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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered (#4)

April 15, 2014 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments
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questions-answers-4It’s time for another Q&A session. I have received tons of questions from you over the last two weeks and have picked out the ones I think would be most beneficial for others or those that are simply the most interesting in nature.

Today we’ll cover:

  • Where to find electronic suppliers in China?
  • When to upgrade from a Personal account to Business Account on eBay?
  • What’s the difference between Alibaba and Ali Express?
  • Does your program work in the US?
  • How come so many eBay sellers can offer free shipping?
  • How to start an eBay business from scratch?
  • How to pay VAT and import duty for imports from China?
  • Is this a profitable product to start with?
  • What’s the difference between the different training programs you offer?

If you have a question you would like me to answer in future Q&As, get in touch with me here.

Please note: I do not edit or alter your questions in any way as I want them to remain authentic and exactly how they were sent to me, so please excuse any small grammar or spelling mistakes.

Let’s get started!

First I’d like to thank you for creating such a site.

Secondly, my question is pertaining to my need of an Electronics supplier there in China who can supply cameras, recorders and so forth. Should you know of any who is a 5 star supplier and will ship DHL, would you be so kind as to share any info on such suppliers? I am in the start business of recording devices.

If you’re looking to import electronic devices from China, you’ll have to learn how to find suppliers and verify them. I’m afraid no one will give you their favourite suppliers on a plate, why would they?

These are the 3 most popular B2B platforms you should check out:

You can start with Alibaba as it’s the most popular platform. You can also read my Alibaba Scam Guide here to learn how to verify suppliers and avoid scams.

For electronics I strongly recommend you check out Global Sources too as it’s full of verified suppliers for products like these. To help you with your search, also take a look at the free magazines offered by Global Sources which cover genuine suppliers in more detail.

You’ll also want to check out my Importing Guide here to learn the basics of importing, shipping and taxes.

Whatever you do – make sure you verify suppliers extensively and always start with a small, sample order. If you plan on making a bigger order, worth thousands of pounds, I would strongly suggest paying for verification by an inspection agent and ideally – also do a pre-shipment inspection of goods, just to be 100% sure you’re getting exactly what you have ordered.

I intended on using your advice to start a business on eBay in terms of selling some things from home then expanding from there.

I have in the past bought and sold things on eBay and I have 571 feedbacks at 100% on my personal account.

As mentioned I intend on starting out to get some initial capital selling some unwanted possessions but the question would be when to upgrade my personal account to a business one?

The simple answer is – the sooner the better.

If you intend to do this on a serious level, you’ll want to achieve Top Rated Seller status for your account which gives increased rankings in search results as well as a discount in eBay fees. Now, to qualify as a Top-rated Seller, or Power Seller for that matter, a business account is a mandatory requirement so the sooner you upgrade your account, the better.

What I wanted to ask is in regards to AliExpress. I saw your post regarding Alibaba and you mentioned AliExpress in it.

I was hoping you would be able to tell me the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress and in your opinion which one would be better. Bearing in mind that I am not even 2 months old on eBay and that although I have signed on to Alibaba I have not bought anything yet. Also that my max budget would be around £200.

I have read a few of your posts and I’ve seen that you seem to be an expert in this field so I’m looking forward to some valuable advice from you!!

It all started with Alibaba – it’s a Business to Business (B2B) portal that connects manufacturers and trading companies from China and other countries with buyers all around the world. Ali Express was launched later, by Alibaba (the ‘mother’ company of Ali Express).

Alibaba is a place where you want to go if your buying power allows you to deal directly with manufacturers or trading companies. This usually means buying in true bulk, like 100 or 1000 units of the same product.

Ali Express on the other hand is really a retail site with minimum order quantities of just one item in most cases. It can also be used for light bulk purchases.

For newbies, Ali Express is easier to deal with as you get Escrow service by default for all transactions and you can pay easily using your credit card. There’s a downside though – prices on Ali Express will usually be higher compared to Alibaba.

But that’s the flipside to having no minimum order quantity.

On Alibaba you’ll often have to use un-safe payment methods such as wire transfer and in general, you’ll need to do more homework to verify suppliers and make sure you don’t get scammed.

If you’re starting out with just £200, you should probably use Ali Express instead of the main Alibaba site as you won’t be able to meet the MOQs of suppliers on Alibaba.

When your buying power increases, you can switch to Alibaba and start making bigger orders at true wholesale prices.

My wife found you online as I am considering restarting selling some things on eBay. I have a few questions for you.

1. Since I live in the U.S. will your system work for me? What resources would you recommend for finding items wholesale in the U.S.?

2. How do so many sellers offer free shipping and still make $? Shipping costs and buying the wrong items are what discouraged me the first time I sold/tried selling items.

Thanks for your time, Andrew.

I’ll answer your questions one by one.

