Table of Contents
We want to know what you want to know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions of what you want to see in future issues of the Doba eNewsletter.
Doba News: New Doba Site Technology
Featured Article: Spotting Hot-Selling Items
Before the Competition Heats Up
Marketplace Spotlight: Intellectual Property
Member Q&A: Improving Your eBay Listing
Supplier Information: New Suppliers
and Products from the Doba Product Catalog
As you have probably heard, we recently introduced several enhancements to our core technology platform. Some of the improvements we made were:
- Simplified browsing and searching in the Doba catalog due to streamlined product category structure
- Faster search and additional filtering options allow you to quickly find the products
- Improved export tools to help with inventory management
- In-depth training tutorials are now available on each page
Thank you for your patience and feedback during the launch of this new technology. Like always, we want to know what we can to do help you and your business succeed. Give us your feedback, let us know how we are doing!
by Stuart Lisonbee, Doba Education Specialist
Because of the volume of products sold on eBay, it's an excellent place to do market research. However, if you're an eBay seller you've probably come to realize that by the time you discover an item that's a hot seller on eBay, it's already too late to take advantage of that knowledge.
Recently, a new member caught our attention. Now you've probably heard us say that running your own business is hard work, requires planning, and takes time to build. The vast majority of our most successful members fit this mold.
However, when we saw somebody breaking that mold, we sat up and took notice. Within his first 30 days of joining Doba, we watched one member place over 150 orders totaling more than $10,000 in gross sales. Since one of our goals is to help all our members be successful, we wanted to find out what this member was doing.
We contacted this member and asked if he'd be willing to share some of his trade secrets with us. Fortunately, he agreed. While he didn't reveal everything to us, he did reveal one of his secret strategies.
Like so many others, this person had discovered that his eBay market research provided data that was too late to be useful. To discover what's hot right now, this person researched shopping comparison sites by studying the most searched for items. He then listed some of those items on eBay and was able to pick the low-hanging fruit rather than having to feed off the scraps left for late-to-market retailers.
When researching products, old data is useless data. To spot the hottest trends, find out what shoppers are searching for now, not what they were buying last week or last month. Several sites offer "most searched" lists:
- PriceGrabber.com's top products list is updated twice daily.
- Shopping.com typically displays the hottest item searches on its home page.
Search through these hot lists. When you find items in your niche or area of expertise, begin featuring these items in your Internet store. Consider listing these same items on eBay and start driving traffic to your Internet store. See our article, "Using eBay to Drive Traffic to Your Web Store," for details.
No single strategy is sufficient for achieving retail success on eBay or in other sales venues, but this is yet another strategy that you can add to your bag of tricks. Spot trends before the competition gets a jump on you, and you're more likely to capitalize on those trends.
Note: You are invited to reprint this article in your own newsletter or on your blog or website, provided that all content - including this signature - is included and remains unchanged.
3XP Web Solutions
3XP Web Solutions gives you everything you need to start an online business in one complete and easy system, including a web store and a merchant account so you can accept credit cards. Best of all it is seamlessly integrated with the Doba product catalog! Also included are traffic analysis tools, search engine submission, domain name registration, multi-tiered affiliate program, and more. Click here to view 3XP's special offer for Doba members!
By Jeff Knight, Vice President of Marketplace - Doba
What is Intellectual Property (IP) and what does it have to do with you?
IP, or Intellectual Property according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, “(Intellectual Property) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. “ There are two categories of IP: Industrial Property and Copyrights. Industrial Property largely refers to inventions, or patents, trademarks, designs, and other works used in commerce. Copyrights are focused on literary and artistic works. As the Internet has grown and become important part of how information is disseminated and shared – IP has become an ever-increasing issue. Whether you know it or not, as an e-commerce retailer, IP and the regulation of IP rights affects all aspects of your business. For this marketplace spotlight, I am going to give a very brief and general layman’s overview of IP issues and how they affect your business.
Before starting, I want to emphasize again that IP is very complicated and a heavily debated area – and this article will only provide a general overview. I will provide URL's at the end to assist with gathering additional information. Second, there is a lot of debate over how to regulate IP, the value of the regulations, and the motivation behind IP laws – we will only skim the outsides of the debate. Largely, for our purposes (i.e. Doba, retailers and suppliers, and IP regulators); we all share a common goal even if at times we are inconvenienced by the regulations.
What are examples of IP's in your day-day business?
