Updated Amazon Seller Pages & How To Update Yours

Amazon have updated the Seller Details pages, from the old tabbed style to a new universal page.

To show this more graphically to you, I’ve made a quick video that shows the updated page and how you can edit yours.

Updated Amazon Seller Page Video

All the links used in this video are in the resources section below and its also worth noting that you may find this page more product for referring customers to over the category list pages on Amazon, as there are less “exit” points for the customer to follow.


Below are the links to the pages shown in the video and the links you need to update your seller information on Amazon.co.uk.

If you sell on Amazon.com the URL’s will alter differently and you can locate the section you need by using the “Your Information & Policies” from your Amazon Seller Central dashboard.

400,000 Businesses Choose eBay UK to Setup Shop

I’ve been working on a collection of articles for the new project around eBay shops, one curious question while I was half way through was “how many eBay shops actually exist?“, I didn’t know, so I counted them.

But I didn’t stop there, I put the numbers against them as well, which made for some very interesting reading and I’m sharing my findings in the table you’ll find below.

Running the Numbers

But before we get to the cool £81.4M worth of fees per annum and the approximate 400,000 shops that are on eBay UK, the numbers need a little explaining.

There are 3 shop levels, anchor at £350, featured at £50 and basic at £15 per month. Also I wanted to have a truer representation of actual numbers so for the basic shops. For the rough count of eBay shops (I counted the number of shops per page (25) and then times it by the number of pages). I deducted the featured & basic shops and then took off a 30% margin of error, because its possible for an eBay shop to appear in more than one category and also it took me ages to count them, so needed to factor in some human error too.

The total number of basic shops came in at 554,975, however with the other factors removed, I felt happy with the number of 377,037 for the basic shop count (yes I’ve rounded the total up for this article).

The Number of eBay UK Shops



  • * Some anchor shops are free for Outlet stores, so this number is distorted by 100 official outlets, so the number used is 1175 – 100 = 1075
  • ** The number of basic shops were calculated as a rough estimate of the total number of shops (found here), minus the number of anchor shops, minus the number of featured shops, minus a further 30% for duplication (as a shop can appear in one or more categories & 30% felt about “right”)
  • *** The prices quoted are from here and do not take into consideration any discounts that maybe given to sellers (such as VAT). its also worth noting that this is a monthly fee.

400,000 eBay Shops!

WooooHaaaaa that’s an obscene number (so is the amount of revenue this creates, but that’s besides the point) I don’t know of any other platform that can boast that number shops. Shopify can only boast a tiny number in comparison.

And the kicker, we’re not even accounting for the audience that eBay commands, some 17 million visitors per month (Nielsen / Netratings, August 2010), the 30 million items that are on offer on the UK site alone and an exceptionally interesting comparison is that out of this number, less than half (180,000) are registered as business sellers.

If you want to set up shop… Go eBay!

Foretelling The Future of Commerce In 10 Years Time

This week eBay announced that they are expecting the mobile sales on the platform to reach $5 billion USD. This is set to outpace their earlier prediction by a cool 25%. But I don’t believe its going to stop there.

In this article I attempt to foretell the future and see how deep Alice’s rabbit-hole could go with regards to commerce in 10 years time.


Before I make an ill-fated attempt at this, we need to understand some background changes that are currently underway. These are:

