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Topics - uncleleroy

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* Amazon Central / Just saying "hello"
« on: May 13, 2020, 03:16:00 PM »
Just wanted to say hi to everyone who I haven't seen (on my screen at least) for a long while. I hope everyone is staying safe and well.
* Amazon Central / Can't Contact Customer for Negative Feedback
« on: January 13, 2020, 05:06:29 PM »
I rarely get negative FB that sticks. This time around though, I received it for a product I don't even carry. The feedback stated that the customer kept ordering a specific size and kept receiving a different size.

So I tried to get it removed in hope the bot was ill-programmed and would remove it. No such luck.

So I go to use the "contact customer" function to appeal to the buyer about their feedback and kindly ask them to remove it. After all, Amazon's help pages do tell us to try and resolve any issues with the customer.

Nope. Nada. Nothing. I am blocked from contacting the customer completely. I tried this with another negative FB I received (but was striken through). Nope. Nada. Nothing.

So now we can't contact the customer at all?
I figure I'd post this in case anyone missed this.

Sweet deal and I've been taking advantage of this.
It looks as if Amazon is finally trying to switch over to a program called "Vendor One".

Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of merchants who sell direct to Amazon found their Vendor Central account suspended and then cancelled. The thread for the link in Seller Forums can be found here:

Forbes had an article the next day describing what had happened to these sellers. The Forbes article can be found here:

Here is the discussion about the situation on reddit:

* Amazon Central / Postage Increase - This ain't Pretty
« on: January 28, 2019, 11:41:47 AM »
So I had an order on the bay that I had to ship from here (Ohio) to California. Holy crap, Batman! Had to pay an extra 58 cents to ship the cheap package. What used to cost $3.05 is now costing $3.63.

I am taking bets on how many sellers will just ship everything media mail and take their chances. Especially when a seller can purchase shipping through Amazon and eBay.
* Amazon Central / Looking Forward
« on: January 11, 2019, 03:49:17 AM »
I just wanted to wish everyone the best of selling in 2019. May all of your efforts be fruitful and hope that this turns out to be a great year for everyone.
USPS operating status for National Day of Mourning, Dec. 5, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

President Donald J. Trump has proclaimed Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning in remembrance of former President George H.W. Bush.

Out of respect for the 41st President of the United States and to honor his vast contributions to our country during his lifetime, and consistent with the Presidential Proclamation, the United States Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity on Dec.  5.

We will provide limited package delivery service on that day to ensure that our network remains fluid and we do not experience any impacts to our package delivery operations that might negatively affect our customers or business partners during the remainder of our busy holiday season.
* Amazon Central / Christmas Craziness
« on: November 29, 2018, 12:54:10 AM »
I haven't been around much since early November due to a large increase in sales but I wanted to stop by and wish everyone the best this Christmas season. I hope your sales are superb and that you get to actually enjoy some of the season.
* Amazon Central / Amazon to Raise Its Minimum U.S. Wage to $15 an Hour
« on: October 03, 2018, 08:01:31 PM »
From the WSJ. It is a long article that I am posting in its entirety since not everyone gets WSJ. Inc. AMZN -0.94% said it is raising the minimum wage it pays all U.S. employees to $15 an hour, firing back at criticism over its compensation for warehouse workers and stoking competition for labor in the holiday-shopping period.

The new minimum wage will kick in Nov. 1, Amazon said on Tuesday, covering more than 250,000 current employees, or more than 40% of its global workforce. Another more than 100,000 seasonal holiday employees will be granted the higher pay.

Exactly how big a financial commitment the announcement entails is difficult to assess. Starting hourly pay varies across Amazon’s warehouses, though it is generally several dollars lower than $15. Amazon is also giving hourly workers who made $15 or more a raise, though it didn’t specify the increase. But the company is doing away with certain incentive pay and stock compensation for hourly warehouse and customer-service employees, potentially helping offset the cost to the company of the wage increase.

Amazon, which has a market value of nearly $1 trillion and revenue last year of $178 billion, can absorb the added costs, analysts say. The goodwill gained with politicians and workers could outweigh any hit to profitability, and such a move gives Amazon a possible advantage in hiring tens of thousands of workers during a competitive holiday season and in a low-unemployment environment.

More broadly, Amazon’s commitment provides fresh evidence that the strong job market is pressuring businesses to bid up wages for lower-skilled workers and spreading the benefits of a long-running economic expansion more widely. Meanwhile, politicians in several states are working to boost hourly pay. In California, the state’s minimum wage is set to rise to $15 an hour in 2022.

