The SellerZen team has been using technology to run successful eCommerce businesses since 2001. What we've learned is that the right technology can drastically improve a company. SellerZen is committed to driving business growth through specialized inventory, sales, and accounting process automation
Looking for Canada FBA Prep and Ship companies? Check out these Canadian 3PL businesses that can help you with prepping, shipping, or fulfilling your orders for Amazon Canada.
Most 3PL businesses offer similar services, but that doesn’t mean that you should shop on price alone. Consider asking about their insurance policies for your inventory, the turnaround rate, and other ancillary services that you may need.
For instance, if you have products classified as dangerous goods, you’ll want to make sure the business can support that. If you need specific labels, storage, or packaging, you’ll want to know that the business can support your needs as well.
Please do your research before using any of the services here. SellerZen is not affiliated with any of these businesses, nor does SellerZen endorse any business listed here.
Even if you don’t use any of those services, knowing what other sellers use can give you an idea of how they remain competitive.
View our collection of articles for a one-stop resource to view useful app integrations all in one place. From 3PL services to QuickBooks Online accounting guides, our articles provide a great starting point for your research.
You may even find a service you didn’t even know you needed. Stop by and browse our articles to see if we can help you today.
Take a look at a summarized list of Amazon seller fee changes that will take place in 2019.
Some of the fee changes for next year will be a nice surprise for sellers in certain categories. For instance, referral fees for categories like groceries will drop almost half, down to 8% from 15% for total sales prices below $15.
This change makes it easier for grocery sellers to sell everyday grocery items that households need.
See below for other Amazon fee changes.
Fulfillment fees are a little higher for sellers of larger items (above 10 ounces). If you sell dangerous goods, you’ll also see increased fulfillment fees.
If you’re selling products classified as dangerous goods, you’ll see these changes:
On February 15, 2019, these changes will take effect for storage fees:
Long-term storage fees (LTSF) for products that have been in fulfillment centers between 181 to 365 days will be terminated, but LTSF will still remain for products in fulfillment centers more than 365 days
Minimum LTSF fees for products in fulfillment centers more than 365 days will be dropped from 50¢ to 15¢ per unit
Monthly storage fees for dangerous goods will be increased
On February 19, 2019, these fees will go into effect:
Applicable minimum referral fee dropped from $1.00 to $0.30 across all categories
Baby (except Baby Apparel), Beauty, and Health & Personal Care fees will be 8% for products up to $10.00 and 15% for products above $10.00
Furniture & Decor (except for mattresses) 15% for total sales price up to $200 and 10% for any portion above $200
In case you missed out on other fee changes that took place earlier in 2018, here they are:
Shoes, Handbags, and Sunglasses: fees raised from 15% to 17% for total sales price above $75
Clothing & Accessories fee raised from 15% to 17%
Jewelry fee dropped from 20% to 5% for the amount above the total sales price of $250
In addition to those fee changes, Amazon has these current seller promotions. You can see which of your ASINS qualify for referral fee discount by going to Pricing > Fee Discounts.
Get up to a 70% discount on referral fees when you lower your price
If you’re thinking about Seller Fulfilled Prime, make sure you fully understand the requirements. Many sellers end up losing money on SFP sales because of high shipping costs. Their account metrics may also suffer because of stricter requirements.
Sellers who sell low-priced items will stand to save the most from these changes. That’s mainly due to the minimum applicable referral fee drop from $1.00 to $0.30.
If you’re selling in any of the affected categories, take a look at your pricing. You may need to adjust your sales price in order take advantage of those fees.
Thinking about expanding to other marketplaces and want to take a quick look at their fees? Check out our article on other marketplace fees.
Update your historical transactions and move them to a new account in QuickBooks Online when you change your income account for your service items!
Previously, you’d have to create a journal entry or manually move all of the transactions over to the new account. This wasn’t an issue if you just had a few items, but with larger accounts, you’d have thousands of transactions.
Obviously, that’s not how you’d like to spend your time. Now with an account change, you can click move all historical transactions simply by checking the box!
This new feature can save sellers countless hours, while still preserving reporting details. To change accounts, simply go to Sales > Products and Services. Find the Service item you want to change, and click on Edit.
Select the new Income account (can be income or expense account) and check the “Also update this account in historical transactions” box. Click on Save and close. That’s it!
Run a report on the new account to verify that all of your historical transactions made it over. Do the same for any other Service item that you want to change.
