March 18, 2016 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #57

questions-answers-57Welcome Back!

It’s been a very productive week in our office, and we’ve tested the new Clicker Press I bought inside out. I wrote a separate blog post earlier this week about my new press, so take a look at that if you missed it. It’s actually a LOT of fun to use and I’ve found myself walking around asking other people to give me some cutting jobs – it turns out some manual work like this is a great way to relax yourself during a long day sitting (standing) in front of the PC.

Some of you may be wondering why I’ve covered so many “in house manufacturing” tactics on my blog recently? Because I’m a huge fan of creating/manufacturing products you can sell, for reasons outlined in my previous posts. Currently I’m considering purchasing a laser cutter machine and a 3D printer and will of course do posts on them if and when I get these new machines in!

But back to our Q&A and today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • How to speed up Turbo Lister when uploading bulk listings?
  • What is a reasonable shipping cost for a SAMPLE from China?
  • Do you need to upgrade to a Business account from day one?
  • Can you buy from China with a personal debit/credit card?
  • What keywords should you use when doing research on Terapeak?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have learned a TON through your blog and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to do this.

I use Turbo Lister and have recently changed the way I list items to make my process “faster”. However, I have run into some major time spent uploading the listings and would like to see if you have any advice on how to speed this up?

Here is what I generally do on Turbo Lister:

  • I have templates for various items (clothing, electronics, car parts, toys, etc.) and I open the particular template to create a listing;
  • I use HTML for my item description and add self-hosted images in that section.
  • I save that information, and upload pictures from a file on my PC (after changing from self-hosted back to eBay picture services).

This saves a LOT of time for creating the listing, however the problem now is that 50 listings take about 1 hour to upload to eBay.

I use Picasa web albums for my self-hosted images and use photos from my PC to download to the EPS section.

I can create a listing in Turbo Lister and use self-hosted photos in the description and the image upload and the listing will take just a few seconds to upload.

My question is, is there a way to add more than one self-hosted image in the pictures so that buyers can view all of your images without having to scroll to the description (when using Turbo Lister eBay will only upload the first self-hosted image)? Also, is there a faster way to upload using my current method with files from my PC using EPS?

Thank you so much!
Nguyen

Hi Nguyen,

No, unfortunately (for some weird reason) TL only uploads 1 self-hosted gallery image so you have no choice but to use eBay’s hosted images for your listing’s gallery pictures. This is a Turbo Lister glitch in my opinion, but it’s been like that for many months now so I wouldn’t expect a quick fix!

As for the upload time – this directly relates to your internet speed, specifically your upload speed, as gallery images are quite large in size (if you use them as you should, at least 1600 x 1600 pixels) and with multiple images x 50 listings that can be several hundred megabytes of data to upload. That’s why it is so slow.

To speed this up, make sure your gallery images are optimised – by this I mean don’t use raw images straight from your camera, as they’re very big in size. Edit them in Photoshop Elements and re-size them to 1600 x 1600 pixels and use the Save for Web feature to save them as JPEG files, with HIGH quality setting @ 60% compression.

This way your images will still look very good but the actual file size will be much smaller.

The other option is to upgrade your internet to a faster service. Now mobile/LTE or fibre optic services can be many times faster than regular internet, so that might be something to look into.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for all the advice on your blog. Just a question on getting a sample – I’ve been quoted $147 for shipping of a dog bed I would like a sample of. This seems really a lot, can you recommend a different shipping method? I’ve read through your pointers but not sure where to start – I’m not in a rush to get it.

Thanks,
Katy

Hi Katy,

Courier is really the only shipping method for samples of this size – everything else will be more expensive.

I don’t know how big the dog bed that you’re ordering is but this quote seems pretty high, if it’s on the smaller side.

The supplier is probably trying to over-charge you for shipping this sample or they’ve included the product cost in this fee?

You should simply tell them that this is an un-reasonably high shipping cost and that they should charge you what it actually costs.

If they don’t agree, I would probably look for another supplier who charges a reasonable shipping fee for samples.

Hi Andrew,

I’m a little confused and could do with some advice please.

I work full-time but am looking to start an eBay business, initially part-time, with the hope that it can one day replace my job and become a full-time venture.

What I am confused about is this, although I have a business idea, do I need to register a business account and start a shop straight away once I have some bulk stock in place? Would I be in contravention of eBay rules by selling wholesale stock on a normal account while building my capital?

Also, at what point would I need to legally register my business, or can I trade on eBay initially without doing so?

I’m excited at the prospect of what I intend to do, but just need a little advice on how to properly go about it, I hope you can help.

