January 29, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 7 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #51

questions-answers-51Welcome Back!

And here we are again, with a new year and a new Questions and Answers blog post!

Last year we reached the magical 50th post right before Christmas and I really hope this year you’ll stay active and keep sending in your questions! Who knows – maybe we can reach our 100th post by the end of this year? 🙂

For those of you who are new to my blog – every week (well, almost every week), on Friday, I publish a Questions & Answers blog post. In these posts I answer some of the questions that you – my dear blog readers – have sent in over the last week. This way my help/advice is made public and other people, with similar questions/problems, can also learn from it. So it’s a real win – win situation.

To get involved, all you have to do is contact me via my support desk here and I’ll personally answer your question there (within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri.) AND if the question qualifies (i.e. it’s an interesting topic with no confidential information) I’ll also publish it in next week’s Questions & Answers blog post. SIMPLE!

Okay, without any further ado, today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do you have to mention that products are made in China?
  • Do you need a registered company to buy from Alibaba?
  • What’s the best way to reach the top of eBay’s search results?
  • Andrew, when are you going to create a course for Amazon!?
  • Should I put ALL my stock on eBay?
  • Which invoice should I give to the courier for customs clearance?
  • Is it worth importing products from South Africa to sell on eBay?

Let’s get started!

Dear Andrew,

I was reading all your articles regarding branding new products, which looks very interesting and potentially useful. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the “Made in” label that you see on products. Is it mandatory to have this on the package? Also, if I have an OEM product from China, can I have my brand name and say made in Europe or a specific European country?

It will be of a great help if you could let me know about this.

Thanks,
Thahir

Hi Thahir,

Yes, it is by law required to put “Made in” info on product packaging. And even if you’re based in Europe, if the goods are manufactured in China, you must show “Made in China” on your product’s packaging.

Even large companies, like Apple, have to do it. Though they do add the “Designed by Apple in California” piece to make it sound “better”.

So you could copy that idea and create something like this, if you really want to emphasise the location of your company:

“Designed in Europe. Made in China”

Hi Andrew,

I read your article about importing from China and it is very useful.

My question is – can I start importing without setting up a company? I did try to buy on Alibaba but it seems they only sell to companies but I don’t want to set one up just yet. How can I go about this?

Thanks,
Andrea

Hi Andrea,

No, you don’t necessarily need a company to buy in bulk/wholesale from suppliers on Alibaba. Most people start out as individuals and don’t have any problems with ordering from Alibaba.

I haven’t actually heard of any cases that a Chinese supplier refuses an order because you don’t have a company set-up as they really don’t care who they sell to.

Maybe you just misunderstood them? I mean – they asked for your company name and that scared you off?

If that’s the case, simply say that you don’t have a company yet and want to order as an individual.

IF the company refuses to deal with you because of this, simply look for another supplier that carries the products you’re interested in and is happy to deal with individuals too.

Hi Andrew,

Once your product is on the first page on eBay, do you think it’s ok to just increase it to the target price I had planned for it? Or should I continue with slowly increasing the price as sales come in? I have been upping a particular listing 50p every 10 sales and now I’m on the first page in the top 10 though I still have a while to go before I get to the price I want as I’m still losing money per item.

Thanks,
Christian

Hi Christian,

A top 10 result is good BUT obviously you want to rank higher, ideally in the TOP 3, as those listings get more traffic than everything else on the first page combined.

So I would recommend you keep increasing the price slowly, until you reach at least the top 5, and then see how it affects your sales numbers. Sometimes it’s NOT worth getting in to the top 3 simply because the price you have to pay for it is too high (item selling price needs to be too low to make any profit).

Hello again Andrew and Happy New Year to you!

I have finished watching and reading your eBay course and am mightily impressed by all the aspects that you have covered clearly and comprehensively. So thank you for your time, wisdom and effort.

