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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #18

February 6, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments
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questions-answers-18It’s Friday, which means – time for another Questions & Answers blog post!

Today we’ll cover these questions:

  • Can you start an eBay business using just a mobile phone?
  • Do I need an EORI number when ordering samples from China?
  • How to cancel transactions on eBay WITHOUT getting a defect?
  • Where’s the best place to buy jewellery in bulk?
  • Do I need responsive eBay templates in 2015?
  • Should I pay PayPal fees when buying goods from Alibaba?
  • Courier OR freight forwarder – which one is cheaper?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for all the information and the link you sent me! I have one more question and then I will finally be ready to start. I do not have a laptop or a working computer at the moment and because of that I only have my mobile phone to access eBay so my question is, can I start buying and selling using just my mobile or do I need to buy a laptop or a computer to build a full time income on eBay?


Hi Alex,

In a word – YES! You can definitely start selling using just your mobile phone and mobile eBay/eBay app. It won’t be as handy as working with a computer but you can still do it. You can still take product pictures, write descriptions and list items for sale. Yes, you won’t be able to use listing templates or format them with a visual editor BUT if you have no choice, you can still use just a mobile phone to get started,

Building a full-time business on eBay takes time and capital to invest in stock though. The more money you can invest, the quicker you can grow your business. But it’s not only the amount of money that determines whether you’ll make it work or not. Even more important are your personal qualities – how driven and how motivated you are!

I know a person who started on eBay with just a few hundred pounds and turned that into a full-time income in 7 months, working with the used goods model. He only managed this because he was highly motivated and spent every free minute he had on his business – looking for products to sell, creating listings etc. etc.

If you have loads of unwanted items, you can simply start with them – risk free! You can learn everything you need from my blog, such as how to take great product pictures (even with a smart phone) & how to create beautiful listings and then you simply get started! There’s really no risk in selling off unwanted items from your home and it’s a great way to get some experience. And if you’re good, you’ll create some decent start-up capital by doing this which you can then invest in importing goods from China or buying wholesale.

Lastly, if you need a step by step program on how to achieve this, take a look at my Easy Auction Business video course (instant access).

With the help of my course, the sky really is the limit!

Hi Andrew,

I am in the process of ordering some samples from AliBaba but just wanted to know if an EORI number would be required in order to receive these samples?

I am only requesting one sample per item.


Hi Kez,

No, you don’t need an EORI number to order samples.

You’ll only need to register for it when you place your first big order.

Hi Andrew,

Just a quick question if you have the time. I run an eBay business and we have been dealing with some oversells/‘don’t-haves’ in the warehouse and it is killing our metrics as you may imagine.

In the case that we have to cancel a transaction, is there any way to go about it and not have it count as a seller cancelled transaction? Before the last update, as long as you didn’t select “out of stock” it did not count but that doesn’t seem to be the case now.

Any thoughts?


Hi Brady,

First of all, you should do whatever it takes to keep your stock levels accurate and avoid such situations in the first place. If you sell on multiple platforms, like eBay, Amazon and your own shop, you want to start using stock control software like Linnworks which will keep stock levels up to date across all platforms, in real time.

As for cancelling transactions & defects – what reason are you selecting when cancelling a transaction? As a defect should be counted only if you select:

  • Transactions cancelled by you due to item being out of stock


  • Item sold to another buyer.

If that was not the case you should contact eBay and ask them why a defect was still counted.

Hi Andrew,

I am looking to source 925 silver bangles and enamel bangles, preferably manufactured in Europe. Is it possible to get it from an EU country or is there any other better place that I should be looking at?


Hi Adrian,

You can try finding a good UK based wholesaler for these but from my experience, your best bet is to look for a supplier from the US, or even a manufacturer. The price for jewellery will be cheaper there, often much cheaper, and as these are small and lightweight items, you’ll be able to ship them cheaply and easily via USPS.

To find such suppliers in USA you can use Google as well as these 3 wholesale directories:

http://www.wholesalecentral.com (FREE)
http://www.salehoo.com (PAID)
http://www.worldwidebrands.com (PAID)

Dear Andrew,

First I want to say that I love your articles and they are a great help!

I am a Mac-user and for the last year and a half I have been using GarageSale which is very user friendly. A week or two ago I read about something on your site which had me intrigued: WidgetChimp. I started reading a lot about WidgetChimp and I really like the way you can design templates for use on eBay. As I am hearing a lot about more and more sales coming from mobile devices, it seems important to have well designed templates for this… I think they call them responsive, is that right?

But my dilemma is that when I compare the listings I created in GarageSale and the ones I created in WidgetChimp, they both look as good to me, on desktop, laptop and mobile? In fact, I really can’t see any difference at all, but then GarageSale is not responsive whereas WidgetChimp’s templates are?

So what to do? I don’t mind paying for WidgetChimp to use it to create templates and Mathew has also informed me that he plans to add store design pages for eBay as well. But at the same time, I have already paid for a full license of GarageSale because I do like how it works.

But the main thing for me is that I don’t want to miss the boat when it comes to mobile sales on eBay, so what is your opinion on this and what do you suggest I do?


