Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #33


Judging by the relative lack of emails I’ve received, it seems that most of you are busy sunbathing and preparing for your holidays, or are simply too lazy to do any work! That’s fine! I actually enjoy these quiet few weeks during the summer, when I don’t have to deal with as many emails every day! :-)

So today we have a short and sweet Q&A post, covering just 4 questions:

  • Why do I only have to pay import tax on some shipments?
  • How to sell branded goods on eBay for a profit?
  • Can patented products still be sourced from China?
  • How to deal with sales fluctuations on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I hope you can clarify something for me.

I recently placed 2 separate clothing orders with surfstitchaustralia, to be shipped to the UK. The cost of each order was around $400 AUD.

When the first order arrived (approx. 17 items of clothing) it was delivered by DHL and no payment for duties or VAT was requested.

However with the second order I received about 3 text messages asking me to pay £76 GBP before the items could be delivered.

I thought this strange as it was the same value as the 1st order and only a few more items overall.

I then received a text to say that they will be delivering my order tomorrow.

I am presuming that they will be wanting me to pay when they deliver but I don’t want to pay anything until I am clear about why they are charging me for this order and nothing had to be paid for the 1st order.

Hope you can help.

Kind regards

Hi Andrea,

Chances are that the first shipment simply slipped through customs without the required charges. This happens fairly often.

But it doesn’t change the fact that an order worth $400, imported from Australia into the UK, should be cleared through customs and have its import taxes paid for. So you should be happy that you only need to pay this for one shipment, rather than both. [Read more…]


How To Reduce Fees With PayPal Micropayments!

paypal-micropaymentsAs anyone who sells on eBay will know – the PayPal fees can make up a fairly large portion of your total selling fees, especially with certain products!

We saw this in our recent eBay vs Amazon Fees competition (check it out here if you missed that: eBay vs Amazon – Which Is Cheaper?).

But what do I mean by “especially for certain products”? After all PayPal fees are a set 3.4% + 20p right, so there shouldn’t be any difference…?

Well, yes and no, as while PayPal fees are the same for all products, that 20p can work out very differently. Let’s take a quick look at exactly what I mean:

Product 1 – £100

If I sell a product for £100, say a used mobile phone, then I’ll pay the following PayPal fees:

3.4% = £3.40
+ 20p
= £3.60

So total PayPal fees of £3.60

Product 2 – £4

Now looking at a different product, a Blu-ray movie for example, which I sell for £4:

3.4% = £0.14
+ 20p
= £0.34

So total PayPal fees of £0.34 for the cheaper item.

And that means for the cheaper £4 Blu-ray, I pay 8.5% in PayPal fees (0.34/4 x 100) compared to just 3.6% for the £100 item!!

That is a huge difference of nearly two and a half times higher fees, in effect, for the cheaper item!

And this is a problem that I am emailed about all the time! For low value items, the 20p per transaction charge from PayPal can completely destroy your margins! [Read more…]


eBay VS Amazon – Which one is CHEAPER?

ebay-vs-amazonQuite often online you’ll see people saying how “it’s cheaper to sell on Amazon vs eBay”… but is this really true?

Well that’s what we’re going to find out today, to put this claim to rest one way or another!

But rather that just list all the fees for selling on eBay and Amazon in a boring table, instead we’re going to take a few examples and go through them one by one. That way we’ll get an easy to compare head to head battle between eBay and Amazon!

Before we get started with that, I also want to quickly go over the fee structure for selling on Amazon, as it differs slightly from eBay, and I know that this can sometimes cause confusion for new sellers.

So as most of you will already know, when selling on eBay you’ll pay the following fees:

Insertion Fee

This is the fee paid to start your listing. The exact amount depends on your shop subscription, how many listings you create each month, and whether it’s an auction or buy it now listing, but the most you’ll pay for an insertion fee is £0.26 per listing.

ebay-insertion-feesFinal Value Fee

This is the fee you pay when your item sells, calculated as a percentage of the total transaction amount (including shipping). Depending on the category, the final value fee ranges from 5% to 11%.

