November 19, 2014

New Blog Announcement

Dear Subscribers,

We’re excited to announce the launch of our brand new blog! Not only will you notice a vibrant new look and feel, but you'll also have an overall better user experience.

The new blog is equipped with categories, tags and a robust search feature so you can easily pinpoint the content you’re looking for.

Also, given the growth of ChannelAdvisor’s global presence and readers, we wanted to tailor our content to you. Localized and relevant content will now be delivered to each region.

IMPORTANT: In order to keep following our blog, you will need to re-subscribe. Please select which of our regional blogs you’d like to receive content from:

Thank you!

-The ChannelAdvisor Team

November 17, 2014

Amazon's New Holiday Returns Policy You Probably Don't Know About

Just a few weeks ago, eBay announced its extended holiday returns policy. Come to find out, Amazon has been quietly working on a similar policy. Unlike eBay, Amazon opted in all its sellers without notification through the normal communications channels.

With some research, we came across the updated policy, and we’re here to give you the highlights.

Amazon orders shipped (by you or by Amazon) between November 1 and December 31 are now returnable through January 31 of the following year. This policy is aimed to create the best experience for buyers. Sellers are required to match this policy (or, for the overachievers, offer an even longer returns period).


Amazon Holiday Returns.png


Questions? Leave a comment below or email

Wp-13-ways-get-kicked-off-amazon-LP (1)
Not sure you’re following all of Amazon’s requirements for retailers? This free white paper takes you through 13 ways Amazon could kick you off the marketplace.


November 14, 2014

Cyber Five Frenzy: Uncover Your Suppressed Products and Use Google Merchant Promos

To help all retailers prepare for the holiday rush, we’ll be kicking our blog into high gear, sharing several holiday preparation tips as we lead up to the holiday season. We want to make sure you’re covered from all angles, so two tips per post — one on digital marketing and one on marketplaces — and two blogs per week. We’ll begin with the tips that take the most time to implement and end with the less complex. Let the prepping commence!


You have great products, so give them the digital lovin’ they deserve! By taking a few extra steps, you can protect your products from being suppressed in marketplace searches. And if you’re currently advertising via Google, spice up your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) with special offers for your customers. Try setting aside a few minutes each day to cater to your products’ digital well being. These suggestions may sound minuscule, but they could have a big impact on your sales this holiday season.

Marketplaces Tip #9: Uncover your suppressed products

No matter how much time and money you spend advertising your products, shoppers can’t make a purchase if the actual listing isn’t showing up. That’s a lot of hard work and money down the drain! Be sure to take care of listing errors to avoid product suppression:

  • Audit product listings to verify that they meet Amazon’s standards.

  • Look for issues like:

  • Find suppressed products on Amazon by running the Suppressed Products Inventory report in Amazon or by viewing your suppressed listing errors in ChannelAdvisor.


Digital Marketing Tip #9: Use Google Merchant Promos

Want to give your PLAs an extra boost? Try Google’s Merchant Promotions, which add a “special offer” link to the bottom of your product ads. When shoppers roll over the link, a promotion code for a discount shows up. The best part? It’s entirely free for retailers. Note, however, that the offer has to fall within certain parameters.

Accepted promotions:

  • Dollar amount off

  • Percentage off

  • Free gifts

  • Opportunities to buy more and save more, such as “buy one, get one free” offers

Unaccepted promotions:

  • Mail-in rebates

  • Discounted shipping

  • Markdowns/advertised price reductions of insignificant monetary value (meaning less than $5 off or 5% off)



We always love hearing about your progress as we approach one of the busiest times of year, so feel free to update us in the comments below.

Be on the lookout for the next post in our holiday series. We’ll discuss Multi-Channel Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and strategies for managing your mobile bidding!

To make the sale, you’ve got to get shoppers to your webstore. This free eBook dives into the digital marketing tips you need to succeed this holiday season, including social and mobile.

November 12, 2014

Guest Blog: Why Dynamic Pricing is More than a Buzzword in Online Retail

Dynamic pricing; you've probably heard of it and there’s a good chance that you’re confused by it. You might even be scared off by it due to the recent drama caused by Uber riders who received bills of several hundred dollars due to “surge pricing” on Halloween. However, the aim of this article is to separate fact from fiction once and for all.