If you’re using SellerZen and want to change your accounts for your line item income and expenses, this is a quick way to reorganize your accounts in your Chart of Accounts.
Keep in mind that you’re able to rename Accounts in QuickBooks Online, and SellerZen will recognize the change. You won’t need to move historical transactions if it’s just a simple account renaming.
Take a look at this step-by-step visual below to see how to go about changing your Income accounts for your Service items in QuickBooks Online.
Before we start, we’ll take a look at the report on the old income account for this particular service item.
First, you’ll need to create a new account in QuickBooks Online.
Select the correct Account and Detail Type. Give the account a name that is descriptive. You’ll want to be able to tell what the account is for when you run your reports in QuickBooks Online. Giving it a vague name like “Expenses” will not be as helpful.
After you’ve created the new account, you’ll need to Edit your service items.
Search for the service item you want to edit or look for it on the list. Once you find it, click on Edit to change the accounts.
Select your new account under “Income account” field. A new option should appear that says “Also update this account in historical transactions.” Make sure you click on that box.
Then click on Save and close to save your new changes.
Once you’re done with the changes, you can run a report on the new account to see if your historical transactions have moved over.
The transactions have been moved over!
That’s it! You’ve moved your historical transactions over to the new account.
If you’re using SellerZen to automatically sync and import your Amazon seller transactions into QuickBooks Online, then you won’t need to make any changes. However, if you create a new service item, you’ll need to change the mappings through SellerZen’s integration.
Use the Advanced Search function in QuickBooks Online to get a list of specific transaction types. Check out this article for a quick guide to viewing sortable lists of your transaction types.
Sellers sometimes need to see a sortable list of specific transaction types in QuickBooks Online. This is important for sellers on Amazon who are trying to reconcile transactions like refunds in QuickBooks Online with refunds on Amazon.
Using QuickBooks Online’s Advanced Search function, you can search and filter every type of transaction, including individual transaction lines.
This is helpful if you’re searching for specific types of events (provided you’re tracking them). For instance, if you’re tracking type Warehouse Damage events in the description field, then you can filter for documents that contain the phrase Warehouse Damage in the description field. Of course, you’ll need to have entered details consistently.
If you’re using SellerZen, then you’ll be able to filter reimbursements by reason code in the description field. Whether it’s a Warehouse Lost, Damaged, or Return, you’ll be able to pull up relevant transactions.
Click on the Magnifying Glass and Advanced Search.
Click on the drop-down menu and select the type of transaction you want. For this example, we’ll select Refunds.
If you have any other filters you want to apply, then you’ll select that here. You can also leave it as default and display all refunds.
Once you’re ready, click on the Search button to see all your refunds.
If you’re looking for refunds on a specific date or between a specific period, then you can filter those out.
While you can easily search for individual refunds using various filters, using date periods will allow you to reconcile refunds in QuickBooks Online with refunds on Amazon. There may be some slight inconsistency due to timezones. To adjust for this, add an extra day at the beginning and the end of the date period.
Using Advanced Search will give you a quick way to see if you’ve managed to enter all the invoices and refunds in QuickBooks Online.
Looking for a service that will monitor your Amazon listings and provide hijacker alerts to your email or text message? Check out any of these third-party services to see if one fits your needs.
Sellers with popular items are often at risk of losing the buy box and control over the listing to hijackers. Some sellers not only want hijacker alerts, but they also want notifications for any other sellers piggybacking on listings.
If hijackers are discovered too late, sellers may see a noticeable drop in sales, and they’ll risk losing their sales rank if the listing is drastically changed. What’s worse, sellers may end up getting a large number of INAD returns if the listings are changed in subtle ways.
Paying an employee to check on the listings daily is one option, but no employee can be active 24/7.
Another option is to automate the process. Instead, have a service send you an email or text whenever an event like a change or a new seller jumps onto the listing.
We’ll go over some services in this article that you can check out. Visit the site for current features and pricing.
Helium 10 has a free plan with basic or limited features. If you’re using their a la carte plan, then it’s $37 per month for just the Hijacker Alert service. Their free plan has monitoring for 2 ASINs.
The plans are currently 50% off at the time of this article. The basic Hatchling plan is $9.97 per month, but it’s only good for 1 ASIN. The next tier is good for 10 ASINs and goes for $19.97 per month, while their most expensive plan monitors 50 ASINs for $49.97.
