Nov
25

Click and Collect for eBay Sellers – Useless Gimmick or Terrific New Selling Channel?

click-and-collectWith all the big and highly important changes eBay has introduced this year, such as eBay’s new seller standard, the Defect Rate, and Managed Returns (both of which I have already written about – Defect Rate & Managed Returns) it is not surprising that a smaller introduction has passed many people by…

What am I talking about? eBay’s new delivery service, Click and Collect at Argos.

But what is click and collect and how does it work?

Well, as the name suggests, it’s a simple process where your buyer purchases an item from you but instead of it being shipped to their home address, they instead collect it from their nearest Argos store.

Now initially this sounds terrific!

I mean, the more choice we can give to customers the more sales we’ll make and a collection service is very useful for people who can’t be home to receive a delivery and don’t want the hassle of chasing the courier and then having to drive to their delivery depot to collect the item…

This way, the buyer chooses to collect their item and is notified when it’s ready, then all they have to do is pick it up like a normal order from Argos, on their own time.

Incredibly simple and that’s why these click and collect services have always been so popular with consumers (just take a look at John Lewis, Currys/PC World, Tesco or even Argos itself).

BUT there is one big difference between what say, John Lewis, offer and the click and collect service with eBay and that is SHIPPING!

As you are obviously unable to store your actual products at Argos, you still need to ship them out as normal (except delivering to Argos rather than your customer directly) and once they’ve been received and processed, your buyer will then be notified that their item is available for collection.

So what that means is; using this click and collect service will take as long (if not longer including processing) than delivering directly to your customer. [Read more…]

Nov
12

CHEAPEST Packaging Materials for eBay Sellers!

cheap-packaging-materialsA few months ago, I wrote an article of packaging materials for online sellers and in it I go over the best options for different products – boxes, jiffy bags, mailing bags etc. BUT since then, I’ve received probably hundreds of emails from sellers asking me where to buy this stuff?

So I’ve decided to, once and for all, create a full comparison for you that you can refer to whenever you need to order packaging materials!

In this guide I’ll be comparing the big 3 options – eBay, Amazon and ecommerce sellers. But I won’t just say “go to eBay”, no – I will tell you exactly where you should go to get the cheapest price possible for your packaging, after all – overspending here won’t give you any benefits for your business and it’s simply an unnecessary expense.

Let’s get to it!

Jiffy Bags

The jiffy bag I’m going to be researching is probably the most commonly used by eBay sellers – the JL1 170mm x 245mm (‘DVD size’).

Now I always like to start my research on eBay, as it’s the quickest and easiest way to compare multiple sellers at once and to get a good idea of the average pricing, whereas in comparison you would have to go through hundreds of ecommerce stores.

So I start off by simply searching JL1 jiffy on eBay.

Now ignoring the multi-item listings for now I can straight away see that the price for 100 of these on eBay is around £11 (a little bit less).

jiffy-bags-1Next I’ll go through the first few results, which were multi-item listings, and see if any of them offer better pricing.

And yes, I find 100 of the same size JL1 jiffy bags for just £8.99 delivered: [Read more…]

Nov
06

New Office – First iMac and £400 Electric Desks!

my-officeRegular readers of my blog will probably have noticed that over the last few months I haven’t been very active in terms of publishing new content, well at least not as active as I’d like.

But there was a very good reason for this – I spent July, August and September moving into a new office which took A LOT of time and energy (plus mental anguish!). We all know how it is with a move, and this one was no different – nothing went to plan and every schedule quickly went out the window.

Some of you may remember that early this summer, after finishing work on the brand new version of Easy Auction Business, I promised myself that I would spend the rest of the summer with my family, just take some time off and recharge myself for the new season.

If only life was that easy! ☺

I’ve had plans to expand for some time already, particularly as my new handmade greeting cards company needed more space for assembly work stations, warehousing etc.

And early in July, I received an offer to rent a bigger office space not far from our previous location. The offer was so good that I couldn’t resist and signed-on and as the new place needed some renovation I spent most of July and August on that, plus of course the actual moving process itself.

office-desk-1

office-desk-2

office-desk-3But nothing to worry about now as luckily this has all be done and we’ve been settled in our new office for a few weeks now, continuing with work as usual.

So in today’s blog post I wanted to share a few things with you that I have implemented in my office to improve productivity and in general – make the whole office routine more enjoyable and easier to handle.

