Jan
26

BRAND NEW – Alibaba.com Trade Assurance!

alibaba-new-trade-assuranceToday I want to talk to you about a NEW FEATURE that has been introduced by Alibaba.com that you may not be aware of.

And it’s actually something that I am very excited about!

It’s called Trade Assurance and it’s a terrific new service that basically protects your order from a supplier up to a certain amount (which is based on their selling history).

trade-assuranceHow Does it Work?

The process itself is actually very simple and easy.

You search for a supplier as normal, but now there is a new filter – Trade Assurance, which has been added to Gold Supplier, Onsite Check and Assessed Supplier:

alibaba-trade-assuranceSo if you select this filter, you will only get results from suppliers who have agreed to trade under the Trade Assurance program.

Under the company’s name and contact details link, there will be a small Trade Assurance icon, and if you hover over that you can find out the exact amount that this company is covered up to.

Now this is where I thought there would be a problem, as I imagined Alibaba being very cautious here and only putting minimal amounts for each supplier, but I have actually been pleasantly surprised! The vast majority of suppliers that I’ve checked have at least $3,000-$4,000+ and many have $15,000-$20,000 and above which is more than enough for most first time importers! [Read more…]

Jan
16

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #17

questions-answers-17Welcome back!

In today’s Questions & Answers post we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • eBay OR Amazon – which is the best platform to start selling on?
  • How to outsource eBay customer service WITHOUT sharing login details?
  • Is it ok to under-value goods shipped from USA to the UK?
  • How to get your eBay listings ranked higher in search results?
  • Any mail forwarding companies in China?
  • Can I order goods from Alibaba on credit?
  • How to find trustworthy suppliers on Alibaba?
  • Is it worth going to China to place wholesale orders?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Just wanted your opinion regarding selling on eBay and Amazon. Which one do you think is better in terms of fees? Please bear in mind that I am thinking of starting a small business using either eBay or Amazon, so could you please suggest which you think is best.

Thank you very much for your time.

Thanks,
Ahmad

Hi Ahmad,

Fee wise both platforms are pretty much the same – you’ll pay on average 15% of the item’s sale price in Amazon/eBay & PayPal fees. On Amazon the payment processing fee is already included (there are no PayPal fees) but then Amazon’s cut in most categories is 15% while, on eBay, it’s 10%. So together it still works out ±15%.

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend you start selling on eBay first. Why? Well there are several reasons which I have covered in detail in my eBay, Amazon, or Ecommerce Shop article.

Once you’re up and running on eBay, you can then expand to Amazon and after that – start your own Ecommerce Shop (if you work in a niche market).

These are the three main selling platforms that most people should stick with. Others aren’t popular enough and usually aren’t worth your time unless you sell in specific niches, such as handmade/craft items, which you should sell on Etsy, or media goods (movies, video games etc.) which you should sell on Rakuten and some other similar platforms. [Read more…]

Jan
14

Top 10 Scams on Alibaba.com!

top-10-alibaba-scamsEvery second email I receive from my blog readers is about Alibaba scams! It is that serious, yes. I already debunked the myth that Alibaba itself is a scam in my Alibaba Scams EXPOSED article BUT today I want to talk specifically about the most common scammer tricks and schemes you can run into when searching for a supplier on Alibaba.com.

Remember, these don’t apply solely to Alibaba but to all popular B2B platforms that involve a large number of wholesale suppliers from China. But as Alibaba is the most popular platform, I will use examples from there.

So let’s get started!

alibaba-scam-1
Alibaba SCAM Nr.1 – Sending FAKE branded goods!

This is without a doubt the most popular scam taking place on Alibaba! The saddest thing is that most people who get fake goods from a Chinese supplier don’t even realise it until eBay takes down their listing a while later.

How does this scam work?

