Jul
03

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,
Danny

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…]

Jun
30

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…]

Jun
17

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…]

Jun
12

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…

Thanks,
Kris

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…]

Jun
08

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…]

Jun
05

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.

Thanks,
Moaied

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…]

Jun
03

How to DEAL with Alibaba suppliers?

contact-chinese-suppliersSo you have researched countless niches, searched through months of eBay data on Terapeak and filtered down your choices to a few potential products… and it’s now time to head to Alibaba and find some suppliers!

BUT, maybe you’re a new business, just starting out on eBay, and this is your first time importing?

You don’t have any experience dealing with wholesalers in the UK, never mind factories and suppliers in China… Plus this is your first order as a sole trader, so will suppliers even speak to you!? Do you meet their MOQs?

If any of these worries sound familiar to you, then you are not alone! I receive many emails every week from entrepreneurs just like this, who have done most of the hard work, but get stuck when it’s time to actually contact suppliers and put their order together!

And that’s what today’s article is all about.

I want to help you, by giving some tips on how to contact suppliers on Alibaba and how to properly present you and your business. More than that, I’ll also give you some templates that you can adapt and use yourself, to make this process as easy as possible.

But let me first start off by saying that really, there is nothing to be scared of. Suppliers in China are, generally speaking, much easier to deal with than wholesalers and distributors in the UK. As long as you are respectful, sound fairly serious (you don’t want to come across as a complete newbie/amateur!), and meet their requirements – then you have nothing to worry about.

It’s not like with some branded items here, where distributors will only deal with bricks and mortar sellers, who have been in business for decades – not at all! Chinese suppliers are generally very fair and keen for your business, as long as you present yourself well.

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

Initial Contact

The first stage when contacting new suppliers on Alibaba is of course the initial contact/message. I personally usually prefer to use Alibaba’s live chat for this, simply because it’s easier to speak to many suppliers quickly and you don’t have to wait for a reply.

When using Live Chat on Alibaba, try doing it early in the mornings (6AM-8AM, GMT) while it’s still business hours in China. This increases your chances of seeing most sales reps online. Of course, many companies on Alibaba have live support working 24/7, to cover Worldwide time zones but I have found that in early mornings there are higher chances of getting someone to talk to you.

Some of my students prefer to simply send an email to multiple suppliers, as that way you will receive replies back to your email and though it takes a bit longer, it is easier to keep track of everything.

[Read more…]

Jun
01

eBay Introduces Product Reviews!

product-reviews-on-ebayReally now eBay, WHEN will I be able to say this!?

We all know how old-school eBay can be – it seems that they are always a few years behind on every new technology that is made available in the eCommerce industry. Be it social media integration, mobile user features or Turbo Lister, which hasn’t been updated for ages now, eBay is NOT innovative and that’s probably due to the lack of competition that they face.

As a regular eBay shopper, I really hate that they haven’t introduced product reviews yet. Or at the very least – connect feedback to the product purchased, in an easy to understand format, for example a full list of feedback on the listing page itself.

Amazon is where they are today in a large part due to their reviews! I often purchase a product on Amazon solely because of the large number of reviews I can read before making that buying decision. In fact, if you sell online, Amazon reviews are a superb way of learning everything you need to know about a particular product. It’s also a great method for finding ways to improve a product, by reading the negative reviews and seeing what design and functionality flaws are revealed there.

Even Ali Express has product reviews and pretty much any other major online store that you can think of, but not eBay! [Read more…]

May
29

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #29

questions-answers-29As we do every Friday, it’s time to end the week with a Questions & Answers blog post where I cover the most interesting questions you have sent it over the last week. Next time will be the 30th anniversary edition so keep sending in your questions via the contact form on this page.

Remember, even if your question does not get published, I will still give you a personal reply via email.

Today’s questions are:

  • Is it possible to make money selling info products on eBay?
  • Do purchases count towards the seller transaction count number?
  • What is best way to organise product shipment from China?
  • Can you make money selling brand new video games on eBay?
  • What to do with devalued stock?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I came across your product via YouTube.

I’ve been marketing online for years and actually started off on eBay selling iPod tutorials when the iPod was first released around 10 years ago and I sold a few altogether. There was also a public domain document doing the rounds about how to run a car on tap water.

I sold a few of those also, but others soon started doing the same thing and it became saturated with different people claiming they actually owned the book and reporting other sellers. I’ve no interest in cars, but noticed I had some success selling car info products, especially to people in the USA.

Recently I’ve thought about coming back to eBay as I have a dating product which is an ebook and video slides.

I watched your presentation with interest and may get your product.

However I think the idea of selling one a day on eBay is a little ambitious?

I use a fulfillment service for some of my products and could probably do the same for eBay after collecting the customer’s address. It’s an idea I am toying with.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Best regards,
Paul

Hi Paul,

eBay really is NOT the best place to sell information products, not anymore, particularly in the dating niche. You could of course sell a few copies here and there but you won’t be able to make a business out of it.

For info products, you want to build a blog and following online – via your own website, social media platforms, YouTube etc. – by giving away lots of free, valuable content to get people in and then offering premium products for sale. [Read more…]

May
26

TOP 100 Best Selling Products on eBay for 2015!

hot-ebay-productsVery often I am asked this question by people – “what are the best, hot selling products on eBay?”

As if it is some kind of big secret…

Well, for many people this may be a surprise but you don’t have to be David Copperfield to see the top selling products on eBay, far from it! You don’t even have to do any kind of manual research to find these hot selling products on eBay – it’s actually far, far easier.

All you need is a Terapeak subscription and that’s it! With that you can find the most popular products on eBay.

I have already covered how to use Terapeak’s Competitor Research tool to find the most popular products in your niche, sold by competing sellers, but today I want to cover the Hot Research function, which you’ll find within the in-depth research tab:

hot-researchThere are 6 ways to do Hot Research on Terapeak:

  1. You can do a manual search for a keyword and it will show all items related to that keyword. You can also select the data range from 1, 7 and 14 days.
  2. Hot Categories (click on the first icon in the Views menu).
  3. Hot Media (second icon in the Views menu). At this time hot media does not work for eBay.co.uk but it does work for eBay.com.
  4. Popular Keyword searches (third icon in t
    he Views menu).
  5. Best selling products, based on keywords used in the listing title.
  6. Best selling titles, based on actual listings and their sales data.

[Read more…]

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