Saturday, November 12, 2011

Try -- If you ship Ebay AND Amazon orders or eCommerce Orders (Promo=3 months for 11$ Total out of pocket)

One account can be used for Ebay+Amazon+eCommerce Websites (such as  You can bring ALL your "awaiting shipment" orders into to work on all of them at the same time.  Enter package weights (as needed), then hit print and walk away while all 5, 17, or 28 come out of your printer).

  • View all your orders on one screen. No "forgetting" about a stray Amazon or eBay order    (when desired, you can view orders from a particular source only)
  • Yes, you can print First Class Mail International, no problem.
  • Yes, you get USPS "online rates" including free Priority Delivery Confirmation, etc.
  • All addresses are checked against USPS database.  Discrepancies are displayed for your approval.  
  • +4 digits are added to all US address zip codes (this can make your package move more quickly)
  • Easy to search for previously shipped packages if/when you need to track them.
  • Request to void/refund labels for up to 2 weeks (Paypal gives you either 24 or 48 hours)
  • You can create "Pre-sets" for similar kinds of packages.    For example, create one to include "Your Marketplace Order" on the label of your Amazon orders.   After setting it up, just tick the boxes for the applicable orders and choose the pre-set name from a drop-down list. 
  • You can specify how you want your return address to display for each "profile" (each source of orders.. ebay, Amazon, etc)
  • Prints 2 labels per sheet.... no turning around the pages like with Paypal.
  • No ebay or Paypal ads or other ads (just very tiny and inconspicuous "").
  • Manual entry screen --- where you can copy an address as a block, rather than field by field by field.
  • Print postage stamps for post cards, letters, etc.
  • Buy up to 250$ of postage at a time, rather than tons of small $ transactions for each label.
Go to and use code C-96QP-PVG.  
You'll get:
  • 4 weeks free,
  • 5$ in free postage to use during the trial
  • 10$ free postage a month for the next 2 months.
After the 4 week trial, the account costs 17.99$ a month.... but with the free postage promotion, you would actually be out of pocket 11$ to use it for 3 months.

PS.   Ill get 20$ in postage if you stay a member for at least 1 month after your trial period ends.   And so will you, if you refer people to use your code.  :)

How it works
For Ebay and Amazon
  • After downloading their software, enter your ebay and amazon IDs once.   
  • Then, each day, click Refresh and it will bring in un-shipped paid orders including item name(s).
  • For ebay listings with calculated shipping, it will bring in the weight and mail class, etc.  
  • After you print, it writes back to Amazon/ Ebay to mark the item as shipped and populates the tracking number.
For Websites
  • Export your open orders from your eCommerce Provider (this is a function available in the Orders Menu for Highwire users) and save it as an Excel file.    
  • ONE TIME in, create a profile for your site - which includes stating where the order export file is, and "mapping" that file to which just means telling it which field means what, etc (most of it will be "auto-matched").
  • Each day thereafter, export your open orders and save with the original file name.    
  • In, click Refresh and all your orders will populate.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reducing the Phone Calls to Your Small Home Based Business

It is important for a small business to display a phone number on their website, but handling those phone calls to home based business can be disruptive, costly, and time consuming.

A phone call into an online store, for example, typically means the customer will give her order info over the phone, making for a 5-7-10 minute phone call, and opening yourself up to mistakes in getting the details correct.  

My second Christmas with my online store, the number of orders was beyond my expectations.   Along with the larger-than-expected number of orders to pull, pack, and ship, I was also getting a larger than expected number of phone calls to deal with.

After the holiday, I realized the biggest reason people had been calling was wanting to inquire if they could get their order by a particular date.   SO, I made changes to my website to make "when will I get my order" easier to find, and made detailed delivery time info available and very easy to find starting on Black Friday.

This cut down the number of calls significantly.  And, I suspect, increased the orders I received - since people knew they could order from my online store, and get what they needed.

In addition to displaying the information on the website, I also included a brief version of it in my online store's toll free phone number greeting.   This further reduce the time spend on phone calls, as some customers simply hung up after hearing the message and placed the order them self.

So... be smart... think about WHY people place calls to your online store, and find a way to address as many of them as you can with  changes to your website. ...   Provide the information, AND make the information easy to find.    

Of course, there will always be calls from people with questions that cannot be addressed in this way.   One way to mitigate the distraction from these calls is to have them picked up by voice mail.    If you use Kall8, as I do, you can choose to not even have your phone ring.

I do not recommend doing this all the time, but if you are against the clock to get orders packed before the UPS truck arrives, it may well be worth it.  

This can also save time in the end, and even provide better, more professional service to your customer, since you will be able to gather any needed information before making the return call.    (And, perhaps, you'll get to leave the info on their voice mail.) 

