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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #59

April 8, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

questions-answers-59Welcome Back!

It’s time for another Questions & Answers blog post.

This week we had an interesting post comparing prices on eBay and Amazon to test if Amazon’s buyers really are willing to spend more on the same products.

And next week I plan to publish an updated Best Products to Sell on eBay2016 UPDATE! The idea to update some of the most popular posts came to me as I went through my blog’s analytics data and noticed how many people read these posts every day. I think for such posts, The Best Products to Sell on eBay for 2013 being a perfect example, it’ll definitely be worthwhile to keep them up to date with the latest information.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand, today’s Q&A, and here are the questions we’ll be covering:

  • Do you need to register a domain name together with hosting?
  • What time management software do you use Andrew?
  • Do you pay extra taxes when ordering from DigitalRev?
  • How to make money dropshipping if you’re VAT registered?
  • Do you have to cover return shipping costs for eBay orders?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for all of the very helpful information on your website, following your advice I’m finding planning the set-up of my online business a little easier.

I have read your very informative write ups on image hosting and registering domain names, but I would like to clear up a little confusion please.

Would you recommend registering a domain name with a company such as Go Daddy and then using that domain name when signing up to an image host, Host Gator in your example?


Registering a new domain name when you sign up with the image hosting site?

I’m inclined to register my domain name first and use that domain name with Host Gator, therefore using two separate sites. What would you recommend?

Many Thanks,

Hi David,

It doesn’t really matter where you register your domain name – both Go Daddy and Host Gator are big, reputable companies and you can trust your domain registration to either one of them.

The reason why I usually recommend registering domain names with Go Daddy separately is that: Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #56

March 11, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

questions-answers-56Happy Friday!

It has been a busy week for me personally! I finally received my long awaited shipment from the US with my new equipment, something I delved into a bit in last week’s article on poor customer service. I will get everything set up and then do a proper dedicated post on this next week.

machineAlso, last week we FINALLY launched the new SpicyAuctionTemplates.com website! It’s such a good feeling, after long months of hard work, to see how it’s all turned out and the feedback I’ve received so far from my customers is nothing but good, so thanks for your support!

I have plans to re-vamp some further websites this year, to create more mobile friendly versions, so this is hopefully only the beginning! 🙂

Back to our weekly Q&A post and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How much should I pay to ship a 100kg package from China?
  • What is the BEST alternative to Turbo Lister?
  • Why is my Chinese supplier charging double for a sample?
  • By how much can you negotiate MOQs?
  • Can you request modifications to existing product?

Let’s get started! Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #55

February 26, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

questions-answers-55Welcome Back!

This week on the blog we had a look at how to find out the best selling variation for any product on eBay, and I also had a little rant about the poor experience I had trying to buy an air compressor for my own business.

Next week – SAT 3.0 finally goes live, which will be accompanied by the 5th and final product showcase article covering, you guessed it, SAT!

Here are the questions I will be answering in today’s post:

  • By what percentage will my sales increase from using a PRO template?
  • What’s the best way to learn importing from China?
  • Can you use another person’s eBay & PayPal accounts for a business?
  • How to sell the same product on two eBay sites?
  • Which shipping method is cheapest and easiest?
  • Is it more expensive to use freight forwarders?
  • Do I have to pay VAT & import duty to a Chinese supplier?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Obviously you do spicy auction templates and I have used templates in the past, though at the moment I don’t currently have one. Now I understand that having a decent looking professional template creates a better experience for buyers as well as giving your business a better image and an overall boost in sales, but what are the statistics behind this? I can’t seem to find this information anywhere, so by having a professional template what increase will there be on my sales and conversion rate?

Kind regards,

Hi Christian,

That’s a good question. Unfortunately there are no such statistics available simply because it’s nearly impossible to test such things on eBay where rankings change constantly.

From my experience working with many different sellers, there’s definitely an increase in conversion rates after upgrading to a custom template with good images and proper formatting. But by what % exactly, that’s hard to say as there hasn’t been any proper testing done.

The overall effect will also depend a lot on what you sell. For example, if you sell industrial machinery parts, your buyers won’t be that concerned about how the listing looks as long as the description is clear and the product is what they’re looking for. On the other hand, with many products that are perceived visually, such as clothing, accessories, phone cases, furniture etc., a professional image can basically make or break your business. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #54

February 19, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

questions-answers-54Welcome back!

Another Friday, another Questions & Answers blog post!

Tomorrow is a BIG day for eBay sellers, as the new performance standards go live on eBay. And earlier this week we had something of an anomaly online – a post about eBay that was positive! Feel free to have a read of it now if you don’t believe me 🙂

Back to our Q&A and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to organise shipping when importing from China to the US?
  • What documents do you need to open an eBay Business account?
  • How to sort out accounts with HMRC on your own?
  • Can I split shipments to avoid paying import tax?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

My name is Chelsea and my friend and I are looking to start importing from Alibaba.com, with the goal of selling on eBay or Amazon.