ZonGuru’s suite of tools includes a hijacker alert. The Starter plan starts at $49 per month or $35 per month if you pay yearly. You can only monitor 5 products on this plan, but the next subscription gives you monitoring for 150 products.
Most of the services on this list have some sort of free trial. If you’re just looking for hijacker alerts, then the suite of apps from AMZShark or ZonGuru may not be an ideal choice since you’d end up paying for features you don’t need.
However, if you’re using multiple apps for your Amazon business, then maybe consolidating those apps can save you money.
Regardless of what you choose, having an employee or a service monitor your listings on an daily basis can reduce your losses should you get a hijacker or piggybacker.
Your business’s gross revenue from sales into South Dakota exceeded $100,000; or
Your business made sales for delivery into South Dakota in 200 or more separate transactions
If you’re selling through Amazon FBA, then Amazon will likely collect and remit on your behalf. Speak to a tax professional if you believe you exceed the exemption for South Dakota or any other state.
While most states have $200,000 or 200 transactions, some states such as South Dakota have lower limits of $100,000 or 200 or more separate transactions. Some states may even have $100,000 or 100 transactions. See our link below for a collection of the small seller exemptions listed by state.
Most states have some kind of remote seller sales tax legislation based on an economic, rather than physical, nexus. That means nexus is defined through economic activity (gross sales), rather than physical presence.
South Dakota joins a growing list of states that are requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales tax on sales. Many more states are considering legislation or have pending legislation regarding sales tax, so expect more changes in 2019.
Using SellerZen to automatically import orders from Amazon into QuickBooks Online? Simply add South Dakota as a sales tax agency in QuickBooks Online. We’ll create the proper documents so you can track sales tax collected for those tax agencies.
Both Alabama and Iowa will begin to require marketplace facilitators to collect sales tax on orders or report sales starting on January 1, 2019.
As with previous states, Amazon is likely to collect and remit your behalf if you sell through FBA.
Other marketplaces like eBay and Etsy have also followed suit by collecting sales tax on behalf of their sellers.
Don’t forget about Amazon’s Sales Tax Collection Fee, which is 2.9% of the sales tax collected. For example, if the order has a sales tax of $10, then you’d pay an additional sales tax collection fee of 29¢ on top of other fees for the order.
Alabama’s rule for remote sellers started on October 1, 2018. Alabama’s Department of Revenue (ADOR) states the following:
Remote sellers with annual Alabama sales in excess of the rule’s $250,000 small seller exception should register for the Alabama Simplified Sellers Use Tax Program (SSUT) and begin collecting no later than October 1, 2018.
The rule for marketplace facilitators is below.
In addition to the collection requirements for remote sellers, Ala. Act 2018-539 requires marketplace facilitators with Alabama marketplace sales in excess of $250,000 to collect tax on sales made by or on behalf of its third-party sellers or to comply with reporting and customer notification requirements. The Act mandates compliance with reporting or remitting requirements on or before January 1, 2019.
Effective January 1, 2019 marketplace facilitators and remote sellers that exceed a certain amount of revenue or transactions must charge Iowa sales tax, including local option sales tax, the same as retailers with a physical presence in Iowa.
The small seller exception for Iowa is a bit lower than Alabama’s exception:
has $100,000 or more in gross revenue from Iowa sales or makes 200 or more separate sales transactions into Iowa.
Alabama and Iowa join these states in requiring marketplace facilitators to collect sales tax or report sales:
Other states are sure to follow in 2019, with South Dakota requiring marketplace facilitators to begin collecting or reporting on March 1, 2019.
Many sellers have a mix of FBA and FBM sales, and combined sales may meet or exceed the small seller exemptions for the states. Be sure to speak to a tax professional about your business.
New to selling and wondering what shipping tools the pros use to ship their orders?
New sellers generally spend more money on shipping than veteran sellers. If you’re a new seller and taking your packages to the post office to ship, then you’re not getting commercial rates. You’re also wasting time waiting in line.
Sellers with any volume of sales will generally have a process and tools to streamline shipping. Even if they’re using another service to get commercial shipping rates, they’ll still need to enter dimensions, weights, and print labels.
What can you do to help streamline your shipping process? You’ll want to consider purchasing one or more of these tools.
Even if you’re using USPS flat rate boxes and envelopes to ship your products, there will be many instances where you can save on shipping by using cheaper services.