Being open to customer interaction is ideal...   We learn a lot about our market, and the perception of our products (and plenty more) by speaking with our customers.   But, there are times when reducing the number of phone calls to an online store can be of more overall benefit --- to you, the business owner, AND to your customers. 

Best wishes, oh, and don't call me today, I'm too busy being smart (HA!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

More (not the best) Free Tools for Selling Online

More FREE Tools I Use For Selling Online

PDF Document Creation: FREE Cute PDF  

Purchase Postage Paid Shipping Label: FREE  Paypal, at this link Ship Now   - Just pay for the actual postage.  Log in to Paypal first.  Choose UPS or USPS below the address area.   Use your address as both return address and ship to address.  Enter customer's address in "Origination ZIP Code"

FREE Graphic Creation Program:   GIMP   This is the Open Source Software (in other words free) - very similar.  

FREE Email Marketing : Mail Chimp   Free for up to 1000 customer email addresses, and sending up to 6000 emails per month.  

FREE Facebook Page Customization Software:  Lujure   Free to create one custom tab, used on one fan page. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Toll Free Number For Your Small Online Store

Displaying a toll free number is a quick, easy, and surprisingly CHEAP way to add credibility and professionalism to your online store.  I pay only 2$ a month for a toll free 888 number, which is forwarded to my home line. has a great referral program
I pay an additional 2$ a month so that these calls are "announced".  This means a quick recording is played after someone answers my home phone, indicating the call was made to the toll free number.    And THAT means I know to answer (again) in my "business voice"... and that my husband and kids know to HANG UP!  (During the time of the announcement, the caller hears the line as though it has not been picked up yet, and then hears the voice mail greeting when we hang up on our end.)

The basic 2$ a month includes voice mail, with the messages immediately emailed to me as audio files.(You could choose to call in to listen to your voice mail -- great for on the go business owners). And, an email after every call made (hang ups, completed calls, and voice mails) with all the caller ID info available, typically including the phone number, first and last name of record, and city/state.

I use   And have been VERY happy with them. 

You my have a smart phone --- but don't forget to use a smart phone number too.
Happy calls!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Customer Service - Airing Dirty Laundry

I just learned something I think is pretty important.  I did not seek out to learn it, nor take any time to learn it.... I just answered the phone.   I'm hoping posting about this  will re-enforce it in my mind, because I have definitely done the same thing that the sales rep who just called me did.

I learned that "airing dirty laundry" between yourself and your supplier (or employer) with your customer may very well be off-putting.     Dirty laundry such as  that your supplier does not allow you to order small quantities, even to replace damaged product, or that your employer has changed the procedure several times, making tipple work for you, etc.

I've often done it as a way to (I thought) make the customer feel like she and I were on the same side, both wishing the situation could be different.  I've hoped to foster a shared experience, and a feeling that "Im not the one profiting", etc.

Ive used it in hopes my customer would not place the blame on ME for my in-ability to provide her the item or service she wanted... and thus still have a positive impression of MY company and MY service.

Well.... today I learned that the impression I create when airing dirty laundry may NOT be the one I'd expected.

I just got off the phone with a sales representantive for a brand I'd contacted about purchasing items to carry in my online store.   He identified and introduced himself (great!), then asked about my location --relating it to a specific experience he'd had very local to me (great!), then he asked a specific question about my business(fine).  

The answer told him that he was not the correct sales rep for me (no problem).  As he told me, though, he used words like "awe, gees" and "uhg".   He lamented that the brand should not be asking the question before sending him my info.   (I agree, but from my point of view, he was essentially saying  "uhg, I wish I had never even heard of you")

He then went on a bit further regarding "they wont let me sell to you, I wish I could, but this is how they want it to be" etc etc.   We were conversational.   I went into "shared experience mode" and agreed they had wasted his time and mine with their policies.

Upon hanging up, I had a total negative feeling.   About him, about the company he is representing, and even about myself.    Had *I*, perhaps, left something out when contacting this company leading to his time being wasted?    Plus, I was now left in "stick it to the man" mode ..... that mode I had INTENDED to capture with MY customers.    OOPS!

Ive learned... when I air my dirty laundry with my customers.... even by means of explaining that I would love to help them but I cannot, I likely put them into just the same situation.

They "go along with" the conversation... but that doesnt mean they actually relate and enjoy discussing such things.    And, it certainly doesnt mean they hang up feeling GOOD.   Perhaps they, too, are left feeling negative.   Even that 1 minute later... the content doesnt matter any more.  "Who" is to "blame" for the lack of product or lack of delivery, etc, likely fades almost instantly.       The negative feeling, and the name of the person/businss who left them with that negative feeling, likely lasts much much longer.

As I said, I was airing that dirty laundry on purpose... thinking I was being smart to foster a shared experience, and show I was on the customer's side.   But now, having been on the other side of the conversation...  I'm pretty sure that was not smart at all.