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Why I DON’T Deal with Designer Clothing!

September 16, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Many people who are new to the whole selling online business make the deadly mistake of starting with designer clothing. Why deadly? Because in my opinion it’s one of the most complicated niches out there! For someone who’s just starting out on eBay, this is simply not the best way to go. I’ll explain why…

First of all, as with any clothing market, you’ll face the following problems:

Limited buying power.

To buy quality clothing in real bulk, you need TONNES of money! Tens of thousands! You can’t just buy a few items and expect to build a sustainable business around it. You need tens if not hundreds of various items, each in multiple colours and sizes and good quantity.

This means that to stock just one pair of jeans, in 3 colours, 5 sizes and each in a quantity of 10 means that the TOTAL number of items is 150! Multiply that by say £20 (as cheap as you’ll get with designer clothing) and you get a £3000 bill for just ONE item!

Returns.

You’ll get many returns when you work in the clothing market. Many people will order wrong sizes, some simply won’t like how it fits and so on – so you’ll have to deal with all of this and it really doesn’t help you running a home business! The result will be a large stock pile of items without their labels and sometimes packaging, so you cannot resell them as brand new! This is something very important to keep in mind about a clothing business. Read More…

NEVER copy directly from Word again!

September 9, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

This is a small eBay listing creation trick I learned many years ago.

Do you sometimes get weird formatting issues when building your eBay listings in Turbo Lister or eBay itself?

Chances are they’re caused by additional code that comes with the text when you copy and paste directly from a Word document, PDF or a website.

Take a look at these two examples:

1) This is how clean HTML code looks:

2) And this is how HTML code looks when you copy and paste your product descriptions directly from Word:

 

As you can see, in the second example, the code is seriously messed up as it comes with tonnes of rubbish that is not related to HTML at all. And this can cause all kinds of formatting issues such as wrong alignment, incorrect font size and colour that you CAN’T then adjust in Turbo Lister.

Luckily there is a very easy fix to this problem; ALWAYS paste any text into Notepad first and then copy from there to Turbo Lister or eBay. So the workflow looks something like this:

And this doesn’t only apply to Word but any other program apart from Notepad – say you copy something from Excel or a website – the copied material will come with even more formatting issues which you’ll be unable to fix later on.

So from now on, when you have any material written in a Word doc, website or other program, BEFORE adding it to eBay or Turbo Lister, paste it first into Notepad and then copy it again from there.

Hope this helps!

Thanks,
Andrew

How to integrate MailChimp with eBay?

September 3, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 61 Comments

Today I’ll be showing you exactly how to build an e-mail list from your eBay customers, using two simple (and free!) tools – a PayPal account and a MailChimp basic account.

To quickly answer the first question of how to connect your eBay account to MailChimp, well you can’t…

Unfortunately there’s no one-step integration possible at the moment. However, you can integrate your PayPal account with MailChimp which is essentially the same thing as most payments on eBay go through your PayPal account.

So to set this up, you need 2 things:

  1. A MailChimp account. The reason I’m recommending MailChimp for eBay start-ups is because the basic account is FREE to use! Yes, MailChimp is completely free for your first 2000 subscribers.
  1. A PayPal Premier or Business Account. Personal accounts won’t do the trick as they don’t have an Instant Payment Notification (IPN) feature enabled.

So once you have successfully opened your MailChimp account, here’s what you need to do: Read More…

From an Auction to Buy It Now – with ONE Click!

April 11, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 90 Comments

One of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your eBay Shop and Buy It Now listings is by using auctions. This is possible mainly because of the increased search positions given to auction style listings.

For example, if you list two identical items, one in an auction style and the other one as a BIN listing, both listings for 7 days, chances are that the auction will get more views than the (otherwise identical) BIN listing. This is because during the last few hours / minutes before it ends, eBay boosts auction listings much higher in search results (and this makes sense as people who like to bid would rather see auctions ending soon when they search for items).

And by knowing this little eBay ‘secret’ you can boost traffic to your shop and BIN listings, here’s how:

1) Have all your BIN listings in place for the items you sell (with your target prices set as the BIN prices).

2) Run auction style listings for the same items &

3) Include a Buy It Now button in these listings that links to your corresponding BIN listings.

Here’s how a real life example looks:

By doing this, you generate extra traffic (and therefore sales!) to your BIN listings as there are many people out there (I’m one of them) who don’t like to bid on items and instead always go with a Buy It Now option. Read More…

Royal Mail Alternative – Fulfillment Houses!