Dynamic pricing is often portrayed negatively because it means that consumers are paying different amounts for the same goods. But what about sales and promo codes? Shoppers end up having different totals for the same goods anyway, which is just one reason why online retailers should throw out the gossip they’ve heard about dynamic pricing and give it some real thought.


How a Dynamic Pricing Strategy Works

As a pricing strategy, dynamic pricing boils down to changing prices based on market forces and internal factors. Market forces are generally out of a retailer’s control, like competitor pricing, demand, and more. Internal factors can range from quantity in stock to historical sales volume. These two come together like a superhero tag team because they ensure that your back is always covered. This is crucial since villains (I mean competitors…) are lurking around every corner of the internet. Even a momentary lapse in pricing acumen can result in significant loss of revenue and profit.

Online retailers that use dynamic pricing often use it in two ways. First, they use it to drop prices when their competitors do, or when they need to clear out stock of certain items. This is definitely the most talked about function of dynamic pricing.

A lesser known, but equally important use of dynamic pricing is price increases. You read that right. Sometimes the best thing to do is raise your prices. Some instances that warrant a price increase include a competitor running out of stock or when you’re the only seller on the market with a particular product.

Retailers can raise prices to bring in more profit when demand is high, and lower prices to increase revenue when demand is low. Of course it can get more complex by taking into account a number of pricing variables such as price elasticity to really figure out how price fluctuations impact conversion rates. From these, retailers can learn what maximizes sales and margins and stick with that strategy.

Who Is Leading the Pack

Amazon and Wal-Mart are two giant retailers that are putting dynamic pricing to good use and definitely reaping its benefits. Amazon uses dynamic pricing because it is hyper-competitive and takes its status of loss leader very seriously. Amazon is one of the top 10 retailers in the US and raked in $44 billion in sales last year. Prices on certain items change every 10 -15 minutes to drive sales and stay competitive consistently.

Wal-Mart is another mega retailer that is using dynamic pricing to its advantage. The low-price leader implements about 50,000 price changes every month. Wal-Mart is definitely an interesting case to follow because its online sales growth outpaced Amazon for the first time in 2013 (30% vs. 27%). On top of that, a recent Kantar Retail study cites that Amazon’s basket is 17% more expensive than’s. It’s clear that online retail competition and dynamic pricing usage will only skyrocket from here.

How You Can Get in on the Fun

There are many pricing strategies that online retailers can use, from anchor pricing to segmented pricing. Many of these are tried and true, but dynamic pricing sticks out as a newcomer. While the strategy has been alive and well in the airline industry for years, online retailers are just starting to catch on to the revenue and profit boosting potential that dynamic pricing offers.

There is a three step plan for taking a data-driven approach to make dynamic pricing a reality:

  1. Collect competitive pricing and assortment data
  2. Identify and prioritize where you aren’t competitive
  3. Set your pricing strategy and evaluate the results

Big box retailers have proven the positive impact of dynamic pricing on the bottom line and now it’s up to all other retailers to make it the new standard.


Blog post by Angelica Valentine, Content Marketing Manager, Wiser

November 10, 2014

Cyber Five Frenzy: Advertise on Amazon and Socialize Your Products

To help all retailers prepare for the holiday rush, we’ll be kicking our blog into high gear, sharing several holiday preparation tips over the span of the next two months. We want to make sure you’re covered from all angles, so two tips per post — one on digital marketing and one on marketplaces — and two blogs per week. We’ll begin with the tips that take the most time to implement and end with the less complex. Let the prepping commence!


If done correctly, promoting your products across various digital channels is a strategic way to increase the exposure of your brands and products. These channels can include paid advertising on marketplaces like Amazon, as well as social integrations. Let’s explore tips, options and ideas for further promoting your products.

Marketplaces Tip #8: Advertise on Amazon

Maintaining your seller status and optimizing your listings only gets you so far in your Amazon placement. Sometimes you just need that extra boost. To assist, Amazon launched an advertising program called Amazon Sponsored Products, which allows you to drive more traffic to your Amazon listings.