We both work from home so see this as a good opportunity to make more income for our families. We have been researching importing from China to the US, but do you have any advice for us as to the best way to do this?

We’ve looked at FedEx but aren’t sure if they’re the best courier to use? We want a company that will take care of all the paperwork for us as far as customs goes.

At the moment we’re just getting started so any advice to point us in the right direction will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Chelsea and Candice

Hi Chelsea and Candice,

Any courier company will do the “paperwork” for you – i.e. clear goods through customs and deliver them to your door. So from that perspective, it doesn’t matter which company you use.

Price does of course matter though, and you really want to spend as little as possible on shipping, provided the service is the same.

What I recommend you do is ask your supplier to get the BEST quote for your order. Usually suppliers work with specific couriers who give them the best possible prices, far lower that what we could ever arrange from our end. So really there’s no point in trying to do this yourself as you’ll just end up paying more. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #53

February 12, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

questions-answers-53It’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

We’re now into the second week of February, and sales on eBay are slowly starting to pick up again after the usual January lull. I’ve also been very busy putting the final parts together for the big Spicy Auction Templates update, so I’m glad to have made enough time for another of our ever popular Q&A posts. Remember the goal this year is to get as close to the magical century mark as possible!

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Is the shipping cost important for VAT calculations?
  • Is it ok to have an email & phone number in my eBay template?
  • How to start selling on eBay?
  • Why should we sell on eBay instead of Amazon?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I’ve noticed my suppliers only ever declare the value of the actual items on customs forms, and they never add the shipping cost that I also paid. Will customs calculate VAT based only on this figure or do they check themselves with the courier? Or should I ask my supplier to put the full value on all forms? I’m pretty sure I have underpaid VAT and am now trying to get everything sorted before I become VAT registered.

Kind regards,

Hi Christian,

Yes, customs need to know any shipping charges in order to correctly calculate VAT so you should always ask your supplier to put the correct amount on the customs form, or better yet ask them to attach the full commercial invoice. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #51

January 29, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 7 Comments

questions-answers-51Welcome Back!

And here we are again, with a new year and a new Questions and Answers blog post!

Last year we reached the magical 50th post right before Christmas and I really hope this year you’ll stay active and keep sending in your questions! Who knows – maybe we can reach our 100th post by the end of this year? 🙂

For those of you who are new to my blog – every week (well, almost every week), on Friday, I publish a Questions & Answers blog post. In these posts I answer some of the questions that you – my dear blog readers – have sent in over the last week. This way my help/advice is made public and other people, with similar questions/problems, can also learn from it. So it’s a real win – win situation.

To get involved, all you have to do is contact me via my support desk here and I’ll personally answer your question there (within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri.) AND if the question qualifies (i.e. it’s an interesting topic with no confidential information) I’ll also publish it in next week’s Questions & Answers blog post. SIMPLE!

Okay, without any further ado, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do you have to mention that products are made in China?
  • Do you need a registered company to buy from Alibaba?
  • What’s the best way to reach the top of eBay’s search results?
  • Andrew, when are you going to create a course for Amazon!?
  • Should I put ALL my stock on eBay?
  • Which invoice should I give to the courier for customs clearance?
  • Is it worth importing products from South Africa to sell on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I was reading all your articles regarding branding new products, which looks very interesting and potentially useful. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the “Made in” label that you see on products. Is it mandatory to have this on the package? Also, if I have an OEM product from China, can I have my brand name and say made in Europe or a specific European country?

It will be of a great help if you could let me know about this.


Hi Thahir,

Yes, it is by law required to put “Made in” info on product packaging. And even if you’re based in Europe, if the goods are manufactured in China, you must show “Made in China” on your product’s packaging. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #50

December 21, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 23 Comments

questions-answers-50Welcome Back!

This is it – our last Questions & Answers blog post for this year! 🙂

Over the course of 2015 you have sent in more than 300 questions and at least half of them have been published in the 35 instalments of our Questions & Answers blog posts.

If you didn’t already know – you can find links to ALL previous Q&A posts on my blog’s archive page here. There you’ll also find links to ALL posts that have ever been published on this blog (250+ and counting).

I’m so happy that I stuck to my goal of reaching 50 Q&A posts this year and even though everyone is busy with Christmas, I still received a few questions over the last week to cover in today’s post:

  • How to make good profit on eBay selling cheap items?
  • Do you do paid reviews Andrew?
  • Is the flat rate VAT scheme best for eBay sellers?
  • How to add your physical shop to Google Maps?
  • How to put text right next to the product image in eBay listings?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on your blog, and really felt that I could make something of a small business. I have barely any spare money so I was hoping that selling some small items for a few months would enable me to get a little bit more money to put back into the business.

