November 4, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

Selling a Brand New Product on eBay?

So you’re looking for a product to sell on eBay and going through that boring research stage where you gather market information, find the average selling price, judge the competition and other important data using Terapeak. But what do you do if no one is actually selling that particular product on eBay and there is no data to analyse? Let’s try to find out how to proceed in a situation like this.

Firstly we have to try and understand WHY the product is not currently being sold on eBay and there are several possible reasons for this:

  • There’s no demand for the product
  • It’s a VERO item and can’t be sold on eBay
  • It’s a prohibited item that can’t be sold on eBay
  • It’s a brand new product and no one has spotted the opportunity yet

Start with eBay’s policy on prohibited items – it could be that the item you’re planning to sell isn’t even allowed by eBay! If that’s the case, then no further investigation is needed.

IF you can’t find the product on eBay’s prohibited item’s list, the next thing I would do is check on Amazon (both the UK and US sites) to see whether anyone is selling it there. If you don’t get any results from Amazon, do a Google search and see what comes up. If you still don’t get any results from online shops, that means there currently isn’t really anyone selling that product online. (more…)

October 31, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

My Monthly Round-Up: October 2013

October – what a month it’s been! Super busy on all fronts and I’m very happy that I have achieved my targets for this month 100%.

Business has been going great, as expected really with the Christmas shopping madness approaching and people in general spending more time online after the slow summer months.

I also attended two trade shows (in Berlin and Warsaw) earlier this month + saw a UFO! But more on that later!

As for my blog – it was a very productive month over here too and I really hope the newly published 5 part Product Photography Guide will help many eBay/eCommerce shop owners create better product pictures.

In total, there were 10 posts published this month:

1) Product Photography – Part 1: Cameras

I started with a post on which cameras are best for product photography. There are many options available these days but for product pictures, there’s still nothing that beats a DSLR! The good news is that nowadays you can pick up a decent DSLR camera for as little as 300 pounds and if you’re serious about your business, this one investment will definitely pay you back tenfold over time.

2) How to compete with Chinese sellers on eBay?

I received an email from Roshan asking how to do business on eBay when there are so many Chinese sellers under-cutting everyone else. Well, the answer may surprise you – don’t compete with them as you don’t have to! In this post I have covered several strategies you can use to completely separate your business from Chinese competitors on eBay.

3) Info Products – A GOLDMINE for eCommerce Shop Owners!

Many people think that info products can only be sold on a content-only website or on specific publishing platforms, such as Amazon’s Kindle marketplace – but that’s far from true! In fact, almost any eCommerce or eBay shop owner can use info products to increase their conversion rates or even directly sell such products to their customers. (more…)

October 29, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Product Photography, Part 5: Outsourcing

 

We’ve finally reached the 5th and final tutorial in our Product Photography blog post series – Outsourcing.

In the previous four articles I covered these topics:

1) Cameras

2) Background & Lighting

3) Taking Pictures

4) Picture Editing

So the above four tutorials are suitable for anyone who wants to learn to take pro quality photos themselves, but…

What if you don’t want to learn product photography?

What if you don’t have money to invest in equipment?

What if you’re selling highly complicated products and just can’t get decent pictures on your own?

What if you have just 2 or 3 products and don’t want all the hassle?

There’s a solution! We all know that nowadays everything can be outsourced and product photography is not an exception – you can pay a professional to take high quality product pictures for you and not have to worry about doing it on your own.

There are several advantages to outsourcing product pictures: (more…)

October 25, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 7 Comments

Wholesale Insanity/P90X DVDs from China!

Hello Andrew,

I hope my message finds you in good health. I am still not finished watching your EAB DVD on guiding me to start my business. At the moment I am just risking with a few bucks to see how it goes on Ebay.

Anyways, I am contacting you to ask you regarding Insanity DVD. I found some wholesale websites but for some reason I don’t trust them. I read about them when I Googled them and some people have stated that they are a scam.

I am trying to order Insanity in bulk from Popotrade.com or Micmarketplace.com I would like to ask you if you are familiar with these websites and if they are secure? If not, do you know any other wholesaler I can buy Insanity DVDs in bulk. The wholesalers you have listed don’t sale insanity.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks,
Nauman

Hi Nauman,

Thanks for your email and questions.

In two words – STAY AWAY!

Both of the websites you asked about sell FAKE/Chinese copies of Insanity, P90X and other DVDs. They’re simply bootleg copies which are obviously illegal to deal with.