My question to you is – can you please make a course to fully explain selling on Amazon because I purchased the Proven Amazon Course and even though it has a labyrinth of information, compared to your format and teaching it is just second rate, scattered and (without being rude about the obviously nice people who contributed) very hard to watch as people tend to ramble on for ages to get a simple point across!

WE NEED your skills to break open the potential of Amazon and their FBA programme please!

All the best, Simon!

Hi Simon,

Yes, I know – so many people are requesting this from me….

I’m still thinking about the best way to go about it though, as this year will be very busy for me so I’m not sure I can find the time to do a super extensive, separate course on Amazon. I could just write one super long guide on the basics of selling on Amazon OR create a mini video course on it, I haven’t decided yet.

But this is definitely something I want to get done this year.

So thanks for your feedback! 🙂

Hi Andrew,

I have been following your blog for a while now and it’s very interesting. One thing that I noticed you said and stuck out was about eBay stock. Am I correct in thinking I shouldn’t put too much stock on eBay at one time as this causes it to be lower in the best match results? As I have no seller limits I usually put 2000 at a time so I don’t have to worry about updating it constantly – am I wrong in doing this?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Regards,
Lucus

Hi Lucus,

No, I think you misunderstood me on that one – you can and should put ALL stock you have available on eBay. As you say, this way it makes stock control easier for you and you don’t have to worry about always updating stock levels.

This does not create any negative impact on your listings/sales.

Hi Andrew,

I’ve been following your blog for a while and was hoping you can help me with something. I have placed an order coming from China for 40x units of some media Android boxes. The shipment has been stopped at customs and FedEx have requested further information, namely details of the products and the price paid.

Should I quote the prices on the included invoice (which will no doubt be lower than the retail price) or the price I paid? I have a feeling they may request proof of payment. I paid approx. £1200 but the quoted price will probably be about £300.

I am not a registered company or anything, I just do this to earn an extra bit of money on the side.

Thank you.
Adnan

Hi Adnan,

You have to send them the REAL invoice you paid your supplier and yes, they usually also ask for proof of payment too (a print out from your online banking or PayPal etc.).

So in your case that will be the value of £1200.

Hi Andrew,

Firstly, thanks for your blog which is a generous and very informative resource.

I notice on your website that you suggest that a profitable strategy is to import merchandise from China to re-sell in the UK.

No doubt this is a good strategy given the cost benefit. However, have you had any experience with importing from southern Africa instead?

I was recently in South Africa and wondered whether a country like that would offer profitable trading opportunities?

On a related topic, I also wondered whether buying African-styled merchandise (e.g. curios or home furnishings) and re-selling them in the UK would potentially be a lucrative strategy, or do you think that people would only buy such products if they’d actually visited the particular country?

Any thoughts you have about these issues would be very much appreciated!

Thanks very much!
Graeme

Hi Graeme,

It all comes down to demand really – we import products from China simply because most in-demand products are made/manufactured in China. If the products were more commonly manufactured in another country, I would suggest buying from there.

As for products made in South Africa – I’m not personally aware of any popular products selling on eBay from there (apart from some food items maybe?) so I can’t see a clear and logical reason for buying and reselling products manufactured there. You should always make business decisions based purely on data/numbers and not import something just because like that product or the country it comes from, as that can lead to you losing a lot of money.

I can see on eBay that there are some products from Africa being sold – like masks, musical instruments, home decor etc. but it doesn’t seem a very active market. You can and should do more in-depth research using Terapeak but chances are that demand is simply too small for such products to make a business out of it.

Hope this helps!

***

Okay, that’s it for today! I hope some of these questions & answers were valuable to you.

Remember, you can send in YOUR OWN questions via the contact form on this page to get featured in our weekly Questions & Answers blog posts!

Have an awesome weekend! 🙂

Andrew

7 Comments
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  1. Hi Andrew

    While I’m an’ owner occupier’ at present, Its likely that a move to a Rented Property for a while may be on the cards, for me and the Mrs. This is to size-up a new location over a 6 to 12 month period, prior to deciding whether to buy a house there.