April 8, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

The concept of using Fulfilment Houses for an eCommerce business may not be new BUT after the Royal Mail price update on 2nd April this year, using a Fulfilment House may be the ONLY way to survive for many small time eBay sellers.

My Hermes is already a good alternative to Royal Mail and cheaper in many price ranges but what if you still want to offer TRUE Courier delivery service for your customers?

Royal Mail’s new prices for packages are not competitive at all. For many eBay traders this can be a business killer especially in Autumn, when new TRS requirements kick in asking you to provide at least one FREE shipping option.

That’s why this is a perfect time to look for Royal Mail alternatives. I have briefly covered the concept of Fulfilment Houses in one of my previous blog posts but today, I invited Scott McGinley (scott.mcginley@dalepak.ltd.uk) from Dalepak Ltd., to share his story and explain what benefits small time eBay traders can expect from services provided by Dalepak Ltd.:

Scott McGinley, Dalepak Ltd.

At the end of 2012 I left play.com to join Dalepak Logistics, one of things I noticed when at play was that Merchants have thriving businesses but their Supply Chain and Logistics can hinder growth, I also saw that with the services and costs that companies like Amazon enjoy that the smaller business was struggling to compete broadly and were being confined to mostly a Niche market. Read More…

My TOP 10 eBay Productivity Tools!

March 25, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 40 Comments

Do you WORK online or do you have an online BUSINESS?

As there’s a difference, a huge one in fact.

Over the years, I have been contacted by hundreds, probably thousands of eBay business owners seeking advice on how to improve their business, listings and so on. And almost in all cases the main thing I notice is that eBay sellers work very hard! Maybe even too hard…

Most people who sell on eBay are individuals who don’t have employees and therefore spend all their days doing everything on their own! I’m talking about such tasks as:

  • Research
  • Product sourcing
  • Creating listings
  • Order processing
  • Order packaging / dispatching + returns
  • Customer support
  • Feedback
  • and so on!

And they have to, right? As all small time traders are faced with these tasks when doing business on eBay. Yes, correct.

The problem is that most people spend TOO MUCH time on these tasks! They work crazy hours just to get everything done and even then, in many cases they earn less than minimum wage!

I’m sure one of the reasons you started your own business was to get out of the rat race and crazy hours you were working before and now you’re stuck doing the same thing, just in your own business and not someone else’s? So what’s the solution?

First and foremost – you need to start automating as many tasks and processes in your business as possible.

Yes, this means learning & USING new tools and software.

Yes, this means investing some money in those new tools and software.

Yes, this means that you should finally start working SMARTER and not HARDER!

This will be your first step towards having an online BUSINESS instead of having an online JOB! Read More…

How to Import Products from China!

March 18, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 843 Comments

Many of you will choose to import goods from abroad (outside the European Union). If and when you do, it’s essential to fully understand how importing works; what extra costs are involved, time frames for delivery etc.

For many new traders, Importing sounds like a nightmare to go through. But in fact, it’s not that complicated at all IF you know the basics behind the importing process – payment, shipping, taxes and customs. In this blog post I’ll try to cover most of the important aspects of importing from China and other countries outside the EU.

What does “importing” mean?

In general, importing means that you’re buying goods from a supplier outside your country. However, in my examples I won’t be counting European Union countries as goods can be freely moved across the EU without paying extra import duty or VAT. For most of you, China and the United States will be the top two countries to import from, so let’s cover them in detail.

Shipping Methods

Shipping costs will make up a substantial percentage of your total product cost, so it’s important to keep them as low as possible at all times. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger your order, the lower ‘per item’ shipping costs you’ll face. There’s no point in importing one pair of unbranded shoes from China as the shipping costs will be far more than the cost of the product itself. Volume is the key to success when building your eBay business around an “Importing from China” product sourcing concept. But that doesn’t mean you have to start off with full container loads either!

Here are the 4 most popular shipping methods you can use to import goods from China:

1) Regular Post. This means normal, regular China Post which can take up to 6 weeks to arrive. No online tracking is provided. It can be used for parcels under 2kg. Usually, you will only use regular post for samples and again ONLY if time is not that important and you can afford to wait a few weeks for a package to arrive. China Post is not the most reliable system so be prepared for lost/stolen packages.

If at all possible, I try to avoid using China Mail for any shipments as the delivery time is simply too long.

If your supplier is located in Hong Kong, you can use HK Airmail which is way more reliable, comes with a tracking number and usually arrives within 5-10 days. Read More…

Secrets Behind a £100k a Year eBay Business!

