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The Complete Handbook to Sales Tax, Business Tax and Amazon FBA Tax (+92 Ways to Save)

Paying your taxes isn’t what any entrepreneur dreams of when starting a business.

  • You don’t think about the spreadsheets and the constant state updates.
  • You don’t think about how to charge sales tax, when, where, why and on which products.

That’s because taxes are just the cost of doing business.

Sadly, doing them incorrectly (and definitely not doing them at all) can cost you your business.

So, to make sure you are zipped up on everything you need to know to pay the right amount, charge the right amount and do it all in accordance with state and national laws, we’ve put together a comprehensive resource you can bookmark for future reference.

What’s in the Ecommerce Tax Guide:

  • The basics of sales tax, including when you need to collect based on state laws.
  • How to register for a sales tax permit (and what could happen if you don’t).
  • The difference between origin and destination-based sales tax sourcing.
  • The true definition of sales tax nexus, and what it means for your business.
  • How to file regularly and on-time, without taking focus from growing your sales.
  • How Amazon FBA sellers need to file sales tax.
  • Where Amazon has fulfillment centers (and what that means for sellers).
  • How to collect sales tax on Amazon and set up product tax codes on FBA.
  • How to report sales tax collected from Amazon.
  • What the defines a resale certificate.
  • How to properly use a resale certificate.
  • How to accept a resale certificate from a buyer.
  • When to charge sales tax on shipping.
  • What exemptions there are for sale tax on shipping.
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Amazon FBA Sales Tax Guide for 2020

Sales tax is a fact of life for most retailers, whether you sell online, at a brick and mortar store or all of the above.

Sales tax for Amazon FBA sellers is a bit more complex than it is for most other retailers.

Are you selling on Amazon? This guide is for Amazon FBA sellers who want the scoop on collecting and filing sales tax.

We’ll explain:

  • What is FBA Sales Tax
  • What sales tax is & why Amazon FBA sellers charge it
  • When FBA sellers are required to collect sales tax from customers
  • How to get sales tax compliant
  • How to collect sales tax on Amazon FBA
  • What to do with all the sales tax you’ve collected

If you need a refresher on what sales tax is, start with chapter one or see all the tax-related topics we cover.

Let’s get started.

When Does an Amazon FBA Seller Need to Collect Sales Tax?

For the purposes of sales tax, ecommerce sellers are treated just like all other online retailers.

As an FBA seller, you are required to collect sales tax in states where your selling meets two criteria:

  • Sales tax nexus
  • Product taxability

Understanding both will help you determine when and if you are required to collect taxes from your Amazon FBA customers.

1. Sales tax nexus. 

Sales tax nexus is just a fancy legalese way to say “significant connection” to a state.

If you have nexus in a state, then that state considers you on the hook for charging sales tax to buyers in the state.

You’ll always have sales tax nexus in your home state, but you may find that certain business activities create nexus in other states, too.

Ways to Have Sales Tax Nexus in Different States

  • A location: an office, warehouse, store, or other physical presence of business.
  • Personnel: an employee, contractor, salesperson, installer or other person doing work for your business.
  • Affiliates: Someone who advertises your products in exchange for a cut of the profits creates nexus in many states.
  • A drop shipping relationship: If you have a 3rd party ship to your buyers, you may create nexus.
  • Selling products at a trade show or other event: Some states consider you to have nexus even if you only sell there temporarily.
  • Inventory: Most states consider storing inventory for sale in the state to cause nexus even if you have no other place of business or personnel.
  • Economic nexus: You exceed a state-mandated dollar amount of sales in a state, or you make over a certain state-mandated number of transactions in a state.

Inventory Nexus and Amazon FBA Sellers

That last point, storing inventory for sale in a state, is especially relevant to Amazon FBA sellers.

Most states’ sales tax laws say that this creates sales tax nexus. You can find links to each state’s sales tax nexus laws here.

It helps to think of it from the state’s perspective.

From their point of view, any online seller who uses resources in their state (roads for delivery, public safety should an emergency occur, etc.) has nexus.

For this reason, FBA sellers may have sales tax nexus in a state simply from storing their FBA inventory in an Amazon fulfillment center.

Here’s a list of all states with an Amazon fulfillment center as of this writing.

States with an Amazon Fulfillment Center

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Keep in mind that Amazon probably will not store your inventory in every state with an Amazon fulfillment center.