Sellers who offer free shipping are losing money by not buying a scale in order to get the best possible shipping rates.
Consider purchasing a cheap digital scale on Amazon.
Digital scales should be around $20 to $30, though if you need legal-for-trade or NTEP scales, that’ll cost even more. It’s not likely you’ll need a legal-for-trade scale if you’re shipping, but sellers who need it will already know.
Below are three top results for “shipping scales” on Amazon. Note the weight limits. Consider how and where you’ll be placing these scales. Some are designed for tables, like the first ACCUTECK scale, requiring a lot of lifting, while others can be placed on the ground with the display placed elsewhere.
The last thing you want is to purchase the first ACCUTECK scale only to realize that you’ll have to lift every single package onto and off the table just to weigh it.
If you’re shipping or expect to ship heavier packages, you’ll want to get a scale that can handle those.
Avoid using an inkjet printer for your shipping station. While inkjet printers may be cheap, the cost of ink can be extremely expensive, sometimes exceeding the cost of the printer after just one replacement.
While inkjets do provide color printing, you’ll almost never need to provide invoices or packing slips in color. Most customers just throw those away anyhow.
Instead, consider using a cheap multifunction laser printer, or even better, a thermal label printer. Save your inkjet printer for color or photo prints.
Laser printers have multiple advantages over inkjet printers. First and foremost, the cost per page is just a few cents compared to an inkjet printer.
Take a look at the images below for the price per page cost of an HP inkjet printer and an HP laser printer from Best Buy. The HP 63 Black Ink cartridge (single) retails for $18.99, while the HP 17A toner cartridge retails for $65.99.
Also note that some printer models will not allow you to print black only if other colors are out, and color cartridges may cost more. If you don’t often print color, then those nozzles may clog. You’ll then have to run cleaning processes or replace the cartridge altogether.
Cost per page for the HP 63 black ink cartridge: $0.0999, almost 10¢ per page.
Cost per page for the HP 17A black toner cartridge: $0.0412, about 4¢ per page, less than half the cost of an inkjet print.
Consider getting a multi-function or all-in-one laser printer so you can also scan, copy, and fax.
Some features to look for:
Automatic duplex printing (automatically print on both sides of the paper)
Availability and quality of generic toner replacements
Drum units (Brother printers generally have a separate drum unit compared to other manufacturers)
Refills (if you’re attempting to refill instead of replacing the toner cartridge)
Wireless printing or compatibility with Windows, Mac, or mobile printing
Purchase enterprise models for high-volume printing
Multiple input trays for different paper types (regular paper and label paper)
Thermal Label Printers
Many sellers like using thermal label printers because they eliminate the need for ink and toner. They’re also more convenient and less wasteful. While you can print, cut, and tape shipping information onto a box, it doesn’t look as professional. And it’s very time-consuming.
Another option is to print labels through the laser printer. But this can be a waste if you’re also printing invoices or packing slips. You’ll often have to switch out paper types or print invoices or packing slips on more expensive label paper unless you have a printer with multiple input trays.
Consider purchasing a direct thermal label printer that handles wide 4″ x 6″ shipping labels. These will also handle smaller labels, giving you more flexibility.
The most popular thermal label printer is the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL, pictured below. The 4XL uses label rolls that have a hole, so you’ll need to purchase either original Dymo labels or generics that are specifically compatible.
Generic labels come in various designs and specs, so be sure to check the description if you need the labels perforated or waterproof.
Another option is to use a thermal label printer that is compatible with free UPS shipping labels. If you’re already using free UPS labels, then the Rollo label printer may be a good choice.
Have an eBay store? eBay sends store subscribers a coupon for free shipping supplies every quarter.
If you ship primarily using USPS Priority, then you can request free USPS Priority boxes and envelopes.
Some sellers like to recycle boxes. This is an option if you’re not selling a lot of products or if you don’t have your own brand. If you have a brand, you may want to use new boxes for better brand perception.
The customer’s first perception of you is the packaging, so you’ll want to make a good impression for your brand.
Make sure you remove any previous labels from the box instead of taping over them. Not only is leaving a previous label on unprofessional, but it exposes the previous customer’s information.
Buy bulk shipping supplies from vendors like Uline for better pricing. If you’re purchasing shipping supplies like padded envelopes from your local Walmart or office supply store, then chances are you’re spending more on shipping supplies than you should.
