April 5, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments
eBay is better than Amazon! >><< Amazon is better than eBay!
If you came to this post looking for a comprehensive head to head analysis of the world’s two biggest marketplaces, then I’m sorry to say that’s not what this is. No, today I want to talk about the phenomena of people always thinking that the grass is greener on the other platform, that everything is better somewhere else! It has reached the point where I don’t know whether to cry or laugh when I read on a regular basis how bad one marketplace is and how good the other one is.
I’m specifically talking about Seller Central forums – for both eBay & Amazon. If you have never read those forums, make sure to check them out:
There’s nothing wrong with these forums, in fact – they’re a great place to learn the ins and outs of selling on both Amazon and eBay. But they can be tricky IF you’re totally new to all of this and are just looking for information, especially IF you visit just one forum and not both.
Because you’ll find lots of negative information there. Horror stories even.
The thing is – most sellers don’t go on forums and don’t post when everything is running smoothly. They do it when things go wrong, when they face problems etc. It’s similar to company reviews online. Just check PayPal’s reviews on Trust Pilot for example:
1.3 Stars out of 10!!!!
It must be the absolute worst company, a total scam and criminal organisation! Who even deals with them???
Well, according to publicly available information, there are approximately 200 million active PayPal accounts in 2017. So how could 200 million people use a service that is rated 1.3 stars out of 10?
Because people mostly leave such reviews when they have problems with the company! I have never left a review for PayPal on Trust Pilot as I have never had any problems with it. Just like millions of other PayPal users.
Why am I talking about this? Well, just so you keep things in perspective when you read Amazon and eBay’s seller forums – most of the stuff discussed there is negative – problems, banned accounts, buyer-scammers, eBay glitches etc. And that’s fine of course but it DOES NOT portray the average, everyday life of a typical user. (more…)
March 22, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 130 Comments
VAT For Amazon Sellers WARNING – Pan-European Fulfilment TRAP!
I’ve written about VAT a number of times on this blog, and with good reason – it’s a topic that causes a lot of confusion for online sellers and if you get it wrong it can really destroy your business. In my opinion, registering for VAT when you don’t need to is the biggest tax mistake an eBay or Amazon seller can make!
But all that has been covered before on my blog, numerous times in fact, so what’s the point of today’s article?
Well today’s post is really a warning about Amazon’s Pan-European fulfilment service – which is a HUGE tax trap under new EU law.
As you all know, when you sell on Amazon you get access to all 5 European marketplaces:
- Amazon UK
- Amazon Germany
- Amazon France
- Amazon Italy
- Amazon Spain
And you can sell to all of these marketplaces with your one seller subscription, which is great! In fact you don’t even need to create multiple listings – you simply create your listings on your home marketplace (Amazon.co.uk for example) and if they’re eligible, they’ll “automatically be re-created in the remaining four marketplaces via Amazon’s ‘build international listings tool’.”
But Amazon have gone one step further and recently a very exciting addition to the Fulfiled by Amazon fulfilment service was introduced, called Pan-European FBA.
The idea behind it is very simple – it allows you to offer your products to all 5 European marketplaces but rather than your stock being stored and shipped from one fulfilment center (as is normally the case) – Amazon will distribute them across ALL 5 countries.
This of course provides a number of important advantages to us as sellers:
Amazon don’t charge you to distribute your stock and you don’t even have to do it yourself. You simple send your FBA items to your local Amazon fulfilment center and Amazon then spreads it around all 5 countries (plus two more) based on expected demand. (more…)
March 1, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 7 Comments
HOW to Send Stock Directly from China to Amazon Fulfilment Centres (FBA)!
Amazon’s FBA program is becoming more and more popular with marketplace sellers, and that’s really no surprise – it’s a big sales boost and also removes a lot of the work of selling online! It allows you to concentrate on what really matters – branding, promoting, sales, sourcing etc. while outsourcing all the tedious fulfilment tasks such as packing products, printing labels, posting items, processing returns etc.
Now the “normal” way to get set up with FBA is to package and label all your stock and send it to Amazon yourself, who will receive and sort it, but I get a lot of emails from people looking to get started with FBA who want to have their stock sent DIRECTLY from China to Amazon, without them ever having to see or handle their stock.
