101 Guide to Product Sourcing & Selling on eBay by Charlie Choo - HTML preview
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Developing Your Business With Wholesale Suppliers.............................................................................. 6
Why do you need a Wholesale Supplier?............................................................................................... 6
Deciding what to sell .................................................................................................................................. 7
Different Types of Wholesale Suppliers...................................................................................................... 9
What kind of supplier do you want to work with?................................................................................... 9
Drop shippers............................................................................................................................................ 10
Finding reliable wholesalers, drop shippers and manufacturers....................................................... 11
Finding suppliers on eBay....................................................................................................................... 12
How to make sure your supplier is reliable............................................................................................... 17
Basic checks.............................................................................................................................................. 17
Dealing with new suppliers...................................................................................................................... 20
Other Considerations When Using a Wholesale Supplier...................................................................... 22
Things you need to consider................................................................................................................... 22
Wholesalers, Drop shippers & Manufacturers.......................................................................................... 25
Some organizations to get you started.................................................................................................. 25
Wholesalers & Drop shippers ................................................................................................................. 25
How to Stand Out on eBay.......................................................................................................................... 27
Why you need to stand out from the competition ................................................................................ 27
Study the competition............................................................................................................................... 27
Look professional...................................................................................................................................... 28
Be professional ......................................................................................................................................... 29 FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Taking Your eBay Business to the Next Level......................................................................................... 30
Ideas to help your eBay business really take off ................................................................................. 30
Recommended Reading.............................................................................................................................. 36 FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Developing Your Business With Wholesale Suppliers Why do you need a Wholesale Supplier?
The vast majority of people selling on eBay today, started out by selling a few things they had lying around the house. They soon realized that, not only was it incredibly easy to find hungry buyers on eBay, but also these buyers were prepared to buy just about anything.
If you’ve seen the amazing potential eBay offers, and have decided you want to increase your eBay sales, what next? However much unwanted clutter you have lying around the house, garage, or attic, sooner or later you are going to run out of things to sell.
Many successful eBay sellers will crawl all over yard sales, second hand shops, and the classified ads to try and find something cheap which they can then sell on for a profit. But this is unlikely to offer a reliable supply, and what if you want to sell items that aren’t available?
If you’ve decided you want to develop your eBay business, or any e-commerce business where you’re selling products, you’re going to need to find a wholesale supplier. A reputable and reliable supplier should be able to provide you with a volume of products at discounted prices, which you can then resell to make a profit, often with very healthy profit margins.
For some, the idea of working with a wholesaler might be a little daunting. How do you go about finding a reputable supplier who won’t rip you off, and when you find one, how do you approach them and what can you expect from them? The growth of the internet and the increase in the number of professional eBay sellers and other small businesses selling online has meant that the traditional image of a wholesale supplier has changed.
They are now much easier to find, easier to approach, and prepared to offer much more flexibility when it comes to dealing with small businesses, or traders who are starting out. Occasionally, you might come across a supplier who insists they are “trade only”, but as long as you are buying their products to resell in some shape or form, then you are a trader.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
So you’ve decided you want to grow your eBay business, and to do this you are going to need a wholesale supplier. Before you start contacting suppliers, making agreements and ordering goods, you need to do a bit of planning. You’re taking the first steps towards building a business, and any good business needs a plan.
Deciding what to sell
Firstly, you need to decide what you’re going to sell. You’ve probably already sold a variety of items on eBay, things you had lying around the house that you wanted to get rid of, or second hand items you picked up cheap from a yard sale. If you haven’t, then this is a great way to start as it gets your familiar with the selling process, and gets your some capital built up that you can use for buying in bulk. Deciding what you are going to sell will help make your search for a wholesaler easier. It’s always best to decide on a product and then try and find a supplier, rather than just pick a wholesaler and try and sell what they are offering.
Do you want to focus on low-priced items that are easier to sell? They’ll probably have lower profit margins but if you can sell a high volume of them you should still make a good profit. Or do you want to look at more expensive products that have more value to your customers? You might sell less, but the profit on each item will make it worthwhile.
The easiest way to answer these questions, and to be successful, is to sell what people want. If you spend some time now finding markets that are full of buyers ready to spend their money, it will make choosing products, and selling them, a lot easier. Notice that you are looking for hot markets rather than just hot products. Popular products come and go, but if you find a market that has people who are passionate about a topic, and prepared to spend money on it, you can then source a range of products to sell to them.
There are obvious hot markets; designer clothes, bags, sunglasses, and anything to do with iPods and mobile phones. However, there’s going to be a lot of competition and finding a reputable supplier who’ll provide stock at a price that makes you competitive, without having to invest a small fortune, is going to be tough. There are plenty of other successful categories on eBay, so take some time to look around and find a good niche.
There are plenty of free tools that can help you see what’s selling well, so you can decide what market you want to get into. eBay Pulse is great for seeing the most popular items in eBay’s categories, as well as what people are searching for, and should give you someFREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
ideas. There are other tools you can pay for that can give you much more detailed information, such as Terapeak, which many professional sellers use to find potential markets.
Once you’ve decided what market you are going to focus on, and the kind of products you want to sell, you can check out the completed listings on eBay to a) make sure these products are selling, and b) see what price they are selling at so you know if you are going to make money when you start sourcing them from wholesalers. Deciding on your market and your products can take a bit of work, but it will help you find suppliers, and give your business a greater chance of success.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
You need to decide what type of supplier you want to work with. There are essentially three types; wholesalers, drop shippers, and manufacturers and there are pros and cons with each of them.
