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Selling and Dropshipping Information CD Products On Ebay

You might think with eBay's new policy of not allowing you to sell virtual infoproducts through auctions, that profiting from ebooks is going to be hard. It's not really changing the profitability of the ebook market as much as it is changing the delivery style of infoproducts.

In fact, now may be the best time to start ramping up a new physical delivery of all your infoproducts because the competition just got a whole lot scarcer. All the people who had already established themselves in the virtual infoproducts market woke up one morning to find their listings banned. Their only choice is to go elsewhere or to use the classified ads area to re-established a base again or to start converting their digital products into physical products. So, the field is wide open and those that expand into physical delivery on eBay will find their profits increasing in response.

You can still get many of the same positive features that you had with virtual products in physical delivery if you outsource your delivery management. This is called “dropshipping.” There are a few companies out there that specialize in dropshipping products that you create by allowing you to order the manufacture on demand, one at a time, and then ask to have them shipped to your customer directly. So, if the thought of having an inventory in your house, or dealing with printing, paper, stamps, and mailing envelopes is too much for you, you still have options to keep selling infoproducts which remain virtual until an order is placed. Then, the order is sent to the dropshipper who is responsible for fulfilling the order and shipping it to the customer. Very little changes on your end, if you have been used to selling virtual infoproducts, other than you get to charge more for the same product because of additional costs of manufacturing, shipping, and handling.

Being able to charge more for the same product is your biggest positive when expanding into physical delivery. People generally pay much more for an item they buy that comes to them in physical format than from virtual products. You can recover some of the expenses that you have in changing your business model to include manufacturing of a product, but you will also be charging a whole lot more for the same item.

If you choose to dropship your items to your customer, you still have the advantage of not having to store inventory or manage it. Your dropshipper will do that. You won't have to worry about mailing supplies or getting stamps either. So, going with third party to deliver your products is the easiest way to transform a virtual infoproduct business into a hard copy infoproduct business.

You can even use the physical format to help you sell virtual infoproducts on your own website, by giving your customers that information after they've place their physical order and received it. It may drive sales directly to your site if you tell them that, in the future, they can buy the same information in digital format directly from you. You do have to be careful not to violate the term of eBay's agreement that says you cannot offer a digital infoproduct as a free bonus. You won't have to worry about competition from eBay because they've banned that area from their site. This will help to steer customers away from eBay and to your site, where hopefully they will buy and download virtual infoproducts directly from you. By getting your website and name branded with the digital infoproducts, you get a boost in your self-promotion.

Depending on your dropshipper, they may have limits as to who they can send your products too. Some don't mind international orders and others don't do them. Always check with them ahead of time to know whether you need to tell bidders that only specific countries can bid. Otherwise, many dropshippers have developed distribution channels that are efficient and cheap. You can benefit from their knowledge without having to figure out how they do it so well. You simply pay a set amount for manufacturing and item and usually a monthly fee for dropshipping.

One of the biggest complaints about doing dropshipping is that you need to work with reliable companies. By allowing others to dropship your items, you lose control of the delivery process – which, as mentioned earlier, is key to maintaining good feedback. So, many people who are outsourcing the manufacture of their virtual infoproducts into physical products are opting to forgo dropshipping for their own inventory and delivery system at home. While this will definitely keep them in better control, you still have much less control of a delivery cycle when handling physical items than when you are allowing people to download virtual products. You have potential problems with the US mail system, increases in gas prices, and potential damage during delivery to your product. It is quite a bit harder to keep all these factors from causing one or two problems down the road for you.

There are additional costs to delivering a physical product, obviously, which just begins with the added cost of manufacturing and delivery. You may also want to add insurance to your packages (in case they get lost) and include extra packing material to make them resistant to damage along the way. A loss of the physical product translates into a direct loss of money for you, as you will have to eat the cost unlike virtual products which only require a new copy to be posted online without a direct cost to you.

You will not be able to create multiple physical infoproducts in unlimited quantity and, if you don't use print on demand services, you will have to estimate a quantity to print that you hope you can eventually sell. If you print too many, you may be left with some extra books lying around taking up space. It will also eat into your profits. If you print too few, you will not be able fulfill all the orders that come in on time and that will cause negative feedback to be posted on your account at eBay. The more you print at one time, usually the better deal you get per book or CD, so you should have a good idea how to have enough physical infoproducts you need to keep in stock to keep your inventory flowing smoothly.