‘Special’ Desks

electric-desk

The first new thing I wanted to bring to our office was height-adjustable desks. Mainly for health reasons of course as we all know how bad it is for you to sit down in front of a computer all day long. Also, keeping in mind that the employees for my new greeting card company need to work on various machines, I really wanted to offer them the best in terms of workspace ergonomics.

Now some of you may never have heard of them before so might now be wondering what on earth these height-adjustable desks actually are? Well basically they are normal desks with one important distinction – you can alter the height with the push of a button.

They have a special motor underneath the desk which is powered from the mains and a small up and down button panel screwed beneath the desk surface. [Read more…]

Oct
31

How to Remove Defects on eBay!

remove-defect-ebayFollowing on from Part 1 of my guide to defects on eBay, we’re now going to take a look at what defects can be removed and how.

As was the case previously, when your positive feedback percentage was the main indicator for seller performance, it is very difficult to get a defect removed from your account and really, it can only be done in very specific circumstances.

Automatic Removal

There are a few instances where eBay will automatically remove a defect from your account, such as:

  • If the buyer doesn’t pay for their order (but you HAVE to open an unpaid item case for the defect to be removed).
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case is ruled in the seller’s favour (though obviously this is a very rare occasion).
  • If eBay takes action against a buyer for violating their buying practices policy.
  • If eBay can determine, through valid tracking, that the defect was the direct result of systematic delays in delivery or communication – such as wide scale postage delays, items being stuck at customs (through no fault of the seller), power outages due to extreme weather etc.

With this last point, it has to be a wide-scale problem for eBay to remove the defect.

Don’t think that you can show that your courier didn’t show up when they said they would and that’s why the item arrived late, not at all! It would only apply in a case such as Royal Mail delaying deliveries due to extreme weather or if you couldn’t respond to a buyer because eBay’s site was down.

But again, it can’t have been a problem for you specifically, so it won’t matter to eBay if your internet was down (even if you can prove it) – it has to be a wide-scale problem.

With these automatic cases – defects should be removed on a Wednesday so if you believe your case falls into one of the above categories, keep an eye on the defect via your seller dashboard and monitor whether it is actually removed.

defects-rateIf not, you’ll have to contact eBay and ask them to do it manually.

Now I know what you may be thinking – is that it? Surely there must be many other instances where eBay will remove a defect?

And the short answer to that question is – no. [Read more…]

Oct
28

eBay’s New Seller Standard – The Defect Rate

ebay-defectsThis year eBay have introduced a number of changes for sellers (as always!), with the main ones being eBay’s new Managed Returns Process and new seller performance measures and specifically – the defect rate.

I have already written a guide on managed returns, which you can read here: eBay’s Managed Returns Process – Explained, so now it’s time to go over eBay’s other big change – the recently introduced new seller performance measurement.

Let’s get started!

So firstly, what is this new performance measurement and when was it introduced?

Well the defect rate (as it’s known) came into effect in August this year, replacing the previous minimum positive feedback requirements, and basically, based on extensive research conducted over millions of transactions, it measures the aspects of a transaction that eBay believe are most important to buyers.

And if something goes wrong with a transaction, it counts as a defect on your account. eBay then uses this defect rate to monitor your performance and if you fall below their minimum requirements, you will lose your Top-rated seller status and even worse; your positions in search results will be penalised and you can even be suspended from eBay completely.

What counts as a defect?

A defect is a transaction that’s considered to create a “bad shopping experience for buyers” and any of the following will count as a defect against you:

  • A detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for item as described
  • A return due to the item being not as described
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case for item not as described
  • A detailed seller rating of 1 for dispatch time
  • An eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection case for item not received
  • Negative Feedback
  • Neutral Feedback (yes, that’s right – neutral feedback is now considered as bad as negative feedback in eBay’s eyes!)
  • A transaction being cancelled by you due to the item being out of stock

One important thing to note here – you can only get a single defect per transaction. [Read more…]

Oct
24

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #12

questions-answers-12Welcome Back!

It’s been some time since our last Questions & Answers blog post so there are a lot of topics for us to cover today:

  • Can I Still Make Money on eBay?
  • Will PayPal Ban Me for This?
  • Selling Used Goods on eBay to Supplement My Trading Income
  • Do I Need to Register With HMRC?
  • Product Storage
  • Too Much Tax!
  • Can You Help Make Sure I’m Not Scammed on Alibaba?
  • eBay Sellers Ignoring EU Law
  • Closing the Deal with Suppliers from Alibaba

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Selling on eBay has become so competitive and very hard due to eBay taking so much in fees. I feel it is mainly for buyers rather than sellers nowadays… it seems like I am too late and the money making days are gone?

