It’s not your fault if you think that reselling wholesale items on eBay will be a “make-a-million-dollars-in-a-month” scheme. When you expose yourself to the online retail industry, you open up the floodgates to a whole host of rumors and myths about making easy money, and being able to achieve Top Rated Seller status by lunch time tomorrow!
To help set you straight, I’ve listed the top 4 myths about wholesale buying that seem to derail new sellers every day of the week:
Myth #1: Buying products in wholesale quantities means buying them at at least 50% less than the retail price.
Sorry to start out on a bad note, guys, but this is seriously incorrect! In reality, the wholesale cost of an item is usually 5-35% below the retail cost. Some big-time sellers with massive buying power might be able to get better discounts when they are in a position to buy in big bulk. Wholesale buying is a volume game: the more you buy, the less you pay per unit. But, if you are thinking you can buy a container load of jeans for a just a few hundred dollars, you would be wrong.
Myth #2: Wholesale suppliers won’t want to deal with me; I’m just an eBay seller making 30 sales per month.
Wrong! The truth is plenty of suppliers are more than happy to deal with the likes of eBay sellers. While you might only make smaller orders through them, it’s all the smaller businesses that are often the backbone of a supplier’s business. After all, a supplier who relies on the success of 3 or 4 major buyers is not really safe-guarding their business!
When checking out new suppliers to deal with, you might find that they have a very high minimum order which you cannot meet. However, I suggest that you email the supplier anyway and see if they will make an exception: suppliers know that they need to support new and small sellers in order to help them grow their business and stat placing those big orders.
Myth #3: You can buy designer branded goods like clothing, sunglasses, and jewelry for next to nothing, and resell them for enormous profits.
This is a particularly popular one. If you think you can buy an authentic Louis Vuitton handbag wholesale for less than $100, and resell it for $500, you are sadly mistaken. While it is possible to buy the latest designer handbags, the sad truth is, unless you are buying them from an authorized distributor, hey are highly likely to be fake.
While there is a consumer demand for fakes, selling them is 100% illegal. eBay has a whole division dedicated to checking that all designer and branded goods sold on their site are the real deal. If they cotton on to you selling anything less, you will have your account closed pronto. Worse still, if Customs catches you importing fake items, you could face heavy fines and imprisonment.
To sell most designer branded goods legally, you need to become an authorized reseller. This means jumping through some very high hoops. For example, some brand owners require you to have a brick and mortar retail store and a very high sales turnover (think $100,000 per year).
You are much more likely to be successful when selling non-branded everyday items like sporting or hobby equipment.
Myth #4: The best wholesalers can only be found online
While the internet certainly makes it easier for us to find new suppliers, and instantly price-up potential items, it would be a mistake to overlook the many other product-sourcing avenues available.
So what other options do you have?
• Trade Shows:
Tradeshows are exhibitions organized by industry leaders to showcase new products. They are a great way to stay ahead of trends and find new niche items to sell. Tradeshows are also a great way to build relationships with big suppliers. This can go a long way in getting you better deals and greater access to new, hot products. To find tradeshows in your area, you can simply search Google for the keywords “trade show” + the name of your area, or visit BizTradeShows.com.
• Trade Magazines:
Trade magazines such as The Closeout News are a great way of finding new suppliers and hot deals on wholesaler items. This is how the wholesale industry used to operate – before the days of the internet!
What makes trade magazines so valuable is that very few online/eBay sellers use them as a product sourcing method, but plenty of suppliers continue to list their there (and some only list in print publications), so the prices get driven down in your favor.
So which of these myths did you fall for? Let me know the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about wholesale sourcing!
We’ve been sellers on eBay since 2007 and it has always puzzled us why our eBay sales haven’t grown at the same rate as our website sales have. I mean, you just post a few products on eBay and sales should be pouring in, no? Well not really. Our market is extremely competitive on eBay so like many other sellers we’ve had to try various ways to boost our sales. Here are 10 eBay selling tips we found useful.
Getting the click – Our first goal was to increase the amount of clicks we were getting, based on the same number of listings.
1. Work on the product image – The product preview image which buyers see in their search result can really make a difference. It will help your listing stand out in the sea of listings and you can use it to communicate a marketing message, such as ‘same day dispatch’ at the bottom of the image.
