June 5, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

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.


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! (more…)

May 29, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

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,

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. (more…)

May 22, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #28

questions_answers_28Welcome Back!

You guessed it right – it’s time for another Questions & Answers blog post! The 28th time, to be precise! Yes, this series has become very popular and I’m very happy about that as with the help of these blog posts I can cover a great range of smaller topics, which I wouldn’t be able to do standalone posts on.

So keep sending in your questions via the contact form on this page. Remember, my goal is to reach the 50th post in this series by the end of the year, so let’s keep it going!

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • Which business type to select when opening a new eBay business account?
  • What to do when shipping costs are DOUBLE what you pay for the actual products?
  • Is it still possible to make money on eBay in 2015?
  • How to increase an eBay selling limit of 5 items per month?
  • What is the best way to automate eBay order processing?
  • How to handle a large volume of customer support requests?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

When opening a business account, it asks me about business type – manufacturer, retailer, charity, wholesaler, distributor, broker, jobber, market trader, dealer or other…as a sole trader who plans to import from China, should I select the other category? 

And business entity type – plc, ltd, partner, sole proprietor, charity, foundation and other? What would this be?

If my listings are more private nature, should I just use my name for my business name? Could I change this with eBay and HMRC if I think of a name later? What exactly is a private seller?

Thank you for your help. I’m just worrying about these registration details but after that I am ready to begin!

Thanks again,

Hi Delia,

Thanks for your email.

You’ll be okay if you select Retailer from the list of business types. Other will also work, as it doesn’t really matter that much what you select there.

Business type – sole proprietor (as it’s same as Sole Trader). (more…)

May 15, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #27


It’s FRIDAY & time for another Questions & Answers blog post! Thanks for all of the questions you sent in during the last week.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • How to make importing work on a small budget?
  • How much money can you make per month by importing from China?
  • Can you re-sell products that are made specifically for chain stores?
  • Can you sell the same items from multiple eBay accounts?
  • How can you find out if a product is patented?
  • What’s the safest way to pay Chinese suppliers?
  • How to deal with unauthorised PayPal payments?
  • What’s the best & cheapest way to import mobile phones from China?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I use your blog as if it is a bible, and would appreciate any guidance you could give to this newbie.

I currently live in Australia, and am very interested in the import business, but I cannot see how to lower the freight cost. http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Can-Bottle-Crusher/2045244124.html is the product I am currently interested in importing, but I do not see how I am able to import it at an economically viable cost. The cheapest I am currently able to import it to Australia is via EMS at US $60 dollars which is $75 Australian dollars after conversion.

I also have two questions for somebody with such a large knowledge on this subject such as yourself:

Is it still possible to make good profit from the import business?

What kind of pay could a successful importer make on average, $/per month?

Thank you for writing your blog, as it is easily the most useful information I have read on this topic.


Hi Kyle,

You can’t really buy an item like this, in such a small quantity, then ship it via courier and expect to make any profit from selling it. It’s a cheap, rather bulky item – which means it’s totally unsuitable for shipping via expensive courier services. What you need to do is find a supplier/manufacturer on Alibaba.com (not Ali Express) and buy this item in decent quantity – at least 100 units or so. The more you buy, the cheaper the price you’ll get.

As for the shipping – a cheap and bulky item like this (probably heavy too as it’s made from metal), needs to be shipped via sea freight, not air couriers! You can read more about how sea freight works in my importing from China article here:


This is the only way to make this work I’m afraid Kyle. If you can’t afford to buy this item in such a large quantity, you’ll have to look for smaller items which can be sent via courier services. (more…)

May 8, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #26

questions-answers-26Welcome back!

After a short break we’re back today with another blog post in our Questions and Answers series.

Today we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Do you need a special export license to sell from the UK to USA?
  • How to automatically manage inventory levels on eBay and Amazon?
  • Can Turbo Lister handle 500,000 listings?
  • Which business registration form is most suitable for eBay traders?
  • How important are COMPLAINTS on a supplier’s Alibaba profile?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have read a lot of info on your blog that has been very helpful, so thank you for your common sense approach! I wonder if you can help me…I sell on Etsy (I’m in the UK but sell to the US mostly) and I have recently had a large order for goods from a shop based in St Louis. I am completely miffed as to whether I will be liable for any taxes or have to register as an ‘exporter’ in any way and there is so much confusing information that I am overwhelmed!

Obviously I want a big sale but not if I am going to get hit with US taxes!

Can you help?

Kind Regards,

Hi Shelley,

First of all, you don’t have to register as an “exporter” in any way. There’s no such thing as registering to export in the UK, and you don’t need any special permission to sell your products to customers in the US.

