Spring Metrics Co-Founder Shannon Bauman on eCom Connections

Spring Metrics Our second guest on tomorrow’s show will be Shannon Bauman, the Co-Founder of Start-up Firm Spring Metrics.


Spring Metrics offers both Conversion Tracking and Smart Offers for small business websites.

About Spring Metrics

Spring Metrics solutions increase revenue for online merchants through  automated, real-time customer interaction at the point of customer conversion. Based  on behavioral targeting of site visitors, Smart Offers from Spring Metrics   increases conversion rates and captures more revenue from your existing site traffic.

Shannon Bauman

Shannon Bauman


How many tennis balls fit in a 747? Why are manhole covers round? What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? These are just some of the questions that Shannon helped investigate while spending over four years as a Product Manager and Engineer at Google. At Spring Metrics he brings his unique problem-solving skills to the field of web analytics.


Introducing Robert Caruso and Bundlepost



Our first guest for our upcoming show March 12th is Robert Caruso, the Founder CEO of Bundlepost. What is Bundlepost? I’ll let them explain in their own words.

Bundlepost Solution

Bundlepost can help you handle your social media presence and we will explore how, why and how much on Monday.

You can connect with Robert on Twitter & Facebook to learn more.


Bring your questions, comments and examples of what you need in a social media management program!





Beth Cherkowsky – Turbo Lister Help & Advice

Turbo ListerOn November 7 we were honored to have Long Time eBay seller and Turbo Lister expert Beth Cherkowsky of Depression Glass Warehouse on Talkshoe with us and she taught us many tips and tricks for using eBay’s Turbolister. During the show we had some great discussions and questions about TurboLister and Beth was generous enough with her time to send over some screenshots and more help for us!  My apologies for taking so long to get this great info posted but I hope y’all will pass it around and share with those Turbo Lister users who could use more information about the product.

Turbo Lister Errro

TLerror2.jpg (this is the error that made Turbolister help call me and take control and fix everything. 
TLpage1.jpg, tlpage1A.jpg, TLpage2.jpg and TLpage3.jpg are screen shots of various stages of the listing process on TL
TLHelp2 is the “email” help request.. I find this one works best cause they can sort of replicate what I messed up from the log it attaches automatically.
Sorry I repeatedly forgot to send these…what out for the tlerror2.jpg it’s HUGE!



Sue West – Author – ” Organize for A Fresh Start”

Are You Ready for a Fresh Start?!
Listen Here!

Our special guest tomorrow is our friend and author, Sue West.


Sue has been on the show in the past and gave us some FANTASTIC advice and help on getting organized. In fact, Karen won a prize from her eCommerce Selling Group and got some personal coaching from Sue. (Kat is Jealous!) Now Sue has a brand new book out, “Organize for a Fresh Start” and since we think a new year is a GREAT time for a Fresh Start, we are excited to have Sue on to talk about Fresh Starts and Getting Organized.
You Can read more about the book on Sue’s Website


Life’s big changes – We all get overwhelmed sometimes.

Moving onto a next chapter is about new perspectives: letting go, creating a new chapter, reorganizing our surroundings, and choosing new ways to spend time.

You’re thinking differently about your “stuff,” your surroundings, and how you use your time.

You feel as if your home or home office– well, they just don’t reflect who you are anymore. Neither does how you spend your time. Too much, too little or not fulfilling.

You’re ready to Organize for a Fresh Start and begin your next chapter.


Chris Green, FBA Power, Scout, Repricer and More

Chris Green  Chris Green is an amazing person to learn from!  I’ve known Chris on a couple of email lists for a year or so and I’m constantly amazed at his brain!  He just thinks different. Comes up with these amazing products, does not know what “You Can’t Do That” means and really knows his stuff about eCommerce, selling on eBay and Amazon and much more.

I’m excited to announce a partnership between eCom Connections and FBA Power – if you sign up to try out FBA Power or the entire suite of FBA Products (FBA Scout, FBA Repricer AND FBA Power), you will get an EXTENDED free trial. Sign up at the official FBA Power website and you wil get a 2 week free trial. BUT use our link!  and you will get a full 30 day free trial! This is a great chance to TRY out this tool set and find out if selling on Amazon using FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) is for you!

