Getting ready to list your items on Amazon

I expect that later this weekend we will officially launch a new option to have your inventory listed on Amazon. In the meantime there are some things you can do to prepare for this.

Expectations
First off, I want to make sure your expectations are set appropriately. Listing single sports cards on Amazon is a relatively new endeavor. They are still working out some kinks and adding new features. Most of the public has not been trained to look for sports cards on Amazon. As a result, the exact same inventory will likely get significantly more sales on CheckOutMyCards.com than it will get on Amazon. I would roughly estimate that listing your inventory on Amazon might increase your sales by about 10%. That said, our couple week testing period only offers limited data. These numbers could sway greatly.

Fees
Because of our unique fee structure, our sellers commonly avoid our 20% cash-out fee by recycling earned store credit to buy other items on the site. In fact, they do it so frequently that we earn less than 8% cash-out fee per sale. This was intentional, it is encouraged, and it is a major factor in our growing success. However, it means that we don’t have high enough profit margins to cover the commission fees that Amazon charges. So… we will be passing along those fees to you if you choose to have your items listed on Amazon.

How it will work
To keep things simple, we are starting with one big option that will post everything you have for sale on Amazon. You will not be charged any fees to turn this option on or off. It will typically take a few hours for the data to initially go live on Amazon, but it might take longer at first because we can only post about 500,000 new listings per day. Once it is up there, your price changes should only be about an hour delayed. All new items that you list will automatically synchronize with Amazon.

Once we get an order from Amazon, we have a special CheckOutMyCards.com user account named “Amazon” that will make a 20% off offer that your account will automatically accept. You will be able to see these entries in your Offer History page. This is how we cover the Amazon commission fees and other monthly fees. We expect that many of you may want to inflate your prices before turning on the option to list your items on Amazon. That is perfectly acceptable. You will still be able to take normal offers on those items. The Auto-Accept Percentage, Minimum Offer Percentage, and Minimum Offer Amount settings only apply to normal offers.

Amazon Shipping
Just like on CheckOutMyCards.com, shipping fees are paid by the buyers, and they have a few options on Amazon. However, we charge a couple bucks more for shipping because Amazon requires that the orders be shipped out within 48 hours of being placed. In order for us to guarantee this, we run standard Amazon orders though our priority & express shipping pipeline. As a result we typically ship all Amazon orders placed by 6AM PST (9AM EST) on the the day they are placed. This is about 1-2 days faster than we typically ship our standard orders.

Back to testing…. More to come soon

41 thoughts on “Getting ready to list your items on Amazon

  1. So 20% is taken off the top, and then the proceeds are added to my balance? So if I request payment of that money, another 20% gets taken off, resulting in a total fee percentage of 36%?

    I don’t see how else you could do it, but I just wanted to ensure this is what you had in mind. I’ll still be signing up for this the day it goes live. I guess we’ll be able to look at the “top buyers” list and search for “Amazon” to see how much in sales it’s doing.

    • Think of selling on Amazon like accepting a 20% off offer. You are correct if you are one of the rare sellers that cashes out 100% of your sales… which I happen to know you are not. ;)

      Here is how the numbers work for the average seller. Seller asks $10 for a card. Amazon sells it and takes their cut. The “Amazon” account buys the card form Seller for $8. Seller uses $5 to buy other items on the site, and cashes out $3. We charge $0.60 cash-out fee on the $3. Seller gets $5 in “trade” and $2.40 cash for a total fee of 26%.

      Good point on the “Amazon” buyer showing up in the user stats. I didn’t think about that, but it is just like any other account…

    • I thought about this a little more, and realized that the “Amazon” account will never show up on the Top Buyers list because we don’t count items as purchased if you resell them. This is to prevent gaming the system to inflate your buying stats. The Amazon account is just a pass-through account to facilitate the transaction. Items are only temporarily in the Amazon account.

