How Real and Virtual Storage can Help Online Sellers

How Real and Virtual Storage can Help Online Sellers – A Guest Post from Drew Davies


Selling online puts retailing goods within reach of practically all would-be business owners. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Get yourself some in-demand stock, pick your online retail platform, then sit back and watch the profits roll in.

Except in the real world of commerce, it’s never quite that simple.

Buying and selling are the fun parts of business ownership, with the not-so-fun aspects revolving around record keeping and stock storage. Getting effective and efficient systems in place to manage these two vital aspects are crucial to success.

Storing Stock

Beginners often choose to store stock at home, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Small quantities of items slot comfortably into the spare bedroom, the loft or the garage without causing too much disruption.

For entrepreneurs who plan to expand and chase down greater profits, however, home storage solutions don’t jibe with expanding stock levels. With home access for larger delivery vehicles often restricted, receiving goods on pallets may be out of the question. Parked cars, steps, stairs and possibly damp or insecure conditions can further restrict business growth.

An economical and viable alternative is off-site self storage, which offers controlled growth opportunities to online sellers at all stages of business expansion. To begin, take on a small unit that’s just a little larger than your home setup. With flexible terms, it’s easy to expand and increase your storage space.

In addition, plenty of space and good vehicular access means it’s no longer an issue if your supplier sends your goods on an articulated lorry. Increasing stock levels means increased investment, leading naturally to a need for enhanced security. Self storage facilities offer professional level security such as perimeter fencing and 24/7 alarms to safeguard your stock.

Paper Record Storage

The second bugbear as the business grows is what to do with the mountains of paperwork. Despite all the buzz about the paperless office it hasn’t quite happened yet, although cloud storage has gone a long way towards its realisation. Options such as Dropbox, Microsoft, Google Drive and iCloud mean you can do away with the need for large filing cabinets.

Receipts, invoice copies, stock lists and important emails can all be stored safely in electronic format. Paper forms can be scanned and uploaded for easy retrieval when they’re needed. Name your scanned files logically and descriptively and you have a searchable record system that’s securely and remotely protected. Since the best advice is to store important business records offsite (and there’s a legal requirement to keep accounts for seven years), cloud storage is the answer to many paper trail problems.

For accounting, look into online solutions that allow you to enter daily transactions. Many of these charge a monthly subscription, but the time savings they afford make it well worth it. Some offer automatic bank feeds, so payments direct to your bank are entered into your accounting records automatically, keeping everything up to date with very little effort on your part.

By utilising modern self storage options for physical stock and virtual storage for documentation, systems for day-to-day running of the business become simpler and much more secure.

Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage.

Offering Upgraded Postage on eBay

We are always looking for more ways to win business. This usually comes down to offering something the customer wants. We recently looked at delivery options.

You probably know that in addition to a ‘Free’ postage option and a same/1 day dispatch commitment, the other service you must offer to achieve the ‘Premium Service’ badge on you eBay listings is an expedited delivery service.

We have recently negotiated a lower cost from our courier in return for increasing volumes. We were then able to reduce the upgrade cost. The idea being to try and grab some sales from people who like or need a tracked next working day service.

Using the excellent and flexible ‘postage templates’ in eSellerPro we can now offer a great deal on upgrade costs tailored to the size/weight of the item. Once we had calculated the costs we were able to update the postage templates and revise all our listings with the new charges – a 15 minute job.

So for many items which are below 1Kg the buyer can upgrade for just £2.95.

Guess what – at this price many buyers do choose to upgrade. Possibly winning us the business.


Update on using eSellerPro to manage the new eBay Picture Standards

So, by now I have realised I’m not going to finish work on all my images before the deadline of 1st August.

As the new standards don’t apply yet to existing GTC listings the concern is that listings will go live after August 1st with images which don’t comply. This can happen as new stock is delivered into inventory or old orders are cancelled/returned and stock becomes available to sell.

What to do?

eSellerPro has an answer.

If you can identify the SKU’s which don’t comply you can simply remove the Postage Template for those SKU’s. You can do this by SKU or by a ‘Bulk Update’.

When eSellerPro goes to list them it will fail and helpfully in the ‘More’ tab in Inventory you can search for SKU’s with listing errors. You can then go ahead and correct the specific image and head for the ‘Problems’ tab and ‘relist now’.


Problem solved.