You can pull your Inventory Event Detail Report from Amazon Seller Central to determine where our inventory is stored.

An Important Exception to the FBA Rule

Nearly every state with an Amazon fulfillment center now has a Marketplace Facilitator Law in place. States with marketplace facilitator laws consider the online marketplace (such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Etsy) to be responsible for collecting sales tax on behalf of sellers. 

This is mostly good news for online sellers. If you sell on a marketplace, that marketplace is required to collect and remit sales tax on your behalf.

However, you are likely still required to hold a valid sales tax permit and file sales tax returns in states where a) you have sales tax nexus b) your marketplace collects and remits sales tax on your behalf. 

It’s also vital to note that if you make sales on other platforms (non-online marketplaces) then you are still required to collect sales tax on all sales to buyers in states where you have nexus. 

Example

You sell via Amazon FBA, at your brick and mortar store, and through your brand’s Shopify store. While Amazon will collect and remit sales tax on your behalf, you are still required to collect sales tax from both your brick and mortar and your Shopify customers in states where you have sales tax nexus.

2. Product taxability. 

Once you’ve determined that you have nexus in a state, your next step is to determine if what you are selling is taxable.

Generally, tangible personal property is taxable while services are not taxable. Of course, as with everything having to do with sales tax, individual states may make exceptions to these two general rules.

Some common product categories are not taxable or taxed differently in some states. These categories include groceries, clothing and textbooks.

For example, clothing and grocery items are both non-taxable in Minnesota. In Tennessee, grocery items are taxable, but taxed at a reduced rate of 5%.

If you have questions about whether or not the products you are selling are taxable, you can check with your state’s taxing authority online or by giving them a call.

Keep in mind that most tangible goods are taxable in most states.

How to Get Sales Tax Compliant

Once you’ve determined that you have nexus in a state and are selling taxable items in a state, your next step is to register with that state to collect sales tax.

You can find guides on how to register for a sales tax permit with each state here.

It’s important to register before you begin collecting sales tax. States consider it illegal to collect sale tax without a permit, no matter if your intentions are pure.

Once you receive your permit, you will also be assigned a sales tax filing frequency and sales tax due dates.

Your filing frequency is generally monthly, quarterly or annually and depends on your sales volume.

The more you sell in a state, the more often that state wants you to file a sales tax return.

If your sales dramatically increase or decrease as time goes by, your state may assign you a new filing frequency.

Always be on the lookout for letters or other communications from your state once you’re registered for a sales tax permit.

How to Collect Sales Tax on Amazon

Important to note: Amazon now collects sales tax on sellers’ behalf in most states with an Amazon fulfillment center. The below information applies to states that do not require Amazon to collect sales tax on sellers’ behalf.

Now that you are registered to collect, your next step is to ensure you are collecting sales tax from your Amazon FBA customers.

Fortunately, Amazon has a very robust sales tax collection engine.

Once you tell it what you want to collect, it will collect the right rate, even keeping up with complicated concepts like whether a state is “origin-based” or “destination-based,” or if a sales tax rate has changed.

It will also allow you to add “product tax codes” so you charge the right amount of sales tax on items like groceries and clothing, and allow you to choose whether or not you charge sale tax on shipping and gift wrapping.

Keep in mind that Amazon charges 2.9% of each transaction in order to collect sales tax.

The alternative, however, is not to collect sales tax from your Amazon customers and to instead pay out of your profits.

1. Setting up sales tax collection on Amazon FBA.

Let’s go over setting up sales tax collection in Seller Central:

  • Login to Seller Central
  • Click “Settings” then “Tax Settings” from the dropdown menu
  • Choose the option: “View/Edit your Tax Collection and Shipping & Handling and Giftwrap Tax Obligations Settings”

Here you can choose in which states you want to collect sales tax, as well as if you want to collect sales tax at the county and other local level. You can even enter a custom sales tax rate. We don’t recommend this because sales tax rates are subject to change frequently.

Note that you’ll need your state sale tax registration number before Amazon allows you to set up sales tax collection.

This is a safeguard to prevent sellers from unknowingly (and unlawfully!) collecting sales tax without being registered with a state.

2. Setting up product tax codes on Amazon FBA.

Once you’ve entered your sales tax settings, return to your Seller Central Tax Settings Page (Seller Central > Settings > Tax) and choose the option “View Master Product Tax Codes and Rules.”