Also, any taxes your customers have to pay in USA, are again, not related to you. Their import duty is their responsibility and if they’re importing from abroad on a regular basis, they will already know about any taxes that they need to pay. But either way, it’s not something that you are liable for.

So basically, if you’re currently registered as a sole trader or run a limited company, there’s nothing you need to do. If you don’t have a registered business yet, it would be a good idea to register as a sole trader now as you’re starting to make some decent money. You can read more about how to do so in my guide here:


And don’t worry, you can do this after the deal goes through (so there’s no need to delay it). (more…)

April 17, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #25

questions-answers-25Welcome Back!

For the 25th time, a Questions & Answers post goes live on AndrewMinalto.com! Another small milestone reached! 🙂

For those of you who are reading this for the first time – this blog series is all about YOUR questions, answered by me. Every Friday (almost) I put together a blog post covering the most interesting questions that were sent in to me the previous week so that all my blog readers can read and learn from each others’ ideas, experiences and mistakes. If you have a question that you would like answered, you can send it over to me via the contact form here, and chances are it’ll be featured in a future Q&A session.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to order from multiple Chinese suppliers in one go?
  • Can we use coupons on eBay?
  • How to start selling supplements on eBay?
  • What stock levels are recommended for a brand new online shop?
  • How to resolve a “below standard” eBay account?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have been searching various forum threads but am unable to find an answer to my question about importing for the first time.

I have various suppliers of different products and many are located at different ports in China.

My question is some suppliers have quoted me FOB price (some same port, some different ports) and others EXW price.

If they have different ports how does this work? For example: I have FOB quotes from Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shanghai and then I also have some suppliers who have given me EXW prices as the quantity doesn’t meet their MOQ.

I’m just not sure what the best and most cost effective way to go about this is? I have contacted freight forwarders but I can’t seem to get a direct answer.

Any insight would be very much appreciated!

Thank you,

Hi Gina,

I would highly recommend that you just stick with one supplier from one location, on FOB terms, in order to keep things simple – particularly for your first importing deal.

Sure, buying from multiple suppliers and multiple locations can be done with the help of a freight forwarder who will consolidate all shipments into one BUT it will be very expensive.

I guess your orders are not that big and if you need to consolidate several small packages, from various regions of China, you’ll pay more in shipping fees than you actually paid for the products themselves. Also, I would recommend staying away from EXW terms/prices as you’ll face further complications and charges you can’t really control. (more…)

April 10, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #24

questions-answers-24Hello & welcome back for another weekly Questions & Answers blog post.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to use MANUAL research alongside Terapeak data?
  • How to sell an established online business?
  • Where to report Alibaba scammers?
  • Can you buy branded electronics in wholesale from China?
  • What’s the easiest way to sort out shipping for product samples?
  • Can you still make profit on eBay in 2015!?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hey Andrew,

I follow your blog a bit and was curious about one of the topics you write about.

I bought Terapeak professional about a week ago and ever since I’ve had it, I’ve just been researching in circles. I get the idea of what I should be doing but at the same time I don’t. For example, I did some analyzing to the conclusion that I was going to buy wholesale sunscreen BUT after looking at hot keywords, I didn’t know if I should be buying a specific brand…

Looking at other competitors’ sales show they’ve sold random sunscreen here and there. I’d rather end up running my business with a certain level of consistency, so always having to change the product I’m selling doesn’t appeal to me (unless that’s how it should be?).

Basically my question is, once I have a particular item of interest, what should I do to find out if the item I’m going to buy is really the one I should be buying in bulk? I hope throughout all of my common sense-based rant, the question makes sense!


Hi Jeff,

What I personally do is introduce manual research at that stage as you’re right – just by looking at the numbers it’s hard to know exactly which brand, type, size, colour etc. items you should be buying and selling. By manual research I simply mean going to eBay and doing a search for that product and then looking at the first 3 pages of results, with the first page being the most important.

You just browse through listings and see which type/brand of product is selling best! This is usually the most popular product on eBay. Also, make sure to then check the sales history for the top 10-20 listings so you know what kind of sales volume each seller is achieving. The sales history will show you the dates of the last 100 transactions and you can use this info to easily calculate how many sales each listing generates per month. (more…)

April 2, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #23

questions-answers-23Welcome back!

Another week has gone by and I have compiled the most interesting questions that were sent to me, in order to share them with other blog readers:

  • When and how do I pay VAT on imported goods from China?
  • What’s the best way to transfer money to eToro?
  • Dropshipping and selling allowances on eBay!
  • Where to get EAN codes to sell products on Amazon Marketplace?
  • What’s the best way to sell to regional eBay sites?
  • How to differentiate branded items from unbranded items when importing from China?
  • Where to buy silver plated jewellery in small quantities?
  • What to do when you lose your job and need to make money asap?