March 14, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

[leadplayer_vid id=”5141E947F18B7″]

Video Transcript:

Meet Adrian – proud owner of The Ink Squid – one of the UK’s leading specialised companies for compatible ink cartridges and toners. Winner of the BIBAs Lancashire Business Award for eBusiness of the Year.

Just like you, Adrian was eager to start his own eBay business, and after using the Easy Auction Business system, he has now built a £250k a year online business, employs two staff members, has an office and warehouse, a full-time online business, a happy family and a fulfilled life.

The Ink Squid business continues to grow and now dispatches more than 2,000 orders each month for eBay, Amazon and website customers. eBay business alone makes for more than £100k a year worth of sales.

How did he do it?

By following a simple, six-step formula. The exact same formula I’ll share with you in this video. But before we move onto the actual steps, let me introduce myself:

I’m Andrew – author of the UK’s best-selling eBay video course called the Easy Auction Business! Entrepreneur, blogger and owner of dozens of websites, several trademarks, brand names, the world’s largest eBay templates directory – the Spicy Auction Templates, featuring more than 750 eBay templates! A business coach and active The Wholesale Forums member and moderator.

I’ll get straight to the point – there will be no fluff or empty talk in this video! I don’t want to bore you with basic instructions on how to open a PayPal account or list an item on eBay! I’m sure you can find that information elsewhere. Probably in some fancy eBay home study programme which is nothing more than a rephrasing of eBay’s help section.

Today I’m going to share with you the business model that is responsible for making me thousands of pounds in profit each month. The same strategy Adrian used to build his £250k a year Ink Squid business. Read More…

Can you Have Multiple eBay & PayPal Accounts?

March 11, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 425 Comments

Hi Andrew,

I have a dilemma about multiple eBay and PayPal accounts. Wherever I go (forums/blogs) I get mixed responses and it’s still not clear to me what I can or can’t do.

Ideally I would love to work in 3 separate niches on eBay and use separate accounts for each – so that I can have a dedicated shop and template for each niche. Can this be done? Or do I risk losing my accounts if eBay finds out?

Your advice would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,
Nicola

Hi Nicola,

This question frequently comes up and for some reason, people are still confused. It’s probably because for years eBay and PayPal were very unclear about the exact rules governing multiple accounts. But nowadays, in 2013, it’s actually all very simple and straightforward.

Multiple eBay Accounts

On eBay you can have as many accounts as you want. eBay itself confirms this on the Help Page here. All you need to open a new eBay account is a separate email address. You can safely use the same name, address and contact information. All you need is a separate e-mail account.

Why would you need 2 or more eBay accounts? There are several possible reasons:

1) To sell in multiple niches.

2) To keep private sales and purchases separate from business transactions.

3) To use one account for buying and another one for selling when working with a used goods concept.

These are the most typical situations where you would need to have multiple eBay accounts and eBay is totally cool with that.

What you should be aware of though, is that all these accounts will be interlinked by eBay and that’s bad news. In practice this means that if one of your accounts get suspended/banned, the others will be closed shortly afterwards because from eBay’s point of view you will have become too much of a risk as a seller. Read More…

Image Hosting Explained – A Step by Step Guide!

March 7, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 35 Comments

One of the first things you want to sort out when you start selling on eBay is Image Hosting.

While eBay offers to host your product pictures on their server, it comes at an extra cost plus eBay’s image hosting won’t give you the features and flexibility your own hosting account will give you.

Any serious eBay seller should use their own hosting account instead of eBay’s service, because:

1) Your own hosting account will save you tons of money in eBay fees;

2) Your own hosting account will give you more control over your images;

3) Your own hosting account will also give you a professional email address and the ability to create a blog or website.

What is a hosting account in the first place?

To put it simply, it’s a server space you rent out for an agreed period of time. Your own hosting account means that you can upload product pictures and even videos and other graphics and show them online via your eBay listings. Look at it as your own virtual hard disk drive that’s connected to the Internet.

Now, there is an alternative to your own hosting account – free online file sharing sites that allow you to upload product images for free, such as Photobucket.com. But it’s only free till you reach their free account bandwidth limit; after that you will have to upgrade to a Pro account and pay a monthly fee.

Photobucket and similar free accounts are meant for personal use, hence their limit on the storage space and bandwidth on free accounts. Very often on eBay I see this:

This means a person has been using a free Photobucket account and exceeded their bandwidth limit. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me this doesn’t look very professional at all. Imagine one day all your product pictures on eBay turn into these Photobucket warning banners – not good, right? Besides that, Photobucket won’t give you an email address, not to mention the opportunity to build a blog or website.

Read More…