For, e-marketplaces turn a page for new business

March 30, 2015 03:44 PM, a company that sells equipment and materials for binding and laminating paper reports, expects to do about $22 million in sales this year—90% online, the rest through telephone sales reps.

Most of its online sales come through its own e-commerce site at And though only 10% of its total web sales come through the marketplaces of and, those from marketplaces also contribute in other ways to MyBinding’s success, says Jeff McRitchie, MyBinding’s vice president of marketing.

They expose MyBinding to a broader range of customers that otherwise might not have found its products he says, and they provide opportunities to sell used products on eBay and offer popular services like Amazon’s Prime free-shipping program.

To get the most out of selling through e-marketplaces, however, takes leg work, he adds.

McRitchie says he researches the competition on Amazon for particular products and, while also figuring his profit margins, tries to list on Amazon only those products that have the best chance of winning the Buy box with an attractive price. Winning the Buy box often means offering the Fulfillment By Amazon service, or FBA, as a delivery option—which can include free shipping for MyBinding’s customers through the Amazon Prime program—so McRitchie also focuses on selling through Amazon products with a large enough profit margin to absorb the cost of using Fulfillment by Amazon. Under FBA, as the program is commonly called, Amazon stores a merchant’s products in Amazon’s network of distribution centers and handles the shipping. works with Mercent Price Optimizer software from CommerceHub, a provider of fulfillment and shipping services. The Mercent software monitors prices for on Amazon for products sold by MyBinding and its competitors, helping MyBinding to adjust its prices to stay competitive and win the Buy box.

It’s also important to use FBA only for products that can be expected to quickly sell, so as to avoid extra fees Amazon charges for storage for six months or more, McRitchie says. Basic FBA fees vary based on product size. For non-media products in packages of more than two pounds, for example, Amazon charges FBA fees of $1.59 per package, plus 39 cents per each pound over two pounds. It also charges warehouse storage fees of between 40 cents and 68 cents per cubic foot depending on package size and time of year. And for any packages left in an FBA warehouse for more than 12 months, it increases the storage fee to a long-term rate of $11.25 per cubic foot. Starting in August 2015, the long-term rate will kick in after the first six months of storage.

Going forward, McRitchie says Oregon-based MyBinding will consider using outsourced warehouse and fulfillment centers in a central U.S. location like Kansas to provide more and less costly shipping options to reach customers in the eastern half the country. To support that option, however, he may also investigate new order management software to better enable MyBinding to route orders, received online through marketplaces or its own e-commerce site, to the most appropriate fulfillment center capable of expediting shipment to the customer.

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