In this week’s edition of 8020 of E-com Newsletter, find out how U.S. online holiday sales are on track to hit over $221 billion, offering you more opportunities in the e-commerce world. We’re also introducing you to the revamped Amazon Vine Reviews Program, now with cost-friendly options, helping you ace your product reviews game.
Amazon is making strides with the relaunch of Seller Fulfilled Prime, making it easier for your business to earn that sought-after Prime badge. Plus, USPS has shared important holiday shipping deadlines for 2023, ensuring your packages reach your customers on time.
In the mix, we’ve got a special spotlight on Ben Leonard’s book launch, packed with insights from an e-commerce pro. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for our upcoming webinar on “Balancing 2 Supply Chain (China + Thailand) in your Amazon FBA Business.”
The holiday season is just around the corner, and it’s time to gear up for the biggest online shopping event of the year. According to Adobe Analytics, online holiday sales between November 1 and December 31 are projected to skyrocket to $221 billion this year, a 4.8% increase from last year. What’s even more fascinating is the rise of “buy now, pay later” services, expected to drive a jaw-dropping $17 billion in online spending—up from $14.5 billion in 2022.
Adobe’s data dives deep into the categories to be discounted the most, with toys taking the lead at 35%, followed by electronics (30%), apparel (25%), and more. Plus, get ready for a significant shift as more than half (51.2%) of online spending will happen on mobile devices, overtaking computer-based shopping for the first time. With mobile devices accounting for more than half of all online spending, it’s important to optimize your website for mobile users.
As an e-commerce seller, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to boost your sales. Start preparing your website and marketing campaigns now to take advantage of the holiday shopping frenzy. Offer discounts on popular items such as toys, electronics, and apparel.
TAKEAWAY: Why should you care about this? Well, it’s your golden ticket to understanding the upcoming holiday season’s potential. With the rise of “buy now, pay later” and shifting spending habits, it’s time to adapt your e-commerce strategies for the most wonderful time of the year. Get ready to make the most of this opportunity!
Starting October 19, 2023, the Amazon Vine Reviews Program is rolling out a brand-new pricing structure, making it accessible to brands with varying budgets. Amazon Vine is an exclusive club of Amazon’s most insightful reviewers, known as Vine Voices, who get to test products for free and share their experiences with customers. It’s like your secret weapon for obtaining valuable reviews and helping customers make informed choices.
Participating in this program can give your sales a boost of up to 30%, improve your product’s discoverability, drive conversions, and provide priceless product insights. Once you’re in, you can request products from thousands of Amazon brands, shipped right to your door for free. You use these products and provide honest reviews – whether they’re positive, neutral, or negative. Your reviews will appear alongside others on Amazon, and you’ll be recognized with a special “Vine Customer Review of Free Product” badge.
But here’s the real scoop: Amazon is introducing two brand-new, wallet-friendly tiers to make the Vine program accessible to brands with diverse budgets and products.
- $0 Tier: Enroll up to 2 units per parent ASIN and receive 2 quality Vine reviews for free.
- $75 Tier: Enroll up to 10 units per parent ASIN and snag 10 Vine reviews.
- $200 Tier (Existing): Enroll up to 30 units per parent ASIN and secure 30 Vine reviews.
One essential detail to keep in mind: these new pricing tiers apply to products enrolled on or after October 19, and the Vine enrollment fee only kicks in if you enroll in three or more units and receive the first review within 90 days. Regular FBA fees and other charges still apply.
TAKEAWAY: This is your golden opportunity to enhance your Amazon presence, gather insightful reviews, and drive your sales to new heights. Get ready to take full advantage of this program’s potential and grow your business.
Amazon has officially reopened enrollment for its Seller Fulfilled Prime program, offering third-party sellers the chance to manage their own fulfillment while maintaining Amazon Prime’s delivery standards.
