Matthew has previously worked with the team at eSellerPro for almost 3 years as an Implementor, he was the one that took a business and applied eSellerPro to the business and the business to eSellerPro. Do you have any questions? Just ask in the forums.

Matthew’s seen eSellerPro grow first hand and happily boasts he still remembers the vast majority of the system backwards and forwards. Not bad when you consider that at the time of leaving, there were over 1,500 user settings, although he also wrote the majority of the original Wiki on how to use eSellerPro.

One Click Solution?

Its certainly not a ‘One Click Solution’, however the level of customisation that is possible in eSellerPro is mind blowing. It can manage listing on multiple eBay ID’s, on multiple eBay sites, in multiple languages and then manage the orders from them all and multiple Amazon account orders, Play.com listing & orders, Pixmania, Priceminister and then has an interface to allow it to connect to any 3rd party application for inventory creation, order collection and status updates such as Magento, X-Cart, OSCommerce and so on… Oh and if you use a fulfilment company, like Royal Mail or ProFS, that’s certainly integrated too, along with SAGE for accounting and most UK couriers.

With its ‘customisation layer’, comes several issues, there is cost, not only in fees and also time to deliver, as the training requirements are huge. However once up and running, eSellerPro sports a backend system that blows any competitor away, its almost bespoke, but in a structured environment.

How Much Does eSellerPro Cost?

eSellerPro costs upwards of £2000 to get started, with extras such as couriers, websites, channels and other integrations adding to the implementation fee. The minimum fee is around £600 per month and if the total value of sales exceeds this value at 1-2%, then there are additional costs per sale to be added.

Its common for businesses to have issues during their implementation (as with any 3rd party tool, just amplified with eSellerPro due to its complexities), Matthew has run a business himself, he knows what you’re going through, he knows eSellerPro exceptionally well and also knows eBay & Amazon backwards. Its unlikely you’re going to ask Matthew something he does not already know about eSellerPro, you can contact him on his dedicated Contact Matthew page.

Website Integrations

Matthew has now has created numerous integrations that link eSellerPro to the common 3rd party website solutions. If you’d like to know more see the dedicated eSellerPro Website Integration page.

Magento to eSellerPro IntegrationOpenCart to eSellerPro Integration

5 Things You Could be Missing Out On In eSellerPro

eSellerPro LogoA little over three weeks ago I asked what you were struggling with and the larger topics I’m covering on the Podcasts we’re holding every Friday, but one of the smaller topics that you mentioned was that you’d like to know what you didn’t know for functionality in eSellerPro.

The following are relatively easy to set up and can save hundreds of man-hours each year. This gets deep really quickly and if you have any questions on these, just ask in the comments at the bottom or in the forums.

Note: For users of eSellerPro Lite who are in the ‘eBay Accelerated Growth Programme’, then you will still have access to the eBay templates, inventory details and also the custom fields sections, so you can use the conditional statements, but without the paragraphs. Also I’ve seen the courier rules set up with the shipping areas, so you may have access to these as well.

 

Using Keywords Inside Keywords & Conditional Keywords

When this first happened, it was deemed a bug. Really you should not put the keyword {{ItemDescription}} inside the description tab of a SKU and then preview or list it, what happens is that you get the description come out around 40 times.

Not ideal, but what it indicate is that you can put a keyword inside a keyword and with a little inspiration a few years ago, this turned into a really cool feature, which when used correctly can help structure your date very cleanly.

Let’s say you have a custom fields group called “Generic”, that group holds generic information about SKU’s, maybe 5 bullet points for Amazon and some other standard fields. If you add a new custom-field called “Description”, but make this custom field a list.

On the values tab for that custom fields group, you can then add values to it. If you were to add a value called “{{Insert:Description_Sofas}}” that just so happens to be a keyword, this keyword is an Insert command to bring in a paragraph block called “Description_Sofas”.

Thus if you assign this keyword in the dropdown box for the “Description” customfield on an inventory record then all you’d need to do is add {{CustomFields:Generic:Description}} to a listing template and wayhey! We now have the description contents being controlled in a custom field and completely separated from the listing template.

But that’s just simple use of custom fields, did you know you can logic test them too? I’ve written a couple of guides on these already and they should not be overlooked. You can make logic decisions if something is valid (that’s an IF clause), decide to do something if something is not valid (that’s an IFNOT) and there are other functions such as IFELSE and also a neat function to SPLIT the values in a data field.

If I’ve lost you with that last paragraph, don’t worry, read these three articles, they all have practical examples in them:

Courier Rules that use Postcode Ranges & Countries

Courier rules in eSellerPro are very powerful, but sadly sometimes they are heavily underused. These rules are business rules, that means that orders that come in with specific courier criteria may leave the warehouse with different information.

A really simple example of this is that a customer may pay for 2nd class on their order, that’s what they saw on eBay, however a business rule may be that because the order total was over £20 and in the United Kingdom then this order is automatically promoted to 1st class.

That is a simple example, but it’s because of what can be achieved through the courier rules, it has for a long, long time made me wonder why on earth people pay 12pence a pop to MetaPack, when obviously the tool you are using to process courier rules is not up to the job and MetaPack needs to step in a bridge that gap (albeit a little steep at that kind of price per package, although there is a compelling argument for redundancy in couriers and MetaPack does provide that).

Courier rules can get deep pretty quickly, so it’s always worth speaking with your implementer or support representative to work out exactly what you need, however the courier rules can be layered and you can create some complex rules that mean you can deliver your orders to customers faster and more cheaply than you ever thought possible, when you consider that you can factor in rules for the following conditions:

  • Order source
  • The method the buyer chose at checkout
  • The order weight
  • The seller ID
  • The order value
  • Quantity of items in the order
  • Shipping value paid
  • And finally the most powerful one of them all, the Shipping Area
eSellerPro Shipping Areas

You may be wondering why there are locations set for both United Kingdom and Great Britain and you’d be right that is a little odd, until you consider that eBay refers to the UK as “United Kingdom” and Amazon refers to the UK as “Great Britain”. Don’t let that one catch you out, I’ve already found that one out the hard way a long time ago.

You can easily create a logical process for your orders with “shipping areas” to filter through so that your orders go via the most cost and time effect paths and your staff don’t see any of the processing!

By setting up groups of locations, whether these be postcode ranges, such as BT for Northern Ireland or all the exceptions for your courier where you’re charged more. Maybe the core zones in Europe, so that your main courier say parcel Force is expensive to Euro 3 Zone, so instead you can easily switch to a different courier for that zone, or pick out a single country, such as Germany and have special rules just for that destination.

Packing Processes

This won’t suit all businesses, but the ones where it does this

will save you huge amounts of time through process control.