  2. Will it possible to have a higher price on amazon than on comc? I like this option, I just don’t necessarily want to mark all of my cards up 20%

    • Good question. Unfortunately not. Price parity is one of Amazon’s requirements. Items listed on Amazon have to be listed at equal or higher prices on our site. That said, we have the ability to make an offer while Amazon does not. So it is possible to increase the asking prices on COMC and still accept offers.

  3. Ok so then this is what I am getting from your post as a buyer:
    Card Prices will be higher Both here and on Amazon
    Buying even with the make offers will be higher since we are required to make at least an offer of 50% of the asking price
    And Shipping while faster will cost more.

    So Being a buyer is going to be greatly effected by this big change. I can see the Benefits for a seller being as they get more visibility of their cards. But the buyer will end up losing in the end. I buy from COMC due to the cheap prices.ability to make offers, and decent priced shipping. With an increase of at least 20% (can be more), Offers on those cards needing to be increased due to the 20% increase, and shipping getting way out of control once Amazon requires all cards to be in Toploaders for their and the customers protection. Which could happen if a few non comc regulars get their cards sandwiched in between 2 toploaders which is common practice and complain that they weren’t protected enough. I just don’t see how this is actually a good thing.

    Which brings up another issue. Since Amazon will control refunds now. Whats will happen if chargebacks happen? Will Comc be forced to take that chargeback or will the seller sign in and find their account in the Negative?

    Oh and here’s another What happens if 2 buyers buy the same card on both sites at the same time? I takes an hour to upload items to amazon. Doers it take an hour for quantities to be updated as well? Will a card that is sold on amazon be instantly erased off a sellers inventory from COMC?

    Also I need to ask about buying credit for COMC. Will that be offered on Amazon? And will there be a 20% upcharge fee added to that purchase?

    • This is an interesting hypothesis. We will see how things actually play out. We are not forcing people to opt in to this feature. So I expect that there will be many people that keep very competitive asking prices on COMC. I think there is room for everyone here.

      Amazon chargebacks will be handled the same way we handle PayPal chargebacks. We work through the chargeback process as part of our payment processing service for you. Sellers never worry about this.

      If two buyers buy the same item on both sites, we will try to find a replacement item for the Amazon buyer. If that isn’t possible, we will refund that portion of the Amazon buyer’s order.

      This is still being developed, but I am thinking we will try to synchronize prices and availability every 15 minutes while new listings may take 1 or more hours. Cards sold on Amazon will be sold from a sellers inventory within about 15 minutes.

      We have no plans to sell COMC store credit through Amazon.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion. We will keep close tabs on how things play out.

      • The free market will solve the first point. “Everyone” isn’t going to raise their prices because of the Amazon option. It may slow the “race to the bottom” that illiquid cards on COMC face, but I doubt it. When eBay said they would start charging fees on shipping costs, everyone said they would raise their shipping rates to cover the difference, but most of the time I don’t notice a difference when I buy things on there.

        So someone on Amazon buys a card — then the Amazon user account on COMC buys the card on here. So there is a gap between the two? For expensive cards, this could be a concern. It doesn’t make sense to require a premium account to sell on Amazon through COMC, but perhaps if you have cards with a BV over $1,000 you may have to have a good selling history or something. Curious whether this is open to abuse.

        What I notice is someone will come along and buy all I have of a particular card. It makes me think that if they do this here, they might be doing it elsewhere. So what if the user goes to Amazon and buys them all — then says “oh, I can go to COMC” and unknowingly buys the same cards five minutes later? A potential solution is saying on Amazon that the same cards are on COMC so don’t buy them in both places, but that’s confusing to users.

        When I make an auto-accept offer on here, it is accepted right away. Tim, if Amazon pushes notifications to you right when a card is sold (ugh, think of how many that would be), can you write a script that immediately makes the auto-accept offer with the Amazon COMC account from the seller who owned that card? (Does it even work that way?)

        Or I could be overthinking it.

      • Interesting point on the expensive cards. This is related to a feature set we are considering where people can selectively opt in/out for listing on Amazon on a per item basis. We will look into these issue in our next round of Amazon features.

