Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #47

questions-answers-47Happy BLACK Friday everyone!

With December just around the corner, it’s time for our 47th Questions & Answers blog post. There are still 3 left to do this year if we’re going to reach my lofty target of 50, so please don’t stop sending your questions in via the contact form on this page.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba?
  • Is it possible to collect imports directly from the port?
  • Does HMRC keeps a black list of undervalued shipment recipients?
  • Is it normal that electronic suppliers in China don’t accept PayPal?
  • How to buy children’s toys in wholesale from China?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba? I find it a little hard to find suppliers on Alibaba.



There’s a massive difference between DHgate and the main Alibaba website. DHgate is basically an online retailer where you can buy in quantities as low as 1 per product, though it is also okay for small wholesale orders to test new products etc. Most sellers on DHgate are trading companies or individuals who simply buy goods from factories to re-sell on there.

Alibaba on the other hand is the world’s largest B2B marketplace, where the majority of companies listed are actual manufacturers. The minimum order requirements are completely different compared to Dhgate (much higher!) and of course prices will be significantly lower as a result. [Read more…]


Alibaba GOLD Member SCAMS!

gold-supplier-scamThe blog is turning in to a bit of a scam buster site now, as today we have a post all about Alibaba Gold Supplier scams, to follow on from last week’s one on Trademark applications.

Anyone who has read my very popular post “exposing the Alibaba scam” or the follow up article I did detailing the 10 most commonly attempted scams on Alibaba will know that I always recommend that you only deal with Gold Suppliers when sourcing products on Alibaba.

In fact, it’s the very first criteria I use when I’m searching for a new supplier and want to instantly filter out a large majority of the un-safe options. The reasoning behind it is incredibly simple – it costs a lot of money to become a Gold Supplier on Alibaba and most scammers are unwilling to spend that sum, when they know their account won’t last long anyway.

So does that mean only dealing with gold suppliers on Alibaba protects you completely against scams and makes you 100% safe? No, unfortunately not! You can still get scammed by gold suppliers on Alibaba and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

But before we get started with the meat of today’s post – I do want to quickly point something out: the absolute vast majority of gold suppliers on Alibaba are 100% legitimate companies. Of course I can’t put an exact figure on it, but I would estimate that around 1% of your dealings with these companies will be a scam. And no matter where you’re ordering from, a 99% success rate is very impressive!

So please don’t let this article scare you away from Alibaba, as that is the opposite of my intent! Instead I want you to feel more confident so that you can use Alibaba safely to source great products at great prices.

Alright, now that’s covered, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

From my experience and knowledge, there are 5 main instances when you may be scammed by a gold supplier, and we’re going to go through them one by one so that you know what to look out for: [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #46

questions-answers-46Welcome Back!

What a week it’s been…

On Monday we started with the Trademark Scam warning article and I’m really happy that I published it, even though I did already post a similar one earlier this year, during the summer. I have received many emails from my blog readers with the info that they have also received the same letters from the same companies!

The most worrying thing is that many of those people said that they almost PAID THEM!!! YES! Luckily they had that small doubt in their head and decided to search for these companies online which led them to the article on my blog.

It’s a good feeling to know that the post saved people literally thousands of pounds! I really hope that this blog post ends up ranking no.1 on Google so that everyone sees it!

On Wednesday I published an interesting guide on how to spot genuine Chinese brand products and what the difference is between Chinese brands and “Western brands”.

It’s now Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers blog post! If you want your question to be featured in one of these posts, all you have to do is contact me via my help desk here. As easy as that!

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Samsung batteries in Chinese electronics – are they legit?
  • Do you have to pay anything extra when using couriers for shipments from China?
  • Are freight forwarders’ fees all the same?
  • How much more complicated is it to use a freight forwarder vs a courier?
  • What additional costs will you face when importing children’s clothing from China?
  • Do you have to find a NICHE on eBay?

Let’s get started! [Read more…]


Chinese Brand Products – Are They FAKES?

chinese-brandsNearly every time I mention the words “China” & “Branded Products” together, it’s a warning about how you CANNOT buy branded products from China.

You know exactly what I’m talking about – all those websites with their too good to be true “buy one get one free” deals on all the top products and brands, such as:

Electronics – Apple, Samsung, Intel, Sony etc.

fake-apple-productsClothing and Footwear – Nike, Adidas, Puma etc.

fake-nike-productsDesigner Clothing and Accessories – Armani, Gucci, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana etc.

fake-handbagsAnd many more!

Sites such as these are everywhere online, preying on newbies who don’t know any better (I still get emails every week from people who have lost a lot of money by falling for these scams).