Now for the bonus info I promised the listeners today. This is an article Chris wrote for his own blog and was also posted in Skip McGrath’s newsletter.  I am re-posting the entire article here with a link to his blog so that you may follow his thoughts in the future. This is a fantastic piece on leveraging the power of Amazon’s amazing Shipping Costs to build your business anywhere, even, yes, EVEN, on EBAY!

FBA and eBay: Using Amazon’s Fulfillment Program to Ship your eBay Orders

There is a lot of talk lately about Amazon’s fulfillment program called Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA, but is it only online sellers who sell on Amazon who can get in on all the fun? The answer is no. A common misconception is that FBA is for Amazon only and while Amazon and FBA certainly go hand in hand, a seller’s items are not tied to the Amazon sales channel once they are stored in an FBA fulfillment center.

Amazon’s FBA program has what is called Multi-Channel Fulfillment meaning that you can still list and sell your FBA inventory on other channels and fulfill those orders through FBA.

This article has two ‘A-HA’ moments. The first is that you can ship your FBA inventory to fulfill orders that you receive from any channel such as eBay or your own website at very competitive rates (likely less than what it costs you to do it yourself). Using Multi-Channel Fulfillment allows you to sell on any sales channel and still fulfill your orders needing only access to a computer. You don’t need to store your own inventory, multiple sizes of boxes, print labels, or go to the Post Office every day. You get the orders, Amazon ships them out. This goes on whether you are at home or on vacation. Once you get your inventory to an FBA fulfillment center, you can manage it from anywhere on the planet! A-HA!

The second is the big one; how to LEVERAGE this new information into increased margins and a more efficient business model. Using Multi-Channel Fulfillment properly can truly revolutionize your business. You can lower your overhead in shipping costs, warehouse space, and labor costs while at the same time increasing your margins on every item that you sell. This is because of the extremely competitive costs associated with Multi-Channel Fulfillment. More on this after the fee breakdown.

This is truly a win-win-win situation that most sellers would not believe is true:
Win #1: Increase margins and profits (higher payouts per item)
Win #2: Reduce work (outsource storage, picking, packing, shipping)
Win #3: Improve customer satisfaction (shipments arrive faster)

This would seem like a magic potion from business fairlyland, but it’s not; it’s simply learning how to use the available tools optimally. Run the numbers (shown below) and take the steps to streamline your business.

Fees Involved

Yes, there are fees involved but these fees are fixed and known upfront for Multi-Channel Fulfillment orders. Since they are your orders and not orders on the Amazon website, there is no Amazon commission.

Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees
The Multi-Channel Fulfillment fees consist of a per order ‘Order Handling’ fee, a per unit ‘Pick & Pack’ fee, and a per pound ‘Weight Handling’ fee. These fees can be seen below:

You can calculate your Multi-Channel Fulfillment rates prior to sending inventory to FBA. You can also experiment with your FBA inventory by making ‘pretend orders’ and reviewing the rates for Standard (Ground), Expedited (2-Day Air), and Priority (Overnight) shipping services.

I just did a ‘pretend order’ in my Amazon seller account on a five pound item. Total fulfillment fees (inludes picking, packing, boxes, shipping, etc.) are as follows:

Standard (Ground): $7.75
Expedited (2-Day Air): $11.25
Priority (Overnight): $23

This is for anywhere in the USA. It is not based on zip code; it is based on fixed fees and weight. Once these costs are known, you can then price your items strategically on other channels (more on this later). For comparison, here are the UPS Published Rates and Daily Rates for a five pound shipment from Massachusetts to Washington State:

Ground Published: $13.98 – one week in transit
Ground Daily: $9.76 – one week in transit
2-Day Air Published: $44.25 – two days in transit
2-Day Air Daily: $35.04 – two days in transit
Overnight Published: $77.00 – one day in transit
Overnight Daily: $67.04 – one day in transit

Remember, in addition to being more expensive to ship myself, I would also have to store the product, be home to process orders, keep boxes and other packing materials on hand, pick and pack my own orders, print shipping labels, and then get my boxes to UPS or the Post Office. Easy choice if you ask me!