From here, you can choose the product tax codes that most closely fit your products. Here are some examples:

  • A_CLTH_GEN: General clothing. Keep in mind that clothing is non-taxable in some states. But in many cases, accessories, formal wear, athletic wear and other clothing types are still taxable. That’s where there are also separate product tax codes like A_CLTH_HBAGS for handbags and A_CLTH_CSTUMS for costumes.
  • A_FOOD_GEN: Use this to label food items. Just like with clothing, not all food is taxed equally, so there are also product tax codes for things like A_FOOD_CNDY (candy) and A_FOOD_SFTDK (carbonated soft drinks.)

If you can’t find a product tax code for one of your products, that’s probably because it is generally always taxed. You should just label that item with “A_GEN_TAX.” And if, for some reason, you never want to charge sales tax on a particular item, you can also label it with “A_GEN_NOTAX.”

PRO TIP

If you sell on other platforms aside from FBA, make sure you are collecting sales tax from buyers in your nexus states on all of your shopping carts and marketplaces.

Once you have nexus in a state, you are required to collect sales tax from all buyers in that state, no matter how you make the sale.

How to Report and File Amazon FBA Sales Tax

Now you’re all set collecting sales tax from your Amazon FBA sales are chugging along.

Soon enough, a sales tax filing due date will roll around.

From here, you need to report how much sales tax you’ve collected from customers in each state, and file your sales tax returns.

1. Reporting collected Amazon FBA sales tax. 

The vast majority of states want to know not only how much sales tax you’ve collected in the state, but also how much you collected from buyers in each county, city and other special taxing district within the state.

You can find this information in two ways:

  • Download a report form Amazon: Login to Seller Central and click Seller Central > Reports > Payments > Generate Date Range Report.  Choose the filing period. From here you can try to slice and dice your info to figure out how much sales tax you collected in each state, city, county, and other jurisdiction. Beware – it’s time consuming to try and figure out which taxing districts each of your customers lives in.
  • Use sales tax automation: Use a sales tax automation solution to generate a report for you. A sales tax automation will connect with all of your shopping carts and marketplaces, not just Amazon to give you a comprehensive report of all the sales tax you collected from buyers within a state. It will also break down how much sales tax you’ve collected in each county, city and other taxing jurisdiction so you don’t have to spend time with maps and tax tables.

Once you’ve reported how much sales tax you collected in a state, it’s time to file your sales tax returns and remit the sales tax you collected.

2. Filing Amazon FBA sales tax returns.

You can file your sales tax returns in a couple of ways.

Online

Login to your state’s taxing authority website and submit a sales tax return. Then make your payment through the state’s payment gateway.

Automatically via sales tax software

Use a sales tax automation solution to automatically file your sales tax returns and pay what you owe to the state.

And finally, keep a few important things in mind when filing your sales tax return.

  • FIle sales tax returns in states where you have an active sales tax permit, even if Amazon collects on your behalf. Even if Amazon collects sales tax from your buyers on your behalf, the majority of states still require that anyone with an active sales tax permit file sales tax showing them what the marketplace remitted on your behalf. This gets even tricker if you have marketplace sales (collected by the marketplace) and non-marketplace sales (collected by you to report.) Be sure to report ALL sales to prevent discrepancies on your returns and questions from the state’s department of revenue.
  • Always file “zero returns:” File a sales tax return even if you did not collect any sales tax over the taxable period. States still require you to file by the deadline, and some of them will even levy a fine if you don’t file. If you fail to file for multiple periods in a row, they may even automatically cancel your sales tax permit.
  • Take advantage of discounts: A little over half the U.S. states with a sales tax allow online sellers to keep a small percentage of the sales tax you’ve collected as bit of a monetary “thank you” for your effort collecting and remitting the tax.  While this is generally only 1-3% of the sales tax you’ve collected, it’s still free money!

You should now be prepared to tackle Amazon FBA sales tax. If you have questions or something to say, start the conversation in the comments section.

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SEO How-to, Part 5: Analyzing Keyword Data

Keyword research is a search engine optimization tactic to identify the words and phrases of consumers who are looking for the types of products and services that your company sells.