PayPal Fee

Lastly, there is the PayPal fee, which is 3.4% + £0.20 (again calculated on the total transaction amount, including shipping).

Now let’s take a look at Amazon’s fee structure and how it compares to eBay:

First things first – Amazon offer two different pricing plans, depending on your volume of sales – the Basic (sell a little) plan and the Pro (sell a lot) plan. As the Pro pricing plan is better value if you sell 34 or more items per month, that’s the one we’ll be using for our comparison today. [Read more…]


*** WARNING *** – Trademark SCAMS!!!

trademark-scamsI hope everyone is okay, and not struggling too much with the sudden heat we’ve been having!

Today I wanted to post a quick warning to people who are registering, or are thinking about registering, a trademark. There are many scams attempted around this process and, very recently, one of my 60 Day Blueprint students received what I call “a scamming attempt”:


Basically, here’s what happened – one week after my client submitted a trademark registration application, he received this letter that states that he has to pay 1370 EUR for his application to go through – to a bank account in Poland.

The letter was well formatted, coming from TPP – Trademark & Patent Publications.

If you check the small print and their website, basically they are doing nothing illegal – you pay that fee of 1370 EUR for your trademark to be included in their database. So technically it’s all within the law. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #32

questions-answers-32It’s Friday – which means time for this week’s Q&A post.

As we enter summer, and the days are warmer (should I say – SUPER HOT?) and longer, many people are spending less time on the internet… and as seasoned eBay sellers will know, this can mean a slowdown in sales!

However, these seasonal trends are completely normal, and nothing to worry about at all. Of course for new sellers it can be very frightening to see a sudden drop in sales, and that’s exactly why I wanted to mention this in today’s post – before I get hundreds of emails from worried sellers. Take a look at my previous article if you want to read more about this: Why Are My eBay Sales Going Down!?

But for now, let’s take a look at today’s topics:

  • How to print eBay shipping labels using a Dymo 450 label printer?
  • How to get rid of small clearance stock job lots?
  • Can you buy branded designer clothing directly from the factories?
  • PlayStation SCAMS – how do they work?
  • Can you start an online shop BEFORE first trying out eBay?
  • How to start an eBay business from scratch?
  • Can you transfer selling limits and sales history to a new eBay account?
  • How do you add variations to an existing eBay listing?
  • Is it safe to buy established eBay accounts?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

As recommended on this blog (which is absolutely excellent by the way!), I have purchased a Dymo LabelWriter 450.

However, I am unsure how to print all the shipping labels in one go. I have found that I can tick the boxes of the items I have sold on eBay, click “print shipping labels” and then select the “address labels” ratio button. However, it seems to be that eBay only allows me to print them on full size pieces of paper, rather than being formatted such that I can print them on the Dymo labels.

Would you be able to explain exactly how you would automate the process of printing shipping labels using a Dymo LabelWriter 450?

Also – I have stock that I am unable to sell, and I was hoping to sell it off in bulk to clear space. I have found that most companies are only interested in buying pallets of stock, but I do not have this much. Surely there is a better option than dumping it?

If you could offer me your guidance on what to do in these two situations, that would be great!

Thanks very much,

Hi Danny,

I personally use Linnworks.com for order processing and it has built-in support for printing shipping labels on a Dymo printer.

BUT you can also get this working directly on eBay – what you need to do is make sure you set the page size within your browser AND printer settings to the label size you’re using in your Dymo 450. So that in essence you set the whole page size as the exact size of one of your labels. That way you can print these labels correctly from eBay directly. [Read more…]


The ULTIMATE Fulfilment House BATTLE!

fulfilment-house-reviewsAnyone who has been reading my blog for more than a few months will know how important I consider outsourcing. I always say that you should outsource as many of the processes in your business as soon as you can, so that you have more time to spend on important tasks that will actually grow your business!