In short this is where orders are printed by one member of staff that manages the order queue and then using the document that is printed a special screen called the “Packing Screen” is used to process and despatch orders.

A barcode is scanned off the despatch document and that barcode is the order ID, this is then read in eSellerPro and the order contents are loaded up. Then for each line item the line item is scanned for it’s barcode and as each order line item is scanned it is removed from the order on the screen, until all the line items have been scanned.

Now we have a verified order and when this happens, with our courier rules above and assuming we have the couriers integrated in eSellerPro, you courier label will be printed. Pop the item’s in their package and slap the label on, job done, next.

Also as part of this process you can also scan barcodes, brilliant for refurbished or high value products that need the serial number recording for later verification.

Automatic Barcode Assignments

What is a barcode?If you have your own Barcode range from GS1, then it’s dead easy for this range to be added to your eSellerPro account and then when you send a new product to Amazon that does not have a EAN (or UPC) set, one will be automatically assigned for you.

If you’ve not got the foggy-est on what GS1, barcodes, EAN’s and UPC’s are, see this article, I explain them all.

Water-Marked Images

watermarked imageThe final topic that you probably didn’t know that eSellerPro could do is water mark your images automatically.

Before we go any further on this, it can be tricky to set up and it does mean that you do need to provide eSellerPro with standard sized images, so that the watermark that comes out in the final image is uniform.

This can also be done for multiple accounts too, but does require setting up by your implementer/support.

In Summary

So there we have them, five things you probably did not know that eSellerPro could do.

From stacking keywords inside of each other and then logic testing them, to making sure that your orders go using the most cost and time effect couriers and saving a fortune by not using MetaPack, packing them in a lean and mean despatch process with barcode scanners, the auto assignment of Barcode s from your range and finally, water marking your images automatically.

If you’re struggling with something, no matter how small or if you just have a question you think I or Dave can answer, ask us in the forums here.

The One Box You Shouldn’t “Un-Tick” in eSellerPro

The HTML editor in eSellerPro is a menace. If you use it to edit your description blocks, it’ll add it’s own version of HTML it and if you’re trying to process any form of advanced logic past a simple IF/NOT statement then it’ll eat it for breakfast.

eSellerPro HTML EditorOur saviour is the checkbox that is found at the bottom of the HTML editor on almost all description/content entry points that stops the editor from being loaded. Thus you don’t end up with broken HTML descriptions and logic tests that no longer work.

You know when you’ve had your descriptions edited by the editor when you start noticing odd <p>,</p> and <br> tags all around your descriptions. Check your eBay templates, you didn’t put them there, the editor did and unpicking the mess can take a while.

My tip, never use the editor to begin with and turn it off. You’ll find this option in the following entry areas and if you ask support there is a user setting to disable the HTML editor system wide to stop staff from inadvertently turning the editor back on and it chewing your content blocks.

  • eBay templates
  • Paragraph builder
  • Postage template description
  • Customfield descriptions

Hopefully this little tip will save you ages trying to work out why a description is half way down a page when it should not be, then finding out that the editor has entered 30 <br> tags at the end of conditional statements.

Rumoured CTO Leaving eSellerPro & Second Customer Conference In Late September

eSellerPro LogoThe interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Edgar Smith is rumoured to be leaving eSellerPro this September. No less than a year from his appointment in October 2011 replacing the former CTO and founder.

Hearsay from unrelated sources, Edgar was previously announced as being an “Interim replacement” for the CTO position last year and the rumoured looming departure was apparently ‘not expected’.

As eSellerPro is a heavy technology & development based company, the position cannot remain open for any length of time and if these rumours are true, it raises the question who could replace Edgar in the CTO position if he was to depart.

Second Customer Conference Late September

eSellerPro Second Customer Conference

Also the next customer conference is set to be late September at the Williams F1 Conference centre in Oxford. An interesting choice considering that the first customer conference was at Lords cricket ground in London.

The feedback has been mixed from users of eSellerPro over the past 12 months, it’s going to be a brave man (or woman) that stands on that stage after the promises made last year for communication and performance after the Christmas trading period of 2011/2012, although in recent months improvements have been noticeable with stability.

Rumours are that Tesco and Play.com will be presenting and I’m sure we’ll see key members of the eBay team present at the event, but its unlikely we’ll see the overwhelming presence seen at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst event earlier this year by eBay.

Last years conference stands out for me as it was the most “human” I have ever seen Amazon act publicly with what was an excellent presentation, well besides that of Andrew Rowson from Towequipe’s dislike of caravans in his presentation on how eSellerPro had helped his business grow.

Delving into Niches with Multiple Websites – Part 1 Why & How

Hola! Welcome to the first part of a series of articles on how to run multiple niche websites and really tap into multi-channel eCommerce without eBay & Amazon.

Multiple eCommerce WebsitesI have been meaning to write this series for quite some time now and it’s going to take me a while to work through the different aspects I’d like to cover, hence breaking it up into multiple parts which will take me a few weeks to cover.

It’s my intention to start from the beginning in this article and cover the theory, then in the following articles work through turning the theory into practice to reach the final goal of you being able to run multiple web stores from a a single installation and really tap into the power of going niche.

I know I’m going to get distracted along the way, this is for good reason, I’m going to be focusing on a single open source eCommerce platform called “OpenCart” to deploy this concept with you and there are a couple of extensions that I’d like to include as part of this guide, this includes a free to use addon that will enable you to sell on eBay from OpenCart and also to delve into an Amazon integration as well.

To be completely up front with you, I have developed a complete integration from eSellerPro to OpenCart and while it would be handy if you have eSellerPro to power multiple websites from, I’d like to stress that this is not a requirement and I’ll be keeping this in mind throughout the series of articles as I delve into the how to power multiple nice websites with OpenCart.

So for now in this first article, let’s focus on the “Why” and start on the “How” parts.

 

Why?

I’m fully converse with deploying numerous selling persona’s on eBay & Amazon. I’ve done this previously with +15 accounts and I know of one company that has taken this & thrown it to the wall and has over 30 limited companies all specialising in niches just on eBay.

I previously wrote a pair of articles that desperately need a rewrite that covered why using multiple eBay accounts might be a good idea (you can read them here and here). As I mentioned, they need a rewrite and let’s summarise these, as the theory is straight forwards and comes back to a just three key factors, these are:

  • Timing
  • Personal choice
  • External factors

For the vast majority of manufactured goods, you are not the only company selling them, thus every single day, customers choose your competitors over you. There are an infinite number of reasons for this, timing, colour scheme, layout, description, title are a few factors.