You will be able to find a huge number of suppliers across the world, for all sorts of products, particularly in Asia and the Far East. To get started though, it’s a good idea to stick to suppliers that are local - you should still be able to find plenty of choice and products at competitive prices. Then once you have more experience with wholesalers you can start working with suppliers in places like China, and benefit from the deals they offer.
Wholesalers buy large quantities of goods from the manufacturers and then sell them off in bulk to businesses, who in turn sell the items individually. Because you order items in larger quantities, the wholesaler charges you a cost per unit that will be below the market price; so when you sell each item, you make a profit. The larger the order you can place with the wholesaler, the more discount per unit you are likely to get.
There are pros and cons to using a wholesaler, and deciding if it’s the right choice for you will depend a lot on your situation. On the upside, a good wholesaler can provide a reliable supply of the items you want to sell, at a price that means you will make a profit. On the downside, most wholesalers are likely to have a minimum order size, which could mean you have to invest quite a bit of capital up front, as well as have somewhere to keep your stock, and if for some reason they don’t sell, you could be stuck with them. If you’re importing from abroad, you also need to be aware of any taxes, customs duties and regulations that might apply.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Drop shippers offer a unique twist to sourcing wholesale items. Instead of supplying the goods to you in bulk for you to sell to your customers, they will ship them directly to your customers. Each time you make a sale to your customer, you purchase the item from the drop shipper and provide them with your customers address. The drop shipper then packages and sends the item without you having to get involved. Whilst you’re not placing bulk orders with the drop shipper, they should still offer enough discount on each item for you to make a profit.
Using drop shippers can be a great option when you’re starting out as it takes away some of the risks. You don’t have to invest in lots of stock, you simply buy from the drop shipper when you’ve sold an item. Also, you don’t have to worry about where to keep your stock as the drop shipper sends the goods straight to your customer for you. A slight negative of using drop shippers is that you will make less margin on your sales as drop shippers usually offer lower discounts and need to cover the cost of shipping. You also need to make sure your drop shipper is reliable, as any wrong or lost orders to your customers will reflect badly on you.
Wholesalers and drop shippers work by buying large quantities of products from the manufacturer and then selling them on to traders. Once you’ve got some more experience dealing with suppliers and understand how the process works, there’s no reason why you can’t deal direct with the manufacturers in order to get even greater profit margins. Just as with other suppliers, if you can meet their terms, a lot of manufacturers in places like China will be more than happy to deal with you direct.
When dealing directly with manufacturers you will usually have to make a significant investment in stock, so the issues of working capital and storage come up again. However, if your business is established, you have the space and can afford the investment, this could be a great way to increase your profits because manufacturers can always offer the best prices. Again, you need to make sure you are aware of the taxes, customs duties and other regulations that apply, but dealing with a manufacturer can mean other benefits as well as increased profits, which we’ll look at later.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Finding reliable wholesalers, drop shippers and manufacturers
Once you’ve decided which kind of supplier you want to work with, you then need to find one that can provide a reliable supply of the products you want to sell. Of course the internet has made finding most things a lot easier, but there are still a few of ways you can go about finding your supplier.
The easiest way is to go to Google and search for “wholesalers” or “drop shippers”. But this isn’t necessarily the best way as it really opens you up to the thousands of scams that are operating which target people looking for suppliers. To make sure you’re working with a good wholesaler, you could try using any of the numerous wholesaler and drop shipper directories.
These are websites that have hundreds, if not thousands of wholesalers and drop shippers for you to choose from all in one place. These directories are very popular, so you’re unlikely to uncover a supplier that few others are working with, and you might have to pay a membership fee to get access to the information. However, it is a quick and easy way to find wholesalers, and some of the better directories will have done some checks on the suppliers to make sure they’re reliable
If you’re prepared to do a bit more work, a good way to find a reliable wholesaler is to actually get in touch with the manufacturer of the product you want to sell. If you call them up and tell them that you want to sell their product and could they give you a list of their wholesalers, most of them will be happy to give you the information because it’s going to mean more sales. You might need to make a few calls to get through to the person who can give you the details, but it could be worth it as you are likely to get the names of reliable suppliers, which your competition might not know about.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a method of selling and distributing goods wherein the distributor or supplier of the product (the dropshipper) sends the product directly to the end user (your customer) on the retailer’s behalf (that’s you).The process of dropshipping is relatively simple. It involves three parties who take a product from manufacturing to market. Let’s use a blue widget as a sample product to demonstrate the process:
• The blue widget manufacturer: This is the company that manufactures the blue widgets. This widget manufacturer does not sell directly to the public or supply the retailers who ultimately sell the blue widgets to the end user. They prefer to use distributors to handle the task of taking their blue widgets to market. The manufacturer sells blue widgets by the truckload to distributors and charges $5 per blue widget.
• The blue widget distributor (dropshipper): This is the company that purchases blue widgets in bulk from the manufacturer and supplies them to resellers and retailers at a cost of $7 each. The distributor does not ship blue widgets to the retailer, but fills orders on the retailer’s behalf as the retailer sells the widgets to its customers.