Initially, Amazon had proposed a 2% fee on sales through this program. However, they’ve taken heed of seller feedback and decided to forgo this additional charge, ensuring it doesn’t discourage sellers from participating. Their commitment is to facilitate program access without added financial burdens.
Amidst an FTC lawsuit probing Amazon’s impact on alternative delivery methods, Seller Fulfilled Prime reopens after a brief 2019 pause. To join, you’ll need to pre-qualify by meeting specific criteria like consistently delivering 100 packages on time. The trial lasts 30 days, with strict requirements, including a 93.5% on-time delivery rate and free one-day/two-day Prime shipping.
TAKEAWAY: For e-commerce pros and Amazon sellers, this means a chance to expand, speed up deliveries, and sport the Prime badge on your products. It’s a big step forward for your Amazon journey.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has just unveiled the 2023 holiday shipping and mailing deadlines, ensuring you’re well-prepared to deliver cards, gifts, and packages by December 25th. It’s a great heads-up to keep your customers merry and avoid any hiccups.
Great news, USPS won’t be springing any surprise holiday surcharges this season. This offers you cost predictability during your busiest time of the year. USPS maintains its straightforward, upfront pricing throughout the year, with no extra fees for residential area delivery, Saturday delivery, fuel surcharges, or volume minimums. It remains your most cost-effective partner for holiday shipments.
Here are some quick shipping deadlines for the Lower 48, Alaska, Hawaii, and even international destinations. Plan accordingly:
- USPS Ground Advantage — Dec. 16
- First-Class Mail (including greeting cards) — Dec. 16
- Priority Mail — Dec. 18
- Priority Mail Express — Dec. 20
A valuable addition this year is USPS Ground Advantage, offering reliable, affordable shipping with a specific delivery window of 2-5 business days based on distance. And don’t forget, you can use the USPS shipping platform Click-N-Ship for labels and schedule free carrier pickups.
But there’s more – the USPS is making changes in January 2024. They’re raising rates, citing inflation, with a 2-cent increase in mailing a First-Class Mail letter. While they acknowledge these adjustments are necessary, they aim to maintain affordability.
TAKEAWAY: These shipping deadlines are your blueprint for holiday success. By staying on top of USPS’s schedule, you can ensure your customers receive their orders on time, all while keeping your shipping costs under control.
Remember I shared about Ben Leonard’s upcoming book “Quit Stalling And Build Your Brand“? It’s a practical, step-by-step guide to mastering e-commerce based on solid business principles and legit experiences growing his own multi-million-dollar brands and working with dozens of consulting clients.
Well, I have exciting news. You can now get advanced access to some of its key learnings – but only if you act quickly.
Join the waitlist at www.quitstallingbook.com/7fss today, and you’ll receive:
- A free chapter of the book is available immediately.
- A powerful Entrepreneurship Mindset Mini Course.
- The handy E-commerce Hacks eBook.
- Priority access to the book launch ahead of the general public.
This is a limited-time offer. Don’t wait. Grab this chance to jumpstart your journey to e-commerce success.
Today I want to share with you a secret.
In my over-a-decade-long journey as a China sourcing expert, there’s a secret I’ve never shared: I’ve never personally attended the Canton Fair. Why, you may wonder?
Here’s why Canton Fair Isn’t on My Radar (And Maybe Shouldn’t Be On Yours):
- Broad and Unfocused: Canton Fair’s sheer size can lead to a wasteful use of time. Rather than wandering for weeks, your time is better spent at industry-specific trade shows, where you can efficiently find the products you’re after.
- Scarcity: The Canton Fair takes place only twice a year (April and October), which may not align with your immediate sourcing needs.
- Hidden Treasures: The most innovative products aren’t displayed openly; they’re concealed behind curtains or within private locations.
- Not the First Choice for Top Suppliers: Many premium suppliers opt for industry-specific shows, where they can engage with serious buyers.