While Amazon and eBay give you better prices than retail locations (including USPS), they’re not always the lowest.
Try getting quotes from other services like PirateShip to see if you can save even more on shipping. Or connect with a shipping integration for your eBay and Amazon business in order to get commercial rates and easily manage all of your shipping in one place.
Some of these shipping integrations offer a free trial or free service for low-volume sellers.
If the majority of your shipping goes through USPS, consider using a SCAN form to save both your time and the postal worker’s time. These forms will allow the postal worker to scan one barcode to receive all associated packages. Many shipping integration services will give you the ability to print SCAN forms.
Shipping services may also give you access to cubic pricing, which is great for shipping small and heavy packages.
The upfront cost of purchasing all this hardware may be a bit high, but the long-term savings far outweigh initial costs. Even switching to a label printer will save you on ink, toner, and paper costs (if you’re using free labels).
Shipping shouldn’t be a frustrating process. With the right tools in place, you can streamline your shipping operation and devote more time to growing your business.
One way to drive sales and rank higher for SEO is to publish useful and helpful content on a blog. No matter what you’re selling, you can always drive traffic to your site by publishing informative content on your blog.
Short articles and videos about your business, products, or services, not only help customers, but they’ll also help with your website ranking when done properly.
We’ll take a look at some of the top free and paid blogging sites that you can use for your business. Even if you’re using Shopify and its blogging module, you may want to consider hosting a separate blog site for more control and features.
Some of these sites may be more useful than others depending on the nature of your business.
Ghost is similar to Medium in that it provides a clean, minimalistic look for your blog. Like Medium and Svbtle, Ghost isn’t necessarily setup for marketing and business. However, businesses that provide a service may find these platforms beneficial.
Ghost is a Platform-as-a-service, so a subscription means you can start publishing quickly.
If you self-host, then Ghost is free to use.
Clean, modern look
Some customization with themes
Supports non-profit goals for journalism
SEO optimization tools
Integrations with popular services like Slack, SurveyMonkey, and Youtube
Tools and features for teams
Requires technical knowledge for more customization like custom domains
Designed primarily for journalism and not necessarily for marketing purposes
Community isn’t as large or as active as WordPress communities
Don’t let the strange name keep you from using this software. It’s a free content management system that you host yourself, and it’s fairly popular worldwide. Its flexibility means you can use it as a business site or blog.
Free content management system allows you to build any type of online site
An even more minimalistic approach to blogging than Ghost or Medium, Svbtle’s claim is that it’s designed to “work the way your brain does.” The service benefits writers because it helps with generating ideas and getting those ideas into an article.
This website is primarily aimed at writers and bloggers instead of businesses.
Cheap at $6 compared to other services
Promise that your content will be online forever
No customization with plugins or themes
Requires Markdown language to get more advanced publishing features
Minimalistic approach may be too basic for some
This is the most popular blogging platform used worldwide by millions of bloggers and businesses. Its versatility means you can use WordPress as a simple blogging platform or as an ecommerce store. Or you could do both.
If you want to host WordPress on your own, you can download the software for free at wordpress.org.
Not familiar with technology or don’t want to go through the hassle of learning and configuring? You can also subscribe to WordPress hosting services. One such provider is wordpress.com. Read the terms carefully, as many of the prices are introductory, and some include domains free for only a year.
If you’re set on using WordPress, then opt for specialized WordPress hosting services. They may cost a bit more per month, but the features, like automated security updates and backups, can be worthwhile.
Used by millions of users worldwide, used by 32% of the web (according to WordPress.org)
Over 55,000+ plugins, including WooCommerce plugin used by businesses
High level of customization
Can be optimized for SEO with the help of plugins
Large user support base
WordPress hosting can be more expensive
Vulnerabilities as a result of failure to keep up with updates for self-hosted WordPress
Squarespace has a lot of appealing and amazing themes to choose from. Squarespace also promotes its all-in-one platform with integrated marketing and productivity apps. No free plan, but there’s a free trial if you want to check it out.
Wix also provides a free website, but it’ll show ads unless you’re subscribed to a premium plan.
The option with the most flexibility would be WordPress. It’s highly customizable with tons of free and paid themes. With tens of thousands of plugins, you’ll be sure to find solutions for whatever your needs are.
Pay for WordPress hosting to minimize maintenance, choose a free theme, and start writing your blog today!