• The blue widget retailer: This is the company that sells blue widgets to the public. In this example YOU are the blue widget retailer. The retailer orders the blue widgets from the distributor as they are sold (usually one at a time) and has the distributor ship the blue widget directly to its customer. The retailer sells blue widgets to the public for $10 each, which means that for every blue widget sold the retailer nets $3.Note: It is not unusual for the manufacturer and distributor to be one and the same. FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
The Step-By-Step Process For Using A Dropshipper There are seven steps involved and they are as follows: STEP 1: Choose A Product To Sell The very first step in any sales process is deciding what product to sell. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are many factors that should be considered before deciding on a product. We’ll talk more about the product selection process later, but for now let’s say that you decide to sell CD players on eBay.
STEP 2: Locate A Supplier Who Will Dropship For You Using a research tool like Google, Thomas Register, or an industry-specific resource like The Ultimate eBay Dropship Power Pak, you search for and find a company who will dropship CD players for you.The company offers you a 35% mark up over cost, which means that they will supply the CD players to you for $100 each and you should be able to retail them for $135.
STEP 3: Set Up An Account With The Dropshipper You contact the company that can supply the CD players and set up a reseller account with them. This can often be done online or by phone, but some companies will require that you complete and return a reseller application to open an account.Some companies may also require a tax ID and business license. If you are serious about your business, you should get these items. We’ll discuss this more shortly.
STEP 4: Advertise The Product For Sale Now that you have your supplier lined up, it’s time to make a sale. You advertise the product using an eBay auction. Since you know what you must pay the dropshipper for the product, you know what the minimum amount you will take for the product. In this case you start your auction at $100 since that is your cost.
If you are confident that you can get more than $100 for the product you can start with a lower price, but remember that if the product goes for less than what it costs you to fill the order, you will lose money. Also remember that the dropshipper will charge shipping, so you should figure that into your sale.
STEP 5: The Product Sells Great news: your CD player sells $135 and your customer pays you with a PayPal instant payment. I highly recommend that if you are selling on eBay you use PayPal or some other online processor to accept instant payments. ThisFREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
allows the customer to pay you immediately, which gets the money in your account immediately, which lets you place the order with the dropshipper immediately. Get the idea?
STEP 6: Place The Order With The Dropshipper After your customer pays you, you should contact the dropshipper immediately to order the product on your customer’s behalf. The dropshipper then ships the order to your customer under your company name and address.
STEP 7: Follow Up After The Sale This is where many new business people drop the ball. Just because your customer has paid you and you’ve placed the order with the dropshipper does not mean that you are out of the loop. Quite the contrary, if there are problems with the order you are the one that will be held responsible in the eyes of your customer.
Be proactive in your customer relations. Follow up with your customer to let them know that the item has been shipped. Offer yourself as the personal contact for any issues that may arise.This is also a great way to sell that customer more products. Invite them to check out your eBay store or website if you have one. FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
What Kind Of Profit Margins Can You Expect?That depends on the product you sell and the company which you get it from. Most dropship margins vary from 25% to 75%. My advice is this: if you can’t make at least 40% on the product, find something else to sell.
Can I Make Money Off The Shipping Charges? There is no faster way to turn off potential customers than by padding shipping fees. People are not stupid. They know that it does not cost $30 to ship a six ounce figurine, so do yourself a favor and don’t try this. It will end up costing you more money in lost sales than you would ever make on shipping.
Many sellers take the approach of inflating shipping costs and selling the product for less. This is fine within reason, but grossly over-inflated shipping costs will brand you as a crook in the eyes of the average eBay buyer and they will not buy from you. They think you are trying to rip them off, which in reality, you are.
I recently considered buying an $800 watch on eBay, then saw that the seller was charging $35 shipping. I would have expected a $10 shipping fee, but $35 was way out of line. I really wanted that watch, but not badly enough to pay such exorbitant fees for shipping.
Find out what the dropshipper charges you for shipping and pass that on to your customer. If you feel you should make a dollar for your troubles that’s fine, but don’t double the shipping fees or you will lose sales.On the flip side, always make sure you’re charging enough for shipping to cover your costs. If you are not using a dropshipper, but shipping the item yourself, always charge enough for shipping and handling to cover your entire cost, not just the cost of postage.
My rule of thumb for shipping has always been to take the actual cost of shipping and add a fair amount to compensate me for my materials, time and trouble. This is the honest way to do it.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com Remember, it’s called shipping and handling, which means you need to cover your costs of packing materials, shipping costs, insurance, your time and effort, etc. FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Finding suppliers on eBay
If you’re still unsure about dealing with a wholesaler, or are struggling to find a good drop shipper, there is a readily available source of wholesale products, which you’re already familiar with - eBay. For most of the main eBay categories you can find a sub-category for Wholesale Lots. Here you can find other professional sellers, as well as wholesalers and manufacturers, who are usually offering a number of products in a single lot. You might be able to find the product you want to sell, or other products for your market, buy them as a lot and then sell them on individually to make a profit.
How to make sure your supplier is reliable
However you find your new supplier, once you’ve found them you need to make sure they are reliable. Whilst you can never be 100% certain until you start working with them, there are a few things you should do with any new wholesaler you are thinking of working with, especially when you are just starting out.