This post is the fourth installment in my “SEO How-to” series, following:

Think of keyword research in terms of supply and demand. Every word on your site represents keyword supply. The words that people input into Google and other search engines represent the demand. Keyword research is the process of determining the demand to adjust your supply.

In this post, I’ll cover four steps: seeding keyword research, collecting the data, organizing the data in my free keyword analysis template, and analyzing it to understand intent and demand. 

Seeding Keyword Research

The tools for collecting keyword research rely heavily on a seed list — your choice of words that consumers search on. A comprehensive list of seeds yields the most data. A weak list generates fewer keyword themes and often leads to poor optimization decisions.

To brainstorm a seed list, start with your site’s navigation. An ecommerce site that’s organized in a logical, hierarchical manner will contain navigational options that cover all of its products. Your keyword research will tell you whether those products coincide with what people search for.

List of all of the product categories — copy and paste directly from your menus. Then add synonyms and the types and styles of those items.

For example, a site that prints pictures on mugs, wall art, and greeting cards would include synonyms such as “photos” and “images” as well as popular product attributes such a size, occasion, and style.

Don’t be afraid to generate a long keyword seed list. It may look daunting, but the process of assembling the keywords can go surprisingly quickly once you get started, and the resulting data is pure gold.

You can also enter the URL for any page in Google Keyword Planner, and it will fetch the relevant keywords. Hence, identify pages that rank well for the keywords you need to rank for, and then note those URLs in your seed list.

Collecting Keyword Data

Next, push the sets of seed words into the input field of your keyword tool to understand the search demand of each. The process is simple and tedious.

Copy a set of seeds from your list and paste them into the tool. Wait for it to finish processing, export the resulting data, and repeat until you’ve entered all of the seeds.

When you finish passing the seeds through the tool and exporting the data, you’ll have a mass of .csv or Excel files. Merging these manually would take forever. On a PC, use the command line in your operating system to merge .csv files into a single file. Do the same thing on a Mac in Terminal.

Populate the Keyword Template

Now you have a lot of raw keyword data. But it has little value unless you organize it for analysis.

That’s where my free keyword analysis template — shown below — comes into play. It aggregates in Google Sheets the keyword demand for one-, two-, and three-word combinations, and displays that demand alongside data from:

  • Google Search Console for an approximation of organic search volume by keyword combination.
  • Google Ads for estimates on conversion potential by keyword combination.
Use this template in Google Sheets to make sense of your keyword data.

Use this template in Google Sheets to make sense of your keyword data.

To use the template, copy the Google Sheet, or download it as an Excel file. (Excel is your best bet if you have more than 20,000 rows of data.)

Paste your keyword data into the “Google Keyword Planner” tab. For a different keyword tool, just make sure that the keywords are in column A and the number of monthly searches ends up in column C. Both columns are referenced from the primary “Keyword Analysis” tab.

Next, remove the duplicate rows in the keyword data. In Excel on a PC or Mac, go to the “Data” tab and choose “Remove Duplicates.” You can do the same thing using Numbers on a Mac.

Your keyword data will likely contain many irrelevant words and phrases. Sort the keyword data by the number of searches, from highest to lowest. Review the top 300 or so (or until the number of searches drops below a level you find valuable) and remove the unrelated rows.

The tool may identify keywords that drive many relevant searches but weren’t in your original seed list. If so, consider running those back through the tool, as well.

Also, download data sets from Google Search Console and Google Ads. Keyword volume is calculated as a monthly number. Thus the other three tabs should each contain data for a full month.

For reference, I’ve included a tab for Google Analytics data for traffic from organic search (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search), though I’ve excluded that data in the “Keyword Analysis” tab since Google Analytics reports traffic for URLs but not for organic keywords. It consequently can’t be aggregated with the other sources.

Analyzing Keyword Data

As you prune the irrelevant keywords from your dataset, you will likely notice patterns in individual keywords. Now it’s time to quantify those broad patterns and compare them to understand the value of the overall keyword theme.

Start entering seeds into the columns A through C, as shown below. As you enter words in those columns, the formulas in the template calculate the keyword demand (Keyword Planner), current organic search performance (Search Console), and potential conversions (Ads).

Enter the words into columns A through C. The template will aggregate data from those columns.

Enter the words into columns A through C. The template will aggregate data from those columns.

