November 13, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #45

questions-answers-45Happy Friday!

Friday the 13th.

Another week has gone by and it’s time for our weekly Questions & Answers post!

It’s getting busier and busier as Christmas approaches fast so I didn’t have time to do the Chinese Brands article but it will be published next week.

Also, Trademark Scams are turning into a nightmare for all new trademark applicants. On Monday I will publish an update on this with more scam examples and photos of letters you may receive when registering a trademark.

Today we’ll cover the following questions:

  • How to automatically track stock across Amazon & eBay?
  • Can you sell licensed products sourced from China?
  • Do you have to find a niche with great Terapeak numbers for ALL products?
  • How to get your first sale on Amazon’s Marketplace?
  • How to reduce abandoned carts in an online shop?
  • What’s the benefit of a NICHE BRANDED business VS a general eBay shop?

Let’s get started!

Hello Andrew,

I am a very big fan of yours and I visit your blog every day. I want to ask you how you handle stock tracking, in terms of any changes in quantity or price as I have had a few situations where I was “forced” to sell a product at a loss rather than cancel the order.

I also want to ask you how I can handle situations when I sell a large quantity of one item (which I sourced from Amazon) and then they don’t let me purchase any more that week so I’m stuck until next week. I’ve always wondered how other sellers are overcoming this as I’ve seen them sell 100s of one item and they bought it from Amazon for sure.

Thank you in advance.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Ivan

Hi Ivan,

If you sell on eBay & Amazon (using the same stock) and possibly your own online shop, you can’t effectively manage stock without using some sort of multi-channel software like Linnworks:

http://www.linnworks.com

Software like this will handle your inventory in one place – meaning that all sales on eBay/Amazon/your own shop will automatically be adjusted and synchronised, so that you never sell an item which you don’t have any more stock of. Plus it will also allow you to process all orders from all platforms in one place, print invoices and shipping labels in bulk and do many more tasks.

I’m afraid there aren’t any worthwhile free options out there so you have no other choice but to use specialist software like Linnworks.

Not sure about limits on buying from Amazon – they have these in place for some products, for some they don’t. Your competitors may be sourcing the product somewhere else OR are just using friends & family to order these products using their accounts.

Hi Andrew

I am thinking of starting my own eBay business. I have a baby on the way and my current income circumstance doesn’t suffice any more. I will give this my all, as I want it to be my main source of income in the near future. I have about £2000 to start.

I was looking for stuff to sell on eBay and I came across an item that is selling well, but the guy who has the most sale numbers has this stated on the listing: “This is an official licensed version from a UK distributor”.

So I checked the trademark on the item and it shows as “withdrawn”. My guess is because another trademark existed before it with the same name.

Will I face any problems if I sell the same item with the same pictures etc.?

I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer my above query. It will be of great help.

Thank You.

J.K.

Hi J.K.,

It’s hard to say for sure without knowing what kind of item it is BUT if it says “This is an official licensed version from a UK distributor”, it means that item is licensed and this doesn’t necessarily relate to an export trademark in the UK. It could be that this item needs a special license/agreement from the patent holder, for example. Patents are not trademarks so the fact that this trademark has been withdrawn doesn’t mean you can sell it anyway.

As I said, without knowing the product in question, I can’t give you a definite answer so I’ll just say that you should be very careful and do some further research into this product/license/brand before moving ahead.

Hi Andrew

I bought your video course and am currently at the research stage. I’m trying to figure out what niche to get in to – finding a good one is very hard!

Sometimes I will find a product (just one) and I’ll work out the margins and do the maths and I see that I can make 20% profit on it. However that is just 1 product (e.g. fish tackle) but when I do the calculations to get into the fishing niche as a whole, it falls down and I can’t reach the profit target that I’ve set (20-30%).

When thinking of a niche, you have to think of all related products and not just the one product that you’ve found, and this is proving very difficult for me, even with Terapeak 🙁

Any advice you can give on that aspect? Or is it a matter of keeping at it, until I stumble across a whole niche with little competition and high profit margins?

Thanks,
Jwan

Hi Jwan,

There are several ways to look at situations like these:

* One typical mistake many newbie sellers make is that they think they need to enter the entire niche, when they really don’t. So taking your example – the fishing niche. In most cases, these “general” niches are way too big for the buying power that most people have. So a more effective idea would be to work in a sub-niche with products that have good numbers ad earning potential (in your example – fish tackle).

Of course, you have to look at TOTAL sales numbers per month for such sub-niches, to be sure that they’re big enough to create a decent business around, as you don’t want to work in a niche that, for example, has just £2k per month in total sales.

* Another approach would be to work in that general niche (fishing) and create your brand around it BUT cherry-pick the items you sell – i.e. the items with the best profit! No one has said that you have to sell ALL products in that niche. In fact, this is why Terapeak and proper market research is so good – we can research and find the BEST, most profitable products to sell in any niche and simply sell them, leaving the un-profitable products for others.