Basically the supplier will sell you branded goods which are just copies of real products. This usually involves products like:

  • Clothing (designer clothing)
  • Footwear (especially Nike products, Timberland)
  • Electronics (mobile phone replicas, specialised electronics like Shure microphones)
  • Disney character items (bedding sets, mugs, kid’s clothing, toys)
  • Mobile phone cases with Apple, Samsung logos
  • Sports jerseys with team logos (Manchester United, Arsenal, NBA/NHL teams etc.)
  • DVDs, Software, Blu-rays, Fitness training programs (P90X etc.)
  • Cosmetics, fragrances (Max factor, MAC, Dior etc.)
  • And many others!

This can basically be ANY product with a well known Western brand name/logo/registered trademark on it.

How to avoid this scam?

SIMPLE – DO NOT BUY ANY BRANDED GOODS from Alibaba suppliers! ANY Chinese supplier for that matter!

What is a branded product? It’s a product with a well known name on it, like:

  • Apple
  • Nike
  • Sony
  • Pioneer
  • Gucci
  • Etc.

This also includes ANY kind of band, movie character or kids’ character like:

  • Batman
  • Spiderman
  • Frozen
  • Hulk
  • One Direction
  • U2
  • Etc.

All these are also classed as branded goods as to manufacture such goods, you have to buy a LICENCE from the Intellectual Property (IP) holder and pay royalty fees. Chinese manufacturers selling such products on Alibaba HAVEN’T paid licensing fees and simply use any popular images they can find and put them on these products. These are not genuine, licensed items and you can get into serious trouble selling them online. [Read more…]

Jan
12

Payment, Shipping, Returns, Contact Templates!

ebay-policiesAlthough it may seem very simple to some people, this is a topic I receive a LOT of questions about, which is very understandable – after all your payment, shipping, and returns information are all extremely important and can help ensure you don’t get any disgruntled buyers (and negative feedback!).

The key here is to be clear and concise – you want buyers to actually read this information so making it ten pages long is no good. At the same time, you also need to present all the needed information.

So you need to strike a good balance, while also trying to use this space to add a little personality that sets you apart from the competition.

So what I’ve decided to do is give you a template for:

  • Payment Information
  • Shipping Information
  • Returns Information
  • Contact Information

That way you can simply take these and adjust/tweak them for your own business.

One important point to note is that you should also try to emphasise some of the benefits of buying from you in these sections.

For example, if you offer FREE shipping, then say that under shipping information. If you offer same-day dispatch, then mention that. If you offer extended returns of 30 days (instead of the 14 required by UK law), then tell your buyers.

I think you get the point here!

Alright, so let’s get to it.

Payment Information

We accept payment by any of the following methods:

  • PayPal
  • Bank Transfer
  • Cheque

Please pay as soon as possible after winning an auction, as that will allow us to post your item to you sooner!

The key things here are to state exactly what payment methods you accept and to also try and get buyers to pay for their item as soon as possible (if your BIN listings are not “Immediate Payment Required” then simply edit that into the text above). [Read more…]

Jan
09

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #16

questions-answers-16It’s time for our first Questions & Answers blog post of 2015!

This year I will really try to stick with a weekly schedule for these posts so they don’t become too long. Friday will be the Q&A day, so remember to check back every week! And of course you’re more than welcome to send in your own questions as well, using the contact form here.

Today we’ll be covering:

  • How to reach TRS on eBay using dropshippers?
  • How to arrange shipping from China to UK?
  • Do I have to register with HMRC as a private seller on eBay?
  • How to spot a SCAM wholesaler in China?
  • How to properly download Spicy Auction Templates?
  • What to do with 200 phone cases on eBay?
  • Cameroonian scammers on Alibaba!
  • Can I share my eBay account credentials with outsourcers in The Philippines?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I would like to get your advice regarding becoming a top rated seller on eBay:

I sell cheap products (priced between $3-$8) via dropshipping from China and I only use auctions, as you advised me previously.

You were 100% right in that BIN doesn’t work as there are almost no views…

I prefer selling low-cost products so that I have a 100% sell-through rate as I’ve noticed that the more I sell the more views and bids for my items.

