Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Feb 22 2018 23:02:26

Would You Pay eBay or Amazon for Coaching?

By: Ina Steiner

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Would you pay eBay or Amazon for coaching services? What if that included advice and access to programs that could boost your sales?

What if it also included access to an account manager with dedicated support and performance consultation can help you troubleshoot and resolve issues faster?

Amazon launched a program this year called Amazon Marketplace Growth, but it's not for everyone - the program costs at minimum $2,500/month. You can read about it in this EcommerceBytes Newsflash article.

Should you have to pay to have access to an account manager on a marketplace like eBay or Amazon? And how much would you be willing to pay (say, as a percentage of sales)?

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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Fri Feb 23 13:21:48 2018

Ina Wrote:  “Would you PAY eBay or Amazon for coaching services? What if that included advice..... that could boost your sales? ..... Amazon Marketplace Growth..... costs $2,500/month.”

HUH?   WHAT ?

Oh, She must have meant: “Would you PROVIDE eBay or Amazon with coaching services?  Those services would be billed @ $2,500/month.”

OK, I guess so..... But I USED TO make that much most WEEKS on Ebay.

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 23 15:16:49 2018

I would not pay to be coached by ebay as they really don't seem to understand my category at all. I would pay to coach them though.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Fri Feb 23 16:29:59 2018

NO

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 23 16:58:19 2018

ANYBODY who intends to list on ebay should be pre-qualified. ONLY then should they be offered FREE coaching.
Since ebay's a partner...it's a one hand washing the other situation.
PRE-QUALIFIED QUESTIONAIRE:
1) Can you write a grammatically correct sentence?
2) Do you fully understand addition and subtraction, and can you convert fractions into percentages, and vice-versa?
3) Do you know what upload and download refer to?
4) Can you upload a picture?
5) Can you look at "sold" items on ebay that are like the one you will list, and determine if there is a profit potential?
6) Do you understand that ebay and paypal fees reduce "profit"?
7) Do you know how to determine ebay and paypal fees?

If you answered NO to any 2 questions, check out craigslist.com


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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 23 17:12:15 2018

Lets take eBays latest set of lies as an example.

eBay (the worlds best liars) told Forbes "Beatles, Bowie, Pink Floyd Sales Surge As Music Buyers Get Physical, EBay Says"

Except thats not true is it? Or maybe in FANTASY LAND it is for them?

Why do I say that? I say it because Bestbuy ANS Target are DROPPING CD's and DVDs.

huh who would have thought that in magic eBay land - its the EXACT OPPOSITE of the 2 largest retailers IN THE USA!

"Best Buy to Pull CDs, Target Threatens to Pay Labels for CDs Only When Customers Buy Them"

Funny - eBay says the EXACT opposite " The Beatles, David Bowie and Pink Floyd are leading artists getting a boost as music buyers get physical in preference to digital streaming and downloads. A survey done for eBay may make the world think again about the death of vinyl and CDs."

REALITY (Billboard magazine amongst others says) Even though digital is on the upswing, physical is still performing relatively well on a global basis -- but not in the U.S. market, where CD sales were down 18.5 percent last year. But things are about to get worse here, if some of the noise coming out of the big-box retailers comes to fruition.

Best Buy has just told music suppliers that it will pull CDs from its stores come July 1. At one point, Best Buy was the most powerful music merchandiser in the U.S., but nowadays it's a shadow of its former self, with a reduced and shoddy offering of CDs. Sources suggest that the company's CD business is nowadays only generating about $40 million annually. While it says it's planning to pull out CDs, Best Buy will continue to carry vinyl for the next two years, keeping a commitment it made to vendors. The vinyl will now be merchandised with the turntables, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, sources say that Target has demanded to music suppliers that it wants to be sold on what amounts to a consignment basis. Currently, Target takes the inventory risk by agreeing to pay for any goods it is shipped within 60 days, and must pay to ship back unsold CDs for credit. With consignment, the inventory risk shifts back to the labels.

So again - you keep saying eBay "knows" ... NO SIR - they DONT.  =( OOPS!

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Feb 23 17:23:46 2018

@Tool, Pace

I have 20 years of experience selling on eBay.

