Considering TNT Post for eBay Deliveries?

It’s not everyday you’ll get this kind of insight into a business that turns over in excess of 1,200 orders every day through the marketplace channels. So take a close look at the image below.

eBay DSR's Over Time

Click here for huge version

The above graph plots the eBay Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR’s) over time for the past year or so from a single business.

Generally, item as described, communication, postage & packaging are all normal and uneventful, just the way we like them right?! However the blue line for despatch time, well that has a story to it.

Let’s start with the time up to February 2012.
Up until then, the post took a plane and a boat to arrive into the UK before being delivered by Royal Mail. Really boring with a mild peak in December which is to be expected from higher demands on the Postal Service and nothing to be concerned about.

First Peak
Now this is where it gets interesting. The first peak for the DSR “Dispatch Time” during March to April can be attributed to a combination of Royal Mail and TNT post being used as a trial period.

Now for that whacking huge spike in despatch time?
That was when TNT was used exclusively.

If we average out the despatch times up until then a value of 0.4% is fair. During that massive spike which saw a 225% increase in poor DSR’s being reported while TNT mail was being used exclusively and also the other DSR’s remained unaffected.

Understandably the plug was pulled and in July the company moved back to Royal Mail 2nd class. The effects of doing this, almost instant on DSR ratings for dispatch time and since then the DSR ratings have evened back out to what they were almost a year ago.


Do You Use TNT Post?

Have you considered using TNT post or currently use them for your eCommerce business?

What’s your experiences on using them and if you noticed any difference in DSR’s like this business did, we’d like to hear from you and you can let us know by leaving a comment below.

PS. If you want data like this for your eBay accounts, I’ll have this in WidgetChimp in the next few weeks

Podcast 008 – Wasting Time With Fulfilment

The timing of this Podcast is perfect, I’m betting this week has been the busiest week you have ever had in your business and a by-product of that is an obscene amount of orders that need to be picked, packed & despatched.

Both Dave & myself personally see absolutely no value for the average small business to be sticking items into boxes and we need to get you, the entrepreneur away from wasting time on menial tasks and promoting you to a director and working on your business, rather than in your business.

This is a must-listen too Podcast for you if you’ve considered or even not yet considered using fulfilment services for your business.

In this Podcast, we have two very special guests, Sam Phillips from who runs a fulfilment company for small businesses and also Jason Hawkins from AristaComputers who recently moved his entire business to a fulfilment company to look at fulfilment for small businesses.


Because this is may be new to you, above is a green play button. Press play and you’re listening!

If you’d like to download the Podcast for listening to on your iPhone, Droid or iPad you can do or you can press the “Play in new window” button to be able to listen to the Podcast while browsing.  If you use iTunes you can subscribe here for free.


Massive Growth This Week?

I know numerous businesses that have seen 8, 9, 10 and in one case a 18% year-on-year growth compared to last year, eCommerce is not holding back, it’s currently getting bigger by the day. However, a side effect of all the extra sales volume is the sheer amount of orders you’ve got to get through.

I’ll be blunt, I see absolutely no value in you sticking items into boxes.

Your time can be better spent on other key business tasks and this may hurt, but the reality is, there are people (just like Sam) that care about your products and can pack them just as well and dare I say it, probably better too.

Basic Steps for Processes in a New Business

As you go through the basic steps of starting up a business, making sure there is actually a demand for what you’re selling, learning the sales channels, supply chain etc… this is what I call the proof of concept stage. Assuming we get through that stage and we have a model that works, it’s common place for the same processes that you started with, to be carried through as the business grows, I know I did and we’re going to focus on one process, fulfilment in this Podcast.

Some Processes Just Don’t Scale

The issue is, that some processes (and businesses for that matter) just don’t scale and that’s why I’m so grateful for both Sam and also Jason in this Podcast who give us an insight from both running their own businesses and having a need of fulfilment, Sam now running his own fulfilment company and Jason who moved his entire business to a fulfilment company.

Jason likened given away the despatch side of his business to giving a child away when the van arrived to collect his stock, but he knew it was the right thing to do and was at odds for several days follow as he had been so caught up in spending such a large amount of time fulfilling products and this had now been completely removed.

If you’re a one or maybe a two person team, you may think you can do it better,  “that’s nice”, but the reality is it can be done outside of your business for pretty much the same cost as it costs you right now.

Just imagine what would happen if you did that, how many hours per day would you save? And what would you do with that extra time? More products & more sales channels perhaps? Because we both know you won’t be putting your feet up on the sofa.

The Perfect Pick, Pack & Despatch Process.

There is only one perfect pick & pack process and that is a process that is time & cost effective for your business. I know several companies that are in the hunt for the perfect pick & pack process and the irony is, they have the best processes going for their business right now and for plenty of room for growth too.

This is just a myth.

We were looking at fulfilment companies a short while ago with a client and in the middle of their warehouse, the question was asked “Do you use the same process for all the businesses that have their orders fulfilled here?” I thought that the answer was a no-brainer, that they would all be in the same process, but the reality is, that there is no perfect process for all businesses and in that fulfilment centre of over 40 businesses, each had their own process.

RHD. Receive, Handle & Distribute AKA Charge, Charge & Charge

Fulfilment companies generally use a standard process as your stock goes through “Receive, Handle & Distribute” and you get charged at every point. Most of them charge you small fees, for each action.

