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- Insider Tips from Amazon's Most Successful Sellers -

Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp

1. (Firm) 2. Electronic commerce. 3. Selling

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Book Details
 321 p
 File Size 
 5,881 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 978-0-8144-1034-9 (pbk.)
 0-8144-1034-0 (pbk.)
 2009 Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp 

This is a book of secrets for success from some of
Amazon’s top sellers. They’re some of the brightest
entrepreneurs of this still-new century. They work
for themselves, but under the smart, knowledgeable,
somewhat-stern watch of the Internet’s top retailer, Some of these successful business
owners brought their thriving businesses with them
when they came to Amazon. Others set out to build
e-commerce businesses that might never have existed
without the Amazon platform.They all have fascinating
stories to tell and a wealth of knowledge
they have been willing to share with others who’d
like to follow their paths to success.You can be one
of them.We wrote this book to help you get there.
Along our journey together, you’ll learn about
people like Kathy Wojtczak of Element Jewelry
& Accessories. She’d been operating a bricksand-
mortar store until she tested the Amazon
waters in 2005. Now, she would never turn back.

You’ll meet experienced e-merchants like Michael
Jansma of GemAffair and Andy Mowery of debnroo.
These two Amazon top sellers were hugely successful eBay
PowerSellers first.They saw some changes at eBay that drove them to
look for other, better environments for their businesses. They soon
realized that Amazon fit the bill.You’ll meet Dan Morrill, who never
owned a store before, but set out to build a successful online bookstore
of his own, with Amazon as its cornerstone.

But back to you, our reader.We’ll share with you the advice these
sellers offer and the knowledge base they’ve gained to help make
your trip to a successful e-commerce business faster and more comfortable.
Amazon isn’t quite like its famous competitor, eBay.You can
find books and seminars galore to help you build a life for yourself
using that site. But Amazon hasn’t received much attention of that
kind, and it’s not as easy to immerse yourself in a self-directed
Amazon education. So picking up this book is a great first step.We’ve
not only provided shared advice and “secrets” we’ve gleaned from
these sellers, but we’ve also put those secrets within the context you
need to understand them.We realize that selling on Amazon is new
to many of you, so we’ve helped you find your way around this
neighborhood and explained how it works.We’ve also profiled some
of your most successful new neighbors at the end of each chapter.
They’re a fascinating lot, and we’ve enjoyed telling their stories, convinced
that you will enjoy reading them.

Happily for us all, the sellers who worked with us were all great
teachers, as well as being smart businesspeople. Anyone who’s ever
been to school knows what a huge difference that makes.Your teachers
throughout this book will help you learn by sharing their experiences
and engaging your curiosity. They might even make you
smile. They’ve helped us sprinkle surprises throughout this book,
including these great tidbits:
Profiles, or real-life Amazon success stories, complete with pictures
Savvy advice from experts, such as one of the world’s top
shipping experts, Mark Taylor, and e-commerce marketing wizard Dale King
Details needed for moving to other selling venues, such as your own WebStore
Quotes and stories from some of Amazon’s most successful sellers
Perhaps most important, Gary Richardson worked with us to
prepare this book. Gary was Amazon’s number-one seller in his category
for 2007. He helped us keep things fresh and real. Gary was our
sounding board, our teacher, and our cheerleader every step of the
way as we prepared this book for you.We’re excited to share the benefits
of his experience with you as you travel through these pages.

We’re convinced that you will agree with us.You made a great
decision to read this book. Here’s a brief rundown of the chapters
that follow.We’ll guide you all along the way, from sourcing products
for your Amazon business to building a successful presence on the Web itself.