  • Apple
    While sadly Steve Jobs passed away, I feel that this is just the end of the beginning for Apple and we have not seen the back of them just yet. It’ll be the devices that this company creates that will be a strong player for most of my predictions.
  • X.Commerce (eBay + PayPal + Others)
    eBay have launched X.Commerce and are going to be making headway into the multi channel marketplace with their recent addition of Magento and a few other local based services (Milo for one). Also, I am making the assumption that PayPal will release contact-less payments to facilitate growth.
  • Alibaba
    Alibaba has bought Auctiva and Vendio, but still has money to burn. This is a dark horse and in my predictions this is the biggest unknown.
  • Amazon
    Amazon is a pure brute and has continuously showed growth regardless of economic situations or challenges from competitors. Amazon will for sure still be around, but I’m not entirely sure how deeply.
  • Peoples Lust for Funds
    More & more people want to break free of the 9-5 routine. This is exceptionally true of the nimble, motivated, educated teenagers that are currently in education right now and the older generations (in their mid-40’s) who are looking for additional retirement funds. While “niche of niche” will give them a fighting chance, the biggest wins will be made in face-to-face services & transactions.
  • Disjointed Service Suppliers
    There are a lot of disjointed service providers that have not worked out that they can work together to bring a larger selection of products when working together than perhaps the larger marketplaces can do currently.
  • The High-Street
    High-Street retailers are starting to “grow a brain” and as more & more board level exec’s realise (“realise” probably a better term than “grow a brain”) that the current (and new) marketplaces are viable channels, that the current list of ~100 well-known brands that are already using eBay will explode.
  • Data Usage & Mobile Handset Usage 
    Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 & 2015 (source)
    Mobile handset adoption is slow but steady, even with 18 and 214 month contracts slowing the pace, we will see more & more people with ‘smartphones’ and as per the statement above, people’s lust for doing what people do best, communicate, will probably drive this figure much higher.

There are many more influences that are currently underway, Google is one that I have neglected to mention, this is because I feel they will remain as a facilitator to one or more of these or will be replaced by another, however I’m focusing on the above to attempt to make a stab at what the end-game could look like along with some gut-instinct.

My 10 Predictions For Commerce in 10 Years Time

Firstly I can’t tell the future & I certainly don’t have a crystal ball (unless you count a jar of cider), however an amazing topic covered in a book called “Blue Ocean Strategy” (aff link) I recently read has helped me focus & gain clarity on numerous topics.

Part of the identification process of a “blue ocean” is to predict where you consider the natural conclusion of where an environment will go to in the future and commerce is a curious one. Also note that I have left 4 predictions out of this public version as I will be leveraging these personally.

Below are 10 of my personal expectations for commerce, for 10 years time:

  1. 50% of all transactions will be online
    The vast majority of western consumers will have a mobile device that allows them to surf the internet, as such they will hold 50% of the marketplace for all transactions involving goods & services.
  2. Mobile will dominate
    The mobile networks will have rolled out 4, the Internet (especially mobile) will become ultra rich in both written & video content. Mobile devices from one or more of the above will be huge players in this.
  3. Augmented reality will rock
    Augmented reality applications will be real & widely used, especially in gaming. Internet gaming is fun and we’ll see more games like the ones laid out here but augmented reality will become common place for transactional sales. Imagine pointing your phone at a shop and seeing the entire contents in the device before you even enter.
  4. Gestures will be common place
    Gestures to mobile devices will be a reality. Think a cut-down version of kinetic from the XBox. The device will recognise the user and respond to not only voice commands that we already have, but gestures of intent too.
  5. Shock-Horror the desktop will survive
    Consumers will still be using desktop & laptop computers. I mention in the video that cloud computing does not have the grit to do so, this is actually incorrect you can do this via cloud computing, however even in 10 years time, product manufacturers (like Sony or Dell) will still be making the traditional desktop or laptop computer.
  6. The 1st new marketplace
    There will a two new formidable marketplaces, the first will come from the growth of Alibaba and the trade direct from Eastern countries, because of the cost advantage will be hard to beat locally.
  7. The 2nd new marketplace
    The second will come from software providers that already hold the keys to numerous merchants and platforms. If the data held was combined into a single marketplace and solving the other fundamental obstacle of “eye balls” (getting people to view the items/site) then this could be a huge contender, as its the re-manipulation of existing data from existing merchants.
  8. Same day delivery will be available for £1.00
    Same day delivery will be inexpensive & widely used (we’re already seeing this with food providers, Eatsy & Just Eat). Think a mobile version of a highstreet, where instead of going into store, the store will be online and that item you like, will be with you in 30 minutes at your door. Convenience on steroids.
  9. The high-street will still exist
    High-street retailers will still exist, but will be more dynamic & responsive to customers requirements virtually. Interrogative means, such as video to view the products will be widely spread and leveraging the above factor in competition with the online marketplaces, speed of delivery will become a huge factor for them (think of a large food retailer with same day delivery in London) because there will always be a desire for a product or service “now” (or in 30 minutes).
  10. The Revolt
    There will be a revolt against eCommerce and companies that leverage this into a face-to-face commerce situations, such as farmer’s markets will have an amazing time (and highly profitable) with this. People will start to demand a closer, more personal relationship with their suppliers and face-to-face will always rock.

