Calculating Amazon Fees – an Amazon Fee Calculator

When you sell an item on Amazon, Amazon will charge a fee. No surprise there, hopefully.

They charge a percentage commission, which means you have little financial risk when selling on Amazon. ie you only pay when you sell (other than a pretty modest monthly subscription).

The fee Amazon charge is a percentage based on the category that your product is listed in. And the fee is charged on the total sales value.

Calculating the Amazon Fee is easy enough if you sell something for £10 then if the Amazon Fee is 10%, then they will take a £1.

But how do you calculate a profitable Amazon selling price in the first place? It’s trickier than you may think.

Suppose you want to sell an item for £10 plus enough to cover the Amazon fee, say 10%. If you simply add 10% to the price, you’ll end up with a selling price of £11. But when Amazon take 10% of your selling price, £11, they’ll take £1.10, which means you have missed out.

That’s why we have a proper Amazon Fee Calculator to help you calculate an Amazon Selling Price that takes into consideration all the costs and the fact that Amazon charge based on the final selling price. You can find it here.


How to Sell On Amazon

Recent reports continue to emphasise that retail on the High Street is in decline, at least in the UK. The decline has obviously been ongoing for some time, but now the High Street is gradually adapting (at least from where I’m sitting).

Where vacant retail outlets were adopted by charity shops initially, it now seems that the shifting norm is for snack bars, cafe’s and restuarants to fill the space. How that will play out over time remains to be seen. But it certainly seems to suggest that town centres can still play a role in social interaction, even when the shopping element is reduced.

The same news reports, that point to the decline of the retail experience on the high street, always add on something along the lines of “retail moving to online”. That’s fair enough, but undoubtedly many retailers are simply not doing that, instead they are getting out of retail altogether.

For those retailers that remain, getting online means a website and selling through marketplaces. And when it comes to marketplaces, the prime point of contact means Amazon with it’s country specific sites reaching from Canada to Australia.

We’ve found, perhaps surprisingly, that many new retailers to the Amazon experience find it a little daunting. Whereas directly dealing face to face with shoppers was part of the working day, now it’s done at arms length – via emails and messaging – that is a whole new way of running a business for many.

We’ve updated a few pages on the site to help share what we think is important when it comes to selling on Amazon. For experienced sellers on Amazon most of it is probably a little obvious, but we still find retailers who are unaware of how SEO on Amazon works, why stock management is more important than ever and why responding quickly to complaints is essential (even if the complaint seems unwarranted).

You can check out our How to Sell on Amazon page and see if it adds anything to your knowledge, hopefully there is something in there that contributes to your online sales. We’d like to see you persevere online and be successful.










The 10 Amazon Listing Optimisation Rules

With Amazon being such an important sales channel for so many retailers, we thought a helpful top 10 tip list would be useful for retailers whose sales are not as good as they should be.

You can find the full detail on the Top 10 Amazon Listing Optimisation Rules by following the link.

But if you are in a hurray here is the summary:

Title: make sure it is keyword rich, and make sure it says what the item is.

Category: use your competitor listings to make sure you list in correct place.

Description: this has to be sales copy – make sure you write copy that sells.

Bullet Points: Use them to the max – they stand out and this is where the customer looks first.

Keywords: You need to research these for your copy and title. So make sure you put them into the keyword area as well.

Images: White background, lots of them and good quality! No logos or overlays.

Technical Info: This is required to product comparisons, if you don’t have it you will lose out.

Sponsored Product Ads: A little investment can help establish sales and also give you info on the search terms that are popular.

Brand Registry: If you have unique products then make sure you protect your brand and your listings.

Review: Keep reviewing your listings against sales, stay on top of things to keep your sales moving.

And I guess that’s our top 10 favourite Amazon Product Oprtimisation rules and tips in a nutshell.

More at: Amazon Listing Optimisation.



So what does a DBA do all day?

With all the talk and constant email bombardment surrounding GDPR it made us think a little about the role of the DBA – The Database Administrator.