How to use eSellerPro to Manage the new eBay Picture Standards

As most of us know eBay are changing their picture standards from August 1st. No longer will we be able to use images which include borders, text, or artwork on the picture.

eBay picture standards

The eBay link is Here.

So, if like me you have thousands of images which will break the new rules you will by now be working furiously to edit your images. One seller rang me this week worried that he had over 10,000 images to change – many of which were unavailable and new shots would have to be taken.

If you use eSellerPro then at least you have a powerful tool to help with the task.

1. Use custom fields to keep track of the images which need updating. Add a field called ‘Image checked’ or similar into a relevant Custom Group and bulk update your inventory records to a blanket ‘yes’. As you update images mark the field ‘yes’.You will at least then have a simple searchable method of finding those records which need your attention.



2. Use flags to achieve the same result – if you have spare flags.

3. If you have a large number of images to change, focus on those which need doing. eBay have said the changes won’t affect ‘good til cancelled’ listings unless you revise or relist them. So the major worry is new listings – especially if you use channel profiles to auto list items. So initially look for items which are set to auto-re-order. These are the SKU’s which are likely to surprise you by listing as they are booked into stock.


4. Work on your best sellers first. Use eSellerPro to find those SKU’s with the best success. You can do this using the built in reports or do an inventory search for items with recent sales:


Directing Amazon Buyers to YOUR listing

As we know Amazon is a great marketplace.


It is catalogue based meaning all sellers compete on one listing and buyers nearly always buy on price alone. This means your listing can be buried in the mass and overshadowed by the seller with excess stock, better buying power, lower overheads or simply unaware of his/her true costs.

So how do you direct potential buyers to YOUR listing.

Amazon have made it easy.

In Seller Central it is now possible to customise the view. Simply mark the column ‘Listing ID’ as visible and you now have a clickable link to your own listing to which you can direct email enquiries and similar.


eSellerPro – Channel Profiles – Powerful Tools for Multi-Channel Selling

Online retailing is tough. In many categories, in particular if you sell mass market products it’s very tough indeed.

You need all the help you can get.

If you care about customer service, and you sell on more than one channel, and you have more than about 50 products which sell well, you need some kind of back office multi-channel software. In fact even if you think this will apply to you in the future – you need it.

Help is at hand. The ‘Channel Profile’
eSellerPro utilises ‘Channel Profiles’ which as the name suggests profile your stock by channel.

They are clever things.

You can do things like sell 90% of your stock for a specific product on Amazon and 100% on eBay – so when 90% is sold the Amazon listing will close and you won’t oversell.

But that’s nothing.

You can use the Channel Profiles to price your products.


Using price formulas within the Channel Profile can calculate the selling price and by updating specific Channel Profiles you can update prices globally with just one or two mouse clicks.

And it gets better.

eSellerPro has up to 10 named prices per SKU so you could produce a formula which takes the cost price and adds a weighting element, a desirability element and multiplies it by a global constant to come up with a selling price. Different channels can have different weightings.


You can even produce a Channel Profile for items on Sale which Reduces the weightings.

If you use ‘Kits’ in eSellerPro you can use a ‘Keyword’ to calculate the cost price of the kits within the formula.

If Royal Mail increases the cost of postage you can simply increase the postage weighting to globally increase prices.

And it gets better.

With another keyword it’s possible to match all channels with the Amazon selling price to avoid the dreaded Price Parity strike from Amazon.

If you use Amazon price checking within eSellerPro you can now use this to re-price your eBay or website prices.

I told you they were powerful.

Beware though channel Profiles are powerful and it is possible to inadvertently end listings by making an error is allocations.

eBay General Announcement: – Email addresses, offers to sell outside eBay and some URLs no longer allowed in eBay messages


eBay’s announcement:
We’ve updated eBay’s member-to-member contact policy to prohibit members from exchanging the following items of information in member-to-member

  • Email addresses,
  • Offers to buy or sell outside eBay,
  • URLs to non-eBay sites that don’t directly help buyers purchase items on eBay.

Messages that include phone numbers and links to additional information that aid in the purchase decision or facilitate item delivery will still be
permitted. These include warranties, manuals, and tracking links. We discourage buyers and sellers from sending offers to buy and sell outside eBay, as
these transactions aren’t covered by eBay buyer protection programmes.

For more information about these changes, see eBay’s Member-to-member contact policy, and learn more about eBay Buyer Protection.


The eBay-Team