Now you may be wondering why, because surely that’s risky… and while that is true – if you can manage to arrange it like this, you save money on shipping and also save a lot of time and hassle for yourself.
And that’s exactly what today’s post is all about – sending stock directly from China to Amazon’s fulfilment centers in the UK!
Judging from a lot of the emails I get, many people seem to think this is as easy as simply putting the Amazon fulfilment center address instead of your own home/business address but unfortunately this is NOT the case… there are a lot of things you need to be aware of when sending stock directly to Amazon and you’ll need to use a freight forwarder to help you take care of all of the details (Woodland Global is the company I recommend for this).
So to start off, can you ship stock directly to Amazon from your overseas suppliers? Amazon’s answer to this question is no:
“Sellers with shipments that originate from overseas will need to arrange the import and customs clearance of the shipment, and then arrange for the delivery to our facility. Amazon may not be used as the consignee, importer of record or final address when shipping from overseas.”
What this basically means is that you need to arrange a freight forwarder for your shipment, so that they can clear your delivery through customs and then arrange the domestic shipping to Amazon. This is all fairly obvious, as if you simply posted items directly to Amazon from overseas, they’d be responsible for customers clearance and any import charges, which is of course not something they’re willing to do. (more…)
February 27, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments
Handmade at Amazon – Etsy Killer?
Today I want to talk to you about an exciting new addition to Amazon’s selling marketplace, geared towards custom made, one of a kind products – called Handmade at Amazon.
Handmade at Amazon is a new store that’s available on all 5 of Amazon’s European marketplaces (and the US store as well of course):
Now this may sound very familiar to you and yes, this is basically Amazon’s answer to Etsy! Now if you don’t know what Etsy is, to put it simply it’s the eBay for custom and handmade products.
And Etsy has actually turned out to be a huge success with consumers who are looking for something a bit different – something unique, something quality, something with a story behind it…
The opposite of the mass produced, cheap, generic products that are so common on eBay and Amazon basically. Now there’s nothing wrong with such products, of course not, but this is just a different niche and market and after the success of Etsy, it’s not a surprise that Amazon want to tap into it as well. (more…)
February 17, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments
Where to look for HOT/TRENDY products to
sell on eBay & Amazon?
Do you want to sell HOT and TRENDY products on eBay & Amazon with little to no competition? But how do you find such products and where do you source them from? And is there even any profit to be made on high demand/low supply products?
I’ll be covering all these questions and more in today’s Reader’s Question post!
As always, each Friday I answer a question sent in by my blog reader and this week it’s Julia, who asked me this:
I’m a huge fan of your work and read your blog almost every day! I have also purchased your Easy Auction Business and eCommerce Magnates courses and all I can say is – WOW! Both courses offer so much VALUE! I don’t really understand why you’re selling them so cheaply as you could charge 10x the price and I would still buy them!
Anyway, I wanted to ask you – what’s your opinion on selling hot, trendy products on eBay & Amazon? Specifically branded products that are in high demand when they’re usually launched?I have been selling on eBay for many years now, but mostly imported every day products from China and am just wondering whether there’s money to be made in such hot products?
If your answer is yes, where should one source these products? Especially branded ones as I have learned from you that Alibaba and China is a no go when it comes to branded products.
Thanks very much!
Keep up the good work.
Many Thanks for your email and your kind words, it really means a lot! 🙂
It’s a very good question, hence why I’ve chosen to feature it in our weekly Reader’s Question blog post. I mostly talk about importing from China, which obviously means buying un-branded or your own brand products. But what about hot, new & trendy products? Can you make money selling them on eBay & Amazon? The short answer is – YES, you can! BUT this business model is not as straightforward as importing from China and it does come with more risk!
So the first thing we need to look at is – what is the definition of a hot/trendy product? (more…)
February 15, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments
TRS, Best Match, Cassini, Buy Box, FBA, EAN ALL Explained!
This is the 3rd post in the series on “Business Terminology every online seller should know” and today we’ll be covering eBay & Amazon. If you missed out on the previous two posts, you can find them by clicking on these links:
I put eBay & Amazon together as these are the 2 most important selling platforms for us online sellers. Even though this list is geared more towards newbies, I’m sure that it wouldn’t hurt even experienced eBay & Amazon sellers to repeat some basics.