Give their similar names, you may be wondering how Amazon Sponsored Products differ from Amazon Product Ads. We’ve put together the chart below to help explain, but the primary difference is that Sponsored Products take shoppers to the specific Amazon listing, while Product Ads take them off Amazon and onto your website.

Amazon chart

Digital Marketing Tip #8: Socialize your products

Remember when everyone said you couldn’t measure ROI on social media? Well, that’s changing. Just recently, social media has taken great leaps into the world of conversions, with #AmazonCart and Pinterest Rich Pins leading the charge.

Amazon Cart

The hashtag #AmazonCart was unveiled earlier this year, and according to Dowitcher Designs, it’s currently used in around 5,000 tweets per day.

How it works: Someone posts an Amazon product on Twitter, you reply to that tweet with #AmazonCart and Amazon puts the product directly in your cart.

Here it is in action:

Amazon is doing its part to promote #AmazonCart with Vine videos and pictures all tagged with #AmazonCart.   

Amazon cart

Pinterest Rich Pins

Pinterest is one of the most compelling social channels for retailers, as it’s largely focused on consumer products. According to research from AddShoppers, Pinterest generated the greatest amount of social commerce revenue in 2013, accounting for a quarter of all social revenue.

Take advantage of Rich Pins to provide Pinterest users with valuable information about your products. With Rich Pins, retailers can:

  • Include title, price, availability, brand name and logo

  • Send price notifications to users who pinned a product, alerting them of a price drop

Social sharing icons

Regardless of where these social channels are in the quest for monetization, the advice here is to be ready. Add social sharing buttons to products on your website (shares convert more than twice as often as Likes). Prepare your feed for potential social sales, so you’ll be ready to go when various buy buttons are fully launched and adopted by consumers.

Social sharing


We always love hearing about your progress as we approach one of the busiest times of year, so feel free to update us in the comments below.

Be on the lookout for the next post in our holiday series. We’ll discuss strategies for uncovering your suppressed products on Amazon and using Google Merchant Promos!

Looking for more tips to optimize your digital marketing strategy this holiday season? Download part III of our E-Commerce Holiday Checklist Series!

November 07, 2014

Cyber Five Frenzy: Test CBT and Look Beyond Google Shopping

To help all retailers prepare for the holiday rush, we’ll be kicking our blog into high gear, sharing several holiday preparation tips over the span of the next two months. We want to make sure you’re covered from all angles, so two tips per post — one on digital marketing and one on marketplaces — and two blogs per week. We’ll begin with the tips that take the most time to implement and end with the less complex. Let the prepping commence!


November has come, clocks are set back and holiday merchandise seems to be multiplying at most retail locations. We’re approaching holiday-prep crunch time, and hopefully most of your ducks are in a row by now. So what’s left to do? Oh, we still have a jam-packed list for you!

Spend the rest of this week and into the weekend considering a couple of promising e-commerce options: selling internationally and exploring additional comparison shopping engines (CSEs). Both yield a great opportunity to stretch the reach of your products.

Marketplaces Tip #7: Test CBT through marketplaces

Even the thought of cross-border trade (CBT) and all its complexities can bring about uneasiness, especially if you’re a first-timer. Value-added tax (VAT), translations and international fulfillment often don’t come naturally for most retailers. Before you start to fret, know that expanding through marketplaces is a low-cost way to test the global appetite for your products.  

Both Amazon and eBay offer programs that allow you to ship your products to a US-based warehouse, where they’re then shipped to the international destination. For both programs, the buyer absorbs the costs.

  • Amazon FBA Export

    • Available to sellers in any Amazon geography

    • Free to sellers; buyer pays VAT and shipping

    • Includes products on and those held in FBA

    • Onus is on the seller to check that a product is eligible for sale in other countries (e.g., ensure it’s legal to sell it there)

    • Sellers handle returns

  • EBay Global Shipping Program

    • Available to sellers in the US and UK

    • Free to sellers; buyer pays VAT and shipping

    • US sellers can sell to 60+ countries, and UK sellers can sell to 20+ countries today

    • Sellers handle returns


Digital Marketing Tip #7: Look beyond Google Shopping

There’s a whole world of comparison shopping engines (CSEs) outside of Google Shopping land. According to this chart from comScore, many other CSEs offer opportunities for unique views, such as PriceGrabber, Yahoo, Shopzilla and more. Exploring new CSEs could help expand your products’ breadth.

