My long-term followers will know that I was an eBay seller for more than 10 years before I switched my attention fully to Amazon in 2017. I started this blog during my eBay career, so there are tons of eBay-related articles published here. Unfortunately, I haven’t updated these posts and don’t plan to update them in the future. Since I’m no longer selling on eBay, I can’t really offer advice about eBay selling. I don’t even know what works and what doesn’t work on eBay anymore.
However, because of all the eBay-related content on my blog, I still get comments and emails from eBay sellers asking for help. If they’re struggling, I usually just recommend that they switch over to Amazon—the same move I made a few years ago, and I have never looked back…
As good as eBay was 10 years ago, nowadays it’s a super-competitive, price-driven, unfair platform where product quality and seller efforts have little to no impact on rankings. I could not stand that environment, and the LOW-PRICE, LOW-QUALITY agenda was not something I wanted to pursue.
I have never been a fan of the high-volume, low-margin business model—mainly for personal reasons. When you take the high-volume approach, it means extra overheads, more employees, etc., which always results in more stress and more problems! I have always strived to stay “lean” with my companies. Even though I don’t turn over millions per year, I do manage a very small team of employees and partners and maintain a healthy profit-to-turnover ratio.
I’ve been in this online selling world for many many years now and as well as my own invaluable experience, I’ve also personally dealt with thousands of people who want to start their own eBay, Amazon, or ecommerce business.
So it’s safe to say I’ve pretty much seen it all…
Any mistake you can think of, I’ve either done it myself (yes, I’m the first to admit I make mistakes – how do you think I learnt everything I know and everything I teach?) or I’ve witnessed it happen first hand.
And that’s why I started this blog and created my video courses – to help others and to hopefully stop people making the same mistakes again and again. Of course I make money from selling my courses, I am a business man after all – but my primary purpose is to help others, so they can make a better life for themselves and their family by creating their own successful business.
So I hope you can understand how frustrated I get when I see people making stupid mistakes!!!
Simple, easy things that people aren’t doing that’s costing their business and them money!
It seems to me like the Global Shipping Programme is taking over eBay and just becoming more and more popular by the day and I honestly can’t understand why!
For those of you who don’t know, the GSP is a program run by eBay that allows you to sell internationally without having to do any extra work compared to UK sales.
If you opt in to the GSP, then your listings will automatically be shown to international buyers at the final price they’ll need to pay and if they chose to order from you, you simply post it to a UK address and everything else is taken care of for you. (more…)
As I also have a service/product for eBay templates – Spicy Auction Templates – and each update that alters the rules on templates means we have to redo all of the pre-made templates in our library (hundreds!) and work with clients to fix/change/update custom made templates as well.
Luckily the active content rules did NOT affect Spicy Auction Templates as we never even used active content!
There was some misconception and confusion about this. As I explained in the past, the tool that eBay provided to check for active content also checks whether your template/listing is mobile responsive.
BUT – this is STILL NOT required by eBay!
Of course, I wanted to offer the very best for my customers so we started to work on changing all templates to a mobile responsive format in ahead of eBay’s future plans.
And we basically finished the work a few weeks ago – pretty much exactly when eBay announced that links won’t be allowed in templates anymore AND contact information will also be banned from eBay in the next few months!
But eBay’s rules meant we had to change/update all templates AGAIN and change the footer part to simply say – Design by SpicyAuctionTemplates. Without the .com part and without the link:
Also, we have removed the Contacts section from our templates as from Autumn onwards eBay will no longer allow phone numbers/emails in the listing/template so this block will basically become useless:
This means that our pre-made templates are now all 100% mobile responsive (something eBay isn’t even asking for yet) and of course they use no active content and don’t contain any links either! (more…)
Something very strange and unexpected happened on this blog last year… I wrote a post about an eBay update and it was pretty much all good news!
Shocking I know, as “eBay update” and “good news” usually don’t come hand in hand.
8 months on from that historic event and we have another eBay update to deal with – so will it be back to normal or is it more good news for us sellers?
Let’s find out!