Your Thoughts

Am I a million miles away from what we’re seeing already, what do you think?

Use the comments box below.

ChannelAdvisor Powers 25% of eBay UK Fashion Outlets

I’m working on an article relating to competitive advantage for businesses through software usage and I’ve just stopped to share with an interesting observation.

Using the official eBay Outlets list here,  it turns out that 8 of the 31 listed are powered by ChannelAdvisor, that’s a clear 25% (and not the result I expected).

Here is the run down of service providers for backend processing in these accounts:

eBay UK OutletsSoftware Providers
2Branch 309Own API Integration
4Baron JonUnknown 3rd Party
5Blue InceSellerPro
8Ed HardyUnknown 3rd Party
10FigleavesUnknown 3rd Party
11House of FraserChannelAdvisor
12JigsawUnknown 3rd Party
13Joe Browns ClearanceChannelAdvisor
14Karen MillenUnknown/None
18Littlewoods ClearanceChannelAdvisor
19La RedouteUnknown/None
20M and M DirectUnknown/None
22Pied a TerreDocdata
23Roman OriginalsUnknown
25SchuhOwn API Integration
26SoletraderUnknown 3rd Party
27Sports Direct OutletRedstar
29Savile RowChannelAdvisor
30Ted’s ShedUnknown/None
31Very ClearanceChannelAdvisor


  • These maybe inaccurate and are my conclusions from interrogating the listing data of live listings.
  • “Unknown 3rd Party” there is a common provider to these.

White Hat, Black Hat,The Plain Obvious, Interpretation & Application

I’d like to talk about white hat & black hat in this article and what the differences are between them. Also the differences between interpretation & application and why one is pointless without the other.

This article is also written with only two people in mind, if makes no sense to you, then I do apologise, it will to them.

Black Hat

This is a term used to refer to person’s that uses unethical activities to gain information or access to a third party system through un-normal means.

There are a few key terms here that are commonly used, the first is “hacker“, this term refers to someone whom “breaks into” networks or devices for ill-good. The other is a “cracker” who uses “brute force” to gain access  networks or devices also for ill-good.

Black hat is naughty.

White Hat

White hat is different, this refers to an “ethical hacker“, using various means to ensure the security of networks, devices or organisations information systems.

News organisations can be perceived as “white hat”, when the information published can be of a dislike to the person’s or entities whom it was regarding. Unlike the “black hat” approach which was for ill-means (naughty stuff), “white hat” is generally either for the wider audience (think news) or for a specific entity (whether a person or company).

White hat is good, although sometimes distasteful to the few.

The Plain Obvious

Sometimes things are blatantly obvious and are in the public domain for anyone to read or to identify. Let’s take the eBay Outlet stores for example, if you call the shop ‘outlet’ or similar, it can be found in Google. If you also give that shop a level that is “not normal” then that can also be easily identified.

Interpretation & Application

This site by definition is not news orientated, there are other sites that make a far superior job (than what I could ever do) and as such I do not compete on a playing field that I do not wish to be in. However interpretation & application is a field that I happily play in.

For example, I will consider the upper limits of what a marketplace can offer, the limitations of what can be done with a single marketplace and why these exist in the first place. It is only in knowing what the limitations are, that one can fully appreciate where such marketplaces fit into a multi-channel environment that merchants find themselves in today, this is a part of interpreting via consideration.

Application is different because it takes the new found knowledge through interpretation and applies it to the real-world. Theoretical knowledge is all well and good, however is pointless if not applied. It’s only in the application of knowledge that new views, thoughts and events can be found and experienced.

So to be ultra-specific in my closing words, I believe you are mixing up black hat & white hat, the plain obvious and are concerned over the interpretation and the application of knowledge.

If you’d like to clarify the stance that I take and where you stand within it, you already have my number, pick the phone up and dial it, don’t “pussy foot” around others, its awkward & inconvenient for them.

