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Topics - WayOutWest

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1
* General Discussions / Dropping in
« on: Today at 07:21:36 AM »
Just saying Hi and updating on what's going on. Finished with shows for year. Now gotta report for jury duty today. Hope everyone's been doing well.
2
Amazon is wanting to grow their catalog in certain categories, so they're running a promo.

Amazon has announced that they are reimbursing sellers for FBA storage fees for new ASINs now through Sept 30, 2017.  FBA storage fees will be incurred after Sept. 30th. 

ASINs must be new to Amazon.
Only the storage fee will be reimbursed.  Other FBA fees will still apply.
New listings created by bundling or multi-packs of existing ASINs do NOT qualify
Only items in New condition will qualify
Fee reimbursement is capped at $50

Applicable categories:
Kitchen
Patio
Lawn & Garden
Cell Phones & Accessories
Computers (Personal Computers)
Furniture and Décor
Pet Supplies
Sporting Goods
Home & Garden
Office Products
Sports Collectibles
Automotive
Arts
Crafts and Supplies
Major Appliances
Musical Instruments Equipment & Accessories
Tires
Industrial and Scientific
Camera and Photo
Entertainment Collectibles
Outdoors

See details at: https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/asin/overview.html


When you get to looking at it, it's not that great of a promo.  Only two months of storage fees are reimbursed and maximum reimbursement is $50.  Still, that'll pay for a nice dinner for two.

I predict we will see a huge amount of generic item listings being created as seller brand.  The exact, same made in China items will grow from having 5 or 6 identical listings to having 10-20 identical listings.
3
Just got an email from USPS about this and thought I'd share.   Who's buying, what, and why.

All of this is worth a read, for it does provide some valuable insight as to what consumers are wanting out of a website.  One of the biggies is people being worried about their financial data being secure. Which is something I've noticed with many sites - their failure to communicate what sort of steps they have taken (if any) to keep the customer's card info secure.  With many sites it's hard to tell at the time of submitting the info whether the card info is being emailed to the company for manual charging without even being encrypted, if it's being saved to the server, or if it's being securely passed through a gateway at the time of purchase and not being stored.  Some of it is also a bit of a chuckle (see China section for what I mean  ;))

According to a PayPal/Ipsos trends report:

Brazil
67% of adult internet users bought something online. 45% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Consumer electronics
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Safe way to pay
    Customer support in their language
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Delivery time too long
    Concerns about web security

Canada
62% of adult internet users bought something online. 63% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Entertainment/education (digital)
    Travel & transportation
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Lower overall cost to buy items from another country
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Having to pay customs duty, fees, or taxes
    Currency conversion rate not favorable

China
84% of adult internet users bought something online. 26% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Grocery, food, drink, alcohol
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Secure way to pay
    Proof of product authenticity
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Delivery time too long
    Difficult process to return items
    Concerns about security of financial or personal details
    Delivery shipping costs

Other countries listed in the article are: France, Germany, Japan, Russia, UK
Full article at: https://www.uspsdelivers.com/cross-border-e-commerce/
4
Yes, you read that correctly. Switch to Sprint and get unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited 4GLTE data for a year!  Even includes 10GB/month hotspot service.

The fine print - must sign up for auto-pay and you will have to pay the taxes, so that's going to be anywhere from $5-$17 a month.

The other fine print - only certain phones qualify for the promo.  Some have said they've been able to use other Sprint-compatible phones by calling in, but others have had their promo all messed up by the reps that work the phone bank. So. . .

Offer ends July 31st (originally ended June 30th but they extended it).  Depending on how you work this program, you may need them to ship you a SIM card, so don't wait until the last minute to sign up since it'll take a few days to get the SIM card and get things sorted out.

https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html?ECID=vanity:1yearfree

The webpage specifically mentions Verizon, but people have been able to switch from a variety of service providers.  For those that didn't have service that they wanted to switch, they bought prepaid sim cards from competitors, activated them, and then used that for switching.  Some have even said that they ported their Google Voice number over.

Official list of phones that qualify
Apple iPhone 5C (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 5S (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6S
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone SE
Google Nexus 5 (AT&T and Verizon only)
Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 6
Google Nexus 6P
Google Pixel
Google Pixel XL
Motorola E4
Motorola Z2 Play
Motorola G4
Motorola G4 Play
Motorola G4 Plus
Motorola G5 Plus
Motorola X Pure Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition

Moving more than one phone line?  Sign up for their referral program and then move the rest of them. 

