Inputs in online selling esp for newbies

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21 Jul 09 05:35:41 pm
Have a bit of spare time this afternoon so thought I would write something useful for a change. I'd like to think there is something in this article for everybody to benefit from, not really a guide to anything in particular but may enlighten a few new to the industry and maybe even capture the inspiration of a few of you more seasoned sellers.

I want to sell...

What you want to sell and what you should be selling are more than likely two very different things. Of course in an ideal world we could all be power sellers of Apple iPhones, Playstation 3's etc in reality this is not really possible. If you are still wanting to sell this type of item then read on.

How many times do we hear 'I've been looking for a supplier of 'x' but eBay fees are so HIGH and I can get it cheaper from retailers'

Firstly, You mean a multi million dollar company have bought in huge quantities and able to sell for lower than you can?

Secondly, another multi million pound company wants to charge you to use a marketplace with hundreds of millions of visitors?

Here is something a lot of people fail to realize. No matter where you sell something you always have to factor the costs of your PLACE OF SALE. Do you think the owners of Walmart etc are not paying a higher fee to sell than you? For electricity, shelving, staff, stock rooms, warehouses, expensive tills, credit card machines - I could go on forever. Whatever eBay charge I can guarantee you its a small price to pay to market your goods to that many people.

If you still think its unfair, then find a better product or go elsewhere.

eBay's Price is cheaper than my wholesale price

Okay, I can understand how this may be a problem however people are so obsessed with 'being the cheapest' that they forget some important parts.

This morning I needed to buy a pack of ciggerettes and a bottle of milk. You maybe suprised by this but I did not shop around - check the price of the supermarket, the corner shop, the off license and then make my purchase. I went to the CLOSEST shop. Do you think eBay is too different to this? How many just look for the best title, click it and checkout - I would say over 50%. Not everyone is obsessed with price so neither should you.

I cannot stress enough how much easier it is just to charge a little bit more and offer a better service. Believe me it will take a lot longer too find that golden supplier who offers everything dirt cheap than it will to implicate some of the fundermental ground rules of business. Customer service comes first.

Cast your mind back to the 'Jimmy' incident. Where people purchased because they trusted him. and what happened? His buyers made a MISTAKE. This is no different to shopping online, the fear of making a mistake is still there. In short the more you can put your customer at ease the more sales you will make. Here are a few areas all of us could improve on:

*Customer Service

Live Support, Quick email responses, Friendly, If you can add a personal touch even better.

*Returns Policy

If I buy something online and it breaks, I don't want to send it back to F***ing Hong Kong and wait a month. Allow returns when viable (You should be selling enough so the odd return makes bugger all difference)

*Dispatch Time

I'm sure Chinavasion offer some very good pricing, but people want their items first, the quicker you can deliver the better, if you can give the customer a tracking number even better.


If you look on eBay I would say 10% take the time to write a good description, add good images and clearly state their terms. Take that little bit of extra time to perfect listings and you will reap the rewards. (You would be amazed what simple HTML knowledge and Turbolister can do)

I need to find a Wholesaler or Dropshipper

Going back to the 'Its cheaper on eBay' well yes of course some items are. But have you ever thought that the likes of Amazon may sell a lot of items cheaper than eBay? People get sucked in by the 'Wholesale' concept. If Amazon or any other shop want to do deal of the century and make a massive loss then why not take advantage? Remember, you can buy anything legally and resell it.

China and Niches

Ahh the old fashioned fear of going to China and being scammed. If you stay away from Branded Goods (Designer Clothes, iPhones, DVD's etc) I can 90% guarantee you will have a positive experience.

Two Real Life Examples -

Mr Lee Chung offering iPhones at $200 IS going to take your money.

MS. Sun offering Ceramic Ornaments is NOT going to take your money.

So what is a Niche?

To be honest I have no idea, is selling PS3 Games anymore Niche than selling iPhone cases? I really don't know. Niche is not an unheard of product that suddenly takes off, its a product beyond the obvious.

If I look for a new niche, I do one of two things.

*Take someone elses idea and do it better
*Think of something that EVERYONE needs (Or indeed a large amount)

Camera bags, Laptop cases, iPhone cases, CCTV cameras, Tents etc. These are all products with 100%-500% mark up and its VERY easy to source.

I will probably update this at some stage, but it will do for now :)

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21 Jul 09 10:22:38 pm
Good stuff bevsey123, those creative juices were really flowing today

: )

Mark (fudjj)

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22 Jul 09 02:35:48 am
Thanks for this great post, bevsey123! Should be a great reference for new and seasoned sellers alike. :)

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22 Jul 09 07:38:00 am
bevsey123, i love your comments :)

Sourcing from China like a two-edge sword, it will make you rich or screw you up, depends on which item you source. An Old word, If it sounds too good to be true, then it is!

And you give me a good idea also, not the cheapest 100% get the customer. From my personal experience, when i buy on ebay, i also simply compare and pick up the item regardless of so many price checking, because some seller marked up the shipping cost to cover their loss in selling price. So at the end, the price are merely same.

Also, DESIGN ON LISTING makes me feel happy and confident about a seller rather than offering cheapest price but just a few words in his/her item description.


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  • Karma:
22 Jul 09 09:23:49 pm
Thanks for the kind words guys. I will see if I can tidy it up and a bit tomorrow, absorb the info item4sale and put it too good use.

Hopefully a few others will read and pick up on a few things and amend a few things.

I like to think of it like this:

Being the cheapest really means nothing, lets say for the next 6 months I lock myself in a room and spend 18 hours on eBay and Turbolister each day. This is very hypothetical, not going to happen.

At not one point do I find a wholesaler, all I do is upload all of Amazon's inventory (Games, DVD's, CD's etc) I then calcuate Cost Price + eBay fees + PayPal fees + Profit margin, which hypothetically will be $2 a time.

Now because I have taken all of this Amazon or Best Buy (Doesn't matter, its all the same to me) we all know I am not the cheapest. How many sales do you think I would get in week one?

Hundreds, Thousands, 10's of thousands? We will never know, but I can guarantee you it would not lose money, who knows potentially I could even make a few dollars?

If someone wants to take that business model, your welcome too it, cash in envelope to the usual address please...

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26 Jul 09 06:01:56 am
Thank you. Took your words to heart. It is very easy to become lowest price neurotic. Yes low prices are important. But you know. When I buy computer parts for a new computer build, I never ever buy from eBay. Why? Because I know Newegg will get it to me in one or two days and if I have any problems they take the item back no questions. Peace of mind! I buy from them even if I have to pay 10 to 15% more.


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