And that’s what today’s post is all about – outsourcing, and specifically – outsourcing your order fulfilment.

Picking, packing and posting orders is one of the most time consuming aspects of any online business, and while you might be able to handle this yourself when just starting out, as your business grows and your sales volume increases, you’ll be left with only two options – you either need to set up a warehouse and hire people to process orders OR you can outsource this completely to a fulfilment company.

Now I have actually written a few articles about fulfilment companies in the past, so if you’re not entirely sure what they are, please take a look at these posts where I explain everything:

Now you may be wondering – if I’ve already covered this all, then what exactly is today’s post all about?

Well, today I want to really explore just how viable fulfilment companies are!

After all, there’s no point in talking about how great they are, how much time they’ll save you etc. if their charges destroy any decent margins…

And that’s why I’ve set up a little experiment/showdown!

I’ve contacted some UK based fulfilment companies and requested quotes for two eBay businesses, so that we can compare the costs and see just who comes out on top!

In my previous articles on fulfilment companies, where I mainly concentrated on the big two – Amazon and Shipwire – I had a few comments from smaller companies, who were offering more of a custom and personal solution, and that’s why I also decided to include some of them in this “competition”. That way we get more varied options, and it’ll be interesting to see how they stack up against Amazon and Shipwire in terms of pricing. [Read more…]


How To BUY A Top Rated Seller Account For £200

how-to-buy-trs-accountBecoming a Top Rated Seller (TRS) is a big dream for many of the people who are just starting out on eBay. But how do you achieve 100 sales worth more than £1000 with little to no feedback or selling experience?

Well in this guide I will show you EXACTLY how to get this done in as little as a few weeks. And no, I’m not exaggerating either – a recent 60DBP customer of mine achieved TRS status in just 10 days, following the exact strategy I will be covering today. This system has been tested over and over again – it simply works! So if you want to become a TRS on eBay as quickly as possible, read on.

What is a Top Rated Seller?

TRS is the highest/best account status you can achieve on eBay. In essence, it’s a Power Seller account which also maintains a super low defect rate of 2% or less, has great Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs), a low number of cases, as well as 100 sales worth more than £1,000 in the last 12 months.

You can read the detailed requirements on eBay’s top rated seller help page here.

Just a quick note – the 100 sales worth £1000 should be made to UK & Ireland based buyers ONLY, if you sell on eBay.co.uk. If you sell on eBay.com, you need 100 sales worth $1000 (how unfair is that? As $1000 is obviously much less than £1000!) to US based customers ONLY. If you sell on eBay.com.au, you need 100 sales worth $1000 (AUD). There are similar limits across all eBay regional sites.

These numbers (100 sales/£1000) are calculated on a rolling 12 month period basis (for sellers with more than 400 sales within 3 months, the evaluation period changes to 3 months).

What this means is that, say for example you achieve TRS status this month, well then for the next 11 months you will still be a top rated seller, EVEN if you don’t sell a single thing! And then after 11 months you could repeat the process again to get 100 sales worth £1000 and you’re covered for another year.

In most cases though you won’t have to worry about this as once you achieve TRS status, you only need to sell on average 8-9 items each month (100/12) worth £80-£90 (£1000/12) to maintain your TRS status. This should be easily achievable to anyone seriously thinking about starting an eBay business.

So this really is a ONE-OFF thing!!! Follow this system, achieve TRS and then just start selling “normally” and you will be able to maintain the required sales volume easily. [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #31

questions-answers-31Welcome back!

Another week has passed and it’s time for this Friday’s Questions & Answers post.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Can you sell items that look similar to branded ones on eBay?
  • How to avoid getting my eBay account suspended?
  • How to register a business on eBay as a Partnership?
  • How to evaluate the level of competition in a new niche?
  • How to minimise “Item Not Received” cases?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew!