Many thanks!
David

Hi David,

A basic Shop subscription on eBay is totally optional – it’s not directly related to the account type you have, which means that even personal account owners can open a Basic Shop. For a Featured shop or higher, you need to be a Business seller, though most people really only need a Basic shop anyway.

And there are no clear/definite rules on when you HAVE to upgrade to a Business Seller. They advise you to register as a business seller if you buy goods in wholesale to resell for profit but obviously there’s no way for them to check this. So you’re perfectly fine starting out with a personal account.

If you have account limits in place (for selling), then, when you request an increase of these limits, eBay may ask you to upgrade to a Business account. There are no penalties or anything like that – they will just ask you to upgrade to a Business account to raise your selling limits.

Also, if you plan to turn this into a full-time business, you’ll want to get a Top rated seller account anyway. And to get it, you need to have a Business Account. So what I recommend you do is start your business as a private seller and see how it goes, if you reach your goals and the whole venture is a success then upgrade to a Business account. This could be within 1-3 months, depending on how productive you are.

The same thing goes for legally registering your business – you can trade for the first few months as it is and if you see that the idea is taking off, register as a sole trader or Ltd. company, whichever option works best for you. I have a separate guide on business registration for eBay sellers here.

Hello Andrew

I have read a lot of your blog but can’t seem to find the answer to this question – sorry if I have missed it.

When I import from China and use DHL as my courier do I need to declare my import with some kind of form? I am reading a lot about customs clearance but cannot find a good answer to my question online. I am a first time importer and this has me worried.

Also can you purchase your products using a personal debit/credit card? Somebody told me that’s a big no no but I am not even registered as a business yet?

One last thing, sorry for taking up so much of your time, but I’ve also been told that the laws on importing will be changing sometime around May, will you be doing a blog post on that?

Thanks,
Sam

Hi Sam,

DHL will handle the declaration/customs process for you. They just use the invoice attached to your shipment (if there is one) OR they’ll contact you for an invoice and proof of payment. They then use this info to declare your goods and calculate the applicable taxes.

You can purchase goods from China (or any other country) with your personal card, why not? Unless there are some reasons specific to you, which I’m obviously not aware of?

And lastly, sorry but I haven’t heard of any major changes in importing coming in May. Of course if there are any such changes, I will definitely do a post covering them.

Hello Andrew!

My name is Zrinka and I am looking to start an eBay store.

I have followed your instructions from this post and came up with a couple of final products. The guide was extremely helpful, so thank you for that. What I am wondering now is how exact are Terapeak numbers (I have been searching on ebay.co.uk only)?

For example, one of the products that would be best to sell according to the steps I took is a leather studded harness for dogs. Terapeak says it has a 96% sell-through rate, 2 sellers per day and 1717.73USD total sales per 30 days. But when I search for it on ebay.co.uk there are many more sellers, and it doesn’t seem like any of them have much sales. Should I be aiming for products that have more sellers per day?

How do I know if Terapeak is correct as some results simply don’t seem logical?

Thank you very much!

Kind regards,
Zrinka

Hi Zrinka,

When doing research on Terapeak, you always have to remember that Terapeak uses listing titles for market analysis and for the data that is presented to you.

So you have to use the RIGHT keywords to get accurate data. This means don’t use overly specific phrases that only apply to a few listings, but at the same time don’t use too broad a search either, as this will skew the results you get.

If we take your example of “leather studded harness for dogs” – this is way too specific a phrase to use – not many potential buyers would use that search phrase, if any at all. And as you can see, when you use a phrase like this, you get results from just 2 listings and 2 sellers, which is too small a data pool to draw any conclusions from.

What you should search for instead is keyword phrases like:

  • Leather Dog Harness
  • Dog Harness
  • Leather Harness

Keywords like these will cover a much wider range of listings and give you more accurate results.

***

Okay, that’s it for today.

If you have a question you want me to cover on the weekly Questions & Answers blog post, get in touch with me via my helpdesk here and I will personally get back to you within 24h, Mon-Fri.

Next week we’ll have a fan favourite post on this blog – a detailed eToro Update for 2016!

Enjoy your weekend!

Andrew

2 Comments
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  1. “Currently I’m considering purchasing a laser cutter machine and a 3D printer.”

    Can I add a CNC machine to your list? 😉

    I’d like to hear if/when you do buy a laser cutter, as I’m interested in that too. As an aside, you can use a CNC machine with a special laser head to do both routing and laser cutting so two machines in one.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      No need for a CNC machine in my business. But who knows – maybe in future! 🙂

      Thanks,
      Andrew

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