The Latest eBay Outlets Being Launched (Inc JohnLewis, Sony & ASDA)

eBay-OutletsThe following list includes accounts that even I didn’t know were being planned, some are almost ready to launch on eBay and some have gone live. Brace yourselves, there are some massive names included in this list.

The eBay Outlet Program

eBay have been on a huge push for well over a year now to bring high street names to the marketplace and the list that follows shortly clearly shows that while the fashion outlet has been a huge success (and was also duplicated in the USA recently, see article here that gives a complete run down), that they’re[eBay] beavering away in the background to bring even more retailers to the channel.

New eBay Outlets

This list is a run-down of eBay Outlet stores I personally didn’t know existed. Such as JohnLewis, Sony, My Protein & ASDA and if you look closely, some of these have not even launched yet. If I didn’t know about these, then you probably didn’t know either.

And ironically these are the ones I found in a few minutes, there are about a dozen in this list that I found elsewhere. I am sure there are more being launched that I’ve not found yet either. Not bad for a quick hunt around on eBay.

The question is, do you think this is approach is good for the eBay marketplace? Comments below!

The Problem With Being an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur isn’t really all its cracked up to be. This is caused by an inherently different view on the outside world. That sometimes rubs up against the norm.

The Way the World Appears

Entrepreneur’s look at the world much differently than the many. This has come up in most of the conversations I had on Friday. One insight I thought was a brilliant example.

While sat in the queue at Tesco’s the checkout girl processes the items across the scanner, but one item won’t scan, so she pops her light on and someone fetches her another. However instead of putting the item with the duff barcode in the customers shopping, the item ends up going back to the shelf.

Sometimes ignorance is utterly bliss (on the part of the checkout staff), but to the entrepreneur it’s a “scream” in their head, that person stood in the queue observing realises, that within a short period of time the same faulty item will be back in circulation and will cause exactly the same issue, but on a different till.

Most of the UK’s petrol stations are a failure.

Is it always an after thought that you cannot fit a car between two parked cars so that you can reach the unused last pump or was the creation of dual sided pumps “enough”?

Hammered to be a Good Employee

Those years you spent at school, was in a system to create employees, not entrepreneurial people. We’ve been hammered to be “good employees”.

That’s what happened when children started school and not working in the cotton mills or down mines. The motivation was not because of the poor conditions they had to endure, it was because the cotton mill & mine owners, realised that having educated workers meant less hassle and higher production rates.

Note: My history sucks, this is my interpretation of the change.

Entrepreneurs are Rarely Good Employees

Talking from my personal experience here, I did the 9-5 day-job after spending 4 extra years at Uni (short for just about qualifying, chatting up women and drinking too much).

The first proper job I held was the true 9-5. Even then I had worked out numerous ways of making my day less tedious, scripted actions to auto assign engineers to jobs and implemented front line support in the International welcome centre off-the-back-of the line of thought:

“Why should I send one of my guys out, if I can fix it over the phone?”.

A year or so in, I was bored & frustrated, so talked my way into looking after the Rolls-Royce contact in Bristol for the same company, 6 months into that I had got restless again. I had covered so much ground (repairing relationships & machines that the previous good employee had destroyed), I quickly worked out I could filter all calls remotely, while achieving the same, far superior results and promptly started an eCommerce business and left shortly afterwards.

Two software companies, one odd diamonds experience & a business later, the same came true. Entrepreneurs cannot help themselves to look at the world differently.

I saw a tweet pass my desk on Friday from Doug Richards here:

Question: “Can entrepreneurship really be taught?” YES!!!

Corporates try to emulate entrepreneurship through processes, masturbation, sorry I mean ‘meetings’ & diversification. The reality is, that many of these fail. I’m currently reading “On Competition” by Michael Porter (aff link), in a study of 33 companies from 1950 to 1986, they attempted 3788 diversification attempts and managed a ~74% failure (divested) rate. It rarely works and these businesses included names like 3M, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Xerox and Sara Lee.

So the Problem with Being an Entrepreneur?