Who has this much at the eBay corporate offices (other than Griff)???

If they want to fly me there (I do know the way to San Jose), I can teach THEM about what is wrong with their business. And I wouldn't charge them much for sharing my knowledge, since it will help MY BUSINESS.

Or they can just read the posts by eCommerce Bytes readers!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Feb 23 21:29:11 2018

Off Topic:

Super Hot Selling Category on eBay!

Gun Parts!

Look at his seller I've been buying from:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&_
ssn=tacdom&_ipg=100&rt=nc

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by: Freeeeeeeee This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 24 01:23:40 2018

Not at that price.  But yes I'd be interested.  

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 24 07:37:13 2018

NOPE.  Not even if it were $250 rather than $2,500 ...   I might be willing to pay $5 PER contact if I could reach an INFORMED and AUTHORIZED to FIX problems REAL Customer Service Rep... First time EVERY time.  SOME have been well versed ,  ON TOP of the situation and VERY helpful.... others, not so much.

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by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 24 07:59:33 2018

This title made me giggle this morning. Thanks!

Ebay is hilariously out of touch with what it takes to start a business (usually thrift/grey market). They can barely keep their own platform stable - let alone be taking on additional work. What a mess. I would never look to Ebay for help on how to run my business.

For Amazon - I could see it being helpful for companies with a legitimately ''fresh'' product (ie, the kind of stuff you see on Shark Tank). Amazon is incredibly powerful for marketing those kind of products.

There are also companies that buy generic products and private-label them. But the private label business model is so cut-throat and over-saturated that you're already a fool for entering it in 2018. It's pretty-much a trap at this point. I'm kind of surprised that Amazon Basics hasn't expanded their catalog and kicked off all the users with competing private-label products.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Feb 24 14:03:53 2018

We could start a GoFundMe and then share all ebafia's hot tips among the contributors.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Feb 24 20:11:34 2018

@pace306
I know it goes against the narrative but it sounds more like Target's CD threat is an act of desperation more than it is about eBay being dumb.  Worst Buy also is really a terrible store so it's no surprise that they're struggling to sell discs.  I can't remember the last time i went there for an electronics item and actually found it.  They're as bad as the toy stores.  It has jack all to do with digital anything.  Plus nobody likes the RIAA's abuse.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Feb 25 08:05:58 2018

pace 306 says "Most here ignore your posts - and I will be joining them. "

My time is valuable. Nor do I read Breitbart or listen to Fox News.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Feb 25 09:20:39 2018

The real issue with eBay or Amazon offering "coaching" is that they cannot or will not provide any useful information.  They're trying to resell vague suggestion that anybody with access to Google can find for free at a premium price.  In other words, they deliver zero value.

For some aspects, that's a forgone conclusion.  Retail is a "social science" where the rules of real science don't apply.  One plus two always equals three.  Great photos plus targeted ads do not always equal a sale.

Other aspects, they would have to do some actual work.  For instance, they could tell me how to acquire inventory cheaper.  And not some vague "search for deals" crap.  Tell me where to go and under what conditions.

When I started selling toys, distributors, like manufacturers, actively hid from prospective clients.  You could put "toy distributor" into Google and not find anything except abandoned pages and junk niches for 40 or 50 pages.  It's a little better now, only because many stores got into "distribution" to prop up sagging sales.  None of them are really worthwhile.  Non-stores, like GTS, are a joke for selection and stores with more options are priced so as not to cannibalize their own businesses.

Overall, what I noticed was new toys had about a 25% discount at best between wholesale and MSRP.  This is a problem because retail prices have risen slower than wholesale or MSRP, so the margin was, at best, more like 15%.  That's further reduced by distributor shenanigans, like Entertainment Earth breaking an order of 8 toys into 4 shipments of 2 for no reason other than to bilk more shipping fees.  On top of that, collectors are waiting for Ollies, where prices are as low as 25% of MSRP, or Amazon/Walmart clearances where prices are maybe 50% of retail with free shipping.