There are hundreds of specific terms used on both eBay & Amazon – I won’t be able to cover them all so what I’ve done is picked the most popular ones, the ones that I regularly get asked about, to clear things up once and for all.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Personal account – this is the “standard” account most people open when registering with eBay for the first time. A standard account allows you to buy and sell both used and brand new products on eBay.
Business Account – this is the account most sellers will upgrade to when they start to work seriously on an eBay business. Having a business account on eBay DOES NOT mean that you have to be a registered business. This is only a “Business” account in eBay’s sense and will allow you to qualify for various advanced selling tools and more! You can upgrade a personal account to a business account BUT you can’t change it back to personal after that.
eBay Shop – a paid, monthly subscription service which allows you to have your own shop within eBay’s eco-system. Shop owners get a certain number of free listings each month, based on their shop subscription level.
Years ago normal and shop listings were separated but nowadays, all listings are the same in search results. But owning a shop gives you more branding opportunities, options to create product categories, use the Promoted Listings feature and more!
Auction Listing – the “original” listing format eBay was started with. You start a listing with an opening price and let buyers bid against each other. The highest bidder wins the auction and gets the item after paying for it.
Fixed Price Listing – also called Buy It Now (BIN) listings. These are listings where you set the target price you want your item to be sold for. With fixed priced listings there is no bidding going on and you can sell multiple units of the same item from the same listing (with auction listings you sell just one item). (more…)
January 23, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments
Quick and Easy Money on Amazon! Why Are You NOT Doing This?
I really hope the title of this post grabbed your attention, as it should have! Seriously – this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to add extra profit to the items you’re already selling on Amazon, but still for some reason very few people do this.
Today I want to talk about how you can make extra profit without needing to sell any new items, just by offering gift wrapping services to your customers. Let’s get to it!
Now first things first – if you use Amazon’s FBA service to fulfil your orders, then you’re already offering gift wrapping to your customers as Amazon offer this service as an optional extra on most items they sell (there are a few exceptions – if the size or shape of the item makes it very difficult to gift wrap, then Amazon don’t offer it).
But what a lot of sellers don’t seem to know is, even if you store and ship your items yourself, you can still offer gift wrapping.
You will however need an Amazon PRO account to set up gift wrapping options and it’s NOT available at all for basic accounts. I’ll show you how to set this up a bit later on, but for now I want to cover the wrapping process itself.
It’s honestly incredibly easy to do and with just a little time and practice, you’ll quickly become a gift wrapping pro!
I like to use Amazon’s service as a general basis/guideline of what to provide:
As you can see from the picture, Amazon’s gift wrapping service includes three different things:
- The gift wrap, box or bag (this will depend on the item)
- A decorative ribbon
- A printed card with a gift message on the top of the package
Now the main question when you’re deciding on the gift wrapping service to offer is whether to go for wrapping paper or gift boxes? (more…)
January 20, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments
How to EXCLUDE Remote/Offshore UK Locations when Selling on Amazon!
It’s time for our weekly Reader’s Question post! Today we’ll be taking a look at a common problem many Amazon sellers face – dealing with excessive courier shipping charges when sending orders to remote UK locations, like Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and British Islands.
Here’s the email Mike sent in:
Here’s a question that may make a good blog post for you.
How do you handle delivery costs to offshore areas (e.g. Isle of Man) for orders on Amazon?
Amazon treats any address with a UK postcode the same, which is fine if you’re posting items using Royal Mail. But if your items have to go by courier, you usually get hit with a hefty surcharge for delivery to these areas.
Is there any way to automatically add a delivery surcharge on Amazon for non-mainland addresses (I couldn’t find one)?
If not, what’s the best thing to do? Cancel orders and take the corresponding hit to your seller metrics? Also, if you’re dealing with hundreds of orders a week, how can you spot which ones are going to undesirable addresses without reading through every individual order?
Or do you just have to dispatch these orders anyway, and take what can be a significant financial hit for every order going to an offshore address?
Thanks for your question Mike!
This is a big issue and an on-going problem for many Amazon Marketplace sellers, especially ones that sell bulkier items that need to be sent via courier.
Unfortunately there’s no easy fix/solution – at least not yet. Amazon requires all sellers to INCLUDE these offshore regions in your standard shipping settings. You can’t exclude them and you can’t charge higher shipping costs for these regions.
