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...]

Sep
12

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #11

questions-answers-11Happy Friday everyone!

It’s time for another Questions & Answers post and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Is it safe to order from a Vietnamese supplier?
  • What are the best products to sell on eBay?
  • Do your courses rely on dropshipping?
  • How does Alibaba Escrow payments work?
  • Why is there a difference between eBay and Terapeak results?
  • How to safely import cosmetic products from China?
  • Can I manipulate eBay’s selling limits?
  • Where can I get Turbo Lister?
  • Can I make money selling jewellery sets on eBay?
  • How does Terapeak’s 7 day trial work?
  • How to print shipping labels using a thermal label printer?

If you have a question or two, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via my support desk here.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I posted a buying request for blue & white pottery on Alibaba & received several quotations. One of these was from a supplier in Vietnam (DKB VIETNAM ONE MEMBER COMPANY LIMITED; website: http://craftviet.vn/).

This supplier has the designs I am looking for but my problem is that they are not a Gold member & don’t accept escrow. My second choice is a Chinese company that is a Gold member, but their designs are not exactly what I am looking for and they also don’t accept escrow (both companies are requesting payment via TT).

So is it safe to buy from the Vietnamese supplier? Is it difficult to report a problem if the supplier is not Chinese?

How can I proceed if things go wrong (i.e. I don’t get my shipment despite payment)?

Thanks for this great blog.

I personally wouldn’t deal with a non Gold member supplier on Alibaba. But I can understand that in some cases, with harder to find products, you do in some cases have to consider suppliers that are not Gold members.

If you really, really can’t find any alternative suppliers for these products, I would recommend doing a company check using a 3rd party inspection service. That is if you can find such services in Vietnam… with Chinese suppliers it’s much simpler as you can simply use one of the inspection agents listed on Alibaba’s inspection portal.

If you can’t verify the company, I would stay away from them. It’s just too risky to deal with an un-verified company who doesn’t accept any safe payment methods. You can of course make a small sample order to test them out but even if that goes all well, it doesn’t guarantee that they won’t scam you on a bigger order. [Read more...]

Sep
09

BEST Autoresponder Service for eBay Sellers?

autoresponder-reviewsAs I’ve already covered list building and autoresponders in general very recently, I won’t go over it all again now, but if for some reason you missed it, then head over to this post now to learn how you can copy multi-billion pound companies like Amazon, Vista Print and Hostgator by building a subscriber list and making money from your customers long after they’ve bought from you: How to Reduce Your eBay Fees on Autopilot.

So, what I want to cover in this post is which autoresponder service should you use for your business? After all, which service you use to store your customers’ details is incredibly important and while, like with most such things, there isn’t one absolute best option, I still want to take a quick look at some of the providers out there to give you a helping hand in your research.

So let’s get started!

aweberI’m starting with AWeber because it’s the autoresponder service that I personally use and the one that I think is, overall, the best option out there.

AWeber has all the features you’d want but it’s in the most important aspects that it really shines, such as:

  • Email Deliverability – AWeber is one of the longest running autoresponder services so they really know how to make sure your emails are actually delivered and don’t just end up in the spam folder (after all, what’s the point of working to get subscribers if they then never receive your emails!?).
  • Ease of Use – I’ve tried a number of autoresponders over the years and considering the level of features it includes, AWeber is probably the easiest to use. Of course, as with all software, there is some learning curve involved but with AWeber it really is minimal thanks to their extensive support database and tutorial videos; as of right now they have 138 videos ranging from ‘Getting Started’, ‘Creating Follow Up Messages’ all the way to integrating specific software with AWeber.
  • Customer Support – for me, customer support is one of the most important aspects when considering which autoresponder to use and AWeber provide email support, live chat and a phone option. While I would like to see 24/7 support, the opening times of 8AM-8AM Monday to Friday and 9AM-5PM Saturday and Sunday is still very reasonable.
  • Analytics – If you’re not optimising your email and opt-in campaigns then you’re simply leaving money on the table! Testing and tweaking is a must and will allow you to constantly improve your results and therefore, bottom line. AWeber allows you to do all of this from within your autoresponder itself; you can track:
  • Email Opens
  • Clicks
  • Number of Unsubscribes
  • And more…

[Read more...]