Scan the words to find patterns in keyword usage. Notice how the demand and performance can be radically different for slight variations when aggregated. For example, the monthly search volume for keywords containing both “gift” and “picture” is 121,460 whereas the volume for keywords containing both “present” and “picture” is just 19,280.

Think of the analysis as an exploratory process. You can always add words or remove them if the ones you start with don’t work out. You’ll have it right when the amount of keyword demand is consistent with the total demand in the “Google Keyword Planner” tab.

Above all, listen to the data and look for trends with an open mind. Don’t attempt to prove the validity of your site’s existing structure.

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The Time is now for CX and Marketing Professionals to Transform Customer Experience – and Other News

Enjoy our weekly roundup of top news stories across the Customer Experience (CX) landscape.

Oracle CX Social Content:

  • 5 areas where companies should focus to ensure they’re ready for the next emergency so they can continue delivering outstanding #custserv: http://ora.cl/QL34o #CX
  • Tips for leveraging #KnowledgeManagement to provide answers and guidance to your customers during a time of crisis, when resources are strained: http://ora.cl/uW8tz  #KM #CX
  • Here are members of our CX ISV ecosystem that are making a difference in the world: http://ora.cl/Mf80C #CX #ISV
  • Check out how @trinelarsen found her passion in support using Oracle #B2C Service: http://ora.cl/E3Ey5 #custserv #OSvC
  • Join our #CX #customer #webinar series to take part in discussions around timely topics where we can provide advice on your questions: http://ora.cl/vm8ey

 

Industry News:

Forrester's US 2020 Customer Experience Index Reveals CX Quality Improved Dramatically Over … – Martechserie, 6.15.20

  • 27% of brands improved their CX Index scores over the past year, a significant jump compared to previous years marked by minimal gains.

Forrester: The Time Is Now For CX And Marketing Professionals To Transform Customer Experience – Martechseries, 6.10.20

  • Forrester’s research shows that today’s consumers do not differentiate between a brand experience and customer experience – CX and marketing teams must work together to develop a unified vision and align resources to connect the brand promise and experience with the customer experience.

Exceptional Customer Experience Never Goes Out of Style – Mytotalretail, 6.11.20

  • To match the demand for seamless omnichannel experiences, retailers must go all-in on unified commerce solutions that optimize the entire buying journey.

Measuring Customer Experience: Metrics and the Benefits of Scorecards – Customerthink, 6.9.20

  • To truly understand the customer experience, you must think about the entire customer journey, starting with awareness through discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases, and service.
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Our Manifesto: 7 Damn Good Rules to Live By

Use this manifesto both in your personal & professional lives to guide your decisions so you’re consistently improving & challenging yourself to be better.

The post Our Manifesto: 7 Damn Good Rules to Live By appeared first on A Better Lemonade Stand.

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Time to Beef Up Your Algorithms

Accuracy means getting the right answer. Precision is about getting the right answer time after time. In a CRM situation an algorithm that gets the right answer is accurate and nice (we got the deal!) but if the business process supported by CRM has a lot of returns or unhappy customers, it's not very precise.

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Amazon and Valentino team up in joint lawsuit against New York counterfeiter over Rockstud knock-offs

Amazon is ramping up its efforts to tackle counterfeiting on its platform by aiming for the higher end of the fashion market. Today the e-commerce giant announced that it has jointly filed a lawsuit with Italian luxury brand Valentino against Buffalo, New York-based Kaitlyn Pan Group, LLC and New York resident Hao Pan for copying a famous Valentino shoe style — the Garavani Rockstud, pictured above — and subsequently selling those products on Amazon and Kaitlyn Pan's own site, “in violation of Amazon’s policies and Valentino’s intellectual property rights.”

Amazon said that any proceeds that result from the suit will go straight to Valentino itself. We've asked how much the companies are seeking in damages and will update this post with more information as we get it. We are embedding the suit below the article.

Notably, this is the first time that Amazon has teamed up with a luxury brand to go after counterfeiters in the courts, although it has partnered with other brands in the past. As with those previous cases, it's important for Amazon to work with the brands to show it's a friend to legitimate commerce by working actively to stop illicit sales.

Alongside that, however, Amazon has been making huge efforts to raise its game in fashion, and so it's extremely important that it fights against the image that it's a fertile ground for selling and buying illegal knock-off items of famous brands.

