Feb
05

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #52

questions-answers-52Happy Friday!

So I’m back with this year’s 2nd Questions & Answers blog post.

This week has been all about eBay and the upcoming changes that will be taking effect on
February 20th. Judging from the amount of questions I’ve received, it’s going to be a stressful few
weeks for all of us! But really that’s the norm with eBay, their implementation of changes leaves a
lot to be desired, so it’s understandable that everyone is worried.

Unfortunately there’s nothing much we can do other than wait and see how it all pans out.

But back to our Q&A and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Was I scammed? $165 PS4 consoles from Alibaba!
  • What’s the best way to LINK eBay sales with Amazon & Magento?
  • Where I can download a good Blu-ray listing template?
  • Should I increase my price once I’ve reached the top of eBay’s search results?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

So I recently started to try out Alibaba and am still in the process of my first order. The person is located in Nigeria but the items are being posted to me from the UK. So far I have paid $165 but have been told that 5 units were posted to me, rather than just 1… they are now asking for $150 for each unit and $200 for customs fees.

The company is a gold supplier and has been for 8 years and they have sent me some tracking information but I’m very worried about proceeding any further. What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Max

Hi Max,

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you have officially been scammed.

I mean, $165 for a PS4, coming from Nigeria – that is a SCAM! I’m sorry to be blunt but did you really believe that such a deal existed? You will never get pricing even close to that, and I could have told you this was a scam just from the combination of Nigeria and branded consumer electronics. [Read more…]

Feb
03

My Product Showcase: 60 Day Blueprint

60-day-blueprintHello and welcome back to the third instalment in my product showcase article series!

After starting off with my maiden course, Easy Auction Business, and moving on to its hugely successful follow up, eCommerce Magnates, it’s now time to cover my flagship product – a one to one coaching program called 60 Day Blueprint.

I say flagship because this is something quite different to all of my other products. While both Easy Auction Business and eCommerce Magnates are pre-created video courses, which you watch at your own leisure, 60 Day Blueprint is a personal coaching program in which I work directly with clients on a one to one basis to help them create a successful eBay business from scratch.

But, let’s go through things step by step, using the same format as in our previous product showcases, so that you know how this program was created, who it’s for, how much it costs, and everything else!

How It All Started

After the huge success of the first release of Easy Auction Business, I received a large amount of emails from people requesting a personal mentoring service, where I helped with all of the individual decisions that need to be made when creating an eBay business. Initially it never even occurred to me to create such a program, so I catered to the demand by offering individual chat sessions for people who wanted my advice on specific topics.

But it soon became apparent that this wasn’t a viable way of doing this, as I really needed to guide people every step of the way. It wasn’t just about getting their questions answered, as all EAB members have unlimited support from me, it was more about creating a full mentoring program where I’m there to help every step of the way – a “hand-holding” service so to speak.

And that’s exactly how the first round of 60DBP was done, way back in 2008. I say round because I used to take people on in bi-annual groups, one in spring and one in autumn. There was a cap on the number of people in each group, depending on how much time I could devote to this (usually 5-10 people) and it sold out every single time, with a huge waiting list of people who also wanted to get in. [Read more…]

Feb
01

Is eBay’s DOOMSDAY Coming On February 20th?

ebays-doomsdayAfter a long time waiting, eBay’s new seller standards are coming into effect on 20th February (so just 3 short weeks away) and I can’t remember seeing the eBay community so on edge in quite some time!

And actually this might come as a surprise to you when first looking at the new changes to be implemented, as some of the new seller standards are, on the face of it, a lot more seller friendly.

Take the dreaded defect rate for example, from February 20th the following criteria will no longer count towards your defect rate:

  • Buyer feedback
  • DSRs (detailed seller ratings)
  • Return requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer
  • Item not received requests that are successfully resolved with your buyer

Sounds good, right!? After all, one of the biggest complaints about the defect rate has always been how it penalises you even if you resolve any problems that occur (something will always go wrong, that’s just the nature of business) and that’s now no longer the case – you won’t get a defect if you do everything right and fix the problem.

There are now only two things that can result in a defect on your account:

  • Seller cancelled transactions
  • Cases that are closed without seller resolution

But it’s not all good news of course (this is eBay we’re talking about, after all) as the maximum allowed defect rate has also been adjusted to take into account the more lenient criteria. [Read more…]

Jan
29

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #51

questions-answers-51Welcome Back!

And here we are again, with a new year and a new Questions and Answers blog post!

Last year we reached the magical 50th post right before Christmas and I really hope this year you’ll stay active and keep sending in your questions! Who knows – maybe we can reach our 100th post by the end of this year? :-)

For those of you who are new to my blog – every week (well, almost every week), on Friday, I publish a Questions & Answers blog post. In these posts I answer some of the questions that you – my dear blog readers – have sent in over the last week. This way my help/advice is made public and other people, with similar questions/problems, can also learn from it. So it’s a real win – win situation.