Table of Contents


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Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1. Amazon, and You’re Done.You may think you
know all about Amazon because you’ve bought a few things
from the site, but trust us, you’ll be amazed at just how
far-reaching the Amazon empire has become.We’ll describe
that empire briefly, and throw in a little history to add some
context.We devote much of this chapter to Amazon’s
Marketplace—a very good place to start selling on Amazon.
Chapter 2. Which Way Should I Go? It turns out that selling
on Amazon’s Marketplace is not your only option for making
money there.You can also become a Pro Merchant. Seller
Central also fits in here. Additionally, you can sell through your
own Amazon WebStore(s). Amazon gives you plenty of options
for building a business, and while that can seem intimidating at
first, it’s ultimately what you want: choices.
Chapter 3.You Have to Buy It Before You Can Sell It. It
doesn’t matter whether you’ve set up shop on eBay, Amazon, or
Main Street; if you don’t have a steady stream of great products
to sell, you won’t be around very long. Our years of speaking to
new entrepreneurs have shown us that this is the number-one
question all sellers have:Where do I get more products to sell?
This important chapter covers strategies for sourcing products—
from finding inventory on your own shelves, to working directly
with manufacturers, to buying wholesale lots on eBay for resale
on Amazon. (We can tell you from personal experience that
eBay can be a very good source of products for resale on
Amazon.) And guess what? Amazon, too, with its millions of
products, can also be a great source of inventory for you when
you start selling on your own website.
Chapter 4. Creating Great Product Detail Pages. Here
we provide “best practices” advice on describing, classifying,
and, yes, pricing your items.You’ll learn tips for creating
high-performing product detail pages. And here, as in every
chapter, we’ll include success strategies from top Amazon sellers.
Of course, you don’t always have to create your own product
pages if your products are already part of Amazon’s vast catalog.
So we’ll also describe how best to piggyback on pages that
already exist.
Chapter 5. Automating Your Amazon Business. Smart
sellers use software tools, whether they download them from
Amazon or other sources, to help them automate listings, track
sales, manage inventory, and run their businesses effectively.The
largest sellers work with companies such as Channel Velocity to
help them move vast amounts of inventory through more than
one channel. An industry insider told us the information in this
chapter is difficult to find in a single place, so we were happy to
compile it for you.
Chapter 6. Customer Service Without the Smile.
Although your online customers can’t actually see your warm
smile, there’s still much you can do to ensure that buying from
you is a pleasant experience. Just as on eBay, your feedback
score is hugely important, and is a keen measure of your success.
We’ll ensure that you have all the information and success
strategies you need to leapfrog competitors and attain (and keep)
the highest score feasible. For example, it is more important
to maintain good feedback than to have large numbers of
customers. Sellers must also know how to encourage feedback,
since Amazon buyers are less likely to leave feedback than are
other online buyers. Sellers must learn not to be shy about
asking customers to reconsider unfair feedback.
Chapter 7. Marketing Your Amazon Business. Amazon has
more than 1 million “third-party” sellers, yet many customers
think that all Amazon sellers are the same. As a matter of fact,
many of your Amazon customers won’t even realize they’re not
purchasing directly from Amazon. So, how can you possibly
distinguish yourself in such a setting? Here are true secrets for
setting yourself apart from other sellers.We provide tips and
tricks from branding experts that would make a marketing whiz
at Coca-Cola proud.We’ll show you how to win the buy box
and build your customer base even when Amazon fulfills your
orders using its own well-branded boxes. Also, we’ll show you
how to drive traffic to your listings through reviews, which are
very powerful, yet sometimes hard to get. Finally, there’s advice
about using Amazon tags, your Amazon blog, and Amazon’s
already popular shopping features, such as recommendations
and Listmania.
Chapter 8. Shipping: The Workhorse of Your Operation.
Sold! Ship now! Those three words bring joy to the hearts of
Amazon sellers worldwide. But two more words, packing and
shipping—the less glamorous parts of operating e-commerce
businesses—are hugely important.They’re also quite time
consuming.We’ll share secrets for making the shipping process
as inexpensive and efficient as possible. Did you know, for
example, that you could outsource all of this to Amazon
through its Fulfillment by Amazon service? More and more
sellers are using this program, and the vast majority are glad
they’ve signed up. Finally, you’ll learn how to make the best use
of packing slips, invoices, shipping materials, and return labels.
Chapter 9. Life Beyond Amazon: Selling Through Other
Venues. OK, you’re an Amazon success story yourself. Now
what? Should you also sell on eBay? How about other
media-oriented sites such as ABE or Alibris? How can you get
your products on comparison shopping engines, which more
and more shoppers use to ensure that they are getting the best
deals? Most important of all, when should you consider creating
your own e-commerce site? Finally, why not leverage all that
hard-earned experience by becoming a consultant or trainer?