1) Yes, my EAB system works in the US and I have many customers from there successfully implementing my ideas.
If you’re looking for local, USA based wholesalers, I recommend using these resources:

  • Google, Yahoo & Bing search engines. Just search for the product you’re interested in + add “wholesale” to your search phrase. Make sure to browse past the first few pages as often wholesalers don’t have perfectly optimised websites, hence they don’t get high search positions. Use Yahoo and Bing too as these search engines often show different results to Google.
  • WholesaleCentral.com. This is a free wholesale directory you can use to find wholesalers and dropshippers in the US. There are many more, smaller wholesale directories too – just do a quick search on Google for “wholesale directory”.
  • Salehoo.com & WorldWideBrands.com They work in a similar way to Wholesale Central with the difference being that these are PAID directories, requiring an initial one-time fee for you to join them. You’ll also find tons of selling information and sourcing tips on these sites.
  • Trade Shows. These are perfect venues to find local wholesalers for various products. Check out my Trade Show Guide and find out whether there are any trade shows being held that you can attend in the near future.

There are other sourcing methods you can use of course but these are the four I would consider most effective.

2) There’s a reason why so many sellers on eBay offer free shipping:

  • It gives them higher search positions &
  • It gives them the eBay Premium service badge

Nowadays free shipping plays an important role on eBay and most sellers simply reduce their profit margins just to be able to offer free shipping for their listings. The key here is obviously to buy products at the right prices, with healthy profit margins, and then free shipping is really not a problem.

Shipping charges are almost the same for everyone so essentially the playing field is always equal in that regard.

I am very impressed with your answers and appreciate your support. I am planning to start a jewellery or pet’s accessories business, I would like to import it from China and sell it on eBay.

My major concerned is I am not sure how to start and where to start from. Actually I do not know which product is more in demand on eBay (jewellery). I am from US and your help will be greatly appreciated if you could give me some tips in buying jewellery.

You have to start by learning how to do basic market research using Terapeak so you can identify proven sellers. That way you know what sells and what doesn’t, for what price and so on – otherwise you’re simply guessing, which is not a good idea!

Jewellery is a highly competitive market on eBay and a massive one too. You really have to have great taste and be able to spot profitable sub-niches as if you buy and sell just general jewellery, your listings will get lost in search results.

If you want to learn more about how to start a profitable eBay business from scratch, check out my Easy Auction Business course here.

Hi Andrew, may I say your website is so informative.

I have a question; I am planning on importing goods from China and using a courier such as DHL. I have used your very useful import and tax calculator model.

Who do I pay the VAT tax and import duties to and when does this payment need to be made?

Many thanks

If you’re using a courier company (such as DHL, TNT, UPS, FedEx etc.) for shipments from China, the whole tax situation is very simple.

These courier companies take care of the customs clearance procedure on your behalf. Sometimes they may contact you prior to this and ask for an invoice (if for example they feel that the goods are undervalued on the shipping invoice) and/or payment confirmation. Sometimes though they don’t do this and will simply use the invoice attached to do tax calculations.

Once the goods have been cleared by customs, there are then 3 possible scenarios:

  • Goods are delivered to you and later on an invoice for tax and the customs clearance fee is sent to you via post.
  • You’ll be contacted by the courier company to pay this invoice BEFORE they deliver your goods.
  • You’ll be asked to pay this invoice in cash, upon delivery of goods to your address.

This will depend entirely on the courier company you use as they have different procedures in place. But anyway, the whole process is very easy as you don’t have to handle the customs clearance procedure on your own. All you do is pay the final tax invoice + a small customs clearance fee charged by the courier, which is usually 10-20 pounds per shipment.

I had a long read through your article on the best products to sell on eBay.

Subscribed to Terapeak … Have done lots of research and have come up with a niche … I think.

Can you give me some advice on the numbers?

Within the past 30 days this niche has had only 6 sellers per day but has a total sale of 14k and a sell through of 78%

Is that really bad or good?

It has an average price of £40

Very well done! From the numbers you sent me it looks like a perfect product and niche for you to get into. The sell-through rate is exceptionally good and competition of just 6 sellers means it will be quite easy to rank well on the first page, especially when you get TRS status.

Be careful though – sometimes, if branded goods are involved, they’re prohibited from sale on eBay altogether OR there may just be a few authorised sellers. With unbranded goods though that’s not something you have to consider.

Whatever you do, start by manually researching the situation on eBay – what results come up when you search for this product? How good or bad does the first page of listings look? Check out the selling history for the top listings to see how well they sell and of course confirm prices as the average price on Terapeak is a very approximate number.

I have been reading some of the information you have posted. Have found it very useful.

Would you be able to tell me all the different products you sell eg spicy auction and the 60 day thing.

Do you have an all in one pack?

Thanks for your interest.

You can take a look at this overview of the products I sell on my Products & Services page.

To sum it up:

Easy Auction Business is my eBay home study course which shows you how to start a successful eBay business from scratch. It also covers the market research process, product sourcing and importing from China in high detail.