Getting off on the right foot — so to speak — with Valentino is part of that. The Garavani Rockstud (“Garavani” comes from Valentino's full name, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavaniis one of Valentino's most iconic styles, with its metallic lines of studs making an appearance on a range of Valentino footwear, including sandals, heels and flats. They were first introduced in 2010 and Valentino has design patents on the style.

Kaitlyn Pan currently sells a number of models that riff on that basic concept. Typically, authentic Valentino Rockstud shoes retail for between $425 and $1,100, while the Pan versions sell for significantly less, around $100.

You can see where the problem lies.

While the shoes are not being sold as Valentino and do not use the Rockstud branding, they could easily be mistaken for them (and may have even been promoted using that keyword when they were still being sold on Amazon):

One thing that isn't really covered in the Amazon/Valentino suit, but you have to wonder about, is the role that others play in enabling the illicit sales of the items. In the case of Kaitlyn Pan, the site is powered by none other than Shopify, for example.

“The vast majority of sellers in our store are honest entrepreneurs but we do not hesitate to take aggressive action to protect customers, brands and our store from counterfeiters,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president, Customer Trust and Partner Support, in a statement. “Amazon and Valentino are holding this company accountable in a court of law and we appreciate Valentino’s collaboration throughout this investigation.”

Amazon said that it shut down Kaitlyn Pan’s seller account in September 2019, and it did not specify how many pairs of Pan's shoes were sold via Amazon before then. As of today, the Pan models are still being sold directly on Kaitlyn Pan Shoes.

And rather audaciously, despite getting forced out of Amazon's marketplace and being slapped with cease and desist orders from Valentino, Kaitlyn Pan has applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the style.

Valentino, like other expensive luxury brands, regularly gets copied and counterfeited, and that has been the case for decades. But arguably, the rise of e-commerce, where it can be harder to trace sellers and products have a higher chance of being disseminated more widely, has compounded that problem.

So the company has made a more concerted effort to fight back. In the past three years, it's worked with United States Customs and Border Protection to seize more than 2,000 counterfeit products and work on a surveillance system to detect counterfeit products on sale in the U.S. market, leading to the removal of more than 7,000 listings across multiple marketplaces, 360 websites and more than 1,000 social media accounts.

“The Maison Valentino is one of the main protagonists of International fashion and plays a major role in the luxury division by sustaining Made in Italy,” Valentino said in a statement. “The brand represents in the global market, one of the Italian excellences in the execution of the industrial process in Italy and of the artisanal and handmade workmanship that are entirely produced in the historic Atelier of Piazza Mignanelli in Rome. We consider Made in Italy to be a fundamental value to be fully endorsed, respected and at the forefront of our business and creations. Valentino is an Italian brand operating globally and is a mirror of society. One of our core missions is to safeguard our brand and protect the Valentino Community by celebrating inclusivity and with creativity at the heart of everything we do. We feel this connection with Amazon will highlight the importance also in fashion for greater awareness, knowledge and understanding by shielding the brand online and its resources.”

Amazon's role in creating an avenue for counterfeit items to be sold has been a problematic one for the company for years. It has invested in building technology to tackle the problem: In 2019, it said that it had invested over $500 million and dedicated 8,000 employees to work on fraud and abuse (which includes IP infringement and counterfeit goods), and it works with law enforcement and collaborates with authorities to build cases against infringing companies and people.

Its critics continue to call out the company and its track record, saying it still has not done enough to address the issue — which of course still results in sales, and thus revenues — on its platform.

But Amazon argues that this is a misconception and overall its a net negative for the company to carry these goods.

“Counterfeit damages our brand, disrupts the integrity of our store, and challenges the trust we have worked hard to earn from customers,” a spokesperson said. “Our customers are always protected by our A-to-z Guarantee, so when a bad actor doesn’t pay, Amazon covers the cost of returns, refunds, claims and other issues related to the sale of counterfeit goods.”

We'll update this post as we learn more.

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YouTube announces a new shoppable ad format

YouTube today announced a new direct response ad format that will make YouTube video ads more “shoppable” by adding browsable product images underneath the ad to drive traffic directly to brands' product pages. The introduction of the format comes at a time when advertisers are trying to find new ways to capture consumers' growing interest in e-commerce shopping, amid a pandemic that's kept people from shopping brick-and-mortar physical stores for fear of infection.