Once you're signed up, get 25,000 free miles for American Airlines frequent flyer program by keying in your AAdvantage # here: https://promo.sprint.com/Registration/DisplayLanding?ECID=vanity:AAdvantage&LandingPartial=AAdvantageLanding
5
For those that don't know, Amazon has a new method of payment called Amazon Cash.  You go to any CVS, GameStop, or one of a few other retailers, show them a barcode that links to your Amazon account, they scan it, you give them however much you want added to your account, and it gets loaded onto your Amazon account.

It's exactly like buying an Amazon gift card, except you don't have to go home and type in the code in order to get it added to your Amazon account.

This is part of their plans to try to lure more of WalMart's customers away, to try to increase their lower income customer base.  However, I really don't see how it's any more convenient than typing in the card's number when you get home. In fact, it seems more of a pain since you don't always have your phone with you when you go into a store, and if you're lower-income (or really poor) you might not even have a smart phone.  So I just don't get it.  The only benefit I see is that the stores don't have to stock a physical pile of Amazon gift cards.  But there's ways around that as well. For example, they could key in the phone number that's linked to your Amazon account (which could be a landline or a cell #) *shrug*

That being said, in order to get people to try it, they're offering a $10 credit if you will use it to add $20 or more to your account.

The $20 can be paid using a variety of payment methods. You can pay with cash, debit card, credit card, gamestop trade in credits (if at a gamestop, of course), and any other payment method that the store will regularly let you use when buying an Amazon gift card.  Note: you cannot use gift cards (such as GameStop gift cards or CVS gift cards) and some store clerks have refused to allow people to use their credit card or debit card, despite the fact that you can.

Get your barcode for your Amazon account at https://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?&node=16955883011

$20 must be added to your account by July 31st.
$10 promo credit will expire August 31st.
Promo credit will only work on items sold by Amazon.com


Also a very handy link - Ever get told by Amazon customer service that they're going to give you a promo credit for whatever reason and you want to confirm that they actually did, since they mess up so frequently?  Most promo credits can only been seen by adding an item to your cart and then going to the checkout system, but there's a better way.  Sign in to Amazon,  go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/features/unbox-process-gcpromo.html?&getBalance=1&showMobileApps=1&useAUI=1, and it will show you all of your current promo credits.
6
* Amazon Central / Bahahahahaha!
« on: June 29, 2017, 10:11:21 PM »
I think this is a first for me.  Amazon order I placed that was supposed to arrive today in Oklahoma got delayed because instead of going from TX to Okla, it ended up in California  :laugh

I've had both incoming orders and outbound shipments end up misdirected, with a woot order going up to Illinois or somewhere like that (been so long ago I don't remember exactly) and my outgoing ending up in all sorts of odd places, but I can't remember one ever ending up all the way in San Bernardino, Calif.   :laugh

According to the rules, I should get another month of Prime for free, but the last 3 times I've been told I've exceeded my 12x per year limit.  In actuality I got 12 free months last year and 12 free the year before, and my new 12-month time-period started a few months ago, but I guess they decided two full years free in a row is my limit.   :rotfl   They have been good about giving me a $5 credit in lieu of, so there's that  (even though a month of Prime prorates to $8.25)

Edit - this time got a $10 credit in lieu of  :D!
7
* Web Site & Search Engines / eCommerce Hosting - Magento & Magemojo
« on: June 27, 2017, 02:36:19 AM »
So, as most of ya know, when I was selling ecig stuff, I examined a few different options, settled on Magento, and really liked it.  The only real problem I had with it was that my VPS host didn't have their server optimized for Magento, causing it to be slow at times (even kicking out some timeout errors) and any optimization of the server was up to me to deal with.  And, at the time I couldn't readily find a host that was focusing on Magento, except for a couple of very high priced ones.

My current host and software for jewelry site is no longer PCI compliant, due to the newer encryption and connection requirements and I've had it turned off for awhile until I could sit down and take the time to figure out what I wanted to do -- change software but keep host after getting host to update server, change hosts and get software patched, change both host and software, go to a fully managed ecommerce site such as shopify and move email hosting to godaddy, or what.