Spicy Auction Templates – this is basically an eBay template membership site. For a small one-time fee of 29.95 pounds you get access to hundreds of eBay listing templates you can easily apply to your own eBay listings. And then there’s the members’ only forum and instructional videos section. You can also get FREE access to this product when you purchase my Easy Auction Business course.

Second Income Generator – this video course covers 10+ various money making concepts outside of the eBay/eCommerce environment.

eCommerce Magnates – this course is all about building, managing and promoting a highly successful eCommerce Shop. In this course I show you step-by-step how to build a brand new online shop, using my own real life example, and then continue with marketing, SEO, traffic generation and countless other topics!

60 Day Blueprint Program – lastly, my flagship personal coaching program. In this program I work one on one with a customer for 9 weeks to help them build a successful eBay business. This involves 9 weekly, 1 hour chat sessions, unlimited email support and a FULL Mega Design Pack custom made for your business by my in-house designer. All of this is included in the program’s fee.

All my video courses are hosted ONLINE, nothing is sent via post, which means you get instant access once you make a purchase via PayPal.

At this time I don’t offer an All-in-One package, but this is something I’m considering introducing in the future… a combination of all my best-selling video courses in one bundle, with a decent discount of course.

Hope this helps!


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  1. Thank you andrew for all the informative answers

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Peter! 🙂

  2. Hi Andrew,

    As per my knowledge, we can list items only in two categories Auction and Buy it Now (Store). But while doing competitor analysis over Terapeak, I found that the “Competitor Filters” section has “Listing Type” filter with the attributes Bid Auctions, Multiple Items, Fixed Price, Store, Second Chance and Live Auction.

    I applied these filters over some of our competitors and got different results in “Fixed Price” and “Store” listings. As per my information “Fixed Price” listing and “Store” Listings are same, so these different results are confusing us. Which kind of listing it consider “Fixed Price” and which it consider “Store”.

    At some places I’ve read that Fixed Price listing comes up in ebay cassini search results while store listings don’t. Store listings comes only in store search. We have tried multiple times by listing products manually, eBay shows only two options “Auctions” and “Fixed Price” even after listing products in fixed price it goes to store listing. Is there any trick behind to list products in “Fixed Price”.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You’re absolutely right – store listings are essentially same Fixed price listings. The difference could be that some Fixed listings won’t count as store listings (from sellers who don’t have a shop subscription) PLUS it could also mean that auctions with a Buy It Now option also are counted as Fixed price listings. And they can be a shop listing or not – depending whatever a person has a shop subscription or not.


      1. Thanks Andrew,

        We have checked in terapeak that our items are in store while our competitors’ items are showing as fixed price.

        We both have stores on eBay in same category, all store features are same, and both of us have items listed as 30 days, but their items are showing as fixed price listings while our items are showing as store listings. Is there any trick to list items as fixed price listings instead of store?


      2. Andrew Minalto

        hmm, that’s weird..

        No, there’s no way to do that – if you have a shop, everything you list will appear in your shop.

  3. Hi Andrew

    i have a found two niches with great stats with sell through rate +60% but the problem is that one 25 sellers per day while the other has 45 sellers per day. Would you consider them saturated ?

    Also what would be an acceptable amount of sellers per day stat

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Omar,

      It depends on Total sales per last 30 days.

      What are these numbers for both niches?

      1. The first niche with 25 sellers per day has a total sale = £60,000 over the 30 days and average price of the item= £20.00. While the other niche 35-45 sellers per day has a total sale = £12,000 and a average price of item = £4.40.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        then the first one with 25 sellers and total sales of £60,000 is a clear winner.

        That is number wise of course – manual research can show you a different picture, like there’s not enough profit margins or product is impossible to source. But numbers are very good.


  4. Hi Andrew,

    1) I have done a lot of Terapeak Research but faced problems in undrestanding some numbers:

    – A product have a CR 30+% on average but a top seller in this product category has accordung to
    Competetion Research on Terapeak a CR 70+% !! What does that mean? May be the buyers
    are interessted on X product modell rather than other ones? What can I do, take it or leave it?

    2) I read all your Marketing Strategies in your blog, chat, EAB & SAT videos, but I notice that you did
    not talk about “Sales Copy Strategy” in ebay & amazon item descriptions.

    – Does that mean that you dont prefer it on ebay, amazon & online shop? I am thinking about
    implementing this strategy/technic in my marketing plan on ebay & amazon.
    Can you please give me your opinion about that?

    Best Regards

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nazar,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1) Yes, of course. It may mean that particular models are selling better OR that simply some sellers present items better,
      get them ranked better etc. which all increase sell through rate.

      2) No, product description is important and you should do your best and create descriptions that really sell! While product pictures is still your nr.1 selling tool on eBay, you can definitely use descriptions to help sell the product, I also talk about the power of free gifts, which can be a great marketing tool.


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