Also, an interesting set of factors that I delved into a while ago was that there is a limit to the exposure for a given sales platform on a given day. This was started because I could see no viable reason why eBay sales should stay consistent within a specific window of 20% on a single day.

So let me ask you two specific questions here, if the response is anything like the one I normally receive back, this is exactly why you need to carry on reading this series of articles:

  1. By midday, can you make an estimate within 10% on the total value of sales for that day? (if you’ve not tried this yet, try it)
  2. Look at the sales totals for each day over the past two weeks. Do they stay within a 20% window?

Yep thought so. I’ve found some business owners that use eBay & Amazon can estimate their daily sales figures to the nearest £100 quite accurately just using that morning sales and others that can be well within 1-3% window on daily sales values in excess of £15K per day. The thing is, that’s not natural.

It’s what lead me to write a pair of articles, the first called “Why do eBay Sales Stay Consistent?” and the second to explore a hypothesis, that why I cannot prove, but I’d bet money on it or a subset of what I cover being in place, because its exactly what I would do, the article is here and called “The eBay “Best Match” Position Bias Modifier Hypothesis“.

I know I’ve not fully answered the “why” part just yet, but I need to explore a sub-topic, around choices. That’s next up :)

Choices, Choices, Choices

Choices, Choices, Choices. Which Colour do you like?While timing can be pure fluke (when they find your product) and I’ve already made a case for external factors in the earlier section, the one factor that you can most easily influence is choice.

Buyers like choices, I like choices, but what influences my choice of which company to buy from, especially to what influences my partner to what she buys on eBay can vary greatly. Sometimes its just the way the product data is laid out, sometimes its gallery picture, sometimes it’s the sellers feedback, shipping prices, the colours used, the photographs, the list is almost endless.

The fact is here, is that I, as any of your potential customers may open your product listing and “not like it” and move to the next one. It could ironically be for the same product. It doesn’t matter, the point is, I have personal tastes on what I like and so do your customers.

This is one reason “why” you should consider multiple persona’s for your selling activities. For example you could one persona set up as a full professional looking business and the second the complete inverse, maybe one account that just uses variations, one that does not, one that as separate listings for each product variation and there are a whole host of possibilities, as soon as you break away from the “single business” approach.

And back to Why?

I wanted to cover the choices section in some detail, mainly because it’s the easiest to understand, I like black, but you may like blue, that means we will respond differently to different pages, it’s a quirk of being human, we have different tastes.

Going back to the three key points, Timing, Personal choice, External factors. Your product may be overlooked, it might even not be shown for a specific search and being at the right place at the right time can and does play a role in the ultimate goal of the customer buying your product. We’ve looked at personal choice in some depth and I’ve already hinted that when using marketplaces that external factors such as my hypothesis for when it comes to “best match” search results, the worrying part is that is exactly what I would do.

These are just some of the reasons why you should consider a multi-faceted approach to eCommerce and I’m sure you can think of more reasons why this approach makes good sense (if you have any you’d like to share, let me know in the comments box at the bottom).

I’m fully converse with deploying numerous selling persona’s on eBay & Amazon, but for websites, this can also be tough nut to crack, mainly because it can be expensive and the results take time to take effect, hence this article series.

Going Niche of Niche

WorldStores +70 StoresIf you have a wide range of products, then it can be relatively straight forwards to slice your products up into groups and create persona’s for each group.

I’m not going to be covering how to do this with eBay here, but instead focusing on a different way of approaching this through multiple eCommerce websites over a couple of articles.

An excellent example of this is in the real world is WorldStores, take a look at this page. That’s over 70 dedicated websites Each site is niche site to a specific range of products and this is the opportunity & challenge I’m going to be tackling in this series of articles. How to go multi-channel with multiple websites, on a budget.

If you’d like a corporate example see shopdirect.com that are responsible for Littlewoods, Very, Isme (previously Marshall Ward), K&Co (previously Kays) and the other is thehutgroup.com, they have at least a dozen eBay accounts that I know of and if they had 30, I’d not be be surprised, let alone the assortment of highly specialised “Niche” websites.

Which website platform to use?

If we pick on a few examples Magento can be, sorry “is” a resource hog, to run multiple websites off Magento (or even one larger site for that matter) then you’re going to need specialised hosting, which costs, its far from a simple platform to use and as soon as you mention “Magento”, all costs go up a minimum of 60%.

If we look at the bespoke offerings from eSellerPro, then cost, features & time to deploy is a major factor here and if we look at the ASPdotnetStoreFront from ChannelAdvisor, ignoring the setup costs & design fees, the £200 a month is a non-starter for each niche website.

We need cheap, we need ease of use, some snazzy functions that don’t require massive amounts of processing power & can be run on a shared web hosting account, an arsenal of free or inexpensive themes, an extensions & addons base that is varied and equally inexpensive and that’s why I’m picking on one of my favourite open source website platforms called OpenCart.

If you’ve not seen OpenCart before, then I think its about time you did. You can see both the front end of the base installation of OpenCart and the administration panels through their demostration sites here.

For me OpenCart makes an excellent choice, the admin is easy and the front end is feature rich. It’ll happily run on shared hosting accounts, its free, the themes are super cheap and crucially…. get this!! It will run multiple webstores from a single installation!

Summary & Your Feedback Please!

We know that niche works, I’m in a niche, you’re in a niche. But there are so many sub-niches we can get into with a product based business, we just need a cost effective route to do so and that’s exactly what I’ll be digging into in this series of articles using OpenCart as a base.

My closing questions are below and you can let me know your reply in the comments box below.

  1. Have you considered creating niche websites before? What stopped you?
  2. Do you already have niche websites, what has been your experiences so far?
  3. What would you like to see in this series of articles?

I look forward to hearing from you :)

Two Week Update & eSellerPro to BigCommerce Integration

This post is a mainly about what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks, but you’ll soon work out its mostly just for you :)

BigCommerceI’ve now completed the full integration of eSellerPro to the Big Commerce website platform and are on the home run of the bug finding & eyeing up further customisation to the account it’s running from.

If you’ve not heard of BigCommerce before it’s a fully hosted website solution which isn’t expensive (especially as its in USD). The more I’ve played with it, the more I like it, its straight forwards, can be designed with bespoke designs and guess what… it just works :)

Give it a whirl, here is a demo account I created which is open for the next 15 days.

With the error trapping I’ve added in the 6 hour coding bender on Saturday, if it does go tilt (which it will do sooner or later[you won’t hear that from normal developers]) it’ll be obvious where it has gone Pete-Tong and as much as I’d love to boast about a few of the ways I’ve tackled some interesting features, I’m not going to and I’m just saying its “slick”.