Check your supplier is a registered business - Most, if not all countries will require wholesale suppliers to be registered businesses. They should have a registration number of some sort, or documentation to prove they are a registered business, which you can ask for a copy of. There are usually government or official websites within each country where you can verify business registration numbers (and your supplier) are genuine. Examples of some useful sites for checking businesses in that country are below.http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
China is a little bit more difficult because, even though all legitimate businesses will be registered with the Bureau of Industry & Commerce, the websites that can check this registration are all in Chinese. Genuine Chinese suppliers should however have an ICP registration number on their website, and if you have any doubts, it may be worth paying for someone who understands Chinese to check them out for you.
Verify their website & e-mail details - Established wholesale suppliers should have a proper website and their e-mails should come from addresses related to this website. You can use the WHOIS website look-up tool to check the registered details for the site to make sure they match what the supplier is telling you, and be wary of e-mails that are supposedly from the company you are dealing with, but use a free Hotmail or Gmail account.
Look for reviews and get references - The internet is great for finding suppliers, and it’s also great for finding out what their customers think about them. Search on Google for reviews of any wholesalers you are considering and see what kind of experience other users have had. Be aware that just because a supplier has some bad feedback, it might not mean they are unreliable. There are always going to be difficult and demanding customers who will be happy to tell you how the issues they had were all the wholesaler’s fault, so try and look at as many reviews as possible to get a balanced view.
You can also ask the supplier to provide you with references from your country that you can check out. These should be current or previous customers who you can get in touch with to verify that the wholesaler was reliable and able to provide quality products at a reasonable price, and with a good level of service.
Make sure their products are genuine - If you’re planning to sell branded items, particularly designer or high-priced products, you need to make sure that your wholesaler isn’t going to supply you with imitation or fake products. If they are a genuine wholesaler, they should be able to show you some kind of documentation from the manufacturer. If you’re in any doubt, you can always get in touch with the manufacturer and ask them to verify the wholesaler is a genuine supplier. If you are planning to sell branded items, you might want to inform the manufacturer so eBay doesn’t delist your items for possible copyright infringements.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Visit the supplier - If you’ve managed to find a local supplier you’ve got the benefit of being able to go and visit them. This is great for being able to check them out, and also for building a good relationship. If you’re supplier is further away, or even in a different country, going to see them may not always be possible. It’s worth asking the wholesaler if they have a satellite office in your country - if they do quite a bit of trade with your country they may have a small office that you could visit.
Check their banking information - Ask the supplier to provide a reference for the bank that holds their business account (make sure it’s a business account and not a personal account) and contact the bank to confirm that the wholesaler is a trading customer. You might find that some banks won’t give you the information you need. If you explain you are trying to set up a payment facility to the supplier and need to confirm their details, this might help. If not, and you have any concerns about the wholesaler, it may be worth paying for a proper credit check.
It’s worth pointing out that whilst following this advice is not a guarantee that you’ll never have any issues with your supplier, but it should minimize problems and hopefully make them easier to deal with. As a general rule, be careful of any wholesale suppliers who come across as unprofessional, are overly pushy when trying to get your business, or want to charge a “membership fee” before they will supply to you.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Dealing with new suppliersAfter you’ve done your checks and decided which wholesaler you are going to work with, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the best out of the relationship.
Use the phone rather than e-mail - The internet makes it possible to find suppliers anywhere in the world and quickly and easily get in touch with them by e-mail. But there are advantages to picking up the phone and speaking to your wholesaler as well. To begin with, if you can speak to a new contact and get any questions answered, you’ll feel a lot happier about dealing with them.
You’ll probably find you develop a better relationship with them as well, which could mean better deals. Being able to talk to someone on the phone will also mean it’s easier to sort out any issues. You’ll probably find that even wholesalers in other countries have someone who speaks your language and is happy to help you.
Get samples or a small trial order - Before you place your first order with a new supplier, ask them for a sample or a small trial order. Most will be happy to do this and you should be wary of any that aren’t. Even though you’ll probably have to pay the market price of the items, it’s worth it to make sure that when you do place an order, you’re going to get exactly what you’re expecting. You should definitely do this if you’re using a new drop shipper, as you’re not going to see the product before it gets to your customer.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate - Some people are natural hagglers and some people aren’t, but any wholesaler is going to be used to negotiating and it’s something you should be prepared to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price than you’ve been quoted. Even if you’re a new customer the supplier might be prepared to give you a little more off, and when you start placing regular orders you’re in a good position to ask for a bigger discount. If you can get an extra few cents off each unit and you are selling a decent volume of them each month, it’s all extra profit for you.
Start small - If you think you’ve found a reliable supplier offering products with a good discount, there can be a temptation to jump in with both feet, after all, the more you sell the more money you will make, right? When you’re starting out, start small. There are so many factors influencing whether or not you’re going to be successful, you want to make sure you’ve got everything right before you make any big investments.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
You need to make sure you’ve got the right product for your market, at the right price. Making your first order with a new supplier a small one might mean you don’t get as big a discount, but you won’t be tying up large amounts of money in stock that you’re going to have to store somewhere, and that you’re not even sure will sell. Once you’ve sold all the products from your first order, you can reinvest the profit in a bigger order next time. Then you can gradually develop your business based on your success.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Other Considerations When Using a Wholesale Supplier
Things you need to consider
When you decide to go from selling a few spare things in eBay to starting an eBay business, finding a reliable supplier isn’t the only thing you need to think about. Because you are starting a business, there are a number of other things you need to think about. Not all of these will apply to you straight away, and they will vary depending on which country you live in, but here are some of the things you will need to consider.
