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Can You Still Do eBay Competitor Research with the New Terapeak Rules?

January 25, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Video transcript:

Hello & Welcome!

This is the very first blog video for this year and there are many more to come! I’m planning on creating a video once a month, so I can show you “live”, on screen, how to do various eBay, Amazon & eCommerce related tasks!

Today I want to cover the recent changes in Terapeak’s Competitor Research tool which came as a big surprise to many of us. For people who don’t know what I’m talking about – previously Terapeak showed seller IDs in various places and this was great, especially when doing Competitor Research. We were able to simply enter the seller (user) ID and get various data for that seller, including total sales, their best selling products and much more.

Unfortunately this has been replaced with anonymous seller ids. From what I understand, eBay was concerned about the privacy of their sellers and therefore came to an agreement with Terapeak that this information will no longer be shown.

But what does that mean for us sellers who use Terapeak to do various research tasks? Does this new change make Terapeak pointless?

No, not at all!

First of all, this change has no effect at all on other tools – including our main tool, that we use to do the majority of our Terapeak research, the Product Research tool, as well as the SEO tool, Hot Research and all others.

Secondly, we can still see how much in sales the top sellers make for any product we research. We simply don’t see seller their IDs anymore.

So the only negative is that we can’t see seller IDs and use the Competitor Research tool which allowed us to get further user specific data.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a fan of this change and I would 100% prefer if things stayed as they were before… But from the conversations I had with Terapeak directly I understand that this was out of their control and something eBay simply insisted on. We will most likely never be told the exact reasons for this, but it’s out of our control anyway, we can only accept it and move on. Read More…

HOW To LOSE International Customers with eBay’s Global Shipping Program!

January 16, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 137 Comments

One thing I always advice to my Easy Auction Business and 60 Day Blueprint customers, after they’re up and running in the UK and making good sales, is to expand internationally!

Most people seem to be unaware of this fact, but after America, the UK is in general one of the cheapest and best places for shopping and this provides a big opportunity for us sellers to offer products abroad and make good money. The margins are often even better than when selling locally due to higher prices and less competition and this makes international orders very lucrative.

I’ve had a few clients who have started selling internationally just to bolster their sales and make some extra money, and eventually their exports eclipsed their sales to the UK! A customer of mine actually discovered such an amazing market for used/retro video games in Australia that he stopped selling in the UK entirely and instead solely sells his products in Australia, using a fulfilment company to process orders.

So don’t underestimate the potential opportunity of international sales, as they can actually contribute a large percentage of your overall sales.

Now I have always said that the best way to sell internationally on eBay is to list directly on the regional eBay site of the country you want to sell to.

That means if you want to sell to Spain, list on eBay.es, if you want to sell to Australia, list directly on eBay.com.au, etc.

This, combined with shipping yourself using the best/cheapest method possible, is the best way to do things in terms of search ranking, views, and therefore SALES.

And that’s why I’m so confused by the growing popularity of eBay’s Global Shipping Programme!

For those of you who don’t know, eBay’s Global Shipping Programme is basically a service run by eBay that allows us sellers to offer our products for sale internationally BUT they take care of all the work! Read More…

FREE Terapeak Trials Now Available for ALL Services!

January 11, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Welcome Back!

This is just a short post to announce a change I recently noticed in Terapeak’s sign-up process while helping out one of my EAB customers to get going with market research.

Previously, the free trial Terapeak offered was just for the Basic account which had some limitations and didn’t offer you all the tools needed for your eBay research tasks. It has changed recently and now, by default, you sign up for the Professional Account AND you can also sign-up for additional features like My Sales Pro and SEO Pro right on the trial sign-up page itself:

I personally don’t use My Sales Pro but SEO Pro is a very handy tool to find hot keywords for your eBay, Amazon and even eCommerce store products as it does include keywords from Google too. I have created a special guide on how to create keyword rich listing titles here.

On the same page you can select whether you want to be on a monthly or yearly billing cycle, which offers significant savings. And they genuinely are big savings – 33% for the Professional subscription which should really be the minimum package for any serious eBay seller.