April 2014 Reach of CSE.jpg

We always love hearing about your progress as we approach one of the busiest times of year, so feel free to update us in the comments below.

Be on the lookout next week for the next blog post in our holiday series. We’ll discuss strategies for advertising on Amazon as well as socializing your products!

Want more? This free eBook dives into the digital marketing tips you need to succeed this holiday season.

November 05, 2014 Transitions to Everything You Need to Know

Logo-200x200Back in August, Rakuten announced that it would be transitioning Rakuten’s over to This decision was part of the Japanese e-commerce giant’s plan to offer ‘global borderless shopping in the future’. went live this October for merchants, and while this new marketplace will initially run concurrently with, the marketplace will effectively close in the first quarter of 2015, and all traffic will be directed to

As the third largest marketplace in the UK, has been a popular marketplace for UK retailers and consumers alike. So what will this transition mean for retailers, and what are the differences between the two platforms? Here, we’ll look at some of the top questions retailers are asking about

Who/what is Rakuten?

Rakuten Group is one of the world’s leading internet service companies and is listed on the JASDAQ, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce. Rakuten Group is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

What exactly is changing?

Rakuten launched the global Rakuten brand in the UK this month, introducing the brand-new e-commerce site, The new e-commerce site is part of the new Rakuten Global family and is focused on connecting unique, interesting retailers with new customers. is being launched on a new international e-commerce platform, as part of a move toward global, borderless shopping.

When is it changing? rolled out this month in the UK. By March 2015, Rakuten’s will close and redirect site traffic to 

Why is closing?

The Rakuten Group has decided to move all its e-commerce marketplaces businesses onto one global platform. This platform benefits retailers and customers alike as they gain access to global marketplace products and customers, plus all the advantages that a single platform brings. As a result, Rakuten has accelerated the move toward the global platform in its European subsidiaries with the launch of This is hugely exciting and will strongly support future growth of the marketplace model and Rakuten within the UK and Europe.

Why should I move my business to

Rakuten is passionate about empowering merchants to grow their businesses online and has proven global success in achieving this. The marketplace is committed to growing in the UK and is making significant investments. Working with will enable merchants to be part of that group, and in the future, unlock the potential of cross-border trade with the Rakuten Group in Europe and globally.

What does the launch mean for customers?

The new Rakuten marketplace will offer a brand new online shopping experience for consumers. Not only will this marketplace connect customers directly with hundreds of unique retailers, but it will also offer a loyalty scheme allowing customers to collect Super Points. Customers can collect 1 point for every £1 spent, and 100 points are worth £1, which can be spent on anything on the site.

Will current listings be visible on

No, listings won’t be migrated over from to, so you’ll need to take action. Speak to your account manager at Rakuten’s for support in setting up your account on the new Rakuten platform.

What does the launch mean for new merchants?

Many retailers are interested in joining Many are excited by the opportunity  to join a new marketplace with global possibilities, as well as take advantage of the personalisation opportunities that Rakuten offers.

Retailers can personalise their online shops with branding, categories, products and stories, create exclusive offers that can be promoted directly through their own email database and build a strong relationship with customers through marketing, customer service and the Rakuten Super Points loyalty scheme.

When will ChannelAdvisor support the new platform?

ChannelAdvisor will provide a date as we get closer to the launch. We will alert all customers about updates through email and the SSC.

Uk-ebook-broadening-horizons-img-1If you’re interested in broadening your horizons to new marketplaces, this eBook offers retailers insight into marketplaces worldwide that offer excellent opportunities for international expansion.

Blog post by Michele Maginty, partnerships manager, EMEA, at ChannelAdvisor.

November 04, 2014

Meet Me in the Middle: How Amazon Delivers Same-Day Service in the UK

What’s one of the best strategies for offering same-day shipping? Having your customers meet you partway!

Amazon is unlocking this secret to success in the UK by offering more than 500 locations for same-day delivery and pickup. In October 2014, Amazon announced a partnership with Smiths News, a leading UK newspaper and magazine wholesaler, to offer customers same-day pickup service via the newsagent’s new subsidiary, Pass My Parcel, which will deliver Amazon packages to its select retail locations.