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos used the announcement to go on the offensive against rivals as well as politicians and others who have questioned the company’s treatment of workers.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Mr. Bezos in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Amazon’s sheer size and market dominance has made it a corporate target of politicians on the left and right. They claim the company mistreats its workers and doesn’t pay its fair share in taxes, as well as criticizing it for its impact on the broader economy and traditional retailers.

Analysts said the wage changes are likely to result in a small ding to profitability. A 50-cent raise an hour across 250,000 employees, for example, would imply a posttax impact on operating profit of roughly $200 million, or 1% or 2%, according to Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

But Amazon’s revenue growth is so strong—consistently hovering around 40%—that it has managed to post record profits even in periods of heavy investments. In July, the company reported its quarterly profit topped $2.5 billion for the first time on nearly $53 billion in revenue.

Amazon’s pay raise quickly won political praise. President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters at the White House: “Good for them. I’m in favor of higher wages.” Mr. Trump has been a big Amazon detractor, in part for its effect on other retailers.

One possible political convert is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has made Amazon and Mr. Bezos a favorite target in his messaging about wealth inequality. He recently introduced a bill, called the BEZOS Act, aimed at taxing big companies whose employees rely on federal benefits to make ends meet.

On Tuesday, the Vermont independent struck a different tone. “What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world,” Sen. Sanders said Tuesday in a statement. “I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos’s lead.”

Amazon’s announcement comes as the retail and logistics industries are kicking off their hiring for the year-end holidays, and experts in those fields say the e-commerce giant may have gained a leg up in competitive labor markets.

Minimum pay of $15 an hour puts the online retail giant in the top 25% for starting wages for general warehouse jobs in the U.S., said Brian Devine, senior vice president of the logistics-staffing company ProLogistix. “This will impact every other company’s ability to attract and retain workers.”

U.S. retailers are already scrambling to find enough workers to staff stores. Target Corp. has said it plans to hire 120,000 seasonal workers. For their warehouses, United Parcel Service Inc. has said it will hire roughly 100,000 seasonal workers, while FedEx Corp. has said it will take on 55,000.

Amazon said its salary increase will cover part-time and temporary workers hired by agencies. It also covers recently acquired Whole Foods Market employees, where an effort is under way to unionize.

Wages in several low-skill occupations including warehouse workers, retail clerks and restaurant waiters are rising at a faster rate this year than overall hourly pay, according to Labor Department data. Declining unemployment points to a scarcity of workers that is forcing employers to pay more.

Several large retailers have raised their minimum wages in the tight labor market. Walmart Inc., which employs 1.5 million people in the U.S., in January said it would raise starting hourly pay to $11 for all U.S. employees. That followed a similar move by Target, which raised its starting hourly pay to $12 in September, from $11 last year, and set plans to lift it to $15 by 2020.

Low-wage workers are more likely than higher-wage workers to jump from job to job for better pay when unemployment is low, economists said, making them among the bigger beneficiaries at this stage of a business cycle.

The national jobless rate has fallen to 3.9%, near low levels last seen in 2000. In all, there are more available jobs in the U.S. than unemployed workers ready to take them. There were a record-high 6.9 million job openings in July, including 757,000 in retail and 299,000 in the category that includes transportation and warehousing.

According to a survey of job postings at Amazon, starting pay for warehouse and customer service workers can be as low as $10 an hour and as high as $14. The overall median annual salary for Amazon workers world-wide was $28,446 last year, which works out to a median of about $13.68 an hour, but that includes both software engineers and lower-wage workers abroad. Amazon declined to provide a national average for its starting pay.

In April, a company spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon had been paying its full-time U.S. warehouse workers an average hourly wage of more than $15 including the stock and incentive bonuses that it is now eliminating.

The restricted-stock program, which vests over two years, is being replaced with a direct stock-purchase plan. The company said the net effect of this change still will result in a higher total compensation for employees. It is also phasing out incentive pay targets, perks which typically reward things like attendance or seniority.

Eliminating those benefits may reduce the attractiveness of working at Amazon warehouses longer term.
* Amazon Central / Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment
« on: September 19, 2018, 03:52:34 PM »
Ok, so I'm looking at using MCF for some eBay sales and potentially other places as well.

What are the characteristics of products that would provide a cost benefit over the cost of shipping myself. For example, almost everything I have in my inventory is under 1 pound and the cost to use MCF is consistently more expensive than if I shipped the inventory myself by at least $1 and in many cases more than $2.50. So I know that for those types of items, MCF does not make sense unless something is at a really high price point.

