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!

Thanks,
Jeff

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.

Lastly, you can also do a search for the same product on Amazon to see which products are the best sellers on there (often the results will be very similar to eBay).

Hi Andrew,

I’m getting in touch as I need some advice from a business mind like yours. I own a very successful wedding classifieds website, and I have recently taken the difficult decision to sell the website as I can no longer give it what it needs to develop and grow due to having a young family (my daughter is 20 months old). I need some advice and guidance as to how I would go about selling this business – I would be grateful for any advice you can give.

I’m sorry if this is a bit of a random request, I can send you any further information you require?

Many thanks,
Sophie

Hi Sophie,

I’m really not an expert on selling websites/online businesses but I have sold a few of my own web properties over the years and did so quite successfully. I don’t know many inside tricks of the trade but here is some general advice I can give you:

1. The best and most popular platform to sell websites is Flippa.com. I think there’s no point in listing it anywhere else as Flippa usually attracts the most interest from potential buyers. Of course, that is unless you can make a direct deal with someone that already works in your niche? Even a competitor maybe who would like to take over your business?

2. On Flippa, the key is to write a really good description about your site and upload as much proof of income/traffic as you can. This means verifying Google Analytics data and uploading affiliate program and other income reports for at least the last 12 months.

3. You can list your website as an auction, auction with a reserve price, or for a fixed price. I have used auctions with reserve price only and from my experience this listing format attracts the most interest.

4. When your listing ends and you have a potential buyer, make sure that payment with terms of sale (contract) go through Escrow.com. Escrow payment basically means that the buyer only receives full ownership of the website when you have received full payment.

So these are a few tips I can give you. For more information you can read through guides on Flippa.com directly and check out the many blogs online that are dedicated to website selling & flipping.

Hope this helps Sophie!

Hello Andrew,

I was reading your post about how to filter suppliers and I have a concern. I wish I had found your post before I made the purchase but this week I ordered 3 items as a sample from here:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Original-Sales-For-New-Go-Pro_50012858044.html

I paid via MoneyGram (which seemed okay at the time as I was paying for samples) but later on the seller let me know that they cannot ship such a small order, even though the listing states an MOQ of 3. He said he can ship 15pcs at once but I would have to pay for the additional items. I was suspicious and we went back and forth for a few days about how to secure the payment on my end.

The seller suggested I send money in someone else’s name (I did it in my wife’s) and provide him with the reference number (without the name) so he’s able to confirm the payment has been sent but not cash it out. I called MoneyGram and they told me that for international transactions the receiver has to provide ID. As I mentioned before, I sent the payment in my wife’s name and specified that an ID number had to be shown in order to collect it.

After that everything was alright for 24 hours or so – the tracking number showed movement of my order and the money showed as available (not picked up). But this morning when I checked it showed the money had been picked up and the international carrier that was supposedly being used for shipping is down. I really have no idea how he was able to collect the money without ID.

Please let me know if you have any advice and how/where I can report this seller, his Alibaba store and all his info. I don’t really expect to get my money back but I just want to put this info in as many places as possible to warn other buyers.

Thank you,
Levgenii

Hi Levgenii,

Thanks for sharing this with us.

I’m sorry to hear you got scammed in such a classic way but you really should have read more about importing from China before doing placing this order as you broke the first and most important rule – NEVER buy anything BRANDED from China! In your case it was a Go Pro camera…

Also, they’re based in India and their profile and other listings show that they sell jewellery, not electronics so I really don’t understand why you would want to deal with them in the first place?

It could be that this is a profile no longer in use (possibly sold to scammers) OR that an employee of that company listed this Go Pro camera in order to scam people. I can’t say for sure but what is obvious is something very dodgy is going on here.

You can and should report this company to Alibaba but that won’t change the fact that you got scammed and I’m afraid to say you’ll never see your money again. Next time, be more careful and LEARN about dealing with Chinese suppliers before sending money to anyone.

Dear Andrew,

I’ve come across two websites that I would like to order a camera from, both located in China.

The problem is they only take western union or money transfer and they’re on many of the scam listing websites on Google.

If I was going to place an order, is there a way to protect your money in a sale of this nature?

The two sites are:

Proudsale.com & GoCheapSky.com

Thank you for taking the time to assist me with this request.

Ed

Hi Ed,

Okay, let me first understand this – you want to send money to well known scam websites based in China who sell high-end branded cameras? And want to learn how to protect the payment? Is that correct?

I’m sorry Ed but are you out of your mind?

Why would you want to do that? I mean, you are asking how to send money to two sites that you KNOW are scams!?

If you do this, you will never see either your money or that camera.