    When renting a Residential Property, there are usually contractual restrictions on running any form of Business from it. Although ‘disregarding’ such a ‘stipulation’ might go unnoticed for a while – a Postman observing that he’s delivering quantities of Stock, Returned Goods, plus a volume of correspondence inconsistent with purely Residential Usage etc, might unintentionally disclose this in passing to others in the local community, leading to a Landlord getting wind of the fact. Also, as eBay don’t permit use of a PO BOX Address (even ‘temporarily’ as far as I’m aware) then that avenue appears to be unavailable.

    Do you happen to know if eBay also ‘disapprove’ of ‘Accommodation Addresses’ (i.e. Mail Forwarding Addresses). I’m guessing this may well be the case and that, in any event, if an Accommodation Address was used, it might be hard to find one that would also redirect parcels as well as Mail.

    Any Accommodation Addresses Service that was also willing to redirect parcels, would no doubt prove expensive for Return Goods Parcel Forwarding. Also, such Services would probably be less efficient than is required for an ‘efficient’ eBay Business, and could therefore give rise to customer service issues.

    The only other option seems to be renting or sharing a Business Unit of some kind which would not be as cheap as a PO Box or an Accommodation Address and would only be feasible if eBay Turnover / Income was high enough to warrant such a cost – unless used ‘at a loss’ for the 6 to 12 Month Period, in order to sustain business continuity until Owner Occupier Status was reestablished.

    Composing this Comment makes me realise that many of those considering operating a modest eBay Business from a ‘Rented’ Home (with Usage Restrictions on their Rental Agreement) must either end up taking a big gamble with their Rental Agreement, or decide not to risk it, and look for an alternative Income Opportunity instead.

    If acquiring permission from a Landlord to use a Rented Home for Business as well as residence does not prove possible, I’m thinking I might ‘have’ to try the Accommodation Address Option, but have I missed something? Any thoughts on other possible options?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Martin,

      Yes, you’re correct.

      In reality though ignore limits put by their rental agreement and do it anyway, at least in the beginning while they grow their business to stage where they can afford to rent some sort of space. Right or wrong, don’t ask me! 🙂 But this is what most people do anyways…

      Andrew

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I’m not sure where to put this one, but thought I’d highlight it anyway.

    I’ve had three cases recently (across two accounts) where a buyer has purchased on Ebay, but the transaction hasn’t fully completed. This means that the Paypal side of the transaction has gone through, but there is nothing on Ebay to show it (i.e. in your Awaiting Despatch area). So, as a seller you are completely unaware of it until a customer asks where there item is, or is on the ball enough to spot that something is amiss.

    Have you had any? I thought it was a scam at first, but checking your Paypal transactions shows the customers payment has been received.

    I thought it might be worth highlighting anyway.

    Thanks, Paul

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for letting me know about this!

      Maybe customer sent money manually via PayPal, not through eBay?

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew,

        It was definitely a glitch and not a direct payment, Paypal acknowledged one of them through email and refunded the customer as a goodwill payment, although I sent the goods anyway in this instance. The first was late last year, and I had two this week, so it’s obviously not fixed!

        Paul

  3. Graham Commander

    Hi Andrew, I just applied and was accepted for eBay partnership, but I had a message about tax
    Which I have to update my info before I can get started

    I’m unsure about this, as I live in the U.K and I’m retired, but run my own website through Worldprofit
    I’m into my 3rd year with them and running my site, I really don’t want to inform HMS tax about my part time business, and run the risk of losing pension payments and other benefits

    So must I update tax info, in order to work with eBay partnership?
    As I have not paid tax since I left work in 1984

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Graham,

      But if you run a business, you have to declare it and register with HMRC anyway, right?

      So I don’t know really what to suggest apart from sorting things out at your end….

      Andrew

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