I’ve been reading your website for the past couple of days and love it!

I want to start selling bracelets on eBay, but the ones I’m planning to sell are shown on stinghd.com. My idea was to buy them from China, and they’re basically the same, at least as far as I can tell.

Under the T&Cs of stinghd it talks about how you cannot sell anything that comes close to the design of the items shown on their website, but it doesn’t say these design are actually registered on any intellectual property sites?

I’m a bit confused here and was hoping you could give me your advice…


Hi Kris,

IF they don’t have those designs registered, you shouldn’t face any problems selling replicas made in China, as long as you don’t mention Stinghd’s brand name anywhere on your sales page.

To be sure these designs are not protected, you would have to do a search for the company’s name in USA patent/trade mark/registered design directories. [Read more…]


eBay’s NEW Product Identifier Requirements!

product-Identifier-requirementsIf you sell on eBay, then you will have most likely already seen the announcement about the newly introduced Product Identifiers.

If you haven’t come across the announcement or just skimmed over it, product identifiers, such as an item’s brand name, the manufacturer part number (MPN), and the global trade item numbers (GTINs) will be a requirement for certain products and listings, starting from the 29th June, 2015.

Why Are Product Identifiers Being Introduced?

eBay have been fairly open about why they are introducing these requirements, and that is to make their product catalogue more easily accessible by search. Not only will using these product identifiers increase your listing’s visibility within eBay’s own search results, it also makes it a lot easier for eBay listings to rank highly on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

When creating a listing, under the MPN section, eBay specifically say “enter the manufacturer’s part number to optimise your listings for internet search engines”. And really that’s what I think the main point of this change is for eBay, to make it easier for eBay’s product catalogue to rank highly on Google.

What Exactly Are Product Identifiers?

Now that we know why eBay have introduced mandatory product identifiers, I want to cover exactly what they are, as I’m seeing a bit of confusion about this in a lot of the emails sent to me over the last week.

Basically, product identifiers include:

  • The brand name of an item
  • The manufacturer part number (MPN)
  • Global trade item numbers (GTINs) – such as:
    • Universal Product Codes (UPCs)
    • International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs)
    • European Article Numbers (EANs)

To put it simply, these are just unique identifiers/numbers that are used to categorise most new, branded products.

Take the ISBN number for example. If you’ve ever sold a book you’ll know that each one has a unique number specific to that edition and variation (hardcover/paperback etc.). Therefore, with just the 13 digit ISBN, the specific book can be identified.

And all product identifiers are as simple as that really… [Read more…]


Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #30

questions-answers-30Yes, today is the 30th time that I’ve published a Questions and Answers blog post! Hooray!

To celebrate this milestone, I’ve created a brand new graphic/design template for our Questions & Answers series. I hope you like it! :-)

Even after answering hundreds and hundreds of questions, I still receive new and unique questions every week. This just goes to show that we’ll never run out of topics to cover in this blog posts series as selling on eBay, importing and eCommerce are just such massive fields. It’s a never ending learning process for you, my blog readers, as well as me of course as I don’t know the answers to everything either!

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Which camera is better – a smartphone or DSLR?
  • What to do when eBay asks you to upgrade your account to Business?
  • How to edit & customise Spicy Auction Templates?
  • How to pay VAT & import duty for goods imported from Hong Kong?
  • How to get TRS back after your account has slipped below the standard level?
  • How to deal with chargebacks on eBay?
  • Can you share eBay account login details with outsourcers?
  • How to deal with unbranded mobile phones imported from China?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I work in the watch niche and want to create a website.

I have taken some pictures with my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S5) and while the quality is very good, I would like something better.

I’m considering either upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S6 or buying a Canon 650D – what’s your advice?

Please let me know.


Hi Moaied,

You will definitely get miles better product pictures using a DSLR camera (Canon 650D) compared to ANY smartphone camera so it is really a very simple choice! [Read more…]

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