This is the first time I’m publicly eluding to the fact that I’ve written API connectors from eSellerPro to 3rd parties and it’s not the first, more like the 4th now. I have CubeCart, OpenCart & a web based EPOS solution next on my agenda for integration projects, oh and I have a sickly fast Magento integration.

Remember I’m aware the way and what data needs to flow between such tools and as I’m a perfectly capable coder in multiple languages, this is handy as I’m not BS’d by 3rd parties and also I’m realistic with timescales and what can and cannot be done.

If you’ve got a 3rd party integration requirement to eSellerPro/another provider or alternatively you’re interested in the eSellerPro to BigCommerce integration you can contact me here.

Internet Retailing Expo 2012

This year’s event was a weird one for me, I didn’t go to visit any stands, instead I attended to meet people and frankly if they didn’t know me already I didn’t pay them any attention. Instead, I got to speak to the cool people.

I did see one presentation though, it was the team from My1stWish & eSellerPro’s Eamonn, the recording is supposed to be released this week, I’ll pop it up as a post once it’s been made public.

After refusing to pay £34 to get home 2 hours earlier late on Thursday night, I grabbed a Sub & stacked up on more caffeine and there it hit me, the sickest idea I have had in years was conceived. I cannot believe it’s never been done before and you’ll facepalm when they see the finished product. I will be pushing for it to be released with a global free option for smaller businesses, more on this in the next few months.

Advanced eBay Listing Creation Tool Pending Upgrade

This one has been a programming nightmare for me, I didn’t know what was involved in getting this working until now & if I did I wouldn’t have started it.

The IF & IFNOT logic that powers the largest multichannel businesses is about to go mainstream and I’m only a few days away from adding it to the processing core of the advanced eBay listing builder.

If the IF & IFNOT logic testing is new to you, it’s a method to programmatically work with data to make the data you input such as images and bullet points show and hide if or if not they’re entered, which means you can break the listing data away from the template design that makes the listing look “pretty”.

An example is below, so that if {{Image1}} is blank it won’t bring through the image into the template.

[[IFNOT/{{Image1}}// <img src=”{{Image1}}” /> ]]

This is a basic example, as it’s normally better to load image URL’s into a JavaScript array, however, this will be available for ALL the data entry fields and I will be providing use-case examples shortly & support in the forums.

We’re due for some tutorials as well for the tool, the more people I talk to who cannot whose business does not warrant even the first stage tools, they need a tool like this to put the efficiency in their business for both data input and presentation.

I’ve not forgotten the integration into WordPress which will allow me to offer you some heavily customised features per user including customised listing templates, account defaults and… I now have the code finished for the killer feature that is missing from nearly ALL eBay listings which isn’t even a paid for addon by design companies and guess what it’s going to be… free. More on this as soon as the artwork is completed which will be under 2 weeks.

Summary

So a quiet two weeks for blogging, but I’m doing battle with a spoon, I can’t wait to explain what that means, maybe a video this week?

I’d like to thank those who have registered for the forums, if you haven’t yet, its free and you can register here and as you’ll see by the couple of recent threads, you’ll get quality replies back (amongst my gibberish :) ), see you there?

Auto Creation of Logic Tested CustomFields in eSellerPro Using Excel

eSellerProCustomFields in eSellerPro is exceptionally useful, by their very title they’re “custom”. But to make the most from them, you’ll be needing to logic test them and hide the ones that are empty. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing in this guide.

I’ve created a CustomFields group called ‘Default’ and included a couple of standard fields. If you see the custom fields that are included, this really could be for any category of products that are used on eBay.

Group NameNameDisplay FieldTypeDisplay OrderVisibleItem Specifics
DefaultDF_ColourColour11yesyes
DefaultDF_DimensionDimension(cm)11yesyes
DefaultDF_ManufacturerManufacturer11yesyes
DefaultDF_MaterialMaterial11yesyes
DefaultDF_MPNMPN11yesyes
DefaultDF_TypeType11yesyes
DefaultDF_Type_2Type 211yesyes
DefaultDF_WarrantyWarranty11yesyes

 

Logic Testing

The issue is that when we list an item to eBay with these values, then eSellerPro is smart enough not to send the fields that have empty values, however in the description of your eBay listing (or Amazon profile or paragraph for that matter) so we need to logic test them.

Tip: Never use the CustomFields description tab to store descriptions, always use the paragraph builder.

To logic test them properly we need to wrap a statement around the fields. There are three types of logic tests we can run these are:

  1. IF – If the value matches
  2. IFNOT – If the value does not match
  3. IFNOT/ELSE – If the value does not match and an alternative

I’m not going to cover how these logic tests work any further, I’ve already covered these in this article, so just roll with me on this one as I’ll be providing you an excel formula and example spreadsheet at the end of this article for you to use in your descriptions.

Using the table above as the example, if the colour is empty then ideally we’d not want to show it in the description area, so we would write the following:

{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour]]// {{CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour}} }}

Note: The “square brackets” are to stop forward slashes and other odd characters from breaking the value to check against.

That’s pretty easy to write one or two, but what happens when you have 10 or even 40 of them and how on earth do you cope with wrapping the contents into a table structure?

Easy, we use excel :)

Yep its really straight forwards in excel, but before we can do that, open your eSellerPro account and follow these steps:

  1. Go to Maintenance on the left menu
  2. Approximately 4-5 icons down click on “CustomFields”
  3. At the top there is an excel icon, press it
  4. Select the option called “Export all Custom Fields”
  5. Save the file to your desktop
  6. Open it

You’ll now have all the fields in your account. We are now going to edit this file and its really important that you do not import this sheet back into eSellerPro. Don’t do it, I’ve never tried it and I’d not like to do so either.

So in Cell I2, enter this formula:

=”{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:”&A2&”:”&B2&”]]// {{CustomFields:”&A2&”:”&B2&”}} }}”

This will make something like this:

{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour]]// {{CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour}} }}

Sweet eh? Now grab the bottom right corner of cell I2 and drag it down. You now have the basic version which you can copy/paste to anywhere you like such as your eBay template, a paragraph, an Amazon template and so on…

Creating Tables

Creating tables using this method is a little more tricky but perfectly do-able. First we need to not that the following functions will not make the opening <TABLE> and closing </TABLE> tags, you’ll need to add these in afterwards, but hey the hard work is done by copy & paste :)

So this time instead of entering the formula above, we’ll use this formula in cell I2:

=”{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:”&A2&”:”&B2&”]]//<tr><td class=’label’>”&C2&”</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:”&A2&”:”&B2&”}}</td></tr>}}”

This will make:

{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Colour</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour}}</td></tr>}}

If I spell out what the above is doing. If the value of DF_Colour is not blank, then bring in a table row (TR) and two table data cells (TD), the first with the display label and the second with the value.

