July 28th, 2011

Anthead Guest Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthead System

 

   

Nationally Recognized Guru of Retail Arbitrage Uncovers The Best Kept Amazon Fulfillment Strategies

   

Chris Green has been selling online since 1999. He has primarily focused on products that could be purchased at retail stores and sold online profitably. He expanded from eBay to Amazon and was an early adopter of Amazon’s fulfillment program called Fulfillment By Amazon or FBA, Chris continues to be a big promoter of Amazon’s FBA program and FBA education. He enjoys life in Massachusetts with his beautiful wife and his two very cool children.

In the picture is Abby, age two. She thinks daddy’s book is ‘boring’.

You can contact Chris at:

www.amazon.com

 

 


Chris Green

 

 

 

You Don’t Have To Be A Small Seller Anymore

©2012 Chris Green

 

With this critical insight, you don’t have to be a small seller anymore.

If you sell online, then you have likely already heard of Amazon’s fulfillment program called FBA. If you haven’t heard of FBA, with this article, the cat’s out of the bag now.

It’s big! It now represents 38% of Amazon’s total revenue and continues to grow. Sellers have been leveraging FBA program for several years and the sellers who have embraced this new service and taken advantages of its capabilities have enjoyed a nice margin and truly transformed their businesses. Entering its’ fourth year, FBA stands for Fulfillment By Amazon and it is Amazon’s version of a fulfillment company.

Retail Arbitrage describes in detail the business model of purchasing items at retail to be sold online for a nice profit. These profits can be made due the several factors including inefficient markets and the psychology of the Amazon customer. Recent technological advancements including many smart phone apps have made comparison shopping incredibly easy to do, and many items are sold locally for much less than they sell for online. Retail Arbitrage helps explain the HOW and WHY behind this phenomenon. Even if you don’t currently use FBA and even if you don’t ever want to use FBA, it is important to understand how FBA works and how your competition is using FBA in their business.

 

FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) Explained

Fulfillment companies have been around for a long time providing storage and shipping services for their clients’ products, but what makes FBA different is that Amazon is also the marketplace for those items so they have an active interest in seeing the items sell. Additionally, FBA items are eligible for Amazon’s shipping promotions including Free Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime. This is what makes FBA incredibly powerful.

Even if you don’t currently use FBA and even if you don’t ever want to use FBA, it is important to understand how FBA works and how your competition is using FBA in their business.

The Triple Win

Win #1:  Higher prices, higher margins, higher payouts

Since items sold through FBA are eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime, FBA sellers actually raise their prices to match their competitor’s total price (price+shipping). So even with the addition of FBA fees, the FBA seller still receives a higher net payout from their Amazon sale because of the higher sales price. For example, a seller who ships their own orders who sells an item for $20 with $5 shipping will show the same as an FBA seller selling the exact same item for $25. Actually, the FBA seller will show first because FBA is the tie breaker.

Win #2:  Less work

FBA sellers sell items 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. Items ship all hours of the day or night including weekends. They ship whether the seller is at home or on vacation. Once an FBA seller prepares their items for the FBA warehouse and sends them to Amazon, they don’t have to do anything else. They can monitor inventory levels and adjust prices as needed from anywhere with an Internet connection.  They don’t have to stock boxes, envelopes, packing materials, or shipping labels anymore. They also don’t wait around for their UPS driver or go
to the post office every day.

Win #3: Happier Customers

It is estimated that 40-50% of Amazon buyers have never bought from a third party merchant. Amazon customers want to buy from FBA sellers. They trust Amazon and they know that their items will ship quickly and if there is ever a problem, Amazon will help (including an extended return policy). When your items are shipped through FBA (either for Amazon orders or Basic Fulfillment orders) they will attract these types of Amazon buyers who are willing to pay more to get their items shipped by Amazon. This is an important point to grasp: Amazon
customers are willing to pay more for the exact same item if it comes from Amazon or an FBA seller. They do this because they know they will get their item fast and that customer service will be top notch.

Scalability also helps small sellers The competitive advantages that the big sellers have enjoyed for years have vanished overnight with the introduction of FBA. A new seller on Amazon may make some good money by selling items out of their garage in their spare time, but if they wanted to make a real income they would have to scale up and get more space to handle more inventory and hire employees to help with all of the orders. Now they may make more money but they have additional overhead. There are two things that have kept small sellers small and those are space and time limitations.