Case in point: While I was growing one of my early six-figure private label brands on Amazon, I discovered my top kitchen supplier at a specialized kitchen trade show in Shanghai, not at the Canton Fair. Interestingly, when I inquired, they mentioned they didn’t find it worthwhile to attend the Canton Fair for the same reasons I’ve highlighted.
The Truth About Sourcing:
While the Canton Fair has its place, it’s become more of a trend among Amazon FBA sellers and “gurus” to promote paid sourcing trips rather than offering practical advice.
Supply chain experts agree that the Canton Fair is a relic from the pre-internet era, and there are better solutions available today. A great way to improve your sourcing is by working with a knowledgeable sourcing agent. They have established networks, attend key trade shows throughout the year, and can communicate effectively with suppliers.
If you’re interested in this approach, please sign up through our sourcing request form:
Remember, Canton Fair is an option, but it’s not a necessity.
WEBINAR: “Balancing 2 Supply Chain (China + Thailand) in your Amazon FBA Business” – Thursday, October 19, at 9 pm EST
The sourcing landscape has been rapidly changing in recent years, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. China remains a global manufacturing leader, but new uncertainties have emerged. Amidst these changes, fresh opportunities to source your products have also arisen.
We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming webinar featuring Mike Michelini, founder and host of Global from Asia and Organizer at Cross Border Summit. Based in Thailand, Mike will provide insights from his real-world experience sourcing in Thailand, while we will also delve into China sourcing best practices for 2024.
This is a unique opportunity to learn from two industry-leading experts with a combined 25 years of on-the-ground experience in China and Thailand, both in sourcing and business. You’ll have the chance to engage in live Q&A, ensuring your specific questions are addressed.
In this webinar, you will gain valuable insights into:
- Effectively managing and harmonizing supply chains in both China and Thailand, harnessing the power of the “China plus 1” trend.
- Navigating your existing relationships with Chinese factories and suppliers while considering the prospects beyond China’s borders.
- Tackling the challenges and adopting best practices for packaging, branding, and mold selection in your business.
- Approaches to expanding your product portfolio while striking a balance between existing and new offerings.
- The art of creating and experimenting with a “new brand” within your business, aligning with your budget and timelines.
- Discerning the critical distinctions between supply chains in China and Thailand, alongside the growing array of logistics options beyond China’s borders.
- Understanding the importance of risk diversification as a business owner and the benefits it can bring to your overall operations.
Don’t miss this exclusive training session scheduled for next Thursday, October 19th at 9 pm EST.
Secure your spot now by RSVPing here: https://bit.ly/48HRRHU
We look forward to having you join us for this insightful webinar.
The holiday season presents a massive opportunity for huge sales in a short period of time, and paid advertising is still the best way to profitably drive sales in the fourth quarter… if done right.
If not done well, your profits can be gobbled up by the extra ad spend around the holidays.
It is important to stay on top of the latest trends with paid ads so that you can profitably drive more sales and stay ahead of your competitors. And it becomes even more important during the busy holiday season.
That is why I am excited to share with you the upcoming PPC Mastery Summit Q4 Edition put on by Maximizing E-commerce from Tuesday, October 24 – Thursday, October 26, 2023.
They have brought together amazing speakers who are going to share actionable strategies for you to drive more sales this holiday sale (and do it profitably).
It is hard to go out to a restaurant and pay less than they are charging for a ticket. This is the best value in learning with some of the most respected leaders in the industry. You won’t want to miss this…
Are you ready to take your PPC ads to the next level this holiday season (and beyond)?
In case you missed it:
- Amazon Advises Sellers to Get Their Holiday Inventory into Warehouses
- AWS Announces Powerful New Offerings to Accelerate Generative AI Innovation
- Amazon Expanding Program in Which Items Ship Without Added Packaging
- How FTC’s Historic Monopoly Case vs. Amazon Might Impact Sellers
- Prepare Your E-commerce Business for CNY 2024!
- LA Amazon Sellers Meetup in December
Until next time,