So, this blog post is about an experiment I did selling on Amazon this weekend. Of course, it’s not the experiment I wanted to run, but that’s part of the story.
You see, I wanted to run an experiment using Amazon’s new For-Sale By Amazon and EasySell products, which Randy Smythe has been blogging about. I’m interested in them, because, in theory, we often discussed on the eBay Express team what directions we would have to move in to support selling of fixed-price, new-in-season products in the future, and Amazon FBA looks an awful lot like one of those ideas.
In any case, I can’t tell you about Amazon FBA yet because a bug in Amazon’s seller on-ramp flow is preventing me from upgrading my account. I contacted Amazon’s customer service by email, and got an incredibly poor reply. Fortunately, Amazon now has click-to-call support, and that worked beautifully. The Amazon customer service rep was very apologetic, and knew about the issue immediately. It’s not fixed, but I’m confident they are working on.
(In case you are wondering, the bug is that when you try to upgrade to Amazon Marketplace 2.0 BETA, you get a login screen where someone else’s email address is pre-populated and not-editable – which pretty much locks you out.)
In any case, I can say one thing:
Amazon Marketplace + DVDs + PayPal Shipping is a pretty darn good system for selling DVDs.
Here is why:
- Amazon listing process has the best elements of Half.com. Type a UPC and condition comment, then pick a price based on Amazon current stats, and you are done.
- Amazon has ample DVD buyer demand. Something eBay has, but Half.com doesn’t. (Something we tried to rectify by adding Half.com inventory to eBay Express). So if you price at the low price, you sell in 24 hours, even for titles that aren’t particularly hot.
- PayPal shipping makes fulfillment a breeze. Just enter the sale data, and get a printed postage label ready to go, with tracking info! All for a great price.
In case you are wondering, it is in-fact possible to print postage with PayPal on non-PayPal transactions.
It’s the same way eBay let’s you print postage for Half.com transactions – the base PayPal Postage form, available as long as you have a merchant account with PayPal. I do all my shipping, both e-commerce & personal, with it. In fact, I have a second tray in my laser printer, filled with peel-and-stick label paper, just so I can easily print and stick postage on my packages. It offers Media Mail, First Class, Priority Mail, and Express options…
PayPal has a lot of features that they built specifically to support the eBay marketplace. Historically, PayPal did not see these as a third-party opportunity – after all, what other marketplaces were there? But 2008 is not 2003, and PayPal should expand their efforts around their marketplace products. A lot of sites are adding transactional third party inventory, and PayPal has already solved many of the problems related to these transactions.
I would love a link from Amazon to just print postage with PayPal. I would love to have the form pre-populated, and to be able to tap into the money from the sale to do it.
I’m not saying that Amazon would go for this, since they want to own fulfillment. But the right integration between Amazon & PayPal could address those issues by linking Amazon’s fulfillment ecosystem to PayPal for supporting third party shipments.
In any case, I still use eBay for almost all my selling, and Half.com for textbooks. But for DVDs, I haven’t been getting great prices lately on my auctions, and the listing process is just too long right now for individual items for something that’s only going to get $5-$10.
Now, if eBay finally starts showing Half.com DVD inventory on eBay.com, I’ll be back in a flash. 🙂