As a small seller, you only have so much space in which to store products and you only have so much time to list, sell, and ship your orders. Ten orders a day can be fun. Twenty may get you excited. Butcan you fulfill 300 orders in a day? –Day after day? And shut down your entire business if you ever wanted to go on vacation?

With FBA, you can grow as big as you want.

FBA removes the space and time limitations and allows you to compete on the same playing field as the big, established sellers on day one. There are no scalability restrictions with FBA. If you have access to products, you could sign up with FBA and ship them fifty thousand products in one day and be selling 500 items a day within the week. Manage your inventory properly and you could run an FBA empire from a studio apartment.

My bestselling book,  Retail Arbitrage, goes into more extensive detail about the winning strategies you can use to take advantage of this incredible market opportunity.

Contact me for further details.

 

 
 
   

Veteran Hewlett-Packard / Vignette Corporation Executive, Now High Flying Management Consultant Talks About Business Creativity

    Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc., formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. During her 25 years of corporate experience, she held executive positions at Hewlett-Packard, Vignette Corporation and United Health Group. Her first book Is This Seat Taken? Random Encounters that Change Your Life– is slated to appear in bookstores fall 2011.

You can contact Kristin at:

www.kristinkaufman.com

 


Kristin Kaufman

 
 

Learning from Today’s Creative Leaders

©2011 Kristin Kaufman

In our current business environment, creativity is a kindred quality in short supply. Most of us are fully aware our creative juices are not being taught, tapped or tested. Fortunately, there are many obvious innovators of recent days from whom we can learn. For example, Steve Jobs, unquestionably the most prolific market leader with game-changing innovation via iTunes, the iPad, and iPhone. Or, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, who created the world’s largest online bookstore and most popular online retail site. And of course, Steve Ballmer, CEO, and Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, who made Microsoft the world’s largest software company.

I thought about the common characteristics of those who consistently creative and innovate. What can we learn from these characteristics and the leaders who demonstrate an innate understanding of them?

1. Creative leaders buck the system.

As Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, once said: “I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, and to take things beyond where they’ve been.”

In a nutshell, “bucking the system” equates to:

  • having the vision of where they want to go
  • why they need to go
  • how they are going to get there
  • the emotional energy to get the troops to want to go with them
  • Having the courage to drive the bus to the final destination

2. Creative leaders don’t buck the system for the sake of bucking the system.

This is a cardinal rule for creative leaders. They are great at generating new ideas and experimenting with them. They keep the ideas coming, yet they don’t change the game for the sake of changing the game. With this as our baseline, what can we do to stir up the creative juices in our respective organizations?

A. Always keep the customer or client first.

It all starts with a need or void customers may or may not know they have; or we create the need (think bottled water). If we take time to observe our own needs, the needs of our family and friends, and certainly of our clients, we have the potential to uncover how we can creatively address the needs of others.

B. Capture the idea.

Some the best ideas come at the oddest times. Perhaps, necessity is the mother of invention. We just need to pay attention to capture the idea and the spark.

C. Now what?

From Henry Ford to Steve Jobs, successful innovators changed the game and bucked the system with new creations that captured our hearts. How can we employ the same techniques?

  • Make brainstorming a regular practice and keep it fun
  • Surround yourself with people completely different from you
  • Bring music and art into your culture
  • Read everything
  • Relax

As leaders emerging from this economic recession, we have the opportunity to act less as commanders of a sinking ship and more as stimulators of new ideas and approaches. So, lets’ be creative! Let’s color outside those lines, look through new lenses and make a difference in our organizations and in our lives.