Pickup locations are available in more than 6,000 locations throughout the UK, but same-day service is available for only 500 of them. During online checkout, buyers may see a "Pickup is Available — Choose from XX Locations Near You” message, which lets them select a delivery and pickup site. With the Pass My Parcel delivery service, the delivery process is expedited through Smiths News’ twice-daily distribution schedule. Orders made by 11:45 a.m. can be available for same-day pickup at 4 p.m., and orders made by 7:45 p.m. can be available for pickup by 6:30 the next morning in these select retail locations.

Amazon pickup

What might be even more compelling is that same-day delivery at these pickup locations is included with the £79 Prime membership. Shoppers without Prime will pay £4.99 for delivery. Shoppers can research pickup locations near them via the Amazon website.

Pickup locations have been a new cornerstone of Amazon’s delivery strategy. One option is via Royal Mail Local Collect, where the customer can retrieve their package from the local Post Office®. Other pick-up options include Collect+ stores or Amazon Lockers. Amazon is definitely delivering on its promise to give customers choices. Amazon has reported that within the last year, deliveries to Amazon Lockers have more than doubled, proving that pickup options meet a very real customer need. With the addition of its first same-day pickup option via Smiths News’ Pass My Parcel, it will be interesting to see which pickup method is crowned king.

Across the pond in the US, the same-day-delivery story is getting a lot of press now that Google Express (GX) has added three new same-day delivery metros, new merchant partners and a subscription fee option for the program. Amazon itself has also been present with same-day-delivery in 13 metro areas and via its grocery-delivery service, Amazon Fresh, which is available in four metros. Read more about these services on our sister blog.

Savvy retailers should be on the lookout for how they might capitalize on this growing trend of hyper-fast delivery. The biggest key to accessing this opportunity is to join the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) bandwagon. To streamline its fulfillment chain, Amazon is consolidating origination and delivery points. By focusing on its distribution centers only, Amazon is keeping the distribution chain lean, allowing for same-day service. So put your products in the Amazon distribution centers via FBA and enjoy the benefits, which don’t just include faster customer shipping — but also increased access to the coveted Amazon Buy Box. Download our FBA eBook for a deep dive into this service.


Blog post by Rachel Miller, product marketing manager, ChannelAdvisor

November 03, 2014

Customer Success Story: Auto Parts Retailer Grows 400% with ChannelAdvisor

As a software provider, it’s immensely rewarding to see the e-commerce success of our customers,
especially relatively young retailers. The online automotive industry is thriving, but as most automotive retailers know, it’s an increasing challenge to move inventory. Automotive retailer ShopEddies has experienced massive expansion in a comparatively short time, and we hope its story can provide inspiration for other retailers.

Company Overview

Shopeddies-thumbnail-1ShopEddies is one of the largest online retailers of automotive and recreational vehicle (RV) performance parts and accessories. The company’s strong reputation in the automotive industry makes it a preferred auto choice among consumers. Owner William (Bill) Baiden and his team work to ensure that all customers are guaranteed the top brands and best performers at competitive prices, both on the company’s website and various online marketplaces.

The Situation

Before Baiden founded ShopEddies in 2012, he was a business owner and retailer in a different industry — arts and crafts — and used ChannelAdvisor to manage his marketplaces listings. He later decided to pursue the automotive side of things and used ChannelAdvisor’s services to help his new business adjust to the frequently changing requirements of each online marketplace.

For automotive sellers especially, the e-commerce landscape is extensive, so it’s important to have a fully functional system in place to sell online.

The Solution

Using ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, ShopEddies listed its automotive products on Amazon, eBay, Shopping and Sears. After much success, the company was housing inventory in 20 warehouses and using five or six suppliers. To help manage inventory more efficiently, Baiden decided to take advantage of OrderPigeon. OrderPigeon is a fulfillment solution focused on regulating inventory, order and shipping data between retailers and wholesale distributors. The seamless connection between ChannelAdvisor and OrderPigeon allowed ShopEddies to fulfill orders with the fastest, least expensive shipping method available.