Sep
05

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #10

questions-answers-10Hello & Welcome!

This is the 10th Anniversary post in our Questions & Answers series! I have received tons of new questions from you over the last few weeks so without further ado, let’s get started!

Here are some of the questions I will cover in today’s post:

  • What lights are best for product photography?
  • How to create your own eBay template?
  • Do I get support when purchasing the Easy Auction Business course?
  • How to price my own, custom made items for sale on eBay?
  • How to get FREE access to Spicy Auction Templates?
  • At what stage would you recommend signing up for Linnworks?
  • What promo materials should I include with each eBay order?
  • Where to get wholesale Disney items in Australia?
  • Is it safe to import electrical goods from China?
  • Do you need a company to register for an EORI number?
  • How to start an eBay business with a budget of £100k?

Here it goes…

Hi Andy,

I’ve just been reading your posts on product photography, and in particular lighting, and wanted to ask you – do you prefer to use flash strobes or continuous daylight bulbs for photography?

For example, below I’ve found this continuous daylight bulb product photography kit with 1000 watts power.

I would have thought it would be easier to take the product pictures with continuous light on the product so that you can navigate around any reflections if the product surface is shiny, what do you think?

I’m guessing you use the flash strobes for your product photos but just wondered what your opinion is?

As I’m looking for a proper lighting kit as currently only have a 2 x 65 watt bulb setup with a Nikon D300S.

Thanks,
Mark

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your question.

Yes, I do prefer strobe light and flash for one, very simple reason – they give much more power than continuous lights. Much more! [Read more...]

Sep
03

The Complete Guide to Fulfilment Houses!

fulfilment-housesWhat Are Fulfilment Houses/Fulfilment Centers?

In case you don’t already know what a fulfilment house is – it’s a specialist company that takes care of product fulfilment on behalf of the business owner. So basically a 3rd party company that takes care of everything to do with your order processing.

Why Should You Consider a Fulfilment House?

There are a number of reasons as to why you should consider a fulfilment house for your business – in fact, it’s something that I think EVERY business owner should at least look into because it potentially means:

  • No more picking and packing orders!

While this may not be a huge consideration when you’re just starting out – trust me when I say this – it will be!

As your business grows you will inevitably have to spend more time sorting, picking and packing orders and if you want to continue being a business owner and not just end up with an online job then that leaves you with only two real options:

You either have to create an in-house solution – which means hiring people and possibly renting storage/warehouse space.

OR

You can outsource the entire order fulfilment aspect of your business to another company, a specialist, i.e. a fulfilment house.

Of course, which option you choose will depend entirely on your specific circumstances; your business, the goods you sell, your personal goals etc. BUT one thing is for sure; fulfilment houses can be a terrific and incredibly SIMPLE solution. [Read more...]

Sep
01

EORI Number – Your Questions ANSWERED!

eori-numberEvery day I receive countless questions about shipping and customs, and I’ve noticed a lot of these questions refer specifically to the EORI scheme… so I’ve decided to create an article on that specifically – to clarify all the confusion once and for all.

Let’s get to it!

The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme was introduced on 1st July 2009 (replacing the Trader Unique Reference Number system previously used in the UK) and it’s basically a method for tracking imports and exports within the EU.

An EORI number is assigned to an individual legal identity (i.e. sole trader, partnership, company or individual) by your local member state (so if you’re in the UK – by HMRC) and that EORI number is then used to identify you and your shipments across all EU countries.

And really it’s as simple as that – it is just a number given to importers and exporters throughout Europe that can be easily and consistently identified by customs.

Do I Need An EORI Number?

Although the official explanations are slightly more complicated, to keep things simple and easy to understand – if you are involved with imports OR exports to or from the EU, then you do need an EORI number, as without it you won’t be able to complete the Entry Summary Declaration or Exit Summary Declaration.

How Do I Get An EORI Number?

To get an EORI number, you simply fill in the application form and send it to HMRC.

Which form you need to complete depends on whether or not you’re VAT registered –

  • And if you are not VAT registered, then you need form C220A, which can be downloaded here.

And just to make it clear as there seems to be a lot of confusion about thisyou don’t have to be a company to get an EORI number and can get one in the exact same way as an individual or sole trader. [Read more...]

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