Remember that the first 7 days of your Terapeak subscription is free and to visualise this, you can see a very good graphic that tells you when you’ll first be billed:

If you cancel your subscription before that date, you won’t pay anything.

And for those of you who are worried about signing up for trials using a credit card, you can also use your PayPal account for this process which means that you’ll be 100% in charge of your subscription and can cancel it any time you want.

But there’s no real need to be worried – I have worked with Terapeak for many years now and they’re a completely legitimate and genuine company that has developed a number of excellent tools and services for us sellers. Read More…

What’s Best on eBay – Individual Listings or Listings with Variations?

January 6, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments

Welcome back!

It’s time for another Reader’s Question post and today we’ll be looking into the listing with variations or individual listings dilemma. So which is best when you sell similar products on eBay? And how will your choice affect your sell-through rate and search ranking?

Here’s an email Anne sent to me on this topic:

Hi Andrew,

First of all thank you for all the very useful advice you publish, which people like me benefit greatly from.

I created a business eBay account earlier this year with a handful of items. Over the subsequent months I added a few more but I was becoming frustrated at the lack of exposure my listings were getting and decided to upgrade to a basic shop.

Despite reading this wasn’t really worth my while unless I was selling 50 items plus a month, I was not happy until I had the Good ‘Til Cancelled listing option. I was planning on adding more items anyway and figured I would never move up the rankings if my Amount Sold went back to 0 every 30 days.

I thought I could push my items a bit more, so I decided to list my listings which had variations individually too, i.e. by colour.

Initially I thought I had so many free listings with my shop subscription I may as well use some of them up. Even today I realise that I am not getting the best value from my shop but to be honest having GTC has been the best thing ever and I would rather fill those listings gradually as I grow.

And it has definitely helped me to raise my profile. Lately, however, I checked how many views I am getting on eBay per item, and my listings with variations get way, way more. I also sell a lot more this way.

So my question is this…..first of all is it worth listing my items individually and duplicating them and more importantly am I doing this to the detriment of my variable listings? I think what I am trying to say is does it take away focus from my more successful variable listings or should it not make any difference?

Many thanks,
Anne

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your email and questions.

First of all – you DON’T need an eBay shop subscription anymore to use the Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC) listing format, not anymore! Yes, this is a new change on eBay, introduced very recently so you may have missed it but it’s true – anyone on eBay can now use GTC format – with or without a shop subscription.

So if you’re selling just a few items, it’s probably not worth paying that subscription fee anymore.

Now, onto your dilemma on listing individual products versus one listing with variations – you have basically already answered that yourself. If the items you sell are the same but in different colours, you want to list them all under one listing, using variations. Read More…

eBay Branded Packaging – Great Marketing or a Waste of Time?

December 13, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

Last week on this blog I posted an article about a new eBay feature, the i-ways Free Listing Template Creator, which was recently announced in the November business seller newsletter.

Sadly the free template creator was a big disappointment, but there was another interesting point in that newsletter which I want to look into today – eBay branded packaging!

In eBay’s own words – “now, you can get high-quality, competitively-priced eBay-branded packaging. That means it’s easier than ever to give your buyers the full eBay experience when they shop with you.”

Hmm, interesting…

But my initial reaction is, what’s the point?

Now before you start screaming at me, saying “but Andrew, you talk about branding ALL THE TIME!” let me first explain what I mean.

Yes I do talk about branding – in fact it’s pretty much my no. 1 way of creating an actual business online, instead of just being one of a million online sellers.

When you have branded products/packaging, you achieve a number of things:

  • You set yourself apart from the crowd and the masses of other sellers offering the same or similar products.
  • You become more memorable to buyers, thereby increasing repeat purchases and even recommendations.
  • You increase the perceived value of your products.