And unfortunately that will be the case with ANY China based online retailer – you can’t get genuine DVDs from such sites, you simply can’t.

How can you tell if a website is based in China? Easy: (more…)

October 23, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 9 Comments

Product Photography, Part 4: Picture Editing

Welcome Back!

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve covered these product photography lessons:

1. Cameras

2. Lighting & Background

3. Taking Pictures

And today we’ve reached the final stage of product photography – picture editing.

No matter how well your background and lighting is set-up or how expensive a DSLR camera you’re using, some sort of post-production work will still be needed, even if it’s just cropping and resizing. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Picture Editing Software

There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of different photo editing software programs available nowadays – from free desktop applications all the way to full-blown professional editing systems that cost several thousand pounds.

I’ll make your life easy though and share with you just two pieces of desktop software which I believe are the most user friendly and affordable, whilst still offering all the features you need to create outstanding product pictures.

1) Photoshop Elements.

Elements is the little brother of the premium photo editing software with the almost same name, Photoshop CS. But while Photoshop CS is an expensive, feature loaded software meant to be used by professionals, Photoshop Elements is a smaller, cheaper and easier to work with version which still has plenty of useful features.

You can download a 30 day free trial of Photoshop Elements directly from Adobe by clicking here. The trial has all the features of the original/paid software.

Once you have played around with it and are happy to go ahead with the purchase, I recommend just searching for it on eBay or Amazon as you’ll often find better prices on these two platforms than by buying from Adobe directly.

Be aware of fake/bootleg copies though! A genuine Photoshop Elements package will cost roughly £50-£60, depending on where you purchase it from. On eBay and Amazon, only buy it from reputable sellers with a high feedback rate; otherwise you could get a Chinese made copy. (more…)

October 21, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 21 Comments

Can You Make a FULL-TIME Income by Selling Just on eBay?

Everything is so complicated nowadays, right? I mean – all the selling platforms we have to master – eBay, Amazon, eCommerce and others. Then we have to learn how to connect them all together with highly complicated cross-channel selling software PLUS integrate everything in terms of accounting, time management and what not else!

For many people who are just starting out this may all seem too difficult and I can understand that. Even I sometimes struggle keeping up with what’s going on in the industry and my businesses as there are simply too many angles for you to cater to…

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – when you take into account marketing (promotions, auto responders, sales etc.), traffic generation (PPC, SEO, PPV, CPV etc.), Google Analytics, which on its own is a massive piece of software which would ideally require one full-time employee by itself, suddenly – this all seems just TOO MUCH to handle! Especially if you’re new to business and can’t outsource the majority of these tasks or take employees on board.

So, the question really is – can you make a full-time income only from selling stuff on eBay… without anything else I’ve listed here, but just taking a product and selling it on eBay? Can it be done?

To give you a quick and direct answer – YES! You can still make a full-time living on eBay without getting into any other marketplaces. Whether that’s a wise thing to do is a whole different question and something we can cover a bit later but for now, just so you know, eBay can still be used as the sole platform to build a full-time income online. (more…)

October 17, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Product Photography, Part 3: Taking Pictures

Finally, the fun part – taking pictures! We’ve covered cameras + background & lighting in the previous two blog posts so it’s now time to put it all together and start taking those perfect product pictures!

Before we do that, there are some additional important tips I want to share with you.

A tripod is a MUST HAVE accessory when taking product pictures. If you don’t have a tripod, then there’s simply no point in starting this process. If you absolutely cannot invest 10 pounds in a cheap tripod, then make your own (there are plenty of DIY ideas for this which you can Google)! However you do it, you MUST have something to hold your camera in a fixed position when taking product pictures.

You won’t be able to get sharp pictures if you hold your camera in your hands (unless you have a really good lighting set-up that allows working with low ISO settings and a high shutter speed at the same time). But just don’t over-complicate this process, and use a tripod.

All digital cameras these days have a built in LCD display where you can preview pictures BUT these displays are relatively small and you won’t see all the details of your items without extensive zooming in which isn’t very practical to do.

To fix this problem, I recommend connecting your camera directly to your PC/laptop via a USB or mini USB cable so that you can check the images on your computer as soon as they’re taken. Modern operating systems will automatically detect attached cameras and treat them as external USB devices (like memory cards) so you can access an image and open it right after you take the picture.