Wrap these up in a table tag and we can end up with something that looks like this:

<table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ id=”customfields”>
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour]]// <tr><td class=’label’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Colour}}</td></tr> }}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Dimension]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Dimension(cm)</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Dimension}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Manufacturer]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Manufacturer</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Manufacturer}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Material]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Material</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Material}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_MPN]]//<tr><td class=’label’>MPN</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_MPN}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Type]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Type</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Type}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Type_2]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Type 2</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Type_2}}</td></tr>}}
{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Default:DF_Warranty]]//<tr><td class=’label’>Warranty</td><td class=’value’>{{CustomFields:Default:DF_Warranty}}</td></tr>}}
</table>

And the neat thing is that it took nothing more than a few minutes and copy/paste!

Reference File

I’ve uploaded examples of both of these to this file:

Useful?

Did you find this guide useful? Let me know in the comments below :)


eSellerPro Banks Another £1m Investment What Do you Think?

I’ve received the release below this morning from eSellerPro. They’ve taken in another £1M in funding as the first round of funding of £2M was around two years ago.

I have two questions for you at the bottom of this article, I’d love to hear your feedback on this.

Press Release

eSellerPro receives a further £1m in funding from Notion Capital
Funding follows a record year with £233m in sales processed

London, 16th February 2012: eSellerPro, the leading eCommerce software provider for multi-channel sellers, today announces a follow-on investment of £1m from Notion Capital. The funding follows Notion’s initial investment of £1.8 million in 2010 and will support the company’s ambitious growth plans over the coming years, which include accelerating momentum in its core business together with entry into new markets and further investment in the product.

In just 2 years since the last round of funding, eSellerPro has become one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the UK, having tripled both its revenues and its customer base which now includes well-known names such as: Tesco Outlet, Dixons, Royal Mail, BMW, JJB Sports, Maplins, Whirlpool and BT Outlet. eSellerPro’s multichannel ecommerce platform processed £233m in sales on behalf of its customers in 2011 and will soon move through the £1m per day threshold.

Following the appointment of Keith Bird as the CEO early last year, the business has also further strengthened its management team adding a CTO, Director of Sales, Director of Product Management and Director of Global Partnerships & Alliances.

The new funding will go towards expanding the business both technically and geographically, ensuring the company maximises on the opportunities in markets beyond the UK, including the US market, worth more than $300bn.

Keith Bird, CEO at eSellerPro, commented, “Since the first funding round in 2010, eSellerPro has both accelerated our growth and laid the foundations for further expansion into new markets including the all-important US. Our vision is to be a key part of the ecommerce ecosystem, ultimately helping retailers to sell more through seamless integration with multiple online channels. The market is expected to continue to grow rapidly over the coming years and this new funding will help us to accelerate our growth in the UK, US and beyond, while continuing to improve the experience for our existing customers”.

Ben White, Partner at Notion Capital, added: “eSellerPro helps customers respond to the changing retail environment and maximise the value of their online presence through integration with third party channels like eBay and Amazon. The ecommerce market is expected to grow to $1tr by 2016 and online marketplaces is one of its fastest growing segments – as such we are very excited about the company’s future prospects and believe they have what it takes to build a very big business.”

eSellerPro’s technology helps retailers integrate their entire online sales process, simplifying and automating tasks and maximising sales opportunities across multiple channels such as eBay and Amazon. eSellerPro currently has customers across the UK, US and Europe.

What Do You Think?

An observation of what is included in the release is the statement “Funding follows a record year with £233m in sales processed“. Taking a guess at the revenue generated from this at 1.5%, allowing for variations on the fee taken as part of the SaaS application, that figure comes in at around £3,495,000.

Obviously this is likely to be out by miles, with anything up or down of this by a value by 40%. So with the extra investment in mind announced today and ongoing revenue stream, this appears to be a bridging loan, to keep the wheels turning (maybe we’ll see a poke at the US marketplace?) while not being restricted by revenue.

As such I have two questions for you:

  • What’s been your experience with eSellerPro over the past few months and do you think that the extra funding will make a difference to the service you receive?
  • Do you believe that eSellerPro is going to follow the route of ChannelAdvisor with numerous funding rounds?

Let me know in the comments box below.

How eSellerPro’s Channel Profile Can Help Your Business

One of eSellerPro’s core features is a function called a ‘Channel Profile’, in this article I’ll be covering the basics to what a ‘Channel Profile’ does and how it can help your business.

Multi-Channel selling is now an assumed practice for eCommerce businesses, unlocking the power to reach a much wider audience than you could ever have imagined, but sensibly. The Channel Profile feature in eSellerPro can enable you to achieve this.

I’ve put together a short video, where I describe the key benefits of using a channel profile and how it could help your business when dealing with multiple sales channels.

What is a Channel Profile?

The purpose of the channel profiler is to maximise the exposure of your inventory exposure across more than one channel, then once an update has happened to let the other channels know of that update to the stock level.

In eSellerPro you can create more than one channel profile (hence ‘profile’ in its name), which you can apply to more than one inventory record and each profile can have different attributes. I’ll cover these later on in this article, but for now the easiest way of explaining what a Channel Profile does is by using an example.

Let’s say we have 10 of the same mugs in stock and we wish to sell them on:

  • One eBay account
  • Amazon
  • Our website.

For maximum market exposure, we’re going to use the channel profile to list ALL 10 of these mugs onto eBay, Amazon and also show them on our website too. A couple of hours later, a customer called Jane buys one from eBay.

We now only have 9 in stock and the channel profile will now update Amazon to 9 and the website also to 9. Then another customer, Jim buys from the website. Again the channel profile will update the other marketplaces, eBay & Amazon with the new stock level of 8.

The next morning a new delivery of these mugs arrive and we have 10 more, so we now have a stock level of 18 mugs. The Channel profile will now update each of the selling channels where the products are listed with the updated stock level.

In this basic example, we gain maximum market exposure for our products and keep each of the selling channels in-line with the latest stock levels. Neat eh?

The Negatives of Using A Channel Profile

I’m going to note here the negatives you might have already realised are minor in comparison to the positives of exposing your inventory across as many channels as possible. However you need to be aware of them.

In theory if you only have 10 in stock, then you only have 10 to sell. By exposing your inventory across just 3 platforms in the example above, you are actually exposing 30 items and again in theory if they all sold at the same time, you could go to a negative inventory count of 20 (that’s the 30 sold, minus the 10 you had in stock).

The Channel Profiler is a process that runs on eSellerPro’s servers and it does not update the marketplaces instantaneously, there is a time lag on eSellerPro’s side and with the marketplaces themselves. While I now don’t know the exact figures, a period of about 30 minutes would be about right for each passing of an eSellerPro account to make updates to the 3rd party platforms.