GDPR is the latest requirement that has landed on their plate and it’s quite a full plate already. So What does a DBA do anyway?

It really depends, we came up with 12 key things on our What does a DBA do list. And you’ll find that they vary in complexity a lot.

If you were asking around, you’d probably find that the most popular answer is that they are responsible for backing up database data and being sure you can restore it. But that is only the beginning.

For instance: Database design is an important role with many DBA’s. Performance goes hand in glove with that. Get the design wrong and performance will suffer, and in some cases you may find that the easy answer is to increase the server compute power: not the best thing to do as that costs, and doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

Process and procedure is at the heart of a DBA role, especially given the increase in regulation surrounding data protection and security. Stepping outside the agreed mechanisms for sharing and backing up data can put the business at risk.

And then there is keeping up to date with latest technology developments. Not least the fast moving Cloud services from the likes of Amazon with their (superb) AWS.

So already we have 4 quite different areas, not all necessarily suited to one person. Data Backup and restoration is a fairly predictable task; data design requires a certain spatial awareness and creative flair; process requires something a little more rigid; and researching latest technology requires passion.

We’d venture to say that you won’t (can’t), find all of those interests and talents in one person.

So what does a DBA do? For your business it’s likely that they don’t do everything we list in our top 12 things, and instead other members of the team pick up on the areas that they enjoy and have talent for.

It’s common for people to think of a DBA being some form of data based Swiss Army knife, but in reality they simply can’t be. So when you are choosing a DBA look for the skills that will solve you biggest problems: if its process then concentrate there; if it’s performance then look for significant design flair.

So what does a DBA do? That is sort of up to you in the end.


Amazon Listing Titles – the one thing you need to do to get found on Amazon

It’s probably quite unusual but we wear a couple of different Amazon related hats.

As software developers we use Amazon’s AWS platform a lot for the genuinely flexible server hosting and the rather extraordinary AWS services such as Lambda. But we also provide Amazon Listing Services to online retailers.

The Amazon Product Listing Optimisation consultancy services started as a by product of Seller Dynamics.  Seller Dynamics is our marketplace management service that ensures retailers can sell with ease across Amazon and other global marketplaces such as eBay and Cdiscount. It reprices and manages stock levels automatically – all very clever (and all hosted on AWS).

However, by working with a large number of retailers we found that there was a great deal of confusion among retailers on how to create a listing on Amazon that would result in sales. It wasn’t something that we set out to do, but in the end we decided we needed to offer Amazon Consultancy services to retailers who were unable to crack the Amazon listing code. There wasn’t any point us keeping it a secret.

We’ve found that the same issues come up time and time again with problematic Amazon listings. And by far the most common error is in the title of the listing. All too often we find that the title fails to adequately describe the product, and that means that the potential customer is unable to find it when they search on Amazon.

At the risk of stating the obvious the listing title needs to say what the product is. If you are selling a new type of Dog Food without an established brand name, then we’d recommend saying Dog Food in the title. Being too close to the product, especially one you manufacturer, or have designed yourself, can be a bad thing.

Often we find that products have been given titles to ensure that they have a certain uniqueness, that is a fair enough ambition but if you are manufacturing Tea Towels but opt to call them Drying Facilitators then you won’t sell any, because no-one will find them.

We’d recommend that you look at your competitors, or the top sellers in your category to see how they describe any similar products that they are selling. If they are the number 1 or 2 top seller in your category, then part of the reason they are there will be because of the effectiveness of the Title. So “be inspired” by what they have done with the title, and see if you can improve upon it.

A good title will clearly say what the item is, the colour, the size: all the key things that you check out when you lift any item up in a bricks and mortar store.

Part numbers seem to cause confusion. If the part number is important then include it – but ONLY if it’s important. Selling a Sony Bluetooth Speaker would typically require the Sony reference number in the title, as that ensures the customer can compare like with like. But a part number in the title is hardly likely to be a requirement if it is something you manufacturer, or is an item that is relatively straightforward in specification.