Register as a business - The first thing you want to do is to register as a business on eBay. You can either create a new business account or change your personal account into a business account (once this is done you can’t change it back). Creating a business account will keep your personal and business trading separate, and allow you to use your business name on all your eBay correspondence, as well as receive tax invoices for your eBay fees.
You should also register with your local tax office and find out if there are any special requirements for starting a business on eBay. Once you have registered as a business, you will be able to take advantage of any tax benefits you are eligible for. For example, you can usually offset your business expenses against any tax you are due to pay. Your local tax office, or a registered tax specialist will be able to advise you on whether you qualify for any tax breaks.
In the US, a Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number is used by various government agencies to identify you as a business. When you first start out, it’s unlikely that you will need to apply for an EIN. However, if you are going to be charging sales tax on the items you are selling you, you will probably need one. Plus, if you want to get a Resale License (see later), you will need get a Federal Tax ID number from your state tax department before you can apply for one.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Tax - Now that you are planning to buy goods to resell, any profit you make is taxable. You will need to keep track of how much you are making and be prepared to declare it in your tax return. There is an upside to telling the tax man about your new business, you should be able to offset any business expenses against the tax you have to pay.
Sales Tax - Depending on where you are based, you might need to add sales tax onto the items you are selling on eBay. In the US for example, different states have different levels of sales tax (although some have none), and you need to add it on to the price of your item for customers in your state. As a general rule, if your customer is outside your state, they don’t need to pay the sales tax.
In the UK if your turnover’s above a certain level you will have to register for Value Added Tax, and then you are responsible for charging this on any items you sell. Again, there is an upside as you can reclaim the VAT you pay on your business expenses and equipment. Different countries have different requirements regarding sales taxes and you need to make sure you know how they affect you and your business.
Import tax - If you are buying products from wholesalers in your own country, they should have dealt with all the taxes and duties for bringing the goods into the country, if they were manufactured abroad. However, if you are using a wholesaler or manufacturer in a different country, you will be responsible for paying any taxes, duties and fees for bringing the goods into the country.
The amount and type of taxes that are due vary from country to country and can also depend on what you are importing. The best advice it to speak to your tax or customs office to find out what you will be liable for. This way you can make sure you pay any taxes and duties that are owed, and factor them into the cost for the items when you sell them.
Export permits for selling abroad - Some countries may require you to have an export license or permit for goods you are selling abroad - depending on what you are selling, where you are selling it, and what it is going to be used for. eBay doesn’t allow you to sell the vast majority of goods that would usually have export restrictions (armaments, medicines etc.), but there may be items that you can sell on eBay that do require a license or permit, for example, antiques, food, plants and seeds. If you are planning to sell internationally, find out if you need any permits and licenses by contacting your Trade Department.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Resale license - In the United States, if you are buying items from a wholesale supplier within the US which you are going to resell, you should get a Resale License. This certifies to the wholesaler that you are a reseller and should enable you to buy goods from the supplier without any sales tax being added. You can get a Resale License from your state tax department, but you will need to have a Federal Tax ID number first (see earlier).
Keep accurate records - When you’re running a business, you need to be professional and keep an accurate record of all your transactions. This includes everything you buy (to resell or to help run your business) so keep all invoices and purchase orders, plus everything you sell and the profit/loss you make. You’re will need all this information for the tax returns you’ll have to complete as a business, plus it will enable you to offset any business expenses against your tax and claim any rebates you qualify for. Your local tax office will advise you of the returns you need to complete, but in time you may want to hire a professional accountant.
Other regulations - Depending on what you sell, and where you sell it, there may be other regulations you have to comply with, or licenses and permits you have to obtain. The kind of products that could be affected by additional regulations are usually prohibited by eBay, but if you sell food products, seeds, gaming machines, or police-related items for example, you should contact your local trade department to see if there are any special requirements for businesses selling these items.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
When you decide to develop your eBay business, finding a good supplier can make or break your business, so it’s important to get it right. To help get you started, below are some of the best places to find wholesalers, drop shippers and manufacturers used by many successful eBayers across the world. This list is provided as a source of information only, and you need to make sure you check each business thoroughly before you enter into any financial arrangement.
Wholesalers & Drop shippers
SaleHoo - SaleHoo is an international directory of over 8000 suppliers across a range of categories. They have a fairly detailed review system so you can see what each supplier is like before you hand over any money. SaleHoo “mystery shop” suppliers to see how they perform, and add a write-up to the supplier’s entry. Other members who’ve used a supplier can leave their feedback as well. There is also a forum where you can ask questions and get advice about any of the suppliers.
Worldwide Brands - Worldwide Brands publishes international wholesale supplier information and is certified by eBay. They specifically focus on the wholesale suppliers that will work with home-based business owners and each one of over 8000 suppliers has been certified by their industry-leading qualification process.
Doba - Doba connects buyers with hundreds of drop shippers, offering over 1 million products. They were one of the original eBay Certified Service Providers and pride themselves on working with new and experienced business owners, so they could be worth a look if you are just starting out.
Wholesale Deals - Wholesale Deals is a UK site that connects buyers with over 59,000 verified international product sources. They offer access to supplier information through a monthly subscription, or you can buy supplier information on individual deals offered on the website..FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
esources.co.uk - Mainly focused on UK-based wholesalers and International wholesalers that will supply the UK, esources is the UK’s largest directory of wholesale suppliers, dropshippers and products.