 

 
 
 

International Management Consultant and Business Guru

 

Bob Selden is the author “What To Do When You Become The Boss”, the best-selling book for new managers. He has been a business consultant for over 30 years, prior to which he was a line manager in a financial organization. He regularly consults with small business owners on how to improve and develop their businesses. You can contact Bob at: http://www.nationallearning.com.au/

 

Bob Selden

 
 
Are Happy Employees Motivated Employees?
©2011 Bob Selden
When was the last time you felt excited, motivated and extremely keen to be at work? Chances are it was when you had a job or project that really interested you, you had control over what you did and the way you did it, and you didn’t have any worries about “over zealous boss” interference or lack of job security. It’s a great feeling and we can all probably relate stories of how and when we were most “motivated” at work.
But as managers and business owners, do we consciously try to provide this same level of motivation for all of our employees? Or, are we merely fixated on striving to achieve the deadlines, budgets and targets that are set for us (and that seem to be getting tougher and tougher and placing more and more stress on us and our people), and forgetting what it was really like when we worked in an environment that was truly “motivational”.
My challenge to practicing managers is to think back to when they were most motivated at work and identify the reasons why (list them on a sheet of paper as dot points). Then, set about implementing these same conditions for your own people. (Draw up your own list now and see how it compares with mine.)
I then ask them to identify the things that really irritate and annoy them and (often) change what could have been a motivating workplace into a drudgery. They are:
·Bosses who do not recognize them for their efforts, or worse still, take the credit themselves
·Constant implied or implicit threats of demotion or dismissal.
·A lack of feeling of “team”, ie., “we are in this together”.
·Insufficient salary (by comparison to others in the firm or in the industry).
If these sound familiar, then you’re right! Frederick Herzberg in his classic HBR article “Once More, How do you Motivate Employees?” (harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu) came up with two similar sets of lists nearly forty years ago that he labeled “Motivators” and “Satisfiers”.
Do they hold true today? Recent research into the turnover rates for young employees (20 – 30 yrs) shows that in some industries, the turnover rate of young employees is as high as 25% annually due to lack of perceived career development and training, and limited opportunities for involvement in other areas of the firm and their profession. These younger people, by comparison to their predecessors:
Andrew Heathcote (www.brw.com.au/stories) in answer to this challenge suggests that managers need to:
Communicate:
Tailor the workplace:

Be flexible:

So today’s younger employee is not so different from the generation who manage them – maybe they want their motivation and satisfaction a little faster!
By the way, notice that the majority of items on Andrew’s list are what Herzberg called “Motivators”. In fact the only two that could be termed real “Satisfiers” are the last two – sabbaticals and unpaid leave.
But, to return to my initial question, does motivation equate with happiness? Richard Layard (www.pfd.co.uk/clients/layardr/b-aut.html) suggests that work plays a very important part in our happiness and that a lot of our happiness actually comes from the work we do. And the job that we do is affected by how we are allowed to do it. In addition, he found that in regard to the “Satisfiers”:

 

Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick confirms some of the importance of the “satisfiers”:

 

Herzberg would be very pleased with the results of the amazing amount of today’s research that confirms his contention that it is important for managers to concentrate on both the “Motivators” and the “Satisfiers” if one is to have happy and motivated employees.
The message? Managers, revisit your own list of “Motivators”. Start working on implementing the things on that list of yours with your employees today!

 

·Having a lot of job security is important to feeling a high degree of satisfaction with your job.
·People with relatively high incomes or university degrees tend to get more satisfaction.
·Women tend to be more satisfied than men.
·The self-employed tend to be more satisfied.
·People who work in a small workplace tend to be more satisfied than those who work for large employers.
·Working at home tends to lead to higher satisfaction.
·A job that involves dealing with people tends to bring higher satisfaction.

 

·Not having a job when you should have one, is much worse than suffering a sudden drop in income.
·People who feel insecure about retaining their job, suffer a loss of happiness (relative to those who do feel secure) that is 50% greater than the loss of happiness suffered by people whose income drops by a third.
·Consider providing sabbaticals (so they can travel without resigning).
·Increase the availability of unpaid leave.
Provide more job rotation.
Arrange more rotation between offices.
Develop specific training.
Introduce variety.
Develop forums for social interaction.

 

·Be honest during interviews.
·Be serious about performance reviews.

·Create a forum to develop a greater spirit of involvement.

Do more career mapping.

 

·Are more opportunistic in taking new jobs.
·Are more mobile.
·Have greater expectations.
·Are easily bored.

 

I’ve issued this challenge to managers and business owners over the last 20 years in management development forums and invariably their “motivational conditions” they identify are:
·Autonomy – the chance to take control over a complete project or unit of work in which I am really interested.
·Responsibility – for setting goals and targets and being accountable for achieving them.
·Recognition – for achieving meaningful results.
·Development – of my skills, knowledge and capabilities to their full potential.