The last point is probably the most important! When you receive an item in branded packaging, you feel like it’s come from a real business and that item suddenly seems to be a bit more valuable… that’s why I always call branding an investment, not a cost, because it allows you to charge higher prices. Read More…

eBay’s NEW Feature – FREE eBay Listing Template BUILDER!

December 7, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 22 Comments

Last week eBay sent out their November business seller newsletter and there were a couple of quite interesting points inside. One was the eBay branded packaging that is now available for us sellers, which I’ll be covering in a post next week, and the other is the news that eBay is now offering FREE, mobile optimised listing templates!

This has come about in an attempt to provide a simple and clear option for all eBay sellers that is fully compliant with their upcoming rules on active content (check out my post on these changes if you missed it here).

Well, without any further ado – let’s test it then!

Now I have to say I was quite surprised to be taken off of eBay and to another site, www.i-ways.net, to design my template as I thought this would be something built in to eBay itself, within the new seller hub… but it seems you have to create an account with i-ways specifically to use the new eBay template creator.

Once you’ve created your account, you have to fill in some basic business information and are then asked to link your eBay account to your i-ways account, but I skipped this step and went straight to the template creator. Read More…

Once again – Do NOT Register for VAT Unless you HAVE to!

December 2, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 1 Comments

vat-registration-for-ebay

Welcome back!

It’s Friday and time for another Reader’s Question. In these weekly blog posts I publicly answer a question/topic sent in by my blog readers. If you want to participate, all you have to do is send in your question using my help desk here. Even if your question isn’t picked for this blog post series, I will still personally reply to you with a full answer within 24 hours, Monday – Friday (and normally much sooner than that!).

Going back to today’s question, I really don’t like to be repetitive but there are some topics that simply need to be repeated as there can be some serious consequences if you make a mistake with this.

Here’s the question Michael sent in:

Hi Andrew,

You advise against registering for VAT for as long as possible. However, if I were to register, I would be able to reclaim the VAT paid on any goods I import. And as such the question seems to me to be a tradeoff between a lower price (easier to sell the product) but lower margin (due to lost VAT), vs higher price (having to charge VAT) but also higher margin (due to reclaiming VAT on sourced items).

So, why would you always advise against registering?

Thank you,
Michael

Thanks for your email Michael.

Theoretically you’re correct, yes. Sell for a lower price when you’re not VAT registered and for a higher price when you’re VAT registered BUT this only works on paper.

In real life, on platforms like eBay & Amazon, you’re not the one who determines the product price. Well, you can of course set it as you like but essentially demand will dictate the price you can charge for your products. Read More…

Wholesale Clearance UK – REVIEWED!

November 30, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

wholesale-clearance-uk

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.
  • Etc. etc.

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. Read More…

How to deal with CRAZY people on eBay!

November 25, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

crazy-people-on-ebay

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Reader’s Question blog post series!

Today I want to touch on a rather sensitive topic – dealing with problem customers on eBay. Well really “Problem Customer” is not the right way to describe it so let’s just call them what they are – crazy people.

If you have been selling online for at least a few years, chances are you have come across such crazy people. If not – good for you, you’ve been lucky!

Sadly Ally didn’t have this luck… let’s hear her story:

Hello Andrew,

I just thought I would see if you have any advice on how I might proceed.

I sold an item of furniture via eBay in January 2015. The buyer paid via PayPal then sent a courier to collect it. All very regular for my business.

In October 2015 this buyer charged back via PayPal, stating that her account had been hacked and she did not purchase my item.

I contacted the buyer via email then telephone and she insisted she did not buy the item and that her accounts had been hacked and she had lost many thousands of pounds. She said a massive fraud investigation was underway via National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – City of London Police and that my details had been forwarded to them for court action to be taken.

She then began harassing me via email demanding that I pay her back the amount taken from her account, even though PayPal had already taken back the money from me and presumably repaid her.

The emails became quite threatening (not physically) but became abusive and threatened court action. They usually arrived very late at night or during the night ready for a nice little early morning treat.

So eventually I went to the local police station who advised me to report this all to Action Fraud – which I did.