I just haven't figured out what type of products are good for MCF or some common characteristics that would make sense from a cost-benefit analysis. Any help would be appreciated.
* E-commerce In The News / Call to Break Up Amazon and Other Tech Companies
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:20:22 PM »
I thought this was a decent read, although a lot of it I already knew.

Imagine if Amazon were to get broken up like Standard Oil.
* Amazon Central / NBC Nightly News About Third-Party Counterfeits
« on: August 30, 2018, 01:41:48 AM »
NBC nightly news this past Monday had a short segment about third-party counterfeit items for sale.

August 27 broadcast. Story starts around the 14:30 mark.
* Amazon Central / Pay by Invoice Started Today 8/8/18
« on: August 08, 2018, 09:53:22 PM »
Introducing Pay by Invoice with Guaranteed Payments

As previously announced, we are now offering Amazon Business customers the “Pay by Invoice” payment method. Pay by Invoice gives qualified Amazon Business customers the option to receive an invoice with an extended payment due date. Pay by Invoice represents a new growth opportunity for sellers by encouraging Amazon Business customers to use the Amazon Marketplace as their primary channel for B2B purchases.

What does this mean for you?
As a seller on Amazon, you do not need to do anything to make your items available for purchase by Amazon Business customers using Pay by Invoice. Your products will automatically become available for invoiced purchasing with no added fees or effort. Amazon will handle all aspects of the invoicing process, including credit risk assessment, billing, and collection activities. For all Pay by Invoice transactions, payment to you is guaranteed, even if the Amazon Business customer is late or defaults on their payment to Amazon.

For any invoiced orders that you receive on Amazon, your payment on these orders will be credited to the available balance of your Selling on Amazon account as soon as the customer payment is processed and no later than the 7th day past the due date of the customer’s invoice.

Get Paid Faster
We are also launching the ability for you to “Get Paid Faster” for invoiced orders. With this feature, your payment for Pay by Invoice orders will be credited to the available balance of your Selling on Amazon account immediately after shipment for a processing charge of 1.5% of the invoiced order amount. To take advantage of this option, change your invoiced order payment settings to get paid faster for all your future invoiced orders.

The invoiced order payment process is in effect starting today, August 8, 2018, although it may take longer to receive your first invoiced order due to the limited number of Amazon Business buyers qualified for Pay by Invoice.
* Everything eBay / Ebay Marketplace Update 2018
« on: August 08, 2018, 01:19:22 AM »
You might want to read this. Media products such as books and DVDs for store owners are going up to 12% for both store and non-store subscribers. With no change (reduction) in pay-pal fees, the difference in the cost of selling media between Amazon and Ebay will shrink. I just hope I get to keep my small discount with having the top-rated-plus status.

Other important information is in the update. It might be worth a read depending on what you sell there.
* E-commerce In The News / The Brand-less Brand
« on: August 06, 2018, 03:28:12 AM »
Just came across this and thought it was a good read about a new e-commerce website

* Amazon Central / Quill Overturned--What does it mean for us?
« on: June 21, 2018, 02:31:08 PM »
This is not going to be good. From WSJ:

"States have the authority to make online retailers collect sales taxes, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, opening a new chapter in economic history where e-commerce is treated as a mature player in a marketplace that is no longer defined by trips to the corner store or shopping mall.

By a 5-to-4 vote, the court closed a loophole that helped fuel the early growth of internet sales, overruling its own 1992 precedent that forbid states from requiring merchants to collect sales tax unless those sellers maintained a “physical presence” within the state’s borders.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who suggested years ago that the precedent should be updated for the digital age, wrote for a majority that defied conventional ideological lines. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined his opinion, along with conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Justice Kennedy said the “physical presence” rule, always doubtful, had become untenable in the digital age The court cited studies suggesting that the current rule costs states up to $33.9 billion annually in uncollected sales taxes. Justice Kennedy said the old rule “limited states’ ability to seek long-term prosperity and has prevented market participants from competing on an even playing field.”

In dissent, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts spoke for liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, arguing the decision, with its vast implications for the national economy, should remain with lawmakers.

“E-commerce has grown into a significant and vibrant part of our national economy against the backdrop of established rules, including the physical-presence rule,” the chief justice wrote. “Any alteration to those rules with the potential to disrupt the development of such a critical segment of the economy should be undertaken by Congress.”

Congress, under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, could at any time have altered the rule the court imposed in 1992.

The ruling likely will spell the end of an era in which consumers could save on taxes by purchasing goods online instead of from local merchants.