Don’t add the part number to the title unless it’s essential to finding the product, all you are doing is filling up the valuable title space with information that isn’t useful, and which might actually confuse.

When creating a title concentrate on the item’s key features. Get a colleague to review them, it’s too easy to miss something after a long day describing products.

Quickly, here is the stuff you should be considering to include or not:

What is it; colour; size; manufacturer (if a brand); part number (if vital); who is it for (men, women, children).

Don’t rush the title – it’s the one thing that if you get wrong, you won’t sell anything.




Choose an AWS instance type – Kola Cubes or Sports Mixture?

We had a newsagent that we had to pass on the way back from Primary School. And when I say, “had to pass”, what I actually mean is “had to go into and buy sweets from”.

The anticipation of entering, the smell of sugar and newsprint, it was a rush. What to choose from the over large glass jars, filled with colourful, processed sugar. Literally a kid in a sweetie shop.

It’s a phrase that sprung to mind recently when we were looking through the latest additions to the long list of services that are on the AWS shelves. Amazon simply keep adding services to their Amazon Web Service offerrings. It’s like being that kid in a sweetie shop again.

As AWS developers, the continual renewal of that AWS list is making life so much more fun. But you don’t have to go as far as looking at the services on AWS to be like that sweetie hungry kid – choosing an “instance” is just as satisfying.

Just as you had Kola Cubes and Sports Mixture on the newsagent shelves, now you have MX5’s and T2’s – each flavour and concoction a thing of delight. Amazon have brought a little of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory to the world of computing, or have I had too many of the red cricket stumps from the bag of Sports Mixture I’ve just bought?

To explain how you can choose the correct AWS instance – that’s a server – we’ve pulled together another of our little podcasts to explain and de-mystify. Start off for free and then scale up (yes we did say free). Opt for local and/or EBS storage (ie network storage). And decide when you want to, whether to pay as you go, or to opt for a longer term contract. So many choices for you to make, and no-one is telling you what you want.

If you want Kola Cubes great. If you want Soor Plooms, that’s up to you. If you’d rather a quarter of Chocolate Eclairs, no-one is stopping you. The difference with AWS is that if you don’t like the flavour, you can put it back up on the shelf, and try something else instead.

Check out our Podcast to find out about your AWS instance options. If you want to keep up to date with what we are talking about then you can follow us here, or on iTunes, on Podbean and of course visit the AWS development pages of our site.

However you choose to follow us, and whatever AWS instance you spend your pocket money (or Bus Fare) on, we hope you find it as exciting as being a kid in a sweetie shop again.


Get started with AWS – Amazon Web Services

You may have noticed but we like being AWS developers – it’s been truly one of the most enjoyable things we have done. The ease with which you can get set up with a database or web server, and the ease with which you can monitor costs is nothing short of transformative.

To spread the word, and to be honest blow our own cloud based trumpets a little, we’ve been doing a few podcasts about the costs and implementation detail with respect to AWS (Amazon Web Services… you knew that, right?).

The AWS world gets bigger by the day, and we’ve watched it grow over the past few years. As it’s grown, it may well be that if you haven’t jumped aboard yet, that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the range of services. Where one earth do you start with AWS?

Well, never fear, Fraser is here! With another of our short podcasts, structured to help you get comfortable with the AWS technology, and to get you over the starting line.

You might be delighted to know that there is a free tier with AWS – that means you can spin up a low spec server, play around and get familiar with the EC2 console and how AWS hangs together. We believe that facility alone makes a huge difference to the computing world. At last you can try things out without committing to huge capex or by tying yourself up in a lengthy contract.

Our full podcast is available on the site, you’ll find we talk a lot about developing for AWS, and there is a full transcript of the Getting Started on AWS podcast if you can’t understand the accents! You’ll also find us on iTunes and Podbean. Or of course follow us here on WordPress.