This set-up is also very handy for checking right away if you can fix a particular problem with your images in Photoshop. For example, you take a picture and see that there’s one small shadow around the product you can’t get rid of… what you do is open up that image in Photoshop with all your equipment still set up and see whether you can fix it. If you can’t, then you can just go right back and try to better position your lighting to get rid of the shadow (more on that later). (more…)

October 14, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 83 Comments

Wholesale Disney Character Items from China!

This looks so good, right? Pixar’s Cars 2 truck & car set for just $10 with free shipping from China included.

Or how about The Smurfs? My daughter LOVES Smurfs and will eat up anything that has a Smurf on it! Yes, even this nice looking children’s bedding set with The Smurfs characters on it:

There’s nothing wrong with this, right (other than the eating part I mean)? Everything looks good and you can probably make a nice profit on this item…not so fast! While items with Disney characters, characters from other TV shows or movies, musicians, celebrities etc. are hugely popular on eBay – you need to be VERY careful where you source these products from.

Hint – China is NOT the place to go for such items!

Sites like Ali Express, DH Gate and similar are full of wholesale items that carry some sort of COPYRIGHTED design. It can be:

  • A logo
  • Cartoon character
  • A band / singer image
  • Movie logos / characters (Transformers etc.)
  • And so on

Product like these need to be licensed and can ONLY be purchased from reputable wholesalers in the UK, USA or other countries but NOT from China! Chinese manufacturers simply take these images logos and place them on items WITHOUT paying anything to the licence holder – which is of course illegal. (more…)

October 10, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 40 Comments

Product Photography – Part 2: Lighting & Background

Following up on last week’s post (Product Photography, Part 1 – Cameras), today we’re taking a closer look at the lighting and background set-up needed to get those perfect product pictures.

In my opinion this is actually the most important post in this product photography series and it’s something most sellers completely overlook. But with just a little education on the subject, you’ll be able to create a mini photo studio that helps you create stunning product pictures! So without further ado, let’s get started.

Backgrounds

To create beautiful product pictures, you need to use some sort of background. Why? Well to get rid of distractions and background ‘noise’ and allow your product to be the only feature of your pictures. Okay, if you’re selling something like a car, you won’t need to put it on a white background, lol, but in most cases you’ll want to use it – be it for small, medium or large products.

If you take a look on eBay, you’ll find plenty of amateurish looking pictures of products on wrinkled bed sheets and while this may be okay if you’re just selling some unwanted items from around your house, business sellers should really take more care in how they present their products. And the key to this is a good background set up!

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds are so called Lightboxes – you can get them on eBay and online shops in various sizes and settings – with the cheapest starting at just £20 or so and the most expensive, super-sized versions costing several hundred pounds.

Lightbox from TableTopStudio.com

Here’s the thing – You DON’T NEED THEM!

That’s right; you don’t need to purchase a lightbox to take outstanding product pictures. I’d actually recommend you stay away from them as they will only complicate your life, seriously! Theoretically they work ok BUT only if you have very powerful lights to get the box well exposed. And even then, I can’t see any reason why you would want to use a lightbox at all. (more…)

October 8, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Info Products – A GOLDMINE for eCommerce Shop Owners!

There’s a misconception out there that these two business models – physical products and information (info) products – should be run separately. Well, let me tell you now – that’s absolutely NOT TRUE! You can take the best of both worlds and run them simultaneously.

And actually, adding some info products to a physical products business can be a fast and easy way to increase your sales and profit. In this blog post I’ll show you exactly how to do this.

If we abstract ourselves from the myths surrounding info products, we can come up with 3 business models that involve incorporating both physical products and information products:

1) Mixed – you sell both physical and info products and they generate equal profit in your business. A classic example of this would be a shop selling beauty or craft items but also offering classes/courses or selling home-study materials on the topic.

2) Info product led – you sell mostly information products with some occasional physical products. For example Beachbody.com, their primary income comes from selling various fitness info products (DVDs etc.) but they also sell fitness equipment and supplements.

3) Physical product led – you sell mostly physical products and use info products as a lead generation tool or even sell an eBook, service or how to guide along with your physical products. An example of such a business model would be Amazon! The majority of their income comes from physical products but they also sell digital products such as music, eBooks and videos.

The last model will apply to most eCommerce Shop owners and is by far the easiest to integrate! You already have a shop (or plan to build one), physical products to sell and all you need to do to increase your profit is add some sort of highly valued information product you can make massive profit on.

I’m talking about strategies like: (more…)