YouTube, in particular, believes its platform can serve this shift in interest, given that today 70% of people claim they've bought a brand's product because they saw it in a YouTube video.

To use the new shoppable format, brands will first need to sync their Google Merchant Center feed with their video ads. They can then visually expand an ad's “call to action” button with the best-selling products it wants to feature in the ad in order to generate traffic that sends viewers directly to the product listing on the brand's own website.

One early tester of the new format was Aerie, which wanted to advertise on YouTube to both boost consumers' love for its brand and its apparel sales for its Spring 2020 campaign. The company ran targeted ads on YouTube and saw a 25% higher return on ad spend than the prior year, as well as nine times more conversions than with their traditional ad mix, YouTube says.

Related to this news, YouTube also announced “Video action campaigns” — a way to bring YouTube video ads that drive these sorts of calls-to-action to YouTube's home feed, watch pages and Google's video partners, from within one campaign. The company says it will also include any future inventory that becomes available, like the What to Watch Next feed.

An early tester for this ad product was the startup Mos, which aims to help students find college scholarships. Over the past few months, Mos saw 30% more purchases for its service at a third of the cost, compared to its previous YouTube benchmarks, said YouTube.

Brands can also use the lead-generation forms along with their video ad campaigns to capture more leads while also running their ads, as Jeep did with its Korea branch leading to a 13x increase in completed leads at an 84% lower cost per lead.

YouTube isn't the only tech giant that's focused more heavily serving the needs of brands — and particularly e-commerce brands — in recent months. Facebook and Instagram rolled out Shops in May, to turn business profiles into online storefronts where consumers can buy directly from brands without leaving Facebook's or Instagram's app. Snapchat also this month expanded its dynamic ads for e-commerce retailers worldwide, allowing brands to easily run automated product ads on Snapchat's app by way of templates connected to product catalogs.

But YouTube's ads are perhaps more similar to those shoppable video ads now appearing on streaming services like Hulu and NBCU's Peacock, where viewers can transact using their remote control. In YouTube's case, however, viewers are just clicking and tapping their way through to the advertiser's site.

Like many, YouTube believes businesses will continue to need solutions like these to find leads, boost their web traffic and drive more online sales, even when coronavirus-driven government restrictions lift and physical stores re-open.

Typically, announcements like this would have been made at YouTube's NewFronts presentation, but as that event is now online-only due to the pandemic, YouTube has rolled out the news early.

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Customer Loyalty: Ten Ways to Earn More Repeat Buyers

Improving customer loyalty is the fastest, most cost-effective way to grow store revenue. Discover ten proven strategies to earn more repeat business.

The post Customer Loyalty: Ten Ways to Earn More Repeat Buyers appeared first on WooCommerce.

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Oracle Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Engagement Center for the …

Oracle is proud to be named a 'Leader' in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Customer Engagement Center, based on our ability to execute and our completeness of vision.

For service organizations, there has never been a more important time to deliver the right service at the right moment to keep customers happy and engaged. Today, marketplace differentiation has shifted away from merely standing out based on the goods or services you sell, to distinguishing yourself based on the quality of the experiences you deliver at each customer touchpoint.

In today’s “experience economy,” customer expectations could not be higher. When customers have the need for service, it’s critical they get the right support at the right time, in the right manner. Partnering with the right technology vendor to achieve this type of class-leading service experience is critical to driving your business growth. We're honored for Gartner’s recognition of Oracle’s track record of continuous delivery of innovations, with a focus on predictive service, which is an area we believe will become a central focus across multiple brands and industries.

Customers also expect to interact with brands over the channel of their preference. Delivering high quality interactions across an ever-growing number of channels requires an intense focus on service consistency. Oracle offers a stable, cost-effective path to adopting new channels of engagement, while ensuring consistency of experience through a unified agent desktop, knowledge management, and automation.

Customer loyalty is the foundation for long-term business success, and one of the best times to build long-term customer relationships is when customers need your help. Oracle is happy to be recognized for our continued determination in helping great brands deliver exceptional service experiences. Tackling a wide variety of unique challenges energizes us and drives our leadership and innovation. If you’re a service organization looking for a partner to help you overcome obstacles and elevate your customer experience, we’d love to hear from you!

To learn more about Oracle’s position in this year’s Magic Quadrant, click here to download the full report.