PayPal and eBay informed me they were investigating as well and that her accounts had been suspended while they did so. That was as far as it went and I heard nothing more from Action Fraud, eBay or PayPal.

I could not claim any compensation from PayPal as I did not post the item and therefore did not have any tracking information. So I just had to write the incident off to bad luck and try to forget about it.

In February 2016 this ‘buyer/non buyer’ again emailed threatening me with court action. I did not reply and have so far heard no more from her. This contact prompted me to look her up again on eBay and I discovered that she is back with her original 100% positive feedback score and trading again – so I started to follow her as I knew she had lied all along and I just knew she would put my item (an oak bookcase) up for sale one day.

Now she has! It is listed for sale on her eBay account and she has actually had the audacity to use one of my original photographs which I posted on eBay when I had it for sale.

I have contacted eBay and PayPal but – guess what?? I haven’t heard anything back from them and she’s still got the item on there for sale.

This makes me so mad as I was running a business and so did purchase, transport, clean, and advertise this item for re-sale so it’s not like I got it for nothing! Also eBay charged me the sale & listing fees and have never refunded me. Besides my loss who knows how many others she has ripped off like this and seems to be getting off scot-free!

Surely eBay and PayPal should have banned this person from using their platforms and what the heck is Action Fraud doing I wonder? I know it’s not the crime of the century but that is what they are supposed to be there for!

Anyway just wondered if you have any brilliant ideas on how I can somehow get some sort of satisfaction – or even if not perhaps you could make others aware of the need to obtain shipping information when you accept PayPal payments. Seems obvious now but I had often sold things and had them collected in this way so never really considered it a risk.

Ally

P.S. The only other thing to mention is that this woman says she has an MBE. I have tried to look her up and cannot find anything about her being honoured. All I’ve found is a long list of defunct companies of which she has at one point or another been a director.

Hi Ally,

Many thanks for sharing this story and allowing me to publish this on my blog as I believe that many people can learn from this.

I have been in similar situations in the past – not just once but a few times (over the last 10+ years) and I’ve learned that by far the best way to deal with this is to simply LET IT GO. Read More…

What is “Total Sales per Seller” on eBay 
and why does it MATTER?

November 4, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

total-sales-per-seller

Welcome back!

I have many articles on my blog covering eBay market research and those who have read them will know that the most important data you need from Terapeak when researching a product is:

  • Total sales
  • Sell-through rate
  • Sellers per day
  • Average price
  • Sales per seller

Based on these 5 numbers you then pick products with the most potential and move onto the manual research phase.

Just to remind you, I always do this research for the last 30 days. You can do it for any other period if you want but you would still have to convert those numbers to 30 days to follow my guides. So to keep it simple, just do it for 30 days.

Now, the first 4 numbers you get directly from Terapeak but what about “Sales per Seller”?

You won’t get this number from Terapeak, as Ben recently discovered:

Hi Andrew,

I noticed in one of your blog posts you pulled up a Terapeak stat called “total sales per seller” and it was listed in revenue form.

But I can’t find this stat in any of my searches and I’m not sure it exists on Terapeak. If it does, where is it? And if not, can you give me the way to calculate that via Terapeak?

Thank you,
Ben

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your email.

I’m glad you asked this question as you’re not the first one seeking clarification on this! 🙂

Yes, you can’t get the “Sales per Seller” number directly from Terapeak because I came up with this indicator on my own.

So what does it mean exactly – Sales per Seller?

I created this indicator to quickly judge on the competition level for any given product I research. However this is NOT a scientific number – it’s just something I came up with that helps quickly see how Total Sales are allocated across sellers.

You can calculate this number very easily by simply taking Total sales for last 30 days AND dividing that by the number of sellers per day (both numbers you get from Terapeak).

So the formula looks like this:

Total Sales divided by Number of sellers per day

If you’re using any kind of spreadsheet software for your research process, you can easily set-up this as a formula so you don’t have to do these calculations manually. Or you can of course just do it manually for each product you research – totally up to you. Read More…