We’ll delve into each one in more detail to find out exactly what the changes are and what they mean to us, but overall the Spring 2017 update can be grouped into a few main categories:
Emphasis on buyer friendly return policies – in eBay’s own words, they’re going to be “rewarding sellers who offer buyer friendly returns policies with greater visibility to their listings”.
Updates to seller performance standards – there are some positive changes being made to performance standards when selling abroad BUT the maximum allowed late delivery rate is being lowered for top rated sellers.
Category changes – eBay are again making some changes to the product categories and sub-categories, which is all to do with trying to align themselves to general industry standards and make it easier for product identifiers to be used.
Seller Hub developments – there are also some updates to Seller Hub, which I’m excited to see as I’m already pretty happy with the whole idea (though just so I don’t give eBay too much credit, they did borrow heavily from Amazon here!).
General policy updates – nothing too important here (unless you sell custom items that require printing!) but we’ll still go over it nonetheless.
Changes to international eBay sites – including both .com as well as the 4 major European sites – .de, .fr, .it, and .es
And that’s the overview of this eBay update, but let’s now go into each change in more detail and see whether it’s good or bad news!
Buyer Friendly Return Policies
This is the area I’m most interested in, for two reasons – firstly because I already offer a very generous returns policy in my eBay businesses and I was hoping that eBay were going to reward this with a boost in search rankings. (more…)
Let’s talk about product images – yes, again! I’m sorry but if you still haven’t realised that product images are super important when selling physical items online, then you probably shouldn’t even be in this business.
I have talked about product photography EXTENSIVELY on my blog, covering topics like how to properly size gallery images, how to watermark your product pictures and much more, BUT I haven’t touched on one important topic yet – an incredibly powerful way of making product images work for you 24/7 – bringing in more customers and sales WITHOUT you lifting a finger! Or if you don’t mind putting in a bit of effort, you’ll see even bigger results!
If you use Google as your chosen search engine (who doesn’t!?) then you’ll have probably noticed a pattern in the first page results when you search for a physical product… there are usually listings from Amazon or eBay (or both), some independent websites, one or two YouTube videos and a selection from Google Images:
It will not be the same on all searches but in most situations when you search for a product on Google you’ll get one or a few of these blocks:
Friday, Friday, FRIDAY! The post-holiday work week of just 4 days is almost over and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the weekend and some good outdoor action!
For people who are new to my blog – each Friday I publish a Reader’s Question blog post where I personally answer a question sent in by my blog readers. So if you want your question to be featured in an up-coming post, feel free to send it in via my help desk here.
Today I’ll be answering a very interesting question from Adrian:
I hope you are well!
Super quick question. At the moment I only trade on eBay but a customer has asked me if she can pay by card over the phone.
I’m not sure whether it is worth setting up a PayPal pro account (a £20 monthly charge and then a charge per transaction as you know) for this one transaction or if there are any other options for me to accept a one off phone payment via phone?
The sale is worth a little more than £400 so I don’t really want to lose it!
Another Friday, another Reader’s Question blog post!
Today I want to talk about profit margin and specifically what margin you can and should be ready to accept when selling on eBay. Pretty much the same principles will apply to Amazon too but if you’re running your own online shop, these numbers will be (well, they should be) different as the whole point in having your own online shop is to have much healthier margins compared to eBay and Amazon. More on that later.
So here’s the email Karen sent in:
Hope all is well!
Love reading your blog, so thanks for that!!
Just wondering – was reading your latest post and it got me thinking – what would you consider a good profit per item on eBay? 30p? 40p? 80p?
What sort of profit per item should you aim for?
Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Kind regards, Karen
Thanks for your email & question, it’s a good one! 🙂
First of all – you can’t really talk about potential profit per item without taking into account things like:
This is probably the most important one – you can’t expect to make the same level of profit on an item that sells for £2 and an item that sells for £50 or £100. I mean of course you could accept just £1 profit on a £50 item but why would you want to? If you get one return or defective item out of 50 sales and have to refund, you wipe away all profits you made from the last 50 sales.