Is that entrepreneur’s, just see the world differently. This causes problems. Some are good, some are bad. I could add countless famous names here that have had probably more bad problems and the good problems you know them for. Wins, losses, successes & failures, it’s all the same, its the results of someone looking at the world differently.

So I’m leaving you with this… That screen you’re using to read this on, 100% invented by a collection of people that looked at the world differently. Grab a mirror, does that person also look at the world differently too?

Image source

eSellerPro Appoints Interim CTO Edgar Smith

If you’re an eSellerPro client, then you’re going to want to take note of the email sent out this morning from eSellerPro’s CEO Keith Bird.

Thoughts to come later…

Dear Valued Customer

After 6 incredible years, our Founder and serial entrepreneur, Chris Farrelly, has decided he wants to step down from the day to day operations of the business.
Since I joined in January Chris has been our Chief Technology Officer and has built a well rounded development team of 18 people, a support organisation with 13 people and a product management organisation.
Chris now feels it is time to step down and hopefully take life a little easier during 2012 (but knowing Chris as we all do, I see very little chance of that!).

As you will imagine this has been a controlled plan that Chris & I have had and as part of that plan Chris will remain with the business full time until the end of the year to help us with the transition.
Chris will also act a consultant to the company from 2012 and beyond.
Chris will continue to be a significant shareholder and remain on the Board of Directors.

We are very fortunate to have a senior, experienced person to take over from Chris and effective immediately our new Interim CTO is Edgar Smith
Edgar has been with us as a consultant since the beginning of the year acting as an advisor to Chris & I on the software development & support side of the businesses.
Edgar has a very impressive pedigree and is exactly the right person to build the Software Development & Support organisation we need for the next stage of our evolution.

Edgar has detailed and expert technical knowledge of IT systems, solutions delivery and the Software Development Life Cycle in a software career spanning nearly 20 years. He has a Masters Degree in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge.

Edgar worked for a number of blue chip investment banks and consultancies as a developer including JP Morgan & PWC. In 1996 he co-founded Cresta Group Ltd, a software development, programme management and testing consultancy, taking the role of CTO and Head of R&D. At Cresta he developed award winning software and managed technical expansion across five countries whilst continuing to participate in some of the world’s most challenging projects.

Edgar is Chairman of two testing companies: Green Mango and Testing4Finance and provides technical advice to a number of SAAS companies.

Edgar will report directly to me as will Eamonn Costello who previously reported to Chris. Eamonn has done a fantastic job since joining us earlier this year as our Director of Product Management.

Myself and the rest of the Board of Directors would like to thank Chris not only for his incredible work over the last 6 years but also to recognise that without his software development brilliance eSellerPro would not exist today! We look forward to Chris’ guidance through to the end of the year and continuing to work with him beyond that.

Best regards,
Keith Bird
CEO, eSellerPro

ChannelAdvisor Amazon 360 What this Could Mean for the Future

Two weeks ago I was kindly given a walk around the new Amazon 360 as part of the Autumn Release which also included Buy.com upgrades and comparison shopping merchandiser from ChannelAdvisor.

What struck me the most was what ChannelAdvisor has been and created, could be the foundation parts of a much larger offering which I’ll cover in this article. I decided that it would be easier to explain the points covered in this article in a discussion video and have included this above.

ChannelAdvisor Amazon360

What is Amazon 360?

This is a great question as the Amazon 360 feature includes the follow new elements:

  • Improved seller dashboard
    Displays key information on your Amazon sales, top-performing products, orders pending shipment, and product listing status
  • Amazon seller metrics
    Highlights important seller metrics monitored by Amazon integral in your seller status
  • Detailed feedback
    Imports all negative feedback notes for quick response
  • Product performance view
    Covers seller performance down to individual SKU details
  • Competitive landscape view
    Shows a compact view of your major competitors on Amazon by SKU
  • Rule-based price adjustments
    Configures rules based on margin to automatically change product price

Basically it’s the combination of multiple elements from Amazon, into a single dashboard to empower merchants to have the information that they need know, instantly available to them.

How Do I View Amazon & Why is this Important?