Denise Gosnell

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Book Details
 329 p
 File Size 
 12,029 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 2005 by Denise Gosnell 

About the Author
Denise Gosnell is a software attorney with Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP
(, a worldwide intellectualproperty law firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Denise
has a unique background in both technology and law, and presently uses her deep technical and legal
expertise to counsel hightech clients on intellectual property and technical matters.
Denise has over ten years of experience creating software applications, ranging from standalone and
clientserver to enterprisewide applications. Denise has worked for leading software companies, such as
Microsoft and EDS, and has earned a worldwide reputation for her technology expertise. She received a
Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science – Business (summa cum laude) from Anderson University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. Denise has coauthored six other software development books to date: Beginning Access 2003 VBA (Wiley Publishing, Inc.), Visual Basic .NET and SQL Server 2000: Building An Effective Data Layer (Wrox Press), Beginning Visual Basic.NET Databases (Wrox Press), Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press), Professional SQL Server 2000 (Wrox Press), and MSDE Bible (IDG Books). Denise was a featured technology speaker at the Microsoft European Professional Developer’s Conference in December 2001 and has on numerous occasions
assisted Microsoft’s Training and Certification group in creating new exams for their MCSD and MCSE certifications. She herself holds the MCSD certification.
Denise can be reached at or

Web APIs are a set of application programming interfaces that can be called over standard Internet protocols. Web APIs and Web services are finally getting real attention in the mainstream. Various types of Web APIs are now available from leading technology companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, and others. Federal Express, UPS, and many other leading companies have recently released or are working on Web APIs as well. Most of these companies offer a free account for limited use of their Web APIs, but some charge a fee for certain levels of usage.

If you like the idea of generating applications that capitalize on the services of some of these wellknown companies, or if you just want to learn from what these leading companies are doing to aid you in implementing your own Web APIs, then this is the book for you.

What This Book Covers
This book provides a handson guide to using some of the most popular Web APIs in software applications. It provides the nutsandbolts details on how several APIs work, and then offers numerous examples of how to use the APIs in real world situations.
While reading this book, you will learn:
❑ Basic concepts of Web APIs
❑ How Web APIs can be used for professional application development
❑ How to call Web APIs using SOAP over HTTP
❑ How to call Web APIs using HTTPGET (REST)
❑ How to call Web APIs using HTTPPOST
❑ How to use the Google API
❑ How to use the MapPoint API
❑ How to use the Amazon API
❑ How to use the eBay API and SDK
❑ How to use the PayPal API
❑ How to locate additional APIs
❑ Some thirdparty extensions of existing APIs
❑ How to create your own API
❑ How to call Web APIs from Microsoft Office applications
❑ How to call Web APIs from mobile devices
❑ How to use multiple APIs together in realworld case studies