I recommend that you STOP searching for such miracle Chinese suppliers who sell MacBooks and the latest Nikon DSLRs for a few hundred dollars. Such a supplier just DOESN’T EXIST! There’s no such thing and you WILL get scammed, pure and simple.

I’m sorry to be so blunt but I really hope you listen to my advice Ed and give up on this search, as it will only end one way.

Hi Andrew,

I have read your post about importing from China, but there is something that is still really confusing me.

I want to order some samples from a supplier, as I am still in the very early stages of my business, and have contacted DHL to ask for a price.

My idea is to import soap nuts but I have been told that I need a health certificate, a trade authorisation and a new importer account (as it’s not for personal use).

Is there an easy way to start importing or is it simply that this product is not the right one to start with?

Do any of your courses cover this in more detail?

Thanks in advance!
Esther

Hi Esther,

You don’t have to open an account with a courier company to start importing from China. This is an unnecessary step at this stage and can actually work out more expensive for you in the end. What you want to do is ask your supplier to get the best price for shipping via courier and simply add that to your invoice. Chinese suppliers are usually able to get cheaper quotes anyway so there’s no point in opening your own courier account at this point in your business.

Now, as for the health certificate – I’m not personally familiar with these products so can’t tell for sure but I would assume that DHL are aware of some restriction on importing such goods and you do need a certificate to bring them into the EU. You could ask your supplier whether they can provide such a certificate for you. If not, you should probably leave this product alone as getting the certificate on your own will be time consuming and expensive.

If you want to learn more about the entire importing procedure, shipping, payments, how to verify suppliers and much more, you should definitely get my EAB course which goes into great detail on all of these topics.

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew,

I hope that you are well. I came across your website and found it very informative. I have been selling on eBay, admittedly without too much success, and found your advice and tips very helpful indeed.

However, I would like to question whether if in this day and age, with every man and his dog trying to make a profitable business, there is still potential to make serious money on eBay?

I fully understand that it requires hard work and depends a lot on the way you approach your eBay business but with everyone trying to achieve the same thing, could it not just be a case of eBay becoming over-saturated?

Any helpful guidance would be appreciated.

Kindest Regards,
Hasnain

Hi Hasnain,

Thanks for your email.

Yes, eBay is a very saturated marketplace and has been for many years now. In many product groups the competition is so extreme (for example most branded products) that it’s basically impossible to make a profit unless you’re doing something illegal or un-ethical. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t make any money on eBay, far from it.

Most people just make the typical mistake of taking short-cuts with product selection, sourcing and selling – they think that they can simply pick any product, buy it from Alibaba in small quantity, put together an average listing and make tons of money.

I’m afraid that won’t happen.

You really have to put more work into the whole process, starting with proper eBay market research, buying in true bulk to get the best prices, shipping via the correct methods, creating high quality listings and using a proper strategy to get your listings at the top of eBay’s search results.

Plus of course thinking outside box helps a lot! Branding, bundling, product modifications – there are so many things you can do to create unique offers and differentiate yourself from the crowd to ensure you don’t compete on PRICE alone.

My blog covers all of these topics and you can learn even more from my EAB video course.

***

Ok, that’s it for today.

For regular Questions & Answers post readers, you’ll notice that many questions do repeat themselves time and time again. And you may wonder why I’m repeating the same old stuff that most people already know about, right? Wrong! It amazes me how many people still think they can buy branded goods from China so I really believe that I need to repeat myself as many times as is necessary and I don’t receive such questions anymore.

The same thing applies to the whole importing from China procedure – while for experienced sellers this may all seem so clear and easy to follow, but many people really struggle with the various angles of importing so I keep answering these questions too, even if it’s something I have already covered in the past.

With that being said, I would be more than happy to receive more unique, interesting questions that cater to other areas and topics of running an eBay and online business in general so if you have such a question in mind, please send it over to my help desk here.

Until next week!

All the best,
Andrew

2 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew,

    You asked for more unique questions, here’s one I can’t find on your website so wanted your thoughts.

    Have you used Amazon Sponsored products yet? I can think of a few questions off the top of my head.

    Does it work? Is their value in it? What product types lend themselves to this approach?

    For example, I sell a popular branded product that tends to have 3-4 FBA sellers, plus another 7-10 market place sellers. The price is low, around £6 typically, and I don’t think Amazon Sponsored would work for this, as all it would do is point to the header listing and it could be any seller who gets the purchase.

    So, I guess it’s only good for a product where you have the main listing solely, but probably has a large saturation of products (therefore not niche, otherwise you’d not need “help” in the search rankings).

    It seems fairly new, so wondered if there is milage in finding products that would benefit from this technique.

    Thanks, Paul

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for your question Paul but unfortunately I haven’t used this so can’t comment really.

      Andrew

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