After a lot of research I have finally found a true supplier from the USA through Worldwide Brands and I plan to start dropshipping with this company (selling to USA) and reduce my dealings with Chinese dropshippers.

My main goal is to reach TRS status and my question is: can I achieve this with my new supplier?

I have found some hot products, both cheap and expensive but as you said; there’s not much chance of me getting any views with BIN. But then there are some products that don’t sell as well with auctions as BIN and then though listing with a low starting price will help me get more views, I also run the risk of selling products at a loss like this.

What would you suggest I do?

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Muna

Hi Muna,

Yes, to reach Top Rated Seller status, auctions are easier to work with as you are pretty much guaranteed to sell everything. The downside, as you pointed out, is the fact that you can’t control the final price and with more expensive items this can be a very risky strategy. You can of course use a reserve price OR start the auction at a higher price but that will put off the majority of bidders, thereby losing most of the benefit of using auctions in the first place. Also – if you start an auction at a higher price, that means higher insertion fees as well. [Read more…]

Jan
08

Where to Buy Cheap Integrated Labels?

integrated-labelsThere’s something that I mention very often on this blog (for a good reason) and that is – AUTOMATING as many tasks and processes as possible in your business.

I’m sure one of the main reasons you started your own business was to get out of the rat race and to give yourself more freedom and time in your life. You won’t achieve this unless you automate and outsource as much as possible; otherwise you’ll simply trade in that 9-5 for an at home 9-5!

I won’t get into that all again now (as I said, it’s something I’ve mentioned many times in the past) as today I want to talk about something specific, something that ties in with all this automation and something that you should be using in your own business – Integrated Labels.

Order processing is one of the most time consuming jobs for any business and while initially it may be okay to copy and paste delivery addresses into Excel or Word; print them; cut them out and then tape them to your packages, as soon as you get even a small amount of orders each day, you’ll see that this is an unworkable system and not how you should be doing it.

Really there are only two good options here – Thermal Label Printers or Integrated Labels.

Label Printers vs Integrated Labels

I get a lot of emails from people asking me which is better, thermal label printers or integrated labels and honestly, there isn’t one right answer.

It depends on your personal preference and overall set-up but to quickly run through the main difference between the two:

Thermal label printers are specific printers that you use solely for printing labels.

So you need to buy a label printer (Dymo are the brand I always recommend) and the labels for the printer but no ink is needed due to the thermal printing used.

Integrated labels on the other hand work with your normal home/office printer.

How it works is that when you print out an invoice/dispatch note on an A4 piece of paper, there will be a peelable label on that same sheet that you can simply remove and place on the package.

It’s also a very simple system and has the advantage of keeping the invoice and shipping label together, which will help reduce order processing errors.

[Read more…]

Jan
05

Terapeak 2.0 is AWESOME! (My Review)

terapeak-reviewFirst of all – Happy New Year and Welcome to 2015!

I really hope you had a great holiday and are ready to make 2015 THE BEST year in your online business! I will certainly be aiming for that myself! :-)

I have some exciting news to share with you today – about a new version of the world’s BEST eBay research tool – Terapeak.

The new version of Terapeak has actually been live for a few months already but some of you may not be aware of that because old/established Terapeak accounts haven’t been upgraded to the new version yet. Terapeak has informed me that this will happen within next few weeks.

If you’re new to Terapeak and open an account now you’ll automatically get the new version straight away.

As with any website/software change, there’s a small learning curve involved but I hope that this short overview of Terapeak 2.0 will help you make an easy and painless switch.

Let’s get started!

Design

The first thing you’ll notice is the totally new, modern and sleek look and feel of the new Terapeak website. Just take a look at these two screenshots showing before and after and you’ll instantly see what I mean:

OLD Terapeak

old-terapeakNEW Terapeak

new-terapeakAs with all new design interfaces, it is confusing at first… you don’t know where your favourite research tools are and everything just seems messed up. Even for myself, when I first saw it, I thought “what the heck! I don’t like this, it’s all screwed up!” [Read more…]

Dec
22

Readers’ Contest Winners & a Round-Up of 2014!

merry-christmasWelcome Back!