So...assuming 15%, that makes neither eBay nor Amazon profitable to sell new toys, at least through the routes that I was aware of.  Flea market eBay could say "just sell old OOAK toys" but Amazonbay wants new and current as does Scamazon proper.  Well, you know what, I'd like a Ferrari, but I won't get it walking into a dealership with only $25K.  Realistically, buying toys through a distributor only works, if it works at all, without a venue in the way (let alone choking you to death with anti-seller policies).

Now, if the venue would provide information on how, and under what circumstances, to deal directly with Hasbro, that would provide some value.  That information would include a contact address, minimum order size, annual order requirements, assortment restrictions (can I buy just Marvel or do I have to take Star Wars and My Little Pony too?), MAP policies, tax/reporting/identification, etc.  They would presumably do this for Mattel, Bandai, Lego, Jakks, Funko, Super7, Bluefin, etc as well.

Then prospective sellers could look at the options and make an informed decision.  They could see whether they needed a loan or not to get started.  They could see what options allowed the most freedom in product acquisition.  They could see what brands were profitable enough to absorb a 15% special friends fee from their "partner."  They could see if maybe selling CDs or jeans would be easier.  As is, I have only 3rd hand information on possibly outdated Hasbro rules and no idea of the margins (although I know they sell to Ollies ridiculously cheaply).

That might be worth paying for.  Not $2500 on a subscription but something.  Although, if it's as bad as I suspect, it would turn off many potential sellers.  And these venues thrive on luring suckers into their trap, sucking them dry, and moving on to another target.

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by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 25 11:58:01 2018

I'm so weary of Tool Guy's attacking others. Despite his contention to the contrary, his behavior leads one to believe that the weed rules.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 25 12:57:39 2018

@ RKTOYS

Thanks for the excellent summation.

I've been a toy and games seller on Amazon for years. Mostly OOAK  old, but still shrink wrapped new - mostly puzzles. Almost all at FBA.

Amazon policy changes and squeeze in the last year and a half have basically just about put me out of business with them. The main money grab by them was the disallowing 1 item of each ASIN in FBA to be free of long term (not monthly) storage fees.  That one change has done some major damage to long tail sellers on Amazon FBA.

Years ago when starting FBA they (Amazon) begged to fill their warehouses, and that was then coupled with the desire to have at least one of everything. Well many of us did help them and ourselves - of course. Those days have now ended and Amazon is definitely making sure that sellers like me understand that.  

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 25 17:58:59 2018

Imagine the 'curriculum'....

Genuine knockoffs are still at least 'genuine'.

To 'free' or not to free, that is the question.

Creative bookcooking.

How to find those pesky hidden UPCs on antiques.

Accepting arrogance, hypocracy, and the illusion of control.

Introduction to spaghetti tossing.

How to succeed in CS without really trying.

Wazoo maintenance. (Free Jar of Vaseline included).

Wishing our (not your) customer 'Many Happy Returns'.

It can't get any better than that, nossir.  Put me in 'coach'.  Center field.



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by: Stig of the Dump This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 25 21:25:06 2018

I'll say this for Amazon -- they continue to amaze me by finding yet more ways to get money out of people. I stopped loving them and started hating them a while ago.

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by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 26 00:13:36 2018

So basically Amazon is saying "we know our seller support SUCKS, but if you pay us a ton of $$ you will receive what you should have been getting all along."
SAY WHAT?
I might be willing to hold my nose and do it if the price was low, but at $2500+mo, that's NUTS! Yes, they're offering to coach you, but who is doing the coaching, and how? Will they have people who actually know my category, or someone who has generic knowledge about the site, and simply provides the same sort of "recommendations" we see now (lower your price! lower your price! sell more of these unrelated items!)
Sorry, but given how they already are taking 20% of my sales (actually, more), their cost is simply NUTS. If I sell $1m/yr, that's an extra 4.2% of margin which I'm giving them. Unless the coach is a long-time seller who knows my category well, there's just no way I can see that being worth it.  

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by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 26 00:21:16 2018

If these guys want this service to be viable, to provide real value to sellers, then they need to hire people who have a long track record of success, and hire them to work with those in their specific categories. In other words, people like those reading this blog - most of us have sold millions of $ over the course of 10+ years. But paying someone who is ignorant about the products that I sell, and the challenges that I face selling those products? No, no, no. What works for one category simply does not work for the next.  

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