2. Experiment with product titles – After optimising your image, look at the product title with the aim of making it more appealing to buyers. By all means do experiment, but don’t forget to keep the product keywords in the title. My suggestion is to use the matrix of [product title - Unique Selling Proposition], for example [ipod leather holder in black - cheapest on eBay], [ipod leather holder in black - get free gift], [ipod leather holder in black - free delivery] etc
3. Make the title stand out – After experimenting and based on the clicks and sales that each title received, pick one and make it stand out. To achieve this, you can try to place uncommon characters in the title (those which eBay permits such as <>,# etc), use upper case for the first letter of each word in the title, place your phone number, use symbols and so on. The important step is to keep your keywords in the title and just experiment.
4. Use enhanced listing wisely – eBay’s own tools to enhance your listings are great, but come at a price. For some products it’s worth using the bold and sub-title option in particular. Use the sub-title field to provide further product description and include a call to action.
Convincing the unconvinced – Our second goal was to reduce the amount of pre-sale inquires we received because they highlight buyer’s question marks. If listings are unclear then potential buyers will simply move onto another seller.
5. Write your own product description – Great product copy is essential for getting the sale. It should address all the concerns buyers have before buying the product and provide an accurate description of what they’re buying. We found it useful to include answers to questions buyers were asking and to show why we’re different from our competing sellers within the copy. If your idea of a product description is to copy and paste the manufacturer’s description, it might not be enough. Write your own.
6. Work on product offers – If you also sell away from eBay, for example in your standalone store, you know the value of product merchandising and offers. The same should be applied to your eBay store to make your offer more convincing. Consider offers such as free gifts, upgraded delivery methods, discount on future orders and more.
7. Pay attention to feedback – Many buyers scan through your feedback before buying. Try to follow up with buyers to get as much feedback as you can and in particular ask buyers to rate you. If negative feedback was left, take the time to publicly respond to the feedback and accept the blame (if that is, it’s your blame).
Closing and getting the sale – Our third goal and the holy grail for any eBay seller was to get our figures up.
8. List your call to action – The same with any type of advertising, you want to direct buyers to take an action. If your listing page is long, place several calls to action across the page.
9. Offer alternative payment options – The vast majority of eBay buyers are likely to use PayPal as their payment means. Some however might want to pay by credit card or cheque and some by telephone order. By offering those options you’re creating a competitive advantage over your competitors.
10. Prioritise eBay customer service – eBay buyers are expecting high levels of customer service from your part, but most will look for it after the sale. If however you offer exceptional service before the sale takes place, you might capture the buyer while they’re still signed in on eBay and it reinforces your credibility.
I hope you found my selling tips useful.
Back in 2007 I wrote this article about transferring your ebay feedback to alternative auction sites. The trend is still going, and more and more auction sites now offer you the chance to transfer your ebay feedback when you register as a seller with them.
Recently I’ve received some questions from a reader about this subject, seeking clarification on whether feedback transfer is authorised from ebay and if the article is still relevant.
Q. If it’s against ebay policy to transfer feedback to another website, how are some of other auction websites like ioffer.com and bonanzle.com have feedback transfer programs? Do they have some special agreement with ebay?
The latest ebay agreement still states that you are not permitted to transfer your feedback to any other non ebay site. I consulted Bonanzle customer services over the issue, who openly admitted that “We have no agreement with eBay for this, nor does the other alternatives who also import feedback from eBay and other marketplaces. We have had zero instances of trouble with this”
Q. How do these programs verify that you are the correct person? I don’t want somebody else using my ebay name to get my feedback.
Most of these services ask you to verify it’s your feedback by entering your ebay username and password – this should never be stored by the alternative auction site so it’s important to read the terms and conditions first. If you’ve any doubt or concerns about the security of this, simply avoid the issue by not transferring your feedback.
I’ve heard no reports of ebay closing individual accounts who transfer their feedback to alternative auction sites, and it’s good to know that ebay are not pursuing those auction sites yet. However it’s important to be aware of the risks - however minimal they are, that your ebay account could be closed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on transferring feedback to other sites? Have you done it and would you recommend it?