Inbound Shipping Fees
To use Multi-Channel Fulfillment, you have to get your items sent to an FBA fulfillment center. They have to be labeled properly with special barcodes so that Amazon can properly identify your items. You are able to use Amazon’s partnered UPS rates for inbound FBA shipments. These are the best rates around. Depending on where you are located and what fulfillment center your items are going to, this will be about $.20 – $.60 per pound.

Storage Fees
Amazon does charge storage fees based on unit volume. These rates are very low and can easily be managed by only sending in enough supply to match your sales. Many sellers find the storage rates to be so attractive that they want to send all of their inventory to FBA. It is recommended to only send in a maximum of one year supply at a time as Amazon charges $45/cubic foot for items left in FBA inventory more than one year.

Removal Fees
If you no longer want to have your inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, you can request to have your items returned to you or destroyed. Having your items returned to you costs $.50 per unit for regular items and $.60 per unit for oversize items. If you want Amazon to simply remove and destroy your inventory items, the cost is $.15 for regular items and $.30 for oversize items.

‘A-HA’ Moment #2 – How to LEVERAGE Multi-Channel Fulfillment

Having access to Multi-Channel Fulfillment at Amazon rates a very powerful thing. Imagine UPS came to your small, fledgling eBay business and said that you can now have Amazon UPS rates for all of your shipping needs. Impossible? Too good to be true? You could lower your shipping costs drastically without having to be a big shipper? This is essentially what you get by using FBA’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment. Your shipping rates are now significantly lower than your competitors; use this to your advantage! Here’s how:

There is more to a purchase than ‘just the item’. There is more to a transaction than just price; even on commodity items where you and your competition sell the exact same item. Consider ways to differentiate yourself as a seller on eBay: feedback, return policy, a well designed listing page (or not), and shipping options/speed (among others). The shipping is where you can now trump your competition by offering your customers something that they simply cannot offer (at least not at the price that it costs you).

There are several strategies that you can use. Since your shipping rates are now lower than your competitor’s, you can beat them on price and still make the same profit per item. This is an ‘apples to apples’ comparison. You may now be able to sell at a price that is profitable for you, but not for them. This may cause them to stop selling a product and you would not have to compete against them anymore (and prices will rise). You can also set up barriers to entry to new competition who can’t figure out how you are able to make a profit on your items since they don’t know you are using FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment.

Another strategy to use would be to offer premium shipping such as 2-Day Air on your products at the same price as your competitor charges for Ground shipping. This makes it a ‘rotten apples to fresh apples’ comparison. You are both selling apples and for the same price, you are able to offer the customer MORE than your competitor can. If a buyer on eBay is buying a commodity type item and they can get it for $100 from you in two days or they can get it from your competition for $100 but will have to wait a week or more, who do you think will get the sale? You are able to maintain margins and take the lion’s share of the sales by offering your customers more but not increasing your overhead. This will drive your competition crazy as they will think that you are paying high shipping rates to ship 2-Day Air and must not be making any money. Let them think that all they want; just keep it your little secret.

How to Increase Margins with Multi-Channel Fulfillment

The previous examples are valid ways to use Multi-Channel Fulfillment, but personally, I don’t recommend these strategies, especially for small sellers. You are able to capture more sales, but that also comes with more work. I prefer to increase margins and differentiate myself as a seller from my competition and not compete solely on price. What I’ll show you below is how using Multi-Channel Fulfillment allows you to market you items at higher prices effectively, while keeping your overall fulfillment costs the same. This increase in margin goes directly towards your business’ bottom line.

I strongly recommend this book:
It will change the way you see price, buyers, and your competition. It is worth every penny. I only wish I read it before I started selling on eBay where I tried to compete solely on price!

Above we talked about how you can use Multi-Channel Fulfillment to stop fighting in the ‘apples to apples’ comparison game. When you can change it to an ‘apples to oranges’ comparison, you can then market your oranges against your competitor’s apples (even though the actual items that you both sell are the exact same). You can make your oranges more attractive for the same price and capture sales, but I prefer to position my oranges as a premium seller. I can offer the same commodity item as my competition but with faster shipping and charge more for it. I can charge more because I am offering more (fast delivery options vs. slow delivery options). You will find customers that will see the difference and the added value that you provide with your oranges and they will pay you more for it. This is how you increase your margins on the same items that your competitors sell.