To get involved, all you have to do is contact me via my support desk here and I’ll personally answer your question there (within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri.) AND if the question qualifies (i.e. it’s an interesting topic with no confidential information) I’ll also publish it in next week’s Questions & Answers blog post. SIMPLE!

Okay, without any further ado, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do you have to mention that products are made in China?
  • Do you need a registered company to buy from Alibaba?
  • What’s the best way to reach the top of eBay’s search results?
  • Andrew, when are you going to create a course for Amazon!?
  • Should I put ALL my stock on eBay?
  • Which invoice should I give to the courier for customs clearance?
  • Is it worth importing products from South Africa to sell on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I was reading all your articles regarding branding new products, which looks very interesting and potentially useful. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the “Made in” label that you see on products. Is it mandatory to have this on the package? Also, if I have an OEM product from China, can I have my brand name and say made in Europe or a specific European country?

It will be of a great help if you could let me know about this.

Thanks,
Thahir

Hi Thahir,

Yes, it is by law required to put “Made in” info on product packaging. And even if you’re based in Europe, if the goods are manufactured in China, you must show “Made in China” on your product’s packaging. [Read more…]

Jan
27

My Product Showcase: eCommerce Magnates

ecommerce-magnatesLast week I published the first post in a new series on this blog where I cover my own courses in detail, something that has been requested from me many times.

We started with my first and most popular course, Easy Auction Business, which as the name suggests is all about creating a successful eBay business.

But where do you go after that? I mean, after all, don’t I always talk about diversifying your selling channels to spread risk and ensure you’re not reliant on a single third party?

Well that’s where Easy Auction Business’ “sister course” comes in to play – so today I want to introduce you to eCommerce Magnates!

How It All Started

An eCommerce store is the logical next step of expansion for anyone who has created a successful eBay business and really an online store should be the ultimate goal for anyone who wants to create a real online business (more on why later!).

After the huge success of my first ever product, Easy Auction Business, many of my customers started to ask for a course dedicated entirely to building, managing, and running an online shop.

Well you asked, and I answered!

Having created multiple successful online shops myself, I was perfectly placed to share my vast experiences on the best way to create an eCommerce store and by doing so save my customers all the mistakes, trials, and tribulations that I had to go through in order to “crack the code”. [Read more…]

Jan
25

Spicy Auction Templates 3.0 Update!

spicy-auction-templatesWelcome back everyone!

As it’s another depressing Monday morning, I thought I’d try and spice things up a little bit for you, with some good news on the release of Spicy Auction Templates 3.0.

The new members’ area is 100% finished and will actually be LIVE once you’re reading this! That means that all the new templates and videos are now accessible for all SAT members:

sat-3We’re still working hard on the new and improved front website, which should be complete in the next 2-3 weeks’ time.

So, what exactly is new in version 3.0?

Basically – EVERYTHING!

We have completely re-done our entire template catalogue and created hundreds of brand new eBay templates for you to use in your business. [Read more…]

Jan
21

My Product Showcase: Easy Auction Business

easy-auction-businessAt the end of last year, I ran a contest on this blog in which I asked you, my dear readers, for suggestions on topics and questions that I should cover in 2016. And a few different people suggested that I should write some in-depth articles about the different products and courses I’ve created.

I actually thought that this was a very good idea, as I do get a number of questions from readers who are confused about which of my courses is for who and what they’re meant for.

So I decided to do this at the beginning of the year – to showcase my products and give an overview of each one. And that’s exactly what I’ll do over the next few weeks, starting today with my most popular product – the Easy Auction Business video course!

How It All Started

Easy Auction Business is my first creation and is the most popular from all of my courses!

The first version was released back in 2008 and since then it has sold thousands of copies in countries all around the world.

Back then I was a very active member of The Wholesale Forums, and after successfully starting my own eBay business, I wanted to share what I had learnt with others so I spent hours every week posting, answering people’s questions, and generally sharing my knowledge and experience with the countless members who frequented TWF.

And one day I was looking through my posts and realised that, in little fragments here and there, I had covered nearly everything you needed to know to create a profitable eBay business from scratch. So I decided to put it all together as a complete video course – and that’s how Easy Auction Business version 1.0 was born!

But don’t be misled by how long ago it was created (as yes, in online and eBay terms, 2008 feels like a different time completely) as the 2008 release was just version 1.0 – the current Easy Auction Business is version 3.0 and it’s completely new and up to date.

When I say a new version, I really mean it as well! This isn’t one of those marginal updates where barely anything has changed – not at all. Each time I release a new version, I redo the entire course from scratch! That’s on top of the small updates which I add in between versions.

So you may be thinking to yourself that this means it’s worthwhile to buy version 3.0, even if you have 1.0 or 2.0, if the content is so different.

Well that’s not even something you need to think about!

