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Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #55

February 26, 2016 by Andrew Minalto
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questions-answers-55Welcome Back!

This week on the blog we had a look at how to find out the best selling variation for any product on eBay, and I also had a little rant about the poor experience I had trying to buy an air compressor for my own business.

Next week – SAT 3.0 finally goes live, which will be accompanied by the 5th and final product showcase article covering, you guessed it, SAT!

Here are the questions I will be answering in today’s post:

  • By what percentage will my sales increase from using a PRO template?
  • What’s the best way to learn importing from China?
  • Can you use another person’s eBay & PayPal accounts for a business?
  • How to sell the same product on two eBay sites?
  • Which shipping method is cheapest and easiest?
  • Is it more expensive to use freight forwarders?
  • Do I have to pay VAT & import duty to a Chinese supplier?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

Obviously you do spicy auction templates and I have used templates in the past, though at the moment I don’t currently have one. Now I understand that having a decent looking professional template creates a better experience for buyers as well as giving your business a better image and an overall boost in sales, but what are the statistics behind this? I can’t seem to find this information anywhere, so by having a professional template what increase will there be on my sales and conversion rate?

Kind regards,

Hi Christian,

That’s a good question. Unfortunately there are no such statistics available simply because it’s nearly impossible to test such things on eBay where rankings change constantly.

From my experience working with many different sellers, there’s definitely an increase in conversion rates after upgrading to a custom template with good images and proper formatting. But by what % exactly, that’s hard to say as there hasn’t been any proper testing done.

The overall effect will also depend a lot on what you sell. For example, if you sell industrial machinery parts, your buyers won’t be that concerned about how the listing looks as long as the description is clear and the product is what they’re looking for. On the other hand, with many products that are perceived visually, such as clothing, accessories, phone cases, furniture etc., a professional image can basically make or break your business.

Product images are still the number one, most important visual selling tool followed by good listing layout and formatting. So even if you can’t afford a listing template, make sure your product images look superb!

Hello Andrew,

I came across your website online after searching the internet for many weeks and your posts on importing have really helped me.

I am looking for someone to point me in the right direction, and provide me with useful information. I have recently started up a clothing business and have been advertising on Twitter and Instagram. I am only very small at the moment and very new and currently building up my stock bit by bit.

I really need to import items from China as I cannot compete with others if I do not, and I simply can’t meet the demands of my customers.

I was hoping you could recommend a trusted website/supplier to order from, and help me understand my first order.

My lack of understanding regarding this is the only thing that’s really holding me back.

I hope you can help.

Kind Regards,

Hi Kimberley,

Importing from China is really not something I can teach you/explain in detail in an email reply. It’s quite a large topic that covers:

  • Understanding the basics
  • Searching for suppliers
  • Verifying suppliers
  • Ordering samples
  • Payment methods
  • Factory inspection
  • Shipping
  • Taxes
  • etc. etc.

I would recommend you check out my Easy Auction Business video course, in which I cover the whole importing process in great detail.

Hi Andrew,

Love the blog! It has inspired me to start an eBay business importing from China.

I have a couple of questions I would really appreciate your help with as I just cannot find the answers.

I have to use my brother’s PayPal account as PayPal won’t give me one for minor incidents about 10 years ago, how big of a problem is that with tax issues? Will he have to be the sole trader or can I still register as the sole trader using his PayPal account? As I am technically unemployed and he works full time I don’t want him getting a big tax bill for this?

It’s also on his eBay account but I’ve turned that into a business account so will that matter?

Also if you don’t mind one last unrelated question; how does the import tax get paid when using a courier?

Thank you very very much!!

Hi Sam,

No, I’m afraid you can’t use your brother’s PayPal account like this. It has to be in your own name.

If you use your brother’s PayPal account, he would have to register as a sole trader and be the owner of this business OR you would have to register a partnership with him and then probably open a new account together. The same would really apply to eBay as well – the person who owns the business should also be the one who owns the eBay/PayPal accounts, to stay 100% in line with the law.

As for import taxes when using a courier to ship from China – it’s a very simple process. Once the goods arrive in the UK, the courier company will contact you and send an invoice for you to pay before your order is delivered. Some companies even deliver the package first and send the invoice afterwards. Either way – you’ll be contacted and the courier will give you info & instructions on what you need to do.

Hope this helps!