Global Sources - Global Sources is a media company aimed at bringing international buyers and suppliers together, with a particular focus on manufacturers in China. Each of the suppliers are verified by the company and given a star rating to help you decide if you want to work with them.
MadeinChina.com - MadeinChina.com provides access to 8 million Chinese manufacturers, selling a wide range of quality products. The website provides access to manufacturers, but you will still need to carry out your own checks.
Alibaba.com - Alibaba.com is a leading internet marketplace where buyers across the world can connect and do business with Chinese manufacturers. With 60 offices across the world, Alibaba.com is a well established means of finding Chinese manufacturers.
Hong Kong Trade Development Council - This is the official sourcing website for the HKTDC and gives buyers across the world access to over 120,000 manufacturers that should have been verified by the HKTDC.
Chinese Ministry of Commerce - This is the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s official website which has thousands of manufacturers you can work with, all of which should have been verified by the CMC.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
eBay is renowned for being the place where you can buy and sell just about anything. There are very few things you will be able to source that aren’t already being sold on eBay. Some markets will be more competitive than others, but despite this competition your eBay business can still be a success if you do the right things to make sure your listings and your business stand out from the others.
Study the competition
The best way to beat the competition is to first of all understand them. Look at the other professional sellers in your market and see how they are selling their items. What are they doing that is working well for them and you could copy or adapt? Is there anything that they are not doing well that you could improve on? How much information are they putting in their listings and what do their photographs look like?
By studying the professional sellers that are doing well in your market and learning from what they are doing or spotting things you could do better, you’ll give your business a real jump-start by creating listings that can compete right from the beginning.
You should also pay attention to the sort of prices the other professional sellers are getting. Don’t worry too much about the lower prices the private sellers are getting - they’ll only have 1 or 2 items to sell and aren’t the real competition. Checking out the prices of the professionals who are selling several of the same items everyday will give you a good idea of what the market expects.
Once you know what the market is willing to pay for your product, look to stand out by charging different prices and test the response from your customers. Nobody wants to compete just on price, but there may be some markets where charging a little bit less will give you an edge and still enable you to make a profit. This might be a good idea when you’re starting out and then, when you’re established, you can compete at the same price with the other professionals, by doing other things better.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Of course, it’s not always about being the cheapest in the market. You might want to try charging more than the average market price. This is likely to mean that you will sell less items, but if you are making more profit on the ones you do sell, you could actually end up making more money by being more expensive. Try experimenting with your pricing to see what demand you get and settle on the price that gives you the best overall profit.
Another great way to stand out is to look professional. Think of your eBay listing or store as a retail outlet in the mall or high street. If you were a buyer looking in a badly lit shop window that meant you could hardly see the product you were thinking of buying, or there was just a plain piece of paper with a long list of all the products specifications, and when you did go in to ask the shop keeper a question, he either ignored you or didn’t answer you properly, would that put you in the mood for buying?
Now imagine next-door is a brightly-lit store with all the items out on display so you could see what they looked like in detail, and there was a knowledgeable salesperson who answered all of your questions and pointed out all the benefits of the product and why it was just what you needed - would you be buying now? It’s the same with your eBay listings or your store - if they look professional, well laid out, eye-catching, with all the information the buyer needs and great pictures that really show of the item, you are going to be more successful.
Consider using some of the Listing Upgrade options that are available, such as a Subtitle and Gallery upgrades that help catch the buyer’s attention when they’re looking through the search results. You might want to get your own listing template designed with your business name and branding on it, so that whenever a buyer clicks through to one of your listings, they all have the same look - attractive and professional. If you don’t know how to design your own templates, you can get freelancers on sites like Elance to do it for you. At the very least, look at using some of the theme upgrades eBay offersFREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
One of the simplest ways to stand out on eBay and to be successful is to offer great products, at great prices, with great service. That last bit is important for a number of reasons. Recently, eBay has put a lot of focus on the quality of service sellers give their customers, making it easier for smaller eBay businesses to achieve Top Rated Seller status and get the fee discounts and other benefits that come with it.
To do better than your competition, you should always offer your customers a professional service. This will not only keep your customers coming back to buy from you again, but it will also help in attracting new customers. When buyers search on eBay, the majority of them will be drawn to the sellers who have that little Top Rated Seller logo in their listing. Every seller has a feedback score the buyer can check, but being a Top Rated Seller makes the buyer feel more comfortable dealing with you because they can see that you give a good service.
Previously, you had to sell a lot of items before you could be considered for the Top Rated Seller status, but with eBay reducing the amount you need to turn over, you should try to get your Top Rated Seller status as soon as possible. Achieving it is based on the Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) which your customers can choose to give you when they buy from you. Because they are optional, you should encourage your buyers to provide you with DSRs after every sale, and providing a great service will make sure they are good ones.
Getting Top Rated Seller status will help you stand out from a lot of the other sellers on eBay, you’ll find it easier to get new customers, and you’ll also get discounts off your eBay fees.
You should also think about offering a good Returns Policy for your items. One of buyers’ biggest frustrations is the difficulty they have when they are trying to return an item. Research has shown that sellers who have a clear Returns Policy on their listings are more likely to get a sale, and only a small percentage of the items are actually returned. Buyers feel more inclined to buy from you if they know they can easily return the goods. You will stand out from the other sellers who don’t offer a Returns Policy, and it’s unlikely to cause you any real problems.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Once you can source great products to sell on eBay, your listings look great and your customer service ratings have got you the coveted Top Rated Seller status, you should have built yourself a nice, profitable eBay business. If you want to keep growing your business, there are a number of things you might want to try.