Hi José,

IF you’re happy with your current templates and they look good on mobile phones/tablets, I see no reason why you should change anything. You don’t need to use responsive templates to make your listings look good on mobile devices! If they’re coded correctly and not too large in width, they will still look good, even if they’re not responsive designs.

Take for example our Spicy Auction Templates – they are NOT responsive but still look great on mobile devices because of the narrow, one-column layout and the fact that they are coded with simple HTML that all platforms and devices understand easily.

Hi Andrew,

I have just bought some items from a manufacturer on Alibaba and wanted to ask your opinion regarding what payment method to use.

I’m considering PayPal as it’s a secure method, but unlike eBay, should the buyer pay the fee for their order or will the seller cover it?

Best Regards,

Hi Mark,

By default the buyer never pays any PayPal fees. When you send money via PayPal, it is always the seller (the person/company who receives the money) that pays the fee.

When we talk about wholesale business though, it’s not uncommon for sellers to add 3-4% to your invoice to cover PayPal fees. Which is totally understandable as in wholesale business margins are small and orders are relatively big. On a £1000 order, PayPal fees are £34, which the seller wouldn’t face if you were to pay via bank transfer.

So yes, this is common and I usually just go with the added fee for the peace of mind of using PayPal instead of bank transfer.

Hi Andrew,

I am very close to placing my first order with a supplier in China, the total weight of the order is around 50-75kg and the shipping has been quoted as $400 via courier.

I was going through your blog but haven’t been able to decide what would be better in this instance, a courier or a freight forwarder?

Also if I use the courier when will the custom duty process start, will they contact me once my items land in the UK?


Hi Ash,

If it’s just 50-75 kgs AND the courier cost is only $400, I would stick with courier in this case. You’ll get your goods much faster plus there won’t even be a big difference in cost with this order size. So overall it’s not really worth using sea freight in this case.

Yes, the courier company will contact you when the goods arrive in the UK for any questions they have on the customs clearance process (they may ask for an invoice/payment confirmation) and will deliver the package to your door once it’s cleared.


That’s it for today!

Keep those questions coming in and I’ll see you again next Friday, for yet another Questions & Answers blog post!

Have a great weekend everyone!


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  1. Hi andrew im just after some advice please, we have just got our website up and running, but have not got any sales through it yet we have advertised on facebook and are starting with twitter but, do you have any advise in ways of marketing our site please

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Adam,

      You want to check out my EM course:


      It’s a step by step guide – video course – on how to build, manage and most importantly advertise an online shop. I cover various traffic generation methods there plus by the look of your shop, you need to improve the overall design/layout usability of it.


  2. Hi Andrew

    I find myself keep coming back and reading all your useful information that you post up, so thanks for being so helpful.

    I did post up last month about being scammed… moving on from that… I am still looking at purchasing if at all possible high end cosmetics and beauty products, however everywhere I look either seems to be fakes, scammers or not available do the tight restrictions that the manufacturer puts on their products.

    I came across this web site http://wholesalecosmeticslist.com/

    I am very sceptical now and try to check out as much as I can before parting with any cash!!.. I was wondering if you could take a quick look and give me your opinion?
    I get the impression these days if it looks too good to be true then it probably is!



    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I haven’t personally seen that product so can’t really comment on how good or bad it is. But as it comes with a 60 day money back guarantee, there’s not much you can loose by trying it out I guess.

      One thing I can tell you for sure though – margins with branded cosmetics are very low and unless you deal with overstock, liquidation stock, it will be very hard to make decent profits selling these products on eBay.


  3. Hi Andrew

    I spent a whole sunday reading through your answers and questions page omg…It literally covered everything I have been wanting to know for months but could not get answers!

    I would like to ask your advice on where to get product packaging done? Wiser to do in the UK or do you suggest the chinese website like alibaba for that also? I would like to ofcourse have my own logo etc on the packaging, and tissue paper etc.

    Any affordable websites you could suggest?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jessy,

      What kind of quantity you’re after?

  4. Hi Andrew,

    first of all I must say that I am absolutely delighted with your blog!, It has been very helpful and every single post is full of great info for people like me, trying to start a new online business.

    I have a question, I was hoping you could help me out with. I am living in Germany at the moment, and I´ve got a company set up already. I also made my first bulk order from China, following all your recommendations. The thing is that I am planning to move to the UK (Where I used to live before), my concern is what to do with the items I already ordered. Can I just take them with me from Germany to the UK?, (In case I don´t sell everything before I move), or do I have to pay the import tax in the UK, after I paid it in Germany?.

    Thanks for your help. Regards,


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, you can simply take those items with you when you move back to the UK. You won’t have to pay taxes second time as once goods enter into EU and taxes are paid for them, you can move them around freely within EU borders with no extra VAT or import duty to be paid.

      So don’t worry about that! 🙂


      1. Sophie

        Hi Andrew!
        Thanks for your quick answer!! Those are such great news!! 🙂
        I will make sure I take your course before moving to the UK, so I can get a deeper in-sight of the whole business, before setting up the company there!
        Best wishes!

      2. Andrew Minalto

        You’re welcome Sophie! 🙂

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