The justices’ decision overturned a 1992 high court ruling involving mail-order businesses that said states can only require tax collection by merchants who are physically located in the state’s borders.

The ruling is a victory for states that argued tax-free internet sales were costing them billions of dollars in revenue. It is also a big win for brick-and-mortar stores, which have to compete against online rivals that don’t have to collect the taxes on internet purchases.

Some large online retailers, such as Inc., already collect state sales tax on products they sell directly, but others don’t.

Amazon originally set up its business model to avoid state sales taxes, limiting its physical presence to just a handful of warehouses. But in recent years, it changed strategy to build more warehouses closer to consumers, as it has relied more heavily on its Prime two-day shipping offer—and started charging sales tax on items it sells directly.

Amazon hasn’t collected the taxes for most independent merchants who sell items on Amazon’s platform.

About $200 billion in sales originated with independent merchants selling on Amazon world-wide last year, according to Factset analyst estimates. That compares with roughly $116 billion in direct sales by Amazon. The company declined to comment on the ruling.

The case before the high court was brought by the state of South Dakota, which enacted a law in 2016 that required merchants to collect the tax. The state then set the stage for test litigation by suing out-of-state online sellers including Wayfair Inc., Inc. and Newegg Inc.

The companies’ stocks moved lower after the decision was released. Amazon’s was down about 1%, while Wayfair’s stock dropped nearly 7% before recovering slightly. Etsy’s stock at one point fell about 5%, and eBay’s was down more than 2%.

Wayfair said it collects sales tax on approximately 80% of its U.S. orders and didn’t expect the decision to have “any noticeable impact on our business, as it may on other retailers who do not currently collect and remit sales tax.”

“While we believe the court was not the ideal venue for creating this level playing field, we expect that today’s decision will bring clarity and certainty to this issue,” the company said.

Online marketplaces Etsy Inc. and eBay , where millions of small businesses sell their wares, noted in statements that the court had recognized a potential distinction between big internet retailers and smaller retailers.

Small online businesses have been using Amazon, eBay and Etsy to build their sales for years and have argued a blanket legislative solution is needed to prevent the high cost and burden of complying with different rules in each state.

“Now is the time for Congress to provide clear tax rules with a strong small business exemption,” an eBay spokeswoman said.

Before the court’s ruling, eBay Chief Executive Devin Wenig warned in an interview with The Wall Street Journal of an “extremely chaotic” environment if the Supreme Court handed states more authority to force companies to collect such taxes.

“Every state loves this tax because you get to tax people who can’t vote for you,” Mr. Wenig said. “You get to tax businesses that aren’t in your jurisdiction, so this is the favorite tax of every state legislature.”

Shares of real-estate investment trusts for shopping centers rose on the ruling. Perhaps the biggest boost came to a newly public company called Avalara Inc. that makes a type of tax-compliance software many smaller merchants may now need. Its shares were up 19% in recent morning trading.

State legislators and big-box stores had tried unsuccessfully for years to push Congress to give states the authority to require sales-tax collection. The U.S. Senate passed a bill in 2013, but it died in the House, caught in a fight between anti-tax Republicans and Republicans who back the brick-and-mortar retailers.

Thursday’s opinion is likely to spur a new push for a federal law to limit states’ ability to require tax collection by small businesses and to restrain cross-border audits. This time, however, it will be Internet retailers and catalog businesses seeking guardrails on state action, and they’ll have the burden of mustering majorities in a Congress.

“We are now really comfortable with Congress continuing its path of not acting on this issue,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States are expected to examine their existing laws and consider implementing new ones, Mr. Behlke said. “It’s not like tomorrow the world’s going to change. But in the next 60 days, I think we’ll see states start to move forward,” he said.

Steve Delbianco, president of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group, said Congress should act immediately to create rules for states and retailers to follow.

“A brick-and-mortar business won’t have to comply with the differing rules of over 12,000 tax jurisdictions, or integrate costly and complex tax software into its operations,” Mr. Delbianco said in a statement. “But small web businesses will, eating away at their already razor-thin profit margins. When these businesses disappear, consumers will be the biggest losers.”

The decision produced an unusual split among the justices. Joining Justice Kennedy were three of his conservative colleagues, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, as well as liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Kennedy’s opinion eliminates the physical-presence test but doesn’t set out a bright-line rule about exactly when a state’s sales-tax collection law might impose an impermissible burden on interstate commerce.

Justice Kennedy did note that the South Dakota law at issue wouldn’t apply retroactively, included an exception for small business and offered retailers software and clear definitions to help merchants comply with the sales tax requirement."

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