If you go to your Amazon account then to Shipping Settings, where you create your shipping rate cards, you’ll see that Amazon does not allow you to exclude these regions. If you do, you get an instant warning message:
Some regions do not have assigned transit times and shipping rates.
So there’s no way to exclude these regions from your shipping rate card.
By Amazon’s rules it is mandatory to include these 4 regions:
- UK Mainland (England, Scotland, Wales)
- Northern Ireland
- Channel Islands, British Islands
- Scottish Highlands and Islands
But you CAN exclude UK BFPO addresses if you want – Amazon allows that. (more…)
November 30, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments
Wholesale Clearance UK – REVIEWED!
It’s no secret that my preferred method of sourcing is to buy direct from China, and that’s the method I’ve used to build up a number of successful eBay and Amazon businesses…
When you buy direct from China you get the lowest cost per piece and therefore the highest profit margin when it’s time to resell your items!
BUT, and this is a big but, importing from China is not for everyone, at least not when you first start selling, as there are a number of hurdles and aspects that you need to take care of. This includes:
- Supplier verification – just like with any country (and yes, I do mean EVERY country!) there are a lot of scammers mixed in with the genuine sellers in China and they prey on newbie sellers who don’t know exactly what they’re doing and don’t know how to verify a potential supplier.
- Shipping – depending on your order size, you may need to arrange shipping yourself when ordering from China…
- Import – it goes without saying that it’s more complicated and there’s more paperwork when you order from China, rather than the UK.
- Tax – you’ll need to pay import duty and VAT on your orders.
Now while most of these points may seem very daunting to new sellers, they are actually fairly easy to deal with – as I’ve written in-depth guides on every step of the importing process, which you can find here.
But what if you just don’t want to deal with all of that at the moment? Or what if your budget makes an order from China unviable? Are you out of options?
Well no, of course not!
There are a number of other sourcing techniques you can use, many of which allow you to buy items directly from UK companies, allowing you to take advantage of all the benefits that offers.
And today I want to look at one company specifically – Wholesale Clearance UK.
Wholesale Clearance UK is a wholesale company that offers bankrupt, surplus, and end of line clearance stock for sale to individuals and companies of all sizes.
I want to just really quickly go over the history of the company, as the owner and creator, Karl Baxter, was a frequent contributor on The Wholesale Forums, which is somewhere I used to spend a lot of time offering advice and helping others as much as I can!
Karl himself was an eBay seller who built a business around selling Poundland stock on eBay and as his business grew he became frustrated by the lack of wholesalers in the UK willing to sell to a sole trader, with most quoting minimum order quantities way above what he was able to afford. (more…)
November 11, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 14 Comments
Can You List Your Products Under EXISTING Amazon Listings?
It’s time for our weekly Reader’s Question post. For people new to my blog, – in these posts I give an in-depth answer to a question or problem sent in by one of my blog readers. If you would like your question to be featured in future posts, please get in touch via my help desk here.
Even if your question isn’t used for a blog post, I will still personally answer all queries within 24 hours, Mon-Fri.
Ok, with the recent release of the Amazon module for my Easy Auction Business course, I have started to receive more and more Amazon related questions.
Here’s one from Christian:
I hope you’re well.
You’ve been of great help to me in the past and I just wanted to ask a question about selling products on Amazon.
Now I have been selling successfully on eBay for a while and want to go over and introduce my products to Amazon. All my products are non-branded generic items from China, some of which I have very little competition for and sell a lot of.
Looking at Amazon I became slightly confused as I noticed some of my products are on Amazon and have different sellers offering the exact same product, however they all have their own individual listings under a private label. They claim it’s their own brand but I see no evidence of a logo or branded packaging. As far as I know it’s the exact same product and they could even be buying the items from the same supplier I use in China.
My question is how come they all use their own listing and why don’t they piggyback off of each other? Can I not piggyback on their listing given the fact that there is no evidence of it being their own brand? If I do so I can guess they will be sending me email messages to take it off fairly quickly. Should I just do as they did and start my own private label and build up reviews slowly etc.?
Thanks for your question.
The short answer is – YOU CAN! There’s nothing stopping you from listing the product under existing listings on Amazon AS LONG AS the product you sell is exactly the same which means it should look and function exactly the same as the one already for sale. (more…)