We also need to understand that eSellerPro is a 3rd party to the marketplaces and as such there are time delays in the communication to them. Again referencing the earlier example, the orders from eBay & Amazon are not picked up instantaneously, they’re scheduled. Plus we also need to account for time delays in the marketplaces themselves, Amazon orders are not immediate, they tend to sit for 15-30 minutes before being released and also you can only ask for order reports every 30 minutes or so.

So it’s perfectly possible for Jane and Jim to buy on two different marketplaces within a time window of say 10 minutes and eSellerPro is not capable of updating the other channel to let it know there is a deduction of the inventory level, if there was only one left, this could have caused an oversell or back order. Hardly ideal.

It should also be noted that in relation to eBay, eBay auctions and BIN listings of 10 days or less, are regarded as being committed to the eBay marketplaces, thus if you have 10 in stock and 2 of those are in two auctions, then eSellerPro sees an available stock count of 8 and will use this value to keep the platforms updated.

Note: You can use the true stock level of 10 called “Percentage of On-Hand”, however this is where you’re most likely to be caught out, as using this option I strongly advise you never to use this option (although there are situations where it does not matter, such as virtual or limitless stock).

Channel Profile Tolerances

The channel profile process also has “tolerances”, for items over a stock count of 20, there is no compelling reason to keep the selling platforms updated with the latest stock count for each change.

If we had 10,000 of those mugs in stock, then updating them every time we sold one would be silly and slow down the really important updates for other stock items which have much left. As such eSellerPro has different tolerances for different stock levels and they can be found in their Wiki.

A Simple Example of a Channel Profile

A really simple example of a channel profile is the first example, where we were listing all 10 of the mugs on the 3 platforms. In this example we are committing 100% of the “Available stock” (10) to each of the channels.

An Advanced Example of a Channel Profile

There is likely to be situations where you don’t want to commit all your stock to all of the channels all of the time and this is where the ability to create multiple profiles comes in really handy.

For the first example, we would have named the channel profile something like “List 100% to eBay, Amazon and Our Website” (naming the profiles to what they do is again strongly suggested, it makes them “Matt proof”).

For this second example, we’re going to want to keep two of mugs in stock at all times, this is because they’re end of line and we want to keep safe just in case we get a return of breakage.

Similar to the previous example, we’re going to commit 100% of the “Available Stock” to platforms, but we’re going to add a number 2 to the column called “Min. Qty Avail”. By setting a value of 2 in this column, we’re saying list 100% of our stock, but when we get to our last 2, take them off all the platforms.

We could of course just set this value of 2, to just one platform, so that when we get to our last 2 items, we take it off Amazon, but leave the 2 on eBay and the website. I did say that this was ‘neat’ :)

Further Examples

The abilities of the channel profile doesn’t stop at just listing 100% of items onto marketplaces and keeping their stock levels in-tow and basic stock control. You can also configure a channel profile to use these cool features:

  • Percentage based listing, not just 100%, maybe only 50% to eBay and 100% to Amazon & the website.
  • Force set inventory levels onto one or more marketplaces, that never go out of stock
  • Force set inventory levels onto one or more marketplaces that are removed when the available quantity drops below a specific level
  • Using a “Cost Formula”, dynamically calculable your selling prices for each channel and also the minimum and maximum prices for Amazon & Play.com accounts.
  • Cap the number of listed items on a platform to a maximum number
  • And there are some funky things you can do with sequences and stocked sub skus of products that 99.9% of the people reading this wouldn’t ever use.

It should also be noted that if you have the WebXML interface enabled for up to 10 external channels, the channel profile can also apply inventory update rules to these too and via the new eSellerPro API, the status of the SKU can be checked to see if its been set to list on several of the ‘channels’ in the channel profile.

My eSellerPro Channel Profile Tips

Here are a collection of tips that you may find useful:

  1. Never edit the default profile
    Think of this profile as a off switch, keep it set to manual and use this profile to take items off all the platforms and for new records that are not ready to be listed yet.
  2. Keep calculations to a minimum
    The more you ask for a channel profile to do, the long it will take and the slower it will run. Where ever possible, keep calculations for prices to external tools lke excel or PHP before entering into eSellerPro.
  3. Never use product specific channel profiles
    If you create product specific channel profiles, you’re missing one of the huge benefits of eSellerPro ‘profiles’. If you do have an exception product that needs its own rules, just create another profile and name it accordingly. Then ALL your profiles are in one place and easy to administer.
  4. Name the channel profiles sensibly
    If the profile is listing 100% to eBay, Amazon and the Website, name it that. In the bulk update tool, in the inventory record and in the import/export system you only see the names of the profile, thus name them clearly in relation to what they actually do.
  5. Think through each channel profile thoroughly before creating it
    Take a few moments to write down what you want the profile to do, then once written, use this to guide you to the configuration of the profile.
  6. Use ‘Bulk Update’
    You can use the bulk update tool to update as many records as you would like, remember that naming them clearly will make this task a cinch.
  7. Import/Export with care
    Don’t forget you can import a channel profile name as part of the custom import/export sheets. But use this with care, as you can enable products to be listed from an import sheet, this may not be desired straight away and may cause other issues, especially if you are loading new products and images need to be collected from a 3rd party before listing, the listing may go live and be incomplete!

The Channel Profile Summary

Using a channel profile is not without its risks, as you can in theory oversell heavily if the products which have been assigned a channel profile are in ultra high demand, accounting for the lags of the platforms themselves and giving eSellerPro enough time to react (although in reality this is quite rare, I can only remember of two instances in 3 years of this happening).

Sensible configuration of your channel profiles for different velocity products is key and also keeping them as straight forward and aptly named is strongly advised.

The examples in this article are quite basic, however if you consider you may have thousands of inventory records, numerous eBay accounts more than one Amazon Seller Central account (yes this is possible), multiple websites and maybe 3rd part integrations to other selling platforms, being able to expose your entire inventory across ALL possible channels and keep them updated when items sell and stock deliveries are made, makes the “Channel Profiles” in eSellerPro one of the core parts of the entire system.

Try doing all that manually. You’ll have no hair left like me!

Your Feedback

Do you use the Channel Profile in your eSellerPro account, is this something you could or couldn’t live without? Let me know in the comments box below.

What is eSellerPro & How it Can Help Your Business?