Most of the images, copy, brand names, MAP policies, channel restrictions (no eBay, brick and mortar only, etc) – are all examples of IP. Every item that you list on eBay or place on your website, is subject to IP regulations. For most retailers, they are only aware of how IP affects them when they are notified they are in violation. The report is usually followed by the eBay listing being removed, a legal cease and desist letter or in most cases, an email explaining whose IP rights are in question and what you must do to be in compliance. Truthfully, very few retailers using Doba’s platform have had this experience. Before the product is added to Doba’s platform – agreements over the supplier’s rights and responsibilities are in place to help proactively alleviate questions. Even with the best efforts of Doba and the suppliers, however, there are still situations that arise. Why does this happen? While Doba is authorized to provide you with the product information and images – we couldn't possibly inform ever brand/manufacturer of every retailer on Doba's platform. In addition, within a manufacturer organization are different groups selling to different channels and at times, there can be overlap and even conflicting policies.
In 1998, the United States senate passed the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA). The DMCA criminalized the act of using technology to circumvent
access control protecting IP, as well as the creation of technology or devices
that are used to circumvent control. An important aspect was that the DMCA criminalized
the act whether the copyright was infringed at all. In addition, DMCA increased
the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. DMCA enforcement has
ranged from catching pirating (music, software, etc) to frivolous patent lawsuits
of large retailers over common use technology like shopping cart processes.
Criticism has focused on the concept of a government, albeit briefly, granting
a monopoly over technology thus inhibiting enterprise. Other critics argue that
DMCA discourages research and other non-commercial activities. Finally, and
most important to Doba users, the DMCA has made it extremely easy for IP rights
holders to force websites and retailers to remove content. If a website receives
a notice that it is in violation, the website can remove the content or link
without being held liable. Essentially, there is no incentive for the website
to question the notice, even if the rights are in question, because the website’s
liability is limited by the removal. From eBay to Google, the largest technology
websites have developed similar polices – if a violation is reported,
remove the content and let the publisher of the content work it out with the
assumed IP rights holder.
Chances are that every retailer will face a situation where IP rights will be in question. What should you do if you are notified? While you may wish to push back or fight the report – Doba would recommend suspending the listing while you gather more information. Next, contact the party and ask for specifics on what content is in violation, how you can verify it is violation and if it is in violation, how can you correct the violation. In addition, please let Doba know so we can work with the supplier to resolve ongoing issues.
Understand very few IP rights holders will contact you directly. Larger manufacturers will use a third party enforcement agency or a legal firm to monitor and protect their IP. One of the largest companies in the online space is NetEnforcers. Doba has had many positive interactions with them and we have found them to be a reputable company genuinely interested in protecting their clients and helping retailers in violation get back in compliance. There are many other companies and each will take a different approach. Understand that while the tone of their correspondence may be very accusatory and cold – in the end, the company has most likely not singled you out. I think the positive to take out of a situation is, if a manufacturer cares enough to protect their brand and retailers to hire a third-party; you should look into possibly becoming one of their approved dealers. Overall, getting manufacturer authorization is a good idea for brands you intend on focusing on - many manufacturers have additional marketing and incentives for retailers who comply and meet their program requirements.
eBay VeRO Program
If your eBay auction is suddenly canceled or you receive a cease and desist letter, don’t panic. Look at the global situation; contact the people reporting the violation and move ahead. eBay created its VeRO program to help IP rights holders and sellers manage and proactively solve issues. On the VeRO program pages, eBay gives details of how to be in compliance and even lists all manufacturers who do not allow their goods to be sold on the eBay platform.
- eBay VeRO program: http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/programs-vero-ov.html
- Google’s DMCA policy: http://www.google.com/dmca.html
- World Intellectual Property Organization: http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/
- NetEnforcers: http://www.netenforcers.com
About the Author:
As the Vice President of Marketplace, Jeff Knight is responsible for all aspects of the merchandising strategy, supplier acquisition, and vertical category management and fulfillment operations of Doba's marketplace. Prior to Doba, Jeff was Director of Merchandising for Overstock.com where he developed the growth and management of the Computer and Home Office category. Jeff's background includes merchandising and technology leadership roles at DealDeal.com and BCI International. He earned Bachelor and Masters of Arts degrees in Communication from the University of Wyoming.
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By Kay Russon, Technical Liaison and Support Team Lead - Doba
A number of years ago I bought a car from the typical used car salesman. You
know the type; purple shirt, black pants, white belt and white shoes. I thought,
at the time I first saw him, “Would I buy a car from this guy?”
Well, he was a very smooth talker, a very persuasive salesperson and I ended
up with the car. I told my wife, “I’ll bet he could sell air conditioners
We have all heard that you can sell anything to anyone if the advertising is right. This is really evident on eBay when we see a paper clip being sold for more than a thousand dollars. The motto, “You can sell anything on eBay” is correct when you advertise it properly.