As it is, I’m actually losing money on the first ‘stock’ item I’m listing! I’m crushed. I was working towards TSR status as you said – and I was willing to ‘pay’ for this by not making much on items at first, but with eBay fees, PayPal fees, postage and packaging, and original product price, I’m making 68p. Not even including the domain I have for £8 a month for the business email.

The breakdown of the product I have atm is as follows:

Buy for: 99p
Sell for: £3.50 (the going rate) +free P+P (as advised)
P+P: 39p (packaging) + 50p (post)
eBay list fee: 26p
eBay final value fee: 32p
PayPal fees: 32p

Profit = 72p.

Yes I could reduce the packaging cost by using different jiffy bags, but that’s still a profit of about 90p on each item. I cannot foresee snowballing a business in this way. Do you have any advice, or should I just pack it in?


Hi Sarai,

You may not realise it but you’re actually doing very well! Making 72p profit on an item you sell for just £3.50 on eBay – that’s actually considered a very good profit margin. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #48

December 4, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

questions-answers-48Welcome Back!

We’re now right in the most super crazy, super busy time of the year! I guess it’s all good with Christmas just around the corner but for me and other business owners, this means long, long work hours and very little free time for rest.

With all that, I’m still managing to find some time for your weekly blog posts. This Monday we started with a quick post about niche size followed up by a very interesting and valuable guide on becoming your own manufacturer.

As it’s Friday, we have our weekly Questions & Answers post! There are just two left this year (49th & 50th) so if you want your question to be featured, send it in via my Helpdesk here.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Can you use HostGator in the UK?
  • Do couriers cover taxes for imports from China?
  • Do you have to pay any taxes for shipments within the EU?
  • Do you have to pay import taxes when buying from Ali Express?
  • What is the best way to process 300 eBay orders a day?
  • How to deal with unfair eBay feedback?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

Please can you advise me if I can use HostGator, as I live in England?

Also, can you design your own website and email address through HostGator?

Do people from eBay have access to your website? If so does that mean it needs to be kept up to date with what’s for sale so that people can contact me to try and place orders direct and not through eBay?

Thank you

Kind regards,

Hi Jess,

Yes, of course you can use HostGator if you live in England (it doesn’t really matter where you live as it works worldwide).

Yes, you can create/set-up email addresses via HostGator but for a website/online shop you’ll need to use special shopping cart software (not HostGator). Please read my guides on shopping carts for more information: Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #47

November 27, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

questions-answers-47Happy BLACK Friday everyone!

With December just around the corner, it’s time for our 47th Questions & Answers blog post. There are still 3 left to do this year if we’re going to reach my lofty target of 50, so please don’t stop sending your questions in via the contact form on this page.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba?
  • Is it possible to collect imports directly from the port?
  • Does HMRC keeps a black list of undervalued shipment recipients?
  • Is it normal that electronic suppliers in China don’t accept PayPal?
  • How to buy children’s toys in wholesale from China?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

What’s the difference between DHgate and Alibaba? I find it a little hard to find suppliers on Alibaba.



There’s a massive difference between DHgate and the main Alibaba website. DHgate is basically an online retailer where you can buy in quantities as low as 1 per product, though it is also okay for small wholesale orders to test new products etc. Most sellers on DHgate are trading companies or individuals who simply buy goods from factories to re-sell on there.

Alibaba on the other hand is the world’s largest B2B marketplace, where the majority of companies listed are actual manufacturers. The minimum order requirements are completely different compared to Dhgate (much higher!) and of course prices will be significantly lower as a result. Read More…

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #45

November 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

questions-answers-45Happy Friday!

Friday the 13th.

Another week has gone by and it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

It’s getting busier and busier as Christmas approaches fast so I didn’t have time to do the Chinese Brands article but it will be published next week.

Also, Trademark Scams are turning into a nightmare for all new trademark applicants. On Monday I will publish an update on this with more scam examples and photos of letters you may receive when registering a trademark.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to automatically track stock across Amazon & eBay?
  • Can you sell licensed products sourced from China?
  • Do you have to find a niche with great Terapeak numbers for ALL products?
  • How to get your first sale on Amazon’s Marketplace?
  • How to reduce abandoned carts in an online shop?
  • What’s the benefit of a NICHE BRANDED business VS a general eBay shop?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I am a very big fan of yours and I visit your blog every day. I want to ask you how you handle stock tracking, in terms of any changes in quantity or price as I have had a few situations where I was “forced” to sell a product at a loss rather than cancel the order.

I also want to ask you how I can handle situations when I sell a large quantity of one item (which I sourced from Amazon) and then they don’t let me purchase any more that week so I’m stuck until next week. I’ve always wondered how other sellers are overcoming this as I’ve seen them sell 100s of one item and they bought it from Amazon for sure.

Thank you in advance.

Looking forward to hear from you,


Hi Ivan,

If you sell on eBay & Amazon (using the same stock) and possibly your own online shop, you can’t effectively manage stock without using some sort of multi-channel software like Linnworks: Read More…