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xvii
Chapter 1: Anatomy of a Web API 1
Web APIs versus Web Services 1
Web APIs as XML Web Services 2
What Is XML? 2
Invoking an XML Web Service 3
Summary 14
Chapter 2: Using the Google API 15
Google 101 15
cache: 16
daterange: 17
filetype: 17
inanchor: 18
info: 18
intext: 18
intitle: 18
inurl: 18
link: 19
phonebook: 19
related: 19
site: 19
Introduction to the Google API 19
Signing Up and Obtaining a Key 19
Anatomy of a Google API Query 23
Query Syntax 23
Executing a Query 25
Looping through Results 31
Five Creative Ways to Use the Google API 33
#1—Build a Google Search Feature 33
#2—Return Random Pages 36
#3—Save the Results of a Google Search to a File 37
#4—Use Google to Check Spelling 40
#5—Use the Google Cache to Retrieve a Web Site That Is No Longer Available 42
Other Ways to Use the Google API 45
Third-Party Google Extensions 46
Summary 48
Chapter 3: Using the MapPoint API 49
MapPoint 101 50
Introduction to the MapPoint API 51
Signing Up for an Evaluation Account 52
The MapPoint Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) 58
Anatomy of a MapPoint API Query 59
Available Services 59
Using the Test Environment versus Production 63
Executing a MapPoint Query 63
Five Creative Ways to Use the MapPoint API 71
#1—Obtain Driving Directions 72
#2—Retrieve a Map 75
#3—Perform a Geocode Lookup 77
#4—Find Nearby Places 80
#5—Obtain Information on Points of Interests 82
Other Ways to Use the MapPoint API 84
Third-Party MapPoint Extensions 85
Summary 85
Chapter 4: Using the APIs 87
Amazon 101 88
Introduction to the Amazon APIs 90
Supported Features 90
Signing Up for a Subscription ID 91
Anatomy of Amazon API Queries 96 E-Commerce Service API Query Syntax 97
Help Operation 102
Transaction Operation 102
Alexa Web Information Service API Query Syntax 102
Simple Queue Service API Query Syntax 103
Executing a Query Using HTTP-GET (REST) 104
Executing a Query Using SOAP 106
Looping Through Results 109
Five Creative Ways to Use the Amazon APIs 110
#1—Retrieve Feedback about a Seller with ECS 110
#2—Retrieve Product Pricing with ECS 110
#3—Look Up a Friend or Family Member’s Wish List with ECS 110
#4—Create an Shopping Cart with ECS 111
#5—Retrieve URL Information with Alexa Web Information Service 112
Other Ways to Use the Amazon APIs 112
Third-Party Amazon Extensions 113
Summary 115
Chapter 5: Using the eBay API 117
eBay 101 118
Introduction to the eBay API 118
Supported Features 119
Licensing Options 119
Joining the Developer’s Program and Establishing an Account 119
The eBay API Documentation 124
The eBay Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) 124
Anatomy of an eBay API Query 125
Query Syntax 125
Executing a Query Using HTTP-POST 127
Executing a Query Using SOAP 130
Five Creative Ways to Use the eBay API 132
#1—List an Item for Sale 133
#2—Retrieve a List of Categories 137
#3—Retrieve List of Pending Auctions for Seller 138
#4—Retrieve Winning Bidders of Dutch Auction 141
#5—Retrieve Feedback about a Seller 142
Other Ways to Use the eBay API 144
Third-Party eBay Extensions 145
Summary 146
Chapter 6: Using the PayPal API 147
PayPal 101 148
Introduction to the PayPal API 148
Supported Features 149
Getting Set Up to Use the PayPal API 149
Anatomy of a PayPal API Query 158
Query Syntax 158
Executing a Query 160
Other Ways to Use the PayPal API 162
Third-Party PayPal Extensions 162
Summary 162
Chapter 7: Other Web APIs 163
Faxing APIs 163
Setting Up a Free Developer Account 164
Sending a Test Fax 165
The UPS API 168
Setting Up a UPS Developer Account 168
Submitting a Request to the UPS API 170
The FedEx APIs 172
Setting Up a FedEx Developer Account 173
Submitting Transactions Using FedEx Ship Manager Direct 175
Bloglines Web API 176
Locating Additional Web APIs 178
Summary 180
Chapter 8: Calling Web APIs from Mobile Devices 181
What Devices Support XML Web APIs? 181
Windows Pocket PCs and Smartphones 182
Palm and Other Devices 183
Calling Web APIs from Pocket PC Applications 184
Example 1—Call MapPoint API Using SOAP Protocol to Retrieve Driving Directions 184
Example 2—Call API Using HTTP/GET (REST) Protocol 189
Summary 192
Chapter 9: Calling Web APIs from Microsoft Office 193
Calling Web APIs from VBA Code 193
Calling Web APIs Using VBA with HTTP/POST and HTTP/GET (REST) 194
Calling Web APIs Using SOAP Protocol 196
Calling a Web API from Microsoft Office Using .NET 202
Installing the Necessary Tools 203
Example—Calling Web Service from Word Using
Visual Basic .NET and SOAP 205
Summary 211
Chapter 10: Creating Your Own Web API 213
Designing the API 213
What Features Should the API Offer? 213
Which Protocols Should the API Support? 214
Should the Features Be Free or for a Fee? 215
Creating a Web API 215
Building an API Using Visual Studio .NET 216
Calling the Web API from a Client Application 222
Creating a Web API That Uses Other Programs or Services 224
Summary 224
Chapter 11: Case Study 1—Customer Relations
Management Application 225
Introduction to the Customer Relations Management (CRM) Application 225
Building the Project 228
Build the Database 228
Build the User Interface 230
Build the Modules 237
Touring the Completed Application 260
Summary 263
Chapter 12: Case Study 2—Executive Dashboard Application 265
Introduction to the Executive Dashboard Application 265
Building the User Interface 267
Creating the New Project 267
Adding References to the Web APIs 268
Adding Controls to the Form 270
Building the Code Modules 272
Touring the Completed Application 276
Summary 279
Index 281

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Who This Book Is ForI
The ideal reader has had prior experience with Microsoft .NET development, such as WinForms and
WebForms applications because most or all code examples will be written with .NET. However, the book also provides general explanations that will be useful for people who are familiar with other languages. Thus, prior .NET development experience is not required, but people with prior .NET development experience will find the code examples more familiar and easier to follow.
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