So you need to look at the target selling price to see how much profit you should aim for. (more…)
Today we have a slightly different, and I hope very interesting post, all about eBay Snipers!
For those of you who have never come across the term before, what exactly are “snipers”? No, it’s nothing to do with war or police – snipers are tools that allow you to bid on eBay auctions at the very last possible moment.
And that’s actually where the term “sniping” comes from, when you steal an item with a last second bid.
The process is extremely simple, once you’ve registered an account with one of the many eBay snipers online all you have to do is enter the item number of the auction you’re interested in, set your maximum bid and the sniper will take care of the rest! It really couldn’t be easier.
“But why!?” I hear you asking… Isn’t is easier to just set your bid and leave it – after all that is the whole point of how auctions work on eBay?
Yes technically that is true but in practice there are some clear disadvantages to bidding for items in the conventional way:
1) If an auction has no bids you don’t want to be the first! Herd/sheep mentality is strong on eBay so an auction with no bids makes people think something is wrong. It’s best to leave it like that and swoop in at the last second when there’s no competition for the item.
2) Many people DO NOT set a maximum bid as you’d expect. Instead they bid a certain amount and see if they’re beaten, and then they might bid more. This sniping method doesn’t give them the chance to do so, meaning you win more auctions and at cheaper prices.
3) Bidding wars! Bidding wars are great when you’re selling an item, but not when you’re buying! Once again the sniping method removes this worry as there simply isn’t time for other bidders to react.
4) Human error – how many times have you added an item to your watchlist with the intention of bidding on it but then completely missed the end of the auction? And how annoying is it when you later check and see that the item went for peanuts, and you’ve now lost out on some easy profit…?
Or how many times have you set a max price and then bid more than that so you can win the item (the bidding war syndrome that I just mentioned). Sniping removes all of these human errors by automating the bidding process and that by itself would probably make it worthwhile for most people.
5) Shill biding. This is a much more specific benefit, and not something that I consider to be widespread on eBay, but snipers do also stop shill biding. This is when the seller (through another a friend’s account) bids on an item until they’re the high bid, therefore knowing what your max is, then retract those bids and then use yet another account to bid on the item again so that it reaches your maximum bid amount. With snipers they can’t do this of course, as your bid isn’t placed until seconds before the end of the auction.
So now that we’ve covered what eBay snipers are and the main benefits of using one, who exactly are they for?
For either of the above, then eBay snipers are an invaluable tool! Of course this isn’t an all-inclusive list and anyone who buys items from eBay would benefit from using a sniper, for all the reasons that we’ve just discussed. (more…)
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…)
A short message to all people who are worried about the future without Turbo Lister:
Since eBay has discontinued Turbo Lister, more and more people are sending me emails and asking about the best Turbo Lister alternatives. But do you REALLY need to look for one?
In most cases you don’t – let me explain why.
There’s simply no need to pay for complicated listing tools IF you don’t run a business where you have hundreds and thousands of listings. The new Seller Hub, within eBay itself, is good enough for creating listings and good enough for managing them. It is limited in listing formatting but as I showed in my recent eBay listing formatting video, you can easily do this using free 3rd party tools and still be fine.
I’m talking here about most common situations when you need to list 5-10 items at a time, usually even less. Most people nowadays will import just one or two products from China at a time and then list them on eBay. And for this you don’t really need any extra tools or software – you can simply use Seller Hub.
IF you’re doing some kind of dropshipping scheme or say liquidation stock and need to list 10+ items each day, then yes – you may want to look into some kind of bulk/automated listing tool to use.
But here’s the thing – they will create crappy looking listings. I see them all the time on eBay – the listing looks exactly the same for all products, with some small description block and stock/Google Images.
Well, if you’re trying to get as many listings up on eBay as possible, this is probably the only way to do it. For example when you sell car parts or a large selection of DIY accessories (like bolts, screws etc.) – then I guess the only way to manage this is to create your listings in an automated way using large CSV files/databases.
And in these markets you could probably make decent sales like this.
But in most cases, you really want to create beautifully formatted listings that almost look like sales letters/landing pages. (more…)