So what is eSellerPro and how can it help your business? To answer these questions effectively, I’ve put together a 3 minute video overview where I discuss the following:

  • The 3 core parts of eSellerPro, these being:
    • Inventory data & stock management
    • Order aggregation
    • The “Channel Profile” to keep the sales channels up to date
  • Suitable business types

Answered in a 3 Minute Video

Before you watch this video it’s important to note that I am a former employee of eSellerPro, clients that I work with use eSellerPro for all or parts of their businesses.

I’m not a sales rep nor do I receive any incentive from eSellerPro to publish this content. I certainly do not believe that eSellerPro is perfect, no solution provider is. What I am motivated to do, is to ensure that you choose the right back-end tool for your business and eSellerPro “could” be one that is most suitable to you.

Your Feedback

I haven’t covered the 3 core elements to eSellerPro in any great detail, the video was only designed to give you a brief overview of what these are and how they could help your business. However, these will follow in the next few days.

However did you find this video useful? Have you or are you using eSellerPro to run part or all of your business? Let me know in the comments box below.

The Top 8 Pitfalls of Using 3rd Party Software To Manage Your Business

“I thought using 3rd party software to automate my online business was one of the best decisions I ever made?”

I asked myself this question back in November last year, since then certain events have happened and I strongly feel that adding software to manage repetitive parts of an on-line business is a sensible move.

This is to the point that it doesn’t matter which tools you use, as long as they’re automated and take less work than processing the tasks manually would take is a good thing. However, sometimes the pitfalls are overlooked and in this article I delve into these.

Setting the Scenerio

Let’s make a fictitious company called “Widgets Ltd”.

This company started from one person and as the business model was proved, several members of staff were added and a team formed.

Widgets Ltd sells on multiple channels, they started with eBay, dabbled with Amazon and also have their own website, they also have a trade site and a trade counter with a simple till, with no real stock control over any of the platforms.

Approximately a year into the business, multi channel software was employed and while this took a few weeks to employ & for the staff to get up to speed, due to the forced efficiencies of the software, better stock control & they looked at Amazon more seriously, sales grew within a few months, compounded by a seasonal period, sales figures rose to levels they’ve only dreamt about and everything looks rosy.

Pitfalls, What Pitfalls?

On first glance, Widgets Ltd has done really well, mainly because they got past the one person stage and had a business model that worked at small scale, with efficiencies through the use of software, the business was able to amplify the model worked and allowed them to add the important factor scale and grew.

As I suggested, everything looked rosy. More & more money going through the business, everyone looking busy, feedback rocketing & receiving some real kudos from their family, suppliers & friends.

To quickly clarify, automation especially when it comes to labour intensive tasks is a generally a “good thing”. By automating these tasks, it can allow the business owner(s) to work on their business and not always in it. Purely because of this, this is why most 3rd party tools are a positive to their business, to a point that is, which I’m making in this article.

The moment you add software to automate a process, you become removed from it and this is the stem of majority of the issues that 3rd party software creates.

However, I’m going to take the most basic of examples, probably the most highly desired automated process of them all, leaving feedback on marketplaces such as eBay.

Can you remember when you first started on eBay? You probably bought a few items and gained some feedback, you then started selling a few items and leaving feedback was a personalised affair, tailored to each customer, you were leaving them manually and keeping a keen eye on what buyers were telling you.

After all the rest of the selling process was probably all manual as well and you knew everything about the products, listings, questions, orders, customers etc… However the second you automate one of these processes, you become removed and tend to focus on the visually detrimental parts, such as neutral, negative feedback & DSR scores and forget about the positive comments that may hold the key to moving forwards with the business.

And that’s why it’s quite easy to identify the pitfalls, because the dangers are all around the business when automation is employed and this is what I have dedicated the rest of this article to.

The Eight Common Pitfalls

There are way more than just eight of them, however, these are the common occurrences.

  1. Not at ground level any more
    As I suggested in the simplest of examples above, when you automate processes, you can easily become removed from the ground level and only focus on the bad points, rather than the good points that become overshadowed. This happens throughout the business, as the decision makers become further removed the ground.
  2. Mistaking marketplace growth for business growth
    Focusing on eBay & Amazon, these sites have seen double digit growths over the years, however eBay has slowed down & Amazon has picked up pace (on a global scale), however we’re not seeing huge growths with eBay anymore and it can be misleading to assume that the 5-25% growth in your business has been to the effects that your actions have had, rather that the marketplaces have grown by these numbers and you’re riding the wave.
    Note: This is discussed in detail in two articles called The eBay “Best Match” Position Bias Modifier Hypothesis and Why do eBay Sales Stay Consistent?
  3. Unable to identify trends effectively
    This goes back to the ground level view again, when the business in the example above Widgets Ltd was only one or a few people, it was easy to identify which products were moving and which ones we not, because the staff knew them intimately. However as the owners moved up the ranks, they became further & further removed from the front lines and if the software that they’re using is able to report on data their business is generating, then can lead to the business hitting a plateau and no-one knowing why and in the next one the most lethal of them all is covered.
  4. Happy with the businesses performance
    Some business models have a natural plateau point in them due to the factors that make the business up and while adding automation to a business can remove most of the softer walls to a business to progressing, if we combine a spike of growth over a few months and the owners becoming complacent, the business becomes ‘happy’ with the current results and doesn’t take a serious look on how to expand further.
  5. Unhappy with the businesses performance
    And a complete inverse of the above is that the business owners may mistake the automation of their systems and growth of their business as a huge demand for their offerings, when in fact the automation part, just allowed them to work more effectively, focused on a few key issues like stock control, sourcing, customer service and order management, but continuously expect the same amount of growth of the business that the employment of automation first provided.
    I have one question for this, do you define success as a business that lasts 10 years with ever decreasing profitability or a business that lasts 10 years and keeps a competitive advantage and a decent profitability? Maybe both are right, but which one do you automatically get pulled towards?
  6. Unsupported or time lag to new features
    When working with multiple marketplaces, things are bound to move. This is especially true of eBay you release updates every few months, some of which can completely alter the way that the marketplace works, such as best match did or the introduction of multi-variations (see earlier article here for examples), the same goes for updates to other platforms & software products, take a courier integration, they shelve the older version and you’re forced to the new version.
    Now imagine that your current software provider, that was previously automating the courier process is unable to support the changes for 2-3 weeks. That’s a scary thought & while I’ve never experienced a courier software change that inflicted weeks of failure in automation, it can happen and crucially does happen.
  7. Owners are not always good managers
    Before you draw insult from this, I am the first to admit that I am not a very good manager. People that are brilliant technicians rarely make brilliant managers. While they are outstanding at ground level, maybe creating code or graphic design, they can lack core skills to be able to manage people & businesses effectively. Employing automation can blur this, but without a core understanding of the processes required to scale or adding members to the team that can manage such roles, then this as I know all too well, can cause issues.
  8. Tell others about their automation tools
    I’ve personally seen this a few times now, where business owners have seen obscene growths in turnover have spilled their tools to others (either knowing or unknowingly) and competitors and even suppliers have jumped in too and taken the advantages the automation provides.
    While I’m not going to name examples of the latter, I can note here that one of the first tasks I made when using MarketWorks (a tool to automate eBay processes), the first task that I took was putting a layer on top of the MarketWorks logo that was automatically inserted in the listings, so that competitors could not readily work out which tool I was using.