As many of you know, last week I launched our yearly readers’ contest to let YOU decide what kind of topics I will be covering on my blog in 2015. I received more than 50 entries (AMAZING!!!), so thanks very much for being active and letting me know what you want to see covered in this blog. I will make sure to get started on them as soon as I return from holiday in January.

Now it’s time to announce the five lucky people who each won a £20 Amazon gift card.

To make this draw as objective as possible, I simply took all your names and put them into Random.org to mix them up:

contest-listThe first five from the list created are the winners: [Read more…]

Dec
20

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #15

questions-answers-15This is it – the last Questions & Answers post of the year! I’ll be taking a break from writing starting next week (after the winners of my readers’ contest are announced) and will return on the 5th January (hopefully at least!).

I’m sure over the next 3 weeks I will receive tons of new questions from you so we’ll most likely start the new year with a MASSIVE Q&A post!

But for now, let’s cover some of the questions you sent in over the last 2 weeks:

  • Where to get stock Blu-Ray images?
  • What’s the best & quickest way to send a 100kg package from China?
  • Where to get small quantity children’s party dresses/costumes in the UK?
  • How to outsource your eBay tasks?
  • Best way to import giftware from China?
  • Do prices on Alibaba fluctuate based on season?
  • Can I use a Polish eBay account to sell on eBay UK?
  • What are your thoughts on using sourcing agents in China?
  • How to work with 3 eBay accounts at the same time from just one PC?
  • How to pay import taxes on a shipment from China?
  • Does Easy Auction Business come on a physical DVD disc?
  • Where to find good dropshippers in Greece?
  • Do I have to pay import tax on small shipments from China?
  • How does Ali Express’ escrow service work?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

You said to use Amazon for stock images of Blu-ray film covers, which is fine, but how are you lifting them – simply right click, copy then paste? Or are you saving the image first on to a computer and then loading it up to a template on turbo lister or directly to an eBay auction template?

Thanks,
Graham

Hi Graham,

Yes, what you do is you go to the Amazon listing for the Blu-ray you’re interested in; right click; open image in a new tab (this may differ slightly based on what browser you’re using) and simply download that image to your computer.

Mind you, these will usually be very large, high resolution images so before you upload it to your hosting account, you want to re-size it to something more suitable which you can do by simply following the steps in my image editing guide.

If you want to upload these images directly to eBay (gallery images), you make them square, 1600 x 1600 pixels IF the Amazon image is larger than that. If it’s smaller, make it smaller but still use square proportions, at least for the main gallery image. [Read more…]

Dec
16

£100 Amazon Gift Cards to my Blog Readers!

amazon-gift-cardYes, it’s that time of the year again – I’m giving away £100 worth of Amazon gift cards to my loyal blog readers! :-)

As we’re approaching the end of 2014, I want to ask you – my blog readers – what topics you want me to cover on this blog in 2015. This will be a fun & simple contest where 5 people will win a £20 Amazon gift card, delivered to your email right in time for Christmas.

What do you have to do to enter this contest?

Simply suggest a question/topic that you want me to cover on my blog next year. As easy as that! Just leave your suggestion as a comment below this post and you’ll be automatically entered in the draw to win a gift card from Amazon.

Here are a few examples to get you going:

  • How to properly format eBay gallery images?
  • What’s the difference between sea freight and air freight?
  • Do I have to register for VAT when selling digital products?
  • How to set-up a custom email address?
  • How much to charge for gift wrapping?
  • How to make my eCommerce shop SEO friendly?
  • And so on!

So what I’m after here is a list of questions you would like me to cover in detailed blog posts, how-to guides and videos. The more detailed your suggestions/questions are, the better, as I will make sure to cover them extensively in future blog posts. [Read more…]

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