When you are selling on eBay or anywhere online for that matter, you do not have the opportunity to actually talk face-to-face with your customer, wear that purple shirt, or be persuasive in your sales. Your listing has to do that for you. It must promote the product you want to sell. It has to show your prospective buyer how bad they really need your item. So how do you do it? Here are a few tips to help sell an Eskimo the air conditioner.
As a rule, the first thing the buyer will see is the title; it tells what you are selling. At times, the stock title that is supplied is somewhat cryptic. For example: GRN 15 MBPRO SEE THRU CS does not really tell you that this is a green, hard plastic protector for a 15” Mac Book. Nothing says that you have to leave that title the way it is. You have 55 characters on eBay for a title; change it to be more descriptive of what your product really is. A more specific listing title will get you more attention and possible sales.
Caution: Be careful in using brand names in the title as you may violate eBay’s VERO policy and have your listing removed. For more information on eBay's VeRO see: http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/compliant-listings.html.
The description is a very important part of the listing. It tells the buyer what they are going to get when they purchase your item. Here again, what is on the web site may not fully describe what you are selling. For example, the description for SKU BBHCM371A, Out Door Wireless Network Cam says: Outdoor Wireless Network Camera with 2-Way Audio. That really does not give the buyer much information is which to base their decision to buy your product. So, where do you do to get more information if you don't have one to look at ? One easy way is to use Google's Product Search (http://www.google.com/products). By searching by either the SKU number or the UPC code, you can find other listings on the internet that may have more information about this product. Now, we all learned in High School that you do not plagiarize another person’s work, so do not just copy and paste their information into your listing. You may be in violation of copyright laws. But, nothing says you can't re-write some of the information in your own words. You may also go to the manufacturer’s web site and look for information about the product. Here again, there are strict copyright laws if you copy and paste text or pictures from their site. Use the facts and re-write a more informative description.
New in Doba's catalog, you have the option to re-size the product image. This will help you get the size you need to best suit your listing. You can also look on the manufacturer's site for additional pictures, but it's best to receive permission from the manufacturer before using it. You can also buy the product and ship it to yourself, like a sample order. This will accomplish a number of things.
- You now have a product in your hands that you can see, touch and feel.
- You have the manufacturer’s product information and specifications.
- Pictures? You can take all the high quality pictures you want from every angle to use in your listing.
- You now have a ‘hot spare’ if one of your customers have one that fails, you can be the hero and ship one right out to them. You can then do the RMA to replace yours (Customer satisfaction, you bet).
Nothing sells better than your personal endorsement. This is another reason for ordering one for your self; you can let the buyer know how it works and what you like about it. If you have not ordered one, at least let the buyer know what you think of the item after reading all the things you found out during your research. By now, you have read the specifications and possibly some customer reviews and can relay those to your prospective buyers.
By trying some of these suggestions, you will be able to increase the interest in your listings and therefore increase your sales.
Want to Hear from You! Want to see your question featured in the eNewsletter Member Q&A? Well we want to hear from you! Please email email@example.com if you have any non-account related questions or topics you would like us to write about. If you have questions concerning your Doba account, such as billing, product or order questions, please search our knowledgebase site content or contact our Customer Support.
About the Author:
Kay “Papa” Russon is an eBay Certified Consultant, Customer Service Team Lead, and technical liaison for Doba. His knowledge, experience, and expertise assist retailers daily in running a successful online business. Before Doba, Kay was a team leader, supervisor, trainer and manager for World Support, Digital Equipment Corp., Digital Remote, SBC, AT&T, Macromedia, Sun Microsystems, and Motorola and served in the Army National Guard.
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Starting an online business is relatively easy. Making it a success takes hard work and the right mix of products. To help you achieve your business-related goals, we recently added new wholesale suppliers and manufacturer to the Doba Catalog:
Supplier Hanes - Hanes Brands, Inc is a leader in men's, women's, and children's apparel. Hanes brands, Inc is a family of brands including: Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Duofold, Bali, WonderBra, Barely There, and Just My Size.
Boys Boxer Brief
Product ID: 4904289
Go Figure Seamless Waistsmoother
Product ID: 4904669
Playtex 18 Hour Original Comfort Strap
Product ID: 4904505
Supplier Shenandoah - Specializes in golf clubs, sets and accessories.
Callaway X Hybrid w/ Graphite Shaft
Product ID: 4865263
Top Flight 18 pc box set
Product ID: 4889233
TaylorMade Burner Plus Iron set 3-PW
Product ID: 4849194