Tracking inventory and keeping track of mail orders is a whole new skill set that you will have to cultivate that you didn't need to have with virtual infoproducts. It can be shocking to realize that there are so many tiny things that can go wrong from being out of envelopes, packing, infoproducts, or having trouble timing the post office so you don't waste hours in line.
Hire Third Party

There are numerous websites that will allow you to take your infoproducts and create physical products on demand. Places like Lulu.com, CafePress.com, and others cater to small business people who want to be able to create their own products and sell them on their own. They are not always dropshippers, but do offer selling venues where customers can see your offerings and choose to buy them by paying for them through listings on the parent website or through website-sponsored stores (not unlike eBay). These aren't really dropshippers, in the strictest sense of the word, because your customer will not be dealing with you directly, they will be dealing the parent company. There's nothing that says you can't do that, but most of these places host many people with similar offerings and what you are doing is leading your customers to your competition. ]

If your infoproduct is so original that it doesn't matter, then it can be an option to use one of these third party companies to create and sell your wares. They will charge you quite a bit to do this service for you, but you won't have the headaches of deliver or customer refunds either. You will end up losing control of the process and that can wind up showing up as negative feedback on your eBay account. So, otherwise, you might want to consider genuine dropshippers who won't put their name on your product or try to steer customers to other offerings on their site.

These will be a whole lot harder to locate, but well worth the extra effort. What you want is someone who can fulfill your orders reliably and preferably on demand in the background, making your business process seem seamless and giving you credit for the production and delivery of the product – not someone else. For ebooks, you can try LightningSource.com for your needs. They will print on demand and offer to distribute through their channels as well as offering some form of drop shipping to publishers. They are a subsidiary of Ingrams, a major publishing venue, which allows them to place your products in multiple selling forums, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

If you are looking for someone to hire to do your CDs and DVDs, you can try Kunaki.com or cd-fulfillment.com/. Both of these options will end up costing you about $5 per CD when mailed within the United States. You can expect to pay more if you are asked to ship internationally. They will print one or many CDs and you can use them to help keep your business alive on eBay as they go through some changes. No matter how you cut it, you do lose some control and the price will be quite a bit higher for your customers. However, if you want to do-it-yourself and you think you can set up a manageable system for inventory management and delivery, you can undercut the competition on price. It might be worth it to you to keep more control, but it will definitely cost you more in hassle and time management.

There is no doubt that if you decide to “do-it-yourself” you are taking on a bit more work than you are used to doing with virtual infoproducts. You will have to find a place to keep your inventory in the best order you can and keep track of it, so it doesn't get too low and you don't have sufficient infoproducts to fulfill your orders on time. Space may be at a premium, but it is highly important to keep your infoproducts free of moisture and sun-damage as that can make them worthless for sales purposes. If you are selling multiple categories and types of infoproducts, you will want to track them separately and have some system in place so that when an order comes in you can get up from your chair, go directly to where the item is located, and place it in an area for shipping along with the shipping information needed to process the order.
Step-by-Step Process

Imagine that you are selling ebooks at auction on eBay. You've decided to have them manufactured at either Booksurge.com, Cafepress.com, Kinkos.com, or LightningSource.com. You've ordered 20 copies of each for your inventory. Depending on how many titles you carry, you will have to have a spreadsheet with the information for each book that lets you know how many you've sold and what level your inventory is at. So, the auction ends and the order is received.

You will:

Confirm receipt of the order and email customer to introduce yourself and start communication in a friendly manner.
Print out the mailing address of your customer upon receipt of payment using either print directly to envelope or print to peel off labels.

Locate the physical copy of the book.
Place it in your shipping area along with the mailing information.
Go into your inventory spreadsheet and mark one more as sold.
Package the book so that it doesn't get damaged along the way by being rained on.

Decide whether to ship using media mail or expedited mail, depending on what your customer has requested.

Either print out stamps at home using in-home stamp delivery system from USPS.com or go to the postal office and mail the product.
Choose whether to insure or not and how you will track delivery.
Notify customer when you ship book and when they can expect to receive it.

Now, imagine that you get 10 orders in one day. As you can see, the less time you spend in this process, the more time you have to devote to listing items and generating sales. Costs to package and deliver products, whether from buying packing materials, or time spent handing the delivery, is all money out the window, unlike infoproducts which don't have these expenses. And, if the product is not what the customer wanted, you will have to refund the price of the book and have it shipped back to you.

Seeing how labor intensive the whole process is and how it is heavily dependent on third parties for a good delivery transaction, you will want to automate as much as possible to save time. You might want to find out about media mail and use a service like Stamps.com that allows you print just the right amount of postage for your package yourself. It can help you organize mailing in a much quicker fashion as you can drop off most packages at the closest postal box, instead of the post office.

While people suggest you can save $2 to $3 per CD, maybe more on books, by doing it yourself, you also have to take into account the cost of your time handling order processing. If this is a side business for you and you already work a regular job, you will have great difficulty getting enough savings to justify the extra expenditure in time and effort. But, it really all depends on how efficient you are at mass mailings.


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