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I am a first time importer and I want to order from a company called Wisewell Holdings on Alibaba.

I can work out my import duty, which should be 0% on bunk beds, but my question is regards VAT.

How does this work; when and how do I pay it? Will I be contacted by HMRC?


Hi Nick,

As they’re quite heavy and bulky items (bunk beds), you’ll most likely ship them via sea freight, right? I can’t imagine how expensive it would be to ship them via a courier company! 🙂

So when the goods arrive at the UK port, you’ll be contacted by the freight company who are taking care of the customs clearance procedure for you and they’ll let you know what taxes are due. Then you simply transfer that money so your goods can be released from customs.

To avoid excessive charges at the UK port, I highly recommend doing the whole shipping & customs clearance procedure via one company – a freight forwarder, who can give you a FIXED door to door quote. The company I recommend is Woodland Global. They will give you a quote for such a shipment and that will be the fee you pay, plus of course the actual taxes. (more…)

March 20, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #22

questions-answers-22It’s FRIDAY!!! 🙂

And that means time for another Questions & Answers blog post!

Today we’ll cover the following topics:

  • How to improve DSRs after an incident of bad luck?
  • How to insert product pictures inside an eBay template?
  • How up to date is the Easy Auction Business video course?
  • Is it possible to use Turbo Lister on two computers simultaneously?
  • How to start an eBay business with limited funds?
  • Excessive sea freight charges & how to deal with them!
  • Can you go in to debt when trading on eToro?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I was after some advice please, when you get a minute, as I have recently had my eBay account restricted because of poor DSRs. The reason for my poor ratings is items didn’t arrive and my customers opened cases against me; what actually happened was when InPost/CityLink went into administration, I had 4 parcels stolen by the couriers! I’ve subsequently had my insurance claims settled in my favor by Parcel2Go.

I refunded my customers within a two week period of the purchase date but because cases had been opened against me it has had this detrimental effect on my ratings. I don’t know what more I could have done? I made the sale and posted the item promptly, using what I thought was a reputable courier.

But eBay will not consider these facts and just say they will send me literature regarding improving my DSRs. I was aiming for TRS previously and still want to but this knock back has left me a bit dejected with the whole eBay experience.


Hi Jamie,

Yes, eBay never accept such reasons or excuses; they basically don’t care what happened or why packages weren’t delivered. And really that’s completely understandable as otherwise sellers would come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they got a negative feedback or low rating. Is their stance right or wrong? Well that’s a different question and inconsequential really – this is just how eBay works and you either play by their rules or don’t use them at all. (more…)

March 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #21

questions-answers-21Hello & welcome back to a regular Q&A post this week.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to properly expand & grow my eBay sales?
  • Can you get genuine sports jerseys from China?
  • What to do when eBay suspends your account?
  • Is there a “multi shop” shopping cart available?
  • Is 1688.com a legit website?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Having followed your advice from EAB and on your blog, I have a few products with great looking listings that sell pretty well on both eBay and Amazon.

I am pondering my next move as I have a problem; I am undercut by competitors because they buy in greater numbers and probably use sea freight rather than courier which I have used so far as my order quantities are in the hundreds, not thousands. This is especially true for Amazon which is more price sensitive than eBay. I’ve come up with two ideas I can pursue, but can’t really afford to do both at the same time. My options are:

1. Buy existing products in greater quantities and start using sea freight (to bring down my cost and selling price and be more competitive).

2. Expand into other products.

I could do a bit of both but it would mean half-measures for each.

Just to sound out a possible solution… as a large proportion of importing costs seems to be in the transport, would you advise that I try to get smaller orders of different items from various suppliers and put them together to make a few pallets that I can then ship via sea freight?

Can this be done when the suppliers are from different areas in China? Maybe this is something that Woodland Global could help with or it could just be too much hassle to arrange from here?

Any advice would be welcome! Did you have this problem of expansion when you started out?

King regards,

Hi Alistair,

Great to hear you’re already making good sales, well done! 🙂

As for your situation with expanding into new products or trying to bring down the cost of your current items – you really have to look at both options properly and consider the numbers and how it would work out. If your capital is limited, sea freight may actually not be your best bet as you have to keep in mind that it will take roughly 40 days for re-orders to arrive. With limited cash flow this may actually ruin your business (leaving high ranking GTC listings with no stock for too long time a time). (more…)