On eBay, you can also now add the Get It Fast option to your shipping settings. I recommend offering 2-Day Air shipping for free and factoring in your fulfillment costs into the price of your item. Then, just calculate the difference between Expedited (2-Day) and Priority (Overnight) and make that the upcharge for Overnight shipping (or round it to something neat like $9.95). Again, these are options that you competition simply cannot offer at a competitive price. EBay makes these options available because they know some buyers want their items FAST and these buyers are willing to pay more to get their items fast. They even let you sort search results showing only items with the Get It Fast option. You are able to charge more because you are offering more. Here are two images I made to pomote my eBay listings. Feel free to use them if you like.


Check out this example with costs and fee breakdowns. Note the increased Return On Investment (or ROI). This is the key.

$17.53 – $22.60 more on each transaction and 35.1% – 45.2% higher margins.

This isn’t even an ‘apples to apples’ comparison! In addition to making more money per sale, I’m doing less work AND my customers get their items faster. But don’t just take my word for it; run the numbers yourself.

It’s all about the perceived value of what you are offering. 2-Day Air shipping is incredibly valuable, especially to a buyer who needs their items fast. It would normally cost $30-$40 for 2-Day Air shipping on that five pound item, but they get that value from you for less. This is what makes your items more attractive than your competitor’s.

This is not a volume game; it’s a margins game. Sellers who consistently make the most margins will thrive in the good times and survive in tough times. Sellers who ignore margin and try to ‘make it up in volume’ will work way too hard for too little of a reward. Always run the numbers!

Different channels may fare better by using different strategies. Learn the customer base of each one and market your items appropriately. What works on eBay may not be the best strategy for your own website. A combination of these strategies is also something to consider.

FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment is currently only for domestic orders although I would expect that Amazon is working towards adding more international options. If you get a lot of international orders, you may want to consider keeping some of your items on hand to ship yourself and only sending a portion of your inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers.


Chris wrote up this amazing piece and posted it in the FBA Forum. He sent it to me this morning with permission to repost for you. The FBA Forum is a help site for FBA Power users and FBA Power recently hired one of our favorite guests, Bob Wiley, to help out there so it should be run well!

Years ago I would never dream of sharing info like this, but I’ve mellowed out a bit since then. This the type of deal that we make big bucks on. It’s too easy. Check it out:

Only good through 8/18/2011
They are likely trying to move a bunch of inventory to make room for Q4 (Christmas) stuff.

This works because multiple things are happening at once. Price drop on both kits: $149 down to $129 and $269 down to $199.

Buying these kits for RESALE means you do not pay tax. Anyone buying these kits should to go the Post Office on the way to Home Depot and ask for a Mover’s Packet and get the 10% off Lowe’s coupon. That makes the OUT THE DOOR price for these kits $116.10 and $179.10.

Buying the smart way (tax free and with a 10% off coupon) means that you are paying LESS than any competitors. In Texas, this was 18.25% LESS! If we sold at the same price as our competition, we made more per sale because our costs were lower.

Plus you get a FREE TOOL on the spot (way better than a mail-in rebate).

Best tools to get free:

Ryobi P260 18V Impact Wrench

Ryobi P221 18V Rotary Hammer

Why are these the best? Because they have the highest resale value.

P260 on Amazon:

P260 on eBay:

P221 on eBay:

P221 isn’t even on Amazon yet.

You could sell as kits, or the money-maker way is to part them out. This is like a ‘chop-shop’ where the pieces are worth more than whole kit. RUN THE NUMBERS YOURSELF. See what you can sell the tools, batteries, chargers, even the bag: http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Ryobi-22-Large-Contractor-Tool-Bag-18-12-volt-/310297750572

HomeDepot.com even has them pre-bundled:



How do you get tax free online?
You will have to pay tax at checkout, but you can fax your tax exempt status to Home Depot afterwards and they will refund it back to you. Spend $249+ to get free shipping.

If you have a Home Depot 10% code for online use, you can enter it here. The best price would be in store. Go to the Pro Desk and explain what you want to do.

hope you see what I see – LOTS to learn here!

Show #28 with Jeff Terrell of eBay.com

Our show #28 aired on August 8, 2011 and featured a pre-recorded interview with Jeff Terrell the Director of Seller Engagement on eBay. Most of us know Jeff well from his work on the recent eBay On Location events!