Open an eBay store - If your listings are selling well, and you haven’t already done so, you should look into opening an eBay store. eBay’s own research has shown that sellers who open an eBay store can improve their sale revenue by 25% in the first three months, and there are stories of some sellers seeing improvements of over 100%.
There are some simple criteria you have to meet before you can open a store based on feedback and being PayPal registered, and you’ll have to pay a small monthly fee, but when you think of the benefits, it could well be worth it. You will be able to showcase all your listings in one place for your customers to see. You can brand your shop, giving it a name and look that is unique to your business, to help you promote your business.
Make use of the eBay tools - eBay has a range of tools you can subscribe to that are designed to help you automate and track your business as it grows. The cost will vary depending on which tool you need, but even the basic tools like Turbo Lister and Selling Manager will help you get your listings up quicker, manage your listings better, and help you deal with the after sales tasks that can take up so much of your time. These could be well worth the investment when your volume of listings and sales starts to increase.
Become the specialist in your market - Once you have found a market that works well for you and have had some success selling a few different products and generating repeat business, you should look to develop your business as the specialist within that market. By knowing the products the customers want to buy, and selling them with knowledgeable and professional listings, you can build a reputation for yourself as the person to go to for products in that market.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
This is definitely something you want to encourage, especially if you are in quite a specialist niche, as your customers are very likely to recommend you to other people they know who share the same interest. For example, customers are going to be happy to buy from and recommend you if your eBay store “Buzz Beekeeping” has all the products they want, the prices are good, and you understand their needs and questions and provide a great service. Becoming the specialist in your market can really help your business develop and will give you great opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling your customers.
Get your own website - Once your business is doing well on eBay, you might want to think about getting your own website, especially if your business relies on a lot of repeat purchases from the same customers. Each time they come back and purchase from your eBay store, you have to pay a fee. But if you direct them to your website after their first eBay purchase, there won’t be any fees to deduct from their follow up purchases.
Setting up your own website is nowhere near as difficult as it might seem, and there are plenty of businesses, or freelancers on sites like Elance, who will do it for you, without it costing the earth. You just need a domain name, hosting, someone to build your site, and a way of accepting payment - you could even continue to use PayPal to start with. As sales from your website grow, you can make it more sophisticated and maybe add Shopping Cart facilities so customers can buy more, or improve the design so it does a better job of marketing your products to potential customers.
Create your own brand - It’s very difficult to be the only person selling something on eBay, and if you are, the chances are that it won’t stay that way for long. If you are buying goods direct from manufacturers in places like China, your product will look the same as everyone else who is using that supplier. But if you could sell a unique product, that was in demand, you could probably do quite well. One way to achieve this is by creating your own brand.
By dealing directly with the manufacturers, you might be able to arrange for them to create a product that is individual to you and your business. You could design some branding, or get a freelance designer from Elance to come up with some branding for you, supply it to the manufacturer in China who then adds it to the product and the packaging, and as easy as that you have your own branded product. By taking the time to improve the look of the item you are selling, you have got something unique to your business, and you might even be able to charge more than your competitors.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Promote your eBay business outside eBay - As big as eBay is, the rest of the internet is bigger, and if you only use eBay to market your products for you, you might be missing out. Your listings and eBay store are only going to be seen by customers who are already on eBay. But if you market to other customers on the internet, and drive traffic to your eBay store (or even your own website if you’ve got one set up) you could attract customers that you would have missed out on if you were just relying on eBay.
If you’ve developed a reputation as a specialist in a particular market, you could write reviews for your main products and post them on other websites, blogs, and forums within that niche. If you’re providing really good information, potential customers will like what they see and be tempted to check out your eBay store. You could even start a review blog of your own on one of the free blog sites like Blogger or Wordpress, to drive customers to your store. They’re free and easy to set up and could be a great way of generating new customers.
You might use the knowledge you’ve developed about your niche to create a free information product. This might be a short ebook (so it can be easily e-mailed and downloaded) that your customers will find useful. In it, there will be links to your eBay store or website so that they know where to go to buy any products for that market.
You can even use your ebook as a thank you for repeat customers. They’ll be pleased to get something for nothing, and if they share it with their friends, you might even get more customers. Writing a short ebook about something you know a lot about is nowhere near as hard as it sounds, and it could be a useful marketing tool.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Maintaining Your eBay Business
How to keep a successful eBay business going
Now your eBay business is up and running, and doing well, you want it to stay that way. eBay, the internet, and what your customers want, are changing all the time, so to make sure you don’t get left behind, here are some ideas for maintaining your successful eBay business.
Follow up marketing to customers
For a lot eBay sellers, their relationship with the customer finishes as soon as they’ve shipped the item. However, it takes a lot less effort to get a happy customer to buy from you again, then it does to go out and convince a brand new customer to spend money with you. That’s why successful sellers understand the value of repeat customers and actively market to them to encourage them to keep buying.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. Firstly, eBay offers the facility to promote additional items to your customers at the point of sale. They have already decided to spend money with you so offering discounts if they buy more, or suggesting complementary products to go with their purchase, is a good way of making more money out of each customer.