* Lastly, eBay as such is a very flexible marketplace and often times, when you really, really can’t find a niche you like and want to commit to, you can simply start a general style, all-in-one shop and sell various un-related products. This is perfectly fine on eBay. Later on, when you’re ready to move to the next stage and create your own shop and a more targeted brand, simply pick one niche from the proven products in your inventory and create your business around that.

Good evening once again Andrew,

I had the honor of receiving a blog post on the andrewminalto.com blog last month for a question I had asked and your answer has gone off with a bang. I’ve increased my sales by about 25% on eBay! Thank you so much!

Either way, I’ve decided to diversify my selling strategy and I’ve expanded from just selling on eBay to also selling on Amazon because I’m a little worried about volatility in eBay’s marketplace. So I decided it would be a good idea to branch out and diversify a bit.

Problem is…I have yet to get my first Amazon sale. Do you have any tips, pointers or suggestions on how to get that crucial, first Amazon sale?

Thanks again,
Matt

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your email, it’s great to hear that my answer helped to increase your sales so quickly, so well done & congrats!

As for selling on Amazon – in general, on Amazon things are very, very slow in the beginning. Unlike eBay where you can quickly get to the first page of results simply by having a super low price on a product, Amazon’s search system takes reviews into account and it’s by far the most important factor in getting your products ranked high on Amazon search. Obviously with a new product you don’t have any reviews, hence your listing will not be featured very high and you won’t make many sales.

The best thing for you is to still use the low starting price strategy, just like on eBay, but you have to be very patient. Sooner or later you’ll get those crucial first sales and first reviews and that will lead to a snowball effect and a steady increase in your search position.

If you’re willing to invest some money into your Amazon products, you should of course take a look at their paid ad program:

http://services.amazon.co.uk/services/sponsored-products/how-it-works.html

This works like classic PPC (pay per click) advertising where you pay for each click your ad generates.

Hi Andrew,

I own an ecommerce site, which I bought recently. I have been getting visitors but they are adding their products to the cart and then leaving the site. Is this something you can help me with? Let me know, thanks!

Gary

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your email.

Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges any online shop owner faces and there are no magic, quick fixes for it.

First of all you want to make sure your shop is optimised for a good user experience (layout, design, cart icon clearly visible etc.) and then of course – the view cart & checkout pages/process should be as straightforward as possible. A clean, nicely designed checkout process is super important and this could be where your problem lies! Make sure that your payment terms are very clear and that estimated dispatch and shipping times are both clearly displayed on your checkout page.

There is more to it of course – I’m just giving you some general guidelines.

Also, these days any decent shopping cart will come with an abandoned cart email feature. This means if a user/buyer has filled out personal information during checkout and then leaves – the shopping cart will capture their email address which you can then use to send out follow up emails after X number of days to remind them about their initiated purchase. This can be a very effective strategy to recapture some lost sales, especially considering it’s all automated.

Lastly – no matter what you do, there will always be some % of people who simply change their mind and won’t order from you. It could be that they just wanted to check out your prices/shipping prices to compare to other stores and didn’t intend to order anything at the moment anyway. So it’s not as if you can expect to get this percentage down to 0.

Hi Andrew,

I read your post on using multiple eBay accounts and I understand that it’s allowed. Most of the discussion in the comments was just from people who had penalized accounts though, so I was hoping for more advice about niche specific accounts.

I know the advantages a niche specific store brings, but I’m finding it hard to compare to the benefit of amassing positive feedback and obtaining top rated seller status on one account that sells everything.

How do you decide between the two strategies? Is top rated seller status on one account worth the loss of a smaller niche specific identity?

Thanks,
Sam

Hi Sam,

There’s no easy/quick answer to that question as it depends on so many factors like how good the brand you create is, how important branding is for your target customers, what your competitors are doing in that niche and so on.

It would also depend on your overall, long term strategy – whether you just want to sell on eBay or at some point expand to your own website, where having a niche based business/brand is the only way to go.

So I can’t really give you a definite answer BUT just so you know – it’s not only niche OR all-in-one business on eBay. There’s also a 3rd, mixed version where you have a GENERAL type of shop on eBay (one account) BUT brand each of your products/products lines as if they were a separate niche business.

So for example – you have a general type of shop, with a general name/logo etc. But your products have a specific niche based brand (logo on the product/packaging etc.) so this way you get the best of both world’s, to a degree.

But you should have a specific reason for using this strategy, as I do still recommend creating your business around one niche, where you can truly excel and be the best!

***

Hope this helps!

If you have a question that you’d like answered by me, all you have to do is contact me here and I will get back to you within 24 hours, Monday to Friday. Even if your question isn’t selected for our weekly Questions and Answers post, you’ll still receive a personal reply from me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Andrew

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