Doba.com Review

Doba.com is a wholesale service that concentrates on dropshipping. Their main focus is on making it extremely easy to sell their products. Obviously this isn’t purely for your benefit. If you sell more products, they also make more money. You pay a monthly fee of $49.95 or $59.95 depending on the features you want. In return, you get access to 1.2 million products that their suppliers will dropship on your behalf.

From the Doba.com website…

Doba provides a place where suppliers can list their product inventory, and you can find items to sell. These different suppliers will drop ship products right to your customers, so you never have to handle or ship products. If you’re a retailer looking for products to sell we have a service package that will work for you.

Features:

Push to Marketplace Tool: Doba.com has an integration with Ebay that allows you to post an item for sale in just 3 steps.? This is one of the ways they make it so easy to sell their products.

Custom Product Exports: You can export a custom list of products that contain titles, descriptions, MSRP’s, and images to be imported into your eCommerce website.? *Note, this feature is only available at the $59.95 per month level.

eBay and eCommerce Training: Tips, tricks, and strategies for selling on eBay by Steve Lindhorst.? They’ll also teach you the basics of setting up your own eCommerce website.

Advanced eBay and eCommerce Training: This gets into the finer details of running an online business.? Topics such as marketing, revenue analytics, selling bundles, and customer retention.?? *Note, this feature is only available at the $59.95 per month level.

I’ll say that their prices aren’t incredibly low.? However, the fact that they take care of most administrative tasks more than makes up for it.? Calculate all of the time you would spend buying an item, storing, packing, and shipping it before sending it to your customer, and you will truly value this drop shipping service.? As long as you can make a few dollars on each sale, you should be able to have such an automated system that you can sell much more than you could by manually processing all of your orders.

They also carry brand name wholesale merchandise.? Brands such as Dell, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Skechers, DKNY, JVC, Kenneth Cole, Disney, Kenwood, KitchenAid all have products available for drop ship from the Doba.com site.

Upon signing up for the free 7-day trial, I received an email with a link to a 45-minute webinar titled, “Picking Products That Sell”.? Hopefully it will help with my “starting a wholesale business” project.

Why should you sign up for an account?

Automation.? That pretty much sums it up.? They’ve gone to great lengths to make it easy for you to sell their products.? A couple clicks and you have an eBay listing configured.? You don’t have to worry about inventory, shipping, or returns.? And, depending on your business model, you really don’t have to pay for anything until you’ve already made a sale.

You’ll need to be fairly active to justify the monthly fee, but I encourage you to sign up for a free 7-day trial account, if for nothing but to compare their prices.

Magento Ecommerce and Google Website Optimizer

I have found the e-commerce platform that I’ll be using for the “start a wholesale business” project. I’ve always been a fan of osCommerce because they were the platform I used when I owned SellSunglasses.com. However, Magento eCommerce has a ton of absolutely awesome features!

1. Integration with Google Website Optimizer : This is the most fantastic feature I’ve ever seen in any CMS ever!? With the latest version of Magento, they have created a tab where you can very simply create a multivariate test for your landing pages. Google has a video of this on their blog if you need more explanation. This is the main reason I’m using Magento as my eCommerce platform.

2. Optimized for viewing on the iPhone.

3. Flexible Pricing : Coupons, free shipping, tax rates, etc…? All of this is highly configurable.

4. Automatic Cross-Selling : Yes, it will suggest similar products for your customers to buy.

5. Shipping to multiple addresses on one order.

6. Search Engine Friendly : Automatically creates a Google sitemap and a sitemap for users.? Allows URL rewrites. (ie.. category=electronics vs. category=12)? Auto-Generated popular search terms.

7. Integration with Paypal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout.? Also allows checks, credit cards, and money orders.

8. Batch import of product catalog: You have no idea how much time this will save.? Or, if you don’t believe me, go type the name, description, price, and shipping options for 1000 products. (Let me know how it goes.)

9. Multiple Images per Product : Handy if you want to show different angles of your products.

10. Integration with Google Analytics : As if I wasn’t excited enough about the Website Optimizer integration.? This will automatically configure Google Analytics to track your users’ activity across your site.

Overall, Magento eCommerce is light years ahead of what I used just a few years ago.? I’m very excited to get it up and running so I can write another review.? I hope I like it as much as I’m expecting to.

Best Buy Affiliate Blunder

Best Buy recently reacted to the “economic crisis” by cutting affiliate commissions from 1% to .25%. Many have reported backlash across the web about this because it’s such an incredibly stupid move on their part. Perhaps cutting this commission will save money up front, but by losing so many affiliates and having such a negative reaction, they’re sure to lose money in the long run.

Angel at Revenews.com has a much more detailed writeup of this. I’m just helping spread the word. If you were thinking about becoming a Best Buy affiliate, I’d say… don’t.

Amazon.com Gift Cards

I just received an email from Amazon.com selling gift cards.? First, I’ll mention that I am an Amazon.com affiliate and might benefit if you click these links.? It will not hurt you in any way, but if you buy something, I might make a few pennies.? 🙂

Anyway, I honestly love Amazon.com for books.? I used to go to my local chain bookstore, but Amazon always has the best prices.? The shipping isn’t all that expensive, and I’m always extremely surprised at how fast I receive my books. (Less surprised each time, but still happy.)