        Yes, it is not uncommon for people to google for their favorite player and try to buy all of there cards on all sites. We have already had this happen once. In that case, we contacted the buyer and informed him that he bought the same items on two sites, and we canceled his Amazon order. We expect this to be less frequent once we consistently synchronize with Amazon every 15 minutes.

        Amazon doesn’t push notifications like PayPal does. Instead, we have to poll for orders. We then have the Amazon user account silently make offers just like purchases are silent when people pay your full asking price. You will get the nightly notification, and you can see all of your Amazon sales on your Offer History page.

        Good questions

    • Keep in mind that while this may be bad for buyers as prices go up in the short run, it could be good for buyers in the long run. If this makes it more profitable to sell cards on COMC, sellers will send in more cards which will drive down prices and also give buyers more cards to look at.

      • Interesting point on the expensive cards. This is related to a feature set we are considering where people can selectively opt in/out for listing on Amazon on a per item basis. We will look into these issue in our next round of Amazon features.

        This would be a great feature to “add” as for I would not like to list everything from my port on Amazon. As for a small seller …..there would be a few select cards for Amazon only.

  4. Oh here’s another Returns! How is COMC going to handle returns. Amazon allows returns. So I can see this becoming an issue for those folks who buy a hot player then don’t want him the next week once he’s cold. A complaint to Amazon saying it was not as described and bamn right back to the site. Will there be a time frame where a person cannot use their money just in case this happens?

    • We have had the same return policy for a few years, and it hasn’t changed for Amazon. Buyers get one week to once they receive their items to let us know if they want to return anything. They then have another week to actually send it back to us. We have a very low return rate, so we nearly always absorbed that cost instead of passing it back to the seller. We have had only a couple high dollar cards returned in the past 4 years that we had to put back into the original seller’s account. Everything else, we absorbed.

      • Looks like Amazon has a standard return policy for everyone. We will follow that return policy, and we will work out all of the kinks as we go.

        For what it is worth, I waited a couple years to launch CheckOutMyCards.com because I was paranoid about the potential hassles with returns. It turns out they have been rare enough that we are able to absorb the losses without having to ding the sellers. We expect that will continue with the Amazon sales.

  5. The per item opt-in is a good idea. Also, how will card conditions be listed? Who decides if it “like new,” or “acceptable,” etc.?

    • This is the logic that we are currently using. If it is pre-1980 or has a condition note, we list it as “acceptable”. Otherwise it is listed as “like new”. Condition notes on COMC are copied over to Amazon. We figure if people really care about the condition, they should come over to COMC and look at the high resolution scan.

      If the item is graded, it will be listed with the corresponding grade.

      • I am concerned about this. I don’t think the Amazon users are going to be happy with the condition of damaged cards that were identified as “Acceptable.” For instance, I have this card which has seen better days: http://www.checkoutmycards.com/Users/dpozdol/Cards/Hockey/1959-60/Topps/43/Dollard_StLaurent/96294
        The card has a condition note “multiple creases.” However, on the corresponding Amazon page – http://www.amazon.com/1959-60-Topps-43-Dollard-St-Laurent/dp/B006ATN520/, buyers see no condition note and the scan offers them no clue that the card is beat up. Nobody ordering a card with condition “Acceptable” would expect this kind of card.

        I think either the condition notes need to be ported over, or at least the condition should something other than Acceptable.

      • The condition notes are actually ported over, but they are only visible on the page where you add the item to your cart. That said they are pretty subtle. I think I will update them so that they say “CONDITION NOTE: …”

        If this becomes an issue where people are unhappy with the items they purchase, we will look into possible solutions.

      • For those who buy on eBay, Acceptable is the lowest of the item conditions. Hopefully this will help the expectation they set.

        There was once a time when there were no card conditions on COMC, either. Because there are high-quality scans, people should generally be cool with knowing what they’re getting.

  6. Someone mentioned a while back that sales were reported to the IRS at a certain point. What will the tax implications be for selling on Amazon.

    • The Amazon support will not change anything related to taxes. Just like PayPal does, they report our revenue to the IRS. This is no big deal because we already report our revenue to the IRS.