Making 10p on an item is not really worth the time surely?

I would really like to get your view on this. I do run an online business but again it’s new and I feel like eBay is a great place for potential customers, I’m just not seeing enough profit there.

Also what is your opinion on PayPal taking a fee from your postage?

As if postage is costing me £3.90 I charge £3.90 yet PayPal then take their fee and I’m left with less than the actual postage cost. It seems a bit unfair to me?

Regards, 

Mark

Hi Mark,

The money making days on eBay are definitely NOT gone! If that was the case, there wouldn’t be so many sellers on eBay. Yes, competition has increased dramatically over the last decade but so has the demand and number of products being sold on eBay.

The two biggest problems most people (sellers) face are:

  • Lack of buying power;
  • Getting enough sales in.

I will quickly cover each in detail.

Buying power - you really need to buy in true bulk volume to make a profit on eBay. Buying in small quantities from local wholesalers just won’t work anymore. In many cases the same wholesalers that you’re buying from are also selling on eBay and if not; their prices simply aren’t competitive enough anyway.

The solution to this is to start importing products in bulk from China or another country where manufacturers are located. This is what most successful eBay sellers do to compete and it’s the model I’ve personally been following for years now. [Read more…]

Oct
21

BEST eBay Alternatives in 2015!

best-ebay-alternativesRisk Diversification.

I’ve mentioned it countless times on this blog for a very good reason; as an online seller, you need to diversify your risk and sell on more than just one platform (eBay).

Yes, eBay is a terrific marketplace where you can reach millions of buyers for practically nothing and yes, I do think it’s the no.1 selling platform online, especially for newbie sellers, BUT that doesn’t mean that you can rely on it alone.

I’m sure you’ve all heard countless horror stories of eBay/PayPal accounts being shut down, permanently, and people literally losing their entire business overnight.

Now most of the time with these bans, the seller has done something wrong, despite what they may claim…

But on occasion you can have your account banned for something completely out of your control and if you only sell on eBay, that means an end to your business.

So don’t just assume that this won’t happen to you as you need to be prepared and have a plan if it does.

And while I still do suggest concentrating on eBay alone when you’re just starting out (eBay, Amazon or an Online Store?), once you are up and running, then it’s time to start to look into some other platforms to also sell your products on.

Of course, as well as diversifying your risk, this also means more sales!

After all, it’s common sense that – selling on more platforms = reaching more customers = more sales!

It really is a win-win situation.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the other options out there:

*Actually, now is probably a good time for me to point out that there are no real eBay replacements… it’s almost impossible to match the volume of buyers on eBay and there’s just no point wasting your time listing products on auction sites with no traffic, as you simply won’t sell anything.

So rather than replacements, these are some alternatives that you can use, depending on what niche you’re in, to supplement your eBay business.

Let’s get to it!

Amazon

sell-on-amazonAmazon is really the most logical and obvious platform to expand to after you’re successfully up and running on eBay.

In many ways it’s actually a lot simpler than eBay as there are no templates etc. and less rules that you have to familiarise yourself with and overall – it’s just more of a straightforward and automated process.

But due to Amazon’s system of all sellers for a product being shown together under one individual listing, you really do need to be able to offer the lowest price to achieve real success…

Unless of course you are selling your own brand products, as that’s where the real money lies on Amazon. [Read more…]

Oct
08

How to Sell on eBay – For Beginners!

how-to-sell-on-ebay_for-beginnersI cover some fairly advanced eBay and eCommerce tactics on this blog, such as list building, custom product branding, new product ‘inventions’, how to reach the no.1 spot on eBay’s search results, and much more…

These are all advanced techniques used by experienced power sellers on eBay, techniques that you can use to build and grow your own business.

BUT – I get a lot of messages from people who aren’t yet at this stage. In fact, a lot of the requests for help that I receive are from people who really are just starting out. They don’t have any ideas yet and really; they just don’t know much about eBay at all.

So I’ve decided to write this guide for those people – a complete newbie’s guide to getting started on eBay, and in it I’ll cover things like opening an account, listing your first item and everything else you need to know to get started on eBay.

A step by step walkthrough that will take you from not knowing anything about eBay to having a great foundation that you can build on!