Many times, I go for the used books available on Amazon.? I’ve seen $50 books priced below $10 just because they’re no longer the latest fad or new technology.? So, you can go to Amazon and buy the latest wholesale business book, but it may be hit or miss. By getting a gift card, you give the control to the person who will spend many hours reading the book.

The reason I find this marginally blogworthy is the variety of ways they allow you to buy and send your giftcards.? No longer do you have to go to the store and pick up a physical gift card!

(Copied from the email I received.)

1. Email a personalized gift card for immediate delivery.

2. Print a personalized gift card on your own printer. (Remember to have your credit card handy when you’re ready to print.)

3. Mail a personalized gift card (shipping is free, of course). Please allow 5-7 business days for delivery.

4. Add a $25, $50, or $100 Gift Card – or a box of them! – to your other purchases in your Amazon.com shopping cart.
I think it’s awesome that you can buy a gift card and email it to someone.? True it’s not very personal, even if it is “personalized”, but hey, it’s a gift card.

I suppose the ability to print your gift card might be handy if you’re in an extreme hurry and need something to slip into a card.

And if anyone is having trouble coming up with a last-minute Christmas gift for me, consider this a hint.? 😉

Get Amazon.com gift cards here!

Update – Starting a Wholesale Business

I have not forgotten about the “Starting a Wholesale Business” series / project. I’m honestly just having a very difficult time deciding what product to sell. For anyone reading this, bear with me while I write out loud…

I’m trying to stay away from electronics because I don’t want to deal with returns. I want a product that is very unlikely to be returned because it’s not functioning properly. I’ve looked into iPods and other consumer electronics, but to sell major brand names, you’ll probably need to become an official distributor of that company if you want to make any kind of profit. For simplicity’s sake, I’m avoiding this as well.

The product needs to be fairly light and small. I don’t want to sell a $20 product and charge $15 for shipping. If I could sell volcanic rocks, that would be ideal.? Light…small…and not likely to malfunction.? Hmmm….

I have a few ideas that I’m kicking around, but nothing is really inspiring me yet.? I’m hoping to make a decision by this weekend.? If you’re the charitable kind, you could go to the product selection part of this series and leave a comment. I’ve had quite a few views of the mindmap, but no one has made any additions yet.? Maybe I need to go back and re-read that post and follow some of my own advice.

SaleHoo.com Review Redux

Originally, I thought SaleHoo.com was a site very similar to Liquidation.com where you could buy products directly on their site. However, my original review was based mostly on their sales page. This was before I had much time to do a full review of Salehoo. I apologize for this, and hope to clear some things up with this post. (Here’s the first review of SaleHoo.com)

Q. Can you buy anything directly from the SaleHoo website?
A. No. They are basically a directory of wholesale suppliers. You search for a product and a list of suppliers that carries that product is displayed. If you click one of those listings, you’re taking to a “company detail” page that lists the supplier’s name and business information. They also have member reviews listed on this page.

Q. Are the member reviews useful?
A. There are a few good reviews scattered around, but for the most part, each supplier has 1 comment stating that the company does what they say they do. There are a few useful user submitted comments, but this wouldn’t be my main selling point.

Q. Is the member forum useful?
A. Yes. Very. This may be one of the best reasons for signing up for SaleHoo. They have topics covering everything from how to get started, to commenting on bad experiences. The forum has over 50,000 members and 30,000 articles. Access to this forum is worth the selling price.

Q. What is the SaleHoo.com Research Labs?
A. This is a great new addition to SaleHoo, because it helps take some of the guesswork out of choosing a product to sell. Just enter a keyword and the research labs will give you a plethora of great information about that keyword/product. The information is geard toward selling on ebay, and they give you information such as Average Sale Price, Sell-Through Rate, Best day to end your auction, most common auction duration, and a rating of how much competition you’ll face. This tool is a great start for any of your product research.

They also have a Learning and Training Center with articles about setting up your business, watching out for scams, selling on Ebay, and how to import products internationally.

So SaleHoo.com is a bit different than I first expected, but it turns out that it’s an excellent resource for finding and researching wholesale suppliers. They have some excellent tools which actually makes them much more than just a directory. For the relatively small fee, you do get a good list of wholesale sources, and access to a member forum that’s very useful. I think Salehoo is one of the best ways to get your wholesale business off to a quick start.

>>> Click here for access to SaleHoo <<<

LCD TVs at Liquidation.com

Since starting this blog, I have had more questions about LCD TVs than anything else.

I’ve reviewed several suppliers, but I’m going to defer once again to Liquidation.com. They currently have over 323 auctions for LCD TVs. The lots range from $50 for 1 Magnavox 52″ HDTV to $3000 for 100 Sharp LCD displays.


They also have plasma tv auctions, but they’re not nearly as popular as LCD. At this moment, there are only 89 auctions for plasma tvs, but you can check them out here.

As always, do your homework before buying anything at any site I recommend. Liquidation.com is a reputable site, but they also deal with other sources for wholesale products. Remember that you may not always be dealing directly with Liquidation.com. And also remember to research the products you’re buying. Are they refurbished, salvaged, returned, or brand new? Is there a warranty? Be tough with your questions. If the supplier doesn’t give you straight answers, or you just get a bad vibe, you’re better off walking away.