But in Sam’s case as it’s aimed at small to medium businesses then this is just plain confusing and has opted for a simple percentage on the shipping cost. Sam is also using the discounts that he receives by using PPI as a selling point to small business owners, so in fact for many of his clients, there is little extra costs and he’s doing the fulfilment for them. How sweet is that?!

Good & Bad Amazon

We can’t cover fulfilment without at least mentioning Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), it’s a topic I’ve been putting off as I’d like to cover as a complete overview in one go, however Amazon really has been taking a beating over the past few months, recently in at least two forums posts from the WholesaleForums that are horrific. The first called “Amazon have destroyed my business and put two people out of work” & the second “Amazon shut down another business”. They’re both worth a read and also going back through the comments here on the LastDropofInk around Price Parity on Amazon, Amazon when she wants to be, can very bullish.

Another more positive example (not without Amazon having a stab at themselves I hasten to add) is in the LastDropofInk forums called “Amazon Vendor Invite” and is worth a read, as Amazon take on a 3rd parties products into their own catalogue and it works out quite nicely in the end for both parties.

Traffic Statistics for Shopping Sites in the USA

Amazon Web Traffic Compared to eBay

Those estimated 12-13 million Amazon Prime buyers are so lucrative, in some cases it’s worth the risks of selling on Amazon with FBA, just to get a tiny slice of the pie and we cannot overlook that Amazon draws more traffic that eBay.

Did you know that?
You do now! Look at the chart above, there is a massive difference between eBay & Amazon in the USA.

About Sam &

Sam PhillipsSam is the prime example of an entrepreneur, Sam, is just like you & me, we are wired differently and you do what comes naturally to you, adapt.

If you listened into the Podcast, then you’ll know that Sam cares about your products as much as you do and is perfectly capable of representing the despatch process of your business.

Sam is just like you, he cares and he understands, he’s been there himself and can help you remove the one of the most time intensive and least value processes (as keeping you as the entrepreneur is paramount) from your business.

You can find out more about Sam & EasiLogic here

About Jason Hawkins

aristacomputersJason a successful entrepreneur, holding down a multi channel business using eBay, Amazon & his website at and doing what entrepreneur’s do best, working on a darn cool new project.

Jason’s been there and put his entire business into an fulfilment company, that happened several months ago and now looking back, when you free up an entrepreneur, sparks fly and I’d like to thank Jason for his invaluable input in this Podcast, thank you Jason.

And a Special Thanks to Dave Furness

Dave FurnessI feel don’t credit enough back to Dave for his help, support & input in creating these Podcasts.

I’m sure you’ll agree, Dave is a vital part of each Podcast we’ve created and I’d like to say thank you Dave, I really appreciate your help.

You can too, by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article.

VIDEO: “Linking Obvious” A Basic Introduction to Web Usability for eCommerce Sites

This drove me so “nuts”, I’m sharing this video with you, so you don’t make the same mistakes and I’ve got a simple rule that you can never fail with for usability on your website.

Hit play below on the video below to see what this rule is:

As I mention in the video, it’s purpose is to demonstrate some very straight forwards points for you to look out for on your own website and if you design your website so that a 6 year old can use it, then a user of any age & experience can use it and that’s gotta be a good thing right?

If you design your website so that a 6 year old can use it, then a user of any age & experience can use it

In the video I discuss “action colours”, these are soooo important to get right on a site and confusing customers with multiple button colours, placements and not using them at all at key stages makes the user think.

This sounds wrong, but we don’t want out customers to think, we want the customer to just follow the item flow all the way through to the checkout pages and it’s our job as website owners to make this as easy and intuitive as possible for them.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about website usability, then there are two books on Amazon that are must reads. I’ve got them both and they’re never leaving my office.

The first is “Don’t Make Me Think” which has lots of examples and is super easy to follow, the second is called “Call to Action” and it’s remarkable how many sites just get this wrong or not even at all! Both on Amazon & available on the Kindle.

Oh yea… Lookout this afternoon for our 8th Podcast, the topic’s timing is brilliant, it’s fulfilment!

A Special eCommerce Date You Cannot Miss Out On

Why is this date sooo important that I’m posting anything at all this week, when I know you’re at busiest time? Read on and you’ll find out.

I’ll keep this brief, as I know you’re exceptionally busy at the moment. “Cyber Monday” has passed, but I’m sure most of you are expecting the latter part of this week to be bigger that Monday was and for a few of you, Sunday was far better.

Either way I sincerely hope you’re making some serious cash on the marketplaces this Christmas. But I’d like you to draw your attention to one key date, it’s called 26th December.

Why is this date important and why am I posting anything at all this week, when everything is kicking off and like the picture I saw from Nick on Facebook, the Royal Mail vans are stuffed to the brim?

It’s because you’re at your busiest that I know you have a high chance of overlooking the obvious.

The moment that clock hits 00:00:01 on Boxing Day, your customers are in “sale mode”. We’re programmed to be in sale mode and as it’s at Christmas where more cash shifts around than any other time of the year and it’s perfectly possible to sell more, yes MORE after the 26th than before.

Think accessories, also think that the products could also have been purchased to clear as well, it doesn’t have to be a drop in margin. So in keeping this brief, I’m going to leave you with one question:

Other than the rest of the turkey, what have you got planned for the 26th December?

Oh, when you’re sick of sticking items into bags & boxes, look out for this Friday’s Podcast, it’s all about fulfilment.