So without further ado, let’s get started!

Opening Your eBay and PayPal Accounts

First things first – before you can do anything on eBay, you need to open an account (obviously!).

This couldn’t be any simpler and most people will already have their own personal account anyway from buying things (if that’s the case, then you just need to upgrade it to a Business account).

So simply go to eBay’s homepage and from the top left, click on register.

You’ll be taken to a registration page but don’t bother filling in those details as you need to instead click on “start a business account”.

open-ebay-accountThat takes you to another page that asks for some details about you and your business. It’s all extremely simple and really the only thing needed other than your personal information is Business Name and Business Type. [Read more…]

Sep
25

Droptec – The UK’s #1 Solution for Dropshipping?

droptec-reviewThose of you who have been reading my blog for a while will already know that I am not a huge fan of the whole dropshipping business model (you can read my thoughts on it here if you haven’t already – Dropshipping – The Ideal Business Model?).

But despite its drawbacks, I still get COUNTLESS messages every week about dropshipping, mainly from people looking for that perfect dropshipping company.

And really that’s understandable; the whole idea of dropshipping is so tempting – particularly for newbie sellers and while it is NOT anywhere near as easy as people think, it can sometimes be profitable – IF you work directly with a manufacturer or find a terrific dropshipping company.

So with that in mind, today I want to review one company in particular as I’ve had a few questions come in asking me about them.

The company is called Droptec.net and they are an all-in-one stock management and dropshipping company.

Okay, so first things first, let’s find out exactly what Droptec is and what they do as from their site, droptec.net, it’s all a bit unclear.

Stock Manager

stock-managerDroptec is not an actual supplier and doesn’t seem to hold any stock themselves. They only supply Inventory Software and Data Feeds and all orders have to go through the actual supplier.

So how it works is that you pay a one-off license fee to use the stock manager and then a monthly subscription based on how many suppliers you’re using within the software.

It’s not very easy to find on their site, but from contacting them I found the cost is £147 initially and then £5 per supplier per month after that BUT the first 12 months’ subscription is included in the initial £147 fee.

Basically that means – £149 for year 1 and then £60 per year per supplier after that for their Software Only package. [Read more…]

Sep
18

How to Create New Products to Sell on eBay & Amazon – WITHOUT Going Broke!

create-unique-productsHave you ever dreamed about having your own, completely unique product that you could sell on eBay, Amazon and your own online shop? A product with no direct competition that you can charge premium prices for? A product that actually is THE BEST on the market?

Many people have a dream like this and the majority of them go down the Inventor’s Route to try and achieve it. By inventor’s route I mean – they spend years trying to come up with a new product, create and patent it – spending huge amounts of money producing prototypes. Most of these people end up broke, either because they ran out of money or their idea simply wasn’t that great in the first place. We’ve all seen these people on Dragons’ Den…

I’m personally not a huge fan of this concept for several reasons:

  • It takes a lot of time! Even if you already have a good product idea, it still takes an awful lot of time to bring your idea to market. Searching for a manufacturer, creating prototypes, packaging design etc. – it all takes months and even years if you don’t already have connections in the industry.
  • It’s very risky! If it’s a unique product idea, you really don’t know how well it will sell on eBay and other marketplaces. And no, it’s not enough that your friends and family like your product! You have to sell it to people you have never met, after all. What if no one actually searches for that product online? What if the majority of people simply don’t see the need for your product, nevermind actually want to buy it?

That means you need to spend thousands of pounds to create a product when the chance of it being a success is basically completely unknown. Can you afford to take that gamble?

  • You’ll still be copied! Even if your product idea is amazing and it becomes a huge success, it will be copied sooner that you could ever imagine, regardless of whether or not you have a patent in place.

I have seen new, innovative products launch and then floods of copies hitting the market within WEEKS! And even if there are patents, it will be very difficult to enforce them in general, never mind with China based suppliers.

For these three reasons alone, you should think really hard before going down the Inventor’s Route…

Sure, some of them end up millionaires BUT what are the chances you’ll become one too? The risks are simply huge and the chance of success so small. Is it really worth it?

But what if I said there was another way? What if you could have your own unique products WITHOUT:

  • Wasting years ’inventing’
  • Wasting tons of money on prototypes
  • Taking huge risks?

YES! There’s a business concept very few eBay sellers are aware of and those who are, they’re already making a killing on eBay!

Do YOU want to join them? [Read more…]

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