Well, I've done lots of looking and pricing and digging and finally settled on Magemojo for a host.  Their servers are configured to be fully PCI compliant, they focus specifically on hosting Magento stores, they will set up Magento for you and assist with your move from your current host, are reasonably priced (starter VPS packages are $58/month), include email server hosting, and so far I've had a good experience with their tech support.  They respond to all tickets promptly (claim 15 mins or less), 24/7.  On my current ticket they responded within 9 mins and their responses are in readable english!  They also have several Magento-related help pages available for their customers, saving both them and the customer many a headache.

While it's too early for me to give them a full review, if you're looking for a new host for an ecommerce site, you might consider Magemojo.

I'll try to remember to update this thread as my customer experience with them continues.
8
Came across this article when pondering how popular is it for people to spell the word jewellery with two l's and the extra e Vs. the Americanized spelling of jewelry.

http://grammarist.com/spelling/jewelry-jewellery/

What I found really interesting is in the comments area.  There's a poster that says that the number of searches for jewellery is higher than the number of searches for jewelry, even though the CPC for campaigns is higher for jewelry than for jewellery.

So it just goes to show that for SEO, one's first thought might not be the best one (in this case using the American spelling of the word jewelry on website).  It also makes me wonder what other similar instances there are that the alternative spelling or term might be better for SEO.
9
The most secure protocol for sharing information on the web today is Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.2. PayPal enabled support for TLS 1.2 for all secure connections and last year began requiring its use. If you haven't already done so, you will need to verify that your environment supports TLS 1.2 and if necessary make appropriate updates. PayPal is updating its services to require TLS v1.2 for all HTTPS connections by June 30th of this year (2017). After that time, all TLS v1.0 and TLS v1.1 API connections will be refused.

These updates are part of an industry-wide initiative to improve security standards. Some of these updates, like the TLS upgrade, are mandated by the PCI Security Council and are required by every website that transmits or processes cardholder data.

Merchants and developers may have to update their applications and integrations in order to be in compliance and ensure that their applications continue to function as expected.

Src: https://devblog.paypal.com/upcoming-security-changes-notice/

For more information please visit:
https://www.paypal-knowledge.com/infocenter/index?page=content&widgetview=true&id=FAQ1914&viewlocale=en_US

The deadline for all merchants to stop using SSL and TLS 1.0, and be fully switched to TLS1.1 (or higher), and still be PCI compliant, is June of 2018 (the original deadline was June of 2016) https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pdfs/15_12_18_SSL_Webinar_Press_Release_FINAL_(002).pdf

In addition, the PCI Council has stated that web browsers will begin prohibiting SSL connections in the near future.

The other part of this is that there are tons of people out there still using older browsers, many of which can't even use TLS1.1, much less TLS1.2.  For example, IE versions prior to v11 either can't natively use  TLS1.1, or don't have it enabled.  All of the people still using XP and Vista?  Even if they update to IE9, they don't have TLS1.1 capability, much less TLS1.2.  IE in Windows 7 & 8 has access to both, but they're disabled by default unless the user updates to IEv11.   A complete chart of browsers and what versions of TLS they have can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security#Web_browsers

To enable TLS1.1 & 1.2 on your browsers, the U.S. State Dept. has easy to follow directions.  The directions are actually for enabling TLS1.0, but it gets you to the right spot for enabling 1.1 and 1.2.   https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/aa/pdfs/directions_for_enabling_tls.pdf

You can also check your browser's TLS capabilities by viewing the page at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html

10
Amazon granted a patent that prevents in-store shoppers from online price checking
Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.

The patent, titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” details a mechanism where a retailer can intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, then act upon them in various ways.

The document details in great length how a retailer like Amazon would use this information to its benefit. If, for example, the retailer sees you’re trying to access a competitor’s website to price check an item, it could compare the requested content to what’s offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead. Or it could suggest a complementary item, or even block content outright.
. . .
(continue reading at https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/15/15812986/amazon-patent-online-price-checking )


Seems to me that it's not so much about preventing people from price comparing inside an Amazon owned shop (though it does have that aspect to it, which is a huge benefit for Amazon), but more so about preventing other businesses from implementing the same sort of tech in their own shops.
11
* Amazon Central / Alexa app wont load
« on: June 11, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
Are you experiencing problems getting the Amazon Alexa app to load?  Does the circle just keep spinning around and around?  Are you just getting a blank screen?  If the app just sits there with the loading icon spinning, it's a cookie problem.  The same is true if you can't get the alexa webpage http://alexa.amazon.com to load.