Summary

While the above was not exhaustive and that 3rd party software products can provide huge benefits to businesses through automation, there are downsides to using them.

Some are obvious, such as competitors or even suppliers picking up that the business is using certain tools to manage their business and then using them to compete more fairly with the business, while others less succinct issues like the owners not being competent managers, or time lags in changes to marketplaces or being unable to trend their business can all impact a businesses effectiveness.

Image Source

How to: Add a YouTube Video to Listings Using eSellerPro

youtube-and-esellerpro
Adding video content, especially video content that you’ve made for your business on a product or service to eBay listings easily done and I covered this in an earlier article “Add a Youtube Video to your eBay Listings in 5 Steps“, however when using 3rd party tools, the actual listing template is normally separated from the description.

In this How-to guide I’ll be showing you how to automatically add a YouTube video to your eBay listings in a scalable, structured manner, which once completed is as simple as pasting in the YouTube video ID and the rest takes care of itself using eSellerPro.

Note: For this article I’m using the example product video I made for an earlier article, this is definitely not a good example of a great product/service video but it’ll suit the needs of this article. If you’ve not seen it, it’s quite funny and you can watch it here.

Before We Start

eSellerProI’m making the assumption that you are using eSellerPro as your back office tool, that you have a YouTube account and that you understand a little HTML. The rest I’ll take you through step by step.

Also in the example video being used, the dimensions are 960 wide by 576, this probably will not suit most and you’ll need to alter these both. However for completeness, at the very end instructions on how to complete a fully customisable version is included. If you cannot see any of the sections mentioned in this article in your eSellerPro account, contact their support and ask for them to be enabled.

A “YouTubeID” is referenced several times in this article, this is the string of text you see in the URL when viewing YouTube video’s. For example, the example product video used is “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDSwAuApbwc” and the YouTubeID is part after the = sign, namely “zDSwAuApbwc“.

Using eSellerPro Custom Fields

To make this as scalable as possible, we need to leverage customfields in eSellerPro, I’m not going to cover what these are here, just that we’re going to create a custom fields group and a custom field to place the YouTube video ID.

To do this we need to follow these steps:

  1. Open eSellerPro
  2. Go to the Maintenance section on the left bar
  3. Locate the “Custom fields” section and double click on it
  4. Press the new record icon at the top and name the customfields group “Video” (the first box labelled “Group Name”)
  5. We now need to add an edit box called “YouTubeID”, enter “YouTubeID” into both “Field Name” and “Display Name” and press the “Add Field” button

Create the Holding Paragraph

If we were to put the logic code we create in the next step in every template we use, this would cause unnecessary overheads and possible headaches later on when if want to update the layout operation of the video player & associated code. So to make this as easy as possible, we’re going to now use another part of eSellerPro called paragraphs to create a container for the video code & associated logic.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select “Inventory/Listing” from the left menu
  2. Select “Paragraph Builder” from the left menu (you may need to scroll down to locate this)
  3. Press the new record icon at the top
  4. Give the paragraph the name “YouTube”
  5. At the bottom, tick the box called “HTML Only” so that the editor is disabled

The Logic to Sshow/Hide the Video

Now that we’ve prepared the customfields and the paragraph, we need the code to show the video player in the listing. In a previous article called “How To: Add a Youtube Video to your eBay Listings in 5 Steps” it was noted that IFRAMES are not allowed on eBay listings and we need to use the older method that is allowed to show YouTube video content on your eBay listings.

The code for this, looks like:


	
	
	

This is fine for a single listing, however we’re building a more flexible version so you don’t need to post this each time.

Firstly we replace the YouTube ID with the custom field, so it reads as:


	
	
	

However, we don’t want to show the video player when there is no video to be shown, so to do this we use the IFNOT keyword, to show/hide the entire video player if there is or is not a YouTubeID present in the customfield.

This now becomes:

{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Video:YouTubeID]]//

	
	
	 }}

And it’s this code that we now enter into the paragraph we created earlier.

Adding the Paragraph to your eBay Template(s)

Instead of pasting this code into each template, we’re going to leverage the paragraph feature in eSellerPro to make this as simple as copy/paste.

If you now follow these steps:

  1. Select “Inventory/Listing” from the left menu
  2. Click on eBay templates
  3. Select the template you wish to add the video content to
  4. go to the “description” tab
  5. Ensure that the “HTML Only” box is checked
  6. Place this code “{{Insert:YouTube}}” where you would like the video appear if it’s been set
  7. Repeat as necessary for other templates you may have.

Note: Its actual placement will vary from template to template, if you’re unsure either experimentalist or ask someone that is comfortable with HTML to help you.

Enter an ID to an Inventory Record

To be able to test that this works, we need to add a YouTube ID of a video to the custom fields of an inventory record.

  1. Pick any inventory record (inventory/Listing > Inventory Details)
  2. Go to the custom fields tab.
  3. Select “Video” from the drop down box
  4. Enter your YouTubeID (or enter “zDSwAuApbwc” for the sake of example) into the edit box called “YouTubeID”
  5. Now go back to the “eBay Auction” or “eBay Inventory” tabs and press the preview button on the right
  6. You should now have a video in your listing template

Advanced eSellerPro Video Template

If you had not changed the size (width and height) as used in the example snippets above, then you will have seen a massive video in your listing. If you are using just one template setting the width/height once in the HTML will be fine, however if you have multiple templates and some need to be bigger than others, you can evolve this a little further by adding two more custom fields called “Height” & “Width” to your customfields “Video” group we created earlier.

Then using the following code, you are able to specify the width/height as you desire AND have a catch width of 960 and a height of 576 if they’re not set (you probably need to alter these to fit in your template)

{{IFNOT/[[CustomFields:Video:YouTubeID]]//

	
	
	 }}

Summary

Adding video can be easy with a few simple logic tests and the right set-up, also because the YouTubeID’s are in a custom field, they can be imported against using excel or CSV sheets and of course if the inventory record has no YouTubeID set, its not going to show with the advanced versions.

Now go and try this in your eSellerPro account and let me know how you got on by posting a comment below (or if you get stuck, leave a comment and I’ll point you in the right direction).

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