I always refer to Amazon as a person, this “person” has several key attributes and requirements from 3rd party merchants, these are:

  • Have the highest regards for their customers
  • Expects the best possible pricing for their customers
  • Will not be mucked around by merchants that poor results to their customers
  • Is looking for and at the long term relationship
  • Expects that ALL customer queries are answered ASAP
  • Does not tolerate disgruntled customers for whatever reason
  • Doesn’t like competitors (amongst other things)

If Amazon had a gender, it would be a woman.

Firm, but fair and you’d never cross her (ever).

That’s why (to me) a dashboard system like Amazon 360 is so critical. You need to know this information and if you don’t then that’s asking for trouble.

What Could this Mean?

This is curious as it became glaring apparent that what ChannelAdvisor has done is bring in the core information that sole merchant needs to survive on the marketplace, but has also opened the potential for providing key information to a business that has multiple employee levels.

For this example, we’ll assume that we have three people in company XYZ, their roles are:

  • Company Director
    Dave runs the entire business and manages both staffs and provides the direction for the company.
  • eCommerce Manager
    Ian, is Dave’s “man on the ground”. Ian is responsible for ensuring that all the channels are working effectively and efficiently
  • Miss Fix-it
    Zoe, she’s the do-er. Give her an issue and she’ll fix it. When Ian has an issue, Zoe resolves the issues for him.

Now can you realise that each of these people have different business roles to perform. Dave needs to information to help guide his company direction, Ian needs detailed information to identify where attention is needed and Zoe needs to the information & tools to action Ian’s requests.

What we can see in Amazon360 that this is on-the-way to being able to provide these differing requirements to different business roles. Not only can you see the account status, but also identify issues such as products, account status and feedback, but also identify products that require further attention, whether that be to focus upon pricing, data or to look at bringing in adjacent lines to complement the lines that are performing.

An Open Suggestion

Also digging deeper down this rabbit hole [think Alice in Wonderland], let’s think beyond what we can see from the screenshot above. ChannelAdvisor now “has” access to the information that each of these key business roles need to operate effectively.

An open suggestion to ChannelAdvisor is not stop where they are right now, but to introduce a multi-tiered dashboard that can be tailored to each role function and also to not stop at just Amazon, but include company-wide information. Combine all the channels together, but also tailor the information to specific business roles.

Take Zoe in our example above, she does not need to know how well the channels are performing, she needs to know what needs her urgent attention to solve issues. Now!

Ian as the eCommerce manager, needs to know how each channel is performing and also as a group, to identify where the staff should focus their attention and to focus his time upon expanding the business.

Where as Dave needs to know where the business is heading, not only individually on a per-channel basis, but company wide and help steer the direction or follow the direction its following as needed.


Firstly, nice work!

This was the first time I have seen a 3rd party solution provider incorporate this information into their solution and not only is it fabulous to see, its also exceptionally exciting what could be done with this information, when you look at the larger picture and realise the ramifications of combining data & metrics together.

Wednesday Workshop Postponed this Week


Unfortunately I need to postpone this week’s Webinar.


There is a very good reason behind it and the participants of last week’s Webinar are purely responsible!

I’ll be posting more on this in the forth coming days. I’m sure you can already guess what it’s about ;-)


Wednesday Workshop <= Thank You!

That had to be the most interactive Webinar I’ve had to date with a 100% participation from everyone that attended.

Thank You!

What better way of starting a Monday than by saying “thank you”!

I was sooo stuck on Wednesday morning and for the past few weeks for that matter and it was nice to show off what ProjectE was about and some of the work that had been completed so far.

I had been caught in the self-doubt stage and you reactions were superb to the whole idea behind it and where it could be taken. It needs more work, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere and I’ll let you know when.


Hey why just use written words when I can now use video? More on this in a moment…

Video Quality

You may have noticed that the quality of the video is slightly better. I’ve bought a pair of huge daylight light boxes (they’re monsters) and a new camera.

The new issue I have is that the Kodak Zi8 camera has a high pitched whistle when using an external microphone, you can hear it in the video even after editing the sound track. Tiny bug-bear for now (yes I’ve Googled the daylights out of this, its known issue and its the latest firmware too :( ).

So.. has video quality had a marked improvement?