EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 386 - January 17, 2016 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor - January 17, 2016

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So, were you one of the three winners of the $1.5 Billion Powerball lottery last week? The US Postal Service is giving some sellers even more of a reason to wish for lottery winnings as the new shipping rates take effect today. It's one of the most disruptive changes in recent years, and there's been a lot of confusion. Not only are rates changing (with some big hikes for some services), but the USPS is working on phasing out Commercial Plus Pricing - and it's eliminating Commercial Base discounts for Click N Ship.

Here's our most recent blog post, but that scratches the surface - we've written extensively about the impact of the rate hike since it was first announced in October.

eBay sellers in particular may wish to read this article from Friday's newsletter, eBay Negotiated Postal Rates Disappoint Sellers.

Many sellers can benefit from using an online postage provider - you can explore your options on the EcommerceBytes ratings section here. Some providers have unadvertised plans for eBay-only or low-volume shippers, so be sure to inquire.

Amazon FBA fees are also increasing next month, on February 18, 2016. The company's annual post-Christmas press release had some interesting data that shows just how powerful Amazon FBA has become - Amazon delivered more than 1 billion FBA items worldwide in 2015, and active sellers using the FBA service grew more than 50 percent worldwide year-over-year.

A former Amazon exec told us the success of Amazon Prime is making FBA essential for sellers - read more in this Newsflash article, "Online Selling Trends 2016: Pressure Intensifies for Amazon Sellers."

Amazon also nailed it when it comes to organic exposure in page-one Google search results for 2015. Etsy made great progress, but eBay tumbled.

Getting eyeballs to your listings isn't easy, and today, Contributing Editor Greg Holden takes a look at how some sellers are using social networking site Instagram to entice shoppers. He also looks at a tool called Springbot that will tell you if your efforts on Instagram and all the other marketing efforts you do are paying off, and provides specific recommendations based on its analysis.

Wayne Tuiskula returns with a column about Proxibid and how he uses it to extend his real-life auction business to the online world. Michele Alice takes a look at the collectability of Peanuts, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. And we close with Letters to the Editor.

There's no longer an overriding reason to sell on a single marketplace, and even many the smallest of low-volume sellers are listing on multiple venues. So we're delighted to announce that the polls are now open for the 2016 Sellers Choice Marketplace Awards.

You can now vote on the top-10 nominated marketplaces via Survey Monkey and rate them on profitability, customer service, communication and ease-of-use, as well as leaving comments describing the nitty-gritty of what it's like to sell there. Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate their top marketplaces.

Thanks for reading, and happy New Year!

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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