically inserted into a mailing label template. You buy your postage through Endicia, and print out your mailing label right there at home. Put the item you’ve sold in a mailer, tape the label to the top, and it’s ready to mail.
Or you can buy a thermal printer and have the label printed on to that. In which case, you just peel off the backing and stick it on.
You’re ready to mail the item. Don’t forget to go back into Fillz and mark the item as shipped so that Fillz sends an email to the buyer and alerts the marketplace.
Posted on November 23, 2015
I’m assuming you want to do this business seriously and you can invest a bit of money into it.
You need to get some systems set up first.
Get Fillz. It’s an online service. It’s a subscription with different levels of membership. Fillz manages your inventory for you.
Through Fillz, you can have your entire inventory running (for sale) on all the different marketplaces at the same time. When you sell an item on one marketplace, Fillz will automatically and fairly immediately removed that item from all the other marketplaces.
Fillz also automatically re-prices your inventory. Prices on all the marketplaces are dynamic. That is, they go up and down according to how many other items are for sale and at what price. This doesn’t just happen once in a while, it happens constantly, throughout the day. If your prices aren’t also adjusting, you will lose sales or sell an item for lower than it should.
Fillz has you set up what’s called a pricing script. This is a little bit complicated, and sometimes feels like you’re a dog chasing his own tail, but it is worth doing.
Setting your script involves putting down some rules for Fillz. For example: Even if all other prices fall to a penny, don’t let my prices go below $3.99. Or here’s another one: Set my price always one penny lower than the lowest price by another vendor. Or: Exclude the top prices as factors in my script if they are over 20% higher than all other sellers.
Getting the idea?
So Fillz allows you to set pricing parameters that enable you to sell an item as high as you can. And they protect you from selling an item at a price that’s below value.
And Fillz manages your inventory so that you can sell as much as possible on as many sites as possible all at the same time.
You can hand enter items in Fillz, but that’s pretty laborious if you have even just a hundred things.
Get Seller Engine. This is also a subscription service.
Seller Engine, when used with a scanner, enables you to scan the barcode on the item you want to list. It’s linked to Amazon. The barcode shows all the information about the item, and when you scan it, all that information is uploaded into your SellerEngine database.
When the database is complete (i.e. you’ve scanned the batch of things you want to add to your inventory), you can import it from Seller Engine into Fillz. And then Fillz takes it from there and uploads all those listings onto all of your marketplaces.
It’s a little complicated at first to get everything working together, but once you do it a few times, it will become like clockwork.
The subscription to Fillz costs $199/month. That gives you all the regular service plus automatic re-repricing and phone access to Customer Support. The $50 Fillz subscription removes the add-ons. With that option you have to re-price manually, and you can only access Customer Support through email.
You can go back and forth between subscription levels. I have used both. When I’ve been at the $50 level, I’ve found Customer Support to be fairly responsive to my email requests. Usually they answer well within 24 hours.
Seller Engine costs $50/month. Well worth the price.
Ok I’m going to stop here with that info. We’ll talk about something else in the next blog.
Posted on November 17, 2015
I was having a conversation about organizing my business with a guy that owned a company that came out to do some tree work. He has been at it for almost 30 years and told me that the key to running a clean, profitable business is making sure that you are solidly organized. You can’t leave anything to chance. You gotta be a head of your game, and organization is the way to do it. You can see his site here, http://stcloudtree.com
So, I almost let something slip and it dawned on me last night as I was laying in bed. So, here goes what I wrote by my bedside to share with you to give you every advantage I can think of.
Here goes, this is what I jotted down:
I forgot something: how to arrange/store your inventory.
I set up a shelving system. Each shelf was divided into 8-foot sections.
Every shelf was assigned a letter, and every section was assigned a number. In my setup, I had shelves A1-14, B1-14, C1-14, etc, through F. Then all my SKUs (assigned in Seller Engine) began with the shelf letter and number.
When I sold an item, I still had to look through an eight-foot shelf of inventory to find it, but with books, the search went pretty quickly. With CDs, it took longer.
That’s the system I came up with, and it worked well for me.
Keep in mind to personalize your system. It doesn’t have to match mine exactly. You can look here for some other organizational tips that might help you get ahead and stay ahead of your inventory. Because once inventory is out of control it seems to take a lot and I mean a lot of work to get things back in the right direction.
I’d say that keeping up with your inventory among other things like book keeping pay dividends in your own business and set you up to make tax season a heck of a lot easier. Just a thought.
Posted on November 14, 2015
To the next question: how to find inventory.
First, get a price scanner.
This will be a component that attaches to your phone, or it will attach to a PDA device, and you need software like Media Scouter.
This loads Amazon’s prices into your device, so that when you scan the barcode on an item, it will immediately bring up what that item is selling for on Amazon.
It provides other information as well. You will see how many other sellers are selling that same item. You will see the price range your item is selling at. Further, you’ll see how many of that item are selling for what price and in what condition (Average, Good, Very Good, Like New, or New).
And last but not least, you’ll see the sales rank of that item. Zero to 10,000 is outstanding. 10,000 to 50,000 is good. 50,000 to 200,000 is ok. Over 300,000 is not bad. Over 800,000 and you better make sure the value is decent because you’ll have it on your shelf for a while. Over one million, and just be prepared to have it for a year or two or longer before it sells.
Take your scanner wherever you go, because that’s what will show you if an item has value, and how long you will store it before it sells.
Now, where to find inventory.
You can check remainder houses and distribution houses, like ABC Books. But keep in mind that unless you buy every copy of a title (which could be thousands or tens of thousands), the other buyers that are scooping up those copies will become your competition the second they and you get your inventory up and running. You will all be selling the same item in the same condition at the same time. Your pricing script will be driven down to your lowest price, and, depending on what you paid, you may even lose money.
Go to library sales. Be aware that other sellers like you will also be at the library sales, and some of them are very aggressive.
Your first few library sale or two, you’ll be uncertain and find yourself wandering around some. That’s ok. You’ll figure it out. Usually library sales have their books catergorized. So eventually, if you settle into a niche and know you just want to sell historical non-fiction, you can zoom right over to that table.
Go to thrift stores.
Be aware that all the big thrift stores (Good Will and Salvation Army) have their own resale departments, and their staff have gone through their shelves with scanners just like yours. But sometimes they miss things, so even the big stores can produce something.
If I were you, though, with limited time, I’d stick to the smaller thrift stores. They don’t always have someone who has combed through the stash and cherry-picked the good stuff.
Go to garage sales. Remember you’re on a mission. If you lollygag around at every garage sale and look at all the other interesting things they’ve got, you might miss media items at the next sale. You’ve got competitors cruising garage sales, too, just like you.
Offer to sell items for friends who want to unload. Make them a deal. You’ll sell their stuff in exchange for x percent. Just make sure you scan their stuff, because you don’t want anything that has no value taking up space on your shelves.
So start with those places. As you become more used to looking for inventory, you’ll start to see other source possibilities. And eventually, you’ll have people calling you up, asking you to sell their stuff.