BUT all my warnings about branded products from China have created a bit of confusion that I want to clear up today.

When I talk about buying branded products from China, I am referring to Western brands (plus some Asian electronics companies of course) – big consumer brands whose products you will find on Amazon and your local high street. [Read more…]


Final Warning: Trademark Scams On The Rise!

trademark-scamsA few months ago I posted an article detailing a common scam attempted when you submit a trademark application with IPO UK. The scam is that you are sent a physical letter via post that is made to look like an invoice from the trademark registration authority:

Alright, I should probably point out that technically (by law) these are not a scam as if you read the small print very carefully you can see that they do mention that the fee you pay is for them to add you to their private directory and that’s it. They don’t actually claim that it has anything to do with your trademark application with IPO UK, which would then make it fraud and illegal.

In my personal opinion, that’s a lot of rubbish and I consider these letters to be a scam 100%. After all, there is no value at all in being registered on their “private database” and the whole formatting of the letter is designed to try and trick people into thinking it’s an official invoice that you need to pay to process your application.

But enough on that, as if you read my previous post you already know my opinion of these “companies”. The question is why am I talking about this again?

Well in the last few weeks I have received a barrage of emails about various variations of this scam that have been attempted on my readers and clients. It seems as if this scam is taking off as it certainly wasn’t at this level before!

So that’s why I want to revisit this topic today and make sure you are aware that you DO NOT have to pay any money to these companies! You gain absolutely no benefit from doing so. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #45

questions-answers-45Happy Friday!

Friday the 13th.

Another week has gone by and it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

It’s getting busier and busier as Christmas approaches fast so I didn’t have time to do the Chinese Brands article but it will be published next week.

Also, Trademark Scams are turning into a nightmare for all new trademark applicants. On Monday I will publish an update on this with more scam examples and photos of letters you may receive when registering a trademark.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to automatically track stock across Amazon & eBay?
  • Can you sell licensed products sourced from China?
  • Do you have to find a niche with great Terapeak numbers for ALL products?
  • How to get your first sale on Amazon’s Marketplace?
  • How to reduce abandoned carts in an online shop?
  • What’s the benefit of a NICHE BRANDED business VS a general eBay shop?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I am a very big fan of yours and I visit your blog every day. I want to ask you how you handle stock tracking, in terms of any changes in quantity or price as I have had a few situations where I was “forced” to sell a product at a loss rather than cancel the order.

I also want to ask you how I can handle situations when I sell a large quantity of one item (which I sourced from Amazon) and then they don’t let me purchase any more that week so I’m stuck until next week. I’ve always wondered how other sellers are overcoming this as I’ve seen them sell 100s of one item and they bought it from Amazon for sure.

Thank you in advance.

Looking forward to hear from you,


Hi Ivan,

If you sell on eBay & Amazon (using the same stock) and possibly your own online shop, you can’t effectively manage stock without using some sort of multi-channel software like Linnworks: [Read more…]


How To Rebrand Your eBay Shop for FREE!

custom-ebay-shopBy now you’re probably already aware that I recommend signing up for a shop on eBay, unless it’s a very particular situation. I’ve covered this is in a few different Q&A posts as well as in a post dedicated solely to the question of whether or not you need an eBay shop when just starting out?

Ideally, this shop subscription should be paired with a custom design to really make the most out of it and properly brand yourself on eBay. However, the fact of the matter is while the £20 a month subscription fee is manageable, a custom design is just too expensive for most newbie sellers.

BUT that doesn’t mean you have to use that plain old blue & grey default setting!

I’m really shocked at the amount of sellers on eBay who don’t customise their store at all – many of who are experienced sellers who have been using eBay for years.

And the only explanation for this is that they’re scared off by the myth that you need thousands to get a decent shop design, which is just not true! Simply customising your shop with a logo and matching colour scheme will make it look 100 times better than the default design.

Today I’ll show you exactly how to do this!

Before we get started – the method I’m going to show you will only work with the old shop design (with new shops you can only upload a banner, and that’s all). So you need to revert back, which will also give you access to custom pages. I’ve explained how to do this in detail here: Simple Custom Pages for Your eBay Shop

Okay let’s get to it then!

First you need to head to My Account > Manage My Shop > Display Settings – this is where you will be doing all of the customisation covered in this guide:

manage-my-shopYou very first job is to choose a suitable theme for your shop. eBay offers a number of different options and I’ve tried most of them! My opinion is that Classic Left looks and works the best so if you’d like to keep things simple you can just choose that. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #44

questions-answers-44Welcome Back!

After a quick break last Friday when we didn’t have our usual Q&A blog post, today I’m back with no. 44! There are seven Fridays left this year, and we need six more Q&A posts to reach my goal of 50 – it’s gonna be tight but I think we can make it!