Hi Andrew

I have a particular listing that sells well but I currently only have it listed on ebay.co.uk offering international postage. Now I get a few international sales (mainly Germany) but I actually want to go on to ebay.de and list the same item there (in a translated version).

I read on one of your previous posts that to truly sell internationally you can’t just offer international postage on ebay.co.uk, you have to actually sell the item on that particular site, which is what I want to do. Have I understood you correctly? You did say this didn’t you?

Anyway my question is – would this not be classed as a duplicate listing and potentially be removed?


Hi Christian,

Yes, this is exactly how it works.

If you have the same item listed on eBay.co.uk, you can’t offer shipping to the specific country that you have a second listing for. So in this case you can list the item on eBay.de and offer local delivery there but you need to remove the shipping to Germany option on your eBay.co.uk listing.

Now, of course there’s the question of how eBay would actually know there’s a duplicate listing if you use a translated description and title, and different images. The most likely answer is they wouldn’t know, but still, if we’re following eBay’s rules then you’d have to do it in the way I described.

Part of the reason for introducing product identifiers is to fight such duplicate listings – as they can now clearly see which item you have listed where. But obviously, if it’s your own brand or un-branded item, you could simply assign a new EAN code to it and it would look like a unique product 🙂

Hello Andrew,

I want to start Importing from China to sell on eBay and I have a few questions which I would be more than happy if you could help me with.

1. What shipping methods are the cheapest and easiest to use when importing? I read your guidance about shipping methods and am still lost!
2. Is it much more expensive to use a freight forwarder?
3. Do I need insurance for shipping from China and to the customer? What type of insurance would I need?
4. What are the best methods for delivering products to my customers?
5. What are the eBay fees?
6. How can you make any profit if there are so many expenses?

Thank you for your time,

Hi Miya,

I will answer your questions one by one:

1) The cheapest and easiest won’t be the same here, that is if we’re talking about large orders. Sea freight will always be the cheapest method for 1 pallet orders and above while the easiest way is to use a courier (very expensive for heavy/large orders!).

On the other hand if it’s just a 10kg – 30kg small package, then a courier will be the cheaper and easier option, as they take care of the customs clearance procedure for you and deliver the goods straight to your door.

So it all comes down to how heavy and big your shipment is.

2) No, not at all. In fact when using air freight or sea freight, using a freight forwarder can be cheaper than arranging everything on your own. When you contact freight forwarders, always ask for a Door to Door quote so you know exactly how much you’re going to pay for the whole service.

3) Yes, you would want to take out insurance when shipping from China. Some companies will include standard insurance in the price, some will ask for a small extra fee to cover this. So please ask your shipping company for terms and pricing on insurance.

4) This depends on the size, weight and customer location (UK, EU etc.). In general, for small packages up to 1-2kg, Royal Mail is the cheapest option. For bigger packages you’ll want to use a courier company.

5) eBay fees are clearly available on eBay’s help pages:


6) By buying at the lowest price possible and doing careful calculations of all extra costs BEFORE you purchase any products.

I can see that you’re new to all of this so you really have to learn more before you start importing or selling anything. Check out my step by step video course called Easy Auction Business which will show you how to get going and start an eBay business.

Hi Andrew,

I have just read your article on VAT and import taxes when buying goods from China and have a couple of questions.

At what point are both of these paid? For example is the VAT normally added on to the price they quote me, or will it be added on once it comes to payment?

I have been quoted shipping costs of £98 door to door for my first order. Does this mean the import taxes are included? If not when and how are they paid?

Many thanks,

Hi David,

Thanks for your email.

The VAT and import duty are paid when goods arrive in the UK.

It has nothing to do with your supplier in China! You don’t pay any taxes to your supplier.

When your goods arrive in the UK, the shipping company calculates the taxes due and provides documentation to customs and then you pay any applicable VAT and import duty.


Okay, that’s it for today.

It’s very interesting to me that every week I receive a lot of questions about import duty, VAT and shipping, even though I have covered all of these topics in great detail. This only shows that for many people the whole importing process is still a mystery and maybe I need to put together some more posts on it. So stay tuned for that!

Remember, all you have to do to get your question featured on our weekly Q&A post is to contact me via the helpdesk here and I will personally get back to you within 24 hours, Mon.-Fri. and pick the best questions for next week’s post.

Enjoy your weekend!


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