 If you're experiencing this on the Alexa app, open the Amazon shopping app and logout.  If that doesn't fix it, open your other Amazon apps (Amazon Kindle app, Amazon music app, etc) and logout of those. 

If you're experiencing this on the website http://alexa.amazon.com, open the main Amazon webpage at http://www.amazon.com, hover your mouse over your name on the right hand side, wait for the menu to appear, and click the bottom line that says "Not <your name>? Sign out".  Once that's done, try again to get http://alexa.amazon.com to load.

This cookie bug appears to be very pervasive, so if you use the app or the webpage frequently, you'll find yourself needing to pretty much always stay logged out of the main Amazon website and app.

12
* Beyond eBay & Amazon / New Designer Goods Online Consignment Shop
« on: June 07, 2017, 01:11:49 AM »
Just saw a consumer orientated ad for this site on Hulu.  Got to looking at it and it's a consignment shop https://www.therealreal.com

The ad says every item is authenticated by their team of in house experts.  If you look at the site you find that they have restrictions on the goods, such as only certain designers, some designers the item can only be 5yrs old, etc.

Sellers get to keep up to 70% of the selling price.  They'll schedule a pick up or you can ship the goods to them.

General info for individual sellers at https://www.therealreal.com/consign
If you're a luxury goods vendor, the vendor page is at https://www.therealreal.com/business-sellers
13
Just saw this on Clark Howard's website.  If you're on govt assistance, you can get Prime for $6 a month instead of the $99/yr price.  http://clark.com/shopping-retail/amazon-prime-ebt-discount/

Those with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card are eligible. An EBT card is used to disburse funds for these government assistance programs:

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)

According to the article, Amazon hopes this will attract people who primarily shop at WalMart and other discount stores.


14
* Amazon Central / Amazon Add-On Item Hack
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »
So you want to buy an add-on item, but you don't want to order a bunch of stuff right now and don't want to wait until you are ordering more?  If you have Prime and an Amazon Echo (Alexa) you're in luck!  All you have to do is ask Alexa to order it for you and she will bypass the ordering minimum.  In order to narrow the search down to the add-on item, be sure to give Alexa item specifics from the title, such as the item's model number.

E.g., "Alexa, order a Leviton fourteen zero six" will result in her finding, and offering to order, the Leviton 1406 660 Watt, 125 Volt, Two Outlet With Pull Chain Socket Adapter, Black which is an add-on item that currently is priced at $4.99. 

Note: when Alexa tells you the total, it will include any applicable sales tax, so depending on what state you're in, she might not say (in this example), "$4.99".  If your tax rate is 7%, she'll instead say "$5.34".  And, of course, prices change frequently and items move in and out of add-on status.

This is also welcome news for Amazon 3P sellers whose FBA products have ended up being converted into add-on items.
15
* Amazon Central / Something wonky this way comes
« on: May 24, 2017, 08:02:56 AM »
I'm not sure when it started. I only noticed it this week. Addresses have been messed up when printed by Amazon.

For years, my ship to address for Amazon purchases has been:
(My Name)
(Business Name)
(Street Address)
(City) (State) (ZIP)

Recently I noticed that shipping labels are printing as:
(My Name)
(Business Name) (Street Number)
(Street Name)
(City)(State)(ZIP)

When I look at my address book, it has business name in Address Line 1 and Street Address (number and name) in Address Line 2.  I don't know if it's always been that way (with business name in Addr1) or not. I haven't looked closely at it in years.

When looking at order invoices and other areas of Amazon, it displays my address correctly (with the street number on same line as street name). Likewise, when viewing the address in the address book and other areas, it displays correctly. It seems to only happen when they actually print the shipping label.

I'm not aware of this being an issue before, with the exception of some 3rd party FBM orders.  This has even resulted in one order being flagged by the post office as invalid address, return to sender (I went to post office to intercept).  Maybe this is why I've had so many late deliveries the past few years (so many that I haven't paid for Prime in two years)?  My late delivery rate really isn't outside the norm, though, at around 1.5%.

All of my items for sale are FBA, so I have no clue if my customer addresses are being mangled in a similar manner or not, however I wouldn't be surprised if they are.