We really enjoyed Jeff telling us more of the history and future plans for eBay and very much appreciated his work in digging up some answers to questions our listeners put to him on the Friday we recorded the interview.  Jeff came back via email on Saturday with our answers. Here are his answers:

Thanks for the interview yesterday. I got the answers to the questions your listeners had…

1. After we extend the title limit to 80 characters, Google will truncate titles down to their limit of 70 characters. However, the 70 character limit for Google is not a hard and fast rule with them, so there may be some variation in how the titles appear there.

2. Saul asked about how to get his links in the “sponsored links” on the search pages. Those links are served by Google. We used to manage it internally through AdCommerce initiative, but Google now manages those ads.


Congrats to Marsha Collier #1 Influencer in the Customer Service Space



Big congrats to our friend and past guest Marsha Collier as she is named the #1 most influential person in the Customer Service space.


Fantastic news and please join Marsha each Tuesday night on twitter for her Customer Service chat from 6 – 7 PM PST. #custserv for the Hashtag

Sara Batterby on ECC Radio Monday May 9, 2011

Sara Batterby

Sara Batterby started her career in organizational development and change management with Accenture where her clients included American Express, The Royal Bank of Scotland and the London Stock Exchange. She then spent several years working as both an internal and external consultant in brand and business strategy. Sara’s experience ranges from start-up to medium and large companies in the US. She currently specialize in delivering brand and messaging strategies to aid clients in aligning resources around changing consumer values and preferences within the new economy.

Sara has a company called Good Citizen Brands that delivers identity and messaging services to companies on a mission. She also recently took on the role of Chief Development Officer for Fees to Funds – a socially responsible approach to the credit card processing industry that converts transaction fees paid by small businesses into montlhy, recurring, cash donations for non-profits and hopes to redirect tens of millions of dollars every month from financial service fees into support for local communities.

We are thrilled to be interviewing Sara tomorrow and plan to discuss with her the differences between marketing and branding as well as how to have a consistent branding across multiple channels.

You can connect with Sara on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on eCom Connections Tomorrow!

Mike Michalowicz Mike Michalowicz has a driving passion for entrepreneurialism. It is his belief that anyone that has the desire, even a fleeting ‘what if’, has been touched by an inspiration that must be satisfied.

Mike started a company called Obsidian Launch with the sole purpose of giving first time young entrepreneurs a partner in growing their concepts into industry leaders.

Here are a few of the things he has done:

- Founder and former President of Olmec Systems, Inc., a regional computer network integrator. (sold in 2002)

- Co-Founder & Managing Partner of PG Lewis & Associates, LLC , a national provider of data forensic services (sold to Fortune 500 in 2006)

- Reocurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch

- SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year (NJ) in 2000

- 2004 graduate of Inc.’s & MIT’s “Birthing of Giants” Entrepreneurial Program.

- Featured in Inc., New York Times, and international publications.

- Author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur”

- Guest lecturer for entrepreneurial groups at Harvard, Boston College, Penn State, UPenn, Seton Hall, Rown, TCNJ and other colleges throughout the US

- Member of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization)

Mike believes that if he can achieve all these things and more, then you, too,  can achieve whatever you set your heart, and your beliefs, to.

eCom Connections is excited to have Mike as an interviewee on tomorrow’s show (May 16, 2011) and we will be asking Mike about the differences between marketing and advertising, the use of a marketing calendar and allocating time & money for marketing and advertising your small business. Join us and ask your questions.

Melinda Emerson AKA @SmallBizLady on eCom Connections Monday!

Melinda Emerson Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, is one of America’s leading small business experts. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to End Small Business Failure. She publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com and hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #Smallbizchat for emerging entrepreneurs. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on NBC Nightly News and in The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Essence and Black Enterprise. In 2010, her bestselling book   “Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works” Melinda Emersonwon a small business book award from SmallBizTrends.com. She writes a column for www.secondact.com, and is an instructor for the Black Enterprise Small Business University.

We are THRILLED to be interviewing Melinda tomorrow on the topic of using your Blog for Marketing your business in 2011.

Be sure and log in so you can ask your questions in the chat room on Talkshoe at Noon EDT tomorrow!


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