Nearly every marketer out there would simply sell the new and updated courses to their existing customer base, but NOT ME! My goal right from the start was to make this the absolute BEST value course out there, and that’s why I continually update it without asking for any extra payment – not even a single penny. [Read more…]

Jan
18

AVOID SCAMS by using this one little TRICK!

branded-productsOne of the most common topics I write about on this blog is how to properly source and order products from China so that you don’t get scammed or get low quality goods. I have complete guides on the entire order process and supplier verification, I have detailed the top 10 most common scams so you know what to look out for, and I have revealed some extra tips and tricks to make the likelihood of you being scammed practically nil.

But still I receive messages, on pretty much a daily basis, from people worried about this aspect of ordering from China. And that’s completely understandable – after all it’s hard to send a relatively large amount of money to a complete stranger in another country in the assumption that you’ll get what you paid for.

And that’s why today I want to cover another quick strategy that you can use when ordering from a supplier in China (or any other country for that matter, I just say China simply because that’s the best place to buy products 90% of the time) that will significantly reduce the risk of your order going wrong.

Used in conjunction with all my other guides, and dare I say it, it’s practically impossible for you to be scammed!

But actually this method is nothing new, and in fact it’s something I have already written guides on before – just not in relation to scams. What am I talking about? Branding!

Anyone who has bought my Easy Auction Business video course will know how much importance I place on branding. In my mind it is the difference between being one of a hundred sellers with the same product on eBay, and being a truly unique business.

Custom branding is also one of the best decisions you can make in terms of ROI (return on investment), as small additional costs can lead to much higher selling prices and therefore PROFIT!

But that’s not the only reason to do it, as branding can also minimise the risk of you getting scammed or getting bad products when ordering from China. Now I know many of you will now be wondering “how?” and the answer is actually very simple: [Read more…]

Jan
15

Taobao Wholesale Orders vs Alibaba & 1688.com

taobao-part-3At the end of Part 2 in our Taobao series, which was published on Wednesday, we had finished comparing the pricing on Taobao vs our tried and trusted AliExpress, and honestly, the results were not good…

With the commission and added shipping costs, Taobao just couldn’t keep up with the low prices offered for single/small quantities. But other than samples, the vast majority of you reading this aren’t interested in single orders anyway – when I talk about importing from China I talk about bulk orders, as that’s the only way you’re going to be able to compete with other sellers ordering container loads at a time.

And that brings us to our final question about Taobao – is it worthwhile for larger orders? To get our answer we’re going to go back to the MacBook cases that we looked at it Part 2, but instead of an order of 10 pieces, we’re going to find out the price for an order of 500!

  • £1300 – Cost of Products (500 x £2.60)
  • £130 – Commission
  • £300 – Shipping

= £1730 TOTAL = £3.46 Per Piece

So again another big drop in the cost per piece compared to ordering 10 units at a time, but that really is to be expected at such quantities and any other result would have been a huge disappointment…

Does this change my overall thoughts on Taobao in any meaningful way? Well no, not really, as I’m practically certain that I could easily beat that price for a quantity of 500 using Alibaba.

In fact, I found this after literally 30 seconds of searching:

wholesale-casesIgnoring the shipping costs as that’s a courier vs freight for the Taobao example, the price per piece of $3.29 is equal to roughly £2.19, which is already 15% cheaper than Taobao! That’s for 100 pieces, I would obviously expect it to be even cheaper for 500 and once again this is without all the hassle of using a buying agent, paying commission, waiting longer for multiple shipping times etc. etc.! [Read more…]

Jan
13

Taobao Part 2 – Price Comparison vs AliExpress

taobao-part-2Hello and welcome back!

After introducing Taobao and going over exactly what it is in Part 1, as well as finding three highly regarded buying agents to use for our experiment, it’s now time to take a look at pricing!

After all, is there any point to Taobao if it can’t beat the pricing of a site like AliExpress, where everything is in English, you can simply pay using your own credit card, and no buying agent is required?

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Really there were three different sites that I could have used as the “competitor” to Taobao in our pricing experiment – Alibaba, AliExpress, and eBay.

I decided that from the three, AliExpress is the fairest as:

a) Taobao is geared towards single quantity orders, not wholesale, so Alibaba is out!

b) Taobao is obviously based in China, which eliminates eBay. So that means the fairest comparison for us is AliExpress.

Alright, let’s get started with product no.1:

*Please note – I am not considering the viability or profitability of these products at all – they are chosen at random in order to compare pricing, and nothing more.

Syma X5SW RC Camera Drone

As you can see from the below screenshot, this item is readily available from AliExpress for $75 including shipping which gives us a price of £50 (at 1 GBP = 1.5 USD)

symaSearching for the product on Taobao produces a number of results, some initially appearing at a much lower price! But looking further I immediately see that these are for a cheaper model than the X5SW being offered on AliExpress: [Read more…]

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