On a side note, this week I went to the cinema with my wife and we watched “The Martian”. I must say I was very impressed with this movie, it was excellent and we both really enjoyed it! How realistic it was (growing potatoes etc.) is a different story but the movie as a whole was very good.

This week on the blog we started with the flyer advertising article, which clearly illustrates how in-effective direct mail campaigns are for eBay businesses, and then on Wednesday we had a guide on how to make the most out of top selling products for Christmas & beyond.

Going back to the questions you have sent in, today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Do you have to look at the shipping price when doing Terapeak research?
  • How to sell your first item on eBay?
  • How to remove the Turbo Lister logo from listings?
  • How to remove related videos from embedded YouTube videos?
  • How to react when the cost price of an item increases?
  • What are all these extra charges in addition to the actual product price when ordering from China!?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

When looking at the average price for an item do I need to be looking at the average shipping cost as well? For instance an item I’m looking at has an average selling price of £4.00 and shipping of £2.00. Does this mean the figure I should be thinking about is £6 or am I just focusing on the £4 and trying to price my product in and around that range?


Hi Christian,

No, I usually ignore the shipping price/number in Terapeak as in most cases, if you want to get a decent position in search, you’ll have to offer free P&P. And the data Terapeak gets for shipping price is taken from listings that charge a separate amount for P&P and won’t be found at the top of the search rankings on eBay. [Read more…]


Top Products to Sell on eBay for Christmas 2015!

hot-products-on-ebaySorry to any grinches out there, but yes, I’ll be talking about Christmas again today!

Love it or hate it, Christmas is the busiest and most profitable time of the year for most online sellers (especially on eBay) and if you choose to not take full advantage of the opportunity, well then you’re making a very poor business decision.

I do know that there are some niches that don’t get such a big boost at Christmas but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun, not at all! And that’s what today’s post is all about – a method for finding popular and profitable products to sell at Christmas.

We all know that every year there are a selection of products that sell like crazy during Christmas. All the way through November right up to the last second on Christmas Eve these products are in huge demand and most of the time the supply actually falls way short!

If any of you have watched the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Jingle All the Way – that sums it up pretty well!

So how do you make a killing on eBay during Christmas? By selling these products of course?


That is the route that 99% of people go down, but the actual fact is that it’s extremely hard to make any money from these products! I mean just think about it – demand far outreaches the supply, so it’s not going to be at all easy for you to get any stock to resell on eBay when the likes of Amazon, John Lewis, and Argos all want as much as they can get…

Okay occasionally in instances like this you can pick up small amounts of stock here and there (even buying from the big stores I just mentioned) and then resell them on eBay as auctions – a lot of the time they will go for many times higher than the RRP. BUT that’s not really a reliable and repeatable business model.

And on the flipside, when there is enough stock of these hot-selling Christmas products, the margins are often tiny! The big stores know how popular these products are around Christmas and the competition is so fierce that they’ll squeeze their pricing and margins as low as possible, just to get the sale from one of their competitors. And where does that leave small time eBay sellers, who have such low buying power in comparison? Well most of the time you’ll end up making a loss if you sell at the same price as other retailers! [Read more…]


Flyer Advertising for your eBay Business!

flyer-advertisingAdvertising is not something that I talk a lot about on this blog, as while it is hugely important to any business, it’s not something new sellers should really worry about – simply because they don’t have the budget to tackle it properly.

But nearly every time I tell someone this, they nearly always answer with “flyer advertising!” which if you don’t know is when you print and deliver flyers/leaflets door to door. After all, flyers are a cheap and effective advertising method and that’s why newbies love using them, right?

Wrong! I really want today’s post to dispel this myth once and for all and to hopefully save you some time and money.

You won’t achieve a positive ROI with flyer advertising and it’s an incredibly inefficient way to advertise your eBay business, as simple as that.

Let’s just start off with the fact that 99% of such flyers end up straight in the bin without even a single glance. And from that 1% that will take 5-10 seconds to scan over your leaflet (among the tens of others they receive every single day) maybe 1% will actually go online, check out your store/listing and buy something. And that’s a big maybe!

What that means is if you deliver 10,000 flyers, around 100 people will look over it properly, and you might then make a sale.

One single sale.

From ten thousand flyers.

Let’s quickly run through the maths on that so we can roughly gauge the ROI. I searched on eBay for “10,000 A5 flyers”:

a5-flyer-pricesThe first three sellers were all offering double sided for around £120 so we’ll use that in our calculation: [Read more…]

Who Wants a £100k a Year eBay Business?Show Me How!