Posting so that everyone that is FBM is aware that there is an issue.  I'd recommend being on alert when printing FBM labels.
16
from NY Post
Hallmark sues distributor for selling ‘unauthorized’ cards

Hallmark is suing a Long Island distributor for allegedly selling 8 million “unauthorized” Hallmark cards on the cheap.

The 73 truckloads of cards were supposed to be destroyed, not resold. . .
(continue reading)
17
* Amazon Central / Amazon collecting sales tax in 11 additional states
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:21:06 AM »
On Wednesday, Amazon began collecting sales tax for sales to customers in Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. It started last month in Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah, and begins in Oklahoma and Wyoming on March 1.

Traditionally, Amazon has fought the collection of sales tax in states that it doesn't have nexus. However, it came to an agreement with the state government of Oklahoma to voluntarily collect sales tax, despite not having nexus. I have not researched the other states listed above, so I don't know the reason(s) for the collection of taxes in those states. Oklahoma's governor is prancing around in the media like a peacock in mating season over this win, but that's because the state current has nearly a billion dollar budget deficit this year and she's been getting some harsh criticism over it.

In addition to the above, lawmakers in Arkansas are advancing a plan to require out-of-state companies with no physical presence in the state to collect the tax if they sell more than $100,000 worth of products or make at least 200 transactions. While the intent is to force large companies to collect sales tax, that 200 transactions limit is an awfully low bar that will adversely affect small mom & pop companies.

Hopefully this will help the 3P sellers as people discover that many items on Amazon.com that aren't sold by Amazon are still without sales tax.

There are many B&Ms that are rejoicing over the so-called leveling of the playing field, but there are some that remain skeptical. I like a consumer comment that I heard on the radio today. He said that he was tired of hearing about the leveling of the playing field and that until the B&Ms start delivering to his door, they're not in competition with Amazon.  :laugh
18
* Amazon Central / Amazon entering auto parts marketplace
« on: February 07, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
In the past, the auto parts industry was built on the local shop having a very large inventory of products on hand. More recently, the shops have been turning to centralized warehouses with a day or two delay for the customer to get the parts they need.

Amazon is looking to turn the parts industry on its head, by becoming the go to place for automotive parts, with same day delivery available in many markets.

The unknown factor is how the high return rate for auto parts that are mislabeled, or simply don't properly fit, is going to work out.  Many a time I've purchased a part that was supposed to fit, only to find it didn't. Sometimes this was because the part was wrong, other times it was because either the reference book book was wrong or the car was a one-off with a manufacturing deviation. 

On one of those occasions, my car was broken down in the auto parts parking lot, so finding the correct fit became a top concern of the sales people, who ended up coming out and taking measurements, so that they could find a part that did fit (since the part the book said would fit, didn't).  That's certainly the type of service you won't be able to get from Amazon.

Two interesting articles about it:
Yahoo Finance article: A double whammy from Trump and Amazon has short sellers piling into AutoZone

Art of Gears: Amazon Auto Parts A Brilliant Disaster
19
Posting this in case anyone else encounters this and is searching online for the fix. When it happened to me I couldnt find the solution online. I found others with the same issue, but no answers. :(

Problem: LG V10 will not charge battery, and will not turn on unless you remove and reinsert microSD memory card.

The first solution to sort out is being able to turn it back on.  If you are experiencing the same glitch I did, you'll eventually discover that if you remove the battery,  pull the SD card, re-install the memory card and battery, it will then let you turn the phone on.  However, the glitch will remain and this procedure will still have to be done every time you need to turn it on (such as when swapping batteries since it's also not charging the battery).

The complete fix for the glitch - use your external charger to get a partial charge on your battery or a spare battery. Then, remove the battery from phone, remove the SD card, re-install both, then without turning on the phone, plug in the phone. The phone should then start charging. Once it starts charging, turn the phone on, wait for phone to fully finish booting, unplug the phone, turn phone off. It should now turn on without having to remove SD card and should also once again be able to charge the battery.


20
* Amazon Central / Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices
« on: July 04, 2016, 02:42:34 PM »


Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices

By DAVID STREITFELDJULY 3, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — In a major shift for online commerce, Amazon is quietly changing how it entices people to buy.

The retailer built a reputation and hit $100 billion in annual revenue by offering deals. The first thing a potential customer saw was a bargain: how much an item was reduced from its list price.

Now, in many cases, Amazon has dropped any mention of a list price. There is just one price. Take it or leave it.

(continue reading at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html?_r=0]http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html?_r=0[/url])
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