Secondly, you can market to them directly after the sale. At the very least you should be sending your customers an e-mail to make sure they got the item and are happy with it. In that e-mail you could mention that you have other similar items that would go well with their purchase, or send them to your website with a discount code for existing customers.
You can continue to market to your customers even after the sale has been concluded, as long as you’re not hounding them and are providing useful information or relevant offers, they will probably be happy to hear what you have to say. Each time you send them something you are reminding them about your business and the great product/service they received, which all helps to keep them coming back to buy more.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
If you’re a specialist in a particular niche, you might create a monthly newsletter which you could post or e-mail out to your best customers, with useful tips and hints, as well as information on your latest offers. It’s very easy these days to use Autoresponders to manage your e-mail marketing campaigns to customers. Autoresponders like AWeber can automatically schedule and send out information and offers by e-mail to your list of customers. You can even set up your PayPal account so that every time a customer pays they are automatically added to your AWeber customer list to receive your e-mails.
Don’t be afraid to diversify
You’ve already seen the benefit of becoming the specialist in your niche, but just because you are the expert on one topic, doesn’t mean you can’t diversify and go into another, totally different market to try and become the specialist there. You can set up different eBay accounts for each of your markets so, as far as your customers are concerned, they are completely different businesses.
Success in any business, on the internet or not, is all about finding a process that works, perfecting it, and then repeating the whole process over and over again. eBay is no different, once you have developed a successful business in one niche, find another hot market and look to establish yourself in that niche. With all the experience you’ve gained, you should be able to get up and running in a new market in no time.
Concentrating on a number of different markets will help your business grow, and you will be less exposed if, for any reason, the demand in one market falls off. With all the eBay and 3rd party selling tools that are available to automate your business and keep it running efficiently, operating in a number of different markets should be easy to manage, and very profitable.
Learn to spot trends
You can build a profitable business on eBay by seeing what else is selling really well, finding your own supplier, and then entering that market to try and make some money. However, you could build a very successful eBay business by spotting trends as they happen and getting in early. You can capitalize on the demand as it grows, and firmly establish yourself as one of the main sellers in that market.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
Spotting trends with the potential to make you money can take a bit of effort, but with a variety of tools available to help you, it’s possible to tell if a market or product is on the up and whether you should be getting involved. Tools like Terapeak are great for seeing what is going on in the different eBay categories, and Google Trends can show you what people are looking for, and interested in, across the whole internet.
It can even be as simple as paying attention to the news and current affairs to see what is the latest must have handbag, pair of sunglasses, or gadget that the celebrities and experts are raving about. These trends might not last for long, but if you get in early enough, they could be a very profitable addition to your main businesses.
Test, track & review
To understand what’s working in your business, which markets are profitable, and what products are in demand, you should test, track and regularly review what you are selling. When you start out or are trying a new market, test the water first with a small order of product, so you can make sure they sell and make you a profit before you commit a significant investment.
When you have a product that sells, think about testing at different prices - selling it cheaper may mean you sell a lot more and make more profit, whilst putting the price up may mean you sell less, but the profit could be more.
Track the sales of your products in each market. You should be doing this for your records and tax returns but it also helps know how well they are doing, so you’re not surprised by a sudden decrease in the popularity of a particular product or niche. Regularly review your business so you can see how it’s performing and if there are any issues you need to be aware of, or areas that might need some special attention.
Get involved in the eBay community
There are plenty of forums and discussion boards, on eBay as well as other websites, that are full of useful information for anyone starting an eBay business. But they can also be a great resource for established businesses with professional sellers of all levels coming together to share information, discuss a range of topics, and even ask for advice.FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
If there are any questions this eBook hasn’t been able to answer, or you just want more detail, by getting involved in this wider community you can get all the information and advice you need. Then, once your business is going well, you’ll be able to help other members understand how to grow their business with wholesale suppliers.
SaleHoo Supplier Directory and “E-tailer” Traininghttp://myofficialreviews.com/go/salehoo
SaleHoo is one of the most popular and trusted sites on the internet. It’s the perfect place for sellers looking to make money on eBay: it doubles as both a supplier directory and a training portal for everything you need to know to get started, and grow your business into an empire.What makes SaleHoo different from other eBay help systems?
One heck of a supplier directory
Inside SaleHoo.com’s member’s area, you’ll find over 8,000 pre-screened and verified legitimate suppliers. This gives SaleHoo members a massive advantage over other eBay sellers; it means that you’ll never have to waste money on testing out dodgey suppliers who turn out to be scammers who will take your money and run!With so many suppliers to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
My favorite part about the SaleHoo Supplier Directory is that if you can’t find a supplier that carries the product you are looking for, you can just let their support team know, and if there is a legitimate supplier out there who stocks the item, they’ll find it!First-class educational resources
SaleHoo is made up of a team of smarty-pants industry experts who just love sharing their knowledge with you. On SaleHoo, you can find articles and resources on everything you need, including:· How to import from China – the easy way! · What sells on eBay FREE Gift: Receive a FREE “Auction Secrets Exposed” CD ($47 Value) at: http://www.AuctionSecretsExposed.com
· How to get the best wholesale prices possible · How to find the best drop shippers
· How to spot a phony supplier
· Beginner and advanced lessons on eBay selling · 7 tips for getting more traffic to your listings · Plus much more!