      The trick is that we keep detailed information about all our expenses. You only have to pay federal taxes on your profits. Since we have very low profit margins the taxes we owe on the PayPal or Amazon revenue is very small.

      I am guessing others have made a big stink about PayPal reporting revenue because they don’t keep records of what they paid for their items, so the IRS assumes it is all profit.

      • Yep. If you’re a rip and flipper, just get receipts for your cases. If you buy stuff on eBay, just use your Purchase History.

  7. Sounds interesting. I’m guessing most of us will experiment with the new option. I’ll probably list my lower end items–like everything priced under $4.

    Please continue rolling out new options like this one. COMC should be the most popular sports card marketplace in the world. Make it happen, Tim!

  8. I pretty much already accept any offer for 20% less than my list price, so this is a no brainer, and I will not be raising any of my prices to list. With the exception of maybe just a handful of the hottest cards or players, and in that case i would probably only bump like 5 or 10 %, I have never turned an offer down for 15% off or less. I think most sellers accept offers in a similar fashion. I don’t think there will be much price raising to list on Amazon.

  9. Congrats to Tim and everyone for getting this set up with Amazon. This could be huge.

    I have just one question; if you have an auto accept on comc for 50% off and someone buys through amazon at 20% off, would that mean the amazon buyer can get your card for 70% off your asking price? Or are the two seperate? The amazon buyer gets it for 20% off our asking price, and your auto accept on COMC is never factored in when dealing with someone who buys through amazon?

    Thanks

    • Good question. The two options are completely separate. We ignore your auto accept percentage when sending Amazon your prices. Even though you might take a $5 offer for a $10 card, when it sells on Amazon we will give you $8 for it.

  10. I just opted in to the Amazon sync, very nice. Will there be a way to know when our cards are on Amazon? Also, when it syncs, and you have a card that was $10 when the cards were sent off, and you wanted to re-price it for only $8 now, how/when does that show on Amazon? Lastly, say all the cards in my port are listed on Amazon. I then buy some cards from seller X on COMC, and then re-list them, how long will it take for those cards that were in someone else’s port to show on Amazon, and more importantly if sold on Amazon, reflective in my sales? Obviously on here, it is instantaneous, wil it be similar on there then? Very excited to see how this all works!

    • For now, the only way you can tell if your cards are live is if you go to Amazon and search for them. Right now we have a couple day backlog in uploading new items to Amazon. I expect that in a few weeks, we should be able to get new items listed on Amazon within about an hour of them going live on COMC.

      When this is all running smoothly, I expect that price changes will be synchronized every 15 minutes. Right now it might be closer to an hour delay.

      When you buy an item that has never been listed on Amazon and put it up for sale, it will get added to the queue of new items. This will take a little longer to go live. If the item happened to already be listed on Amazon, it will just be like a price change and only about 15 minutes delayed.

      When an item sells on Amazon, our special “amazon” account can only buy the card from the current owner. This is where we get into some tricky logic, and in some cases we have to manually purchase items or find replacements if the card is no longer available. Worst case, we have to cancel that portion of the buyers purchase.

      We import orders from Amazon approximately every 15 minutes. When they are imported, the offers appear instantaneously for you.

      Great questions! FYI, this has been a ton of work over the past month, and I am sure there are a lot more kinks to work out.

  11. Thanks Tim, I personally appreciate all of your thoroughness on everything you do on COMC. I guess it comes down to the trust we have in you and your company. I won’t be raising any prices as I feel the same about 20% auto-accept. It is just another way to sell. Let’s see how it goes!

  12. I noticed some of my cards already showing up on Amazon.com, however the image is not there, just the generic “No Image Available” from Amazon. Is this expected behavior?

    • Nevermind, must of just been slow to update, images are now showing up. Listing maybe appears first and then the image load follows.

  13. Today is my 2 year anniversary on COMC, I just clicked the button to list my stuff on Amazon too.
    Tim, and the rest of COMC, I want to send out a huge “THANK YOU!” My first 2 years have been fun, and now I’m looking forward to the expansion to Amazon.

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