Baiden considers inventory and data control two of his company’s greatest challenges when selling online. The ChannelAdvisor-OrderPigeon integration makes ongoing updates and enhancements to ShopEddies pricing and shipments and allows the company to track inventory data at each distribution center, as well as monitor fulfillment timing for orders. ShopEddies’ inventory is now successfully automated, saving the company time and confusion.

The Results

With ChannelAdvisor, ShopEddies grew by 400% within the first year and increased its product quantity from 40,000 items to more than 300,000. “We went from zero sales to an established automotive and RV performance parts and accessories online retailer with ChannelAdvisor as our partner, and we’re continuing to grow,” said Baiden.

ShopEddies also recently tapped into cross-border trade by using ChannelAdvisor to sell internationally to 60 countries via eBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP). In attempts to drive traffic back to its website and increase mobile sales, ShopEddies is also in the process of launching Google Shopping campaigns with ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing.


We’re proud to have such a valued client in ShopEddies and wish the company the best in its future success!

SemaChannelAdvisor will be attending SEMA, the automotive trade event, November 4 - 7. If you’re interested in discussing your e-commerce strategy and finding out how you can benefit from using ChannelAdvisor, please request a meeting with one of our auto experts.


October 30, 2014

The Amazon Listing Status That Could Cause Your Sales to Decline

Do you pay attention to restaurant inspection grades? The ones that rate the establishment on cleanliness and whether it’s following regulations for food handling and storage? Maybe you’ve even seen a restaurant shut down while it works out its compliance issues.

Well, Amazon has a similar grading system that it uses to determine whether a product listing is up to its standards. Listings that don’t make the cut are given a suspended listing status and are often referred to as suppressed listings.

Last year, Amazon announced that it was using a suspended listing status to control the listings published on its site, in an effort to ensure that all the ingredients for success are included in the product page. (Read our prior blog on it here.) Amazon looks for listing elements like images, descriptions, Item Type Keywords (ITKs) and titles with an appropriate length. When Amazon finds listings to be noncompliant, it sends them to “listing jail” and suppresses from search results.

Just last week, Amazon announced that it will start grading listings in additional categories. Here’s a summary of the Amazon US Help page about it:

On or after October 22, 2014 sellers in Shoes, Jewelry, Watches or Luggage categories may experience suppressed listings. Items that don’t meet this criteria will be suppressed and will not show in search or browse until the issues are resolved.

For Shoes, child listings need values for Department, Size and Color. Also, the main images should be least 1,000 pixels on the longest side and needs to have a pure white background.

For Jewelry, child listings need a Department and Metal Type value and also must have images with pure white backgrounds.

For child listings in Watches or Luggage, you must include a Department and have an image with a pure white background.

If you’re a US seller in the Shoes, Jewelry, Watches or Luggage categories, you’ll want to complete a quick check of your listing statuses to see if any listings are suspended. You can do so within Seller Central by viewing the Listing Quality and Suppressed Listings Report under Inventory Reports.

If you’re a ChannelAdvisor customer, you can also view your suppressed listings within our application, where you can filter, sort and export notices about your suppressed listings. You can also use our Data Transformation Engine to apply business rules or lookup lists that can help you address many product suspension errors at once.

Amazon’s motivation with suppressed listings is to improve the shopping experience for buyers on its site by providing them with all the necessary details they need to make an informed and confident purchase decision. Regardless of the category that you sell in, you can be proactive in complying with Amazon recommendations and requirements so that you give your listings the best chance of success with buyers.

Some ways to avoid getting your listings put in the slammer:

  • Review what is required for your listing category, some like apparel, shoes and jewelry. Amazon is stricter about listings in these categories.

  • Send a valid UPC (or other product ID)

  • Keep titles less than 80 characters

  • Include brand values

  • Include a description or bullet points (preferably both)

  • Use a compliant image (e.g., white background, at least 1000 pixels minimum on the longest side)

  • Where applicable, provide values for department, size and color

  • Categorize your products with an ITK or Browse Node ID

When conducting account audits, I find that suppressed listings can account for a significant portion of listings and are sometimes at the root of a seller’s sales decline. If you don’t know whether Amazon is suppressing your listings (or how many listings it’s suppressing), now’s the time to research it further. Set your listings free and watch your sales soar!


Blog post by Rachel Miller, product marketing manager, ChannelAdvisor